13 November 2008

Maxine Fine at Gallery 128 and more

The opening for the Maxine Fine retrospective was last night at Gallery Onetwentyeight (128 Rivington St., Lower East Side). Flavia Rando is the curator and I've worked with her in the Queer Caucus for Art. The works are really good and well installed. There is a (silently) screaming head in a couple pieces and that loud quiet is compelling. Most of the folks at the opening were older lesbians (well, I didn't ask but ...) and Flavia described Fine's work as "pioneer." It was wonderfully retrospective: looking back.

As I walked to Gallery Onetwentyeight, I realized that I was in place for a visit to Bluestockingsbookstore since they might have had a copy of Marxism in a postcommunist society by Stefan Sullivan. Sullivan is the author of one of the essays in a book I was cataloging yesterday: Heartlands: sketches of rural America by Andreas Horvath. His take on growing up in a small midwestern college town and being different was very interesting and I thought I'd like to get his book (I've already perused the library's copy a little bit). Rather than drifting into Bluestockings for a bit of shelf reading, I happened on a book talk by E. Benjamin Skinner on his new book A crime so notorious: face-to-face with modern-day slavery. He talked about debt bondage, among other things, which was rather serendipitous with the book I just finished: Payback: debt and the shadow side of wealth by Margaret Atwood.

This has been quite a week for lectures: An-My Lê on Michael Heizer as part of the Dia Artists on Artists series (I love her work and she said some very interesting things but she's not a dynamic speaker); Peter Penoyer and Anne Walker on Warren & Wetmore (architects of Grand Central Terminal and other grand buildings) in the Victorian Society series at the Swedenborgian New Church; then last night it was Ben Skinner on his book; tonight is John Maciuika talking about "From Berlin 'Royal Castle' to 'Humboldt Forum': Radical Surgery Toward a Conservative Vision?" at Baruch College. After John's lecture, we are having a tour of the Vertical Campus building by Kohn Pedersen Fox. I'm quite a KPF fan so that should be fun.

I'm really glad that one can have expectations and that they sometimes get met and sometimes you are surprised. And sometimes it's the accidental that takes the cake. I was really looking forward to hearing An-My Lê but her speaking style is hesitating and I'd rather look at her art (I think that's fine). I went to see the Elizabeth Peyton show at the New Museum over the weekend and was much more thrilled by the Mary Heilman show on a different floor. Though I went to the Maxine Fine opening as a gesture of support for Flavia, the works were beautiful and really spoke to me. And then I plopped in on an interesting book talk at Bluestockings on the way home from the Maxine Fine opening.

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