Culture: November 2003 Archives

On 10th Avenue, outside the Exit Art "L Factor" opening on Saturday night

Border fence, rasor wire and observation tower installed at the entrance to the show

On Saturday night Exit Art opened its latest show, "The L Factor." The curators' assignment was to challenge a group of wonderfully fecund young North American Latino visual artists to create work relating to North American Latino (large and small-c) culture. It's a great show, with some pretty heavy stuff alongside of, and sometimes within, works of great wit.

The opening party was very decorative, but something less than what we'd imagined it would be. Everyone had apparently been doing some serious community outreach, but at least up until the time we left the party everything was still pretty straight in every way, especially for an art crowd.

Maybe it was the impact of the chain link fence at the entrance, topped with rasor wire and dominated by a watchtower crowded with visitors with cameras.

Exit Art is redefining the geography of the Chelsea gallery scene, even if it's new location is not a part of Chelsea by anyone's definition and even if right now I think it's still some seven blocks north of its nearest colleagues, Sean Kelly on 26th Street. Time Out New York now has offices in Exit Art's building, and Art Resources Transfer may soon be moving to 33rd Street. It's hard to imagine that the west 30's could remain dominated by shipping companies and tire repair stands much longer. And, no, we don't need or want a stadium - ever.

The High Line development will change everything, but I hope that even with that reinvention there will still be room for people other than the moneychangers.

Anyway, it's worth the trek right now, and there's a neat cafe once you get there.

Shelby Hughes's fog regularly enveloped the crowd at Daniel Reich

Trick Giglio and Barry Hoggard in front of Nick Maus's work at Daniel's

Daniel Reich ran away from home on Saturday. The great new space on 23rd Street gave the enthusiastic mob which attends this delightful, improbable wizard's every move just a bit more elbow room, but, come the cold weather and with it a much less friendly sidewalk, we will all be feeling the pinch again - and getting to know each other even better.

It's that darn crowd. But they are beautiful.

And of course they were the show on Saturday, but judging from even a quick look at the stuff I saw lying around I expect a return visit to the new work of Christian Holstad in the rear and Nick Maus and Shelby Hughes up front will confirm the attractions of the art as well. It all needed at least a little more room than we were able to give it last night.

Jeremy Blake, still from "Reading Ossie Clark"

A beautiful show, and a literate video delightful on any level. It's at Feigen Contemoporary, and it closes at the end of this week.

[image taken while viewing the DVD projection in the gallery on Saturday]

Anne Gadwa, in "I Dream of Monster Babies"

Through fully half of the piece the dancers performed in complete darkness, but it wasn't really a problem, since a suited gentleman sat at front, stage right, reading a description by penlight.

It was that kind of a program tonight at the latest of Dance Theater Workshop's regular "Fresh Tracks" events, which schedules innovative new choreographers, sometimes for their first public exposure. I eat this stuff up - in any medium.

The light-challenged choreography was the eccentric work of Renée Archibald and Daryl Owens, who were the two actual dancers. The piece was called "Subject Obscured" and it may have had something to do with the question about the tree falling in the forest, but if so, here the question was both more and less profound. The dance was delightful.

Most of the pieces were humorous and most were text-based, or maybe the texts were dance-based. In any event it was very good dance theatre which hugely honored the name and the mission of this irreplaceable venue on 19th Street tonight.

We look forward to seeing every one of the choreographers on tonight's program again wherever they next surface. The others were Pascale Wettstein, who collaborated with her dancers in a brilliant engineering of space and a bizarre manipulation of limbs to both a jerky and buoyant effect; Ivy Baldwin, who was in a collaboration with her own dancers, who performed an intimate and abusive bathing ritual with two beautiful transparent tubs of water; Anne Gadwa, who shared her nightmares of pregnancy (including the dramatic birth of a giant plastic bottle of Pepsi) with a delighted audience; Melinda Ring, whose work reminded Barry of the childlike effect Eric Satie hoped to produce in his music; and finally, Linas Phillips and John Wyszniewski, whose performance with Jo Williamson remains absolutely indescribable, but it may suffice to say the material had something to do with an invented slavic myth about overstimulated teenagers and the poaching of the spirits of dead rabbits. The music was Black Sabbath.

[image from the Village Voice]

Deitch on Wooster Saturday night - hardly a grownup to be seen

Deitch still pulls them in - both artists and their young fans - meaning a hugely-diminished SOHO cannot be ignored quite yet.

There were simultaneous openings Saturday on both Grand and Wooster Streets, and it was good to be there(s).

Highlights: Tim Lokiec, Naomi Fisher and Hernan Bas in the smaller venue, and Hisham Akira Bharoocha, Tim Hawkinson and Christopher Garrett in the great barn on Wooster, where the attractive crowd was a distraction and a return visit should reveal some more (highlights).

Tim Lokiec's drawings were exceptionally beautiful, even (or especially) if you've already seen him at LFL. Loved Tim Hawkinson's truck tire.

There is a site for the curator of the Wooster St. show, Chris Perez, but there's no Deitch website! Especially shocking in the circumstances of their moneyed hipsterdom. Logistics: 76 Grand St. and 18 Wooster Street (212) 343 7300

Beatriz Monteavaro, from the series, "Picasso visits the Planet of the Apes"

A very subjective and definitely only partial list of some of the good stuff in Williamsburg galleries this week:

Manit Sriwanichpoom's ghostly pink photographic provocations at Momenta
72 Berry

Andrew Jeffrey Wright's delightful and very smart conscience drawings at Champion
281 N. 7th

Jackie Gendel's gorgeous waxy oils at Jessica Murray, esp, Kablasto!
210 N. 6th

Meighan Gale's breathtakingly intimate effortlessly majestic self-portraits at Black & White
483 Driggs

Everest Hall's shameless sourced brush and pencil images at Bellwether
335 Grand

Andrea Loefke's enigmatic sculptures and tiny drawing constructions at S1
242 S. 1st

Beatriz Monteavaro's beautiful Picasso/Planet of the Apes obsessions at Monya Rowe
242 S. 1st

Joe Fig's sculptural reconfigurations of painters' studios at Plus Ultra
235 S. 1st

Joe Amrhein's affectionate reading of the detritus of art criticism at Roebling Hall
390 Wythe

[image from Times Stereo]

Joe Ovelman, Two Walls 2003, guerilla installation

If you missed Joe Ovelman's walls in Chelsea last month, and if you want to see more of the work I've talked about in the past on this site, stop by Oliver Kamm's 5BE Gallery by November 15, when the current small group show closes.

Ovelman has covered most of one wall of the gallery with many of the arresting images with which he had earlier wheatpasted the plywood on either 25th Street or 10th Avenue, and I don't think anyone has torn them off the plaster yet.

5BE Gallery is located on the second floor at 504 West 22nd Street, just west of 10th Avenue.

[image from Oliver Kamm 5BE Gallery]

2 Columbus Circle

Maybe there's a chance for a last-minute reprieve.

Three preservation groups filed suit yesterday to stop the city from selling the vacant [Edward Durell Stone] city-owned building at 2 Columbus Circle to a museum that wants to strip off the building's modernist facade.

Taking issue with an environmental review that cleared the way for the building to be transferred to a quasi-public agency that would handle the sale, the preservationists demanded a new environmental impact statement on the proposed alterations. They also accused the city of moving to dispose of a building worthy of landmark status "without adequately considering the consequences of its loss."

The lawsuit alleged that because the city wanted to sell the building, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission was reluctant to hold a public hearing on designating it a landmark. "The city's economic objectives infected the process for considering the potential landmark status of the building and subsequently tainted the environmental analysis that it performed in order to gain legal authorization for the sale," the lawsuit said.

By Vitruvius, it's the only building worth looking at in the entire plaza, er, circle. For more on both the modernist building and the political-economic and aesthetic battle, see the LANDMARK WEST, Recent Past preservation and City Review sites.

[image is historical photograph, courtesy Ezra Stoller, 1964 ©ESTO, on Recent Past Preservation site]

Michael Meads, Anarchist Cum Shot, 2002

The most exciting gallery show in town - at least until the next one - is at Team right now, "my people were fair and had cum in their hair (but now they're content to spray stars from your boughs)". But it wasn't the name of the show that pulled me into the space last Tuesday.

Instead, the cause of my unplanned detour as I rushed to the White Box benefit that evening was the fact that I had spotted a familiar Jeff Burton image on the back wall of the gallery's second room. Yup. From the sidewalk, almost half a floor above the space. It was something of a red flag.

Barry and I went back together yesterday, and we'll definitely return, probably more than once.

For me it might have been enough that this group show, curated by Bob Nickas, is provocative, and that it presents work by a number of young artists whose work we have already coveted or actually jumped on, but the installation is mad really awesome by the inclusion of some of their kindred of the last four decades, painter, sculptors, photographers and film or video makers, some now established, some nearly forgotten and some even ignored.

What holds it all together is its honesty and its delight in sexual pleasure. Also, the eye loves it all. There's not a dud in the entire show, a roster of 39 different artists.

Even the (serendipitous?) blending of sound from the two monitors playing near to each other contibuted to the energy of the (Six!) exhibition spaces.

One cavil, but it's more of a surprise, given this particular Team assemblage: Where's Joe Ovelman?

The show's statement by Jose Freire is a gem.

I'm not even sure much of the work is even available for sale, but I'm happy to think of the entire business as a great public service. Thanks, guys.

Oh yes, we're also delighted to find an important gallery installation whose title cannot appear in the NYTimes.

The show is up through November 15 at 526 West 26th Street.

[image from Team Gallery]

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

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