Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Coup

The headline in the NY TIMES reads: Some Object as Museum Shows Its Trustee’s Art

Summary: IT's a coup for the smooth blend of of opportunism, commerce and public service!

Myself, I don't mind so long as it's all transparent, which, in this case would entail The NEw Museum posting a giant sign listing two major "red flag" confessions:

  • This show is curated by an artist who stands to gain worth and prestige by showing his own work in this public forum.
  • This show is comprised of works owned by our trustee Dakis Joannou, a famed collector of the works of our curator, Jeff Koons who is also his BFF.
Related Story: Channel's Curatorial PR Coup:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

HINT: Be mysterious...

It enhances your mystery if you are inconsistent or if you manage to bore the shit out of your audience. Both of these goals can be accomplished in one fell swoop by ignoring glaring oddities and discussing dreary minutia as if they were fascinating: remember YOU are never bored – that shows your mastery. But THEY are – that shows their failure!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WARS of VAPID OUTRAGE: Street Art in Bristol

Face it: Defiance starts to look very silly once it's sponsored, once the monied world is paying you to do, in broad daylight, those cute little tricks you used to have to do in the dark.

And by the time your every fart is perfume to the auction houses, you really have to give it up, don't you? You really have to 'fess to the elephantine fact you're no longer an angry young man giving voice to the outrage of the masses.

Which is why art critics find it crucial to poke fun at Banksy, who still poses as a bad boy despite the now complete embrace of every canonized institution. And which is also why misguided wanna-be revolutionary groups like Appropriate Media aspire to tag Banksy's city maintaingd Stokes Croft artwork. Banksy's become an easy mark (ahem).

Here's a funny timeline. I don't know if you'll find it as immediately satisfying as I did, but I will type it out here for your possible entertainment, if not enlightenment:

June, 2007: The Banksy mural entitled "The Mild Mild West" is voted "Briistol's Favourite Alternative Landmark" in a 2007 online poll

June 4, 2007: a proposal for a Park Street atrium in the Stokes Croft developement area of Briistol in which the Banksy work , "The Mild Mild West" would be encased in glass. The Atrium plans seem to have been stalled, and the work was never honored with a glass case of it's own.

Jan 16, 2008: BBC online posts an article informing readers about how to spot a "real" Banksy and pretending to know how street artists show "respect" by not tagging over other works.

Early April, 2009: Appropriate Media, protesting the gentrification of the Stokes Croft area of Bristol sprays arching, dripping red lines across "The Mild Mild West." and takes credit for it on their (now defunct) website.

Calling the Banksy work a "masterpiss" an Appropriate Media announcement, now located on on, stated:

"Graffiti artists are the copywriters for the capitalist created phenomenon of urban art.
Graffiti artists are the performing spray-can monkeys for gentrification."

It is immediately cleaned up by area developers who state that they can't imagine what Appropriate Media means by their statements.

June 24, 2009: In the face of an upcoming Banksy show at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, the mural is again attacked, this time with blue paint.

One of the funniest things about the series of articles and blog posts which follow these "attacks" is that the media will call Banksy's art, a "mural". Back in 2008, when the BBC picked up on the cool new artist, they described his stuff as "guerilla art" and spoke knowingly about street artists who, out of respect, would never tag over another artist's' work. Now Appropriate Media are said to have "vandalized" Banksy's "mural." BTW: they claim they have created "alternate versions."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jenny Holtzer @ The Whitney

The young people in my group were unmoved by the sacred room of canonized contemporaries on the 4th floor of the Whitney. A glance at a Jasper Johns flag painting elicited a wince from one, who said he felt nothing for it. And he waved a hand at DeKooning's Woman with a Bicycle: "all DeKoonings look the same."

His friends wandered listlessly. To me, it felt like homework. These cold dead paintings here, at the stalwart Whitney, have a whiff of the classroom, accompanied as they are, with didactic wall plaques and huge titles proclaiming "Gesture" and "Concept" as the milestones that the ancient moderns were measured by. They had nothing whatever over the Jenny Holtzer show we'd just seen downstairs.

On the third floor, the rooms were lit with purple, blue and yellow lights whirling and running along the floors and across thresholds, arching around corners and flashing a decadent night glow onto the usually pure white walls. The crowd tried to inhabit the rooms, instinctively moved to sit and lean and stay a while. A beer would have been nice. Some throw pillows. But the guards were old school. Too bad.

For Jenny Holtzer's pieces, you really should stay a while. You really should share the space with them. And it helps to let the words flash into your mind --and to take in the way they change the room.

The guards should have laid off. They should have been happy to see people getting so close to the work. Wanting to walk through it and sit near it and watch it. Anyone had to feel the relief of finally seeing art live again. The oils upstairs, moving slowly downward with gravity, lined up like school girls against the pristine walls, they have something new to teach us: we can't go back there.

The thing about the Holtzer pieces is that they are experienced uniquely by each mind that processes them. With no beginning, middle, and end: the viewer presents herself to the work and lets it present itself to her. It's an exchange, a trade, and it begins when I stand here and look there and watch the well-tempered lights move into me or around me or over me or past me.

It is the new direction of popular contemporary art: installation, performance, street "interventions": they are created with not just an onlooker, in mind, but an experience -- and often one where the artist and the viewer trade roles, the artist's work becoming a medium for the creative viewer to work with.

Upstairs, the atmosphere reeks of school books and wrote learning: these were the color field artists, and these, the abstract expressionists. Downstairs the spinning lights defied study -- this crowd had no time for DeKooning with his threatening women grinning forever in thick ecru.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The ART of KNOWing What YOUR Vote Means

The next president stands to effect greatly the balance of the Supreme court which right now leans HEAVILY toward the right.

A vote for Obama is a vote to re-balance YOUR supreme court.

We need the Judicial branch to contribute equally to the system of checks and balances built into our governmental system and not to take a passive role as it has under the Bush administration. ALL of the branches, executive, legislative, and judicial should, and do, have an influence on the directions our country moves in. Civil rights legislation can not progress w/out a balanced Supreme court.

This matters when it comes to what happens in Guantanamo Bay, when it comes to spying on American citizens, when it comes to marginalizing our gay citizens by keeping separate-but-equal laws on the books.

If you care that the U.S. should never justify tourture and rendition; if you think it's not right that average citizens should be spied on; if you understand that separate-but-equal is NOT just, then --

Take back the courts: Vote Obama!


Okay, okay: I know: NONE of this has to do with ART. But I don't care.
Vote Obama today

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

L. Mylott Manning: Road Kill

L. Mylott Manning's Road Kill streetstallation looks like a really fun project. Unfortunately I've not checked it out yet. So I was glad to receive this reminder, below, in my e-mail box!


Friendly Reminder:

The final day of Road Kill Stuffed Animals will be presented on
Saturday, October 25, from noon to 4pm.

The road kill pieces will be concentrated between 9th and 10th Avenues, on 14th Street, NYC.

For more information please visit:

Kind Regards,
L. Mylott Manning


Vanilla Royal: Eye Candy

The new and vastly improved Galerie de la Royal Digital by animation/digital artist Vanilla Royal is simply dazzling!

As soon as you click on the link: the magic begins. This is a site, not just showcasing Vanilla's deft brand of sado-cutesse, but also providing a forum for other digital artists of similar demonic charm.

Keen stuff: flashing, seductive, threatening. Cute Overload it ain't.