24 March 2007

jankowski, opton, levy, harris, morell

Lots of good art out there. After a few hours in the office working on various things and not finetuning my VRA paper, I went out to do the galleries. One of the emails I got was from Lynda Bunting about a Terence Koh article and the footer mentioned that Maccarone was now at 630 Greenwich Street and that they had a Christian Jankowski show. Since that was the destination furthest South, I went there first. They've been in their new space for less than four weeks. After a grubby (but groovy) Canal Street space, they are now in a swanky and quite fine southern West Village space. The Jankowski pieces didn't move as many I've seen but the paintings in back were good. The female sculpture in the front was special too, lovely drapery.

Next up were several galleries at 511 West 25th, probably my current favorite building. The Suzanne Opton photos at Peter Hay Halpert are extraordinary. I'd seen pictures and read about them, most compellingly by Thomas Micchelli in The Brooklyn rail. The photos on display were the larger size. The faces are like wax or plastic at that dimension. I hadn't expected that transformation. The serenity is such a contrast with their soldiering, I guess. On to A.I.R. with its 7th Biennial. There was Mary Ann Ramer, friend of Charles and Don who, as it happens, said she, are about to arrive in NYC for a bit of opera. Since I'm leaving on Monday for VRA, it's not likely that I'll see them. Sigh. The last time Don was down I was just leaving for somewhere. They're pretty intense with their opera viewing but I did run into them once at the Whitney.

Then the Carrie Levy photos at Daniel Cooney Fine Art. Wow. One of her bigger projects, including a book, was 51 months about her father and his prison term. Since prison is too hot a term with me, that made the photos which were from other series even more compelling. For some words about Levy and her photos, including a reproduction of the wonderful "Untitled, (Impaired)" (2005-06), go to http://dcfa.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html. The subjects of the photos are always facing away or have their head buried in something. When I went to find you the reader something about Levy's show, I happened on Cooney's blog which is quite fine and has a lovely list of art and other blogs that look pretty interesting.

Next up, photos of mudcaked Bibles by Terri Garland at Klotz. Also some of the Bibles found in waterlogged churches in New Orleans. Mitchell Algus had a show of op art paintings by Roy Colmer (horizontal stripes with hazy vertical color fields adding to the OPtical effect), described as TV interference in the press release. Downstairs, George Billis was showing Richard Orient beach scapes: lovely. In the back room was the muddy-colored painting of a room with the corner of a bed and a red-striped pillow by Kenny Harris. Only $1250. Seeing something like that, and I've seen it before and dreamed of owning it, almost makes me cry since I stupidly have been back in Sonny's grip and probably spent almost that much as his ATM in the past 5 or 6 weeks. No painting by Harris, no new laptop. Just tears and regret. The Sonny saga does, of course, however intensify the relevance of Levy's 51 months.

Down the street a ways to Clamp Art. The show in front didn't do much for me but there were some lovely photos by George Daniell and others in the back space. Florence Lynch had works by Carol Ferraris, including an interesting video "Osamu." Cuningham had Joan Snyder; the drawings and other works on paper at Alexandre Gallery in late 2004 is still my favorite Snyder show.

The Dotty Attie show at P.P.O.W. was delightful.

Getting sated but the Abelardo Morell show was still on the list. His camera obscura works at Danziger Projects are extraordinary. The camera obscura image is superimposed on an interior so you get a sort of double exposure with the interior right side up and the camera obscura image upside down ... though of course right side and upside down are relative terms. When I talked to Rachel a couple hours later, she mentioned that "Abe" had done a work at the Eastman House: an installation from the garden into a darkened room with the people walking around in the garden upside down.

I figured it was worth going on to the 600 block of West 27th and I was rewarded by the Althea Thauberger show at John Connelly Presents. It's pictures of young men, not totally sexy but going there. Each photo is accompanied by a story about how the young man is having trouble with life and either is or isn't getting it together. The video, in glorious black-and-white, was a melancholy exploration of suicide and stopping it, reaching consensus and not. The characters in the video are called protagonists which increases the drama. With the Sonny crap at a peak, the getting together of life is especially poignant.

So here I am at the office, trying to avoid being home so that I can't hear the phone ring with "pick up, pick up, I know you're there." So my Gemini life continues: part delightful, part not so.

Friday night was a magical concert of Steve Reich's "Music for 18 musicians" and "Music for pieces of wood" at Columbia's Miller Theatre by So Percussion and guests. Wow. Wonderful.

And I didn't even mention -- yet -- that last weekend was spent in Los Angeles. I went for a meeting on Monday at the Getty about Cataloging cultural objects. The meeting was good, appropriately mountaintop-ish. I stayed with Steve Ong (Ed Armstrong's "widow") in Silver Lake. We had a good visit and it was good to speak of Ed who died about a couple months ago. We also had fish tacos at Sharky's in Redondo Beach and drove through Culver City though the galleries were closed on Sunday. I did meander a bit around the gallery district in Chinatown and went to the American West show at LACMA. Unfortunately, the "Wack!" show at the Geffen was closed on Tuesday. And Steve took me to Disney Concert Hall for a Paul Jacobs concert. The hall is fantastic. Jacobs is pretty wonderful, flashy. And I got to sit in "Ed's" seat which would have made Ed happy according to Steve.

And Monday morning I leave for Kansas City for VRA.

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