video still from i don't blame you
While I talked about Gretchen's video piece at SAM when it debuted, I didn't get the chance to actually see it until yesterday. Now I'm kicking myself because that would have been an extra two months that I could have been enjoying this.
We saw a shit-ton of great art yesterday at the Kurt/ Andy Warhol press previews (expect a supersaturation of reviews over the next few weeks), but this piece was the standout for me. Gretchen's ability to retain what is essential while integrating new materials and concepts is one of my favorite things about her. For her 2nd video piece, Gretchen uses a snapdragon to sing Cat Power's sentimental tune I Don't Blame You to a rock star (who may or may not be Kurt Cobain).
The piece comes off as effortless, like she might have just been at home one day and the impulse to capture this came on. The reality is that it was carefully planned and executed over a period a few months. She learned to play to play the song on the piano and she did the actual filming in Iceland. Like many of Gretchen's project, it was very collaborative.
This piece is so sweet and so tender that it's hard not to tear up. The simple materials (a video made with a Canon Powershot), the dedication in learning the song, and the vulnerability of her singing all come together to create a poignant lullaby.