Thursday, September 29, 2005

Laylah Ali, Genji Monogatari

Genji Monogatari, about 1120, originally uploaded by Bromirski.
Missed most of last Friday's Art:21, after Susan Rothenberg I fell asleep (not necessarily a reflection on Susan, I was just wiped out). Who else was profiled? I hope I didn't miss Arturo.
I'm still thinking about Laylah Ali from the week before, very appreciative of her oddness and intensity. The extremely careful and subtle deliberation of her figure's colors, expressions, and gestures has me considering her work in relation to one of my very favorite artworks ever, the Genji Monogatari.
Genji Monogatari, or the tale/story of Genji, is a work of literature written in the early 11th century by a Japanese noblewoman named Murasaki Shikibu, but when I refer to the Genji Monogatari I am thinking specifically of the illustrated scroll, or e-maki, created around 1120. The "novel" is a classic and has been illustrated many many times but the oldest surviving version from 1120 is regarded as the #1 BEST and is a national treasure.
I haven't read the novel but I know the gist of the story from studying the art. It is a soap opera, the entertaining story of a playboy prince. I'm pretty sure that the image above is a scene of Genji confessing to his father that he has been having an affair with his step-mother and that she is now pregnant. It looks like a peaceful scene but this was made during the extremely ritualized Heian Period and every movement, every color, every pattern, every gesture and the slightest expression were charged with meaning. The scene pictured above would have been riveting to it's original viewers, full of conflict and tension.
Laylah Ali clipping newspaper photos, studying - for example - how different people held up their right hands when swearing an oath in court (fingers spread or together, thumb tucked in or not) reminded me of these Heian era illustrations.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Josh Rickards and more

Josh Rickards, originally uploaded by Bromirski.
more from ADA in September -
Josh Rickards - Josh is showing two full length blocky portraits of nude bearded men, one is called The Nudist and above is King of the Hippies. The King of the Hippies looks so clean and fresh and content - I can feel the breeze. The Nudist is odder, his body is similar to that of the King but his nose is like a Klingon lobster or a cross between that of a proboscis monkey and a mandrill. I feel his resentment, and understand his need to show his clean nude body. Both paintings are bright and crisp and messy and fresh and drippy and sloppy and clean. Very nice balance.
Josh is also showing similar faces painted on baseball bats - and one on a book - which are too Barry McGee on a bottle for me. I don't get it. What's the point? Why bats and books? The Barry McGees make more sense with their allusions to genies and drunks, these seem pointless. His little paintings in radius250 were more interesting.
Sun Tek Chung - Not so interested in the characters or set-ups but he has a good sense of pattern and color, especially in this one. It helps that in my photo two gallery-goers are blocking the mugging distraction of the character.
Theresa Pfarr - She had a show here in August which I completely missed, but many of the paintings are still up in the back.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jeannine Harkleroad

Jeannine Harkleroad kicks ass. Above is a photo from her performance piece at ADA Gallery earlier this month, Trying To Catch Some Sprinkles On My Donut.
How do I explain this? The very skinny masked baker guy inside the glittery blue V is using pulleys to pull that home-made projector back and forth along a track. Across from him is a green crystal mountain fortress in which Jeannine lay on her back and used a separate pulley system to pull a big creamy dripping icing pink donut back and forth along another track. The baker guy was trying to shoot the sprinkles being projected into Jeannine's donut hole.
Another person dressed as a French maid/Swiss house/domino slowly turned around and around. He had a string tied to his waist and as he turned a miniature house and chalk white finger with a purple nail climbed up a track from the base of Jeannine's crystal fortress to a button near the baker's crotch. The spinning of the domino man wrapped the string around his waist and pulled the finger up the track until it pushed the baker's button, and a bell would sound. Then the domino man would reverse his spin and the finger would slowly go back down the track. The three of them did this nonstop for three hours.
Here is a photo of the whole set-up taken without the performers. When you walked into the gallery you only saw that flat shiny V and weren't aware that there was a skinny guy standing in there until you walked around to the other side and saw his masked face sticking out. It was a weird surprise. The whole thing was full of wonderful weirdness and surprises. I'm nominating Jeannine for a MacArthur. They need to open a file on her.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Kai Vierstra

Kai Vierstra, originally uploaded by Bromirski.
Kai Vierstra has updated his website with new work completed at Skowhegan this summer. Above is a photo of the bastard's studio with Buckminster Fuller-Corner Preacher and here is Thunder Plinth.

from Kai's site -

"Buckminster Fuller- Corner Preacher is a sculpture that I made for the roof of my studio in Central Maine. It uses the sound altering properties of the parabolic* reflector to broadcast (shoot)(shout?) a beam of sound in the semi-circle around the corner of the building. This point of focus is controlled by ropes & pulleys located in front of, and above my chair which is situated at the door to my studio. The sound that is heard while standing in the beam is Buckminster Fuller's 1968 lecture at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. It was only available for listening on the property, copying is strictly forbidden. It is, therefore, a very special message in so many ways."

Yay, Kai!

Photos of Recommendation: Thumbs-Up Mandala: Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof

Photos of Recommendation: Thumbs-Up Mandala: Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof
This photo of Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof was taken at my Art For The Cash Poor table in Philadelphia this summer. It was so HOT. I spent most of my time sleeping in the shade under my table. I didn't sell anything, BUT I did buy a piece from Roberta and Libby - it was only fifty bucks and is painted on both sides.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

the Amazing Farter kid

I did a search for ADA Gallery on Technorati and discovered someone's two-post blog, the second post of which is all about the most recent First Friday openings. Not into most of what he says, we have very different takes on the current ADA show, but he also writes about seeing the fartist!

"the Amazing Farter kid … was this kid functioning as a post-modern critic blurring the lines between high and low art, functioning as a cultural producer, and showing his distaste for the traditional avant garde or was he a modernist emphasizing the purity of form, showing us an artist acting as a heroic individual, and offering us an avant garde critique of a culture at large who rewards farting noises with monetary value?"

I've since learned that Roland, the fartist, was around last year too, only I never saw or heard about him. Somebody get his picture next time and send me one!

There is so much good stuff to see just on the street here - Joel Holmberg, Jamie Chiarello, the fartist, the fire throwers and everyone else - I almost don't have enough time to go into the galleries. More street stuff!!! More local artblogs!!!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Gallery 5

Gallery5, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

This is The Virginia Fire and Police Museum, formally known as Steamer Company No. 5, the oldest standing firehouse in Virginia (built in 1849) and now the home of Gallery 5. The building was bought by Tom Robinson thirty years ago when he learned the city was going to tear down the firehouse his father and grandfather had served in; he turned it into the Fire and Police Museum and now daughter Amanda has given it new life as a gallery (the fire museum remains, that and the art gallery share the space). The opening was a lot of FUN, they sold beer all night and from 10:00pm or so had bands.

The art is all on the big second floor space, currently a big selection of art and artists. I'll list my five favorites -

Terry Wolfe - Terry is showing smallish steel and iron sculptures. They look like very old alien land mines, Starship Trooper weapons, that have been discovered and put on display. Very easy to imagine a "click" and a whiiirrr sound as they reactivate. Some of them could be alien idols. Very interesting and strange. Mr. Robinson said he thought that this is the first time Terry has ever shown, which would be surprising because these are the products of a very well-developed sensibility.

Oura Sananikone - Oura has two excellent exuberant paintings. Super busy and grafitti energetic but they don't feel too busy at all. One is a big yellow X on a black ground covered in an almost grid of silver ghosts, pac-man style. The other one features a central torpedo-shaped blue ghost/head on a red ground and exploding with white ghosts and robots from his eyes, nostrils and mouth. All around the whole thing are more black and silver cartoony robots radiating outwards - almost like one of those Indian or Japanese gods with lots of arms and hands holding lots of things. These two are both very good and look great together. Exciting! Oura also has some smaller paintings at Nonesuch he is selling for only $10.00.

Jonathan Lee - These paintings of stenciled female faces over speckled and paint spattered surfaces at first seem cheesy but they held my attention, there is something slightly disturbing about them - cosmic, eighties, and violent. I'm not sure how much I actually like them and why or why not.

Ella Watson - Ella has a bald androgynous empty-glass-eyed and slightly larger than life head in a case. It's red, not bright red but like old red lacquer red. It looks kind of sad or surprised to have it's head cut off and in a case.

Mike Taylor - He has four things in the cases, two scary and creepy masks in the middle with big homemade banjo-type instruments on either side. The masks are more full-on headgear than masks, kind of like African masks, but much darker and scarier. One is made of "dead inner-tubes and lost keys" - a black rubber fetish mask with a beard of keys, also including coat hooks and cowri shells. The other is "leather and found objects" - the whole top is little plastic fetus babies - and some dice. The instruments also have an African feel, like something made a hundred plus years ago, no idea how functional they might be.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Jamie Chiarello

Jamie Chiarello, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

Earlier this week, maybe Tuesday, I was riding my bike down Cary Avenue and saw that an artist had set up along the fence in front of that parking lot near Can Can. The artist, Jamie Chiarello, is a displaced New Orleans artist who is originally from Richmond. She was travelling at the time of the hurricane and has yet to return to her home and studio, where she said she had twenty or so paintings. Now she is staying in Richmond with her family and trying to save and prepare for a move to NYC.

Most of the work she is showing on the sidewalk in Carytown is small stuff she has completed since the hurricane and flood, and the best stuff is the smaller works-on-paper. Reminds me a little of the wonderful Ben Shahn. I love the little piece pictured above.

I'm not sure how she is deciding her pricing, because here on her website the prices start at $300.00 but on the last pages they are down to $30.00; I've seen most of this work and it is of comparable size and quality - I think she is pricing based on how much an individual piece means to her personally.

I'm so glad I stopped, her work is good and she's very funny. She's only twenty(!) and hasn't attended any art school but has had some interesting art experiences. She told me of a previous visit to NYC where she approached some galleries with her work and the two guys took her out to lunch and made passes at her. One of them didn't like her frames and I guess she talked back or something - he ended up confessing that he hates his job and hates doing this and wants to weave baskets. She said "that sounds great, go for it" but then he told her she didn't know what she was saying, it is so hard to be a basket weaver, you need to grow special reeds and he can't do it in NYC.

She was also invited by a woman to have an exhibition at the woman's orgy. Jamie made all new work for the orgy show and went to the orgy and although she didn't sell any work made for the show she did sketch people having sex and when they were finished she would sell the sketches to them for twenty-five dollars.

I have no idea if these stories are true or not but it was great meeting Jamie and seeing her work. I asked how long she would be here (selling on Cary Street) and she said she had to be in NYC by August 7th. I told her it was the middle of September and she looked a little confused for a second and then said October 7th, so good luck in trying to find her. You can e-mail her through her website.

birthday greetings

Congratulations to Tyler Green on FOUR YEARS of Modern Art Notes, anyone wondering how he has been able to do it should know - he's insane. Here's his post for 9/12/2001 -

"Has anyone else noticed that artnet.com has been down for most of the last few days? If anyone knows why, please email me. It's one of my favorite art sites. Before artnet went down, its bookstore had evaporated. This was also a pity because it was easily the best art bookstore on the web."

followed by a later update -

"UPDATE: ModernArtNotes asks, we get answers! Posted at artnet.com today: Due to the recent tragedy in New York, we are currently having technical difficulties."

Bummer Update 9/22/2005: Those old Tyler posts originally had a comments option. He's turned it off since I linked to it. UPDATE #2: Now they are back on again! I think it might be a blogger glitch, not Tyler after all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Art for You to See

The 1st and 2nd year VCU Sculpture grads have a show up in the first floor gallery of the Broad Street Fine Arts Building. Some favorites -

Miriam Ewers - Miriam has a wall-piece called Swallow the Sun, made up of many little pink/red bulbs made to look like eyes, most lit from within. Bigger bulbs are at the center with smaller eye-bulbs clustered around - the whole thing starting to snake off the wall. It's like an angel, a seraph.

Ross Caudill - Free-standing floor sculpture like some weird instrument, maybe bagpipes, or possibly a monster motorcycle part. Sort of reminds me a little of Liz Craft or a prop from a Tim Burton skeleton movie that has somehow crossed over to our world.

AJ Liberto - Also showing an artifact from another world, maybe that of Harry Potter or Marcel Dzama. This piece is called The Story of the Evil Prying Microscope and features a nonfunctioning cast(?) black microscope with bat wings. Also lots of accompanying information on the microscope - it is a "legendary artifact... guarded zealously by the Spee Cave Dwellers... only a Spee Mage can benefit from the evil magic bonus of this artifact". Lots more info on the microscope's traits, behavior, history, origin, and a usage appendix - is this like a Dungeons and Dragons thing?

Jnel Iglesias - Three simple spiral pieces: a spiral of braided brown hair, a ring of broken eggshells, and a large golden roll of clear tape. Very nice to see so much consideration being shown to materials, shape, palette, relationships. An explorer, a thinker in mediums. No rush necessary, no need to force a conclusion, keep thinking.

Tomorrow is the last day to see this show.


Rabbit, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

"The things one finds wandering in a landscape: familiar things and utterly unknown, like a flower one has never seen before, or, as Columbus discovered, an inexplicable continent;

and then, behind a hill, as if knitted by giant grandmothers, lies this vast rabbit, to make you feel as small as a daisy. The toilet-paper-pink creature lies on its back: a rabbit-mountain like Gulliver in Lilliput. Happy you feel as you climb up along its ears, almost falling into its cavernous mouth, to the belly-summit and look out over the pink woolen landscape of the rabbitĂ­s body, a country dropped from the sky;

ears and limbs sneaking into the distance; from its side flowing heart, liver and intestines.

Happily in love you step down the decaying corpse, through the wound, now small like a maggot, over woolen kidney and bowel.

Happy you leave like the larva that gets its wings from an innocent carcass at the roadside. Such is the happiness which made this rabbit.

i love the rabbit the rabbit loves me."

Rabbit is on Colletto Fava, close to Bar La Baita above the Village of Artesina, Piemonte, Italy. Created by gelatin.

(Thanks, Lenny!)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Jeremy Drummond, Fiona Ross, and Hans Friedrich Grohs at University of Richmond

Jeremy Drummond, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

Three good reasons to visit the galleries at University of Richmond Museums -

Jeremy Drummond - His show will close October 9th. I missed the talk, I bet it was good.

Fiona Ross - Her opening is TOMORROW NIGHT!!! I screwed up, sorry for the late notice! All photographs I have seen of her ceramic work on the internet DO NOT look nearly as interesting as the work is in real life. I was just admiring one last week at Rentz Gallery.

Hans Friedrich Grohs - This opening is tomorrow night too!! I think I am going to really enjoy these.

All three of these shows look good, the openings for Ross and Grohs are tomorrow night, Tuesday, from 6pm - 730pm. University of Richmond openings usually have lots of good food, maybe they will tomorrow too!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2005


my bad, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

Who watched Art:21 last night? Laylah Ali was such an anal and obsessive freak, wow. What an interesting nut. Her work ethic was inspiring.

Cai Guo-Qiang, ugh. I saw that show at Mass Moca and it was so boring. Dead. Lifeless. No energy, no motion, really nothing. I'd cut him some slack and say it is a very tough space to work in but he did the exact same thing with fake tigers in a smaller room. The cars are a one-liner, the dry sawdust tigers are a one-liner, both the same line. The only good part is the one bombed out car. Libby saw the show and liked it. JL liked it. Charles Giuliano really didn't like it at all. Adrian Searle is talking here about a different show, not liking what he sees either. I really liked the tiny ink-on-matchbox landscape paintings done by Guo-Qiang's father and featured on the show last night, those were very nice.

Krzysztof Wodiczko was excellent. Ida Applebroog's work is interesting, and she's inspiring, continuing to change and try new things.

I'm wicked confused, this is Arturo Herrera? Didn't he have much more hair in 1999? Either that or somebody I met with at the Drawing Center that year was pretending to be him. These Art:21 photos aren't how I remember him at all.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Nicholas Kuszyk

Nick Kuszyk, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

Nonesuch, currently showing Peter Corrie, also has work by a number of other artists, including some of Nick Kuszyk's small robot paintings.

Nick is well-known among young artists in Richmond for his robot paintings and t-shirts; he has made hundreds of them. The one pictured above is dated 2005 on the back and is numbered something like 353. Does that mean it is his three-hundred-fifty-third robot painting or the three-hundred-fifty-third from this year? In any case, it is still working. There are good ones and boring ones, some have more personality than or a different mood from others, the backgrounds are becoming more involved. What I'm trying to say is that it seems like he is still working at them, enjoying making them, they aren't yet being made by rote.

This sort of method, discovering an artistic building block like these robots seem to be, is sort of like nanotechnology with it's aim of design and creation from the molecule up. All of these little robot paintings of robots building themselves (and fighting, playing, etc) may be adding up to something. What's crucial is that the artist, once he reaches eventual critical mass with these little robot paintings, breach the Kuzyk quantum gap, defined as "the failure of of real materials to live up to their theoretical potential". Next time you see a bad something by one of those "lots of" artists, doing that "lots of" thing again of taking lots of something and piling it all together until they have a bigger something, just say, "how unfortunate, they weren't able to breach the Kuzyk quantum gap" (Tara Donovan usually breaches the gap).

Okay, now for the more jealous bitter negative part of this post. If this type of talk bothers you stop reading.

Nick was recently awarded a Pollack Prize for Excellence in the Arts, which honors artists in the Richmond metropolitan area. They give out prizes in a number of different artistic disciplines, including two in the visual arts: one to an established artist and one to an emerging artist. Nick received the prize for an emerging artist. Nick moved to NYC about a year ago! Even VCU's own website announcing the awards states -

"Kuszyk’s paintings, drawings and murals of robots have attracted significant attention in the Richmond area. Kuszyk, who lives in New York, also has had two well-attended shows at the McCaig-Welles Gallery in Brooklyn"

C'mon! I know he used to live here, is deserving, and has certainly made a positive impact on the local art-scene, but what about supporting the many artists who are living and working here? Isn't that the idea of the award?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Paul Brach

I liked the meatball featured on artnet yesterday so I looked up the artist, Paul Brach, and found this quote from a 1971 interview with him -

“I arrived back in New York City in the early 1950's, made the scene at the Cedar Bar and at the Artists' Club. In those years my friends were Mike Goldberg, Joan Mitchell, Larry Rivers, Bob Rauschenberg, etc., etc., etc., the whole second generation of abstract expressionist thing.… The talk was very pure, but everyone wanted to make it…. The abstract expressionist rhetoric was extraordinarily idealistic and had a kind of meta-Marxist flavor that Harold Rosenberg gave it, and a kind of crypto-Marxist flavor that Clem Greenberg gave it. But essentially everyone was out to make it. And it was very, very hard to be deeply, deeply critical about the social world around one in the fifties."

This site has tons of old interviews with artists and art-worlders, sooo many of whom I've never heard of.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Peter Corrie

Peter Corrie is showing a collection of scrappy (not crappy) drawings and paper sculptures at Nonesuch. Corrie's drawings collected here are, for the most part, more than just another collection of doodles.

Corrie made most of this work while living alone in his recently deceased grandparent's very large house in rural New York and it must have been more than a little spooky. His imagination has run wild in these cartoony drawings featuring a demonic rug and carnivorous ghost/clouds tearing the artist to shreds. The source of all the evil seems to be the round throw-rug. A few of the drawings don't quite relate and are waaay too Ray Pettibon.

The oddball piece here might be the morbid black skillet sculpture with a cast of the artist's face. It's like a cartoon prop except for the face, which is very realistic; a meeting-of-two-worlds kitchen death-mask.

Nonesuch is a great little place. I had thought it was a shop that hung some art but the gallery part is the front room with the clothes in the smaller back room. I went to this opening last week immediately after the opening at whatever the Hand Workshop is now called - big generational difference. Mostly "adults" at the Hand with all bicycles and cool kids in front of Nonesuch, completely different crowds. Both shows are worth a visit.


Nonesuch is seeking work for an open invite group show consisting entirely of handmade or found wearable masks. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, Sept. 28th at 6pm. The show opens Saturday, October 1st 7-10pm.

For October the gallery will temporarily converted into a fully functional dungeon complete with iron maiden and they are going to show horror movies every week. Go to the website and click around for more info.

Peter Corrie Trivia - he is in a movie!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Charles Ware has died

CharlesWare, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

Anna L. Conti reports that San Francisco artist Charles Ware has died. I love this part pulled from Anna's interview with Charles -

Interviewer - You need some more light in here, Charlie.

Charles Ware - I need a new lease on life. There's no audience for this, now. If you're a ballplayer, you can make zillions. If you're an artist, you can't even pay the goddamn rent.

I excerpted that in my post last March linking to Anna's interview. Ware's daughter Laura Ware left a comment to my post saying her dad "has been doing what he loves his whole life and as he says, 'has nothing to show for it.' But I have always been so proud of him and I think he is truly an amazing artist and person."

Philadelphia Museum of Art

JT Kirkland posted the above photo of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts's Cy Twombly room last week after his visit to Philadelphia. Thank you, JT! I tried to find a photo of this a few months ago and coudn't find anything, not even on the PMA's own website.
Twombly considers this piece, Fifty Days at Ilium, a single ten-part painting - not an installation of ten separate paintings. JT's photo shows half. I spent a good amount of time in this room during my eight years in Philadelphia and can see the influence in my old Potato and Humberto paintings.
Check out Philadelphia artist Jim Houser's homage that was included in Spector Gallery's The Great (re)Masters show - she asked Philadelphia artists to reinterpret favorite works from the PMA's collection. Houser compressed Twombly's room of ten big paintings into a single small multi-panel piece and it is perfect. One of my other Philly faves, Sarah McEneaney, did a Van Gogh.
The PMA has a Munch exhibition opening in September and a van Ruisdael show scheduled for October so I will definitely make a trip up to Philly sometime in November or December when they are both up.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ron Johnson interviews Christian Bonnefoi in NYArts Magazine

Ron Johnson, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

Local painter Ron Johnson interviews Christian Bonnefoi in the current issue of NYArts Magazine.

Above is an image of one of Ron's paintings from last year, of which I'm a very big fan. It was dissapointing to see his latest at Reynolds Gallery earlier this summer. The new stuff was all the same shape and size, very generic, formulaic. No more pools of color, no canvas strips, no oily creepiness. Only one of them still had his glam vampire palette. What happened?

I hope those were just an experiment in monotony and the good stuff comes back.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Joel Holmberg

Joel Holmberg
was showing some cool work on the sidewalk in front of ADA Gallery last Friday night; he was just down the street from the fartist. I wish I had an image of one of his small paintings or a still from the accompanying video to share because it's a little hard to explain. He made a color-coded video pie chart based on the Virginia Lottery winning numbers over a period of I don't know how long. Oh, yes! I found a link to the pie chart thing! The paintings he was showing in front of ADA took the colored wedges from specific days - so one painting called something like 7/18/2005 would be an illustration of the pick 6 numbers from that day based on Joel's weird system of megahertz and winning numbers.

Joel is included in a group show at Eyebeam opening tonight (is that a very short show? if so i'm sorry Joel for the late posting), he's into a lot of technical stuff and has a strange sense of humor. I wrote about his Friendster piece here. He is also one of the latest winners of a VMFA Fellowship, of which I am insanely jealous but I won't get into it now.

Two other Richmonders also have NYC shows coming up, Paul Goode (previous post here) and James Davis (previous post here). Paul is included in what looks like an interesting group exhibition at Feigen and James is showing at Rare.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Uncle's House

My Uncle's House, originally uploaded by Bromirski.
Above is a photo of my uncle's Pass Christian home. Here is their street. I'm just going to post the following e-mail excerpt forwarded this morning by my mom and another uncle -

"Last night Marion sent along pictures from a visit to the street they called home. A few family members went down to the coast just for the day to deliver some supplies to needy friends and see first hand what has happened to their home.

You can see these kinds of images in all the media but, when you cans see the outline of the rooms we used to sleep in and the kitchen we swapped stories in, well it's an overwhelming feeling.

The house was a six room single floor "ranch" of brick construction. On this street (1/2 mile long) one death has been recorded and two people are missing. Multiply this by all the neighborhoods and... wow!"

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

1/4 career flashback - Humberto!

Welcome to my ongoing Quarter of a Career retrospective.

Today I would like to introduce to you an old and dear friend from 1990-1991, Humberto Maturana. All my work was potatoes until one day I happened upon a blackboard in a hallway, full of mysterious diagrams and the name "Humberto Maturana". I dragged the blackboard back to my studio and it became my inspiration. I had no idea the potatoes were people until I saw the name "Humberto Maturana" - the most wonderful name ever.

This is maybe the first Humberto painting; note his brain - it's a potato! Humberto is a hater. Humberto has delusions of grandeur. Humberto can't take it anymore and commits suicide by eating a poison potato. Here's a detail of his potato soul leaving his body. Humberto achieves a higher state of awareness. Humberto's autopsy. Humberto comes back with super-powers and armor.

I eventually discovered that Humberto Maturana was a REAL PERSON, a scientist, and a noted doctor in the Chilean School of Biology of Cognition. An expert on the nature of time, metadesign, and the ontology of observing. Here is his personal website; I swear to god that if you watch the opening graphics at one point a potato flies across the screen.*

My plan was for Humberto to become a *star* and to make character goods, keychains, endorsement deals, maybe even a cartoon! Unfortunately, the five Humberto paintings I debuted at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 1991 were unfavorably reviewed by Ed Sozanski in the 10/24/91 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer - "Martin Bromirski's large cartoonish drawings are the least compatible with the show's overall tone and tenuous concept". Alas - the artworld was not ready.

All of my Humberto paintings continued with the black/white/yellow pallette I had started with the potatoes and are all works-on-paper. EVERYTHING I made from late 1989 until 1999 was on paper. Paper only. I almost always began with a layer of yellow legal pad paper as a ground. I was so pissed when Ellen Gallagher came on the scene gluing notepad-paper grounds too, although I understand now that she wasn't copying me. But still!!

*I had no internet in 1991. I learned he had written a book and ordered it not having any idea what to expect. My how times change! Things are so much easier now. That book was COMPLICATED. Now that we have e-mail and internet I think I will forward this post to the real Humberto!!!!!!

RELATED: my resume, Quarter-Career, 1990-2005, 1/4 career flashback - the potato years.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Three Days at the Met

, originally uploaded by timnyc.
Travelers Diagram spent three full days at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last week on a mission to see everything and taking almost six hundred photos.
He's posted an edited selection of his photos on flickr, ordered roughly as he saw them: Day 1 (68 photos), Day 2 (71 photos), and Day 3 (67 photos).


Artworks has a juried show called Trains, Planes and Automobiles that I saw last week when I re-visited radius250 and did the Sculpture Invitational walk.

The highlights were the four paintings and video by Mike Keeling. Keeling works at the Richmond Airport as an airplane mechanic for Million Air and somehow got not only permission to use the runway for an afternoon but was also given the use of a Learjet and a pilot. He set up large panels on the runway behind the jet and flung paint from buckets and brushes into the super hot and powerful jet exhaust stream. He was the only one allowed to get anywhere near the jet but he had friends and helpers who chose the colors and just took what was handed to him and flung it. The video is FANTASTIC. Like that Picasso painting movie or the Pollock photographs plus he is STRUGGLING to hold onto the panels or buckets and brushes and the hot wind is WHIPPING. It's like a very very intense tennis game and there is a Buster Keaton comic element to it. Comic and heroic and athletic and mythic, referencing all sorts of painting history. It was really great.

I also liked -

Joe Delulio - Small painting with a bendy wavy plane, cartoony and fluid. Made with ease.
Liz Jones - Painting of an ice-clear blue swamp truck.
Virginia Godfrey - Amateurish but nice painting of an old jalopy in a field.
Ron Jensen - Sweet painting of a steam shovel in the city. Reminds me of that children's book.
Bob Procida - Small painting of a blocky crashing race car. Absolutely no sense of movement or context. Wouldn't know what it is except for the tire that has flown off and perhaps the number twelve painted on the crushed can of a roof. Sort of like a Marsden Hartley.
Yoko Gushi - Outsiderish work on paper of a rainbow-like railroad track and a female figure dreaming beneath/beside it.

RELATED: Style Weekly article - with small photo - on Mike Keeling.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

the fartist

Leaving the art6 opening last night I heard farting noises and turned back to see a little boy with a weird hairstyle and his hand up his armpit flapping in the dark like a madman. At his feet were a piece of cardboard advertising "the fartist" and a plastic cup. It was hilarious.

I stopped and watched him and he never stopped farting, even when I asked his name. He said his name was Roland. He had to have been about eight or nine.

Did you see the fartist?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tom Chenoweth

Tom Chenoweth, Tesla, 2005, originally uploaded by Bromirski.
Above is a photo of Tom Chenoweth's piece Tesla from the Sculpture Invitational. Here are some others. This is a wonderful piece in it's marriage of subject, material, and site. I talk a little about Chenoweth's piece here.
I know two Philadelphia artists who have also been inspired by Tesla, Miriam Seidel and the late Mildred Elfman Greenberg. Miriam wrote a Tesla multimedia opera (!) and Mildred was an amazing artist who created a whole bunch of undervalued, underappreciated, and underknown work. I will definitely be doing a Paris-like Mildred post down the line. She was something.
Related: Sculpture Invitational controversy in Richmond Times Dispatch. Artist Andrew Campbell slams artist Greg Kelley in the comments. Whoah!

Greg Allen vs. James Wagner

Greg Allen whines. Greg Allen? Who cares? James, please keep taking photos and supporting artists. Greg, you're so interesting.

Bailey & Green for Katrina Arts Info

James Bailey and Tyler Green are the two best for Katrina-related museum and arts info.

Bailey is a native of Mississippi and former resident of New Orleans and has a lot of info coming in. The new Frank Gehry designed Ohr-Okeefe Museum is most likely ruined. The Pleasant Reed home has been destroyed. Nobody knows anything yet about Samuel Mockbee's Rural Studio Buildings.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

First Friday - 9/2/2005

Here's a rundown of some exhibitions opening this weekend and next that I'm looking forward to. If you're having/hosting a show in Richmond opening soon please feel free to post the info in the comments.

Nonesuch - Last night I was walking by this basement space and peeked in the windows and was very excited by what I saw. Today I returned and learned that the artist is Scott Eastwood and his show was the August show. Oh! I'm sorry, Scott! I didn't have time to stay this afternoon but I really liked your work. The new show opening Friday will feature the drawings and sculpture of Peter Corrie. Nonesuch looks like a good space - it's at 918 W. Grace St. (649-4069), near Little Ceaser's and Plaza Art Supplies.

I think Scott's work might still be up on Thursday if anyone has a chance to visit.

Gallery5 - All Mixed Up. This is an interesting new space within the Virginia Fire and Police Museum, near the old Milk Bottle building, sort of behind ADA. They're open until 1:30am with bands - $3.00 after 10pm.

ADA Gallery - Sun Tek Chung, James Davis, Jeannine Harkleroad, Danielle Riese (is that correct or is it supposed to be Danielle Riede?), and Josh Rickards.

Sun Tek Chung, James Davis, and Jeannine Harkleroad were three of the four just-closed Relativity artists. What's up with that? It will be interesting to see these three artists together again so soon with different work in a different space and a different organizer. First Relativity post here, second Relativity post looking at the work of James Davis and Jeannine Harkleroad here.

Josh Rickards must be the same Joshua Rickards in the radius250 show whose work I just wrote about here. I had been thinking that John (Pollard of ADA) would like his work.

1708 Gallery - Casting a New Light. From the press release - "for the ten artists selected by New York photographer Jerry Spagnoli for this exhibition, process is a vital mens of enhancing the material presence and associative power of the photographic image. As evident in their daguerreotypes, calotype negatives, salt prints, collodion wet-plate negatives, ambrotypes (Michael Seal has some ambrotypes in radius250), tintypes, and photograms, vintage processes are still richly evocative tools."

The artists are Jayne Hinds Bidaut, Ellen Carey, Sean Culver, Dan Estabrook, Deborah Luster, Dana Moore, Mark Osterman, Irving Pobboravsky, France Scully Osterman, and Roland Wirtz.

Visual Arts Center* (formerly known as the Hand Workshop) - Recasting the Landscape. Photography by Jerry Spagnoli and Robert Shlaer - "both artists make use of the earliest form of photography and also draw inspiration from 19th-century concepts and depictions of the American landscape, allying process and subject matter to extend the medium's expressive capabilities". Spagnoli is also the curator of the related show at 1708 Gallery.

* I liked the old name better! This new one is boring, bland, and hard to remember. You've been given some horrible advice. Please change it back!


Chop Suey Books - For Your Eyes Only. A show of new work curated by DC resident Cheryl Gant. Exhibiting artists are Anitra Haendel (New York, NY), Kim O'Grady (Los Angeles CA).


Solvent Space - Heaven & Hell. Stephen Vitiello. Sound and video work in collaboration with Scanner and Andrew Deutsch. There's going to be a performance in October.