Tangy Laughter & Taylor’s Lyricism

March 21st, 2009 § 0 comments

Paul Taylor almost seems too fun. Listening to NPR last week my interested was aroused by an interview conducted with the choreographer, discussing Taylor’s new pieces that premiered last weekend. I knew of his company, but didn’t remember if I had ever seen them dance. Each performance night at the City Center showed a different combination of pieces, mixing the new work with the old, and it took me the rest of the working day to decide which combination I wanted to see most. I picked well, after consulting the Fossil, although the Saturday night performance simply caused me to want to see the Sunday afternoon show. Dragging the Fossil along he asked warily if this was a, “ballet company?” Paul Taylor’s dance company is not a ballet company, but they use ballet as much as all dances and dancers must. The final piece of the show, Offenbach Overtures, was dedicated to poking fun at the traditional form all ballets take. Listening to an interview with Paul Taylor, he states of his working method:

…and I don’t really have a message as such, but I am aware of the world we live in, and I watch people, I’m a watcher. I’m a terrible spy. I watch people move in their everyday lives, and their gestures that are so communicative. And those are so useable in a dance.

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Pier 94—The Beautiful People

March 10th, 2009 § 0 comments

I wonder who thought art fairs were a good idea: investors, collectors, rich folk shopping for a new painting for the dinning room, museum directors, or gallery owners? It was certainly not thought a great idea by the makers of art, even those egotistical enough to dream of being the highlight of such a gathering of stuff, would never call it an ideal space. I could not help but wonder about this as I wandered through the Armory Show this past weekend. I was curious about the event in general, I wanted to see how it compared to Art Basel, for though I guessed it would contain many of the same galleries and artists, in the post-economic meltdown I thought the vibe, perhaps translating into the overall aesthetic, might be different—more subdued and less extravagant?

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I was relieved that this event was less costly than Basel, students could enter the maze of portable white walls for a somewhat reasonable price, the ticket included admission to both piers (92 & 94), but one was more than sufficient to become completely visually overwhelmed. I wondered as I wandered how the spaces were chosen and how the galleries chose their representative artists. Judging from the odd juxtapositions and the decorative, tasteful quality of the art I made my guesses. This lead to my amazement that someone, somehow, somewhere, decided this was a good idea.

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Inside the Big White Tent

February 22nd, 2009 § 1 comment

While I can’t really say I love my job, I do appreciate my co-worker with whom I share a small part of her photo studio. An additional member to the art department, or “creative services,” I am a somewhat odd fit at times among the other fashionable girls who sit in their cubicles and in front of their new Mac’s all day long. I used to joke when I first arrived that they put the less fashion forward employees in the dark photo studio to do their work. A veteran illustrator has an office behind me, though he travels and lectures more than he sits in it, leaving the photographer for company, and my days at work usually pass uneventfully and without the usual work stresses—npr, the constant background to our sporadic conversations, tends to aggravate me more than my job.

Outside our building, located in the heart of the fashion district, is a gold plaque—like the sidewalk stars in Hollywood—of Oscar de la Renta. Talking with a friend of a friend the other night, a graduated fashion designer, I discovered that the company I work for is an important one, and that the books we have been working on these past months are an expensive and treasured resource—who knew? The upstairs of the company looks different from our department, where fabric samples and trend storyboards are propped against the walls. The “second floor,” in office lingo, resembles a scene from The Devil Wears Prada, rolling racks of vendor samples line the walls, and the “assistants,” regular faces in the photo studio, remind me of the movie as well—they are pretty, efficient, and obsessed with fashion.

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Exploring Winter

February 8th, 2009 § 0 comments

For me it seems almost typical to look for what is missing in places. My latest images, in the vein of the missing, have revolved around looking for “nature” in the “city,” where there ought to be very little evidence of it. I have been interested in this seemingly cliché idea, however, because I live so near the last “forest” areas of Gotham. Inwood is surrounded by wandering, forest-like paths that are intermixed with recreational parks—baseball diamonds, playgrounds, dog parks—and bounded on one side by the waterfront, with all that riverfronts usually entail. Walking down Broadway everyday I have neighborhood shops on my right, and the inviting gates of Ft. Tryon Park on my left.

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Throughout the winter it has been amusing to watch how the dropping leaves of fall, followed by the rain, slush, and snow of February, has changed the landscape of Broadway. My interest in the snow is an interest in how we live, or live without, a presence of nature in the city. The appearance of winter seemed to render useless the outdoor activities that gave a sense of life and community to the streets. When I first visited Inwood last summer children were playing with water guns in the park, older couples sat sweating on the benches lining Broadway, and I imagine all the places I have recently discovered were used with the same enthusiasm. Large flocks of geese have taken over the baseball diamonds, the steps leading to the top of Inwood Hill Park are covered with layers of melting ice, the playgrounds left soggy and empty. Winter effects city life but it becomes integrated as quickly as anything else; salt and rain boots appear on the sidewalks, lost gloves and broken umbrellas become the common trash, and children go sledding instead of playing on the wet swings.

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Another Side of Broadway

February 1st, 2009 § 0 comments

It is amazing how a question as simple as “what are you working on” can have such a devastating effect. At the height of productivity it always felt as though no matter how much I made, how many hours I worked, it was never quite enough. While it seemed that semesters and deadlines were in disharmony with the rhythm of thinking ideas through—some of us think about the same ideas for years, and even after don’t get much farther than entertaining different facets of those ideas—the pace of life also feels offbeat. Where one was too fast, the other is too slow. Asking J. Wax how his studio work was going along with teaching and traveling, he said good, but slow. I now understand his meaning, just as I have come to appreciate the difference between slow and a standstill; it might take me twice as long to build a body of images, but at least a body is being built.

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