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.