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Blue Chip Chelsea: Keifer, Rauschenberg, Sugimoto + Surprises

Yesterday afternoon, I ventured out into the bordering on bad weather and braved the gray skies to bring you the latest on Chelsea this November. The gallery district is probably much as you remember it, with high-end galleries showing off their blue chip stables and smaller spaces skipping to keep up. Yet there are still pleasant surprises to be found in the warehouse-strewn streets, from lesser known painters that include (gasp!) a ceramicist to commercial shows that may as well be museum retrospectives. Continue below for the blow-by-blow of my blue-chip Chelsea trip.

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A Trip Through BETA Spaces

I spent my Sunday wandering into the living spaces of Bushwick, searching for art, and there was a lot to find. Though, much of what I found seemed to have woken up at 11:30am to start setting up for the event that technically started at noon. Truly, I didn’t mind. Who am I to complain, when I’m spending my day invading the homes of artists?

The experience for me was as much about walking through the grey, unwelcoming streets of Bushwick as it was seeing the plethora of work being created there. It was stumbling around, looking for the garage entrance; It was walking down a dark, graffiti’d hallway, wondering if I was even on the right floor; and it was opening the many different doors to find vibrant colors, projections, snacks, wine, or any other sort of welcoming warmth.

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Social Mediaites Throw Real-Life Party at #TheSocialGraph

Last Friday, the virtual art world became the real one as fellow Twitter followers met one another in reality, Facebook friends shook hands and a certain performance artist crossed the thresholds between digital and analog. During #TheSocialGraph’s opening at Outpost in Ridgewood, a growing community that exists largely online met in person — and actually talked. Like, with sound, instantaneously. This was all helped along by a large keg and stacks of plastic cups that may have been an exercise in relational aesthetics, but probably were not.

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Being Telepresent

For #TheSocialGraph, I proposed a look at the next step in social media — telepresence, which, in its simplest form is a large-scale video chat meant to mimic the presence of someone in the room, and at its most complex can take the form of a roving, camera-enabled robot.

Since almost as early as the invention of the telephone, human beings have imagined the possibilities of video communication. How amazing would it be to see each other over the phone? That technology now exists, as cameras become embedded in our computers and our smart phones. But even Apple has had trouble pushing it past niche uses. Video chat, for most people, is just too weird.

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Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s The YouTube: Archive & Anarchy

Starting Wednesday, Brooklyn blogger and curator Brent Burket will be curating a three-day YouTube retrospective that mines the insanity of the online video juggernaut to find gems and germs that are sometimes painful to watch but always entertaining. His mission was to present an array of short videos that would give us a taste of the art world there and wait till you see what he has discovered.

Paul Virilio has written extensively about how advances in technology have changed our relationship to time and space. YouTube has been supremely guilty of that crime, AND it’s allowed us to hit repeat it when necessary. Um, awesome …

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Loren Munk Talks Social Network Paintings & James Kalm Report

Last Saturday, #TheSocialGraph was honored to host the first-ever retrospective of Loren Munk’s popular online video channel, the James Kalm Report.

Started as a conceptual performance of sorts, Munk and his alterego, James Kalm, have over the course of four and a half years garnered a cult following in the art world (particularly outside New York). The painter turned video artist has demonstrated his savvy in the world of social media and fit in perfectly to the types of conversations we are attempting to have in the social media art show.

To honor Munk, I asked another art visionary Austin Thomas to curate a selection of video since I knew she shared the same respect and passion for Munk’s project as I did. And this is what she had to say in person (and on her blog) about the short videos she chose:

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The Benefit of Virtual Living? Reality Doesn’t Last

If a meteor destroyed all of Queens, we’d probably be pretty freaked out. But might a virtual dragon destroying a virtual city ultimately upset more people? In an article entitled “Cataclysm Coming…” author Tom Chatfield explores what the update means to the denizens of World of Warcraft (WoW), the popular multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). To the inhabitants of an enormous virtual world, population 11.5 million, the coming update, called Cataclysm, will be a revolution. Sure, the game isn’t actually real, but aren’t there ways in which living virtually surpasses physical reality? To start off with, everything makes sense and nothing dies.

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Jennifer Dalton Talks Social Media Consumption

This is the second in a series of interviews with artists, writers, and personalities involved with #TheSocialGraph, which opens today (November 12, 6-9p). For more information, visit hyperalleric.com/thesocialgraph.

Jennifer Dalton stepped right into the heart of New York’s social media art movements when she, along with artist William Powhida, organized #Class at the Winkleman Gallery earlier this year. The exhibition was as much a social media event producing a constant stream of Facebook content, Twitter conversations, livestreams, and Flickr images, as a IRL one.

Since then she has completed “What Are We Not Shutting Up About? (Five Months of Status Updates and Responses from Jerry Saltz’s Facebook [Profile] Page)” (2010), which she exhibited this past summer at the FLAG Art Foundation. I interviewed her in July about that social media profile turned art work and she talked about the reasons she makes art …

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Gagosian, Google Invest In Art Start Up Art.sy, But Why?

Vaguely-defined art startup Art.sy has found some pretty incredible backers, among them some of the biggest names in both contemporary art and tech. Larry Gagosian, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Russian heiress and contemporary art world butterfly Dasha Zhukova and Wendi Murdoch (wife of Rupert) are teaming up with young CEO Carter Cleveland to launch a “personalized online fine-art emporium,” Artinfo reports.

Yet the problem with turning contemporary art into a full-fledged business outside of the gallery game is that you run the risk of alienating art’s flighty cool factor. What troubles could art start-ups face?

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Sculpture on the Edge, Socrates Park

Even on a cloudy day, it’s beautiful to get an opportunity to look across the East River at Manhattan from Astoria, especially when the view remains unobstructed by buildings, warehouses, elevated tracks, and all that other urban detritus. Socrates Sculpture Park provides an extraordinary view that, in itself, is worth the trip, but also acts as a tremendous background to the art on display in the waterfront park.

While I walked through the park, taking pictures and studying the pieces, plenty of people used the space outside of looking at art. Some visitors used the park to play with their dogs, others to do aerobics, groups of kids came after school to avoid going home, and not one, but two people used the space to have long cell phone conversations redefining collapsing relationships.