Culture: September 2003 Archives

Edward Said died today.

"Every empire... tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires, that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate. These ideas are by no means shared by the people who inhabit that empire, but that hasn't prevented the U.S. propaganda and policy apparatus from imposing its imperial perspective on Americans, whose sources of information about Arabs and Islam are woefully inadequate."
Said worked most of his life trying to remove the burden of our ignorance.

[Said was speaking this past July, and the quote was taken from a tribute on The Nation site today]


Joe Ovelman's latest guerilla art installation, created September 13th, was a wall on 10th Avenue made magical when papered with his photographs.

Go to this gallery for many of the images.

Nothing remains at the site.

For more on Joe, see the show at Daniel Silverstein in February.


Even more ephemeral than 10th Avenue! Go to this gallery for images of the 25th Street wall after Joe [mostly] complied with the request that he remove his photographs that same morning.

The fabulous Wau Wau Sisters and our friend Nicolas at The Kitchen's Fifth Annual Street Fair on Saturday afternoon

Artist Nancy Hwang hanging out, also at The Kitchen Fair, with her interactive deliciously-moving, dumb-waitered, gelato-eating installation, "I Scream"

Joe Ovelman's latest guerilla art, which became part of the NADA/Downtown Arts Project art walks when Vince Aletti brought his group to a halt on 10th Avenue in front of the installation

First the repeated staccato screech of rubber on asphalt, then the protracted angry screaming; this cabbie must have grieviously offended the masculinity of the driver of the old Chevy, as, stopped in the middle of 10th Avenue, he was all but crawling onto the poor man's face

Joe Ovelman, car 2001, 40 x 30" color photograph

[the following text is from Joe's press release]

Joe Ovelman

"Two Walls"

Appearing Saturday, September 13th

at the following locations:

10th Avenue, between 23rd and 24th Streets (Next to Car Wash)
West 25th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues (To the right of 531
West 25th)

Joe Ovelman and Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery are pleased to announce the
installation of two walls of images on Saturday, September 13. These
are the fifth and sixth walls in Joe Ovelman's series of outside
installations using walls from construction sites.

The walls consist of 124 feet of combined images culled from Ovelman's
photographic work.

Joe Ovelman will have a solo show of new work at Oliver Kamm/5BE
Gallery in February 2004.

11th Avenue, 6 pm, September 12

Is it also site-specific work when a sculptor who insists upon the primacy of the artist's will creates work one or two inches smaller than his gallery's freight entrance - but definitely no smaller than that?

Richard Serra opens at Gagosian September 20

Danica Phelps

We stopped by the LFL opening on Friday, but could only stay briefly, in spite of my heads-up broadcasted earlier in the week. We had to be in Brooklyn at about the same time, but we'll be back. I recommend that anyone thinking of visiting Danica Phelps's grand and intimate installation set aside more than a few minutes, even if you don't intend to talk to the live-in artist - just what Kiki Smith was doing at the opening reception. The drawings, the texts and the concept are much more than a seductive conceit, but there's that too.

Saturday afternoon, on the first weekend of the fall season, we walked about western Chelsea without assignment, deciding to take advantage of the fact that virtually any gallery show in the neighborhood would be there for weeks. Ah, like the first day of school, but with the difference that there would be absolutely no pressure.

We started with Galerie Lelong's show of new, literate sculpture by Donald Lipski, called "Non-Fiction." Beautiful installation, magnificent shapes and textures. More.

James Welling still throws out magnificent studies and manipulations of found light. His photographs at Gorney Bravin Lee [site unfortunately not updated yet] are never just pictures. Every one is a challenge, and not just for "Where's Waldo?" enthusists, since the rewards are aesthetic and intellectual. A wall is not a wall.

But then we crossed the street and walked into the James Cohan Gallery not knowing what we would find there, and the day was transformed. Some time later we walked out of this beautiful, serene show, "A Simple Plan," with our feet inches above the pavement. Wonderful, literally. Favorites include: John Cage, Tom Friedman, Adam Fuss, Hans Haacke, Paul Pfeiffer, Gerhard Richter, Karin Sander and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Philip-Lorca diCorcia unfolds a beautiful poem at PaceWildenstein. Scores of small prints of images taken over 25 years compose a sorta fictional and sorta autobiographical non-narrative. Every light imaginable, some barely, recorded. Lyle Ashton Harris, who just opened an important show himself [still on our list of must see's!] at CRG Gallery, was looking at every one.

Marilyn Minter has a dynamite, jewelbox show at Fredericks Freiser, with with richly-figured photographs and paintings. The paintings are enamel applied with her fingers on metal, a technique which mimics her subject. "Her paintings . . . deal with the pathology of glamour" reads a description on one online site.

Tim Davis was enjoying the opening of his second show at Brent Sikkema Saturday. We liked his series, "retail," in 2001, with its images of commercial signage morphing over the American landscape. The new work also succeeds in turning light into a dimensional object, while it examines how we physically approach iconic art imagery, questioning a relationship many of us take for granted. Very cool, and incidently very generous to some wonderful images.

Andrew Kreps was hosting a closing party for a totally delightful and smart show curated by his own artists and staff and including only selections from their own collections, er . . . stuff. Seen about: Eli Sudbrack, Lillian Ball and David Reed. Loved Ricci Albenda's parakeet.

Anton Kern was showing Ellen Berkinbilt. We both loved the smaller images, especially those boasting darker pallets, but couldn't register the larger, metal screen "canvases." Arto Lindsay and David [looking good!] Byrne seemed very pleased to be there, or at least they found plenty to talk to each other about.

Crossing the street as dusk fell, we ran into Emily Noelle Lambert and a friend of hers, locking their bikes after a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Before heading for the, literally, heavenly roof above I-20 Gallery at the top of the building, we wound up the day in Paul Rodgers/9W, where Orly Cogan had installed herself and two other artists. in a show which sometimes looks like the product of a loose collective. We've both really liked Orly's work for some time, most of it embroidered and painted images of a very, very sexy Eden on found fabrics whose faded decorations collaborate with her art. Mixing with the crowd: Ike Ude, Jonathan Feldschuh and Andres Serrano.

From the roof:


PS, in the absence of material on the gallery site, I couldn't resist copying this older image of Orly's:

Orly Cogan, Garden of Earthly Delights, (detail), 2000 Fabric

[images of Phelps and Cogan from LFL Gallery]

coming soon to a neighborhood near you

Why is it ok to open in Chelsea what was condemned in the Village?

So-called "big box stores" are coming to Manhattan, and the biggest will be on 23rd Street.

Home Depot is planning to open a store next summer on 23rd Street, on the busy block just west of 5th Avenue. The firm will open another store in the former Alexanders building next to Bloomingdales, without any doubt one of the most hopelessly-congested neighborhoods in the city.

Three years ago the Village angrily rejected the plans of another big box retailer, Costco, to open a store on Pier 40.

So, have the floodgates now been opened for the "category-killer" suburbanization of Manhattan? It's already in process, as bloggy points out, but even the folks at Primedia's "Retail Traffic" site [until May 2003, known as "Shopping Center World"], recognize the significance of the assaults planned for 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue next year.

Will the arrival of Home Depot mean that other big boxers such as Target will come to Manhattan, too? The barriers to entry still exist, including a shortage of appropriate spaces, logistics problems and high costs — not to mention the intense NIMBYism of Manhattan residents.

. . . .

The biggest obstacle remains community opposition. Small business owners fear the impact of the category killers, and some residents object to the traffic and noise that the high-volume stores would generate. In addition to nixing Costco and holding up the Pier 40 project, New Yorkers have also opposed plans by the city to create big-box districts in derelict manufacturing buildings.

. . . .

Meanwhile, Target is circling Manhattan, looking for a site — literally. Last fall, the trendy discounter hired a barge off Manhattan's Chelsea Piers for a special Christmas shop.

It's not just about traffic of course, and it's not just about aesthetics, although neither issue is unimportant to New Yorkers. As barry protested this evening, he didn't flee middle America for New York in order to be pursued by the conformity that drove him out in the first place.

Hey, this is New York. In fact, damn it, this is Manhattan. Where's that "community opposition" obstacle?

If anyone was thinking of going to the A.R.T. Benefit, and have not stopped by the gallery yet, I'd suggest getting there as soon as you can, that is, any time today. The works are already being sold, but there's plenty of art left.

Prices range/d from $10 to $250, including some of their iris prints, although the most valuable are also available, and their prices top at $1250 - on works generally worth several times that.

The idea is to raise money which is absolutely needed by the institution, as well as to benefit young collectors and broadcast the artists at the same time. I suspect nothing will remain after this evening, so it may be an especially interesting scene after 7.

We've already parted with some money ourselves, and we now learn so have some of our friends. Yea for all of us!

Danica Phelps is a new woman. The provocative young artist has found love, and it has re-created her art. Holland Cotter wrote in 2002 that she had "turned accounting into an art form." This week she will be showing how she has re-adjusted her accounting.

Fabulous Zach Feuer's sassy LFL Gallery opens its Fall season with a show of her art and her, . . . um, living environment, titled "Integrating Sex into Everyday Life".

It's actually her coming-out party as well, so the opening reception Friday should be a hoot. An excerpt from her invitation:

I was always a wanna-be lesbian. At Hampshire College, even with half my friends being lesbians, I didn't think I qualified, you know? I realize now, that wishing you could be a lesbian is not like wishing you could be tall which you literally can't change. Sometimes the changes are pretty involved (I'm so glad I didn't have kids), but WOW, it's worth it to be able to love a woman.

This has, of course, all manifested itself in my rather diary like drawings. A friend of mine once asked me why there wasn't any sex in my work, and I said, "Well, there isn't much sex in my life....". Now there is. I'm having a show in September called "Integrating Sex into Everyday Life" because that's what it's felt like this past year for me.

So please come by and see the show and say hi and let's catch up. I'll be living in the gallery for the month and I'll be there almost everyday, so you'll be pretty sure to catch me.


The exhibition will run from September 5th to October 4th, 2003. The opening will be on Friday, September 5th, from 6 to 8 PM. The gallery is located at 530 West 24th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Meighan Gale, untitled, 2002, stitching on silver gelatin print, 8x10, in the A.R.T. Benefit sale September 4

I sent an email announcement a few days ago to parsiminous or impoverished friends and acquaintances with fabulous taste and who I thought would be interested in acquiring good art cheap while benefiting a wonderful non-profit institution.

I realize that my friends and acquaintances may not be the only ones answering that description, so I'm now casting the information on a much broader scale.

Art Resources Transfer is having a benefit art sale, and it's of that wonderful sort called, "affordable." Be you a collector? Be a collector now.

I understand there are well over a hundred works available, including many of A.R.T.'s own magnificent iris prints. Most of the art is already displayed on the walls and counters of the gallery space on 11th Avenue between 24th and 25th Streets.

I can try to answer any questions you might have about the benefit or the programs of A.R.T., especially since Barry and I know many of the artists who have donated work, and I'm a member of the Board. Alternatively, you can call the number indicated in the A.R.T. announcement below.


Art Resources Transfer, Inc. aka A.R.T. Press, founded in 1987, is a non-profit organization committed to documenting and supporting artists' voices and work, and to make these voices accessible to the public beyond conventional art spaces and outlets by establishing innovative methods of distribution and access.

After 360 exhibitions in 7 years, Art Resources Transfer, has decided to suspend its exhibition program Dec. 31, 2003, in order to better direct its energies to the many highly-respected publishing projects and it's hugely succesful Distribution to Underserved Communities Program, (DUC).

To celebrate this and facilitate the transition to a smaller space, A.R.T. is having an END OF THE SUMMER BENEFIT.

Thursday, September 4, from 7 to 9 pm

Over 100 artists have contributed works in all mediums. The pieces, which are valued between $250 and $750, will be on sale for $100 to $250.

The artwork will be on view at the gallery from today, September 2, until the beginning of the sale on Thursday.

The address is 210 11th Avenue, between 24th and 25th Streets, suite 403.

For information, call 212-691-5956

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from September 2003.

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