NYC: November 2009 Archives


Five years ago today Barry and I launched the first version of the ArtCat Calendar (then called ArtCal). It was an outgrowth of the messy lists I used to make on a lined pad (yeah, paper) and carry around the city. The process had become pretty unwieldy as the number of galleries grew. It was also impossible to share with others.

The original on line version did no more than keep track of shows and dates by neighborhood, but it was sophisticated enough to list Chelsea galleries by street and building number.

Some history:

* Images added: September 6, 2005
* RSS and iCal feeds added: December 12, 2005
* E-mail newsletter launched: March 30, 2006
* Newsletter reaches 1000 subscribers: March 13, 2007
* Redesigned: August 28, 2007
* Merged ArtCal and ArtCat: March 2009


HOMU is out, and the director is in.

We've just received word that the continually enthralling, yet characteristically elusive HOMU booth will be out and about today, Tuesday, on West 20th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues, next to the entrance to the Highline Park), as the Director writes, "circa 1-4 PM".

These images were taken last Tuesday, when just before Barry and I had squeezed ourselves onto the little chairs in front of the "Director is [hanging square wood tile] in" sign mounted on the front of the portable booth. We were having so much fun, both constructive and unserious, that we hadn't realized a small crowd had gathered above and behind us. We've been enthusiastic members of the Museum for years, so we had no problem getting up and making room for new visitors.



Nikhil Chopra settled into his temporary home in the lobby-level Glass Gallery at the New Museum on Wednesday.

Ever since the opening of the new building almost two years ago I've heard and read many criticisms of this space, a broad, twenty-foot-deep box on the far end of Marcia Tucker Hall which the architects have described by a floor-to-ceiling wall of glass. I don't have a problem with it myself, and in fact I think it's an inspired device. Especially with the right installation, meaning a powerful concept (however subtle it might be), it effects a bridge between the formal, clean white spaces of the Museum above and the vibrant life on the Bowery outside. At the same time it shares its (ideally) seductive offerings with the various functions of the foyer, shop and cafe areas, all very urban, and on a human scale. It has the special appeal of being absolutely free, and it probably works best when it is not just a large shop window but actually open to a visitor walking into the box.




Chopra's is the right installation, and “Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing IX” is a powerful concept. It has the seductive attraction of a live performance and the public is not only invited into the middle of it, but encouraged to bring their cameras. I wrote a short paragraph about the work after visiting the installation during the the press preview last week. This past Wednesday I spent at least two hours with Chopra's performance, in several visits throughout the day, positioning myself on both sides of the glass wall. Since his character in this work is that of a nineteenth-century artist/draughtsman (modeled somewhat on his own grandfather) I was delighted to see that at least one visitor was actually sketching, working on a pencil drawing of the entire installation/performance. Yes, he was sitting in a chair in the cafe which is witness to everything that goes on to the other side of the glass. Myself, I only had a fancy digital camera. Sigh.


The artist, in the character of Yog Raj Chitrakar, will be installed for five days within, in the Museum's description, a "gallery transformed into a turn-of the-century tableau vivant". Except for several excursions outside the museum, he will be eating, drinking, sleeping, washing, shaving, dressing, and sometimes simply observing, all while remaining inside that gallery until the end of the day Sunday.



On Thursday morning he was expected to rise, dress in his antique costume, and, carrying his ever-present brown-paper-wrapped, string-tied bundles, he was to take the subway to the bottom of Manhattan. There he was to catch the ferry to Ellis Island where he would spend much of the day sketching the New York skyline in charcoal on one of the three huge sections of canvas he will have taken down from the east wall of his temporary home. He was expected to do the same thing on Friday and Saturday, each time taking along a different section of canvas, and returning to the Glass Gallery by mid-afternoon.

Both Yog Raj Chitrakar and the by-then-completed mural can be seen inside the space all day on Sunday. I am told we can expect a surprise.

Chopra's performance and installation was curated by Eungie Joo, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs. The New Museum has scheduled additional programs related to this work next weekend, and aspects of the performance and exhibition can continue to be seen at the museum until next February. From the press release:

At its conclusion, remnants of Chopra’s occupation of the space remain on display as an installation. Documentation from three previous performances also on view in this exhibition—Memory Drawing II (Mumbai, 2007), Yog Raj Chitrakar visits Lal Chowk (Srinagar, 2007), and Memory Drawing VI (London, 2008)—suggests the many ways in which the history and reality of a location impact the artist’s execution of characters though costuming, gesture, and action.


go to large, high resolution image here

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words, especially if it's been drawn by William Powhida. The artist's editorial cartoon, addressing the current weird curatorial course of the New Museum, completely fills the cover of the Brooklyn Rail out tomorrow.

I wrote this post back on September 25th, immediately after reading the NuMu's press release announcing a metamorphosis which will find it installing a series of museum-wide shows displaying the collections of one or more of its own wealthy trustees and curated by those collectors' favorite wealthy artists.

I followed it with this related entry.

From the beginning I was sure this story had legs, but then I noticed almost no one wanted to talk or write about it, even if they were as outraged as I was. Now I think its time has finally come. Thanks, William.

Pick up a copy of the Rail if you live anywhere near one of the outlets. If not, and if you have some coin, you can subscribe (to what I think is the most vital and definitely the most beautiful magazine published anywhere) here.

[image courtesy of the artist and the Brooklyn Rail]


I would argue that Gawker* doesn't quite go far enough in its condemnation of Bloomberg's candidacy, since it stops a little too short of suggesting the obvious alternative. I have no hesitation myself in endorsing the Billy Talen for mayor over Thompson. Thompson (unless he's actually working for a Bloomberg victory) ran an extraordinarily incompetent campaign, and he finally appears to be something of a fool (okay, just for starters, look at where he stands on bike lanes).

Talen is the candidate of a significant political party, the Green Party, but you may never have seen him or heard him; you may not have heard of him: The commercial media ignores Talen and he's not allowed to participate in their vaunted mayoral debates or in their interviews with the approved candidates. But I've heard him talk, of course to crowds, in character as the colorful and truly-righteous Reverend Billy, but also as "layman" Billy in small groups, and to individuals, and he has a better (in both senses) understanding of the city and the world than any of the politicians foisted upon us by the corporations in whose pay they perform, and certainly superior to the small-minded billionaire who blithely, and regularly, buys his high office outright.

Vote for someone tomorrow whose ideas you share. You deserve it; we all deserve it. Talen's mayoral platform is a dream - unfortunately - but that's not a bad place to start.

Hell, if I could I'd even endorse him for president - right now - this time confident we'd get change when we voted for it.

in a post written by Alex Pareene.

[image from Bradley R. Hughes]

untitled (torn t-shirt) 2009

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

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