Culture: January 2008 Archives

Whew! This photo prohibition thingy is becoming even more insane. Check out Ed Winkleman's post on the subject, and don't miss the comments and the several links you'll find there.

I apologize, to myself and to anyone else who might be concerned about the issue, that the current show at 303 Gallery is listed on ArtCal.

I have written on this site that neither I nor the calendar would include shows in galleries which do not permit photography. The listing which appeared this month was simply an oversight. It will stay up until the show closes, but only because James Kalm's provocative video is now tagged on the ArtCal listing. It's the last 303 show we will be listing until the gallery comes to its senses.

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a silent cry from a witness across the street two days ago


Whatever the bureaucratic, commercial or political story which lies behind the human tragedy of New York City's dreadful and totally irresponsible eviction of over 200 men, women, children and their pets from their homes in the darkness nine days ago on one of the coldest nights of the year, if this doesn't radicalize New Yorkers, we deserve whatever we get.

But there is no acceptable outcome to this particular tale other than the quick return of these people and a proper accounting of the official malfeasance which resulted in their removal in the first place.

Bloomberg, Markowitz, Quinn, anybody out there? We do note that that very decent local member of the City Council, David Yassky, has been with this story from the beginning, was at the scene on Sunday, and appears to be very supportive of the vibrant and creative community which has lived and worked inside this massive, 11-story Williamsburg building block for ten years.

For more on the story of 475 Kent, see Bloggy and any number of other on-line sites.

The images below were taken this past Sunday night. They show tenants retrieving their possessions (boxes, art, bicycles, baby carriages, parakeets, etc.) in the last moments before the building was finally padlocked, for a painfully-indefinite period. A large crowd gathered across the street in the bitter cold to observe the sad scene.

If you go to Barry's flickr images, note the Police van parked on the sidewalk adjacent to the large crowd which was repeatedly pushed back from the parking lane onto that part of the sidewalk not occupied by an NYPD vehicle.


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When I was very young and still a wide-eyed Midwesterner, I used to think that one of the neatest things about art was that you could conceivably do something that was more or less an accident, and pretty messy, or you might even find something somewhere that already existed, and you could put it into a frame or in a nice room and it would look very cool.

I loved Modernism, even as a child.

I skip ahead now, and I recall that for a number of years I've been watching more and more artists do stuff that didn't want to be in simple frames or placed in perfect white rooms, and in fact it was stuff that wouldn't look as cool if it were there.

I love messy art too.

The artist Jan De Cock puts some very nice stuff in those frames and he installs those pictures and his very nice sculptures in those rooms. It works very well, and it looks really great. In fact it looks monumental. The Museum of Modern Art hosted a press preview last night for a very striking exhibition of De Cock's work, titled, as luck would have it, "Denkmal 11" [Monument 11].

It's so darn neat! I found myself instinctively resisting its pull, but I can't argue with what I have to describe as the artist's genius.

If I say that I think what he does could also work without the expensive constructions which delight the mind and eye here and in other installations, I'm not taking anything away from what he has accomplished. I can imagine his voice and his gaze opening us to just as much eloquence and beauty if he were content with humbler, materials mounted more humbly. While the sharp edges and perfect planes of the elegant Formica boxes which visually secure and give depth to the installation's two-dimensional works (hung so as to claim the full height of every wall) are clearly his choice, they could just as well be constructed of cardboard with a variety of cardboard mats substituted for the fine frames

But it certainly works as it is.

This is not "found art" as it is usually encountered today, but although what he employs in his work isn't physical detritus, it really is "scraps" of found and created images which describe a broad category of the "monuments" of our modern American condition. Like the work of his contemporaries who manipulate assembled elements, what makes it art is both what he picks and what he does with it after its picked. What makes it monumental is its encyclopedic ambition.

I've now encountered De Cock's art for a third time, even if this may be his first solo show in the U.S., so maybe I'm ahead of most of my compatriots who will find their way to the galleries at MoMA in the next three months. When I was invited to a private installation in March, 2006, I was little prepared for what I saw. I felt I had come into the middle of a conversation, but my curiosity was roused. A second encounter at an installation in Printed Matter's Art Book Fair that November reminded me that I had still not done any studying, but at least I finally met the artist - and I tried to cram the book.

The show at the museum looks terrific, and even if all you manage to get to before wandering through the clean white spaces is the writing on the outside wall, you should have enough of an idea of what it's about to enjoy what you see. Linger. Look closely at the images and the way they have been mounted, then peer at and into the sculptures and investigate the way the frames and boxes have been arranged.

You won't get bored. There's probably much more here than any of us will be able to see in the time we alot ourselves. Just as soon as I thought I had put some of this stuff together - brought it to where I thought I had figured out what he'd done - put it into my own frame - I found something that had totally escaped me until then and I wanted to point it out and talk to someone about it.

I brought home two things that might have made the show for me without any help from the art. The outside wall text asks, regarding De Cock's approach to image-making, "What is the most important thing that remains, the images or a way of looking?" A few minutes later Roxana Marcoci, the show's curator, spoke to the people assembled at the press preview tonight, saying something about the artist believing, as I very much do, that Modernism is the most important movement in the history of art, and (this is the most important part) that it did not end - that it will not end.

Now if we could only get our local institution to consider those two postulates. Photography prohibitions, to begin, would not survive such an examination, but nor would the current far-too-safe and sleepy curatorial practice. We see truly contemporary modern art too rarely in the Museum of Modern Art; we should all be able to take images of it, and of the rest of the archive, with us when we leave.


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De Cock being interviewed by NewArtTV in the Bernd and Hilla Becher gallery next door

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Jan De Cock and Roxana Marcoci

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Lovett/Codagnone Party With Us 2006 neon, audio, dimensions variable [partial view of installation (sign flashes on and off)]


When we arrived at P.S.1 the Sunday before last Barry and I identified ourselves at the desk as art bloggers who wished to use cameras inside the galleries. We were asked for cards which would verify our press status and when we produced them we were quickly given identification stickers and permission to photograph anything in the museum.

I felt unshackled in those spaces for the first time since I started uploading art images onto my site, but I didn't like the fact that our freedom was not shared by every visitor. Barry and I were going to be able to capture, broadcast and comment on images of new and new-ish art to which most people do not have access, but since the photo prohibition continues for people unable to persuade the desk of their worthiness my argument with the fundamental photo prohibition policy of this and so many other institutions has not been overcome.

I should note that the museum's own web site is really sad, and even if an image actually shows up there it's so poor it's almost useless, making the matter of the visibility of work in its temporary custody even worse than it has to be.

The images I'm showing below, which I promised earlier, are of parts of some of the installations which interested me most on this visit. I'd been fighting a virus for ten days so I hadn't earlier felt up to doing much posting and all of these shows, except for Lazkoz's mural, closed today. I want to apologize, but at least these modest captures survive.

Incidentally, the usual supply of fliers at the counter by the entry, in which the curators devote some words to the artists and works in each separate installation, was absent entirely, meaning there were no takeaways that day. Did they run out, since some of these shows had been extended, or is this a change in policy which is not welcome?


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Rainer Werner Fassbinder Berlin Alexanderplatz 1980 film [large detail of still from the screening room showing the episode, "A Hammer Blow on the Head Can Injure the Soul"]


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Adel Abdessemed Bourak* 2005 stripped fuselage of an Aerojet Commander 1962 No. 102, 108" high x 96" diameter [installation view]


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Eyal Danieli Untitled 2007 one of a series of five drawings in ink on mylar or plastic sheeting, 24" x 16" each


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Lovett/Codagnone Interruption of a Course of Action 2007 [detail of installation]


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Kathe Burkhart Lick Bush: from the Liz Taylor Series (Butterfield 8) acrylic, fur, mixed media on canvas 90" x 60"


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Abigail Lazkoz [detail of mural in stairway]


*
I believe bourak is an Algerian rolled pastry; it can be sweet or savory.

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Janáček in a Slovak-Moravian borderland village a century ago, recording singers onto wax


the performance


Did anyone see either of the two performances of the Gotham Chamber Opera's "Scenes of Gypsy Life" presented this week at the Morgan? Barry and I went on Wednesday, but at this point I'm feeling I must have imagined the experience. While the singers were not to be faulted and in fact should be commended for their courage, the production was otherwise really bad on virtually every count.

I've seen nothing in the media suggesting it ever happened (only pre-performance announcements). I waited almost two days before posting this because I thought that maybe I totally missed something. I was hoping to read a review which might explain what the brutal staging was all about, but now I think that reviewers who would ordinarily be inclined to support the company weren't able to shine a better light on this weird evening than I could.

Basically, I'd like to know whether we're the only ones who thought it was ill-conceived and incredibly ugly, not to say sadistic and shockingly racist. Neither the poets nor the composers, Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček, who set their words into the music heard this week, had intended a slander of the Roma people with whom they all shared a culture. They had all, in fact, intended homage.

And it wasn't just the director's treatment of all three gypsies as stock characters. Actually, if there were any reason for the existence of an anti-defamation organization for farm boys represented as monsters, it too would have to be interested in Eric Einhorn's direction. The raw setup should have presumed one wholesome youth, four pretty gypsy girls, a gentle pastoral scene, music. How (or why) does this scenario become so intensely horrible?

This all seems especially weird since I've been to and enjoyed most of this company's early productions and I would expect to be a part of its audiences in the future. The inspired and often masterful mounting of relatively-obscure operas, with exciting casts and designers, and presented in modest-sized auditoriums: What's not to like?


the auditorium


I wrote just now that I expected to go back to the Gotham, but I will never go back to a performance at the Morgan library. It's not so much the architecture of Renzo Piano's expensive new addition, which is a mess of mall-inspired multiple planes and giant muntins in a confusing layout forced into the spaces separating several worthy late nineteenth and early-twentieth-century buildings, as if these spaces were only so many cavities which needed filling.

It's the auditorium itself, Gilder Lehrman Hall: I had no idea the architect had retractable feet. But even such a wondrous anatomical gift couldn't justify making those of us who don't suffer the consequences of the shape and arrangement of the seats in his little wooden hall. The over-hyped super-star museum architect forgot that most of us ordinary mortals, even when seated, have feet attached to and extending forward from their legs.

Hey, we don't look anything like the tiny folks for whom Carnegie Hall was designed in 1890 (and refurbished to the same specs a hundred years later); we're the giants who showed up in 2008, and this is a totally new building!


UPDATE: The NYTimes review, by Vivien Schweitzer, finally appeared in Saturday's edition. It praises what should be praised and at least as edited for publication almost totally ignores what I found deeply troubling. There will be no more performances, so the review cannot affect a potential audience, and in spite of the writer's reference to a bloodstained shirt, shackles, and young women being chained up, there is little in her report which might have enlightened anyone who had actually seen the production and been disturbed by it.


[image from remove.radio]

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untitled collage piece by Michael Behle, probably from 1999, 16.25" x 24.5"


I was going to leave the preview stuff on this show to Art Fag City and Bloggy. But then I did spend some time today taking pictures of Michael Behle's older work, and another post might bring even more people to a Hogar Collection show opening Saturday which he shares with David Choi, I decided not to stay out of it.

Note, as Paddy indicates, Barry writes, ArtCal demonstrates and the artist's site seems to confirm, that nothing you will see inside the gallery will look anything like this image - or the additional two pix of Behle's work which appear on Bloggy.

We love Behle's older pieces, and have always liked Choi's creature sculpture. Hmmm, . . . . I just realized that the earliest work Barry and I had seen by Behle, even before we acquired these pieces, was also sculpture. In fact these collages may be studies for that series of work, which I've still only seen in photographs.

We're psyched for this show.

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detail of Puryear's "Desire" (1981)


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details of Puryear's "Desire" (1981) in foreground and "Ad Astra" (2007) behind it


I know the show has now closed, but while I was looking at some images to accompany a post on a very interesting visit to PS1 last Sunday, I found these quick snapshots of a part of Martin Puryear's retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. They may give an indication of their creator's intensely-worked craft more than they reveal much about the art itself, but they probably suggest something of how much I loved these pieces - all of them.

I'm not feeling energetic enough to stay vertical long enough to do the post I had started to do. I'm fighting a cold. I think I'll go take a nap instead, right after I put up these two shots taken in MoMA's atrium.

Photography of loaned work is still forbidden by the Modern's directors, but apparently it's simply too difficult to keep visitors from pulling out their cameras on that large floor and in all the openings which overlook it from the several levels above. If cameras do no harm there, how can there be any justification for continuing the ban elsewhere? I did get to use my camera at PS1 on Sunday, but more about that in my post on the visit itself.

Anyway, I think the Puryear was one of the best shows MoMA's mounted since the new building was opened. There's a lot on their web site, but it's still nothing like being there with the work.

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Ingar Krauss Untitled (Beelitz) 2006 gelatin silver print 40"x 33" [installation view]




Every year thousands of harvest hands come and go like birds of passage.
*


Indulge me on this one, as I really wanted to upload this image. No, on second thought, I'd rather bring you with me, and try to explain why I'm so taken with it and all the the others in Ingar Krauss's current show at Marvelli Gallery, titled "Birds of Passage".

Yes, the man is beautiful. In fact he's very sexy. The very direct, black and white photograph looks like it has the special legitimacy this medium sometimes acquires with age, although the modern knit boxers reveal that the artist is not trying to deceive us on that account.

But there is much more to see here than the man's own sad beauty and the beauty of the Brandenburg landscape which Krauss has gently draped around his shoulders and around those of most of the other eight men in these portraits. Every one of his workers, photographed here at the end of a long day, is distinctly beautiful. The range of their ages spans every one of the decades in which a fortunate man might expect to enjoy robust life, although several of them would not normally be described as particularly sturdy.

The gallery's notes tell us that women, and sometimes entire families, are also a part of this seasonal worker migration, but here we see only men, and I suspect that males overwhelmingly dominate the numbers of these seasonal hands. Even the sad subjects of Dorothea Lange's documents weren't usually fighting to survive alone in a foreign land.

Krauss makes me envious of the Germans, and happy for their guests. We need the artistry of a Krauss or a Lange here in the U.S. today, to show us the guest workers on whom we depend so much, visitors both documented and not. This show is a reminder of how much could be done, and what it might mean to us all.

Neither the aesthetic nor the storytelling in work like this can be isolated from the complex history and the simple beauty of the specific environment in which these pictures were captured, in Krauss's case the underpopulated farms of the former Democratic Republic of Germany, or DDR. It's also hard to ignore the combinations of personal tragedies and personal hopes contained in the situations in which these migrant Eastern European farm laborers have placed themselves.

There is also tragedy on a larger scale, but a larger hope as well. Even to someone like myself, with a long experience of Germans and Germany, these people look very German. I think about that because it's likely that no one they are near thinks of them in that way. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't think of themselves in that way either. And yet here they're laboring in Germany for long hours on someone else's land in an alien environment, struggling with an overseer's foreign tongue in large richly-tilled fields which were once held in common by the socialist brothers and sisters of their own Polish, Russian, Ukrainian or other communities. Will they become Germans some day, or become the proud and prosperous brothers and sisters of Germans, as part of a larger, flourishing European community?

Well, I just wanted to say that I found it pretty tough to walk away from this show, both literally and figuratively. Thus this post.

The show has now been extended until February 2.


Oh, I almost forgot. I've seen and admired Krauss's work at least once before, in a stunning, but heartbreaking show, "In a Russian Juvenile Prison", mounted in the same gallery in October, 2004.

For more on the current show, see Vince Aletti writing in The New Yorker.


*
from the gallery press release

John Moran: 'Saori's Birthday!' (excerpt 1)

Saori, the animated host of a children's cartoon program, lives in a bubble


Wow. We don't often get a second chance to experience one of John Moran's creations, but this week Performance Space 122 is hosting a return of "Saori's Birthday!" as part of its COIL festival.

You don't have just my word for its virtues, since the Gia Kourlas, the NYTimes critic, included it among her personal list of the most important new works of the year, and last October Alexis Soloski of The Voice wound up her review with these lines:

A brief confection, lasting barely 40 minutes, What If Saori Had a Party? continues Moran's recent trend away from his large-scale operas of the '90s—performed at venues such as Lincoln Center and A.R.T.—and toward smaller, more intimate works. It also continues his longtime interest in representing characters not quite human or not quite whole; other works have concerned robots, child-men, and Jack Benny. And it marks another collaboration—likely not the last—with the luminous Tsukada. As she slides about her airless space, registering every pre-recorded shriek, shudder, whistle, and thump, she's profoundly silly. Tsukada's gyrations, Moran's thorny score, and the air of candy-colored dread—what a swell party this is.
Performances of this twenty-first-century dance/music/theater gem continue today through Sunday. Tickets can be reserved on the PS 122 site. They're pretty cheap, but they're also just about priceless.

Barry and I hope to see it again on Saturday.




ADDENDUM:
Alastair Macauley reviews the piece in the NYTimes today (February 11).


[image and video borrowed from Moran's MySpace page]

UPDATE: Will Ryman heard about his gallery's attitude toward its visitors' use of photography, and has commented generously on my recent post about gallery camera prohibitions.

Ryman is a scholar and a storyteller, an artist and a gentleman. I hope Marlborough will eventually decide to make itself worthy of him.

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Joyce Pensato The Drippy Droopy Eyes 2007 enamel and metalic paint on linen 48" x 40"


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Joyce Pensato Evil Stan 2007 enamel on linen 90" x 72"


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Joyce Pensato I Don't Want to be Tamed 2007 enamel on linen 108" x 72"


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Joyce Pensato Psycho Killer 2007 enamel and metallic paint on linen 90" x 72"

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[detail]

Joyce Pensato is back in Chelsea. I first came across her work in the early nineties at Bill Bartman's Art Resources Transfer. She had donated some wonderful drawings to this legendary non-profit gallery's annual benefits. They are still among our very favorite things.

Around this same time I spotted a silver and black, medium-sized canvas by the artist at Max Protetch's gallery. I had missed Pensato's show at the gallery, but thought this piece was just about the most exciting thing I'd ever seen. I agonized for what now seems like forever over whether I could cover the gallery's more-than-fair price. Unfortunately my answer was no, but deep down I knew even then that I'd always regret not swinging it somehow. Since then Pensato has shown in Elga Wimmer's Chelsea space, installed her studio inside Exit Art for a while, and appeared in a number of galleries in Brooklyn. I don't think Barry and I have missed any of them. She's also had solo shows all over Europe, but she hasn't really been attached to a Manhattan gallery since the nineties.

Until now. Friedrich Petzel has invited her in to mount a show of large paintings in the larger of the gallery's two spaces on West 22nd Street. These twelve canvases are spectacularly alive, whether seen from across a room or inches away from their surfaces. I've always thought of her work as belonging to abstraction, although of course every piece, whether a drawing, a painting, a sculpture or a mural, begins with some iconic American cartoon character.

I don't really know why American collectors, curators and museums haven't already gone crazy over Pensato's work. I hope it doesn't escape them this time. I don't normally think of the domestic market for contemporary art as particularly naive or conservative, but I suspect that if she isn't considered marketable enough it may stem from some weird combination of, on the one hand, collectors' disdain for what they mistakenly dismiss as a hackneyed choice of cutesy subject and, on the other, their fear of the frightening, even perverse directions in which she seems to take them.

Pensato seems to aim for an ambiguity which balances cuteness and horror. She succeeds over and over again, without ever repeating herself.

Painters have loved her for years and the museums will parade her tomorrow. More people should see her today.

Over the years I've become increasingly fond of Pensato's works on paper (or tortured sheetrock, in the case of many of her murals), partly because of the bits of color which manage to creep into or peek out of the black and white or black and silver sweeps of charcoal or paint, and partly because they so satisfyingly boast the artist's characteristically-vigorous, even violent erasures. It's interesting that there are no examples of either medium in this show, although the title, "The Eraser", alludes to physical operations which are less evident in the paintings.

Go now for the paintings; come back for the drawings I hope the gallery will show next.

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(invisible art)


I'm not the least surprised that I've gotten responses (in comments, emails, and conversation) of all kinds to my several posts on the subject of gallery photo prohibitions. What I have found surprising is the fact that even when they support the idea of openness in general it seems that many people remain confused by the legal issue of accessibility as it relates to copyright.

I know that with this post I'm really asking to be inundated with arguments from all sides, but the issue isn't disappearing and I don't think, especially as photographers, that we should be feeling around in the dark.

I'm confident about arguing for openness, but I'm not adequately versed in the case law which supports it, so in order to shed some light on the issue I turned to someone who is. Artist and activist Joy Garnett had to become an expert when her work, which reflects the issues of access and alteration to images found in the media, was challenged by a photographer in 2004.

First off, there's simply no legal basis for a photo ban based on the argument of copyright infringement. Quoting from the excellent Fair Use Network site:

The fair use doctrine permits anyone to use copyrighted works, without the owners' permission, in ways that are fundamentally equitable and fair. Common examples of fair use are criticism, commentary, news reporting, research, scholarship, and multiple copies for classroom use.
Staying specific to the discussion here, Garnett emphasizes that in the U.S. film or photographic documentation for purposes of reporting or reviewing, as well as for scholarship and education, especially if it's non-commercial, is protected in the Constitution under the doctrine of fair use.

The Fair Use Network site continues with this sorry advisory:

Unfortunately, creative industries are often overly cautious in establishing their informal practice guidelines, with consequences that unduly restrict the exercise of fair use rights.
And that's where we are today. When galleries tell us that we are not permitted to take pictures, they aren't protecting the artist. More likely, they're protecting what they see as their responsibility to control what's going on in their private bailiwick. It may be counterintuitive, and counterproductive to the interests of the visual artist, and of the arts in general, but it is very a part of much human nature.

For more on the subject of fair use and free expression, go to The Free Expression Policy Project [FEPP] site, or the "fair use" entry on Wikipedia.

Now for a change of air, and an excellent immersion course on a topic only partly related to the subject of this post, "Artists, Documentarians and Copyright", see the excellent Hungry Hyaena.


[image from abandonedbutnotforgotten]

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Will Ryman The Bed 2007 papier-mch, magic sculpt, resin, acrylic, wire mesh, wood, cloth [detail of installation]

(the artist taking notes)


No, that headline is not about the fact that Marlborough doesn't seem to have ever shown artists whose work is photo-based, but rather that the gallery will not permit photography goings-on in its spaces.

This afternoon I watched the attendant at the front desk race across the floor to tell an unsuspecting enthusiast visiting the current installation by Will Ryman that pictures were not allowed. When I followed her back and asked whether the rule was general or only for this particular show, she said that it was regular Marlborough policy, and added by way of explanation (I'm paraphrasing here) that the owners didn't want people to use their photos for something unauthorized.

Sure, that would be something like, um . . . selling t-shirts with images of Will Ryman sculptures? I don't think the artist is going to worry about that. Nor do I think he would regret having visitors extend their memory and their pleasure in what should be treasured by all, circulated and displayed, as a demonstrably visual art. Even better, what about the ability of photography (the modern word of mouth) to enable others who are unable to visit the gallery to share in the pleasure of someone who can, before the work itself disappears into the home of a rich collector? Maybe the unauthorized snapshot would be simply the equivalent of taking notes.

Perhaps when we visit Marlborough and galleries with similar policies we're actually in the wrong century or on the wrong continent: Photography hasn't been invented yet, or it must be some foreign sorcery being used to steal our souls (or "copyright"). Would a visitor be permitted to sketch the work or scribble some paragraphs on a pad?

Barry and I have admired Will Ryman's work for some time and both of us have mentioned his show appearances on our sites. I'm very sorry that our shared position on the stupidity of photo prohibitions will prevent us from reporting on such a major event as this one. The Marlborough Gallery has never been featured on either of our blogs, but because it was Ryman's this show was included in the listings (we made it a pick) on ArtCal listings, our on-line edited calendar of New York gallery shows. As long as the management maintains its current policy it won't happen again.


[image from Saatchi Gallery]

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Daniel Joseph It's starting to rain acrylic, latex and collage on wood 96" x 24"

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[artist's note mounted to right of painting, completing installation of "It's starting to rain"]


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Daniel Joseph I'll forget eventually 2007 acrylic, latex, oil and collage on wood 96" x 43"

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[artist's notes mounted to left of painting, completing installation of "I'll forget eventually"]

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[full view of "I'll forget eventually" installation]


I did not know about this wonderful artist until two weeks ago. There were apparently any number of missed opportunities to do so, as I've learned about since visiting a group show, "Holiday!", mounted by BUIA gallery last month, but somehow I had not come across the work of Daniel Joseph until then. The artist is known for painting, installation, performance, video, works on paper and music. Even now, of all those mediums, I've only seen his paintings first hand. These gorgeous pieces may represent the most traditional form of his expression, but apparently he couldn't just do a painting; he had to make it an installation, leaving us little hand-written messages which bring his complex wood and paper constructions into the viewer's own world.

But these particular works are also not just paintings. They're actually more like painted collages. I'm sorry my photos don't really show their full richness. I guess I was a bit too quickly distracted by our conversation with Vanessa about the artist while Barry and I were in her eponymous gallery. Although the show from which I snapped these images is now gone, I'm tempted to go back and ask if I might be permitted a stab at a detail shot or two.

Joseph had a solo show at the gallery last year. I missed it, but I'm not going to miss the next one.

In the the press release for the 2006 show, novelist/essayist/wit Mike Albo was quoted speaking about Joseph's work:

I don’t think Mr. Joseph believes in silent retreats. Instead of stripping things bare he would rather dive into the mess. His collages have a shredded beauty, made out of layers and layers, drizzled with symbols. He piles things on and leaves heavy footprints. He refuses to believe it’s too late for love or that it comes from somewhere above our heads in some kind of refined, expensive air. He wants us to scream and find to each other through the tatters and chatter.

Somewhere down here, deep in the mess, are fresh moments, orgasms, friendship and the lurching laugh-cry you used to get when you laid on the front lawn and looked at the sky. These pieces drag you through all the trash as if you were pulled along by a loving arm that won’t let go. Here are Daniel Joseph’s buoys- swim to one and signal to someone else that you are in love.

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from January 2008.

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