Sunday, December 21, 2008

See you in 2009!


Oly's Musings is on hiatus until next year. I'm taking off for Central Florida and finishing up some stuff at work. Wishing everyone a terrific holiday, whatever your religion, and a safe New Year's.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First show I've ever literally not been able to fit in the door


Heist Gallery's new group show, Papercut, of all works on paper seems like THE show of the holiday season to go and see. Pieces seem reasonably sized, as well as priced. They also are quite a diverse lineup of work, as seen by their site. I tried, woefully, to get in on the opening night. BAAD idea. The gallery is the size of a closet, and was pretty much stuffed to the gils with overflow crowd. Even after waiting 15 minutes in the cold, there just was no letup. In the meantime, I encourage readers to check out the works in the show from the digital realm. It's worth the while, especially for a local fave of mine, artist John Breiner. If you don't get images of Imperial Walkers controlled by damn dirty apes in your head, then you're just not a child of the '70s or '80s.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The maturing of Terence Koh

Artlog right now has a nice one-on-one interview with Terence Koh regarding his new show, "Flowers for Baudelaire" up through January 9th at 407 East 75th Street. Koh, it appears, for all accounts, is drastically maturing over the past several years. His work is beginning to leap out of the "shock-value-for-shock's-sake-alone" variety, and is rapidly moving towards an all-encompassing embracement of the art that surrounds us all. As Koh beautifuly states, "love is for eternity, always remember that." To find this embittered critic with tears welling up in my eyes means something. It's not often an "it-boy" of the art world affects me so, but with those few words, Koh has forever captured my heart. Instead of wild cocaine parties and extravagant lifestyle beyond one's means, Baudelaire reminds me of my own childhood, where I'd sift and resift the piles of flour and baking soda of my grandma's cake mixes. I'd imagine each slope was a snow-capped peak of the Alps sitting right there on our kitchen table.

There's certainly a limit to the collectibility factor with the biodegradeable aspects of Koh's works for sale (corn syrup and powdered sugar can only last so long), but that's what truly makes them so alive. They, as well as the artist himself, are concentrated in the here-and-now, and that's where we all should be. Beautiful work indeed.

(Images from The New York Times and Cool Hunting All rights reserved.)


Friday, December 5, 2008

Kaws and effect

I'm sorry, but that's just an extremely nightmare inducing image. Almost like the Alien/Predator itself has come to have me for dinner, Kaws' signature puffy cloud-eared, starry eyed creature is certainly not the stuff that dreams are made of-- at least good ones. The Brooklyn-based street artist dissects elements of Murakami's superflat aesthetic with a ginsu knife, but to me, all around, it's a much more effective product, given its product placement. Goodyear tire creatures not included. Maybe it's because it's more accessible-- way less amped up sexually, and more drug-addled slacker-- that I like him so much. Spongebob, anyone? Who knew America's pourous antihero could be so disturbingly wretched. Kaws' show runs through December 23rd at Gering & Lopez. Check it out. Not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Makes me want some hot cocoa


I've recently had the pleasure of discovering the work of Swiss via New York artist Clarina Bezzola. There's a lot more here than what first meets the eye. I encourage you to take a chance on her "Swiss Miss: A Gathering" performance video clip on her website. Some days it seems we all must put on our best show for entertainment's sake, before we wriggle back into our own annelid sheaths. Really interesting stuff.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Almost worth the fare increase and service cuts... well... not really


Masstransiscope is a public art project you can only see if you regularly travel the rails. In fact, it's a work that's so exclusive, you'll only be able to see it for about 15 seconds from looking out the eastern windows of the B and Q trains from the DeKalb Avenue station on your way into Manhattan. But see, I'm all about trumping exclusivity, so I'm gonna share these links with you so you can see it, dear readers. You see, the work has just been rehabbed and it's pretty dang cool for entertainment value alone. Taking the basics of still frame animation, but turning it around, so YOU have to move by IT to see the motion, artist Bill Brand created a pretty nice, though simple, piece. When I first saw it, I thought I was hallucinating from the new Q train smell-- (Is that really a rocketship launch I see out my window, or maybe I'm just lightheaded from the tobacco stench on the guy next to me)-- but in fact, I wasn't imagining things. The always forward thinking Creative Time sponsored this back in 1981. I guess some things really do get better with age.

Check out this link for more background information on the artist and to see the cars in their legendary graffito clad era. It's also a hoot to see some crazy young Bill Brand 'fro action.

All this is quite appropriate timing as well, given the fact NYC is just about ready to plunge into 1980s Public Transit Part Deux: The Deep End.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Think of it like when you were a kid hiding in the clothes racks at Macy's


Rosanna Bruno is quite nice at producing canvases that make me wanna recite, "Here we go, loopty loo." Curator Brent Burket has his heart in my arena as Pluto Gallery does its best Toni Braxton impersonation, sans drag. My first review left off Ms. Bruno's work for the rocket scientist reason of I didn't take any photos of it, so mine brain was a bit absent minded. Either way, the ribbons of luscious color remind me of fabric swatches, and or a little boy trying to peek his way into a place he shouldn't be looking. Cool stuff.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deja Vu at Betty Cuningham


(Above, Carmelite I, 2004)

The above sculptural work of Mia Westerlund Roosen is probably the pivotal moment of my reentry into the art world. For a year and a half after I viewed her Fall 2006 exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery, my mind went blank as to the artist's name, as well as to which gallery I saw the exhibit. I searched time and time again, asking acquaintances, "Who's this artist who works with giant ceramic structures, felt, and concrete in the gallery with the exposed wooden beam ceiling?" I was met with silence, or a nearly convincing response of "Rachel Whiteread" each and every time. So I took it upon myself to call all along 26th, 24th and 25th streets again to no avail. No one could ever point me in the right direction, though even speaking with the front desks Rachel Whiteread's name was mentioned far too numerous times to count. Sure, she's a great lady, but certainly not who I was looking for. Then, last fall, I found my thrill by accident while at Betty Cuningham when I took a peek through the back and saw her book lying there.

Westerlund Roosen's works have a decided flow; a pivoting, if you will, of bodies in perpetual motion, though hard edged bullwarks, all while capturing the fleet of foot in a methodical orbit. Right now, it's deja vu all over again, as my soul takes flight with sheer delight at seeing her new pieces. Below, is her new work, "Mettawee." Taking certain elements of Serra's Torqued elipses, and combining them with natural elements-- water flows atop the curved spools, a babbling brook, making a reconnection of body to the land. Westerlund Roosen sets up imagery that evokes an almost archaelogic aspect, if not spiritual connection to a long ago otherworldly realm. Some beautiful works, and the show is up now through December 6th. GO!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Scott Malbaurn at Janet Kurnatowski

Galeria Janet Kurnatowski has one of my favorite artists around, one Mr. Scott Malbaurn. Admittedly, this is a prejudiced review-- my own gallery has displayed his work, and I consider him a friend, but let me tell you this-- this guy can paint! There's lots of people out there working in the minimal/abstraction vein, but rarely are works so well made they'll likely last through earthquakes, floods, and truly stand the test of time. But in Scott's case, they will. They're also eye-poppingly gorgeous, silken soft, with sharp lines and geometric patterns carved out in such exacting lines you'll be floored. It's in Greenpoint, so be prepared for transportation issues, but I believe this is one show well worth going out of your way for.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Too many cooks in Coney Island's kitchen

Ahh, Coney Island-- tits, robots and weiners-- As Carly would sing, it's the stuff that dreams are made of.

Just got back from tonight's rabble rousin' meeting of the minds at the Municipal Art Society's first public symposium on the ever growing uncertain fate of Coney Island. They've launched a new website, Imagine Coney, whereupon anyone, anywhere, anytime can put their two cents in on how we can begin to restore the illustrious shine of yesteryear to the boardwalk. Alas, tonight's meeting featured lots of people crammed into the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Music Cafe hoovering free beer and cheese, talking loudly on their cell phones, kvetching with their neighbors, all while Municipal Art Society representatives were trying to give a presentation. So much for open minds, and for staying on message.

There's still lots of bad blood between the old timers and the new timers -- i.e., the elephant in the room being the one true enemy-- that of Thor Equities. Unforunately for the well-meaning Municipal Art Society, which was doing a valiant effort at bridging the gap between the polar opposites, tonight's message of revitalization and a possible bright future of foot longs, vertigo-inducing death drops, and fried clams was met with a resounding chorus of "Daay toock arr jaahbs." (Best South Park Ep. Ever) Truthfully, it's not necessarily job loss, but an influx of the "new" that is scaring the long time residents who are trying to hold on to a memory, and a good one at that. But the open forum format with people waiting in the wings to ask a question (rarely) or comment (lots of those) "I love Coney. I've lived here all my life..." came about feeling like there's just too many cooks in the kitchen. And the sad fact of the matter is, all this is after the fact. Astroland is now a thing of the past. There's simply no turning back. But there were many interesting ideas put forth-- of which, yes, were ROBOT WRESTLING (AWWWW, yeah), a giant concert pavillion to lure the next Bonnaroo, and HUMAN PAC-MAN to tide us over until a permanent solution arises.

Unfortunately, for all the great ideas, one big thing is lacking-- how on earth are they going to get funding for any of this? Truthfully, this couldn't have come at a worse time. Corporate sponsors? I think thee not.

The funniest idea tonight came from one of the presenters who wants to restore the long-forgotten Shore Theater into the world's first Sing-A-Long venue. Sounds like a fantastic idea-- if you're hard of hearing.

In the meantime, below, check out the best idea submitted yet.

Trevor, I think you've got something there.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gone, but not forgotten

(Mary Henderson, USS Cole, gouache on paper, 8 x 10)

When a show comes down, many of us simply file it away in our memory banks. But I say it's not time to forget just yet. Sure, a review or snippet (as this is) is always nicer when a show is up, but that shouldn't take away from what it was. Two quick shows I wanted to mention just closed-- Nicole Stager at Like the Spice Gallery in Brooklyn, and Mary Henderson at Lyons Wier-Ortt in Chelsea. Both artists do drastically different work (Henderson, a photorealist master; Stager, a photogram genius), but I enjoyed both their works equally.

I really love Henderson's work at top showcasing a navy soldier enjoying himself, and being quite an excellent camera mugger while on the job. These candid moments are ones to savor, and Henderson does a great job at humanizing those who sacrifice day in and day out. Some timely and topical images to appreciate post Veteran's Day, and boy, that girl can paint.

Stager's vibrant photograms made me crave some Now and Laters, or Starburst fruit chews. These glossy color explosions were soothing to my tired eyes filled with exhaustion. Like a full-on Red Bull caffeine upswing, I couldn't stop looking at their surfaces-- some deceptively including surprise collage (a piece of lace here, a string there). Besides color saturation, Stager has mastered the time lapse element so important to the photogram process, where you can even trace her fingerprints back to their initial point of contact with the photo paper. Check it out.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Worth a second look Lori Field at KTF Gallery

 A bit disappointed I never got around to posting these when the show was up last month in the back viewing gallery at Kinz, Tillou and Feigen, but artist Lori Field does some truly stunningly complex layered encaustics. I really can't say enough about them, except they're just gorgeous pieces. Field's works were on display during the Jennifer Coates show, which got the majority of press attention, but in all honesty, Field's work was the one that really got to me. These tiny works are just gems. Not to be overlooked. Check out more of Field's work on her website.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Breaking hearts left and right


NYC art scene blogging buddy Brent Burket (Heart As Arena) has done an outstanding job in his first curatorial outing at Pluto Gallery in Brooklyn with his group show, Unbreak My Heart. Truthfully, my own ice encrusted heart takes a hell of lot more than art to mend it, but still, there were numerous thaws to note.

First up, E.J. Hauser. Here is one artist who knows the power of a clean and smooth surface. In the late '90s, I used to quiz every artist I met at their open studios to see how they made their works so silken soft. No one I've ever encountered can come close to Ms. Hauser's high gloss sheen. You can literally see your reflection in them. I told the artist at the opening that I wish I could just lie on them. Straight from the artist's mouth on how the super-luxxe effect is created: "Enamel." So there you go. Get yourself some killer enamel paint, and buy some serious patience, because Ms. Hauser must have the patience of Job. Take a look at the detail in her wording. See how the different shades of white lettering literally pop out of the surface at you. I wonder how on earth the artist's hand holds steady enough that the letters all stay in line so straight? If I handwrite anything, it's either heading uphill or downhill. Major props to the Susan Sontag reference here. Great stuff. Loved it.

Next, Robert Schatz. Maybe it's the fact I've been obsessed with the Martin Ramirez exhibition at Ricco Maresca as of late, but Schatz's works really stood out as another skilled set comparison to the Mexican master. The depth of space that is explored is fantastic. I felt as if I was standing on the highest mountaintop in New Hampshire, gazing out at the scope of the horizon of the White Mountains lying before me. Schatz achieves his sinnewy lines through utilizing his fingers as part of his brushwork. There's so much at play here. The way it references different pathways, as well as the natural realm. Another interpretation could be wafts of billowing smoke going to and fro.

I felt the strongest work (if not of the individual artist, but also the entire show) was this piece-- a work on panel, as opposed to the other works on paper, which were still strong. You can really see how the edges of Schatz's loops push the paint out with the turn of each curve. The very nature of the panel piece really stood out at me, for here was true captive motion.

Luke Whitlach is a Los Angeles-based artist whose works can best be described as something that New York State should utilize in their next anti-smoking campaign. Instead of Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee and Cigarettes," Whitlatch's series should be titled "Coffins and Cigarettes." How else can you look at these other than as monumental cigarette butts, with foreshadowed coffin included. I love how the luxurious thick folds of the cotton duck canvas stand out in his work. It felt like a coccooning, if you will, or a protective measure. Much like a parent swaddling their newborn, so, too, does Whitlatch protect his babies. Great stuff. Take a look at this detail here. Smoking never felt so tempting to this anti-smoking Nazi.

Below are some other faves of the night.

Awash in streaming color-- Brooklyn Artist Beth Gilfilen.

The Disco Dance team of E.J. Hauser through strobe lighting....

2007-2008 Rome Prize Winning artist Kate Gilmore channels her inner society matron and Evil Knievel in her video performance Heartbreaker. I like to describe Kate as Carol Burnett, Johnny Knoxville, Anna Wintour, Susan Faludi, Bob the Builder and Gloria Steinem all wrapped up in a tight package. I always wonder why on earth she subjects herself to these crazy scenarios, but in this case, suffering for her art works. My fave part of the video wasn't the hacking away with the axe portion, but where the artist is forced to keep holding the work aloft for sheer protective measure. For she isn't just risking "heartbreak," but annihilation. Safety precautions be damned, Gilmore delivers, even if I wouldn't do this stuff if you paid me a million damn dollars.

The exhibition runs through January 19th, 2009, so no excuses for not attending if you find yourself in the Brooklyn Museum vicinity. It's a literal 7 minute hoofin'. Click here for directions.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

A show that delivers on its title


Ah, Gallery Take Ninagawa in Tokyo, Japan. Say it loud, say it proud. It doesn't come along too often in life that you have a show's title basically spell out exactly what you're gonna get, but in artist Yukiko Suto's case, that's EXACTAMUNDO what you'll get. The title of her exhibit: "Potted Plants Exhibition" on display from November 1st to December 20th in Tokyo, Japan. Time to get your inner Miyagi freak on. (I prefer the cyclamen variety myself.)

Welcome to my first ever post with encoded HTML links. It's a bitch to type out, but I guess I gotta play by the rules of the blogosphere.


Monday, October 27, 2008

One artist's journey through breast cancer

 Recently yours truly underwent her own breast cancer scare. Though mine turned out to be nothing more than "B-9" lumpy boobage, I have a little metal clip inside me for life that reminds me each and every day that I must remain vigilant and get to know every inch of my boobies as a preventive measure. To say the least, the initial diagnosis stage is frightening enough, so I can barely imagine the stress in going through an entire battle. One local artist, Victoria Behm, has decided to utilize her talents to help her through the immense journey ahead to recovery and triumph over the ultimate adversity. I highly recommend checking out this thought-provoking scrapbook/diary she recently posted on's website. It is stunning in its imagery-- the needles, the radiation, the chemo, the chronicle of her hair loss. She really epitomizes for me what it means to be an artist-- for truly great art reaches within one's self to share with others. Behm does this and so much more.

But I definitely want to end breast cancer awareness month on a positive note. I love how Behm's fighting spirit really comes through in her writing as well as her art. She pulls no punches. There will be "discharge," she is warned, and with humor and bluntness, she shows how the gooey mess became a part of her daily struggle. The list of the drugs she has had to take, as well as the numerous treatments that keep her going is mind-numbing. My favorite part was where she is told by her doctors to refrain from being near any "sharp objects," (Hello! A bit hard to do when you work with woodcuts!)-- from whence she mentions how she once sliced off her fingertip with an x-acto knife. Pretty cool lady, and a great story.

Check it out below at:


Monday, October 20, 2008

Paula Wilson's Stained Glass Ceiling at Bellwether

 For the past week and a half, I've been wracking my brain on how I will write this post on artist Paula Wilson's first ever solo exhibition at Bellwether Gallery, The Stained Glass Ceiling. Part of my problem with writing this review is that I'm not sure that I CAN pull everything together to tell readers just what this show is all about, for the artist seems to throw EVERYTHING at us-- from the show's title itself, to the works' multitudinous mixed media makeup, there's just so MUCH there. And it's not just visually stunning imagery at play, but also craftsmanship, with a message to match, that I don't know if I can do it justice. But let me put it this way, this just might be the best exhibit I've ever seen because of its complete coverage.

Wilson's imagery evokes the feminine in all its facets. In Tomorrow's Tomorrow, pictured above, a young woman frolics about in sunbathed light while holding an umbrella, not unlike the Morton's salt girl. You feel her joy, a woman that abounds with life. Her skyward smile says it all. the refracted light pouring through the stained glass window lights the bouquet still life on the table. For not only is she blossoming into womanhood, but so, too, is the mixed bouquet. I also can't help but notice the beautiful makeup of this work-- a combination of oil, spray paint, and paper collage, seemingly invoking the wondrous florals of Van Huysum himself.

Below, the luscious work Tripped. Like a cork popping from a champagne bottle or a happy ending, the top has blown. Perhaps it signifies the woman being freed from her entrapments. I read this work more as "Trapped" than Tripped, evoking more of a genie in a bottle element. If you rub her the right way, will she grant your wish?

Also of note is the similarity between the society lady clad in pink and the legendary Fragonard work, The Swing, below. For in each case the subject seems to take delight in her sexuality, teasing us with a desire that can never be fully realized, yet is also quite constrained by outside forces. Throughout this exhibit I felt Wilson references the floral masters-- VanHuysum, for instance-- or the stained glass works of LaFarge, or in this case, the soft underpainting techniques of Fragonard. But the floral elements are not merely for eye candy, but represent that which makes a woman a woman.

In Wilson's case, she's well on her way to making her own history as an artist. I highly recommend checking out the Bellwether site below to see more examples of this wondrous exhibition. The show runs through November 15th.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why go for 10 when you can have an 8?


Sunday, if you find yourself in the vicinity of the C.P.W., you should check out artist Diana Schmertz's timely traveling art exhibit, Perfect 8 magazine stand. Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to get a Red Bull, buy a 50 cent 42 cent stamp, or purchase any Tic-Tacs, but you will get an up-close and personal look into the good ol' U.S. of A. media's manipulation of what IS and ISN'T acceptable reading material that's "tailor-made" to the sexes. Schmertz utilizes a great medium directly out in the public's eye to address something that is a uniquely American concept. Do all American women only care about Jimmy Choo's new line and SJP's marital status, and are men only interested in seeing Kim Kardashian's bootiful backside on FHM or Maxim? Interesting stuff to think over. The title of the exhibit is great-- we're all a bit short of a 10, but what the f' is wrong with that anyway?

You can see the traveling stand at Columbus Circle-- 59th Street & Central Park West from 12pm-3pm tomorrow, Sunday, October 12th, 2008. For more information, go to Schmert'z site--


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lower East Side Letdown

Not that long ago I was commiserating about the ever incestuous intersection of art and fashion. Well, another thing that is blurring as fast as a Mars Bar patron's eyesight is art attempting to walk the fine line between itself and the music scene-- more often than not ending up a drunken, sloven mess. And trust me, with artist Ryan Humphrey's All or Nothing exhibit, DCKT should be charged with a DUI.

I've been around enough stacks of Marshalls and Peaveys in my day and played a RAT pedal to boot. Yes, bands like to cover their gear with stickers. LOTS of stickers. Sometimes they just want to deface the beautiful cherry wood to make it look "vintage." Othertimes it's more likely they're so bombed they forgot how much the thing cost. (See above pimped-out 'Fridge as example of decadence. Apparently, beer is included in the work's purchase. Thanks, Ryan, for the refreshments.)

Just in the same way Banks Violette's homage to misguided Scandinavian youth falls to my eyeballs with a punch as powerful as an episode of According to Jim, so, too, does Humphrey's colorless exhibit. Sure, there's plenty of color. Lots of color. But where is the pigmentation?

Real color is in reality. Humphrey's work is all in fabrication-- or recreation of something "low-brow." I.E., a collector will be spending THOUSANDS to recreate the above. And that, my dear readers, is the dear departed CBGBs toilet. Historic documentation. Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how much that cost to maintain the above "look"-- i.e., not much given its sail into the sunset.

In the show's press release it touts Humphrey's inclusion as a contestant on Bravo's "Top Design" as an accolade. Really, now? We've come to bragging about reality tv rosters as a reason to see an exhibition? Excuse me as I crank my DIY threshold up to 9. Humphrey is at his best when he's doing lush visuals of the Trans-Am logo upon portions of old Pontiac hoods. They're not much more than eye-candy, but at least the phoenix rising from the ashes has a meaning, and the bottle caps have fought their own good fight. The sunburst reminds me more of Superman's baby bassinett, but you gotta admit, the visual is striking.

For more art masquerading as music, go to the website:

The show runs through November 1st.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

NKOTB and Keith Haring... yes, Keith Haring


As a teenager in small town Florida, I grew up pretty much obsessed with all things New Kids on the Block, as well as one lead singer Jordan Knight (the hot/cute one-- and the only one who could really sing).

Well, just found this from their first rarely seen video footage of "Please Don't Go Girl" before the Coney Island shot one that went into national MTV release.

Sure, the Kids probably did not represent the best in art connoisseurship, (nor music) but there's something totally delightful about seeing the most likely 16 year old Mr. Knight here wearing the art world icon's sweatshirt.

Too nostalgic for words.

Check out the hilarious below link for full cheeseball value with a little rat-tail mullet love to boot.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm one angry boob


(Ditmas Park in the Fall, years past- B.H.A. Before Hipster Arrival)

Completely off the art topic today. I'm bored with it and crankier than ever as of late. Perhaps it's the 6-inch long needle to the boobaroo I got yesterday and then the repeated SMASHING of it again and again in the mammogram machine right after being sliced open that made me revel in the joys of my womanhood once again. Hurrah for Breast Cancer Awareness month!! Whoopee-dee-freakin'-doo. To make it 100% relevant, my body decided to go and have a breast cancer scare. In honor of my newfound coinkydink, I've decided next year's Talk Like a Pirate Day will have me actually BECOMING a pirate, and for Take Your Daughter to Work Day I'm going to have a daughter. Beat that, Jolie.

In my other crank-ass topic of the day-- I'm never one much to talk about where I live. Where I work is another story-- at least the neighborhood where I work and the galleries that surround me. I like to think that where I live is more or less where I finally go to sleep at night, because that's about all I ever do here. But lately, I'm more annoyed than ever. One of the best things about Ditmas Park for the past 5 years has been the unique quality of diversity to this neighborhood. All types of people lived here of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. The other great quality was the fact it takes a freakin' hour to get anywhere I need to work in Manhattan. And for that hour, I used to be able to sit my ass for most of the ride and read my paper.

Well, my antisocial ass has unfortunately found that oh, no-- everyone and their f'ing brother has decided to move here. YAY. And they're all white and they all wear skinny jeans with flannel shirts. Just what I always wanted!! Oh, and my dear Q train-- you know, the one that takes me where I need to go-- well, they decided to go glam. Yep, they gave us Q trains that are really L trains-- and now we've lost a good 10 seats per car. Yay. Swap cleanliness for extra feet and lower back pain from standing an HOUR on the way home. Gotta love it. F'ers.

The one good thing of the Gentrification 101 has been the addition of the Tibetan restaurant over the subway tracks. Yeah, you heard that right. Every time the train comes by the lights flicker on and off while you're eating. I f'ing love it. It rocks. They serve Tingmo. The Tingmo is boobalicious. I mean, delicious. Its fat, plump and you can mold it just like a mammogram technician molds your boob. But the best part is, you can eat it. My favorite part is so far there's mainly Tibetans in this restaurant, because most of the skinny jean, beard-grower, deodorant challenged keep eating at the outside tables. But alas, my days of easy quiet eating is numbered as the temperature drops. My solitude shall soon be greeted with tables of them socializing with their BYOB. Can't wait. 


Monday, September 29, 2008

Why "Chelsea Now" no longer reviews Chelsea art

Just as an aside, I literally can't remember the last time I picked up an issue of Chelsea Now where there was a review of a Chelsea art exhibit. Also, since mid-summer there are no longer any art listings whatsoever. There used to be at least a full two-page tabloid sheet where you could view upcoming shows, openings, lectures, events, et. al. The last few Chelsea Nows have exclusively covered the Lower East Side, (Jennifer Steimkamp at Lehman Maupin LES, for instance-- nice exhibit and all, but Christie Street sure as hell ain't Chelsea) and/or the maritime building's recent public art takeover in Lower Manhattan.

Pardon me for a second here, but if you're going to continue to reference your masthead as Chelsea Now, you might want to write about the neighborhood you are dedicated to. Sure there's a plethora of galleries opening in the Lower East Side, Brooklyn, Chinatown, etc., with many being priced out of Chelsea, but last I checked there's still over 300+ galleries here-- with most of them still bringing in the stilleto-laden herds each and every Thursday night. And, might I declare, has Chelsea Now completely been blind to what's taken place on 21st Street in just the past 6 months? You might as well call it "Little 24th Street South."

Art coverage in the printed media is truly getting quite sad.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Playing it safe at Alexander and Bonin


In artist Robert Bordo's current exhibition It's Always Raining at Alexander and Bonin Gallery, he conjures up more than simply abstract, soft-hued canvasses accentuated by thuggish brushstrokes-- but a vibrant sexuality that's unfortunately dampened by a chastity belt he's kept far too tight. The artist's titling of his works keeps alluding to the more risque-- "Bumpy Ride," "Ambush," "Stoned"-- but all the power is in the wording itself, and none in the visualization.

Unfortunately I felt as if the artist was holding himself back. Perhaps it's guilt, or more likely than not playing it safe to his collector base. The works have an extremely disciplined quality to them. You can almost dissect each of the works' quadrants, and see their unity. His methodical quality borders on the academic, and here's where the exhibit lost me. In several of the pieces I felt I could almost be a peeping Tom ogling his succulent meat through the shades, (See "See Saw" above) but there was never much danger involved. If art exhibits were safe sex, this one would be wearing two condoms.

Either way, it's still worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sue Williams at David Zwirner

Going to see the new Sue Williams exhibit, Project for the New American Century, at David Zwirner was like watching the Tasmanian Devil himself come tearing through Galveston, Texas, post-Ike, stopping for a second against a destroyed home to put on some lipstick, then start twisting all over again-- spinning the wreckage out from the center even further, eventually pummeling it to the point of subatomic particles.

Some of Williams' body parts, appendages, and innards strewn to and fro remind me of the "Mesokingdom" era Carroll Dunham cartoony amorphous creatures, but with much more power to their blows. The day-glo colors really bring a vibrancy to the subject matter at hand. You cannot look at these works without a sense of hopelessness overtaking you. The immense power of destruction, and our own impotence as a society who continously fails to react to stimuli, is disheartening and soul-shattering to the core. Though the works have a Pop feel, as well as childlike sensibility evoking Mr. Devil's afforementioned dustcloud, this is not an exhibit to be taken lightly.

Williams is at her best yet here at Zwirner. Her works seem to float against the pristine white walls, yet there's a take-no-prisoners commonality to each. My favorite part of opening night was seeing how people lingered before each and every work for what seemed like an eternity. There is so much detail in each of these pieces. This show requires a thorough go over. Get thee to Zwirner. Do not delay.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Manhattan Chowdaaaahhh


Certainly one of the strangest, most incoherent, incompetent, as well as divinely humorous ad campaigns I've ever seen-- "New York, we've got you covered."

Sure, we've got you cahvaahed, all right-- with the legendary Custom House tower looming overhead, New England Aquarium and Quincy Market nearby, as well as the Boston Harbor Towers condominiums photoshopped to be five "bars" instead of their usual two.

Whoever did this ad campaign really needs to be fired. Seriously. Since when on earth would my old home's skyline be interpreted as New York?

Calling Denny Crain... come in, please!!!
Get Donnie Wahlberg and the New Kids on 'dis case, STAAAHHT.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kota Ezawa at Murray Guy


Ever had an art opening all to yourself for a major museum level artist? I did this past Saturday night at the Kota Ezawa exhibition "Multiplex" at Murray Guy in Chelsea. Taking place right in the middle of the worst remnants of Tropicle Storm Hannah, this reviewer cooled her heels for a bit behind the black curtains and dried out to a truly fantastic work of social commentary by the San Francisco-based artist. Ezawa is always great at breaking down the wall between artist and audience, (take his previous O.J. Simpson jury verdict piece that brilliantly held a moment in history in rapture) and his new piece "Brawl" is no exception. A frame-by-frame digitized recreation of the Detroit Pistons/Indiana Pacers bench-clearing smackdown that moved from the court into the stands, Ezawa is able to recreate the moment in painstaking detail with the slow motion of his editing and focus on the sights and sounds of that painful day. I like how the rotoscope animation effects of Ezawa's works flatten every player to an almost cardboard cutout quality. Similar to the painted single-frame technique of animation, including the fairly recent Richard Linklater film, "A Scanner Darkly," Ezawa is a master of his craft.

The piece is given a soundtrack of narration from sportcasters that was originally broadcast throughout the fight, from its initial start on the floor from a foul by Piston forward Ron Artest, eventually making its way into the stands. You see the separation between players and fans in literal black and white, with not only the viewpoints of the fight participants, but also in the skin color of fans vs. the players. Much as the gladiators fought to the death in the Roman Colliseum to the delight of the plutocracy, so, too, must these young men in uniforms perform for their paying crowd. Though they have achieved wealth and celebrity beyond their wildest dreams, here they are still taunted as "boys," or "hoodlums" by the beer-swilling, cup-throwing, pullover sweater-clad season ticket holders. Here was a moment of fracture-- duck feathers could no longer apply. Perhaps it was a fight for respect, as well as for domination, machismo and bravado. The invisible wall that separates the performer from audience had been barreled over. The clock would not be turned back.

After the numerous suspensions and fines on the players from both sides, it is now considered to be a dubious moment in sports history, but Ezawa does a fantastic job at bringing it back to the forefront. It is a historical moment not to be forgotten.

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