Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Blogging The Biennial.

Went to the press preview this afternoon. I'll post something about what I actually thought about it soon. Y'know. It's the Biennial. It's everything it always is. Dig in, whether you like it or not.

Richard Serra

Todd Norsten

Robert A. Pruitt

Matthew Day Jackson

Ira Cohen

Urs Fischer

Rudolf Stingel

Nari Ward

Mark Bradford

Marilyn Minter

Paul Chan

Jim O'Rourke

Francesco Vezzoli

Otabenga Jones & Associates

Dawolu Jabari Anderson

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Whatever, But Not Nevermind.

There's been much discussion in artblogland over the last couple weeks about the importance and influence of blogs in the art world. Whatever. As far as I'm concerned, we're way past that conversation.

The influence is already there. It's just a matter of who is willing to exploit it. In the October 2005 issue of Art + Auction Sarah Douglas' disussed the issue of the increasing influence of art blogs in her "Dear Diary" column. Also, I've been receiving unsolicited (but very much welcome) invitations to private views and openings at A-list galleries. In other words, the money seems to be paying attention.

On the Smithsonian American Art Museum's blog, Eye Level, Kriston Capps noted that "Ultimately, I think artists will answer this question [re: the importance of blogs] by including (or not) hyperlinks in their resumes." To a certain extent I think she's right, but a variation of this is already happening. I've seen printouts of my own posts and those of other bloggers included in artist books at the front desks of many Chelsea and Williamsburg galleries.

Capps statement was in response to something that NYTimes critic Roberta Smith said when asked about blogs at a recent talk in DC. Capp reports, "But mark [Smith] up as a blog skeptic. She likened blogs to 'phone conversations,' as something 'stuck in the ether.'" I actually think that that's a pretty astute observation of what happens out here. However, I fail to see any negatives in either of Smith's classifications of the blogosphere.

Smith is correct in a narrow way in regard to blogs being like phone conversations. Being housed in a wire doesn't mean that phone conversations can't be really lively and smart, and the accessibility of blogs expands the possibility of how many people might be sharing that wire. The recent brouhaha about Charlie Finch is a good example of a conversation that would have been limited to party talk between a limited number of people a couple years ago. The other week that same discussion took place in front of thousands of people. And thanks to archives it's still out there, you know, in the ether.

Which, by the way, isn't a bad place to be stuck. There are a number of original voices stuck in the ether, and I've come to rely on them for insight, exhibition tips, and gossip. I'm still reading the Times, Modern Painters, October, Art Forum, Art + Auction, and I'm still visiting mainstream art websites. However, I'm also interested in what the artists have to say about their own art and others. I like hearing what goes on in the minds of collectors and gallerists. And I'm interested in hearing what other enthusiasts like me have to say about what they're seeing. These are voices that I might have only heard at a party or an opening before. In the end, art blogs provide me with more opportunities to get closer to the work. And that's all I really want. A blog's lack of permanence or official status is irrelevant to me. And increasingly, it seems as though it's irrelevant to a number of galleries and institutions.

Speaking of which, I'll be attending the press preview for the Whitney Biennial on Tuesday afternoon. Look for the pictures that night.

PS: For a quick lesson in how this has played out in other areas of the blogosphere check out Krixfort's brief history lesson.

PPS: Krixy digs deeper.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jennifer Coates

Upward Strangle

I did a studio visit with Jennifer Coates a few weeks ago. I was knocked out loaded as soon as I walked through the door, and I was only looking at the drawings. Yeah, man. Trouble ahead, but in the best of ways.


Some of the paintings practically writhe their way off the canvas. It's like they're breaking out of their own skin. And the drawings. Oh, my. The drawings are doing the same thing but in the opposite direction, moving back into the paper. No matter the direction of the movement, all the works burrowed their way into me.

And here's some excellent news. A couple days after my studio visit Coates learned that she was going to have a show at Feigen Contemporary, one of my favorite galleries, opening on May 11. Write it down and file it under B, y'all . . . for Biomorphic ass-kicking.

Black Plapsy Layer


Click on the pics for some serious damage.

Karen Finley Correction.

Wishful thinking I guess. I couldn't wait so I made it a month early in my head and in my post. Sorry 'bout that.

McNally Robinson at 50 Prince Street at 7 pm on April 3.

Barnes & Noble at 4 Astor Place at 7 pm on April 5.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


In the January/February issue of Art On Paper there's a beautifully succinct quote from photography collector Bill Hunt about his avocation: "The rules for collecting are not that complicated: to look, to be present to the work, to be smart, and to talk about it."

I especially like the first two rules. They capture that first moment with a work when I just know I want to see it everyday for a long time. The second two come later but are no less important, leading to an expanded intimacy with a piece. Follow these four rules when buying art and that first moment never stops.

Above: from Carlos Motta's Pesca Milagrosa installation, a resident in Hunt's collection.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's The End Of The World As We Know It And I Feel Fine.

Regarding the other real issue that's emerged from the Finch brouhaha (No, not freedom of speech. I'm talking about the other issue.): When it comes to human folly, nothing beats ignoring recent history. Krixy lays it out and lays it out well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Boots On.

On the Creative Time blog I just posted some pictures of drawings from the new Karen Finley show at Gray Kapernekas Gallery.

Gina Ruggeri at Kevin Bruk in Miami: Abuse Your Illusion.

I fell in love with Gina Ruggeri's work during an afternoon of open studios in Queens a couple years ago. In prison terms Ruggeri makes illusion her bitch, and for a few sweet moments she lets the rest of us out of our perceptual cells. All painting is a lie so why not just blow off the doors, take it to court, and commit full-on perjury. Put me away, please.

Hole (installation view); acrylic on Mylar; 42 x 82 inches; 2005

I like to think of Ruggeri's paintings as escapist. They often feel as though they're portals into some other place. That's not to say that it's necessarily a safer or better place. It's just other. At first there's a certain sadness and excitement in the possibility. Then maybe a bit of fear. The longer I look at these works the thin membrane between what I know and what I'm seeing doesn't quite dissolve, but it's molecular structure feels like it's shifting. A confusing and delicious thing.

Overgrowth; acrylic on Mylar; 41 x 87 inches; 2005

The perceptual assault is only half the fun here. In the end, these are beautiful and beautifully-executed paintings. Throw away the key.

Rockpath; oil on canvas; 70 x 72 inches; 2005

Click on the pics to make 'em pop.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Totally F*nched.

What's been making so many of us sick to our stomachs . . .

Finch on Natalie Frank

Finch on Elizabeth Murray

Finch on Lisa Kirk

Ipecac . . .

From The Floor, first post

Brian Sholis

Anonymous Female Artist, first post

Anonymous Female Artist, second post

Art Fag City with a point well taken regarding what I've said below.

Anonymous Female Artist, third post All three AFA(MAB) posts are essential reading, but in many ways the the third is the best. Much respect to Edna.

Roberta at Fallon and Rosof's Artblog

And it continues . . .

Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes

Grammar Police

And it continues to continue . . .

Anonymous Female Artist, fourth post

From The Floor, second post

My prediction regarding the fallout to all this . . .

The bad news is that nothing will change. Artnet will continue to publish Finch. Finch will continue to be Finch.

The good news is that nothing will change. Finch will remain irrelevant. I mean, seriously. When was the last time you had a conversation about anything other than misogyny in response to one of his columns?

The Truth Revealed.

The Gagosian-picketing bunny is really a man. He's not a bunny at all. He's a man, and he drives a car.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

George and Martha.

This, my dear friends, is going to be good. Karen Finley's new show will be up this weekend at Gray Kapernekas Gallery. 200 drawings from her new book, George and Martha. It's Finley's satirical take on the love/death affair between George and Martha, a misbehaving domestic goddess entangled with a misbehaving executive "branch". The utter mess and filth of perfection. Dig the stench. Eat your young.

Finley will be doing two readings in the city in April. The first will be at McNally Robinson at 50 Prince Street at 7 pm on April 3. The second will be at Barnes & Noble at 4 Astor Place at 7 pm on April 5. I've heard from two people now that Finley's readings from George and Martha have been masterful. Not to be missed. You know I'll be there. I'll be the one in the back wrapped in a set of plush-ass towels and holding big bags of oil-drenched coke.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Persistence Of Memory.

I've been meaning to mention David Cabrera's smart and heartwarming show at the intimate Gray Kapernekas Gallery in Chelsea. I saw it last Saturday and I can't recommend it highly enough. Sometimes abstraction can be oh so precise. That little chord that runs between my eye and my heart began vibrating madly as soon as I walked into the space.

Color-aid paper collages and photographs convey the artist's memories and take the viewer into them on a visceral level. A moment in his history reaches forward and pulls us back into it. One enters Cabrera's story of identity not so much as spectator, but as a companion.

This is, quite simply, stunning work. The disorienting precision of it is something I can still feel in my bones when I think of it now. And there's that chord again--like the works in this show--vibrating madly.

Gray Kaprenekas is located at 526 W. 26th Street, Suite 814.