Monday, June 28, 2010

High Flying Shrigley @ CCS

The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College is sailing under a new more than one sense.  Coinciding with the recent openings of exhibits in the CCS and Hessel Museum galleries, a new flag/artwork by David Shrigley was sent up the flag pole.  Shrigley's flag is the fourth ( I believe) in a series of rotating artworks, Frank Benson and Rachel Harrison are among the other artists who have created flags.

It's difficult to capture the full message of the flag in photographs.  Below is a video I shot last week:

Additionally, art historian and writer Johanna Burton has been named Director of the Curatorial Studies Graduate program.  Burton succeeds Maria Lind who held the position since 2008.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Poor Substitute

Last night while watching Bravo's Work Of Art (#workoFart), I was suddenly reminded that some fifteen years ago, the network's programming actually consisted of art.  This realization hit me during a commercial promo featuring all of the character's from Bravo's reality shows.  What a difference a decade and a change in ownership can make.  It's a change that, seems a natural progression - all things devolve, but this current nod to culture, but Work Of Art, this cheap facsimile of the creative process processed, through it's very presence ironically points to this past of showcasing quality work,  in a space that was more free from commercial constraint.  There was an inherent commitment to culture apparent in the nature of the network. In it's more distant former self, the network aired performance arts programs and independant films.  I think the first time I was introduced to Cirque du Soleil was via Bravo.  Not that I think Cirque is the pinnacle of anything - it is simply indicative of the potential for discovery the channel offered, airing things that could be found nowhere else.  The final vestage of the old Bravo that has carried over into more recent history is Inside the Actor's Studio, which itself probably has gone on too long, having long since exhausted all possibilities of finding worthy interview subjects.  While it is funny that the current Bravo is a Bizarro World version of the old Bravo, Work of Art as a campy, trashy dip into the artworld, in light of my recent recollection, it's really just pathetic.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dirt Floor Gallery Inaugural Exhibit Opens June 26, 2010

photo of Dirt Floor during the Beacon Open Studios in Sept, 2009.

Dirt Floor Gallery is Beacon's latest gallery project and the folks behind it are artists Marsha Aliaga, Stephen Ray Dickens and Greg Slick.
The gallery is housed in Marsha and Stephen's garage at 56 Church St in Beacon, NY.  The two of them exhibited their works in the space for last year's Beacon Open Studios, at which point they mentioned their intentions to turn it into a project space.
The first show, The Beast Within which opens on Saturday, June 26 with a reception from 7:30-10:30 pm features three artists: Marko Mäetamm, Michael X. Rose and Caroline Ruttle, all of whom had exhibited at Go North, the gallery Greg previously ran with Karlos Carcamo.
The exhibit will run through July 17.  The gallery will be open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month and by appointment.
For more information, email  Here's the exhibition press release.

Michael X. Rose "Rhino Snow Beast Queen Maud Mountains, Antartica, 1911", oil on canvas, 24" x 36"

Preparations for exhibition openings at CCS Bard | Hessel Museum, Saturday, June 26, 1-5pm

One my of recurring day jobs is installing exhibitions at the CCS Bard| Hessel Art Museum.  We're entering the final week of a month of preparations for two exhibits that will be opening Saturday, June 26.

Philippe Parreno has taken over the CCS galleries, converting the space into two screening rooms as part of a series of retrospectives that has been travelling around Europe.  Parreno's exhibit at CCS is curated by Maria Lind.  In addition to the two works, Jan 8, 1968 (2009) and Anywhere Out of the World, (2000) on exhibit at CCS, a special screening of Zidane: A XXIst Century Portrait (2006) will be held at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck on Sunday, June 27 at noon.
Vernissage TV has posted footage from a very different installation for the Zurich iteration of the retrospective.

Over in the Hessel Museum galleries, Matthew Higgs has curated selections from the Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Collection in an exhibit called At Home/Not At Home.

More details of the exhibitions, the openings and transportation from NYC to the openings can be found in the press release.

The artmaking simply never stops

I guess it's a bit of an homage to Peter Iannarelli's incursion into my studio last year and claiming as his own sculpture an arrangement I made for gluing some artwork that I am now more keen to notice the geometric and material beauty of these contraptions.
I'm so taken with the one above that I'm loath to dismantle it to retrieve the two works at the very bottom which are being glued and clamped by the combined weight of the objects uptop.  The interleaved layers, forms and colors are all clean and tangibly appealing.  The color variations between cardboard, brown paper and plywood are subtle and speak to some intention that is out of my hands.  Also the stacking feels elegant to me and I'm taken by the presence of it in the center of the room.  Of course it's a very traditional shape progression of a series of geometric plinth forms topped by an almost torso form.

It takes far less than all of these qualities for anything to remain on my floor for any extended period, so here it will stay for my own pleasure for sometime to come.

 Another arrangement of weights for gluing purposes.

Of course, having said all of the things above, I'm not readily taking credit for these "creations".  I'm just reaping the pleasurable rewards of a process that bears fruit beyond that which is intended.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Meet yer Maykr: Lauri Lynnxe Murphy

Lauri Lynnxe Murphy has been a staple in the Denver art scene for some twenty years.  She's had her finger as a member/and or founder of a number of artist initiate groups and venues throughout the city.  Lauri is preparing for a change as she is shipping of to Ohio later in the year to embark on the MFA adventure.  In preparation for this pending event, LLM is holding an all out clearing sale this weekend in the wonder emporium she calls a studio.While in Denver last November, I stopped into the Curtis Park garage to pick up her kork advent contribution (Dec 3.) (Previously, in July of last year, LLM cultivated a heretofore unknown life form on the board of
Below are images from my brief studio visit:

 The space is pretty enormous, and although it has been shared among (three people, I think) there's no doubt that LLM's projects take up the bulk of the space.  The density of materiel and the breadth of projects made this joint feel particularly homey for me.

I likes me that herringbone pattern - in whatever form it takes.

I think this is when, overwhelmed, I started getting dizzy.

Several days prior to my studio visit,  LLM had an opening at Plastic Chapel which I was able to take in, accompanied, by chance, by fellow Beacon (and kork) artist, Elia Gurna.  The exhibit consisted of a menage of wall mounted roccoco wormlike tubers that had a very rococco quality.

On Colfax, a walking version of an LLM work in the micro blizzard that greeted us on leaving the show.

Lauri is currently organizing and curating the exhibit Objectophilia which is opening on June 30, 2010 and is part of the Biennial of the Americas being held in Denver during the month of July.

Here's a link to all of the Meet yer Maykr studio visits over at

Yes, Yes. I'm listening....

Missive #65, 2009

I began listening to books on tape while working on painting jobs back in the 90's.  The books provided fertile ground for my mind during the hours upon hours I spent alone in nearly automatic physical work.  Now I listen to a spate of podcasts and some audio books on my ipod.  (My ipod and my Netflix subscription are the two single most life "enhancing" accessories I've acquired in this century.)
I don't have so much uninterrupted alone time in which I can listen, but listen I do, when commuting, or doing dishes, or some of my more repetitive studio tasks.  I imagine that at times, the level of listening to programs reaches that point of distraction to which President Obama referred recently.  And it's true, the reason that I listen, mostly, to be informed, to be entertained, and experience many of the books I should have read in high school but never did.  Occasionally, a particularly heady mix can be overwhelming, especially if it sends me on an inspired train of thought relevant to some current work at a moment when I'm otherwise engaged and can only scratch out a few lines of notes, and hope I can remember to revisit the topic later when I can flesh it out a bit.
But I'm interested in stories, ideas and how some ideas can cross over,  form, and inform others, and how those are then transmitted to yet others in a multiplying effect.  ( I'm always fascinated by the viral and the ambulatory potential of concepts.

So here's a sampling of the programs I listen to regularly (and support financially as I able):

A variety of Public Radio programs, particularly Fresh Air, Science Friday, This American Life, The Story, APM's Marketplace Money
Bob Edwards Weekend is informative and pleasurable most of the time, and It's great to hear this voice again after he was unceremoniously kicked to the curb by NPR several years back.  Along with all the interviews he does, he's picked up the This I believe banner on which NPR was doing segments for a time.  Virtually week in, week out Edwards and TIB executive producer Dan Gediman dig into the audio archives of the Edward R. Murrow program dating from the 50's ...classic high minded/ high ideal sort of stuff.
I dig Studio 360 as it's the only nearly main stream broadcast program that covers visual arts on a consistent basis - and there's usually something provoking within each episode.
Bad at Sports is a weekly staple of my art thought diet, while Sound Opinions is my Monday morning commute ritual.
The Moth is another treat - fairly short episodes of people telling their own stories to a live audience.  This one runs the gamut from hilarious to heartwrenching, and there's rarely a dud that makes it through.  In a way, it's a mini capsule of much of that which is good in what This American Life offers.

I've just started listening to the Poetry Foundation's Avant-Garde All the time podcast hosted by Kenneth Goldsmith.  I wrongly resisted listening to this for a while (for no good reason), even hough I deeply appreciate all the treasures held within the online archive of  I guess I feared that I'd be mired in a rambling collage of obscure sound bites...and although I enjoy poetry (theoretically), much as with the commitment of viewing video art, I feel I have to be prepare myself for whatever it may demand of me - and that's not an easy thing to do if I'm doing the dishes or something else.  I need not have worried though, and I should have checked it out much sooner given how much I enjoyed Goldsmith's talks at Dia:Beacon, and how I've come to respect him as a deeply thoughtful dude and excellent communicator.  In the couple of episodes I've listened to thus far, Goldsmith narrates you through a collection of audio works from the archive, presenting either snippets of recorded pieces.  His contextualization sets the tone and, I find, is a great impetus to dig deeper through the website for other works.

Another program I look forward to each week is Marketing Over Coffee.  The two hosts, John Wall and Christopher Penn, meet each week to record at a Dunkin Donuts put on an informative, easy to listen show.  I find this podcast interesting on a technical side as I look at how I may use the internet for promoting my work and, certainly networking, but also as a way to consider using online infrastructure as a conceptualized delivery system for projects and artwork - like last December's advent project.  The scope of the show is very specialized and might be too "inside baseball" for those not engaged with the topic, but I get something out of it when I listen...And best of all, unlike other podcasts that may hold some value for me if I can wade through the untidiness of the presentation, these guys don't waste my time, they have a good personal rapport, they banter, but they stay on point with their topic - and it's a reward for the listener. 
With that unsolicited endorsement out of the way, do I want to thank the pair for mentioning me and my website on their program.  During an episode, they mentioned they had a physical mailing address in the unlikely event anyone preferred to send snail mail, so a Missive postcard (pictured at the top of this post) was dispatched forthwith.   They rightly interpreted the piece as stacks of jeans and puzzled over that fact.  For a period of time, long ago, I worked at the Levi's store on 59th & Lex in NYC and Missive #65 is made up of  fragments of photos I took in the store... a little behind the artwork secret secret for you.  These postcards are collages of old snapshots and are like my history remixed, and mashed-up.

Looking at my list, there are loads of podcasts that have gone dormant, or ....
There are several podcasts relating to certain university courses, various art related lecture/roundtable series like the Frieze Art Fair, SVA's visiting critic talks (this is a video pod) available on Itunes U.  There are various museum podcasts which at times can be interesting, but often sound like they are pandering to a novice audience.  SFMOMA, or the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle are included in this list.  The National Gallery will intermittently post some great talks.   MoMA's podcast posting on Itunes U has long gone dormant, and I'm really disappointed by this.  There are some great talks in their online archive and on Itunes U.  The Tate Modern's Tate Events is, by sheer volume, the best maintained Museum podcast., dense with hour upon hour of potentially dry as dust dissertations and talks, but often there are some real great moments worth listening to. One of my favorites was a conversation with Lawrence Weiner in Feb 2008 (many of the presentations are archived on the Tate's website as videos which is a plus for some presentations.  lacking the visuals.

Also on the video podcast side (which is great when riding the train) are Tedtalks, Vernissage TV, Coolhunting.
Several of the above programs are non profit and depend on support from listeners, and I have, when possible, directed a couple of bucks their way.

Alright, that's about enough...but now you know what I'm listening to.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Out and about in the naked city

This Spring has been a season of supreme nudeness.  Between Marina Abromovic at MoMA, Carolee Schneeman at the Dorsky Museum in New Paltz (through July 25), Tania Bruguera at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, NY.  Robert Curcio, who was co-organizer on the ill fated SiteLines in Beacon art Fair produced the cringe inducing Great Nude Invitational 2010 nude art fair held in mid May.
I ran into fellow Beacon artist, Winston Roeth, at the Beacon Post Office recently, and he, by chance is the only abstract artist represented in an exhibit entitled Naked at the Jensen Gallery in Auckland New Zealand.
Antony Gormley's figurative nude sculptures that constitute Event Horizon caused an uproar initially, not because of their buckness but their resemblance to suicidal jumpers

After spying folks sizing up the casts of the artist's body, I took in the April 14th opening of Harvey Tulcensky's installation at the Center for Book Arts (on view through June 26.)
Tulcensky's Notebook Project is a shallow corridor consisting of 50 accordian sketchbooks filled with dense scribbles made with black ink ballpoint pens arrayed on two facing walls forming a narrow corridor.
The resulting effect of these otherwise humble objects was almost magical with the mellowed yellow hue of the paper and the iridescent sheen of the ink taking on the bearing of intricately gilded screens with an architectural heft.  The the transcendant shimmery-ness does not translate well in the photos I snapped.

A few days later, I made a quick round of gallery visits in Chelsea.
The highlight of the day for me was an exhibit I nearly walked by: Norbert Prangenberg at Betty Cuningham Gallery.  Prangenberg's small paintings are beautiful with a subtle weirdness.  This was an understated but exhilerating show of painting, and I'm happy to catch it.  Equally understated is the artist in his conversation with John Yau in the Brooklyn Rail (via twocoatsofpaint.)

In contrast, an exhibit which garnered a lot of attention was Amy Sillman's Transformer (or how many lightbulbs does it take to change a painting?) at Sikkema Jenkins.  Given the amount of laudatory response to this show, I found it competent, predictable and not so captivating.  There were a couple of stand outs in a back gallery, the large,predominantly orange, Shade, accompanied by a wonderful pair of tiny paintings. Sillman's work here was not simply an evocation of the moves and manners of dead white men like Guston and Diebenkorn, it was a full on channeling of them, and I had a hard time getting past this aspect.
The most effective and interesting part of the exhibit was also its most superfluous.  A zine available for $1 (on the honor system) complete with pull out poster and accompanying cd was direct, humorous and - to me - offered up a truly personal statement from the artist in a way the paintings and drawings didn't.  The zine was wholly complete and could work as a stand alone piece, but its presence in this exhibit appeared to me to have the purpose of augmenting the rest of the exhibit with an overlay of conceptual currency, which felt like an unneeded reach. The zine also seemed to work as an unintentional apologia for the embarrassing, anachronistic endeavor of painting. 
I guess this sounds harsh. It's a fine show.  But unlike Prangenberg's exhibit, this one felt less about the work of an artist and more about the artist's postion among other artists.