Tuesday, March 31, 2015

First Notebook Drawing of April 2015

When The Curtain Never Comes Down. American Folk Art Museum

  The first thing that comes over me when I see a show of outsider art is sadness, for the terrible lives that most of these creative souls have led. Isolation, insanity, incarceration, hospitalization, homelessness poverty and more. I also feel anxiety but then I am overtaken by a serious sense of joy and exuberance for what they created and what they have (if lucky) left behind for us to treasure and love.
            The wonderful American Folk Art Museum which in its original tight and small space near Lincoln Center now has on view one of the best exhibitions of outsider art that I’ve seen in a long time “When The Curtain Never Comes Down”, it’s title can also be seen as a bitter retort to the behemoth Museum Of Modern Art which after buying the building from the debt ridden Folk Art Museum criminally tore down its striking barely 12 year old building which had the misfortune to find itself next door and in the way of the constantly expanding and critically under sieged Moma. I won’t go on about my anger and dislike for the Moma, I’ll save that for another time and another place, because I am here to celebrate this most marvelous exhibition.
   Beautifully and intelligently curated byValerie Rousseau who by the way might be my favorite curator of the moment. The exhibition fills every nook and cranny of this intimate (some might say cramped) space with many jaw dropping and magnificent pieces made by a wide range of outsiders from the 19th century to the present.   
Many of the works have religious, spiritual and visionary themes, (this is a favorite obsession among many outsiders) and the show includes great pieces. Palmerino Sorgente who became convinced that he was the Pope concocted an amazing array of Papal this and Papal that including a series of hats that are covered in found jewelry and gems along with fantastic collages, drawings made with nail polish and books.
Also in the show are two immense very theatrical and impressive bright red sculptures made of wood strips, one of a house and the other of a cross cut saw that were created for use in strange religious healing ceremonies by a grass roots southern spiritual church called the Saint Paul Spiritual Holy Temple that are as compelling and brilliant as anything you will see this spring in galleries or any where else.
Theatrical is also one of the themes of this show, (again the title says much) and a large group of works are comprised of superb costumes and clothes that were sometimes worn by their creators in their everyday lives or were used in personal street like performances. Some of the great ones include clothing that work as sculptures by Vahan Poladian and the extraordinary clothes made by Giuseppe Versino while he was boarded away in an Italian Insane Asylum. Made from rags and such that he tore apart and rewove and braided to make these gray and textural clothes that a Golem or Frankenstein’s monster would love. These are arguably the most compelling and important works in the show.
I also loved the sophisticated superbly knitted clothes and masks by the great master knitter Deborah Berger who died young and left behind these bold and colorful majestic works. Also adored by me were the very small intricate carved stone sculptures numbering in the 100’s by Jean Loubressanes of figures, animals and buildings that look like they were excavated from some fantastic unknown culture but would also be comfortable in one of the Egyptian or Roman wings at the Met, and the rough and magical wooden constructions by Hans Krusi. There is of course much more to thrill and chill you if you get to see this swell show that happily will be up until July 5th. I intend to see it again as there was way too much for me to take in and digest at one viewing and I have to admit that I bypassed the many tapes and videos that hopefully I can see and hear on my next viewing.
A nice side dish to this show is the wonderful but small show of drawings by the great self taught Mexican-American artist Martin Ramirez now on at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery in Chelsea. Ramirez spent most of his life in a California state hospital where he discovered a strong love for art and made nearly 500 complex pencil and crayon drawings on brown paper bags, examining-table paper, and book pages glued together with a paste made of potatoes and saliva that are among the great works of outsider art. This week Ramirez has become the first Outsider and Mexican American artist to have his art featured on USPS stamps, which makes for a nice way to own his work if you don’t happen to have $400,000 to spare.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Joyce Kozloff DC Moore Gallery

            I went to see a few shows in Chelsea today including the very beautiful Kaleidoscopic Joyce Kozloff show “Maps + Paintings” which is now on view at DC Moore Gallery. Of course one is struck (or should be) by the vast and intricate vistas of patterns, designs and color that Kozloff offers up in these large scale works of paint and collage, and as you get deeper into them they reveal much more, signs and political points along with autobiographical notes told through bits and pieces of personal stuff and things.
                Maps can tell us where we are, where we are going and where we’ve been at the same time they document our world, how it looks now and how it looked then. There are also the fantastical fictional maps of lands that only exist in the minds and imaginations of writers and artists. Who hasn’t made maps when young, of their neighborhoods or places they would like to go.
             They are also tactile: They come folded, rolled and sometimes they are laid into books, they’re given away for free and some can be quite rare and costly. I once had a part time job working for a rare map dealer and got to touch and look at maps so old that they gave me the creeps and took my breath away with their hand colored areas of land and water.
              I’ve always been intrigued and impressed by KozIoff’s take on maps and her imaginative and dazzling art that incorporates the real world and her private vision of that world. I remember the early days of Painting and Decoration (P&D) in which Kozloff was a strong presence and along with others did battle with the many who thought there was no room in the art world for simply beautiful works especially when done by women, God forbid.
             I’ve always had a fondness for simply beautiful art and at one point in my visit I viewed her complex mixed paintings like I would if I was making myself an imaginary movie. First I took in the whole works from afar which are dense and beautiful, I then moved in for some tracking shots moving slowly across each painting and then I put myself up close, very up close to take in the small areas or spots of the paintings letting the shear loveliness of her work wash over me and to wonder how the hell did she do that. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Recent photographs around New York City

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Notebook drawing March 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Interview in the Stardust Gazette

The Stardust Gazette has just published an interview with me. I feel like I just soiled myself.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Postcard March 2015

Oddball Magazine

Since 2013 Oddball Magazine has published my art a whopping 32 times including the latest post of one of my paintings today. You can view the latest one along with all the rest at this link.


Oddball Magazine

This here is the latest publication by Oddball Magazine of one of my paintings along with a poem by Helen Picard.


Monday, March 23, 2015

postcard from the edge

I just found out today that my postcard that i contributed to the "Postcards From The Edge" exhibition was sold. This large exhibition (over 1500 postcards were exhibited) is a benefit for "Visual Aids" and all works are anonymous with each card priced at only $85.00, so buyers have no idea who did what and they can get a card by a famous artist for the price of a song. I've been contributing to this benefit for quite a few years, (this was the 17th annual exhibition)  and this is the second one of my postcards that were sold. They told me that they notified me about a month ago, but I never got the email, maybe it wound up in my spam file, anyway I pleased that it was sold and that I contributed to this worthy cause.

Ink & Coda

I've just seen that Ink & Coda has used one of my postcard collages for their cover. You can view it at this link.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 2015 notebook drawing

Monday, March 16, 2015

Petite Hound Press

Petite Hound Press just joined a poem and one of my collages. They printed the lines of the poem directly on the art, which I think works. As they say they "twice a month we’ll publish a piece of writing paired deliberately with a work of visual art."
They offer the final result for sale as a print. Cool baby cool.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Postcard March 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Notebook drawing March 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Michael Graves 1934 – 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fox Adoption Magazine

Fox Adoption has just published a second one of my collages. You can view this one and the previous one published at this link. Think a 3rd one is coming.


Monday, March 09, 2015

March notebook drawing

Friday, March 06, 2015

Albert Maysles 1926-2015

Thursday, March 05, 2015

March notebook drawing #2

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

March Notebook Drawing

Bjork. Museum of Modern Art

A heartbreaking exhibition of staggering banality. I suppose what one might think of this exhibition depends on what one thinks of the pop singer, the Icelandic diva Björk. Personally I’m not a fan of hers, although I thought her performance in the film “Dancer In The Dark” superb. That said I found nothing in this multi-media hit you over the head exhibition to be of interest, and I’m still scratching my head over why the hell is this show at the Moma in the first place? Is it money, (no doubt there will be long lines once this thing opens to the general public), an appeal to the tourist trade, especially the young ones or is it simply a desperate move by the museum to look hip. I suppose any or all of these reasons are valid but quite frankly I’ve had more fun looking at the window displays at Barney’s than I did at this fashion driven display of manequins and videos.  
One is greeted at the entrance of this thankfully small and compact extraveganza by some underpaid Momaettes who hand you a pair of headphones and an iphone sort of thing and  somberly tell you to hit start when you enter and do nothing else. By hitting start you begin this prentious babble in which Bjork talks about her life and “art” and sings some songs  as you move from one cramped space to another looking at Bjork looking manequins and robots wearing colorful and fanciful outfits, and yes her famous swan dress is included looking somewhat tame and quaint compared to today’s fashions. There are also some dull notebook pages and jots by her that are presented as if they were pages from Da Vinci’s notebooks. The exhibition is set up so that as you wait on line you think you are in for something special, it reminded me of when I was a 17 year old teenager and I eagerly waited on long lines at the 1964 World’s Fair to get into one of those spectacular rides that would take me on a journey into the future.
Nothing like that here. As I said the spaces are small and cramped and I guess I should be thankful for that, as it doesn’t so much as sprawl as crawl. The most enjoyable part of this part of the show was the guard who stood stiff and still as if he was one of the mannequins and had me fooled until he moved and we both laughed out loud. The second part of the exhibition is down in that God-awful Atruim where once again you wait on a line to enter a dark space in which you can view some video and music installations in which after one minute I ran out silently screaming. If you still have even a small amount of respect and admiration for this institution I suggest that you save your money skip this vanity exhibition.

Site Meter