Queer: October 2008 Archives

Gregg Evans Luis 10/06 2007 digital C-print 16" x 16"

Barry and I had a terrific time at the NURTUREart benefit Monday night, and we came home with the piece by Gregg Evans shown above.

Executive Director Karen Marston tells me that the staff is pleased and relieved that there was no major drop in either sales or enthusiasm this year, in spite of our current serious economic scare! She added that even if it hadn't been a financial success she herself would have thought all the work worthwhile for its incalculable value in energizing the volunteers, the artists (including the school kids in the Outreach Program), patrons both continuing and newly-arrived, and friends who can't live without art.

I can only say myself that the art displayed and available was very impressive, and that the room was filled with more happy and excited people - of all kinds - than I have ever seen at an arts benefit, and I've been to a lot.

I think the organizers are trying to arrange a way to make the works which did not walk out of the room that night visible on line and available for purchase. I know that if we had some fat in our own wallets right now the two of us would have reduced their number quite a bit further on our own. The exhibition had been selected from offerings by NURTUREart artists through the input of a curating team which included Koan Jeff-Baysa, Lowell Pettit, Amy Rosenblum Martin, and Lily Wei. Their excellent judgment was reflected in the quality of what we saw that night. If a system for the sale of the remaining works is set up, I will be reporting it here.

The picture at the top of this post?

We had purchased a ticket which entitled us to one artwork, but, since we were also on the benefit committee and had to get back to work, we had only a few seconds to make a pick from among 150 worthy pieces hanging on the walls of the James Cohan Gallery.

Quickly comparing notes when we could both take a break, Barry and I found we had each separately and immediately zoomed in on "Luis" without knowing anything about the artist or the series of work of which it is a part. It was enough that this beautiful big print suggested a mind and an aesthetic which seemed to be worth exploring further. It turns out that the image is part of body of work in which Evans investigates the home environments of a number of his friends.

I've searched on line for more information and I came across these two statements, on separate pages of an Arts in Bushwick preview/profile, about his work from the artist himself:

I have a friend who often talks about photographing the people he is close with as a way of maintaining relationships. I often wonder if I agree with his logic, if the power between photographer and subject creates connection or destroys it. Can one maintain a friendship with someone they are constantly observing? If, for example, I photograph the things which gather on bookshelves in a friendís apartment is this photograph a testament to our friendship and existence, or is it really a marker of the beginning of the end? What happens to a relationship, or for that matter, a place, when it is suddenly acknowledged as important?

My work stems from day to day life; the seemingly banal objects and spaces we overlook in a given day or week, i.e. the books on oneís bookshelves or the newspapers we leave behind on the subway. I am interested in the remnants of consumer culture, archaeology, and what our products say about us.

There's more here, on the White Columns Registry site, and there are also two books documenting his work, one carrying the weight of the painfully-disconsolate title, "I Could Walk Away Now And You Wouldnít Care", the other (a zine?) tagged with the more dispassionate, "The State of Upstate".

the Radical Homosexual Agenda seen in Council this morning

The real argument is about competitive elections, not term limits. Of course we'd like to think that every vote counts, but the fact is that we've designed a system in which money really counts; the votes are essentially just for decoration.

If we had a real system of public financing of elections there would be no argument for term limits. New Yorkers have voted twice to establish a system of term limits, a clumsy and ineffective mechanism intended to help level the playing field for candidates seeking office. It doesn't really get us where we should be, but it's not preferential, and it's what we got.

While it's not entirely about money, it's about money. Wealth always attracts power and power attracts wealth. It's not just ironic that the billionaire who initiated and bankrolled, to the tune of $4 million, successful term limits referendums in 1993 and 1996 now wants to overturn the results without a referendum, in order to support another billionaire: In fact it's disgusting but it should surprise no one.

Supporters of Mayor Bloomberg's call for the Council to negate the twice-expressed will of the voters of the city for his benefit are acting as if victory would automatically mean a third term for their candidate. Unfortunately they're probably right. Bloomberg spent $100 million of his own money to buy and keep his first two elections; he is expected to spend another $80 million if we let him have his way with us a third time.

Supporters also argue that voters should have complete freedom to cast their ballots for whomever they wish. I agree, but it's not going to happen if this kind of money (whether coming from individuals or very interested corporations) is always going to be there to tell us who and what is best for us. Any other other "whomever" or "whatever" will always be kept out of both sight and sound by people with more money behind them.

I'd like to think that my city is not for sale, and yet of course we know it is.

But there's still hope, and some of it showed up at City Hall this morning. On the second day of hearings over the question of whether the Council should vote for another term for Bloomberg, the first statements were delivered by Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, Time Warner Chairman Richard D. Parsons, and Peter Vallone, Sr., who was Speaker of the City Council from 1986 until 2001. All three support Bloomberg, and all three spoke in his support today, but then something happened to throw a figurative wrench in their political works. I hope it might set the theme for the remainder of the day: Members of the Radical Homosexual Agenda [RHA website] got up from their seats and dropped the cloth banner shown above.

Arthur Russell (and 'phones) in photo booth

Matt Wolf's beautiful homage to Arthur Russell, "Wild Combination", has been showing at the IFC Center in the West Village, the former Waverly, since September 26. It also opened at the ICA Cinema in London that day. In New York it's currently scheduled to be shown through next Tuesday, October 7, but it might be extended, depending upon attendance. So go now.

It's a work of art, and a great joy.

I wrote about it after seeing the preview at The Kitchen last May. There are a number on links, including a short sound widget, on my earlier post, but you probably won't want to miss the film.

[image, credited to Audika Records, from Matt Wolf]

This page is an archive of entries in the Queer category from October 2008.

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