12/28/09

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times: 2000-2010

Contemporary life is full of databases. Lets end the first decade of the ZEROS with a few lists to put things in some form of context.

Lets get really broad to start....Here is the list of THE BEST MOMENTS OF THE DECADE:
1) The world not ending.
2) Same sex weddings legalized in many countries in Europe and a few states in North America. The recognizing of "same sex unions" in countries like Israel and Australia. And the proposal to recognize same sex marriage in Mexico City in the new year.
3) Current TV.
4) George W. Bush and his regime stepping down and leaving Washington.
5) Obama's presidential victory.
6) Medical marijuana.
7) Proposed tax on soda and junk food.
8) Wikipedia
9) The blogging revolution
10) Good friends and good fun!

THE WORST MOMENTS OF THE DECADE:
1) All the genocides in East Asia and Africa that still receive no mainstream attention.
2) George W. Bush and his Regime.
3) Dumb celebrity "news" and dumb celebrities.
4) Reality TV becoming the only thing on TV. Other than Fox News...which shares this #4 slot.
5) Israel vs. Palestine (the never ending saga).
6) India vs. Pakistan (the never ending saga).
7) September 11th, 2001.
8) "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
9) Democrats and Republicans in the senate.
10) Corporate corruption and Ponzi schemes.

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF 2009:
The death of Micheal Jackson.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2009:
"Health Care Reform."
The New York Mets
Obama's first year.

THE BEST FINE ART EXHIBITIONS OF THE DECADE:
1) Mathew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle
2) Basquiat at the Brooklyn Museum.
3) Gilbert and George at the Brooklyn Museum.
4) Sailing to Byzantium: The Art of Tony Vevers.
5) Expressionismo: Jay Milder, at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
6) The Pictures Generation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
7) Irving Kriesberg: Early to Recent at Lori Bookstein Fine Art.
8)
Search for the Unicorn: Paintings by Jan Müller and Bob Thompson at Lori Bookstein Fine Art.
9) Out of the Fifties - Into the Sixties: Six Figurative Expressionists at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.
10) Vintage Provincetown:Exhibition of Jules Aarons Photography at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.
11) Reinventing Ritual at the Jewish Museum.
12) Arctic Hysteria: New Art from Finland at P.S.1.
13) WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at P.S.1.
14) Robert Williams: Conceptual Realism at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery.
15) Robert Beauchamp: Animalia at ACME Fine Arts.
16) Francis Bacon: A Century Retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
17) Louise Bourgeois Retrospective at the Guggenheim.
18) Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective at The Museum of Modern Art.
19) Robert Frank: The Americans at the National Gallery and the Met.
20) Hyman Bloom: A Spiritual Embrace at Yeshiva University.

BEST ALBUMS OF THE DECADE:
1) Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
2) The Moldy Peaches - The Moldy Peaches
3) Klaus Nomi - Za Bakdaz (The Unfinished Opera)
4) Kimya Dawson - Remember That I Love You
5) Opeth - Blackwater Park
6) Wire - Object 47
7) MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
8) Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta!
9) Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
10) Kimya Dawson - Hidden Vagenda
11) Adam Green - Jacket Full of Danger
12) Blonde Redhead - 23
13) Busdriver - Fear of a Black Tangent
14) Bloodbath - The Fathomless Mastery
15) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
16) Melvins - Nude With Boots
17) Melta Banana - Cell-Scape
18) Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. 1
19) Radiation 4 - Wonderland
20) Cynic - Traced in Air
Honorable mention:
Sparks - Lil Beethoven

BEST MOVIES OF THE DECADE
1) Me You and Everyone We Know
2) Little Miss Sunshine
3) Wall-E
4) Ichi the Killer
5) Gozu
6) The Nomi Song
7) Whatever Works
8) Into the Wild
9) Milk
10) District 9
11) Fahrenheit 9/11
12) Pan's Labyrinth
13) Amores Perros
14) The Wrestler
15) Oldboy
16) American Splender
17) 21 Grams
18) Diving Bell and the Butterfly
19) Requiem for a Dream
20) Royal Tenenbaums


Things to look forward to in the next decade?

My curatorial endeavors!
And traveling the world to include a more diverse list for 2020!
and is world peace too much to ask?

12/25/09

Holiday Art for the Holiday Spirit

What kind of art historian would I be without making a connection between art history and the holiday season?

In the spirit of Hanukkah we have two very spiritual expressionists, Hyman Bloom and Jay Milder. Both artists reflect the teachings of Theosophy, a doctrine that combines religious philosophy with metaphysics to search for a greater experience for all humanity. Both Bloom and Milder use the physicality of paint to explore the natural and spiritual realms.

Hyman Bloom, immigrated to Boston from a tiny Orthodox village in Latvia, where he met the artist Jack Levine. Both artists were recruited by Karl Zerbe to exhibit in a movement known as Boston Expressionism. Bloom soon rose to fame with his emotive paintings of Rabbis, synagogues, ghosts, and demons; only to fade into obscurity when Abstract Expressionism came to the center of the art world.
Hyman Bloom
The Synagogue
1940
Oil on canvas
The Museum of Modern Art, New York









Jay Milder is a second generation Abstract Expressionist (or Figurative Expressionist), who used the figure as a harbinger of spiritual yearning and individual energy. Milder developed his style during the fifties in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was one of the founding artists in the Rhino Horn group, which became an important influence on Neo-Expressionist painters like Basquiat. Milder's art has gone through many fantastic periods, but his use of biblical imagery and kabbalistic geometry, and chakra color, remains consistent.
Jay Milder
Jacob's Ladder 15
1966
Oil on Canvas
24" x 24"









For Christmas here is a great Figurative Expressionist scene of the nativity. This work of art provides a new perspective on what institutionalized Christianity had become. Bob Thompson was an American master painter who was also part of the Figurative Expressionist movement in Provincetown and NYC. Much like his Jazz musician friends, Thompson appropriated existing modes of art (Old master paintings for Thompson) by improvising on form and expression.

Bob Thompson
The Nativity
, 1963
oil on canvas
84 1/2" x 60"
From Michael Rosenfeld Fine Art's exhibition: Bob Thompson: Meteor in a Black Hat
November 11, 2005 - January 7, 2006 (Purchase catalog)








As for Kwanzaa, all these works of art (or any of us) wouldn't have existed if not for Africa!
I want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays.
Happy belated Hanukkah to all my Jews! Hope you had eight great nights with friends and family. And to my lovely Christian friends. Merry Xmas. Have a wonderful happy and healthy day! Hope your spending it with good company. If not I am around! Give a Jew a challah!

P.S.
I also would like to include a Merry Xmas for converts and Jews for Jesus (even though I will never understand the latter!).

P.P.S. Even though no one talks about Kwanzaa (possibly because Hallmark hasn't marketed it well), it starts tomorrow. So to all my African American friends, Happy Kwanzaa!

To everyone: Be good to each other and give to those in need! ALL YEAR 'ROUND!

12/23/09

Tis the Season pt. 2

Tis the Season to give, but not to those gays!

Every year those obnoxious bells fill the cold stale NYC air. The streets are decked with bows of holly and packed with consumers feverishly racing to get their last minute shopping done. The jingling bells are accompanied by often boisterous pleas to "help those in need."

The reality of the matter is the Salvation Army is one of the least helpful "charities" to those in need. That is if you factor in the idea that homosexuals are in need. The Salvation Army doesn't, and they have been very aggressive in seeing that these people don't receive the same rights as everyone else. I applaud the fact that the Salvation Army does raise billions of dollars and helps millions in need. But who are these millions? It completely hypocritical (and not charitable) for an organization whose "mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination," to in fact discriminate.

Well now it makes sense. They are basing their humanitarian efforts on the teachings of a person that possibly never existed. The Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian charity...And we all know how "god hates fags" (And also Lady Gaga, but that is another story altogether.)

Everyone has their own idea of what charity is, but just for a blatant clarification I googled the definition of charity on Merriam-Webster. We see that the first result is the "love of humanity." Hating any single person or group of people (for no good reason) is not showing a love of humanity, or any kind of benevolent goodwill.

Take those bells and shove it up your asses!

Mensch Maschine



Replacing a computer part or getting it repaired, is like going to the doctors for an ache or pain. Smart phones are your brain .

Public option on health care and tech care?

12/20/09

Transformation

This blog is nearly a year old and understandably a lot has happened since I started writing here. Looking back at my early posts I found myself laughing out loud at how angsty I must have sounded at times. But then again, what I had written was heartfelt and everyone is entitled to change their opinion.

I refer most specifically to my posts about religion most specifically. In the beginning I must have sounded like a Dawkins-eque atheist, declaring as Nietzsche did "God is Dead!"
I am definitely not a Satanist or an atheist. I will never give myself any religious label. I do find these often misunderstood philosophies interesting. Anton LaVey was if nothing else, an important philosopher. I still won't say that I believe in god, but I am definitely a spiritual person. I do feel there is a higher level of existence that can be reached through personal enlightenment. It is up to each of us to find that enlightenment. We are definitely not getting it through following sheepishly, the many misguided institutions that call themselves religious organizations. Each of us has the potential to be god like.

Then there is politics, and if you look back in the blog archives, my first post was an open letter to a newly elected Obama. Like the majority of the people I spoke to, we are dissatisfied with the job our elected officials are doing for our country. If these same people worked in any of the jobs the majority of hard working Americans did, they'd be fired for lack of production. I don't consider myself a Democrat or Republican. I think that the two party system has always been a joke, and now the senate has fully become the theater of the absurd. I hope these "educated" people get themselves in gear in the New Year. We really need reform in this country. Mr. President, don't back down and weaken your stance to satisfy old grumpy men who don't care about anything but their bank accounts and summer homes in the Hamptons. I was, like many people happy that Obama was elected over McCain and his horrible dark joke for Vice President. However, I am beginning to think that Obama is just another great speaker with no means for acting upon what he says. I hope that in the next 3 years he proves me wrong. If not, then nothing has changed from the Bush Regime.

My thoughts about art have generally remained the same. They have gotten more informed as I become more involved in the art scene, but I still champion the fight to wrong the art world's naive mistakes. Too many great artists and movements have been ignored by Art Historians and the influence that the commercial art market has over everything. There is a lot of work to be done but I have faith in a group of young and feisty art historians and curators to get the job done! I will support my friends and colleagues in their ambitious endeavors and I hope that they will in turn support me in mine!

I will be very busy in 2010 working on an exhibition catalog, selecting artwork, and putting together what will be the first museum exhibition of my career. While this is exciting, I have to admit that I don't know what the future will have in store for both myself and my work. I can only say that I will never give up and I will increase the great strides I have already taken.

I am glad that 2009 is coming to an end. Time to focus on making things better!

Much love and thank you for continuing to read this blog!

12/18/09

The healthcare bill is an Obamanation.

12/7/09

Race, Gender, Politics, and Art History

In the recent issue of ARTnews the feature is all about female artists. If you have been following recent art news you are already aware of the conflict between art critic Jerry Saltz and The Museum of Modern Art. Saltz points out that while MoMA has a large collection of women artists, only 4% of the work hanging in the galleries represents female artists. While the argument Saltz makes is very worthy, it is not just female artists who have been pushed aside.

Lets face it, Western Art History (which is recognized as simply "Art History") has been recorded, by the powers that be, and really should be called "The History of White Male Artists." With the exception of Georgia O'Keefe and Frida Kahlo, most casual art viewers (those who haven't studied art history or don't read up on art) probably couldn't create a list of important female artists. With the exception of Basquiat, many might not be able to recognize the prolific contribution of African American or black artists. Diego Rivera and Frida might be world renowned, but the majority of their Mexican contemporaries have been ignored.

Why does art history ignore many great artists in its survey? I can hypothesize on many possible reasons. The first is that in order to include some of these left out artists, the whole canon of art history would have to change. This obviously would become a very daunting and tedious task for those who publish the art history books. The second is that writing about some of these artists and their relevancy might change the perspective of what previously has been written. Women are footnotes in Dada and Surrealism, when in fact artists like Meret Oppenheim, Hannah Hoch, Sophie Taeuber, and Beatrice Wood, all have legitimate reasons to be considered just as great as their male contemporaries. But who would dare to upstage Dali and Duchamp!?

Many times art history and politics coincide. For example, until recently, the Mexican Muralists received little attention in American museums. MoMA's creation of a (small) Mexican Modernist gallery is a good start, however much more work remains to be done. Many people aren't even aware of the influence these Mexican Modernists had on the Abstract Expressionists. Without the artistic contributions that were coming out of Mexico City in the 1930's, there would arguably be no relevant progression in Modern Art. The reason for these artists not being given the proper historical context is clearly because they expressed Marxist views. These concepts were a direct contrast to the American ideology and practice of Capitalism, and it even became a fatal subject during the Cold War. Many of the American Figurative Expressionists (a movement worthy of the same praise as the Abstract wing of Expressionism) were left out because they challenged the mainstream canon of Abstract Expressionism, which had become part of bourgeois ideology. In reality the Figurative Expressionists were far more revolutionary, and expressed poignant critique of the human condition. Their oft harsh and gritty paintings were too much for a culture who adopted a hip aesthetic (the smooth perfection of Pop Art and Minimalism) in the 1960's. Black artists have never received their fair dues in the history of art. Great black artists and artworks have existed in the Western world for centuries. They have been part of the same popular canons throughout art history. However, apart from Jacob Lawrence and Jean-Michel Basquiat, there are too few "house hold names." Critics also enjoy referring to the work of black artists as "primitive," even when it is clear that the artists intent is far deeper.
Feminism is often portrayed in a way that makes it seem like a movement that was full of contempt and angst. Critics have degraded women by saying that their art is sexually explicit and crosses the line into pornography. In the 70's and 80's both female and gay artists were under attack for using their bodies and beliefs as a cause for personal artistic expression. Art history makes homosexuality and gender issues seem and feel taboo, when in reality they are not.

Why vilify and mock these progressive geniuses? Is it to cover up the fact that there is an obvious mistreatment and disparity in art? Many people go to a museum and are unaware of this prejudice. They are just conditioned to accept what is in front of them as history. I guarantee that many of you don't even question what is presented to you in reality. You have come to accept that the greatest artists in history happen to be Da Vinci, Van Goh, Monet, Picasso, Pollock, Warhol, Koons, Hirst...ect, ect. And after all, one can never argue with history, because it is all true and based on fact...The fact that a rich white man probably wrote it!

12/6/09

Shock Attack

Sutapa Biswas, Housewives with Steak-Knives, 1985.
Oil, acrylic, and pastel on paper,mounted on canvas
96 x 108 inches.


Art has been the subject of a great debate most recently in local news. Now the Neuberger Museum at Suny Purchase is being asked by some Hindu leaders to remove a "controversial" painting by the artist Suptapa Biswas that is in the most recent exhibition "British Subjects: Identity and Self-Fashioning 1967-2009." "Housewives with Steak Knives" depicts the Hindu goddess Kali (destroyer of evil or goddess of time and change) wielding a knife while dressed in contemporary female garb. When looking at other artistic depictions of Kali it would seem that for hundreds of years artists have interpreted the deity in many ways and most of them draw similar comparisons to Biswas' piece.

Kali is often shown triumphant over her challenger. This is usually the form of Shiva, the supreme god. Hindu deities are often paradoxical and rather subjective in their intent or meaning. This can be true of almost all religious iconography. As culture and . This latest controversy brings to mind the anger and misunderstanding of artwork like Andres Serrano's Piss Christ (1987) and Chris Ofili's The Holy Virgin Mary (1996). Both works of art drew harsh criticism from Catholics (and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani). However they ultimately triumphed because art is widely (and truthfully) regarded as an expression of the artist. With exception to forms of commercial illustration and graphic design, interpretations of fine art will vary from one viewer to another. It is therefore unlikely that we truly can understand the artists' true intent for creating the work. That is unless they actually come forward to tell us.

While many saw "Piss Christ" as a horrible blaspheming attack on Christianity, a consecrated nun and art historian named Sister Wendy Beckett, saw "Piss Christ," in a more symbolic light. She said that she views the work as: "what we have done to Christ" - that is, the way contemporary society has come to regard Christ and the values he represents.
A contrasting interpretation for "The Holy Virgin Mary is that Elephant dung is seen as a metaphor for fertility and by placing it on . As critic Jerry Salz points out in an article for Aesthetica Magazine:

"
Ofili is a serious artist but he's also playful and ironic. His paintings discharge as much psychic energy as they generate; they create a temporary feedback loop of perpetual metaphysical motion. Those exasperated by his Holy Virgin Mary may be responding not to the dung but to the Africanization of an icon, the hybridization of a face that has almost always and only been white."

Might the fact that "Housewives with Steak Knives was created by an Indian women be the real reason for the anger expressed by some Hindu authority figures? After all, one can interpret that Hinduism restricts the roles women can have in society based on the Laws of Manu.

The painting and the relevance of Kali in a modern progressive era is best said by the author of Hindu Blog.
I believe that we need to get over our traditional roots if in fact they are old fashion and regressive. If religion wants to be taken seriously in the 21st century it must keep up with the times.


11/29/09

Irving Kriesberg 1919-2009

I had been meeting with the artist Irving Kriesberg for nearly a year and developed both a great personal and professional bond with the artist. Irving died at home in his studio on November 11th. Here is a link to a tribute to Irving I wrote.

Tis the Season pt. 1

It seems that during the holiday season the powers that be cram our subconscious with depressing memories and thoughts juxtaposed with those movies that have a consumer driven agenda. I was enjoying a rare night of watching television with good friends and we ended up watching two movies that I'd be hard pressed to call uplifting. I figured that since many of us had some time off this week (too much time in my opinion) we couldn't escape the urge to sit back, do nothing and waste away in front of the tube. Doesn't that sound like the beginnings of a happy and healthy holiday?

The first movie was Arnofsky's The Wrestler. This was one of the best movies I saw the year it came out in the theaters. Reliving that experience was just as sad as I remembered it being a year ago. I was crying at the exact same moments again. The movie is a constant series of unfortunate and even tragic events that occur simultaneously throughout the life of one particular individual and extends to those he connects with. I feel like this is true for a majority of people that I know and that are living in the world today. The reality of this is even more depressing than any movie or work of art can express. During the holiday season it is hard to keep happy when you have to work multiple jobs to support your family, or have recently been laid off and can't find work. Many people are also going through what The Ram suffered throughout the film and become addicted to drugs. I know that it is tempting to drink a lot and perhaps take some pills or smoke some grass to escape the harshness of reality but more often than not these forms of relief become a bigger problem than what it was in the world you were avoiding. And finally the greatest false hope that the holiday season always portrays is driven home when watching this movie and seeing the bigger picture. That hope is portrayed as the happy family living the "American Dream." There is no such thing as the "American Dream," in a capitalist society. Randy the Ram had it all at one point, the money the fame and a family. However we don't see any of this throughout the movie we only see heartbreaking glimpses into the glorious past of a "broken down piece of meat."

The second movie was Across the Universe, that Beatles musical adventure. For the most part I think this is a good movie. I really enjoy the visuals in many numbers especially the Bread and Puppet theater inspired protest and circus numbers. However this movie more importantly touches home on a number of issues. The struggle of an artist as seen by the character Jude, Sadie (Janis Joplin anyone?) and the Hendrix-esque Jo-Jo, all hit home for me. I have been an artist (first and foremost) trying to find inspiration in the concrete jungle (more like a graveyard these days) of New York City. Relationships are tough, we all know that. And sometimes it is hard when the other person changes or you yourself change and things are not the same "feel good" lovey dovey feelings that begin many relationships. This also kinda hit home when watching the back and forth dynamics of Jude and Lucy. However I still have yet to find a true happy ending when talking 'bout love. When it does come I hope it is as magical and mystical as the movies make it seem. However I'll take whatever works because I rarely see this fiction romance in reality. So many friends of mine end up in awful situations with their significant others and it is upsetting to see people "in love" actually being unhappy and trapped...In reality they are alone. Ultimately this movie reminds us that everything is cyclical: life, death, love, hate, war, peace, imperialism (which never goes away), greed, selflessness, and so on and so on (but more of the same shit different day).

Let the holiday season begin I say! To those who I love and care about know that I am always here for you! To everyone else let the same statement be true. It is always appropriate and necessary to reach out a helping hand to those who are struggling to get by. I think there is a Beatles song that wraps this feeling up somehow..."I get by with a little help from my friends."

More to come! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and relaxed at home with a full belly while the morons trampled through the malls.

11/9/09

Expression

You can create your best work now, or you could have created it at six years old or you could create it at sixty...But I tend to think that you will be happy and create amazing work just as soon as you become inspired.

10/27/09

The Best Art Movie Ever.



Basquiat the movie is one of the best biopics ever made. It is without a doubt the best major film about an artist. Since director, writer and artist, Julian Schnabel was a close friend to the late painter I think we got one of the most sentimental and whimsical looks into Jean-Michel Basquiat's life. Schnabel cast an amazing group of actors for this film. Dennis Hopper (a rather good visual artist himself), got the accent and likeness of Bruno Bischofberger, David Bowie playing his friend Andy Warhol is the best portrayal of the original "King of Pop," and Jeffery Wright's inspired performance of JMB is nothing short of absolutely brilliant (he should have been nominated for the academy award).

Basquiat exhibited the talent and expression that should have placed him with some of the greatest painters in the 20th century. When you look at Basquiat's work it is hard to believe that the artist was so young. Although his career was cut short at 28 after painting consistently for eight years, his vast body of work proves his devotion to painting. While some people naively write off the artist as being a primitive junkie who was easily manipulated by the art market, Basquiat was a prodigy. He was the voice of his generation in the eighties, where being young and black was previously ignored throughout the art scene.

Throughout the movie, we see JMB's frustration and contempt for mainstream white America. He is carefully watched by clerks, like the one in the caviar shop who checks the bill Basquiat hands him. He is treated with contempt by the white businessmen in the fancy restaurant where he confidentially picks up their tab. In the wonderful interview scene with Christopher Walken playing the newsman, we see that racist degradation that many media outlets were subjecting Basquiat to. However Basquiat plays it cool, or rather is himself throughout the entire process.



Even if he was manipulated by some of his dealers, patrons, and contemporary artists, Basquiat never let his fame dictate his painting. His work remained an expression of his identity and history, his work is personal and that is why it can never become a "period piece." (critic Robert Hughes grossly overlooks the significance of JMB in his book "American Visions") There is always the need for a "bad boy" in the art world. When modernism first bagan there was Gauguin, Whistler, and Van Gogh. Today there are Damien Hirst, Andress Serano and R. Crumb. JMB was not just a "bad boy" he was an exile of the art world, he never wanted to assign any labels to himself or his work. Today he is one of the most imitated painters among art school painters, while Basquiat never went to art school.

10/19/09

Nancy Spero, 1926 - October 18, 2009

The art world endured a great loss today as Nancy Spero passed away in New York City. Spero was a Figurative artist who often collaborated with the Figurative Expressionist Leon Golub. The two had met in Chicago and were married for nearly fifty years and their love of art combined with the importance of self awareness made their work stand apart from the popular Abstract Expressionist mode of the fifties. But Spero was a complete individual, her work showed profound interest in narrative figuration that expressed the important role of an artist as a harbinger of the human condition. She is also an important female artist and one of the great individual voices for representing the concerns, achievements and documentation of women throughout history. Powerful constructs like Torture of Women (1985-89), Fertility (1986), War (1986), Protagonists (1989), and Female Symbols I (1981), raise the awareness for the unequal treatment of women and express in an epic way, women's contributions and importance that makes them seperate (to men) but equal as all humans should be.

See Spero on PBS Art:21 segment

Images below (Torutre of Women, Female Symbols I, Fertility, War, and Protagonists:










10/5/09

We Are Mountain Men

The setting is Green Ridge State Forrest in Western Maryland. We are three men in our mid-twenties living in three different metropolises, with great expectations. We all brought our own expertise to the table, we are intellectual, humanistic and overly progressive. Each of us strives to be the best and had been working tirelessly at achieving long lasting success. However this weekend, it was time to leave the stress from the daily grind and venture into the wilderness where we would find respite. We thought that perhaps we'd learn a thing or two about ourselves, and in the end we did. I learned that a ten mile hike through rough terrain was completely within my grasps. As we meandered through the lush Forrest it became necessary to think only about the task at hand. Survival. If one of us made a wrong turn or lost focus it would be detrimental. We ended up camping far off the blatant trail and made a a fire pit and a raging fire with twigs and dry leaves as well as small branches from fallen trees. The majority of which took place in the dark since we decided not to bring any real luxuries, just certain essentials like a propane burner, a lighter and some instant prepared meals...And of course a bottle of whiskey.... The feeling that creating something we take for granted every day was exhilarating. The feeling of the burning in my calves and back is a reward for a job well done.

We were mountain men. We are men.

9/22/09

Museum Autobiography

My earliest museum experiences started at an early age, when I was about 5 years old. Living in New York (Westchester County) and having a very energetic and cultured family, I was fortunate to have visited the many museums both locally and in the City. While my first encounter with a museum resulted over 20 years ago, it must have had a lasting impression on me, because I have always found solace, nostalgia, and thrills visiting museums to this day.
The first museum I had gone to was the Museum of Natural History, with my Mother and my Grandparents. To this day I feel that such a museum is apt for any youngster’s first museum encounter. The sheer size of the museum suggested to me that this was something of immense importance housed inside the neo-classical façade. I remember being both intimidated and fascinated, however the latter emotion would completely take over once inside. I was rapidly fascinated by the size of objects in relevance to myself. At first glance I couldn’t separate reality from fiction. I had thought and remarked that the objects such as the animal taxidermy and sculpted Native Americans were real. When I was told that they were only renditions of reality or historical non-fiction, I was completely enthralled by how much consideration had been placed on presenting a realistic sense of display.
The second museum I had gone to was the Manhattan Children’s Museum. At the time they had an exhibition on forensics, studying how crimes are solved, but it was the exhibition on bugs on which I would spend hours in. I remember never wanting to leave, there was so much to see and do. The interactive and educational experiences became a great factor in my school education where I would relate what I saw and did to my studies. Throughout my early childhood trips to various children’s museums, The Smithsonian and the Hudson River Museum, whose planetarium fascinated my visual and auditory senses, would be constant highlights of my childhood.
It wasn’t until I got a little older that I enjoyed works of art as much as the archeological and interactive installations. Although two early artistic revelations came from the Museum of Modern Art’s interactive color wheel and an installation by Red Groom’s (Red Groom’s bookstore) at the Hudson River Museum. I think the reasons for this was because I could tell that a painting wasn’t in fact real but I had a hard time separating reality from the museum taxidermy and dioramic installations at the history and science museums. Originally I had only appreciated the sections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that had the mummies and the fantastic examples of pyramids and ancient structures of the early Mesopotamian and Asian civilizations. Once I began to appreciate paintings and sculpture I spent countless hours looking at works by Renaissance painters and became mesmerized by the salon style galleries of 18th and 19th century European paintings. My first favorite painter was Rembrandt, so it was vital being so close to the Metropolitan Museum and getting to stand in front of the Dutch Master’s dark and moody canvases.
My mother’s side of the family came from various artistic backgrounds. While there were no professional artists in my family, my Grandfather’s father was an antique dealer who restored, created and collected fantastic pieces of 18th century furniture. It was very important to my mother and grandparents that I be exposed to various cultures at an early age. My brother who was just an infant during these early museum adventures had a different experience. I recall his restlessness and desire to leave these institutions. It has taken him a while but more recently he has taken an interest in the positive social aspects of art museums. Being so close to MoMA (he works at Rockefeller Plaza) he has made various trips to the Museum in recent months.
I am proud of my early beginnings and interests in museums. It has led me to a deep profound love of art, history and global culture. I know that I want to make museums are part of my career and I know that I want to become both a museum curator and educator. I know that I made the right decision in attending City College’s Museum Studies program. Through this program I am learning to think both artistically and critically, my writing and proposals have vastly improved, and I have begun to develop a great list of contacts.

9/15/09

The Product

So, I thought that if I make blanket statements it would attract attention. And it did. Well not on here because so few people actually know about this. On twitter I posted the same message I wrote below: Kanye West hates white people (hates was added for drama). I received a barrage of replies both positive and negative. So in a way I achieved what Kanye achieves on a constant basis. But I did so mockingly. Obviously.

I know that Kanye West doesn't "hate white people," or anyone for that matter. Stating something without positive evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is pure idiocy. That is why I don't believe that Kanye's comments were driven by anything other than his own ego.

Kanye West is a product. He is a brand. MTV, VH1, the print and television media, have brought this item to the masses and the people bought it. This is a perfect example of the collective ideologies that are often misrepresented in popular society. Most people can't think for themselves, they rely on these various sources to tell them what to do, what to buy and how to behave. Without thinking about it they are consuming. This uniformed consumerism is a definite downfall to civilization. People become to comfortable with their status qou and they will unknowingly let various outside sources take control and take advantage of their lives.

Why do we like Kanye West? does it have any sort of power to activate or inform our youth? I don't really know, I am not an avid listener or supporter of this type of hip-hop. I do know that generally these songs are about fitting a certain ideology, money, power, sex, and belonging. The last part is positive. Looking at some of Kanye's lyrics it would seem that occasionally he addresses the importance of belonging to a group, people you can relate to. However how many people can relate to Kanye West? The answer is very few. Kanye is just like us, human. Despite what he might be projecting in some of his lyrics and more obviously in the public eye, Kanye West is just like us. He isn't fooling me, but he is fooling millions of American sheep. People are buying into absolute consumer mentality, you have to dress a certain way, listen to certain music, watch specific television programming and movies, and read certain news, (TMZ, Fox News, ect...) in order to be an American. When you leave this country or go to remote places in the world you get a much different perspective. America has warped it's identity (the American Dream), we are less and less about the individual and more and more about the collective mainstream whole.

We need to take back our individuality, our spirit and our minds. We need to find solutions for ourselves and then we can find solutions for the greater picture. These results go hand in hand. Don't lose yourself to the corporations, the institutions and the people who want you to be something your not.
Kanye West doesn't care about white people.

Oi Vey

Im a little faklempt, talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: Outdoor smoking ban: healthy progression or fascist overtaking?

9/14/09

Glenn Beck Wants My Job

See this video for yourself and then proceed to act shocked, confused, and even enraged at the insanity of this man's rants. Glenn Beck The Art Historian

So Beck is using an attack against progressive "propaganda" to project his own regressive propaganda? I am going to need a lot of Tylenol to keep up with this man. Beck needs to review certain terms like propaganda and he needs to take a look into the history of art.

HITLER WOULD NOT HAVE LIKED RIVERA'S ART. NOR WOULD MAO and STALIN (if you recall they had a cultural revolution, similar ideals to what Beck is preaching). If this painting had been created for a building of the third Reich, it would have been destroyed, burned and Rivera would be sent to a death camp. The part that Beck leaves out (or misinterprets) is that Rockerfeller removed this painting just as fast as he premiered it. He shamed Rivera and paid him thousands of dollars to stop painting the mural on his building. This outcome obviously produced no lasting product for his building, there was nothing to gain other than the fact that he stood up for his own ideals. Rockerfeller lost big, but Beck presumes that he was creating a "progressive" and even socialist movement that spawned from his building's architecture and artwork. This couldn't be further from the truth. Even further embarrassment comes when Beck alleges this art has something to do with Obama and today's "progressives."

Huh?

Mr. Beck you are the Fascist here. You are proposing that we degrade and destroy artwork because you decided that it somehow ties into today's progressive politics. Please stop and think before you rant and ruin great cultural artifacts and history. If you can't do this, kindly remove yourself from national television.

In other related news I have a new found appreciation for Keith Olberman, his response is by far the wittiest. He wins.

9/8/09

Lets Go America!

Public option or bust. Reform means not appeasing those who hate progress. Lets make America a progressive nation. Too all you scumbags in Washington who oppose social-cultural reform: get your old, stiff, money hungry hands off my country!

What I Learned From Washington D.C.

The capital city may seem clean and the downtown streets are devoid of the garbage so visibly seen in New York, but I was still very suspect. Sure enough I saw it, in Dupont Circle (a rather nice part of town) a HUGE rat. This rat rivaled New York's monster rats, it was about the size of a football. So yes, I am here to report first hand that New York's bad rep for it's rats is not unique or a fair judgment. One can also make the argument that D.C. is full of human sized rats in flesh tone guise.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact that they are so proud of the cleanliness. I mean sure its great to be sanitary but to boast that their subways are free of artwork and street performers doesn't strike me as a winning statement. What is great to me about New York is the abundance of subway art and performers. Its nice to come out of work, class or a meeting and have some moderately talented individual entertain you while your waiting for the rush hour train. Sitting in the metro station in D.C. made me feel like I was in an institution. I guess that is ultimately the vibe that I get from the capital city.

There is not much nightlife around the touristy parts and the federal buildings. This is perfectly expected. There is a great diverse scene in the areas north of the Central city. Adams Morgan was by far the most cultural and interesting. Bar hopping alone will bring you a spectrum of people, white, black, hispanic, European, American, Middle-Easterm, Asian, gay, and straight. There is something for all in this section. The streets, clubs, cafes and bars were filled with characters more eager to strike up a conversation with you. It was one of the more exciting and rewarding environments I have been around.

D.C. to me is important more for its arts and music than anything else. The museums are generally free and substantially cheaper than New York and Boston. The artwork is incredible. I simply couldn't chose which museums to cram into our trip and I will certainly be making return visits to see them all. The National Gallery is a great museum, the East wing is devoted to modern art and their collection includes numerous Picasso's (from his earlier periods), DeBuffet, wonderful cut-outs by Matisse, and a special exhibition of Phillip Guston which had shown his shift from abstraction towards the figure. The West Wing has a great collection of paintings and sculpture from 13th-19th century Europe and a nice collection of early American painting.

The ultimate contribution is not politics, we all know that more often then not big time politics and it's institutions can be more a manipulative game than a socially progressive cause; but rather music. Washington D.C. had the opportunity to change the course of modern music and it set the foundation for the underground sounds that are made today. Take a look back at any DIY movement of the 1980's that is still strong today and you will find more than a hand full of bands that had originated in D.C.

Hardcore had it's best roots in New York City, SoCal, and Washington D.C. Each location produced it's own unique voice that reflected the social-cultural environment. It was a great honor to have hung out with Miguel and Yancey, both are deeply involved in the community music scene. Yancey was there when everything went down, he experienced it first hand and pointed out some places where it happened.

So I look forward to returning to D.C. but not to experience the corrupt and institutionalized history that is forced fed through kitschy landmarks and monuments (not referring to all. I do respect some of the architecture a la Washington Monument and of course I respect the memorials for the fallen soldiers); I look forward to discovering more of the REAL side to D.C. The PEOPLES side!

And there are still about five great and FREE museums to see!
Taxation without representation.

9/4/09

Evolution of Damien Hirst


Damien Hirst's Human Skull In Space (the cover of the commemorative edition of Darwin's Origin of Species)

So art's bad boy Damien Hirst has returned to the studio and without the help of his assistants is creating artwork but more importantly (as he might like it) controversy. The choice for the cover of Darwin's commemorative edition of Origin of Species has been the source of many angry bloggers and art critics lashing out against Hirst...Like almost everything else regarding the mainstream art world: what else is new?

Hirst has come full circle, in his return to painting, we see the common themes that helped make Hirst the richest and most famous living artist. In the painting Human Skull In Space (Oil on Canvas), Hirst recycles subject matter that he is well known and probably branded for in his oeuvre. The dots bring to mind his early abstractions, the ashtray was an early post-minimalist construct, and of course the skull is indicative of Vanitas paintings of the Old Flemish Masters but more importantly (in a post-modern conceptual context) it recalls the reason the masses heard of Damien Hirst....For The Love of God.

Does this work support the survival of the fittest or is it a conceptual degradation of society? The painting to me is very indicative of a modernized stance on Darwin's theory of evolution. Hirst has championed themes of life and death and nature in almost all of his works so it doesn't surprise me to hear that Darwin is an influence in his work. What makes both these figures analogous is the no fear attitude regarding their work. Darwin never flinched from his stance when critics mocked his research, Hirst has never regressed from similar critical backlashes regarding his art. In fact to me it is that brashness and attitude that makes Hirst successful. Hirst's greatest impact comes from his statements and then trickles down to some of his concepts. In the latest ArtNews, Hirst's dialog with Murikami and Richard Prince show his philosophical side, which translates into a very brash and crude dialog on the Human Condition. He brings up simple but timeless themes in his artwork like life and death, good versus evil, hot and cold, love, sex, death, desire. He is in tuned with religion and science, all signs point to an individual who is a progressive thinker.

Certainly Hirst is one of the fittest. His survival in the art world is on par with Andy Warhol, although Warhol has a couple more decades on him. However Hirst shows no signs of slowing down. And he is doing it all in a time where the art world has completely changed. In the Post-Modern era when art and ideas struggle for relevance, Hirst has crossed boundaries and styles, creating art that is a direct result and consequence of being alive and realizing the importance of life.

I have to admit, I like Hirst's return to painting. These new works come as a huge relief. Its nice to see that an artist can still paint figuratively and conceptually while still maintaining a high profile. Even if they aren't the most technically stunning works.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

8/31/09

Untitled

It's really strange getting dressed in the morning just to sit around the house all day.

7/5/09

Tribute

In the past 18 months I lost all my grandparents. While today we mourned the loss of my Grandma Mary, I saw it more as a celebration of a woman who made the lives of everyone she came across greater. I had the great privilege to grow up with such an amazing set grandparents. They were always there for me when I was a child. My grandparents were as important to my upbringing as my parents. I just want to take a moment to reflect upon each of my four grandparents, and express my gratitude for their selflessness towards everyone and their undeniable love for their family.

My grandpa Arthur for whom I am named after died just months before I was born. He was my father's dad and he was the only one of my grandparents to die an untimely death (around his 50's). From the stories that I heard growing up I always felt that there was a great part missing from my childhood because I never got to experience having him around. He was a great father and even though I never got to know him he did impact my life. By being such an important influence in my father and uncle's lives, he passed onto them the knowledge and experiences of fatherhood. To this I know that me my brother and two cousins are very fortunate.

My grandpa Sydney passed away a year and a half ago. Although he lived a longer life than most people ever do, his death was still something that I wished wouldn't have happened just then. While I love everyone equally, my grandpa was the biggest role model I have had. He was a second father to me. Him and my grandma Mary were always there to take care of me when I was sick and my parents had to work. Through my grandpa I inherited his wonderful charm and love for being alive. I never known him to be self centered. In fact he put everyone before himself all the time. His love for my grandma was unconditional, it was the perfect storybook romance and it lasted for 67 years! When they were apart because he was drafted to WW2, he would write her the most beautiful and romantic poetry. He was an amazing father to my mother and aunt. Even when he reached his early 90's he was doing things for them. He was always going out of his way to lend a hand for a family member, a friend or even a complete stranger. This is a trait that I am proud to say was passed down onto me. Up till the very end he was a fighter, a lover, a father, a grandfather and a friend. Words can't begin to express the admiration I have for Sydney Winnick.

Even though her husband had died an untimely death, my grandma Annette had a lot to look forward to. For the next decade there would be four grandchildren born. My grandma was a very important influence while I was growing up. Some of my fondest childhood memories came from visiting her in Queens. It was through my grandma that I developed a love for entertaining people. She was always turning me onto the theater, music, and late night television. Everytime she drove we'd listen to showtunes. I used to look forward to her sleepovers at my house, it was just like a friend being over. We would stay up late and watch TGIF and classic movies and we'd play cards and dominos till we fell asleep. She was a very devoted Grandmother and it hurt me to see her so upset after she sold the house and moved into a home. The last few years I still enjoyed the visits although they were less frequent and much shorter. My grandmother had her wits about her until the very end and I valued every conversation we ever had.

Today was my Grandma Mary's funeral. The service was beautiful and was a reminder of just how much an impact she left in this world. Everyone who she came in contact with would walk away with a smile and a new friend. She won the heart of my grandpa at first sight and their love was strengthened each and everyday for 67 years. When they were apart it was very hard on everyone. Like my grandpa, she devoted her life to helping others. She was a workaholic and retired in her 70's. She taught and volunteered in public schools were there was a great need for mentors. My grandmother was a mentor to many underprivileged kids. She was also a mentor to my brother and I. She helped make cookies for our class parties and lent an artistic touch to school projects. I never saw anything but a smile on her face. Even when she was in pain she'd be more concerned with other peoples troubles. She always asked what she could do for me or my brother and still mothered my aunt and mom till the very end. She went above and beyond her duties as a parent and grandparent and forever changed the lives of the people she knew for the very best.

I will miss them all and honor them by living vivaciously, selflessly, and as brilliantly as they lived their own.

6/23/09

Art Fought the Law...

Once again street art is in the news and again it gets a negative perspective from the media. Authorities keep getting it wrong and unfortunately it looks like they will never learn. When Shepard Fairey was arrested in Boston months ago the authorities tried to make a bigger stink then it was in reality. It becomes a political game of cat and mouse and this aint no Tom and Jerry shtick. In that case according to many friends of Fairey and The Wooster Collective, the Police were trying to embarrass the mayor of Boston who had cut back on police funding (proposal of a one year wage freeze). I won't go into it, the article by Wooster Collective more then suffices.

The latest victim is an artist from North Carolina, arrested for creating a "sculpture" from those orange traffic barrels used everywhere in the world. While this sculpture might have diverted traffic due to the amazing aesthetic value it presented, it caused no psychical or financial harm. Police have to much time on their hands if they are seriously making a case for prosecuting Joseph Carnevale, a young college student and part time construction worker. Unlike most of Fairey's graphic design appropriations, I really enjoy Carnevale's work. The young artist has a history of taking found objects from urban environments, which in turn interact with its surroundings. This latest sculpture seemed to resemble a monster trying to hitch a ride from a passerby. The best part of all of this is that the construction company has offered to commission for the artist to make a new one! There is a difference between what Carnevale did and the destructive tagging done by street thugs on public buildings (unless the typography is amazing, or the style is carefully constructed, most tagging is done by people with no artistic intention).

In this case it seems that when art fought the law and the law won. However I hope for society and cultures sake they drop the ridiculous charges on Joseph Carnevale and put him inside a gallery and not a court room.

Kill Your TV

Who gives a shit!? Why do I watch TV if that is the only question I seem to be asking? This new show on Comedy Central Tosh. O or something gets all its material from the internet. Thats what our society has come down to...I am kinda glad that I don't spend hours in my day on Youtube like I did in college. I have grown up...Most of young America hasn't apparently. The latest waste of time are the deadbeat parents Jon and Kate. Stop watching and they will go away! These people are obviously horrible human beings who only had kids to exploit them. Its terrible to think about all the parents who can't have kids for physical reasons, and they have to hear about this stupid bullshit on the news? And how is this news altogether?

The one thing I don't understand is are these reality TV stars celebrities? With reality TV taking up almost 95% of television programing theses days (I am just pulling that number out of my ass but seriously every channel has at least one reality TV show now) these "normal" people are on the screen more then the people who read from a script. Although I am sure that the validity of these shows is suspect and most of what really takes place is off camera. So here is my question to you people who watch this shit: Are you bored with your lives? Seriously do you need to live vicariously through the douche bag yuppies on the Real World because you can't make your own friends? If you want to be rich and selfish like the horrible and disgusting women on the Real Housewives series, then stop watching television and go out and use people. Is your job so boring that you fantasize about being a celebrity dog groomer (one of the dumbest ideas yet), an ice road trucker, a sea shepherd, or a deep sea fisherman? Why do we feel the need to watch other people do their jobs, while the majority of us don't want to do ours?

Kill your TV!

5/14/09

Adam the Art Critic

Well I have been busy writing again. I am sorry my dear blog that I have forsaken you. If your interested in what I have been doing, I am writing art reviews...http://www.berkshirefinearts.com/index.php

5/7/09

Local Art Legend


Allen M. Hart, Violinist, 2007, Oil on canvas

A little late. This event happened towards the end of April...However in a few weeks there will be some great artwork shown in Westchester, NY. I will be focusing on the local art scene in the upcoming posts. Being an artist who does most of my work in suburbia (because NYC apartments are too small), this topic has great significance to me.

The annual Rivertown Arts Open studios happen once a year (this was the 16th year), and for the last two years I have visited the studio of Allen M. Hart. Hart’s studio is in an old riverfront building in Dobbs Ferry, New York, with a fantastic view of the palisades and the river. Mr. Hart has been painting for over sixty years and his latest paintings look just as brilliant as his first. In fact they are even more alive with intense color and moving gesture. My favorite paintings by Hart are his monumental series of anti-war canvases, “The Orchestra of the Damned.” These oil paintings create a paradox between something beautiful like music and something terrible and bestial like war. Anti-War painting becomes even more powerful when it is full of emotional expression. The gestural strokes that come from the artist’s hand are reflective of his consciousness and being. They are an outlet for his angst and a journey into irony and absurdity. Everyone who is conscious of our world will feel something from Allen’s artwork.

The technique that Hart applies to his painting is indicative of expressionism and action painting influences. He started out in the fifties when painting in America was shifting to abstraction. Hart never painted abstractly but his figures have the same gestural expression and energy as the artists who did. While he doesn’t have any personal links to the second-generation Abstract Expressionists, his work is stylistically comparable. The thick-caked layers of oils make the canvases look heavy, and the figures project a sense of his figuration being alive. Besides the paintings there are the works on paper. These are mixed media constructions with very personal and symbolic imagery. These works are indicative of medieval illuminations, Bosch, Goya and Durer. Most remarkably, Mr. Hart has an archive of book art he has been creating for many years and continues making them today. There are cabinets and shelves that are filled with handmade books. These books are the visual equivalent of a personal journal for the artist to record his thoughts and experiences. Collage and newspaper clippings are accompanied by images, illustrative of a narrative or event. Throughout the eight disastrous years George W. Bush has been in power, images of burlesque and morbidity are frequent in his books. Wounded veterans, grotesque elephants, animals and figureheads in yearning and despair are all attributed to the prevailing human condition.

Mr. Hart is a wealth of information for many facets of life. He is a very knowledgeable teacher of art, a historian, a theologian, and a sharp and informed man regarding socio-political happenings. His experience makes him more then a viable source for almost anything art-related and he is more then happy to engage in conversation with anyone who seeks his insight. A very particular and careful notion of Allen M. Hart’s experience is his evolution and metamorphosis. Flipping through a binder of archival prints, I noticed that Mr. Hart is very interested in addressing age. Age can be a very sensitive subject, but its unavoidable and vital for our existence. Coming to terms with the fact that we are all getting older is hard. Things that we used to be able to do like walk freely and hear well might become a hardship in the aging process. This is a source of Mr. Hart’s expression. He has been making expressionistic self-portraits since he began his career in the early fifties. The artist pays tremendous attention to every detail and change that occurred on his face during his transformation from youth to the present. His self-portraits are documentaries show the artists most personal side. They remind us that we will age won’t look like the youthful versions of ourselves twenty years down the road. We might lose the ability to hear, walk, or take care of ourselves. There is no escaping death. This topic is not great Saturday night conversation, but it’s unavoidable. Thinking about this makes searching for your self and accepting your purpose in the world all the more important. Hart has come to this conclusion and his work has become even more vivacious. You should be able to value life, or at least acknowledge both the miracle and burden that is the human condition. We are spiritual beings living in a physical world. Hart’s work is definitive of such an aspect.

Allen M. Hart has been painting in New York since the early 1950’s. He made early sojourns to Mexico where he hooked up with Ignacio Aguerre, Pablo Higgins, Mendez and Siqueros. After meeting his wife Mildred in 1952 at his solo show at the Roosevelt House on East 65th Street, the couple traveled extensively. They settled in Spain for a while and journeyed throughout Europe and North Africa. He has had solo exhibitions in Europe, and Mexico and t. Currently he is part of the artist run Upstream Gallery located on Main Street in Dobbs Ferry. The Upstream Gallery is the venue for Hart’s next solo show: Recent Work – Metamorphosis. The opening reception is Sunday May 31st, 2-5 pm.

If you go:
The Upstream Gallery is located at 26B Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522.
Phone: 914 674 8548/
Email: upstream26@aol.com.
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 12:30-5:30 pm.

4/20/09

5 minutes and 33 seconds of fame

This is the first post in a while. I have neglected writing my direct thoughts for a while. I decided that I won't do this again. I feel that its important to continue writing in this blog. For me and my audiences. Maybe I can inspire someone out there to do something or take a new interest. But mostly so that I can inspire myself. To put my ideas into action, and somehow reach out there. The internet is so monumental and we take it for granted. This huge of networking can reach out and allow me to talk to people I never would have known were living breathing and passionate people. There are people who are just like us. People with similiar goals and we might never have known it if it wasn't for a place like Meetup, Myspace, or Facebook. Its so crazy and I love it. The progression of our species will be reliant on our dependency to communicate on a wide scale. There are really no more celebrities. Sure there are superstars that will always exist in the media for weeks on end. But everyone can become a celebrity and go from underknown to super-stardom. The internet has shortened the length of Andy Warhol's proclamation to more like "5 minutes and 33 seconds of fame." Trends and our attention span are short so it is important to make a lasting impression. A person like Chris Croker or Perez Hilton, internet personalities, will be connected with more pop culture dribble and forgettable moments. A truly wise person will use the instant chance at mass communication and use it to better themselves and our community, which thanks to the infinite lengths of the world wide web becomes the world.

2/23/09

You Can Have Whatever You Like

I haven't posted in a while. This usually has happened in the past with my blogs but I am back now and will make a little post before I fall asleep. This past week or more has been the greatest of my 24 years. I couldn't be happier right now with life. Everything is going the way I'd hoped. The best things happen when you don't plan or put any stock into it. It might sound cliche but the greatest things or people can enter your life when you least expect them to. So before I divulge into my usual rant, I just wanna let those who might actually read this (although you probably already know me in some way) that I LOVE LIFE!

Now everyone can dream but a dream is something that you'll eventually wake up from. Even Martin Luther King had a dream. Today blacks and whites are still not equal. Yes there have been great strides made for the betterment of blacks and hispanics in America but there are still as many ghettos and housing projects as before. If low income housing and "planned communities" aren't racist then I don't understand the definition of the word.

The reality of the issue is that not everyone will be able to be what they want. I hear this all the time whenever someone or something breaks the boundaries of modern life. When Obama won the election last year so many people were quoted as saying that they now feel as if anything is possible. Well there are more opportunities then before in some ways. Then again reality is still rough and unfair. The reality is that the black child on the TV news will most likely not become president. That is if that child comes from one of these impoverished and purposley forgotten places were he won't get a proper education because there is not enough money or support to make sure that he succeeds.

President Obama on the other hand provides much better hope that these children will be able to live a better life. Using Obama as a role model rather then many current black role models will be way more positive in these children's lives. The problem lies in the role models these children of ghetto/project have. A person who has lots of money becomes the apple of the pauper's eye. Now generally the ones that have the money and rose up from the ghetto are one of two types. The first is a drug dealer or pimp. The next is the rap star who rises from rags to riches and live that lavish style like its the only way to be. The problem with both of these types is the they setback their community. They further oppress the oppressed by continuing to further a cause that has zero beneficial aspects for improvement. By continuing to stress that the only important things in life are money, women, guns and drugs there can never be a positive outcome from those who consider these people to be role models. It doesn't matter that these people don't consider themselves to be role models, people are going to idolize them because they have what they don't and hear about all the time.

There is good hip-hop though. Many rappers must have realized that what they say and do is a reflection on their community and therefore will make music with thoughtful lyrics. The ones that continue to babble on about drugs, money, and "shorties" need to stop in order to end racism and oppression.

2/11/09

Why Are Lawmakers so Stupid?

Just a quick thought:
Regarding this article I saw while going to check my Email:
Prison Overpopulation in CA

So the Govenator is giving his own theories to help cut down on prison overpopulation. How bout re-thinking the drug laws? Stop putting people in jail for crimes that therapy or rehab can control and fix... Morons.

2/9/09

J Camel and Jay-Z


Last night during the Grammy's, Melissa pointed out the amazing resemblance between Jay-Z and Joe Camel. Anyone who lived in the 90's will appreciate the fact that last night there was no doubt about the fact that Jay-Z looked like Joe Camel (RIP Joe). So check out this little image I created...On the left we have a picture I took of the TV showing Jay-Z last night at the Grammy's and on the right we have the original gangster Joe Camel...If I didn't tell you this you'd probably still be trying to figure it out!

2/8/09

Crap Overload!

Wow this weekend pop culture just took a huge crap on America's chest.
So Micheal Phelps, who is one of the greatest living atheletes today is made out by the media as a junkie. Why? Because the greatest olympic champion of modern time took a hit of marijuana. When I heard a scandel was amidst with Phelps and drugs I immiediatly assumed performance inhancing drugs (don't worry steriods were included in this giant media shit storm). There is only three things I have to say in regards to this story. First of all, Marijuana shouldn't even be illegal. It is common knowledge that alchohal is far worse then a little (or a lot) of THC. How many overdoeses have been related to marijauna in history? If you guessed zero then pat yourself on the back. Second of all, he is known to have smoked Marijauna (assuming that this wasn't the very first time) and won 8 gold medals in China? The man seems even more amazing with this fact. Everyone who has smoked pot knows what it does to your mind and body. As far as the mind goes it can make you very unmotivated. Yea you will have a great idea (at least you think it might be), but you will most likely never accomplish it because your too stoned. Thats not to say that pot hasn't accomplished great things. Music, art and film have all benifited from America's favorite weed. But for the most part your gonna get high laugh a lot, play some wii, maybe draw or write (most of the time it will be nonsensical), fall asleep, and then forget most of what happened in the short term. Oh yea and of course eat! The effect that it has on the body is that you might gain weight from the "munchies." So there is no possible way that Phelp's swimming career would be benifited by this. If anything it should be celebrated news...He's a fucking young man! He like millions of other people in their twenties have gotten high. Wow big fucking deal. He didn't do crack cocain, herion, meth, pcp, special k or even popped some pills and got black out drunk. This was stupid news. Fuck the media.

It was no shock to me and probably most American baseball fans that A-rod had taken steroids. He took two kinds of roids in 2003 and who knows what else before or after that. A once great sport, the MLB is synonymous with another 3 letter acronym...HGH. I am annoyed with the drawn out witch hunt that is being conducted now.Although the MLB is responsible for its lax attitudes in the past with illicit drug use, these players are the ones to blame. There is nothing to my knowledge that is healthy about steriods. All you need to do is take one look at professional wrestling...How many older pro wrestlers besides Hulk Hogan look good? Not to many. Some have died (heart attack and stroke. Both terrible effects that steriods contribute to), the majority look like Randy "The Ram" Robinson..."A broken down piece of meat." I can understand a pro-wrestler doing it. That sport is soley entertainment. Wrestlers are actors and their body is part of their charecter. Sadly many of them remain nothing more then a charecter long after they leave the ring. What I don't understand is why an athelete would do that to their body. The short term effects are greater ability to train for strength and quicker muscle growth but what is too good to be true most likely always is. Many baseball players of the olden days lived to a ripe old age, what will the future entail for these players of the "steriod age." Its a shame that I started this paragraph with the bold statement that I wasn't shocked when I heard the news. The problem is I can't trust any player of the "steriod age." This is a sad sad state for baseball. However the media needs to stop putting this on the front page of every New York paper. There are more important things happening here then rich assholes juicing it up and lying about it.

Tonight was the Grammy's...I usually don't watch and I was reminded why that was many times tonight. There were many good moments in the music industry world tonight. I'm glad Jennifer Hudson won, she is talented for sure. Blink 182 is back, which can be either good or terrible news. The Four Tops tribute was excellent. Lil' Wayne's tribute to New Orleans was excellent. That was one of the best Grammy performances for sure. On the downside there is the Jonas Brothers, who should neveer win a grammy. Stevie Wonder isn't deaf, I am suprised he didn't walk off the stage hearing the lastest fad try to perform "Superstition." Last but not least, the final award for best album was a sham...Led Zepplin was great, Robert Plant's lastest album was not...Thats all I have to say.

In conclusion I am constantly reminded how much the corporate media sucks. We are all slaves to them.

2/5/09

We The Curators

What must be in order to ensure that a curator or artist is successful in an audience’s perception of their exhibition? The most obvious preparations include the proper planning of the gallery space, obtaining the work and the general objective behind the show. We must not make any concessions to these simple factors because the general audience will take notice of obvious flaws. For a thematic show this means that the artwork should be a representation of the theme. It can either be a direct correspondence with the theme such as narration or it should provide the audience with a proper conceptual interpretation of the theme. If an audience has to spend too much time questioning why a work is there or what relevance it has, we have failed. The average museum and gallery patron is a tourist and they won’t take as much time as a professional critic, curator or artist might. In simplest of terms we should show what we wish to tell (just like in kindergarten when we all had show and tell). This means that we have to have a full knowledge of all the work that we are presenting. In a solo show the questions may be: is the focus a time period? If it is a certain time period we must look at what the artist was doing specifically then. It’s not an overview of his or her career so to speak. Is it a full retrospective? If it’s a full retrospective then what pieces in particular will we need to be certain that the artist’s career is understood and received. We can never assume that the average museum goers will have encyclopedic knowledge of the artist. Most of the time they won’t. But we should never dumb down material in our exhibition. We the curators need to direct the exhibition in a way that the theme encourages the viewer to both feel apart of the art and let them explore the exhibition. If they feel diminished or ashamed that the concept is above their heads, we need to find a way that they can make something out of the experience. In other words allow them to use their imagination and inherent knowledge to become personally involved in the exhibition. A successful exhibition should blend the lines between subjective and objective viewing. Too much cramming will cause fatigue of most viewers. Therefore a good curator has to decide what is best suitable for showing. The only way to successfully achieve this is to have an appreciation and understanding for the artists work.

Robert Storr says that the curator should not think of himself or herself as the artist, but as the planner (first essay in: Paula Marincola, ed. What Makes A Great Exhibtion? Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, 2006). To this statement I agree. You won’t be successful if your trying to create your own artistic statement through the artists works. However, I do believe that it is helpful for the curator to have a general knowledge of aesthetics, and being artists themselves will be beneficial to understanding certain situations that may arise in the exhibition planning. Generally most artists tend to be greater problem solvers then the general population. Problem solving is almost always going to come up when you’re working with an exhibition. Constraints with the space can always be an issue. It is important to address whatever is going to be a potential problem in the earliest stages of exhibition planning. Being an artist myself I understand the issues that might have arose in the artists mind as to what their aim was. Therefore I would be more comfortable to advise an artist as to what should be or shouldn’t be shown within the context of their exhibition. A good curator is kind of like an editor. All good editors need to have an understanding of how an author writes and an understanding of the language. Sometimes it will prove to be impossible for us to get a well-known work by an artist. We must learn to work around this problem, which usually makes the exhibition even more successful in the end (in the case of a retrospective it will be problematic, especially, if this is the first of such exhibitions for the artist). If you can prove your point for the show without stating the obvious the show might be even more valuable. Bigger museums typically will be able to get almost any loan they might want if they work things out well in advance. But that doesn’t always mean that their exhibition will be better then the smaller space. Some of an artists lesser known works are more pivotal and important to their career. You can have a very successful, memorable, and important DaVinci show without the Mona Lisa. The worst exhibitions for me are those that force-feed famous painting after painting into my head if I am already familiar with most of them. The MoMA is guilty of this in the past and present resulting in overcrowded exhibitions where I am completely turned off by the show so much that I end up angry with the artist and the museum!

Other key considerations we must think about have more to do with the nitty gritty aspects of the exhibition. Something that I like to call “accessories.” Labels are important but need to be limited if we are curating and art exhibition. If you have been to a museum you have probably seen people crowding around a piece but spend more time reading the little description then actually allowing themselves to take the art in “as is”. Labels should be to the art as a director’s commentary is to a movie. First and foremost the museum visitors should be engaged with the piece of art, then the label should only provide any additional insight to the piece or the artist. In terms of labels and graphic design, less is always more. Once again we want the art to speak for itself in every single case. Another thing to consider is whether or not to provide acoustic guides. Acoustic guides are usually very popular with tourists; I see tons of them at MoMA all the time (I am only picking on the MoMA because it’s one of the best-known museums that I enjoy visiting. Other large museums also use these techniques). Again referring back to what Robert Storr says in his essay: “The case made for audio guides is that they help members of the public to enter the artists world, but the fact is that they are more likely to keep them out…” I couldn’t agree more. First and foremost, not every single piece as you may have known is represented in the acoustic guide. It also takes a huge amount of importance out of the artwork. We are unable to spontaneously respond when some docent babbling on is distracting us from the artist’s intention and the works emotion. However I am partial to brochures. Small and well-designed brochures are always a nice way of summarizing the exhibition and provide visitors with a nice souvenir. I would keep my brochures to a minimum with key images that will remind people who already saw the exhibition of their visit. I might encourage visitors to only take a brochure as they are leaving the gallery. It seems logical to me to have a summarizing brochure at the exit of the exhibition rather then the entrance. The simple reason behind this is that as curator I wouldn’t want my audience to have their noses in the brochure and lose the experience of the exhibit.

Finally it is my opinion that in the end it should only be left to the curator what goes into the show. I read an article a few months back in ArtNews about the pressure that is put on both directors and curators to include either specific pieces of work or certain ideas for exhibitions. This pressure is due to the board of trustees. A board of trustees generally seems to consist of rich investors who (up till recently maybe) come from Wall Street. Generally these people have little to no extensive knowledge of art history and only care about their investment making a huge profit. I won’t deny that profit is extremely important to a museum’s survival (unless that museum is government funded. Which is something that really should be considered…ahem Barack Obama). Pressure from these people will only result in a bad show. A curator needs to be assertive, not passive aggressive. When a good show results in good press (from the media, critics, art historians, and knowledgeable bloggers) then the museum will achieve worthwhile and desirable credit. If the producer had more say over a director in a movie, the end result would be less artistic, dumbed down, and the movie more or less will flop.