NEW ORLEANS — The Piazza d’Italia generally isn’t high on many people’s lists of Things To See And Do In New Orleans; in fact, I’d guess that most of the tourists who stumble across it do so while getting lost on their way to or from the nearby Harrah’s casino or Hilton Riverfront. They probably no idea that this gaudy urban ensemble, designed by Charles Moore and opened in 1978, represents one of the seminal pieces of postmodern architecture in the country. In his Prospect 2 biennial piece, Francesco Vezzoli adds an extra layer of kitsch to New Orleans’ Piazza d’Italia with his “Portrait of Sophia Loren.”
Are the 60s still cool? Williamsburg says yes. This month’s 2nd Friday event convinced me that some things will never go out of style. For example, hot chocolate from Ella Cafe on a crisp November evening and the light sweet taste of cotton candy, thanks to the boutique and gallery Cotton Candy Machine. It also persuaded me that Williamsburg has a foot remaining in the 1960s. And it’s not just because everyone is wearing bull-horn black glasses.
While at the landmark exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Brooklyn Museum, I realized I had to start my review with a statement that will look simple and quite possibly stupid: Hide/Seek is more than David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire In My Belly.”
Earlier today we reported that artist Man Bartlett had been arrested early Thursday morning during the #N17 Day of Action. We also reported that the artist was released from jail after being detained for roughly 27 hours. We gave him some time to rest and then caught up with him to hear about his experience at the protest, the arrest and the how he got the word out to his dad about his arrest despite the fact that he had no cell phone.
Sanford Biggers new exhibition, Cosmic Voodoo Circus, is currently on view at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City. Curated by Mary Ceruti, the executive director and chief curator of the institution, the exhibition is a polite — if not enigmatic — tableau. The work is visually striking, but stiff like Nicole Kidman’s face. The sum is not greater than its parts.
OMG guys, the artistes have arrived in Brooklyn. China Chow announces the challenge. They artists have to do street art! In Williamsburg! So hood. It’s a team challenge, too. Apparently art is the new Quidditch.
The police raid on unsuspecting Occupy Wall Street protesters at Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning was a disturbing sight. Cops in riot gear smashed tents, arrested groggy protesters from the park, confiscated possessions and books from the People’s library (although we have confirmed that the materials are safe) and even brought in bulldozers to rid Zuccotti of the movement’s micro-city. Although protesters have returned to re-occupy their space, they will no longer be allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags into the park according to a New York Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday. With the symbolic and physical base of the movement under threat, everyone is asking what is next for Occupy Wall Street.
Day trips beyond New York City for visual art can feel decadent, especially with all the spectacular shows we don’t have time to see. And although it might be a small hassle to get there, the Brant Foundation’s current solo show of David Altmejd is really worth every minute of the trip to Greenwich, Connecticut. With his hallucinogenic and kaleidoscopic aesthetic, Altmejd also seems to be asking viewers to take a trip.
Blue Curry is a Bahamian artist living and working in London. If his name doesn’t make you smile the materials in his artwork and his sense of irony certainly will. Curry is having his first US solo exhibition at the LES’s Toomer Labzda Gallery this month.
Smokin’ Joe Frazier, dead at 67, was a former heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist of the world. He succumbed to liver cancer at his home in Philadelphia on November 7, 2011. What does Frazier have to do with art? Like Smokin’ Joe, Philadelphia artists embody their hard-knuckle hometown, utilizing a no-nonsense approach to work.
Perhaps from embarrassment or hitting a deep seated pain. A sensitive nerve that doesn’t like to be touched or exposed. Whatever the particular cause, its effect is a shutter that runs down the spine. A quivering sensation starting at the nape of the neck and rolling like a barbed ball of wire down each vertebrate, prickling until it strikes the tailbone and exits the body. The shoulders shift a bit at the beginning to reorient their position, and the back wiggles at the release of each tingle. There is an old adage that instructs ‘shake it off’ when something upsetting occurs. This advice incited our inquiry.
Lester Johnson (1919 – 2010) remains a cult figure, particularly for those who care about painting, which, let’s face it, is a cult made up of warring factions. Johnson is a full-fledged member of the faction to which the terms “painterly,” “expressionist,” and “figurative” have accrued, but which are too diluted to be of any use. He remains best known for his paintings of men, often depicted as monochrome silhouettes packed tightly together.