Friday, February 26, 2010

fun in the fundreds with you

I have an interview with multi-disciplinary artist extraordinaire Mel Chin in the March issue of Sculpture Magazine.

You can read the introduction on the website here...but for the rest of the story, you'll have to actually purchase a hard copy. Or steal it from one of your sculptor friends.

Pictured: Mel!

nothing if not critical

Jessica Dawson has an article on Transhuman Conditions in today’s Washington Post. Read it here.

She takes issue with the first sentence of my catalogue essay because it lacks conviction, or rhetorical flourish, or, well, that special something that 15th century Renaissance humanists had.

Um, okay…point conceded, I guess? Damn you, Pico!

(I totally understand the comparison: When I'm writing about contemporary artists, I immediately turn to Giorgio Vasari.)

A lot of rhetorical questions follow—“Why these artists? Why these projects? What future do these artists envision that other artists don't?”

How will I respond to this? Should I go through point by point and lay out my argument again—even though I feel that I’ve already done so in the exhibition itself and the catalogue essay? Wouldn’t that be a poor use of my time and energy? (Answers: As briefly as possible; no; yes.)

Anyway, I’m happy for the publicity, and the fact that it will bring a few more butts through the door, regardless of what was—or wasn’t—actually said.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


This is not art related, and might, in fact, be ill-advised, but here goes: Yesterday I started a little tumblr site for posting music.

In my misspent youth, I taught myself how to play guitar, bass, and drums, and proceeded to play in a string of short-lived, obscure indie rock bands. As a result, I have boxes and boxes of audio tapes from the 1990s of me rehearsing with other folks, recording demos for songs, or just sketching out various things.

Most of the tapes are unlabeled (I am so organized), and every now and then, I pull a few out and try to figure out what exactly I've been hoarding. Occasionally I'm not 100% mortified by what I hear.

There are two files up right now on Dropped Oxides; I'll be posting a new track every day for the foreseeable future. Enjoy, or don't.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

it's academic

James Huckenpahler dropped by the aac last week to shoot a video tour of Transhuman Conditions for the benefit of his new media students at GW. See a post about it on his class website here.

This is a long, rambling conversation with a not-necessarily-art-oriented student audience in mind, so be forewarned. In a nutshell: If you want to hear me talk, and talk, and talk...and see lo-res footage of half (maybe less) of the show that James managed to shoot before his battery died...well, then, this is the video for you!

Monday, February 22, 2010

adverbsarially yours

When hearing about Georgia O’Keeffe, you might “knowingly nod—you know the work.” After all, she’s “newsstand famous” and “bankably blue-chip.” But the survey currently at the Phillips will “forcefully yet gracefully” show O’Keeffe’s “museum-friendly face” to you as “at once welcomely familiar and utterly original.”

Works from this version of the traveling show are “preponderantly from” (that’s preponderous!) the 1910s and 1930s; it “more tightly flaunts” O’Keeffe’s “mastery of her idiosyncratic vocabulary, served up with her throat-clearing directness of signature bursting color and undulating form.”

So as I’ve indicated above, this guy Eric Banks has apparently executed a master prank in the pages of the WaPo: He’s written a review about an artist known for painting flowers…with the most florid prose imaginable. Ha, ha; I get it! Whee!

Okay, maybe I’m not being fair. The dude seems intelligent enough. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood to be greeted by this style of writing in my Style section.

Still, I think the world needs more editors unafraid of deploying the occasional adverb-and-alliteration-seeking missile.

Friday, February 19, 2010

the tintinnabulation of the rubells, rubells, rubells

So the Rubells continue their DC artworld takeover: After getting bought by the Corcoran in 2006 for yet another never-realized expansion (see the abandoned Frank Gehry wing; see the completely-invented-by-me Big Top Wing) the former Millennium Arts Center will now go to Don and Mera Rubell, who snapped it up for 6.5 million.

The building will become (another) Rubell hotel and a satellite art museum for the Rubells’ Miami venue—although the Corcoran apparently will still keep a hand in arts and education programming for the site somehow.

Kriston has the story at AiA here; Tyler ponders the relationship between the October arrival of the 30 Americans show at the Corc and the sale of the building here; Lenny, in a totally impartial verdict, declares this a good thing for DC art.

Me, I'm optimistic: I like people spending money on art more than I like people not spending money on art.

And I don’t mind collectors showing their stuff—or building a place in which to show their stuff—as long as there’s no thin conceptual framework or scholarly window dressing tarting up what ought to be a transparent enterprise.

Shoot, I think we could settle all possible future ethical disputes if museums would agree to give every collector show they mount the same title: Fabulous Stuff Owned by a Wealthy Person Who Is Being (or May One Day Be) Nice to Us.

But maybe my take on this sort of thing is too simplistic.

enter the drag

Do I even have to tell you where you're going tomorrow night? To Curator's Office, of course, for the opening of Jason Horowitz's new show, DRAG. Duh. See a gallery of images from the show here.
I currently have the distinct pleasure of being able to work everyday in the shadow of two monumentally scaled Horowitz drag photos--each a ten foot long beast, occupying one end of the Meyer Gallery for Transhuman Conditions. The show remains open through April 3; expect a review in the WaPo sometime next week.
The images in the show on 14th Street will be much more intimately scaled: At a mere 42" X 63", they're practically snapshot-sized, right?
Anyway, I will definitely be there, and hope to see you in attendance as well.
Pictured: Jason Horowitz, Ba'Naka, archival pigment print, 80 by 120 inches, 2009

Monday, February 08, 2010

snowpocalypse now

If you missed the opening reception for Transhuman Conditions, you may be having a hard time experiencing the show: Thanks to the mild snowstorm last Saturday and the crushing, hysteria-inducing two-foot-plus snowfall this past Friday, the aac by now has been closed for two consecutive weekends. Given that two more snowstorms are expected within the week, Arlington may have a bit more digging out to do--and folks may have a bit more trouble seeing the art.

Luckily for you, everything will remain up and running through April 3, so you have time--and even a little thawing on the horizon. In the meantime, you can huddle close to the warmth of your LCD screen and read the show's catalogue online here. (Hard copies are available at aac for a mere $5 suggested donation.)

Thanks to Michael O'Sullivan, Ed Winkleman, C-Monster, and DCist for spreading the word; thanks to Kate Mattingly at Pink Line for thinking and writing about the artwork.

The reception was really well-attended. I saw a lot of my favorite DC arts people, and the PBR flowed freely. Thanks to everyone who made an appearance. If I missed saying hi to you (and it seems that I did miss a lot of you!), I apologize.

Unfortunately, aside from Jason Horowitz and Laure Drogoul, a lot of the artists are out-of-towners, and getting a few of them here to install was already a bit of a feat. I was very pleased, though, that Shane Hope made the trip down from Brooklyn to talk--about his work, disasterbation, qubits, and anything else that happened to flash across his visionary brain pan.

I will have a complete set of installation shots soon...although you realize this will mean actually being able to travel to Arlington from DC, right? In the meantime: Below are some shots taken by our own lovely and talented Catherine Satterlee. Not pictured are Saya Woolfalk, Shane Hope, Ivan Lozano, or about half of the Arakawa and Gins installation, but this should at least give you a sneak peek--and perhaps inspire you to shovel a little faster.