Friday, June 26, 2009

Go to Danese.

When I walk down 24th street in Chelsea, I'm usually pretty skeptical. This week was no different, until I happened upon a fabulous group show at Danese Projects, Forces of Nature. The show's title initally seemed kind of cliched, but after seeing the forceful work depicting and representing nature, I realized it was really a clear, consise, and descriptive way to talk about the work--not just an oblique and trendy catchphrase that looks good in an ARTNews ad.

My favorite piece in the exhibition was Andy Harper's Dry Tide, a muted, glazey oil painting that combined skilled figuration with that crafty "One Stroke Painting" technique I became so well versed in while working at Micheals Arts and Crafts. The show included a number of stand-out photographs, paintings and sculptures, and all in all displayed the gallery's clear point of view.

Go here: http://www.danese.com/Main/Introduction.html

Sunday, June 21, 2009

No, Your Mother Doesn't Work Here: Cleaning Up After Art

Let me start off with saying that I really enjoy Anselm Kiefer's work and 'Breaking of the Vessels' is a lovely piece that I have been attracted to since I first saw it at the St. Louis Art Museum as a kid and continued to see it over subsequent visits. In a way, this piece and I grew up together; it has seen me get bigger and surlier and I have seen it get... well, filthy.

In that pile of glass there are dust bunnies worthy of mounting on the wall of a lodge. There are gum wrappers, dead bugs, crumpled paper, and other miscellaneous blown-in leavings. And let's not forget the the crusty, dirty, smugged glass that is all in razor-sharp, shard form. This is a curatorial and conservation nightmare. If the whole thing were to be disassembled and cleaned, it would never be put back together the same way. On the other hand, if it is left as is... let's just say that you can't see the art through all the crud. Of course, that leads me to another question? Is the crud part of the sculpture? I am going to say 'no' since it started out all shiny and there have been minor attempts to spot clean over the years.
I am not going to say that artists should not make pieces that are impossible to maintain (I am not going to follow that rule) but I think that there should be some nod to the future conservation of any piece if it is supposed to be a permanent sculpture and not a temporary installation. Although it would be kinda funny to make a sculpture out of grapes, tissue paper, and puppies, just to see a museum deal with the mess. Take that future restorationists!! Muahahaha!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nanook of the Fuckin North.

Nanook of the North, the classic 1922 film about an Inuit family in northern Quebec, is usually discussed for its merits as an early documentary and as an example of directorial meddling and staging in a film sold as "reality" (little did we know back then how far MTV would take this premise a century later). But I'm going to discuss the title character and general Arctic badass, Nanook, as a sculptor. As seen in the screen shot above, in teaching his young son about hunting with a bow and arrow, Nanook carves two gorgeous little animal figures from ice for his son to shoot at (and comically miss). He even goes as far to dot their noses and eyes with little rocks and odd scraps! These are interesting examples of Inuit art, and proof that Nanook--expert hunter, igloo builder, and dad--really can do anything. In another scene, Nanook builds an igloo--in under and hour--and installs a clear ice window to allow in light. Artist, architect-- the man is a creative genius!

Also, let's talk about his pants. Do you fucking see them? He skinned a goddamn polar bear to make those--a POLAR BEAR. Remember PETA's unbelievably sexist "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign where they paraded hot naked babes all over town (which should have been called "I'd rather exploit women than wear fur")? I dare PETA to mess with Nanook--killer of polar bears and 300 pound seals--about his pants. But that's another discussion for a different kind of blog.

Cute and Affordable on Etsy: Kari Herer

Ah, summer.  What a perfect time to talk about beautiful flowers and reasonably priced art! When recently featured on one of my other favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy, the photography of Kari Herer came blazing onto my radar and has just been begging to be blogged about.

At left you see one of her delicate floral prints, a photograph of a flower and a drawing where the object and the depiction of it seamlessly flow together. The best part? You can own it for $25!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Video Killed the Painting Star

Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but anyone cruising the listings for grants, fellowships, and calls for work would have noticed the plethora of opportunities for video artists and other experimental media. I can understand the increased need for funds in this medium simply for no other reason than the fact that a video artist can't really sell the piece and consequently pay their rent with the proceeds. Still, it would be nice if most video/experimental work wasn't just some wanker jumping around with a camcorder while filming.

So what do you think is going to happen with video art? I have been having this discussion with a few people lately and I have a few predictions (anyone want to make bets?). First of all, as technology continues to become more and more mainstream, just using technology will not be significant enough to serve as the conceptual justification or qualifier to make something art. Essentially, no one will see the use of video as experimental or cutting edge anymore; it will just be a medium and it will be judged by how effectively that medium communicated the artist's intent and the artist's skill. With any luck, that will weed out most of the crappy videos.

And then the next new thing will come along and dominate the art funds. I have no idea what that could be. I feel like we have covered just about everything, except for animal artists. That would be amusing. The old, crazy cat lady would now be a leading patron of the arts. So go tape a crayon to your kitty's paw and get him started making you millions.

Don't Pull the Finger: Actual F***Arts

It was finally time to go there...

Performance Art has fuzzy definitions. It can be anything from picking up the garbage to crawling around naked in a tunnel of Vaseline. Most of the time, I think to myself, "yeah, sure, I could do that. I might have to burn my clothing and bathe in turpentine afterward, but I could do that." Well, being a Flatulist, an artist of flatulence and temporal bowel control, is something that will always be out of my grasp (God willing... I really do not want to go down in history as 'fart girl').

There is a long and illustrious history of performance f***art in Western Culture. Think back to your Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Ancient Lit, don't you remember mention of farters being the life of the party (don't look!! My inner nerd is showing!!)? This tradition was carried on into Court life; the king always had a professional f***artist on hand. And more recently, the artist known as Le P├ętomane (pictured here) thrilled Parisians at the Moulin Rouge. Just think of it: this guy on stage and Toulouse-Lautrec passed out on absinthe sitting next to you... must have been one heck of a time.

Contemporary F*artists include:
Mr. Methane
That guy on your freshmen floor

(bonus points to anyone who knows the name of the movie where a Le P├ętomane was GOV)

Doodles on My Noodle: John Casey's Creations

John Casey's work is delightfully disturbing. His drawings and sculptures walk that fine line between morbid and tapping into that fascination with our mortality and monstrous insides. I think they are interestingly psychological in that I look at them and find myself having a guttural reaction, not unpleasant, but a bit of a knot in my stomach. You know that feeling when you find a container of leftovers in the back of your fridge that has been there WAYYYYY too long and you know you need to clean it out? You know, that knot in your stomach (I am not talking about spewing here, just a bit of dread and trepidation)? It isn't that Casey's works are about death or are gory, but seeing segmented and deconstructed bodies does go to a place that is terrifying for most. Still, these drawings and sculptures are beautiful; I can't stop looking.

You should have a look, too: http://www.bunnywax.com/index.html

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Donors Should Choose

Anyone go to Donorschoose.org? If not, you should (unless you are a student or starving artist in which case this guilt trip is not meant for you.... or me, for that matter). But I do look at Donors Choose to imagine all the good causes that I could be contributing to if I did not have loans and aspirations of further education and health insurance. Whilst perusing the art listings, where teachers post requests for materials and goods that will aid in the art education of their students, I received quite a shock. After post after post for markers, pencils, books, and paper for high poverty schools, I came upon a request for an LCD projector (an expensive one) for a moderate, socioeconomically situated elementary school... to assist the students in experiencing art.

Am I the only one who is just a little offended by that? I mean, yeah, a nice big picture would be great for looking at pictures, but when compared to the actual mundane deficiencies at other schools... it just seems horrifyingly superfluous and taking away resources that could have been better used. Not to mention that a LCD isn't going to help a little kid experience art much more than a poster on the wall or a pic on the computer. And if we start nit picking, you only could truly experience video art on that projector (somehow I doubt they will be viewing the Cremaster Cycle in Ms. Mcgillicutty's 2nd grade class).

Anyway, I am stepping back down off my soapbox.

Go spend your money here: http://www.donorschoose.org/homepage/main.html?zone=0

Monday, June 8, 2009

So how was the Modern Wing opening?

Oh, you mean the one at the Art Institute of Chicago? Well, I mean, it was ok. You know? It was pretty ok. I guess. How's that for an answer.

1) The booklet. It's ok. I realize booklets are widely considered to be gauche, but the thing to remember is that lots of people still rely on the booklet so it is important. It's the first thing you get when you walk in the door. It's a museum's chance to bring art to the greatest amount of people, even if they have seem a little theme-parky. The first page of the booklet they gave at the doors to the museum and exhibit was titled "What to See in an Hour," and yikes, that was depressing. It was like a 99-cent menu for the history of artwork. Furthermore I didn't see any coherence or harmony amongst the menu items they chose... most of them were just really average. No excitement. It at least had El Greco's Assumption of the Virgin, which is a painting that kicks ass and takes names, but that was all.

2) The flow of the space. Did you hear that rumor that the museum is like a meat processing plant? That's is so ridiculous... because it's true. You do get milled through. Then, at the appropriate place for children, the elderly, and physically unfit young people like myself, they have benches, an espresso station, and bathrooms. I presume it will be a much more pleasant experience when there aren't a shitload of people milling about. I crushed them for your enjoyment.
3) The Special Exhibition room. It is a bunch of bullshit Cy Twombly. I mean, a little bullshit Cy Twombly is ok, everybody knows that he's only famous because of that crazy lipstick incident and all. Yep, I said it. Twombs can step to me. Previously, his un-kissed"masterpiece" was probably just some weirdo painting in the collection of some trustee. Seriously- try googling it and finding a mention or a good early image of Phaedras and you will believe me. That painting was like the little awkward racehorse in the stable of champions, a wee Seabiscuit of paintings amongst a collection of War Admirals! Then someone made out with Seabiscuit, and he became everybody's favie. Anyway, Twombly's here to stay and his paintings are ok. More than ok sometimes. But there is a ridiculous damn glut of Twomblys in this giant space, and they are hung really cramped together and awful.

4) The photography collection. Meh.

5) The Contemporary Art After 1960 rooms. AMAZING! They've got some really choice pieces by Margherita Manzelli, Kerry James Marshall, Robert Gober, Lucien Freud, Bruce Nauman, and Lisa Yuskavage, whom I also crushed for you.

6) The European Modern Art section had a nice view, but the collection itself was a mausoleum of musty old penis paintings. Mostly by Picasso. Swell, moving on.

All in all, it was pretty ok. I look forward to seeing some of those paintings again. Some. I'm appreciative that admission was waived for this event... you can't beat that. I would have enjoyed more awesome paintings like those first few groupings in the Contemporary section, but I'm mostly please with the 'tute. Or as it is now spelling itself in logo, "Institvte." Nice try, guys.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Hair Clock

See The Hair Clock.
Be glad you don't have to wake up to it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Art Fag City vs. New York Times: F***ART weighs in.

Art Fag City had it's own opinion about the New Museum's Younger the Jesus show, which critic Holland Cotter called out for being overly commercial in The New York Times this week.

Check out what AFC had to say (and how we here at F***ART responded) Here:   http://www.artfagcity.com/2009/06/02/whos-framing-a-generation/comment-page-1/#comment-150454

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Museum curators dealt it, The New York Times smelt it.

If you hate museum curators as much as I do (backstory: I used to watch the front desk at a small museum and those sons of bitches were so rude and full of themselves it was unbelievable), then you'll love what the New York Times has to say about The New Museum's clever "Younger than Jesus" show:

"The same biographies (of the artists included in the show) reveal that nearly all of these 33-and-under artists already have substantial careers in progress, with solo shows in commercial galleries, appearances in international surveys and so on. So this isn’t a promising-newcomer event. It’s a market-vetted product and one that, my guess is, entailed relatively little adventuring on the part of its organizers. That much of the work might easily have been found and delivered over the Internet may be the show’s most distinctive generational feature."

Aww, snap! I love it when major publications keep it real.

Read it all here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/arts/design/31cott.html?ref=design
Read more about why I hate curators here: http://effartblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/so-heres-photo-from-new-york-times.html

Lets's Paint TV: "Don't expect an ice cream cone when there's a hamburger in your face."

John Kilduff (aka Mr. Let's Paint TV) makes paintings in a suit while running on a treadmill, answering phone calls, and cooking. And he does it all in front of the camera (and sometimes a live audience at major universities, festivals, and on a few little shows you might have heard of--Tyra Banks, America's Got Talent). His performances and his message are like the yoga of making art: by pushing your body to it's limits, you free your mind (unlike yoga, however, with Kilduff's exercize plan you have a pina colada and a painting waiting for you afterwards).

Kilduff is a serious artist and an internet celebrity with boundless energy and a big personality. His show is completely mesmerizing and features everything from full-figured nudes (see photo above), to pyschdelic-computerized-backgrounds, to bizarre call-ins (from gang members, hecklers, you name it). The public-access version of the show met an untimely end last winter, but Let's Paint TV lives on via youtube and the Let's Paint TV website.

(PS-If you look him up on IMDB, you find the quote in the title of this post.)

GO HERE: http://www.letspainttv.com/