Misplaced Modernist

a generation late & a couple grand short

#art stars

no, really. First Louise, then Joan and Agnes, Elizabeth, and now Helen. 
Who are the next great lady painters?

no, really. First Louise, then Joan and Agnes, Elizabeth, and now Helen. 

Who are the next great lady painters?

I think it’s time for shameless self promotion

friends. tonight. 6-8 pm. w h i t e-h o t opens at Margaret Thatcher Projects. Co-curated by the Iron Lady of Chelsea and yours truly.  Come see shiny things (diamonds! porcelain guns! an alien nun head!) and other lovely stuff.

When approached as a conscious choice, white becomes a means of exploration and dialogue, rather than the self-erasing byproduct of margins and borders. Freed from the reaches of negative space, it functions as an active agent in expressing abstract concepts and emotions, enabling the viewer to re-evaluate surface, location in space and the interplay between actor and object. In w h i t e-h o t, we see how each artist has embraced white not merely as an end, but as a unique means to communicate a specific, abstract idea.

This teleological notion takes root in William Steiger’s whitewashed collages, where white serves as both highlight and shadow; in the expressive lines of Adam Fowler’s cut paper drawings which give the sense of a remnant of something that once was present and now is not; and in the tones and recessed surfaces of a vibrant painting by Rainer Gross, where white is added and removed from two canvases as the pieces are pressed together to form twin paintings. Analia Saban gives white a grave sense of weight as cast encaustic hangs from her canvas while Joie Rosen utilizes white for its weightless ethereal qualities by creating indiscernible depths in layers of acrylic, silk and wood. The cold, impersonal fragility of Susan Graham’s dainty ceramic derringer finds contrast in the earthy warmth of a paper glove by Aric Obrosey.

White becomes the color of meditation in a mandala-esque painting by Barbara Takenaga and a cut paper object by Jaq Belcher based in deviant geometry. It is the pallor of the recluse in Bill Thompson’s haunting wall sculpture, and the bleached wash of the blinding desert in a multi-fragmented piece by Carlos Estrada-Vega.

Broad in its scope, w h i t e-h o t aims to engage the viewer in a lively visual discussion of the implications and impact of the color through which we see everything else.

at least they didn’t call me niamh, and the MIF

Regardless of my American Mutt lineage, I am mostly Irish. Crazy and beautiful Gaelic women grace my family tree, and I love that they brought their rebellious, maverick selves to America in the 1830s and walked across the plains.  Both my given names are Irish, and luckily, both of them are readily pronounceable.  That, my friends, is something to celebrate.  So Happy St Patrick’s day.  Here, have a little Irish art:

Corban Walker, for Pace Gallery, at the Moving Image Fair.  I threatened to write about all the fairs and then was far, far too exhausted the following week to actually follow through on it. Now, it is neither timely nor fresh to write about what is already two weeks old, but let me just say this:  The Moving Image fair exceeded my expectations.  In fact, it was the best fair I saw all week.

Though I am not sure if the fair met one if its main aims—to provide a forum for video art to be easier understood as a purchasable piece of art—it certainly was an excellent platform for collectors and spectators to focus in on the importance of new media as art in an ever-digitizing world.  Creators Ed Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov’s production was flawless; from the spacing of each piece and the seating, to the information booths scattered throughout and the remarkably helpful staff, it was the only fair in which I felt as though I could breathe and actually experience the art, rather than glance at it.

And experience I did.  You know a fair is going to be good when the first thing you see is Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev’s beautiful video installation—heaps and heaps of woven plastic, made-in-china luggage bags, ubiquitous in Eurasia, piled high and interspersed with three video monitors playing scenes from a trans-siberian railway journey; tracks, trains, and a woman singing the most melancholy old folk song with a tinny, raspy voice.  It was riveting and heartbreaking. 

And yes, there was the David Wonjarowcz Heroine video, and yes, I watched the whole thing, all three minutes of close ups of injection sites and passed out individuals, twice.  Just because I didn’t get to the Smithsonian in time to see his piece before it got pulled.   There was also PPOW’s darling, Melanie Bonajo, whose nudes dolled up in the detritus of our everyday life battled it out with one another as a means of posing the question: do you own your things, or do your things own you?

And then there was Michal Rovner. And I promise, I will write an entire post about how much I love her work, and why, sometime when I have enough free time to do it justice.  But let me just say: I love her work enough to sacrifice an entire spring wardrobe, or a track bike, or anything else I could possibly be spending my money on for a chance to see her retrospective at the Louvre this May.

Daniel Borlandelli, Vendaval, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 68” x 84”
Though not convinced by the press release, I am intrigued nevertheless. 
@ Denise Bibro March 10

Daniel Borlandelli, Vendaval, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 68” x 84”

Though not convinced by the press release, I am intrigued nevertheless. 

@ Denise Bibro March 10

Marcia Kure at BravinLee

Little red riding hood, actin cool.

Marcia Kure at BravinLee

Little red riding hood, actin cool.

Jared Clark @ Mulherin Pollard Projects
Let’s face it, watching someone smash their pie hole or eyes full of rainbow colored sharpies and draw with them may not sound like the kind of fun you want to have on a Thursday evening in Chelsea.  Especially when you could watch Terence Koh give up his endless circling of that salt lick over at Mary Boone’s and lay flat on his face for an hour, or go see Chuck Close at yet another Tara Donovan opening at yet another Pace gallery. Or, I mean, you could go to any number of endless art fairs and walk away feeling confused, overwhelmed, and a little like you’d need a shower. But really, a kid with that kind of headband and mustache has got to be on to something around here, hasn’t he? 
Oh and did I mention, he’s a MoMo?

Jared Clark @ Mulherin Pollard Projects

Let’s face it, watching someone smash their pie hole or eyes full of rainbow colored sharpies and draw with them may not sound like the kind of fun you want to have on a Thursday evening in Chelsea.  Especially when you could watch Terence Koh give up his endless circling of that salt lick over at Mary Boone’s and lay flat on his face for an hour, or go see Chuck Close at yet another Tara Donovan opening at yet another Pace gallery. Or, I mean, you could go to any number of endless art fairs and walk away feeling confused, overwhelmed, and a little like you’d need a shower. But really, a kid with that kind of headband and mustache has got to be on to something around here, hasn’t he? 

Oh and did I mention, he’s a MoMo?

Maya Bloch, from Hello Stranger

at Thierry Goldberg Projects

Maya Bloch, from Hello Stranger

at Thierry Goldberg Projects

I could go for a little of this right about now…. 

From Andy Warhol Kiss (ultra violet) 

I could go for a little of this right about now…. 

From Andy Warhol Kiss (ultra violet) 

Zach Harris, Butterfly Angel Eye Snake Eye, 2011
Water Based Paint, hand carved birth frame 28 x 24 x 3.5”

At Khastoo gallery, Armory Contemporary both 966

Zach Harris, Butterfly Angel Eye Snake Eye, 2011

Water Based Paint, hand carved birth frame 28 x 24 x 3.5”

At Khastoo gallery, Armory Contemporary both 966

Cindy Wright, Baconcube, 2010  Oil on canvas, at Mark Moore Gallery.

(Mark Moore will be at Pulse booth A-3)

And so it begins…..

Cindy Wright, Baconcube, 2010  Oil on canvas, at Mark Moore Gallery.

(Mark Moore will be at Pulse booth A-3)

And so it begins…..

Oh Armory

The season is upon us: a time when one can, in a matter of days, see more Swarovski-encrusted skulls, giant balloon animals, “re-purposed” relics, and “pieces” process-oriented, licked, conceived, fabricated, super glued, painted, sculpted, shot (literally and metaphorically), sewn, burned and chewed, than one could ever hope to see in a lifetime of museum going.  That is right, its Armory season. 

Last year, after three hours in the Modern pier of the behemoth fair, I made my way down into the pit of contemporary galleries; in less than an hour I was exhausted. Forget making it to Pulse, Volta, Red Dot, or the ADA, I was feeling oppressed just by the sheer size of the task of looking, evaluating and responding to each piece.

This year I’m in the mix in a new way: no longer spectator, but player in the game. Last year I was a pensive intellectual, observing for enrichment’s sake. This year, it is all about the people—and the prices. 

Although I love my job, it provides certain handicaps to actually looking at art for enjoyment.  Several weeks ago at the Studio Museum in Harlem I found myself confronting this head on.  There I was, with friends on a Sunday afternoon, browsing the collection, trying to keep my eye sharp and keep myself from talking my friends through what they were seeing (another handicap of my job: I constantly feel the need to inform the viewer, make a bit of a sales pitch, you know…).  Instead, I realized I was constantly thinking about pricing, staying power, the trajectory of an artist and whether or not a piece was “good” or  “impacting” or “a smart investment.”   The subtlety of the experience was overshadowed by the ever-ticking meter in my brain. 

The flavor of armory week is the amphetamine-ized incarnation of that same impulse.  Hungry-eyed clients shopping with advisers ready to take the plunge in a 5-minute deal.  I love it. We’ll take it. How much?  Less 20%? Alright.  It is thrilling.  And it is what I missed in my previous years’ experiences…. This is no time for calm contemplation or serious scholarship.  Snap judgments and gut instincts (and a pair of incredibly comfortable heels) are the only way you’ll ever get out alive. 

and so it begins…

“I. I have movies and sex and a rubber ducky for joyous engaging fun; I want art to make me think. Maybe that’s pretentious, but with few exceptions it’s pretension and not fun that’s brought art to the place it is - the place you like - today.”

– Will Brand, Art Fag City, talking about the “entertainment factor” in Christian Marclay’s The Clock

raphaela rieplfrom adorable steamed sea urchin
at open source gallery

raphaela riepl
from adorable steamed sea urchin

at open source gallery