Art: 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 you’re 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 Warhol’s canny prediction that all museums will become department stores, and vice versa. Sure enough, here we are and we have to ask the question: What’s 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 painter’s 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 HoMu’s website ( 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 by April 30.

Stay tuned for continued HoMu actions, performances, and exhibitions, and remember: Homelessness begins at home.

Warm regards,

Filip Noterdaeme & Madame Butterfly


Photo by Andreas Brunglinghaus

Mark di Suvero at PS1


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.

I did find a number of shows quite interesting on our visit, including Emergency Room, Silicone Valley, and Not for Sale.


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, 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 Rhizome’s 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.


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 band’s 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 Bechtolt’s own narration.


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


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.



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):

James recently wrote about Jesse Lambert. He is in a show with eyewash @ Supreme Trading, and his work and that of Don Voisine are my favorite works in the show.


Don Voisine "Sea Level"

Don Voisine, Sea Level


Jesse Lambert "Tropical Shale Shatter #2"

Jesse Lambert, Tropical Shale Shatter #2


Here is a work on paper I photographed during a studio visit with Jesse in December.

Jesse Lambert work on paper

While I seem to be in video mode, here are two videos by Abraham Ferraro. He wrote to me a while ago, but I just now got around to watching some videos.



Go here for more of his videos.

Check out Art Fag City's new digs!

James pointed out an ad for 650 Sixth Ave in this' weekend's New York Times real estate magazine. The website for this new apartment building has a slide show which combines images of the apartments with works of artists represented by Jack Shainman Gallery.

Jacques Louis Vidal, who was in the show we curated last year, has a new book project. There is a "hand bound limited printing of the book" for sale in addition to the pages on the web.

The Journey 2 the Center of the Internet

Here is a sample image, shrunk a bit for the blog.



I spotted these in Front Room's area at Fountain last month.


David Shapiro at Front Room (Fountain)

David Shapiro at Front Room (Fountain)


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.

The artist Benjamin Evans is the new Gallery Director of NURTUREart. We first met him through Momenta, where he was helping out with grant writing and the annual benefit.

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.

Benjamin Evans

The weekly ArtCal just went out to 1000 subscribers!

During the art fair madness, three galleries -- 31GRAND, Irvine Contemporary, and Michael Steinberg Fine Art -- had a mini fair on 29th Street called 29West.

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!


Claudine Anrather at 31 Grand (29West)

Piggy, 2007
oil on linen
5 × 6 feet


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

I liked these dark political works when I saw them at Rokeby at Pulse.

When I saw this painting:

Sam Dargan at Rokeby (seen at Pulse art fair)

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.


Mark Creegan, Download Smurfette (detail), 2006


If you're in Los Angeles, ArtCat artist Mark Creegan has a solo show at Dangerous Curve opening March 17.

Reuters has a short video on Emergency Room at PS1 that features Jaishri Abichandani, who was in the show we curated last November.

This page is an archive of entries in the Art category from March 2007.

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