Tuesday, November 30, 2004

the pot critiques the kettle

How much lower can the bar be set?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Messy Democraticism is the new Black

"art, in a democracy, is a messy, open process" - Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times, 11/15/04

"Chelsea is messily democratic, the most real, unbiased reflection of contemporary art's global character." - Roberta Smith, New York Times, 11/28/04

Ouroussoff's quote is from the worst MOMA review I've read, by far.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Artist's Websites

Don Crow has some excellent work on view at Reynolds Gallery until December 23rd, and though I plan to post about it soon, I'm afraid I won't be able to share any images. The gallery doesn't have a website and I can't find any images - or much information at all - for Crow on the internet.

It seems that most of my "older than thirty-five" artist friends don't have any web presence, and that most of the younger artists do. I know more than a few young artists who have yet to even form a body of work - yet have well-designed websites full of photoshopped digital images, resumes, and listings of inflated accomplishments. These kids are getting their work seen all over the country before the old-schoolers can lick a stamp. Following are some of the various ways an artist can get his work on-line, please pass this information along to your artist friends who are missing the boat and being overlooked.

Slide Registries

I think most larger cities have slide registries available for artists to join, many of them on-line. Philadelphians can submit work to Moore College of Art's on-line Levy Gallery Slide Registry. Following are two NYC slide registries open to all.

Artist's Space - the Artist's Space slide registry has no limit to the number of slides an artist can submit, and every artist who submits to the registry can have two works included in the on-line registry. As far as I can tell, this registry is not juried. You submit, you're in.

White Columns - the White Columns registry is juried and thus more competitive than Artist's Space, you must submit slides to be considered for review by the director. This registry is only open to artists without NYC gallery representation.

Group Sites (not sure what to call this heading exactly, so I'll call it Group Sites)

The following sites are open to all, for a reasonable fee.

Re-title.com - this new DIY site is good because of the amount of control offered. You have a choice of three different templates and you can re-edit and modify your page as often as you like. I guess you could update your texts and images every day. The site isn't juried but does claim to monitor for quality control. I haven't looked at every artist but have already found two friends and two friendsters included. Please visit their pages for example - I think all four of them also include links to their personal websites.

Seongmin Ahn here
Orly Cogan here
Geoffrey Detrani here
Akiko Ichikawa here

InLiquid.com - a Philadelphia based nonprofit organization, this is the site I am included on and have been very happy with. Most of the artists on here live in Philadelphia, and their weekly e-mail newsletter ( I don't think you need to be a member to subscribe) is full of information on Philadelphia area openings, lectures, and opportunities. I've been asked to be in three Philadelphia shows this year through this site, including my current exhibition, which features InLiquid artists only. This is a juried site which reviews membership applications three times a year. Please visit the following examples.

Tara K. Ivins here
Marc Salz here

Personal Sites

Formerly known as vanity sites, personal websites are de rigeur with today's young artists skilled in the arts of surreptitious self-promotion. Following are the sites of some friends who also make good work.

James "Jimmy James" Engelmann here

Timothy Michael Martin here

Fernando Mastrangelo here

Kai Vierstra - Kai! What happened? It's gone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On Not Making a Product

Interesting article about the marketing of digital art on Slate.


What art-blogger has posted a MOMA review that I can't stop comparing to Adrian Searle's November 15th Guardian review (excerpted below)?

In one paragraph Searle talks about how Diebenkorn "owes so much" to Matisse, immediately followed by a paragraph containing an example in the contemporary galleries of a piece which intrudes on the appreciation of the pieces around it. The art-blogger meanwhile talks about a piece in the contemporary galleries intruding on the appreciation of other works, immediately followed by a paragraph on how much Diebenkorn "owed" to Matisse. Probably coincidental - and a sign that their has been both way too much redundant MOMA coverage and that I've spent way too much time reading it.

Also worth noting is Searle's new review of the great Marlene Dumas. Somebody notify Richard Polsky!

from Adrian Searle's MOMA article:

"a lovely Richard Diebenkorn Ocean Park painting, which owes so much to the internal architecture of Matisse's Piano Lesson."

"In a catch-all display of Minimal and postminimal art, a Dan Flavin fluorescent striplight casts its pinkish glow on all around it. The infinitessimaly differenciated tones of an Ad Reinhardt black painting are rendered utterly invisible, a Bridget Riley twangs in the glow, and one of Robert Ryman's white paintings blushes pink in Flavin's reflected aura. Somehow, everything looks like an example or an illustration rather than a thing in itself."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Specific Density

I have three paintings included in a show in Philadelphia, the exhibition dates are November 21 - January 21, with a reception on Thursday, December 9, 5:30-7:30pm.

"Specific Density, showing in the Borowsky Gallery, includes seven InLiquid artists whose work is dense with imagery, materials and visual ideas. Artists included in the exhibition are Martin Bromirski,Randall Cleaver, Annette Cords, Paul Loughney, Marc Salz , Marta Sanchez and Carole Sivin.

Each of the seven artists in Specific Density, offers a different experience of density. Among the four painters in the exhibit, Richmond-based Martin Bromirski sets wildly varying textures against each other, while Brooklyn artist Annette Cords orchestrates multiply-layered patterns with unexpected color placements; in the constructed paintings of Marc Salz, large and small elements jostle and slyly cross-pollinate each other, while in Marta Sanchez’s retablo-like paintings, faces and story fragments intermingle in intensely-felt portraits. Carole Sivin’s mixed-media sculptures are lush accretions of organic elements in tropical hues; Randall Cleaver, a Dumpster Diver, works by addition on his witty found-object constructions. And Paul Loughney’s monotype compositions resonate with complex associations."

The Borowsky and Open Lens Galleries are located at the Gershman Y, 401 South Broad Street (at Pine Street) in Philadelphia. Click here for directions.

Gallery hours are Sunday-Thursday 9 am-5 pm, Friday 9 am-4 pm. The gallery is closed Saturday. Admission is free.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Roberta Fallon & Libby Rosof

Philadelphia artists and art-bloggers Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof have updated their blog with another image from their So True series, a series of collaborative self-portraits. Each painting features both women, and I think they paint them together. I was going to call them autobiographical except that one painting is set in the future and features them as gray-haired grannies on the cover of ArtForum (like that will still be in print in 2020!). Now I am unsure if they really were protesting together in 1969 or if the series is also creating an imaginary collaborative past, wish fulfillment in reverse, to match the fantastic future.

Go to their main page and click on the "OK Artists" thumbnails to read and see the memoir in twelve e-mails, which is also available as a limited edition artist's book. I can relate to this one, and this one reminds me of a favorite painting by a favorite artist. Note the black horse!

Their artblog is hard to keep up with, and a testament to exactly how much is going on in Philadelphia - with already four Philadelphia art postings since wrapping up MOMA coverage on Friday. Philadelphia is a great city for art and artists - my third exhibition in Philadelphia this year opens today - and I'm sure Cinque Hicks will have some good things to say about his recent visit.

Roberta's recent post on MOMA mentioned Jeff Koons' New Shelton Wet/Dry Doubledecker, and how it seemed a funny Donald Judd critique immediately after seeing some pieces by Judd. For me that Koons piece most brings to mind Ed Kienholz's The State Hospital(make sure you use the image viewer to enlarge). My favorite Roberta post though would most definitely have to be this review of a show I was in earlier this year.

Thanks Roberta and Libby!

Friday, November 19, 2004


"Pollock is already over" - Glenn Lowry

"This is our 'Winged Victory'" - Terence Riley, comparing a Bell 47D-1 helicopter to this.

''It's facing people not with the amazing product of the great founder of modernism, but it's facing the audience with a member of the audience -- an exceptional member of the audience. There will be a wall label." - John Elderfield, explaining the selection of Portrait of Felix Feneon, by whatsisname.

Big Surprise

Excerpt from Christopher Knight article in LAT -

"Here's one symptom of MoMA's bigger problem: A lovely small drawing by Vija Celmins at one end and a graceful big drawing by Toba Khedoori at the other end are all that you will encounter by Los Angeles artists of the last 30 years. No Chris Burden, no Mike Kelley, no Lari Pittman, no Charles Ray, no _______ (you fill in the blank). Now multiply that glaring gap by a dozen other regions, including entire continents.

New York's legendary provincialism didn't matter much when art was a tiny enterprise engaging a handful of practitioners. Now it's just embarrassing. New York has finally become Paris -- a bountiful place to visit to see what great art used to be. The stunning new MoMA is its magnificent shrine."

Brought to my attention on Modern Art Notes.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Shirley Kaneda III

More from the recent Shirley Kaneda lecture, speaking about her own work -

My work is "a combination, a montage, an amalgamation. I don't believe in the singularity of abstract painting. Abstract painting can offer a kind of fluidity, experimentation, and the freedom to change depending upon what you are interested in at the time".

"the more contradiction the better, the more optimum for me"


"Language is a way to name things, not just communicate. Some things can be named in my paintings, like circle, line" but "it is difficult to name the overall unity". "It is very difficult to be specific in the naming of these paintings". "I wanted to imagine and picture a place where language couldn't take over". "When language fails us the viewer has to take up the challenge or walk away, (and what happens is) usually the latter".

"How can we have a whole that is faithful to the parts that make it whole"? "I want no focus point", "no heirarchy between the parts and the whole, everything should exist on an equal footing". I "hope to hinder any kind of automatic response" and "want to disrupt any preconceptions, I'm not interested in being didactic".


"TV and computers influence how we visualize, (with) multiple images in single frames", "if a comparison is to be made, I would like the painting to function as a hypertext, each area linking to another."

"The computer is a tool, like a brush".

The Decorative

Kaneda admitted that she feels a "shortcoming" of her work is it's "inherent decorativeness and opticality", but added that "there is a difference between the decorative and decoration" and listed David Reed, Frank Stella, Matthew Ritchie, and Joanne Greenbaum as artists who "are all involved with the decorative whether they know it or not".

An aim is to "take fragmentation as a positive quality". I "wanted to explore and build on discriminatory concepts" and to "use the decorative metaphorically to promote non-heroic themes".


My "titles are usually oxymorons" to "put into words the inconsistencies". "I want my work to reflect real illusions (this was the title of the piece being projected)". My "titles are not directly related (to the work)", they are "not descriptive or poetic"

Final Thoughts and Advice

I "don't think that abstract art is either more or less important than any other type of art", but "it is difficult to make abstract paintings today". "Painting is not privileged anymore, but not being privileged doesn't make it marginalized".

Ms. Kaneda brought up Ingres again, saying "(I'm) interested in a kind of classical quality" and that after years she had "grown tired of making paintings that were about process - you couldn't figure out how it was made". I "sort of want it to function like a Mondrian, the reproduction looks mechanical, but in life the lines are wobbly". "There is an unmistakable human quality in his work", the "image is not traditional but the way it is painted is totally traditional". I've "started thinking of my paintings as abstract photo-realism".

"Pleasure in your process is integral. If you don't enjoy the process you can't (illegible, something like 'make good work')." I "enjoy painting now more than ever, working very labor-intensive, very detail-oriented", in "almost a trance state". "The process is extremely comforting".

"Painting is hard, it takes a long time (to develop your skills)". One "can produce a similar (idea) in another medium much more easily, but the longer you paint, the better you get at it". Ms. Kaneda spoke of "growth in the medium" and " the ability to control it" and wondered if the same amount of growth is possible in other mediums - to have a similar "development of sensibilty over material".

"How do we address issues of quality? Greenberg was very specific. Today, those definitions are not enough. These questions need to be addressed, but how? Do we just take a passive attitude? Or do we take some sort of stand and address this question in our own work? Individual artists are doing this - but it's not happening collectively".

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Felix Feneon

Click here to see Against the Enamel of a Background Rythmic with Beats and Angels, Tones and Colors, Portrait of Felix Feneon in 1890.

And an excerpt from an excellent essay in Axess, by Mark Irving.

"Astute visitors, however, will pay particular attention to the way Moma has now reopened the story of the modern. Instead of Rodin's St John the Baptist Preaching, which used to stand outside the galleries, pointing to Cézanne's The Bathers, Lowry has decided to start the collection with Signac's 1890 Portrait of Félix Feneon. This, he says, is "a great magical gesture that essentially raises the curtain on the very idea of modernity. It is Signac's greatest picture, though he's not the artist you'd usually pick." Dispensing with the Cézanne (Lowry claims it is a "rétardaire picture, still wrestling with Poussin") and highlighting instead Feneon—the Parisian critic, collector, impresario and anarchist—is a telling move. "It's about showmanship, the masses, about a fundamentally different moment," he continues. "It's almost the same date as The Bathers, but it's about the curtain coming up on popular culture, breaking through the screen of avant-garde art. It pinpoints the notion of celebrity and offers us references to Warhol later in the hang."

This, then, is how Moma has recast the history of modern art as seen from our times, with showmanship and celebrity culture the dominant thread. Each generation retells history its own way, but is this really where the march of progress has taken us? It risks appearing as just a repackaging of those features of modern art that conveniently mimic our current, transitory obsessions. But for Lowry, the story of modern art is not complete without the canonisation of Andy Warhol, the original media-savvy, celebrity-driven artist. "Of the giants of this period, he is the guy," says Lowry. "Pollock is already over." "

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

REALITY intrudes

Some of these pictures are harsh harsh harsh - but look.

Pictures from Falluja, which we all have an obligation to see - because this is what is happening in our name. Try not to think of these babies when you go to sleep tonight.

A "thank you" to artist Sebastian Blanck for the wake-up.

Clarification: Sebastian informed me of the site, I don't know whose site it is.

Monday, November 15, 2004

MOMA interlude

Following are excerpts from NYTimes Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff's MOMA review:

"the expanded museum is a serene composition that weaves art, architecture and the city into a transcendent aesthetic experience" - from the 2nd paragraph

"what the architect has done is to bind art, architecture and the city into a vibrantly powerful composition" - from the 11th paragraph

"There are those who were terrified that the garden, which has been expanded, would lose its intimacy. It has never looked better. The core of the original, with its scattering of weeping beech trees and its marble bridges spanning a reflecting pool, has been lovingly restored. To preserve its sense of scale, Mr. Taniguchi created a series of low terraces along its edges, giving the garden a degree of visual depth it never had and welding it more gently to the surrounding buildings. Two towering porticoes frame the garden on either side, giving it the feel of an immense public stage."

So... it's an intimate immense public stage?

The parts about "an aspiring young artist craving acceptance" and "art, in a democracy, is a messy, open process" made me cringe. Yuk! I'm still trying to understand what "it(the architecture) brings us closer to the art and sensitizes us to the world around us" means. I got confused because he had just been saying something about hypnotic effects and generous moments.

Why was this guy so hyped up? This was awful!

He loved it though, I probably will too. For a complete pan check out Charlie Finch.

Shirley Kaneda II

You know how sometimes you like an artist's work, and you are excited at the chance to attend a lecture and hear them speak about it, and the lecture is a big disappointment? That was not the case with Shirley Kaneda! I took so many notes and was writing so fast that I couldn't read my own handwriting. She didn't talk very much about any of her specific paintings, but more about painting in general and some of her motivations, while a survey of her work since 1990 was projected.

Born and raised in Japan, where at that time access to Western art was limited, she moved to New York as a young woman and says she was naive about art when she arrived. She started figurative, and loved Ingres, but says "figuration was not enough for me" and "I realized I wasn't interested in creating a narrative". She became enamored of abstract painting, finding "Still and Newman completely compelling". The challenge was that she "had to find a way to make abstract paintings relevant for me". She realized that she wanted to make abstract paintings but wasn't interested in following traditions, she wanted to undermine them.

For a fuller understanding of the context of the following, please read my previous post.

Kaneda said "making abstract paintings during postmodernism was a double-edged sword" because "postmodernism denigrates painting, abstract painting in particular" and spoke of how talk at the time of the ‘death of painting’ was not news, it had been going on since the early 1900's, and that she certainly didn't believe in that idea. "Many thought that the ‘death of painting’ was a fad and were relieved when it went out of style". Note how she declares that way of thinking to be obsolete – I loved it – she was looking right at RR.

This was followed up by criticism of the current state of the artworld that began, “even though I am just a painter, I think criticality is very important”. Ouch! “We have a culture where the only thing that matters is the present and what appears to be new”, in which “paintings are praised not for their freshness but for (illegible word - maybe 'tedium') and cleverness”. “Art has become a process of image consumption” and “a struggle for ideas in such a situation seems useless and hopeless”. “Abstract painting represents a choice”, “I still believe in art or painting’s ability to make some difference”.

“Artists are really not interested in self-criticality, which is a modernist goal, and God forbid we should (do that)”. “I see a staleness”, “they don’t really change anything or try to change anything, other than to try to gain attention” and “themes or contexts are recycled. An amnesia develops where we forget what happened last year”.

“The idealistic goals are not attainable, but that doesn’t mean we should give up”, it “doesn’t mean painting should be abandoned”

Wow! Shirley Kaneda is my hero! I'll continue tomorrow.

Shirley Kaneda

Shirley Kaneda lectured at VCU last week – and she had a lot to say – but first a bit of back-story.

Shirley Kaneda had been listed as being a faculty member on both the VCU Painting Department’s website and in the materials I was sent, and was one of the reasons I applied to VCU. I was coming to get my MFA after nine years in Japan, and Kaneda - born and raised in Japan - was someone I was looking forward to working with. She was also the only faculty member whose work I was familiar with, having previously read some good reviews.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after arriving at VCU that I learned she was no longer faculty, and had been so only briefly. I expressed my disappointment to the departmental chair, Richard Roth, who gave her a thumbs-down gesture, saying “you wouldn’t have liked her anyway” and that “she was no good”.

So it came as a surprise when I discovered that she would be a visiting artist this year. Not because she wouldn’t have been invited, Kaneda isn’t the only visiting artist Roth has disparaged, but because I assumed that she didn’t like him either. I’ve since been informed that her visit now is one of the ways that they are fulfilling her contract.

I’m relating all this not just to gossip, but because it helps to understand my upcoming interpretation of her lecture. Kaneda is an abstract painter and Roth is a former abstract painter, someone who likes to tell how he used to be a Modernist and is now a Post-Modernist. You know what I’m talking about - the zealousy of the converted. Inherent in this is an unspoken contempt for painting, abstract painting in particular, which might explain why Kaneda left the department. I dropped out also.

Why the painter left the painting department and the guy who quit painting runs it is unanswered.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Franklin in Miami socks it to Michael Kimmelman and also has a post on the excellent Shambhala Sun - both posts are followed by lots of interesting comments. I hadn't known Bill Viola also spent time in Japan.

Artists looking to to be informed of opportunities should sign up for Michael Mandiberg's list. It gets e-mailed to you every month or so - a ton of stuff.

Charles Giuliano is a Boston based artist/critic/curator who e-mails a newsletter covering shows he sees, mostly in Boston and Western Massachusetts, sometimes elsewhere. To receive it, e-mail him at Charles.Giuliano@verizon.net.

Thanks to Perry Woodin at GalleryDriver for including anaba on it's artblog aggregator. They list a bunch of artblogs, showing what was updated most recently, saving you the time of having to actually go to each blog to see what's new. Franklin also has one - although it is a bit slow to load.

Lastly, Seattle artist Carolyn Zick's art portal isn't an aggregator, but it seems to be the most comprehensive listing of artblog links. Thanks Carolyn!

Maurizio Cattelan

Here's a blurb from New York Magazine's April 3, 2000 issue on Maurizio Cattelan's elephant that just went for $2,751,500 --

"It's confirmed: the art world has come down with a serious case of elephantiasis. First Chris Ofili's elephant-dung works, then the paintings by elephants auctioned at Christie's, and now the sculpture of 40-year-old Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, whose show at the Marian Goodman Gallery just closed on Saturday. His Not Afraid of Love, a seven-foot-tall painted polyester-styrene baby elephant shrouded in a sheet was sold for "the low six figures" -- a new high for Cattelan -- to the Rubell Family Collection in Miami almost immediately after the show opened. Cattelan, described by moma curator Laura Hoptman as a "trickster," has seen his prices climb dramatically in the past three years, driven by shows in Venice, Paris, and London. The "Il Supernoi" drawings of Cattelan, done by police sketch artists, have nearly doubled to $25,000. And his 1999 photographs of an actor in a huge Picasso head greeting visitors to MOMA like Mickey Mouse at Disney World have sold out for $15,000 each. Expect to see this elephant greeting visitors, too: The Rubell Collection is open to the public, and the second in the edition of two has been put on reserve for an unnamed museum."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Marlene Dumas

Okay! I found some recent Marlene Dumas images and if you are in London you're really in luck because she is showing at Frith Street Gallery from tomorrow through December 23rd! Wow! Someone send Richard Polsky a ticket!

The link also provides her resume which lists only one U.S. solo exhibition - in Chicago - in the past ten years. Yet I'm pretty sure she showed at the New Museum in 2002. Kind of weird. Marlene Dumas is so mysterious!

Upcoming Lectures

Gregory Volk - Wednesday 11/10, 2pm - VCU Student Commons Theatre, 907 Floyd Avenue

Frederika Jacobs - Thursday 11/11, 4pm - Grace Street Theatre, 934 West Grace Street

Wendy Jacob - Thursday 11/11, 5pm (Ouch! Poor scheduling, it starts before the above lecture finishes. I wish these individual VCU departments communicated a little - the art history kids want to work at the Whitney and the art kids want to be in the Whitney, you would think the school would do something to help them meet beforehand?) - VCU Fine Arts Building, 1000 West Broad Street, Room 114

Simon Pittock & Andrew Clarkin( proprietors of Keith Talent Gallery, London) - Monday 11/17, 3:30pm - VCU Fine Arts Building, 1000 West Broad Street, Crit Room #3

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Marlene Dumas

Still thinking about how wrong Richard Polsky was yesterday in calling his segue from Marlene Dumas to outrageous auction prices "changing the subject from the ridiculous to the sublime", when it's the complete reverse! What Bizarro World is he on?

I think all of these prices are pretty nuts, but fortunately Polsky's pan didn't seem to hurt Dumas. Both of her works available went for over $900,000, this one going for $937,600. Wow! Here's a piece of crap from Damien Hirst that sold for $848,000 and a great painting by Jeff Koons, or someone, which sold for $2,248,000!!!

Jeff Koons is the shit!

Marlene Dumas

Who is Marlene Dumas???? Are you kidding me??? She's great! She's a South African-born Amsterdam-living artist who hasn't spent much time schmoozing in NYC, obviously. Even Louise and Maurizio know better than that!

A much better question would be why doesn't artnet have any images of her work from the past ten years!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Reynolds Gallery

There is a great collection of Shirley Kaneda paintings to see at Reynolds Gallery this month. I went to her lecture last Wednesday and took a ton of notes, so I hope to post about that soon and try to get over my recent NY thing.

Also at Reynolds is a nice collection of Carlton Newton drawings and a bunch more stuff upstairs.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The New MOMA

Artcritical.com has an interesting discussion on The New MOMA. It's a good read, I've only excerpted some parts for non-NYC artists to roll their eyes at, like Williamsburg being a place that doesn't get much attention and the need for curators to go all the way to Bushwick. The italics are mine.

Christian (Honesty is the Best Policy) Vivero$-Faune:

I honestly look forward to the museum returning to a sustained and growing level of interest in the art of today, and I say this not only because I aim to sell the museum more work, but because… -- I say bring it on.

Susan Jennings:

Luckily, Chelsea is not the only neighborhood with galleries. There's Williamsburg!

Rocio Aranda-Alvarado:

I find that occasionally I spend three hours in Chelsea and don't see anything truly inspirational. Williamsburg, however, is a different story, as is Newark. I believe sometimes that the more interesting things happen in the (perceived) periphery. There are some extremely motivated and wonderful young artists doing great work and organizing themselves in significant ways in these places that get less attention.

Susan Jennings:

That is why I try to go to these places and then tell people at White Columns, for example, about what I see that is outstanding. It is also why it is so important for curators, critics and dealers, not to mention artists, to go to Williamsburg, Jersey City, Bushwick, wherever the artists are.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

National Book Award?

The National Book Award finalists have been announced and all five of the fiction finalists are New Yorkers! What seems to be the big scandal in the literary world is not that they are all New Yorkers, but that they are all unknowns - - two are first-time novelists and none has a national reputation - - and that all are women.

The fact that there seems to be very little outrage in the literary press that they are all NY'ers is probably because the literary press, like the art press, is all in NY and mostly covers NY. Why do we even call them the "art world" or "literary world" anymore? Or National Book Award or American Academy in Rome or Whitney Museum of American Art? Why does Caryn Coleman have to celebrate the fact that Artforum has made mention of some exhibitions in Los Angeles, our second largest population center?

Germany, a nation the size of one of our states, has at least four individual art centers routinely attracting international critical attention - Berlin, Cologne, Liepzig, and Dusseldorf. We have a good twenty-five cities with populations greater than Leipzig and Dusseldorf, but how often do you hear about what is happening in Denver, El Paso, Memphis, Indianapolis, or Milwaukee - let alone Philadelphia, Phoenix, or Detroit! Can you even imagine a show at Marianne Boesky of the hot artists of Nashville?

The culture wars have clearly been lost and the wagons are circled, with critics and curators sent out on quick missionary visits from NY to art institutions across the country, not to discover or learn, but to spread the word of that already sanctified by the NY market. Ask almost any "top-ranked" MFA program graduate student about his plans upon graduation and you will hear of a move to NY, as recommended by the visiting critic/curator/artist. Is this cultural brain-drain going to help make the so-called red states any less so?

There has been a steady consolidation of power in this country, the consolidation of political power as well as the consolidation of cultural power. The consequences of the consolidation of cultural power to NY and the power base's choice to ignore and exclude the rest of the country, to force so many of our writers and artists to move to NY for any hope of recognition or success, can be plainly read on the Electoral College map. It's hypocritical of the cultural power players to bemoan the results of an election they are clearly not only complicit in, but abetted.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Ed Ruscha II

Since learning that Ed Ruscha will represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale next summer I've been spending some time looking at his work. This has helped me to figure out some of my paintings, like this one, which not many people have responded to very well (a few have). Thanks Ed Ruscha, for giving me so many good ideas and helping me figure out what I'm doing!

Helpful Conversation Hint: The correct pronunciation is "Rew-shay".

Question: Is this really you?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

From the Floor

Everything Todd Gibson has put on From the Floor in the past week has been good. He's got a new Guerrilla Girls poster, NY' s response to the election, and a 5-part Robert Lazzarini interview.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Gregor Schneider

Another of the artists discussed in Ingrid Schaffner's lecture, Gregor Schneider, is being featured on artnet. Read about his un-funhouse.

Ingrid Schaffner II

Here's more on last week's Ingrid Schaffner lecture:

Ms. Schaffner referred to the Paul Schimmel curated Helter Skelter exhibition and it's becoming a surprise blockbuster, making mention of curators "feeling pressure to make museums entertainment zones". In showing slides of Damien Hirst's Gagosian exhibit, she said it was "not the individual works, but the installation, that makes the piece." She talked a lot about Matthew Barney's Guggenheim show, saying it was "not a survey" and that there was "not a critical or historical distance", that "the museum is presenting a major installation." She also said that show was "between a museum exhibition and a major installation" and that "the Guggenheim is one of the sets. You felt like you were an extra. It was very disconcerting."

Interesting facts learned about the subject of the talk, Dali's 1939 World's fair contribution Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus, were that it was backed and well publicized by William Morris - of the William Morris Agency - and burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee. Also that Dali was disappointed with what he felt was shabby craftsmanship and that he considered the whole thing a failure and an insult to the American people. Showing slides of the contemporary artists she was relating to Dali's pavilion, Ms. Schaffner did say that she doubted any of them were directly influenced or even aware of the Dream of Venus, but Dali and his pavilion do figure in Michael Chabon's prize-winning 2001 novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. An interesting interview with that author, plus many other author interviews, can be found here.

This same lecture was given last year at Swarthmore and blogged on Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof's inspiring Philadelphia artblog.

Monday, November 01, 2004

note to Italy

If you are in Italy using the American Academy in Rome's ISP, I think what you are looking for can be found by clicking on archives and scrolling down. Or take this shortcut.