September 11th, 2008 § 2 comments

The Escape Artist is spreading like Kudzu. My first review has been published, and I am on the cover page as well. Critique is quite welcome.

William christenberry

Searching for the Small

September 9th, 2008 § 0 comments

When Gregory used to say, “think big” he did not always mean literally, generally he was referring to a concept, idea, or initial interest, but most often it was accompanied by an expectation that as the idea grew so would the image—great ideas are looming in stature, he seemed to say. Though being forced away from a comfortable size was a necessary conclusion to my thesis, I still look for the place of small work in the contemporary art museums and the various galleries that now surround me. I wonder who manages to make small work and how they get away with it. Partly from a deep attachment to, and a convinced importance of, smaller images, and partly because they are so scarce. While at the art fairs in Miami Beach last December I noticed, at Basel most of all, there were very few images that spanned less than two feet. Though there is a relation between monetary value and size, there also seems to be an aesthetic and intellectual shift away from smaller works. Money and technology must be prominently responsible, but I would still argue that a different source of dislike for the small exists—one I feel is more significant as a viewer, and not as a buyer, of images. It goes back to the idea that grand ideas are grandly scaled, one that is almost as archaic as containing a painting within a gaudy, gold frame. With art institutions favoring “ambitious” ideas, and with the art market catering to large photographs of ambitious ideas, it is no wonder small images of “ordinary” things are far less popular.

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“Highly Sophisticated Insiders”

August 23rd, 2008 § 0 comments

A good deal of the artistic/gallery conversation last November in SoHo concerned what I assumed to be a new museum building in the area that was not yet open. Gallery owners talked about a possible shift in the epicenter of the art scene, leaving Chelsea or Williamsburg, and migrating toward Chinatown—an idea that seemed distasteful to everyone who did not already own a gallery in the area.

We stayed in Chinatown while looking at apartments this July, and after about four days we noticed a building incongruous enough to be something. With a bright steal exterior, a stacked sort of appearance, and a rainbow sign reading “hell, yes!” stuck to the framework, it turned out to be the “new museum” artists were talking about—now open and bustling. The last piece of the puzzle was finding out that The New Museum is not in fact new, (every time I say the Fossil studies at NSSR a similar mistake is made) but opened in the late 1970’s; “new” is confined in this case to the location on Bowery and the building.

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The Broad: An Aesthetic Display of Wealth

July 4th, 2008 § 0 comments

“In the state ranking for per capita arts spending, California currently stands last. The local budget for arts spending in Los Angeles is abysmally low. Exhibitions in the city’s public spaces all vie for funding from the same pool of five or six private benefactors (A in A).”


Well, they could have fooled me. Not knowing the funding behind to our county museums (LACMA) new expansion plans, I heard a great deal about the now open new wing—the new museum is fittingly named Broad Contemporary Art Museum after Eli Broad who’s collection it was (stressing was) supposed to house. My initial thoughts on the new addition and pending changes after my recent visit was, impressive; meaning not that I myself was impressed, but that I was meant to feel how impressive the changes really are.

Robert_Irwin » Read the rest of this entry «


June 14th, 2008 § 0 comments

They don’t recommend bringing children under 11 to the Holocaust museum in the National Mall, and I can understand why. I have wanted to visit for quite some time, a desire left over from my days of unhealthy indulgence in death, memorials, and monuments commemorating memorialized events. My initial response to the museum was a slew of questions concerning the artistic decisions of the architect, James Freed, and the curators of the main exhibition. I was surprised to learn the museum opened in 1993, it seemed such a landmark of respect in Europe that I assumed it was much older. The building was perhaps most interesting to me because I have seen most of the “exhibition” content before. Its design was inspired by, but apparently not meant to reference, camps, historical sites, etc. found in Europe, and I was surprised it was so similar to the museums in Berlin. Light was controlled, leading from darkness and claustrophobic spaces into hallways of bright, natural light. The exhibition began on the forth floor and spiraled downward with the chronology of the war. I was interested in skylights, triangular windows, and the use of glass. Transition spaces broke the mood, and corporate looking carpet led to the next floor.

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