Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Artist's Talk, This Saturday

Please come, dear readers!

Not conceptual No: the inner and outer languages of text-based art

In this presentation, Molly Stevens will survey how text has been used in art as a declarative, psychological and a visual form of communication. She’ll discuss the likes of Jenny Holzer, Matt Mullican, Jean-Luc Godard
as well as her own work in video, drawing and signage.

Slag Gallery
548 West 28th Street, 2nd fl.
(Between 10th and 11th Ave.)

January 31, 5pm

Slag Gallery is pleased to announce bimonthly gallery events.

Slag Gallery, since its opening in summer 2008, has focused on presenting contemporary works by emerging Eastern European artists who have minimal exposure in the United States. This year, in addition to that focus, the gallery will begin featuring works by international artists in all media.

And standing behind of our commitment to function as an experimental artists’ space, we are happy to announce bimonthly gallery events where artists, curators and other cultural producers will present, share their ideas and works, including film, video and live performance. Especially in a time that many galleries are closing and arts funding are being severely cut or eliminated, Slag believes that the significance of these events will create new dialogs and give an informative platform for everyone involved—from presenter to audience.

The events will be curated by Özkan Cangüven, Assistant Director at Slag Gallery

Monday, January 26, 2009

Totally Grody

I saw the grossest movies this weekend, all from the early 2000s.

During each one, I kept saying to myself, “I should turn this off,” and yet I was unable to. They each had a pornographic pull; the magnetism of outrageous that makes you feel disgusting after.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of heavy, heavy movies. In fact, I tend to want heavy in anything I watch. But heavy has to be blended with humane to be fulfilling, to be truthful in a way that doesn’t make you want to commit suicide.

I can deal with painful, heart-wrenching, even hopeless – but there has to be an ounce of human-to-human connection in there. That that connection would survive in the difficult circumstance being described, is what makes something livable, beautiful.

So, don’t see: Requiem for a Dream, Thirteen, or 21 Grams.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Painting and Government

I really like ceremonies. They mark the beginning, the end, and that’s very soothing. Especially when it’s the beginning of Obama and the end of Bush.

Regarding yesterday’s inauguration, aside from Obama’s address, and the Reverend Joseph Lowery at the end, I was especially taken in by the fact that before the luncheon began, someone introduced a painting – Thomas Hill’s “View of the Yosemite Valley” on loan for the occasion from the New York Historical Society (very much like this Hill painting above).

All these politicians stood looking at an image as a useful vision, as something to respect as a way of seeing things. In this case, they were being asked to look at a long perspective, a landscape, a vision of the unknown, but not without hope (it is green, after all, and beautiful).

That was very cool, I thought. I guess that’s what they mean by integrating the arts into the way we function as a society.

Monday, January 19, 2009

If I do say so myself

With a group of artists friends, we're whipping together an application for one of LMCC's Swing Spaces (temporary exhibition space).

I wrote this email, and if I do say so myself, sounds pretty good!

I would maybe avoid words like "globalism" and "diversity," because I think they are a bit dated. We all know this is a global, diverse world at this point. It's really just semantics though, because the idea about converging, overlapping, interconnected cultures, expressions - about difference and commonality - is really the same.
This is what I've been reading/thinking about that interests me : We are past "movements" in art, there is really no "next thing." What's artists can offer now is a wide selection of viewpoints, a non-clarity about the world as it really is, and yet a inter-connectedness about the world as it really is. What this group of artists (us), who have converged in NY, can do is complement each other, fill in pieces of a picture.

Please note, my artist's talk date will be on January 31 (not January 24). More on this on Wednesday.

And when was the last time you thought about George Segal?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Anti-rush art

Collage has been a very popular way to combine text and image.

I love what the Cubists and Dadaists did with it. The text is so subtle in this Picasso. And I’m attracted to the way it’s hand-written, as opposed to printed.

I had an art teacher back when I was a teenager who showed me a way to look at Cubist works. She suggested I stare at the piece until the planes and the lines popped up and became dimensional. It’s kind of like going to the eye doctor and looking at one of those optical illusions. It takes so time staring, but it blows my mind. I’ve loved the stuff ever since.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rembrandt and Rourke

I fall for the hit-rock-bottom-but-rise-back-up scenario. I really do.

In Friday's Times, Holland Cotter had an interesting article about how art can look differently depending on when we see it.

He says regarding Rembrandt,
But art changes all the time, according to what’s going on around it. Now I was looking at Dutch painting from inside an economic collapse, with a market on the rocks and Gilded Age revealed as fool’s gold. The art looked different.

Rembrandt, it seems, lost everything – he was on top of the world, and then fell to the bottom. But, he kept on going.

Cotter says,
Living in near-poverty, public reputation shot, with nothing to gain or lose, Rembrandt was painting in a fresh way because he was painting mostly for himself.

He ends somewhat sentimentally, but I fall for it:

I’m not saying hard times alone produced this painting. Rembrandt and art are so much more complicated than that. But when he was put to the test by circumstance, he somehow turned catastrophe into opportunity; turned his weakness into strength. From almost nothing — a little paint, a stretch of cloth, a freed-up mind and an unembarrassed heart — he made this.

The same is true of Mickey Rourke it seems. He found fame early and then became a real asshole, but then he lost everything - EVERYTHING. Then, through psychotherapy (APPLAUSE), he came out the other side, slowly but surely. One result: The Wrestler.

Frankly, I find it inspiring. I don't really want to romanticize that route, but... ok, I do want to.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Feeling like Weegee

One of the magazines I translate for has given me a press pass! I don’t really know how I can use it. If anyone has any ideas…. Seems powerful to me, though. Think I can get studio visits with it? How about a spot on the roster of the next Whitney Biennial?

Normal blogging to resume soon, hopefully. Experiencing blog block of late.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sign of the times

The January issue of Artforum is a mere half-inch thick (compared to a weighty inch) due to decreased advertising. You can read a whole article about the phenomenon here in the Times today.

This means I can probably read it in bed this month without cutting my legs or cramping my arms. It also means that I’ll have less of a sense of what’s going on, and will have to wing it a bit more.