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—Reviewing Art Books

June 9th, 2011 § 0 comments

My new job with a second new publisher, the sassy and opinionated art blog called Hyerallergic, is to be a weekly (or bi-weekly) art book critic. Starting out with a review of a very accessible, short essay in the exhibition catalog for a rather dull show at MoMA on South African prints, I realized two things very quickly: reading takes far, far long than writing, and 800 words, when you are regurgitating (or assessing) another writer’s essay, is a lot longer than you think. My inability to keep within a certain word count is a constant struggle, but is only a struggle when I actually have a lot to say. Working on this new project I could feel myself sometimes fighting that schoolgirl desire to expand and elaborate for the sake of making something longer. It’s a different format for me, as talking about art through books, a visual medium described in glossy pictures and obtuse words, is not what artists, I included, do best. I welcome the challenge, however, and hope I can learn how scholarly critics write through reading their essays.

Long Island City, a new Williamsburg?

February 13th, 2011 § 0 comments

Several years ago when I was first planning my move to the city after grad school, I asked my new york based professors for neighborhoods to consider moving to. Going through my old notebooks recently I was amused to find the short list I had written down on recommendation from the critic Gregory Volk: Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Williamsburg, Greenpoint. Surprisingly, at the time he stressed Queens over Brooklyn as the up and coming area for artists, a place where rents were still affordable and spaces in general were, and still are, larger. Essentially he touted Queens as the place where the young and unestablished could, or should, congregate. While Queens is still a long way from becoming as trendy or as populated as Williamsburg, it does seem like an art scene is slowing gathering force there, beginning first in Long Island City as galleries cluster around MoMA PS1.

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A Fred Tomaselli Lecture

January 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments

Artists, with a few exceptions, don’t tend to have the type of cult following that various celebrities and rock stars have, outside of a few insular groups comprising mostly of other artists. While we know movie stars by their faces and names and not necessarily by their filmography, the artwork of artists is usually more recognizable than their name, let alone their face. It was therefore surprising to find such a dedicated turnout at the Brooklyn Museum on a cold Saturday night in November, for Fred Tomaselli’s explanatory gallery tour of his mid-career survey exhibited at the museum. Wandering through the show a few weeks prior to Tomaselli’s guided tour, I found as I typically do when looking at his paintings, that while his process is engaging, unique, and visually simulating, his subject matter remains boring, bizarre, and baffling with its birds, flowers, astrological designs, and neo-classical looking nude figures.

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Nauman & Love Letters

April 8th, 2010 § 0 comments

Steve-powers_EverythingA friend of mine jokes that our similar interests tend differ when it comes to our preferred tastes, which break down something like the approval matrix in the back of the New York Magazine. Our combined personalities form a like grid of current events, interesting shows, and noteworthy articles of gossip, with my contributions covering the “highbrow” and his the “lowbrow,” and together we seem to cover almost the whole spectrum. Our highbrow/lowbrow tastes were exemplified this past Saturday on our day trip to Philly, an exhausting trip full of good food, bad good food, and sunny weather. Having read much of Bruce Nauman because of his representation of the US at the Venice Biennale last year, I was curious to see his piece reinstalled at the Philly Museum of Art. My friend, on the other hand, wanted to see the much blogged about Love Letters, a public art installation in west Philly by new york based artist Steve Powers. Both artworks were well worth the trip, and both represented the best aspects of the so-called highbrow/lowbrow art scene.

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