Thursday, April 30, 2015

Paper Tape

 Paper Tape Literary Magazine has just posted four of my photographs.

The Plains Indians: artists of earth and sky at The Met through may 10th

a heartbreaking exhibition of staggering beauty

  I finally made it up to the Met today to see this amazing show rich with the remnants of a once flourishing culture that was pretty much wiped out by this country of ours. That’s the heartbreaking part, the staggering beauty part is everywhere to be found in this lavish and beautifully installed show. There are wonderful examples of dresses, shirts, shoes and ceremonial wear and all are beautiful with wonderful drawings and paintings done directly on the skins and embellished with beads, (beads are everywhere in this show) and some have actual human and animal hair along with other bits and pieces of  what was basically found material of and from their natural world. I’ve always loved their ledger drawings that were done on bits and pages from ledgers and were enthusiastically collected by traders who bought them up by the bushel for pennies, and there are some examples (not enough for me, a whole show of them would be more than welcomed) with many of them accessible by touch screens.
             Also great of course are the many examples of animals especially horses and buffalo which are represented in wonderful drawings and on clothing and some small sculptures, a small leaping carved horse from 1880 especially knocked me out. Also notable and known is the strong feeling for design and abstraction that the Plains Indians possessed and without any art school training. There is enough inspiration in this show to keep artists happy, inspired and fulfilled for a long time to come.
              The exhibition closes with examples of contemporary works by Native American artists from the early part of the 20th century to present day, but these works although pretty enough did little for me and they really fade in comparison with rest of the exhibition.  Be warned that this great show will be closing soon and it seems to me that it was a short run for such an important exhibition. The show was crowded but manageable.
           I did a short take on the other show that I was interested in Sultans of Deccan India Opulence and Fantasy but there is only so much ravishing beauty I can take in one day, and hopefully I’ll go back for a longer deeper look. I did wander into a small handsome and compelling show of Hans Hoffman paintings that I liked very much, and I wandered in and quickly out of the Wolfgang Tillman’s slide show “Book For Architects” which takes place in a dark room. Ira Joel Haber does not go into dark rooms. I also took a very quick hop skip and jump look at the photographs of Piotr Uklanski which is titled “Fatal Attraction” and fatal they are. I don’t understand what this somewhat clever but mediocre artist is doing at the Met, he must have some great connections to warrant a show here.     

Spry Literary Journal

Just found this out. Its a notebook drawing of mine along with a short interview with me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

oddball Magazine

Oddball has just posted this photo I took at Coney Island a few years back along with a poem by Patricia Carragon.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Postcard April 2015

Clouds Of Sils Maria 2015

   Anchored by two tremendous performances by Juliette  Binoche as Maria Enders an aging but still beautiful world renowned actress of stage and screen and Kristin Stewart as her harried but very capable assistant Valentine who when the film opens are on a speeding train on their way to Switzerland.  Binoche is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her mentor and friend a famous but reclusive playwright who we never meet or see as he dies suddenly and this unexpected death pushes the story forward if not at lighting speed then certainly at a compelling speed. Binoche made her mark in one of  Wilhelm Melchior’s plays “Maloja Snake” in which she played the young assistant to a middle age Lesbian corporate big shot who the young woman taunts and tangles up in a romantic knot until she is driven to suicide.
                 Soon after arriving in Zurich Binoche is presented with the opportunity to star in a revival of the play by a hot shot young international director who wants her to take on the role of the Middle age lesbian. She hesitates and there is a lot of soul searching and back and forths between her and Stewart on why and why not she should do the role. She finally agrees to do it, chops off her lustrous locks for a butch haircut and her and Stewart hole up at the remote but comfortable home in the alps of Wilhelm’s where they are put up by his widow played by the great Angela Winkler in a too short for me performance.
                 It’s here that art, nature, angst and sexual identity come together in not always calm ways as Binoche and Stewart rehearse the play and at times their play acting merges into their actual real time relationship and as they merge its hard to tell what is the play and what is real. Soon we met the young actress who is going to take on the young assistants role that Binoche originated and its a young hot scandal ridden American actress played with tough annoyance by Chloe grace moretz who throws up Lindsay Lohan all over the place. The scene where Binoche and Stewart watch a tacky but slick 3-D sci-fi epic in a St. Moritz movie theatre starring Moretz is priceless and unabashedly          pokes fun at Stewart’s own blockbuster career.  Long (the film is a little over 2 hours) and laid back this is a peeling the layers of an onion movie that is compelling and surprising with every scene.
           It is also a beautiful film with its scenes of the alps along with it’s many color drenched nighttime moments.  There are intrusions and illusions throughout with comments about our celebrity driven culture and Internet driven lives that the characters and us both loathe and love.  Directed by the difficult to pin down  Olivier Assayas with influences from “All About Eve” Bergman and a touch of Antonioni (there is an unexplained disappearance) but still a film all his own. Definitely not for the Fast and Furious crowd.                                                                                                                                    

at the whitney

Me and my pal the wonderful artist Carol Heft at the Whitney preview for artists in the collection the other day.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The New Whitney. Spectacular! Spectacular.

  I took in the artists in the collection preview at the new Whitney with my artist friend carol heft. My relationship with this museum is long and bumpy. As a child I remember in the mid 50's going to the Whitney when it was behind and connected to the Moma on 54th street. You would go through a door in the Moma and find yourself in the Whitney, sort of like an unloved stepchild. For years I thought I had dreamed this but no it was true.
  In 1970 when I was 23 I was included in the sculpture annual, the youngest artist at that point to ever be shown in an annual. After that another sculpture annual, an inclusion in a show here and there, but then nothing, complete and total neglect for my art until last January when they finally acquired a piece of mine. Nothing new here.
  I think the new building is a partial success, the large lobby is by and large very uninviting and way too corporate looking. What is it with museum lobbies? I always feel that I'm going to miss my plane or I'm on my way to surgery. Its way too cold but maybe they will figure out how to make it more inviting. I also thought that the elevators are too small and don't know if the one large one will be available for patrons. However the galleries themselves are very nice, and I like that the elevators opened up in the galleries themselves, just like the old Whitney.

The views of the city from the galleries and especially the terraces are great, and the galleries themselves are spacial and well lite, and there are toilets on every floor. The art that is now up is on the whole very good, sometimes great, sometimes thrilling with many examples of unknown, or rarely seen artists. It was strange to be in this new Whitney and the choice of location was a brilliant move on their part. I can't predict the future for this place will it become a tourist magnet like the Moma or just be the good new old Whitney,spectacular but still low-keyed. Since I don't have to pay to get in I will no doubt be a regular visitor here. After we saw enough art we went to a diner nearby called Hector's and Carol treated me to lunch. I had a ham and cheese omelet with french fries and rye toast and Carol had the turkey panini.


In the late 80's and early 90's I would attend a movie memorabilia
sale that was held every saturday at a church in the village. The organizer of the sale would have his entire family with him working at his table including a young son with down syndrome. His name was Tommy and he would set up an exhibit of his drawings and paintings which I of course was immediately taken with and started to buy a few each weekend. He also made some small wooden brightly painted sculptures that I also bought which I have packed away some where. He was thrilled when I bought his work, and his parents although pleased could not understand why anyone would want to buy them. I hope Tommy is well and still making his beautiful art.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night 2014

What is it about Vampire movies that keep drawing us to them. I usually check out most of the new ones (the exception being the Twilight franchise which I have no interest in) including this one, a first feature by the young female director Ana Lily Amirpour a Iranian by birth but brought up in Los Angles. I had no notion about the subject of the film but was drawn to it by its title (the best title of 2014) and when I found out what it was about I said to myself “oh no not another vampire movie.” This is certainly a curious one, set in a run down city in Iran called Bad City the film was actually filmed in down and out parts of L.A. in  beautiful inky black and white cinematography. The characters speak Farsi (there are subtitles)  which adds to the sense of dislocation and dread. Where are we and what are we doing here? The lone and lonely vampire is a young attractive woman who seems to pick her victims on moral grounds. A nasty drug dealer and a pimp goes out in a very painful and graphic scene but a young boy is spared with the warning from the vampire that he had better be a good boy and that she will be watching him for the rest of his life to make sure and a worn and weary prostitute is befriend by her. The film of course takes place mostly at night and there are some beautiful nocturnal scenes and images among them the vampire in her traditional chudda blowing in the breeze skateboarding down a deserted street, a drug out costume party where the young handsome lead comes as Dracula and later bombed out on ecstasy stands transfixed before a streetlamp as the vampire watches him and a drag queen dancing alone in the street with a balloon. Influenced by many genres including westerns both traditional and the spaghetti kind, (the music score is strongly influenced by Ennio Morricone and by Jim Jarmusch and the low budget Val Lewton horror films of the 40’s. Much of the plot is left unexplained and the dialogue is kept at a minimal but the style, eroticism   and imagination of the film should keep viewers transfixed, and then there is that title.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Anne Arnold 1925-2014

This is a bit late, but I just found out that the artist Anne Arnold passed last June. The New York Times did not note her passing which I think is pretty terrible as her life and art deserved to be noted. I didn't know her well but we both showed at Fischbach Gallery for a time, and our paths would cross in a much smaller manageable art world of the 70's.

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