Monday, October 22, 2018

A Million Little Pieces

Gregory Kalliche at Marinaro

I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point but sheesh, am I busy! Not sure what it is but I feel like I am treading water just to keep myself in one place/not drown/die. Sigh. I feel like it’s something in the air, stars, whatever because everyone else I have been talking to seems to be in some such state or another.

Anyways, I really don’t have the time or bandwidth to write coherent thoughts but also feel like you don’t deserve another cut and paste so below is just some random things that I thought, saw or interacted with in the past few days that happen to be pre-frontal at this very moment.

Again, sorry. Again, hopefully next week there will be space and time to do this right.


Fear Faire at Marinaro

Went gallery-hopping solo in LES/Chinatown this past weekend. Saw some good things, some blah but the one that stood out was Fear Faire organized by Nathaniel de Large at Marinaro. It was in their precariously odd sub and sub-sub basement spaces and although that sounds possibly project-space blah, it was anything but. It felt like some sort of art-haunted-house and de Large did a good job of rigging up messy slats of dry wall and cheap plastic curtain to make various zones and general spook-vibes that also felt strangely “hip.” The use of the architecture as medium was done in a way that was playful which made the cacophony and sheer number of artists participating feel well placed.


So You Want to be an Art Dealer

I took some students to a gallery in LES earlier in the week for my day-job and had them meet the gallery owner for a one-on-one talk and meet/greet. It was nice to see students so curious about all that is involved in being an art dealer. It was down right cute some of their questions. What was an interesting theme throughout was this concept of creating community. That buzz word I have been fraught about in various posts. It was also interesting to see how the dealer talked about themselves in both revealing and keeping vague the stratagems of survival. I guess the takeaway is that talking to dealers about the state of art is just as complex and important as it is to talk to artists.


The Perfect Crowd Size

I have figured it out! The perfect size for a lively dinner party is sixteen people. Enough so that there are sub-conversations and general buzziness at the table but small enough so that it doesn’t get unruly. Even numbers are good and with that many bodies in a space it makes you want to stretch out so people make their way to other corners of the room as the evening wanes. 16. It’s the magic number for hospitality.


Relax, No One is Judging You

Okay, so I know people are sensitive, and I know that sometimes we (me especially) can talk in ways that might be a bit rough around the edges, but sheesh, people, relax a bit about being offended. Lately I have noticed within my conversations and conversations I observe, people are very defensive. Any perceived slight is pounced on. Any minor calling out is seen as a incitement of attack. How can we have conversations when we aren’t listening to the other person but just wanting to respond? How can we have conversations that don’t allow for opinion and remark that might not completely mirror what the speaker has just said? Being respectful doesn’t always mean having to agree. Balance and less self-victimization will make everything more understood and generative.


Time Heals All Wounds

That moment of realization when you truly understand and see another person and how utterly unbelievable it is that they ever affected you so much. Liberating.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Vegan Dinner Party



Sorry ya’ll! So so crazy busy at the moment that days become nights and night become days! I promise to stop being such a turd about posting on Mondays!

I have to leave like now… So I will just copy and paste the menu for a vegan, gluten free dinner I made over the weekend. It was for 16 people! So I just tripled everything.

Okay! Till next week! Hopefully I will have some time/sanity! Maybe not!


Winter Squash and Wild Mushroom Curry

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 10 ounces butternut or other winter squash, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 small whole green chiles, such as jalapeño or serrano
  • 3 medium shallots or 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  •  Handful of fresh or frozen curry leaves, optional
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  •  Pinch of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pound mushrooms, preferably a mix of cultivated and wild, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  •  Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

PREPARATION
  1. In a wide skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add squash cubes in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, letting cubes brown slightly, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Use a slotted spoon to lift squash out, and set aside.
  2. Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile to open it, but leave whole. (This allows the heat and flavor of the chile to release into the sauce without making it too spicy.)
  3. Add shallots to skillet, salt lightly and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves and let sizzle for 30 seconds, then add garlic, coriander, cayenne, turmeric and chiles. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds more.
  4. Add mushrooms to pan, season with salt and toss to coat. Continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Return squash cubes to pan, stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes. If mixture looks dry, thin with a little water. Taste and season with salt.
  6. Just before serving, stir in lime juice. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with cilantro leaves.


Chana Punjabi

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 small Thai bird chili, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  •  Cooked rice for serving (optional)

PREPARATION
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat oil and add onion. Sauté until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chili, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until tomatoes are very soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  2. Purée mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan and place over medium heat. Add paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, coriander, the garam masala, turmeric and lemon juice. Add chickpeas and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  3. Cover and simmer until sauce is thick and chickpeas are soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir pan about every 10 minutes, adding water as needed (up to 1 1/2 cups) to prevent burning. When ready to serve, sauce should be thick. If necessary, uncover pan and allow sauce to reduce for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until desired consistency. Stir in cilantro, adjust salt as needed and serve with cooked rice, if desired.

Cucumber And Cilantro Raita (Not vegan)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  •  Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
  • ½ cup finely diced peeled cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

PREPARATION
  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt and salt. Mix well. Add scallion, cucumber and cilantro. Mix again, and transfer to a small serving bowl.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad With Cilantro and Mint

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped
  • ½ small white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped purple or green basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili powder(or ancho chile powder)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

PREPARATION
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl; toss, and serve.


Apple Crisp (Substitute vegan butter)

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples or ripe pears, 2 to 3 pounds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste
  • ½ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 5 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ¾ cup oats
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans

PREPARATION
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss fruit with half the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar, and spread it in a lightly buttered 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.
  2. Combine remaining cinnamon and sugar in container of a food processor with butter, oats and nuts; pulse a few times, just until ingredients are combined. (Do not purée.) To mix ingredients by hand, soften butter slightly, toss together dry ingredients and work butter in with fingertips, a pastry blender or a fork.
  3. Spread topping over apples, and bake about 40 minutes, until topping is browned and apples are tender. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sick Of It All




The last two weeks I have been sick. The last week, actually really sick. It’s that time of year when your immune and will to live basically dies and you either embrace it or pretend it’s not that bad, thus making the damage prolonged.

During my invalid state, I had a lot of time to just mull around all the things I am sick of and below is a quick list because does any of if matter anymore! Also, yes I know this is a day late. Who cares?!

Things I’m Sick Of:


Texting – I feel like those (…) will actually make us all insane.

Potatoes – Sometimes I just can’t stand the look of them.

Podcasts – I listen to too many and they are melting my brain.

Eating – I’m in the, I hate food vibe, just give me a nutrient nugget and let’s call it a day.

Shitty Friends – Friendship is a type of labor.

Men –Such disappointments.

Artists – Blah blah blah, okay we get it.

Socks – Somehow they seem like they should be easy but they are not!

Drugs – Not sure what the point ever was.

Catching up – We are all bored of each other, let’s not waste each other’s time.

Memes – Cool.

Bagels – Sometimes too much is too much.

Walking – Put me in a cart and dump me in the ground.

Making things comfortable for others – At least give me a tip.

Trump – Everyone is obsessed and he’s obsessed with Obama. Unhealthy.

! – I use this way too much and mean it only like 2% of the time.

Meat – Sometimes if just freaks me out.

Treating people – They will never, ever get you back the next time.

Saying Hi – Can’t we all just agree that eye contact is sufficient?

Dating – You are all so fucking boring.

Making Amends – I wanna make amends by putting my face in a lemon meringue pie.

Believing in things – What. Does. That. Even. Mean?

Long Time, No See – Is it just me or is this phrase freaky?

Nicotine addiction – Self-harm is a bitch.

Underwear – What’s the point even?

Exercise – Don’t do it but still sick of it.

Art Talk – Only enjoyable with someone who doesn’t use proper nouns.

Politics Talk – Only enjoyable with someone who knows how to spell Beto O’Rourke.

Talking in general – My body language is telling you everything you need to know.

Holidays – Can we just skip it and get to April already?

TV – The internet is melting our brains.

Twitter – I’ve always hated it.

Guilt – I hope by 2060 women are free of this burden.

Monday, October 1, 2018

R.I.P. Phyllis Kind


Phyllis Kind and Roger Brown

I got a message the other day that Phyllis Kind died. For those of you who don’t know who she is, you should. She was a gallerist and a personality unlike anything the art world had before.

Her gallery, Phyllis Kind Gallery, was the first job I ever had in New York. It is the job that made it possible for me to move/live here and it has influenced my approach to art in ways I probably still do not understand.

She originally started her space in Chicago, selling prints and such, and then she got into the thick of it and is the reason why The Hairy Who, the Imagists and “Outsider Art” has the influence that it had/has and is finally being paid its dues.

I started working for her as an intern while still in college, commuting from Rutgers to her Greene Street location once a week, then worked full time as a gallery assistant. It was the end of the grand ol’ days as this was sometime around 2003, but for a total art newbie, entrance into her multi-level Soho space was both intimidating and wondrous. She lived in the back of the space so the mixing of business and personal overlapped in inviting (sharing Chinese takeout at her kitchen table) to rattling (potatoes being thrown at your head during an outburst.) But it was a type of education that was beyond impactful.

Under her tutelage and observations, I learned how a gallerist is more than just a person in the art business but a character of sorts. Anyone who knew Phyllis would be swirled into her vicinity and it was up to you if you could stay a float in her currents. Her mind was sharp, her tongue sharper, and the mixture of hard and surpassingly generous softs showed you the depth and complexity of what it meant to be a gallery owner and human being.

The thing that I learned most, the thing has is a base of so much of how I operate and think about art today, was her unwavering way of thinking and seeing art and who makes it. Her mixing of insider, outsider, has been talked about in many different circles, but Phyllis truly loved art in a way that seems cliché. She would get so excited and thrilled about an artist, she made it her business and passion to make sure that people saw, people understood, people opened their eyes to what she was seeing.

In addition to her authentic passion for art/artists, she played the gallery game so well. In the 80s she was a force that was recognized and feared at times. She was all New York brashness with a mind that could remember any date and name and eyes that could pierce any undeveloped soul. But through it all she remained herself and unnegotiating on what she thought art could look like and who were valid in making, buying and seeing it.

I hadn't seen Phyllis for years, after she moved to the West coast, but her name and the links I have made from my time with her still connect. She had that ability to create a sense of family. Dysfunctional in many ways perhaps, but she was this mighty force, glue, magnet that kept everyone connected. I guess that’s because if she saw you, if she took you in, that meant something.

Phyllis Kind. What a legend. What a shame that gallerists and key players fade away the way they do, but I guess that is normal. Even so, her legacy will still remain because the work people are just starting to remember now is what she loved and supported decades ago.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Octopuses on Ecstasy




I am way too busy to blog today so I will pass along this article which multiple people passed along to me, haha. We should all be hugging each other more.


On Ecstasy, Octopuses Reached Out for a Hug
By JoAnna Klein, September 20, 2018, The New York Times

Octopuses are smart. They open jars, steal fish and high-five each other.

Though interactive, they’re generally asocial, and temperamental, with unique behavior patterns, like those shown by Otto, who caused blackouts at a German aquarium and Inky, who famously escaped a tank in New Zealand. They learn through experience and observation, forming lasting memories with brain-like bundles of hundreds of millions of neurons in each arm and a centralized bundle in the middle.

A desire to understand the evolutionary underpinnings of this brainpower led scientists to give octopuses ecstasy. Yes, ecstasy — molly, E, MDMA, the party drug, which in humans reduces fear and inhibition, induces feelings of empathy, distorts time and helps people dance to electronic music all night.

And under the influence of MDMA, the researchers report in a paper published Thursday in Current Biology, asocial octopuses seemed to become more social.

“Even though octopuses look like they come from outer space, they’re actually not that different from us,” said Gül Dölen, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study with Eric Edsinger, an octopus researcher at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

They also found that humans and octopuses share parts of an ancient messaging system involved in social behaviors, one enhanced by the presence of MDMA in both animals. These shared lineages may have been conserved to reduce fear and enable social behaviors. And although preliminary, the authors think octopuses present a promising model for studying MDMA’s effects on the human brain, treating PTSD and better understanding how the brain evolved to conjure social behaviors.

MDMA helps release, among other chemicals, serotonin. That ancient molecule is involved in regulating mood and social behaviors in invertebrates like locusts as well as vertebrates, like fish, dogs and humans.

For Dr. Dölen, who is interested in evolution of social behavior, the octopus offered an interesting test of MDMA and serotonin, because it is separated by 500 million years of evolution from humans, but also has complex behavior.

Octopuses suspend their aggression for a few minutes to mate, perhaps accessing an otherwise switched-off neural signaling system — potentially similar to the one that helps humans behave socially, she reasoned. And any similarities in octopus and human genetic code related to this system could help her understand how the brain — down to its tiniest bits — evolved to govern social behaviors.

Like a wedge in Pac-Man’s mouth, MDMA fits inside a protein that moves serotonin in and out of neurons. The drug eventually causes a flood of serotonin between synapses, increasing its signals. When the researchers compared the genome of the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) to those of other animals, they discovered humans and octopuses could both make this protein, and it was nearly 100 percent similar at that special Pac-Man spot.

But would that protein on ecstasy also make octopuses social?

They put the octopuses in the center of a three-chambered tank where they could explore a Star Wars figurine on one side or another octopus on the other (it was contained beneath an overturned orchid pot with holes, in case the MDMA hadn’t worked and violence ensued).

Undosed, octopuses of either sex spent more time with the toy than the other octopus (if it was a male; they seemed less concerned when it was female).

But after soaking in low-dose MDMA-laced baths, the octopuses seemed to relax. They spent more time with the male octopuses on the other side of the tank.

They also hugged the pot with several arms, showing off their ventral ends, or mouths, almost like how the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus, the only known social octopus species, mates beak to beak in an eight-armed hug.

Though they tested only a few octopuses and MDMA likely acts on more molecules than serotonin, Charles Nichols, a pharmacologist at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, was impressed: “I’ve been giving psychedelics to fruit flies for years in my lab, but had yet to have seen one given to an octopus.”

And David Nichols, his father who pioneered studies of MDMA for therapy, wonders how the drug might help untangle the fear circuitry in octopuses: “Connecting the dots in the octopus may lead to scientists being able to connect the dots, so to speak, in other species, including man,” Dr. David Nichols said.

Though just beginning, Dr. Dölen is hopeful: “We need to be taking full advantage of these compounds to see what they’re doing to the brain,” she said.

She added that when the octopuses came down from their serotonin highs, they acted completely normal — for an octopus.