Art School & Arguing

July 15th, 2012 § 0 comments

It was pointed out to me recently that I love to argue, and that I tend to engage with every subject like it’s worth the serious critical thought I give it. My poor rebuttal to this observation was, “well at least it makes things interesting!” The incredulous look on my friends face seemed to say something along the lines of, “what’s wrong with a little silence once in a while?”

Realizing shortly after the words had left his mouth that he was right, I wondered what happened. After all, I was that silent child playing by myself in the backyard for the first ten to fifteen years of my life. My first thought was that it must be some kind of family trait. We used to tell my older brother that he should become a lawyer because of his gift for arguing his way out of chores. Then I realized something much more obvious was to blame; art school.

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The Return of Photographs

January 15th, 2012 § 0 comments

The final months of 2011 were good for writing, and good for my photography. Prolifically shooting while in South America, switching between lenses I borrowed that allowed me much more freedom than my own kit lens, I finally had a reason to edit and publish my images—I’d promised my editor a few art related photo essays while on vacation. It was an excuse, really, to do what I would have done anyway, and that extra motivation I need to get the images edited and published. I’m thinking of turning all my vacations into business ventures, or things I can get paid to write about later, and have my sights set on the upcoming art biennale in Havana, Cuba this May—with four weeks of paid vacation this year, travel options are much less restrictive than in the past.

Though I am very detailed in my research while writing here at home, I found I was much less committed to getting the necessary information while away, perhaps understandably, though it’s something I’ll have to work on in the future to save myself hours of Google time later. While in South America I covered street art in Rio de JaneiroBuenos Aries, and a show about India at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil. My piece on street art in BA was tweeted by MoMA as a “great read,” and as a result was read, looked at, liked, reposted, and retweeted by more people than have looked at anything I’ve done, ever. That particular piece is also going to be republished by the online magazine Global Graffiti sometime in February.

As usual 2011 was brought to a close by Patti Smith, who gave one of the least impressive performances I’ve ever seen her give, leaving me to think perhaps her 65 birthday was too much for her to handle. I wrote a piece about the show nonetheless, and I’ve got a good feeling about 2012—it’s going to be a damn productive year.

Personal Libraries & Pawel Althamer

October 13th, 2011 § 0 comments

The nice thing about being a book critic, aside from getting to read books that you normally wouldn’t read (or wouldn’t want to read), is that you get to keep them, and therefore build a library. I’ve been getting spoiled lately, wishing I had more books than I actually have, while moving the ones I’ve amassed between several different bookshelves. A while back we created a dedicated book area that now seems to be expanding to other walls and shelves, and I’m already dreaming of the day when one whole area is filled only with art books. The appeal is not just to have them, however, though some are pretty, but to also use them. Currently researching for a review on Eva Hesse, I keep wishing that I had a good collection of writing by the minimalists or Judd, who wrote highly and often about her work. A somewhat forgotten woman in a generation of male sculptors, I keep finding archived articles in the New York Times with titles like “Eva Who?”

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Public Art, Midsummer

August 18th, 2011 § 0 comments

As summer draws toward fall, relatively speaking, I am gearing up for the start of the new art season next month. The enticing prospect of new shows opening throughout the city, many of them dedicated to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, means that all the shows which opened in the latter half of the summer will be, or already have, closed. Though Ai Weiwei himself was thankfully released at the end of June, his photographs of New York City, on view at the Asia Society, closed today, and his Zodiac Heads, at the Pulitzer Fountain in Central Park, have been shipped to L.A. where they will open at LACMA at the end of the month. The Alexander McQueen exhibition at the MET, Savage Beauty, was undoubtedly the blockbuster of the summer (like Tim Burton at MoMA last summer), but Ai Weiwei’s disappearance, detention, and release was the story of the summer—it was a story that brought the whole world to the doorstep of the art world.

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Published—Van Gogh and Vampires

August 4th, 2011 § 1 comment

A part of me wishes that Centerpieces, the latest book by the author Penelope Przekop, and the subject of my latest book review, had actually been what it promised: a historical fiction about Van Gogh. I would have enjoyed it more if it had even reminded me of Van Gogh, his art or life. A cliché artist now as part of the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist pack, he is always an appealing painter. I still remember the old portfolio of Van Gogh prints I discovered during my childhood, hidden away in my mother’s closet. I don’t know where they came from, but finding a whole collection of poster size prints was like finding gold. She let me take them, and for a large part of my childhood colorful, swirling portraits in careful rotation filled my bedroom walls. I’d lie in bed staring at them when I’d take breaks from doing schoolwork. When I started dancing my mother bought me a beautiful Degas print of a little dancer tying her shoe, and framed it on my wall. It’s not terribly surprising that I found myself taking both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in undergrad, where I learned about the dark personalities that made such colorful and seemingly cheery paintings. Both movements were full of moody, brooding men with devoted families they didn’t love. Instead of any of this, however, Przekop gave us vampires, pharmaceuticals, and awkward writing.

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