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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An Endless Fascination

January 12th, 2010 § 0 comments

madonnaWho Shot Rock & Roll, on display through the 31st at the Brooklyn Museum, was surprisingly one of the best shows I saw in 2009. It was oddly underwhelming at the same time that it was deeply satisfying, in the same way that a chocolate covered strawberry never tastes as good as imagined, but in itself remains difficult to dislike. On the surface—despite the multitude of reviewers forced to discuss the deeper connections between rock & roll, celebrity and their constructed image, and the roll photography plays in mediating between the two—this show could be summed up as a crowd pleaser. While it is easy to roll our eyes at yet another Van Gogh or Dali exhibition, shows that appeal to our cultural understanding of “good art,” it is harder to make an argument against the type of images we simply can’t resist. Who Shot Rock & Roll goes deeper than this, however, not necessarily because the exhibition really is deeper, but because whatever the photographs lack the viewers make up for through the interest they bring to them.

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Midnight Mass with St. John the Divine

December 29th, 2009 § 0 comments

Generally speaking I admittedly don’t know very much about religion. I have not been inside very many American churches and have sat through even fewer services, but I do know something about European cathedrals. What religion I have studied came through art history where not only did we briefly study the most famous European basilicas, cathedrals, and churches, but by now I have also been inside most of them. While looking at biblical paintings can sometimes turn into a passive activity of visual monotony, something about the physical experience of being within a Gothic cathedral leaves a deeply unforgettable impression. Notre Dame, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s, San Marco, all have that same transcendent feeling you get from natural wonders, but impressively these are places we built. It is the overwhelming sense of human touch that the great cathedrals have that give them their feeling if divinity, or at least a sense of eternity.


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Too Cold To Wander

December 14th, 2009 § 0 comments

Amsterdam’s Conclusion
amsterdam 1

The late arrival of winter seems to have brought with it more apprehension than appreciation. For those of us who live in places that have a winter regardless of when it chooses to show up, have forebodingly suspected that its late arrival this year suggests a late spring and a late summer next year. The mild temperatures, however, dropping into the 30s and 40s only in past few weeks, have also been wonderful. New Yorkers have been strolling the waterfronts around town with a leisure and enjoyment not normally possible in the post-fall months. A few weeks ago my sister-in-law and I were wandering Central Park in sunshine and dining outdoors. Taking advantage of the weather and my sparse free time, I have been completing one of the projects I began this summer, to document the entire length of Amsterdam Ave. All told it took a month of Sunday’s to cover roughly 149 city blocks. The last leg of the project was completed just in time, as my hands lost feeling and circulation it seemed unacceptable to let the last section of the shoot roll over into 2010.

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