"A glorious mess;" "manic and often overwhelming;" a "tumult of video, furniture, music, extreme makeup and insistent jabberwocky"—reading reviews of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin's touring show "Any Ever" might make the printed page seem like an impossible format (if not totally antithetical) for showcasing their work. While there's nothing quite like watching the spastic films unfold as you sit in a room decorated with the excesses of suburban culture, through a feat of design, the new book manages to capture the essence of the emerging art stars' aesthetic.
Using a variety of layouts and experimenting with text, the experience of thumbing through the monograph's pages evokes a similar sense of today's information chaos, as equally fraught with aggressive optimism as with streaks of dark humor. Playing with fonts and punctuation makes the publication look more conversational, accomplishing the tricky feat of giving a sense of which imaginative character is saying what, and the characteristically Trecartin way in which they say it.
A heavy use of black backgrounds similarly evokes what it's like to see the frenetic scenes unfold onscreen. As a supplement to seeing the show, the book nicely functions as if you've hit pause, recording some of the best dialog—"i totally cry'real tears, ijust haven't Designed them YET:" and "Watching the Gift Economy tie Strings, 2my NECK!"—for those who didn't take notes.
The clever design, coupled with commentary by some of Trecartin's supporters (including Rhizome director Lauren Cornell and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's Jeffrey Deitch) as well as an interview with Cindy Sherman, helps position the young artist and his work at the forefront of the contemporary art scene—not that the upstart is having any trouble.
"Any Ever" opens at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris on 18 October 2011 and runs through 8 January 2011. If you can't make it, Trecartin's Vimeo page has Any Ever in its entirety, along with the genius piece that put him on the map, "A Family Finds Entertainment."
Installation image from the P.S.1 show by Matthew Septimus