I think the highlight of the evening was the Pierogi show. Make sure you see the "exquisite corpse" project that Dawn Clements did with another artist, hanging in the office area. It was so hot at most of the galleries that we need to go back to make any kind of aesthetic decisions.
We had a lovely time, including a late dinner at Relish, and made it back home around 2am.
James and I braved rain and wind to see art and survived to share it with all of you.
On Saturday in Chelsea the highlights were:
Jeff Whetstone: Zoolatry at Wallspace - black and white photography of humans and other creatures as nature specimens, including a sexy turkey hunter in camouflage
Tim Lokiec at LFL Gallery -- Zach continues to find wacky and interesting painters. Disclosure: we bought two works on paper of Tim's.
Tim Lokiec, "Plateau Sigma II", oil on panel, 32" x 35", 2003
We also saw Clemente at Gagosian and Larry Clark at Luhring Augustine, but I wouldn't describe those as "highlights." My favorite part of seeing Larry Clark was the "guard" or whoever the young guy in the hooded sweatshirt sitting at the edge of the gallery was. I was also amused to see that some people had come from the driving range at Chelsea Piers to see the Clark show, and left their golf clubs in the area near the entrance with everyone's umbrellas.
Foxy Productions -- fun group show called "Blinky" that includes Paper Rad and Cory Arcangel. There will be performances related to the show on Friday, June 27, from 6-9pm. It should be worth a visit, after reading Tom Moody's description of an earlier Cory Arcangel appearance. He is the artist who hacks Nintendo code to create new works. We first saw the work of him and Paper Rad at Daniel Reich gallery. One of the other artists in the show, Sarah Ciraci, uses images of houses and other buildings in digital prints that turn them into UFOs. A little bird told me that she had to seek permission to use images of the Bilbao Guggenheim building by Frank Gehry, and the legal letter from the museum told her what edition size they expected her to use. Geez, they're getting worse than Microsoft.
Speaking of intellectual property and fair use, the "Focus Group" show at Momenta, curated by Eric Heist, includes one of Perry Hoberman's modified computer dialogs, this time one that warns someone they're using a trademarked corporate advertising slogan, so they need to decide whether they're going to pay for the privilege or invoke a fair use argument. Nothing like that would surprise me were it to come to pass. The whole show is really strong.
Black and White -- for the David Baskin installation in the courtyard, plus a photo by Meighan Gale and a pretty interesting painting by Andrew Piedilato. The Piedilato is somewhere between figurative and macho physical Ab-Ex painting. Tatyana the gallery owner told me he puts on some big yellow gloves and uses his hands to paint.
Sheila Ross and Eric Trosko at Dam Stuhltrager. No web site, but you can find the gallery's contact info at Free Williamsburg. She makes mixed media drawings/collages with paint, contact paper, masking tape, etc. I think the work would have been better served by showing a few less of them. The overall effect of a bunch of them crammed together on a wall was dizzying. The meticulous and minimal paintings of Eric Trosko are somewhere in the realm of Wayne Thiebaud or Alex Katz, with something about them that makes one want to lick them.
Jonathan Herder has a brilliant show at Pierogi 2000 in the smaller north gallery. He makes beautiful collages from postage stamps that have to be seen to be believed. I wasn't surprised when I learned they were almost all sold.
untitled (brown desert stampscape - self-regeneration), detail, 2002; stamp collage on paper; 14 x 17 inches
Paul LeClerc, president of the New York Public Library, held up "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the relished fifth installment. It was author J.K. Rowling's "special wish" to give the book to the library to honor New York City's tenacity since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Nadaq sign in Times Square boldly advertised the book's release. Nearby, a Toys "R" Us store urged children to show up dressed as their favorite character. The first to line up to buy a book was a young woman who parked herself in a lawn chair at 2 in the afternoon.
I note with no surprise that throughout history, religions that foolishly choose to promise excruciating pain and embarrassment to believers after they die never manage to be embraced by all but a few mordant masochists. Savvy people shopping for a new faith shrewdly demand extravagant incentives from any group that courts their patronage. Of course, when one is making cold calls to people in first century Palestine, promising something better is all but impossible not to do. Just mention antiperspirant! To jaded American Christians, however, the pot must be sweetened somewhat. Therefore, Heaven is seemingly decorated by Carmela Soprano, sporting gaudy gold paved road and has everyone wearing excessive jewelry, such as crowns, before 5pm.
Christianity has always been blessed with nimble marketing, able to shift campaigns to adapt to the vicissitudes of the both the spiritual and political marketplace. Once Adolf Hitler was able to draw upon centuries of Christian anti-Semitic and anti-homosexual inflammatory rhetoric to employ both clergy and congregation to exterminate both, it became impolitic to associate with someone who lost a war. Therefore, True Christians(tm) wisely distanced themselves from him by simply passing him off as "anti-Christian." (Yes, it was disingenuous and misleading, but so is Palmolive's claim to be anti-bacterial.)
Just when we were patting ourselves on the back over convincing unsaved Americans that Islamic Fundamentalist fanatics, who believe they act for God in killing Americans (stock brokers), are substantively different from American Fundamentalist fanatics, who believe they act for God in killing Americans (abortionists), along comes Satan with the most clever ad campaign for the nonsensical since the Catholics claimed Mary died a virgin: Harry Potter.
All hail the power of Google. Someone from Casey Kaplan gallery found my mention of the Jeff Burton show "Kevin" in April and sent me some images and the press release. Here is the description from the press release:
For his fifth solo exhibition in New York, Jeff Burton will present "Kevin," a new series of portrait photographs taken from a brief exchange with a young male hustler.
This is the first exhibition that the artist will devote entirely to portraiture. Burton's previous shows have explored the cultural and sexual landscape of southern California through his involvement in Hollywood's adult film industry. The photographs portray elements of both voyeurism and anonymity.
In contrast to Burton's earlier work, "Kevin" demonstrates a shift in focus by the artist where we are presented with eight photographs recording an individual's performance. Burton's own significant history within the adult film industry contributes to the powerful images of "Kevin" that unfold. The artist's approach to photographing this character communicates the tension of a highly private moment that developed publicly in a crowded New Orleans bar. "Kevin" offers himself in a spontaneous performative act. The resulting photographs demonstrate an intimate moment shared between photographer and model making this Burton's boldest work to date.
My understanding is that the whole set of images was photographed in less than half an hour.
They're not particularly work-safe, so click on "More" to see them. We saw it while my mom was here and she liked it too!
There a a lot important things going on in the world. Karzai is known as "The Mayor of Kabul" because that's the only part of Afghanistan that he has any control over, Iraq is a quagmire, and the jobless rolls are still growing. Luckily, you can always trust our corporate media to stay on top of the really important stories. I'm sure the fact that Warner Brothers (maker of Harry Potter movies) and Time are both owned by AOL Time Warner has nothing to do with it.
Culture reminder: The Museum Mile Festival is today from 6-9. All of the museums from 82nd Street to 104th Street along Fifth Avenue have free admission, plus the avenue itself is closed to traffic and has bands, entertainment, etc.
Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek have worked together since October 1994. Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, they have systematically documented numerous identities over the last 8 years. Rotterdam's heterogeneous, multicultural street scene remains a major source of inspiration for Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, although since 1998 they have also worked in cities abroad.
They call their series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people's attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element.
I haven't posted much lately, so here are a few items of note:
After 18 years, the U.S. has decided to start contributing to, and getting active with, UNESCO, the UN's cultural arm. They've decided it might be a useful tool as part of the "War on Terrorism." When the Republicans say they're getting interested in culture, it's time to get worried.
The Guardian has an interview with Susan Sarandon. My friend the lovely and talented Anees sent me the URL. We recently watched Bull Durham, since I hadn't seen it in over a decade, and James had never seen it. One of my favorite lines in the movie is spoken by her character:
The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness.
Cabinet Magazine has a graph illustrating the destruction of the idea of public domain by our copyright system and the abuse of it by corporations.
Fresh Tracks is exactly the kind of thing I look for at DTW: a showcase of emerging choreagraphers and performance artists. Beyond a doubt the highlight of the show was the last work: "American Crane Standards" by Ann Liv Young. The title comes from a brand of toilets -- the company no longer exists -- which are carried out by the two dancers at the beginning of the piece. I have borrowed an image from her web site so you can see an example. It's a photo of one of the truly great moments in the work, so I hesitated to put it up.
I'm a lousy dance critic -- I just know what I like -- so I will post the New Yorker blurb that recommended seeing her:
Ann Liv Young's madcap choreography mocks strip-club routines, cheerleading, and feminine demureness with dancers who know how to flout the male gaze while flaunting their stuff. This week, only days after her college graduation, Young presents "American Crane Standards" as part of Dance Theatre Workshop's "Fresh Tracks" showcase of up-and-coming choreographers. Two women in mint-green skirts and chiffon blouses lug parti-colored toilets onto the stage and undertake a synchronized dance, responding to verbal cues barked from offstage. The toilets, pink, green, and yellow, coordinate perfectly with the deadpan dames who straddle them, performing midair splits. Endlessly inventive, tacitly confrontational, the show is as fun to discuss as it is to watch.
She also does purses and skirts. Maybe I can commission an interesting bag. I at least need to get her in touch with my friend Kim Johnson, who runs Johnson on Orchard Street.
Update: Here is a video of an excerpt of the piece: