June 2005 Archives

Artist photos?


While reading John Perrault on doing a Virtual Chelsea Tour, I clicked on the link for Mary Boone since I haven't set foot in her gallery in a couple of years.

Am I the only one who finds it odd that the home page has no art images, just photos of the artists and two images of empty galleries? Also, when you click on an artist image, the next page shows the artist's photos larger than their art thumbnails.



Oswald Kabasta [source]

Right now I can hear the "gay pride" fireworks outside. It's odd to hear something that sounds like we're being bombed as I listen to a program on KUSC featuring recordings of symphonies conducted by Oswald Kabasta. Go read that last link. Kabasta was a pro-Nazi conductor originally from Austria, and performed in Munich until performances were suspended due to heavy Allied bombing in 1944. After his de-Nazification hearing, and his demotion to the status of a "common laborer," he committed suicide in February 1946.

The recordings we heard tonight were extraordinary. It's sad to think such a musical genius was so terribly wrong in his political beliefs.

All hail the power of the internet! I had never heard his story until I listened to this music today from a radio station on the other side of the country.


Big Galaxian, 2005
Installation - mixed media
12 × 18 feet

This image has particular resonance for me, as someone who grew up in a small Arkansas town, regularly sat in the back of class playing with my Rubik's Cube (when not reading a novel), and spent free weekend evenings playing video games at the one arcade in town.

It's up at sixspace in Los Angeles through July 9th.

[photo from the sixspace website]

Just a subway ride away


Front of Morris-Jumel Mansion


View of Sylvan Terrace from the front yard of the mansion

We took the C train to 163rd Street in Harlem on Saturday to see the Morris-Jumel Mansion and hear a wonderful concert of late 18th and early 19th century art songs performed by the tenor Rufus Müller, accompanied by Dongsok Shin on a fortepiano. James has more on the subject.

Berlin-based Arkansan

As an Arkansas survivor, I think I can safely say I have never heard the phrase "Berlin-based Arkansan" before. From artnet's photos from Venice:


Berlin-based Arkansan Jimmie Durham's Something (Perhaps a Fugue or an Elegy) (2004)


Closed token booth [source]

As I'm sure my readers have noticed, I rarely post about politics anymore. I'm too disgusted. A political system that allows the subways go begging for enough funds to keep token booths open, even in high profile locations like Rockefeller center, and NYC schools to crumble, but lets our elected leaders spend public money subsidizing sports stadiums for rich team owners, is one too ridiculous to comment upon. I've had it. The current proposals are for the state and city to spend at least $180 million directly on infrastructure for the new Mets stadium in Queens, and that doesn't count things like property tax diversions and tax-exempt bond borrowing. The Yankees got a similar deal. A good source for this info is a site called Field of Schemes.

As a free-lancer, I paid my quarterly estimated taxes yesterday to the feds, the state, and the city (including a tax NYC has called the Unincorporated Business Tax just for people like me). I can't stand the idea that it's going to subsidize professional sports when so much that really matters is going begging.

And by the way, the next time the NYPD complains about their pay, suggest that their corporate bosses should kick in some money. I guess the War on Terror is under control if they have time to raid Kim's Video looking for mix CDs, and bring along a "representative" of the Recording Industry Association of America to help them round up and arrest five people working at Kim's. They kept them all in jail overnight.

Sunday in Williamsburg

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Welcome, MTAA-RR readers. I'll see if I can do better given such praise. Bloggy has been rather quiet as I do work for several free-lance clients at once.

My favorite thing from yesterday's humid Williamsburg gallery crawl was the group show at Sarah Bowen, particularly the work of Joyce Pensato and Susan Wanklyn. We have work by both, and know Susan pretty well. We've met Joyce several times, and I am always struck by the reaction of other artists when I mention her -- that she is incredibly generous and kind to fellow artists, and a brilliant artist. The photo below doesn't do her wall pieces at the gallery justice, but here it is to give you some idea:


Joyce Pensato
wall drawing, charcoal on a roughed-up gallery wall

I was told she brought in an electric sander. You can't see it too well in the photo, but there is a pile of charcoal on the floor. I would have put up a photo of Susan's work, but I had trouble getting the colors right. You'll have to go see them yourself.

Other highlights of the day: shows at Dam, Stuhltrager by Mark Andreas and Brian Zimmernam, and the charcoal on paper drawings by Rex Enseki in Black and White's group show.


Updated: James also has a post on Joyce Pensato with several images.

Buried in a New York Times obituary titled Floriano Vecchi, 84, Publisher With Literary and Artistic Bent, Dies, is this interesting tidbit:

Mr. Vecchi was born near Bologna and came to New York in 1952. He and a partner, Richard Miller, opened a successful business, Tiber Press, the next year, and Mr. Vecchi operated it until 1977. Together with Daisy Aldan they also started a small literary magazine, Folder, which became a vehicle for young writers of the period.


Mr. Vecchi may have left another lasting impression on the New York art scene in 1962 when Andy Warhol visited Tiber to have a screen made of a dollar bill he had drawn on paper, the first of his United States currency compositions.

According to Riva Castleman in the June 2004 issue of Print Quarterly, Mr. Vecchi told Warhol to redraw it on Mylar for refinement and instructed him in the screen-printing process, which Warhol promptly introduced in his studio, passing it on to Robert Rauschenberg as well.

What she said

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Roberta Smith in the NY Times on Gregory Crewdson at Luhring Augustine:

Mr. Crewdson's images compress the melodrama of an entire movie, or soap-opera season, into a single, elaborately constructed scene. They represent art imitating popular art, which means that they have the clarity, for us, that a stained glass window would have had in the Middle Ages.

But Pre-Raphaelite paintings may be a better analogy. These photographs have become ornate, hollow, implicitly academic exercises, so freighted with telltale omens and contrivances and so monotonously joyless that they start to seem light, almost comic.


Mr. Crewdson needs to discover some new feelings or reinvent his medium, because theatrical craft has overtaken his art. This has come at the expense of the imaginative uses of color, scale or space - in short, form - that both balanced and heightened the creepiness of his early set-up photographs. It makes sense that he has said that his next project will be a film. It may be time to tackle the challenge of duration with characters who can move, speak and stand up to their surroundings. Either that, or Mr. Crewdson might consider dismissing his superbly skilled crew and taking up street photography. The REAL real world has it merits.

I found it depressing to look at work that took so much money and effort, and falls flat. A huge production budget, bigger than some indie films, shouldn't be necessary to make a photograph.


At the entrance of the Chelsea Art Museum

One would hope that a pairing of a show of "celebrity art" curated by Baird Jones, and one of Goya's Los Caprichos along with contemporary art, curated by the brilliant Elga Wimmer, is ironic. I showed up at the museum wearing a t-shirt, khakis, and my favorite sneakers. I knew I would be headed to Monya Rowe's opening later, which I expected to be warmish, given the 20+ artists in the show for a moderately-sized space. Someone at the museum entrance looked at me, and said, "You're here for the Goya?" The scary guys with Blackberries, briefcases, and bleached-blonde bimbos in tow where pointed to the other show.

Birds / Paul Urich

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As a bird lover, I'm intrigued by the work of Paul Urich I just spotted at Wooster Collective. He has a show opening Saturday in San Francisco at Low Gallery.

[image from Low Gallery website]

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