Culture: November 2003 Archives

We spent all afternoon walking around Chelsea galleries. The highlights:

Carolyn Swiszcz at M.Y. Art Prospects -- an incredibly beautiful show of works on paper using various techniques including collage and painting.

Camelot Cleaner, 15 X 17, acrylic, pencil, and ink on paper, 2003


Henry Horenstein: Honky Tonk, Portraits of Country Music 1972 - 1981 at Sarah Morthland -- getting in touch with my heritage

Playing For Tips
Tootsies Orchid Lounge Nashville, Tennessee, 1974
Gelatin Silver Print, 16 X 20 inches
printed 2003


I can't get an image from her site, since it still shows the last show, but Framing Architecture, a show of architecture-related art curated by Daniel Marzona at Elga Wimmer is a great show. I especially liked the paintings and sculpture of Simon Aldridge, the works on paper by Eric Brown, and the styrofoam sculptures by Patrick Meagher. We saw Eric's work at the Cheap show at White Columns, which was where we picked up our Matthew Callinan piece.


Nancy Spero: The War Series 1966-70 at Galerie Lelong -- it is pretty rare to see such beauty in angry, political work like this

Love, Peace, Glory
Gouache and ink on paper


Contra/Post at JG Contemporary -- luckily the initials all worked out. The former Jay Grimm gallery on 28th Street has been acquired by Madison Avenue stalwart James Graham and Sons. They have a nice show of work by Joe Fyfe, James Hyde, Nancy Shaver, and others.

Nancy Shaver
Yellow and Black Horizontals and Red and Green Verticals
Wooden boxes, plastic blocks, flashe, acrylic and house paint

Yes, i still love all of you. I'm not posting much because I'm feeling flu-ish.

While browsing New Music Box, a web site for contemporary American music -- classical isn't quite the right word -- I came across their Quicktime presentation of John Cage's Complete Music for Carillon, which we were lucky enough to hear on October 26 as part of the "When Morty Met John" festival. James wrote about it here.

Two weeks ago we went to see the Berlin Philharmonic with Simon Rattle at Carnegie Hall. This is the first time they have appeared with him as Music Director in New York. It was dazzling. They started with a commissioned work by Heiner Goebbels, followed by Sibelius's Seventh Symphony and Schubert's Ninth Symphony ("The Great"). I like the idea of performing a contemporary work first. It makes one listen to the "classic" works as if they were new again, and the Berlin under Rattle certainly plays them that way.

They are an immensely talented and surprisingly young orchestra who could probably play these works in their sleep, but the point is that they do not play them that way. We could see the players smiling at each other with enthusiasm or even joy as they played. Performances like this remind me why we go to hear works performed live, even when we have almost anything one could hear in a concert on a CD at home.

I read an article in the Chicago Tribune about Simon Rattle. One of things it makes me think about, which is hard to express, is that I'm such a Euro-phile because it is a place where people consider culture an integral part of life, not a luxury for an effete elite. It's one of the reasons why I'm thinking of leaving the USA for a while at some point. I want to live in a city like Berlin that can mix a vital contemporary arts scene with a respect for classical culture that is part of the social fabric, not just something for a small group of people. Our President thinks he's talking about culture when he tells people he saw "Cats" on a previous visit to London.

Simon Rattle says it's not unusual for him to be strolling along one of the bustling streets of ethnically diverse Berlin and have a bunch of kids -- just the other week it was three Turkish teenagers -- greet him with a high-five and a cheery "Hi, Simon!"


"The thing that is different is that in Central Europe you don't have to argue that classical music is important or valid -- that is taken for granted," Rattle said recently from New York. "It's extraordinary how classical music survives when it isn't marginalized in people's consciousness. Over there, politicians believe it's important. They come to hear concerts and operas. They wouldn't consider themselves civilized unless they did."


And because the Berlin players have no collective fealty to the great classics, he has discovered they are more open to the challenge of performing some of the most difficult contemporary scores. He has already transformed the BPO's repertory by making his passion for the music of our time his players' passion too. "What is new for them they have accepted with open arms," Rattle observes, adding that the orchestra's new-music programs usually play to sold-out houses of younger listeners.

Angela Turner Wilson as Norina in Don Pasquale at NYC Opera

Remember her name. The production overall wasn't terribly interesting, but she has star power and a great voice.

[Really this weblog is often for my notes on what I've seen. It's not always for my readers.]

I have tickets to something else, otherwise I would be at the Newark Museum on Thursday to see Nicolás Dumit Estévez. See James for more info on Nicolás.


Super Merengue (SM)
by Nicolás Dumit Estévez
Thursday, November 13, 2003, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Location: The Newark Museum
49 Washington Street, Newark
FREE with Suggested Museum Admission Reservations are required;
call 973-596-6613.

Board Merengue Air for a flight that leaves passengers suspended between the Dominican Republic and the United States. During the performance, participants learn about Caribbean migration patterns through music, ephemeral costumes, and altered emergency evacuation instructions.

I'm busy installing software now that my PowerBook is back from the shop and my wireless is finally working, so go read James on the Deitch shows and our Sunday visit to Williamsburg. Tim Lokiec's works on paper at Deitch are phenomenal.

This entry is kind of a reminder note: remember the name of Osmany Tellez, a Cuban-born choreographer I saw last night at Dance Theater Workshop in a work titled "Descending Matter (Illusion Course)." I noticed in his biography that he has performed with Circus Amok!

He and three women dancers -- Astrud Angarita, Sigal Bergman, and Rebecca Serrell -- danced the piece to music by Guy Yarden with beautiful costumes by Astrud Angarita and lighting by Chloe Z. Brown.

I know even less about describing dance than I do about visual art, so I'll just say it was a beautiful mix of sexy, smart, original movement. I heard him talking to someone afterward about how creates works as collaborations with the dancers, and acts as choreographer and a kind of director/facilitator for improvisatory performers. Watch for him.

"command/shift/delete" by Ori Flomin on the same program was a very smart piece as well, with an interesting mix of intimacy and distance between the all-male cast. Very appropriate for a work inspired by our technology-soaked world.

There was another work on the program, by Nia Love. Let's agree not to talk about it.

The Axum Obelisk, of which I wrote last year, is headed back to Ethiopia. Mussolini had it moved to Rome in 1937.

Did I scare my readers? Perhaps you feared no more art posts? Barry had gone off the deep end?

Fear no more. Here are a couple of art recommendations.

Meighan Gale at Black & White Gallery in Williamsburg:


Meighan, who had work in the inaugural show of this gallery, now has a solo show. We have known her for a number of years, and have a few works by her. In person, she always feels like a dancer -- the way she moves, a certain kind of poise. I think the photographs in the show give a sense of that. I've never known her to do public performances -- the photographs serve as documentation for performances that we never see in person. The color works in the show are high-quality inkjet prints, which give a very polished, elegant quality to her work, which was often rougher and more hand-made in the past, from the quality of the prints to the stitched thread that appears in many of the works. I don't prefer one style over the other, but it is cool to see an artist work both ways and make interesting art in the process.


My other recommendation is David Shapiro at Jack The Pelican Presents. It's next door to Black & White on Driggs, so it's easy to stop by and see both of these. I have seen a few snarky "been there, done that" comments on the show, generally from people who sound like they haven't bothered to see it -- cough gawker cough. I think the show is great. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it works. Don't miss the back room where his plants, cared for with loving attention, live in pots printed with the scary ingredient lists of some of the items in the front.


One more thing: Read James's post on the current show at Team Gallery -- warning explicit photo! -- and don't miss the show.

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

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