Art Basel, Miami Beach

December 14th, 2007 § 0 comments


On the surface Florida, not necessary Miami, seems a lot like California. It is warm, the sun is almost always out, the suburban ares have the same stores built in the same manner, but more than a quick glance around shows a place that is quite different. The relationship of the land to the people and their habits feels even more precarious and artificial, if that is possible, than in California. For example, the beach culture appears to be similar, when you walk into a drug store towels, sunscreen, and flip flops are the first thing one sees, and yet the beaches in Delray are different. There is a startling lack of young people, and the sand is imported from elsewhere as the beaches just erode. There is a sharp line where one can see where the real sand ends and the imported begins, when you brush it off it leaves scratches. While it is warm, South Florida lacks the lazy breezy quality I associate with beach culture on the west coast, we don’t have storm shutters, poisonous bugs, etc. Even Miami, which has a subculture similar to that of California, where English in many places is hard to come by, has an edge and sleaziness that I do not feel even in LA. Miami ended up reminding me of Las Vegas, where the non-beach side felt like old Vegas, with the run down original hotels and hookers with breasts down to their waists. Miami Beach reminds me of the strip, with the new hotels that are almost like malls for the upper middle class, but have a sleaze all unto themselves. Talking about Art Basel today with the vising artist, she said that the art world attracted a certain kind of sleaze. I am only comparing South Florida to California because it did at first really remind me of southern California, and the longer I stayed the more I noticed the differences and what they said about the people who live there and the place they inhabit, if inhabited carelessly and obliviously.

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NYC Galleries, Day Two

November 22nd, 2007 § 0 comments

Friday Nov 16th

1.) Friday morning started off very cold at Madison Square Park where there was an installation of Roxy Paine’s metal trees.

2.) Artists Space seemed like a more interesting place to show work, more for younger emerging artists.

3.) The Drawing Center also seemed like a somewhat more alternative place to show. The show that was up was Alan Saret, a minimalist who draws with handfuls of colored pencil.

4.) Ronald Feldman Gallery was interesting, the work was a strange plant like video with photographs.

5.) Envoy contained the closest thing to a textile, which was a show of large paintings with textile like patterns placed across the painting.

6.) We ended at Pierogi 2000.

NYC Galleries, Day One

November 19th, 2007 § 3 comments

Thursday, Starting at 533 W 26th

1.) James Cohen Gallery, which I did like. They were showing Folkert de Jong, a dutch sculptor who made figurative and political works.

2.) BravinLee Programs, a gallery showing the work of Argentinian artist Fabian Marcaccio. “In a rush to kill painting, they forgot,” the artist said while talking about his work.

3.) Gallerie Lelong showed Kate Shepherd. Her paintings were beautiful, minimal, and delicate.

4.) Lombard-Freid was showing Mounir Fatmi‘s show titled “fuck architects chapter 1” although I am still not sure why. This was a sculptor/installation artist who grew up in Morocco and currently lives in Paris, he seemed to be using “untraditional” materials to make sculptures that deliberately altered the space of the gallery. An interesting text on the wall read “My father has lost all his teeth, now I can bite him.”

5.) Friedrich Petzel had “paintings” by Wade Guyton. His paintings are folded pieces of cloth he runs through a large Epson printer.

6.) 303 Gallery had Thomas Demand.

7.) Perry Rubenstein Gallery had a large sculpture, almost too large for the space, of a recent VCU grad Diana Al-Hadid.

8.) Tonya Bonakdar Gallery was showing Uta Barth, who’s images I really enjoyed.

9.) We ended at David Zwirner showing Thomas Ruff,

Questioning the “universality” of Death

October 28th, 2007 § 1 comment

When I tell people, as an explanation for specific recent work, that my best friend died last year they have a variety of reactions, but I can count upon receiving self-assured commiseration. There seems to be a prevalent attitude from such sympathizers that, while they may not understand the particulars they can understand the devastation. This seems reasonable at first thought, but when considered seriously it shows how meaningless death can become when it is not in any way related to ourselves. Answering such questions as could this work be seen as therapy forced me to seriously reconsider given sympathies, and question the extent to which a person can allow themself to grasp an unpleasant situation when the shattering nature of it has not been directly felt. Whether it is a hard worked at selfishness or an innate limitation of the human capacity to “feel” (I sometimes wonder if it is necessary to function as I can hardly stand to watch a plant wilt) there seems to be a clear line of how much I can understand of such situations for others and therefore others of mine. Watching the French film Joyeux Noel I cringed the moment the differing forces entered the battlefield made neutral by the appearance of Christmas. Knowing nothing of warfare and disregarding notions about the films “accuracy” I guessed or felt this holiday from war was going to make it nearly impossible for them to kill each other the following morning. Could this zone of personal interaction be lacking in discussions around and reactions to work dealing with death and loss of an unusual and intimate kind? I wonder about these notions of imposed limitation while fully acknowledging the fault could lie in my execution and explanation of these ideas. If these limitations are a truthful part of human nature, however defined, why then is there such a predilection toward false emotion and deference? Is it simply the upholding of a cultural custom, similar to the question “how are you?” that is asked without the slightest fear of it being answered? A wince and exclamation of “so young” can be surprisingly more honest than dismissive questions or an unhealthy curiosity for details—“how large was the tumor?”

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I Forgot to Remember to Forget

July 9th, 2007 § 3 comments

I have come to find that there is a distinct difference between remembering and feeling haunted by that remembrance, although I am not quite sure what provokes these different reactions to grief. I think about him everyday I am sure at least once, but usually in a casual way; a thought pops into my head, I hear an old Dylan song, a joke comes floating back momentarily, I catch his face looking at me from the pictures on my bedroom mirror or glowering as I close the fridge after pulling out an item to eat. It is a fleeting moment usually, but enough, satisfying in the way an unrecognized moment, second even, of happiness is. Then there are the feelings that arrive through inevitably dwelling not on a memory or a thought, but on details; a sort of systematic dissection of collided lives, in which a real relationship that existed once becomes like a story in a book, without sentimental feeling but filled with judgment. The dissection turns into a torture of questions, in which decisions that have long since been made are changed for the sake of imagining a different outcome. This leads always and only to frustrated and angry depression. The latter set of feelings have become less and less frequent as time has passed, I rely more on the former experience of memory, but a renewed effort in the studio of last semesters theme has forced, by shear contact, the haunting I dislike. There is no defense or possible escape from it, the only consolation can come from people that I can’t approach, I loath the selfishness of even thinking about telling someone that I miss their brother or son.

In a recent dream I knew that if I could not find him before he came back, he was off somewhere for an extended period of time, someplace I got the impression he did not want to be (with doctors), he would not come back at all. I was looking frantically for him, for information that could tell me where he was, for someone to let me see him…I awoke to the realization that the thing I was trying to prevent, had, in reality, happened to me almost a year ago now. I wonder if this work has ceased to be productive, or rather, since I like the way it looks, if it is worth the feelings it dredges up.

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