June 2006 Archives

27th Street, Chelsea

27th Street, Chelsea

Assuming the weather doesn't totally suck, this looks like a fun event tonight.


Wednesday, June 28th
9:00 pm
Pier 63 Maritime
23rd Street and the Hudson River (directions below)
New York City
Admission free

Please join EAI for an outdoor program of alternative music videos and music-based video by artists. The screening will include works by Cory Arcangel, Charles Atlas, Michael Bell-Smith, Johanna Billing, Dara Birnbaum, Meredith Danluck, Devin Flynn, Shana Moulton, Tony Oursler with Sonic Youth, Ara Peterson, Seth Price, and William Wegman.

The videos will be screened on the tented stage at Pier 63 Maritime, the public access pier on the Hudson River. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the pier.

The artist-made music videos in the program include Charles Atlas' new music video for Antony and the Johnsons, Ara Peterson's pulsing abstract video for Black Dice, Devin Fynn's animated epic for Erase Errata, William Wegman and Robert Breer's classic video for New Order's Blue Monday, and Tony Oursler and Sonic Youth's 1990 tribute to '70s pop star Karen Carpenter.

Other artists manipulate or re-conceive footage from appropriated music videos or live music performances. Cory Arcangel tries to take Simon out of Simon and Garfunkel's 1984 Central Park performance, while Michael Bell-Smith makes an entire R. Kelly DVD happen all at once. Dara Birnbaum integrates the audience and even the weather in her rendition of performances by Radio Fire Fight at the legendary Mudd Club and Glenn Branca.

Other works playfully subvert the music video format, reworking and reinterpreting its rules and strategies. Seth Price uses analogue video graphics to map out a pop history of the music genre New Jack Swing. Meredith Danluck experiments with James Brown and the power of context, Johanna Billing blurs the lines between documentary, performance and music video, and Shana Moulton uses an electronic rave as a hallucinogenic escape route from the everyday.

Directions to Pier 63 Maritime

Take the C or E train to 23rd Street. Transfer to the westbound M-23 crosstown bus and take it to the end of the line. Walk west to the end of West 23rd street and cross the West Side Highway. Walk through the parking lot in front of Basketball City, bearing right. The ramp leading to Pier 63 Maritime is directly to the right of Basketball City. The screening will take place under the tented area at the rear of the pier.

[Image above from EAI. I think it's a still from Charles Atlas' snew music video for Antony and the Johnsons.]

Wendy Heldmann on ArtCat



Wendy Heldmann, Finding noon sleep in winter 4, 2006
acrylic on paper, 20" × 30"

I first spotted Wendy's work (online since I didn't see it in person) in a group show at Sixspace titled There Goes The Neighborhood.

I'm happy to welcome her to the ArtCat family. Check out her new website. I'm proud to announce that this is how her site looks 48 hours after she signed up. I like to think it's a combination of ArtCat's ease (including the new help website) and Wendy's enthusiasm.

When I first came to New York in 1989, I found it hard to believe that artists -- whether visual artists, actors, dancers, etc. -- could afford to live here. Given the real estate prices of today, those seem like the cheap halcyon days. I worry very much about the ability of NYC to remain an arts capital when it is so expensive for people to live within 3 subway stops of Manhattan. Those patrons and collectors that support new art are unlikely to venture out that far unfortunately. Williamsburg is so close, and I still hear people talk about it like it's Kansas.

From Crain's New York I learn that Williamsburg's Galapagos is trying to do something about this.
In an effort to keep up and coming artists in New York, Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg plans to meet with the Department of Cultural Affairs tomorrow to begin lobbying for government aid for emerging artists.

Executives at Galapagos, which presents 140 performances a month attracting an average of 8,000 people, say New York City is at risk of losing its status as an international cultural capital because beginning artists can't afford to live here anymore.

"There's not the inflow of young artists moving in the city like there used to be," says Robert Elmes, director of Galapagos. "The conversation at this point isn't whether or not there's opportunity in New York, but just what other city they should go to."

Mr. Elmes says his theater has already seen a significant drop in proposals from college students or recent graduates to come there and present their work.

Instead, young artists are heading to places like Pittsburgh, or even overseas to Berlin, which has been aggressive about promoting itself as an affordable hub for emerging arts.

When we attended the Whitney Biennial press preview, I was struck by the fact that the curators travelled to Berlin to visit American artists' studios. I know a number of people that find it cheaper to live and work there part of the year, while still showing with a New York gallery. One example is D-L Alvarez, who shows with Derek Eller Gallery.

On a related note, James and I are troubled by our ability to see as much emerging art as we once did, since we don't own a car. Many interesting Brooklyn galleries are increasingly spread far away from each other, and from a convenient subway stop. As an example, check out this map from WAGMAG. Visiting VertexList, Klaus Von Nichtssagend, and Outrageous Look in one day is quite a trek.

"Dead City" extended

I wrote about the show at the beginning of June. It has been extended until June 30th, so you have no excuse if you miss it.

Like a "Keystone Stasi"

I just read an op ed in Newsday by Ray Lemoine. Ray LeMoine is co-author, with Jeff Neumann and Donovan Webster, of Babylon by Bus, an account of LeMoine and Neumann's experiences working for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

He points out that he had just spent six months working and traveling in the Islamic world -- Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan -- so that he wasn't surprised when the Department of Homeland Security agents took him aside to question him. What did they want to know about? Copyright infringement related to t-shirt sales.

No, these frontline warriors in the global war on terrorism at Homeland Security had far more pressing issues to question me about. "Why did you infringe on the Boston Celtics' copyright in Boston in 2003?" asked my case officer, Malik - ironically a Pakistani - from behind his high desk. Uh, because I used to sell T-shirts outside sporting events, I said, wondering what this had to do with national security.

"You've got a long record," he said. Sure, for peddling "Yankees Suck" T-shirts - sans permit, which isn't a crime but a code violation - not for promoting "Bin Laden Rulz!" DVDs or the "Idiot's Guide to Suicide Bombing."

They also had information on a dispute with a parking attendant in New York. Apparently, the NYPD now feels the need to share basically all of everyone's record of police contact with the DHS. Do you think they can really process the amount of information they're given? Are the feds really in charge of policing all behavior now?

Homeland Security, the $40-billion-a-year agency set up to combat terrorism after 9/11, has been given universal jurisdiction and can hold anyone on Earth for crimes unrelated to national security - even me for a court date I missed while I was in Iraq helping America deter terror - without asking what I had been doing in Pakistan among Islamic extremists the agency is designated to stop.

Instead, some of its actions are erasing the lines of jurisdiction between local police and the federal state, scarily bringing the words "police" and "state" closer together. As long as we allow Homeland Security to act like a Keystone Stasi, terrorism will continue to win in destroying our freedom.

Goth at Gramercy Park

Carol 'Riot' Kane, 'Sanguine: New Madonna'

Carol "Riot" Kane, Sanguine: New Madonna, 2005, plaster and mixed media

Seen at this show curated by 31 Grand at the National Arts Club.

Doesn't this read like a parody?


I was reading this article in the New York Times on artists leaving their long-time galleries for others just now. I don't think I could parody the language in it -- it's pre-parodied. Here are a few choice quotes:

Mr. Gagosian has emerged as the leading Lothario in the courtship wars. In addition to his two spaces in Chelsea and his Madison Avenue gallery, he has an outpost in Los Angeles and two in London, allowing him to offer artists exposure beyond the parameters of their primary dealers.

In wooing more established artists, he might organize a focused exhibition of historically significant works — many of which are borrowed back from collectors — and publish an accompanying catalog with a text by a prominent art historian or author.

(Through an assistant, Anita Foden, Mr. Gagosian declined to be interviewed for this article. "He's very, very busy," she said.)


Yet over time, some artists say, they feel shortchanged by galleries that put a priority on celebrity status.

"I think the biggest issue is finding a dealer who believes in your work," said the painter Inka Essenhigh, speaking by phone from her Manhattan studio.

She recounted a rocky period from 1998 to 2001, when she moved from the Stux Gallery to Deitch Projects to Mary Boone to 303 Gallery, finally settling in there. "Jeffrey told me he was looking for artists with star qualities," Ms. Essenhigh said of Jeffrey Deitch, one of her former dealers. She compared his gallery to Warhol's Factory. "Jeffrey wanted to be Andy," she said. "He wanted his Edie and Paul America. He wanted me to have a drug problem. He wanted me to create a scene where I went to parties. It was a lukewarm endorsement at best."

(Reached by telephone in Greece, Mr. Deitch said, "I'd never be so pretentious to say I modeled myself on Andy, although it's very flattering.")

I don't know if I will get into trouble for saying this, but the article mentions works by John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage going for as much as $1 million each. I find both artists' work kitsch at best, and basically dreck. I can't believe the crap people will buy once it has some kind of imprimator.


Update: Edward Winkleman gives his perspective, as a gallerist, on the New York Times article.

NY Times: "Honor system" is enough

One would think a newspaper that gave the world Jason Blair and Judith Miller as "trusted sources" would be more careful, but it appears they don't even bother with verifying facts for theater productions. In a city where they are still the newspaper that can make or break a theatrical production, that can be deadly.

I know the difference between 13P and the New Georges, having written about both. The New York Times apparently does not. The recent show Dead City, about which I wrote on June 1st, was attributed to 13P rather than the New Georges, which really isn't fair to a small theater company trying to get its name out there. Culturebot has more on the story.

Related: 13P has a new play by Kate E. Ryan, titled Mark Smith running through June 24 at 46 Walker Street in Tribeca.

Fifth Avenue / Flatiron area


Fifth Avenue

John Copeland at 31 Grand

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This is a beautiful show. His use of color and his drawing / painting technique is quite impressive.

John Copeland at 31 Grand

John Copeland at 31 Grand (detail)

"[Enter] Nature" at Galería Galou

Two works from a great show, curated by Marco Antonini, at Galería Galou. It's up through June 25.


James Paterson:
Untitled VI, 2005
Medium: Digital Lambda print
Size: 60" × 40"
Courtesy James Paterson and bitforms gallery


Uki-Yo, 2004
Real-time application
Edition of 5
Courtesy Galerie Anne Barrault. © qubo gas.
Production Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, 2004
Code by David Deraedt
Music by Qubo Gas

[images provided by Marco Antonini]

Gyorgy Ligeti, 1923-2006

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Gyorgy Ligeti, 1923-2006

Gyorgy Ligeti, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, died today.

This is one of my favorite CDs for introducing people to his music. I was lucky enough to hear a performance of the Violin Concerto with Laura Park and the Brooklyn Philharmonic in the late 90s.

[image from the Schott website]

'Amadeus' as a riff on Pushkin


Tom Hulce as Mozart in Milos Forman's Amadeus

Before today, I never knew that Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus, which was the basis for one of my favorite films of all time, was a riff (to be kind) on Pushkin. I learned from the essays for today's concert of the American Symphony Orchestra that Alexander Pushkin wrote a short play called Mozart and Salieri that is rather familiar to those of us who know the Shaffer play.

I love the words of Mozart towards the end of the Pushkin work. At this point he is unaware that he has been poisoned by by his friend Salieri (which has little, if any, historical basis). The "you" refers to Salieri.

If all could feel like you the power of harmony!
But no: the world could not go on then. None
Would bother with the needs of lowly life;
All would surrender to spontaneous art.
We chosen ones are few, we happy idlers,
who care not for contemptible usefulness,
But only of the beautiful are priests.
Is that not so? But I'm not well just now.
Something oppresses me. I need to sleep.

On a slightly related note, Tom Hulce is one of the producers of the excellent new musical, Spring Awakening, at the Atlantic Theater.

W Magazine's first-ever art issue

Related to my earlier post on the rich and their hunger for art/bohemia, I learn that W Magazine will have its first-ever art issue this fall. I believe the LTB Magazine will be called Culture and Travel, not Art & Culture as the NY Post says.

W magazine's first-ever art issue is slated to hit newsstands in October, and will cover major artists, auction houses and dealers.

Some may chalk this one up to a simmering rivalry between James Truman, the ex-editorial director of Conde Nast, and Patrick McCarthy, the editorial director of stablemate W.

Truman is now the CEO of LTB Media, a company that has as its flagship Art & Auction. He's also introducing his newest magazine, Art & Culture, in September, but is said to be struggling to find ads.

McCarthy denies any rivalry with Truman. "It has nothing to do with that. We've had this on the drawing board for nine months," McCarthy said of W's art number.

Still, he concedes, it is a first for W. And while he'll be covering the art world, he said he'll be going to the same high-end fashion advertisers.



I turn 40 today. If you run into me tonight at the openings, wish me a happy entry into middle age!


I have never cared for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). On a superficial level, I really dislike their equal sign logo (modified above for me by Art Fag City) which is designed to be as un-gay as possible. I remember a queer American friend, who lives in Europe, visiting around the time of the NYC GOP convention in 2004. He had no idea what the little blue = stickers were that some protesters where wearing.

Allegedly a gay rights lobbying organization, it has become so entrenched in the DC lobbying mindset that it is not merely ineffectual, it is actually harmful to gay rights in America. I am no fan of Charles Schumer, given his vote for the Defense of Marriage Act. A Jewish New Yorker representing Park Slope making an anti-gay vote? Yeah, that'll get you the Christian Right vote. However, when the HRC endorsed Al D'Amato over Schumer in 1998, I was shocked.

Their newest outrage? They have endorsed Joseph Lieberman for the Senate, even before the primary. Thanks to his snuggling up to the GOP and Bush on matters ranging from the Iraq War to the PATRIOT Act, he actually stands a chance of losing the primary to Ned Lamont. Guess which of the two is more pro-gay? Lamont. Of course, the HRC always argues this about realpolitik, or about preserving access, but ultimately they are working against the interests of the people they supposedly represent.

Why is endorsing Lieberman so bad? Here is an excerpt of a blog post by Firedoglake:

He told the New Haven Advocate that “homosexuality is wrong,” joined with notorious homo-hater Jesse Helms in voting to take away federal funding from schools that counsel suicidal gay teens that it’s okay to be gay. On gays in the military, Lieberman has enunciated the now-discredited canard that “homosexual conduct can harm unit cohesion and effectiveness.” (Tell that to the dozens of countries, from England to Israel, that permit openly gay troops in their armed forces.) In fact, Lieberman worked with Georgia’s Sam Nunn to fashion the destructive “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which resulted in escalating expulsions of gays from the military every year after it took effect. Its Catch-22 provisions have directly stimulated a rising wave of violent gay bashing and harassment in the military because victims can’t complain without “telling.”

He also explains why Ned Lamont is a good candidate for the gay community, so go take a look. One more post worth reading on the subject is Howie Klein at Huffington Post.

Note: I use gay above, but I mean it more in a general sense of queer. I don't feel like listing a number of groups that follow under that umbrella, and I'm not offended by the word queer, but it seems to make some people (including my fellow homos) squeamish.

Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia

Portrait of Alexander Herzen (1867)

Portrait of Alexander Herzen (1867), Painted by Nikolai Gay [source]

Ooh! Ooh! I want to see this!

Lincoln Center Theater has set dates for its production of Tom Stoppard's award-winning trilogy of plays, The Coast of Utopia, to take place at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The first part of the trilogy, entilted Voyage, will start performances on October 17, and the last part of the trilogy, Salvage, will conclude on March 11.

During the final three and one-half weeks of the production's run, audiences will have the opportunity to see all three parts of the trilogy in successive performances. In addition, on three Saturdays -- February 24, March 3 and March 10 -- theatergoers will be able to see all three parts in one-day marathons beginning at 11am.


Beginning in mid-19th century Russia during the repressive reign of Tsar Nicholas I, the play spans a period of 30 years. It tells the panoramic story of a group of Russian intellectuals, headed by the radical theorist and editor Alexander Herzen, the novelist Ivan Turgenev, the literary critic Vissarion Belinsky, and the aristocrat-turned-anarchist Michael Bakunin, who lead a band of like-minded countrymen in a revolutionary movement in which they strive to change and fix a political system by using their minds as their only weapon.

Voyage, which is set in the Russian countryside as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg, will open officially on November 5. Part two, entilted Shipwreck, begins 13 years later outside Moscow and follows the characters' exile to Paris, Dresden, and Nice. It begins previews on December 5 and opens officially on December 21. Salvage, which takes place over a period of 12 years in London and Geneva, begins previews on January 30 and opens officially on February 15.

I've been wanting to see this since I first read about it four years ago on The Observer's web site. My favorite paragraph of the article:

Marx distrusted Herzen, and was despised by him in return. Herzen had no time for the kind of mono-theory that bound history, progress and individual autonomy to some overarching abstraction like Marx's material dialecticism. What he did have time for - and what bound Isaiah Berlin to him - was the individual over the collective, the actual over the theoretical. What he detested above all was the conceit that future bliss justified present sacrifice and bloodshed. The future, said Herzen, was the offspring of accident and wilfulness. There was no libretto or destination, and there was always as much in front as behind.


J.T. Kirkland
Bulb I
Ink on archival scrapbook paper
12" × 12"

I spotted this on his blog, Thinking About Art. Visit this post to see more.

Gustavo Artigas

Gustavo Artigas, Rules of the Game, 2000-2001, video still

I think this has already been mentioned on Artnet, but I just now realized that Roebling Hall is closing its Williamsburg location after the next show. From the press release for the show:

Celebrate the Final Gallery Opening at Roebling Hall, Williamsburg! This Saturday June 3, 6-8pm preview party


This portion of the show is the last exhibition at Roebling Hall’s Brooklyn gallery.

This makes me almost as sad as when Schroeder Romero left. It's the end of an era. I fear Williamsburg is turning into a yuppie playground, but without anything like the public transit of much of Manhattan. I'm sorry my schedule and the crappy weather discouraged me from attending William Powhida's eulogy tonight.

Flush with cash from all of their tax cuts and asset appreciation, the rich need new ways to entertain themselves. Pretending to be more connected to bohemia and artists appears to be the new black.

James Truman, formerly of Condé Nast, is starting up a magazine for LTB Media called Culture and Travel. Here is an excerpt from a Anthony Haden-Guest column in the Financial Times.
So to Culture and Travel. Truman was editorial director of Conde Nast for 11 years. How will the new title differ?

“We’re going to select the audience, 60,000 people, from proprietary lists that we’re compiling of art lovers, people who are very involved in culture, people who travel, rich people.” Another explosive laugh.

And the critical content? “It won’t be an art magazine in the sense of having reviews. It will work off the cultural calendar somewhat. But really it’s a travel guide for creative people. And those people who want to live a creative life for a few weeks.”

This reminds me of an article I saw in Business Week about Ian Schrager declaring that "design hotels" are over, and "art hotels" are the new thing. Read the Chelsea Hotel Blog for more on that story.

Update on slashed terror funding

I didn't get around to adding these two things yesterday to my previous post. First, the excellent New York Post cover from yesterday:


Second, the ABC news blog reports that part of the funding cut was justified by explaining that New York has no national monuments or icons.

Dead City by Sheila Callaghan



While Mom was visiting, we took her to see a wonderful new play by Sheila Callaghan, titled Dead City. We saw the first preview, but the cast and production were so good I wouldn't have guessed that we weren't well into the run. The title is a reference to a song by Patti Smith, and the form of the play is inspired by James Joyce's Ulysses. It's presented by the New Georges, a theater group dedicated to producing works by female playwrights. Our friend the director Anne Kauffman is a member.

From their website:

DEAD CITY is a contemporary riff on Joyce's Ulysses, set 100 years after the novel, in New York City, with a woman protagonist. Just as Ulysses is a story of Dublin, DEAD CITY is consumed with the feel of our city, in our time.

A play which riffs on Ulysses, Patti Smith, and Rimbaud is worth a visit to downtown Manhattan, and the wondefully space-age 3 Legged Dog Art and Technology Center is a great place to see a work that uses quite a bit of video projections and other multimedia. The video and production design is by William Cusick. I wrote about another project of his, The Big Art Group's House of No More. The Village Voice has an interview with the playwright if you want to learn more.

It opens tonight at 7, and runs through June 24th 30th. Tickets are only $19, but if you use the code "NGWEB" on the Smarttix site, it's only $12. How can you go wrong at that price?

hallway of 3ld

Hallway of 3LD center

[photo at top is from the New Georges]

I often see arguments that New York needs to work with the GOP, since they control all three branches of government, and it's the only way to get anything done for New York. Bullshit. The only sane thing to do is work to defeat every Republican we can. There is no reason why New York State should have any Republicans representing us in Congress. And once we've done that, we can launch challenges from the left for politicians like Hilary Clinton and Chuck Schumer who are pro-Iraq War and pro-PATRIOT Act.

NY1 reports:
Local politicians are slamming the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday for its decision to slash New York City’s counter-terrorism funding by $83 million this year, a nearly 40 percent cut from the previous year.

The Department of Homeland Security today announced its new national distribution plan, which divides a total of $740 million between 46 cities. DHS say the cuts will help spread funding to other communities facing threats.

The new funding formula shows the Big Apple will have to make do with $124 million in federal homeland security grants for the 2006 fiscal year, down from $207 million last year.

New York State is also taking a cut of just under $115 million this year, despite promises from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff earlier this year that his department would be distributing money based on risk.


While New York is facing cuts in funding, the DHS has decided to increase funding for cities including Omaha, Nebraska; Louisville, Kentucky; and Jacksonville, Florida.

Funding was also cut for Washington, DC. Let's be realistic here. If a terrorist wants to set off a dirty bomb, it's going to happen in a dense city like New York or DC, not some place like Omaha with less than 500,000 people.

Who is the head of the House of Representatives' Homeland Security Committee? Peter King, a Republican congressman from Long Island. If this is what "working with Republicans" get us, I can't imagine a better reason to work on throwing them all out.

There is a post on this subject at Daily Gotham, with a link to the Act Blue page for New York congressional races if you would like to donate some money.

Also from Daily Gotham, Liza Sabater points out that the state Democratic party fears bloggers and finds them a bit harsh. Good luck with that, coming from a party that couldn't prevent charisma-free George Pataki from being governor for eight years. As she says,

If things stay the course, they're going to lose the 2008 elections to a pet rock.

On a somewhat related note, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets in the press for railing about the NRA and illegal guns, but that doesn't stop him from donating money (up to the maximum amount) to pro-gun politicians. Steve Gilliard has the text of a New York Times article on the subject.

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