NYC: February 2009 Archives


The front page of this morning's real New York Times looks an awful lot like the fake New York Times published by the Yes Men with the help of many others last November 12. My own hard copy of today's Late [City] Edition differs only slightly from the one shown above. It adds a story which suggests the feds are getting closer to nationalizing the banks.

Probably the most significant element missing from the February 27, 2009, paper is the banner headline on the July 4, 2009, edition shown below: "IRAQ WAR ENDS" - but then we still have more than four months to get that one right.

fake New York Times

[first image from the real NYT site; second from the faux NYT site]

front yard

open house

sales tour

Lisa Kirk continues her provocative body of work (what she calls her "series of social occasions"), more recently investigating capitalism, terrorism and political violence, in a dramatic installation, "House of Cards", currently installed at the Lower East Side gallery Invisible-Exports. Although the show opened this past weekend and will continue there through most of March, after that it will take on the second life for which it was conceived.

This time Kirk has re-conceived the story of our contemporary real estate boom and bust in the form of a show model “shanty timeshare” whose structure and interior furnishings have been assembled, in classic (not "classical") style, from discarded materials found in the neighborhood.

An experienced sales staff will be present in the rear of the gallery throughout the run of "House of Cards", and visitors will have the opportunity to buy shares in this "private residence club" featuring all the conveniences which inhabit our current nightmares about home. Upon the show’s completion, the structure will be rebuilt inside a secure, honest-to-goodness gated community located on the edge of one of New York's scenic waterways, where we are told "shareholders will have the opportunity to experience shanty living. After 52 weeks, maison des cartes will be disassembled and distributed to the shareholders as 52 separate and unique artworks," thus promising a more upscale metamorphosis than that permitted most shanties when they are razed.

None of the serious satire (it's not a burlesque) I describe here made this show any less frightening when I visited it with Barry during a preview last week, although the images I'm including here, of happy guests mingling inside these digs, would seem to belie that assertion.

It's pretty scary; and it should be.

The press release announces a second installation, not related to the work on the main floor of the gallery:

Kirk’s shanty will be coupled with an underground installation of her updated project, Revolution (06-09). Last exhibited at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Revolution appeared as a fragrance lab and terrorist headquarters suspended upside-down from the museum’s ceiling.

"sorry about all the torture"

fragrance TV commercial

continuing "Revolution"

untitled (Cocteau heads) 2009

Of course I didn't do the drawing, but I want to share it. There's a lot going on here, most of it by chance. I saw these faces drawn on a very busy ground on an unused advertising board inside the Jefferson Avenue L stop over a week ago and the image I shot then still thrilled me when I rolled through my recent stash today.

This is what the entire board looked like:



The story is that when I looked out of my window last Thursday afternoon, on the coldest, windiest day of the winter, I saw this painter and his rig. I had often seen him planted elsewhere on the block, often, as here, painting the Chelsea Hotel across the street, but on those occasions I would have been too respectful of his privacy, or maybe just to self-conscious, to intrude on his concentration with my camera.

This time it was different, since it was unlikely I could disturb him and equally unlikely I or my machine would draw anyone's attention. I took this picture and later returned to the window (without the camera) to see if he would still be there. He was, but I now saw that a young woman was standing at the driver's side of the car seen in this picture, looking a little puzzled, and a somewhat older man was standing in the street ahead of it pointing to something in the area of the left front fender. Then I saw a smile of recognition come to the woman's face and she stepped forward to pull and gather up what turned out to be a large, bunched-up clear plastic bag. It had probably become stuck somewhere on the car. She thanked the helpful stranger, walked over to the curb and plopped it in the midst of the painter's bags, each of them strapped to luggage carriers. She returned to the other side of the car, slipped into the driver's seat and drove off.

She had apparently remained throughout totally unaware of the artist's presence, and of his equipment as well. Probably she was only sufficiently aware of her environment to see some vaguely trash-bag shape already sitting on the curb, and that was where her own offending litter would be deposited.

I can't end the story without allowing that the artist appeared to be no more aware of his environment than she was: He didn't seem to notice any of what had just transpired, including his bags being mistaken for trash. In fact, he never looked away from his canvas. Ah, the singular concentration of the artist can apparently be sustained even in the open air.

UPDATE: All thanks to the folks at "Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog", I've learned that the artist is David Combs, who used to live in the Chelsea, and may now have returned.

William Powhida Sellout [item #76]

One sign of the almost proximate arrival of spring is the announcement of the annual WAGMAG benefit. Once again it's again time to help out our indispensable guide to Brooklyn galleries (it now covers all of Brooklyn!), by purchasing tickets for the artwork drawing tonight at The Front Room Gallery.

Some really great art, including the William Powhida piece shown above, have been donated by artists and galleries who know how much this publication does for the community, and want to give a bit back.

The rest of us have a chance to help by showing up and purchasing an opportunity to select from the bounty shown here. If you and your valentine are already committed elsewhere tonight, you can also buy one or more tickets on line (they are only $200 each) and indicate your choice with a WAGMAG proxy. All tickets guarantee a work of art, and entry to the party is free.

As I wrote last year, I can't say enough about Daniel Aycock, the generous artist host.

For details, see this post on the ArtCal zine.

untitled (blue threads) 2009

Yesterday I spotted this section of a sad, somewhat unsound wall which had been assembled around a large vacant lot on Grand Street in Williamsburg. These bright blue tarps, blowing in the wind and buoyed by the February sun, would hardly present any barrier to the curiosity of even the most casual passerby, but as a brilliantly-lit, flapping bauble they managed to relieve the drabness of the dull flat plywood boards they interrupted with their play.

Will their gambolling last until the day the sober speculators return with their cranes?



This ©ELLIS G. intervention in Williamsburg included the artist's signature plus the additional note, "STILL HERE", a possible reference to the arrest of Poster Boy on Saturday.

ADDENDUM: Wooster Collective has a video documentary on the artist.


I have no idea who did this quiet piece, or who the image represents.

This page is an archive of entries in the NYC category from February 2009.

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