Culture: April 2003 Archives
Herein lies the tale of a Sunday in Williamsburg, in which our hero tours some galleries with friends, spots crack vials on Bedford, ogles hot tattooed (straight?) skateboarders with "lovely" in their vocabulary, and is accosted at Relish by people at the next table saying "Williamsburg really seems like a hotbed for real estate."
I revisited two shows that I mentioned in an earlier post: "Decade" at Schroeder Romero and "Soft Cell" at Foxy Productions. I attended the openings of both shows, and I wanted to go back to spend a little quality time with them.
Schroeder Romero's show is worth spending a bit of time with, since there are over 50 artists in the show. Make sure you check out the Williamsburg art timeline near the entrance. A trip to Williamsburg just doesn't feel right without a chance to visit with Sara Jo and Lisa. They even offered to introduce my friends to some single gay men at their next opening!
I really love the work at Foxy Productions by Teresa Moro -- you might have to use Internet Explorer to get the page to display. Ask to see her gouaches that they have as well. They're exquisite.
The painting show at Black & White by KK Kozik, titled "Ashcan Rococo", is pretty cool. There is a sly humor in them that's not always apparent when you first see the brightly colored canvases. Those aren't your father's oil colors -- I thought they were acrylic at first. If you haven't seen Austin Thomas's sculpture out in the "sculpture garden", go check them out. I first encountered this gallery when they showed work by my friend Meighan Gale.
The group show at Parker's Box, titled "Grounds," isn't totally successful, but there are some sweet sculptures/installations by Ezra Parzybok and some photographs by Ravi Rajakumar, who collected moments in cartooons where no characters are present.
The show of paintings by Robert Grunder at *sixty seven, inspired by his growing up in a planned community, is quite nice. Don't miss the selection of works by other gallery artists in the back room, including the video titled "Your Head is a Cloud" by Jeremiah Teipen.
I loved Tamara Zahaykevich's show of foam core sculptures in the back at Bellwether. The front room has work by John Bauer. I like him, and I like some of his work I've seen in the past -- especially works on paper -- but I don't know where he's going with his paintings lately, and I can't say I'm excited about them.
I haven't made it to Meredith Allen's show at im n iL (in Greenpoint) yet, but it's there through May 11 and I need to make a trip to see it. I ran into her on her bicycle as we were headed over to Schroeder Romero, next to Brooklyn's most fabulous Laundromat. Have you seen that thing? It has aisles wider than my apartment! Soon I'll be able to link to her homepage which I'm working on...
We spent the afternoon checking out some Chelsea gallery shows.
Lothar Hempel's show at Anton Kern was the highlight of the day. Their web site is "under construction", so try here for some images of his work. I have loved everything I've seen from him. He is a smart artist whose work is aesthetically pleasing even before you start to notice or read about the conceptual content.
The upcoming Dan McCarthy paintings show (opens May 15) at Anton Kern looks promising too.
Noguchi Rika's "Rocket Hill" at D'Amelio Terras: The exhibition consists of ten large-scale digital c-print photographs taken in and around the Tanegashima Space Center, an island complex from which NASDA, the Japanese space program, launches nearly all of its flights. I chose this picture in honor of Dan, since it reminds me a little bit of Space 1999.
Their next show is Cornelia Parker.
Wayne Gonzalez at Paula Cooper is worth a visit, but I wasn't bowled over the way I was by his previous show there.
Omer Fast at Postmasters was really powerful. The image is an installation view of "Tank Translated", which is a compilation of video interviews (in Hebrew with English subtitles) with four crew members from an Israeli tank, conducted separately after they were no longer in service. The one at the front was the one I spent the most time watching. At various times he talks about not wanting to be "exploited for your overseas audience".
Marco Maggi's "Constructing and Demolishing" at Christinerose|Josee Bienvenu is a great show, both as installation, and for the skill of the individual works such as the drypoint on aluminum foil works. Their web site only has one image, so go here to see more.
Philippe Parreno's highly conceptual show, "Alien Seasons," at Friedrich Petzel has good production values, and is visually interesting, but I don't know if it's a great show. I'm leaning towards "no".
I wanted to like Eric Ringsby's show "The Indian Wars / Palestine" at Cornell DeWitt. I think bringing up parallels between the Indian Wars in the U.S. and Israel/Palestine question is an interesting way to start a discussion, but the work in the end is more political than aesthetic, and I believe that it is important for an artist to try to transcend the political message. I did like his use of this 1937 quote by Winston Churchill, who believed that the Jews were a "better" race than the Palestinians:
I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance that a great wrong has been done to the red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.
Emily Jacir's show at Debs and Co. does a better job of achieving both political and artistic ends. That said, I give credit to Cornell DeWitt for putting on a show that many galleries wouldn't touch.
The highlight of attending the opening at Cornell DeWitt was meeting the parents of Adam Shapiro, the peace activist who works with The International Solidarity Movement and Seeds of Peace. They received death threats after their son became trapped in Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah while it was being shelled by Israeli forces. He had breakfast with Arafat and compared the house-to- house raids on Palestinians in Ramallah to Nazi raids during World War II.
i may be one of seven people on the planet willing to say this, but here goes: madonna is a terrible artist. watching the current brouhaha over whether or not she should pull a video is, at best, embarrassing.
the fact that she's trying to ascribe social relevance to her work through its messaging in the first place is asinine -- and, i might add, an embarrassing case of an artist listening to her own press. she obviously believes that she is important and has a responsibility to make "good art," which is so sad. madonna's work has never been about a conscious social statement. in fact, she's at her absolute worst when trying to make some sort of statement on an sort of level other than the personal. madonna is narcissistic and publicly paranoid. the two never make for a socially-aware artist willing to take the necessary risks to create a statement. she is at her best when simply talking about her own role as either empowered woman or party person. her relevance shines through in both those subjects, when she's not in control of the subject matter. frankly, she's not good at much else.
I am reminded of a very amusing speech from Ryan Landry's play Madame Ex. In the production I know, Little Clay (a boy of 10 years) is played by a little girl.
HOLLY: Clay. Sometimes in this life. Things arent always what they seem. Do you know what keeping up appearances means?
LITTLE CLAY: Sure. It means to be a complete phony amongst your peers so that they dont suspect that you may be as scared of the world as they are. It means buying things you can't afford so that you look rich because rich is "good" and poor is "bad." It means never being happy with the physical features God gave you because you're such a self absorbed megalomaniac you think that people are constantly looking at you; judging your face and not your heart. It's really the backbone of the American Classist System. A great example would be the majority of gay men who make up the "circuit" culture. Being an oppressed minority group of non-traditional, financially independent individuals, they have a wealth of opportunity to make great change in the world. Instead they choose to create an elitist circle of ignorance hosted by "Madonna." Everything's a party so they might mask their loneliness with "celebration;" their fear with sex and drugs. It's tragic, really. I mean when you consider that there are alternatives to such a vapid lifestyle. However, most choose to shut out the rest of the world and simply run themselves into the ground. Then, when they reach the age of 45 or so, they start hanging around in leather bars and calling themselves "Bears." Does that answer your question?
We saw a dress rehearsal of Mozart's "Così fan tutte" at BAM's Harvey Theater last night. There are only a few performances through May 2 so go buy your tickets right now! It was one of the most satisfying opera performances I have seen in a while -- as music and as theater.
James has a good post on it.
From Ma'mariya. Predynastic Period, Naqada IIa (circa 3500-3400 B.C.). Terracotta, painted.
I have always meant to attend one of Brooklyn Museum's First Saturday events, and this sounds like the one to choose. Not only has the "Egypt Reborn" exhibit opened, but the entertainment includes:
From 9 to 11 p.m., dance to Afro-beat and Middle-Eastern pop tunes spun by DJ Neva. A student of world music for 27 years, DJ Neva Wartell is resident DJ for "Nu World Soul," a weekly world music dance party at Liquids in Manhattan.
Newsday has an article on the exhibit.
I suspect it will be an attractive crowd...
There is also a festival (not free, but pretty cheap) called "New Hybrids Now!" that includes several things that I highly recommend: Larry Keigwin on May 11 and The Civilians' "Gone Missing" on May 12. I will be at both of those.
Worth Street Theater, the closest theater to Ground Zero, presents Voices of Peace & Dissent from Ground Zero.
Beginning Monday, April 7, The Worth Street Theater Compapny @ The Tribeca Playhouse presents Voices of Peace & Dissent from Ground Zero.
Voices of Peace & Dissent from Ground Zero will feature a rotating cast of actors, activists and celebrities in curated evenings of pro-peace/anti-war texts spanning history from the Ancient Greeks to the present day - featuring such political oratory as Robert Byrd's speech to the Senate, Robin Cook's recent resignation from the British Cabinet, as well as contributions from Eric Bogosian, Tony Kushner and other contemporary playwrights.
- $5 theater! - Go see The Atlantic Theatre Company Acting School's production of Genet's "The Balcony" - April 12-13 @ 2pm / 8pm. It's at 453 West 16th Street. Call 212-691-5919 for reservations. We saw it last night and it was quite good.
- "The Decade Show" at Schroeder Romero -- artists from the 10 years of shows in the space since 1992, including its earlier incarnations as Sauce, Feed, and Arena@Feed. Don't miss the videos.
- "Soft Cell" at Foxy Productions -- including two of our favorite sexy young artists, Rob Fischer (see Dee Gallery) and Ian Sullivan
- Emily Jacir at Debs & Co. -- great show, but I think you should read the Debs web site rather than get my summary
The story from the composer regarding the work:
I was not in a good mood, standing there freezing, getting more and more angry as I spotted the German barracks on the hillsides, disgustingly marring our lovely scenery. My parents had not taught me to swear, but I had to make some kind of exclamation... BAM BAM... Like a shot the theme for Ballad of Revolt came to me. And this was my shot during the war
The work, written in 1943 is dedicated to "small and large Resistance fighters", and it became a symbol for the Norwegian struggle during the war.
Update: I fixed the bad link to the mp3.
I don't want to write only about war. Here are some recent art exhibits I've seen, plus a future recommendation. Some of the shows have already closed.
- Jeff Burton at Casey Kaplan: Trust me it was great. Casey Kaplan has a lousy website without images. There was a good article on it in HX of all places -- but I can't find it online. The whole photo shoot consisted of him spending 10 minutes with a go-go boy, Kevin, in a gay strip club in New Orleans. Kevin is wearing a red velveteen thong, white socks, and Bass Weejuns.
- Larry Mantello - "Box Rap" at Henry Urbach -- an installation of kitsch, patriotic and otherwise
- Type A at Sara Meltzer
- Group show at John Connelly, including Wade Guyton -- no web site!
- Öyvind Fahlström at Feigen -- brillliant Scandinavian/Brazilian conceptualist whose work seems decades ahead of its time
- Doug Wada at Elizabeth Dee -- semi-photo-realistic paintings, especially for the fans and air conditioners
- Holly Coulis at LFL Gallery -- This gallery is a consistent favorite, especially for work of interesting young painters
The future recommendation is Jules de Balincourt, opening at LFL in May. When we were there on Saturday to decide on buying a couple of works, having seen the work when visiting to see the Holly Coulis exhibit, the back was buzzing with people looking at his work. While we were there a collector/critic and a good artist stopped by to check out his work.
The latest Village Voice has a good essay by Barbara Pollack on the history of protest art. One of my favorite paragragraphs is:
Across the Met in the Assyrian gallery, artists gathered on March 5, Moratorium Day, to stage a more contemporary version of anti-war art-making, a "Draw-In for Peace," organized by Artists Against the War, and focusing attention to the wealth of archaeological treasures in Iraq, as well as the human life, that could be destroyed by American bombing. "If you are a serious artist, you don't want to make work that is thought of as agitprop," says Joyce Kozloff, one of the event's organizers, "but now I feel that what I want is to learn to do that and fast."
Here are links to some of the works and artists discussed in the essay: