Saturday, May 30, 2009

For Those About To Rock.

Rosanna Bruno

We salute you so much we believe we're turning into Angus Young. Two of my absolute faves are opening at John Davis Gallery in Hudson on Saturday. Rosanna Bruno and EJ Hauser! I liked them so much I put them in Unbreak My Heart. That was last year. Time has passed. They've gotten even better. Trust me on this. Two Coats of Paint mentions that Louise Fishman thinks that Rosanna Bruno is one of the best abstract painters out there right now. There's a reason for that. She is. So, here's what I think of Rosanna. And here's what I think of EJ Hauser (Let's put it this way. Her paintings made me cry the first time I saw them. Win!) And YO YO YO. Speaking of TCoP, Sharon Butler, whose supremely delicious work I got to devour when they were in this show group show at Denise Bibro, is ALSO in this show. Kick much ass, John Davis Gallery? Methinks you must. Also rocking out: Mary Ellen Scherl and Molly Herman.

EJ Hauser

Sharon Butler

Friday, May 29, 2009

Suck It!

Just got an email from Karen Finley announcing her latest ass-kicking activity, Impulse To Suck, at the Cherry Tree theatre Saturday night in the West Village. I saw Impulse To Suck last summer, and it fucking ruled. (Watch me go off on its goodness here.) Always scooping out the melon, this one. Serious damage will be done. Always timely, Finley is hittin' it just in time for the possible hilarity at the Belmont. LuvGuv is in the air! Press release follows the best ticket stub EVER!

Controversial performance artist Karen Finley was in Albany on March 10, 2008 to hear a speech from Governor Eliot Spitzer on Reproductive Health. Instead, Spitzer performed a public apology for his involvement in a prostitution ring. IMPULSE TO SUCK uses the confession, the sexual encounter, the apology to his wife, and many other facets of the scandal to examine the repercussions of knowing the intimate lives of our political leaders. This performance will be filmed! One night only -- with only 50 tickets available to the public -- so buy your tickets now! 8pm. Tickets are $20, available at 212-352-3101 or click here.

Star Gets The Square.

Here's HAA fave Kate Gilmore rocking Times Square with her video, Star Bright, Star Might, her contribution to the Marilyn Minter-curated Chewing Color. Gilmore's video practically attacks the passersby with its stress and tension. It's part of Creative Time's 44 1/2 series on the MTV screen, and also include a video by Minter and another by Patty Chang. THIS weekend is your last chance to see this installment. I definitely recommend going at 12pm or 3pm on Saturday or Sunday, because that way you'll get to see all three in one shot.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Morning.

Came across this on the way to work this morning on the sidewalk outside Cobble Hill Park. When I walked passed it tonight it had moved into the park beside the garbage can and had a day of rain on it. Elements.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't Wanna Be An American Idiot.

Too late, dillweed. Caught this item in the Times today about the finger-wagging hack we know here at HAA as Neil LaBute, his shitty new play, and the "Buy American" TONY campaign for the show. I laugh when I hear people talk about how "brutally honest" his work is. Being hamfisted does not make it brutal anymore than its scornfulness makes it honest. I've made this point before here there and everywhere, but . . . while David Mamet holds up the mirror to our behavior while standing in the same room, LaBute points his finger from on high, tsk-tsking our rudderless naughty behavior. That the TONY campaign for "reasons to be pretty" is as vapid as his work should be no surprise.

No Apology Necessary.

image lifted from AFC who lifted it from Cory Arcangel's site

A couple weeks ago Karen Archey, posting over at Art Fag City and referencing the artist's lecture, posted an apology of sorts for Cory Arcangel's piece, Photoshop CS: 72 by 110 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient “Spectrum”, mousedown y=1416 x=1000, mouseup y=208 x=42, now in The Generational: Younger Than Jesus at the New Museum. Fuck that. The work does just fine on its own. No apology or explanation is necessary.

As AFC noted, Jerry Saltz calls it a "One-liner." I don't think so. Any work that makes me think of both Warhol and Jack Goldstein is no one-liner. The visual texture of the work reminded me of a half dozen Jack Goldstein paintings. The piece also made me think of the Andy Warhol painting, Reflected (Zeitgeist Series), which I saw on my last trip to The Warhol Museum. (You can read about Reflected here. No pics allowed and no images online. Thanks bad policy.) But most significantly, the work directly addresses the shift of importance to the RGB color separation required by the internet away from the preferred printing plate configuration of CMYK. The engaging irony of printing the image on paper makes me like the work even more. One last thing I haven't mentioned . . . Photoshop CS: 72 by 110 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient “Spectrum”, mousedown y=1416 x=1000, mouseup y=208 x=42 is absolutely beautiful. I went back about three times just to stare at it from far and close range. Even if this had been a one-liner, it would have been one helluva line. But it's much more than that. It's RGB.

UPDATE: Hrag Vartanian is all, like, "I don't think so, dude." But even in our disagreement, I learn something. Just like always. Hrag is the man.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Barbara Pym Quote Of The Day.

Jack Pierson, Melancholia Passing into Madness, 2006

from Less Than Angels (1955) . . .

"They were soon absorbed in the play, for it was about people like themselves, being an adaptation of a well-known stage success. After a while both the sisters realized they had seen it before, but neither could remember exactly how it ended. So life seemed to go round in a circle, with tables hurtling through the air."

Thanks, Dick.

Dave Phillips, They Live, Vinyl LP, 2009

We had forgotten what it was like to have a bloodthirsty sociopath at the helm. Don't mind those 8 years of utterly efficient failure, and the hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and maimings. May the fire be fresh when you burn in hell.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Fun Fest 2009. H1Night3.

Marcus Schmickler/Peter Rehberg: Nothing I haven't heard from either of them, but that doesn't mean it didn't kick ass. Reversing the order of things, they played from the soundboard area with the stage lights on the audience. Freed everybody up to move around. It was a blast to watch the faces of people reacting to the digital ripping. A great place to start the evening.

Conrad Schnitzler's Con-Cert: If thunder was a distant, beautiful room moving towards you with you in it, this is what it would feel like to feel your way around it's edges. Made me think of the following Germans: early Tangerine Dream, early and late Klaus Schulze, Elmar Schulte, and Asmus Tietchens. Yet, it didn't sound like any of them. A masterful abuse/finessing of the ping . . . low, high, and middle. I haven't mentioned my confusion as to who was actually playing here, but I think I've figured it out. Keith Fullerton Whitman was at the controls, the conduit through which Schnitzler flowed. Nice torch.

Jazzfinger: Like a Jim Dandy rap, Jazzfinger was relentless and filthy. The amp as instrument. The feedback as lord. Our bodies for fodder. Following their machines, the set felt completely organic and de-composed. Jazzfinger. They are mutants. Of this here monster. Cue Pat Daugherty. Blistering.

Cold Cave: Was most looking forward to this band, and they did not disappoint. And when I say that I mean that they left me wanting more just like they do with all their 12"s, 7"s, and cassettes. A distant sleaze is at the base of their songs, and on top, well, that's a distant sleaze too, but it's a really catchy distant sleaze. Unabashed rhythm guitar nods to Bernard Sumner, cold/warm synth and vocal lines, straight-line rhythms. Totally the shit. And never enough.

Emeralds: Better every time I see them, and every time I see them I say to myself, "Man. It can't get any better than this." A blinding wall of fuzzed and extended power chords opened the gate for the crowd, and although the chords receded the feeling of things being blown wide open didn't. Aggressive and oh-shit-the-tectonic-plates-are-shifting drones morphed into cosmick sequencer and guitar runs that folded back into themselves while at the same time moving forward. Amazing journey.

Black Pus: If Buckethead was a shrieking bedroom Black Metaller, but instead of being a hyper-technically proficient guitarist he was an overexcitable drummer who worshipped Crank Sturgeon this is what it would sound and look like. Fuck yeah! Thoroughly and completely enjoyable. I mean, EVERYBODY loved this guy. What a whackjob. And yes. That was a pun.

Prurient/Kevin Drumm: Drumm held the rope while Prurient burrowed deep into the red body. Galvanizing. Gone.

No Fun Fest 2009, Night 1.

No Fun Fest 2009, Night 2.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

No Fun Fest 2009. H1Night2.

Pulse Emitter: Will oscillating wonders never cease? Not when they're done this well. Penetrating from the inside out, and then flung out into space, stretching themselves into the Eternal Howl. And as good an ending as any of those early New Order 12"s. Space OM.

Mattin: I saw a Johnny Cash interview one time when he was talking about one of the prison shows. Cash was student of the dynamics of crowd control, and he spoke about how, if he had wanted to at any given time, he could have at certain moments shouted, "Break!", and that's exactly what would have happened. This was just that, but without the control. I'm actually going to have to update this entry later, there was so much going on here. Serious. Very, very serious.

Yellow Tears: I love all the recordings I have by these dudes. When they stepped on stage I realized that they were the same insane muscle freaks I had seen play at Cake Shop a couple years ago. Totally comfy headbanging to the manipulated sound of rain. Blowing out the full-on noise torrents but never going as far as the audience wants. Holding back. Pitching forward into unexpected corners of filth and disease. Heaving and believing. Abstract violence. Good fun!

Sons of God: Passion play. When Paul Bowles was asked what advice he would give to any young writers his immediate response was, "It only gets worse." Directed noise with performance. Also going to have to update this part of the post later. Much on the wire. (BONUS: There's a guy I've been seeing at galleries here and there for over 10 years. Always looked like an interesting chap. Never knew who he was. Now I know. He's a Son of God. Awesome.)

Blank Dogs: Driving and focused set. One arrow after another. Straight shots.

Pedestrian Deposit: Most thrilling set of the fest so far. Even the dillweeds* in the audience were quieted by the end of this. Pedestrian Deposit explores and exploits the frayed edges of sound and texture, wherever they find them on the spectrum. Moving with aplomb from penetrating high ends to heaving silences pulled back from the edge of explosive noise and percussion and then off to the final gorgeous tones of the cello. Soft landing. Everybody in that room knew that something special had just happened. Me, ecstatic. It was time to go.

I hadn't planned to stay for Bardo Pond or Sonic Youth, but I decided that I'd also give up C. Spencer Yeh/Rafael Toral to end the night so perfectly. Trust me. I know what I'm doing here. Perfect. Gone.

*I'm always mystified by the dillweeds who come to shows for no other reason than to be able to say that they came to the show. These same people tend to talk about work with their friends while bands are playing. Let me send this idea out to them: Take it to the bar, assholes.

No Fun Fest 2009, Night 1.

No Fun Fest 2009, Night 3.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

No Fun Fest 2009. H1Night1.

Noveller: Do you know what it's like to be 17 and riding shotgun with a forest ranger on fire trails in the woods? I do. And it was kind of like this. Beauty moving past you, soft branches slapping at you through the jeep's canvas windows. Just when you think you're getting close to one of the secondary roads you look over and see a buck at full stride, and you don't care where you are, lost in the green. Noveller made me cry at the past and the present. Whew! What a way to start things off.

Raglani: Balls-meet-tonsils drones morphed into throbbing pulsations into pulsating throbs, back into the aforementioned drones, and then into some kind of primordial swamp ooze. Fab.

Axolotl: Did they play? Every year there seems to be somebody I blank on. Or maybe they didn't play. Hmm. Another No Fun mystery. (UPDATE: Not crazy. Just saw on one of the message boards that they didn't play.)

Chris Corsano: Now that's how to abuse a drum kit. Seriously. Feedback from a high-hat. Powerful, absorbing stuff. Embrace the accident, and surround it with purpose.

Carlos Giffoni: Oh, man. Every year I search for words to describe the quality here. Every year I fail. Giffoni was on the analogue synth trip again, and it was glorious. Made me think of what it must have been like to see Klaus Schulze early in his career when he was blowing out circuits. Oh, the pleasure of feeling the wheels on the road. Giffoni's able to take his audience with him no matter the trail or terrain. As usual, one of the most thrilling performances of the festival. Over the years the only thing that's become predictable about Carlos Giffoni's performance is how much I'll love it. Word.

Xeno and Oaklander: It's so cold inside the icehouse. Really captivating set from this gothtech duo. Would have fit perfectly on Hypnobeat, the sublabel of Germany's Hyperium Records in the mid-90's, but it all felt absolutely right today, er, last night. Was great to see Greh Holger on the side of the stage pumping his fist to this. All ears open! Good is good.

The Grey Wolves: Religion. State. Bang. Bang. "This is not your country. Never was. Never will be." And then, to end with a deconstruction of Peaches. Not an easy thing to do given that Peaches is already a deconstruction of sorts. Oh, and dude. Totally didn't need to see your dick. Or, did I see your dick? I'm not sure. I better understand Morrison's Miami moment now. Let's just leave it at that.

Thrones: The weeping and churning sea, all in a bass guitar.

Bastard Noise: Every year, I miss a legendary performance. I'm just going to assume that this was one of them and hold an L up to my forehead.

No Fun Fest 2009, Night 2.

No Fun Fest 2009, Night 3.

New. Infinite.

Noise and a couple of its bastard cousins invade the New Museum at 3pm today for No Fun 2009: Infinite Sound and Image, and stretches beyond the sound realm to that of the image. Most looking forward Dominick Fernow (Prurient) and Sarah Lipstate (Noveller). Lipstate's kick-off performance last night at No Fun was amazing.

Press release:
In its sixth year, the No Fun Festival has emerged as one of the most unique and vital festivals for experimental music worldwide. Curated by No Fun organizer and label head Carlos Giffoni, this special screening will present moving image work by a selection of artists performing in the 2009 Festival. Jim O'Rourke and filmmaker Makino Takashi collaborate on The Seasons, a dense abstract film that fluctuates in tandem with O'Rourke's dramatic and resonant score. Robert Beatty (of Hair Police and Three Legged Race) will provide a live soundtrack to artist Takeshi Murata's hypnotic videos and animations. Experimental filmmaker and sound artist Sarah Lipstate (of Noveller) presents Interior Variations, a collage of 16 mm hand-painted film, black-and-white super 8mm, and found footage, which will be accompanied by a new Noveller composition titled Telecine. Dominick Fernow/Prurient will screen spins the worlds wheel again, a short film inspired by his 180-page hardcover book of collages, Rose Pillar published by Heartworm Press,which deals directly with mortality within the family structure. Sound artist/composer C. Spencer Yeh (of Burning Star Core), known for his arrangements that draw on both aural and physical experience, will premiere a new work using voice as its central component. Megan Ellis and Carlos Giffoni will also showcase a new piece, created specifically for this show, which will pair minimalist visuals with an evolving electronic sound score.

Friday, May 15, 2009

No Fun Fun.

No Fun Fest is this weekend. I'll be there all three nights. I've said this before and I'll say it again, Noise in all it's various and sundry forms is more like painting and sculpture than music to me. Some of the racket and glory I'm most looking forward to? First up for the festival is Noveller, aka Sarah Lipstate. Don't have the new record, but what I've heard sounds pretty stellar. No Fun mainman Carlos Giffoni is always a highlight of the festival for me. Really one of the best practitioners of noise EVER. Bastard Noise. Total legends. Heads will roll. Er, skulls that is. Yellow Tears has had a couple great releases on Hospital, including the wonderfully named EP, Piss Mop. I have a good feeling about the live assault. Pedestrian Deposit is one of my fave noise units. Every PD release is essential, and everything he releases on his label Monorail Trespassing betrays a consumate taste. I'm not a total fan of guitarist Rafael Torall, but I do like some of his stuff. The pairing with ever unpredictable (In the best of ways.) C. Spencer Yeh is an inspired one. This could be a disastrous or glorious thing. Either way it's gonna be fun finding out. Can't wait to hear what Mego labelman Peter Rehberg and the ever-mutating Marcus Schmickler come up with. Should be a highlight. Philly's Cold Cave released one of last year's best 7"s, Painted Nails. Difficult to describe what they do, but it's not noise at all. In fact, kind of 80's electrodisco-y, but in a sleazy deathy kinda way. Props to Giffoni for curating them in and to Dom for releasing the 7", so very far off what would seem like both their maps. But if you're listening, not really at all. Emeralds. Oh, my God. Emeralds. One of the strongest performances last year. Muscular drones and galactic voyages. Can. Not. Fucking. Wait. Next to last on Sunday night's bill is the first live performance in the US by Prurient and Kevin Drumm. I've been waiting for this for almost two years. Their meeting on tape, All Are Guests In The House Of The Lord from 2007 was one of my favorite releases from that year and then 2008 and 2009. It is one Southern journey. And I'm not talkin' Georgia. Ooh. And thanks to a last minute cancellation by Merzbow, their set's been extended. Hell, yeah.

There's been some talk this time 'round about this years Fun Fest being "poppier", mostly based on the fact that Sonic Youth and Bardo Pond are on the bill. Oh, stop it. It's gonna be what it always is, a reflection of Carlos Giffoni's taste. And that is a very, very fine and filthy thing. It's on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Knitta Please.

Came across this, the ways of Knitta Please, on the way home on Montague tonight. Knitting genius. It really went well with the bicycles. And sorry, but that name is some funny shit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We're Desperate.

Love the overload of information in this first photo. All the clipped things that turn into something else just multiply. I'm really starting to dig the new video spot for Creative Time's presence in Times Square. It took a couple minutes for me to get into the Patty Chang third of the Marilyn Minter-curated Chewing Color, but once it gets rolling it's pretty unstoppable. Have the last 8 years conditioned me to think of most things in terms of blood and violence? I don't know, but it was pretty close to the front of my head while I watched this video. Desperate. Good.

Also . . . Click here for my pics of Marilyn Minter's third of the project, Green Pink Caviar.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Photo from the NY Times

From the Times digi lead-in to an article about landlords with empty storefronts renting the facade as advertising space . . . "Rather than let abandoned retail spaces look like pockets of poverty, landlords are renting the windows out to marketers for street-level advertising displays." Pockets of poverty? I think we're talkin' about the whole pair of pants here, brothers and sisters. For the record, I'm totally willing to give the Times residuals if they let me name my new band, "Pick and The Pockets of Poverty".

Now would be a good time for you to read Hrag Vartanian's interview with EnjoyBanking over at the Huffington Post. Enjoy!

Photo from the EnjoyBanking flickr site

UPDATE: Oh, look. Seems like those storefront ads might be all crimey and shit, according to Steve Lambert of The Anti-Advertising Agency. Calling all Posterboys!!! Get out a-dem razors.

Lips Sink.

Here're some shots of Marilyn Minter's, Green Pink Caviar, her contribution to Chewing Color the latest round of Creative Time's 44 1/2 series on MTV's big screen in Times Square. Minter curated this time around, including videos by Patty Chang and HAA fave Kate Gilmore. On the weekends they play all three back-to-back at 12pm and 3pm. I went today. It ruled. No surprise that I loved the Minter and Gilmore pieces, but Patty Chang came through as well. Wasn't sold at first, but by the half way mark I was all in. More to come.

Also . . . Click here for my pics of Patty Chang's third of the project, Fan Dance.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Small Town.

Chris Martin's studio. More to come.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Luminous Groove.

Time is round
And space is curved.
--Robyn Hitchock

And you thought I was done going off about my visit two Sundays ago to Marie Walsh Sharpe open studios. Well not so much. I haven't even mentioned the artist that I went to see, Franklin Evans. This year is all about the space between for Franklin.

And you know me. I like the space between the grooves. I used to have the Robyn Hitchcock 12"s to prove it. Hitchcock was my first 12" EP and Single love obsession addiction. Chasing all those rare B-Sides was a kick, and there were two great record stores in Lancaster, BBC and Stan's, that helped me in my efforts. But I digress from my digression. As much as I loved the albums proper, the in-between releases--casting light in all three tenses--were just as exciting and important. At least to me. I loved the half-baked, the unfinished, the not-quite fitting, the misfires, the snapshots of where the artist was at a given time.

Franklin Evans is treating his year in the grant studio like it's one big B-Side. It's all about the process. The work is the work is the work. I like the results. Intuitive and both magical and trashy, they fill the room, skipping across the creek from one unseen stone to the next. Maybe they'll reach the other shore. Maybe not. Books of interest are stacked on a shelf between a wall that nods to Stella and a small floor outline of a thrust stage that leads the viewer to a small painting. All this framed by colored tape hanging here and there and on top of a floor covered with gallery press releases. Drawings run together on a wall, clipped by tape and scissors. Patterns form and fall apart. It's was a blast to see the arc of a year. Where it touches down will probably be just as interesting. Or not. And that's OK. In fact, it's all gold.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Time Passages.

Waiter Singers! “Modern Times”- Chaplin, 2009, from Monya Rowe

Man. Do I ever love Angela Dufresne's work and this month brings a double shot of her wonder onto the walls of Chelsea. Modern Times 1 opened at Monya Rowe on Saturday night, and Modern Times 2 will open Thursday night at CRG. Oh, hell yeah.

Time is beauty, not money. And Dufresne's way of capturing the time behind the time and the place inside the place never fails to move me. My first contact with her work was all imaginary architecture and landscapes, but since then I've seen more work with personalities and narratives. All that time crashing behind and through the characters is something to behold. Hyperreal, actually. That's what it is. The color brings me in, but it's the movement that always makes me sway.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Drive.

Strong, strong progression in this year's edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass Zoe Strauss' I-95 show. The photos from Alaska added an unexpected texture to the show. Softened things somehow. Made them harder. ALL the new work was amazing, and every year I see a more intricate pattern of conversation between the pieces and across the years. The rain was just some kind of occasional ritual, but as a practical matter it didn't keep the people away. Things were hoppin'.

Some favorite moments . . .

This one I'll mention first because until (almost) the very end it was my #1 choice to take home. Stirring-in-the-chest, this one. Brings the grief and the love all at the same time. Surprisingly, it's the yellow that blasts it's way in, and then the words land unfettered. Good luck after that, man. Irony might find the door later. With the empty bottle around the corner it make me think of that period of time after 09.11.01 when we were all drinking too much and having terror sex with the wrong people.

Every year there are always a couple places where the photos bleed into their pillar (Remember this classic?). I loved the ruins here.

The cars. The ramp. The wet. I am dreaming of Joie Chitwood's Hell Drivers.

I took this pic because of the way the swath of color behind it on the pillar expands the space of the photo, and draws the attention to the solitary figure in a way that I hadn't seen before.

Like I said. The rain.

And one more thing. DON'T fuck with Zoe's mom. There was some douchebag who tried to take one of the prints off it's pillar at 3:30 pm, a half hour before the end of the show. Ilene told him to stop. He argued his asshole position. Bad idea. Next time you're in a dictionary, look under "walking away with tail between legs". There's a picture of him there.

And don't miss . . .

Karen Heller's nice piece in Saturday's Inquirer

Art Most Fierce's post (Who truly was most fierce staking out the Kellie Harper photo for 2 hours. Respect!).

Mark Barry's flickr set

And, of course, Zoe's post. Pirate fighters! Flag faced kissers! Aforementioned douchebag ass-kickings!

Ooh. And I almost forgot. Apologies to Robert Fripp.