Culture: September 2003 Archives

It is the most beautiful mix of rough edges, sexiness, and elegance.


People enjoy their morning coffee in a candle lit bar, during a nationwide blackout, in Naples, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2003. (AP Photo/Salvatore Laporta)

People For the American Way are having a fund-raising auction.

There are some cool items, including:

  • Kathleen Turner, sultry-voiced star of stage, screen, radio and television, will record a personalized message for your telephone answering machine.
  • You and a friend will sit down for lunch and conversation with two of Hollywood's finest raconteurs, Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss and actor, director and producer Bob Balaban (A Mighty Wind, Gosford Park, Deconstructing Harry). You will dine at their favorite restaurant at a mutually convenient date and time.
  • A rare piece by artist Jenny Holzer consisting of two LED Light Reader Boxes, one depicting language used by the political right, the other language used by the political left. Minimum Bid: $1000

Someone needs to buy me the Jenny Holzer!

I first encountered Carlos de Villasante's work at a White Box benefit. Via, I see he has just done a new mural in Miami.

Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, Left Brain

On Friday we stopped by ATM Gallery on Avenue B for the opening of Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir. There was a bit more buzz than one usually sees at an East Village opening these days -- Björk was there, supporting her fellow Icelander. She hung out in the gallery and on Avenue B for the entire time I was there, so she was probably there for most of the opening. I love NY! She can hang out like that without being accosted, which would be more likely to happen further uptown, or further west in Manhattan.

Then we hopped on the L to go to Williamsburg to check out the Third Friday happenings. One thing about the Plus Ultra show -- the cartoons by Will Self were surprisingly good.

The highlights of the evening were to be found at Brooklyn Fire Proof and Open Ground. The former is morphing into a gallery space in addition to being artists studios. They showed some great work, and had a good band with videos and people dancing in costumes. They're a little "at the edge" geographically, but that's changing -- witness the location of The Morning News party. I can't find anything about her via Google, but there were some nice works on paper by Stine Hedegaard Andersen, and I got a chance to meet Steven Baines, whose work I had seen recently at White Columns.

The other highlight was the (In)Security show at Open Ground. Approriately for a collaborative gallery space, they have a Wiki for a web site!

One of the things from the show is available for download from the artist, Rebecca Ross's web site. It's called "The Okay News" and is described thusly:

The Okay News memory resident Mac OSX application

A re-formed newspaper that runs in the background of everyday computer use. Every twenty minutes OkayNews delivers a headline from that day's New York Times to an operating system warning box with the single button "Okay", which must be pressed to continue using the computer.

I think the "Third Friday" event was a big success. There were a lot of people at every gallery I visited, including neighborhood people that asked questions as if they didn't normally go to galleries. As we walked around, we encountered quite a few people who were asking for directions, or asked where to get a copy of the gallery map.


Congratulations to Chris Caccamise and *sixtyseven gallery for a fabulous review by Roberta Smith in Today's NY Times. It's a fun show that made me giggle a bit when I walked into the room.

The other highlight of our tour on Monday of Williamsburg galleries with the "charming French boys" was Chris Doyle's very strong show of watercolors at Jessica Murray Projects -- huge works based on video stills of his life with his partner and daughter.


Chris Doyle, Failing to Levitate in the Studio, 2003
watercolor on paper, 46"x73"


Tonight is a good night to head out to Williamsburg. All of the Williamsburg Gallery Association galleries will be open until 9, and many of them will have music, as part of their new "Third Friday" events. Do not miss the opening of Plus Ultra's new, larger space, and make sure you go around the corner to check out Dam, Stuhltrager at 38 Marcy Ave. The Plus Ultra show, titled "arts and letters," features drawings and paintings by Jonathan Ames, Dave Eggers, Susan Minot, and Will Self.

See, I did do something for Fashion Week. I attended a reception at the Swedish Consulate on Park Avenue for two young designer/artists, Aïa Jüdes and Johanna Hofring. The exhibit, called In the Land of the Midnight Sun, featured clothing by both, with inspirations from Sami and other traditional costumes, plus photography of Sami people by Aïa. I met her at the opening and talked about the work a bit. She made some pretty beautiful ensembles, and where else would one want to actually talk to the models but at an event like this one?

Untitled (blue star)

Untitled (blue star), Joe Ovelman


Joe Ovelman

"Two Walls"

Appearing Saturday, September 13th

at the following locations:

10th Avenue, between 23rd and 24th Streets (Next to Car Wash)
West 25th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues (To the right of 531
West 25th)

Joe Ovelman and Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery are pleased to announce the
installation of two walls of images on Saturday, September 13. These
are the fifth and sixth walls in Joe Ovelman's series of outside
installations using walls from construction sites.

The walls consist of 124 feet of combined images culled from Ovelman's
photographic work.

Joe Ovelman will have a solo show of new work at Oliver Kamm/5BE
Gallery in February 2004.


UPDATED Saturday 1pm: The one on Tenth Avenue is still there, but the one on 25th Street has been torn down. We wouldn't want art defiling a big plywood wall while construction is being done, would we?

Herbert Muschamp, my favorite writer on architecture and public spaces, writes in the September 11, 2003 NY Times about receiving this collage from Ellsworth Kelly:


"On October 19, 2001," it began, "I wrote a letter to you (that I never sent) in response to an article in The New York Times which discussed the controversy of what was to be planned for the `Ground Zero' space, asking artists and others for their opinions." Mr. Kelly noted that two other artists, Joel Shapiro and John Baldessari, had urged that no building be erected at the site and that the architect Tadao Ando had made a similar proposition.

"At that time, my idea for the World Trade Center site was a large green mound of grass," he continued.

More recently he saw an aerial photograph of the site on the cover of the Aug. 31 Arts & Leisure section of The Times. "I was excited to see the site from this vantage point," he wrote. "I was inspired to make a collage of my idea for the space of which I am sending you."

"I feel strongly," he continued, "that what is needed is a 'visual experience,' not additional buildings, a museum, a list of names or proposals for a freedom monument." These, he said, are "distractions from a spiritual vision for the site: a vision for the future."

Now Muschamp writes:

Some think that minimal art is our country's most important contribution to culture. I'm not sure that this is true, or that it's even an American invention. Mies van der Rohe had developed it in architecture before setting foot on our soil. Yet it is true that minimalism has held a particular appeal to Americans. It enables us to withdraw from the midst of complexity without denying the manifold reality of contemporary life.
This tendency toward the unnecessary and in some cases even injurious elaboration of culture is one of the most significant phenomena of human life. It proves that the development of culture has become an end in itself. Man may be a rational being, but he certainly is not a utilitarian one. The constant revision and expansion of his social heredity is a result of some inner drive, not of necessity.


It seems possible that the human capacity for being bored, rather than man's social or natural needs lies at the root of man's cultural advance.

-- Ralph Linton, The Study of Man, 1936

[via The Banquet Years]

Yea! It's started! I'm too busy with my artist web hosting biz to do much posting on art, but James has a write-up on last weekend's adventures.


Artist Kiki Smith works on a piece of art in this undated publicity photo. Smith is among the artists that PBS' 'Art in the Twenty-First Century' follows, documneting the challenging proscess of transforming inspiration into art. The series airs at 9 p.m. EDT Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 9-10 (check local listings). (AP Photo/PBS/Art21)

After years of never watching TV, I'm still getting used to having a digital recorder, and looking to see what's on TV that I might actually want to see.

As a visual person, I look at Yahoo! Top Stories Photos to see what they're showing. I was amazed to see a photo of Kiki Smith on the page. It was to illustrate the TV show Art in the 21st Century on PBS. How have I not heard of this?! A show that talks to the likes of her, Paul Pfeiffer, Collier Schorr, etc. is definitely something I want to see. The web page gives air dates, so set those recorders.

I saw Kiki Smith in person at LFL Gallery when I was there for Danica Phelps's opening on Friday night.

Last Sunday we went walking around LIC - to see the Socrates Sculpture Park and catch a bit of the Float parade.

The Marching Band playing "Like a Virgin"

Austin Thomas and her gold El Camino

(Other images are thumbnails in the interest of reasonable download times)

Artist on Wheels -- an organization that encourages disabled people to explore their artistic abilities

Krypton Neon Shop

Clubhouse by Jesse Bercowetz, Matt Bua, Sabine Heinlein, and local kids

The last thing I'm posting is a sad one that makes me angry. When something happens like the seawall crumbling in a Manhattan park across the river, it gets fixed. We don't put up chain link fences to cut off people from the water for years, hoping it will eventually be restored before the whole park falls into the river. The predominantly non-white people who visit the Queensbridge Park don't get such treatment. The parks along the water were full of families having cookouts and enjoying themselves, but most of the park was cut off from the water. A study, not an actual repair plan, has been announced regarding what's going to happen. The park was built in the 1930s, when our country was better able to find money to fund public amenities than it is now.

fence-queensbridge1.JPG fence-queensbridge2.JPG

Yea! A non-war post!


...the best minds of my generation (suck)
24"x30", Enamel on plywood.
Johan Olander, 2003

We recently encountered the clever work of Johan Olander at a preview for Russell Simmons's "Art for Life" benefit at Kenny Schachter's gallery in the Village. It was organized by Simon Watson, the sweetest person working in the arts, and head of Downtown Arts Projects.

Regarding the cheap art sale at Art Resources Transfer: GO NOW!

They are selling works now, not just 7-9 tonight.

Art Resources Transfer is having a benefit on Thursday, September 4, from 7-9pm. Artworks, valued from $250 on up, will be on sale for $100-$250.

They don't seem to have updated the web site with this info, but head on over. We first heard of some of our favorite artists -- including Joe Ovelman and Charles Goldman -- through ART.

This is your last chance for one of these. ART is ending its gallery program to concentrate on publishing and the DUC (Distribution to Underserved Communities) program.


On an unrelated note, I'm starting to get spam with a subject line of "Good blog" or "Good blog post". Bastards!

Kyle Gann, composer and one of my favorite writers on music, has a new weblog titled PostClassic.

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from September 2003.

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