International Monkey Business
On Wednesday, June 8th we presented the video-performance International Monkey Business by Alejandro Thornton and Nina Staehli during an ´aceNITE event. The performance joined the exhibition of artist in residency Tracy Templeton (Canada), the artist selected through the SEMILLERO 2016 open call, Eric Markowski (Argentina), and representatives of the Department of Engraving of the Instituto Santa Ana.
INTERNATIONAL MONKEY BUSINESS (by Alejandro Thornton)
Monkey Business (1931). The Marx Brothers sneak onto a ship from Europe to America as stowaways. While they’re busy hiding from the crew, they get mixed up in a conflict between rival gangsters Big Joe Helton and Alky Briggs. Groucho and Zeppo are supposed to help Briggs rid himself of Helton while Harpo and Chico are enlisted as Helton’s bodyguards. After the ship arrives in New York, Helton throws a party for his daughter Mary. Outside on the terrace, Briggs explains to Groucho his plan to blackmail Helton by kidnapping Mary. But, while on board, Zeppo fell in love with Mary and Groucho tried to get with Briggs’s wife Lucille. In the end the brothers manage to set Mary free (Source: Wikipedia). Art is, in the broadest sense, an indeterminate amount of confusion. Academics and laymen then extrapolate from it questions, meanings or functions for all levels of society. And this happens with such an unwavering matter-of-factness and self-confidence that art –according to this romanticized view– comes across to the confused audience as a clear-cut concept on the horizon.
Put into a different context, the International Monkey Business exhibition can also be seen as persiflage. Contemporary artists are economically savvy and trained to fit into the capitalist value system because the little money is only to be made in complete assimilation. In this sense, the artist knowingly turns himself into the monkey or dancing bear of a standardized society. Indeed, the antenna of art makers and the art system, have gotten so nuanced and sophisticated that the paying mainstream’s needs, trends and innovations are justly and gallantly turned into works of art. And so the merry-go-round of art stars and starlets keeps on spinning cheerfully while edgy, evocative and abrasive art –which could help us better understand this world– falls by the wayside.
The International Monkey Business exhibition offers viewers a thoughtful and ironic view of these issues, negotiating the value of art in a system replete with marketing, promotions and glamour.
x0_0x C0X0Ɔ Cx_xƆ Monkey Business.
International Monkey Business is a continuation of the collaboration between Nina Staehli and Alejandro Thornton that began during their time at the Artist-in-Residence program of the Kansas City Artist Coalition (USA) in 2014.
1970 | Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina
2014 | I write / I draw, Charno Gallery, Kansas City, USA
2013 | Overwritten, Mock galleria, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2015 | Kosmos Kultur Foundation, Berlin-Lucerne, Switzerland
2014 | Kansas City Artist Residency at KCAC, Kansas City, USA
First Price for Videoart, Bahia Blanca National Biennial, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Third Prize National Award for Painting, Uade Art Institute, Buenos Aires, Argentina
SiTA National Award for Public Space Interventions, Tucumán, Argentina
1961 | Born in Zug, Switzerland
Lives and works in Lucerne, Switzerland and in Berlin, Germany