Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Creed Is Good.

This is my favorite Martin Creed production since he released Owada's Nothing back in 1999. I had forgotten about this photo of Small Things I took back in September on W. 25th. That yellow neon. That rust. That size. It was a good day in Chelsea.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Philly I love ya, but sometimes you break my heart.

Renoir, Portrait of Mademoiselle Legrand

About 20 years ago a friend's father penned a piece for Philadelphia Magazine regarding the lame headers in the Inquirer that led into well-written articles. The theme of that entire issue of PM was the title of this post. It's in that spirit that I've been meaning to mention something that drives me absolutely bonkers when I visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It's what's on the walls.

I'm not talking about the paintings. I'm talking about the paint. In a museum with spectacular architecture, a staggeringly good collection, and my very favorite Renoir the walls look like they were imported from an elementary school classroom in 1968. I know. Hard to believe, but Bumply Light Dirty Tan walls really do nothing for the art. Maybe there was some money leftover from the Perelman Building that they could use for a fresh, less bumply coat. If that's the case they should go for it. Whatever they do, I just wish they'd stop breaking my heart.

Just to be clear: Other than their walls, I love the PMA! Here's something nice about them by Andrea Kirsh on Artblog. And don't even get me started on the roomful of Duchamp.

Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Over There.

Marilyn Minter's paint brushes.

There's a bunch of new and newish posts over on my Creative Time blog. Plenty of links to articles and photos related to Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, some left over Marilyn Minter studio pics, and fun with Donald Sutherland on the 4 train.

Oh no, they di'in't.

Or maybe I should say, "Oh no, they diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii'iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin't!" Metal doesn't get any respect in this week's New Yorker. In their short review of The Heavy Metal Box they refer to Ronnie James Dio--one of the most distinct and influential voices in all of metaldom--as a guitarist. Memo to the NYer: No amount of Sasha can save you from this sort of lameness. I'm pretty sure that Dio has never even been seen in public with a guitar. In a jester's outfit? Yes. But with a guitar? No.

I unfortunately quote: ". . . the guitarist Ronnie James Dio contributes an interview on the origins of the “horned hand” salute . . ."

Oh. It hurts my record geek heart. So, this one goes out to all the metal heads at Talk of the Town. It might be more their speed . . .

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Peace Out.

I know. Hot sign, huh?

Yes. It's Thanksgiving time which means one thing: I get to visit Maya Lin's Peace Chapel back in my hometown of Huntingdon, PA. This year (Here's last year.) we'll try something a little different . . . BAD CAMERA WORK. In a semi-inspired moment I used the video function on my little crappy camera. I've no cinematography skills, but mad heart. Work with me on this one, kids. Just turn your heads to the side when necessary. Follow me, and remember that I don't do this for a living. For that we can all be thankful.

Oh. Wait. Blogger is having a bout of Hooverdom, and I can't upload my video. So, just like old times, here's some photographs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Going West.

Adam Cvijanovic, The Union Pacific Main Line (Laramie, Wyoming),

OK. Not that far west, but I am taking the train. Have a good holiday. I am OUT.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Against It.

On a whim I recently pulled out Forty Poems Touching On Recent American History, edited by Robert Bly and originally published in 1970. One poem by Robert Creeley struck me as even more relevant today, for these dark stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid times. I wasn't sure if I was going to post the poem, and then I attended a walkthrough with Karen Finley for her show at Alexander Gray Associates on Saturday. I saw even more connections in regards to the way we've fallen asleep at the wheel with a weighted foot taped to the pedal.

The book came out in 1970, but here we are again only this time even moreso. This is standard fallout from not dealing with your shit, as an individual or as a nation. We disconnect. We drive on. Here's the Creeley poem:

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking -- John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
where yr going.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Spent a fabulous day in Philly on Friday. There are two amazing shows at the ICA. The group show of sound art, Ensemble, enthralls and excites. Photographer Eileen Neff's show makes me hesitate to call her a photographer. Deep and wide, like the old hymn. I also hopped the trolley and made my way out to artist Judith Schaecter's home and studio. She kept my jaw on the floor. More on all these things later.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Get It Hot.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to see HAA fave Mark Dean Veca's excursion into the acid dripping land of appropriation where Dr. Seuss is a wise drunken elder, but Veca is clearly in control. I don't know why, but 9 times out of 10, I like what Jonathon LeVine Gallery puts in their smaller gallery, (Can you say Adam Wallacavage?) and right now is no exception. I've loved Veca's art since I first saw it at Jessica Murray Projects a number of years ago. It's only gotten better and I couldn't be more thrilled to see it in NYC again. Great color. Great sense of humor AND scale. Just, well, great. Go see it.

And YO. On the photo policy front . . . the signs look nicer, are less obtrusive, and the message is clearer.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The $50,000 Question.

Does Zoe Strauss kick ass? I say, YES. Apparently the folks at United States Artists who just awarded her an Agnes Gund Fellowship also say YES. Zoe? She says HOLY FUCK!

Image above obviously by Zoe Strauss

Thursday, November 15, 2007

If I Was John Hudak.

A bell is a cup until it is struck.

If I was John Hudak--actually, if I was any sound artist--I know exactly what I'd be doing right now. I'd be hightailing it down to Ground Zero to document a mournful synchronization that's been taking place daily for the last week or so.

The Salvation Army has been out ringing their bells, a normal activity for this time of year. However, on the construction site the workers have been using one of those huge (and loud) earth pounders lately. Everytime I've walked by the bell ringers seem to have unconsciously synced their bells with the booming rhythm of the construction equipment. It's makes for a strange brew of sound. Somebody needs to document it. They could just slap it onto a CD and release it that way. It's a ready-made piece of sound art. Of course, if I was John Hudak I'd totally procress the sound to within an inch of it's life and it'd sound absolutely brilliant. Either way, I don't need to go into how this would work on a symbolic level. I mean, I could but that would limit things. So I won't.

This little runaway train of thought has reminded me of Jonty Semper's Kenotaphion. Partly because of the bells, but also because of the sadness inherent in the sound.

Photo via Grand Rapids Public Library

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Noises OFF!

The roster for the No Fun Fest 2008 is up, and it looks good . . . and well rackety.

Projected highlights . . . Tony Conrad is hands down the most legendary and influential performer on the roster. Way, way cool that they got him. . . No surprise that Thurston Moore is on the list. Sorry to see that his wife Kim Gordon is not. She and Boredoms' drummer Yoshimi turned in one of the strongest sets last year. I've always liked what the SY crew do on their own more than their work with the band. . . It's always good to see what James Plotkin is up to. Undoubtedly one of the most inventive guitarists on the planet right now. . . Burning Star Core covers so much ground and disappoints so little it's almost miraculous. Every release is like Christmas morning. . . I almost can't believe that I'm finally going to get to see Illusion of Safety play live. Besides having one of my favorite album titles of all time (Water Seeks It's Own Level), they've carved out an excellent plot of land in the realm of collage and drone for over 25 years.

The performance to which I'm most looking forward? Easy. Werewolf Jerusalem, Richard Ramirez's deep excursions into static. Anything Ramirez puts out under his own name or his gloriously monikered Black Leather Jesus is top notch, but Werewolf Jerusalem resonates the most with me.

The best name of No Fun Fest 2008? This award unquestionably goes to AFTERNOON PENIS. I mean, really. That wasn't even a competition.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Word On The Street.

WGA East members hit Wall Street today. They went appropriately right for the pocket. Click the pic below to read the flyer.

Seriously. Die, you gravy-sucking corporate pigs* . . . or at least give the writers a fair deal. Don't even get in the way of my TV Party.

*I hope that reference made you think of banjos.

Well. The Bellinis Were Good.

Something wasn't in the air. I stopped by Phillips on Saturday for the preview of the upcoming Contemporary Art auction. I LOVE the auctions because of the previews. Seriously. I love seeing all that art that isn't normally on display when it's between collections. Usually, the work that I see at Phillips is, for the most part, pretty damn wonderful. Not so much this time though. Don't get me wrong. I saw some nice pieces, but the overall quality wasn't up to snuff. Are the sellers concerned that the market isn't going to bear the fruit for which they hoped? Are they holding back the good stuff??? I don't know. Culturegrrl seems to know what the hell she's talking about if you're interested in that sort of thing. Read her. Let's remember that all of my market predictions have come from Porsche conditions in Chelsea. Hmmmmmmmm. OK. I've thought about it. I'm sticking with the cars.

At any rate, it was worth the price of admission ($0 + a willingness to drink truly excellent Berry Bellinis) just to see Jack Goldstein's amazing Untitled (Burning City) pictured above. I think I went back 3 times to see this one. The burning fade at the bottom edge. All that black. Then the lost. Damn. The last time I saw a Goldstein at an auction some proudly knowledgeable fellow started to wonder aloud about who "really" painted the piece. Well, who knows dude. Probably David Salle, but sooooooooo NOT the point. I'll stop this rant short. Also kicking my ass was a large format C-Print of Marilyn Minter's Unarmed (Pamela Anderson). You already know what I think of that image. Another nice, but bittersweet, surprise was the late Jeremy Blake's Mod Lang. An odd thing, this one. The video looks more "painty" than anything I've ever seen by him yet it felt less like a painting.

Wow. That might have been a short post, but it was pretty rambling. I couldn't even figure out a good way to end that last Britney of a paragraph. We'll just have to accept the fact that it was was a little incomplete and unsatisfying, and hope for better luck next time. Which, I guess, is a little bit like the collection of works they've assembled at Phillips. I'll be curious to see what happens, but mostly I'll just hope for better luck next time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Eyes of Laura Mars.

I can only imagine what the First Lady has to say.
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.


This is the first (and probably the last) time you'll see me reference a Pink lyric here, but her song "Dear Mr. President" made me think of the latest chapter in Karen Finley's continuing war on stupidity up now at Alexander Gray Associates. Yeah. This post is chock-full of music references, but Finley provided me with the one time I cared about a Sinead O'Connor song so in some circuitous way it's appropriate. Get your war on. Oh, right. We already have. Whatever. Nevermind.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sweet Spot.

In case you were wondering . . . The sweetest spot in any NYC gallery right now can be found by standing in the middle of the room at Dam Stuhltrager in Williamsburg where two films by Jessica Lauretti are being projected onto opposite walls. It's like stepping into a comfy and simple wonderland. But not too comfy and not too simple. There's an edge in the images that underscores the instability of memory. A luscious nostalgia moves into the future couched in a warm soundtrack that fills the space. Sweet and radiantly on, this.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

(Pause. Vehemently.)

I got an email from Creative Time yesterday with some links regarding Paul Chan's Waiting for Godot in New Orleans. I am sooooooooooo sorry I missed this. I will regret it for the rest of my life. Here's the Time's Picayune feature on the project. Here's there account of the performance. And here's the NPR story. Even Jesus wept. It's too bad He wasn't smart enough to smite George Bush's sorry criminally-neglectful death-worshipping Bible-licking ass while He was at it. And that pretty much sums up my reaction to this. Tears, then a seething fury. No hope.

But that's not what this is about. It's about reflecting the experience of the victims of Katrina and the Bush administration. It's about connection. It's about surviving. It's about somehow going forward, even when you can't move. Know hope, I guess.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Anybody who has read me for more than, like, 5 minutes, knows that I'm a total sucker for appropriation. Especially when it's done as deftly as it is by Elaine Reichek in her show at Nicole Klagsbrun. I wasn't at all familiar with Reichek's work until I read about it Saturday morning in the 10.29.07 issue of The New Yorker. I had already planned to make a quick hit trip to Chelsea so I added the show to my list.

It would be easy to look at her choice to use embroidery as a feminist gesture. However, it's more about dpi and ownership. Because of the latter I found myself thinking a lot about Richard Pettibone's work. Whereas Pettibone sometimes brings the work he's appropriating to the viewer by bringing it down to a hand-held size, Reichek does the same thing via the comfort most viewers associate with embroidery. It's homey. It lets you in. The work is yours.

My favorite piece isn't even on the wall. It sits atop a table in the middle of the room. It's a book of samples that includes a key to all the works in the show, just like what you would find at Home Depot. You can flip through the history of contemporary art. You can hold it in your hands.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Worded Paint.

The Blogger Show (NYC) opens on Saturday night at Agni Gallery. Mad props to John Morris of Digging Pitt Gallery in Pittsburgh for even attempting to pull this off. 35 artists/bloggers from all over the U.S. in four different galleries (1 here, 2 galleries in Pittsburgh, and 1 in Millvale, PA.). Morris (With some help from Susan Constanse) is bringing new meaning to the words generosity and community with his endeavors here. Gratitude in advance.

One thing that I've loved about the art blogosphere since the very beginning has been the way it's been used by artists to work out their shit in public. Sometimes it's boring. Sometimes it's thrilling. It's almost always fascinating. I'm totally jazzed to see what's at the end of all the toil and trouble. Here's a sampling . . .

Artists whose work I've seen in the flesh, and I'm glad this show is giving me a chance to see more of it:

Nancy Baker. Twisted, with savage chops.

Tracy Helgeson. These luscious little things are wildly cheated by the jpeg format. Saw some of her work in Pittsburgh. Very, very nice.

John Morris. Dude did serious damage in a show at D'Amelio Terras in April. Serious damage.

Artists whose work I've never seen beyond the realm of the jpeg, and am curious as hell about:

Sharon Butler. Those backgrounds look yummy.

JT Kirkland. Been watching his stuff online for a couple years now.

Steven LaRose. For real.

Ed Winkleman and Bill Gusky have both said insightful, smart things about The Blogger Show. Go read them.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Engines On. Again.

Big ups to Margo Victor for the nice review she garnered in the November issue of Art in America for her show at Venetia Kapernekas Gallery back in March. She kicked my outer space ass PLUS we had a great conversation about Drone music. What's not to love?