30 December 2006


Bill and I went to see the new Institute of Contemporary Art building when I was up visiting in Boston earlier this week. Steve and Barbara and Tom joined us and we were a merry crew. As you approach the ICA from South Station across the wasteland of parking lot and construction fence, it seems much smaller than the pictures I'd seen (both photos since completion and drawings before). The cantilevered top floor doesn't really stretch all the way to Texas or Hudson Bay. Inside, the spaces were very effective. There was quite a crowd in the lobby but not chaos. The shop was crowded but we managed. The elevator has a lovely route with glass glass glass and views of the building and out to the bay. The media room which hangs off the cantilever is lovely and you can stand up near the top and just see water or go down to the front and see the walkway and the gawking people. The installation of the opening show was very nice and the circuit around the display floor is good. And that's even with fairly sizeable crowds. http://www.icaboston.org/

We went on to dinner at some Irish joint near City Hall. Tom was off to another gathering before going to a two-man version of "The importance of being earnest" in Cambridge. Bill left a message for his sister Martha before we went to the restaurant and she popped in just as we finished eating. No problem; we went on to the Ruby Room for a fancy final drink.

On the way home, we stopped at Hollywood Video for a movie and ended up with "Agnes and her brothers" (in German with English subtitles). It's pretty interesting but not your cheery little family story. As Eleanor/Katharine said, every family has its ups and downs. Agnes is a MTF transsexual, Hans-Jörg is a sex addict who kills his father and then runs away to Poland or Iraq with the porn co-star, Werner is a government minister whose wife wants to leave and whose son photographs him in awkward situations (you might have to be there, but you probably won't want to be there). Worth it, I'd say.

The night before, we'd gone to "Volver" and then to the Paradise (one of my two favorite bars in the whole world, I might exaggerate but what's life without exaggeration now and again). Volver is really good.

Now back in NYC. Before I went up to Boston, I went to MoMA and the Met. The Manet/Maximilian show at MoMA is splendiferous: great paintings and supporting stuff. Also, some good things in the photo show next door to the Manet. I really enjoyed the works by Jonathan Monk. The Tiffany show at the Met was surprisingly good. There's a three-panelled window of white flowers with translucent glass that's splendid and well-installed. I'm getting a little stir-crazy down here in the Bobst basement.

The Manet resonated a bit in the "Dissent" show at the Fogg and the Louis Philippe (pear king) stuff there resonated on Thursday morning in the gallery shows we stopped in as well as in the ICA shop which had some wax pears in a silver bowl.

19 December 2006

vocabulary test

I saw the vocabulary test (see next entry) on Jean's blog and she got an A+. I thought the choices were limiting, and they don't tell you which you got wrong. This is probably why I never did so well on the Miller Analogies Test. An enigma is, well, an enigma, how can it be like something else?

how's your vocabulary?

Your Vocabulary Score: B
You have a zealous love for the English language, and many find your vocabulary edifying.Don't fret that you didn't get every word right, your vocabulary can be easily ameliorated!

18 December 2006


There was a profile of Rick Lowe in the Arts & Leisure section of yesterday's N.Y. Times. He is the founder of Project Row Houses in the Third Ward of Houston. I've meandered over that way from downtown a couple times. The article by Michael Kimmelman describes how Lowe built up the neighborhood through house renovation, general cleaning up, art projects, etc. The picture shows him in front of a couple houses in solid neo-vernacular style, designed by Rice University students. It is encouraging.

Another article in the Arts & Leisure section was about anti-gay slurs and the use of controversial terms such as queer or nigger by the communities that had been the victim of such words. This reappropriation is a combination of "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words probably hurt longer" and political in-your-face-ism. At the screening of "The lost tribe" and "Walking in the light" at Cinemarosa, a woman asked about the use of queer by some folks. She was a Holocaust survivor and couldn't understand the use of queer. Unfortunately, the sentence or two about "Little dog laughed" were not especially positive. Mac and I have tickets for "Dog" for Wednesday. Oh, well.

It will be our third theater experience in eight days. Last Wednesday, we went to "The vertical hour" as part of our NYTW subscription. Both Mac and I thought the play was stronger than the acting though neither of us was major disappointed with the acting. We happened to be standing out in front of the theater when it appeared that the stage door was just a bit West of us. We waited until Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy came out and signed people's programs. We looked at the stars but didn't get our programs signed.

At the ARLIS/NY holiday party on Thursday, Bill Dane said he'd been at the Wednesday matinee of "The vertical hour" too but had found the play weak and the acting fine.

On Friday night, we went to "Kaos" at NYTW. It's Martha Clarke's (no relation, as far as I know) latest venture, based on stories by Pirandello. The dialogue is spoken in Sicilian and that aspect was quite beautiful but the whole thing was pretty inscrutable.

Saturday night was Pina Bausch's "Nefés" at BAM. Wow! The lighting was fine in general but there was one scene with the women in a speckled light where the light was following the women or the women were following the light, or they had become an organic whole. There were several moments during the dance when a dancer would be supported during one particular movement even though it could have been done alone. Beautiful ensemble work as well as fine solos.

I did do a bit of visual art that wasn't connected to performance. Friday's Times had an article on 11 Spring Street where a building long known for its graffiti has been turned into a three-day artwork. The line was maybe an hour's worth of standing but anybody that doesn't have a book or something to read in their bag deserves to be bored. About half of the time in the line was spent listening halfway to shopping talk. At least it was live, not cellphone. Then, for something rather different, I went up to Hirschl & Adler (masterpieces from the Munson Williams Proctor, and they were, especially the Dove watercolors, a nice Frankenthaler, good Rothko and nice S.R. Giffords), Knoedler (Frankenthaler sculpture), and the Frick. The latter has a dozen or so works from the Cleveland Museum whose home is being renovated. The David and some of the others seemed much bigger than I remember them from grad school days though it may have been the scale of the oval gallery at the Frick. I didn't remember the Hals (the gloved left hand of the sitter is gorgeous) and the Valentin de Boulogne.

I stopped at Storefront on the way North for the magazine show. The trip through 1970s magazines was very nostalgic. Those early days of checking in periodicals at Frick, the great titles such as Avalanche and On SITE.

10 December 2006

nina moment

I've got WQXR coming out of the speakers and the reporter just said "In Beirut ..."

09 December 2006

words words words

My galleryhopping today was pretty focused. I had a few galleries on the list and didn't wander far from itinerary. First off was White Columns at 4th and Horatio. One of the pieces was a collection of Stuart Sherman videos. Some of his words: nose, words, globe, chain, gun. On another wall "A false sense of security" spelled out in pushpins. Then I went to the Kitchen to see the Christian Jankowski installation. Yikes. The Frankenstein piece was folks walking out of the darkness toward the camera, some in costume, all talking of wreaking huge damage on someone who had messed severely with him/her. Not easy to watch, very little to even be ironically amused by. The other installation was pomo talk about cinema studies against a gory bloody horror vampire movie. It did have funny moments with the text actually taken from works by various film theoreticians. Imagine someone spouting pomo words from their mouth, along with blood. Maybe you had to be there.

The next show was very light by comparison: Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt's works at Pavel Zoubok Gallery. I talked to Sur Rodney (Sur) who was manning the front desk and he said that Tommy has done lots of installations and this stuff was so small and contained. On the other hand, it was placemats and hotpads of plastic and various collage bits including renaissance paintings and pictures. One of the amusing ones was Saint Augustine's mom and her concern for her son. One of the others had this great quote: My eighth grade class was greatly influenced by Mother Cabrini and Auntie Warhol.

One of Andrew Robinson's pieces at Paul Sharpe Fine Art had this text from Rimbaud: I sat beauty on my knee and found her bitter.

Sidebar: Paul and I chatted about gromets and clips and I realized that binder clips are more ubiquitous now in our paperless environment than they were twenty five years ago. Hmm.

And I wonder sometimes why I am so attracted to the melancholy?

Then off to the train and up to Columbia to see the Ely Jacques Kahn show before it closed (both it and the Jankowski were on their last day). Some lovely drawings and interesting photos. I knew he was prolific but I guess I didn't realize how many of the midtown skyscrapers were his. The Avery collections are so incredible but there were also things from LC.

There was a notice on some list that a task force is being formed at LC to look at the future of bibliographic control. If I had to pick between series authority control and more processing of architectural archives, I think I'd take the latter. That's certainly the direction NYU discussions are taking: why spend oodles of time and money recataloging the mainstream stuff that everybody else is doing when there are uncataloged and unprocessed items in special collections.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the email from Visual AIDS and the picture was of Tom Seidner and another guy in a picture entitled "Radical Faerie Series" (1987) by Albert J. Winn. When I was at the Wolf Creek Sanctuary in August, I thought of Tom and wondered what had happened to him. He had been the owner/operator of Borealis Books in Ithaca in the early 1980s. We had talked about the Radical Faeries and I had heard he was spending at least part of his time in faeriedom but don't know which sanctuary if that was the setting. Still can't tell which from the Visual AIDS page but it isn't Wolf Creek and looks kind of Tennessee. http://www.thebody.com/visualaids/web_gallery/2006/renaldi/06.html

08 December 2006


Wednesday night took me to Zankel Hall for a Sofia Gubaidulina concert. Wow! Double wow! It was incredible. The first piece -- "Rejoice!" -- was a sonata for violin and cello. The second and third pieces were for eight and seven cellos respectively, with a couple waterhorns tossed in for "On the edge of the abyss." Gubaidulina (goo-bye-DOOL-inna) was unable to attend because her husband died recently. Instead, they showed clips from a couple documentaries, good place setters. It was truly a delight to listen and watch, the way the sounds drifted between cacophony and harmony, the way the cellists worked their instruments. One of the documentaries talked about the way Gubaidulina touched the folk instruments, there was also something tactile about the playing of the cellos.

For a completely different experience, last night was a concert by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir. Early music, Bach, Buxtehude and Corelli. Very different from the Gubaidulina. Good. I guess I preferred the Gubaidulina but the baroque concert reminded me very much of my mother and her love of Christmas oratorios.

At the mentoring panel on association participation on Wednesday, Jennifer enthused about the 18th century when I mentioned that I'd chosen an 18th-century panel at College Art. It occurred to me, as I was reading during the intermission last night, that I'm actually reading a book that dwells in the 18th century -- Princesses: the six daughters of George III by Flora Fraser.

04 December 2006

a moving experience

Much of the time this past weekend was spent helping Christie through the dregs of her move from a rental apartment to the apartment she's buying on State Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Some shlepping but mostly little packing and cleaning tasks. Yesterday we had sandwiches at Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwich shop on Atlantic Avenue and they were very tasty. We had the Classic Vietnamese (chopped pork, ham, pate, marinated carrots, cilantro) and Vietnamese coffee (sweet and hot).

After I split, I took the 2 train to the Brooklyn Museum where I found ten million people in the Annie Leibovitz show. I would like to see it again with fewer people but it was still worth it. Slipped out the back staircase to the Walton Ford show with its wonderful Audubon-ish watercolors with lots more going on. I really enjoyed "Jack on his deathbed" -- Lord Hamilton's ape who also collected antiquities and expired as Vesuvius erupts in the background. A couple "nasty bits."

From there to the Proteus Gowanus program on "chained libraries" with Wendy Walker and Robert LaFarge. It was more about the idea of libraries which have been metaphorically chained (or lost) by war, changing tastes, natural disaster, ethnic cleansing.

The weekend started with the Ballet Preljocaj program at the Joyce. Wow. I had seen Preljocaj at PS 122 a few years ago but not his company. The first half was "Move 1" set to John Cage, the dancers flowed and stuck to a vigorous sequence of movements. Lovely shorter male dancer. The second half was "Noces" set to Tchaikovsky: vigorous music, vigorous dancing. Really wonderful. I don't always understand audience or critical reaction. The audience clapped warmly after the second piece but I was ready to jump to my feet (timidly, no one else did so I didn't). The Times critic thought the first piece was fine but was a little ho-hum about the second. There's no accounting for taste.

A couple dreamy things this weekend: the possibility of a little more space via a notice about a rental with some IFA students who are buying a house in Crown Heights (I think I met them at John's some time ago); the charming fellow I talked to after the Proteus Gowanus program, out on the street, needed a light.

01 December 2006

hugo van der goes

Heidi went to Bruges on Monday so she didn't get to see "The death of the Virgin" by Hugo van der Goes. She did tell me where her photos were posted -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/vheidi -- and there's some lovely shots of Bruges as well as some mountains and streams in Ireland. While I was flickring with Heidi, I thought I'd search the tags for "hugo van der goes" and only got one hit for someone who had been to the Uffizi.

Amazing food treat the other night. After the heady Jean-Louis Cohen lecture on Tuesday night at Cooper, we officers of the SAH chapter took him to dinner at Aroma Kitchen and Winebar on East 4th Street. http://www.aromanyc.com/index.html The food was very tasty, the atmosphere was incredible. You enter the bar from the street and it's nice but not particularly unusual for the neighborhood. We had a private dining room in the basement: you go through the narrow door, down the steep stairs which are between buildings and outside, up a couple stairs, turn right through a very narrow door (aka cellar doorway), down a couple more steps, turn left into a miraculous space just the size for our party of 11. Vito suggested that they just bring us some of each of the appetizers and ... my favorite was probably the artichokes (en casserole, I guess, with cheese). I had a pasta that was heavenly: beet colored, veal infusion sauce, some cheese. What's not to like with tons of grease and carbs?

26 November 2006

nina katchadourian

The family field trip to see the Nina Katchadourian show at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College was a resounding success, especially the sounds from the elevator and from the video monitors and in the dark room and from the mouths of siblings. It was so great to share her work with other people who enjoy postcards, words, games with words, nature, books, and other themes that appear in Katchadourian's work. And they had a wonderful panoply of works, many of which I had seen before (and it was wonderful to see them again).

Downstairs, there was a show of more than 100 drawings, part two of "Twice drawn." There were several drawings that were especially enjoyable and each of us -- Dad, Bert, Doug, Carol, Barb, Bruce, Cathy, and me -- had particular favorites. I had fun telling Carol and Bert about the Mark Tansey drawing of Duchamp and Rrose Selavy in passing trains. I have a poster of the Tansey work of Indians looking at Spiral Jetty and that poster is in the room Carol used to occupy as her bedroom at 33. There was also a Smithson drawing of a corner sculpture, and Carol had an art class experience with Smithson years ago at Alfred University. And there was an Oldenburg or two. I saw Oldenburg in Oberlin when I was in grad school and got his signature in one of the little Dutton paperbacks of his work. The title of the show comes from the vintage of the works which dated from some time ago or recently, not a survey of drawings but a look at resonances.

The looking at resonances is playing out in the call for participation in the February-April 2007 show of the Queer Caucus. We officers accepted an interesting curatorial offer from Sheila Pepe which she called "Mother, may I?" Rather than looking at simple artistic precedence (precedents), the entrants are challenged to come up in pairs wherein an older artist granted permission to a younger artist (I don't think the older/younger need be merely chronological, not probably even being dyads). A couple people have criticized the theme on the list, and I sure wish their energy went into creative challenge of the theme rather than confrontation.

20 November 2006

all we are saying is give peace a chance

David Dorfman and company were at BAM this past week, doing "underground" which is a tribute to the Weather Underground and social and artistic action. It was a beautiful show with lots of good sentiment. Questions on the back wall as well as vocally: have you ever killed anyone? have you ever wanted to kill anyone? have you ever loved anyone? are you a pacifist? In another section, one of the dancers tries to explain how if she killed three people, she could save ten. She gradually progresses until she says that if she killed a billion, she could save a zillion. My reaction was to ask myself if there was hope and then that came up in the Dialogue afterwards with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of the Urban Bush Women. She had been reading someone who was positing a theory of quietism. What is enough? You can always do more, and sometimes you have strength only to do less. The performance ended with the dancers throwing little magnetized light blobs against a metallic wall where they turned into a starry sky or fireworks display or bright future.

Another theme of the BAM Dialogue was that art is important in activism and a creative force in the world. Do your art, whatever it is. Do your part too, I guess. In the Sunday Times (that's N.Y. Times), there was a wonderful profile of Maxine Hayt and Marcia Tucker by Elizabeth Hayt (Maxine's daughter). Maxine Hayt, partly under the influence of Tucker, exercised her art because she had to. While it meant that she wasn't always at home, she enriched the lives of her husband and children while doing what she had to do.

17 November 2006

Proteus Gowanus rocks!

ARLIS/NYers gathered at Proteus Gowanus last night to hear from three artists who are part of their "Library" theme year. Before they got started, Sasha introduced us to the Proteus program; this year's project folks include Matty Rosenberg (doing an artists books project), Deirdre Lawrence (working on a show at Brooklyn Museum), Nina Katchadourian, Jeanne Liotta (doing a project on media and ephemera in conjunction with Donnell), and chained books.

Andrew Beccone told us about his Reanimation Library and how it came to be, starting with his mom the librarian and an early job in a library in Saint Paul (Macalester?). A couple-three hundred books are on the shelves at Proteus, all cataloged, but the collection development policy involves the books having good images. Lots of Qs because science books can have remarkable illustrations, especially when they are looked at with "millenial" eyes. (Faith and I noted we were unusual at the gathering in being considerably over 40; Nancy arrived soon after.) Andrew mentioned that the books were mostly outdated, and one book was partly obscured by someone's head. I was reading the title as Pipilotti Rist which is hardly outdated; the title turned out to be Piloting ...

The collection development policy: odd books; copyright-related materials; images that get re-used by others.

Andrew is building a database, and has experimented with LibraryThing but doesn't see that it's an appropriation of his idea. Anything that would expedite record creation is fine with him. Cataloging takes effort, you know.

Shelly Jackson has two projects: an ethereal Institial Library and its more physical Circulating Collection. The latter is all of the books that are in circulation: in private collections, checked out of libraries, thrown away, lent. Shelly also spoke of "the problem of cataloging." Associative, redundancy. The example was long noses: the relation between Pinocchio and Cyrano might not be in your "cataloging" to say nothing of the fact that the Japanese call Americans the long nose people (as Faith mentioned). And then there's Warhol and his re-use of plastic surgery ads. And my "no more nose jokes" which has faded with time. When I searched nose in our opac, I found Nose book: representations of the nose in literature and art.

Jeffrey Schiff talked about his library project at Wesleyan University which has several components: book with a count of the books in Borges's Library of Babel, DVD of new titles athe library during one month (flashing by; boy, did I want a pause button), call numbers put in relevant places around town (and on the ceiling at Gowanus), "The world of ..." signs, and a wall piece moving from "bread" to other words selected by random.org.

Wendy Walker and Tom LaFarge will be talking about chained books on December 3rd.


06 November 2006


boy, tony better be grateful. his birthday is tomorrow but we're supposed to get together on wednesday. that night, there's the "Night of 1000 Drawings" at Artists Space and a book event in Tamiment and a lecture on the Thaw miniature staircases at the Cooper-Hewitt .... and now i see a message from Location One that nina katchadourian -- NINA KATCHADOURIAN! -- is going to speak there on wednesday night. nina's work is stupendous and her webpage is pretty splendid too -- http://www.ninakatchadourian.com/index.php

05 November 2006

six degrees

From Strauss to Monk. On Friday night, it was Strauss's "Four last songs" sung by Karita Mattila at Carnegie Hall. Yesterday, the music continued with an afternoon recital at Morris Jumel Mansion in Harlem. Carlene Stober and Charlie Weaver played 17th and 18th century string music in the 1765 house. Lovely and oh so civilized but not pretentious. Then on to the A train from 168th Street in Manhattan to Lafayette in Brooklyn. A fine supper at Scopello (their ravioli di funghi is very satisfying with a glass of nero davola) and off to BAM for Meredith Monk. The Majestic/Harvey was filling with stage smoke as a sort of chant/drone filled the air. Mystical. Then the first words out of Monk's mouth are "Last song" with words by James Hillman. Her last was more of a word piece than Strauss's: last dance, last chance, last place, last rites (melancholia still continues?). Still, the circle is always there.

One of the encores at the Bavarian Radio Symphony concert on Friday night at Carnegie Hall was played pizzicato, which circled around at the Morris Jumel Mansion as Carleen and Charlie did some plucking on their fiddles. Charlie's theorba was a beautiful instrument.

And as I was enjoying all that music, I was finishing reading Chronicles, volume one by Bob Dylan in which he describes his sources with a longish bit on Brecht and Weill toward the end. The mixing of politics into the words of your songs. The book is quite compelling, not least because it is not over-edited, leaving in inelegant, if not also wrong, grammar.

melancholia continues and disappears

Yesterday I added an entry here with the subject line "melancholia continues" which included some text from Strauss's "Four last songs" which I had heard sung at Carnegie Hall by Karita Mattila the night before. The words:

O broad, contented peace!
So deep in the sunset glow,
How exhausted we are with our wanderings --
can this then be death?

(copied from http://jsundram.freeshell.org/ProgramNotes/Strauss_Leider.html)

When I copied/pasted the words yesterday, there was some "bad" character that caused the posting to not take on the first saving. I then retyped the text and it seemed to take. I happened to look today and it wasn't included so I republished the blog and, alas, the whole entry disappeared. Sigh. The miracles of the e-environment.

Ever onward ..... whatever, exactly.

23 October 2006


I was having a conversation with someone recently about melancholy and we had both had experiences close to that time that caused reflection on the beauty and value of melancholy. My intrigue with melancholy probably goes back to first seeing Dürer's "Anatomy of melancholy." Now, this morning I get to catalog Grey hope: the persistence of melancholy (Atopia Projects, 2006) for Parsons. A wonderful little book, but of course tinged with sadness or aloneness. (Avvaiyar has always given me more credit than is due for nascent hermitness.)

The Atopia Project website says:
"Atopia Projects is an arts organization that initiates curatorial and publishing projects. Co-founded and directed by Gavin Morrison (Scottish writer/curator, based in Provence, France) and Fraser Stables (Scottish Artist, based in Northampton, MA, USA), past projects include exhibitions, panel discussions, interventions, and multi-disciplinary publications investigating such ideas as placelessness [my emphasis] and physical versus psychological space. Atopia Projects is interested in generating projects that reorient the integrity, limitations, and potential of existing systems of cultural production."
It intrigues me that there is no place or tangible address given on the Atopia website other than the bases of the founders.

... and, then, an hour later, I get a message from my brother with a sig-file quote from Mark Twain:

It is understandable that when I speak from the grave it is not a spirit that is speaking; it is a nothing; it is an emptiness; it is a vacancy; it is a something that has neither feeling nor consciousness. It does not know what it is saying. It is not aware that it is saying anything at all, therefore it can speak frankly and freely, since it cannot know that it is inflicting pain, discomfort, or offense of any kind. -- Mark Twain

21 October 2006

social art

Last week, Steve and social tagging of art works -- http://steve.museum
Today, crowdsourcing at Apex Art -- http://www.apexart.org

I have been intrigued for some time about the intersection of expert cataloging and social tagging. I've been hearing about Steve at least since the VRA conference this spring in Baltimore. There was a workshop/seminar on the project last week at the Guggenheim. I have now arranged for Michael Jenkins to talk to NYTSL in November. Several of my NYTSL colleagues have expressed strong interest in the topic. http://nytsl.org

This morning, I went to get a ticket for the 9:25 p.m. showing of "Shortbus" at Sunshine and then meandered into SoHo and Tribeca to do a bit of art before coming to Bobst. Both Participant and Canada were closed, probably open at noon. It's frustrating for us gallery goers to have Saturdays such a late, and thereby short, day. Over to Church Street and Apex Art. The card for the new show had been compelling -- simple drawings of animals. The show is curated by Andrea Grover and is called "Phantom captain: art and crowdsourcing." The brochure for the show quotes Jeff Howe from the June 2006 Wired Magazine wherein he "introduced the term crowdsourcing ... to describe a new form of corporate outsourcing to largely amateur pools of volunteer labor that 'create content, solve problems, and even do corporate R & D'." Examples such as EBay where users stock the marketplace and Amazon where users provide the reviews that sell more books. Sounds like social tagging wherein we use untrained catalogers to supply the words that might supply the inroad to a resource.

In a conversation with one of my cataloging colleagues (Diana Greene) last week, we skirted around the value of longterm, constructed subject headings and the sometimes slangy way we describe certain concepts, e.g., Cointelpro, black feminism, coalition building. Sometimes the way we speak of a concept, say "peace activist," conflicts with the way it is dealt with in LCSH. "Peace activist" is a reference from "Pacifist." Diana's concern is that pacifists needn't be peace activists (witness the current writer), and peace activists needn't be pacifists. And LCSH uses "... movements" for groups of activists, e.g., Student movements, Civil rights movements, Antislavery movements.

14 October 2006

today's galleryhopping

My day of galleryhopping started at Murray Guy with the Beat Streuli show: an installation from videos shot at tram stops in a Muslim section of Brussels accompanied by a large photo mural and a few small stills. Her work is so compelling. When I told Margaret Murray and Janice Guy that I couldn't figure out what made it so compelling: was it the urbanity, the color, the faces, the voyeurism?, they mentioned that it was a street watcher's paradise but also the slowed-down speed as well. I hadn't thought about the speed being slower than "reality" but the guy smoking did take a long time to exhale the smoke. Also in the back room were a couple pieces by Alejandro Cesarco, one an index to an imaginary book with entries for Jack Pierson, Jacques Lacan, I'll be your mirror, and various other things. It's reproduced on their web page, along with another table of contents for a book on melancholy. We talked for quite a while, as we often do (they may be my favorite gallerists). After some time, I came to the conclusion that their wordy artists fit with my aesthetic. Cesarco was the artist for a wonderful video installation at Art in General a while ago (they may have sent me there, I realized after leaving). Cesarco is about to go on my page of artists who work with books, reading, libraries, and the like. Their next show will be a 4-person show with Cesarco and three others who work with words. I can't wait.

Then upstairs to Axis which had a show by Ledelle Moe -- one huge and a couple smaller pieces plus a wall thing, all made of concrete (I guess) in panels bolted together. From the solid side, it looked hugely heavy and massive; from the underside, you could see through. Axis is in the 3rd-floor space above Murray Guy at 453 West 17th. Richard Anderson was there when I first encountered that building. From the window on the eastern side of the building, you get an incredible view of the Empire State Building.

Gass & Grünert: Alex Kasselböhmer -- one of the paintings with many trees had a shape rather like the lower half of Manhattan but which also could have been a footprint. Hmm, which?

Shainman: Nick Cave -- wearable suits of fabric, fur, string, sequins, wooden sticks, strings, etc. etc. Catalog for his show in Chicago has an essay by James Sanders who I met some years ago at College Art but I guess he hasn't been there since the Philadelphia conference.

Paul Rodgers: Lucinda Devlin "Disparate vision: selections from the Omega Suites and Pleasure Ground series" -- gas chambers and tanning booths, electrocution and sex shops, gallows as empty space rather like spare industrial shots

511: Bryan LeBoeuf -- rather like his paintings; at their last show of his work, the postcard had a lovely man crawling onto the boatdock

Three shows on the next floor of 529 West 20th: Jennifer Bain's delicate panelled paintings with palette knife scraping at Kathryn Markel; coarse people by Mark Takimichi Miller at Edlin; and then Pat Lipsky abstracts at Elizabeth Harris. Quite a wonderful trio.

Bibro: Shane McAdams paintings and Mike Miga abstract Polaroids -- wonderfully complementary

Ricco/Maresca (they're on 3rd floor now at 529): Philippe Weisbecker and the archeology of the future -- simple drawings, rocks, shards

Hasted Hunt: Bohnchang Koo's photos of pots, quite monochromatic; Eliot Porter (thoughts of Amon Carter)

Kim Foster: Kwang-Young Chun -- those wonderful little boxes with Chinese writing, all on a wall or floor piece. There's usually one of this artist's pieces in the small enclosure at the front of the gallery, but today Chun got the whole space.

Stopped at Printed Matter and picked up Matthias Herrmann's new title in the "Hotel" series

Perry Rubenstein: Jesper Just "It will all end in tears" -- video installation, very dark, old man and young man, with Finnish Shouting Men's Chorus

Daniel Reich: "When fathers fail" -- the wall piece I suspected might be Christian Holstad turned out to be Tom Burr (some of his stuff is very subtle; this was more in your face)

Gladstone: Catherine Opie "American cities" -- great panoramic photos including bridges across streets in Minneapolis, World Trade Center, L.A. strip malls

Ramis Barquet: Alex Hank "The melancholic Mr. A" -- floor covered with shellacked images from pop culture, back room with slogans in neon

Clamp Art (in the new space): "Monkey portraits" by Jill Greenberg -- they're ready for their closeups and the wet eyes were quite incredible. In the back space, "Proof that homosexuality is part of nature" but I can't remember the name of the artist. Brian put it up to go with the animals in the front space. He didn't know if all of the guys in the picture are the same person though he does know it isn't the artist (as Giocolea does in his photos).

George Billis: Nicholas Evans-Cato -- lovely landscapes, mostly Brooklyn. One especially reminded me of the view from the apartment that Christie has made an offer on. It's on State Street and her main views are over toward the Williamsburgh Bank Building, now becoming One Hanson Place (condos). Her view will probably not include much of the proposed Atlantic Yards development because of a taller building a couple blocks from her apartment. But that reminds me of Frank Gehry. As I rounded the corner of 17th Street and Tenth Avenue, the new Gehry building on the West Side Highway was gorgeous! The day was bright and sunny and it looked splendid. I very much enjoyed seeing it go up, with the slanted concrete supports.

By then, I was pretty much sated (WELL sated, not stuffed) and getting hungry. Walked home, got the mail (new issue of Art in America and whatever), ate some food, got a call from Rachel, came over to the office.

After supper last night with Sharon, Robert and Sam, I went home for a bit and then decided to go see "Modern living" at La MaMa, 10 p.m. show. It was enjoyable, lively. The characters were nicely played.

I'd give you more URLs for all these things but I figure you can google 'em as well as I can.

27 September 2006

who we are

At the Blanchon book event last night (see previous post), there was some discussion of truth or creative storybuilding in some of Blanchon's works. If he creates an event, or tells a story, how much of it is true? Does it matter?

Now, there's a notice for:
Identity and Identification in a Networked World
A Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Symposium
September 29-30, 2006
Furman Hall 210
245 Sullivan Street
New York University School of Law

The first sentence of the description is:
Increasingly, who we are is represented by key bits of information scattered throughout the data-intensive, networked world.

But what if it's not true??

Robert Blanchon book event

Visual AIDS has just published (distributed by D.A.P.) a lovely book about Robert Blanchon (1965-1999) and his work. Last night, there was a book event at Artists Space with a panel of an editor (Amy Sadao), the essayists (Sasha Archibald and Gregg Bordowitz), and Blanchon's executor (Mary Ellen Carroll). Below, my notes:

Archibald: he became "a sort of trickster"; sent out invitations to mailing list of Terra Museum about 21st year of Conceptualism, all a hoax but black tie event with nowhere to be; slides of several of his works including gum on the sidewalk (one version entitled "Untitled"; the other titled with the addresses of cruising spots in L.A.; reminded me of others who have given meaning to ordinary places by labeling them as cruising spots)

Bordowitz: his essay in the form of a prose poem
* guilt [but also envy], survivor's guilt
* names become reference points: all of the activists/artists were not just one happy crew who all knew each other
* Bordowitz didn't know Blanchon and wrote his prose poem to the work, but as a kind of love story [art makes me horny]
* missed opportunities
* inspired by James Schuyler and John Donne
* "we all have beds, Felix"
* works embody the pressure of their moment
* he made both "gay art" and "queer art"
* differences between artist, e.g., Wojnarowicz was a primitive, Moore was kitchy, Felix Gonzalez-Torres was conceptualist
* possibly knowing the artist through his work

Carroll: Blanchon diagnosed in 1983 so HIV positive throughout career; shared sense of tricksterism [Billy Trickster and all from Oregon trip]; architecture, like film, is something you can't do yourself [hence title main entry]; Carroll promised Blanchon she'd do book and international exhibition (book is beautiful and exhibition is on the way); art from perspective of artist/maker, not viewer

Q&A: formalist and not; engagement; easier to die from drug addiction than from AIDS; elevation of gossip to philosophy


25 September 2006

art and circuses

As I said to Julie:
I got to Senior & Shopmaker on Saturday to see the Mary Miss show. They are good pieces: large multi-image photo panoramas. ... I had been fighting going to West Chelsea because it just isn't all that much fun anymore but I learned my lesson. I had a couple-three stops on the list and stopped at several others. As often happens, some of the random stops beat out the ones on the list. The Joseph Kosuth installation at Sean Kelly is good. When I was at Elga Wimmer talking to the artist [Daniel Blaufuks] who happened to be hanging out there, Ken Soehner walks in and it turns out that he and his wife know the artist pretty well (actually, Nathalie knows him well and Ken knows him because Nathalie does). The Chris Verene show at Alona Kagan was pretty interesting; his photos are very evocative.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, I had Circus Amok on the calendar, along with working on the newsletter. Circus Amok was a good deal of fun, in spite or perhaps enhanced by the rain that caused a longer intermission than anyone really really wanted. One of the guys looked familiar and I think it's because he was all painted up in the report about the Art Parade on the Radical Faeries list. Festive. Mac was running errands and happened upon me and the circus. Maybe I'll run away which reminds me of that Woody Allen film in which the guy runs away from the circus.

21 August 2006

inside the grid

Being in Oregon, with Tee and at Wolf Creek Sanctuary, was nourishing. Tee has been to the hospital and doesn't want to go back. She is ready to leave us, and looking forward to her next existence. I asked "what?" and she had heard that once you're a human, you can't go back, intriguing as it might be to be a banana or ant. It may have been the sanctuary influence. Part of me could really be a hippie communard: meandering about, talking about life and love, taking naked showers in the sunshine, watching the skunk poke around in the evening, watching the wild turkeys poke around in the morning. Another part of me would really miss the galleries, the sidewalks with their destinations. I was reading Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust: a history of walking while I was in Oregon, and on the plane coming back. Lots of interesting observations, starting from walking but going to philosophy, literature, communication, social interaction, life, the whole gamut.

The sky was beautiful in Wolf Creek. You don't get big sky since there are mountains all around but the sun was glorious. The sunlight on the ridges was beautiful. The night sky with a full arc of stars was splendiferous. I love to be out under the night sky, probably a result of living in New York City where light pollution blocks viewing of all but the very brightest night sky objects.

The nourishment of the sanctuary and visit are hard to sustain in the onslaught of the workplace. Gotta get inspired.

07 August 2006

gl/q part 2 and tee

The seond part of "Art works" edited by Richard Meyer and David Román for GL/Q was at the Whitney when I was there on Saturday. There's an essay about early feminist art journals that includes quite a bit about Tee Corinne's contributions. Other good stuff too. Not that I've read it or anything.

The Whitney show -- 75 years -- was wonderful, full of the icons of the last few decades. Also the video of "The holy artwork" by Christian Jankowski was in the video gallery. And the Calder circus, which I haven't seriously looked at for years, was in the lobby gallery and looked fine.

Yesterday started out slow but I went up to the Cloisters and got some solace from the fine art and the fine views from the terraces and the park. I walked out to find Park Terrace West where two couples of friends have moved recently. There are some lovely tudorish houses on West 217th Street. Sueyoung and Dwight's building looked quite nice, and I'm not sure which building is Daniel and Gary's. Other gays on the street.

04 August 2006

go metadata!

First we talked about digitization, cultural objects, and potato salad; then we took pictures of Diane's license plate.

Maybe we could add social tags to this picture and see where the folks go. Maria and I wondered if we should do some experiments in social tagging.

(photo by Maria Oldal, taken 3 August 2006 outside South Huntington Public Library, after 4th LILRC Symposium on Digitization)

24 May 2006

art diets

It's been most of a month since the last entry. Last Saturday, I was feeling very starved for galleries after spending weekends at ARLIS/NA conference, preparing for CCO preconference at ALA, and similar stuff. Though I had to run off to Ridgewood (Queens) for a party, I ran up to Chelsea for an hour and a half of galleries and got a good snack. The Joe Fig show at PlusUltra on West 27th was interesting. The show a few doors down at Derek Eller was pretty compelling. Also had a good, long chat with Margaret Murray at Murray Guy. They have an installation of Francis Cape photos of New Orleans with wainscoating. Melancholy and lovely.

Since I've been reading "The fig eater" by Jody Shields, the serendipity of Joe Fig was amusing but doesn't really go anywhere.

Last night, I took the LIRR out to Hicksville to join my sister and her family at the Jericho Jewish Center where she received the "Woman of Achievement" from her temple sisterhood. Very glad I went. Interesting to be there so soon after receiving the Distinguished Service Award from ARLIS/NA. Very different ceremonies, settings.

25 April 2006

henriette avram dies

Just read a notice that Henriette Avram died .... must have been the announcement from LC that they will no longer try to control series headings. We, of course, do it mostly for ourselves and other librarians, but it's been useful for that audience. It's probably not the end of the world or anything like that but it has been a trying time.

20 April 2006

round-topped buildings

Lynda Bunting sent me a note about establishing the Mercato del pesce di Napoli (M.D.P.N.), on which she had a book of Thomas Ruff photos. It's a building so it has to be SAF, not NAF .... I guess. That also means that I need to find another source for the heading. I was having trouble but then saw a picture of the Ruff book. The M.D.P.N. is a rationalist building, 1929, designed by Luigi Cosenza, with a round top. I'm such a sucker for that profile. It probably goes back to falling in love with Ledoux in college but you can add Palladio's Basilica, Loos's Horner and Steiner houses, and even a house by Alexander Brodsky that I was looking at in Metropolis last night.

09 April 2006

note to self

I started this blog because I had to register in order to respond to Tee's blog. It's been almost a month and I wondered if "shermaniac" would show up if I googled it. Damn. There's a SherManiac out there who is keen on things like Sherman Tanks and warmongering. That's not me!!

This stuff is all too interconnected. My brother put up some family pictures on his Facebook site so I had to sign on for that too. The profile there asked for a favorite quote so I picked:

He was not cut out to be a soldier, he thought, but neither were most of the young men of his class and acquaintance who went to fight. It was not wisdom which kept him away, he believed, but something closer to cowardice, and as he walked the cobbled streets of his new town, he almost thanked God for it. (Henry, the narrator, in The master, a novel based on the life of Henry James, by Colm Toibin)

condoleezza rice and music

The "arts and leisure" section of today's New York Times has a profile of Condoleezza Rice and her musical interests and piano playing. She is passionate about Brahms and others. She plays with a string quartet made up of others who have careers other than music. How can a person so moved by music be part of a warmongering administration?

There was an article in the front section about lymphatic filariasis which is caused by a worm that secretes stuff and your legs can fill up with water. If you're a man, it might cause your testicles to grow (the article said to the size of a basketball in the worst cases). One picture of a man with a swollen leg was horrifying. Don't turn the page though; it's an advert for some pretty dress or cosmetics or something. The contrast is terrible and typical.

31 March 2006

public/private and oregon

Wednesday night was a panel on "terrorist naturalism" at Location One. Lots of critical newspeak but good things to think about ... particularly about "public" and "private" space. The main speakers were Katya Degot and David Riff, both based in Moscow, she all Russian, he grew up in America. Growing up in America, I think of sidewalks and squares as public space but they aren't always even if they are public land. Even Central Park in NYC is managed by a conservancy of "friends" of the park, mainly the richer people who live around the park. If the park were smaller, the control might be palpable. With that many acres and trees and rocks and whatnot, it's hard to apply the sort of control that a plaza like Rockefeller Center can, or even a park like Washington Square.

http://location1.org/index_qt.php (it's maddeningly overloaded, or fabulously interactive)

This morning's research on Louis Bunce, artist from Oregon. He has two records in the LC authority file and a mural in the Grants Pass postoffice. Tee's home is near Grants Pass and she is back home, leaving the hospital in pink boa and jacket.

28 March 2006

tee corinne

Tee Corinne and I have co-edited the newsletter of the Queer Caucus for Art for a decade. She is now fighting cancer of the bile duct and there is a blog for her. It is evocative and wrenching to read. The blog is at jeansirius.com/TeeACorinne/tee_update.html and there are links to some of Tee's pictures at Jean's homepage at http://jeansirius.com/ or at http://www.varoregistry.com/corinne/


[N.B. Jean took the blog down after Tee's death in August but there are still links on Jean's page to Tee materials as well as the University of Oregon where Tee's archives are deposited.]

11 March 2006

good galleryhopping today

Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read; John Arsenault at Clamp Art. The film schedule at Matthew Marks didn't fit so I haven't looked at the Nan Goldin film yet. Brian says it's long.