Kate Levant
Untitled, 2013
Laminated graphite, ink, and foil on paper
12 x 8.5 inches

As I post this, there are 23 hours left to bid on this online auction at Paddle8 to benefit The Shandaken Project, an artist residency near Woodstock, New York. James and I have been supporters since it began.

There are some great works by Kate Levant [go see her show at Zach Feuer], Jim Drain, Gina Beavers, Denise Kupferschmidt, Michael Mahalchick, and many others.

2014-03-06 in art

Untitled Drawing

Leah Raintree, Untitled Drawing


Works from On Force

Leah Raintree, On Force

Leah Raintree, On Force

Leah Raintree, On Force


James and I visited the studio of Leah Raintree in November. We met her in October when she was our artist tour guide for an amazing visit to the Judd Foundation at 101 Spring Street.

Her recent untitled drawings are ink on heavy paper that has been soaked then dried to distort its shape.

The On Force pieces, which James and I really loved, are a series of silver gelatin prints she produced while in residence at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada using shale stone from Banff’s Mount Rundle.

The photos above are all from the artist’s website, and I also posted a small photo set on Flickr.

2013-12-29 in art


Join me and James at the benefit next week.

Buy tickets here.

2013-12-04 in art

I’m reading Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (The History of New York City) at the moment, and there is a bit of American art history that was new to me.

The Panic of 1837 had disrupted Manhattan’s patronage system. Cole, Sully, and Asher Durand found that merchants laughed wanly at the notion of buying paintings with their businesses facing bankruptcy. Spurred by hard times, artists fashioned new and more collective ways of supporting their work.

In 1838 portraitist and engraver James Herring established the Apollo Gallery, where painters could exhibit and share in the proceeds of a twenty-five-cent admission fee. When this foundered, Herring decided to reach out to a far broader audience. In 1839, drawing on a model developed in several European cities, he created the Apollo Association, a noncommercial joint stock company. Subscribers contributed five dollars each to a fund, which then purchased works from artists. These were exhibited to the public free of charge and, at year’s end, distributed by lottery to subscribers. Association members also received engraved reproductions of some of the artworks, as well as the group’s Bulletin, the first magazine devoted exclusively to American art. In 1844 the enterprise, now going strong, was renamed the American Art-Union (AAU).

The AAU was run by managers whom Herring drew at first from the pool of gentleman art enthusiasts—among them Philip Hone, rentier James W. Beekman, and editors Henry Raymond and William Cullen Bryant. Some were attracted by old republican ideals of stewardship and civic patronage; others hoped art might exert what the Rev. Henry Bellows called “exalting, purifying, calming influences” on the increasingly agitated masses. Young America rallied to the AAU, seeing in it a democratizing project akin to their own. Duyckinck, Mathews, Putnam, and O’Sullivan, delighted to make art available to the many, also hoped that artists freed from dependence on Eurofixated patrons might create an American art.

By the late 1840s the American Art-Union was the nation’s primary market for U.S. paintings other than portraits. Each year roughly nineteen thousand subscribers purchased an average of four hundred artworks, benefiting painters, sculptors, and the engravers and die casters who prepared prints for reproduction. The AAU’s gallery, one paper reported, had “grown to be a kind of municipal Institution, visited by the whole people.” The managers had established a luxurious setting on bustling Broadway, replete with ottomans and gas lights, that stayed open at night when working people could come. The gallery drew from “every section of the social system,” the press noted, “from the millionaire of 5th Avenue, to the B’hoy of 3d.” Half a million people visited in 1848, the organization claimed, a number roughly equal to the city’s entire population.

Here is a page with some of the engravings produced by the AAU.

2013-05-22 in art

Pam Butler

James and I visited Pam Butler’s studio in early May during the Marie Walsh Sharpe open studios. I’m a big fan of her recent installations and paintings. She’s now exploring works related to Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Here is a short statement on the current work:

I have of late been thinking a lot about what it means to be a female artist inside of not just a very male tradition but one where the depiction of the female is among the most prominent subject matters in the historical arch of the tradition. When doing a piece for a themed group show this past summer, where I used Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as my starting point, my research brought some of the very masculine-ness of this tradition home to me. The second figure from the left in this painting, the figure (the prostitute) pointed to by the angle of suggestive table of fruit was based on Ingres’ painting “The Source”. To further complicate this is the story of the Ingres model, the 16 year old daughter of his landlady. “What care I that the virtue of some sixteen-year-old maid was the price for Ingres’ La Source? That the model died of drink and disease in the hospital is nothing when compared with the essential that I should have La Source, that exquisite dream of innocence.” (George Moore “Confessions of a Young Man”). As I think of these artists and their subject matter it’s not the painters I identify myself with nor the innocent idealized virgin of The Source but the landlady’s daughter herself, used as needed then forgotten. And that leads me back where can I locate myself as a female painter inside of this tradition.

Here is one more image, showing an installation:

pam butler

You can view additional images I took during the visit on flickr.

2013-05-19 in general


Please join me and James for the 2013 edition of Moment Art’s art auction and raffle party. It’s always a good party, and we have quite a few artist friends whose work we first discovered via Momenta Art’s benefits and exhibitions.

Preview the artworks here.


Raffle Drawing + Silent Auction Party
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
6-7PM: Cocktail Party + Silent Auction
7PM: Silent Auction closes.
7:30PM: Raffle Drawing starts.


Momenta Art
56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206
(Adjacent to Morgan L-stop)

All the artworks will be displayed for the preview during May 10-20, Friday through Monday, 12-6pm and the afternoon of the 22nd.

Raffle Tickets are on sale NOW!
Until May 9, 2013: $200
After May 10, 2013: $250

Momenta Art presents its seventeenth annual benefit to support its ongoing mission to exhibit the work of emerging and underrepresented artists. A ticket guarantees you a work of art and entrance for two to the silent auction and raffle drawing held at 56 Bogart Street on May 22nd. Tickets are limited to the number of artworks available fpr the raffle auction.

Momenta’s 2013 Benefit will present approximately 175 works by both emerging and established artists. Raffle tickets may be purchased until all the tickets are sold. The work will be on view at Momenta for two weeks prior to the raffle drawing party. The raffle will begin at 7pm continuing until all works have been offered, with the first randomly drawn ticket giving its holder first choice of one work displayed.

In addition, Momenta will offer a number of higher-valued works for silent auction. Bidding on these works will begin on May 10th and end on May 22nd before the raffle begins. Silent auction artists will include Sarah Braman, David Diao, Mark Dion, William Powhida, Hunter Reynolds, Federico Solmi.

As a not for profit exhibition organization, Momenta depends on the contributions of people like you. We sincerely thank all participating artists, event sponsors, committee members, ticket buyers and auction bidders for their generous support.

2013-04-08 in general

You can view it here if you can’t see the embed above. The artist Man Bartlett recommended me because of this blog post from 2010 about deleting my Facebook account.

2013-02-11 in general

James and I watched this documentary about The Pirate Bay over the weekend. AFK stands for “away from the keyboard”, as opposed to the usual IRL “in real life”. Peter Sunde explains AFK at the trial of The Pirate Bay’s co-founders: “because we think the Internet is real”.

Here is a quote by Peter Sunde from the film.

The copyright industry is digging a grave for the internet. They don’t take into account the public benefits of a free internet. The problem is that old people are running the companies. They know how you made money before and they don’t want to change. They’re like the Amish. They don’t want electricity. They know how to make do without electricity.

You can watch the film on YouTube or download it at The Pirate Bay.

2013-02-11 in general


Of the many benefits James and I attend this year, this is always one of the best parties. Great art in the silent auction, wandering “bootleg” artists, and a well-stocked bar! Join us on December 19th to celebrate Flux Factory, and say happy birthday to James while you’re at it. Tickets start at only $40.

Date: Wednesday, December 19th
Location: 79 Walker Street, 6th Floor, NYC
Time: Cocktails begin at 7pm, award ceremony at 8:00pm, with silent bidding until 10pm

Come party with us and celebrate an exciting year of programming at Flux Factory’s Not-So-Silent Auction. This spirited cocktail event will feature a silent auction of over 75 artworks by NYC’s rising stars and celebrated artists who reflect the scope of Flux Factory’s extensive community.

We will honor Martha Wilson, artist and founding director of Franklin Furnace, and Shelley Rubin, founder and chair of A Blade of Grass, for the work they are doing to support artists who engage with diverse audiences and interests. Expect a bountiful open bar with free-flowing cocktails, tasty hors d’oeurves, jpg light portraits in The Rainbow Machine by Double One Design (Reid Bingham & Sean McIntyre), aesthetic palm readings by Bean Gilsdorf, and a steady stream of entertainment provided by DJ We Are Architects and our emcee Daupo. There will be a dedicated team of “knock-off artists” working the crowd and making customized copies of auction items on demand, including Stephanie Avery, Louise Barry, Aliya Bonar, Doulgas Paulson, Angela Washko, and Alex Young. We’ll also debut a new Flux logo silk screened on tote bags, designed by one of our very own Flux Artists-in-Residence, as well as our 2013 Sexy (Wo)(Men) of Flux calendar.

Participating artists: The silent auction will include artworks by Daniel Bejar, Eric Doeringer, Carla Gannis, Jason Lazarus, Michelle Levy, John Powers, William Powhida, Ward Shelley, SWOON, Martha Wilson, and many others.

[Wondering about the ads on bloggy/ArtCat/IDIOM? We’re a sponsor.]

2012-12-15 in art


The first version of ArtCat calendar (then called ArtCal) launched in November 2004. I wrote the first version in one weekend, to make it easier for James and me to keep track of shows we wanted to see, especially once Chelsea reached 300 galleries. For a long time it was a minimal website with locations, shows, and their dates — not even images. Over time I added images, iCal and RSS feeds, and a weekly newsletter.

Over 16,000 exhibitions at more than 2,000 venues have appeared on ArtCat. We average 200-300 current exhibitions on the site. While forms for galleries to add their exhibits have existed since late 2010, we still view each submission to approve it, for quality control and to prevent duplicates. That is the most time-consuming part of running the site. We also spend a lot of time processing corrections due to galleries submitting new version of press releases, or correcting typos and erroneously-submitted dates.

Advertising revenue, even if one assumes my time is free, does not currently cover the cost of hosting the site plus paying someone to help me with approving submissions and responding to corrections. The calendar does serve as promotion for ArtCat Hosting, but the value of that, versus having more time to improve ArtCat Hosting, is unclear. Most of my hosting clients do not mention the calendar when signing up.

Advertising revenue has averaged $250/month over the last year, primarily due to the support of Storefront Bushwick and Deborah Brown. Other advertisers have included Theodore:Art and Kianga Ellis Projects. Note that all of these are Brooklyn-based. Since I ended the Culture Pundits advertising network, there have been no advertisements from a Chelsea or Lower East Side gallery. During the entire 4 1/2 year run of Culture Pundits, only two commercial galleries in New York advertised with the network.

Charging for listings, for a calendar that wants to maintain quality and promote underknown artists and galleries, is a non-starter. It is apparent to me, after eight years, that there is no financial support for an art calendar of this kind.

I don’t have the resources and time to continue to run the calendar by myself in its current form. I am spread too thinly to do a good job of running ArtCat, improving ArtCat Hosting, promoting and publishing IDIOM, documenting our art collection, and actually getting out to see art. Of course, I also have to make a living through my freelance work. My goal is to narrow the focus of my work I do within the art world, and do one or two things very well, rather than provide lesser versions of many things. As the wonderful Michael Mandiberg pointed out here, there are limits to one’s time/labor/capital and it’s healthy to move one when the time feels right.

I will convert the site to an archive as of January 1, 2013. If someone is interested in the code and data (it is a Ruby on Rails 2.3 application), I’m ready to talk. The ArtCat name and domain will stay with me, as I own the trademark for it, to be used specifically for my art website hosting business.

If you would like to express your gratitude in some way, please consider a tax-deductible donation to IDIOM.

2012-12-12 in art