(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.


05 March 2014

SPRING/ BREAK ART SHOW

Grace Villamil, Midi Midinette, 2014 
This year’s visit marks my third experience wandering the halls of the Old School, and, perhaps last year I was a bit more pessimistic about SPRING/BREAK Art Show because I was overwhelmed by the crowd and space. Rather than hitting the fair during the VIP Vernissage and exchanging numerous amounts of kiss-kiss hellos, I opted for the press preview and the result was incredibly satisfactory. SPRING/BREAK Art Show (though spring feels forever and a day away), New York City’s curator-driven art fair returns to Mott Street for its third installment. The sun was still shining when I arrived, and the natural light made for optimal viewing, especially for Midi Midinette by Grace Villamil. The artist transformed the small room into a white cupboard, complete with a picketed gate and green turf on the floor and shelves lined with canned goods featuring the many faces of the art world including the likes of Nancy Spector, Klaus Biesenbach, Jeffrey Deitch and many more. I couldn’t find anyone to further inquire about the work while I was there and I’m assuming most of the faces are those of curators. Nonetheless, I thought it was clever and well-executed. The fair’s central theme PUBLICPRIVATE ”surveys how the high visibility of the self in the 21st Century everyday–via social network, selfie ubiquity, jealous vacation landscape, video-game avatar, and surveillance M.O.–activates and disinhibits the artist practice, and that contrary or complementary production of self which is the artist process.”

Grace Villamil, Midi Midinette, 2014 
The theme is valid and relatable, everyone loves a good selfie, although some artists were more poignant than others. The show tries to offer a “break” from the typical art fair model, however, rather than a 3- sided white walled space, such as Scope or Armory, we’re walking through old classrooms. Some of the group shows felt disconnected and my attention was drawn more to the installations and video projects. Peering in and out of the school’s amazing small spaces, maybe they’re old custodian closets, whatever they once served, they are perfect for installation and video. So, naturally, the works I found most appealing were just that.

Ramon Silva, Becoming Beyonce, 2014
Becoming Beyoncé by artist Ramon Silva addresses Beyoncé's world dominance over popular culture and, through several media (video, music, print), the work paints a narrative around her rise to the top. The wide-format video hugs the small space creating what appears as a three-walled projection. Hypnotic, geometric designs throughout the video reference the pop icon’s mass appeal. The prints lining the wall include not only Beyoncé's face but iconography such as the Merkabah, or the Chariot of Ascension, the planet Saturn, which symbolizes Beyoncé's astrological sign, Virgo, and other personal references for the artist himself.

Ramon Silva, Becoming Beyonce, 2014
Jordan Eagle’s Blood Illuminations uses overhead projectors to turn several walls into what one sees when they look into a microscope. More beautiful than eerie, the plexiglass plates of preserved blood not only illuminate, but are a noteworthy part of SPRING/BREAK.

Jordan Eagles, Blood Illuminations, 2014

Jordan Eagles, Blood Illuminations, 2014
And on your way out do not forget to look up at the vent. There you will find Coralina Meyer’s Toxic Shock Syndrome (After Now), City of Today for Feminine Urbanism, a historic reenactment of the 1963 Civil Rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama. Innovative placement, the video’s subject shows “the desperate housewife protestor being dragged through the streets, drawn and quartered by white police officers whose position of power is replaced in this installation by a dilapidated building’s air circulation shaft.” For more information on SPRING/BREAK Art Show visit their website. The fair runs until Sunday, March 9th.

Coralina Meyer, screenshot of Toxic Shock Syndrome (After now)

04 March 2014

OPENING NEXT WEEK: DEGENERATE ART: THE ATTACK ON MODERN ART IN NAZI GERMANY, 1937

Lasar Segall, Eternal Wanderers, 1919

On March 13, 2014 Neue Galerie New York will open the exhibition “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937.” This will be the first major U.S. museum exhibition devoted to the infamous display of modern art by the Nazis since the 1991 presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The term “degenerate” was adopted by the National Socialist regime as part of its campaign against modern art. Many works branded as such by the Nazis were seized from museums and private collections. Following the showing on these works in a three-year traveling exhibition that criss-crossed Germany and Austria, most were sold, lost, or presumed destroyed. In this light, the recent discovery in Munich of the Gurlitt trove of such artwork has attracted considerable attention. The film “The Monuments Men,”directed by George Clooney and due to open in February 2014, suggests the level of popular interest in the subject.

Max Beckmann, Departure, 1932-1935

03 March 2014

HASSAN HAJJAJ: ‘KESH ANGELS AT TAYMOUR GRAHNE GALLERY


Moroccan-born, UK-based Hassan Hajjaj is exhibiting for the first time in New York with Taymour Grahne Gallery. ‘Kesh Angels sheds light on Moroccan street culture and pays tribute to the biker culture of young women in Marrakesh. “His confident, upbeat portraits of young women wearing veils and djellabah while posing on motorcycles subvert preconceived notions of Arab women; his subjects are traditionally clad but defiantly modern, bearing bright smiles and the markers of youth, independence, celebration, and fun.” I love the colors Hassan chose for the backgrounds in the photos, the bright hues create a stark contrast to the patterns on the women’s clothing. Combining the personal with the political, he invites his audience to see a cultural niche that few know exists. The show runs until March 7th. Definitely a show to check out while running around the city this Armory week.


02 March 2014

Nebraska, the Beauty of Old Age, and the Midwest's Beautiful Landscapes


A son's undying understanding and love for his father, Woody Grant, an old drunk who's losing his mind and on a mission to claim his $1,000,000 prize in Lincoln, Nebraska under his own false understandings. Woody Grant is a man of few words and one facial expression. His wife, Kate, never short of a story to tell, and when push comes to shove, a similar love shown by Woody’s son David, ruthlessly exposes itself when Kate shocks family members by yelling,“You can all go fuck yourselves” when trying to claim Woody’s earnings that do not even exist. Nebraska, shot in black and white, paints a beautiful landscape of the Midwest with hauntingly bright lighting at times. Within the stills you see the stylistic similarities between the film and famous paintings from the likes of Edward Hopper and Grant Wood (ironically, the lead character’s name reversed). The film is an honest and humorous portrayal of old age and the dynamic feelings of love and hate that exist amongst one’s nuclear family and their somewhat distant relatives.




ONE MORE WEEK! WANGECHI MUTU: A FANTASTIC JOURNEY AT BROOKLYN MUSEUM


Misguided Little Unforgivable Hierarchies 
Up for one more week, closing on March 9th, Wangechi Mutu’s A Fantastic Journey is a show you must see before it comes down. By far one of my favorites of the year, the show is the artist’s first survey in the United States. Wangechi’s first-ever animated video The End of eating Everything includes the musician and performing artist Santigold as an over indulgent, insatiable, slow-moving, pollution emitting being devouring everything that comes in her path. Watch in its entirety, it is worth every second of the 8 minutes. Spanning several media, the show also includes Wangechi’s large-scale collages, sketchbook drawings exhibited for the first time, a site-specific wall drawing, and sculptural installations.

The End of eating Everything (still)
The End of eating Everything (still)
Le Noble Savage