February 2005 Archives

To the Editor:

Paul Krugman ("Kansas on My Mind," column, Feb. 25) mentions that at a town hall meeting, college Republicans started chanting, "Hey hey, ho ho, Social Security's got to go!" Well, at least they are being honest about their real aim, scrapping Social Security.

Still, I can't help but be furious thinking about this. We have a deadly, very expensive war going on. The dollar is sliding. Education needs a lot of work. But all these students can think of is that they want to scrap Social Security. And they seem happy about it. Don't they have any shame? Don't they have grandparents? Don't they care about the elderly?

This has got to be the coldest, most callous thing I have ever seen.

Aaron Dellutri
Chicago, Feb. 25, 2005

My first response was:

The new Republican Party: It's a religion, not a political movement!

DIVA TV Netcasts

Good stuff from the ACT UP web site, courtesy of James Wentzy: DIVA TV (Damned Interfering Video Activists) netcasts!

They include a speech by Vito Russo and part of a David Wojnarowicz reading.

Not very attractive on a cloudy day

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I had my doubts about The Gates on a bright sunny day. They look worse, and the color seems rather ugly, on a cloudy, snowy day.


Is anyone reading this in Albany?



Our friend Elise Engler has a show at The College of Saint Rose, titled Your Tax Dollars and Other Drawing, through March 17.

James wrote about her when she was in a great pre-Republican Convention/occupation art show in August.

Amusing Observation

Since my listing on ArtCal of Federico Solmi's wonderful show at Boreas mentions it being inspired by the Italian porn star Rocco Sifreddi, I think it scared Google Ads. It's only running public service ads on that page.

I apologize for the lack of posting. I have 3 projects with March 1 deadlines, plus keeping ArtCal up to date is taking more time than I expected. Current number of locations in the database: 215.

I'm sorry I won't get to see this show in Los Angeles. It's at the wonderful Champion Fine Arts Gallery, which I discussed here.

Any show that is curated by artist/performer Alix Lambert, whom I finally met when she was performing in Nobody's Lunch by The Civilians, and includes work by our friend Charles Goldman, is not to be missed. It opens Saturday, February 26, from 6-8PM.

[I did the web sites for Champion and Charles.]

Williamsburg Wedding @ Open Ground


Christian Grosskopf

The wonderful collective Open Ground will be having its final exhibition in March, as the members move on to other projects, including "including developing an online arts magazine and innovative resources for art lovers."

The last show is their half of an artists' exchange with the Berlin gallery Galerie Scherer8. There is an opening/party on March 12.

[image from the Open Ground web site -- Christian Grosskopf is a German artist from Berlin who creates work in figurative and landscape painting and works on paper inspired by early American animation.]


If you've walked around Williamsburg, I'm sure you have noticed the City Reliquary, at the corner of Grand and Havermayer, a window display of NYC ephemera, with audio explanations.

On February 23 at 7:30 (doors open at 7) they are hosting an event described as Collectors' Night at Union Pool, at the corner of Union and Meeker Streets under the BQE, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn. I'll quote the press release.

The City Reliquary Museum presents: Collectors' Night


Featuring the StoryCorps Project by David Isay’s Sound Portrait Productions

The World Premier of The Poo Syndicate’s film The Flea Market Project

Collecting experts, Richard Roth, and Leah Dilworth,

And displayed collections of all kinds.

On Wednesday night, the City Reliquary is honored to present Collectors’ Night, a celebration of unique, fanciful and eccentric collections, presented by the people who collect them. The program will feature audio from the Sound Portraits' StoryCorps project, films about collecting and that serve ascollections, and a panel discussion moderated by Long Island University English Department Chair Leah Dilworth and Q&A on collecting and collectors. Collectors' Night will also feature the personal collections of postcards, vintage bicycles, bottle caps, baseball cards, geological artifacts and anything else deemed collectable by those in attendance.

[photo from the City Reliquary web site]


Afflict the Comfortable, Comfort the Afflicted, 1985
Paul Thek
acrylic on canvas, 18" × 24"

Good stuff for the February 2005 edition, titled it's a rough world, how's your armor?, including work by David Wojnarowicz and Jimmy De Sana.

Copyrighting public space

Via the handsome and talented artist Robert Boyd, we learn that Christo and Jean-Claude are trying to pull an Anish Kapoor -- declaring all non-authorized uses of images of The Gates to be illegal.

Keeping out the poor Neo-Nazis

I was reading an article on a new luxury hotel to open March 1 in Berchtesgaden, site of Adolf Hitler's Alpine retreat. I was struck by this part:

The decision to build a hotel on the site above the German Alp town of Berchtesgaden angered many Jewish groups. Officials have tried to address their concerns with a documentation center opened in 1999 to detail the area's Nazi past. In addition, the state of Bavaria kept ownership of the land and set the condition that the hotel be designed for affluent tourists -- precautions designed to help keep out neo-Nazis.

Using wealth restrictions to keep out people with far-right beliefs? Wouldn't work here!

We expect to see this during one of the next three days. It sounds quite interesting.


Allison Smith, 2004
Photo: Bob Braine


February 15, 16, 17, 2005 - 7.00 pm

An excerpt from the description:

What ever happened to the tradition of the public address? These days, politicians blink and stutter in the face of internationally syndicated broadcasts, whereas in yesteryear elected officials and citizens alike passionately took to the podium to speak their minds, uninhibited by the flack of a televised audience. For Dare #2, artist Allison Smith revives this tradition by giving a public address at Foxy Production. Here, fashioned as a Civil War era recruiting officer, Smith will deliver a call to arms and a call to art - in one.

For the past ten years, Smith has conducted an investigation of the Civil War reenactment community, a group of living historians who re-stage the events of this period as a form of pedagogy and cultural practice. Smith has appropriated the vernacular of this community, using it as an aesthetic palette for sculptural installations that examine the role craft has played in the construction of national identity. Smith has taken a particular interest in the notion of "trench art", or art made by soldiers from the materials of war. Her recent work proposes that since we are living in the context of war, contemporary art can be a form of "trench art", and artists a volunteer militia.

Smith's Public Address for the Dare Series will explore how the Blue and Red states of the last two presidential elections echo the Blue and Grey states of the American Civil War, which similarly divided the U.S. citizenry on geographic, moral and ideological lines. Furthermore, Smith will enlist the Union versus Secession conflict as a metaphor to illuminate tensions within contemporary GLBTQ communities, who find themselves split between mainstream and subcultural identification.

[photo from Foxy Production web site]

I am not amused by having 2GB of traffic from you this month while you were testing some java to read my RSS feed. I'm tempted to report you to your ISP.

... not that you can read this from that IP now that I have blocked it.

New acquisitions - Jennie Portnof

We bought two works on paper by Jennie Portnof (of mr. trinity fame) at the Regarding Clementine show.

Here is a detail of the wall installation to give you an idea of how it looked in the space:


I trimmed the big version of the wall photo to bring you one of the works we bought:


The text says:

A cowboy song of prairie virility

She has a stream of consciousness post on her web site about the work. Go read it.

[photos courtesy of Jennie]

Jerry Saltz on the East Village show

I'm just getting around to reading some older stuff I had saved. I was reading Jerry Saltz's review of the East Village show at the New Museum, and I have a couple of favorite quotes to share:

For a time the East Village was the art world's duodenum—no matter how it came out, almost everything passed through it.


As with so many others, the East Village was my last chance; probably it was my only chance. I badly wanted to be part of the Soho art world, but it was too codified for a nonperson to get any traction. That scene essentially had 18 artists, eight dealers, seven collectors, and six critics; and I, like almost everyone else in the EV, wasn't one of them. The East Village was a place where just being around or staying up late seemed to confer status on those who couldn't get arrested otherwise.

James and I feel a bit like Jerry in that second quote. Merely by hanging out and seeing lots of art, we have achieved a kind of "status" we couldn't have imagined would come from being art fans.

Know anyone out there looking for a job? This one at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism looks interesting.

[via Andrew LaVallee]

Regarding Terror: The RAF Exhibition

Joy Garnett has a round-up of the coverage of this show focused on the RAF (aka the Baader-Meinhof Group) in Berlin.

My favorites:

Claudia Weber at Momenta Art, installation

Claudia Weber at Momenta Art, large detail of installation

Claudia Weber at Momenta. Quoting from the press release:

Claudia Weber's work presented at Momenta began with a photograph that the artist took at a construction site. The photograph, optically stark and ostensibly formal, records the transformation that took place when a classical balustrade received an unceremonious backdrop of a sheet of particle-board. Riffing off of this image, the artist re-contextualizes two other cultural forms from vastly different sources: a pre-fabricated bookcase and a heavily reproduced painting by the German Romantic Caspar David Friedrich.

She uses simple materials like Styrofoam, aluminum foil, wood, and wire to create these sculptural installations. We talked with a friend along for the ride about the use of such materials in sculpture. As we walked around a rapidly changing neighborhood like Williamsburg, we saw bits of these same materials scattered about, but to create a moving work of art out of them seems more of a leap than what is accomplished using a medium like paint or marble. I'm not arguing that this makes her more of an artist, but I think people are more prepared to view a painting as "art" than they are an installation of what appears to be torn up construction detritus. I loved it.

At 31 Grand, my favorite work was actually in the back -- some drawings by Carol "Riot" Kane, and a couple of collaged soldiers by Michael Cambre.

Le Petit Prince at AG Gallery. This gallery, in the back of a cool store, has had several great shows, and given that the store hours are later than most galleries, makes a great stop at the end of the day, before or after dinner at Relish. My favorite works in the show are the paintings of Christopher Reiger, and the "Action Painting" video by Ryouga Katsuma, which is one of my favorite videos of the year so far. His paintings and drawings are good too. There is a "Valentine's Eve Afternoon Tea Party" at the gallery with sweets and tea on Sunday, February 13th from 3-5pm.

Eric Hollender's works on paper at Dam, Stuhltrager. He uses silkscreens as if they were brushes or stamps to create compelling images of the competitive pigeon flocks of Williamsburg.

The wall drawings by Brynna K. Tucker in the Confluence show at Open Ground were my favorite works of that show.

There was a lot of good work in the Buy It Now show at Black and White, but the show is over now. There are some images on the web site, including the press release page. I liked all of the work, but the video by Danielle LaPlante and the Photoshopped images of Saraw Sweeney really stood out.

[images from James Wagner]

If you've been meaning to visit some of the galleries and art spaces of Tribeca, this Wednesday (February 9) would be a good time. Check out the web page for more information.

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