What to listen to at The Ungovernables

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An audio companion for the New Museum Triennial.

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Jacob Severn | April 19, 2012

I understand why you hate art. It's inaccessible, it's tied to money, and it can be pretty boring. The only reason you've ever been to a gallery opening is for the free Carlo Rossi. And these days, it seems like everybody's Google+ profile says they're an “artist.” I know. Gross, right?

But listen to this: New York City is still the center of the art world, which means you have to wade through a lot more crap, but you're also more likely to strike gold. “The Ungovernables”, the second installment of The New Museum Triennial, is a big group show of new art from all over the world, much of it with a political bent. “But political art is the woooooorsst,” I just heard you whine. I don't disagree, but this isn't some Dead-Kennedys-album-cover bullshit. It's more subtle than that. the show closes on April 22, so you owe it to yourself to go. Maybe you hit up that park on Chrystie Street tomorrow at 4:20 and spend your evening getting freaked out?

To help you through the show, I put together this mixtape, matching songs to specific pieces. Not every piece is represented, and some pieces have their own sound, but maybe this will help you through. Or you can just enjoy it on it's own. Happy art-appreciating!

Jonathas de Andrade, Ressaca Tropical [Tropical Hangover], 2009 101 photographs, 140 typewritten pages Courtesy the artist and the Sergio Carvalho Collection, Brasilia, Brazil

Ressaca Tropical by Jonathas de Andrade
“Depexe Entra Um Polo / Feitico: by Os Mutantes / Os Brazoes

This mash up two Tropicalia giants is a perfect companion to this Brazilian artist's 101 phographs and 140 journal pages, chronicling lost love and a lost sense of place.

What I learned I no longer know; the little I still know, I guessed by Pratchaya Phinthong
“When the Going Is Smooth and Good” by William Onyeabor

This piece takes Zimbabwean dollar bills, one of the world's most devalued currencies, and gives them new value by putting them in a museum. I think this song about shitty friends is appropriate.

Minam Apang, He wore them like talismans all over his body, from the series “War with the stars,” 2008 Ink, acrylic, and tea on paper Collection Leka and Anupam Poddar

He wore them like talismans all over his body by Minam Apang
“Dueling Banshees” by Karp

So metal.

Scratching the table surface and something more by Lee Kit
“Happy Cycling” by Boards of Canada

Thinking about the repetitive actions that went into making this piece are like totally zoning out to a BoC song.

Eavesdropping by Amalia Pica
“In a Sense” by Eluvium

Soothing, domestic, and a little boring.

Adrián Villar Rojas A Person Loved Me, 2012 Clay, wood, metal, cement, Styrofoam, burlap, sand, paint Courtesy the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City

A Person Loved Me by Adrián Villar Rojas
“Black Out” by Boris / Merzbow

This concrete steampunk thing looks straight out of the opening to TMNT or Heathcliff, but more importantly, it is giant and scary.

Dark Day by Abigail DeVille
“Motorcycle: by Black Dice

The coolest thing about this big mess is that you can peek inside it and it looks like it goes on forever and has a lot of pieces of trash in it, hidden away, stuffed into corners.

Dia en sue todo es verdad by Mariana Telleria
“Golden Phone” by Micachu

The attempt to make everyday objects strange by, say, putting a branch in a mug might sound dumb, but it is actually one of the greatest delights.

Prayway by Slavs and Tatars
“Cats is People, Too” by Ear Pwr

The best thing about this piece is that when I saw it there was a little kid running around on it, and when my wife smiled at him, he gave her a look like he was gonna fuck her up.

Rayyane Tabet 1989, 2012 Canvas, wood, sheetrock, paint, hardware Courtesy the artist and Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut/Hamburg

1989 by Rayyane Tabet
“Pangea” by Future Islands

This unreachable door, with an old skeleton key, leading to blank canvas, makes you feel like you're floating.

Wood by Hu Xiaoyuan
“Ascend” by Soft Circle

These pieces of wood painted to look like pieces of wood layer the representation of the thing over the thing itself. Neat.

Acepto sue nada es mio by Rita Ponce de Leon
“Atlas” by Battles

The fractal repetition and intense detail here is totally insane and also kind of funny.

Sculptures by Iman Issa
“Yaz Gazeteci Yaz” by Selda

These sculptures all have really long titles that describe their intent to memorialize a loss of some kind. They seem pissed off.

Time Exchange pieces by Jose Antonio Vega Macotela
“Harlem II” by Suicide

These pieces composed from materials acquired in jail made me feel icky.

Mounira Al Solh, Bassam Ramwali, From waiting blue to lingering yellow (or vice versa), 2010– Watercolor, India ink, pencil, pen, acrylic, and tape on beige and colored transparent paper Courtesy the artist and Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut

From waiting blue to lingering yellow (or vice versa) by Mounira Al Solh, Bassam Ramwali
“Heaven, a Dog Called Dad, and Rainbow” by PWRFL Power

This piece comes from the strange world of boredom that you think is flat at first, and shows its curvature.

Habemus Gasoline by Jose Antonio Vega Macotela
“Onda Tocadisco” by Lucky Dragons

Crude oil through a tequila distiller.

Remembering the Future of a Hole as a Verb 2 by Kemang Wa Lehure
“Love Letter” by Julie Ruin

This slightly cartoonish palimpsest is sort of horrifying.

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