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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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Antropologie's visual merchandisers molest Washburn's shitstem


Here we have Anthropologie's Fifth Avenue visual merchandising showstopper window. COUGH. HACK... Can we say Phoebe Washburn wannabees? Can we now???

Tickle the Shitstem installation shot.

Books used in place of lumber to sell overpriced Fall 2008 sweaters from parent company URBAN OUTFITTERS.

Tickle the Shitstem installation shot from Zach Feuer website.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shit here, shit there, everywhere a shit show....


Ahh, the biggest week of the year. The art world reopens the Fall 2008 season, and there is a secret password that only a select few shall know. I'm working my own gallery shows Thursday night (they do rock, if I say so myself) and of course I'm therefore unable to attend the other big openings across Chelsea, but can I say this-- MERDE, mierda, poop, turds are IN. Yes, for Fall 2008, SHIT is the new Black. SHIT is where it's at. Wim Delvoye, you only wish you had named Cloaca the real word it was meant to be. Here at the Musings we are unafraid to say the word. We stand tall and proud. So take that people who say CRAP, SHIZ, DOODY, DUMPS or LINKIN LOGS! SHIT is here to stay. Again, as always, thank you, Ms. Phoebe Washburn for your continually inspired and original work and hilarious show title. No, seriously. I truly love it, and can't wait to see her show, especially after just witnissing the Sarah Palin speech tonight, because art lovers, we are in some SERIOUS SHIT right now. Phoebe Washburn's "Tickle the Shitstem" opens tomorrow, September 4th at Zach Feuer Gallery.

For a more direct example of the word "shit" appreciation society, Yvon Lambert has Andres Serrano's "SHIT" exhibition. The photographs include many different varieties, origins and textures in extreme macro closeup, from different "property owners." I promise you, you will never be able to look at dirt the same way again, because then you'll realize where dirt comes from.