Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Love That Burns.

He seemed to be doing this out of love, out of the need to tell the truth in a place where it seldom finds its way off the floor. Yep. Dread Scott was burning money in front of the Stock Exchange today. It was beautiful, confusing, and cathartic. He moved right through the green wall and took us with him, like a shepherd. Walking through the fool's fire of unfettered capitalism, he sang and burned his way into a ticket for disorderly conduct.

He repeatedly sang, "Money to bur-rn. Money to burn." while burning the money he had attached to his clothes and also that of any passersby who had their own money to burn. The crowd was a mix of lunching Financial District workers, deliciously confused tourists, and a smattering of people like me who had heard about the action on the internet. The mix of the two major elements, fire and money, guaranteed a certain tension. Money is food and rent until it's been recontextualized by a flame. Then we have to think about it.

The tension snowballed when the police showed up though. They seemed as confused as the tourists, but mostly because it seemed that they were unsure if the artist was doing anything illegal. After a number of phone calls and on-the-spot consultations I heard one of them tell Scott that he was being consider "disorderly." This was followed by more consultation, and a ticket was issued. The burning had stopped, and the singing along with it. Scott was waiting now for the moment of repose. His job done, it was time to go.

His walk to the subway felt like a one-man Jazz funeral without the music or New Orleans. It was slow, deliberate, and replete with some kind of mad grief. I was in tears. Dread Scott had put his hand into the belly of the Beast, and found the terrible end of something. It was messy. It was over. Most unsettlingly, it was quiet.

During the performance, a couple curious traders had come over to see the action. They seemed mildly amused. This was a joke, really. They obviously felt at home. After it was all over they went back inside for the afternoon and ushered the Dow down 148.89 points. Burn.

Pre-Bonus track BONUS: Dread Scott has posted a video of the performance.

BONUS TRACK: Fleetwood Mac's Love That Burns

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hello Frederick J. Osterling!

What a surprise this was. The other week in Pittsburgh I was walking from the ToonSeum to the Mattress Factory. I took an alternate route and came across this perfect little landmarked building. Turns out it was the home and studio of Pittsburgh architect Frederick J. Osterling (1865-1934). Research revealed a number of buildings that weren't especially interesting or innovative, but with the occasional moment of architectural grace. But this building? This shit is magic. I will pretty much spend the rest of my life envying its present inhabitants. All it takes is one great building, kids. And this is a great building.

Check out The Union Trust Building. Like I said: Not especially interesting or innovative, but definitely some moments of grace, especially near the top and the way he takes you there. Plus, some fascinating restrictions were placed on the building by its previous owners, the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Like, Totally.

I'm pretty confident that BRAVO's new show, Work of Art, will be as ridiculous as all the other formulaic endeavors of Magical Elves Inc. And when I say that I mean that I'll probably like it. But that doesn't mean I won't make fun of it. Also, someday I will use a complete sentence.

Tonight I'll be live-tweeting the first episode from the WNYC studios with a rag tag group of art lovers and geeks organized by C-Monster. When Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City saw a preview of the pilot back in April she said that the show won't embarrass the art world. What a shame. That's OK. For that, we have reality. Srsly.

Here's the HeartAsArena link on Twitter. Hashtag to be determined.

BONUS: Art Fag City's program guide to the contestants.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

It Takes A Train.

Nicolas Frasier

Look. I'm heading out of town for the weekend, but for those of you staying here, let me plan yours. It's simple. Get thee to Paterson, NJ to check out the downright locomotive powers of curator Olympia Lambert who pulled together the massive Escape From New York group show. Installations, sculpture, video, performance and (YES!) painting fill a gorgeous behemoth of a building that once housed a silk factory. In other words, there's something for everyone, and much of it quite damn good. Standouts include Robert Schatz, Nicholas Fraser, Christopher Saunders, Thomas Lendvai, Micah Ganske, Kate Gilmore, Alison Blickle, William Powhida, Bruce High Quality Foundation, and Jen Dalton (Loser or Pig, YO?!?! Choose one NOW!) It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to get to NJ. Get on it.

An Xiao in performance (2nd shot w/ Thomas Lendvai in bkgd)

Sean Slemon

Alison Blickle

Micah Ganske


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

No Main Veins.

I was struck by this photo from Marina Abramovic's Lips of Thomas on view at Sean Kelly Gallery through June 19. Like all good art, it made me think of Slayer. More specifically, it made me think of the legendary Slayer fan who had their name carved into his arm. If it's an aware intention that makes art, then Marina has that covered. The Slayer fan: maybe not so much.

I'd argue that the search for ritual and meaning bonds the two acts together though, however artless the Metal-headed cutlery application might be. For better or worse, one way or another, sometimes we find our way in.