All notes with the topic Daniel Rolnik | Notes on Looking

“The Object is Null,” an exhibition by Kimberly Hahn at Design Matters Gallery, by Daniel Rolnik

I care about people. It’s kind of weird. But I think that in order to truly appreciate art you must also care about the people who create it. And what I love more than anything about today’s age is that access to these people, artists, is so easy – all you need is a Wi-Fi connection. A new skill has arisen, which is the ability to get positive feedback from artists when it’s infinitely easier to send messages and inversely impossible to reply to them all. And this skill is exactly what the curator at Design Matters Gallery, Bianca Collins, has been equipped with. Collins saw artwork on the website ARTslant that she liked and contacted the artist who created it, Kimberly Hahn. Within a day or so, Kimberly, who is based in Santa Barbara, responded. This is something that is profound. It’s reflective of the way we process information, with our fingers tumbling through pages of data on Facebook or Instagram at breakneck speeds. Except, the communication between Kimberly and Bianca broke down the wall of anonymity.   What I particularly like about this story is that it shows you can take power away from the establishment. Yes, you, sitting and reading this article, can do whatever you want without following some old rule of how to do things. You don’t need a degree in curatorial studies, or to spend your life savings flying to parties around the world, you can sit in your bedroom with a computer and put together an exhibit that’s truly wonderful and connective in a brand new way. So now the real question is,...

Swastikas on White Walls by Daniel Rolnik

An old potbellied man, covered head to toe in swastika tattoos, stood in front of his work during the preview night of La Luz De Jesus’ annual group show. His painting, about 4ft long as well as tall, was of the same subject matter as the ink on his hands. Alarmed, I texted several friends who had art in the exhibition, “Do you know your piece is right next to that of a Nazi’s?”…”Lame!” They were just as shocked as I was. When I left the gallery and got back home, I sat at my computer with my fingers hovering over the keyboard. I wanted to write about all the pieces I enjoyed in the exhibit – especially ones by young artists, who weren’t even in their early twenties yet but showed potential for real growth. However, I felt like I couldn’t do that because if someone actually visited the gallery based on my critique, they would be exposed to a work that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone’s eyes. I looked up the artist who created the painting because I had questions. Was he a neo-Nazi? Was he making reference to the ancient usage of the symbol? Did he have some kind of contextualization for the work? Or was he just completely ignorant of its modern meaning? I found the surface answers quickly. There were videos of him talking about reclaiming the symbol from the Nazis in order to bring it back to its original meaning – which can range as diversely as the symbol of eternity to East Asian Buddhists and as a symbol of healing to the...