Culture: September 2008 Archives

a clutch of some of the pink and yellow [g a y] balloons which accompany Sharon Hayes's "Revolutionary Love 1 & 2: I Am Your Worst Fear, I Am Your Best Fantasy", spotted hanging out at the bottom of a dark corner of the hall just outside the room where the sound and video piece is installed

I didn't have time to do a full post on the show tonight, so I decided that I'd put up just one image and make a very strong recommendation that everyone who can do so make her or his way to the Park Avenue Armory tomorrow (actually that's today, Saturday) for the last day of Creative Time's essential contribution to the moment we're all sharing right now, questioning the idea of "Democracy in America".

It's an awesome show, it's not going to be forgotten, and you know you're going to want to have been a part of it - especially after the news that an important and not unrelated show at the Chelsea Museum has been [summarily ?] pulled.

This headline is the title of the exhibition catalog, edited by its curator, Nato Thompson.

a view of John Wallbank's studio showing rich, evocative shapes fashioned from scraps

It was a tremendously rejuvenating afternoon, and it continued into early evening. Barry and I both feel refreshed and renewed from an interaction yesterday's with a number of charming, smart, creative people and their art, after a rather slow summer and continuing dramatic reminders of the hideous knavery and incompetence which describes the alternate universe of the business and political world. (Yes, we're all entitled to call it a depression, even if for now it only describes our psychic state.)

At the invitation of the organizers, Barry and I spent hours walking through the workshops of dozens of artists from all over the world who had been invited to participate in a two-week program sponsored by Triangle Arts Association. This coming Saturday their Front Street Brooklyn studios will be open to the public, from 1 to 6 pm, as part of DAC's Art Under the Bridge Festival. I highly recommend a visit. This is an extraordinary group of artists: We weren't able to make it to every studio space in the time we had, but there certainly were no disappointments yesterday.

The images which surround this text represent only a peek at what I saw in some of the studios. I've indicated the name of the artists, but of course what you see here does not necessarily represent finished works, and for that matter, it may not be what you might find set up for visitors on Saturday.

Sun You's shimmering wall assemblage, in the form of a triptych, moves with the viewer

two sketches by the painter/printmaker Bertrand Bracaval explore and expand his themes

Suhee Wooh's improvisatory paintings may begin with barely-discernible human shapes

Valerio Carruba's pencilled frontispiece to his series of anatomy drawings

Maya Attoun's assemblage relates the body to the domestic materials which define it

This is the complete list of artists in the workshop this year:

Maya Attoun (Israel)
Bertrand Bacaral (France)
Astrid Busch (Germany)
Jillian Conrad (USA)
Valerio Carrubba (Italy)
Sungjin Choi (Korea/NY)
Alessandro Dal Pont (Italy)
Ann Gollifer (Botswana)
Alice Guareschi (Italy)
Minji Kim (South Korea)
Ethan Kruszka (USA)
Francis Okoronkwo Ikechukwu (Nigeria) [unfortunately unable to secure US visa]
Dan Levenson (USA)
Ghassan Maasri (Lebanon)
Maggie Madden (Ireland)
Kabelo Kim Modise (Namibia)
Liz Murray (England)
Klaus Pamminger (Austria)
Keun Young Park (South Korea/USA)
Emma Puntis (England)
Paul Santoleri (USA)
Justin Storms (USA)
Nicholas Tourre (France)
John Wallbank (England)
Suhee Wooh (Korea/NY)
Sun You (Korea/NY)

I'm not sure what's going on here, but the presentation is certainly wonderful. There's no information inside Honey Space, the alternative Chelsea room which displays this sculpture, and nothing on its site. Midori Harima has an installation at Honey Space on Eleventh Avenue right now. It's a trompe-l'il carousel, its surfaces shaped from paper. It's vaguely three dimensional and vaguely life size, almost colorless and almost immaterial. It's totally surrounded by black velvet curtains and levitates inches above a shiny floor. The only light in the room comes from the projection which nearly brings this gloomy merry-go-round to life.

Thinking about it afterwards I mused that I would like to hear music of some kind while standing in front of this ghostly apparition; maybe the artist could have furnished some distant achingly-sad ambient sound. But now as I look at the image I'm uploading here I realize instead that the work inspires the viewer makes her or his own music. The fact that it might be only an unspecific, vague collection of distant tones would probably just about perfect.


Earlier this evening I spotted this canvas leaning against a light pole on Metropolitan Avenue near the BQE overpass. It's a painting of a modernist steel and glass building, and it's been carefully pressed into the shape of the architectural image it outlines.

I like it as sculpture, especially with that broken lower stretcher rail which added a bend to the right of the center. Maybe it's still there.

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung untitled 2007 oil on canvas 11" x 14"

This was my favorite of a small, diverse group of paintings in the Molly Zuckerman-Hartung installation, "An Erotics", in the Tunnel Room at John Connelly Presents. Since it was also the last one I saw, and since I liked it enough to take away this image, I'm thinking I should go back to check out the other canvases a second time. The evening I was there I felt I was being hurried on to the next venue, and I hadn't even read the short press release, where Zuckerman-Hartung's evident indifference to the convention of showing a distinctive style (or "brand") is more than affirmed by the artist herself.

lovely shirt, Noah, but don't try to eat it

I found Noah Lyon in the middle of the largest of the pieces in Jennifer Steinkamp's show, "Daisy Bell", last Sunday when Barry and I visited Lehmann Maupin's beautiful Lower East Side space. Noah was covered with sections of Steinkamps' gently-waving projection of flowers as they paraded down the far wall of the darkened gallery on a black ground.

My thoughts about the show itself while I was in the gallery were something on the order of, "yes, it's beautiful, but (especially because of the extravagant high-tech element) so what?" I didn't actually read the press release until much later (in fact only after looking on my computer screen at the picture above) and then it came together. I have to remind myself that sometimes you shouldn't leave a show without looking at the "instructions". Here's an excerpt from the gallery website, edited for some typos:

The title, Daisy Bell, refers to a particular moment in the history of science and culture: when in 1962, Bell Labs used the IBM 704 to synthesize the popular 19th- Century English song of the same name. The song was also used in the climactic scene of the epic film 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the supercomputer HAL 9000 begins to sing Daisy, Daisy as his consciousness is degraded.

Steinkamp's Daisy Bell series is comprised of a variety of poisonous flowers that appear to cascade down the gallery walls.

Much as Bell Lab's Daisy Bell consisted of a human application reinterpreting nature, Steinkamp reprises the idea, and defines this new series of artwork by its relationship to human innovations.

The gallery's site for this exhibition has more images, including a video of another piece being shown on Chrystie Street.

just put in a parking lot

Remember that glorious central transit hub we were promised? The one they've been dangling in front of all of our eyes for years? Gone. It's been cancelled. It looks like one more case of bait-and-switch. Some people are making a lot of money playing with us, while they play with this wretched site.

On September 10th, the day before this, our latest jingoist holiday, "Patriot Day"*, Mayor Bloomberg decided to drop his own bomb on New York. In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, "There Should Be No More Excuses At Ground Zero", he wrote:

. . . the PATH station's design, including the underground hall, is too complicated to build and threatens to delay the memorial and the entire project. It must be scaled back.

The scale of the grand, highly-praised and long-anticipated transit superstation designed by Santiago Calatrava for the World Trade Center site had already been cut back several times, and our Mayor wants it reduced even further - actually, totally eliminated at least as we've known it until now.

One would think that our much-vaunted "subway mayor," who worked so hard (with mixed results) to make several totally inappropriate new corporate-sports stadiums and arenas his personal civic career memorial, might be able to persuade himself that a great transit hub would be the perfect grand projet to leave to a great city on the run. But no, he just wants to fill in that damn hole.

originally called "National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims Of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001" and never to be confused with that much more venerable and more upbeat celebration called "Patriots' Day"

[image from]

Marcius Galan Isolante (quadrada)/Isulated (square) 2006 painted metal 55" x 52" x 36.75" [installation view]

Edgard de Souza Tigelinha (grupo I) 2004 cow skin 23.75" x 35.5" x 4" [installation view]

The first show of the fall season at Eleven Rivington is curated by Fernanda Arruda. "Active Forms" includes work by three young South American artists currently working in So Paolo. The sculptures and works on paper by Edgard de Souza, Marcius Galan and Camila Sposati are displayed here, literally, in the shadow of several small hanging drawings by the Swiss-born Brazilian artist Mira Schendel (1919-1988), a pioneer in conceptual abstraction most familiar for work which combined language and paper.

Brock Enright Untitled 2008 [detail of installation, with small wooden objects "Computer 1" on the left, "Computer 2" on the right]

[large detail]

Robert Longo [his new ArtCat site is coming soon!] has a curatorial project he calls "Monsters" at Rental. It opened last night. There's one 1999 study by Longo in the show, but each of the some dozen other artists has assisted Longo in his studio during the last ten years. An acrylic and silkscreen on canvas piece by Zander Vaubel has been placed above the gallery desk. Vaubel died in a tragic accident in Brooklyn in 2006 He was 22.

I was already familiar with Brock Enright's art, and that of Paolo Arao, but I think the others were new to me. A number of works stood out even in what was a very crowded reception. Of course I was intrigued by Enright's installation, one of a number of works he expects to complete which will incorporate elements from his dramatic projects. I liked Arao's drawings, as well as works by Michael Owen, Jason Bartell, Garrick Imatani and Eric Schnell. The names of Qing Liu, Julio Gonzalez, Colin Hunt, Owen McAuley, Nathan Spondike and William Latta complete the list.


I know it's almost two months away, but if your calendar fills up like my calendar does, and if you already know how worthy this operation is, you'll appreciate knowing now that the 2008 NURTUREart benefit is scheduled for October 27th. It's also an terrific opportunity to bring home some terrific art, so put it in your calendars: As Barry says on Bloggy, "You know any group that honored James and me at the last one has excellent taste".

Oh, and the bash will be in Manhattan, at James Cohan Gallery on West 26th Street. More details as we get closer to the date.

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

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