Outside the Rabbit Hole

October 13th, 2008 § 0 comments

Leaving Gotham, if for a day, felt like leaving a Las Vegas casino. Designed to contain for as long as possible, much for the same reason new york likes to contain—both trying to rob you of as much money as they can—casinos provide for all human needs. There are shops, restaurants, shows, concerts, countless venues to gamble away your money, women, stunningly fake architecture, and painted blue skies with round frothy clouds to stop time, or at least your knowledge of its passing. If all of these elements appeal to, and meet, your “human needs” then it is easy to forget how long you have been sitting in front of the same slot machine. Gotham has these same kinds of attractions but it replaces them with other “needs”, or perhaps it simply offers more. All of the above can still be found plus gardens, museums, a waterfront, parks, and so on and on. However appealing, the city still crowds and hems the landscape into something claustrophobically familiar.

new jersey

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The Curse Of Craft

October 1st, 2008 § 0 comments

Trying to pick openings of interest from the vast number taking place every month is a hard task. For my reviews I want to find something unique, but with little knowledge of galleries my base for judging that is faulty. I want to find something I know about, perhaps the medium, a few of the artists, the genre, as part of my advantage seems to rest in my knowledge as a maker. Overall, as far as it has gone, my goal has been to choose shows dealing with issues that are concerned with topics or events outside of the “art world”, thus dragging art by its reluctant collar into a larger context. After Nature was loosely tied in subject to the environment and our current relations with it, my second proposals were political and, I could say, eventful–the latter being the one I fought for.

The reopening of MAD in Columbus Circle has been discussed outside of the art context because of its location, and new york seems to love architectural openings and evolutions. Though I spend a decent amount of time in the area, I read about the building long before I noticed it. A white pillar of clever design, it now stands out in the circle, perhaps because its white exterior contrasts sharply with the deep black of Trump’s phallus. It was almost an afterthought to write about the opening of the new building and museum, but the more I thought about it the more appropriate it seemed. I have, dare I say, a personal investment in the discourse surrounding art and craft, and certainly a good working knowledge of those possible distinctions. Though the six material studies grads (including myself) tried our best to remain outside the shadow of “craft” and its reputation, it is none-the-less a subject I have considered to almost annoying lengths.

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Trial by Fire

September 23rd, 2008 § 1 comment

or; Learning the Hard Way

During the calamity of a new york day, I am finding myself smothered by the kind of multitasking I was forewarned of before I moved here. An elderly man I bumped into while wandering central park last August put on quite a show of new york expertise for my benefit, explaining new yorker mannerisms and where they originate.“You will find you walk and talk a little bit faster” he prattled off, much to my amusement. Talking to Californians now, however, is as much a struggle to keep my temper in check as walking through a packed underground tunnel between 8th Ave and 7th during the rush hour after work. It is true that multitasking here means something a little different than I would have thought. Certainly, though I work five days a week, I have escaped from monotony. In fact, America herself, at the present moment, is anything but boring.

wall-street-old-photo

More than that, I find myself plopped in the realm of “inexperience” on many fronts. I seem to be getting myself into things by a faulty combination of luck and skill, and am figuring out later what they entail. How do you pitch an idea to an editor? No one teaches this in advance; it is part of that unspoken world of “professional” practices institutions only hint at. They seem to prepare you for it as poorly as high school does for collage. Though tact seemed to dictate producing idea after idea for proper approval, the moment I was told “no”, the learning began. The way you learn to pitch an idea is obvious when you come to the frame of mind that goes something like this: I want to write about it, it is important because of these reasons, and here is why I am the best person to do it. Again, it is quite difficult to find out just how you get images from a gallery or museum, much less which images you can use and why. Freelance sounds like normal employment with a temporary spin, but isn’t. Reading over my new contract, it feels strange to essentially be an employee while singing over a document that states, in as many ways as possible, that I am not. As my paychecks increase, I am slightly confused about what exactly I am being compensated for–the lack of security? If so it matters only slightly, nothing in new york at the present moment is secure, and I like gotham the better for it.

Published!

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

“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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