Published—Just Kids

September 9th, 2010 § 0 comments

Patti Smith

While it was a wonderfully warm summer, perfect for lazy beach days and long bike rides around the city, it was a dull summer for art. The usual museum blockbusters were not interesting, and the gallery scene was even worse. Judging from the number of guest hosts we were subjected to this summer on NPR, everyone either left the city or stayed home and deliberately forgot about their daily obligations. I certainly didn’t feel obligated to do much in the way of research, which opened up a lot of time for recreation, but left my writing in the lurch. Whitehot began publishing book reviews this year around the same time I began working my way through Patti Smith’s Just Kids, one train trip at a time. Impressed by the book, enamored with Patti Smith, and unable to find any gallery show worth writing about, I undertook my first book review. Books, I found out, are hard to summarize while elaborating on and analyzing their content. It’s easy to get lost in them, as there is so much you could say, so many different directions you could go in. With the new gallery season revving up, with openings beginning this week and going into the next, and with the first glimmer of interest returning to the museums—Lee Friedlander’s America by Car opening at the Whitney and Fred Tomaselli’s paintings opening at the Brooklyn Museum—I am glad I took the opportunity to write about an artist rather than art.

Robert Mapplethorpe

Published–Kentridge & The Nose

April 30th, 2010 § 0 comments

Where Art Meets Opera.
kentridge

The latest review of a messy multimedia experiment.

kentridge1

Published—Roni Horn @ the Whitney

February 17th, 2010 § 0 comments

Roni Horn aka Roni Horn

roni horn still waterI will always be surprised by how well we remember our early influences. While I have a hard time recalling some of the artists I studied in grad school, I vividly remember those I was exposed to as an enthusiastic teenager. I remember these early artists badly in the sense that I didn’t yet grasp what they were about or why, but on a purely visual level I remember them to this day: Man Ray, Adrian Piper, John Baldessari, Sophie Calle. I recall how long it took to find a Man Ray book at the local library, trying to spell his name with a group of elderly librarians. I remember diligently watching The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari because of a piece I had made with shadows and masks, and I could not for the life of me see the connection between the two. All of them, however, settled somewhere deep in my visual memory next to those I had discovered myself: Sharon Lockhart, David Hockney, Roni Horn. I remember learning about Roni Horn at an LA museum where she had installed her Still Water images in unpredictable places. I kept running across images of dark and murky water in the stairways, elevators, hallways, and balconies. I wondered what they were, and if they were art or not. I can picture myself, fifteen or sixteen with pencil and pad in hand, determinedly demanding the name of the artist. I know I succeed in finding out her name because I have remembered it ever since.

A Foot in Both Worlds

February 11th, 2010 § 0 comments

Paolo Ventura Winter Stories at Hasted Hunt

Paolo Ventura

A little over a year in New York City and I have learned a thing or two about the cities art scene, but not nearly as much as I need to know. Though it was not my intention when I moved here, I have started edging my way toward becoming an insider though an opportunity I happened to find in a profession I didn’t study—art criticism. While I originally thought about it as an extension of my blog/thesis, a way to continue practicing writing critically, it has become the dominant perspective from which I see art. At a meeting of Whitehot writers a few weeks ago, as we discussed ideas for the new Op-ed column the magazine is planning, I realized I was the only artist there. Though I know the magazine is a mix of artists, critics, and art historians, I didn’t suspect the artists were so greatly outnumbered. I also found that compared with those who have been art critics living in NYC for over a decade, I am obviously drastically less informed. As talk floated around the table about press lunches and advanced screenings, I felt that the knowledge I have so proudly gained in the past year is just the tip of the gossip iceberg. When asked for ideas for Op-ed subjects I drew a blank—suddenly I was being asked to formulate opinions about the aspects of the art world I try my best to write around in my reviews.

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Published-Interviewing Bill Viola

November 24th, 2009 § 0 comments

Learning to speak up happens in stages.

In undergrad I spent my time listening acutely during critiques to those professors and students who had already mastered the art of bullshit, articulation, and the clever dissection of ideas and artwork. In graduate school I became the conversation starter, enjoying how interesting conversations can be when you direct where they go. Teaching became another kind of public speaking stress, where you are expected to know in advance the correct answer to every unexpected problem. Presenting your work to an audience is a challenge as your voice is the only voice, and when it reaches a deadend there is nothing but your own desire to avoid embarrassment to redirect it. Interviewing an artist is stressful in a completely new way, being an odd combination of planned questions and improvised discussion. Avoiding the nervous trap that prevents from happening what should be an easy conversation about something both parties know a good deal about, seems key. It was a special kind of torture to slowly transcribe this 45-minute interview, as I heard every verbal blunder, stutter, and hesitation more times than I ever dreamed of having to. In the end it was a fantastic experience, and when whittled down to its core, a good interview.

Bill Viola

Viola Interview

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