Monday, December 26, 2011

Art Crushes, Hey Ladies…

Back in April of 2011 I made a quick list of guys in the art world that I had “art crushes” on. It was an homage to the coming spring in New York with its buzz of love and fun as the weather warmed up. Just a bit ago someone asked when I would be doing my female art crush list, as I said I would eventually, and although I’m not the type of gal to take requests it is something that has already been on my mind.

I was originally going to wait until this coming April but since the seed has been planted, why not bite the apple now especially at the advent of 2012. I predict that 2012 will have events, charismatic figures and a new momentum that will change this whole art game in new and unapologetic ways. This lack of apology and a need to seek consent from males or of previous generations will be the key. Also, this new prerogative is what will flip things back, over and sideways in the “women-art dialogue” and in addition, deeds, actions and proof of those actions will evidence these shifts. I too, am going to make it a point to put my money (when I have it), time and energy to making the shifts I want to see versus just rants and raves, which are necessary but not enough. More on these upcoming endeavors and hijinx to come.

So ladies and gents, here’s to a new year and below are the lovely ladies that are on my mind.

Kari Altman --------------- (Annie Oakley of the Internet since 2.0 ((prompted post))

Diane Arbus --------------- (duh)

Karen Archey -------------- (gotta give props for her net art lockdown, also nice capes)

Julie Ault ------------------- (rad, rad, super rad)

Linda Benglis ------------- (rock-a-da-cock)

Melanie Bonajo------------- (take me to your planet)

Louise Bourgeois ---------- (she will lay eggs in your brains and it will make you smarter)

Connie Butler --------------- (just feel like I have too…)

Elaine Cameron-Weir ------ (intrigued by her work)

Amy Cappellezzo ---------- (integrity even in integrity-free art auction profession)

Talia Chetrit ----------------- (zang)

Milano Chow --------------- (one day I WILL buy a piece!)

Cleopatra’s ------------------ (I know...its not just one gal but kudos kudos)

Jennifer Cohen ------------- (jazzy)

Lisa Cooley ----------------- (Too Cooley for Schooley)

Paula Cooper --------------- (I mean come on, PAULA COOPER!)

Clarissa Dalrymple -------- (her life etched on her face. Damn I wanna look that lived)

Elizabeth Dee --------------- (makes things happen)

Aleksandra Domanovic --- (smarty pants)

Dora and Maja ------------- (loveliest Croats)

Tracey Emin ----------------(slap that smirk off her face BUT first get drunk, dance, make out)

Lia Gangitano --------------- (no fluff or kissy-poo-poo-face here)

Barbara Gladstone ---------- (doesn’t need to join the boys club, she IS the club)

Thelma Golden -------------- (Harlem a la Jim Jones)

Nan Goldin ------------------ (I want to fluff up your hair)

Sara Greenberger Rafferty - (her work is like good bad comedy)

Guerilla Girls ---------------- (still relevant ya’ll)

K8 Hardy --------------------- (crazy, hawt, weird, brutal brains)

Mary Heilmann -------------- (ya ya)

Eva Hesse -------------------- (ropes in the shape of nipples done right)

Laura Hoptman -------------- (does anyone else think she looks like Roberta Smith's twinsies?)

Joan Jonas -------------------- (just found out her and Richard Serra used to be together. Gah!)

Rosalind Krauss ------------- (actually have not read much by her BUT I know that I need too)

Yayoi Kusama --------------- (you so cray cray)

Lucy R. Lippard ------------- (there's a sculpture made of bread of you under my pillow)

Sarah Lucas ------------------ (set off firecrackers with you)

Joanna Malinowska --------- (always knew this girl was in-ter-es-thing as heck)

Ana Mendieta ---------------- (fire, walk with me)

Piper Marshall --------------- (hip-ity-hip-hip)

Agnes Martin ----------------- (slow and steady wins the race)

Katja Mater ------------------- (on my mind for over 3 months)

Jenny Moore ------------------ (made Dee’s program tight, now independent curator)

Sophie Morner --------------- (a horse in a field at dusk)

Ree Morton ------------------- (Cappuccinos in the park)

Kristie Mueller --------------- (go Can-a-da)

Marlie Mul -------------------- (nice and smart)

Elizabeth Murray ------------ (dance on the floor that lights up in different colors with you)

Narcissister ------------------- (you put a what-what up your who-who?!)

Linda Nochlin ---------------- (keeps it rockin’)

Yoko Ono --------------------- (short, fierce, Asian)

Mai-Thu Perret --------------- (I want to smoke cigarettes and throw rocks in a lake with you)

Virginia Poundstone --------- (smoke a joint and melt crayons together)

Yvonne Rainer ---------------- (smartest person in the room)

Martha Rosler ----------------- (as real as it gets)

Emily Roysdon ---------------- (G-G-Girl)

Carolee Schneemann --------- (living legend ya’ll)

Cindy Sherman ---------------- (haters keep hating, there is a reason why she is the tops)

Allison Schulnik -------------- (let’s do mushrooms in the dessert)

Amy Sillman ------------------ (whoop whoop)

Kiki Smith --------------------- (witchy, but in a good witch way)

Roberta Smith ----------------- (Girl can WRITE! Unlike uh-hum and hum-huh…)

Nancy Spero ------------------- (snakes and scrolls, get into it)

Kate Steciw -------------------- (you had me at Steciw)

Gertrude Stein ----------------- (showing how tough, smart and ugly can equal charm)

Dorothea Tanning ------------- (her fabric sculptures rule me)

Carrie Mae-Weems ------------ (early work)

Martha Wilson ----------------- (Cindy Sherman, eat your heart out)

Well I hope that does some justice to all the fab females that have been with me for a while or only for a few days. No offense to anyone left out, my brain is filled with x-mas goop still.

Have a fantastic-amazing-super-fab-tastic-yummy New Years! Till then be nice to animals.

Monday, December 19, 2011

If I Had A Lot of Money I Would Buy The Art World This…

Today was one of those days when leaving the apartment was a b-a-d idea. I put off going Christmas shopping this year until today and entering into the consumer vortex made me literally want to barf or just lay on the floor and let it all end. How people enjoy going to stores to shop is perplexing to me but like all things in life, to each their own. That being said and me being drained from staring at things vacantly with “ummmmmmm, uhhhhhhhhhh, hmmmmmmm” running through my head for the past few hours I will take off a load by imaging what I would buy for the collective art world IF I had a bunch of money.

Artists that I am friends with and I like their work – I would buy one piece by them worth up to $4,000.

Artists that I am friends with but I don’t like their work – I would buy them a round of drinks.

Artists that I don't know personally and like their work – Chocolate croissants. For life!

Artists that I don't know personally and do not like their work – A "don't worry be happy" t-shirt with yellow smiley face.

New York Times Art Critics – Very good dark chocolate on the form of a Koons' Balloon Dog and a day spa pass that includes a facial with those cucumber eye things and a mud bath.

Wall Street Journal Culture Writers – A silver hand mirror and a vibrator or plug, whatever they prefer.

All other art critics on newspaper staffs – A classic Swatch watch circa 1987

Artforum editors – One of those Russian matryoshka dolls starting with the likeness of Beuys then on to, Rauschenberg, Serra, Barney, and then finally just white wax with a single hair sprouting from the top.

Artforum critics – A pig roast party with lots of pineapple themed drinks.

Art Critics for NY Magazine – A toilet made of 24k gold that plays Bing Crosby when flushed.

All other freelance art critics in print media (excluding newspapers) – One month’s rent.

All art critics online – A sleeping bag that doubles as a floatation device that has the likeness of Bill Cosby on the front.

Dealers of blue chip galleries (racking in the millions) – A yacht. Hey, why the hell not?

Dealers of 2nd tier galleries (good rosters but not banking millions per show) – A yacht. Hey, why the hell not?

Dealers of 3rd tier galleries (okay rosters but can stay in the game) – A yacht (but its smaller). Hey, why the hell not?

Dealers of 4th tier galleries (how the hell do these places stay open for so long?) – A gift certificate to Chili’s.

Dealers of young-hip galleries (new to the scene but working damn hard) – A $3,000 shopping spree at Opening Ceremony.

Big non-profits – I’ll pay for Bill Clinton to attend your next gala.

Small non-profits – I’ll pay for Hillary Clinton to attend you next gala.

MoMA – A lemon tree, a maple tree, and a raspberry bush.

The Whitney – Lifetime supply of Murry’s bagels and cream cheese.

The Guggenheim – A koi pond.

The New Museum – A blimp.

The Met – A horse with braids in its hair.

All other museums or large private collections made public – Season tickets to the Knicks for all staff.

Artists Assistants – Fuzzy cat slippers.

Studio Assistants – Fuzzy bunny slippers.

Personal Assistants – Access to a loaded gun in a bank vault, you know, just in case…

Art Handlers – Tickets to see a Tracy Morgan comedy set.

Gallery workers – A Swedish message, the collected writings of Charles Bukowski and $500.

Curators on staff at major institutions – Hip sunglasses and a scarf.

Curators on staff at smaller institutions – A trip to China.

Independent curators – A bonsai tree and gift certificate to go to the salon.

Independent contractors (those that make things and do physical labor jobs) – A 4-day rental on Lake Placid.

Freelancers (web, design, grant writers, things like that...) – A comfy robe and espresso machine.

Guards at museums and bigger galleries – An Eames chair and $1,000.

Gift shop workers – A puppy.

Art Advisors – A tattoo of “$”anywhere on their body.

Art Fairs – A giraffe.

Art Schools – A truck load of illegal immigrants ready to work.

Art Professors (with actual PhDs and without) – A dark blazer and a packet of yummy ramen.

Collectors – Some acid.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 10 for 2011

2011, what a year. It’s not over yet, we still have 19 glorious days to go of it but as I lay about with the cats and reflect back upon this year and what is to come, there are highlights, lowlights and the in-betweens that have made 2011 a jam packed year. Below are a few things that made a dent in my brain, for good or for bad, which have made this year fly by.

10) Young curators. Some may not notice this, but there is a lot of transition going on in the top museums and institutions in this town. There are many new younger curators that have been given more carte blanche and it is really making things more zingy to see and to be excited about. This is happening mostly at MoMA, but I predict this will swell in the other sanctums of art, especially at The Met and at the Whitney, just my own voodoo predictions there, but even if those don’t happen it is thoroughly refreshing to see some new tastemakers being given authority to influence.

9) The end of the recession. I know some may not think this, but the worst of the recession is over. I know that things are still tough out there for many people but in the art world and in New York City, things are perky and fast once again. This is a good thing even though some think that there should still be more of an art world purge. We all need the money to flow again, especially those that aren’t the super rich or powerful. Yes, we have to be creative and not delusional or lie down dead and except things as they are about this financial situation, but things are looking up and this will only ensure better and more substantial things.

8) Non-profits failing. I’m not sure what is happening but there are a few non-profit institutions that have become behemoths of late, I am thinking of two in particular, and the rest seem to be emaciated. For a bit now, the weight loss of these other creative bastions was worn well, like skinny girls at fashion week, but now it’s just too malnourished. Where have all these places gone? Well, technically they are still physically there but they seem so sedate. Is this because the introduction of new, young artists to the scene is no longer reliant on this system anymore? Who knows, but it’s a sad trend and one that hopefully rebounds in the new year.

7) Klaus Bisenbach. My gawd, could anyone have predicted that this severely hair-cutted German could have had such influence on the arts?! He’s one we all love to hate but really the man is like a crazy-Jesus-magician. Walking on water and changing water to wine level and it has been making New Yorkers salivate. We all need a target, we all need a charismatic someone to draw the line in the sand and as much as it is mildly horrifying, it’s very effective. Will he last though? That’s the million-dollar question. My two cents fling themselves at his feet and say, “pretty please, pick me!” Well just in case, because like Jesus, if he IS real you better have all your bases covered for the big judgment day.

6) Internet movies and TV. Maybe I’m like so 2009, but dang, the internet is really getting movie and TV streaming done right. Everything is now so clickably available and it makes things much more interesting, well at least the times you need to just unwind and tune out. For a while now, the influence TV and movies have had on the art world has been a non-factor, something that fascinated our parents but not us youths, but with this new ease, these mediums will once again be very relevant to the conversations about art and image making.

5) No more Deitch. When he left last year, I didn’t think it was for real. I thought that it would all crop up in some form or another in the tentacle web of the Deitch cognizanti but alas, there hasn’t been. For me, this is a positive thing in some ways as I thought it was all a farce to begin with but surprisingly, I also sort of miss it. There was something undoubtedly ghastly in the way that anything was possible through his gallery, but oddly I miss that sense of unnecessary but impressive possibility.

4) The de Kooning retrospective at MoMA. Seriously, go see it if you haven’t, and go see it one more time if you already have. It is still sitting with me, like a loaf of challah bread about to be made into French toast. Makes a person want to start painting or at least squeeze a ball of clay.

3) Facebook. For the love of gawd when will it stop?! I am still perplexed about how Facebook has been so normalized and is so a part of everyone’s daily measure of self. It is transforming the way that we as a society interact, communicate and perceive others and ourselves. It is totally pedestrian and promotes a vulgar level of voyeurism but it’s like a powerful drug which daily stimulates our very human need to connect with others. I doubt it will end in the near future but I can bet an imagined 10k that it will be passé by year 2013. Whoever the next social networking genius is who manages to usurp it, can count me in and please give me stock options as well.

2) Good galleries doing good shows. This was a very solid year of art in the galleries in New York, the top contemporary galleries kept cranking out the hits with established and beloved artists from their rosters in a very consistent way. There seemed to be less flash but that was good as the bigger-newer-better thing was getting old. The lack of this in your face art sensations was refreshing and allowed artists that have been around for the past few decades to prove their chops once again. I’m so over the hip and young dash and although more will pop up as things get more moneyed, it’s a delight to see people like Marclay, Goldin, and the like to get face time and prove that this kids, is how it’s done.

1) The Meta. There is a trend happening that is bigger then any medium that uses it. It is that of The Meta, where ideas, visuals, systems, and everything else is not being overtly analyzed or critiqued but it is being re-presented in its most heightened configuration. I’m thinking Dis, Trecartin, crazy fashion that mixes Arab with goth nun, and the dialogues about the internet. It is all so very cool, sharp, clean, lucid and irony free. This is the new species of thought and it is not bred but fused together with lasers and alcohol free DJ sets. It’s an odd mix of club world meets PhD programs mixed with eunuch. It is humorless but very witty in turn. I can’t keep up with it, it’s just not my thang, but there is no doubt that it is the super chillest thing happening.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Not All White Guys Are Bad – Robert Irwin, Arthur Shopenhauer, Ernest Hemingway, Andy Warhol, Peter Schjeldahl

As much as any stereotype, being a “white male” has a burden all of its own. In America, the white male is synonymous with power, wealth, oppression, dominance, history, devastation, pride, prejudice, and so on. All of these superlatives veer towards negative connotations these days because let’s face it, white guys have been in power for a very long time and have stopped at nothing to maintain and to strengthen this. The glory that was once outwardly asserted and flaunted has become, in some ways, very different then it used to be. Today’s white males have, ever so slowly, been taught that being the top dog in society isn’t something to brag about and frankly should be a source of inherited shame. This is largely in part due to the even slower pace, but gradual gain that women have been making in the workplace thus having capital strength in this capitalist society. Also, there were those wonderful, delirious decades just a few blinks ago that gave civil rights to everyone else in the country that was not a white male. The advances in these two areas has made the playing field, by no means even, but at least not the sheer cliff it once was.

Today’s white males, (we are speaking in general, mid to upper class terms), have lost not their true status but at least the bragging rights of that status publicly, so now what are they to do? Well, some are doing a born-again-bro-culture thing where they; have mustache and beard growing contests; make tie-dye shirts or embroidered bomber jackets to signify a “gang” they belong to; have bro-vacations, and bro-nights; and my fave, the bro-code which entails telling their friend he is dating a bitch or a slut relentlessly to his face and hers. But one has to sympathize with these efforts as every movie, TV show, wedisode, and commercial these days seems to feature 1. An in charge, she wears the pants and brings the bacon wife, or girlfriend who rolls eyes or smirks a lot 2. A male who is utterly inept, childish, scared of getting caught by wife/girlfriend 3. A child or dog as witness. This depiction must come from some truth in our society but it is utterly revulsing as it would be for any reduction of type casting a group.

Now, I’m not saying that white males have or are having a terrible time in this day in age, far from that, but in the pursuit of being fair and honest about all forms of oppressive behavior, it has to be admitted that not all white guys are the dev (aka the devil). I too have to call myself out in this situation because as an Asian American women, all of my boyfriends have been skinny white guys that are six feet or taller. That’s got to say something about my whole psychology and as much as that makes me think, gee-gah-ouchie about my preferences, it is what it is, although it does create pause. This whole thing is not to give white males any leeway or pass for all the crazy shit they have done for like eternity but let’s be consistent in our criticisms. Whiteness and maleness doesn’t make you a jerk, abuse of power and oppression with that power does.

Now, as is my want, I will list a few old or dead white guys that have been in my little pocket pet brain of late and who have been jazzing up my neurons in my thinking about life and art.

Robert Irwin – I have recently read the book about him entitled, Seeing is Forgetting, The Name of the Thing One Sees, 1982 and boy is that a protein shake for the mind. I have never seen Irwin’s work in person, or perhaps I have and just glazed over it, which is more then possible with his work. And although the focus of him being an artist is the grand point of it all, the book serves more as a guide or an annotated philosophy on what art means, can mean and more essentially who Robert Irwin is. He is a Californian artist and one learns about that whole scene and the culted Ferus Gallery and those ins and outs. One also learns about his methods; sitting in a room for hours on end, passing in and out of sleep, just looking at a wall, things like that. It tells how his holy grail is about perception and how he makes art to change this with the most intense controlled minuteness. I most like how he uses the ideas of science and those methods to art making. Most especially about logic and reason and how reason has slipped out of the conversation and methodologies of everything including science and art and how the system of logic, even if those systems are unevidenced theories, exert themselves as facts. He gave up things, lived off betting on horses and sports, loves Coca-Cola and didn’t have time for such frivolities as romance; these things are all interesting methods of achieving a life that is art. I wish I could talk more about it, but that’s basically the jist. It is not the best composed book but a good book to read especially if you have cast yourself into a void, such as I have recently.

Arthur Schopenhauer – I came across Schopenhauer’s Aphorisms sometime in the beginning of college and for a gal who already leaned towards melancholic angst, he was like the Angel Gabriel, giving herald of all that was pessimistic yet succinctly prescient and written in absolute terms. He was very much my partner in crime in accepting and reveling in my tendencies of being mildly nihilistic, supremely arrogant in my beliefs and totally thinking the whole life thing was a fixed job. Yes, yes, he was a total ass in regards to the way he thought women are, were, should be and many of his other dictates are far from agreeable but there are still gems of grumpy, unflowery emphatics that makes him one of the few people, had we ever met, who may “get me.” He’s a quoters delight and his views on perception and art are quite interesting as well.

Ernest Hemingway – Sometimes I really enjoy reading him, other times not so much but I have been thinking about him recently because he seemed like a guy who was manly but was also a sleep, eat, shit type of artist. He lived hard, drank hard, thought hard, loved hard, all of it was so thoroughly done. Heck, he even died hard, in the most certain of terms, something that seems obvious and refreshing somehow. Although Hemingway has this highly developed and evoked manliness, he is one of the few men that I am inspired to be like. His short story “Soldier’s Home,” is an example of possibly perfect short story writing.

Andy Warhol – Gotta Love Andy. That’s the t-shirt that I will make and sell on the corner of St. Marks to all those college kids and all my money worries would be solved. But seriously, one does have to Love Andy. He was just the weirdest thing made in this country in this century. He is also the most American invention one could conjure. There was a shift in possibilities when he bloomed in full in the art world and he took all that was supposed to be and all that was going to be in a totally different direction. He is like a giant confetti bomb in an empty room. Very sad, very brilliant, very odd. His book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A and B and Back Again, 1977 very much settled some issues I had about art, myself, and a bunch of other stuff in a deliriously liberating and affirming way. I think that if Warhol was still alive and didn’t look like the walking dead, I would be just too nervous to even be in the same room with him but that’s the joy of having influencers, you don’t have to want to meet all of them.

Peter Schjeldahl - I would punch someone in the face if they talked smack on my beloved P.S.