During the artist talk at the opening reception, Francis Alÿs was asked if he considered himself a conceptual artist. "I wish," he said. He went on to discuss the amount of timber and labor that went into constructing Bolero (Shoe Shine Blues). "I have to accept that I create a lot of residue." In the center of the gallery is a giant shack housing about 500 drawings, variations on the movements used in shining shoes (detail of one
As for my earlier post on Fabiola——I saw the installation as a testament to obsessive collecting. Alÿs spoke about that show well saying "I don't see it as being about accumulation or collecting because I was into copying." Seeing Bolero makes this clearer.
Bolero (Shoe Shine Blues) and Politics of Rehearsal is at the Renaissance Society through December 14, 2008.