Culture: September 2005 Archives

Two people we know and love have shows in Miami right now:


Installation view

Carlos de Villasante has a solo show at Spare Parts through September 30th.


Orly Cogan, Allegory (detail), 2005
Hand stitched embroidery and paint on vintage linen
44 × 44 inches

Orly Cogan is in a group show titled Hanging by a Thread at The Moore Space through October 28. The show includes a few other people we follow and like such as Brian Belott, Christian Holstad, and Frankie Martin.

I told you earlier that last Saturday was your last chance to ride Austin's El Camino. It's now up for sale on eBay.

I took the photo above. It is from a small parade in Long Island City two years ago.

Bill Bartman, the founder and genius madman of Art Resources Transfer, died this morning after battling all kinds of illnesses over the last two decades. He will be missed by all of us who were lucky enough to encounter him.

More from James.

Update: Ed Winkleman tells one of my favorite Bill stories.

austin thomas el camino.jpg

Austin Thomas, Perchance: A Floating Scenic Overlook, 2003

Start (or end) your Chelsea gallery crawl on Saturday by hitting The Kitchen High Line Block Party which is happening from noon to 6PM. Click on the link for a list of participating artists, restaurants, and organizations.

According to an email I received from Austin Thomas, it is also your last chance to ride the El Camino, of which I have written before.

What's the High Line you may ask? Go read all about it at that link.

Related: Joy Garnett on the event.


We're not going to Berlin until October, so we'll miss Ostpunk, an exhibit revisiting the punk movement in the GDR (East Germany). The web site plus this article from Deutsche Welle will have to suffice.

When Michael Böhlke, otherwise known as "Pankow," took to the stage at the opening of Germany's first-ever exhibition on punk in the GDR last Friday, it was as if the last 25 years had never happened. Reunited with his former fellow renegades, he brought down the house.

"It felt so right -- I realized that I was born to perform," he said later. But while members of many former punk bands in West Germany went on to become household names -- die Toten Hosen, die Ärtzte, Einstürzende Neubauten, to name but a few -- Pankow never managed to carve out a successful musical career for himself.

Like many of the GDR's punks, his flirtation with counterculture had lasting repercussions. In the late 1980s, he was refused permission to study theater directing and forced to train as a mechanic. His former girlfriend Jana -- whose photo features in the exhibition -- was sent to jail for her punk activities and is psychologically traumatized to this day.


Broadly dismissed in the west as nihilistic, punk in the GDR was fuelled by optimism and a desire to change society.


"In retrospect, I was probably more of a hippy," shrugged Pankow. "I had a vision; I was full of hope that things could improve. We didn't do drugs and we didn't drink -- we thought we were better than everyone else, and every last loser in the GDR drank beer like it was going out of fashion, so being a teetotaller was a form of rebellion."


The cultural depth of GDR punk is reflected in the exhibition. Housed in a former industrial warehouse in Prenzlauer Berg, a neighborhood in the eastern part of the city, the show features paintings, drawings, print graphics, photography, super 8 film, collages, rare audio footage and miscellaneous pop culture ephemera such as record covers, buttons, flyers and posters.


"Punk inevitably became political very fast," said Pankow. "If you were in a band, you had to apply for permission to perform in public and audition before a committee that would assess your musical competence, the way you looked -- and above all, whether you were politically acceptable. The punks refused to go along with this -- it was considered a compromise."

As the youthful rebellion began to spiral out of state control, punks in the GDR were no longer seen as disaffected teenagers -- they were denounced as enemies of the state. By 1983 the secret police had sunk its talons into the movement and the scene was slowly but surely infiltrated with informants, forced under pressure from the State to choose between cooperation, a jail sentence, expulsion or military service.

[Image from the Ostpunk website.]

It's called The Pit.

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from September 2005.

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