Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Finished the Steve Martin's book a few weeks ago but can't muster up a full review. I am satisfied that it bears little resemblance to my novel. Phew! True, it is about the recent art world in New York but its form is fairly bland and contemporary. It is certainly more sad than it is funny and I wonder what his impetus for writing it was. He is a collector and a man with two brains. That is all I know. The story about a determined young woman gallerist is compelling but I found the narrator's side comments the most revealing about the art world. At one point, he mildly disses young artists whose work is OK but always somewhat derivative no matter how hard they try. That covers about 90 percent!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It has become glaringly apparent that no new art history teaching is coming my way. Academics and I don't agree. Not that I mind unemployment. Not having a job allows one to create stuff all the time. Having said that, it would be nice to have a gallerist interested all the time. So, I'm back to betting on my book about the Philadelphia Art World or lack thereof, Work Shy. Is thereof a word? Nevermind. Constant research of similar writing: I am reading Steve Martin's book, A Thing of Beauty. It is not bad and humorous. Mostly about high end auction houses though. I was afraid he'd beat me to the punch. Maybe I should send him the manuscript (for tips on an agent) or perhaps a CD of art images. He knows what he's talking about!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
There was a serious concentration of unknown artists at Scope this year – as it should be. My own personal theme developed quickly (around text) as I checked out the booths aware that I was not going to make it to the Armory Show on the convenient shuttles. What is the need of seeing 600 artists in one day? Better to soak up one small satellite fair. The highlight was the inflating/deflating Corinthian column that appeared to be alive and breathing! It was cast rubber from a real building in Singapore. An uncanny, post-colonialist comment? This unusual piece was only bested by the life-like chairman Mao stuffed into a glass fronted, Coke Machine. What a perfect place for a comment on consumerism enveloping all socialistic mindset. Disturbing ala Italian, artist Maurizio Cattelan or Japanese artist, Yasumasa Morimuri. The poor woman next to me thought it was a real human being! She calmed only after I told her it was fabricated from resin, and not a preserved corpse. Besides, his head was way too big. Another performance piece exemplified intense work ethic at Gallery G-77. Young, Japanese artist, Hiroki Tsuchida (b. 1985) was literally, chained to her own sculpture, a large cartouche shaped mirror. Talk about suffering for your work! This rubbing of shoulders between neo-concept and unadulterated market forces made me queazy.
I was looking for Philadelphia galleries (as usual) but instead found the artist, Wendy Wolf, now based in Boston. She was showing at Fitzroy Knox Gallery and Scope for the first time. I’d remembered her images at Mt Airy Contemporary a few years back; small brush marks morphed into bio-forms that seemed to be living. Unlike water-soluble ink on conventional paper that sinks in, Wolf’s ink sits on top of the plastic radiograph paper. The affect emulates radiological imaging (brain scans) giving the work a medical or scientific resonance. It’s a great twist on the standard premise of the photograph replacing drawing!
My preoccupation with assemblage was exemplified by an unassuming piece in a dark corner by Jeffery Allen Price; a small work of up-cycled cleaning products. He’d fashioned worn out sponges into States of the U.S. This was a grungy, yet beautiful ode to kitchen grime. More text showed up at Parlor Gallery of Asbury Park from artist Ray Geary. These were sweet and affordable, paperweights that read VICE and WANT; made of money and pills, respectively, encased in clear Lucite. Pop music was referenced as the afternoon proceeded. At Galleria Ghetta, British artist, Chris Gilmore’s cardboard replicas of the Beatles’ instruments brought up several contemporary obsessions. Even more neo-Christian Markley was the die-cut vinyl record portraits of punk musicians and rock stars by artist, Keith Haynes at Wolff Gallery, London. Images of those four guys from the Hard Day’s Night album cover hit the nail on the head. He also used cut out records to spell All You Need Is Love; perhaps a tad arch but a lot more interesting than merely re-purposing LP’s into bowls and ashtrays. In another space, a similar piece made by another artist used an iconic image of Jimi Hendrix composed of colored pills. The druggy metaphor was a little heavy handed but the execution was effective. It must have been commissioned by a global pharmaceutical firm.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
There are certain presumptions that run through the film, JG by British artist, Tacita Dean that derail her objective though she certainly gets an A plus for effort. At face value, the film, although purportedly about film itself (its physical development as a medium), is an homage to British writer, JG Ballard, known mostly for his Science Fiction and mythic artist, Robert Smithson, re-known for Spiral Jetty. Smithson is not just any artist and Ballard, not just any SF writer; so, what is the connection to the film? Known as the American, Philip K. Dick, Ballard’s pervasive influence is casually referred to as Ballardian. The objective of JG is complex and so is the resulting film but essentially it is trying to conjure the same sphere of mystical invention as the other two. Dean does not succeed fully no matter how technically intricate and well constructed her film. Her explanation is that JG is about the nature of film and its coming demise. But how does it address the transition between the magical filmic photographic process to dullest digital? For that, I believe, you must unravel the future and not just the past; perfect subject for Ballard! Somehow Dean gets bogged down in technicalities and even actual film “sprockets.” This seems facile and illustrative. The mandala's coil and Salt Lake's crystals referenced in the film are interesting particularly if Smithson was inspired by Ballards’ 1960 Science Fiction story, The Silence of Time, now out of print – apparently, Smithson owned the book at the time of his tragic, early death in 1973. However, the depth of Ballard’s influence isn’t explored enough. Had the JG included more voice-overs from both Ballard's story and Smithson’s detailed diaries, the precise intersect might have been made more evident.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Lately, I've been trying to navigate all the social networks I can figure out in order to seek gainful employment. It is a pointless merry-go-round but it is good to hear from friends even if they don't become future bosses. Discovered I need a PHD in order to teach classes I have been teaching for the past 6 years! What a kick in the head. Planning to attend CAA next month in NYC to see if I can dig a buck out of the woodwork. Perhaps I will meet up with some old college mates now in positions of power who'll give us a job.
Monday, December 10, 2012
It may be the Hannukah-Headcold or the Holiday-Blues, but I'm feeling alternatively morbid and exuberant depending on the content of my self-prescribed cold medicine. Hearing about the shutting (this year) of many new galleries while other venues seem to dodge the bullet and head for the Art Fair in Miami, gives me pause. I wonder who selects who and why. Factoring in the element of "aging out" of the scene, I have been thinking I would be content to continue to make work without any visibility at all. However, but I will stop kidding myself that success is just around the next bend. It is a battle to stay afloat, regardless. Happy 2013!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
This summer I had the priviledge of collaborating with talented artist and friend, Nick Cassway. He is also my techno-coach whenever I lacked the desired skills to navigate the cloudy thing. Nick is a 70's guy while I may prefer the 60's. As we worked together on his ongoing published art zine, This Is Not a Test, we became distracted by one of my recent pop songs. He was not aware I am a genius. He insisted we make a video. This can be seen on YouTube under Nick Cassway videos or the band, Clarksville, "Everybody's Drowning." I am the one in the sailor's cap. Who'd have thought I had such stage presence! Finally, Nick helped me design my piece for internet mag format. It is a poetic text piece, an eight page spread that mentions Mick Jagger for some random reason. You may search this out as well on googly. I have bought two and use one for publicity. It looks damn professional and should be on sale at an Art Fair near you after we have passed on.