Art, Books October 19, 2010 By Eugene Rabkin

Photography courtesy of Rizzoli USA

assume vivid astro focus by Cay Sophie Rabinotwitz, courtesy of Rizzoli, 2010.

avsf title Assume Vivid Astro Focus
In today’s instamatic culture where attention spans are steadily decreasing and whoever shouts loudest wins, it seems creative minds have only two ways to go — you either embrace the cultural noise or retreat from it. Assume vivid astro focus, the growing, multi-striped art collective, seems to wholly embrace the speed-of-light changes with its collages and installations. The group’s chosen aesthetic method is sensory overload — an explosion of colors and sounds. The work itself is mostly collages and installations, the copy-and-paste, low-brow material that ranges from carnivals to gay porn. This just might be the logical end of postmodernism.
    Avaf, as it is also known, became recognized in 2004 with its outrageous, cacophonous installations. The collective’s artists have done many since and their work has been exhibited in major museums in the US and abroad. The new, eponymous book (Rizzoli, $60) documents the collective’s work in a gorgeous visual tome with 270 illustrations. The volume also includes an avaf-designed, a surprisingly understated (by avaf standards) poster, and a mask with 3-D glasses — just in case your brain does not explode from seeing their vibrant pastiches with the unassisted eye.
    The text that opens the book is an engaging essay by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, director of Art Basel. As with any loud, campy art, the natural question arises — are these guys serious? Is this a critique of contemporary culture or its indulgence? Rabinowitz offers no answer. I guess you will have to decide for yourself.

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