Thursday, March 29, 2007

Past and Present.

A couple new posts over at my Creative Time blog. The new Ugo Rondinone down on the Plaza at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park City, and a blast from the past from Creative Time's early days.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


On the left, one of the best drummers on the planet. On the right, hands down, one of the most excellent human beings in the history of time and space. Catherine Opie took the photo and it's in the Family Pictures show at the Gugg.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Money Talks.

And it sounds like a fool when it utters the words "Less than." to a woman.

Kiss Me, Stupid, Rosalyn Drexler, 1964

Excuse me for a moment while I go all Jennifer and Jerry on you, but this pisses me off. It all started with a casual question from Roberta Fallon when I saw her Friday night. She asked me if any of the Rosalyn Drexler paintings had sold yet. At the opening a number of the paintings were designated as "Reserved" but that was it. Not a single red dot in the bunch.

When I went to see this jaw-dropper of a show a second time on Saturday I was disappointed to find that I had no changes to report to Roberta. How many ways can I say, "What the hell?" This show came out of left field and knocked me on my ass on its way to the dugout. It was already a crime that I hadn't even heard of Drexler until Roberta introduced me to the work. Now this pathetic display of fiscal misogyny and fear. Am I surprised? Unfortunely, not so much. Money is just another reflection of the art world's general attitude towards women.

Here's the stock list breakdown for the 30 paintings as of 03.24.07:

Not For Sale: 4
Loan: 7
Reserved: 9

Seriously. Misogynist, fear-filled market . . . please burn in hell now. That would be great. With all the money that's been flying around you would think that there would be some out there who would be willing to "take a chance" on this work. Drexler's paintings are some of the best and smartest in town right now so there's only a few diseased notions that make the idea of buying them a "risky" one. First of all, she's a woman. Secondly, she's 80, and most people aren't familiar with her work. Of course, the reason that she's been off so many of the significant institutional radars is the fact that, well, she's a woman. Ah, the circle of stupidity. It do not disappoint.

I've got an idea for all you well-moneyed monkeys* out there. Look at the art. If it tears down your house, buy it. Let the value be on your wall and in your life, and not in the anticipation of some future stock list at Sotheby's. Trust me. There's no risk in that.

I don't want to pass judgement though. Maybe the game is all you really care about. That's fine. It's a free market, baby. Enjoy that ugly-ass, badly painted Schnabel on your wall for the next six months.

* I felt a little bad about having used such a caustic phrase here, but then I read this article in the April 2 issue of Fortune magazine and that put an end to that.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Engines On.

I'm on my way out of town for the day, but I have to say this first. In her first NYC show (at Venetia Kapernekas), Space Oddity, Margo Victor goes all stellar on our asses. Quite simply, I want everything in this show in my home. The paintings--large and small--that made me swoon, and kept challenging my expectations. The videos that fixed my gaze in the way that crazy TV eye did when it hypnotized the town in that old Monkees episode. Their texture somehow reminded me of Jack Goldstein paintings. And the soundtrack to the videos . . . Don't GET me started. Dronescapes that are as distant as they are warm, just the way I like them. This show kicks Major Tom's ass, and then some. Floating in your tin can? Not a problem. Just put your helmet on and enjoy the view.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hell House.

Tyler suggested that we list our 5 picks for paintings to be turned into movies. (The results are in!) Actually, I think that the idea to turn this piece of shit Thomas Kinkade painting into a movie is much better than giving Quentin Tarrantino more money to make another one of his boring amoral crapfests. I've no idea what the plot should be, but the soundtrack absolutely must be culled from Tiny Tim's Christmas Album and the entire Blowfly catalogue. Speaking of the latter, I can't think of a better romantic male lead for the film.

Photo of Blowfly and his friend by Michael Pilmer © 2006

First up is this painting by Boyce Cummings. It's a good place to start as an antidote to Kinkade's prayer to Satan.

Thomas Cole's Voyage of Life: Old Age. I first encountered this wonder when Candlemass used a close-up of it for the cover of their Doom classic, Nightfall. Scared the hell out of me then + scares the hell out of me now = scary movie forever.

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Hollywood Africans. I don't know. The LA trip that brought this painting into being would make for quite the epic.

It was a toss up between these two Rosalyn Drexler paintings, Sorry About That and This Is My Wedding, so I'm including them both. In each of them I want to know how these people got here and where they're going next. Sounds like movie material to me.

Judith Linhare's Rabbit. This is one radiant rabbit. There's gotta be a story in there. And let's face it: We're ready for another bunny movie.

BONUS TRACK: Not a painting, but wouldn't this be fun? Open one of Warhol's time capsules and improv a film based on whatever happens to be inside the box. If you think I wouldn't sue you for using this idea without paying me money and giving me credit, you'd be sadly mistaken. Genius must be compensated. (That's why I didn't pay squat for all those Matthew Barney bootlegs I just scored.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Beautiful, Stranger.

Sorry About That

Every once in awhile there's a show that is just so, so, so . . . "Oh, yeah. This. I know this like I know my own heart." . . . Like that. I was downright fucking giddy at the opening for Rosalyn Drexler's I am the Beautiful Stranger at Pace Wildenstein last night. I wasn't familiar with her work at all, and I was totally blown away by the color and the painting chops and the ideas behind the work.

This Is My Wedding

Although painted in the 60's, there's something about the work that feels utterly contemporary. (Two people I've sent jpegs to thought that they were new paintings.) Big big BIG ups to Roberta and Libby for bringing me along for the ride. More later, but I wanted to get a post up about the utter necessity of your seeing it, like, NOW. It's impossible to see this show without thinking of all the recent talk about women in the art world, both presently and historically. This show is so damn good it hurts. Go. Go, go, go, go, go.

Study For Men and Machines I

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Gavin Green opens on Saturday night at Outrageous Look in Williamsburg. I saw one of the pieces at Fountain and it was a stunner. I've seen about ten jpegs since then and I can't wait to see these puppies on the wall.

Another show I'm looking forward to seeing has been up for two weeks and the last day to see it is this Sunday. It's the second part of Cristina Toro's show of amazing paintings at Little Cakes. The first half proved itself a dense package of goodness and storytelling.

What's Not To Love (But Pure Unadulterated Hate)? Mort Aux Vaches, Mother Fuckers!

Sorry about the dearth of posts lately. Some freelance work has been eating up my time. To keep you informed and entertained I offer up this item description that was on a recent stock list I received from my man, Jason, at Chrome Peeler.

And I quote . . .

ZANDOSIS - "George W. Bush Go Straight To Fucking Hell" CD
Love them or hate them, Zandosis unleash their debut full length cd, “George W Bush Go Straight To Fucking Hell”. Zandosis unleashes a shotgun blast of mayhem. Sounding like Mike Patton fronting a guitarless Melt Banana on crack complete with such hits as “Dick Cheney Bleeding to Death on the Streets of Detroit”, “Donald Rumsfeld Buried Up to His Neck in Dogshit with Lawnmower on Top”, “John Ashcroft Flattened Under the Weight of a 5,200 Pound Replica of the Ten Commandments”, “Tony Blair Trampled By French Poodles”, “Pat Robertson Plagued by Locusts”, “Karl Rove Forced to Roam the Earth Forever as One of the Living Dead Feeding on Raw Sewage” including the soon to be MTV hit “George W. Bush Go Straight To Fucking Hell”. This cd has been six years in the making. Zandosis were way ahead of their time with most of these hits having been written six years ago.

Monday, March 12, 2007

30th Street Station, Philadelphia.

Look what happens when you don't tear down your train station and replace it with the most uglyass piece of architecture in the history of building things.

Friday, March 09, 2007

In Order.

In a poem, one line may hide another line,
As at a crossing, one train may hide another train.

--Kenneth Koch

If you care about abstract painting--especially if you care about really smart, technically deft abstract painting--you need to see Robert Schatz's new show at The Phatory in Alphabet City. About a block off Tompkins Square Park, Schatz has staged a little riot of his own.

Many of the paintings are done on the temple of order that is staff paper. By making the choice to apply paint-- his own form of notation--on top of the staff paper Schatz seems to be making the point that there is another order at work here. It's not as logical, as mathematical, but more natural and intuitive.

Schatz's version of what that looks like is as unpredictable as it is involving and warm. I had seen a few of the paintings in jpeg form, but I wasn't ready for their power in the reals. And I certainly wasn't ready for some of the variations on his style.

In two of the works Schatz fills half of a lined-off rectanglular space with his intertwining swoops and sways. The other half is left white. It's a conversation with minimalism. It's a fill-in-the-blank exercise for the viewer. It's the juxtaposition of motion and breathing room. And obviously, it's something spectacular to look at.

Another painting looks as though he's taken his forms and squashed them into a short, elongated hill in the middle of white paper. Then I realized that the background was painted. Then I noticed all these lovely subtle gestures he had made within that white ground. The painting keeps burrowing into itself.

In stark contrast to all this is the painting on the back wall. The background isn't quite black and Schatz's gestures atop this vague darkness aren't quite white. It also stands out because the painting's surface is smoother than anything else in the gallery. It's anomalous nature made perfect sense in the order of this show.

One train is indeed hiding another train here, and they're both beautiful. Jump them.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Worlds Collide. Woohoo!!!

Zoe Strauss is speaking Thursday night at the small state school I attended in PA, Millersville University. If you live in the Lancaster area, you should cancel your plans and go get your ass kicked by the wonder that is Zoe.

I made my first foray into the art world in Lancaster when I realized that they served free booze at art openings. Thank you, Sheba Sharrow. It was a long time ago, I was drunk, and I wouldn't follow up on that initial impulse seriously for another 15 years, BUT Sharrow's show provided me with my first inkling that paint on canvas could move me. I was disappointed that I couldn't find any of her abstracts online, but here's a painting from 1992.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Alright Now.

The Armory was where I spent Sunday afternoon and it kicked mad ass. A total clusterfuck, but I didn't care. I'm tired of writing about art fairs though so this post will mostly be pics of some of the highlights except for the part where I say how smart Leo Koenig is at the end.

Doug Aitken

Ryan McGinness

Tara Donovan

Nicola Tyson

Marilyn Minter

Kate Gilmore and her painful piece about fitting in, fame, and fuckery.

And finally, the smart gallery award goes to Leo Koenig for putting up Wendy White at their booth. Her show last year at Sixty-Seven was #3 on my top 10 list. I mentioned that if Mary Boone were on it, she'd be scooping up this painting monster. This'll do though. I asked, and White is not with the gallery. However, showing somebody at a fair like this is a good way to test the waters and obviously shows more than a passing interest. Good news for White no matter how you slice it.

Cary Leibowitz Is Still My Co-Pilot.

Saturday started with what else . . . pancakes at Alexander Gray's gallery in Chelsea. Gray was throwing down on the griddle in celebration of Cary Leibowitz's brilliant show, I Love Warhol Piss Paintings. Of course, I wore my hat. Everything about it makes me happy. How could it not? PLUS, it goes perfectly with my APC powder blue winter coat. Yeah. I was stylin'.

Alex's former partner in goodness, Venetia Kapernekas, was serving coffee and French pastries downstairs at her gallery on the 8th floor. I'm always up for more coffee, but mostly I'm always up for more art. Especially when it's as jaw-droppingly good as this show of 6 pencil on wood drawings and 1 painting by Ilias Papailiakis. I had seen the show once before and it really wasn't enough. I don't exaggerate when I say that I could easily spend an hour or two looking at these meditations on desire and death. Only 11"X10" in size they all hold an astonishing amount of sweep and pull. Easily one of my favorite shows in town right now.

OK. Having replaced my blood with coffee I was now ready to hit the fairs.

First stop was the LA Art Fair. I expected a lot and I was not disappointed. Best in show here? Easy. One of the first things I saw when I walked in the door: a couple of Luke Whitlatch drawings at the Daniel Weinberg Gallery. I had been knocked out by Whitlatch's work when I was in LA in August, and here were two pieces. Not only that, but they had one of his paintings in the back. To be honest, I don't know if I can adequately describe what "painting" means to Whitlatch. Hands down, it was one of the best things that I saw all day. The canvas was probably about 18" tall and 6" wide and 4" deep. Whitlatch made a deep fold--more a pocket than a fold--in the canvas about a third of the way from the bottom. In there he placed some old pigment and soaked it a bit to bring it to life. Then, using a nail, he pulled the color from the pocket. All other marks on the canvas seemed to flow from and connect back to the fold and and its gestating color.

Here are two shots from Roberts & Tilton. This is not balanced coverage.

Forget all this art fair bullshit. It's time for a BRITNEY GET BETTER SALE!

Next up was SCOPE. Man. I wish I had like this fair more than I did. Don't get me wrong. There were some real highlights, but overall, hmmm boy.

I was way jazzed about Ryan Humphrey's feverish attack on style in the entryway to the fair. Sorry, but anybody who recognizes the sheer genius of the cover for AC/DC's Back in Black album is ok by me. And the fact that he used a Utopia cover scored him extra points as well.

One of the things that I do like about Scope is, well, its scope. I was thrilled to find Richmond's ADA Gallery. I had only read about them on Martin's art blog. Stephen Hendee's broken and infinite piece looked great in the corner, but it was especially nice to meet gallerist John Pollard and talk about how important it was for him to come to a fair like SCOPE and get the exposure. Amen.

It's funny. I realized that I didn't take too many pics at Pulse. Probably because I was having such a blast looking at the art. One highlight here was Ivin Ballen's work at Winkleman. There's a certain amount of commitment and faith in doing what Winkleman making the decision to focus on just one artist at a fair. Sounds like it paid off too. Go Ed. Go Bambino. Go Ivin.

Another treat was seeing a couple new Jennifer Coates paintings at Kinz, Tilou & Feigen. (Paddy Johnson post a pic here.) It reminded me of Alice Cooper's Love It To Death. The woods they are dark, but the clouds sure are pretty. I'm 18. And I don't know what I want.

And don't get me started on how much I loved Chris Natrop's installation at BANK, one of my favorite LA galleries. It was great to meet gallerist, Lorraine Molina, as well to have a face to put with the email address. And also, to have the opportunity to tell her how much I like her gallery.

Next up was Red Dot. Again, I love hotel fairs because it's such an unnatural event. Even when the art fails to impress there's something beautiful about the whole affair. It's an affordable way for smaller and "out-of-town" galleries that I might not normally have the opportunity to see (Because let's not forget that it's about ME getting to see as much art as possible.) to show their stuff.

It was also great to see Pentimenti from Philadelphia in the house. They have a strong program there. When you visit them in Philly (And you'll want to be doing that.) be sure to poke around and ask about some of the artists that aren't in whatever the current show happens to be. I mean, it never hurts to ask the "back room" question, but it's especially true in Pentimenti's case.

It was also a treat to meet the delightful people from San Francisco's Bucheon Gallery. They show Jenny Dubnau's work so I was ready for the inevitable comment . . . "You look familiar." Yeah. I know. I'm a triptych. You've probably seen my .jpg. Too funny. (That's Dubnau's painting of me below, from her show at Clifford-Smith in Boston in 1999.) They had two excellent (Surprise. Surprise.) Dubnau paintings on display.

At Red Dot I ran into someone that I knew, but wasn't quite sure why at first. Then I realized that it was Elyse Gonzales, an assistant curator at the ICA in Philadelphia. I had met her at the Isaac taping for Zoe Strauss. Elyse introduced me to a friend of hers from school, Gretchen Wagner, a curatorial assistant at MoMA. Gretchen and another friend were throwing a little get-together at a bar in the Village for a loose gaggle of friends. It turned out to be one of the highlights of my weekend. An eclectic group of young curators and artists, it made for an evening inspired and inspiring conversation. In the midst of such a fiscally influenced weekend, it was refreshing to be with a group of people getting together whose primary interest was not commercial. This is very much not a slam against the commercial aspects of the art world. I'm just saying that it provided a really nice balance to the rest of the weekend. It was a fine, Belgian beer-fueled breather. Ahhhh. Big ups to Gretchen and her partner in crime, Ingrid.