Thursday, October 24, 2007
Brooklyn, New York
Dear Mr. Fraser,
Greetings and salutations!
How nice to meet your acquaintance.
Upon Googling myself this evening-- (because this is what one does when one navel-gazes to check on one's blogging successes and failures)-- I found out that I recently did a review on your artwork last month.
Thank you kindly for the memory jog-- sometimes... in fact, many times, the names of who I choose to review slip my mind.
In fact, I just wanted to let you know I truly enjoyed reviewing your work on September 4, 2007, here at the Musings.
I found your work to be provocative, insightful, and well-thought out.
I find it fantastic that you've been able to attain solo shows at John Connelly Presents, Moti Hasson and Yossi Milo Gallery all in 2007 alone.
That is no small undertaking.
But in all seriousness-- dude, seriously, I can't remember who the hell you are, nor can I remember reviewing you.
I do like that your work delves into plageurism and the problem facing current artists today in regards to getting attention for one's work.
I certainly like the DIY punk rock nature of you placing yourself into multiple galleries' press releases and saying it's your own.
But silly man, (or woman, whoever you be)... like, seriously, I did this trick back in 2003 when I first moved to NYC, mass-mailing everyone "news story clips" from WNBC, NY1, etc., where I'd replace names, towns, accidents, etc., with false info for whatever prank victim who would fall for it.
So kudos for sharing the brilliance of being able to Control A, Control C, Control V, and then typing to replace words.
Keep on keeping on.
Oh, and PS-- Next time you want me to write a review of your "work," why don't you just ask?
I might just bite.
And if you're cute, who knows what else?
Your friend in guerilla art and blatant self-promotion,
author of Oly's Musings
For more information to see if you, your gallery or art review blog is a victim of Mr. Fraser's deceptive ploys, go to:
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Oh when the penguins.. oh when the penguins... go marchin' in... go marchin' in... oh when the penguins go marchin in...
Oh, yeah, baby!
It's time for the march of the penguins, those lovable little tuxedoed tricksters whose favorite song certainly must be Five For Fighting's "Superman."
But barring their similarity to bowling pins, and our ever growing fascination with them-- "Happy Feet," "Wallace and Gromit," "March of the Penguins," Opus, etc., they're good little soldiers.
Follow the leader is not a game to them, but a way of life.
They also take care of their own, huddling together for warmth and protection.
And this is just what artist Nicolas Touron uses them for in his fantastic exhibition, "Circus," at Virgil de Voldere Gallery.
Setting their obedient little bodies against a backdrop of jetliners crashing into military helicopters, Mr. Touron obviously has taken the cute factor out of the equation; note THEY HAVE NO EYES.
Much in the way of our current administration-- from BOTH parties-- and the complacency that is 2007 Americana, we are definitely marching together as one, but have no clue as to where we're going.
I couldn't help but think of this exhibit once more upon the beginning of my work week, as the L train's staircase at 8th Avenue deviates into two-- one portion going left, one right.
Both staircases end up in the same location on the next platform up.
But interestingly enough (it never fails) the crowd always continues to the left, as I take the road less traveled to the right.
Perhaps group mentality is impossible to overcome, but I find it humorous how the blind just follow so succinctly.
Throughout Touron's exhibit, the theme of his "circus" comes into play-- a three ring one, mind you-- with the exhibit split into three separate "rooms," if you will.
With all the animals locked into warplay here at left-- ("moose-uzi" anyone?)-- you have to wonder just what the artist was thinking when these subjects were grouped together.
I also like the visual monstrosity of the intestinal-like ribbons that run throughout his works, to say nothing of the captive audience of penguins, once again taking center stage.
There is a sculptural centerpiece that is quite eye-catching-- two deers, with antlers permanently interlocked, top-to-bottom, and never to have one triumph over the other.
In much the way we realize the current war we find ourselves in to be unwinnable, with media circuses left and right to provide our poor little soggy brains with feel-good distractions.
"Quick!!! Click on Andy Samberg's newest digital short once again!!! Shit man, it will totally make you forget your wife leaving you, your dad dying, that slipped disc in your herniated back, your third cousin twice removed getting his brains blown to bits on a Ramallah highway, your dog just dying, or the fact the earth is probably going to end in 20 years' time."
After all, this is what America is now currently all about-- a muddled mess of intersecting highways, brought about by "technology."
I love how Touron's so subtle in his references, but it really makes you think.
The exhibit is up until October 20th.
For more information, go to:
Sunday, October 7, 2007
All right, now, class; first lecture of the fall season: New York art scene 101-- Chelsea, Soho, Williamsburg.
Now let's follow that close behind by Dumbo, South Bronx, Red Hook, Park Slope...
Apply the brakes.
Wait-- Park Slope?
Everyone sing along now... "One of these things is not like the other..."
The quaint little neighborhood that is the cradle of all that is held dear by the stroller mom community?
But yes, indeed.
Recently I found a heretofore undiscovered gem located on a quiet block of Sixth Avenue, the artist-run collective 440 Gallery.
In its current show, "Undercurrents," sculptor Martha Walker takes leaps and bounds over the "sculpture community," creating amorphous formations that seem to take on a new life of their own.
There is a power to Walker's work that is immediate.
The structures she creates certainly display elements of the natural realm, (such as the giant conch shell, as above) but there is more at play here other than three-dimensional representation.
There is a true gothic sensibility to these works.
Walker is making work that expresses herself and her vision through a means that I feel currently is woefully under-represented in the gallery scene-- steel sculpture.
With the current focus on installation and the newfound "rediscovery" of painting, I find it seldom where I can find a show that brings back a genre that throughout history has helped to define art and the next pathways it will choose to go.
Unless we're commiserating on giving a retrospective to Serra and his mass-scale, I can't imagine in today's market where a sculptor like Rodin would go to be displayed.
Walker's works bring to mind an otherworldly realm-- much as if the kelp or octopi from the seabed uprooted itself; primordial ooze once again retaking the land.
Walker elegantly captures the motions of these structures in each steel loop and bend.
In the work at right, there certainly is ancient tribal art on display.
It brings to mind a ceremonial offering, if you will, or a tribute to the fertility goddess.
I found myself analyzing each and every curve and the dramatic texture of her works.
Painstakingly creating each steel droplet from above, dripping freshly from the blowtorch not unlike a candle making a wax seal, it forms a rudimentary surface similar to that of a freshly erupted volcano.
In this case, the hot lava bubbles up and out, leaving behind a rich and storied texture.
In the central piece of the show, Passion Unfurled, many will certainly see a central vulva, as well as a tongue-like nature to this work with its many bends and loops.
In some ways, Walker's dark and gothic sci-fi oeuvre is at war with the blatant sexuality of this piece.
I like how Walker highlights feminity, not necessarily using it for exploit, but instead creating a new creature with undulating motion.
Even the creature's feet have a whimsical notion-- looking not unlike something straight out of "Lord of the Rings."
In contrast to the more controversial Passion Unfurled, in her work at left, Pearl, the cherished treasure contains an almost fetal-like element which can be removed from the central structure and stand alone.
When docked in its "mother ship," if you will, it is caressed and cared for not unlike a small child in its mother's arms.
There's something about the craftsmanship of this piece that makes you almost fear for its safety as it goes out into the new world-- will it survive?
Only time will tell.
I also cannot help but also be reminded of the dominance of male artists in the New York art world, and how that little "pearl," if you will, could also represent the obstacles that female artists face when getting their work on display.
In the case of Walker's art, you certainly could classify it as one of the more dangerous undertakings of the different art mediums, for working with steel certainly is not one for the faint of heart.
The heavy structures are certainly not a simple duty in their formative stages.
Lifting and manipulating several hundred pounds of molten metal as it is super-heated to thousands of degrees is a painstaking task that requires sheer determination and will of heart.
What I liked the most about Walker was her true passion for her subject matter and dedication to the task at hand.
She actually records and keeps track of the hours spent on each piece-- some taking months to construct.
It is extremely time consuming, especially given the highly intricate detailing of her structures.
Take a look at this close-up of Passion Unfurled.
Each and every droplet and branch has been formed by the piece being on its back.
Walker's blowtorch superheats the steel from behind, and the liquified droplets with the assistance of gravity make a new formation-- not unlike the volcanic lava formations of the South Pacific.
In the case of Passion Unfurled, the piece weighs over 700 pounds and only came about in its current structure after originally meaning to be a river bed.
Walker realized when the piece cleaved in two, it transformed into a formation of rollicking sensuality at play.
Even though Walker's work certainly has a gothic undertone, given its "all black all the time" quality, (something we here at the Musings have been a bit obsessed with as of late) it is truly embracing the organic realm.
In some ways her work reminded me of my recent review of the fantastic painter Janaina Tschape, who concentrates on embryonic structures.
It's almost as if Tschaipe's structures have leaped off the canvas into sculpture formations.
Much of Walker's structures as well take on a honeycombing effect, or that of seed pods.
The open loops appear to be so delicate, you can barely imagine that they started off as steel bars.
I enjoyed examining how each branch connects seemlessly with the next.
There is such a unique flow to her work.
In her own words, Walker states how the process of creating these works is "meditative" for her.
I think the viewer will find this as well.
Walker's work will be up through Sunday, October 14th.
440 Gallery is located at 440 Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn, just a few blocks from the F train stop at 7th Avenue.
For more information, go to: http://www.440gallery.com/
or you can check out more of Walker's work at: http://www.marthawalker.net