Friday, March 19, 2010

Art Activities Catch Up + PATTI SMITH!

I've not posted for two weeks now. So much has gone on and I kept meaning to but had lost some momentum, it started to seem like too much to write about without missing things out. But not posting anything for that reason is silly so will catch up here! Most of what we've been up to has been art-related with the odd exception. In the last two weeks we've been to three art fairs, one opening party at a local bar/gallery (which was lots of fun, especially as I got to chat with and get on really well with the artist and curator both of whom are lovely), two museums, one gallery, an auction/benefit for Haiti and a shop that sells almost exclusively artists books and zines which meant that I had to monitor my spending and drooling! (Megan Gulick's exhibtion in Jersey City)

First up, the fairs, I wasn't sure what to expect as I've never been to Frieze or Zoo or anything like that, but even despite being quite hungover on the Friday for The Armory Show (New York's equivalent to Frieze) I really enjoyed it, so many great artists (and some dreadful ones too) in one place. Seeing such a wealth of material at once was quite daunting, but I began quite quickly to be selective, I adopted an 'I know what I like' policy overall as there's so much to get through, I tried not to check the name first but tended to take time with things that caught my eye, art browsing I suppose. I was interested by the fact that there was lots of painting and the wacky/conceptual/cryptic stuff was thinner on the ground than I'd imagined. Something we noticed which wasn't about the art but rather about the attending demographic was that there was virtually no-one there who could have had a BMI over about 20, which is interesting since the US is renowned for its obesity problem. Of course I'm being facetious, it was a bit bloody posh. We noticed a prominent theme in some of the work, of birds and animals in general and chickens in particular. We took a series of photos with Sarah standing confused by chicken related material. Honestly, there were loads!

We went to X Initiative and Pulse art fairs in Chelsea on Sunday - a gloriously sunny day! The stuff at X-Initiative was hosting a lot of non-representational work and some difficult to approach work, I found it a bit difficult to engage with most of the material. There was, however a great piece by Valie Export and a De Lorean one of which I've never seen in real life. There sadly was no Flux-Capacitor but it was still exciting nonetheless. Pulse was great, a veritable smogasbord of talent, stunning painting, sculpture, photography and installation all in a warehouse space almost on the waterfront of the Hudson. Stand out artists for me were:- Alex Prager, Adriana Duque, Megan Greene, Sara Rahbar, Cecilia Paredes, Devora Sperber, Eleanor Rendeiro & Thomas Mueller.


When my man Alex came to visit we did lots of touristy things, we had some great weather for visiting the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, Going to the top of the Empire State Building and a stroll in Central Park. We also visited the International Institute of Photography and because the Tim Burton exhibition was sold out we went to the American Folk Art Museum, which is next door to MOMA and excellent, they currently have an exhibition running call 'Approaching Abstraction' which dispells the myth that self-taught and folk artists are only ever representational and literal. The work in this show is stunning, expressive and thought provoking really worth a visit if you're ever in New York. Next month starting April 6th are two new shows there:-
Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands & The Private Collection of Henry Darger both of which I'm really looking forward to seeing.

This Monday just gone we went to a Haiti Benefit at Sotherby's where a piece of work by Sarah's friend Stuart Semple was up for auction and also Patti Smith was playing. It was wonderful, I couldn't quite believe it was happening she was stood 8 feet away at most and just in front of us, no stage, nothing. I was totally awestruck and very amused when she gobbed on their carpet!

Today visited another piece of Semple's work in a group show in Chelsea called 'Nobody gets to see the wizard. Not no one. Not no how' an interesting Oz themed collection. Semple's main piece 'Ding Dong (Thatcher's dead)' which compirises of a big black model of a house with feet in blue court shoes with big buckles poking out from underneath, along with an eerie blue glowing, is witty and, since I think that anyone with a heartbeat should loathe Thatcher (when we were little my mum used to get m and my brother Jamie to shout 'Maggie Maggie Maggie! Out Out Out! That's parental indoctrination for you!) I really like it! The other piece I really liked was by an artist called Deborah Kass from her series 'Feel Good Paintings for Feel Bad Times' and it's called 'Forget Your Troubles', executed in a playful pop style with just the title covering the canvas it's a witty and uplifting piece.

After that we visited Printed Matter Inc. around the corner which has been on my list of places to visit since I came across a book by an artist called Kim Beck (who is wonderful judging by the book and her website) This shop deals in artist books and is heaven for any art/bibliophile like myself, I will be going back before we leave. I bought an issue of a journal called Lovely Daze. It's an artist's bi-yearly journal divided into months and full stunning photography, drawing, painting and writing. It is celebratory I think is the best word, not a trace of clever, clever, edgy, knowing, trendy, cynical, quasi-ironic bullshit. It's artists that respect eachother sharing their work with each other. I love it, it will be one of my most treasured possessions from this trip I'm sure of it.
(Kim Beck - artist)

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