Sunday, September 30, 2007


I went down to the DUMBO Arts Festival today, and just like every year the best thing (OK. Almost. See next post.) I saw was the work of Vanessa Bucci. She's not even an official part of the festival. She usually finds a way to sell her paintings, prints, and other assorted goods on the street. She pretty much saved the day for me a couple years ago when I first came across her work when she was still a student at Pratt. I stand by my original enthusiastic assessment.

PS (Pun intended.): Bucci was just down the street from the seriously wonderful P.S. Bookshop. I can't recommend this used book store highly enough . . . especially for its very healthy Art Book section. It yields surprises every time I visit. Go now. Thank me later.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Instant. Replay.

As predicted Heavy Tapes brought it to The NY Art Book Fair. In one of the best moves in the fair they were offering 10 single edition cassettes. And here's the kicker: The music was composed and played on analogue synth on the spot. I chose one of 10 possible titles from a list (Open Drain, Empty Space), returned in about half an hour, and Mike Bernstein--operating under the moniker Workbench--had committed the music to tape. A driving pulse gets pushed over the edge, swallowed, and then spit back out in crunchy sprays of sound, but not without sustaining much internal damage. It's a bit Jonah in the belly of the whale without the happy ending. I like it. One of one.

And yeah, it's no surprise that the fair's totally great. I enjoyed the 2nd floor more than the 1st. I mean, it's ALL good, but the independence level was higher on the 2nd floor which made for a more lively environment. Don't even think about it. Just go.

All Hearts!

It's my favorite 3-day holiday of the year, and it's called The NY Art Book Fair. (Sorry about that slant rhyme. Unintentional.) It's everything I believe art can and should be under one roof. Entrance is free, and the goods are priced on the affordable-for-everybody side. Last year's great find was the Heavy Tapes booth. Investigate!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blowing Up.

Hey! Three artists (OK. One of them is a collective of some sorts.) I really like and admire are in Meta Majesty, opening at Explosivo tonight. I went off on how much I (finally) grooved to Dana Carlson's deliciously fucked-up mind back in January when she was in the mighty Norf*ckneasters show at Pluto. Also appearing: Jennifer Coates about whose work I've poetically waxed here. And then there's Saviour Scraps who never fail to leave a gaggle of giggles in my heart. And I mean that in a very serious way. This should be good.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I'm pretty sure I picked up one of the best releases of the year tonight: The new collaboration between Prurient and Kevin Drumm, All Are Guests In The House of the Lord (c40). One of the most powerful and subtle works I've heard from either artist. I just kept turning the cassette over and hitting play all night. Like any journey into Hell, it takes its time. Then it burns itself into you like there's no tomorrow. And actually, maybe there isn't. Pay attention.


Hey! My buddy Stephanie McWilliams has a new show on HGTV, and its premiere is Friday night. Watch it. I know where you live. OK. I don't, but if you watch Stephanie's show you'll know how to make where you live look nicer.


It's not really art, and yet designer Mark Ecko's decision to brand Barry Bonds' record-breaking homerun ball with an asterisk might well be one of the finest conceptual art-like moves I've ever seen. The gesture fully captures how a large part of the population feels about both Barry Bonds and his dope-fiend record. Mr. Bonds, you're ready for your footnote.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Maria Bartiromo.

A new occasional feature on Heart As Arena. I took its name from a tune that goes through my head at least once a day, Joey Ramone's Maria Bartiromo. (Behind the music.) The song begins with the line "What's happening on Wall Street?" I'll be providing an answer. And trust me, shit gets weird down here. Plus there's some great public art. I'll continue to show you that as well.

Previous hits . . .

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One Way Out.

"'We very much appreciate the fact that the court granted us the right to use our discretion and we’ll use it very carefully,' said Mr. Thompson, who added that he would consult with art scholars, people who helped work on the installation and many of the museum’s visitors before he decided whether to open the unfinished installation or dismantle it."

Yes. Because your actions have been so well-measured and thoughtful up until now. Good luck with anybody anywhere ever respecting or trusting your sorry institutional asses again, Mass MoCA. I think a nice controlled ritual cleansing fire is in order, supervised by the North Adams Fire Department of course.

ADDENDUM: If you came to this post via Anaba, please click here to read my comment about a majorly incorrect assumption that was made about my relationship with Creative Time and Nato Thompson. Unless you've already read it. Then, never mind. Thanks.

ADDENDUM TO THE ADDENDUM: Anaba updated the info. Thanks, Anaba.

SUPER ADDENDUM: I am so over this whole Mass Buchel mess.


SFMoMA parties Andy style and DPC has his minions on the case.

Lars Uhlrich and Ann Getty

Photos by Drew Altizer and Jeanne Lawrence

Friday, September 21, 2007

In The Can.

I don't know Charley Friedman, but I know a lot of people who do. My bet is that he'd love the fact that the folks at P.S. 1 put his video, One Hour Smile, in the can. This happens to be the first work of his that I saw about 7 years ago in a group show at a now-closed Chelsea gallery. It will hurt your face. Smile.

Additionally, my most recent encounter with his work was in one of my favorite spaces in Chelsea, the Kantor/Feurer Window. And don't get me started on the genius of reselling those Felix Gonzales Torres candies on the street. For real. We need way more Charley.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kelly Johnson, 1958-2007, R.I.P.

I was saddened to hear that Girlschool singer and guitarist Kelly Johnson recently lost her 6 year battle with spinal cancer. Oddly enough it made me think of Elizabeth Murray. I've lost count of all the times I've had conversations with female artists who--no matter what they thought of Murray's art--spoke of her as an essential influence in their development as an artist. The mere fact that they were teaching Murray in the academy was some kind of quiet encouragement, going against everything they had been taught before in regards to the invisibility of women in art.

Similarly, every woman I know in music usually refers to two bands that let them know that it was possible to be a woman and to rock the hell out--The Runaways and Girlschool. One of my favorite tributes to the power and importance of Girlschool comes from Lemmy of Motorhead. In the excellent documentary, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Lemmy is talking about touring with Girlschool back in the day and about all the shit they would get from the other bands. You know, the typiclal "Well. They play pretty good . . . for girls." Lemmy would look the meatheads in the eye and say, "They play good for a girls? They can play circles around you, mate." 'Nuf said. It was Girlschool, it was in session, and Kelly Johnson was the teacher. Rest in peace.

You can read Lemmy's tribute to his friend here in the Latest News section.

Speed Metal.

Every 5 years or so the guitar needs to be killed. Green did it. Thompson did it. Levine did it. VanHalen did it. O'Rourke did it. Fahey's been dead for 6 years and they're still finding the bodies. Usually though, we don't actually get to witness the crime. It happens behind the closed door of a recording studio, a rehearsal space, or a bedroom. That's not the case in one of the most compelling works I've seen recently, Christian Marclay's Guitar Drag from 2000. It's in the superlative Organizing Chaos group show at PS1.

This one piece is worth the trip to Queens. Marclay plugs a guitar into an amp, ropes it to the back of a pick-up, and takes off down (and sometimes off) a rural road. The sound that ensues is fabulous. The full-bodied shriek of the Fender chases the camera down the road, swaying and sliding from side to side. The visuals are a hot rush of motion coming at the viewer. In this sublime work, death has never looked--or sounded--so good. Let the power fall, all over again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OK. (visibility rmx)

I didn't write anything when I first posted this image on Sunday. I was going to let the smartass irony of the photo speak for itself. But, well, James' dreadful experience at Capla Kesting over the weekend inspired me to throw down some words.

Hey. If a gallery wants to have a No Photos policy it's fine with me. I can think of a number of reasons why they'd want to do it. That's not to say that I don't think it's a bad, limiting move. It is. But it's a choice they're free to make. What truly bothers me about Jonathan LeVine Gallery is how the implementation of the policy detracts from the art. (Half of which, is quite good.) These crap pieces of copy paper taped to the wall of the gallery? Are these people serious? It's difficult to think of a more amateur approach. Maybe Post-It notes.

ADDENDUM: I just remembered something this morning. To be fair to the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, I should mention that, although this is their policy, when I asked them if I could take pictures of the excellent Adam Wallacavage show they were very accomodating when I explained that it was for a post on Fallon & Rosof's artblog. Their only requirements were that I didn't use a flash (Which I never do anyway.), and that I didn't take any close-up shots. The latter request was generated by the artist. No problem. They would have been well within their rights to have said "No.", and I would have respected it. I think my point here is that conversation was allowed. I can't ask for much more than that.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sing Into My Mouth.

I just posted the last of the Art Parade pics over at on my Creative Time blog. Also, there's another one of my sloppy love notes to Creative Time.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Code Of Harry.

Are they serious? Did I actually see this subterranean juxtaposition today? Dexter would notice the similarities in the blood patterns between the two posters. Then he would have his coffee.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Subtle. Matter.

Kevin Auzenne and John Milton Ensor Parker opens at Pluto tonight. A pretty thrilling program and always a good party to boot.


I'll be seeing a lot of paintings in the next few months. Not too many of them are going to be as good as Jack Whitten's Rho I. Crash landed in my solar plexus and the damage just spread out from there. Damn. It's on the wall at Alexander Gray Associates, and it's not to be missed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just Can't Get Enough.

Just posted the second installment of photos from The Art Parade over on the Creative Time blog. Rock it.


I just posted some photos of the Tribute in Light over on my Creative Time blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Tyler had a good idea. I don't think that this was quite what he was talking about, but this is how it came out. This was my post-09.11 art.

Slayer: GOD HATES US ALL. Release date, 09.11.01. Are these guys plugged in or what? Sorry, but if you're not listening to Slayer then you're just not listening.

David Letterman. 09.17.01.

Richard Pettibone's opening at Curt Marcus on Broadway about a month and a half after 9/11. I wasn't familiar with Pettibone's work before this. How I got to this show isn't important. What was important was how it whispered in my ear, "We also do this."

Maya Lin's Peace Chapel on Thanksgiving Day, 2001. Home.

Steve Roach. Structures from Silence. I read later that they had used this as background music on MTV's The Real World for the September 11 episode. This made sense to me. It had provided me with solace for 15 years before 9/11. It was no different after that day.

Tribute in Light.

Sonic Garden. Thanksgiving Day, 2002. I stayed in town for the holiday in 2002. Thanksgiving morning I went to the Winter Garden to listen. All four pieces remembered the past while marking the path forward.

Coil's Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil. Although released in 2000, the title alone cuts in every appropriate direction imaginable in regards to the events of and the events flowing from 09.11. The music cuts even deeper. This one goes out to all the fools.

Spalding Gray barely able to dance at an after-party for some premiere at the first TriBeCa Film Festival. Not because he was inebriated, but because he couldn't move. Still frozen, just like the rest of us.

David Bowie: "New Killer Star". Specifically the first two lines. "See the great white scar/Over Battery Park." Over and over and over and over.

Paul Chan's 1st Light at 2006 Whitney Biennial. The way things fall.

J. Meejin Yoon's Absence. I came across this at The Big Nothing exhibition at the ICA in Philly. As the piece unfolded, the tears came. I stood there for a moment, silently stunned. When I turned around the art world's best security guard, Linda Harris, said to me, "That nothing sure is something, isn't it?" Yes, Linda. Yes, it is.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Art Came Second.

Holland Cotter has a piece in the Times today about the Art Parade. With all his talk of death, he missed something significant. Art was not ahead of the news as he states. The news--or what hopefully never ever becomes the news--was very much out front, ahead of the art. Leading the Malcolm X Shabazz High School Band was a group from the school's ROTC program. We can only pray that the war doesn't cut short the lives of any of these young brave kids, but it's a mistake not to recognize that it's a possibility and that it's right in front of us. I think we've done enough of that over the last 4.5 years.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Art Parade, Part 1!

As I was saying . . . Art Parade! Art Parade! Art Parade! Boatloads of photos with more on the way over at my Creative Time blog.

El Shabazz!

Where's Ralph Waldo Emerson?


It's Saturday. The Day You Waste A Week For.

Mike Nelson's A Psychic Vacuum

Art Parade! Art Parade! Art Parade! Check out last years pics here and here.

Secret Project Robot and a cast of thousands rockin' Monster Island.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I Hurt Myself Today. (OK. Thursday actually.)

Yeah. Opening night in Chelsea. What silliness. Don't know why I did that to myself. Although, as impossible as the art-looking can be amidst the clusterfuck there's always a couple things that stand out in a very real way. Thursday night two very different shows did just that in exactly the same way. I loathed them for the first 30-seconds, and then I totally fell in love.

The first show was Thomas Lendvai's Between Pain and Boredom at Winkleman Gallery. Minimalist lumber, baby. But the truth is, as much as I love minimalism, I never quite trust it at first. Then, I look. If it's bad, it's lumber in a wall. If it's good it does what Lendvai's work does. It opens up the space in your head and the room in your heart to be filled with the unexpected. Surprises abound in this work. I even found a few when I was leaving Susan Graham's fine show at Schroeder Romero next door. I know I'm onto something when a work pulls me back into the gallery one more time before I leave the building. Although it refers to a emotional space usually confined by solitude, Between Pain and Boredom reaches out. You should too.

This professionally taken photo was totally lifted from the gallery site.

The next show that hit me couldn't have been more different. The cheese factor in Yuh-Shioh Wong's 13 Ways Forever Expanding Compartments at Foxy Production was immediately overwhelming, and like I said: I hated it at first. Then I started looking more closely and kept finding things I loved. The works wouldn't end after I walked away from them. There were two reasons I kept returning to a piece: sometimes my head couldn't quite wrap itself around the mechanics and it was a pleasant itch in the back of my skull, and other times it was just so delicious that I wanted another bite. Sometimes it was both. "Forever expanding" to say the least. Filled my heart with the good stuff. Applause multiplied by a thousand mirrors, or at least 13 of them.

This professionally taken photo was also totally lifted from the gallery site.

Oh, and I also stopped at Pace-Wildenstein to see the new work from Robert Whitman. I knew that the scene would SUCK, but I couldn't help myself. I'm well chuffed about this show and I was feeling brave. As I said earlier, I don't know why I do this to myself. I knew that any real investigation of the art would be impossible. I'm sure that some of the A-listers partying at opening were disappointed because the lights were off. What's the point of looking at art if you can't be seen looking at it, right? At any rate, it looked fucking awesome and I'll return . . . probably a couple hundred more times. LoveLoveLOVE Whitman's work. Big ups to Rachael Jackson for the introduction to it oh so many years ago.

This photo was so totally lifted from the gallery site it isn't even funny.