Monday, October 31, 2005


Short new post on my Creative Time blog about Jeremy Blake's Sodium Fox. Stunning.

Not A Bunny Suit, But I Like It.

I can't get this Rene Smith painting out of my head.

Or this self-lecherous thing. What the hell?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

No Surprises.

Went to see the new Shirin Neshat yesterday at Barbara Gladstone. I didn't have much hope, but people seemed to be digging it so I gave it a shot. Bad move.

Her work always reminds me of Wegman's work with dogs. Visually seductive but hollow, one-dimensional, and—in the end—insulting to its subjects. More of the same here. I could pretty much see the visual and narrative path the film was going to take within 15 seconds of the beginning. And that's not because I have the mind of a NYPD detective. Like the rest of her work it's one (really obvious) note at best. It's like she's sitting at the piano hitting the Middle C over and over and over.

Speaking of which, the soundtrack is by Ryuchi Sakamoto. Some of the most compelling music of the last 20 years has been made by Sakamoto . . . when he's been working with someone else (David Byrne, David Sylvian, Carsten Nicolai, Fennesz). Alone, his work always feels derivative and flat. He's working alone here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Whole Lotta Hatin' Goin' On.

Some of you might notice that I've changed the text a little bit in my last post and took away the artnet link. As much as I didn't like the Murray show, and as much I can't recommend it, I'm not really comfortable encouraging certain things. Hence, the changes.

And don't worry, dude. We don't hate you because you hate the work. We hate how you hate it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Not Good, But Not That Bad.

Inspired by the hateful review on artnet I went to MoMA this afternoon to see the Elizabeth Murray. Could it really be THAT bad? Well, yes and no. I mean, it is really bad. I was moved by nothing. But geeeeeez. The vapid caustics of the review were really unwarranted. But what's new? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Anyway, it turns out that one of my favorite art bloggers, From The Floor, made a visit to the show today too. He refers to it as a "stinker". Trust us.

Or better yet, don't. Michael Kimmelman of the Times loved it.

I'm leaving this one up to you.

The trip uptown was far from a washout though. The walls of the Drawing from the Modern exhibit yield one gem after another. And Take Two. Worlds and Views: Contemporary Art from the Collection is slammin'. Easily one of the best Dana Schutz paintings I've ever seen. Just overhwhelming. She really doesn't seem to miss. And the Janet Cardiff. God. No pun intended. Intensely moving. FTF wrote about the Cardiff piece the other day. My only disagreement with him is that I'm pretty sure that it's power won't diminish with repeated listenings. Other standouts were Warhol's glorious red romp and a nicely involving Wojnarowicz.

Swallowed By The Cracks.

OK. The last few months have been crazy, some bad crazy but mostly good crazy. Either way, time has really been an issue. So, more things than usual have been slipping through the cracks. Hopefully, I'll eventually get to most of them . . . ESPECIALLY THE LIZ RYWELSKI.

1. Liz Rywelski knocked me out this summer in the group show Precious Moments at Joymore. I've wanted to say more for months. I will.

2. I'm going to take an earlier tip by Mountain Man and say bad things about bad art. Namely the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Festival. Oh, man. It wasn't as depressing as the Greater NY show at P.S 1 this summer, but what could possibly live down to that. The big drag was that I never found the Space 1026 piece. However, the best thing I saw all day was some work by a Pratt student hawking her art on the sidewalk. More on that later.

3. A general comment on all the whining about art fairs, the renovated and crowded MoMA, the art market. I might agree, but that doesn't make it any less pointless. As Joe Perry said in a very different context . . . "Let the music [hold for the beat] do the talkin'." Or more to the point, I'll quote Pearl Harbor and The Explosions: "Shut Up and Dance."

4. I want to take back everything I said about the Robert Bordo show at Alexander & Bonin. I thought that it was the worst painting show I had seen in a long time the first time I saw it. The third time I saw it, I fell in love. And I have to say, I have no idea why. I also want to talk about how it flows like that sometime.

5. I haven't even mentioned Jeremy Blake's show at Feigen Contemporary. The usual staggering bit of wonder. Add Blake's visuals to Dave Berman's words and you have one of my favorite shows in Chelsea right now.

Phil Collin's Greatest Hits 2

Phil Collin's Greatest Hits.

OK. Roberta's piece is up about her experience with Phil Collins. Damn.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Emit Flesti.

My latest post for Creative Time about Song Dong's lovely performance in Times Square yesterday evening.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Anything for art with these two. Go here to read about Roberta and Libby of fallonandrosof getting slapped.

Any artists reading this . . . trust me, you're about to have a new hero in photographer Phil Collins. Brilliant.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

Pardon the cliched misquote, but it really works here. For six months I'd been anticipating Jeremy Blake's opening of a show of new work (in collaboration with another fave, David Berman) at Feigen. When I found out that it was the same day (October 7) as the Teresita Fernandez opening at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia I was dismayed to say the least. It was decision time.

I chose to go to Philly, and saying that I had no regrets would be an understatement. (That is no commentary on Blake. He's one of my favorite artists and I went to see his latest bit of wonder the day after my Philly trip. Whew. One of the best shows in town right now. Easy.). Besides getting to have lunch with my uber pal Oona, and hanging out with the rock 'n' roll queens of Fallonandrosof, I saw a lot of art that made me jump up and down without embarassment on the street. I kid you not. Roberta and Libby will bear witness to this.

Plenty of ground was covered and all of it was good. In Private Hands: 200 Years of American Painting and the Vik Muniz shows at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The aforementioned Fernandez show at the FWM. Some nice work at Vox Populi. And I wound up the day with two fiesty shows at Space 1026 and The Black Floor Gallery.

OK. Right here I have to admit to being a little wiped out from all the 12 hour days at work lately, so I'm going to take it easy on myself in regards to the text. I'll make up for it with a bunch of pics.

First up was the Vik Muniz at PAFA. I loved this show. I would have made the trip to see this show. It's that good. Here are the pics.

The In Private Hands: 200 Years of American Painting show is good. Spotty, but good. Some of the paintings are so good that they make up for any of the lesser paintings. Here's a litany of the goodness in no particular order: Bierstadt, Cole, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Pollock, Basquiat, Salle, Fischl, O'Keefe, Cassatt, Sargeant, Bierstad, de Kooning, Guston.

OK. A few faves. The Bierstadt is one of the first knockouts. One of Warhol's Sixteen Jackies predictably crushes. The Jackie series is special to me. At the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh it was this series of Jackies that really kicked off my love of art. I always feel nothing but pity for people like Tom Wolfe when I see a Warhol that's this good. And then there was the Basquiat. Well. Forget about it. Paintings that make cry me tell me all I need to know about them.

Teresita Fernández's opening at the Fabric Workshop and Museum was next. I've waxed poetic about this place before. I cannot recommend a visit to the FWM highly enough. It seems that when artists work with the FWM they're always stretched a bit. In an introduction to the piece, Fernández was very generous in her praise of the Fabric Workshop in relation to how working with them shaped the work. And the work is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Ironically, the circle of fire reminded me a little bit of Robert Irwin's Homage to the Square in regards to the way that others in the room effect the way the work behaves. Walking closely around the perimeter and looking down into the circle it looks as if it's raining fire in an old silent film. There's no other way to describe it. That's exactly what it looks like. The more time I spent with the piece the more stunning it became. However, there is one little distracting thing, but I won't mention it here. You might not notice it. You might not. Pretend that I didn't even say that. But, man. Details. Teresita, take a lesson from Sabrina (see below).

After the Fabric Workshop we went on to a group show at Vox Populi in the same building at the FWM. There was some nice stuff, but the standouts for me were Eva Wylie's silk screens on the wall and Nami Yamamoto's pattern pieces. Yamamoto's works looked like they were made of those old candy buttons that used to come on strips of paper. All white buttons connected with thin lines of color drawn on the wall. Sweet.

Before I had to hop on the train to come home we went to two fiesty galleries, Space 1026 and Black Floor Gallery. These two galleries made me think of what I had always hoped that Williamsburg would become, and what I think the 'Burgers art clique police always secretly hoped it wouldn't. It's like the youth quake without the trust funds, pretention, and sense of entitlement. Whatever. They got what they wanted, and so did I. It just takes a train trip to Philly to get it. Of course, that's not completely true. There's always Joymore in Williamsburg and Little Cakes wherever they land. Here comes a digression . . .

This isn't a diss on the Williamsburg galleries. There are a number of galleries there that I love and visit regularly. They are what they are. Just because I never found what I hoped to find in Willamsburg doesn't mean that it's bad. It's just that I had always hoped to find more 2003 Blackout street party there, and less high school hallway*.

There's a certain openness in Space 1026 and Black Floor galleries that just pulled me apart. It felt like a true community which is a welcoming thing, both to those already inside as well as to those entering. That that can still be found anywhere makes me happy. It felt encouraging to both the artists and the viewers without that sense of forced entitlement and assumed outcome. Forget the script. If "successful" things happen: great. They have been wished for, of course, but not presumed. In the meantime take risks with what you're doing and what you're seeing and we'll go from there. Refreshing.

As I mentioned before, the two galleries that give me a similar feeling in NYC are Joymore and Little Cakes. I knew about the connections that Joymore had to that gallery because of some of the artists in the excellent Precious Moments show this summer. So, it was a nice surprise when I recently found out from Hanna at Little Cakes that she knew some of the Space 1026 founders from RISD.

Digression over.

Space 1026's main space had been overtaken by Nick Paparone and Jamie Dillon. OK. First of all, give me party gifts to take home from anything and I'm your pal. Give me an object to take home from your art opening that is as goofy as it is touching and I'll be your fan. Their installation, set at the top of Mt. Everest, has a playful fakeness with some solid beauty backing it up. The line of repeated images around the backing wall anchors it all. I had stopped by the gallery earlier in the day and they had cautioned me that the piece wasn't complete yet, but I was still taken in by it. They took my picture in front of the peak and placed it in one of their EVEREST cards. When I went back to the opening with Roberta and Libby that evening there wasn't that much that had changed, but they had tweaked a couple of things that just made things POP. I was knocked out. These guys knew how to see, and more importantly how to translate that vision to others. Rockin'. No pun intended, but speaking of which . . . not only was there appropriately sweeping classical music playing as you ascended the steps to the gallery, there were also my kind of prayer flags lining the stairwell's ceiling. Yes, in a stroke of brilliance they had printed the words to the seminal metal song, Man on the Silver Mountain, by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Oh, the times I sang THAT into a hairbrush. "Lift my spirit higher" is right.

Total Space 1026 digression. I snuck a peak at some odd drawings by Caitlin Emma Perkins while I was walking through the work space. Sick. More please.

After 1026 we walked over to Black Floor Gallery to see Sabrina Lessard's "Close Your Eyes, This Will Take Some Time." The work is as witty and direct as the title. I'm always impressed by the fearlessness that it takes to fill a big space with one thing, one simple thing. If you make that choice you better get it right. Not a problem here. In her homage to sleep Lessard makes something hard look soft. Her black bed is made of resin, gypsum and fiberglass, and polymer. It's so realistic that it creates an anxious yearning in the viewer to touch it, and to touch what it represents. To fill the space around the bed she adds a sound work that, texturally, reminded me of Momus' space-cleansing work at Zach Feurer's gallery this summer. It's dark and soft, just like sleep. And like sleep, we can't really touch this piece; not in the way we'd like. Maybe in our dreams.

Get on the train.

*Thanks for that phrase, Scott.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Two New Posts at Creative Time.

A couple new posts are up at Creative Time.

First up is a link to some excellent pics at Art Lovers New York from The Dreamland Artist Club this summer.

The latest post is about the Creative Council's visit to the astonishing Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU. Anybody even vaguely interested in the downtown art, performance, and music scene from the 60's and 70's onward will be duly kicked in the head. Truly amazing. Mad props to the vision all those involved.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Heart of the City.

New post on my Creative Time blog. The Jenny Holzer. Whew. It's left the walls of the city, but not my heart. Am I being sappy? You bet. But not sentimenal.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I've worked overtime to keep my first love, music, out of it here. However, I saw a pretty galvanizing show last night at Apocalypse Lounge in the East Village and I want to blab about it. And there are art connections so that squeezes everything through the HAA valves.

The show started with an absolutely mesmerizing band, Throwing Shrapnel from Boston. Abstract grindcore is the best way to describe it. Killer. Killer. Killer. Wall of sound guitarist. Profanely articulate bass. A drummer who understands that shrieking is a percussive device. And a singer who brings it all together. Oh, and the art thread is quite simply one of the best song titles ever: "Michaelangelo's Secret Paint Huffing Addiction." A little clunky, but so was the Big M after he got a few brushes under his nose. And these basement monsters aren't sharing a split with Behold . . . The Arctopus on Relapse, because . . . ?

Also on the bill last night was the ever-evolving and always glowing Death By A Thousand Cuts. Oscillating noise madness. Seriously. Another overwhelming show. And the visuals by Jason Cosco just keep getting better. The art connection here? Jason Ziemniak, half of DBATC and Chrome Peeler Records chief, is releasing a DVD of Banks Violette's recent collaboration with the Black Metal legend Snorre Ruch at the Whitney.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Heads Up!

New post at Fallon and Rosof. Jenny Dubnau, rockin' like Gibraltar. Dig.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Things Fall Apart.

And in this corner, riding that beautiful wave of decay . . . Steve Flanagan.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Heart's Filthy Lesson

Stop scrubbing. It won't come out. But thanks to Jenny Holzer you can see it on a wall.

Bleeding until midnight tonight, and again tomorrow night from dusk until midnight. This is power, and don't you forget it.

Place: Bobst Library at NYU, Washington Square South and Laguardia Place.
Brought to you by: Creative Time
More pics at: The Creative Council Blog

Monday, October 03, 2005

Happy Heart As Arena II (Think Van Halen II, not Jaws II.).

Wow. Color me flattered and fluttering. Yesterday I discovered that an art blog I much admire, Iconoduel, had posted a link to Heart As Arena. That would have been happy-making enough, but it got even better. I emailed the site's main man, Dan Hopewell, to say thanks. Literally, right after I sent the email I went to check his post for the day and voila . . . in it he had mentioned Heart As Arena, my Creative Time blog, and "The House of Fallon and Rosof".

Let's face it: A compliment from a city that was smart enough to buy and sell Jack Goldstein's work when nobody else would, well, like I said . . . flattered and fluttering. After a 13 hour day in the beige, this is the kind of news a guy can stand.