Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Twin Sons of Different Mothers.

The Warhol always manages to come up with a few surprises when I visit. Side-by-side this time around . . . an inspired juxtapostion of two collaborations, one with Basquiat and the other with Clemente. There's a conversation of color from canvas to canvas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nickels On The Dime.

I'm pretty sure that this is the first time we've seen Ryan McGinness and Kelly Clarkson contributing to the same project. Enjoy.

And while we're here, I'll pull out that devastating painting of the Dime's last moments by Tom Sanford from 2004. That boy is missed.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Artists Out Of Work.

Well, at least McGraw-Hill's good for something. Their decision to ship a million jobs to Ohio has left a number of visual artists without a regular day job. This has led to a rent party under the cover of an art show. This will lead to much fun. Thank you, McGraw-Hill.

One of the participating artists, Patricia Harris, is someone I've been wanting to mention here for quite some time now. She employs pinhole cameras to obtain unpredictable and beautiful results. This unstable medium allows Harris to investigate the ghosts of time, collapsing the past, present, and future into one. She accepts an instability that reminds me of that Leonard Cohen lyric, "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in." Luminous, baby.

Harris has an upcoming show at PS 122 in which she's introduced even more instability into the action. I, unlike Harris's cameras, can't wait.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Los Angeles artist Meg Cranston exuberantly blows out the walls at Venetia Kapernekas Gallery for their inaugural show. Cranston transforms the space from the word "Go!" with a flood of pink in the entryway. Beyond that the left wall climbs itself in the main gallery with an onion/sun/hypno attack. Spread around the room are collages, drawings, and a sculpture. It's all too much (And I mean that in a good way.), like the sun in LA.

A week after seeing QED's half of Bring The War Home in LA, I was walking through Chelsea to see the other side of that split 7" at Elizabeth Dee, and I thought to myself, "God. The sun is so lame here." In Los Angeles it's just so very--like I said--much. Cranston's work feels like a celebration of that wild abundance. The large wall collage in the main room creeps over the wall into the back office. The collages seem like they're ready to spill out of their frames. A sculpture, with a base fashioned from an absurdly purple plastic box holds up a blowup of a beautiful LA rock boy taken from a local paper recently. He could have been taken from the 60's or 70's or 80's or 90's. In Los Angeles beauty is the base, the constant. Why trash it when you can make such good art from it.

LA is a circle, but it's not a jerk. When I visited for my first time I was expecting the absolute worst, and the city proved me wrong at every turn. Meg Cranston has put a lovely, bursting exclamation point on my experience. Which is, generally, what the best art always does. Go. Stare into the sun.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Posts Over At Creative Time.

Charles de Meaux, You Should be the Next Astronaut, for Creative Time's 59th Minute, 2006

There's a bunch of new posts over at my Creative Time blog. And while I'm on the subject of Creative Time . . . the upcoming project that Doug Aitken is doing for them--projections onto the outside walls of MoMA--is sooooooo going to rock.

Doug Aitken, rendering and stills from Sleepwalkers

Comedy Gold.

Seriously. You can't make this shit up. I give you The New York Times video report on Art Basel. Somebody accidentally uploaded a pilot for a sitcom, right? Right?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

To Slothy (And Her Partners In Crime).

My experience of the art blogosphere was initially encouraged and guided by the painter/blogger Slothy (aka Log World). I'll always be indebted to the Slothmiester for that. Her tips, of course, led me to other blogs by other painters who work out their shit online. It's like a new form of the salon,and it's a hell of a lot more interesting for the rest of us to be able to watch these things unfolding now rather than wait a couple decades to read another boring ass retro gossip column in the guise of art history. Sometimes the conversation is straight up (Well, kinda.), other times it's completely surreal, and occasionally it's just fart jokes. No matter how you slice it, it's a blast to follow their wayward lines.

So, it was more than a small treat to see all those wayward lines move from the digital realm and onto the walls of Pluto, Molly Bradford's new gallery near the BMA. Two of the seven artists in this show, Rosanna Bruno and Wendy White, were responsible for two of the most unexpected and glorious ass-kickings of my art year (Bruno with a studio visit and White with her show at Sixty Seven). The others I've admired for some time and this show did nothing to change that. So you shouldn't be surprised that I'm going to say that this is one of the yummiest shows I've seen in awhile and that you shouldn't miss it.

This is one of the yummiest shows I've seen in awhile. You shouldn't miss it. Surprised? Yeah. Me neither. For real.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This City's On Fire.

Look. I don't usually do this, but, well, you know the drill here. I see something I like, and then I jump around and point loudly. So in that spirit . . . Paddy Johnson over at Art Fag City has been on fire lately. Her comments on Finch's latest wind breaker. Her instinct for excerpting the exact section of a Matthew Barney interview in which I'm most interested. Her schedule breakdown for Miami, and her hilariously realistic view of the same ("Here’s what we won’t be covering in Miami this year: Most of it."). She's all kinds of ON. Don't miss a drop.

Moving Pictures.

How often do you actually sit down when you enter a video installation? Be honest. If you're like me you pull back the curtain, step inside, and plant yourself in a soft lean against the wall. It's a position that sets up an easy exit.

When the Ezra Johnson show at Nicole Klagsbrun was recommended to me it was referred to as "shocking". Oh, my. At the very least. When I walked into the gallery I was burned out, I was tired, I was beat. I was ready for the leaning and the leaving. After about one minute I took a seat and stayed planted until the last delicious frame. This is the shit, kids.

Johnson uses paintings to build stop-action videos, telling stories and throwing beauty at will against the gallery walls. The color tones somehow recalled the Ezra Jack Keats books of my childhood. Paintings are added to and subtracted from to create movement. Cut-out overlays are occasionally applied. Sometimes the painting remains still while the camera zooms in. Everything is moving, and I mean that in both ways. You really need to see this to believe it. Color my jaw dropped.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Here And Almost Now.

I did a quick hit on Chelsea Thursday night (ie, 27th Street + 1). When I hit that row I always start with Plus Ultra and work my way back to 11th Avenue. Winkleman's program rarely disappoints, and the new Boyce Cummings show is no exception. I love the feeling of possibility that walks through the door when one world leaks, breaks, or stumbles into another. Cummings' lovely and harsh paintings reveal these otherworldly meetings with aplomb.

Boyce Cummings

Over at 511 W. 25th there's a strong show at Margaret Thatcher Projects, Landscape Re-Imagined. I went there to see Sebastian Lemm's glorious c-prints and found other thrills as well. Mary Temple's re-constructions of light and shadow especially blew my house down. There were also some beautiful charcoal works by Raymond Saa. I'm ashamed to admit (OK. You know me. I'm not, actually.) that this was my first visit to MTP. It won't be my last. How this crew slipped under my radar for so long is a mystery, but I'm happy that it's solved.

Sebastian Lemm

Mary Temple

There are two shows opening tonight I'm especially looking forward to. In The Norf*ckeneasters' group show at Pluto seven samurai sisters will be surfing a swell in the sea of paint. Much damage is predicted. Also in Brooklyn, Dennis Kaiser's solo show opens at Outrageous Look. I'm not familiar with his work, but OL never fails to impress so it's a no-brainer.

Oooh. When I ran into Barry Thursday night and he tipped me to a painting show by art blogger, Joshua Johnson at Riviera. It opens tonight in Brooklyn. (Whoops. Sorry about that. It opened LAST NIGHT. My bad.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wolf Girl Gilmore.

Kiki Smith, Wolf Girl, etching on paper.

I have to admit to falling off a bit when it comes to The Gilmore Girls in the last couple seasons. I did, however, catch the music episode last season that everybody refers to as their coolest moment. Yo La Tengo played. Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, and their daughter Coco played. It was pretty damn cool, but my favorite moment came earlier in the season when the show's music department used Sparks "Angst in My Pants". Whatever. All bets were off tonight when Lorelai's parents presented their wedding gift to her . . . Kiki Smith's Wolf Girl. Cooler than cool, as ever. They can't help themselves.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


For my 200th post it's somehow appropriate to be bringing you one of my first art loves, Maya Lin's Peace Chapel at Juniata College in my hometown of Huntingdon, PA. This was the project that Lin worked on immediately after she did the Vietnam War Memorial.

Carving a simple circle into the top of a hill, Lin creates a state of grace in the viewer by utilizing the immediate and the distant landscape. This is a work that never fails me. It's never the same thing twice; changing with the weather, the time of day, and the season. It's like a great painting that transforms every time you see it, while never lessening its impact. This time around the stark colors of late fall were muted warmly by the fog and drizzle. Happy Thanksgiving to me.

On top of the hill in the distance is a single stone for private mediation. More perfection.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Under Heavy Manners.

It was great to walk through the NY Art Book Fair on Sunday and see so many affordable lovely things, but the freshest of them all were to be found at the Heavy Tapes table. Art books are great, but cassettes made with this much love and care? Mmmmm. Rest your head on my heart and hum.

It got even better when I got the little analogue wonders home and pressed play. Jessica Rylan's amazing experiments with the mighty Serge synth sound like an unstable womb. This is the one that's made me want to find an old Walkman on ebay. I also picked up the luscious 2 cassette set from the Religious Knives, a project by label heads Maya Miller and Mike Bernstein. It feels like an alternative universe where time thinks it likes you but it's still making up its mind. Sick Llama's Alien Facial contains itchy drones for scaring the kids at night.

Maya Miller's acid-drenched (The kind you find in car batteries . . . not tabs.) artwork wraps the sound works in the blanket they deserve, creating a whole package that delivers on all fronts. Simply irresistible. There's no tellin' where the money went. I can tell you that it's not in my pocket anymore.

Friday, November 17, 2006

"I woke up one morning and I could sing.”

It's over. All over. Don't have to cry no more. RIP, Ruth Brown.

Like New.

The inaugural show at Alexander Gray's new gallery, J. Morgan Puett's Wholesale: To The Trade Only 1985-1997 looks like the past, but it couldn't be more now. With all the renewed feverish talk about the collision of the worlds of art, fashion, and commerce . . . (Oh, shut up.)

Stop. Pull the record back. Scratch it. Fuck the past. This is just a wonder of a show to walk into today. Overwhelming in fact. It's going to mean a lot of things to a lot of people depending on their experience. My experience with Puett's work was nonexistent, and it sent my head and heart swimming. It didn't make me wistful for some past that I missed. (Read the exhibit info for the story of her influential shop in SoHo in the 80's and 90's.) Puett covers the history of her store--12 years of it--in beeswax, and somehow it doesn't feel like preservation. It feels like a sculpture living in the constant now, and filled sweetly with promises that will be kept.