NYC: July 2004 Archives

detail from Julia Scher's video, "Guard"

The third of White Box's planned nine weekly curated (RNC-oriented) shows opened tonight with a video and window installation by Julia Scher curated by Michael Rush.

Everything is on the outside of the gallery for these summer shows. This week the window reveals a real chain link fence topped with the ubiquitous razor wire, but this time everything is in pink, the whole threaded with a blue text welcoming the Republican National Convention to New York. The video installation next to the window is composed of two looped tapes (43 minutes total) each showing a solitary pink-uniformed security guard stationed, presumably, in front of a bank of monitors showing images of the viewer.

Scher has worked with surveillance issues for years. In 1991 she wrote, "The monitors of surveillance are the eyes of a social body gone berserk." Today we cannot even imagine an escape from that insanity.

It's a very good show. It'll be there for only six more days, but the real surveillance is only getting started.


Spotted on the way home from Williamsburg, on the uptown platform of the 14th Street IND station around midnight one rainy evening earlier this week: An attractive and serious young man, comfortably slouched on the bench, reading a copy of Ernst Cassirer's "The Myth of the State," small headphones holding his thoughts in place. At his feet rested a beautiful, wet, Winnie-the-Pooh folding umbrella.

Unfortunately I didn't have the nerve to use my camera; this time I had to just squeeze my eyes and record it without mechanical assistance.

Lovely, New York.

[image from Umbrella-Shoppe.Com]

untitled (Grand Ferry Park sunset)

It's just a slip of a thing right now, but some day the site which once saw ferries, loaded with farm produce and passengers, crossing to Manhattan every few minutes from downtown Williamsburg may be a real destination once again. Meanwhile the small park is a modest delight for a neighborhood cut off from its great river and hungry for park

A red brick smokestack rising above a circular pattern of cobblestones was part of a molasses plant that Pfizer Pharmaceuticals used in the early 20th century for work that led, eventually, to the large-scale production of penicillin. The cobblestones were salvaged from the section of Grand Street where the park was constructed.


KING JOSIAH'S is surely the cleanest and most beautiful hot dog cart in the city of New York. Note the condiments. We spotted Josiah, and a few of his friends and customers, parked at the curb on the northwest corner of 8th Avenue and 14th Street tonight at 11 o'clock. Frankfurters on a bun still only $1 each, even with all this style.

“Good artists borrow; great artists steal”

This Saturday the Public Radio show, "Studio 360," will include a segment by Matthew Schuerman on the "Bootlegs" project of the artist, Eric Doeringer.

“Good artists borrow; great artists steal” – the old saying has been attributed to Picasso but he may have stolen it as well. This week on Studio 360, Kurt Andersen and his guest, the writer and musician Greg Tate, talk about the artistic need to take other people’s work.
We delight in collecting his work and Barry and I have both written about him in the past. It's likely we will be heard in the edited sound picture, and I have the same concern expressed on Bloggy: "I hope I didn't embarass myself too badly."

In New York, the program will air on 93.9 FM at 10 AM Saturday, July 10 and on 820 AM at 7 PM on Sunday, July 11. You can also listen online to WNYC.

To find broadcast times/stations in other areas, you can visit Studio 360. The program will also be archived for one week after the broadcast here (after that you have to pay to listen).

[image from Eric Doeringer's site]


I know it's been a while since the shows opened, but I've been busy with I don't know what, and, after all, the stuff is still there. The picture above is from a June 30 reception at the Whitney Museum. The guests are tripping through the pages of 16 of Ed Ruscha's artist books from the 60's and 70's. The show? It bears the quite obvious title, "Cotton Puffs, Q-tips®, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha."


A pretty substantial review of the sculpture and performance art of the Cuban artist, Ana Mendieta, from the 70's and early 80's is also been unfolded in the museum's galleries this summer. Called "Ana Mendieta: Earth Body," the installation is an extraordinaryily sensitive presentation of this difficult body of work. I believe the image above is that of a detail from the "Maroya (sculpture) Platform."

Normally I just don't expect to be able to be able to properly register the work itself in the midst of the buzz of an opening, but the Ruscha and Mendieta shows were exceptions. Both exhibitions are superb shows, and I can only now begin to appreciate, on both an intellectual and an aesthetic level, what my artist friends have been talking about for years.

The Ruscha walls smiled, smartly or broadly, and the Mendieta rooms had the feel either of an ancient religious site or of a world from the future which had yet to find its place of rest. Both are terrific shows, and they oddly complement each other, at least from the position of a visitor to the Museum.

on Lafayette Street this afternoon

The image is that of three skateboarders studying videos of skateboarders. They are looking at a number of monitors behind a grill protecting the display window of a skateboarder shop, Supreme, closed for the holiday. The street, normally quite busy, was otherwise virtually empty.


Herds of Republicans in New York?

Can't wait for the excitement of the Republican Convention, still eight long weeks away? Start celebrating this coming Wednesday, and again on each of the next eight Wednesdays, with the people at White Box. They're putting together more than two months' worth of creative events in recognition of the extraordinary significance of this . . . this thing coming to New York. There will be a new curator and a new art installation each week.

The Republicans of course have only one installation, it's hardly art, it's definitely not a hit and the whole set will be struck later this fall.

MAKE NICE will be the theme of the fifth edition of White Box's annual summer series, Six Feet Under. As in previous years, MAKE NICE will consist of exhibitions mounted by critics and curators who will take possession of White Box's exhibition space for the duration of one week each. This year the topic specifically addresses the Republican National Convention, to be staged in New York from August 29 through September 2, 2004. The premise is that the curators, and the artists they select, respond to an ad-campaign featuring Ed Koch in which he tells New Yorkers: "The Republicans are coming, Make Nice."
Meanwhile, it looks like Koch has had real trouble finding New Yorkers to volunteer holding Republican hands. Are we surprised?
Many of the tour guides for this summer's Republican National Convention will be tourists.

The nonprofit committee in charge of making Gotham hospitable to the 4,000-plus delegates has hit its benchmark of recruiting 10,000 volunteers.

But only 42 percent of the unpaid convention guides are New York City residents. The rest are from other areas, including upstate, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to statistics released yesterday by NYC Host Committee 2004.

10,000 guides for only 4,000 delegates? They should be able to spare at least a few of those volunteers for work toward a cause worthy of a human being. I expect that some of those 4,200 or so New Yorkers are in fact spies or moles, so this could get more interesting than the event planners might have imagined.

[image is logo from White Box site]


We went to the Central Park Zoo this afternoon. The animals were delightful, but the people (almost all of them escorted by baby people) were pretty wonderful too. Barry said that he thinks everyone should be required to go to a zoo once a month. It would improve the species.

Actually, even in Manhattan it isn't really necessary to go all the way to a zoo to visit wildlife. I captured the picture above, of two baby field mice, while I was enjoying a small sandwich standing next to the granite wall on the side of the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesday afternoon.

My attention was first caught by rustling in the underbrush which was followed by the appearance of several of the tiniest birds I had ever seen. The baby wrens were soon joined in their grazing for scraps by these two mice, and for five minutes or so it was touch and go, neither group interested in joining the other for lunch.

They were more afraid of each other than they were of me, so I was unable to include them all in the same viewing screen, even after I had sacrified some breadcrumbs of my own.

Oh yes, about the Zoo. The Rainforest installation was magnificent, especially for someone as crazy about birds as I am, but the penguin room was my absolute favorite, outranking the sunbathing polar bear or even all of the monkeys combined. Somebody in that Zoo has a thing about penguins, and I understand the obsession perfectly: There must have been nearly a hundred there, waddling on the rocks or torpedoing through the cold water, all under a painted Antarctic sky.

Unfortunately the gay male penguin couple was not identified by a plaque, and since Roy and Silo obviously couldn't be distinguished by a superior taste in costuming, we were unable to locate them.

This page is an archive of entries in the NYC category from July 2004.

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