Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Upstate road trip

 Sponge Bob and Patrick hitching a ride on the back end of a tractor trailer.

Yesterday, Mark DeLura, Peter Acheson and I made a road trip up to Saratoga Springs to visit the Jewel Thief exhibit at the Tang Museum and then to Greenwich, NY to visit Martin Bromirski's studio.  I'll focus specifically on Martin's studio visit in an upcoming post.  For now, here are a few images from the rest of our day:
 Images of the Saratoga Diner where we enjoyed an excellent breakfast for lunch.

two "disorienting" images of Richard Woods' "wood" flooring and Jim Hodges' greyscale camo.

The Jewel Thief exhibit at the Tang is co-curated by Jessica Stockholder and Tang curator Ian Berry features the work of 60 artists.  There are a handful of short videos of the artists and the curators speaking about their work on the museum's website.  The exhibit will remain on view through Feb 27.

Jörg Bivendørf @ kork for 3 more days

Just a few days more to catch foreign fashion impresario Jörg Bivendørf's safe for work centerfold at kork.

A Winter of Openings and Closings in Beacon NY

 The scene of VBG's final opening.
Beacon's December Second Saturday marked some beginnings and endings in Beacon, NY.  "One for the Road", a group show at the Van Brunt Gallery is the final exhibit for the gallery in a permanent space after some 8 years of operation (two of those years at the current location of 137 Main.)  The gallery is proper is going away, but a disembodied form of it will continue with occasional exhibits elsewhere - perhaps most frequently at the Upstairs gallery at Hudson Beach Glass where Carl is planning to organize an exhibition in January.  This current and final show at 137 Main St will remain open through December 30th.  With Van Brunt closing, the Back Room Gallery dons the mantle of  oldest permanent "gallery" in town (with the exception of the Howland Cultural Center).  Sometimes you simply can't predict these things.

That Saturday night I drove into town that from the South and spied a new apparently eponymous space called the Russell Cusick Gallery;  a cringe inducing drive-by of what I percieved from the car to be Thomas Kinkade-like paintings. Turned out they are photographic prints coated over(for some reason) with an impasto of clear acrylic medium.  Cusick's images of the Hudson Valley are featured in the Beacon Institute's gallery through March 6, 2011. 

My initial mission for the night was to check out the C. Bass International Fine Arts Co., a gallery located on the East end of Main St (498 Main), which opened stealthily in November and only came to my attention through an email from Karlos Carcamo who is represented by a piece in the inaugural show.

Astute fans of Gossip Girl might pick up on the allusion posed by the gallery's name.  Or maybe they won't. As stated in the initial press release, C. Bass Intl's projects "will encompass an interdisciplinary approach that references art history, cultural studies, material culture and popular culture."
The press release for the first exhibit was immediately distinctive for its language and the thoughtfulness behind the concept for the inaugural exhibit "Chapter 1: Ever after....", which concentrates on issues of appropriation.  The exhibition's installation itself is an appropriation of the manner of presentation of the Barnes Foundation. In this case, decorative/functional wrought iron pieces hand forged by blacksmith Gary Cheney Windham are dispersed throughout the gallery in and amongst the artworks (from the press release):  "The physical installation of the exhibition is reminiscent of the Barnes Foundation’s "wall ensembles" that include examples of decorative metalwork hung alongside masterpieces of painting such as Courbet’s Woman with White Stockings."
Artists featured in the exhibit are:  Peter Coffin, Elaine Sturtevant, Richard Pettibone, Wolfgang Berkowski, Andra Ursuta, Karlos Carcamo, George Wichelns and Cristina Leung.  This exhibition is open through Dec 29. There is no gallery website as of yet, but I have posted the first press release in a google doc. and will do so for future releases until I have a site to link to.
The gallery's next exhibit opening later in January will be a group show that addresses themes of revolution, protest, anarchy and utopia - framed through a lens inspired by a Jean Luc Godard film.  
I'm excited to see what gallery owner/director Cindy Smith will do with this space. I appreciate the level of intellectual rigor and spirit of experimentation I have gleaned from my conversation with her. I expect C. Bass to be a bright light in an otherwise dimming, dulling horizon for Beacon's visual art landscape. 

Chapter 1 Ever after...installation views 

In other news, after years of false starts and rumors of potential buyers, Beacon's old high school building which has been known as Beacon Studios for the past few years apparently has a flesh and blood new buyer and the sale is set to close this week (and perhaps has closed by the time this post is published.)  From what I gather, the new owner plans to develop a handful of pricey live/work condos while maintaining most of the occupancy of the artist studios currently in the building.  Like echos of yesteryear, it seems that future intentions of the prospective buyers include establishing a museum/art center of some sort in the building which would complement Dia:Beacon as an art destination.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day by Day, Done

 Some images of the densely packed advent calendar/ mini sculpture park that has been living and growing on my work table as I create a new sculpture (as an exchange for the minuscule pieces of chocolate hidden inside) each day of these last 24 days.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day by Day : Dec 19

wood, gypsum, latex paint, latex caulk

Oh Christmas Thing 2010

 To aggrandize the Christmas Thing with a plethora of photos from multiple angles goes against the existenstial raison d'etre that rests at its core. Poorly lit, blurry snaps of the piece leaving one unsure of what one is seeing, has been de rigeur in past years which seems to be the way it should be.

 But since the image quality of the online feed is even more indistinct, I thought I'd throw some bones for anyone who wanted to get the gist of what they're seeing. 
 So my plan is to stream the Christmas Thing Feed every evening (as long as I'm home to do it) until 10pm through Christmas Day. 

Online Streaming of the 2010 Christmas Thing. 7pm (EST) Today

Click here for details on Christmas Things past.

Update 12/19, 8 pm:  Hey everyone, thanks for tuning in to the Lighting stream.  I hope the audio levels were alright. As is usually the case, we had to scramble our plans a bit at the last minute and improv - but that's par for the course. 

As I said, this Thing is our own take on the televised yule log.  I'll be streaming the piece each night through  Christmas. 

I neglected to mention that the music your listening to now, and which was the intro and outro for the broadcast is called Latin Surf, courtesy of einLab.  Not exactly xmasy, but a catchy little groove.

Also, if you're into ice cream treats, check out my co-host Frits' company St Clair Ice Cream.  They're bite sized morsels of tasty tasty ice cream and sorbet.  I can attest that they are a hit at events and parties.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day by Day: Dec 18

 outdoor carpet, cardboard, construction adhesive

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day by Day: Dec 14

 plaster, copper

Oh Holy Mother of all Christmas Things!

Your Christmas season just got a little more wonderful:  I am hereby officially announcing The online broadcast of the Official Lighting of the 2010 Christmas Thing strait to your living room - or where ever else you can access it.  This momentous event which will be happening here at Kamp Maykr in Beacon, NY will be streamed LIVE online to the furthest corners of the globe at .
For the last few years at Christmas, I've been creating these assemblage/sculpture/holiday decoration contraptions that I've affectionately named the Christmas Things. 
If in looking at these things you don't quite get the spirit of the thing, let me explain this way: the Christmas Thing embodies my undying fondness of the season which has been informed by my mom's unmitigated passion for all things Christmas.  It also entails my perplexity at the fixation we have of very specific, visual traditions......Mix those aspects with an ambition to out-mundane and out-banal that televised yule log, and you've got yourself a Christmas Thing.
And now we're sharing the experience of the Christmas Thing with living rooms around the world.  This online broadcast will provide an added shot of good cheer, good neighborliness, and hopefully some good banter.  Be sure to tune in to at 7pm Eastern Standard Time on Sunday December 19 to share in the making of memories and maybe a little history.

I vow not to waste your time - for too long.
Stay tuned for details as they develop.

Ab Ex @ MoMA

Hans Hofmann, Cathedral, 1959
Upon first viewing MoMA's AbExNY show at the exhibit's opening at MoMA, my impression was that this work, Cathedral by Hans Hofmann was the rudest, rawest work on view in any of the galleries.  That ceased to be the case on my subsequent visits, but it's a piece that still embodies a fair degree of cacophony, especially following a the selection of Ad Reinhardt works in the preceding gallery. There is a rudeness in the paint application, and I like that the canvas is bulging under the weight of the paint near the bottom.  There's some wonderful gluttony behind this work.

 Memoria in Aeternum, 1962 to the right of Cathedral
Hans Hofmann has never been a favorite painter of mine.  His works always appeared to me to be more aides for teaching visual principles as opposed to a fully invested painting.  But what else is a painting if not a demonstration of visual principles. I also felt more of an affinity with amorphous forms and subdued colors of other artists' paintings than with Hofmann's garish geometric-inhabited pieces.  My opinion has changed, as has my visual sensibility, and I'm looking at Hofmann anew.  These two Hofmanns together pack a chromatic punch that is not quite equalled anywhere else in the exhibit.

Cathedral on the right with DeKoonings A Tree in Naples, 1960, on the left with an Ad Reinhardt in 
the next gallery in the center.
The exhibit has gotten criticism for not injecting any new evaluations that would challenge or tweak  the traditionally held narrative of that moment in art.  This viewpoint may well be valid, but for me that doesn't diminish the experience of this sprawling show in three parts that is, by and large, a treat to see.  

Bradley Walker Tomlin, Number 20, 1949

 Helen Frankenthaler, Trojan Gates, 1955

The Frankenthaler above is another striking piece, and one I hadn't seen before.  The granulated glossy black "gates" give the impression of being covered in glitter. For some reason this imagined quality made me immediately think of Martin Bromirski's work.  I was pleased that he considered this a positive evocation when I mentioned it to him a couple of weeks back - as it was intended as such.  

 The Inhabiter by Guston, 1965

 The Clock, by Guston, 1956-57
In the exhibition catalogue, Guston's "The Clock" reads as if it's a powerful 8"x10" work.  In reality, it's a  powerful work on a 5-6 ft scale.

 William Baziotes, Dwarf, 1947
Prize for the oddest painting in the exhibit goes to Baziotes's Dwarf.  Weird, and adorable.
The exhibit remains on view through Apr. 25, 2011.

Sunday, December 12, 2010