Culture: May 2006 Archives

Sixspace in Los Angeles just opened a show of oil on canvas and oil on paper works by Chad Robertson, titled Rise. They are inspired by

... the films of George A. Romero and the zombie genre. For decades these films, in particular the Romero films, have explored current social or political issues and events that are channeled through this idea of a mindless, yet human, animal - a zombie.

Here are some images. I imagine these are difficult to photograph. The ghostly technique is impressive, given the medium. Also, hairy-chested zombies / zombie victims are HOT.


chad robertson zombie02

Untitled, 2006
Oil on canvas
72 × 36 in.


chad robertson zombie

Untitled, 2006
Oil on canvas
24 × 48 in.


chad robertson zombie

Untitled, 2006
Oil on paper
27 × 18.75 in.




On a somewhat related note, Art Fag City writes today about a book titled Hello Victims: Ad Reinhardt, by Brian Kennon, which she describes as

An extension of the much larger (and soon to be published) three volume Hello Victims book, Hello Victims: Ad Reinhardt presents Reinhardt's black paintings within the context of the equally apocalyptic lenses of Motorhead, Nuclear War and Zombie films.


This looks like a really good art benefit on Tuesday night. Heidi Cho Gallery is hosting a silent art auction for Parnassus Poetry in Review. It's from 6-9 PM (bidding ends at 8:30), and admission is $10. The list of artists as of April 1 was

David Alexander, Suzanne Anker, William Anthony, Alice Attie, Joan Banach, Lorna Bieber, Ports Bishop, Star Black, Nancy Brett, Susan Crile, Elizabeth Demeray, Lisa Corinne Davis, Jane Dickson, Cynthia Eardly, Tom Evans, Gwen Fabricant, Oriole Feshbach, Seth Michael Forman, Helen C. Frederick, Barbara Freidman, Nancy Friedemann, Mary Frank, Barbara Garber, April Gornik, Linda Gottesfeld, Regina Granne, Guerrilla Girls, Michele Handelman, Julie Heffernan, Kathrin Hilten, Barry Holden, Edith Isaac-Rose, Robin Kahn, Kazuko, Jerry Kearns, William Kentridge, Polly King, Joyce Kozloff , Max Kozloff, Jill Krementz, Bibi Lencek, Anne-Marie Levine, Ellen Levy, Morton Lichter, Martin Likton, Bonnie Lucas, Renee Magnanti, Wendy Mark, Guy Mendes, Arnold Mesches, William Meyers, Roxie Munro, Roni Nicholson, Jacqueline Morreau, Julie Oakes, Will Pappenheimer, Olivia Parker, Carol Peligian, Leemour Pelli, Kenneth Polinskie, Barbara Quinn, Robert Rauschenberg, Beth Reisman, Lucy Reitzfeld, Robert Reitzfeld, Carol Ross, Arlene Rush, Hope Sandrow, Jonathan Santlofer, Mira Schor, Linda Schrank, Christina Schlesinger, Richard Serra, Dee Shapiro, Arlene Slavin, Tom Slaughter, Aviva Slesin, Hunt Slonem, Wendy Small, Michelle Stuart, Robin Tewes, Carolee Thea, Michael Vitti, Conrad Vogel, Jonathan Waite, Jeffrey Wasserman, Madeline Weinrib, Martha Wilson, Nina Yankowitz, Brahna Yassky


Pablo Helguera [source]

James and I came across this very interesting young artist at Julia Friedman's now-closed gallery in Chelsea. His newest project is titled The School of Panamerican Unrest. It is described as

an artist-led, not-for-profit public art project that seeks to generate connections between the different regions of the Americas through discussions, performances, screenings, and short-term and long-term collaborations between organizations and individuals. Its main component will be a nomadic forum or think-tank that will cross the hemisphere by land, from Anchorage, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, in Tierra del Fuego. This hybrid project will include a collapsible and movable architectural structure in the form of a schoolhouse, as well as a video collection component inside a van that will make the journey. The project, which seeks to involve a wide range of audiences and engage them at different levels, offers alternative ways to understand the history, ideology, and lines of thought that have significantly impacted political, social and cultural events in the Americas.

For more information, visit the project's website. There is also an AP story available here.

Jill Auckenthaler

Jill Auckenthaler

I uploaded a few images from the Plan B Prevails opening. Go here to see them.

The story is here.

"Sounds like a culture war" was James's reaction when I told him about the New York Daily News editorial on the Brooklyn College MFA show.

'Plan B' from outer space

The mewling you hear in Brooklyn emanates from Brooklyn College art students whose education obviously did not include informing them that, no, you can't do anything you want anywhere you please.

The young artistes are up in arms that borough Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel closed their exhibit, "Plan B," at the Brooklyn War Memorial after some works - including a penis sculpture - were deemed inappropriate for display in a hall that is open to the general public and, just as important, part of a commemoration of valor. How dare Spiegel close the show without asking them? the students fume. And how dare the Brooklyn College administration fail to defend their rights to show their stuff just where they please?

Reality check, children: Not only can someone tell you "no," but - shocking! - being told "no" is not a violation of your First Amendment rights. Spiegel showed backbone, and the college made the wise choice in moving the show onto campus, where students, faculty and assorted Chardonnay sippers can muse about its merits. Get used to not being the center of the universe, kids.

Chardonnay sippers?! Everyone knows real men don't have anything to do with education and going to college!

[link via Carl Ferrero]

When I did my weekend events list earlier, I can't believe I forgot to mention this weekend's South Of the Navy Yard Artists Studio Stroll.

I don't have a good system set up for these one-time events on ArtCal yet, so here are some pointers for the weekend.

  • Tom Moody will have a performance tomorrow night (Friday) as part of his show at artMoving. He says, "The event starts at 8 pm. I've adapted some music pieces for live playing, and I'll be showing bigscreen versions of some of my videos. In between pieces I'll be talking about drum machines and 'visual artists invading music.'"
  • Shoshana Dentz will give a talk at Triple Candie at 3pm on her mural on the building's facade on Sunday at 3pm.

may wilson doll

May Wilson

Check out Hotel Chelsea Blog on May Wilson's work in a group show at Pavel Zoubok. Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite.

Leaving her home, her husband, and her children in the suburbs of Maryland, May Wilson moved to New York in middle age to become an artist. She checked into the Chelsea (later living next door at the Carteret) and became a real American success story, teaching us by her heroic example that you’re never too old chuck it all and start over again; you’re never too old to live your dream.

We can now see May Wilson’s art for what it is: a radical rejection of the leave-it-to-Beaver motherhood and the manicured-lawn, two-car-garage, All American suburban nightmare. Babydolls and teddybears and toasters, knives and forks, keys and zippers: these are the objects that enslave you. And May Wilson enslaves them right back!

May Wilson was a woman ahead of her time, capturing the Zeitgeist of the present era in New York history. As the city becomes increasingly gentrified, she says to these parents and dogs owners: not everyone shares your devotion to these creatures and the way of life they represent. And for those of us who dissent from your dubious received wisdom, those of us who prefer art and books to dogs and babies, remember that New York is where we have come to escape.

I learn from the New York Times that the Public Art Fund is sponsoring a new work by him at Rockefeller Center.

A mirror nearly three stories tall, fashioned from polished stainless steel, will stand at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens in Rockefeller Center this fall.

Unlike most of the art that has adorned Rockefeller Center, it will not be placed where visitors are used to seeing the giant tree at Christmastime. "Sky Mirror," the work of the Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, will be facing Fifth Avenue.

"Sky Mirror," to be on view from Sept. 19 to Oct. 27, is a 23-ton circular sculpture, shaped like a satellite dish, its concave side angled upward facing 30 Rockefeller Plaza, its convex side facing Fifth Avenue, reflecting pedestrians and the cityscape. The work is Mr. Kapoor's first public art project in New York City.

The online version doesn't have an image, but the paper does.

Let's hope he and Rockefeller Center manage photography a bit better than it was managed for Chicago's Millenium Park, or they're going to have some very angry tourists.


Ed Alcock for The New York Times
While the Orangerie museum was rebuilt around them for six years, Monet's waterlily paintings, too large to move, had to remain in place in the oval rooms built for them in 1927.

While reading about the renovated Musée de l'Orangerie and its Monet works in the New York Times today (yes we consume the dead tree version in our household), I spotted this in an adjacent column, regarding some movie about code and a certain renaissance painter:

To limit exposure in the age of blogs and constant leaks, both Sony and Mr. Grazer's company, Imagine Entertainment, decided to forgo test screenings, a form of market research usually considered critical to fine-tuning a picture.

In the past, Mr. Howard has said he would be loath to release a film without it. In a 1998 interview with CNN about test screenings, he said: "What I would hate to do is put the movie out there, find out that the audience is confused about something or upset about something that you could have fixed, and go, 'God, I had no idea they'd respond that way.' "

I find this a brilliant example of the difference between Hollywood movies and art.

[image from the New York Times website]


Judy Glantzman

Judy Glantzman
Untitled, 2004
Oil on canvas
90 × 80 inches
[installation and detail views]

We visited this show a couple of weeks ago, but I just now had time to write about it. We are lucky to have two small drawings by her.

I found it interesting that the press release talks about Bosch and Picabia. When I saw this painting, particularly the faces at the bottom, I thought of the use of skulls as necklaces in the Tibetan work I've seen recently at the Rubin Museum of Art.


Mandala (Center and Circumference)
Central Tibet
1600 - 1699
54.61×44.45cm (21.50×17.50in)
Ground mineral pigment on cotton

This is a detail. I don't know if the link will work for every browser, but here is the page for it.

The New York Times article on the opening of the museum explains the symbolism of the skulls:

SKULLS AND SEVERED HEADS -- Lacking soil for graves or wood for funeral pyres, Tibetans practice sky burial: bodies are left on a charnel ground for vultures. Senior monks meditate there overnight, contemplating impermanence. Skull necklaces are tokens of struggle in the war with Mara, the demon king.

Related: James on the show.

[image of Mandala from the Rubin Museum's web site]

The Brooklyn College show will have a re-opening on May 24th from 6-9PM at 70 Washington Street in DUMBO. James has an update.

Note that none of the artists have been able to see their works since they were taken away by Brooklyn College without warning.

As always, visit the Plan C(ensored) blog for continuing updates.

mark creegan watershed.jpeg

Mark Creegan
Watershed, 2004
used watercolor pans, tape on wall

ArtCat has a new artist client, and this time it's one from Florida. My first non-NYC area artist!

The latest ArtInfo interview is with Zach Feuer, and he addresses the story we've all heard about requiring collectors to donate a work to a museum in order to get a Dana Schutz painting.

What's the truth of the story that you would only sell Dana Shutz's paintings to people who said they'd donate them to a museum?

No, that's not true. We had one show where we gave priority to people who were willing to donate work. The idea was that as soon as they donated the work, we would replace it very quickly, so they could have another one. But when things were really crazy and there were 20 famous collectors pushing for the same work, we said, "OK, who's going to give it to the museum?" and that was who we sold it to. We've done it with a few artists.

We want the work to be in public venues, and we don't want it to be sold and resold a million times over, so we sell to people who are closer to patrons than to dealers. And there really a lot of those collectors out there, who are patrons.

The market pressures on artists really can be awkward, and the strongest artists ignore it completely, but it really sucks when two people want the same painting. It's great for me because I can sell the painting, but it's an awkward thing because one person always feels less important. It's a big challenge for us to make every collector feel important and still be reasonable about the demands on our artists.

I also found the part about the gallery's current focus interesting:

Does your artists' success mean that you're besieged by young artists wanting you to show their work?
It's less than it was two years ago. It's easier for young artists to approach an emerging gallery. I don't think we're as approachable as some of the galleries who've just opened up on 27th Street. And it's actually less of my focus now. I'm not going to graduate school openings anymore or open studios. I'm really trying to focus on mid-career artists at this point, so it's not so much of an issue.

Of course, I wouldn't consider artists as young as his "mid-career" yet.

I'm amused that the photo shown with the interview seems to be from the same series as the ones used for Bill Arning's interview on Oliver Kamm's blog. That blog post's title? "Token Heterosexual Art World Superstar Bear Of The Week -- Armory Edition."


Jules de Balincourt, Land of Many Uses, 2003

We bought this Jules de Balincourt painting from Zach in 2003.

I'm happy that many people are fans of ArtCal, and the so-called value of "accuracy" is occasionally mentioned. ArtCal may have a mailing list now, but only Douglas Kelley brings writing like this to our inbox.

Here is Douglas on drugs, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Glenn O'Brien:

Glenn O'Brien, I believe, understood that The White Powder School is not for most people, probably 99.9% of most people, however there are rare
individuals such as Keith Richards and Jean-Michel Basquait for whom
certain Schedule IV prescription pharmaceuticals, as well as the
traditionally universally contracinded in all cases contraband psycho
stimulants and depressants are indispensable essential commodities of
life like food, paint, canvas, or guitar strings. And history often
remembers these individuals by the great periods of their most extended
peak output wherein they so colossally dwarfed the production of anyone
else, certainly in quantity, but more importantly in supreme sublime
quality that all the slightly less talented are left scratching their
heads, wondering what were we doing all that time?

Jean-Michel Basquait: King of The White Powder School

If you ever meet an artist as talented as Jean-Michel Basquait with such
a chemical romance, just put the drugs under the door and leave the art
supplies in the hall, and come back in the morning and collect the art,
no questions asked. It's highly unlikely that you ever will, so with
that understanding, always stay away from drugs kids and stay in school!

I'm not interested in hearing about how Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a patron of the arts. His response to the Brooklyn MFA fiasco is appalling:

"Nobody's suggesting that anybody shouldn't be allowed to exhibit art," Mr. Bloomberg said. "The issue here is this is not a museum. This is a war memorial." He added, "There has been an understanding ever since art was put here that the art would be appropriate for families and respectful of and appropriate for a war memorial and this time it was not."

So every building that has "memorial" in the name can't have art anymore?

Today Brooklyn College sent trucks and workers, accompanied by plain clothes NYPD officers, to remove the work from the space without informing the artists. Apparently some of the work was damaged. I suspect the "movers" weren't art handlers.

The images above are from the students' Plan C(ensored) blog.

It's funny that the building being proposed for the new location of the exhibition is 70 Washington Street in DUMBO.

Robin Footitt at Hagan Saint Philip

Comic on Terror (detail)

Robin Footitt at Hagan Saint Philip

Comin on Terror (installation view)

Robin Footitt at Hagan Saint Philip

Installation view, including Kong Stones wall drawing

We visited the South Bronx today to see Robin Foottit's show at Hagan Saint Philip. It's only one subway stop from Manhattan, just like Williamsburg! We visited by appointment, but you have Friday and Saturday, 11-6 to see it during the regular gallery hours. It's also next to 33rd & Bird's new Bronx location (Bernie was there). We didn't get to meet Nicole Eisenman's new baby bird.

For anyone interested in comic books, appropriation, or disaster movies, this is one not to miss. The comic book work above is described in the press release:

In the continuing series, Comic on Terror, Footitt has assembled found comic book frames, each taken from a separate source. The original narrative sequence and the interrelationship between one frame and its abutting partner are lost. Each frame highlights a moment before the occurrence of an unknown catastrophe, perhaps nuclear annihilation, global or national invasion, political strife or revolution. While the proximate cause of panic or fear has been severed from the narrative, the characters, through either their thoughts or speech, reveal a sense of dread or suspicion, and the viewer is left with only with their nascent effect.

James and I took photos of Joe Ovelman's wall at 23rd and Tenth Avenue this morning. Yes, I said morning. Remember all of the Prada skirt posters on that construction wall? They're now covered with something much better. Here are a few images from my Flickr set.

Joe Ovelman

Joe Ovelman

Joe Ovelman

I just got a news alert from Crain's. Link is here, but I'll excerpt the parts I find interesting:

Commissioner Julius Spiegel ordered the exhibit -- located inside the Brooklyn War Memorial Building in Cadman Plaza -- shut down Thursday afternoon after receiving an unknown number of complaints, according Marni Kotak, a participating artist and spokeswoman for the exhibit, called Plan B.


Ms. Kotak says that three graduate students who were monitoring the exhibits, which included a watercolor featureing gay male sexuality and a sculpture of penises in a lightbox, were ordered to leave the premises and were locked out of the building on Thursday.

The exhibit had been approved by Brooklyn College faculty and the Wednesday night opening was attended by the president and Brooklyn College Provost Roberta Matthews. "The faculty knew ahead of time what was going to be in the exhibit," said Ms. Kotak. Still, Brooklyn College has opted to move the exhibit rather than fight the shutdown.

"In keeping with the public nature of the space, as well as its position as an honored war memorial, Brooklyn College has respectfully decided to move the entire student exhibit to our campus," said Ms. Matthews in a statement.

I think moving an art show because we can't have sexuality in "public" is bullshit.

See Tom Moody for what other countries manage to show without bringing about societal collapse.

Brooklyn College MFA Plan B

I received an e-mail from Christopher Moss, one of the artists in Plan B, the MFA thesis exhibit for the art school of Brooklyn College. He pointed be to a blog that has been set up for more information. His e-mail stated:

On Thursday May 4th MFA students at Brooklyn College were surprised to find their exhibition shut down the day after a successful and well attended opening. MFA Students were monitoring the exhibition at the Brooklyn War Memorial when around 3:00 p.m. a locksmith arrived to change the locks, later a building supervisor insisted the students leave immediately. Later gallery director Maria Rand contacted Julius Spiegel, Borough Parks Commissioner, who said he had received complaints about 2 or 3 of the works' content. The show was scheduled to run through May 25th.

I was gallery sitting at the time.

Apparently at the moment the artists don't even have access to their work. It's locked up by the Parks Department.

It sounds like this is coming from the Parks Department, and the Borough authorities, not the school. Someone should explain to them that locking up art shows without warning isn't much of a tribute to Brooklyn or New York City.

As I was looking at the Plan B site, I see that our friend Carl Ferrero is one of the artists. Perhaps this image by him was deemed worthy of shutting down a show:


Carl Ferrero, Pray For Your Pleasure (excerpt), 2005-2006, watercolor on paper, 30"×22"

We all know how well the authorities in NYC react to words like "pray" anywhere near naked bodies or sexuality.

I note the Brooklyn College Art Department's home page tells us this about its history:

Founded by artists escaping German fascism on the eve of World War II, the art department started as the world's first comprehensive Bauhaus art program in a liberal arts setting. Over the years it grew to include Abstract Expressionists, Realists, and Abstractionists drawn from the New York art world, as well as art historians with distinguished scholarly reputations.

Shutting down MFA exhibits doesn't sound like a very good way to honor that history.

Updated: As a commenter pointed out, the Carl Ferrero image is not the one in the show. See this post by James for what we believe are the ones in the show.

The best reason to be in Chelsea on Saturday? James can tell you.


Brooklyn Academy of Music has a great silent auction which ends on May 7. You can bid online via the web site.

We saw the work when we were at BAM for the Brooklyn Philharmonic's concert with Ute Lemper. There is a lot of great work.

I should have done it sooner, but I've added Jersey City as a neighborhood for ArtCal, and added the first show, at The Garage. Unfortunately, it's ending this weekend, but I'm looking forward to listing more!

For the starving artists out there who want to see the likes of DJ Spooky and The Wau Wau Sisters with us on Monday night, here is a tip: Use "DUCK" as the discount code between May 1 and May 5 to get $10 off. I'm pretty sure this is for the concert-only tickets.

On an unrelated note, my apologies for the lack of posting. I've been under the weather for a week, but my antibiotics seem to be kicking in now.

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from May 2006.

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