Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not Fade Away.

Sad, sad news from LA. Andy Hallett, RIP. He sang our hearts out.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Something Else.

Terence Koh, "whaling", 2009, documentation of performance-installation. Via Peres Projects via ArtCat.

Olympia Lambert's interview with Terence Koh is up at ArtCat. Yep. You're pretty much not gonna wanna miss this. OMG. Something else, let me tell ya.

.gif of an Angel.

Finally, some .gif art I can get behind.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tell Me About It.

Malevolent Creation.

Erik Benson

Loved this painting by Erik Benson when I saw it at PULSE, and then again when I saw it hanging at Black + White the next weekend. I'm not sure if it's vantage point is near the IKEA in Red Hook or not. Either way, I like the way the store's surroundings seem to be whispering "Remember death." I took my first trip to the Hellhole that is IKEA in Red Hook yesterday. I came home and took a 3 hour nap afterwards. So. Very. Draining. Every single thing in this anti-wonderland seems to be aimed at getting everybody to forget death by disorienting them with bad lighting and a livestock corral approach to layout. It reminded me of that defining moment in the X documentary, The Unheard Music, when Exene is practically reduced to tears in some nameless megastore. Sometimes our kill and spend culture is exhausting.

Soundtrack: Malevolent Creation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Retroactive Posting Notice.

Sharon Butler, Siding 3

Yo. I've been having too much fun this week, and haven't been posting too much. So, I'm grabbing a moment before I go to work to remind y'all that it's the last weekend to see the blogpix at Denise Bibro Art in Chelsea. Diggin' that Sharon Butler painting this morning. Making me think of that Pete Townsend line, "Love crushes angles into black."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ecstatic Occasions. Expedient Forms.

A Mirror

For the last 3 or 4 months when I've gone into Ted & Honey's for coffee in my neighborhood I've ended up talking art with this really sweet guy behind the counter. About a month ago he told me that he had an upcoming show at Lisa Cooley. I checked out the show on Sunday, and, well . . . hello there Alex Fleming. Welcome to your first solo show, and thank you for kicking my ass.

It's easy to think of Ed Ruscha when you first see Fleming's show of mirrored alphabet stickers on newsprint, but it's not a thought that'll last very long. Actually, the work made me think of my first encounter with a John Cage poem in the David Lehman-edited Ecstatic Occasions. Expedient Forms. collection. Fleming's pieces, like the Cage poem, trust the human mind and heart to pull things together. Skeletons and inversions of words tease their secrets across the newsprint surface with a rough elan. Also, there's a sculpture and a slide projector/video piece that further (and successfully) investigates the concealed and the labeled.

The secret's the thing here, but there's an expedient beauty in the newsprint pieces that acts in direct opposition to the hidden. It makes for a tasty bit of tension. Also, there's a happy accident of light that augments the mystery in these pieces. When I first looked closely, I thought that the artist had applied a translucent layer of white to create a reverse shadow of sorts that flowed from the letters. But then I wasn't so sure. I realized that the lightened surface was (Ready?) actually a reflection from the letters reflecting off the glass of the frame and back onto the paper. And here's the kicker. My perception turned back again, and I thought, "No. It's paint." Only when I spoke to to gallerist Lisa Cooley was I set straight. No paint. Just reflections. I was right the second time. Eventually, I got there. Just like a secret.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Now THIS is how to package your Black Metal cassette. Diamatregon's Crossroad. Seriously, kids. What is wrong with France?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We All Scream.

So, I thought my last post on the Free Store would be the last thing I had to say about the project. Wrong! I went to the closing party on Friday (Still open today, Sunday, though!), and was pleasantly knocked out by performances by Min Oh and Miwa Koizumi, expertly curated by Felicity Hogan.

Miwa Koizumi

Miwa Koizumi gave me ice cream. The flavor? Wall Street. This was some kind of genius, let me tell ya. The taste was vaguely familiar and sweet, but with a subtle leaning towards the toxic. Yum. Ugh. Then it hit me. It tastes like a filthy Guinness. It spoke to a present-day reality familiar to anybody who works down there: No, not the toxic assets. I'm talking about the bars. When I go out with my work friends for drinks, the conversation is pretty simple: Should we go to this shitty fake Irish bar or that shitty fake Irish bar? Or no, wait. Let's go to the OTHER shitty fake Irish bar. They have good nachos, and they don't clean their taps enough. Awesome!

Min Oh

Min Oh's charming and hilarious performance echoed the participatory nature of the Free Store. You choose what happens within the framework established by the artist. I haven't laughed this hard--and I haven't seen a crowd laugh this hard--for art since Candice Breitz's show at Sonnabend in 2005. Here, the audience chose the narrative direction for Oh's "play" in which she played with and battled, um . . . herself. Actually, there was one choice that she took away from us, and it was worth it for the comedic value. Too much fun.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Speedy Delivery.

Yes. I met Mr. McFeely Thursday night in TriBeCa. Truly amazing details to come, but I wanted to post this because today, March 20, is Won't You Be My Neighbor Day. If you're in Pittsburgh one of the things you can do to celebrate is to attend the screening of My Tale Of Two Cities at Waterworks Cinema 10 in Fox Chapel. If you're anywhere else, think of your neighbor.

This city is magic.

Wrap It Up.

OK. So, this is the last weekend of the Free Store, the public art project I've been raving about to everybody within earshot for the last three weeks. They will not be accepting donations this weekend. From now on it'll be a giveaway-only kinda situation. I've said many things about the Free Store, but the one thing I haven't mentioned is how well it works in the context of this section of the Financial District. Moving north from the Exchange after block upon block of lunch places and newstands things break into a wild mix of retail shops. Many of them are constantly discounted jewelry and clothing stores along with the odd lingerie shop and framing studio. The Free Store inhabits an out-of-business cigar store. It always feels like the end of something on this northern edge of the Financial District. It feels like the low end of hope, but hope nonetheless. I'll take it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Kate Gilmore, still from Star Bright, Star Might

Back when I first became acquainted with Kate Gilmore's work I almost immediately thought about how great it would look in Times Square as part of Creative Time's 59th Minute. Well, the 59th Minute series is way gone, but Creative Time has a new series, 44 1/2 up on the big MTV screen. Guess who's going to be on it? Oh, hells yeah. HAA fave Marilyn Minter curated this round of the series and included Gilmore's Star Bright, Star Might, Patty Chang’s Fan Dance, and her own Green Pink Caviar. Sweet Jesus, this is gonna be great. Star Bright, Star Might is the absolutely perfect piece for that screen. Closer to the ground and more invasive than the old 59th Minute screen. The close-up of Gilmore's breaking through will be a fine disturbance in this most numbing of public spaces. Lookin' up.

Unknown Pleasures.

Speaking of Allison Edge, check out this portrait she's painted of Ian Curtis. Allison and I shared a couple moments of wonder at the LtS dinner the other night when we were talking about our mutual and deep affection for Joy Division and New Order. It's ironic that music so filled with isolation lead to both of us feeling less alone in this world. That the music came in at very different stages in our respective lives speaks to it's universality. That it holds steady to this day proves to it's durability. When I listened to Joy Division and New Order for the first time, it let me know that some of my dark places were shared by others. It reflected back. I love Edge's painting because it captures the shiver and thrill of that recognition.

BONUS TRACK: I can't believe I found this. It's the Rolling Stone review by Mikal Gilmore about the dying gasps of the early PiL, Joy Division records, and the first 12" release by New Order. Hands down, this is THE most important music review I've ever read in my life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Yo. If you name your brand spankin' new art blog Another Bouncing Ball, from a Delmore Schwartz poem, you are soooooooooooooo gonna get a shout out here at Heart As Arena. Regina Hackett, writer of the Art To Go blog on the recently-transitioned Seattle PI, has moved to the 204R/204G/153B-er pastures of Arts Journal. A regular reader of Hackett's I'm thrilled that AJ was smart enough to let not even a day pass without a Hackett post making it's way into the world. On, that.

And a hot tip to all you people who like to read out there . . . Go NOW to the nearest bookstore and buy Schwartz's short story collection In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories. You haven't really read short stories until you've read "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities". It's one of the top five things I've read in my life. Yes, it's that good. Perfect, actually.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Talking In A Circle.

One of the best things that happens when a gallery dinner is actually held in the gallery is that the art gets destabilized, for better or worse. Artists Micah Ganske and Allison Edge talking through a Rachel Beach sculpture at Like The Spice Friday night would be an example of the former rather than the latter.


Tomoo Gokita's new show, Champion Carnival, at ATM is one of those shows that I would have walked by but my partner-in-crime for the day wanted to check it out. Good call, Hammy. Gokita's faces are what took me in and spit me out. They reminded me of what happens during that actors' exercise where you stare at your partners face. Borders are crossed. Things get distorted. Freaky and wonderful all at the same time. The other thing I liked about the show was the gun pointed at abstraction. POW! I'm pretty sure that all the Yaleys I've met recently would be down with that.

Update: Some bloggers do a little research. Sometimes I'm not one of them. So, OK. It's not really an abstract. But still.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Walking With A Mountain.

David Aron


I'm jazzed about this one. David Aron and Shawn Thornton opening SATURDAY night at Mountain Fold. I've been a huge fan of David Aron's work since I first saw it at the much missed Little Cakes. Here's my temporary farewell to Little Cakes on ArtCat that includes some praise for Aron's work.

And oh, yeah. Walking With A Mountain.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Free Shit.

Shit Is Coming T-shirt, Andres Serrano

Made my second trip to the Free Store on Thursday. I was donating some stuff, but I ended up leaving with a Shit Is Coming t-shirt by Andres Serrano. Apparently he heard about the project and sent some t-shirts over. While Serrano won my cool successful artist award for the day, the Free Store creators Athena Robles and Anna Stein definitely clinched the Artists du jour prize. I mean, seriously. Stop it.

As thought provoking an experience as it was to take something from the store last week, it was just as challenging when it came to donating items (a bottle of CdG 71, Black Metal and Hawaiian Slack Key guitar CDs). Commerce gets into our bones, and our little skeletons start rattling when it's taken away from us.

There was also an interesting moment when I found out that the shirts were by Serrano. I had been thinking about asking for one, but I was ready to walk out of the store without it. Then, when they mentioned that it was Serrano, I spoke right up. When it comes to art, I'm greedy. I already knew that. But the pretty bald fact that I was confronted with was how quickly the t-shirt leapt from novelty clothing to art. Would I have thought about all the jabs at culture the shirt takes if it hadn't had an artist's name connected to it? Probably. Would I have thought of it's market value? Probably not. Either way, I'm thrilled I had to ask.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I pretty actively loathed a Torben Giehler painting (no pics, sorry) in my work lobby since they put it up a couple years ago. Something started to change though at about the same time the economy tanked in mid-September. I think that I had always seen the painting moving up, like all our false buildings. But once things started to turn down and follow gravity, the painting changed for me. That single painting colored my opinion of everything I saw by Giehler. When this piece broke for me, the thaw began for everything else. Now, with this painting at the Koenig booth at The Armory things've moved into full-on Spring. Certainly the most organic thing I've seen him do. And it's because of the pink and orange, not the brown. Down is so very up.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Take Your Vitamins.

Vitamin K For Fun (detail), 1982

The amazing (and newly loved here at HAA) Barkley Hendricks at Jack Shainman at the Armory. It was good to see an unfamiliar painting, and it was even better to find out that Hendricks is repped by Shainman now. Here's a link to the full painting on the gallery site. It was one of my favorite works of the entire weekend. Hands down. Hearts up!

Head On The Door.

I came across this Peter Halley painting at Galeria Senda at PULSE. I know it's not exceptionally cool to like his stuff, but I don't care. They're always bustin' my eyes. That, and he has a cool door.

What's What?

Man, it was good to see all those Ivin Ballen's at Edward Winkleman's booth at PULSE on Saturday. Ballen's work always does two things . . . 1. Knock me on my ass. 2. Make me think of Appearance vs. Reality in Shakespeare.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Faraway, So Close.

An artist that's really been killin' me lately is Beka Goedde. I first saw her work in Glowlab's installation at Fountain in Miami, and there it was again on Saturday at Fountain NY. The picture above isn't perfect but I love the way the sun looks like comic book lightning on the right side of the pic. Also, I wanted to highlight how well-hanged this corner was. Jesus. The lines really fall into each other. Goedde's work pulls the distance close, and puts everything else far away. Where do you fall?

After The After.

From the back of the boat at Fountain Fair Saturday morning.

Ye Olde Candyass Pancakes.

Now this is a ritual I can live with . . . Alexander Gray making his (apparently crack-laced) pancakes during The Armory Show weekend when Cary Liebowitz has another ass-kicking show! Fuckin' aay. First of all, hands-down one of my favorite Liebowitz's paintings EVER. Still making me laugh today. And then there were the mugs. The mugs! Oh, for fuck's sake. I bought two. 15 bucks a pop! A hilarious and deadly serious show for our times. Especially our art world times.

I love Warhol piss paintings! Sorry. I just had to say that.

I Don't Want to Make Paintings

Complaint by Numbers Art Lessons!

The Dead Boy On The Bus.

No, not Stiv Bators. I'm talking about the transport of Christopher Davison's sculpture from Philly to NYC for the blogpix show. Here's the 411. Somebody should have filmed this.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Ben La Rocco, Constellation

I'll be on the panel at Denise Bibro this afternoon at 5pm. We'll be talking about art, and all the things that surround it. The presser . . .

Our blogpix panel discussion will be held Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM here at the gallery. We want to hear from you! Submit your feedback and questions, and we'll provide you with answers.

Panelists include curators:
Roberta Fallon & Libby Rosof
Joanne Mattera
Hrag Vartanian

Participating Artists:
Sharon Butler
Steven Alexander

And invited guest bloggers:
Brent Burket - Heart as Arena
Bill Gusky - Artblogcomments

blogpix is organized by Olympia Lambert.

Click here for directions.

The blogpix panel discussion will be fully interactive.

If you can't physically make it here, we'll be posting live feedback on our twitter account.

Whatever You Want.

Painting by somebody named Natasha

For all you people spending money at the art fairs this weekend, I have one word for you . . . SUCKAHS! At lunch today I walked over to the Free Store at 99 Nassau and got myself a painting for, um, well, free. Yes. Everything is free at the Free Store. Really. They have clothes and books and DVDs and beads and 12"s and art and all sorts of little gizmos. Also, there is ice cream. Or at least an ice cream cooler. I don't know. That part confused me. Art that makes me giddy and slightly confused. A fine thing. And quite the bargain.

Seriously. Artists Athena Robles and Anna Stein have knocked it out of the park on this one. Could not possibly be more timely. Obviously. Or better placed, just a couple blocks from The Black Fucking Hole (aka Wall Street). I shopped with confused tourists and women looking for clothes. They also take donated goods (To be clear, not in barter. Like I said, stuff is free.), but don't try to give them just anything. Somebody was trying to unload a broken toy and they weren't having any of it. So brilliant.

Friday, March 06, 2009


Grid Index

"Based upon years of research, artist and musician Carsten Nicolai has discovered and unlocked the visual code for visual systems into a systematic equation of grids and patterns." Geez. That's a pretty bold claim, but I gotta say, if there's anyone who could do it, it's Carsten Nicolai. Nicolai's music and art has been has been exploring and exploiting the grid for years. "Unlocked" is the key word here. The appearance of rigidity and coldness to be found in the grid has been proven again and again to be an illusion by Nicolai. A true believer, he knows we desire it. He knows we need it. He knows we'd get lost without it, even when we're leaving it behind.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Blogpix Opens Thursday Night!

Christopher Davison, Polliwog

REALLY looking forward to the blogpix show opening tonight at Denise Bibro. Heart As Arena faves Roberta Fallon & Libby Rosof, Joanne Mattera and Hrag Vartanian were asked to curate by the show's organizer, Olympia Lambert. Good move. I haven't seen Fallon & Rosof's choice Christopher Davison's work in the reals, but it looks HORRIBLE. But I mean that in a good way, as in, like, things are torn apart and come back together in all the wrong ways yet somehow work themselves out into some weird beauty. Joanne Mattera chose, as one of her artists, Sharon Butler. I'm always happy when I see Butler's work on the wall. Big YAAY. One of the things I dig about Hrag Vartanian's blog is that he's got mad taste AND a mad taste that regularly resonates with me. From the looks of it, his choice of Ben La Rocco will be one more reason to trust Vartanian's judgement.

And as a special bonus, I'll be taking part in a panel discussion on Saturday at 5 o'clock with the curators and art blogger Bill Gusky. Let's go!

Sharon Butler, Siding 3

Ben La Rocco, Constellation

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Small Faces.

No disrespect to Matt Held, but I'll have my Facebook portrait painted by Jenny Dubnau, thank you very much. Jenny Dubnau rules. But we already knew that, didn't we?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Keep Your Distance.

Here's some fine news. KS Art is going to be showing some of Kim Gordon's work at the Armory Show. When I was in checking out the Noise/Art show last year I got to see some Kim Gordon water colors that were in the back room. The images are of audience members who Gordon saw from the stage when on tour. They do a nice job of capturing the space of distant immediacy between artist and audience. Sweet.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Surrounded By Water.

The time would just about NOW to send our dear Governor David Paterson a digital post card to urge him to keep Governors Island OPEN this summer. If you like art, you'll reallyreallyreallyREALLY want the island to be open. Trust me.

Let's make this summer a little less cruel.