March 2007 Archives
Somewhat related to the previous post, today's New York Times has a special section on museums. My favorite part is the essay titled Leaving Room for the Troublemakers by Holland Carter. Here are some excerpts.
Now, as we approach the 20th anniversary of the stock-market plunge that brought the art market to its knees, money is again in truly fathomless supply. People think about it constantly, about how much there is of it, spilling out of pockets, oozing from hedge-fund accounts.
Curators find themselves enlisted as personal shoppers to the collectors who swarm through the art fairs. Museums hope these guided purchases will end up on their walls; collectors hope they will serve as tickets to higher ground on the art-world social terrain.
When the painter Brice Marden was interviewed in The New York Times before his recent MoMA retrospective, he talked primarily about real estate, about how many houses and how much land he had bought, or was buying thanks to his phenomenal sales. What else am I going to do with all this money? he asked.
In fact, the more successful a museum grows, the more elitist it tends to become. Social distinctions based on money and patronage can assume the intricate gradings of court protocol. At street level, admission prices climb, reinforcing existing socioeconomic barriers. Programming grows more cautious. If youre laying out $20, you want to see the best art, which often means art that adheres to conventional versions of beauty, authority, genius (white and male) set in a reassuringly familiar context.
An extreme spin on museum populism came into vogue not too long ago, with exhibitions of nonart materials: motorcycles at the Guggenheim, hip-hop ephemera at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Critics surprised themselves by raving over the Guggenheim show. Custom-made bikes, it turned out, are High Design. On the other hand, the hip-hop material, most of it mass-produced, inexpensive and readily available, was dismissed as mere merchandise. What was it doing in an art museum?
It was illustrating, among other things, Andy Warhols canny prediction that all museums will become department stores, and vice versa. Sure enough, here we are and we have to ask the question: Whats the difference between a top-of-the-line Harley, a Tupac poster and a Marden abstraction? Fundamentally, none. They are all brand-name items distinguished by different price tags. Populist or not, they are products of corporate marketing, of the money holders.
One thing it can do that museums can do is clear an alternative space in that culture, a zone of moral inquiry, intellectual contrariness, crazy beauty. In this space, artists can simultaneously hold a magnifying glass up to something called America and also train a telescope on it: probe its innards and view it from afar, see it as others see it. From these perspectives, they might come up with models of a cosmopolitan, leveled-out society for a country in solidarity with the world, in contrast to the provincial, hierarchical, self-isolating one that exists today.The common wisdom of the moment, however, tells us that carving out such a zone is no longer possible. The market, that state of manipulated consensus called freedom of choice, is so omniscient, so all consuming, so universal that there is no alternative left, no margin; no outside, only inside.
I received this letter from Filip Noterdaeme & Madame Butterfly of the Homeless Museum last week.
Brooklyn, March 20, 2007
Dear friends and members of the Homeless Museum,
Madame Butterfly and I regret to inform you that we have decided to officially close HoMu BKLYN as of today.
As many of you know, I founded the Homeless Museum in 2003. It had its humble beginnings online and in a temporary exhibit in a painters studio in Chelsea before I installed it in our rental apartment in Brooklyn in March 2005. I was always aware that this would be a temporary solution and am grateful for having been able to house the Museum in our home up until now. Sadly, my landlord has recently informed me that he would not tolerate any more openings on the premise unless I sign a commercial lease and carry my own liability insurance coverage, a financial burden I am not able to take on. After consulting with several lawyers, I had to resign myself to stop using my residence for openings, lest I run the risk of being evicted.
I want to thank all of you who came and supported HoMu BKLYN in those two wonderful years. Madame Butterfly and I will miss the magic of our monthly openings. I will forever cherish the memory of welcoming and getting to know you in the coziness of our Staff and Security Department. Madame Butterfly will never again be able to cook eggs and mussels without shedding a tear. As for Florence Coyote, she has vowed to not utter a single word until a new home has been found for the Museum.
Madame Butterfly and I are determined to continue our work as museum mavericks. HoMu BKLYN may be closed for now, but the Homeless Museum will prevail and re-emerge somewhere else. We are actively seeking to find a temporary exhibition space for its collection and welcome any help from you.
In the meantime, we will revamp HoMus website (homelessmuseum.org) and post a virtual tour of the historic HoMu BKLYN online. In addition, we would like to invite all of you to submit comments, anecdotes, and recollections about your experience at HoMu BKLYN for the website. Kindly send your submissions to email@example.com by April 30.
Stay tuned for continued HoMu actions, performances, and exhibitions, and remember: Homelessness begins at home.
Filip Noterdaeme & Madame Butterfly
Photo by Andreas Brunglinghaus
Charles LaBelle, Driftworks: Marseille (detail), 2004
This artist's work was a new discovery for us at the LMCC Redheard Gallery's show, Imagined Worlds. The artist creates these works, described as "compound photographs" by cutting out pieces from proof sheets to compose a new work. They're hard to photograph, but I hope this detail gives an idea of the piece. Good stuff.
I snapped this a couple of weekends ago in the courtyard at PS1. Since it was outside, I could get away with taking a photo. Given the state of the sidewalks around the museum that day, I didn't feel any guilt.
Image by Takeshi Murata
James and I are on the Honorary Committee for Rhizome's benefit this year. Join us to raise some money for this important organization dedicated to new media art!
Rhizome presents a Benefit Concert
Featuring Gang Gang Dance, Professor Murder and YACHT
April 16, 2007
At the Hiro Ballroom in the Maritime Hotel, 371 West 16th Street
A,C,E,L,1,2,3,9 to 14th Street
Doors at 8pm / VIP admission 7:30pm
Tickets: $25 Rhizome Member/ $35 General public/ $75 VIP
To purchase tickets: rhizome.org/benefit
Rhizome, a 10-year old organization whose mission is to serve contemporary art that utilizes emerging technology, presents a Benefit Concert featuring three genre-bending bands: Gang Gang Dance, Professor Murder and YACHT. Each band integrates a wide range of musical influences and instrumentation to create innovative sounds and style. This line-up of new music will celebrate Rhizomes commitment to emerging forms of art, across sound, video and digital technologies. The evening will be introduced and mc-ed by computer artist Cory Arcangel, and will also include a silent auction with work by artists, such as Kristin Lucas and Alex Galloway, who work with the Internet.
ABOUT THE BANDS:
Melding rock with 80s electronics, Gang Gang Dance have been described as a musical vehicle without brakes, constantly innovating and dropping material out the rear (Fusetron). The quartet, composed of Brian DeGraw, Liz Bougatsos, Josh Diamond and Tim Dewitt, alchemizes stylistic elements of Asian, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, hip-hop, rock, experimental & electronic music into a new kind of msuic, that is empowered by their improvisational and powerful live performances.
Professor Murder produce a rhythm-heavy dance sound inflected by hip-hop, reggae and funk. Comprised of Brooklyn artists Jesse Cohen, Michael Bell-Smith, Andy Craven and Tony Plunkett, the bands goal is to create a sound that distills the different soundtracks to their lives in New York.
Powered by Portland musician Jona Bechtolt (also of the Blow) and a rotating cast of collaborators and friends, YACHT self-describes as an amalgamation of self-taught dance moves and anthemic electro-power jams all played backwards and covered in cherry cola. On tour now with his new album I Believe Your Magic is Real, YACHT will open the evening with a danceable set that also includes video and Bechtolts own narration.
ABOUT THE MC:
Cory Arcangel is a computer artist, performer, and curator who lives and works in Brooklyn. His work centers on his love of personal computers and the Internet. His work has shown recently in the Whitney Biennial of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Team and Deitch Galleries in New York. Aside from being seen installed in galleries and museums, most of his projects can be downloaded with source code from his Internet Web log at www.beigerecords.com/cory/.
Rhizome is leading new media art organization affiliated with the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Our programs, including commissions, exhibitions, education and preservation, all serve to support contemporary art that engages new technologies in significant ways.
BENEFIT SPONSORED BY REFLEXIONES DATA AND WIRED MAGAZINE
Carlos de Villasante, Red Self Portrait, 2005
Acrylic on paper
19 × 13 inches
Courtesy of Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, New York
The Brooklyn Academy of Music has a quite impressive lineup of works for its online art auction, which ends this Sunday.
Among the works which caught my eye (most of these artists are already in the Hoggard Wagner Collection):
Don Voisine, Sea Level
Jesse Lambert, Tropical Shale Shatter #2
Here is a work on paper I photographed during a studio visit with Jesse in December.
James and I are going to two dance/theater works soon. They're both people we love and have seen before:
- Ann Liv Young at The Kitchen -- here is the NY Times review and an earlier post on her
- Adrienne Truscott at PS122 -- she is also one half of the fabulous Wau Wau Sisters (pronounced vow vow)
Via culturebot I learn there is a preview video on YouTube of the Adrienne Truscott show.
We plan to attend this tomorrow. Ensemble Pi is a wonderful group of musicians with a social conscience.
Eyal Danieli (detail)
Ensemble Pi Presents
WHEN WORDS FAIL
Thoughts About Peace in a Time of War
Second Annual Concert
Friday, March 16, 2007
Judson Peace Church
55 Washington Square South
Admission $15 at the door
Abu Ghraib (2006) for piano and cello
Voices From Iraq (2007)
Down by the River - from North American Ballads for Piano (1979)
Mioritza: Requiem for Rachel Corrie
for Trombone and Tape (2004)
Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, opus 67
3 Sassoon Songs for voice and violin (2007)
Richard Burkhart, Cello
Monique Buzzarté, Trombone
Idith Meshulam, Piano
Kristin Norderval, Voice
Philip Wharton, Violin
Funded by the generosity of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Klavierhaus
In a program note for "Abu Ghraib ," Harbison writes that this "piece is not a protest or a moral lesson. These would require little bravery. Instead it seeks music in a moment when words can fail."
I love the pricing structure:
- $90 nut only (no shell)
- $90 empty half shell
- $150 empty full shell
- $175 shell containing nut
He has a show at Pierogi 2000 opening on Friday, titled "Iraq Rock," described thusly
This exhibition will feature an 8-by-8 foot tabletop model of a hypothetical benefit concert, Rock Iraq, which doesn't exist but quite possibly could. It is a concert with corporate logos but no sponsors, no musicians, and no music. It exists as a tabletop model to American ambiguity, assuaging guilt, displaying compassion, condemning failure, and inventing triumph.
Not only does he have a new position, but he also has a solo show opening at Sarah Bowen Gallery in Williamsburg this Friday. A sample painting -- a modified thrift store find -- is pictured below.
I spotted this wonderful painting by Claudine Anrather in 31GRAND's space. Sorry it's not a great picture - tough mix of natural and artificial light in that space!
oil on linen
5 × 6 feet
Given the recent Scooter Libby trial, now seems like a good time to mention a short theater work that James and I saw last month as part of Target Margin's season of plays inspired by classical Greek works. The theme of the play was scapegoats, and the title was "Taking One for the Team". It managed to blend the stories of Iphigenia, Scooter Libby, plus others into a short sharp piece. It was created by the sound artist Michael Kraskin in collaboration with the cast. I loved the final speech of Iphegenia, inspired by a text of Euripides. In it she talks of how her sacrifice, and that of other Greeks, is necessary to show that the Greeks are civilized, and their enemies are barbarians.
Thanks to that production, I discovered the podcast he has been doing with David Terry since late 2005, titled Catalogue of Ships, with the title inspired by Homer's "Iliad". Thanks to the power of Odeo, I'm embedding a few of my favorite episodes so far. I've been listening in order, and I'm only through the first year so far. If you like Robert Ashley or Mikel Rouse, I think you'll like these.
I chose Episode Three for its really beautiful sound design.
Episode Four tells the story of David Terry in Greece in October 2001, and his attempt to cheer up some Afghan refugees with some song and dance.
Our art is supposed to be influenced by suburbia, not our lives.
That's my favorite line from Advice from a Caterpillar, which we watched last week. Recommended for the gays, the art world, and all of us who love both.
Speaking of suburbia, Bill Owens's series of photographs of that title is excellent. There is a book too.
Bill Owens, Unititled, from Suburbia, ca. 1972-73, black and white photograph, 16 x 20
Image from James Cohan Gallery
When I saw this painting:
I was reminded of one of the most effective memorials I have ever seen -- the Geschwister Scoll Platz in Munich. Click on the image to get a bigger version that is easier to read.
Here is an image from the gallery's website:
Sam Dargan, The great only appear great because we are on our knees, 2006
Many art bloggers such as myself would like to be compensated a bit for our time, or at least our hosting costs. In our case, our two blogs use up a lot of bandwidth, especially James's.
I'm researching the possibility of setting up an art and culture ad network, so someone could come to one place and buy ads on various art and culture blogs, plus ArtCal if they so choose. It also would give those of us who want ads, but don't want hyper-ugly animated ones, a chance I hope.
If you're interested in such a thing, either as a publisher/blogger, or as a potential advertiser, drop me an email. Feel free to comment here as well if you have any ideas.
Angela Dufresne, Kasper Hauser, 2007, oil on canvas, 30 by 45 inches
There are a lot of beautiful film-inspired paintings in Angela Dufresne's latest solo show at Monya Rowe.
Sorry for the lack of posting. I'm finally starting to recover from the art fair cold/flu thing.
- Dave Greenblatt, a collector I met via Bill Arning, has started a new blog with a focus on collecting for those without tons of money, including of lot of information on great multiples and editions. I hear he is even working on publishing a set with a group of interesting artists.
- DUC is one of my favorite charities: "The Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program (DUC) distributes books on contemporary art and culture free of charge to rural and inner-city libraries, schools and alternative reading centers nationwide." Their website has a video of Chuck Close talking about the program. It was started by the late great Bill Bartman of Art Resources Transfer.