Monday, January 26, 2009

Yeah, I'm gonna be in print, baby


(Above, Mary Pinto's Red Giant)

This Saturday is the launch of Ancient Echoes in Contemporary Printmaking at Hofstra University. I had the pleasure of writing the catalogue essay for this group show, and meeting with each of the five artists at their studios all around the New York area during the summer of 2008. All of the artists here bring such a unique voice to their works. Above is a favorite of mine, Mary Pinto. I saw this work when it was in the very beginning stages of creation at her studio-- just cutouts. She wasn't sure how she'd place the cells, and I remember discussing the different presentation possibilities with her. Now that I see her finished product-- WHOA, NELLY-- I can only say, rock on with your bad self, Mary! Brilliant stuff indeed! And from my own opinion, this is just the tip of the iceberg with this show. The works from start to finish are ridiculously amazing.

At 1:00 PM this Saturday, January 31st, there will be a panel discussion at the Emily Lowe Gallery. All five artists will attend-- Jessica Baker, Michael Herstand, Brian Lynch, Tomomi Ono, and the aforementioned Mary Pinto. You might even see Oly's Musings' author there, too. (Shh!!! Her name is Olympia Lambert.) Give her a shoutout if you see her. 3pm sees the wine and cheese/refreshments being brought out for the artists' reception. Come join me. If you've ever needed a reason to leave the city for Long Island, here it is. Click here for directions. The show will run through March 20th, 2009.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

One week left of Cueto Projects' wormwood distillery

(Above, Gustave Adolphe Mossa)

There is literally not a single weak portion to Cueto Project's two months' plus in length piece de resistance, The Flowers of Evil Still Bloom, on view through January 31st. I tried to find one faulty placement, or even a weak thought process that went into the artists' or works' selection. There was none. From start to finish, it sets a masterful mood of the gothic symbolist movement's navel-gazing indulgence. The gallery is awash in references to the fin de siecle, gulping (not sipping) from absinthe's goblet, and its opulence will envelope you. The list of artists is too extensive to even begin to get into here on this blog, but I'll just put three out there with "gusto"-- Gustave Adolphe Mossa, Gustave Moreau and Gustav Klimt.

In the show's press release, Valerie Cueto herself speaks of a long loved writer of mine, Joris-Karl Huysmans, author of what may be the greatest story ever told that will also bore you to tears-- "Against Nature," or "Au Reboirs." In it, the protagonist Des Esseintes spirals ever so slowly towards passing out into the candle's burning flame. Going about his daily life at a snail's pace, he savors every flavor of drink and/or food; micro-analyzes every morsel's chew; every touch from every fabric; all the while coveting and desiring flesh through its numerous orifices. He purchases only the most extravagant of the extravagant, yet still throughout he fights the ever-creeping melancholy of death's door. My favorite chapter is where Des Esseintes decides to bejewel his vanity buy pet turtle's shell to the point from whence the animal will slowly die from its newfound burden of bling. I cannot help but be reminded of our own "Bedazzler" crafting product from QVC, or a Swarovski crystal-embossed Blackberry being examples of our own modern downfall.

(above, master suite by Arman)

This exhibition comes none too soon as our gorging society seems to have finally had its fill and cannot bear to eat any more of what it has long been force fed. If you find yourself in Chelsea in the next six business days, get thee to Cueto asap. I recommend a full 45 minutes to devote to this show. You will not be disappointed. But first please heed the posted warning below: "Peter Murphy impersonators, clove smokers and Faith-era Cure fans may experience chest palpitations. Enter at your own risk."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Artist Dean Goelz-- able to take out jet engines in a single bound

Last week saw US Airways' Flight 1549 passengers and crew join the Coney Island Polar Bears as the bravest of souls to dip into the purity that is the icy waters off NYC. This blogger heard enough sirens to last a lifetime just down the block while at work in Chelsea. Alas, since the crash, there's been a rising call to "Kill the geese" in area trashrags such as the New York Post. Well, I say, do not "Kill the geese," but love them! Love them, cuddle them, and call them "George." In fact, buy one, or two-- in fact, buy three geese! Here is my call to adopt a goose. Artist Dean Goelz's "geese" would be a great place to start. They will not leave any droppings or feathers to clean up, and they'll be great conversation starters to boot. "Think that thing can take out an Airbus 320 engine?" "You bet it can!" Imagine from the goose's perspective what their day was like last week-- just minding their own business, then Holy hell, what is that coming at us?? And since these life-size Canadian geese/human hybrids give you 0% chance of catching Avian Bird Flu, it seems to me a no-brainer acquisition. Check out Like the Spice Gallery for more loosey goosey action!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Brady Bunch vs. Barney at Massimo Audiello


No, Bjork hasn't met an untimely death while vacationing in the Bahamas, but Brooklyn artist Alison Brady up-ends the world of Matthew Barney as we know it with a delicious and devious delight. Here, the graceful swan as metaphor takes on new meaning, instead rather as an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. The photographer possesses a terrific sense of humor in her new show, "An Uncertain Nature" at Massimo Audiello. Perhaps I'm seeing a reference that may not necessarily be there if you dig deeper under the surface, but I cannot look at these photos and not burst out laughing. They're creepy, brilliant, tongue-in-cheek portraits which make it appear as if Mr. Barney's human meat grinder has merged with Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait. Here is some fantastical staged surrealism done in the present, but adeptly conjuring up the past. The show runs through leap year, February 29th. Get thee to Audiello stat.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jerry Saltz's coming out on Facebook


(Those wild and crazy kids, Jerry and Bill, showing each other some love.)

Venerated New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz has graced us with his surprise Facebook presence for the past month and a half. To say that Saltz must have one of those little bird bobbing toys clicking yes to his many "add friend" requests the whole day through is no understatement. 1,800 friends and counting, Saltz has just added his first art review snippet as a "note" on Marlene Dumas' much maligned Moma showing. Now, it's one thing for ravenous commentary to spring up on the Winklemans, the ArtFagCities, or the other such like, but with his little paragraph slamming Ms. Dumas, Jerry has now entered the world of online criticism like a full-on wrecking ball. With 72 interactive comments as of this hour, Saltz may forever be changing the voice and nature of the print critic and online community with what I would call a unique olive branch (or is it a piece of bloody meat for the wolves?) I'm loving every moment of it, and it will be interesting to see what more will develop out of Mr. Saltz's online presence. This here blogger is eager for much, much more.


Thursday, January 8, 2009



Sure, you say, there's like a million openings tonight in Manhattan, but if you come tonight to Denise Bibro Fine Art in Chelsea, you'll see Angelou Guingon's "Golden Cows," which I selected as a curatorial choice, among others. I mean, what more could you want than candy colored houses, dayglo T-Rexes and cows that phone home? Come on, people. Get a mooooving!

(Disclaimer: No cows were hurt in the making of this painting)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Do- and Feel-good opportunity of the week


Visual Aids hosts its annual benefit auction, Postcards from the Edge at Metro Pictures this Saturday from 11AM - 7PM. With only a $5 suggested admission, and works priced at $75, it's well worth your time and money for this important cause. Some of the big names of note in the literally HUNDREDS of artists who are donating their work: Olaf Breuning, Louise Lawler, and Kiki Smith just to name a few. But interesting of note-- buyers will not be informed of the names of the artists that they are purchasing until after sale. Talk about evening out the playing field, and a great opportunity to let art be about art itself, and not necessarily name influenced even though this blogger just dropped some. Well worth your while.