Reading Rainbow

and you know where it is, right?
1107 harrison avenue, in the humble hamlet of brighton.
stop by and bring friends if they haven't see the show.


is nature in it?

this week, a review/response to the exhibition i have curated at semantics ran in City Beat. The insightful and sensitive Selena Reder spent time in the exhibition and also interviewing several of the artists by e-mail. i'm pleased with her perspectives on the work:


the problems, the visual ecstasies that present themselves for decoding or plain, direct appreciation are emerging lately from my daily walking and experiences of the city's transformations that reflect the changing seasons. I am seeing stunning exhibitions as well as some disappointments, but between these events are the peripheral perceptual fields that run along Central Parkway or into Over-the-Rhine and Washington Park, or throughout the West End. Here is a snippet of others' appreciation of these phenomena:

Did exhibitions like Peter Voshefski at Aisle Gallery or the run of abstracted nature interpretations at Carl Solway Gallery over the past six months or so prime me to see these floating seedlings, emerging moths, winding wisteria as artful experiences? I will be writing at greater length about Judy Pfaff's new exhibition at Solway for City Beat later in the summer, but I will say that apart from the sheer excitement with which I replied to her excess, I was deeply affected by the art's ability to "discuss" nature while fully maintaining the anxieties (claustrophobias?) (horror vacui?) of a city dweller, one who sees nature in postcards and ideas, one who can appreciate nature as a conceptual product more than a boundless expanse outside of urban centers. I credit Robert Irwin and the discussion with Lawrence Weschler about his contribution to a Venice Biennale (a demarked square of grass on the lawn in front of the American Pavilion) to have blurred/erased the lines that have claimed to protect visual art appreciation from the rest of our perceptual experiences. The fluffy seeds are like Voshefski's paintings on blocks- pollen and pods and organic plumes are really out there. Before Pfaff's exhibition, we were presented with fairly recent paintings by Joan Snyder, and an artist's talk that I discussed in this entry. The paintings themselves contained plant matter not dissimilar from what rises up off the sidewalks before me, glazing my view of the city in front of me with bespeckled whites and tans.

-so look around you.
-by all means, get pumped in anticipation of the new CAC exhibitions opening.
-get yourself to the West End and see the new exhibitions at Solway and Aisle.
-officially, this is the last day for "No Gallery Left Behind," an interesting enough show at Reed Gallery in DAAP that is chock full with enough clever solutions to how to make art in budget-crisis times to offer something appealing to just about everyone.
-you need to be listening to the newest Animal Collective CD. Probably their best yet?
-TONIGHT Eat Sugar is having a CD release party at Northside Tavern. I'd love to meet up with you there. Circa midnight.
-If you haven't had a chance yet to stop by the humble hamlet of Brighton to see She Keeps It In Play / They Don't Know What To Call It at semantics gallery, you are welcome to stop in tomorrow. I will be manning the gallery hours from 12-4 tomorrow afternoon.

be well.


"i am afraid for you and me."

*note* i am trying to decide aesthetically how i want to approach italics and quotation marks as they are used for titles of exhibitions and artworks. bear with my inconsistency. please! *    *    * 

yesterday afternoon, i enjoyed a medley of activities on a visit to the Contemporary Arts Center. To talk about what a positive experience it was, I need to start by addressing a passage in Adam Sievering's cover story of this week's City Beat that profiled the new arts venue from Bunk News, in the West End:

why is it that I feel out of place almost every time I visit an art gallery or check out a show downtown? Why do I feel like I’m being melted by condescending eyes for pounding a can of Busch Light instead sipping a glass of Rialto Red? Or why is it that I always feel underdressed even if I’m wearing the classiest thing I own? Because Greater Cincinnati’s art scene is pretentious in the eyes of the everyman, meaning someone who’s never experienced the toils of art school. 

I feel badly for Sievering, because the atmosphere he describes is not a true reflection of the community that we have going for us. Now, I am speaking from a bias, having experienced art school (and perhaps there were "toils" there). So I am not Joe the Plumber for sure and I may not be qualified to assess the quandaries of the "everyman" as they experience the art scene I am actively involved in.

But my afternoon at the CAC yesterday offered a number of character profiles and different access points to visual culture that would hopefully alleviate some of the insecurities that Sievering wrote about. I was there on several orders of business: 1) to preview the auction that will act as a fundraising component in tonight's Gala, 2) to meet with Jaime Thompson, the intermin Curator of Education, about Christian Schmit's current installation in the 6th Floor UnMuseum, and 3) to screen Intervista, a film by Anri Sala that will not be included in the upcoming exhibition, but offers some interesting points of access into the artist's ideas and approaches to film, video, and commentary on political rupture and social change. My whole day had been coordinated by the indispensable Molly O'Toole, Director of Communication and Community Engagement. For my part, since O'Toole has been brought on to the staff at the CAC, I have had faster replies, greater access to enriching information, and more opportunities to get just a little deeper into the happenings at this renowned institution. Throughout the afternoon, my gratitude was always met by O'Toole's enthusiasm to make what they do at the CAC as accessible as possible to, well, the "everyman" that Sievering feels is condescended to and excluded by pretense. 

The Schmit installation and Sala film are part of writing assignments coming up, so be looking for them in City Beat and Art Papers respectively. Below I will be making notes on the exceptional, broad range of works in this weekend's auction. But before I do, a few more words on the warm, welcoming experience I had engaging with every part of the CAC staff.

Some of these people I know personally, some know who I am, and some (like Curator Thompson) I had never met. But from the desk staff in the lobby, to the install crew preparing and hanging the works to be auctioned, to the curatorial and administrative staff, and the security in the building -- -  everyone was chatty and pleasant despite the huge event they were in the midst of preparing for. Were I to be heading up an institution with a giant gala 24 hours away, I doubt I would have been as collected, excited, and engaging as Raphaela Platow, Director and Chief Curator, was when I went to screen Intervista. Kenneth Wright, the Center's Membership Relations Manager, had a packet of all the artists' information waiting for me hot off the printer, so that I had back story and bio about all of the artists and work included in the Auction. Without a doubt, no major projects go off without snags and crises, but my glimpse into the everyday working of the CAC yesterday showed nothing but intent, passionate people all working for the good of Art and an institution dedicated to bringing the fresh, challenging, and profound examples of contemporary art to our community. I've nothing but praises.

The auction committee was comprised of curators Raphaela Platow, Maiza Hixson, and Antwan Jones, along with former CAC curator Matt Distel, now of the West End (and Los Angeles) gallery Country Club, and his gallery's neighbor, Carl Solway. They were joined by Registar Carrissa Barnard and Andy Stillpass. The layout and eclecticism of the work reminded me of the CAC's 2007 exhibition Cincinnati Collects. In a moment of brevity, I thought that this auction was like Cincinnati [oughta] Collects. I might say that, reviewing my favorite works in the auction, it is a pleasing revelation to see that several of them are included in this or next year's exhibition schedule. Perhaps because of their current relationship to the Center, they contributed finer examples of their work? Whatever the reason, they are additional teasers for their exhibitions.

These are a few of the particular highlights that I got to see during the installation of the auction:

Aya Uekawa will be having a solo exhibition at the Center, opening at the end of May. I've been catching snippets of the kinds of psychological portraits we can expect, though word was yesterday that she is continuing to produce newer and newer works that may be included. And if you enjoyed the collectible t-shirt that Carlos Amorales designed for the CAC, expect an equally exquisite design from Uekawa. But nothing has gotten me more excited about her exhibition as Untitled (Preydator), a framed 2009 pencil drawing on paper included in the auction. A delicately rendered face sits near the center of a web of marks, some filled in to create a small cascade of dark shapes flowing from beneath the portrait. Her eyes are glazed or misted over, lost in thought, day dreaming, plotting? Arachne-like, this small work is full of beauty and tinged with menace, or at least mystique. Starting bid $1200.

The other artist set to open an exhibition on May 30th is Anri Sala. His piece, Untitled Yet, from 2005 is a C-Print mounted on dibond, and valued at $20,300. In the same stark but aesthetic sensibility as his documentary films, Sala's giant print offers a rough setting that seems industrial but worn down. (after seeing Intervista and discussing another of his projects in Albania with Platow, I wonder if this might be Tirana, or otherwise perhaps Berlin, where Sala lives and works). But that is the nature of the image- a displaced site, anonymous, unmarked, undistinguished, but atmospheric, soulful nonetheless.

It is well paired with a very small photograph entitled "Path to Glory" by Kate Gilmore. Now, Gilmore generally leaves me less than comfortable. Take for example her 2004 video piece "My Love Is An Anchor" where the artist's foot has been cemented into a 5-gallon bucket that she hammers away at, risking injury. I find Gilmore's work to be a new, relational-aesthetics evolution of the kinds of body politic, performance, protests of artists from the 1970s like the work of Chris Burden. But in this 2006 photograph, the scene is unpopulated (as best as I could tell on my visit), instead, it features a pyre of furniture, stacked high like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. More like moving day than the kind of implied surrealism in the elaborately staged, hi-res photographs of Gregory Crewdson. In contrast, Gilmore's image shimmers with the kind of visual static that comes from more widely used photography, in other words, the 21st century Impressionism.

Pat Steir (also slated for a CAC exhibition in the 09-10 exhibition season) contributed three screenprints with glitter. Large, voluptuous, maybe even rapturous for those of us who appreciate draggy, excessive, crude embellishment; Steir's various "Waterfall With Sparkles" pieces take some of the splattering cascades found in her paintings and builds them further with layers of flakey glitter. 

Just nearby is one of the knockout works in the exhibition. Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog (blue) is a 2002 work, cast porcelain with a reflective finish. By now, the balloon dog is certainly iconic of Koons' work. I for one have trouble recalling what I thought about balloon animals before Koons. This little poodle type dog is just the sort of eye candy that will hopefully go quickly to profit the CAC. But beyond its marketability, you may ask, 'what's so good about a Jeff Koons sculpture???' I think a lot of the ideas that I find engaging in Koons came from two brushes with Rococo. The first was his giant, elaborate gilded mirror included as the most recent work in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's exhibition Rococo: The Continuing Curve. The second, more insanely integrated dialogue between pre-revolutionary French art and Koons oeuvre was his solo exhibition at Chateau de Versailles that was staged not long after I visited Versailles for the first time. Considered in these terms, his place in discourse snaps into focus: the Sun King, Rococo, the way high end luxury gets cycled down through mass production and then, by way of wacky couture designers like John Galliano and humorous creative types in fields like film, art, fashion, and design, 'low-brow' gets elevated so that new fashion lines quote last year's hookers, and so forth. If Damien Hirst's "For the Love Of God" projects, foresees, brought about the cataclysmic shift in economics in the art world and rest of the world, Koons may well be remembered as the currency of that pre-recession period. And as long as he continues to stay up to date on the dialogues currently taking place, I imagine a possibility where works such as the little Balloon Dog at the CAC will act as sentimental and coy reminders of the places that art has been stretched to.

Two pieces well situated in conjunction to one another are Charley Harper's 1981 Foxsimiles and David Ellis' Extra Extra Small Flow Luan I from 2008. The Harper Seriagraph is a composition of fox faces, with a real emphasis on parallel lines composing form and texture. The colors are rich and pleasant, and, like the Ryan McGinness and Maggie Wenstrup, are pleasant recollections of Distel's cycle of design/art fusion exhibitions Graphic Content

I would say that having the Ellis as company stretches the way one might look at Harper's illustrative image. One of his most basic elements in paintings, prints, and wall murals are these undulating black and silver striped forms. In the case of Extra Extra Small, this is the only think slinking up from the bottom of an unprimed wood panel. The materials are black gesso and enamel on panel, which is really refreshing to read: it means I'm not crazy when I sense that the specific qualities of those paint materials were selected and considered; I'm not looking at arbitrary information.

But oh there are some nice and otherwise provocative pieces from local artists interspersed as well.

Debbie Brod, an artist about who I have been writing for an upcoming project about public sculptural projects in Cincinnati, contributed Semi-portrait silk scarf, a tie-dyed, digitally printed and sewn silk scarf. When I was there, it was displayed on a rack on a pedestal near the elevator. It struck me as a carefully selected (Brod makes ALL kinds of things) object for its context.

Cal Kowal's Eye Candy from 2009 is a framed assemblage piece that simultaneously attracts and repels. Talk about draggy embellishments, the work is comprised of a number of glitter covered, enlarged bonbons that were possibly meant to function as holiday decorations in another context. Mounted onto a crocheted doily, this work is decorate, crabby, and over the top. That I normally think of Kowal as a photographer (and a former photography professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati), this work is a bit of a curve ball. But, honestly, it seems to have a context between the Steirs and Koons I mentioned above. 

It's a shame that I didn't get to experience Tony Luensman's Study (#1) for Kline Series (2009) lit up, because the intricacy of the ccft lights across the front of this wall hanging electronic piece struck me immediately. Some of his recent photographs were up at PAC Gallery before their official opening. They showed Luensman sporting an illuminated headdress and sitting in outdoor markets in the semi-darkness. 

there were many many other worthy works on display, but this feels like a cohesive (relatively speaking) enough set of responses for some of my favorite art pieces. i can only hope that the Center raises a ton of funding tonight and that by the time I get to the Gala, it will be all smiles.

Keep on the look out for my pieces about the other artists I got to experience yesterday as well!

Tonight, in case you hadn't heard, we are having an evening of discussion and lecture at semantics gallery, in conjunction with the exhibition i curated, "She Keeps It In Play / They Don't Know What To Call It." 7 pm the gallery will be open, we will start swapping words just after.

Yesterday the exhibition was even mentioned in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Click hear to read the mostly correct information they printed along with one of the sculptural works by Lindsey Whittle that is in the exhibition.


Artist Opportunities.

A couple of local opportunities have come into my sphere lately that offer exciting prospects for all of us. I wanted to share them with you this morning. Aeqai is an art criticism journal I write for, and every month it is getting more and more online visits. The free exposure they are offering through these ad links would be good for anyone with an online presence for their work. So if you have a website, public page on one of the community networks like Facebook, an Etsy shop, or some other place on the web, THIS IS FOR YOU! And while you're there, check out my latest review of the Vogel Collection at the Speed in Louisville.

CS13 is a new gallery/performance venue set to open in Over-the-Rhine. For those of you who miss Murmur, or else missed Murmur and never got to be a part of that rich artistic community in Fairmount, CS13 is its newest incarnation. Their first art exhibition has an open call and a publication being made in conjunction with it. Submit art, writing, or what have you as a sign of solidarity and good faith in new energy happening within our local arts scene.

AEQAI, online journal seeks artist ads for website

Professional artists in the Greater Cincinnati region are invited to submit an image (one only) of their work to be posted indefinitely on the side and bottom of various pages in the main AEQAI journal web site. The specifications are as follows (see image sample to right):

1) an image of an artwork (or a detail) with one of the following dimensions:
px width by 200px height (right hand side area) or 265px width by 165px height (footer area)
JPG or GIF, no larger than 10KB
1b) your name on the lower part of the image
2) a web address (such as the artist's web site) for us to program if it is clicked

Please email the image and link address to editor at 


JUNE 1st 2009 marks the last day that you can submit works for our publication and for our first art show... Both to be made public on June 13th. Below is information about both projects.


Mobilize. Inspire. Create.

CS13 is a new performing arts space located at Sycamore and 13th streets in Over-the-Rhine. Broadly, our goal is to pull a creative community together, to create a forum for thoughts to interact, and to encourage a positive and active lifestyle. 

To this end, we want you to contribute to a publication we are printing, to be released at our June 13th opening. This issue is themed around our first art show which explores and celebrates Cincinnati, offering different perspectives of a familiar place. Here are examples of the kinds of things we are looking for:
- Poetry
- Photocopiable art
- Descriptions of locations in Cincinnati meaningful to you
- Instructions for DIY creative projects 

Submissions are due by June 1st 2009 to contemporaryspace13 at gmail.com or:

1219 Sycamore Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

"Greetings From Cincinnati: Wish You Were Here" 

Cincinnati postcards appear to be limited to images of the 
metropolis’s two skylines—chili and the meeting of city and sky. Let 
us take a moment and celebrate what makes Cincinnati, Cincinnati. 
Show us the vision of this city that you wish to have sent out into 
the rest of the world. 

Create the postcard you would like to see available around the 
Cincinnati area! 

This is an open call gallery show at CS13, a contemporary art space 
opening on the corner of Sycamore and 13th, "Greetings From 
Cincinnati" will showcase postcards made by artists and non artists 
alike. The show will open Saturday, June 13th. 

Submit your 4x6 inch postcard, made on/with mailable materials, 
through the mail or drop it off in the mail slot at 1219 Sycamore. 
All works must be received by Monday June 1st. 

Please consider submitting up to three artworks. 
All original postcards will be sold for 25 dollars a piece and all 
sales go to benefit CS13, a non profit gallery and performance space. 

A selection of postcards will be reproduced with the intention of 
having local businesses in Over-the-Rhine and around Cincinnati sell 
these reproductions. By submitting work you are agreeing to let CS13 reproduce your 
postcard art. No postcards will be returned, unless special arrangements are made 
with and agreed upon by CS13. 

Thank you so much for your interest and support and we sincerely hope 
that you will consider participating in the show! 

If you know anyone who you think may be interested in participating, 
please forward this along! Forward any questions to 
contemporaryspace13 at gmail.com 

All the best, 
contemporaryspace13 at gmail.com 
1219 Sycamore Street 
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 


where i've been.

a photograph my dad took of one of my sculptures languishing in his yard.


you're kind if you are still around reading this.

what have i been doing instead of gluing myself to this medium?

writing this.

and writing this.

and this.

and this show i curated just opened.

look for me all over town except here as the weather is as nice as it is.

i have a few updates in store, but until then, let's meet up at one of the dozens of art things happening.