May 2007 Archives

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Still waiting.


[image, otherwise unattributed, via salvationinc]

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cut-paper collage by Sophy Naess [installation view]

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[detail]


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collaged drawing by Matthew Lutz-Kinoy [installation view]


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collaged drawing, a collaboration of Sophy Naess and Matthew Lutz-Kinoy [installation view]


Thrust Projects is currently mounting an exhibition of work by Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and Sophy Naess titled, "darling! what color". The artists, who are in fact good friends and who are both comfortable in a number of media, including performance, are represented here both individually and in collaboration, in beautiful work that stretches the idea of figurative representation but manages just as often to betray the indifference of pure abstraction.

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untitled (GOYA) 2007


The color and shapes outside the window above the Bowery almost rivaled those inside the gallery, at Thrust Projects last Friday.

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Dalí would certainly have been pleased, had he been with us on the sidewalk outside the Chelsea Hotel this afternoon.

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Eliezar Sonnenschein Landscape and jerusalem 2007 acrylic on wood 96" x 48"


Three years ago I did a post which included an image of a painting by Eliezar Sonnenschein, who shows with Tel Aviv's Sommer Gallery. Yesterday I came across his flickr page, where he shows a number of works, including the large-scale painting above, which is apparently very new.

His profile led me to this beautiful animation, "self portrait", on YouTube, constructed from another of his paintings:


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It's a very simple thing, but I think our most exciting gustatory discovery while in Spain was a traditional (Galician) pepper dish, Pimientos de Padrón, and I'm willing to go to great lengths to find the right pepper in order to reproduce the dish at home.

This picture shows us on the terrace outside the Mayflower restaurant in Getaria finishing a magnificent, elegant but extraordinarily-minimal appetizer of house-cured anchovies, in a terrific local olive oil combined with chopped garlic, just after the peppers were brought to the table and before the wood-grilled monkfish entrée (cola de rape a la plancha) had arrived directly from the fires burning ten feet behind Barry's chair.

The wine in that beautiful thin [cider] tumbler was an excellent Txakoli from the Basque country.

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untitled (yellow cap) 2007

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untitled (blue boat) 2007

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I fell in love with many of the older doors (and their portals) in Spain, both for their beauty and for the physical scars which mark their survival. In some of the more ancient examples the wood had been replaced at some point and the original hardware re-installed.

The first three images were taken in Madrid, and the last was in the wall of one of the structures which surrounds the monastery/palace El Escorial.

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William Powhida The Rules 2007 graphite and gouache on panel 24" x 18" [large detail of installation]


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William Powhida Pricing Guide 2007 graphite and gouache on panel 14" x 11" [large detail of installation]


We missed all the fun of the opening while we were traveling, but this past Saturday Barry and I slipped into Schroeder Romero, to see William Powhida's awesome first solo show at the gallery, "This Is A Work Of Fiction......". It didn't disappoint our highest expectations, and I'm very happy to say it also didn't hurt one bit: We're both included in one of the pieces, with a sketch, a blurb and a footnote, but the work is "The New York Allies List", one of two large drawings illustrating people who occupy the artist's world. The other, "The New York Enemies List", is pretty scary, and not just because it includes Trump and Giuliani.

I loved Powhida's rich gouache representations of his fantasy world as a hugely-successful art star, but his texts, whether accompanying the figures or standing alone as memos, are even more intense.

Disclosure: William was asked by the NURTUREart people to introduce us at their June 4 benefit, and we couldn't be more excited about their choice.

The gallery introduces the artist's letter/press proclamation with this admission:

Schroeder Romero is terrified to present This Is A Work Of Fiction...... a solo exhibition by William Powhida, under professional obligation and personal duress.
And here is an excerpt of what follows, from the artist himself:
BUT, all that doesn't really matter. The work isn't that important. I could, say, pack my shit into a can, take nude photos of my beautiful friends at parties, or make BIG EXPRESSIONISTIC paintings of monsters, but it wouldn't really matter. WHAT matters is that someone says "Did you see that shit on 27th Street?! He called Dash a jerk-off'." It's REALLY important that Shamim and Roberta drop by. I mean, otherwise what's the point? I can't keep sitting around my studio getting drunk and yelling at my assistants forever, can I? I need some affirmation of my BRILLIANCE like a Times review or a Biennial nod. While I have probably just doomed myself to insignificance by ASKING for those things, aren't they the very indicators of success?

I would like to ask you to participate in my impossible endeavor to scale the walls of my insignificant existence as an emerging (it's so pathetic sounding) artist. I know that WE (_Richard, you bastard_) don't make art to be rich and famous, but my hair is turning gray, I am getting OLD, and time is running out for me to experience GREATNESS. I mean, I'm not twenty-five anymore! I can feel the studio walls closing in around me, my assistants are giving me dirty looks, and collectors are trying to GUESS MY AGE!!! (I take no comfort in the fact that I too will eventually be recognized as a GENIUS. I mean we ALL will someday when we are dead)

The artist's real or mock fears, expressed at the end of his letter, about no one ever letting him do this again have almost certainly been dispelled by a success both artistic and monetary: One week into the show almost all of the work had been sold.

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untitled (floats) 2007


Getaria is an extraordinarily beautiful small Basque town on the Bay of Biscay where we enjoyed a wonderful leisurely lunch on a stone terrace high above the harbor, at a restaurant bearing the improbable name, May Flower [sic].

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Where is the outrage over Guantanamo, seven months after the election? Why hasn't our political "detainment" camp in Cuba, our festering national disgrace, been shut down yet?

And while I'm on the subject, where is my right to habeas corpus? Where is my right to protection from coercion or torture? Where is my right to privacy? Where is my right to assemble and speak? Where is my country?

Why don't these absolutely fundamental issues even appear to be on the agenda of a newly-ascendant Democratic Congressional caucus?

I'm afraid I may already know the answers to these questions: Its leaders are actually quite content, even happy, with the way things have been arranged by the current regime, since they can now look forward to enjoying the spoils themselves when the Presidency passes to their team twenty months from now.

In 2009 it will become their oil, their war, their empire, their lobby money, their regime, and we may well find that we have only traded one king for another.

If this is a democracy, we're all tyrants - and beasts.

I will probably be repeating this post regularly, since I don't expect things to change soon, if ever.


[image, otherwise unattributed, via salvationinc]

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children playing in a fronton in the fishing town of Getaria, on the Basque coast


I've just put dozens of images on Flickr, specifically of people we encountered during our two weeks in Spain. Most of them are complete strangers, but Barry shows up regularly. It doesn't surprise me that there is a disproportionate number of attractive men. There's also one dog patiently waiting for its young master. The pictures appear chronologically, and the series begins in Madrid, moves north to Segovia and several small towns in Castille-Leon, La Rioja and Navarra, goes on to Pamplona and some smaller towns in Basque country, including Gueteria on the Costa Vasca, continues through Aragon, including Zaragoza, and ends in Barcelona.

Some of these pictures are beautiful, some cute, some funny and some revealing. The remainder (in fact all of them) are at least individual small documents.

Over the next few days or more I expect to be tagging and titling them, and I'll also be adding other shots (the people-less ones), and some will appear on this site as well.

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like a bad penny


I cannot hide it any longer: We arrived back from Spain Wednesday afternoon. Our luggage, having decided to extend the holiday for another day, arrived at our door 24 hours later, sadder but a little wiser. Next time there will be no dawn check-ins at a remote airport for a connection to a Transatlantic flight.

I have tons of images from our trip to Spain which I'd like to put up on this site. I'm going to keep putting more up until I get distracted by the next new thing.

Unfortunately I really am very easily diverted. Witness my delight in one of today's biggest news stories and my failure to resist looking back almost four years to three of the entries on this site which dealt with Paul Wolfowitz - in one of his earlier incarnations. Too bad he's never gotten fired for his real failures and crimes: total personal incompetence and state murder on an international scale.

If you can still stand to read about the man, see this, my September 21, 2003 post and both this and this post each filed two days later, concerning Wolfowitz's appearance at The New School.


[yucky image, but perhaps also an homage to Deborah Kass, from trueblueliberal]

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I found this shaggy little guy asleep in the middle of Placa Barceloneta Tuesday afternoon.

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I've always wanted to inhabit this glorious utopian folly, so it was way up near the top of my list during our visit to Barcelona. In the end, since the platform occupied by the 1985 recreation of Mies van der Rohe's 1929 Barcelona Pavilion was closed for a corporate reception when we approached it early in the afternoon on Tuesday, we had to go back a second time in order to actually experience the space.

I see it as a garden folly, maybe surrounded by a vineyard, and now I really covet it. Except that there wouldn't be much wall space for art, I'd even live permanently (and sparely) in the confines of the architect's detached structure at the end of the larger pool if there were books, music and food, and if I could share the beauty of these magnificent planes with friends and others. I can't understand why none of the many people today who could afford to commission such a thing and live with it [seem to] have actually done so.

The second view here is taken from one end of that pool, looking at the structure I referred to, now being used as a museum shop. Barry can be seen in the distance, in a green shirt, sitting on the long Roman Travertine bench. The thick vertical line just right of the center of the picture is the leading edge of a high wall, of the same material, which extends all the way to the shop.


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The first image above and these last two show other details of these austere, woven spaces and their materials. Those include, prominently, chromium steel, glass, water, river stones, green marble, golden Onyx, light and air.


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untitled (skateboarder) 2007


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untitled (laundry) 2007


These two shots were taken the same day, the first in El Raval, a neighborhood of Barcelona's Ciutat Vella, near the historic center of the city, the second in Barceloneta, a planned 18th-century barrio barely a stone's throw from the sea.

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untitled (gilt holes) 2007


This is a large detail of the arcaded ceiling of the nave of Gaudi's extraordinary Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The backlit holes, haloed with gilt rays perhaps 60 meters above the floor, seem to suggest openings in the heavens, even to an unbeliever like me.

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nice beltline


It took us at least 45 minutes to turn over the keys to our rental car here in Barcelona yesterday, but there was also this pleasant distraction at the counter immediately ahead of us.

He and his friend appeared to be Italian.

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untitled (flames) 2007


Biggest votive candles ever!

These thick tapers (measuring approximately one inch in diameter) were burning inside the enormous Renaisance/Baroque interior of Zaragosta's Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar when we visited the church on Saturday.

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untitled (walking sticks) 2007


Spaniards are almost always beautiful, but the older men and women have a kind of grace not found in youth, even the youth of Iberia. Not incidentally, they also dress much better than most of the kids and grandkids.

These three friends were sitting under the portico of a the Plaza Mayor in El Burgo de Osma last Wednesday afternoon.

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untitled (roots) 2007


We're having some difficulty getting a decent internet connection, so I haven't been able to upload any of images I would like to have shown here in the last few days. This one was captured yesterday afternoon while we drove through a cloud on our way to the French border. Why France? I suppose because it was there. Today we drove along the coast west of Donostia/San Sebastián. Wow.

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Today was a slow day at the El Escorial. Indeed, it was a day the palace/monastery was closed, but the huge terrace was pulsing with life during a lunch break for the students at the Real Colegio Alfonso XII.

By precisely 3 o'clock everyone had disappeared inside the doors and the terrace was empty.

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Artemio Made in china 2006 self-adhesive vinyl 80cm x 150cm [installation view with Barry and gallery guest in foreground]


Yesterday Barry and I went to an opening in Lavapiés with Teresa Moro, a show by a group of Mexican artists at a new space called "Off Limits", run by two friends of hers. There we discovered that one of the participating artists was our friend María Alós, whom we had first met in New York. She showed up a few minutes after we arrived and in our excitement we almost forgot to pay attention to the show itself, "Perdidos en el despacio" [Lost in space], whose curatorial conceit was a consideration of the way we address the spaces we occupy.

One of the pieces in the show was this adhesive intervention by Artemio, a sign affixed to the wall just outside the entrance of the gallery which identified the entire show as a product. I was also able to register both the boast and the melancholy of Edgar Orlaineta's straps from a humble pair of plastic flip-flops, fixed on the cement floor, "The world is my sole", with their suggestion of the possibility of transcending space altogether.

Maria was represented in the exhibition with "Ejercicio de control #2" [Control exercise #2], a piece which demands of the public some behavior protocols in the gallery: Where it was possible, each of the other artists' works was isolated in an area delineated by tape attached to the floor, and volunteers were stationed at the edge of each of these with timers and instructions for the visitor.


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Edgar Orlaineta The world is my sole 2005 sujetadores de chancias enterradas en el cementa 30 cm [detail of installation]

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Barry and I went to Atocha early this afternoon, to see what the station looked like, but also to see the memorial to the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people and injured some 1800.

Especially considering the circumstances of its origin, it is, as Barry said, the least chauvinistic monument imaginable. Texts composed of hundreds of expressions of grief sent in the days after the attack from all over the world are printed on a clear colourless membrane that is inflated by air pressure, rising balloon-like inside a cylinder. That structure is composed of glass blocks and sits on a platform or terrace overhead. The light in the empty blue room below comes from this source alone. At night the cylinder is illuminated by lamps within its base and can be seen throughout the station neighborhood.

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[detail]


We really happy to spend some time with Teresa Moro today, especially since we weren't originally sure we would even find her while we were here. We hadn't seen the artist since her solo show at Foxy Production a little over three years ago, when we went home with three beautiful gouaches.

We had a terrific leisurely lunch in Malasaña, where we were joined by John Thomson of Foxy, who had helped us locate the artist here and who was in Madrid himself, representing New York's Elecronic Arts Intermix at a new media event at Circulo des Belles Artes. After lunch, John went off to participate in a panel and Barry and I headed to Lavapiés with Teresa. There we visited her Madrid gallery, My name's Lolita Art, and were shown a number of her newer drawings and paintings, including these two gorgeous acrylics on linen.

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untitled (fish eye) 2007

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untitled (jamon) 2007

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untitled (tabac) 2007


It was obviously the azul hour. We were in Lavapiés tonight, walking down Calle Torrecilla del Leal toward Plaza Anton Martin, when we passed these two wonderful bars.

I took these shots in quick succession, almost impulsively and with uncharacteristic fearlessness (the taller man on the right in the second picture saw me snap the shutter and jokingly held up a small card pretending to block his face).

I had to bring a little bit of this environment home, fearing it might soon disappear forever.

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It didn't look like they were there to see Felipe III's grand Plaza.

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untitled (blue wall) 2007


Actually, it's not easy finding some bright color on Madrid buildings. This small old house near the Plaza de la Paja is a little eccentric, but it also needs a little more care than it's been getting.

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untitled (cabbage) 2007


Restaurante El SoPortal displays its wares in the Plaza Major.

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from the entrance at Foxy, a detail of "SUPEROVERPASS"


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collages grouped in the rear of the gallery at Foxy


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a detail of the enormous "Recondite" at Metro Pictures


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more of "Recondite", with collages on the wall in the background


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detail of Metro's "Mortar and Pestle/Torso Combo", with works on paper on wall


I'm on my way out the door right now, so I don't have time to write anything or even identify the works in these images, but I want to recommend Sterling Ruby's brilliant installations at Foxy Production, where he was first shown in New York, and Metro Pictures, whose comparatively vast spaces house several truly monumental sculptures. Between the two galleries there is work in virtually every medium, including sculpture, video, painting, print, ceramic, photography and collage, much of it of these elements compounded.

Ruby's a master in each of them. These shows may be my favorites for the year.

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Francisco de Zurbarn Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose 1633


We're flying to Spain tomorrow for two weeks: Madrid, a motor trip north, ending in Barcelona, from which we fly back on the 16th.

I was in Barcelona in 1961. I was almost arrested for wearing Bermuda shorts while riding around on my bike. I went back to Spain (Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca) in 1980. the Caudillo was dead, and it felt like one big party; I can't believe I haven't been been back in the meantime.

Barry just did a post covering some territory we're going to have to miss, several benefits and some theatre.

I have no idea whether I'll have a chance to blog while away. Okay, maybe some pictures if we have good internet connections.


[image from gatochy]

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Don Bachardy Gore Vidal 1963 pencil and ink wash


"From George Washington to George Bush makes a monkey out of Darwin. [pause] I'm now a creationist."

And so, punctuating himself with a mischievous smile and a composed chuckle, did Gore Vidal introduce himself before speaking to a group of enthusiastic admirers (many of whom had brought stacks of the great man's books for his signing). The scene was the Borders store on Columbus Circle yesterday afternoon. The iconic, and iconoclastic, Leftist author, historian and "homosexualist" was in town because he was being honored with the first PEN/Borders Literary Service Award during last night's PEN Literary Gala.

Vidal reminisced about the era in America past when, if you had scoundrels in office, "you'd hold and election and you'd get them out." He spoke lovingly of his close relationship, as a boy who loved reading, to his blind Grandfather, the Oklahoma Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, who played an extremely significant role in our federal system as a player in a very different political age. But not completely different, as he indicated when he told us that although the populist, anti-foreign war Senator was an atheist, he had the good sense not to share that fact with his constituents.

Knowing the audience would be interested in his opinion on the subject of the next election, he encouraged us to "Vote for Al Gore," insisting that Gore did win the 2000 election and was only prevented from assuming the office by the Supreme Court. He also dropped a good word for Pelosi and Kucinich.

He told us he never reads at a book signing, since it's enough work just to write them, and he would prefer leaving the reading to others. So he asked for the mind or sense of the audience; what did we want to talk about about? There was a brief hesitation, so I shouted out, "revolution!", which seemed to take him by surprise for a moment. He answered, Revolutions don't usually end well", and went on to look for another subject before I thought to retort with a list of those that did, restructurings all provoked by the impossibility of any moderate alternative.

For someone who dismisses the idea of rebellion so lightly, he fails to offer the rest of us any hope, any alternative. "We have rogues in high office and no one wants to do anything about them", he bellowed. We were very fortunate in our founders, but today "We have no republic".

Answering a question about 9/11, he admitted, "I'm not a conspiracy theorist; I'm a conspiracy analyst." He said that this gang in the White House would never have been able to pull it off; everything they do is screwed up completely. On the other hand, he suggested, it would be possible for them to have just stood aside when they learned it was happening. "I'd like to blame them", Vidal concluded, but he wouldn't go any further.


[Don Bachardy drawing from americanartists]

nurture art benefit

Barry has all the words, and he links to all the important information on his post: Williamsburg's NUTUREart is having a benefit party, and they're throwing it in Manhattan. I suppose the location may have been chosen partly for the same reasons presidential candidates come to Manhattan, but CUE Art Foundation also has more room for all the people I would expect are going to want to be there.

It's a very good thing for emerging artists, and those who love them.

Barry and I would be excited about this event even if we weren't the honorees, and with William Powhida doing the introductions, it would seem risky to stay away no matter whom he was asked to talk about.

We're told tickets may be purchased on the website beginning Wednesday.

This page is an archive of entries from May 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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