Monday, December 19, 2005


I get my hair cut near Gigantic Art Space. It's a little out of the way. I don't mean that it's not easy to get to: it's just not in the mall that is Chelsea. It's on Franklin between Broadway and Lafayette. It's close to 12 subway lines so Heart don't want to hear it. Trust me. I've seen enough good shows there that I'd be making a regular stop there even if I didn't get my locks chopped down the block.

Lee Ranaldo and Leah Singer's new show, Drift, is no exception to the quality of work I've come to expect from GAS. A mix of sound, sculpture, installation, film, drawings, and prints adds up to a pretty thrilling whole. I love when art goes all immersive on me. It was not an easy task to leave the gallery. I kept coming across things that pulled me in. In fact, as I write this I find myself missing this show. Is that strange? You bet, but I can't think of a clearer way to tell you how I felt about Drift.

Well, that was easy. Wasn't it?

PS: I don't usually talk about this kind of thing, but . . . collectors take note. The prices are wildly reasonable. Art lovers who have thought about collecting . . . this would be a good place to start.

Yo, man. Any excuse to put up a pic of my favorite Master of Immersion, Masami Akita. This from a video of a performance of Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, and Matts Gustafson. Nuthin' but HELL YEAH!

New Post at Fallon and Rosof: Mike and Doug Starn.

New post on Fallonandrosof about Mike and Doug Starn's show at Castelli . Excellent stuff.

Ellen Altfest at Bellwether.

Big ups to Mountain Man for the tip on this fine show at Bellwether . Mostly killah, hardly any fillah. One word: go.

Only complaint: The post card for the show. What the hell? Am I watching NBC? Big script gallery logos on the front of a card don't make paintings look good. Ugh. How about a little respect for the art, y'all.
Click on-a dem pics to make them go boom.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Where Is The Love?

All the complaining and whining about MoMA since it reopened and nobody's talked about the real crime: No Warhol room. Why the fear of a full embrace? The museum should stop hedging their bets.

On a related note, here's some pics of my television when CBS Sunday Morning did a really nice piece on Andy a couple weeks ago. I'll have some more Warhol to share after Christmas. I've scheduled an extra day into my holiday visit to the Iron City so I can spend some time at The Warhol Museum and The Mattress Factory. Now these are places that know how to move.

I'm especially proud of this accident. I happened to catch the frame that was fading from the Electric Chair into the NYPD detective announcing the shooting of Andy Warhol.

Steve Flanagan Is Also Way Cool.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jesus Is Way Cool.

Good news out here in Heartasarenaland. I started a new job yesterday that'll give me more time to look at art and blather on about it in public. On my first day I had enough time after work to check out a show at Pratt, and then do two posts, one here and one on the Creative Time blog. How many ways can I say, "Yaaaaaaaay"?

Those of you who know me will understand the reference in the title. Those who don't can just enjoy the memory of one of the best King Missile songs ever. Those of you who don't know me or the song are just going to have to feel like Jerry Saltz reading the Artforum Diary. I'm joking. Nobody deserves that much pain. Here are the lyrics to the King Missile song. Everybody sing.


With sentiments like this, what's not to like? Swung by Vanessa Bucci's show at Pratt tonight. Really good. Overload. I like it. It hates me.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Yes. We've Got Contact.

This has happened more than once. I think I'm getting jaded because I'm so immediately turned off by just about everything that I'm seeing; and then, out of the blue, I come across something that puts all my self-doubts to rest.

I attended the DUMBO Arts Festival back in October. I usually find work I like at Smack Mellon or the DAC so I was optimistic. The performance piece with an electric guitar and many leotarded bodies in the Fulton Ferry Park should have been all the warning I needed, but what can I say. Sometimes I'm too hopeful for my own good. At any rate, I started looking. And looking. And loooooking. Nothing was turning my crank. The videos at Smack Mellon and the text-based works at DAC left me cold. I never found the Space 1026 installation. I just was not being moved. That's when I started to question myself. Am I seeing too much art? Have I become jaded? Was I experiencing some kind of general art fatigue? Walking around the arts festival I certainly felt fatigued.

That's about the time I was stopped in my tracks. (That's when it always happens, isn't it?) Suddenly, I was having a one of those mini Stendhal moments, and everything was going to be just fine. There, on the sidewalk, was a collection of pieces that immediately grabbed me. If there's one thing I've learned in all my art viewing it's to always obey that pull. It tells me just about everything I'm ever going to need to know about the work.

Turns out that it was the work of a Pratt student, Vannessa Bucci. She wasn't even part of the festival. I should have known. She paid for a permit to sell her work on the street. Other people with street permits were selling jewelry and scarves. Bucci did not fit into that category, and she certainly didn't fit in with all the bad art in the festival. So, maybe it was perfect that I found her out on the sidewalk. Or maybe it was just typical.

Whatever. It kicked me in the head and then some. I can't say that I completely understand the process, but the end result is a wonderful thing. Using photo etching and silk screening she creates work that is as delicate as it is caustic, as jagged as it is inviting. Disembodied wrists and hands reach for laptops, viruses, bad text. All the things we're touching while we're not touching.

Bucci exploits our overload. We can't come to her. We're too locked in, too hooked up. So, the artist comes to us in a place where are wrists are numb, our eyes are bleary, and our hearts are aching. She comes to us, finds her way into the house, and drops our baggage inside the door. If we're lucky we'll trip over it in the morning.

Yes. It's a viewpoint we've seen before, but is that a bad thing? It's something we humans seem to need to be reminded of, constantly. One way or another, the best art always reminds us to wake up, lest we become the ghosts sleeping in our own machines. You can agree with Bucci or not. It certainly won't take away from the beauty of her work. There is a deft hand at work here, and I'm glad it found me.

Vanessa Bucci is having a exhibition of her work at the 240 East Gallery on the Pratt Institute campus, 2000 Willoughby Ave., from Dec. 5 through Dec. 9.

Power Spot.

Maya Lin opening things up in my hometown. The Peace Chapel at Juniata College was the project she did right after the Viet Nam War Memorial. It's some kind of cosmic anchor.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Color Me Thankful.

Wyeth's Groundhog Day. I know. It's not Thanksgiving, but the colors seemed right. This is my favorite Wyeth. He so often managed to screw up things like this. 97% of the painting would be perfect and then he'd use some dud color over in the corner that was so off that it's spectral gravity would pull the whole thing crashing into the dirt. Not with this one. This is nothing but on.

Everybody have a great holiday.