January 2004 Archives

Coyoacán, etc.

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We spent most of today in Coyoacán, walking around with David. We visited the Mercado Sabado (Saturday Market) with food stalls, toys, birds (pets and food!) and performers. We also visited (but didn't really go into) Leon Trotsky's house and went to Frida Kahlo's house. The latter is definitely worth a visit.

One of the tourist offices we visited had clocks for three time zones: Mexico City, Paris, and New York. Mexico has an interesting relationship to Spain, so I found it amusing that no Spanish city was chosen.

One observation: They really seem to like Mozart here. I hear his music on the radio, and in stores, everywhere.


Check out the photos by James from our trip so far.

We will add photos (and captions if you're lucky) as we go.

Anthropological Museum, etc.

We spent almost five hours at the Anthropological Museum today. It truly is one of the greatest museums I have ever experienced, with many artifacts from the various cultures that exist or existed within the borders of today's Mexico: Olmec, Mayan, Toltec, Aztec (they called themselves Mexica), etc.. Interestingly, it chooses not to deal with cultures (such as the Anasazi) of the areas Mexico lost to the USA in the Mexican-American War, except peripherally. James has a few photos here.

It is a beautiful building with a concrete canopy and fountain over the main central courtyard. The day we went was very windy, so the fountain sprayed on people entering the courtyard, which is how one enters all of the galleries on the ground floor. As we walked through it between galleries, a large group of school children were shrieking with delight at the spraying water. I spotted a kid wearing a Washington Redskins jacket in the Aztec gallery, which seemed pretty funny to me.

The display cases are immaculate and more attractive than I have seen in any museum in the USA or Europe. The explanations are very good, and a lot of them are in English and Spanish.

We came back to the hotel for a rest after the Museum, and then took the subway to an art opening downtown. At 9:15 at night, the subways run every 3 minutes or less. Much better than NYC. They cost about 20 cents and are very quiet, with rubber wheels. The system was designed and built by the French. The stations have a lot of marble, and there was an excavated stone alter in a station where we transferred. There were also public art projects in that same station, with a painter actually working on a mural as we walked by. All kinds of people, from workmen in coveralls to students, stopped to look at the art before going down to the platform.

The opening was a show of Finnish artists called "Heavy Snowflakes" ("Pesados Copos de Nieve"), at a space called Ex Teresa Arte Actual. It is in a former church just east of the Catredal Metropolitana. Like much of downtown it is sinking, as the area was once a lake, then filled in by the Spanish. The slanted floors and dark atmosphere (all of the work was slides, video, or light/sculpture installations) lent a funhouse feeling. There was a pretty big crowd there, mostly of people in their 20s. Here is one photo a film we saw there by Jari Haanperä. It dealt with the creation of electronic music, using computers and machines meant originally for science, not art. It contained this great line:

Technology won't take control as long as man can misuse it.

We headed to Café de Tacuba for dinner afterward. We took a taxi home, which can be a stressful experience here. The driver didn't want to use the meter and wanted to charge us more than the meter would have calculated. He turned on the meter once we threatened to get out.

On a happier note, there is a level of elegance and style here which is quite wonderful. Mexicans are also more friendly than any Europeans I have met, and much more tolerant of an American trying to learn their language. I often have people correct me when I butcher a word, rather than insisting (which is sometimes the case in Italy or France) that they have no idea what I'm saying.

General observations: The air here is tough - because of altitude and pollution. I had the "I'm a New Yorker!" attitude about the latter, but it does slow me down a bit. I'm losing my voice.

The hotel is beautiful. It's huge, and the design is wonderful. In most cases of modernist architecture with which I'm familiar, the architects don't mix minimalism with vibrant colors. It's a great combination, rather than just using gray, black, and white. See photos that James took of it here.

We started with (a surprisingly cheap) breakfast at the hotel's La Huerta restaurant: huitlacoche omelettes with a sqash blossom sauce.

We walked around a bit, got connected with the hotel's wireless network, and then walked over to the Sala Siqueiros to check out the house, the Santiago Sierra show, and the murals by Siqueiros. Maria Alos is working there, so we met up with her and a friend of a friend (David) who lives in Mexico City. We grabbed a cab and went to lunch way out away from the center to Bajío. We got there a bit after 3, which is a typical time to eat lunch here. I love the schedule of Mexico City! Amazing food, check out the NY Times travel section on Mexico City to see a discussion of it. I'm glad we were there with a native Spanish speaker, since she and David ordered a whole assortment of wonderful things for us.

After lunch we all went to the Galería Nina Menocal with Maria to see the work, and to meet up with her husband, Gustavo Artigas. The best thing we saw at the gallery was in the project space, a sort of working studio with works pinned and taped to the walls, plus installations, by Fernando Carabajal. He is quite young, but already he is doing some beautiful, funny work. Nina will be at the Armory Show, so ask about him if you attend. The gallery is in Colonia Roma, a beautiful neighborhood with many late 19th/early 20th century buildings. Here is a page with some photos of the gallery building itself.

We then went to a couple of openings, after a drink at Casa Lamm, a cultural center in the area. The first was in a small ground floor space called glmutante (Orizaba 160) near Nina's gallery, with a one-man show of sculpture and video by Arturo Hernández Alcázar. Then we went to an opening of a one-night exhibit in the 41st floor observation deck of the Torre Latinoamericana. To be honest, the views (it was a clear night) and the attractive young crowd were more interesting than the show. As with everything in Mexico City, things start later. The openings usually begin around 8, but don't really get going until 9 or 10. Our taxi driver to the Torre downtown was pretty interesting - we ended up in a mixed Spanish/English conversation about Siqueiros, Trotsky, and Diego Rivera.

We ended the evening with a drink and light snack at Bar L'Opera. I couldn't find the alleged bullet hole in the ceiling from Pancho Villa.

UPDATED: I added the name of the artist whose opening we attended in Colonia Roma.

MP Bistro

We had our first meal in Mexico City -- dinner around 9:30, which is not late at all. There were still people coming in at 11. I can't find a web page for it, so here is the info:

MP Cafe Bistro
Andres Bello 10, in Polanco, between Jorge Elliot and Reforma
5280-2506, 5281-0592

The chef is Mónica Patiño, and the food mixes Asian, Mexican, and French food. It was great. James had the duck taco (to be made with corn tortillas brought to the table) as a start, and I had lobster and bay scallop dumplings. We both had tuna with fois gras and a star anise and wine sauce as our main course. The wine list is great too, with French, Spanish, Chilean, and a few Mexican wines. We'll have to make sure we try some Mexican wine on this trip.

We asked the waiter (in fractured Spanish) about the ice cubes that arrived with our Pellegrino, and about the arugula that arrived with our main courses. He assured us that they used filtered water. So far we seem fine.

The crowd and the place have a nice vibe, and it's quite attractive. Recommended.


Updated: I fixed the chef's name.

No more Whitney Biennial?


Wow. I just learned via Tyler Green (Modern Art Notes) that Adam Weinberg, the new director of the Whitney, gave an interview to The Art Newspaper in which he throws into doubt a 2006 Biennial.

While Mr Weinberg has not decided how to organise the 2006 biennial, he is giving serious thought to “an installation of the entire museum top-to-bottom with the collection”.

Later on in the article, after talking about the museum's lack of space, we also read this:

Mr Anderson had investigated the possibility of mounting the Biennial and other exhibitions in the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue, but Mr Weinberg has not formally explored that possibility as yet. Meanwhile, he intends to reclaim for exhibitions part of the indoor/outdoor gallery on the lower floor of the building which currently houses the restaurant and shop.

I just noticed the use of "Mr" (no period) rather than "Mr." Is that a new trend? Are periods passé?


I know of an apartment in Washingon Heights (161st Street between Broadway and Amsterdam) for $1200/month. One bedroom floor-through. Email me or leave a comment and I will forward your info to my friend.

That explains it

In an earlier post I mentioned that the Rivington Arms people didn't think they needed a website.

I once asked whether they were going to get one, and they said, "that's not really the audience we're aiming for." This comes from people who were chatting with trucker-hatted visitors who were explaining that one simply cannot live comfortably in NYC with an apartment worth less than $1 million.

Now I understand why, but I still think it's cheesy to act as if they're demeaning art by making it easier for people to find the gallery or learn more about their artists. The Friday NY Times, in its article about young art dealers, tells us that one of the partners is the daughter of Brice Marden.

On a more upbeat note, read the happy aspects of the article over on jameswagner.com.

Philo does Las Vegas

Get Your War On #31



So that's where she went! Ana Marie Cox is now editing the latest web site in the "Gawker media empire": Wonkette. It's described as

an online roundup of gossip from Washington DC and the US political arena.

Maybe it's what George magazine should have been. I can't believe I just wrote that.

These Very Serious Jokes (extended)

I updated my earlier post about this Target Margin play. They have been extended for a week.

War is good!

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Via the BBC:

General Peter Schoomaker said in an interview with AP news agency that the wars had allowed the army to instil its soldiers with a "warrior ethos".

But the general, who became chief of staff in August, denied warmongering saying the army must be ready to fight.


General Schoomaker said the attacks on America in September 2001 and subsequent events had given the US army a rare opportunity to change.

"There is a huge silver lining in this cloud," he said.

"War is a tremendous focus... Now we have this focusing opportunity, and we have the fact that [terrorists] have actually attacked our homeland, which gives it some oomph."

He said it was no use having an army that did nothing but train.

"There's got to be a certain appetite for what the hell we exist for," he said.

"I'm not warmongering, the fact is we're going to be called and really asked to do this stuff."

If we're going to spend $400+ billion on the military, the thinking seems to be we better use it. Lovely.

These Very Serious Jokes

My cold is back, and I'm busy, so no brilliant write-up for you, just a recommendation. Go see These Very Serious Jokes, the beginning of Target Margin's Faust project. They are doing their own translation, by Douglas Langworthy, and it is beautiful. Plus: David Greenspan plays Mephistopheles!

The run (at HERE) ends February 1:

Sun Jan 25 @ 7pm
Tues Jan 27 - Sat Jan 31 @ 8.30pm
Sat Jan 31 and Sun Feb 1 @ 4pm

Target Margin and The Civilians (mentioned a couple of days ago) are two of the most interesting theater groups out there. I go see almost everything they do (exceptions only for scheduling, not aesthetic reasons) -- in the case of TM since 1991!

Update: See James's take on it.

This should be bigger than Watergate

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In the Boston Globe, via Atrios:

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November.

With the help of forensic computer experts from General Dynamics and the US Secret Service, his office has interviewed about 120 people to date and seized more than half a dozen computers -- including four Judiciary servers, one server from the office of Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and several desktop hard drives.


Democrats now claim their private memos formed the basis for a February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak that revealed plans pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, to filibuster certain judicial nominees. Novak is also at the center of an investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA agent whose husband contradicted a Bush administration claim about Iraqi nuclear programs.

Citing "internal Senate sources," Novak's column described closed-door Democratic meetings about how to handle nominees.


Note that Robert "outing CIA agents" Novak is involved too.

Spread the word. This doesn't seem to be showing up on very many news websites yet.

Food for Thought @ Danspace


Our friend Yuval Pudik (see the illustration above) is doing the costumes for "Just an Old Song", a dance piece by Fabio Tavaresone that is of the works in the latest Food for Thought event at Danspace at St. Mark's.

Curated by Wally Cardona, Heidi Latsky, and Susan Osberg
January 30-February 1
[Fri-Sun] at 8:30 PM
Admission: $5 + 2 cans of food or $10

I recommend going on the 31st, and then heading out to Williamsburg for a party where you can also see an installation by him:

After party & art exhibition
Featuring "Untitled No. 2"  A drawing installation by Yuval Pudik
@ NAR, 152 Metropolitan Ave.  (corner of Berry)  
Williamsburg, Brooklyn  
Tel. 718-599-3027

Center for American Progress

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If you only get one political/news email a day, make it the daily "Progress Report" from the Center for American Progress.

A sampler from today's mailing:

"In terms of the question what is there now, we know prior to our going in, that he spent time and effort acquiring mobile biological weapons labs." - Vice President Dick Cheney, NPR 1/22/04


"We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile biological weapons production effort.
- Kay Report for the CIA, 10/2/03


Wolfbane / Sculpture Center

Tom Moody has a post about a novel that sounds like a possible precursor to The Matrix: Wolfbane by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth. Go read his description.

While you're there also read what he has to say about the sculptures by Ross Knight at the entrance to the Sculpture Center. I loved those when we went to the opening of the Kabakov show, plus the In Practice Projects group show, featuring a lot of good and fun art, including an audio piece on personal hygiene by Nicolás Dumit Estévez in the restrooms.

The Civilians: "The Ladies"

I wrote about this play after we saw it a year ago.

You now have another chance to see it, February 6 – 29, 2004.

The Civilians

To buy tickets

Here is another post I did on The Civilians and their show "Gone Missing."

Their fundraisers are always fun, and I'm on the benefit committee, so if you want to hear about the next one, please send me your mailing address.


Update: We're going on the 14th. It's $25 instead of $15 on that date, but it's a benefit for Dixon Place and there is a reception afterward. What, you think we would eat out on V-day in this city?

The end of an era

I just got rid of my first email address: hoggardb@panix.com, circa 1993. It had become too spamalicious.

Jeff Whitty's "The Hiding Place"

Jeffy Whitty (of Avenue Q fame) has a play, The Hiding Place, at Atlantic Theater (the 16th Street location) through January 25. He manages to be very funny plus put in some very smart commentary on theater, the visual arts, and the literary world. The whole cast is great, but I really loved Susan Parfour, and I would go see Kate Blumberg in anything.

Aren't birds sweet

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From the Daily Mirror:

SHE WAS at Winston Churchill's side during Britain's darkest hour. And now Charlie the parrot is 104 years old...and still cursing the Nazis

Her favourite sayings were "Fuck Hitler" and "Fuck the Nazis". And even today, 39 years after the great man's death, she can still be coaxed into repeating them with that unmistakable Churchillian inflection.

Many an admiral or peer of the realm was shocked by the tirade from the bird's cage during crisis meetings with the PM.

But it always brought a smile to the war leader's face.

For my readers in Miami, here is a recommendation. My friend Sharon Louden has an installation at Ambrosino Gallery:

Sharon Louden

Glow Room
site specific installation,
project room exhibition

January 23-February 29, 2004
opening reception: Friday, January 23, 7-10pm

They don't even have to pretend

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The Bush regime doesn't even have to pretend to care about appearances any more. Americans don't seem to care.

From the LA Times:

Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting together at a private camp in southern Louisiana just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force.

While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and longtime friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip and said it raised doubts about Scalia's ability to judge the case impartially.

But Scalia rejected that concern Friday, saying, "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned."

Federal law says "any justice or judge shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned." For nearly three years, Cheney has been fighting demands that he reveal whether he met with energy industry officials, including Kenneth L. Lay when he was chairman of Enron, while he was formulating the president's energy policy.

[via TalkLeft]

Get Your War on Mars


The latest from David Rees is now up.

Also, he'll be doing a short presentation tonight. It will mark the public debut of the new comic, "Adventures of Confessions of Saint Augustine Bear."

Cafe Barbes
376 9th Street
Park Slope, Brooklyn
(718) 965-9177
7:30 PM

to go fish with art, a sex book

Just ask Mac about her new book.

Dropping the Judeo part

Howard Fineman wants to remind readers that the "Judeo-Christian" phrase used by politicians isn't really very Judeo. This excerpt of an interview with Howard Dean is from Newsweek, not a religious publication. I'm, surprised he didn't ask, "How do reconcile that with having a Jewish wife and children?"


Q. Do you have a deadline for removing U.S. troops from Iraq?

A. Absolutely not. I think that would be a big mistake. To remove troops prematurely, Al Qaeda—which was not in Iraq, but is now—will set up shop in Iraq and present an enormous national-security danger.

Q. Do you see Jesus Christ as the son of God and believe in him as the route to salvation and eternal life?

A. I certainly see him as the son of God. I think whether I'm saved or not is not gonna be up to me.

Q. Do you have a favorite Bible passage or book or theologian?

A. I like the Book of Job.

Q. [Laughs] Does it strike you more personally after this campaign?

A. I'm feeling a little more Job-like recently.

Note that last line. Newsweek/MSNBC chooses to use a pull-quote that says:

'I'm Feeling Like Job'


UPDATED: I added a link to the interview, and added the question before the Jesus one to show that it seems like a non-sequitur to suddenly ask about his belief in Jesus.

Feel free to email the editors and Newsweek and ask them about the propriety of theological questions for presidential candidates.


Franklin Einspruch, of artblog.net fame, has a new project: Artsfeed. It's sort of a portal of weblogs that he watches (including mine!) that shows recent posts from all of those sites. It can take a little while to load, but it's very handy.

$1.5 billion for marriage?!

A few juxtapositions, for your reading pleasure:

From the NY Times front page today (emphasis mine):

Administration officials say they are planning an extensive election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, and they are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address.

For months, administration officials have worked with conservative groups on the proposal, which would provide at least $1.5 billion for training to help couples develop interpersonal skills that sustain "healthy marriages."


The proposal is the type of relatively inexpensive but politically potent initiative that appeals to White House officials at a time when they are squeezed by growing federal budget deficits.


Dr. Horn said that federal money for marriage promotion would be available only to heterosexual couples. As a federal official, he said, he is bound by a 1996 statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for any program established by Congress. The law states, "The word `marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

But Dr. Horn said: "I don't have any problem with the government providing support services to gay couples under other programs. If a gay couple had a child and they were poor, they might be eligible for food stamps or cash assistance."

Via TalkLeft, some excerpts from testimony in Neil Bush's divorce trial:

Bush: "I had sexual intercourse with perhaps three or four, I don't remember the exact number, women, at different times. In Thailand once, I have a pretty clear recollection that there was one time in Thailand and in Hong Kong."

Brown: "And you were married to Mrs. Bush?"

Bush: "Yes."

Brown: "Is that where you caught the venereal diseases?"

Bush: "No."

Brown: "Where did you catch those?"

Bush: "Diseases plural? I didn't catch..."

Brown: "Well, I'm sorry. How ... how many venereal diseases do you suffer from?"

Bush: "I've had one venereal disease."

Brown: "Which was?"

Bush: "Herpes."

Brown then interrogates Bush's about his various sex partners:

"Did you pay them for that sex?"

Bush: "No, I did not."

Brown: "Pick them up in a sushi house?"

Bush: "No. ... My recollection is, where I can recall, they came to my room."

Brown: "Do you know the name of that hotel? I may go to Thailand sometime."

FY 2002 Federal spending for the National Endowment for the Arts: $95,835,000.

Brad DeLong, Ph .D. is reading Suskind's The Price of Loyalty so you don't have to. Go check out his weblog. It's good to read commentary from a good economist on the book.

First fuzzy cell phone photo


James and I just switched to AT&T, and got new phones.

I'm not used to holding it still yet. He was checking out his new phone when I took the picture.

As Pandagon tells us, the National Review is selling a college guide written by morality maven Bill Bennett.

Buy it for those you love so that they know what schools NOT to attend.

The Blogging of the President: 2004

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I meant to do this earlier, but I have added The Blogging of the President: 2004 to my blog links page.

Matt Stoller, of To The Point -- he started blogging because of me! -- has a great interview with an American reporter in Iraq.

Why does Army War College hate America?

Given the usual approach of the Bush regime to anyone who questions it, that could be their expected response to this report.

The Iraq invasion was "an unnecessary preventive war of choice" that has robbed resources and attention from the more critical fight against al Qaeda in a hopeless U.S. quest for absolute security, according to a study recently published by the U.S. Army War College.

The 56-page document written by Jeffrey Record, a veteran defense expert who serves as a visiting research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College, represents a blistering assessment of what President Bush calls the U.S. global war on terrorism.


Record urged U.S. leaders to refocus Bush's broad war to target Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, and its allies. Record said the Iraq war was a detour from real anti-terrorism efforts.

Record criticized the Bush administration for lumping together al Qaeda and President Saddam Hussein's Iraq "as a single, undifferentiated terrorist threat."

"This was a strategic error of the first order because it ignored critical differences between the two in character, threat level and susceptibility to U.S. deterrence and military action," Record wrote.

"The result has been an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred Iraq that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from securing the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable al Qaeda," Record wrote.

This also seems like a good time to point out a story that most people seemed to have missed, since very few other news organizations picked it up after the NY Times reported it: U.S. Withdraws a Team of Weapons Hunters From Iraq.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — The Bush administration has quietly withdrawn from Iraq a 400-member military team whose job was to scour the country for military equipment, according to senior government officials.

The step was described by some military officials as a sign that the administration might have lowered its sights and no longer expected to uncover the caches of chemical and biological weapons that the White House cited as a principal reason for going to war last March.

A separate military team that specializes in disposing of chemical and biological weapons remains part of the 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group, which has been searching Iraq for more that seven months at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. But that team is "still waiting for something to dispose of," said a survey group member.

Here is one of the scary drawings that Bush-backers claim was part of Iraq's WMD program:


As you've probably noticed, I'm not posting much political stuff lately. It's all too absurd to write about. I just want to laugh or hide my head under a pillow.

La Dolce Vita

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What is wrong with this world? La Dolce Vita is not available on DVD?

Mexico City


My passport renewal has happened, and tickets have been purchased. We're going to Mexico City for a week late January/early February.

Any art/food/other recommendations (we already have a hotel: the Camino Real, designed by Ricardo Legorreta) can be left as comments or e-mailed to me.


UPDATED: I fixed the Camino Real link to get to a more specific page.

A friend working at an unnamed company told me about the (widely unloved) CEO bringing in yet another IT consultant, probably on a search and destroy mission to get more control over their tech people. He hired them to come in while the CIO was away on vacation. Nice.

Here is what they had to say:

The web site is fine, technically and architecturally. Your IT guys are quite competent -- save you a great deal of money -- and are 'probably more competent than you deserve.'

The good guys (and gals) should win more often.

Arts Journal blogs

Yeah! The Arts Journal blogs now all have RSS feeds.

Spontaneous Human Combustion


Remember when Spontaneous Human Combustion was a big deal, I think in the 80s? Why do we never hear about it anymore?

Mater Dolorosa


The Virgin Mary ("Mater Dolorosa"), 1590s
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, 1541–1614)
Oil on canvas; 20 1/2 x 14 1/8 in. (52 x 36 cm)

We saw this painting at the Metropolitan Museum's El Greco exhibit yesterday. Among the best works in the show, this was one of the few I had never seen before, even in reproduction. It's haunting and so human, not "iconic" even though it was inspired by his early career as a Byzantine icon painter.

The show ends on the 11th, and is definitely worth a visit. Take a day off and do not try to go on the weekend. It was pretty crowded even on a Tuesday afternoon with a crowd of all ages. I really liked hearing all of the secular Jewish New Yorkers asking each other questions. Given that El Greco's career was mainly spent in Philip II's Spain, it is mostly religious and filled with Catholic themes. Not exactly the area of expertise for a lot of people in the crowd. I wasn't raised Catholic, so most of what I know about Catholicism is from European art too.

Go read what James had to say on the exhibit.

Warren Buffett

You know it's time to get nervous when Warren Buffett starts warning about our trade deficit and says

Through the spring of 2002, I had lived nearly 72 years without purchasing a foreign currency. Since then Berkshire has made significant investments in—and today holds—several currencies. I won't give you particulars; in fact, it is largely irrelevant which currencies they are. What does matter is the underlying point: To hold other currencies is to believe that the dollar will decline.

Both as an American and as an investor, I actually hope these commitments prove to be a mistake. Any profits Berkshire might make from currency trading would pale against the losses the company and our shareholders, in other aspects of their lives, would incur from a plunging dollar.

But as head of Berkshire Hathaway, I am in charge of investing its money in ways that make sense. And my reason for finally putting my money where my mouth has been so long is that our trade deficit has greatly worsened, to the point that our country's "net worth," so to speak, is now being transferred abroad at an alarming rate.

Witold Riedel

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The Morning News has a sweet interview with Witold Riedel, accompanied by a gallery.

Patrick Stewart / Amnesty International

In my latest Amnesty International magazine, there is a brief article about the fact that Patrick Stewart funds scholarships for students interested in working on human rights issues. For eight years he as funded about 20 students annually, with grants up to $1800. Cool.

Glamericans meet Wooster Group

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We went to a preview today of Big Art Group's House of No More at P.S.122. Disclaimer: I got comp tickets from Andy at P.S.122, as someone who attends a lot of shows there. It was sort of a friends/press/tastemakers kind of preview event.

I chose my post's title from the fact that Big Art Group uses technology in a way that makes me think of the Wooster Group, but their work is even more about mediating reality. You can see the actors working on stage, doing what you watch on the three screens, but you're supposed to watch just the screens, sort of. In a world where New Yorkers used TV to confirm what was happening before their eyes on 9/11, it's an approach that makes sense. I referred to the Glamericans, with whom I marched on February 15, 2003, because some of the them are involved in the production, including Machine, who did the costumes.

Like Wooster Group, and many other interesting theatre groups, their works are "works in progress" basically forever. When I asked a question about one of the more baffling characters in the talkback afterward (moderated by the lovely Mike Albo), I was told, "she'll make more sense on Thursday." As in a lot of theatre that interests me, I was confused by the disjointed aspect of the work for the first third or so, but I was really into it, and the mystery of the plot, by the end.

I've been known to go to Wooster Group productions more than once during a run to watch how things evolve. I suspect Big Art Group warrants a similar approach.

Star 67 / Foxy

cambre1.jpg cambre2.jpg cambre3.jpg

When I mentioned Godard's Contempt in my earlier post, I forgot to say the reason we watched it recently was to be prepared to see Javier Cambre's show of the same name at *sixtyseven. It was a cool show, but it's closed now. Cambre was the one that did that wonderful beach shack in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.

On an unrelated note, I love the new awning at Foxy Production.


Meredith Allen updates

I've been doing more work on Meredith's web page as the "guinea pig" for my artist web hosting business. Now that she can add her own stuff, there are a lot more images.


lisa + robert at black betty
c-print, 2002

That image is from her Williamsburg/Greenpoint snapshots. It's Lisa Schroeder of Schroeder Romero gallery, plus one of their artists, Robert Boyd.

I really love her latest series. She has been taking photos of her mother's Beanie Babies collection. They are all wrapped in plastic bags, to preserve their market values. I think they are quite beautiful, and the background information about her mother and the perversely commercial aspect of the items only makes them more interesting.


b.b.#1 (blue bird)
c-print, 2003


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I'm lethargic. I have a sinus thingy, and the antibiotics make me sleepy. Random thoughts:

At what point did people with money start to look so much worse than many people described as "bums" did in the 40s?


Three bums from South Ferry flophouses. At Battery Park N.Y.C.

I found this image while browsing images from the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection, thanks to Gothamist.


What were they thinking when they made the movie Max? It's painfully bad, but not in a good way. Why didn't John Cusack just say, "You gotta be kidding me?" The history is bad, the characters seem underwritten and silly, and we're subjected to dialog like:

Nina: You seem pensive.
Max: I'm just thinking.



On the extreme other end of quality of films I've seen lately is Godard's Contempt (Le Mepris). It's beautifully filmed, the sound design and score by George Delerue are eccentric and wonderful, and you get people like Brigitte Bardot playing the difficult, unfathomable French Woman, Jack Palance playing a crude American movie producer, and Fritz Lang playing himself, sort of. Feel free to go buy me the DVD.


We watched one of the episodes of Art:21 after having bought it on DVD -- the one with Collier Schorr. I'm glad I finally saw an interview with her, because I find her work interesting, but also troubling with its focus on voyeurism, particularly when the German youth/Nazi connection comes to the fore. It all makes a lot more sense to me now than it once did. We got a photograph by her at the recent New Festival benefit.


One day before the Times Under $25 Review appeared for Bar Jamón, we shared a bottle of a nice Spanish rosé and some olives there with my college (and initial NYC) roommate Andrew and his wife Erin, visiting from Dallas. It's beautiful. I just hope one will be able to get back in at some point. It plus the tapas restaurant next door, Casa Mono, are the latest project from Batali. I love that man. He spends a lot of time on restaurants affordable by "the masses", and I'm grateful for it, not to mention for the existence of Esca.


What was with having "God Bless The USA" be the song they played at midnight in Times Square? I hadn't realized this country had invented New Year's Eve, other than the commercial idea of it of course. It seems to contrast with the "Hope for Unity" theme of the 2003 crystals on the big ball.

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