February 2006 Archives

Midtown highlights


James and I ventured up to midtown on Tuesday to see several shows. The highlights:


Pablo Bronstein, Theatre, 2005, ink, gouache/paper, 16" by 18" [image from gallery website]

I Love My Scene: Scene 1, curated by Jose Freire of Team Gallery at Mary Boone. I'm happy to see the gallery pulling in some interesting outside curators to do shows. It's an intriguing mix including photography (Weegee and Cecil Beaton), sculpture (Keith Sonnier, Lothar Hempel, and Banks Violette), and drawing by Pablo Bronstein. I hadn't heard of him before, but his work appears to be drawings for fantastic stage sets. Google tells me that Saatchi owns some works by him.

William Kentridge at Marian Goodman

William Kentridge's drawings and designs for a production of Mozart's Magic Flute at Marian Goodman were, pardon the expression, enchanting.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila at Marian Goodman

Eija-Liisa Ahtila's 4-screen work The Hour of Prayer was a nice discovery in the back at Marian Goodman after visiting the Kentridge show. There are more images of both Kentridge and Ahtila's work in my NYC Art 2006 set on Flickr.

Tim Davis White Tiger

Tim Davis, White Tiger, 2005, c-print, 35" × 44" [image from gallery website]

I love everything Tim Davis does, and this show at Greenberg Van Doren is no exception. In some ways it is like Roe Ethridge's last show at Andrew Kreps -- it feels like a set of images the artist just likes. If you're a photographer like one of those, that's good enough for me.

Lutheran Carnival Party Masks

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German Lutheran St Paul's Church 22nd Street

Charlie Finch / Artnet

I don't think I can think of anything to add to the good blogosphere writing on the subject of Finch's horrifying attitude towards women. Edna at Anonymous Female Artist is a good source for updates on the subject.

Biltmore Syndrome

Via Culturebot I found this great slapdown by David Cote in Time Out New York of mediocre, safe uptown theater. More reviews should be like this. Anthony Tommasini can be counted on to write similar, yet more polite, things about how bad classical music institutions are these days.

David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole made me sick. During this competent dramedy about the mourning process, I experienced bizarre hallucinations, nausea, confusion and an irritability verging on dyspepsia. Upon learning my theater-going patterns, the doctor delivered a swift diagnosis of Biltmore Syndrome. It's a fairly common condition brought about by seeing too many middlebrow, bourgeois plays at New York's big nonprofit theaters. The disease gets its name, obviously, from MTC's Biltmore Theatre, which has been home to a steady stream of unimaginative comedies and dramas about middle-class angst since it opened in 2003.


No doubt there's a thrilling play to be written about grief and recovery in suburbia, but this isn't it. And until Lindsay-Abaire and his supporters at MTC crack the code, you'll learn more from Oprah and Dr. Phil than from this pabulum. Personally, I'd rather see a ripping tale about Uzi-wielding hobos spreading grief around than brave homeowners suppressing it.

But then, I'm not an MTC subscriber or ticket buyer; I don't have to justify seeing money wasted on an expensive-looking set and the blandest stars that money can buy. John Lee Beatty's lavish Westchester interiors, spinning on hydraulic turntables, stand as smug, imagination-murdering monuments to MTC's wealth and, presumably, the well-appointed estates of some percentage of its subscribers. And, like its aesthetic clones, the Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater, MTC attracts big names regardless of whether they possess real talent.

rubin museum logo

Andrew Maerkle is curating a series of (free!) informal talks and tours of the Museum’s galleries on Friday evenings from February 3 to May 29, sponsored by Art Asia Pacific Magazine.

Tonight's talk is by Hiroshi Sunairi.

Amy Granat

I'm trying out a new feature on my cell phone -- video with sound!

Windows people should be able to play it with Quicktime or RealPlayer, and Mac users with Quicktime. Warning: it's loud!

The video is of one of the "scratch film" works in the show, and the sound is by Stefan Tcherepnin, the latest member of that great musical family.

Download 136K 3GPP movie

Recent Chelsea highlights


Bernhard Prinz, Untitled (Latifundien), 2005, Lambda print, 48.5 × 68 inches

Punching Through The Clouds at Tanya Banakdar is a smart show of photography and sculpture by three European artists rarely seen in the US.

Juan Manuel Echavarria at Josee Bienvenu

Juan Manuel Echavarria, Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash)

A Colombian artist's response (in photography and video) to his countries violent conflicts. This is a still from a video in which victims sing their stories. Now at Josee Bienvenu.

Ugo Rondinone at Matthew Marks 21st St

Ugo Rondinone, Thank You Silence

Ugo Rondinone's installation with soundtrack at Matthew Marks 21st St

Additional images of recent art spotted in NYC are here.

[all photographs are mine except the Bernhard Prinz]

Check out this story from Reuters, the bold is mine. Note that our "liberal media" feels the need to say "legislators" as if it's a bipartisan thing. Apparently there are no Republicans that are disturbed by our voting for proposals supported by Iran, China, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe. The statement at the end is another reminder of why I'm a big fan of today's Germany.

The Bush administration's support for Iran's proposal to bar two gay rights groups from a voice at the United Nations sparked a demand from U.S. legislators on Tuesday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repudiate the action.

The January 23 vote denying "consultative status" at the world body to the Belgium-based International Gay and Lesbian Association and the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians was a "drastic reversal" of Washington's previous stand on the issue, the U.S. House of Representatives members wrote.

Nearly 3,000 nongovernmental organizations have such status, which enables them to distribute documents and speak at meetings of some U.N. bodies and conferences.

In voting for Iran's proposal, "the United States joined some of the world's most oppressive regimes, among them China, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe" and demonstrated "a reprehensible inconsistency" in the protection of rights based on sexual orientation, the lawmakers said.

Among the 44 Democrats and one independent signing the letter were Democrats Eliot Engel of New York, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Tom Lantos of California, Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and
Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.

They called on Rice to publicly repudiate the action and support pending applications by three other gay rights groups.

The vote occurred in the U.N. Economic and Social Council's Committee on Nongovernmental Organizations.

U.S. officials said the United States had opposed the Belgian group in January due to its previous ties to the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which condones pedophilia.

But the United States had voted in 2002 to approve U.N. ties to the group. At that time, a U.S. diplomat told the committee Washington was convinced it no longer condoned pedophilia and praised it for its life-saving activities in the struggle against

Despite U.S. support, the group failed to win enough votes to win consultative status in 2002, and the January 2006 vote had been its first chance since then to try again.

On January 23, the United States first abstained on a motion to deny a hearing to the two groups. That motion carried.

Washington then voted in favor of Iran's proposal to deny their applications, which carried 10-5 with three abstentions.

Following the vote, German envoy Martin Thuemmel said the committee decision "will haunt us for a long time" because it sent a message that it was acceptable to discriminate on the basis of an individual's sexual orientation.

This is the English translation of a column that originally appeared in die tageszeitung, a leftist cooperatively-owned newspaper founded in Berlin in 1978. The translation comes from signandsight, a website funded by the German government, that translates "arts, essays and ideas from Germany" into English. I recommend reading the entire thing, but I've provided some excerpts below. As I've said before, ridicule is a great tool.

What next, bearded one?
by Sonia Mikich

I feel offended.

Zealots are nailing veils onto the faces of my sisters in Afghanistan and Pakistan and are busy hanging women, homosexuals, adulterers and non-believers.

But human rights, women's rights and the right to liberty are the most exalted in the history of humanity; this is the tradition in which I was raised. Values that make the world better and more peaceful.

I demand that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Indonesia and Egypt apologise to me. Otherwise I am unfortunately forced to threaten, beat up, kidnap or behead their citizens. Because I am somewhat sensitive about my cultural identity.


Videos show journalists, truck drivers and NGO workers having their throats slit or their heads chopped off. Jews see themselves represented as cannibals and pigs, Western women as decadent sluts. Apolitical engineers have to fear for their lives.

All in the name of God.

I demand that all the editors in chief of newspapers and television broadcasters in the Islamic world apologise to me, because they do nothing to prevent these obscenities.


The fact that fundamentalists of all persuasions are completely incapable of self-reflection, self-criticism, and self-irony would not warrant a mention, were it not for their practice of imposing their issues on me and my world. They assume that we will kowtow to them as soon as we recognise who they are: "Look out! Religious feelings! We're leaving the private sphere."


I hereby refuse to feel badly for the chronically insulted. I refuse to argue politely why freedom of expression, reason and humour should be respected. I do not want to continue to have to provide creationists scientific proof that the earth has been around for more than 10,000 years. And I am going to stop waiting for them to say on Al Jazeera, "Did you ever hear the one about the Prophet's beard?"

Related: signandsight's roundup of European reactions.

Art New York cancelled


I'm not sure if I had even heard of this. The Crain's story has a rather interesting headline:

Cancelled art fair a sign of saturated market

by Miriam Kreinin Souccar

Organizers have pulled the plug on a new art fair that was scheduled for Manhattan later this month, a sign that the market may be saturated.

Art New York at Pier 94 was supposed to bring together around 150 contemporary art galleries from around the world to the space at 12th Avenue and 54th Street. Created by Thomas Blackman Associates, producer of major art fairs including Art Chicago, the fair was to run Feb. 24-27. It was timed to coincide with the long-running prestigious show of the Art Dealers Association of America, which opens Feb. 23.

I love this part too. Does anyone else know a huge number of un-represented artists?

Art dealers say they don’t have enough good work to bring to all of the fairs and that artists simply can’t create on such a fast timetable.



Check out Sean Bonner's thoughts on the subject of art fair dysfunction.

Drinking the flickr kool-aid

I'm starting to put photos I take using my cell phone on Flickr. Go here or use the photos (newer) link on my homepage to check them out.

The LMCC had an open house on on January 24th. Some highlights:

Aissa Deebi at LMCC Swing Space 32 Avenue of the Americas

Aissa Deebi (see also James on Aissa's work)

Dave Eppley at LMCC Swing Space 32 Avenue of the Americas

Dave Eppley at LMCC Swing Space 32 Avenue of the Americas

Dave Eppley -- his work plays off the damaged walls of his studio space

Timothy Hutchings at LMCC Swing Space 32 Avenue of the Americas

Timothy Hutchings at LMCC Swing Space 32 Avenue of the Americas

Timothy Hutchings

market by Jesse Chan-Norris

Market by Jesse Chan-Norris

One of my favorite web visits each day is Jesse Chan-Norris's photoblog.

I've put up one a recent image, in a larger size than I normally post photos, so you can see how good it is.

I met Jesse during a meal, organized by my friend Michael Pinto, at the Afghan restaurant Bamiyan a few days after 9/11. Michael was a regular, and wanted to make sure the restaurant was supported in those days of "kill them all!"

Jeremy Wade and Dance Theater Workshop

jeremy wade at dtw

Jeremy Wade

Last night we went to a great dance performance by Jeremy Wade. Not only was his choreography and dancing amazing, so were his collaborators:

  • Jessica Hill as his dance partner in the first piece, Glory
  • Music by Michael Mahalchick and Loren Kiyoshi Dempster for Glory
  • Music by Mike Skinner (and Jeremy Wade) for Fiction
  • Lighting by Jonathan Belcher

Jeremy Wade did the costumes as well.

His choreography uses dancers' faces in a way I have never seen before. I also appreciated the mix of... how to put this... movements reminiscient of a child, or a person without full muscle control. I can't get his child-like gestures of joy out of my mind. Interestingly, in the duet Jessica Hill's movements were a mix of those plus more conventionally dance-like moves. She was almost doing a pop and lock during parts of the early section.

There are two more nights -- Friday (tonight) and Saturday -- both at 7:30pm. Go! He is a definitely a distinctive voice in NYC dance.

Tickets information is here.

[photo from the DTW website]

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