August 2007 Archives


The blog's been quiet due to multiple art-related projects. Not only did ArtCal relaunch with a new look this week (and a new programming framework for the geeks in the house), Winkleman Gallery is now using ArtCat for its website. This is my favorite part of Ed's post announcing it:

I can attest to how much easier making changes to the website has become with this new tool. One of the complaints I often heard with the old website was that there were not enough images. Well that's because adding images was a huge pain in the ass given the way that site was designed, but with ArtCat, adding images is a breeze, so you can expect to see plenty more moving forward. In fact, I've added some behind the scenes shots of Thomas Lendvai creating his truly astounding new installation (he's been working very hard on it all summer), which opens, you guessed it, next Thursday.


New ArtCal launched



We're still working on a few features and tweaking the design, but the new ArtCal, with design by Michael Mandiberg, went live today. Check it out.





James and I took a walk in the lovely humid air this afternoon, and spotted this, from the "Riot" series, in our wanderings. The photo is by him. Visit Joy's home page and blog for more about her.

Related: The website for the show we curated last year that included three paintings by Joy.

Larry Bamburg, Untitled Variable, 2007
Ceiling fans, plexiglass, monofiliament, masking tape, wire, fishing line, plastic beads, rubber bands, metal clamps, screw driver, wood, lead, band aid, and cricket

This is one of several great pieces in Stubborn Materials at Peter Blum. It's up for 2 more hours on 29th Street. Go!

Related: A post on a show at Esso Gallery that included his work in 2006

[note to people reading this via the feed: there are 2 videos in this post]

Battles: "Atlas"


I like the cube floating in an asteroid belt look, and the math rock meets vocal distortion music. The drummer, John Stanier was part of Helmet. Why is the quality of this so good? I guess record labels have a better "in" on not having their videos badly compressed by YouTube. Via Scott Heim.


Huron Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Public Bath, Huron Street


Pine Cone, Huron Street


Two images down the street from this.

On photography in galleries

I love 303 Gallery and its program, but given the fact that we've been told not to take photographs in the gallery, I find it funny that founder Lisa Spellman is quoted in The Art Dealers saying,

As a student I had been immediately been touched by the generation of appropriationist art and by the intensity of political discussions centering on the new notions of Postmodernism.

The show in question was Mary Heilman's exhibition in 2005. At the time, there were only work images on the website, and no installation views. How can you write about a Mary Heilman show without talking about how the various works relate to each other in the space?


Today's listening

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I just listened to this excellent mashup podcast. It's quite political, and an appropriate soundtrack to my earlier post on American politics. Check it out.

powered by ODEO

Tear It Down

Speaking of Guantánamo, Amnesty International just launched a new website for its campaign to get the camp shut down, called Tear It Down. James and I owned the domain name (purchased for a potential web project), and donated it to them after they contacted us about using it.



Here are the first paragraphs of an Alexander Cockburn column, titled How the Democrats Blew It in Only 8 Months, in The Nation. (The full text is only available to subscribers.)

Led by Democrats since the start of this year, Congress now has a "confidence" rating of 14 percent, the lowest since Gallup started asking the question in 1973 and five points lower than Republicans scored last year.

The voters put the Democrats in to end the war, and it's escalating. The Democrats voted the money for the surge and the money for the next $459.6 billion military budget. Their latest achievement was to provide enough votes in support of Bush to legalize warrantless wiretapping for "foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States." Enough Democrats joined Republicans to make this a 227-183 victory for Bush. The Democrats control the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have stopped the bill in its tracks if she'd wanted to. But she didn't. The Democrats' game is to go along with the White House agenda while stirring up dust storms to blind the base to their failure to bring the troops home or restore constitutional government.

I was not one of the people jumping up and down with excitement when the Democrats took control of both houses last year, assuming this might be the kind of thing that would happen. The war in Iraq continues, Guantanamo is still open, the habeas corpus-destroying Military Commissions Act has not been repealed, and illegal wiretapping just got an added stamp of approval.

I find it maddening that, in a country with regular elections, we have this kind of rogue government. I still hear people talk about how the people (one could hardly call them citizens under that regime) of Nazi Germany were guilty of the crimes of their government, and use such thoughts to justify the attacks on civilians such as the firebombing of Dresden. I enjoy Alex Ross's music reviews in The New Yorker, but even he can say stupid things such as

I don't subscribe to the thesis that the Dresden bombings were a "war crime"; in the final balance, the Allies treated the Germans with abnormal civility.



Gerhard Richter, Mustang-Staffel / Mustang Squadron, 1964
88 cm X 165 cm
Oil on canvas


Tell that to the people fleeing the burning city, huddled on the banks of the Elbe, who were strafed with gunfire from war planes. Here's an excerpt from Peter Schjeldahl's December 2005 review in The New Yorker of a Gerhard Richter show at Marian Goodman Gallery.

The great and sly German artist Gerhard Richter has inserted a rare note of political provocation into a large show of recent mostly abstract works at the Marian Goodman Gallery. It comes in a photograph of his well-known painting of Second World War P-51 Mustang fighter planes. Richter made the painting from an old photograph in 1964, during the early, Pop-art-influenced phase of his multifarious career. In greenish grisaille with a zone of reddish tint, eight of the sinisterly elegant war machines, bearing British insignia, appear to execute a shallow dive above indistinct farm fields. (Actually, they are flying level; the framing point of view has a rakish tilt.) The Mustang (which, perhaps not incidentally for Richter's present purpose, would share its name with the iconic American fun car) was a long-range craft that escorted Allied bombers over Germany. Mustangs played a murderous role in the February, 1945, firestorm attack on Dresden, strafing survivors of the initial bombing who were massed on the city's riverbanks. From some thirty miles away, Richter, as a boy of thirteen, witnessed the glow in the night sky of Dresden's immolation.

In another blog post, Alex Ross mentions that Hitler and his party never received more than 37% of the vote, so it's interesting that he views firebombing of cities that, by that point in the war, were filled mostly with old people, women, and children, as "civil."

America didn't exactly reject the Bush administration in 2004, when we had all seen the images of Abu Ghraib, and knew that they had no legitimate evidence of Iraqi WMDs. When Americans (Alex Ross is hardly alone) say the people of countries like Germany under the Nazis were guilty, what does that say about us?

[Gerhard Richter image from]

Lost gummy bear on 21st Street

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You gotta be careful. Those things may be endangered.


High Times Deliverance Center, Inc.





James and I saw this when we went to visit Bruce High Quality Foundation. The church is next door to their storefront space. I'm told that the foundation's space had been a secret indoor pot-growing location before they took over the lease.


Flora Wiegman performance

This is going on until 6pm today at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, so you have about half an hour to run over there. Sorry for the late notice. Flickr issues delayed me, and the darned slideshow still doesn't work or I would post that.

Check out the whole set on Flickr. That is gallery director Jennie Moore in the background in the overalls. She's no Prada-wearing diva gallery director! She gets her hands dirty.


As we move into the middle of August and Chelsea starts shutting down for the month, there are still some interesting things happening, especially related to performance. There are 2 events tomorrow I recommend:

  • 4pm: A walk-thru of the exhibition with private dealer Betsey Geffen, aka Charley Friedman as part of Ceci n'est pas... (This is not...) at Sara Meltzer Gallery
  • All day: "An improvisational dance performance by Felicia Ballos and Flora Wiegman. Staged in the midst of demolishing the exhibition format of Part One and constructing the setting for Part Two, the performance takes inspiration from the actions performed by the gallery workers, with each dancer creating her movements in response. " This is part of Carte Blanche at Elizabeth Dee Gallery.

In March I mentioned that I was looking into this, and I wanted to let people know that we now have a website:

Culture Pundits

and the ability to buy or sell ads on ArtCal plus 9 blogs so far. For ArtCal, it's only for the banner ad at the top, or a 125×125 button under the left nav. The ad network software isn't really set up to manage something like the gallery ads on the right at the moment.

I'm sure some of my readers are interested in buying an ad, or signing up as a blogger/publisher. There is a signup link if you wish to serve ads on your site. You also will have the advantage of seeing some of your posts show up on the home page of the newly redesigned ArtCal which launches this month.

Elizabeth Murray, 1940-2007



Elizabeth Murray in 1998 with one of her New York subway murals, at the 59th Street and Lexington Avenue station in Manhattan. G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times


This is my favorite paragraph of her obituary, written by Roberta Smith, in the New York Times:

Born in Chicago in 1940, Ms. Murray had a hardscrabble childhood that included bouts of homelessness caused in part by the ill health of her father. Ms. Murray traced her interest in art to watching a nursery-school teacher cover a sheet of paper with thick red crayon, an experience that she said gave her an indelible sense of the physicality of color. She drew constantly from an early age, inspired mostly by newspaper comic strips, and once sent a sketchbook to Walt Disney asking for a job as his secretary. By the fifth grade she was selling erotic drawings to classmates for a quarter.



snailbooty's "The Flying Nun - Part IV"

the flying nun


Good stuff from one of the flickr feeds I follow.

David Rees, the creator of Get Your War On, demolishes Michael Ignatieff's painfully self-serving essay on "getting Iraq wrong" in the New York Times Magazine. Ignatieff is one of many slimeballs who were horribly wrong on Iraq, but now say they feel a little bad and are happy that their careers will continue. He is presently Deputy Leader of the Liberal Opposition in Canada. Go read it. Here is a teaser.

"I made some of these mistakes and then a few of my own. The lesson I draw for the future is to be less influenced by the passions of people I admire -- Iraqi exiles, for example -- and to be less swayed by my emotions. . . ."

And here, finally, is where my skull cracked open, my heart combusted, and a murder of crows flew out of my ass. Michael Ignatieff is drawing lessons for the future. Michael Ignatieff has a future in public policy. Sure, it's CANADIAN public policy, so it doesn't really count, but still-- it's like the guy can't be stopped. You know why? Because he's at that level where you literally can't make a big enough mistake to be fired, shunned, or indicted. I'd like to visit that level someday. First thing I'd do is get rip-roarin' drunk and rob a bank using Richard Perle's face as a weapon. (JOKE!)

Alise Spinella at SVA open studios

alise spinella

installation view

alise spinella


Hydrangea, 2007
found objects, oil on canvas, acrylic and gold leaf on wall
50 × 58 inches


alise spinella

Love Machine Prototype, Airborne, 2006
acrylic and paper on canvas
24 × 24 inches


Here is more work I spotted and liked last week at the SVA open studios for the Summer Art Residency program.

The artist's website tells us a bit more about the work.

My artwork depicts organic machinery and hand-crafted nature: tree machines, emotion machines, and sea kites, or byproducts such as factory-generated insects and sunlight circuitry. I think about the meaning of hand-made, machine-made, and nature-made, and I create a world in which all three categories can define a single object. In each case, the mechanism almost works properly. I'm interested in the poignancy of this pure, unattainable goal being earnestly (and naively) sought. I paint about fragility and hope.

The most recent painting series is entitled Love Machine Prototypes. Each is a single scenario from an otherworldly marketing experiment in which the Love Machine Prototype is tested. It is mostly learning how to walk.



Until Repetition Becomes Endurance, 2007
Modified acrylic polymer, pigment, gesso, rust and alkyd resin on canvas on mounted wood
approx. 19.5 × 19.5 × 3 inches



The Purpose And Function Of Art, 2007
Modified acrylic polymer, pigment, latex house paint, gesso, rust and alkyd resin on canvas on mounted wood panels
approx. 40 × 30 x 24 inches



Duration And Constancy, 2007
Modified acrylic polymer, pigment, gesso, rust and alkyd resin on canvas on mounted wood
approx. 24 × 48 × 3.5 inches


James and I met Gabriel some time ago, but this is the first time we've seen the work in person. I like the painting/sculpture combination of these black shiny works. Check out his website for more images, and James's remarks and photos.

Note: The bluish shine you see is from the lighting, and is not in the work itself.

Here is James Kalm's video of his visit that night:


Utz girl and bacon

utz girl and bacon

I love this. I spotted it via the Chelsea pool on flickr. shoehorn99 is one of the contributors.

David Newton, "Found Space"


David Newton
Found Space, 2005
Found object suspended in steel form, held in place by wires, on top of geometric wooden form
77”H X 22”W X 33”D


David Newton is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Guilford College, Greensboro, NC. He is also the latest ArtCat artist, having found us via Emily Noelle Lambert. I love this sentence from his statement:

The sculptures sometimes include wheels, which highlights the tragicomic reality that most of us are rolling around, trying to keep it together.

Check out his new site for more information.


Mystery submarine in East River


It appears to me that this is another Duke Riley "event". See my earlier post for more information and compare these photos. The first is from flickr, the second is from WABC.



Manuela Leal



Manuela Leal
Kalashnikov Close-Up, 2007
58 × 78 Inches (4 parts)


I haven't seen this work in person. I saw it on Manuela Leal's RSS feed for her website. Yes, I still actually follow via RSS every artist on ArtCat. I have emailed with her about this series of work in the past, and learned a few things about where these come from.
These are color pencil and spray paint on inkjet prints. The images come from various war-related foreign videos on YouTube. I watch the videos and take stills from the computer screen with a digital camera. I then print the images, have layers of spray paint and then color pencils on top... I have been interested in war images and in "rebuilding" images of war and bombed, decimated buildings and places for a while now...

On YouTube, these videos are often posted as "responses" to other videos, as "justifications" (i.e.: a documentary on Croatian concentration camps will be posted in response to a serbian nationalistic video, and a video of a foreign mujahideen on the side of Bosnians torturing Serbian soldiers will be posted in response to a video on the massacre of Bosnians in Srebrenica by Serbs...).

I recognize that detached from language (they are often in languages I cannot understand), these images of war (and often propaganda) are posted, watched and commented on by people to whom images still carry immense urgency and power - they need to be seen...

I would like to know if" art" could still envision another reality, if by "altering" images one can offer the possibility - even if fictional - of change...

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