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Pablo Helguera's The Art World Home Companion

Sunday, July 18, 2010. Having attended Pablo Helguera's performance at Smack Mellon yesterday - The Art World Home Companion - I wanted to include something that encapsulated his humorous, ironic world view. Hence this Artoon. More of them can be found here.

As to the Home Companion, it is, in the words of its creator,

a radio program originally conceived for Condensations of the Social, an exhibition at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, curated by Sara Reisman in June-July of 2010. The project pays tribute to Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, adapting the concept for the contemporary art community. The “Estheticist” segment of the program invites public participation and offers a counseling and answering of art-related questions from listeners, in the spirit of Randy Cohen’s New York Times column “the Ethicist”.

Yesterday's hour long performance had a variety show format that included:

* a segment on the worst titles of art exhibitions (Skin Fruit was a contender, but did not win);

* Larry Krone, in his electric cowboy persona, strumming a ukelele and singing about never having enough money as an artist;

* a staged reading, by volunteers culled from the audience, of a text by Ryan Hill on an artist's career ambitions and dissimulations;

* an advertisement from "non sponsor" the New Museum, lambasting its corrupt insider cronyism;

* the Estheticist segment, offering advice on such burning questions as what an artist should wear to their openings (covering both group and one person exhibitions), whether a curator needs to answer all their email, and how a choreographer can break into the performance/conceptual/installation art junta (Tino Sehgal was referenced);

* various songs adapted from the Broadway musical canon, including "Documenta" (after "Moon River"), about not being chosen for the hexennial exhibition in Kassel, and "Marina" (from West Side Story's "Maria"), on how performance art has now become collectible; and

* an art trivia contest, with "Flavins" - two-foot fluorescent lights - awarded to the winners.

A genial, deconstructed time was had by all.