October 2005 Archives
in between the art 2005
A quiet moment within a physical break between dealer booths on Pier 92 Saturday.
We ran into Larry Auerbach and his little friend yesterday afternoon in Williamsburg. The dog was very much into his costume, so any sign of affection was totally out of the question.
It just never seems like the right greeting for this dark holiday, but here's a Happy Halloween to all of us!
Just about the time the gardeners should be turning out the annuals and preparing our building's courtyard garden for winter, these beauties [Salvia Leucantha] show up and ask for their time in the low sun.
First sighted by Barry late this afternoon, just about a block away from Bertrand Russell's pickup truck.
Further to the right on this North 10th Street wall is the exposition,
Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872-1970)
Note: the colors in this image have absolutely not been manipulated.
just say no
In the U.S. we can't get very excited about protesting our outrageous invasion and destruction of virtually powerless nations and peoples who present no threat to us whatsoever, but in Germany a good many citizens have always questioned whether it's moral even to posess an army in the first place.
Today is the 50th anniversary of Germany's very controversial decision to re-arm after the Second World War. Barry and I happened upon this spirited demonstration marching down Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse tonight. The sign reads something like:
BLOW TAPS AND SAY ITS OVER!
50 years of Bundeswehr
are 50 years too many
UPDATE: [from EXPATICA]
BERLIN - Soldiers held a torch-lit parade late Wednesday outside the Reichstag parliament building to mark the modern German military's 50th birthday, accompanied by protests with anti-war activists shouting "Soldiers are murderers".
. . . .
Police said that 1,200 protesters turned out for the event. Some scuffled with police and threw stones, but no major violence was reported.
It's a very complicated site for me. It's how we can find our way back to our apartment from anywhere in the city, it's where we joined our friend Dan for his sorta-rehearsal lunch soon after we arrived, it's the highest thing in the city, it was a point of pride for a people who had so little in material things to get excited about, it's kind of outrageous, especially down around the base of the tower, it's a wonderful retro entertainment machine, and, all in all, it's kinda neat. It's the Fernsehturm above Alexanderplatz, as seen at dusk tonight.
I found a number of these small gilt paper bombers wheat-pasted on the lower walls of the former Berlin Postfuhramt. The 1881 building on Oranienburger Strasse is used today for occasional art installations.
ducks in the moat
Yesterday I wrote that I hoped to put up some pictures of townscapes we've seen outside Berlin. I'm sorry but they will have to wait until I return to New York. We're both too busy just being here to do much posting.
I can easily show these two ducks however. They were lording it over the quiet moat surrounding the beautiful early rococo Schloss Rheinsberg, Frederick the Great's home before he succeeded his father as king.
I never approach a moat without thinking of T.H. White and the visit of Merlyn and the Wart to the moat of the Castle of the Forest Sauvage. Unfortunately I didn't see a perch yesterday.
CORRECTION: Our friend Kate, writing from Antwerp, tells me that they are probably Coots, or Waterhoentjes, which means they actually aren't ducks at all.
We drove into the country this morning through the unexceptional, but totally charming landscape of the Mark Brandenburg, the historic core of the country, Prussia, which became the modern German state. It rained most of the day, but in these circumstances that somehow made it even more delicious to be alive.
I guess this is our fall foliage tour, but there's no mistaking it for New England.
The view of the ancient village seen in the distance in the top photo is balanced by the sight of the very modern windmill generator on the other side of the road. We had originally stopped the car to look at the yellow flowering plants [unidentified, and not so yellow in the image] and the colorful brush between the field and the road.
Tomorrow I hope to get to show some town images.
Barry, sitting uneasily
The beautiful red marble which covers the pillars, every wall and even the benches inside the Mohrenstrasse stop on the number 2 U-Bahn has an interesting heritage. It once decorated the walls of Adolf Hitler's lordly Reichskanzlei [Imperial Chancellery], which had stood just a block away. The DDR officials apparently saw no reason to waste resources while rebuilding the transit system after the war.
and I love the idea of a circus, not least for the posters
the waves of the Spree below the station at Schiffbauerdamm, just as it started to rain
We visited the twice-weekly organic market in Prenzlauer Berg this afternoon. It rained lightly for much of the day today, so the light in these pictures is just a little exotic. The vegetables at the top on the left look especially weird, but I swear the color is very accurate. I have no idea what the beautiful roots might be. I can't read the sign. This particular stall seemed to specialize in produce from Israel.
The second photo should give some idea of how gorgeous the produce was. This cabbage and broccoli looked unbelievably perfect, and almost fresher than they would have while still in the ground.
The third image is that of the busy exchange at another stall, and the last offers a peek at the crowd and the ambience of the immediate neighborhood of Käthe-Kollwitz-Platz. The easiest way to describe it to someone familiar with New York would be to say it's not unlike Brooklyn's Park Slope - only different.
When was the last time you saw a Goggomobil? For me it must have been 1961, or maybe a couple of years later. This one was spotted this afternoon on Knaackstrasse, in Prenslauerberg. The sunroof isn't stock, and it's the only glass on the car that isn't a flat plane.
ceiling fixture in entrance porch of office wing
detail of ceiling in great hall
We had about an hour to kill before the Lachenman/Nono/Stockhausen concert in the gorgeous Konzerthaus this evening, so Barry and I took the U-Bahn to fabled Tempelhof Flughafen. It was dark when we arrived, so I thought it would be best to try only for some pretty abstract images.
construction scaffolding below the rails
the trains roll through while the station rises around them
They're building a great railway station in Berlin today, while in the U.S. they're working to dismantle what little remains of what was once a great passenger rail system
Bruce Nauman Mapping the Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage) 2001 installation with multiple projections [still from one screen of installation]
David Claerbout Shadow Piece 2005 video projection [view of installation as still]
Richard Long Berlin Circle 1996 [detail of installation in the Hamburger Bahnhof]
Barry and anonymous entertaining Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt in the Hamburger Bahnhof this afternoon
seen on the edge of the pavement across from our Wohnung this morning
We're staying on Rosa Luxemburg-Platz, only steps from the national headquarters of the PDS, or rather of its successor, Die Linke. I've worn my very red button every time I've gone out, and it seems it escapes the attention of almost no one here. [in the U.S. I sometimes think it's invisible]
Anyway, a few days ago an open-faced youth stopped us a hundred meters from our door to ask if we knew where the PDS office was. I was silly-proud to point him in the right direction, and it was near their building that I spotted this poster this morning.
This is a very political people and they will not be deceived this time. It's my own country that I'm very worried about.
FOLLOWUP: It happened. Everybody marched. No one was hurt. There were eggs thrown (by the anti-antis). The counter-demonstrators outnumbered the neo-nazis three to one. The police outnumbered both. There were ten arrests however, none of them of partisans from the extremist right.
pushing up green
"DER BEVÖLKERUNG", Hans Haacke's conceptual and somewhat controversial contribution to the Reichstag, installed in the interior court to the north, is very visible from the roof of this amazing building, at least to those with a bit of curiosity.
Outside, the dedication has remained unchanged since 1916, when it was added to the west front:
on a clear day you can see them all
above the inclined plane
We spent hours this afternoon at Berlin's Jewish Museum. I don't think the impact of architecture has ever brought me almost to tears so easily. Yes, the city and the nature of the collection has set the visitor up for it, but I had not yet gotten beyond the ramps inside Daniel Libeskind's masterpiece when I had to stop and catch my breath.
I had expected much, but I was given more.
groom and groom seated inside the Neuer Salon of the Berlin Mitte Standesamt this afternoon.
Dan and Adrian confront the Beamte
Laurence was invited by the presiding official to go with his camera anywhere he wished. He did.
It was the funniest wedding I've ever been to.
Dan said it certainly must be the most documented. Everyone had a camera and half of those were in video mode. One hour later, at the lunch following the ceremony, Laurence presented each of the grooms with a CD including hundreds of his raw stills alone. I think the presentation itself was documented.
We enjoyed the day in the company of wonderful people in a wondrous mood in a wonder of a city. Tonight we wish them all good fortune.
walls of our borrowed apartment, in a 1929 Hans Poelzig building, disappear near the ceiling
inside Der ehemaliges Palast der Republik, a small carnival on the Platz outside
the streets below are even more cool
This noble old building lies directly west across the Spree from Museum Island, in the midst of the most heavily touristed part of Berlin. It still shows the scars of the battle for the city after sixty years.
Just steps away from it to the south, another veteran of the war has been totally repaired and restored. The many holes left by large and small-arms fire exchanged in April and May of 1945 have been filled by stone cosmeticians, who have painstakingly simulated the subtle textures of the original rusticated stone on the surfaces of their plugs. See the image below, taken hours later than that above, as we left the Pergamon Museum in l'heur bleu.
seen from the Strassenbahn haltestelle across from our apartment
celebrating [whatever] near the Fernsehturm tonight
the new East Berlin
youth dallying at the schnell Imbiss, age rushing on
our Luft chimney
We're in Berlin, where we are staying in a friend's apartment off Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The building was designed by Hans Poelzig in the late twenties, and the image above is that of the handsome small court within.
I thought, if I'm going to do posts while we're here I have to start somewhere, and our domestic arrangements seemed like just the right spot.
My old camera, a tiny digital, the DimageX, recently had to be sent in for repairs again. I really was planning to get a grown-up camera anyway, but the combination of immediate need and an impending trip to Berlin finally triggered my springing for the NIKON D70s which took the picture above.
It doesn't fit into my pocket [on some days it will just have to stay home], but there will be compensations. See this earlier image taken with the miniature.
It's a shame, but I haven't had the time to even look at the manual or the DVD guide I bought. I've also not yet even tried to figure out how to use another new purchase, our Photoshop software.
Basically I want pictures, not gadgets. I don't want to be too distracted by the machinery, but I know I'm going to have to do some homework to get what I want out of this magic box.
For a while longer it's going to be just point and shoot, but I am going to pack that camera manual.
untitled (red awning) 2005
Anatoly Osmolovsky Russia, our holy country! Russia, our beloved country! 2001 chair, tape recorder and sound, dimensions variable [view of installation, with standing figures listening to the Russian national anthem*]
Gluklya and Tsaplya Trilogy: Triumph of fragilities, Immersion, Memory to Poor Lisa 2002 video performance and installation of ten dresses, DVD 4 min., 15 min. 30 sec. [large detail video still from projection of "Triumph of fragilities" (the ten dresses are not included in this show)]
David Ter-Oganyan and Aleksandr Korneev Illegal Library 2004 video documentation of shoplifting, with installation including books, wood, metal and paint, dimensions variable [large detail of installation]
There are no images jumping out at you when you first walk into the gallery. You've heard the show of activist Russian artists was put together by the same young curator, Elena Sorokina, who installed the very interesting current group show at Momenta. You've just walked in from an unshaded street on a hot and humid afternoon and you think you need to see something visually exciting, and certainly not too complicated.
At first there doesn't seem to be much of anything there. The main gallery at Schroeder Romero looks more like an installation in a library, or perhaps a room in one of those earnest Soviet (or post-Soviet) museums you think you know all about from books and photographs.
Then you start looking around and you realize that someone is introducing you to a rich vein of intelligent art created by young Russians who are not comfortable with the government and system they have been given. The institutions and lords of the post-soviet system have even less use for their critical and creative output, even their survival, than our own reactionary order has for their equivalents here.
The notes which accompany the labels of each piece provide both an introduction to the sadder side of contemporary Russia and to the artists who may understand it best.
Some time in your tour of the gallery you've realize the exhibition actually is exciting. It's also not too complicated, unless you think about it. And, like any Russian, you will be thinking about it, even if you're not.
Worth a big detour.
From the press release:
Schroeder Romero is pleased to announce the group exhibition "Russia Redux #1" curated by Elena Sorokina. It is the first from a series of exhibitions which are to take place in New York in the upcoming season.
This multimedia exhibition features works by twelve artists and artists' collectives, who are informed by such issues as communities, strategies of resistance, Soviet history and its post-Soviet developments and are concerned with problems of representation of local art scenes to international audiences as well as with the notion of "national construction" in art exhibitions.
The soundtrack of the installation is the current National Hymn of Russia which, historically, went through several spectacular transformations. It was officially adopted as the national hymn of the USSR in 1944. The lyrics were written by Sergey Mikhalkov, but revised in 1977, as Stalin's name was removed. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia adopted the pre-revolutionary Russian National Anthem without any lyrics, which never gained any popularity. In the end of the year 2000 the melody of the Soviet National Anthem was reestablished as the National Hymn of Russia. The lyrics were revised by the same author, Sergey Mikhalkov, who removed notions such as "Communism" or "Soviet Union", no longer in existence. [notes from the curator]
Much too long ago, while it was actually still calendar summer, I wrote that I was going to put up some images from the show, "Sport", still installed at the time in Socrates Sculpture Park. Today on the 5th of October these sculptures are long gone, but the weather which inspired them lingers on. They looked good in the sun two months ago and they still look good on a screen on this balmy October afternoon.
Luis Lara Malvacías, Untitled Shoes (From Series Channel Sur) 2005 blue plastic shopping bag, buttons 12.5" × 4.75" × 4.25" each
The gallery space itself is perfect, and a perfect fit for the neighborhood. It's a very well-designed small cube cut into the side of an old industrial or warehouse building. It sits on a Williamsburg street which has not yet been rendered suitable for a Starbucks. One concrete step up from the sidewalk, with an industrial gate which can be lowered at night as a modesty shield to indifference or a protective barrier to vandalism, its aesthetics are totally fine.
I have to admit that we stopped at Galería Galou with our friend Dan mostly because we knew it was on the path between some familiar galleries and lunch outside on a beautiful late summer afternoon. But the show we saw last Sunday, "Venezueland", would have been worth a detour, even without the interest of its concept and geographic focus. From the press release:
Venezueland is a virtual space where a new generation of Venezuelan artists merges and engages both in individual investigations and related creative processes. In this fertile, dynamic ground there is a steadfast pondering of memories from a country now immersed in political upheaval, and of the unstoppable flux of information generated in the urban context of New York City.The amusing piece by Luis Lara Malvacías shown in the image above happened to photograph very well. The works by other V-land artists are no less worthy of attention however, even if they may not all be as comfortable in more than one discipline as Malvacías appears to be.
I just got an email announcing that his choreography will be performed at Danspace later this month. Now I'm bummed. Barry and I will be out of the country when "Badman" is performed here.
Dan and Galou