drifting in and out

dear readers,

the latter half of 2009 got much busier than I expected. my infrequency in posting anything of substance confirms this. on top of the many different projects i currently have going on, i've decided to increase my efforts in my lifelong work of journalling for myself.

a wise, older friend said recently to me that one of the hardest things for someone like me to do right now is to "know what's happening in your life while it is happening." it got me thinking about how much better i want to look at my own motives, privately, and to record them. in my circle, i'm known to say passing comments like "i believe coming of age during a recession of this magnitude will make us all all stronger as we get older." it has become important to me to actually record some of that experience better, in the hopes that it will profit wisdom and advice for others as i get older and begin to occupy spaces as a role model (and humbly as i do it, too). If I had not read Anne Truitt's memoirs through this year, I would have certainly been at a loss on how to manage so many different opportunities, bills, expectations. Her notes are invaluable and i believe that if i were to take the time, my own could be helpful, at least in a small way.

so i may continue to be present on this blog less. it doesn't mean that i am not lurking about on the Interweb. Also, i hope readers here will continue watching for texts in my other outlets, like City Beat, Sculpture, Aeqai + Art Papers.

i hope everyone's winter seasons are proceeding beautifully!


you cannot recreate this sequence of events.

i'm hardly any good for a well formulated entry right now. that is, my stable, refined observations are bound for other places: readings for an upcoming exhibition we need to plan, a lecture in TX, articles for everywhere, catalogue essays (didn't you hear? U.turn is going to produce catalogues now and again. and i think they are going to be beautiful!). but there is such a nice array of bits worth considering, that they may as well be plotted here.

maybe a year ago, my brother lent me his copy of All About Eve. Films are weird creatures; i trust my instincts about when to watch them. When i have trudged forward with heeding my quiet compass, the effects can be disastrous. I woke several days ago and decided that it was the right time to commit to the film. No doubt entire courses can be and have been taught about this eloquent, humorous, sensuous film. Bette Davis is a revelation. The script is unceasingly poetic. The issues- agism, trust, obsession- are timeless and relevant. the two couples that are moored in the center of the story remind me, oddly, of the Ricardos and the Mertzes, in Lucille Ball's madcap I Love Lucy, just at a different level of antics. I was struck by their fluctuating loyalties, how it seemed in the end, all they wanted or needed was each other, but how they each proved willing to act against one another when stressed to a certain point.

i think there are few actresses today who would let themselves occupy a role the way Davis did. Puffy eyes, frizzy hair, pushed to a place that could only parallel her and her contemporaries' careers. i thought she was stunning, as i know that many also do.

and maybe it is the black and white, and my rereading of Jed Perl's Antoine's Alphabet, but I've been spending more time with the drawings of Aubrey Beardsley than i ever have. his debt to Watteau is incalculable, but in particular, he is one of several important contributors to the characterization of the Pierrot character, in whom i take great interest.

particularly, this drawing The Death of Pierrot (which could very well be a title for an exhibition or artwork in my future) is a remarkable illustration. if only you could see a crisper version. the drawings at this point in Beardsley's career began to include dotted lines to create lighter marks. the effect is to make parts of Pierrot, even his clothing draped across the chair, start to seem invisible beside the more solid visitors to his bedside.

I could not do better than to recount a bit of Perl's text here: "I have read about a Romantic-Pierrot, a Lunar-Pierrot, and a Watteau-Pierrot, each of which describes some artistic variation on the original Pierrot, the slapstick Pierrot of the old commedia dell-arte. The hyphenations suggest how difficult it is to describe variations on this comic in the floppy white suit, for the scholars can't seem to help but become jugglers of meanings, much as the artists are. Pierrot becomes a romantic poet, a figure as elusive as a moonbeam, or an eighteenth-century gallant. The literary critic Frederick Karl describes a Dandiacal-Pierrot line that runs through modern literature, which thus connects Pierrot with an attitude of artistic detachment, at once witty and aloof and snobbish and austere, so that Baudelaire turns out to be a sort of Pierrot. Karl, however, draws the line at Proust, whom other people see as very much the Pierrot. I get a kick out of the loopiness of these scholarly arguments. It's superble brrainy conversation. There is a pleasing madness to all the hyphenated meanings, as if the scholars themselves were getting a little drunk on the possibilities of Pierrot."

On the Back of a Hurricane (for Rudolf de Crignis), 2008
Blue monochrome, blue plastic shopping bag mounted on panel
12 x 12 inches

Yesterday i had the pleasure of sitting at semantics gallery for some of the hours we are open on saturday. it was the last day of Touch Faith, a dense group exhibition organized by Jeff Cortland Jones that looks at various practitioners that use abstraction and painting to varying amounts and diverse innovation. Near the very end of the day, our last visitors came in and spent a respectable amount of time with every artwork in the exhibition. A small jewel of a piece by Lori Larusso (a favorite of mine as well) seemed to be the standout for them. But, with eager interest, they asked me which piece I liked most. To be sure, there are many works in the space that i really admire. But a monochrome work by Matthew Deleget on display in the back gallery (see blue piece above) has been strikingly beautiful and humble throughout the month. Yesterday it only improved on my experience of it. The blue is not paint, but actually an everyday material, isolated so that its color and the simple embossed patterning of its plastic surface function aesthetically. i've been finding every opportunity to reinforce a position of the everyday, real, functional world offering immense resources for the research of aesthetics. i hope to get to know Deleget better.
obviously, there is more. if you haven't read Molly Donnermeyer's essay about Lady Gaga's relationship to Hitchcockian imagery and characters, do so soon. Listen to Fame Monster. Watch Jewelry Television. And stop by Brighton next Saturday evening for openings at semantics and U.turn!


the sin of envy

W Magazine is special among fashion magazines (although most of them have something unique that attracts me to them). There is an annual, tastefully assembled Art Issue, and this year's November issue is dense with art commissioned for the magazine and articles about lots of artists with major exhibitions and projects coming up right now.

If you haven't seen it or haven't seen particularly the article by Julie L. Belcove about Roni Horn, then perhaps you got a chance to read Roberta Smith's New York Times review of Horn's Whitney exhibition (and in many ways, her review of the piece in W). This all coincides with "Roni Horn a.k.a Roni Horn" at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a two floor mid-career retrospective that continues through January 24th. I look forward to seeing this exhibition in December and writing about it somewhere after the fact.

Of special interest to Smith, the striking start of the W piece, that was the talk of several conversations at openings here and there this weekend, is a portrait of Horn by her professed pal Juergen Teller. She sits casually on a New York rooftop in ordinary jeans, one foot in a cast, and pouring herself a class of red wine. She sports a black blazer that is open across her bare torso, voluptuous stomach and breasts revealed. Her (? Horn is masterfully androgynous) skin is fair and pale; she is not skinny. And this image has haunted me all weekend.

Teller, well known for his glamorous, washed out photographs used in advertising for Marc Jacobs, is plainly skilled at composing casual, decadent, thin images where nothing is fully saturated and the white and the light of our real environments are represented by the kind of haze he catches within the frame. I love his photographs; when i make photographs, i imitate his work.

But his is not the cause of my envy as much as Roni Horn herself. The simple red wine, the humanity of her cast. She may conform closer to traditional associations with "masculine" aesthetics than i am even capable of. But it is not that she appears mannish here; she is obviously a woman. Rather, she wavers in a sensual, non-specific place that i long for in art and find as a revelation to see so effectively presented upon (or 'from out of) the body of a person itself.

In light of questions raised in another recent Times' article about the blurring of traditional gender representation in student-aged individuals, I think Horn is demonstrative of a better way (i.e. better than the flawed and obviously incomplete strategy of dualities in identity).

in one of my places of employ, we have recently been instructed thus: "If any person is not in the correct restroom (physiology, not clothing determines this), please try to identify the individual and call security immediately." i have been concerned about this, worried about the implications it might suggest about the autonomy of the individual. as very little about our physiology is absolutely consistent with gender except for genitalia, i wonder if there is subtext about extreme tactics to reaffirm biological gender. there is a politics to what might seem like a simple order. i think, were she wearing a shirt like she does in other situations aside from this Teller portrait, Roni Horn would be thought of as a man and may even be pointed out to security were she to enter a women's restroom.

i've intentionally left the image out of this post. i want you to find it among the pages of W. and then find yourself in thought.

surrealism sparks good conversations; join in!

A fellow art critic and writer here in Cincinnati contacted me after visiting U.turn's opening for Jessie Bowie's exhibition Don't Be Scared Be Prepared. She began an engaging dialogue about Surrealism, a supposed Neo-Surrealism, and Jessie's exhibition. I wrote her a reply that you can read below. I wanted to continue this conversation in response to Kathy's post on her blog, the Cincinnati Art Snob. Maybe read her post (an adaptation of her e-mail) and then my repsonse?


dear kathy,

i am so glad that you e-mailed and sought dialogue. i think we would agree that the resulting conversations are among the goals of visual art. in all honesty, i too have actively avoided Surrealism throughout most of my time in the arts. sometime (maybe in future parts of this conversation) i can go into specifics about what repelled me from Surrealism.

Did you see the Surrealism exhibition at the CAM? I thought that was a beautiful (and controversial) show.

In recent years, I have started to break down a somewhat arbitrary category dubbed Surrealism (i.e., not everyone who is remembered as one of the surrealists were (a) a signed member of Breton's group or (b) ever actually making work the way surrealists said on should make work.

I started to find that there were what I think of as "fringe surrealists" that I could actively engage with, even swoon over. Their work continues to be very psychological, not just willy-nilly dripping clocks and all that. Who I am thinking of here would be Joseph Cornell, early Giacometti (he was actually kicked out of the surrealists), Rene Magritte and Jean Arp. While leaning against some of the principals that the surrealists put forth (a connection to the subconscious, the effectiveness of juxtapositions in imagery (collage exploded during surrealism and dada!)), these four (and others) are actually very structured thinkers who paid attention to the organization of information inside their works.

i think i'll bring Jessie Bowie up now specifically, and i might get to what could be said about surrealistic-APPEARING things in contemporary art.

this might be cheating, but i'm going to paste what i wrote about jessie in the press release into this part of the response:

U · turn is proud to present Don’t Be Scared Be Prepared, which features the work of Miami, Florida based artist Jessie Bowie. Bowie received her BFA from Ringling College and has recently participated in a residency in New York City. In her first solo exhibition in the Midwest, Bowie will be presenting a body of work comprised of both pen and ink drawings and site-specific wall paintings. The former are dense with detail and exude an impulsive, paranoid approach to the ideation and creative processes. Painting, in contrast, is a markedly populist activity as Bowie uses it. Her wall paintings call the training of her hand into question, instead celebrating a sloppiness that may be more conventional for hand painted signs than for traditional, high art techniques. Served together, her intricate drawings function as contained hypothetical realities in contrast to the maximalist aesthetics at work in her installations and site-specific wall works.

Bowie draws in absolute liberation. The defined, hatched mark making with which she realizes absurd or nightmarish scenarios are reminiscent of cartoon illustration or film storyboarding. Bowie is like a child who refuses to go into the ocean after seeing Jaws for the first time, and her artmaking reflects that worrisome outlook. Her drawings depict everyday folk located in the midst of critical plot twists and dénouements for narratives that Bowie has constructed only for the duration of the artwork; missing explanations for surrealistic elements in play and uncertain conclusions to these dramas confirm the works as mental flashes in a mind drunk off of pop cultural imagery and concerned about the implications of just about everything.

Jessie Bowie is a jester whose special talent is to look at our world’s past and present without actually looking at it, as if staring at a Gorgon’s reflection in a mirror, so as not to be turned to stone. Rather than confront her stimuli head on, Bowie is an experienced escapist who retreats into realms of astounding intricacy and unexpected, obscure metaphor. To call her work ‘gut wrenching’ is not to over-dramatize the point, but to identify a place of violent extremes that she frequently suggests. Sci-fi monsters, cowboys, and menageries of extinct behemoths, exotic zoo animals and frizzy house pets populate her dreamlike alternative dimensions. Beget by Surrealist Leonora Carrington’s penchant for suspense and ambiguity and Hieronymus Bosch’s fey wit and sense of action, Bowie represents a startlingly contemporary fantasy on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Tales left inchoate frame mysterious problems rather than presenting concrete solutions. When real world events, celebrities and global epidemics do make cameo appearances, they are jarring additions to the scenery. A bounty of associations and appropriations subvert singular readings, and our attempts to formulate such prove daunting. This exhibition is built from flagrant attempts and failures to cope by means both distracted and determined in a world out of control.

It is the start of that third paragraph that I have continued to find MOST true about her and her work as I’ve worked with her throughout the week. Jessie’s work is not Surrealism through and through, in that her purposes are not related to the collision of dreams and the subconscious. She works with contrivances; there is strategy to what she makes happen inside the drawings. I’ll offer this conversation as an example. I LOVE the shrine to Prince. I think it is a fascinating piece, what with the purple rain pattern and Prince depicted as a sphinx. What I brought up with Jessie as she completed it in the space was that I felt this was a sly comment about Michael Jackson rather than Prince. A shrine to Prince at the end of 2009, days after the MJ film was released, is about more than Prince; it deals with a larger strata about the worship of musicians (and musicians come up frequently in Jessie’s work- almost always rock and roll or heavy metal). She agreed that this was the larger goal of that piece.

I encourage you to consider her work as something that is far from random. If one does, especially a thinker, a hunter for meaning within art like yourself, the drawings are rife with patterns that can start to build a logic within Bowie’s terms. For example, I have found strong gender roles in her work. The men are always warriors, hunters, barbarians, Vikings, zombies, etc. The men are always armed and usually on the site of bloodshed. In contrast, every appearance of a woman in the exhibition is paired with a grove of bare branched trees. The women are usually nude and modest like images of Eve, and are usually seen with small woodland animals like foxes (and Bowie’s renderings of foxes are particularly beautiful drawings). Jessie almost always draws the large, safari-type animals running towards the left side of the paper, so that there is really a suggested stampede in whatever space they are presented (and could even be compared to the riots of animals on cave walls that were also composed with strong directionality).

Jessie Bowie’s work is great to psychoanalyze, which is an approach to art interpretation that I am personally very interested in.

One more thing I just want to toss out there for both of us to think about is the medium specificity of Jessie’s work. That she works in these drawings on mostly undefined blank sheets of paper, I think, regards the content as hypotheses and story-telling, almost like the concocted tales told around campfires. I don’t think Jessie is trying to invent entire other worlds of fantasy, rather these pen drawings on paper are annotations that refer back to the real world. They are like daydreams, and to some extent, even resemble the properties of daydreams doodled during a class- the pen, the paper: these ready materials.


As far as a general neo-surrealism taking place, I would agree insofar as I have seen artists everywhere (maybe even more in New York than in the Midwest) borrowing from Surrealistic uses of juxtaposition. I am a little hesitant to group what I might see as several different practices going on right now into a single movement. One hypothesis that I might offer is that young, visionary artists have been interested in portraying other realities because the past decade’s reality of Bush has been more of a nightmare to them/everyone than the Boschian scenes they depict. I think fantasy goes on the rise whenever reality sucks.

If I was to suggest any follow up texts etc. I might suggest one essay in the Unmonumental catalogue from the New Museum that looks at the relationship between contemporary art and Mel Gibson’s filmography. I also believe that a great deal of young artists were HEAVILY influenced by the tome Vitamin D, which indexed a lot of new practices in drawing. I believe you’ll find a number of precedents to Jessie’s practice there that could help it seem less random and more built into a developing history.

And I also recommend seeing Little Ashes if you haven’t seen it. It is a B film and not the best in production quality, but it looks at the development of Frederico Garcia Lorca’s poetry and Salvador Dali’s Surrealism against the backdrop of fascist Spain. The CAC showed it earlier this year and I left feeling strong connections to some of the explanations of surrealism described in the film.

I hope this is all of SOME HELP! I would love to talk more about it.

Have a great Sunday, Kathy. Thanks so much for stopping by the gallery and for writing.



declarations and values

a series of declarations drawn out of my own value system as it collides with the art world. different folks in my life will have recently heard versions of these quiet rampages, but it felt important to at least speak them in a space that they could be revisited. like all of life, they are experiments, and despite the force of my convictions, they are not conclusions. i've just come to identify growing senses of... well, outrage about politics that pop up in the arts that i believe hinder the expansion of art as a continually relevant area of research into what we are capable of experiencing and feeling and considering through our perceptions. and so i proceed:

-i disapprove of juried shows that charge artists fees to compete, and i'm not the only one. these exhibitions, if well advertised, represent more a source of revenue for a gallery at the expense of emerging artists, than it does genuinely wholesome opportunities for artists and their work. as a curator- freelance or in one of the galleries i volunteer with- i never want to be at one end of a situation in which privilege or income is a stated component of the jurying process. it doesn't matter if you or i could afford to enter such competitions, there are indisputably artists (probably young ones with fresh ideas) that can't and to filter these demographics out of an exhibition being curated is suspicious and does not align to my hopes and dreams for the art world. if an artist is charged $10 per piece being submitted to a competition, or, say, $30 to submit an exhibition proposal to a gallery, then the proceeds that a well established gallery will take from the project will far exceed the number of artists who benefit through being exhibited. and the number of artists who get nothing but a rejection letter function as fuel for the gallery.

i am not trying to change anyone's mind on this. after i say it is wrong, other striations within the arts will still practice their business in this manner without a guilty conscience. after i call it a scam, some will refute it and in so doing, will further affirm my beliefs. but i want to state somewhere for the record that there are those of us who believe the gallery truly is a place for research in an intersectional field where aesthetics can influence discourses in sociology, politics, poetics, philosophy and many other fields of exploration. i want this to be truly accessible to all. i strive to not limit or control who or what might become part of the conversation, while knowing that my platforms have some limitations and i can only be the source or part of the source of some of the conversation. so the galleries curate things that have been coming into our periphery and can be framed as significant. i, nor my writing, nor the efforts i align with, attempt to be all things for all people (and nor do i expect that from anyone else). but all people should be invited to engage.

-i was speaking with a friend at the carnegie openings on friday. we were swapping recent horror stories about what i consider reprehensible behavior on the part of ego-driven members of the academia. my own internal jury is still out to absolutely say that the art world would be better without myopic purists. sometimes i think their incredible positions can be one way for young emerging thinkers to sharpen themselves against, but mostly, i think they should stop.

i believe drawing classes should only be taught by people who recognize the practice as one of endless discovery in every direction without a single, defined endpoint that students are meant to reach. drawing is not about a linear progression of achievements. a person making a drawing (however the drawing manifests: a figure study, an operetta, a video, a crocheted object, an etching, a manifesto, a tag left around town) is not working against some Ideal to which they should be compared. if there is any way to assign value to drawing as an act or the products that result from it, i believe the value system should be established by the educator being sensitive, accurately intuitive and careful as they come to know the personal projects of each artist they are working with. through observation, different forms of communication, the facilitator can begin to hold each artist to their own standards, their own output.

that is, if it is necessary to assign value to drawing or its resulting products. is it necessary? drawing is like transportation, it gets an artist from one place to another. and sometimes a drive with all the windows down and music turned up is entirely the point. each act of drawing almost always establishes its own logic that it carries inside itself. inconsistencies in that system should be pointed out and discussed, but not demeaned, because the anomaly- as in nature- can often present a lead for a more sustainable branch of evolution.

shame on the teacher that breaks the spirit of a student and/or an artist for any reason.

there is no justification for the abuse of a position of influence and power.

-after i began writing as an art critic, my expectations for what an artist's abilities are/should be have continued to evolve in directions that i would not have expected. through my undergraduate experience, i believe i was encouraged and trained to be a self sufficient unit that could conceive of art projects, find ways to execute them properly, talk about them and discuss them within the parameters of decidedly verbal intelligence, and to present that work in an informed, considered way. this calls for the artist to be a hybrid of artist/critic/curator unto himself, which is what i've resulted as. i am glad i was trained this way. i think that i am most likely to excel when deconstructing multiple practices and interweaving their disciplines to discover or discuss the overlapping information. i am fair at doing all of these things and i like doing them.

but as i've begun to occupy each of those roles in defined, distinguished capacities, i've separated their practices and even seen some of the harm of expecting all artists to function as a hybrid of these roles. to be clear, i am not accusing my alma mater of expecting this from artists, as much as i am admitting that a result of my time there was that i had a concrete expectation for artists to be able to not only come up with great ideas and realize them, i wanted them to be able to if not totally explain them, then to at least articulate a context, and to use an objective eye and mind to make impressive exhibitions of that work.

in 2009 i have been personally bettered through encounters with art and makers who are not concerned with the kinds of verbal intelligence that i spend my weeks with as i write, curate and even frame my own artwork. they are a different kind of artist than what i am and what i hope to become, but they are wonderful. they prove that what i ultimately hope is that beyond my abilities as a writer, there is work that cannot be translated into language. I want to continue seeing more and more art that can't be spoken about because it so resides within the highest potentials of the field of visual art.

don't disrupt these artists from the way they are working. what they are doing is good. so many visual artists say in interviews later in life that they wish they had trusted their own intuition more, so those who do this successfully should be applauded.


different ways in the studios, different spaces for the resulting work.

i have been thinking throughout the preparations for this exhibition in November that perhaps when i switch gears to start work on my next exhibition (in february), i would track my efforts in writing. generally speaking, i think that it is interesting and can be inspiring to be walked through anyone's creative process. mine is certainly in evolution, and as i continue to create work that is increasingly more distilled, meditative, gentle, it might be helpful to see the actual creative thought and action that contributes to these artworks. as it is, i'm finishing up the work for PAIRS WELL WITH that opens at Aisle on November 7th (MARK YOUR CALENDARS: that night will also feature openings at semantics and U.turn, with a group show of abstract painters curated by the divine Jeff Cortland Jones, and a solo exhibition of the Miami-based Jessie Bowie at the galleries respectively. It will be a great night for art in the west end and brighton).

last night i was reminded that, whatever else it might be, the public television documentary series Art: 21 is amazing in how it fulfills that kind of curiosity that compels viewers/audiences to desire insight into the studio practice of artists. Now in its fifth season, Art:21 has done a stunning job of covering broad terrain in international contemporary art. Last night's episode included the odious Jeff Koons (responsible for some really exciting, beautiful art, but unto himself, i loathe his explanations and syrupy eloquence), the absolutely perfect Mary Heilmann (who said something to this affect in her segment after working on a painting, "I just want to sit here and think about how fabulous that painting is!"), as well as Cao Fei and Florian Maier-Aichen. Heilmann is a goddess and her segment is so chock full of wisdom, speculation and insight that I will no doubt watch it again and again. But who I was struck, nay, practically slain by is the video and internet based art by Cao Fei.

I am not sure I can even deconstruct her right now, rather, i hoped to state what an impression her work made on me and then i hope to continue to think about the work. starting off making artfully vague documentary pieces about hiphop street dancing, factory workers and cos players; she recently discovered Second Life, something i know next to nothing about except for what my pal Daniel has explained to me and the occasional references on The Office. I understand that it is an online community in which people reimagine themselves as CGI avatars. There is commerce and city structures, etc. Cao Fei began in Second Life by making a documentary, that is, her avatar made a documentary in Second Life. Her more recent project was conceiving an entire city, working with a team, and uploading this intricate settlement into the online space. They have a government and a structure, and the elaborateness of the undertaking blows my mind. She was paying attention to city planning and development and has really embraced a theoretical, if not altogether practical, inquiry into societies, cultural histories and a space that resituates and potentially collapses what, in the "real world" are (at least) two very solid trajectories of western and eastern art history. In Cao Fei's Second Life realm, the aesthetic and cultural hegemony is a fusion or even a total blending of these and other influences from "real life."
aack. it was good.

last night, Kathy Stockman, the writer and art historian behind Cincinnati Art Snob, turned me on to a project in Yellow Springs, OH called The Telephone Booth Project. Check out their blog and learn about it while I do. As I understand it from Stockman and a brief overview of their site, this is an ongoing art project in which this booth will be tasked to function as an artistic space, with imaginative takes on exhibitions or performance art. We will all have to stay posted on this. Like Cincinnati's own Symbiotic or the IMA Gallery which I have just recently been exploring. IMA is a performance based project that positions the exhibition space onto, as best as I can tell, the person of the gallery's founder. Small rooms or wearable components create the body as a location. All of these projects are rethinking and expanding the places and circumstances that art can be seen. I don't think that any have a tone that admonishes or criticizes more conventional exhibition practices, but all suggest that art need not exist only in the antiseptic 'white cube' model. Touching on Situationist or Fluxist theory and applying it to present day novelty, I think these different projects are fun and enjoyable, while underlined with a relevant inquiry.

i wanted to bring up one more interesting bit of art world news that i came into contact with this week. and that is the interesting, witty and wise decisions that went into the Obamas' picks for art to be displayed in the White House. Mostly I'll just direct you to Holland Cotter's piece in the New York Times, because I basically agree with him. I love that they chose works by well known ethereals like Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn. I LOVE the pick of works by Alma Thomas, which would, incidentally no doubt hang well near Mary Heilmann. I probably wish more artists were included, but as painters go, Susan Rothenberg (who was one of their picks) is not a quick or easy artist and I think her presence in the white house could represent and inspire scrutiny, challenge, introspection, dedication, and The Hunt (like 'the hunt' mentioned in my blog title). I also agree with Holland Cotter that I would have hoped and expected that under the Obamas we would have seen the inclusion of other formidable formats for contemporary art, such as video or installation. Wouldn't Bill Viola or Jeremy Blake's inclusion in those spaces have been fantastic? While they could have taken more risks, I think they were very informed in their choices. Particularly the Ed Ruscha, which made me roll with laughter in its new context:


fashion weeks mash up.

so, my pal molly has been more generous with the way she's experienced the fashion weeks in nyc, london, milan, and the start of paris. i have enjoyed following along to see her tastes in these new lines on her blog Sister in Second Hand Sequins. i've been a hoarder, a magpie. and i think this year, my aesthetics were well represented in the lines. i've chosen selections from lines that struck me. above all, so far, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein has impressed me most. Raf Simons is a designer i trust and appreciate some of the choices he made for Jil Sander, including the defiant blue number that i couldn't stick with anything else. Charles Anastase and Rick Owens are two lines i'm not familiar with before now. both wowed me.

i'm a sucker for architectonic approaches to garments where their planes become very stated and explored. i gravitate towards neutrals in these lines. the other big love of my life are the pillowy, almost bloated rococo throw backs that usually appeal to me most in that dusty pink that any followers of my art will be familiar with. both of these interests could be traced back to and discussed in terms of my art.

i don't know if i like how much i like the new work from nina ricci, but it is running with a new designer at the helm. Peter Copping comes to Nina Ricci from Louis Vuitton where he was Marc Jacobs chief assistant. i trust the young christopher kane to work out his shit as he keeps growing as a designer. we've seen fluorescent spandex, tattered denim, some dominatrix stuff, and now this gingham. he really creates for each season and i have trouble identifying consistent approaches in his designs, but my instincts tell me to keep watching him.

balenciaga, stephen burrows, marc jacobs and some of vivienne westwood's red line all remind me of parts of eric's art.

jil sander design by raf simons.

hello world.

imagine my surprise when i found out how many of you really are out there reading this.

and more, how spread out you are. i've started tracking my statistics for the blog. here's a list of the countries that i have had readers in:

frankly stunned, i feel more connected to the world and want to thank anyone who gives a little flip about this writing. it is done in true sincerity and i am glad to be part of a larger community in the arts. feel free to chime in more if you so want to.

and welcome.

freakin' weekend- october start

life is rushing, swishing around. i have been somewhere all the time lately: party nights with Projectmill at FB, a new... club? in downtown; previews of exhibitions; lots of work on U.turn's grand opening. Our efforts culminate into this weekend and below is everything you need to know for a few consecutive eveings of total engagement, absolute artistry.

CAC- Friday, 7 pm
44 E 6th Street
As I wrote in an earlier post, the Contemporary Arts Center is set to open two new exhibitions to the public. Tonight is the night. Marilyn Minter's Chewing Color and C. Spencer Yeh's Standard Definition share the 2nd floor galleries. The big draw for tonight is an artist talk with Minter herself at the Center at 7 pm. More information at their website. And read in an earlier post about my experience with Minter's exhibition.

AEC - Friday
25 W 7th Street in Covington
I know so little about what will be taking place at the Covington Artisan's Enterprise Center tonight. I ran into ex-pat Daniel O'Connor who has recently moved back to Cincinnati, to our up and coming Brighton district of all things, and he mentioned having work in the exhibition opening tonight. Daniel Brown's name was briefly brought up. He is a fellow writer at Aeqai, with an involved piece of thinking about the state of arts and how it meets public in the brand new edition. You can expect that I will be stopping by AEC sometime between 8 and 9.

my dear lindsey whittle is among the designers tonight.

Leapin Lizard - Friday, doors open at 7, show starts at 9
726 Main Street in Covington
Per my to do pick in this week's citybeat: "Leapin Lizard, the phoenix of an art gallery in Covington, possesses a penchant for presenting elaborate events packed with performers, artists and irresistible party spirit. Their latest invention is Fashion It Forward, a runway project event to benefit NKY Pride. At 9 p.m., fashion designer Nathan Hurst and emcee Mirage Love start off the second floor’s show. The show is filled out with designs from Toby Tyler, Lindsey Whittle, Madison Avenue Bridal, with a “his and his” wedding collection from Skeffington's Formal Wear as a bright finish. And still more: drag queens, silent auctions on jewelry and fashion items, Essencha Tea and a dance party until 1 a.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. "

CGQB - Friday
Unforunately, I think my night is too cluttered to get up to Clifton (big loss). But I will miss being among the Queer Bar Gang. Here is what they announced for tonight's GQB event:
"The time is here! The air is crisp. Scarves (and people) are finding their way out of the closet. Cutie queers are snuggling up all across the Queen City.But most importantly, Cincinnati is on the verge of yet another glorious injection of queer-love-dance-fantastic!That's right...Cincinnati Guerrilla Queer Bar is BACK IN SESSION!!!******For the past 7 months, CGQB has been queering up downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The city will never be the same! Now it's time to start bringing all the splendid shades of queerness to Cincinnati's neighborhoods! University of Cincinnati isn't known as an especially queer friendly institution, so in honor of the beginning of the Fall Quarter, Cincinnati Guerrilla Queer Bar will be venturing to Clifton for a special "Queer Bar is Back In Session" edition!" The bar is Arlin's Bar in Clifton.

U.turn Art Space Saturday, 7-10 pm
2159 Central Avenue

BROUGHT TO YOU BY is finally set to open!

Evan Commander. David Dillon. Tracy Johnson. Katie Labmeier. Elaine Lynch. Annette Monnier. Ellen Nagel. Rebecca Seeman. Suzanne Silver. Lindsey Whittle.

Toasted baguette served with warm Bucheron, fresh figs (pending availability), basil and cucumber spears. Yukon gold potato latkes with creme fraiche and caviar. Smokey cashews. Vodka and chive aspic tartlets with smoked salmon. Roquefort and red pear tea sandwiches. Dates stuffed with pistachio mascarpone. Strawberries drizzled in aged Balsalmic vinegar. Meringues. Rosy apple tarts. Oeufs a la neige.

In other words, it will be totally worth coming by.

semantics - Saturday, 7-10 pm
1107 Harrison Avenue
Paul Coors' exhibition Before I Start Singing is much anticipated by those of us who run the space. Legend for his work on Publico gallery, Coors is a sharp wit with a clean approach to his work that will be represented in this show mostly through editioned screen prints. It should be a super good time.

Synthetica - Saturday 7-11 pm
2157 Central Avenue

This gallery is our neighbor. Just think, if you make it over to Brighton on Saturday night, you can see three new exhibitions with more than 16 artists being exhibited between the three spaces. If there is something I am looking forward to most in the new exhibition in Mason Paul's gallery, it is Stephen Anthony Fulton's encaustic paintings. Fulton is a recent graduate from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and near the end of his time there, he began experimenting heavily with painting in wax. I was disappointed that he exhibited so few of these paintings in his thesis exhibition, opting instead to fill a large area of exhibition space with two projected videos that zoomed in close to melted wax doing its thing across a painting's surface. These were fine, but the paintings are much more interesting. I am proud that Brighton gets to show these off. For many, these will be new works and new visual experiences. Fulton's end products are rather like Northern Lights and other phenomena of plumed color of light caught in darker fields of wax.

Christopher Daniel's sculptures are another treat for the evening. With his ties to the dearly missed Pat Renick, I am glad to see his sculptures in Brighton again (Chris used to help organize exhibitions in the Mockbee building). You can bet that in the waning evening light, I will stand in the doorway of Mason's gallery, look in at Daniel's sculptures and then out at Pat's 30 Module Sphere that marks the entrance to our district.

Mark Gergen is one of the darlings of Synthetica. Exhibited with some frequency, he has developed a product that collages black and white photographs with ornately cut out jigsaw pieces of plex, all bolted together into these sleek, neo-gothic objects. they might get a little repetitive after a certain point, but they are high grade craftsmanship and deliberate.

The exhibition also includes sweetheart Charlotte Conway who has devised a really clever and interesting display method for her jewelry in this exhibition, as well as Richard Eyman, whose work I am not familiar with.

DANCE_MF Dirty Dancing Northside Tavern, around 11 pm
In honor of Swayze, our number one choice for monthly dance-crazy nights of passion is themed around Dirty Dancing. As if there isn't always a hefty dose of that to our night. Come on out. It is a friendly, lively romp in one of the most welcoming bars in town. We'll be toasting the success of the U.turn opening as well!

and ... not that we'll be home ... but SNL with Lady Gaga is on Saturday night as well. will have to find that online pronto after this loopy weekend.

hitching to miranda july's star, and others.

recently, there have been this and that new inspiration that is leaking into other parts of my thinking. someone will be talking to me and i will drift sideways or offer an obvious error of fact in the conversation. it is probably because i am considering these and other works of art that are opening me wide as i am in preparation for new exhibitions (one at Aisle in November, another at U.turn in February). these are also a kind of relief while i try to save up for travels this fall/winter. Money is tight right now, so i recognized an affinity for the Suze Orman sketch on last night's SNL Weekend Update where she offered elaborate tips to stage your own vacation cruise. These little bits have broadened my scope while i feel a little confined to my current location.

Leslie Scalapino is probably my favorite poet. Of course E. E. Cummings, of course Ann Lauterbach and Gertrude Stein. And influence from Lyn Hejinian or Lynn Tillman's prose comes up with suprising frequency. But Scalapino is at once chillingly incisive with her abstract, often detached relationship to language and parts of speech, while also beaming with a luminous, Eastern sensibility. Simple mantras, Steinian repetition in all the right places. But hers is a poetry that I have also felt vibrated just outside of my verbal/aural intelligence. What do these poems sound like in the mouth of the one who wrote them? I am finally offered a still, solid answer in the form of an audio recording I just discovered that Scalapino made a year or so back.

'Can't' is 'Night' and other poems.
I am listening to this as addictively as saccharine pop music. Her voice is soft and fragile, like a stone in a brook or a shell near an ocean. a couple of times her steps falter in her words. there is a police siren outside the window of wherever this was recorded that comes in and out in one place. the spaces and air in her poems translate as jolts and skims in the way she reads them. but she is always measured; i sense her character in the reading as low and centered. the packaging, including an installation shot of friend of the poet and idol-in-my-youth petah coyne's exhibition White Snow makes for elegant counterpart to the text being offered.

i've had an ongoing relationship with Miranda July's work. years back, when i was a freshman in college (and this was long before Learning to Love You More's fame or her hollywood film), Kaira Simmons and I listened to audio works by her that gave us the heeby jeebies. They were really brill and aggressive, like old radio dramas with her acting out various emo-dada characters that veered towards identity crisis and genital mutilation. she was obviously a force and i kept her in mind.

and then of course Harrell Fletcher and Me and You and Everyone We Know.

i am deeply devoted to these projects and still reserve some skepticism about the process, about the artist behind the scenes. i think my deepest love for July came with her collection of short stories No One Belongs Here More Than You. Are you catching on? She is a banner for the unboxables like me that will never be easily a painter or a writer or a queer or a or a or a or a.
and she seems to get "love and loss and all that stuff" (how i, and no doubt many others, described by art at some point in the past). these short stories are tender and shocking, emotionally raw framed with elegant diction. the narrators are shapeshifters that are obviously different- sometimes an elderly man, sometimes a teenage runaway working in a peepshow- but her mask-play of Miranda July as different roles is a demonstration of a collective subconscious, a shared togetherness that all of her heroes and all of the readers and all of us are involved with.

and then she went to venice and created her newest project Eleven Heavy Things. Interview magazine (one of the greatest publications you can buy off of newsstands these days) did a big thing about this work in their newest issue with January Jones (who plays the neurotic, fey housewife to opposite Donald Draper's lead in Mad Men) on the cover.

these new works could kill me with a look.

these sculptures, displayed in a garden in Venice, play upon tropes we take for granted. boards through which people may be photographed are oftentimes set up with whimsical situations across the front of them and used at fairs and festivals. These objects have always dealt with roleplay, longing, something a little sticky and vicarious.
In July's hands, they are whitewashed and the 'situations' viwers may place themselves are mostly text based confessions or pronouncements. Almost all are humble. All carry the same tenderness, elegance and frank tone of July's short stories.

they also get me started on a train of thought between july's project and works recently on display in Baltimore by Franz West. For me, interactive sculpture starts at West. Not because he is the first or the most sophisticated, but because his works are decidedly psychoanalytical; a viewer can learn about themselves through the choices and manner in which they come into contact with his hand-held plaster and metal objects. In particular, in the exhibition in Baltimore, two couches were set up facing each other. On one wall, text ran "We die a little." I don't know why that didn't slap me with the kind of Relational Aesthetics for which July is known. She's usually credited as the movement's 'it girl.'

These play into my year-long research into public sculpture (that can be reached from my writer's page on Aeqai), how we engage with it, how it functions outside of traditional (or even traditionally contemporary) exhibition spaces. Most notably, I feel that these objects all make a certain kind of allowance for the viewer. Without instructions that I can see from images and descriptions of the exhibition, nor the artist shoving people through constructed spaces or preset rituals (these are some of my own anxieties about interactive art), these pieces infer there interactivity from form itself. Because of some social conditioning most of us possess, visitors seemed to intuitively take the places that the sculptures leave open for occupation.
It is not that these works complete themselves per say when they engage with a person, but it is such a simple, sweet, relational momemt in visual art. The viewer need not worry about accessibility issues in the work, because it is all right there, ready to be accessed. Lovely and I can't wait to implement some of the breakthroughs in its thinking towards my own creative process.



monday night, in the midst of U.turn's preparations for our first show, i took a break to attend a preview evening at the Contemporary Arts Center. It was oddly not directly intended for the press at large, but rather for bloggers and the twitterazzi in Cincinnati. that i am writing this and that i am on my own blog this very moment seems to justify my inclusion in the evening, but nonetheless, i found myself a little hesitant to identify as a blogger. even when Raphaela Platow cordially spoke to each participant of the evening, asking about our own approach to blogging, i referred to this place as a scratch pad, a space for annotations between larger writing projects, a sounding board.

when i first arrived to the small group in the lobby of the CAC, i was met with the question "And what is the name of your blog?" to which i answered, "my blog?" It isn't that i didn't understand the purpose of the evening, but that the CAC in particular knows me more for my work as an art critic for publications; I usually follow introductions by offering some of the magazines or journals i write for.

there was also the darkly suggestive replacement of a formal press preview for a blogger evening. now i am rarely one to gripe; i am generally just excited by movement, by friction and discourse in a community in which people complain of atrophy. i wonder if it isn't farfetched to perceive this evening as a shift in focus, as if established venues and modes of writing and criticism might be outdated.

awkward compartmentalizations and possible obsolesence aside, we proceeded upstairs to see two new exhibitions that share the second floor. (yes, anri sala will be staying up, but, as readers of Art Papers will have seen, I find the show powerfully engaging and important, so those who haven't given it a proper chance may do so in the coming months).

Marilyn Minter's Chewing Color and C. Spencer Yeh's Standard Definition are two delicious, vidoe heavy exhibitions that might have less focused subject matter in exchange for deeply sensual, up-close and personal looks at our eyes, mouths, throats, feet and so on. These images are really superficial relationships between the two artists that I'm tossing out there, because there is really so much difference between them.

One of the most interesting commonalities is that both Minter and Yeh create work in both the fine art and design/advertising fields.

Perhaps I will get back to Yeh in a different post or in an article or essay elsewhere. As an exhibition, it is much more engaging than some of his live performances that range from being eloquent and rich to feeling a little too chancey and ineffective at times. Music videos, three-channel video/audio installation and an almost symphonic, darkened listening chamber make up a compelling exhibition that well deserves its place in this season (a question i had going into it).

Mostly, I want to ramble about Minter a bit. She's popped up in the pages of recent issues of Vogue and Interview, had work on display in Times Square and video pieces used in performances by Madonna. She was one of three artists chosen for a recent crossover into art by the cosmetic brand M.A.C. Though I haven't seen it, I'm told her paintings appear in hip television programs like Gossip Girl. She's one of the new "it girls" it seems, and, in her sixties, i think that is a lovely notion.

Okay, so she has product placement down. But if we can learn it from anywhere, we can learn it from Mad Men that the advertising and the product are hardly the same thing. Does the work hold up to the hype?

For me, it does. In spades.

Painter and photographer and well represented in both mediums, I was more engrossed by Green Pink Caviar, a video piece projected across practically the entire far wall of the 2nd floor. A model's lipsticked mouth shoves, spits, smooshes all kinds of cake decorations, gelatinous sugar mixtures, and sparkling silver and gold liquids that are sleek and shiny enough to be nail polish or enamel paint. The video is show from beneath a glass surface that the model works with her mouth. Sexual? you betcha, but it is all suggestive, pushed around with the juices and icings on the glass. this piece is irrational beauty, and while i was looking at it, i thought about Amy Sedaris once explaining that her conception of beauty would be something like Isabella Rossellini, whose powerful beauty is augmented by her teeth. I believe Sedaris said something like a truer beauty is one that's a little fucked up. I tend to agree with my Miss Havisham roots.

i was also interested in how decisively she presented the photographs and paintings as obviously different forms of production. In the past, in previous exhibitions i've encountered of Minter's work (such as her inclusion in the 2006 Whitney Biennial), the paintings on aluminum and photographs mounted on aluminum are a little difficult to distinguish at times. Here, the photos are presented with their negative frames and a border of white paper around the image and hung with black bulldog clips. I was taken aback by the presentation because it interrupted the sleek, fashionable sensibility i associate with minter's work. but then, that's the whole, outrageous point isn't it? she isn't the same thing as her fashion world subject matters and counterparts. She is interested in beauty that is furthered by bits of disgust or grotesquerie.

props to Justine Ludwig, the curatorial assistant, who spoke very intelligently about both artists. I was impressed by her breadth of knowledge and her own insights she offered.

and i look foward to Marilyn's talk on Friday night at the museum.


recently written elsewhere

check out the newest issue of sculpture magazine for my review on Gedi Sibony and his solo exhibition in Saint Louis.

i've been blogging for the new gallery venture in Brighton that I am part of:

the new rotation of exhibitions at the weston was the subject of my review in City Beat last week: Sharks, Symbols + Simulacra


Hopefully gentle readers and followers will make it out to U.turn's grand opening on saturday from 7-10 pm. U.turn is located in brighton at 2159 Central Avenue.

In conjunction with our first exhibition's opening, Patricia Murphy and Molly Donnermeyer have edited and compiled a beautiful first edition of U.turn's zine Brighton Approach. The theme of the first issue is gratitude, and a multiple part poem of mine is included.


i have a new website.

with a great deal of help from my twin brother Michael J. Morris, i have put up a website for my art and my writing.

It can be found at www.mattmorrisworks.com. I hope you enjoy it.


announcing U · turn Art Space

from left to right: Zach Rawe, Tricia Murphy,
Molly Donnermeyer, Eric Ruschman + me (Matt Morris)

U · turn Art Space
2159 Central Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45214
e: u.turn.artspace@gmail.com


U · turn Art Space is the newest addition
to the art district in Brighton, Cincinnati, OH.

U · turn Art Space is a collective-run alternative arts space that was initiated in fall 2009. The U · turn Art Space collective is comprised of five Cincinnati-based artists: Molly Donnermeyer, Matt Morris, Patricia Murphy, Zach Rawe and Eric Ruschman. Each month U · turn delivers fresh, compelling exhibitions of emerging and established artists. The gallery has a special interest in new developments in sculpture and object making, but is excited to represent the contemporary landscape of art as broadly as possible. Our goal is to bring shows into Cincinnati that are relevant; that provide an opportunity for discourse, ideas, and play to be forced together, awkwardly or elegantly, and offer itself to a viewing audience. Along with art exhibitions, U · turn hosts a range of accompanying readings, performances and events that raise probing questions and plural perspectives. U · turn’s efforts are intended for audiences in the surrounding Brighton district, Cincinnati at large and the whole of the Midwest. Opening receptions for exhibitions usually take place on the evening of the first Saturday of every month to coincide with other gallery openings in the area. The gallery will also have regular hours on Saturdays from 12-4 pm. Other viewings are by appointment. Gallery is free and open to the public, with street parking in front of the space and on nearby streets.

It announces its grand opening with its first exhibition Brought To you By, an invitational group exhibition that seeks to thank influential artists who have inspired the gallery’s collective in their creative efforts. Brought To You By features the work of Evan Commander, David Dillon, Tracy Johnson, Katie Labmeier, Elaine Lynch, Annette Monnier, Ellen Nagel, Rebecca Seeman, Suzanne Silver and Lindsey Whittle. The collective of five working artists that runs U · turn wishes to commemorate the beginning of this gallery venture by expressing gratitude and recognition to artists who have had indelible affects on each of their creative practices. As professors, mentors or leaders by example, the artists included have influenced U · turn and inspired collective members to be the artists and gallerists they are today. Individual collective members invited two artists each, resulting in this ten-person exhibition. The title of the exhibition is an Uroboros, a continuous idea that opens back onto itself. While the exhibition is brought to Cincinnati’s public through the efforts of the art space collective, the assertion of the exhibition is that, in many special ways, the exhibiting artists are responsible for inspiring and prompting this gallery into existence. Please come celebrate the opening of Brought To You By and the grand opening of U · turn Art Space on October 3rd!

U · turn is the latest art venture in Brighton, an inner city neighborhood adjacent to the Over-the-Rhine brewery district and the culturally diverse West End. It is neighbored by other arts organizations in the community, including Synthetica Gallery (2157 Central Avenue), semantics gallery (1107 Harrison Avenue) and the Freeman Central Gallery (window space on the corner of Central and Freeman Avenues). U · turn is one of two new efforts in Brighton, with the Brush Factory, a fashion co-op, currently preparing to open several blocks away on Central Avenue. While U · turn functions as a venue for contemporary art, it hopes to demonstrate an interest in the history of its space, a building that dates back to the 1800s. Originally the J. B. Lagemann general store specializing in fine dress goods, mixed paints and feathers; the first floor space has functioned as the Refuge Temple Church, the well-remembered Junior Gallery, and as a personal residence for artists.

For more information, please contact the gallery by e-mail: u.turn.artspace (at) gmail.com


while i haven't been here, i've been

evidently the second half of my 2009 is not as conducive to keeping an updated blog as the beginning of the year. even now, i'm making a note just to see if you're paying attention.

pretty soon, news will be bursting out all over the place.

things that are already public knowledge:

-three of my poems have been chosen to appear in Issue #10 of the Alice Blue Review.

-THIS WEEKEND is the enormous semantics benefit that features an art auction of more than 100 works, a delectable bake sale, a titillating performance from modern dance movement laboratory Pones Inc., tarot reading, Christian Schmit's famous Draw Box, and much much more. Benefit has a suggested donation gate fee of $10 and runs from 7-11 pm on Saturday night. semantics is at 1107 Harrison Avenue.

-to closely follow the (hopeful) success of semantics' fundraiser event, the gallery collective will be releasing a limited run of Art Boxes that will include small artworks from each artist currently involved in the operation of the gallery. i am excited about my contributions to the boxes and will be sharing more about these hot collectible items soon.

-stay tuned for more information about my upcoming exhibition at Aisle Gallery in the West End of Cincinnati that will open November 6, 2009.

-the third and final installment of my series of texts on public sculpture will be appearing in the September issue of Aeqai.

along with these stirring developments, new things are in the works, like

-a new website

-a new gallery venture

-new exhibitions coming up quickly in 2010

-a conference in TX?


so. where were we?

since my last post, i've been to chicago to see the new wing of AIC and the Twombly exhibition that is the first to grace its walls. the latest issue of Art Papers features two of my recent reviews. a couple of months of successful events organized by Guerilla Queer Bar.

this morning started with a span of time looking through Vogue's 2009 September issue.
this morning started out periwinkle.

i'm sorry that i don't have the time or exactly the focus to really dig deep into some ideas on my blog right now. a list will have to suffice. take these items as points in an aggregate composed into a portrait of my late summer:

-Lindsey Whittle back in the states with her fierce fashion sense.
-Its Blitz by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
-Carmel Buckley's exhibition Trace up through the end of this week at the Weston.
-artworks by dennis harrington, adam maloney, and alton frabetti i plan to bid on at the semantics auction.
-The Gossip's Music for Men
-Dana Hamblen's Chicken Lays an Egg- a "fashion gallery" currently in Camp Washington
-Shapiro's Deli in Indianapolis and all the other amazing road food had with Molly and Eric in Indiana and Illinois.
-Iris Book Cafe
-the soon to be Brush Factory- a fashion co-op in Brighton
-a building full of nice new neighbors
-Shearwater- one of the best things out of Texas maybe ever (it's a band).
-the Girl Scout cookie Blizzards at Dairy Queen (thanks to Tammy and Kevin Muente for the heads up about these majestic treats)
-Treasure Aisles (formerly Turtle Creek) flea market. Lousy with costume jewelry.
-Molly Donnermeyer's upcoming solo exhibition at Creative Gallery
-a physical collection of the containers eric and i drink diet coke fountain drinks from
-becoming friends with Benoit Maire on facebook!
-secret preivews of short stories by Christopher Backs
-The Floatation Walls with Jane Carver and Leif Fairfield at CS13, just days before Nathan Hurst's fashion show premiere at CS13.
-little vintage hats with veils
-Sandy Eichert's cocktail parties
-dressing as a haute couture mer-person on a boat on the ohio river.
-planning a year's worth of art shows for two galleries

lemon out,


freakin' weekend. planning early for the 26th-28th.

with this upcoming weekend comes all kinds of new exhibitions and opportunities to take in. i am only going to concentrate on shows i believe i can make and not over-extend myself, but i hope my enthusiasm is at least contagious. it is always exciting when Over-the-Rhine comes more clearly to life during the summer months. This final friday seems to have a lot of activity all over downtown and the west end.

Rachel Heberling, titiled "Auto-Graph"

I plan on stopping at Aisle first. Their exhibition Rendered Obsolete will feature printmaking by Rachel Heberling and Katherine Rogers. I must admit that I am not overly familiar with either of these artists going into this weekend. But I trust Bill Renschler and Krista Gregory implicitly, and also do I love smart, contemporary printmaking. Heberling's image reminds me mostly of Sigur Ros music videos: elegant, elegiac, and confrontational. So, despite the fairly bleak title, let's hope that this will be a great start to the weekend.

To be honest, I haven't received word from some of the galleries I frequent on Main Street about their next exhibitions. Although 1305 Gallery's exhibition of Mindy Kober's work was set to end this weekend, I didn't notice new things going up as I was out and about in Over-the-Rhine this weekend. Creative Gallery's dense, salon-style jumble of recent work by art students was deinstalled, so I believe we can expect a new exhibition from that crew.

According to their calendar in the first volume of the new venue CS13's zine, they will be having gallery hours during Final Friday to invite a wider audience to see their inaugural exhibition Greetings from Cincinnati. All of the works are available for $25, with full profit to the gallery. An impressive number of artists and friends to the space donated their creativity to this elegantly displayed exhibition. CS13 is at the corner of 13th and Sycamore.

I haven't taken a lot of opportunities to really sink my teeth into the exhibitions that go on at Park + Vine, probably much to my own detriment. This next one I am so looking forward to, although I know next to nothing about it. Leif Fairfield's show I'm Gonna Miss the Sea conjures the Antony and the Johnsons' song "Another World" for me, and the description of the work as "laser-cut seaweed" is something I really want to see in person.

This is what I have to say about the new show EXPOSED opening at ArtWorks Gallery for the imminent issue of CityBeat:

ArtWorks’ annual Secrets fundraiser is a favorite in the city. Every year, artists contribute more than a thousand small postcard-sized artworks for sale to benefit the arts organization. At the time of the fundraiser, there are no names or labels posted, letting buyers guess at whose work they are drawn to. One of the ways that ArtWorks thanks and highlights those who participate is through a jury process that results in the exhibition EXPOSED. Artists who made the top 100 postcard artworks from Secrets are invited to exhibit new work in the ArtWorks Gallery. As the gallery explains in its press release: “Instead of being restricted to the Secret ArtWorks’ paradigm of a 5” X 7” work, artists were encouraged to show the depth and diversity of their production in this fun and eclectic exhibition.” This Friday’s opening will feature local favorites like Carmel Ellen Buckley, Jennifer Grote, Emily Hanako Momohara, Eric Ruschman, Paige Williams, and many, many others. ArtWorks is located at 811 Race St. in downtown. Reception Friday, 6 - 9 p.m.. Gallery hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. –Matt Morris

And then to the Weston. I have heavily anticipated this last set of exhibitions in the year's exhibition cycle. Mostly for Carmel Buckley's work and Thin Air Studio, who have been taking over the upstairs gallery for the past week, creating a soaring web of wood branches that will pass over and around viewers. They have documentation of the install on their website, which is where I got this image:

I am not familiar with Ardine Nelson's work, but look forward to her photographs of green communities in Dresden, Germany.

From there, the evening kindof forks, with two options open for me.

Close to the Weston is the Contemporary Arts Center, which will host its Contemporary Friday with PROJECTMILL. This is the gang that brings us the very excellent DANCE_MF every month at Northside Tavern.
Students - $5.50
Adults - $7.50
CAC Members - free plus drink specials.

-----or-----or maybe both-----

Jimmy Baker, who was one of my professors at the Art Academy and a considerably well known contemporary artist in the city, just e-mailed me this morning with news of a new musical venture he is part of. Read below:

Hello all,
My new band Landscaping is playing its first show this Friday. It is a great line-up.
Landscaping is comprised of Jimmy Baker, Mike Fisher, and Hayes Shanesy. We are working with a mixture of open-ended rock improvisations with electronics and some more structured stoner rock part thrown in.
Think - Wishbone Ash, Electric Wizard, Comets on Fire, Candlemass.


JON MUELLER (from Milwaukee) hyper-focused tectonic weight percussion(releases on Table of the Elements, Crouton, more)
SHIFLET (from Columbus) minute tone examination

TEETH COLLECTION (from Dayton) primitive gravel pit http://www.myspace.com/teethcollection

LANDSCAPIN Gex-Mount Storm / members of Dungeon Thud, Hearts of Darknesses- --- heavy free rock

9pm / $5 / all ages
Art Damage Lodge 4120 Hamilton Ave. 3rd floor Cincinnati, OH 45223

for more details consult- http://www.myspace.com/artdamagelodge

Which is not to mention other exhibitions already up.
BookWorks 10 and the complementary exhibition The Keith Kuhn Memorial Artists' Book Exhibit: More Than Words: The Book as Art has some fantastic works if one is willing to wade through it. Many of the pieces are fairly typical works in this kind of exhibition, with emphasis on handbound elements and dramatic shifts in typography/calligraphy. A few pieces have stuck with me. If I have a chance, I'll get back over to the show and snap a couple of shots and discuss them. These shows are in the Atrium and Cincinnati Room of the Main Public Library downtown. Both are up until September, so you have time to see them.

Sunday the 28th presents a similar conflict. Two music shows that I would like to see, occuring simultaneously, one in Northside- Art Damage- and the other in Newport- Southgate House.

Jane Carver is just great. She is an artist and musician, often finding opportunities to blend the two into some measure of performance art. If one can assume that she has been thoughtfully paired with Julie Doiron, then this should be a sophisticated, stunning performance. $5, starts at 9 pm.

The other performance will be the first of a good friend's relatively new band Rococo Revival Parlor. It should be said though that Nick Hill and his band mates ( Nick Hill: Vocals, Guitar / Brandon Lomax: Bass, Vocals / Ben Sims: Drums ) were all part of the two year run for the band The Love Dealers, so they have come to know one another's approach to their playing and performing. Their show will be at the Southgate House in Newport.
They go on at 9:15 so I am told. Consult the venue about a cover. If I find out about one, I'll try and add an edit letting you all know.

There will certainly be even more than these things. But this is one of those refreshing signs that things are happening in our city.