"Go outside. Shut the door." Oblique Strategies Art Show


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Susan White


In 1975 experimental musician and former Roxy Music band member Brian Eno and color and composition theoretician and artist Peter Schmidt created a deck of cards known as Oblique Strategies. Each card contained sayings meant to be a tool to help artists overcome creative blocks: Listen to the quiet voice. Just carry on. Be dirty.

Pace’s Emmy Mikelson, adjunct professor of art, curated the Oblique Strategies: track 2 art show based on the famous deck of cards, which opened at the Fingesten Gallery January 27, 2014 on the New York City campus. The group show featured 21 artists and architects from within and outside of Pace. Each artist was randomly assigned a card from the deck and was asked to create a new work or alter older work directly in response to the phrase on the assigned card. The participants range from emerging to established artists. This is the second year Mikelson curated the show, and the second year Fingesten has mounted it.

This year’s artist reception for performance and installation by artist Bryan Zanisnik was fun and well attended, drawing a crowd of approximately 150 people including a camera crew from New York Close Up, a PBS web series about art, there to profile Zanisnik and film his site-specific performance, A Woman Waits For Me.  A Woman Waits For Me was Zanisnik’s response to the Oblique Strategies card Go outside. Shut the door.  In it, Zanisnik enclosed himself in a museum display case made of glass and wood and outfitted with wheels. Tucked away in this glass vitrine and he rolled himself about the building, at one point visiting the university’s weight room where bewildered athletes stopped exercising in order to assist him around the gym and back into the elevator.

“I am very excited to bring this challenging work to the Pace community and by the community’s positive response.  I’m looking forward to what next year’s show has in store,” said Emmy Mikelson.

      Alicia Gibson