10.15.2009

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:





10.02.2009

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.