Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A quick note!

I just came across Martin Bromirski's blog on the Packets of Rejection. What a truly beautiful thing. I think most artist's keep their rejection letters, they become a kind of testimony of effort. Some bother me more than others. The ones that have handwritten notices that say 'we're intrigued keep us posted' or 'please submit again next year' can be uplifting and depressing at the same time. The form ones are horrid, but some have been very kind and given insight into the rejection decision.

Btw. I would have Martin in my list on the right, but I read blog's by rss pretty exclusively, and though I have him bookmarked, I overlooked noting his when doing the list (which was based on the newsgroups). I will try and rectify that when I next update the list. Martin - this is by no means any kind of rejection!

This one is for the dogs...

Happy Lunar New Year!

I am pretty sure the fact that it is the year of the dog means good things for everyone. It should be a year of loyalty, undying love and happiness and determination in the face of obstacles. Dogs always amaze me. They can be blind, deaf, three-legged, whatever and still have the most optimistic outlook. So I am going to try that!

I will have to start with getting over the fact that Smack Mellon chose someone else's cardboard tree fungi and mold than mine. Hope to go see the show this weekend.

I will try to have patience with galleries that still request slides. (Little rant here) although I don't really know what the hold up is. LMCC *requires* that you submit a cd of images, and even better, Art in General's commission submissions are *entirely* online. Hooray for progress! It is so expensive to get slides reproduced (especially if you want them done well!) and re-labelling them for each submission that has different requirements is a HUGE pain in the butt. So there.

I will work doggedly (get it!) to get through the soma series. (I just finished the second circles dwg and am halfway through the 3rd lines dwg). (And yes, those are my 'work shoes' in the picture).

I will read all the things I have been meaning to read and comment on, especially the article on art as eco-activism.

I will do an awesome job curating the shows I am curating. One (co-curating) is an international show of work dealing with women's issues and points of view, the other is the show I have wanted to put together for a while on the synthetic naturalists. If you know any work that would fit in either category, let me know the artist by leaving a comment.

I will find a sunny apartment for my cat :).

Hope everyone has a succesful and joyous year of the dog!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

grit, soma, and perceptions

I have been busy working on the large drawings (48"x85"), and finally got two layers of one of them done, and decided I definitely need one more layers. Ugh more circles! Apparently though, tenacity, or 'grit' is a promising thing (courtesy of ArtsJournal).

Speaking of circles, JT has been going nuts with lots of really beautiful and precise drawings. He is beginning to branch out and looks like he is having fun. The works look great, and I hope to see them out and about sometime soon.

This weekend I got out to see PS1 and The Sculpture Center. Pipilotti Rist's piece at PS1 was the tiniest and most compelling of the works on view. A tiny monitor embedded in the floor with vibrantly colored video of a woman shouting 'help me!' in a variety of languages while being engulfed by cartoon like flames. The viewer stands towering over this teeny woman feeling entranced and helpless. She can't be helped since she is in a video, but her being beneath the floor makes it a visceral piece. Many people walked by without even seeing it...

I also enjoyed the piece by Mckendree Key (whose work I have seen a lot lately: here, and here) did a wonderful work continuing her investigations of preception of space. By imposing structures in architecture or the environment Mckendree challenges our notions of space and personal relations to the external world. Her work is often whimsical at the same time, which I enjoy.

There was also a stunning and subtle piece by Mary Temple that had us enthralled and investigating the work closely. She also seems to be toying with preconceived notions of seeing.

Overall the Sculpture Center, while having the occassional outstanding pieces (Key, Temple, and previously works by Petah Coyne, Elena Herzog and Ana Linnemann), is so consumed by the 'investigation into the practice of what IS sculpture' (my words not theirs), that I often find the premise of the investigation interesting, while the pieces are sadly lacking. I am a supporter of expanding the boundaries of what constitutes sculpture (after all the drawings above will become something in between drawing and sculpture when I am finished with them), but the work and curatorial mission shouldn't suffer for it. I will keep going back, and heck probably even one day become a member, but I will also hope that the work shown there improves on the whole.

Actually to be fair, here are their words: "SculptureCenter is a not-for-profit arts institution dedicated to experimental and innovative developments in contemporary sculpture."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

If there is one thing i really appreciate about new york, it's the subway performers. Some are obviously in it for the money (probably most actually-some are just more obvious about it), like the wonderful duo of breakdancers who work the train between manhattan and brooklyn (which gives them a longer performance period). But some just seem to be really passionate about their work - and awfully resilient (if not always talented). One of my favorites is the L train guy. I first discovered him at lorimer station over the summer. Lately he has been appearing more at the union street station. He has a sweet and resonant voice and he just keeps on playing and singing, even when the trains come through and drown him out. I once even say him play while competing for sound space with a loud, fast paced drummer. The thing that caught my eye today was that he was playing and singing while wearing a puffy coat! How hard must that be? I wish i had taken pictures of him throughout the changing seasons...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Round 'em up!

There's been a lot of good activity in the past day or so, I thought I would post about some of it...

I noticed in sculpture magazine this month that the inemitable Gillian Jagger won a nice prize. Except I didn't note the name of it, and I don't have my issue yet. I will update this when I find out what it is. Congratulations Gillian! Apparently there is also a documentary being made about Gillian, which should be very interesting as she is a fascinating character.

jameswagner.com posted about the shows at Dam Stuhltrager. I was glad he did since it reminded me of the drawings by Michael Schall that were on view. I forgot to post about them in my gallery round up. Michael's drawings are curious and meticulous drawings of industry and nature intertwined and interdependent. The drawings are strange and a little off-putting, but fascinating as well. Because of the scale at which they are drawn it is more lilipudlian than overwhelming or disturbing. As Michael says in his statement: "associations with our own society’s desire to dominate and control both its environment and its individuals." I do also want to comment on the work by Gae Savannah, whose colorful works were exhibited in the front room. I liked the structures and the magpie in me enjoyed the colors, and luscious treatments and fabrics. I do however wish that the craftsmanship was better on these. They begged to be finely crafted to the minutest detail. But they are not. Also another word of caution, the photo of Gae's work on the postcard, and the photo that James took were both in the category of photos of the images that look better than the actual work. Its a fine line to tread. Her smaller works may work better than the architecturally inspired pieces in the show. I will watch out for more of her work though

Apartment Therapy brought "Knitta, Please!" to my inbox. This is the kind of clever street art that I think is worthwhile. Not that ridiculous pee-ing on the street that is so much of the tagging around here. (Still have to write my rant, I mean post, on street art).

ArtMoco posts an update on one of my favorite public art project in years, the enormous pink bunny by Gelitin, apparently there is grass pushing up through the bunny now, and it looks great covered in snow!

But I wasn't too thrilled about the ArtMoco posting about Pixar. Really guys, just because the MoMA does it, doesn't mean you have to.

Can't remember where I saw this, but the green building excitement in New York just keeps on going - yay! In 2004 Benton Brown and Susan Boyle reno'd an old Ice House in Crown Heights through sustainable methods. Wah! Why can't I live there instead of my scummy place!

NewYorkology reports on the Guardian's article about Art Galleries as antidotes for stress, well that should help build business! And finally the guardian has rss feeds...
Art.blogging.la writes that CSU Long Beach is hiring a sculpture professor, and she says that sculpture is HOT right now! Hmmm, surfing sounds awfully good right now. I think those bahamas ads on the trains are working their magic, even though if I were to quit the rat race I think I would go to Maldives. And if sculpture is HOT I should be rich any minute now.

And soon, we will have our very own version of Maldives right here in Gotham, out on Randall's Island of all places.

Last but certainly not least, the Drawing Center has found a home. After the debacle of being invited and then uninvited to be at Ground Zero (so much for American freedom of speech and liberties). The New York Times is reporting that they will relocate to the recently vacated Fulton fish market at South Street Seaport. The Drawing Center talking heads have been nothing if not extremely polite and mature in all of these dealings, unlike the embarassing displays by Pataki, Clinton and the families of 9/11 victims. If we don't stand for investigating and being open about what happened on 9/11 and our history, then we are merely setting ourselves up for more attacks. I am glad that the Drawing Center refused to have oversight on their curatorial decisions. (And yeh, I wrote letters to Clinton and Pataki, but never even got a polite formmail reply.)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Joy of craftsmanship in chelsea

Time again to get out and see some work before the closing of the shows. I am glad to have gotten out when I did, but sorry that I didn't post sooner as it means that some of the shows will have already closed.

So the top of the list, two shows that were fantastically good. One of which blew my socks off. (Isn't that a fun visual image?)

We started the day off well with the Cynthia Atwood show at Morgan Lehman. The works were sculptural works that investigate something between organic and bodily forms , rendered in precious and fine fabrics. The work elevates the forms to a more regal and celebrated place. The works were created with evident care and attention to detail. They were consuming and intriguing, easy to spend time investigating at length - tactile, somatic, organic, feral...

The blow my socks off work was Robert Jack at Josee Bienvenue. He was showing ink on paper and a few paintings. The artist has taken the obsession of mark making to an extreme. The drawings were obsessively created with the repetition of at most three forms of "marks" all small and repeated ad infinitum to create a larger whole that contained surface, depth and texture. We kept walking around the gallery saying, "hey come look at this!" "wow" and just generally feeling overwhelmed and impressed with the intensity of the work.

Caren Golden Fine Art had a fun show of plastic balls in the gallery and out in the environment by McKendree Key. Going to keep that gallery on my watch list as they have some interesting artists on their roster, Jonathon Calm, Seong Chun, Richard Klein, and Paul Henry Ramirez.

We saw some other shows, Shinique Smith at The Proposition. She created large bundles of clothing, investigating the disposable culture of the urban environment. Her earlier, more graffiti based works are more interesting, although I liked the piece in this show that worked with sculptural elements and graffiti on the wall. Some other works at Feature, ClampArt, Daniel Reich and Alexander & Bonin, but nothing worth noting.

Sunday we had plans to go see the galleries in Williamsburg. Which turned out to be fortuitous since the L Train wasn't running into Manhattan *sigh* again.

I want to note out front one really huge difference between Manhattan and Brooklyn (well Williamsburg in particular) galleries. The Williamsburg galleries are, well, friendly. No, its not really important when looking at art to have someone chatting you up, or have a dog or cat greet you at the door, but it sure is welcoming. Usually I am just looking to get in, look at the work and get out, and avoid all human (or animal) interaction. But the *vibe* in the WillyB galleries is to hang out, enjoy the work a bit longer, talk to people get to know something more about the artists, the gallery or the dealer, it definitely creates a better atmosphere if I were ever thinking to actually plop down a pile of money for some art. So Manhattan galleries, take note, friendliness might just bring out a wallet or two...

Having said that, the very generalized sense of the works in W. (the name just keeps getting shorter) is of work that is more experimental, and to its detriment, sometimes less well crafted. And so the quick rundown...

We met at the coffeeshop next to the Bedford Cheese Shop (there is some physical or chemical thing in my brain which keeps me from remembering the name of said coffee shop, but Bedford Cheese Shop is easy for me to remember!) and from there we started with the little gallery in the window, Realform Project, where Linda Byrne had installed replicas of birds nests made with those plastic six-pack things. She describes the work better than I do, so get the rundown here. Jack the Pelican was showing the work of Tim Folland, who creates disturbing and overwrought mechanisms for destroying paintings, the gallery becomes the memorial to the act. The strange thing was the evidence of and incredible amount of work which goes into the show. The videos and music are all manic, and certainly leave one feeling that coffee isn't all that necessary.

Black and White Gallery is a beautiful space, showing paintings by K. K. Kozik, which seem romantic and surreal. The outdoor space features an urban forest constructed by Sook Jin Jo. Whose drawings are really nice too.

We stopped by Momenta and Pierogi (the two old guards) on our way to see Hogar Collection (with the nice dog), and the interesting work of Adam Stennet, and his mice, at 31 Grand. Though I can't quite work out the fascination with the mice, and the video was strange and disturbing, the works are nonetheless beautiful and captivating. The mice are placed in somewhat tenuous positions that you realize they couldn't have gotten into without help from outside (Mr Stennet?) forces.

Crossed under the bridge and contemplated stopping for brunch at Williamsburg diner, but kept on to visit Outrageous Look, featuring a group show of works of strange and delirious landscapes. Some whimsical, others distraught, and some so completely disconnected from any sense of reality that they were really hard to get inside.

Through the bus depot and back under the bridge to get to KBP, and Ch'i, both very friendly galleries. KBP showing a strange installation of sculptures and fairies celebrating the female form, and Ch'i showing overly slick paintings and sculptures.

Went to get coffee at Oslo Coffee Co. on Roebling and stopped in at Gallery Boreas (who have an outpost in Reykjavik!) who show some interesting and diverse artists, but the current work by Peter Finnemore held no interest for anyone in my group. McCaig-Welles had gorgeous grey persian who stole the show. (All of this in a new building where once a chicken slaughterhouse stood - yeh, the neighborhood has changed).

The trek took us then back under the BQE over towards the Lorimer stop. Klaus Von Nichtssagend (worlds most difficult to say gallery name) featured a group show of drawings, the most intriguing of which was a drawing that was not actually part of the show, but was done by the charming young man at the desk, Matthew Chase. And adding the link in to Matthew's work I realize he is the artist who creates the boiled chewing gum and chewed paper pieces which I just love.

Our last stop was NutureArt, whose group show "Structuring Perception" included some good works in a sadly too small space to really enjoy them. Nevertheless its a great program that puts emerging curators and artists together to provide a venue for their experiments.

Which is a good note on which to end the day, since it sums up what I already said about W. galleries - experimental, a little rougher and mixed in the quality of work, but worth a trip out to see the shows...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cleaning house

Right now I am over multi-tasking. I am working on fixing the digital images for my January submissions, knitting a scarf for a friend (belated christmas gift) and listening to WNYC. The digital images look pretty good thanks to my friend Peter, and I am so thrilled about galleries encouraging digital submissions. (More on that another time). The scarf is a pretty simple striped one with the lovely non-itchy merino wool from Morehouse yarns, certainly not along the lines of the stuff on You Knit What.

And the interview with Anna Marie Cox , of Wonkette fame, reminded me that I should update my links. So I am going to do that, and talk a bit about the links themselves...
First the blogs I read. It seems like a lot, but most of the postings are short and I can get through them while drinking a mug of green tea in the morning.
A Daily Dose of Architecture - a little taste of what is up in the world of architecture. Just because I didn't do anything with the degree, doesn't mean I'm not interested.
About Last Night - Terry Teachout's blog on ArtsJournal about the arts, mostly theater, but sometimes more.
Apartment Therapy - Things to improve your living space, especially a small one. I may not actually do anything, but its nice to imagine it. (Which leads to the idea of moving ugh again).
Art MoCo - Yummy an artist everyday. Sometimes great work, sometimes not at all interesting but art in the morning is always a good thing.
art.blogging.la - mostly LA stuff, but an interesting read from a gallery owner
ArtCal - whats showing and opening around NYC, I really love this blog and use it to make my lists of what to see
Artopia - John Perrault talks about art on ArtsJournal, longer posts than most, but less frequent and engaging discussions on contemporary arts
BBC News Arts & Entertainment - I subscribe for the arts information, but also find out such juicy tidbits as Nick Nolte is finally off probation (remember this photo?)
bloggy - the personal blog by Barry Hoggard 1/2 of the team that brings me ArtCAl
CHOW - recipes straight to my inbox woohoo!
From the Floor - Opinions on art and art shows. From Todd Gibson, who seems to travel a lot! I like his insight and thoughtfulness.
Gothamist - All things NYC!
Jameswagner.com - James Wagner, the other 1/2 of the ArtCal team, talks about art and other things
Modern Art Notes - Tyler Green on art on ArtsJournal, interesting notes on art and the art world. (He talks about art, artists, critics, curators, museums, galleries, etc)
Modern Kicks - art and life
NewYorkology - more about NYC!
NYT Arts - been thinking about disconnecting this one. Sometimes a good read, but more often than not just interstitial advertising which I won't bother to click past.
Thinking About Art - J.T. Kirkland's blog. An artist and tech worker in D.C. I really enjoy his blogs because we agree on a lot of things :) He has also created the fascinating "Artists interview Artists"
Treehugger - for the greenie in me
Village Voice Arts - mostly funny, sometimes insightful or controversial
Village Voice NYCLife - yeh, more nyc
Words to Eat By - The blog of a foodie in Williamsburg, keys me into yummy places
You Knit What?? - my laugh out loud blog

Whew thats a lot of reading! But since I am interested in all of it, it doesn't seem to take any time at all (of course its noon and I am still in my pjs).

And now for the links:

Michele Kong
- a great artist working with a huge variety of materials to create organic (she hates this term) works.
Yuko Oda - works with synthetic materials to create natural forms (synthetic naturalist yes?)
Wendy Testu - an installation artist working to address ecological disasters and environmental inequality
Amy Rathbone - delicate and intricate works. She has a show coming up at Prishka C. Juschka absolutely go see this show!
Chris Natrop - filigree finery and fussiness
Claudia Aranovich - a provocative artist working with interesting mixing of media and materials
Maria Luisa Tadei - dreamlike sculptures and environments
Karen Carlo Salinger - creating funky creatures that are attractive and a little off putting
Cheryl Coon - taking day to day monotony and examining that through visual creations
Beth Galston - environmental arts and synthetic naturalism
Rebecca Niederlander - quirky environments, sci-fi? fairy? toxic?
Ellen George - I love her tender resin pieces, candy colored and infinitely and intimately tactile
Bean Finneran - kooky spikey geometrics.
Joy Hought - fungal growths made of ceramics in warm earth tones and the rainbows of undersea creatures
Sarah Bostwick - mapping the world and our urban landscape in a minimalist way.
Josh Dorman - wild visions of the world, a collison of chaos and order
Susannah Bettag - combining slick candy colored childlike imagery with shocking visuals evoking despair and discomfort
Carol Es - tactility and femininity treated with a wry and deft hand
Sky Kim - organic intense drawings

There are of course many "big name" artists who I love, but don't include on this list (Magdalena Abakanowicz, Bill Viola, Judy Pfaff, Sarah Sze, etc) but I prefer to point out artists that may not be widely known. Have fun, and click away, I would be thrilled to know that I might have turned you on to a yet unknown artist... (and I will go get dressed now).

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Oh yeh, I am spitting mad!

I am angry. I mean really really angry. The kind of angry that is a little overwhelming and makes you feel all squished inside. I also feel a little helpless because what I am angry about is so hugely important, so awesome, of great impact to all of us and to future generations. It is the kind of angry that will both spur me to action in many many ways and will sit and boil inside of me.

I have been an environmental advocate for quite some time. I reference the beauty of nature in my work and am constantly AWED and fascinated by it. It provides escape, surprise, contemplation, pretty much every emotion available to us.

For some reason, when I started reading my latest issue of Sierra magazine it really really hit home. I don't know if it was the article on the editing of documents on global warming done by the bush administration (substituting "maybe" for "is" and crossing out masses of information from documents and questioning findings). Maybe it was the stunning images of the Galapagos by Sebastiao Salgado. But I think mostly it is the article entitled "Year One, Climate Chaos Has Arrived" and its accompanying photos of Hurricane Katrina, and disappearing glaciers.

I mean really - who do we think we are? What gives us the right to decide that we can live an ultra disposable lifestyle without concern for our HOME PLANET, without concern for FUTURE GENERATIONS? What happened to the Native American theory of living in such a way that is sustainable for 7 generations? I just can't believe how blind and stupid we as humans (as parasites) can be able the destruction we are inflicting upon the very thing upon which we rely for LIFE? Science won't solve all of our destructive and selfish habits.

There is a growing awareness of environmental consciousness, but what are we really really really doing about it?

Time for me to walk the walk. I have given money to environmental causes (Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, etc), and I have thought about trying to make work that relates more directly to the environmental desecration. So I am going to volunteer, I am going to make that work, I am going to speak out more to friends who aren't thinking about it (watch out everyone). There are so many issues which I feel are important (the UN millennium goals, equal justice, women's rights, animal rights, etc.) but if we don't have a planet on which to enjoy them, what good are they?

I hope I stay angry I hope I keep the fire burning to have that in my work. And I hope I get to show the work, and I hope it affects people. And I hope that it changes some minds, and I hope that drives people to action.

The image at top is from Sebastiao Salgado's Genesis Project.