Monday, November 30, 2009


TMT: Too Much Thanksgiving. In the meantime, here’s info on large sheets of paper.

New York Central has a non-flimsy 44” x 60” Coventry rag vellum for $9.50. That’s a good price.

The better papers don’t go larger than 40” x 60” but they do go larger in price. I liked the 1114 lb. Lanaquarelle sheet going for $47.72 a sheet.

Some artists glue several large sheets together. I personally don’t like seeing the joints, however.

At Dieu Donné Papermill, you can custom order a 7 foot by 12 foot sheet for something like $1500. I’ll wait until I have a gallery that can pay for that.

In terms of presenting such surfaces, I did see paper that was mounted on stretched canvas. This was appealing because the texture wasn’t stuck behind glass. At the same time, too much texture can come across as precious or craft-like.

Monday, November 23, 2009

One of the best shows of the decade?

(Carroll Dunham, (Hers) Night and Day, #5, 2009)

Dear Jerry,

I really like you. You remind me of my first shrink. In fact, you’re so familiar, you’d fit right in at our Thanksgiving.

Also, I really appreciate your stats on women in the art world, and the way you keep your eye fresh.

And I just loooove your wife.

But, Jerry.

I mean, I like Carroll Dunham, ok. I like the vigor and the cartoon quality, especially in the drawings. And his imitation wood too. Plus, he seems like a pretty smart guy. Like in the Brooklyn Rail this month.

Your colleague at the Times liked the show a lot too. He said something about an alternative to a male-dominated world. But, I don’t know, mega twats still seem like a male perspective to me. I guess he has a right to his opinion, though.

But, come on, Jerry. One of the best shows of the decade?

All my arguments against the show (the offensive holes, the ugly stylized landscape, the graceless lines, the depthless color, the redundant imagery, the clumsy composition) seem to be part of the point (the dominance of pornography, the nude in art history, high and low esthetics). This leaves me with only one thing to say. I don’t like ‘em and I’m upset you do.

Please come to my show in May anyway.

Molly Stevens

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fleshy flesh

(Philip Guston, Untitled, circa 1969-1973)

Yes of course it’s worth it to go all the way to 57th Street to see the show of small paintings by Philip Guston at the McKee Gallery. I like to see how Guston was always working through questions about images and marks – about self and being; the exhibition presents the repeated imagery that became the artist’s personal vocabulary for his searching. Also, the vigorous brushstrokes teach me that he would push around the paint until his lines and shapes sat solidly on the canvas.

Down the hall, at Edwynn Houk, a show of Brassaï’s photographs from the 30s echo Guston’s human touch. Here are pictures of people being people. Their flesh is fleshy, their feelings are on their face, their un-self-consciousness is reflected in mirrors. And these are certainly pictures of a time past, hats, lipstick, waiters and all. You know that imminent war meant a last hurrah. What remains is fleeting tenderness, moments of interaction, subtly joyous, unhappy and sad.
(Brassaï, Au Bal Musette, Les ‘Quatre Saisons’ Rue de Lappe, 1932)

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's newish on DVD

Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)
Real good. A documentary about an 80s metal band that has just never quite made it, but is still trying heart and soul after thirty years. The movie has a similar vibe as The Wrestler: the catharsis of role playing and letting your hair down (literally); the struggle to penetrate an industry and get recognized; fading youth. Is the passion pathetic or admirable? Who’s this artist to judge.

Beauty in Trouble (2006)
No good. The moral of this Czech film is that there are some guys you just want to fuck. Fine. The leading actress is pretty.

Treeless Mountain
Real heartbreaking. A film made by the Korean-American directress So Yong Kim (in Korean) follows two sisters (age sixish and fourish) left by their mother with family members outside the urban center they know. The camera remains essentially at child-height, which along with the many close-ups, points sharply to the psychological effects of a mother-child non-bond. Magical thinking, separation anxiety, and parental narcissism – all over again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Web Presence

I have a very spiffy new website. Please take a look. It really pays to go professional. If you’re on the lookout for a designer, I recommend Alda.

Also, they say Facebook is good for the career. So, I’ve started a fan page, which you can join by clicking that thing on the sidebar. I wish I had known about the fan page before I set up a personal page. I hope to get out of the latter soon.

I learned that Facebook viewing stimulates the same part of the brain as cocaine. I believe it. Last night, after a day of this madness, the words were jumping up and down in my book. Mama mia.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roberta Report

I went warily to hear Roberta Smith speak last week, because she has become such a standard, a voice in my mind; I didn’t want to leave disappointed, like I did when I went to hear Al Green in Coney Island a few years back. I didn’t.

She spoke in metaphors and a lot about how art making and art viewing is an experience, albeit a mysterious and personal one, requiring not only self-awareness but awareness in general. In fact, she said art was a way to become conscious. It’s true. I had never put it into words like that and that will stick with me as a reason why I love/hate it so.

Her personal path was familiar: love, terror, depression, therapy, terror, therapy, turning thirty-five, coming in to her own voice. In terms of the power she wields, she spoke of it mostly in terms of credibility; that if she hadn’t built up the latter, she would not have so much of the former. She also put it into perspective, reminding us that what she does is ephemeral; an artwork has the potential to last much longer than the weight of her words. That’s true. Still, I wouldn’t want a bad review from her.

I went up to her at the end, and told her that her writing “sustained” me. That was a little hokey, sure. But, I’m glad I told her.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This is my favorite commercial viewed during the playoffs and World Series.

For its vivid description of what we see, this is my favorite passage in Peter Schjeldahl’s article on Arshile Gorky in last week’s New Yorker.
Textures of intensely sensitive touch, making forms quiver and squirm, are the most eloquent element in late Gorky.Color comes second, yet it, too, is extraordinary, evoking bodily wounds and inflammations and ungraspable subtleties of nature. Drawing, though busily abundant, feels incidental, like fleeting thoughts of a mind in the grip of an extreme emotion.