April 2005 Archives


Chief Bruce Smolka as seen by the New York Press

I'd give almost anything for a jpeg of the news photo in the NYTimes this morning illustrating a story on the latest battle between New York police and folks who want to ride their bikes.

UPDATE: The photo has been found; see May 4 follow-up post.

The thug shown roughing-up a young woman in Union Square last night looks like a Black or Brown Shirt from early in the last century or, better, one of the least sympathetic targets of the social caricatures of Georg Grosz. But looks aren't destiny and perhaps we shouldn't read too much into his physique, so here are the facts alone, described by Kareem Fahim and Jim Dwyer this morning:

In one of the first arrests of the evening, a young woman who was straddling her bike and walking it out of the south end of Union Square Park was seized and personally arrested by Assistant Police Chief Bruce H. Smolka Jr.

"You're riding your bicycle on the sidewalk," Chief Smolka said. "You're under arrest."

The woman protested that she had done nothing wrong. The chief insisted that she get off her bicycle immediately, and then he tried to pull her off. The woman argued, and then other police officers, some of them wearing plainclothes, joined the chief and forcibly removed the woman from the bike.

Ride participants tried to retrieve the woman's bike and scuffled with police officers, who then arrested a second woman.

The sight of a senior chief in the Police Department struggling in a crowded public place with the woman roused the gathering of people.

Cries of "Let her go, let her go," and "fascist state" filled the air, as Chief Smolka and other officers led the woman into a van. A line of 10 motorcycles then sealed the edge of the sidewalk at the intersection of 14th Street and Union Square East. The arrested woman began to give her name in response to a question from a reporter, but only uttered one word - "Lisa" - before she was pushed into the van and the reporter was forced away from her.

Chief Smolka is the police official in charge of southern Manhattan, and oversaw many of the mass arrests made in August before and during the Republican National Convention, including more than 100 arrests of bicyclists at a Critical Mass ride that swelled to include 5,000 riders.

I did a Google search on Smolka and found that he has a very impressive rap sheet. The New York Press sums it up in their current issue, where the Chief is included among their annual list of the "50 MOST LOATHSOME NEW YORKERS":
February 1999: Officers in Smolka's NYPD's Street Crime Unit pump 41 bullets into Amadou Diallo. February 2003: Smolka illegally orders horseback-mounted police to charge a group of peaceful antiwar demonstrators. April 2003: Smolka confronts a group of about 100 demonstrators in front of the Carlyle Group's headquarters with 300 officers outfitted in full riot gear. August 2004: Responsible for securing midtown during the RNC, the smoldering chief could be found standing on "his" perimeter, head clean-shaven, blue eyes piercing, chin jutting, arms folded across his chest like an urban Patton. He personally oversaw the illegal arrest and detention of hundreds during the convention. Then, humiliated by August's 5000-strong Critical Mass ride, he deployed the NYPD's full force in an effort to control the monthly gathering. Until December, that is, when federal judge William Pauley ruled against Smolka's request for an injunction to stop the ride. The only upside of being arrested by this thug is that you have an excellent chance of getting off when your case finally comes before a judge.
To help put this outrageous vindictive campaign into perspective, let me try to get this straight. The police will regularly pull out all stops to keep groups of bicycles off the streets with the formal excuse that they interrupt motor vehicle traffic.
[point of information: the internal-combustion engine is a fairly recent historical development in an increasingly intense and deadly competition with pedestrians and bicycles for the use of the finite area of our streets, and it is the only element responsible for the life-threatening levels of pollution which we grown to accept as routine]
In the meantime, I can't safely walk down a New York sidewalk without expecting to be surprised or assaulted by bicycles swooshing past me from any direction at speeds which threaten all pedestrians, particularly the frail.

The police have no interest in these offences unless it serves their political skullduggery; I know this from having watched them ignore even the most outrageous instances, and also from trying to engage an officer's attention to such offences on several occasions. In any event, riding (not walking) a bicycle on the sidewalk is punishable by a fine (recently increased by the City Council in response to complaints), and NOT by political assault and arrest.

Thugs should not be in the business of carrying out public policy at any time or anywhere, but in New York some of "The Finest" thugs also make public policy - with total impunity, and the courts be damned.

[image from New York Press]

the really, really fabulous Wau Wau Sisters [pronounced "vow vow"] fully staged an incredible cover of the Civilians favorite, "Gone Missing"

Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford of the Downtown hit "All Wear Bowlers" [Trey is a Civilian in another life and if it were up to me Geoff would be too] did their own thing

We had a great time - shared. The visiting artists' performances at the benefit for The Civilians Thursday night were even more wonderful than we had anticipated, but since there will be no second chance for these numbers as covered last night, the best I can do now is show you what it looked like.

Actually, thanks to the company and everyone who helped make the benefit a success, there really will be a second chance (and a third, and a fourth, and so on) every time and everywhere these people put on another show.

Michael Friedman, the group's brilliant composer and lyricist, "covered" his own brand-new song, "How to Can Peaches," written for a show still in the works; Andy Boroson was at the piano




I apologize, but I have no precise details on these images, although I know that the large piece at the top reflects Jesse Bercowetz and Matt Bua's continued fascination with Roosevelt Island. I believe the figure in the center of the second photograph represents an underwater diver, and the "drawing" at the bottom is a reference to the first successful American oil well.

I hardly know what to write about this magic duo. Beginning several years ago, I stumbled across the work first of one, then the other and eventually the projects they had done together. Very soon I was pursuing more than stumbling, but everything they do is still almost as baffling as when I first found it - only more masterful, and more seductive.

This past weekend we visited their temporary studio in 120 Broadway, part of a program of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC). They had obviously cleaned up a lot for the official reception, but even what they had toyed around with and left pinned to the walls or lying on the windowsills (pre-studies?) could have kept me there most of the evening.

The press release for last weekend's event can barely begin to describe what you see above:

Bercowetz/Bua's work crosses disciplines and actively engages the community. Recently, it has been an investigation into the acts of youth deviance, social escapism, dissidence, utopian architecture and mobility. Often blurring the lines between work, play, manhood and boyhood. The process is elastic--crossing genres, mixing materials, and collaborating with others. The projects are often interactive with an exterior and interior. The subject matter is vast, experiential and vaguely didactic. Reality and fantasy collide--realistic situations are pushed to a fantasy level and that fantasy is treated as serious as real life.

Kiki Smith edition in the 2004 raffle (we were very lucky last year)

I don't get around to plugging very much of anything, even when I have the best will to do so, but the Momenta Art benefit this Saturday is just too good a thing for everyone - impecunious patrons, emerging artists and the excellent and worthy non-profit gallery alike - to let pass this time.

We've just heard that the tickets haven't yet sold out. Don't let us buy more than our share; please help this excellent art get into more homes.

It's also a really good party.

Barry has already posted just about everything you need to know about it.


We met in a crowd of friends fourteen years ago today.

It took another full year to coax him into the apartment, but Barry very quickly became my life.

[image from Wigstock 2004 by me]

untitled (50 away from 53)

Three years ago today I started this, . . . thing. The stats show that I eventually made a go of it, but the first image didn't show up on the site until almost two months later. Even nineteenth-century newspapers had engravings to relieve the boredom of a wall of text. What was I thinking?

after unpacking a suitcase in Grozny

an installation on Friendship of Peoples Square

"Give them bread, but give them roses too" [traditional socialist cry]

I hate loose ends, so I'm following up on a post I did two months ago with another link to the site of the Emergency Biennale in Chechnya and a story which appeared in the Guardian. The project was formally launched the day after I first wrote about it, but in the nature of this extraordinary outreach it has taken weeks to even begin to record its success. From Dan Hancox writing for the Guardian on April 13:

The 62 contributing artists were asked to submit two copies of their work, and duplicates are displayed in the Palais du Tokyo contemporary art gallery in Paris, along with a series of films and talks about Chechen life. These suitcases of art travelled from Paris across Europe to Grozny. The Chechen Biennale has now been established, with the art on display in Grozny's National Library. It will move on to four other cities, in the care of its Chechen supporters, who cannot be named for safety reasons.

This "arts sans frontières" approach makes the Emergency Biennale more than just another art festival - responding with speed and dedication, they are, like Médecins sans Frontières, working "on an emergency footing". Jouanno and Castro are clearly subscribing to the old socialist idea, "Give them bread, but give them roses too." A cultural life is a human right denied to most Chechens: the Russian authorities consented only a fortnight ago to rebuild the museums.

See the Biennale's site, clicking onto "news" and "artists" for more images.

[images, which I believe must remain anonymous although they are posted by "evelyne," are from emergencybiennale]

Richard Hoeck and John Miller Something for Everyone 2004 video installation view

Sabina Hörtner Twins 01 2002 Eddy marker on multiple cardboard sheets installation view

Marko Lulic Hart und weich Nr.2 [Hard and Soft No.2] 2002 painted wood platform with vintage film by Dejan Karaklajic and Jovan Acim installation view

I feel like we just came back from a trip to Vienna (again), or more specifically a visit to the studios of nine emerging artists living and working in the city which could arguably be described as the geographic and cultural center of a Europe which has rediscovered the treasure of its eastern lands. The Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF) is hosting this group exhibition curated by Trevor Smith of the New Museum through August 20.

Smith points out that although his assignment has placed these artists in a geographic context they do not necessarily define themselves geographically.

Many of the artists's works that I have chosen for the New York version of "Living and Working in Vienna" are marked by this tension between somewhere and anywhere, using architecture or film as the site for mediations on history, memory and cultural critique.
If artists are outsiders regardless of where they find themselves, we should all be delighted to see what creative minds can do with the fantastic kind of "outside" which is described by this gorgeous and surprisingly modern city today.

Go to this little bit of Austria on 52nd Street for the show and for how well it has been integrated into the spaces of this very interesting building. For the rest of this week there's the additional incentive of the avant garde festival "Moving Patterns: Electronic Music and Beyond," which is fully described on the website. Go early in order to check out the visual art, especially since its arrival seems timed perfectly for the cross-genre festival of sound.

Oh, and ACF performances are always absolutely free.

untitled (Willamsburg survivor) 2005


Spotted in Williamsburg on the inside of the narrow extruded steel pole supporting a parking sign.

clericsin hell.gif
Matthias Gerung Der römische Klerus in der Hölle [Roman clerics in hell] 1546 wood cut detail

They always insist that suicide is a "mortal sin," but at least there's hope for the survivors, the rest of us, those not members of the cult but who have had to suffer its injuries.

As I suspected immediately upon hearing about the appointment of Ratzinger as its chief executive, the Roman Catholic Church seems to have committed suicide. For reasurance, see the essay by the Catholic intellectual Hans Küng which appeared in Der Spiegel several weeks ago, while the last pope was still dying. Küng is the eminent Swiss German theologian who in 1979 was stripped by the Church of his right to teach because of his liberal critique of papal authority. This is only an excerpt from his conclusion:

For the Catholic church, this pontificate, despite its positive aspects, has on the whole proven to be a great disappointment and, ultimately, a disaster. As a result of his contradictions, this pope has deeply polarized the church, alienated it from countless people and plunged it into an epochal crisis -- a structural crisis that, after a quarter century, is now revealing fatal deficits in terms of development and a tremendous need for reform.

Contrary to all intentions conveyed in the Second Vatican Council, the medieval Roman system, a power apparatus with totalitarian features [my italics], was restored through clever and ruthless personnel and academic policies. Bishops were brought into line, pastors overloaded, theologians muzzled, the laity deprived of their rights, women discriminated against, national synods and churchgoers' requests ignored, along with sex scandals, prohibitions on discussion, liturgical spoon-feeding, a ban on sermons by lay theologians, incitement to denunciation, prevention of Holy Communion -- "the world" can hardly be blamed for all of this!!

The upshot is that the Catholic church has completely lost the enormous credibility it once enjoyed under the papacy of John XXIII and in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

If the next pope were to continue the policies of this pontificate, he would only reinforce an enormous backup of problems and turn the Catholic church's current structural crisis into a hopeless situation.

These word were written weeks ago. Today it doesn't look like there's much doubt about what can be expected of the regime which has succeeded that of Wojtyla, since it was the choice of, in Küng's words, the "largely mediocre, ultra-conservative and servile episcopate" he created. Suicide.


[image from Alois Payer]

(documenting his own fabulousness)

I've been looking at pope-arama pictures for a couple of weeks now. Frankly however, since the more colorful elements of Vatican porn, the Medieval pomp and circumstance, have been severely cut back over the last few decades, there's really not much to look at any more. These old men are very happy going back to the heavy Middle Ages thing, but without the fun part.

Nevertheless I shouldn't have been surprised (although I really was) to see "the faithful" raising thousands of arms holding cameras aloft while various old relics pass in front of them (present reality isn't good enough; people today don't think they're really looking at something unless they manage to get their own snapshot of it). What really shocked me was seeing Ratzinger himself apparently seduced by his own fame in the same way.

Okay, the camera in his hand is just an illusion produced by a telephoto lens, even if it was fun for a second. But do we think Jeb Bush or Berlusconi took any pictures when they went up to kiss the guy's ring while he sat on his throne? Maybe I have to rephrase that: Can fans get away with just shaking his hand these days?

[image by Max Rossi from Reuters]

Haydn, still fully-staffed

oops there goes another one

"Well, Julia Friedman Gallery has definitely upped the ante on art openings," Barry said to me as we walked along 10th Avenue to the second of two sites dedicated to yesterday's opening of the art of Pablo Helguera.

To be sure.

This was no ordinary gallery reception; First there was the opening performance and then the opening reception. It worked, at least for these two music nuts. I don't remember what the calendar looked like yesterday, but this was the only Chelsea event we hit before heading downtown for the LMCC open studios reception.

Helguera's exhibition, "Swan Song," can be seen in the gallery space on West 22nd Street through may 28th. Last night however, in a loft space in the Starret-Lehigh Building four blocks north, there was also a performance by a 23-member symphony orchestra of work related to the show. The short program included a minimal theatrical element attached to a beautiful composition by the artist himself, "Endingness," and to the last movement of Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony which actually ended the event, somewhat definitively.

On the floor below the musicians was outlined in wide masking tape the renaisance-era ceiling design which is integral to an important work installed in the gallery; As the individual players completed their parts in the Haydn piece, each rose one by one to extinguish a single wax candle supported on a clear lucite base near his or her music stand and then quietly exited the room.

The ensemble was the Mexican-American Orchestra, conducted by Alondra de la Parra. If I may be excused for doing so, I'll add here that it did no harm to its appreciation of the performance that this largely visual arts-oriented audience was listening to players who were led by the most beautiful conductor I have ever seen.

The works you'll find in the gallery each relate to the artist's theory about finitude, and the relationship between history, legacy, culture and language. In the midst of a crowded opening reception I found the most beautiful, and potentially "resonant," piece to be "Conservatory of Dead Languages." Resting on the shelves of a lighted vitrine built into a wall of the gallery are dozens of pale variously-colored wax cylinders, each of which documents a dying language.

On the ceiling in the front room is "Acolman." It is a sculpture in wood and wax repeating the design some of us had first seen earlier in the performance loft. It and the sound recording which is a part of it relate to a local belief that the voices of long-dead monks who sang in a Mexican monastery built almost 400 years ago can still be heard under the ceiling of its chapel.

Pablo Helguera Dead Languages Conservatory (Conservatorio de Lenguas Muertas) 2005 recordings on 30 wax cylinders 43" x 30" large detail of installation

Pablo Helguera Acolman (#1: Play) 2005 wood, wax and sound recordings 8' x 8' large detail of installation

untitled (blue uniform) 2005

untitled (earth tones) 2005

Jim Drain AIDS-a-delic 2005 mixed media with yarn, fabric and beads 84" x 60" x 40" [I believe Ball Buster is the smaller piece to the rear]

Jim Drain AIDS-a-delic detail

Jim Drain installation view of Sergio (forground) and Big Boy

Jim Drain War Cry 2005 mixed media on paper 21" x 17" detail [of a piece which is part of an assembly/installation in the back gallery]

I'm a little late, but not quite never. Barry did a post last Sunday about Jim Drain's fantastic show, “I Wish I Had A Beak,” at Green Naftali. I just wanted to show some of the images I managed to take home on our visit the afternoon before.

And I want to add that I was totally relieved to hear that the yarn for these complex pieces doesn't have to be knitted by hand, as Dean Daderko explains in his review, "Magic Mushrooms," in Gay City News.

Sterling Ruby Kiln #2 2004 Lambda print mounted with Plexiglas and Sintra 22" x 33"

Sterling Ruby Prime Mover #1 2005 pencil, spraypaint and collage on paper 52.25" x 57.25"

Sterling Ruby Orange Inanimate Torso 2005 resin, PVC, spraypaint, formica pedestal 28" x 48" x 34"

Sterling Ruby Cry 2005 Lambda print mounted with Plexiglas and Sintra 72" x 46"

Sterling Ruby is back at Foxy Production and once again he's all over the place in both the solo show as a whole and in the individual works that each refuse to be limited to a single medium themselves. Collage seems to dominate new work in the visual arts everywhere lately, but Ruby's entire oeuvre can be understood as a single great collage of inventions, and each one of them in turn collages his bold, complex understanding of his world in layers which reveal little but promise much.

I just wish I could take it all home where I might see just how far I could get with it.

Ask Michael or John about the videos.

[images from Foxy Production]

how do you say "booga booga!" in ten languages?

In an email with the subject line, "My encounter with Pope Benedict XVI," a friend and awesome activist colleague of mine reminds us today that our outrage over what Josef Ratzinger represents has a history, including one very much in our midst. The following paragraphs are an excerpt from Michaelangelo Signorile's first book, "Queer in America: Sex, the Media and the Closets of Power," published in 1993.

[The event described here occurred on January 27, 1988. I will forever be grateful to the new pope for being so integral to my development.]

One protest that was announced was an upcoming zap of Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, the German prelate who was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. He had written a paper for the Vatican in which he said that homosexuality was "intrinsically evil" and a "moral evil." Cardinal Ratzinger had said the church had to fight the homosexual and fight against legislation that "condoned" homosexuality.

The Ratzinger appearance was at St. Peters, a church known for its modern architecture, at Citicorp Center...When I arrived, the place was packed. It was in a big amphitheater that looked more like the United Nations General Assembly chamber than a church. This wasnt going to be a Catholic mass; St. Peters wasnt even a Catholic Church. Ratzinger may have been a religious figure but he was also a political leader, especially since he was the church's antigay crusader, here to fight against gay civil rights legislation. The church wanted him to speak in a slick, modern, secular-looking space, free of ornate and intimidating religious dcor and adornment. It made the gathering accessible and open to people of all faiths and political persuasions.

Ratzinger sat at the altar, along with Cardinal O'Connor and several other prelates. Judge Robert Bork, the conservative Supreme Court nominee who'd just been rejected by the Senate, sat in the front row. Mrs. William F. Buckley, Jr., was there too, as was an incredible array of Upper East Side women, the upper crust of New York's Catholic Society. There were prominent Wall Street businessmen and local government officials. And rows and rows of nuns, brothers, and priests, perhaps the heads of orders and parishes. I began to feel very small I hadn't seen so many priests since Catholic school.

I looked for protesters, but I couldn't see anyone with a sign or a T-shirt. I wondered for a few moments if anything was really going to happen. I had decided to go there strictly to watch, to check out how these people operated when they conducted these demonstrations. As for myself, I didn't know the first thing about protesting and I still wasn't sure about it. I certainly didn't like the idea of getting arrested.

...Ratzinger took the podium and began to speak. As soon as he finished his first sentence, a group of about eight people to the left of the crowd leaped to their feet and began chanting "Stop the Inquisition!" They chanted feverishly and loudly, their voices echoing throughout the building. The entire room was fixated on them. Activists suddenly appeared in the back of the church and began giving out fliers explaining the action. Two men on the other side of the room jumped up and, pointing at Ratzinger, began to scream, "Antichrist!" Another man jumped up, in one of the first few rows near the prelate, and yelled, "Nazi!" All over the church, angry people began to shout down the protestors who were near them; chaotic yelling matches broke out.

It was electrifying. Chills ran up and down my spine as I watched the protestors and then looked back at Ratzinger. Soon, anger swelled up inside me: This man was the embodiment of all that had oppressed me, all the horrors I had suffered as a child. It was because of his bigotry that my family, my church -- everyone around me -- had alienated me, and it was because of his bigotry that I was called "faggot" in school. Because of his bigotry I was treated like garbage. He was responsible for the hell I'd endured. He and his kind were the people who forced me to live in shame, in the closet. I became livid.

I looked at Cardinal O'Connor, who had buried his head in his hands, and I recognized the man sitting next to him. It was O'Connor's spokesman and right-hand man, Father Finn, who had been the dean of students back at my high school, Monsignor Farrell. A vivid scene flashed in front of my eyes: The horrible day when I was in the principal's office talking to the principal, the guidance counselor, and the dean, the day they threw me out because I was queer. I looked back at Ratzinger, my eyes burning; a powerful surge went through my body. The shouting had subsided a bit because some of the brothers had gotten in front of the room to calm the crowd. The police had arrived and were carting away protestors.

Suddenly, I jumped up on one of the marble platforms and, looking down, I addressed the entire congregation in the loudest voice I could. My voice rang out as if it were amplified. I pointed at Ratzinger and shouted: "He is no man of God!" The shocked faces of the assembled Catholics turned to the back of the room to look at me as I continued: "He is no man of God -- he is the Devil!"

I had no idea where that came from. A horrible moan rippled across the room, and suddenly a pair of handcuffs was clamped on my wrists and I was pulled down....

...I was excited the see something in the New York Post the next day besides the gossip columns: a headline "Gays Rattle Pope's Envoy" next to a photo of an anguished Cardinal Ratzinger.

I joined the ACT UP media committee.

One year later Signorile and I both participated, along with thousands of others, in the 1989 "Stop the Church" action. One of the most important catalysts for its success was our community's anger over Ratzinger's 1986 letter to the bishops of the Catholic church, "On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons."

outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, December 10, 1989

[image at top by Domenico Stinellis from the Associated Press via Robert Boyd; lower image is that of a Jack Smith photo on the front page of the Daily News copied from my archives]

Candles, flowers and a painting of the Virgin Mary embracing John Paul II line the section of the Kennedy Expressway underpass on Chicago's northwest side Tuesday, April 19, 2005, where a yellow and white stain on a concrete wall that some believe is the image of the Virgin Mary has been discovered. Hundreds of people have visited the site since Monday's discovery. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The caption is exactly that which appears on the Associated Press sight. I see no need for further comment - except maybe: "Wow, what a great picture!"

[image by Charles rex Arbogast from the Associated Press]

untitled (hallway) 2005

(just for starters)

Relativism be now damned! Absolutism has now triumphed! "Dictator" would be nice, but "pope" will do just fine. Besides, it amounts to the same thing, and the costumes are great. The man who would be baby Jesus's vicar on earth knows the certainty of objective truth and he's not going to be shy about reminding us.

Benedict XVI has a lot to answer for, but for starters I'll point to a trespass which has weighed heavily on queers for almost two decades, whether or not they are aware of it. Seven years ago Peter Tatchell warned the world about the sour man who was appointed pope today, Joseph Ratzinger, "arguably the most homophobic of all Vatican leaders":

In 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the infamous Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. Ratzinger wrote that a homosexual orientation, even if the person is totally celibate, is a "tendency" toward an "intrinsic moral evil". Moreover, a homosexual inclination is both an "objective disorder" and a "moral disorder", which is "contrary to the creative wisdom of God".

. . .

Most shocking of all, [a 1992 Vatican proclamation written by Ratzinger and authorized by John Paul II states] that when lesbians and gay men demand civil rights, "neither the Church nor society should be surprised when ... irrational and violent reactions increase".

This implies that by asking for human rights, lesbians and gay men encourage homophobic prejudice and violence: we bring hatred upon ourselves, and are responsible for our own suffering. The Catholic Church, it seems, blames the victims of homophobia, not the perpetrators.

This ugly stuff is in the public record, and every cardinal had to read it, but today 115 old men* decided to appoint the man responsible for it as their cult's latest absolute monarch.

I can't imagine good people wanting to have anything to do with this crew, but millions around the world continue to enable the evil they do.

* This is a board whose members almost to a man were selected with the counsel of, and in the mold of, the cardinal whom they chose as pope today. Borrowing some of Ratzinger's own, notorious phrasing: When entrenched reaction demands conformity, "neither the Church nor society should be surprised when ... [it gets it]." I expected a conservative successor to a conservative pope, but I didn't expect the choice would be so obvious; the current college of crimson-robed cyphers has no imagination whatsoever.

[image by Kathryn Gaitens from nowtoronto]

whose streets?

We love Rome, but we're very happy we didn't plan a trip this month. The beautiful ancient streets are filled with cultists and the more than idly-curious; the city's broad and narrow ways fill with their trash as soon as it is cleared away; and the pavements and walls smell of urine and sometimes more.

But People live and work in that great city. Some of them are less-than-eager hosts. The Roman father of an Italian friend of ours, an eminent linguist known for his bon mots, describes a city overwhelmed by unwashed hordes of media victims seeking to be a part of history, "It's like Popestock here!"

[image by Peter Dejong from the Associated Press]



Yesterday Barry wrote about Marguerite Evangeline's very strong show, "Shot Through," at Stefan Stux, but regretted he didn't have images of the work. I ended up with these on my own camera's chip, and thought I'd share them.

The works are each titled, Los Lunas, followed by a separate number. They are all from 2005, and they are of stainless steel and gunshot.

UPDATE: Bloggy now has a copy of her statement as a PDF file.

probably-irrelevant-footnote: In the shades of Longfellow's heroine, Evangeline is from Louisiana. Anyway, her work came to me first, but I've always been fascinated with Acadia, Louisiana and her beautiful name.

that's actually a candle flame; the cupboard is a faded apple green

It looks onto the garden roof terrace, away from the street bustle. We eat all of our informal meals here, but otherwise it functions more like a combination Victorian-era morning room and late-twentieth-century family room. Then again, I suppose it's really Sweetpea's room [he's doing fine, thank you; just refuses to give up his millet for regular birdseed or pellets, although he loves his greens as well].

Old American furniture. Nothing here even begins to suggest our current collecting interests. Funny that, but the picture would change if the camera pulled back just a bit.

when "relativism" knew its place

[I wouldn't be so interested in this dreck if I hadn't spent the first twenty years of my life as its prisoner, giving me far too much experience of its evils]

How do they keep a staight face? His former boss, Wojtyla, was also no friend of democracy or even of republics, in spite of the illusion manufactured by the media and bought by his weeping fans. At best, the Catholic Church is and always has been indifferent to the concept of responsible government.

In Rome on the same day his corporate board begins the selection of a new CEO, its chairman (perhaps only incidently a former Hitler Youth and Reichswehr soldier, and much later the chief of the Holy Inquisition) can find nothing more important to warn his "princely" colleagues about than a "dictatorship of relativism." Huh?

And they're still allowed to sell this stuff.

[unattributed image from silkeborg amtsgymnasium]

Frankie Martin "The One Minute Rave" installation view

Frankie Martin's "One Minute Rave" was still installed in the rear gallery at Canada when we visited the gallery this past Tuesday. She had created a club in the space of, roughly, a ten foot cube, although Barry and I were the only ravers available that afternoon, two days after the show had closed.

From Tom Moody's post:

Press a button outside a cloth-draped doorway, enter the room with the black light, strobe, and cardboard cutout DJ, and you have exactly one minute to freak out. Actually you can do it multiple times, but you have to keep sticking your hand outside the doorjamb to hit the switch that activates the music and lights. Some very nice handcrafted work, geometric patterns, psychedelic drawing, and pure kitsch from the era of smart drinks, glow in the dark whistles, and floor shattering bass lines. Which is still going on in many parts of the country, and/or in a state of being perpetually revived, as the '60s psychedelic thing continues to morph with new technology and new crops of initiates.
We missed the live rave dancers announced for opening night, but we went home with a 45 and this seven-inch album cover drawing:

Frankie Martin going to the rave 2005 "i don't want to be seen as fragile"

[the sign in the rear of the station wagon reads, "nerd on board"]

Jocelyn Shipley Hand Monster

I have to admit that I'm ethnically a goth, but I just don't get "goth." I'm pretty uncomfortable with the kind of grotesquerie represented by the work of Jocelyn Shipley, but I don't feel comfortable dismissing it, if for no reason other than my unwillingness to be bound by prejudice, even my own. I even hate to think that I'm just being slow in appreciating this work, yet I suspect there's more there than I'm able to see right now. That suspicion is reinforced by the fact that Shipley has the enthusiastic support of the excellent people at Canada.

So I'll admit that, for what it may be worth, for me a verdict is still pending, but here are a few shots of work from her recent show, "Pholklore," at the gallery, in the hope it will help more than one of us to figure it out.

Wow. Even if only for it's genre, it's pretty spectacular stuff, id'nit?

Jocelyn Shipley Hungry Man

Jocelyn Shipley Pantygram

Jocelyn Shipley Macaroni Man

All the works are from 2005, the dimensions vary, and the materials are generally found objects treated with paint, latex, or paper mache.

Brian Belott "Books, books, books, books, books, books and books" detail of installation

Brian Belott "Books, books, books, books, books, books and books" detail of detail of installation

We really overstayed our invitation welcome to the three shows at the Chinatown gallery Canada which closed a few days ago. In fact, Barry and I had wandered into the space after they had officially closed the official run of work by Brian Belott, Jocelyn Shipley and Frankie Martin.

On one side of the front gallery Belott showed a large renaissance-revival oak library table overflowing with his handmade books, each of their pages bursting with his infinitely-inventive collages. Belott covers the surface of every page of these found volumes until they can no longer close, but must stand upright in sensual invitation. We poured through dozens of them before we could tear ourselves away and let Whit (Canada's co-founder) leave for the night.

cash and carry

Are the big collectors now paying in cash?

Thomas Erben Gallery, installation view of the work of Jutta Koehter (reflected in the mylar screen and in detail on the right is Falling . . . Waters from 1995

I've been fascinated with Jutta Koether for years. I knew nothing about her earlier reputation in Germany, so I have to believe it's Pat Hearn's fault. I revered her artist choices even when I didn't understand them, and during the 90's she gave Koether, then a New Yorker, six solo shows in about as many years.

Thomas Erben has assembled something of a New York retrospective (1990's to the present) of an extraordinarily colorful creative artist who is at home in many disciplines considerably removed from the dramatic paintings included in the exhibition on West 20th Street, and the gallery has donned a party dress for the occasion.

Thomas Erben Gallery, view of gallery entrance and installation of the work of Jutta Koether (in large detail on the right is Das Wunder from 1990)

For a straight view of more current work, here is an image from the gallery website:

Jutta Koether Coronal Holes and the Sunny Eyes of Women 1999 oil on canvas 72" x 52" (inscription: "Trompe L'aime")

[image at the bottom from Thomas Erben]

Anthony Goicolea Fleeing 2005 acrylic, ink, graphite and collage on Mylar 85" x 75" installation view

It's not just the (always amusing, sometimes enigmatic) manipulated, multiple-self-modelled large-scale photographs any more. Anthony Goicolea is also now working with complex layered drawings, sometimes almost monumental in both their size and imagery, and with large-scale video installation.

The photograph-based work continues, with still more complex manipulations, but everywhere the simple amusement quotient has been suppressed a bit, and the work has grown immensely as a consequence.

It was a relatively quiet afternoon in Chelsea today but the benches in the little rustic barn Goicolea had erected in the back room of the Postmasters gallery space was full, with a crowd (mostly very young) waiting or peering in from outside. Methinks the artist is on to something here.

The show is called, "sheltered Life." From the gallery press release:

The sense of foreboding tinged with playful fantasy characteristic of many of the photographs is mimicked in a suite of complex figurative drawings on mylar. Androgynous figures of indeterminate age float on top of and through each other in a layered composition separated by planes of semi-opaque vellum paper. The ghostlike figures are caught in free-floating, awkward, transitional states: sometimes their images are doubled; sometimes they seem like as much animal as human. As the figures migrate through the forest in small packs, they fade in and out of each other in a series of tentative lines that read like traces of previous drawings and refer to memory and transition.

A large white barn occupies the second room gallery and acts as a shelter within a shelter while housing a 15 minute single channel video entitled "Kidnap". The video recounts the tale of a young boy's obsession and paranoia of being kidnapped. Shot in the Swiss countryside, several characters dressed in red-hooded uniforms engage in a series of clandestine rituals that unfold in a fairytale-like sequence.

Anthony Goicolea Kidnap 2004-2005 video installation, 17 minute DVD

untitled (526 box) 2005

Europe's fastest supercomputer, an IBM capable of making 40 trillion calculations per second, was booted up for the first time yesterday in a chapel [italics mine] of the Polytechnical University in Barcelona, Spain

A beleaguered American atheist, I was startled by this picture and caption when I came across it in Newsday this morning (I couldn't find it on their on-line edition). I showed it to Barry who said, "This is not your father's Spain," and then he went on with something about using churches more productively, for performances, galleries or . . . computers.

[caption from Newsday; image by Fernando Bague from the Associated Press]

Welcome citizens! (wire and flesh, inside the holding pen on Pier 57)


This is the political nightmare we fear the most. -- joseph Keiffer
Six letters in the NYTimes today discuss yesterday's news article about the confirmation of the false arrest of hundreds of people during last year's Republican Parteitage in New York. They cover a lot of ground and every one of the short contributions is worth a read, but I feel compelled to add my own observation here:
All of this almost certainly means nothing over six months after the damage was done. These people were held captive in miserable conditions, their voices silenced, for up to five days. That time and those assaults can never be restored. The speech silenced then was not and will never be heard; it was unable to influence or effect anything while voices were locked up inside a filthy abandoned pier. [see my archive for posts from the end of August and the first week of September, 2004]

Even if the innocence of these victims is affirmed now, and the malfeasance of the police and city administration is made clearly manifest to the world, what most people are not thinking about is the fact that it worked very well. It silenced a people who thought themselves free, including countless numbers who were frightened into staying at home.

A radical, quasi-fascist regime is now firmly entrenched in the most powerful nation on earth, and there is no effective dissent anywhere.

Worst of all, in spite of what happened in the courts last week, it will work the next time too. The police will continue to suppress all dissent; it's what our leaders want them to do. There will be no reprimands, no directives or new systems which might prevent a recurrence of last summer's shame or an even greater debacle in the future.

[image, repeated from my September 3, 2004 post, via indymedia, by anonymous]

installation view of two Chris martin paintings at Moore College

Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof each wrote about Chris Martin's work earlier this year in their wonderful Philly Artblog. For a bit more insight into his mysteries than I gave the other day, and a few more images, see "The question" and "A painter's question."

[image from fallonandrosof]

untitled (red bus) 2005


Six weeks ago I wrote about a terrific theatre piece at HERE, "All Wear Bowlers." After a brief hiatis Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle are back with the same show. Performances begin once again on April 22.

If you missed it the first time around, you can still get to heaven, and it will cost you only $20, $17, maybe $15, or even $10, depending upon your status when you ask for tickets.

[image, by Greg Costanzo, from 1812 Productions]

I neglected to point out yesterday that the works seen in the students' studios may or may not have been completed at the time they were seen this past weekend. My images may therefore be, in at least some cases, of works in progress. They might also be only studies, not intended to be shown out of their context. While these people are artists, at the moment they are also working as students, in rooms normally not visible to the rest of us.

Alicia Gibson (detail of painting)

Gibson is actually part of Hunter's BFA degree program, not the MFA; she wasn't in her darkened studio when we passed through it, so this image of one of the paintings is compromised by my camera's flash; what I saw there was extraordinary, mature work which will not stay in the dark for long; she will be part of the college's "Degree Show" opening this May

Chris Coronel

Coronel showed somewhat ghostly small paintings of midwestern grain elevators, beautifully executed; my favorite by far was the one shown above, but because the image is fuzzy I felt I had to make an exception to the format I've used otherwise in these two posts and show a second work below

Chris Coronel

Stephen Canino

incredibly dramatic use of color and form for pictorial narrative

Jennifer MacDonald

luscious small drawings and two wonderfully-bizarre short videos

I've run out of camera images, but I can still see in my head the good work, among that of so many others, of Becket Bowes, who seems to be at home in almost every media; the drawings and haunting desert photographs of Christina Dixcy; the humanist photo portraits, far beyond documentary, of Roberto Carlo Soto; the smart/silly sculpture and video of Scott Penkava; and the sweet/sorrow playground landscapes and jungle gym "portraits" of Lauren Orchowski. After this too-short list, testimony to a ridiculously inadequate memory, I begin to lose track altogether.

seen on the 6th floor, between WC's marked for separate genders

Fortunately we were on foot. And at least we didn't rush uptown on opening night, when the most of the local artworld zipped through the open studios at the Hunter College BFA degree show. We waited until the last day (okay, it was also only the second day). Actually, for all I know, these people have already all signed with New York's most agressive galleries.

Nevertheless, I've uploaded below images of some of the most interesting work Barry and I found today, although their presence here is very much dependent on whether I was able to get a satisfactory picture. To be sure, there's still much, much more left on West 41st Street.

Emily Noelle Lambert

wicked good painter, growing in leaps with every work we've seen

Ruslan Trusewych (tape on large vinyl surface on stretcher)

minimalist sculptor and painter, and the most common materials imaginable

Katy Krantz (large detail)

gorgeous works on paper

Dominic Nurre (view of studio)

Nurre's genius aches to be unwound and shown: I'm thinking a project room somewhere would be appropriate - now

Zach Harris (painting and artist's frame)

this stuff is scary brilliant, and I mean that in every sense of both words

Hope Hilton (cut-out paper installation)

beautiful, sensitive, smart and mesmerizing, although the work is difficult to photograph

I'm going to stop for tonight, and continue in another post tomorrow. If anyone is interested in seeing more of the work of any of these artists, I may have some additional images I could share, or at least be able to direct you to a website or an email address.

a voice crying in the wilderness

Peter Tatchell
is fabulous, and absolutely irrepressible. We love him!

The AP photo caption reads:

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell makes a protest as he stands in the crowd that were spectating the royal wedding between Britain's Prince Charles and the Camilla Duchess of Cornwall in Windsor England Saturday April 9, 2005.

[image by Peter Tarry from the Associated Press pool; caption also from the AP]

Maurizio Cattalan La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour) 1999 carpet, glass, wax, paint as lifesize figure

The incredible fanatical scene which surrounded the death of Karol Wojtyla should be slowing down now that he's buried, but already the latest headlines ominously suggest that the next story will be his canonization. Do we care? Yes, because most of it is a big lie, it was invented by his contemporaries for evil purposes, and unlike its ostensible subject, this one's not going to die.

This pope had a lot of time to write and talk in more than twenty-five years of personal autocracy, and it's mostly all out there on record. Norman Birnbaum's piece, "An Ambiguous Papacy," in the newest Nation [the entire text is only available in the print edition or on-line to subscribers] argues that while some of this stern pontiff's lectures were directed toward enlightened ends like the critiques of war, capitalism and (eventually) capital punishment [all ultimately without any success], when it came to his appalling positions so dearly loved by the media, like those related to gender and sexuality, the man was a total disaster [an amazing success] for ordinary people all over the world, regardless of their sacramental status. His "culture of life" was empty, morally bankrupt, from the beginning.

He was an inflexible traditionalist in denying equality to women in church and society. He regarded homosexuals as sinners and so legitimized the most primitive of hatreds. These are not just matters of dogma. The Vatican's opposition to birth control programs contributes to the poverty of the Third World; its refusal to accept the use of condoms likely facilitated the spread of AIDS; its coalitions with Islamists in international bodies reinforced their capacity to deny rights to women.

Argument and experiment within the church, so creative under John XXIII, gave way to a personalized party line. The great alternative tradition of Catholicism, conciliar church government with the participation of the governed, was consigned to the history books. Theologian Father Hans Küng declared the papacy of John Paul II a monarchical nightmare. Often, the most engaged groups of the Catholic laity had to struggle with their own church for the right to carry its social doctrines into the public arena. The fate of the liberation theology movement is a striking example: In a continent desperate for justice, it was pronounced heretical--setting back reform of Latin American society a generation.

. . .

[In Europe, the] Christian [Roman Catholic] social parties have recently put their energies into an entirely symbolic campaign to write into the European constitution an affirmation of Europe's "Christian identity"--or into supporting anti-Muslim campaigns. In Italy itself, the Vatican and bishops have allied themselves with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a figure who hardly reminds us of Saint Francis.

The case of American Catholicism is especially disappointing. Our great social achievement, the development of an American welfare state, owes much to Catholic thinkers and organizations. . . . . Nevertheless the American Catholic Church--despite the Pope's opposition to the Iraq War, the Bush doctrines of global domination, and the sovereignty of the market--contributed to the defeat of John Kerry. Prominent cardinals and bishops instructed Catholics not to vote for him because of his views on the rights of homosexuals and women.

Too much was given to this man; the least we can do is stop now. This was more than a horrible waste of a life; his was responsible for wasting those of countless others, and the evil will continue for generations.

The shoes of the fisherman stink.

liturgical shoes of pope paul VI.jpg

[Cattalan image from artthrob; image of Pope Paul VI's red shoes from spiritrestoration]

I was feeling just slightly abashed as I sat in the waiting room of a small-animal veterinarian a few days ago. I was gently cradling Sweetpea, our little green parakeet, slumped in his small clear-plexiglas travelling case, waiting our turn to be interviewed and examined.

To Barry and I our bright, chirpy roommate looked and acted perfectly healthy, but he had not been eating any of his normal seeds for almost a week and we had become very concerned. Other than the receptionist, our bench companions were a woman waiting for her dog to come out of the examination room and a young girl holding a box which sheltered a beautiful small rabbit with an injured leg.

Sweetpea had flown into our apartment two and a half years ago on a cold November day, and this was the first time he'd had any occasion to leave its safety since. He had become precious to Barry and me, but every visit to a pet store was a reminder that his relatives were being traded everywhere in New York for only $9.95.

And then everything in that room changed.

The door from the street opened suddenly and a tall, sturdy young man came in with a container similar to Sweetpea's, but smaller still. Even before sitting down he addressed the room sheepishly, almost apologetically, "you probably haven't seen a 'small animal' this small before." In the box was a tiny turtle, a red ear, its carapace perhaps an inch in diameter. The man's little charge was one of three he had brought home from Chinatown a few months earlier. The other two had flourished and grown considerably, but this little Fred only languished, and his companion thought he even appeared to be shrinking.

Sweetpea checked out fine, and he's back home now, although he's still ignoring the food mix which once seemed to make him so happy. He's also acting more than a bit subdued now, probably because of the trauma of his capture and tranport to and from the East Village by taxi, not to mention some intimate torso-poking and the drawing of blood for tests. But I'm hoping he'll eventually tire of his current diet of millet and greens, and go on to fill his biblical half score of years - at least - with two people who smile every time they look at him.

I've read that those cute little turtles could theoretically outlive their owners, even if they do cost half the going price of a parakeet when they're very young. I asked the veterinarian today whether Fred was going to make it, and she admitted he didn't have a good prognosis.

"It's such a shame; there are so many natural hazards for some species, and only some of them can survive. People fall in love with these little creatures, and sometimes there's nothing that can be done."

Chris Martin Midnight 2002-2004 oil, enamel and spray paint on plastic

I took this gorgeous image from the website of the Uta Scharf gallery, which is currently showing paintings by Chris Martin. It's a bit smaller than what I normally like to show here, but this shot looks much better than what I could come up with using available light on my visit this afternoon. Still, I have to say that there's no way I could try to reproduce many of Chris Martin's other, signature works on such a small scale.

It was the larger, much larger, canvases which first jumped in front of me a number of years ago, and I haven't been able to forget them since. Although his 1997 show at Pierogi 2000 had just closed, in the spring of that year I picked up a card at Joe Amrhein's space whose image was that of two men carrying across a Williamsburg street an extremely large (129" x 143") black canvas with a few iconic straight, white, chalk-like lines. The reference was the Abbey Road LP cover, whether conscious or not, but I was certainly hooked. I had to know who this artist was, and while I did a little research, for a while I couldn't find a live show anywhere.

In 2001 I was finally able to see what I had missed. That spring Martin had, I believe, shows in three separate venues at once, in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I think I might trade an entire salon-style wall of works by other artist if I could afford one of Martin's big pieces. A few years ago Barry and I managed to claim a smallish canvas at a wonderful something called, I think, "The Cheap Art Show" in Williamsburg. It really was cheap, and we've treasured Chris's [blacklit abstract birds] ever since.

I think he's a brilliant and materially-spectacular artist. What you will find in the modest space on 76th Street this week is an amazingly rich and remarkably heterogenous selection of his current work, with a couple of pieces stretching toward sculpture. Unfortunately the current show at Uta Scharf closes Saturday, but I'm sure Ms. Scharf would be more than happy to pull out a few pieces from the back room if asked.

In the meantime, please forgive me for uploading so many images here; it was hard enough to stop with just five.

Chris Martin Untitled 2005 oil, acrylic and collage on canvas 43" x 30"

Chris Martin Thirteen (For Ray Johnson) 2004 oil on corrugated plastic 26" x 24"

Chris Martin Psilocybin 2004 oil, acrylic and collage on shirt 24" x 18"

Chris Martin 1,2,3,4,5,6,7... (Ravine) 1987-2004 oil, aluminum foil and collage on canvas 25" x 15"

[images from Uta Scharf]

Diana Puntar Dual Disturbances 2004 plywood, plastic aluminum laminates 47" x 40" x 60" large detail of installation

But we found much more than Gae Savannah's newest creature extravaganza, a slightly-larger-than-life-size sculpture, "Paroxysm," at Jack the Pelican Presents this month.

As for the at least slightly-quaint title of the show, "Culture Vulture," the press release explains it simply:

In 1967, Carl Andre said, "Art is what we do. Culture is what is done to us." "Culture Vulture" show explores notion that art and culture are not the same thing.

"Culture Vulture" originated in diverse sources: a sixties article in MAD Magazine on the rent-a-beatnik craze; tourists at Hopi villages, buying up all the cheap roadside jewelry like it were the last on earth and gawking at rain dances; revelers at night clubs; late night internet junkies downloading Paris Hilton. The search for culture, or its most immediate facsimile, is a search for identity. Culture is an imposition, or even a virus, that infects us with the need to fill in the blanks.

The crowds at the opening reception for this very interesting group show curated by David Gibson were almost overwhelming, so a proper look at the goodies was very difficult, and for the same reason decent pictures were almost out of the question.

I love group shows; they often open up totally new worlds to the curious. But they also present some difficulties. Aside from the occasional frustrations caused by a look at interesting work which under the circumstances can only be a tease, the problem with installations which can display only a single piece by a new artist is the difficulty the format presents for any kind of fair judgment. In this case however I can already stand by my impressions of the pieces I saw that night by Savannah, Diana Puntar, Karen Heagle, Russell Nachman, Katherine Daniels, Amie Cunningham and Emmanuelle Gauthier (list in formation). Ooops, is it unfair that I am already at least slightly familiar with the work of five of these seven artists? Or am I just demonstrating my point about the challenge of group shows?

Gotta go back, if I can, and do some sleuthing.

Karen Heagle Holly 2003-2005 oil on panel 53" x 61" large detail

Emmanuelle Gauthier Courtesans 1996 C-print mounted on plexiglas 30" x 40" large detail

sign race

This was the scene on 23rd Street a few nights ago. Boston Market was installing a long canopy stretching to the curb, presumably to compete for attention with its fast food and fast life neighbors. This miniature Las Vegas is immediately adjacent to our own building, whose storefronts are currently being restored to their restrained, mid-1930's art deco appearance (including curved glass and awnings that roll out of pockets above display windows). A cab ride home in the rain the other night revealed that this electrified visual pollution is taking over much of the city.

Footnote: When I moved into Chelsea Gardens the buildings which stood where most of these signs are now composed a small row of once-dignified brownstones, the last on our side of the block. By the 1980's it was clear that they were the victims of malign neglect by absentee owners. Their tenants were eventually removed by one means or another (except for the pigeons), and the buildings slowly disintegrated, their rotting carcasses meanwhile presenting a continuous assault to the aesthetics, health and safety of the neighborhood. Years passed before they were torn down altogether, and by that time only the birds seemed to care that they were gone. The two-story replacements seen in the picture are built of Styrofoam, bent aluminum strips and wallboard. Their property titles are very likely in the hands of the same people who once owned the brownstones.

Meredith Allen blue bunny #5 (blue sunset) 2000 C-print 8.5" x 11.5"

Meredith Allen is showing her wonderfully-inspired combination of concept, color, abstraction and humor in a show of new work, "Forever," at Sarah Bowen Gallery in Williamsburg.

From the press release:

In Forever, a series of photographs portrays the artist's mother's loving yet obsessive collection of beanie babies preserved in found plastic packing materials as well as clear Ziploc bags. The photographs are at first glimpse personable; however the literal and somewhat amusing presentation of beanie babies enclosed in plastic bags becomes more unnerving upon examining the logical yet perverse nature of encapsulation as a cherished act of preservation.
The image at the top of this post is obviously not part of the show, but I wanted to show it here anyway. It's a favorite of mine. It haunted me from the first moment I saw it, I think because its sweetness didn't hide a suggestion of mischief, vulnerability, even terror. Blue Bunny is part of an older series, "Sugar Tales." I don't think it's been shown anywhere yet.

Allen's own site, which was incidently built by Barry, includes many more really great images, both from the current show and of older work, but two of her beanie babies are shown just below.

Meredith Allen Forever (walrus) 2005 digital archival dry pigment print 11.5" x 17.25"

Meredith Allen Forever (cockatoo) 2005 digital archival dry pigment print 11.5" x 17.25"

[images from Meredith Allen]

Just call me anti-pope, but the incredible AP story headline looks to me like someone's fantasy: "Americans Mourning the Death of Pope." And not to be outdone, their competition, Reuters, has a story with a banner even more over-the-top, "Pope John Paul Dies, World Mourns."

Now our media will be telling us repeatedly that we're all waiting around for the appearance of his reincarnation, when his reactionary staff chooses his reactionary doppelganger. With a Dalai Lama at least, the world has an even chance each time he dies off.

I'm just sorry they didn't plug him in, as I said two days ago.

For a brief starter course on papal malevolence and malefactory, see Buggery.org.

untitled (North Third polaroid) 2005

untitled (North Third surfers) 2005

untitled (Bedford Street Bästs) 2005

untitled (North Third eye) 2005

This page is an archive of entries from April 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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