December 2004 Archives

Regarding Clementine

Regarding Clementine, the next show at Clementine (one of the pioneers of Chelsea and still going strong), should be a lot of fun. It includes some famous names from the blogosphere, such as Greg Allen and Joy Garnett, plus a lot of other talented artists. It's curated by Choire Sicha.


Update: I just learned that "Fort Necessity", listed among the artists for the show, is a group made up of three women, including Jennie of Mr. Trinity.


I'm not planning to write anything about it, but James and Joy Garnett have good posts on the subject.

More on Susan Sontag

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The NY Times has an odd obituary, including an entire paragraph of adjectives used to describe her.

I prefer Newsday's coverage, with this obituary and this essay adapted from a speech she gave on April 7.

This post by a blogger I hadn't read before is quite good. I found it via TBOGG.

I just realized something. None of the obituaries talk about her being queer, but she was in a relationship with Annie Leibovitz for a long time.


If the city can use eminent domain to take away people's houses to build a stadium in Brooklyn, why can't it use it to save an 1837 town house that the owners are allowing to fall part? This was a viable building in the 80s.

The Merchant's House, on the left, is well worth a visit for anyone interested in NYC and historic houses.

Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag has died, aged 71. She was born in here in New York, and died here.

She was one of the only "public intellectuals" I regularly encountered in New York, as she was someone, as James and I are, voraciously interested in art of all kinds, especially when it was new, or rare. I would see her at a BAM performance of Frankfurt Ballet, or at an obscure play in the East Village, or at an art exhibit related to the siege of Sarajevo at the New York Kunsthalle on East 5th Street.

We have one signed book of hers, but I will let James tell that story.

Software upgrade and server move

I'm moving our blogs to a new version of the blog software and putting them back at Pair so that I don't risk breaking our blogs when doing updates to the server hosting ArtCat and ArtCal.

So, you may see some occasional problems until everything comes over and the whole internet sees the right server...

P.S. You can now use without the added /mt/ as the home page for my site.

Congratulations to James

He has achieved fame in the print media. He is one of twelve art bloggers in a write-up in the January Art in America. Joy Garnett (another of them) has the details.

New York Times - selective ethics

I have written before about Jay Blotcher being fired as a stringer for the New York Times because he did media relations with ACT UP over ten years ago. Here is a coda. The person that followed him in that job -- I won't give his name but you know who I mean if you're familiar with ACT UP -- has been freelancing for the City and Escapes sections for five years. He continues to work for the Times.

Get Your War On #43

Click on the image for the rest.


Awesome. All 15 minutes, with choreography, as stop-action Lego animation.

You can download it for safe-keeping. It's the link that says Tï¿œlï¿œcharger la vidï¿œo.

I'm not making this up. I have to quote the whole article.

The Social Security Administration is refusing to recognize any marriage - straight or gay - performed in New Paltz, New York.

The tiny hamlet north of Manhattan burst onto the national scene in February when its mayor followed San Francisco in allowing gays to marry. New Paltz officials are now under a court imposed ban on conducting gay marriages, but the federal government is taking no chances.

A temporary directive from the Social Security Administration not to accept any marriage certificates issued in New Paltz as identification has now been made permanent.

The move came as a shock to one straight couple in the town. Susie Kilpatrick Wilkening recently married Jeremy Wilkening, but when she went to the Social Security office in Kingston, New York to get her surname changed to Wilkening she was told the federal government would not accept her marriage.

"I presented my marriage certificate, and I was told that it was not an acceptable form of ID because it was from New Paltz," she told the Daily Freeman newspaper.

A spokesperson for the administration said that the policy began with the State of New York.

"The state has said that it does not consider (any marriage certificates issued in New Paltz) legal documents, so we are waiting until all of the legal issues on the state level are resolved," Jane Zanca told the Freeman.

But, officials at the New York Department of State, which maintains all state records, also said they had nothing to do with the Social Security policy.

Last February when San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Social Security instructed its offices nationwide not to accept any marriage certificates from San Francisco as proof of identification.

The Tristan Project

viola-tristan.jpg Bill Viola
The death of Tristan, from Tristan und Isolde
Disney Hall, Los Angeles

artnet has a feature on The Tristan Project, based on Wagner's Tristan und Isolde involving director Peter Sellars, Los Angeles Philharmonic's musical director Esa Pekka Salonen and the new artistic director of the Paris Opera, Gerard Mortier.

There are some great stills of the video work on the web site.

For those wondering what my favorite recording of the work is, it's this one, recorded "live" (see the explanation on the Amazon page) at the 1966 Bayreuth Festival with Karl Böhm conducting, Birgit Nilsson as Isolde, Wolfgang Windgassen as Tristan, and Christa Ludwig as Brangäne. It is dazzling. I would love to see a film of what it looked like. It was one of the revolutionary minimalist productions by Wieland Wagner, the composer's grandson. If more people knew about his work, they wouldn't be quite so ready to hail Robert Wilson as an innovative genius.

Orchestrally, this Bernstein recording is pretty fascinating too. I haven't heard this Barenboim one, but it's on its way in the mail and I'll get to listen to it soon. We probably have at least 5 recordings of the opera already. I love it so much my web consulting company is called Tristan Media.

If you are an opera (and other classical music) fanatic like me, my favorite weblog for that subject is the DC-based ionarts. The site also covers a lot of other performing arts, plus visual arts, architecture, and interesting antiquities news.

[image from artnet]

Cinema Zero - new Williamsburg Art Space

The web site just says "Coming Soon," but I have a flyer for the opening event.


New art purchases

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Last night we went to one of our favorite art benefits, the DUMBO Arts Center winter auction. We did quite well. You can click on the artist names on that link to see smallish images. We got work by Dan Golden, Federico Solmi, and Matt Dojny. We met the first two at the event.

Via Wooster Collective, I learned that the Animal Magazine show at Chelsea Market was shut down. Apparently this image (by Chris Savido I believe):


was too controversial. Our friend Eric Doeringer was part of the show.



I asked Eric what he knew about the show. It sounds as if Chelsea Market reserved the right to veto some works, and did so, before the show opened. Therefore it seems odd (or stupid) that they then decided to close the show after having had a veto over art works in the show.

Many of the pieces from the magazine are currently on display at the ANIMAL Gallery, 437 East 9th Street (btw. 1st & A). Their hours (theoretically Tues-Sun 1-7) are inconsistent, so call them at 212-460-8125 to make sure they are open before heading over.

Mistress of Modernism

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I checked this book out of the library today. If you've seen our apartment, you can understand why I'm trying to read more library books and buy a few less.

The previous reader had left some things in the book: The MoMA Nov/Dec 2004 calendar, and a press release from the John Baldessari show at Marian Goodman,

getty_christ3.jpg The Baptism of Christ by Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the Cretan better known by his Spanish name, El Greco. Photo: Ian Waldie/Getty

I love this story! First, how it started, from The Guardian.

Domenikos Theotokopoulos may have left long ago but the people of Crete are forever trying to make up for his absence.

Today they hope to put right what they regard as a wrong when a hitherto unknown work by the artist, better known as El Greco, goes up for auction.

Buying the painting, entitled The Baptism of Christ, would help islanders reclaim a citizen too often identified with Spain.

"He is the most important person Crete has ever produced," says Manolis Vassilakis, who is overseeing fundraising for the panel at Heraklion town hall. "It upsets us that _ so many think he is from Spain."

The work, owned by a Spanish family since the 19th century and unexpectedly found in a brown enve lope last year, would be the second painting to return to El Greco's native island.

The first, an oil and tempera on wood entitled View of Mount Sinai, was bought at auction 14 years ago.

The Baptism of Christ is believed to have been painted in Venice, shortly after El Greco left Crete in 1567. Christie's describes it as a "scintillating example of the great artist's work at this most exciting, formative moment of his career".

For weeks, children, union members, businessmen and churchgoers have been raising funds for the work, with priests using sermons to call for people to help buy the painting. With banks also guaranteeing a loan, officials predict they will easily raise the £600,000 Christie's expects at the auction

They succeeded in buying it at auction in London, for £789,250.

This is one of my favorite works of El Greco.

[image from The Guardian]

Barry McGee: Smash the State

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Article via

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez, who has thumbed his nose at the establishment before, let a graffiti artist spray paint his City Hall office walls with the bright orange message: "SMASH THE STATE."

There is irony. There is art appreciation. There are raised eyebrows.

Gonzalez, who has hosted monthly art installations in his office by unknown and known artists for the last four years, offered up this graffiti for one of his last exhibits before he exits City Hall on Jan. 8. Gonzalez did not seek re-election.


The artist's message in traffic-cone orange that appears behind Gonzalez's desk was painted by Barry McGee, an internationally known San Francisco artist whose work first appeared anonymously in the 1980s on outdoor walls and tunnels.

McGee, whose City Hall wall work was unveiled last Friday, included some of his trademark cartoonish faces of sad sack characters, including a man with bulging eyes. A second element includes painted blocks of wood, arranged in a way that is reminiscent of parquet.

Koch scholarships

From Crain's

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday announced the establishment of the Edward I. Koch scholarships at the City College of New York, the former mayor's alma mater.

The announcement came during festivities at Gracie Mansion marking Mr. Koch's 80th birthday.

According to college officials, a $100,000 gift will be used to establish five 4-year scholarships at City College. The college has yet to determine who will be eligible for the scholarships, although it is likely that they will be for undergraduates. The identity of the donor was not disclosed.

No word yet on whether the criteria include being a semi-closeted right-wing homosexual.

Please, just make it stop


First it was cows, then apples, and now kangaroos.

Human Rights Campaign

HRC, the gay rights organization too in the closet to have something like gay in its name, and whose symbol of an equal sign is also designed to be as un-gay as possible, thinks it's going to advance gay rights by asking for less and being more "moderate."


Bishops-salute-Hitler.jpg Catholic Bishops giving the Nazi salute in honor of Hitler

From Common Dreams

Antonin Scalia, the man most likely to be our next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, turned history on its head recently when he attended an Orthodox synagogue in New York and claimed that the Founders intended for their Christianity to play a part in government. Scalia then went so far as to suggest that the reason Hitler was able to initiate the Holocaust was because of German separation of church and state.

The Associated Press reported on November 23, 2004, "In the synagogue that is home to America's oldest Jewish congregation, he [Scalia] noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never publicly use the word 'God.'"

"Did it turn out that," Scalia asked rhetorically, "by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America?" He then answered himself, saying, "I don't think so."

The article, by Thom Hartmann, goes on to provide some useful history of church and state in Germany and the USA.

[photo from]

Coen / Xmas ?

coen-xmas.jpg Brooke Coen sang Christmas carols on Saturday during the Parade of Lights in downtown Denver.
Steve Peterson for The New York Times

I was reading an article about people outraged over the PUBLIC holiday displays in Denver not being Christian enough.

For many years, this city's annual Parade of Lights was as bland as butter and content to be so. Organized by the local business community, the event shunned politics and anything remotely smacking of controversy, including openly religious Christmas themes that might offend.

The star was Santa, not Jesus, and the mood was bouncy, commercial and determinedly secular.

This year, Jesus came anyway. A local evangelical Christian church called the Faith Bible Chapel sought but failed to get permission for a religious-themed float with a choir singing hymns and carols. By coincidence, Denver's mayor chose this year to change the traditional banner on the roof of the City and County Building. "Merry Christmas" was out. "Happy Holidays" was in.

Like a spark in dry tinder, the result was a flare-up that caught even some church leaders by surprise. A holiday rite that had drawn thousands of paradegoers annually suddenly became a symbol, for many Christians, of secular society run amok.

I was struck by the name in the caption. I don't know anyone named Coen that sings Christmas carols.

Notes from the gym

It's only Monday, but I think I just saw the worst workout ensemble of the week:

  • white polo shirt, collar up
  • puka shell necklace
  • jeans
  • work shoes with heavy treads

MoMA - where is Nan Goldin?

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So, I never got around to writing my MoMA post, as James did. OK, here is one thought:

While I was intrigued to see how much of the work in the photography area had political/social/anti-war themes, I was surprised to see no work by Nan Goldin. Does someone have an agenda? I saw a whole wall for Cindy Sherman, and another for Philip-Lorca diCorcia. While I appreciate both of them, I don't think they are any more important than she is, or Mark Morrisroe is.

Slight non-sequitur: The only good thing about Trump Tower is that the tourists walking along Fifth Avenue in the afternoon seem lit and ready for a photo by Philip-Lorca diCorcia or Beat Streuli.

Paul P. in Vienna


Paul P., Untitled, 2004
graphite on paper, 13 1/4 × 11 inches

Paul P. just keeps getting better. We're thrilled to know him, and to have a couple of his drawings and one painting.

More images and info is availabe from the gallery web site: Galerie Lisa Ruyter.

Andy at Tiffany

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I was near Tiffany today after going to the dentist. I went by to see the windows, which are decorated with drawing based on the Christmas cards that Andy Warhol did for Tiffany early in his career. They can be found in the book Greetings from Andy: Christmas at Tiffany's. The drawings aren't that exciting. I was more moved by the various quotes from his diaries about wrapping presents, or how he always thought of mother at Christmas-time. The quotes were directly on the glass, with the date of entry.

My enjoyment was marred by a Salvation Army guy singing Christmas carols WITH AMPLIFICATION right in front of the store. Apparently the Police allow religious people to use such electronics, but they arrest people in demonstrations for using them. It's sweet, isn't it, that a homophobic organization like the SA can use them to raise more money?

Remember people, they believe in firing gay people and refusing to hire them while accepting public tax money to provide services. Don't give them a penny, and if you're feeling confrontational, tell them why as you walk by. Do it for all the good fairies like Andy.

P.S. There is a great show of Warhol paintings and drawings from the 70s at Paul Kasmin through December 24.

Holiday shopping

We don't really "do" Xmas or any other big gift-giving holidays, but that doesn't mean we don't like to buy art at good prices at the various holiday art shows that spring up in December. My picks:


UPDATED: Just got an email from Jim Kempner Fine Art about their holiday sale. It says:

The holiday season has begun, and Jim Kempner Fine Art would like to present a wonderful selection of art gift ideas priced at $2,500 and under. The three lists below include work by Louise Bourgeois, Chuck Close, Christo, Jeff Koons, Robert Mangold, Robert Motherwell, Ed Ruscha, James Siena, Lisa Yuskavage and many others. If you would like visuals of anything on the list or a more extensive list of our inventory, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone (212) 206-6872 or email at Holiday Gift Certificates are also available, and we have just inaugurated our new Wedding Registry!

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10-5, and by appointment.


[Image captured from CNN homepage]

East Village Art Scene

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Tonight Next Wednesday we're going to the members' preview of East Village USA at the New Museum (Chelsea location). I recommend reading Gary Indiana's Memories of the East Village Art Scene in New York Magazine before you go. Dare I say that the magazine seems to be getting more interesting?

For the alternative to the New Museum show, we have East Village ASU, at the resurrected (at least for this show) B-Side Gallery.


UPDATED: This is why I maintain the art calendar most of the time, not James. He had the opening on the wrong date in his calendar.

Charles Goldman in Portland

If you're in Portland, Oregon over the next couple of months, check out Charles Goldman's exhibition/performances at the PNCA Feldman Gallery.

Newcountry is an abstract meditation on the changing American landscape. The protagonist is Charles Goldman’s Standard white Toyota pick-up truck — the water, the trees and the air all play their part. Using mundane materials mined from this new American landscape, Goldman will build several site-specific sculptures for the Feldman Gallery + Project Space. Related performances will be held each Friday night at 7:00 pm, beginning on January 21 and running through the remainder of the exhibition.

The work exhibited at PNCA spawns mostly from Goldman’s experiences as a Visiting Faculty in 2003 at University of Oregon in Eugene. The Brooklyn-based artist is currently the Visiting Faculty at California College of Art in San Francisco.

Charles is a good friend of ours, and his web site is the first artist web site I did.

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