Monday, December 24, 2018

December 2018 mixed on paper

Friday, December 21, 2018

Donald Moffat 1930-2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Penny Marshall 1943-2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

Recent Photographs 2018

Sunday, December 16, 2018

December 2018 new collages

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Oddball December 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

Nancy Wilson 1937-2018

Lovely Singer

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt Tenemental (With Sighs Too Deep For Words) Howl Gallery.

This is the perfect show for the Christmas season. Joyous, glittery, shinning and fun but with deep emotions running under and through this unique display. I gladly took it in yesterday leaving with a big smile on my face and deep gratitude for this wonderful artist. I'm feeling a bit lazy so I will repeat my long review of his big show at P.S. 1 from a few years back which should stand today as it did back then. The show (and that's what it is a show of shows) is only on until December 19th, they should extend the run to at least after New Year's. That said my previous review from 2012.
Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt: Tender Love Among the Junk. P.S 1. Moma
This is an extraordinary overflowing beautiful retrospective of the art of Thomas Lanigan- Schmidt that is full of marvelous sculptures, drawings and objects that are generally made from everyday materials that one might find at home or in the street. The images and themes that have interested Schmidt for over 40 years include religion, pop culture and sexuality of the gay kind.
His work is also political and kind, sweet and caring. Its also emotional and all embracing, something that the Catholic Church which plays such an important part in his life and art, constantly fails to do. The first thing of course one notices is the wild and garish use of color and surfaces, tinsel and foil shinny and hot. Our lady of the 99 cents store. This show is an eyeful and is overwhelming in its imagery and beauty. There is plenty to get just from the surface of his objects, and I suppose one can enjoy them in a superficial and camp way a chuckle here a giggle there, but deep down underneath this surface is also a running stream which is full of hurt, joy, hope, loss, remembrance and emotion.
I don’t think I have ever seen such a raw and open autobiographical display by a contemporary artist or a body of art as profoundly moving as Schmidt’s. Obsessive (that’s putting it mildly) and childlike in its craft, this is a childhood never lost, no matter how painful it may have been, Schmidt is an artist who taps into his background for inspiration and ideas, and then lays it out like a banquet for us to pick from. Brought up in the Catholic church this upbringing as I said plays a huge part in his artistic oeuvre, so everywhere we look we see icons, chalices, Madonna’s alters, nuns, angels and religious artifacts and images mostly made of the ever present color foils and tinsels. Religion and the church meet up in pieces with tinfoil rats and amazingly big and colorful cockroaches along with homoerotic images and faded photos of movie stars.
There is a large and wonderful series of vivid beautiful drawings set in tin foil pans that form ready-made frames for the drawings, I mean what else would one use tin foil pans for? I should mention that I’ve known Tommy for over 40 years and our paths probably first crossed the night of the Stonewall Riots in which he played a pivotal role and turns up in some of Fred McDarrah’s iconic photographs of that event. I was there also but only as an onlooker a 22 year old pretty Jewish boy from Brooklyn new to the city just coming home (and coming out) from the bars, I often wonder if Tommy ran by me as I nervously watched these brave street kids and drag queens take back the night. I was on the cusp of my art world baptism and a few months later my poet friend would take me to meet Tommy or Mr. T, as he was then known at his Lower East Side apartment.
I was thrown off guard by him and his art and his place both actual and otherwise, and he gifted me with a pair of foil sunglasses that I hope I still have somewhere. I think my poet friend brought me to meet him for a number of reasons one of which was to show me that there was another way to be an artist, another way to make art, and that it was fine Ira Joel for you to hang out with your big shot art world friends in their big Soho lofts and to be the youngest artist to ever be in a Whitney Annual, but please take note that this is not the only way to be an artist and that nothing last forever. Eventually I did get it.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Roma part 2.

Some more notes on the movie of the year. Alfonso Cuaron is giving us a memory piece and like all memories they are intimate, personal and isolated. Here the director who grew up well off in a rich area of Mexico City in the early 70’s called Roma remembers it well. The family lives in a very large quite ugly house with a carport where their big neglected dog roams free and dumps his doo all over the place.
Cleo the well loved maid and cleaner upper must pick up the doo as part of her duties. This memory piece is really about Cleo played by newcomer Yalitza Aparicio who the children and the mother and grandmother who also lives with them love. Cleo does everything for the four children and she is treated almost as one of the family. This love piece is for her, she is central and center of this movie and in fact Cuaron dedicates the movie to his real nanny Liboria Rodíguez, now seventy-four years old. “For Libo” is the last credit we see.
The father is a doctor. He is like a phantom he appears and then disappears, and eventually he will disappear for good. Cleo meets her problems and fate,with faith and with spirit and is tested when she meets the only villain in the movie who is really horrible.
He does have a nice naked body which we see as he demonstrates his martial arts in the nude for Cleo after they have sex in a rented room. He is the villain and I hated him, his deeds are bad. Cuaron is most likely the youngest child in the film, (he makes poetic statements throughout the film) but it doesn’t really matter.
There are two trips to the movies; one is where Cleo is left stranded after she tells her villain that she thinks she is pregnant. I’ll be right back he says he has to take a wicked pee, and he never comes back. The movie theatre is big and ornate and packed with people watching a silly British army comedy with Terry Thomas. The other movie clip is from “Marooned” an early 70’s space move that the children insist they must see. This time all we see is a short clip of Gene Hackman floating in space and some of us might pick up on this “Gravity” remark from Cuaron.
Mexico City is teeming with activity and humanity, there is not one empty area of space where we can rest, it just flows and pulses. Those of us who are New Yorkers will almost feel comfortable and familiar with this mess, and others will want to get the hell out of it. Cuzon does pans and tracking shots of the city’s busy and collaged streets. The story is intimate and small but with huge startling sequences that are like seeing movies for the first time and realizing what they are capable of doing.
There are set pieces that will be classics (they are already some would say) and will be talked about for years to come. Cleo’s visit to a martial arts training field to tell her villain that she is indeed pregnant, the sad delivery of her child, the Corpus Christi massacre of students and protesters by the army and seen high above in a furniture store as Cleo and the family’s loving grandmother shop for a crib for Cleo’s unborn child, A large New Years family gathering that is surreal with dog heads lining the walls, and a scary fire and a shooting party gone berserk, an earthquake that covers an incubator in a hospital with stones, without harming the baby within. There are others. What is also remarkable is the cinematography, so crisp and black and white, insolated figures far and near in landscapes and beaches.
Intimate little scenes in kitchens where maids and cooks chat and giggle, family quarrels over dinners. The final scene where Cleo climbs a long outdoor staircase to the roof to hang the family’s laundry as an airplane flies overhead. Sounds come to us from all parts of the film and the theatre where we sit transfixed by the absolute beauty of what we are watching. Is that someone in the audience talking no its coming from the movie. Is that crying from the screen or is it from the audience? It’s both. The film should be seen on a big screen in a theatre and not streaming on a t.v. or a God forbid computer screen, but Netflix which “owns” the film has other plans, and right now it is being shown in a few theatres around the country for a short time. I suggest you make plans to see it where it should be seen, on a big screen.
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