26 February 2007

all that i will ever be

Yesterday the marathon but not the Oscars. Before I went out to breakfast, I finished reading Tania Katan's My one-night stand with cancer. It's a compelling story of a woman who had mastectomies at the age of 21 and 31. The part about the cold of the surgery room was one of the most compelling moments for me -- the very live memories of that feeling -- but there were lots of resonations throughout. She ran one 10K topless, evoking my sister's getting arrested for topless behavior. I talked to Tania after the CAA panel she was on. She checked the law in California before she ran topless and the state law about topless women involved exposing the areola. Since her mastectomies took those away, she was within the law.

Breakfast was the normal paper and pancakes at Silver Spurs. Actually, not the normal since I had to eat and read pretty promptly in order to go to the Jože Plečnik lecture at the church of Saint Cyril on St Mark's Place. I arrived about ten minutes before eleven and there was still a service going on. I stood out front. A woman walked up, finishing her cigarette. I asked if she was here for the Plečnik lecture and she said yes. She was a Slovene, here to do a short-term job at the U.N. We talked a bit about Slovenia and being in the U.S., currency. She mentioned that getting used to U.S. coins is made more difficulty because there are no numerals on the coins. I hadn't thought about that but it's true: one cent, five cents, one dime, quarter dollar. Those words are cognate with other romance or germanic words but it's not as easy as 1, 5, 10, and 25 for a non-anglophone.

As 11 neared, others arrived that appeared to be lecture types. Then some musicians arrived. Eventually we went into the sanctuary after the church service seemed to be over. The musicians finished setting up, no screen for an architectural lecture. The musical group started to play Slovenian jazzy music. Annice, Jay and I were getting a little nervous that perhaps the lecture was not happening or happening in some other room in the rowhouse church building. I tried to relax and enjoy the music, chalking it up to chance. The group stepped aside, a guy read a poem in Slovenian and English, a lady sang three traditional songs, the group came back and did another number or two, the poet returned for another poem. Then there was a bit more of the M.C. The Slovene woman that I talked to beforehand was sitting in front of me. She turned to say that the lecture would begin soon downstairs in the social hall. Phew. I told Annice and Jay, they phewed.

The lecture by William Singer (Fulbright in Ljubljana in the early 1990s) was wonderful, just right for the group. Not much talk, lots of pictures. I fell in love with Ljubljana. It had been on my radar but it looks really wonderful. Plečnik lived from 1872 to 1957 and was a student of Otto Wagner in Vienna. He started out as a Wagnerian late Jugenstil architect and drifted through various modernisms and revivalisms. One church is like a stretched Semper opera house but the ramp up the bell tower was trying to out Corbusier Corbusier, according to Singer.

After the lecture, I went down to Fourth Street to join Mac at New York Theatre Workshop. Actually first I stopped at St Mark's Books to get something on Plečnik but ended up with the Lonely Planet guide to Ljubljana. Also stopped at Pageant which reminded me of grad student trips to print shops. In those days, Pageant was huge and dusty; now it's a small shop but still with some worthwhile prints and pages from books, Harper's, etc. (yes, it's sad that the books have been taken apart). Then Mac appears in the window and we head off to NYTW. The play was "All that I will ever be" by Alan Ball. It was really fine overall and there were some passages about facing life and living that were really wonderful. Perhaps the strongest scene was Raymond and Omar. Raymond is an older gay man who hires the hustler. We don't see them doing whatever they did but they are talking about life, truth, fear, fearlessness, growing old, falling in love/lust. You know, the great themes but well-written and -delivered.

After the play, we ran a couple errands and dropped stuff off at Mac's before going off to the Rawhide, aka the "Palais du danse" as we call it. Imagine our delight that the dancers were our two favorites: Michele and Craig. It was really special. The bartenders had the red carpet programs and Oscars on the TV but the competition was not very serious ... well, wasn't until the Oscars really started but even then Craig and Michele beat out Ellen DeGeneres ten to one. Craig joined us for dinner again and even gave us a ride home since the snow had fallen and it had gotten rather slushy underfoot.

Quite a Sunday and that had followed a pleasant Saturday evening at Andy and Garth's on East 50th Street. Mark and Charlie were up from Houston. Roberto was there with his friends Matt and Gerry. Gerry is Gerald Mocarsky who did the wonderful b&w photos in Reed Massengill's Self-exposure. Gerry's are the guy in the wet pajamas and in the alcove with all the pictures. http://www.geraldmocarsky.com/

And that had followed a lovely Thursday evening with Sharon, Nancy and Lee. Sharon was in the City for the week between caring for her mother in L.A. and going to Venice for classes in Italian (poor thing). It was great to spend the evening with them (but between Andy and Garth's on 50th and Nancy and Lee's on 52nd, it was quite a bit of Sutton/Beekman Place).

18 February 2007

college art

Most of the last few days has been consumed by the annual conference of the College Art Association, held this year in NYC. Consumption is, of course, one of those words one hears at the conference, usually combined with culture or cultural.

I was googling "allen frame" to find a picture of the photo he had in the "Mother, May I?" show sponsored by the Queer Caucus for Art but didn't find that. What I did find was a mention of the "Blow Both of Us" show at Participant, Inc. Damn, I missed it, closed in January. To paraphrase Virginia Woolf, how will I find all of the shows in the vast pile of New York art?

The "Mother, May I?" is very good, probably the best installation I've seen in the Campbell Soady Gallery at the Center. Sheila Pepe did a fine job of laying out a curatorial question and hanging the show. Another pair I really liked was Blaine Anderson's drawing and Ernesto Pujol's photo. It didn't hurt, of course, that Blaine Anderson (that's handsome B.A.) was standing there live, in front of the drawing and Ernesto's photo is from the shower series I saw years ago at Priska Juschka Gallery when it was on Driggs in Williamsburg. Allen Frame's photo too was good. The pairing of Laurie Toby Edison's photo of the naked and regal Tee Corinne (like Paolina Borghese) with a Tee self-portrait with Beverly from the cancer series. Sad and beautiful. I'm not sure but the Tee photo may have been "The saddest picture I ever saw."

The "Mother" reception on Thursday evening was lively and crowded. When I arrived, the crowd was mostly male. As the evening progressed, the crowd became mostly female. Strange. I noted that to Sheila and we just kinda did a "hmmm, curious, that." When I went back to the Center on Friday night to pick up the HX, Next, etc., the gallery had returned to its normal meeting-room style: table in the middle, three people chatting on one side. A queerart list conversation circulated a bit around the idea of having our caucus exhibitions in community centers. Clearly, it has its ups and downs.

11 February 2007

Bloomingdale's [heart] Gertrude Stein

Bloomingdale's is using a Gertrude Stein quote in their ads for Valentine's Day:

Very fine is my
Very mine and very fine.

I love Gertrude Stein too. And, so far, the performances this weekend have been marvelous. "Marat/Sade" on Friday night at Classical Theatre of Harlem (reviewed in The New York Times in the Arts & Leisure section today) and "Death in Venice" (Hamburg Ballet, at BAM) on Saturday night (after a fabulous supper with Christie at Scopello). Cruising along, as it were.

09 February 2007

reexamining appropriation

College Art starts next Wednesday and this session looks really interesting:

SATURDAY, FEB. 17, 2:30 - 5:00 PM:
"Reexamining Appropriation: The Copy, the Law, and Beyond, Part II"
Beekman Parlor, 2nd floor, Hilton New York
Chairs: Martha Buskirk, Montserrat College of Art; Virginia Rutledge, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
"Stopped Making Sense: Appropriation as a 1970s Social Phenomenon," Sarah Evans, Cornell University
"The Problematic of the Signature: Reexamining Appropriation in Contemporary Indigenous Art and Cultural Heritage," Tressa Berman, San Francisco Art Institute
"Art Appropriation and Identity," Sharon Matt Atkins, Currier Museum of Art
"Art and Activism: The Xingwei of Wang Hai and Zhao Bandi," Winnie Wong, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyDiscussant: Arindam Dutta

cf http://collegeart.org/

georgia rockabilly & pecorino

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from working at the Morgan last night. A Georgia rockabilly song was on the muzak as I approached the cashier and it was just fine. A guy at the end of the cashout slot was moving and groovin'. He was getting ready to go back into the cold night and the cashier said to me: whenever people come by with this cheese (pecorino romano), I can smell it from the far end of the roller belt. And she wondered what I did with it. I said "pasta" and the groovin' guy asked if that was all. Well, these pieces of pecorino all of a sudden looked pretty exciting. It was probably the music.

07 February 2007

aitken from the street

On Monday night, art librarians gathered in the MoMA Library to see the Doug Aitken video installation over the garden. http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/2007/aitken/ And to chat of course. The installation was pretty interesting but the chatter was even more so. Our daily lives, I guess. It was pretty cold so one didn't want to be out on the balcony for long. It was definitely worth being out there for a bit though as the screens on the older parts of the building were only partly visible from inside the reading room on the sixth floor.

Last night (Tuesday) however I was working at MoMA and as I left the cataloging area, Tilda Swinton was "sleepwalking" right at me as I walked through the reading room. I stood down on 54th Street for a while and then meandered in the garden. The Aitken screens are way more interesting from the street. It's probably the flâneurability mostly (credit to Jenny Tobias for mentioning the flâneur part). From the 6th floor, it is diminished somehow; from the street, you must turn your head, look up, look across, be in the space. Cold or no, I'll take it from the street. Aesthetics beats body comfort almost every time.

03 February 2007

darkness and light

The February 2007 exhibition from Visual AIDS and The Body is especially good. All of the exhibits are available at http://www.thebody.com/visualaids/web_gallery/index.html. Maybe it's the darkness in general or from the Rilke quotation in the curator's statement. I am a fan of Sunil Gupta and enjoyed the Tim Greathouse photos in this portfolio ... though they're pretty bleak. It's my melancholy side -- being Gemini, I have sides you know. As a kid, I was moody and probably relish the melancholy at the same time a coworker asked for some of my speed the other day. You know, the speed (aka adrenalin) that usually keeps me running too fast, accepting too many assignments, wanting to see and do too much. But hey, as someone said: I can sleep when I die.

Christie had asked me to find the negatives of the photos from our 1999 trip to the gardens North of Rome. I was somewhat horrified to see that a couple of the photos (one shot of Orvieto cathedral and one of the Pozzo di San Patrizio) had started to deteriorate. The photos are in sheets in an album I got from one of the archival suppliers but of course the container cannot compensate for endangered objects. Still, it was wonderful to see the photos and think again of that trip. Christie and I are probably doing birthday dinner tonight with Janet so we'll dream and try to scheme.

I knew I shouldn't have picked up the phone when Sonny called to ask for help with his résumé. Even though I said "no money," that means "not cash for my pocket" in Sonny-speak. No wonder I'm in a bleak mood. And he knows how to work the weak side: he asked if I didn't want to go see the new show at the Bronx Museum of Art when more importantly he wanted me to get the camera and violin out of the pawn shop on 149th Street. And art does make me weak: the new building of the Bronx Museum of Art, by Arquitectonica, is quite fine. The outside is more distinctive than the inside but it's pretty good and they integrated the older spaces rather well with the new part.

There's been a really interesting conversation on the MARC and arlis-cpdg lists about buildings as names. More precisely, buildings as something other than subjects. I started the conversation when I was thinking about the German/Austrian proposal for an added entry for place of conference/event, publication/distribution, or thesis conferral. When we use place in 710 in MARC, it is usually the place as a stand-in for the jurisdiction. The German/Austrian proposal is for place as venue. This was parallel to the art cataloger's desire to use a building as venue. The conversation has veered over relationships (bibliographical and beyond), FRBR objects, comparisons of AACR/RDA/MARC and other schema, parks as venues, and CPSO's ruling on parks and agencies.

So I'm trying to look for the light ... but someone recently reminded me about the joke that the light at the end of tunnel may be the train coming your way.