Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2018

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Out of tape, plastic and a ‘motel’

Three art shows in three styles: The formal, the funereal and the farcical



Stephen Hendee’s ‘Be My Suicide,’ right, an installation at the Las Vegas Art Museum, comments on the death of space and time through advances in technology. It will be his last work in this style.

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An artwork in strapping tape, “C-1” is part of “unknown,” the solo exhibit by German-born New York artist Marietta Hoferer at Dust Gallery in the SoHo Lofts.

Click to enlarge photo

Objects from the show “Selections From the Dada Motel,” like the one above, are on display at UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum. The show is a collection of avante-garde works by artists who gathered at a downtown Reno hotel.

Strapping tape creates the varying rhythms and patterns in “unknown,” the solo exhibit by German-born New York artist Marietta Hoferer at Dust Gallery in the SoHo Lofts.

By stacking, juxtaposing and layering small pieces of threaded packing tape, Hoferer creates high-gloss, repetitive patterns that sprawl across grids drawn on paper.

With each pattern symmetrically detailed and unique, like snowflakes, the work responds to light and perspective — changing color, texture and finish based on your vantage point. Bits of tape transform from flat gray to bright white, high gloss to matte. Shapes appear and disappear.

Hoferer studied sculpture in Berlin, but sought a lighter-weight material when she moved to New York. She found her answer in tape, a medium with intriguing properties that allowed her infinite possibilities and the ability to explore light and reflection.

Hoferer doesn’t draw the compositions ahead of time. Rather, she works intuitively, starting from a module and continuing from there. The largest work in the exhibit is a 2000-01 piece titled “Unknown” (104 by 159 inches). It features a grid of repeated circular modules that stretch into a large rectangular shape. Lighting and reflection are controlled by the vertical and horizontal alignment of the layered tape.

Hoferer’s series of 12 works (titled C-1, C-2, C-3, etc.) features vastly different designs. “The result is so unpredictable,” she says. “It’s interesting to see what happens when working on something endlessly.”

Details: “unknown,” Dust Gallery, 900 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Suite 120B, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, through March 23. Admission is free; 880-3878.

702 Series

Stephen Hendee, the artist known for his glowing, large-scale installations that comment on technology, is changing the scope of his work.

Rather than creating colorful and translucent environments from polycarbonate plastic and black tape, Hendee plans to focus on smaller sculptures and new materials.

His “Be My Suicide” exhibit, on display at the Las Vegas Art Museum as part of the museum’s 702 Series, is his last environmental piece. Machinelike, cold and dark, “Be My Suicide” is his first black and white exhibit. Fluorescent lights and black and gray sculptures, including a black construct emblematic of a burned SUV, create a machinelike environment. The exhibit deals with space, mainly with the death of space and time through technological advances, but also with Hendee’s departure from large-scale installations. Hendee says his shift is a result of the waste that comes from his large-scale, site-specific exhibits and their short existence. The works endure only in photographs once the exhibit is over. Hendee’s “Be My Suicide” — his darkest work — is as meditative as other environments he has made for galleries and museum exhibits throughout the country since the early 1990s.

Details: “Be My Suicide,” Las Vegas Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, through April 27. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors 55 or older, and $3 for students 13 or older; children 12 and younger enter free; 360-8000,

Dada Motel

Last summer a bunch of Reno artists rented rooms in downtown Reno’s historic El Cortez Hotel to create their own grass-roots avant-garde art experience.

Fire spinners, performance artists and visual artists threw formality, rules and art theory out the window to celebrate the absurd, which can pretty much mean anything (including formality, rules and art theory).

Their weekend underground art scene spectacular was called the Dada Motel, named for, of course, the early 20th-century “anti-art” art movement.

Hotel rooms were turned into galleries and studios. Anyone could participate and art was democratized. Some of the work has made its way to Las Vegas and appears in “Selections From the Dada Motel,” on display through March 28 at UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum.

The show features an eclectic mix of video art, neon art, sculpture, found object works and paintings. What’s not offered are performance-based experiences, such as event coordinator Chad Sorg’s containment behind a glass door in a hotel room. You can, however, watch that experience in the video at the exhibit.

Details: “Selections From the Dada Motel,” UNLV’s Barrick Museum, 8 a.m.–4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, through March 28. Admission is free; 895-3381.

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