This week’s Required Reading explores the restoration of earthquake-damaged Haitian murals, an archeological mystery in West Asia, the 18th C toilette tradition, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge on pandrogeny, connecting the dots on Mona Lisa, the Banksy app, the year’s worst first sentences, cool iPhone cases and even Death has a generational divide.
On Wednesday evening at 6 pm CST I was standing in a domestic violence shelter introducing my project “Everyone We’ve Never Met from Memory and Imagination” to a group of about twenty women. They listened politely as I showed them drawings of people like Gene Simmons, Brittany Spears (Snarling, head shaved), 1950s Elvis vs Vegas Elvis, Martha Stewart, Oprah and shared some of the memories other people had written about the subjects. After I finished the introduction, I passed out some brainstorming worksheets. One woman completed her list almost immediately.
I understand why the metaphors between art and food work: art is “nourishing” to your soul; a chef is an “artist,” his plate the “canvas,” and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, these metaphors are such cozy bedfellows that they’ve all but become cliche. Which is why, when I first heard that a Neapolitan pizzeria/gallery had opened in midtown Manhattan — as in, an authentic, Naples-style restaurant plus a gallery space, so intertwined that the name, PizzArte, is a mashup of the two — my first thought was that this had to be a gimmick.
While exploring the New York Academy of Art’s 5th Annual Summer Exhibition at Flowers, all I could think about was one person: director David Lynch. Not only because I am a fan of the master of the surreal psychological horror, but many of the works in the exhibition featured a similar eerie atmosphere that pervades Lynch’s films and it wasn’t just the disproportionate amount of works with rabbits.
If Beijing has a Chelsea, 798 Art Zone, then surely it has a Williamsburg. That “alternative” neighborhood is Caochangdi (草场地). According to legend, Ai Weiwei moved out here in early 2000 to set up his studio and the China Art Archives and Warehouse. It was a strange move at the time, but galleries and artists soon followed, and the area is now home to a number of well-known spaces.
The mercury in your thermometer can easily climb to 100+ degrees during these dog days of summer in north Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. The concrete streets are helplessly desolate and even the Bushwick pigeons seem to have given up. Bushwick has been quieter lately, and the local art scene might have been hiding in the close proximity of blasting air conditioners most of the time, but even with all these factor you can definitively say that it certainly is not dead. In fact, several prominent Bushwick galleries and art spaces opted out of the summer break and have been serving up refreshing art options.
Are American art institutions engaged in a Manichean battle between exclusivity and access? Will this be settled with a mud wrestling match between Crystal Bridges benefactor Alice Walton and MoMA director Glenn Lowry? Please, oh please, say it will be.
Will Jean Nouvel’s MoMA tower get built? The initially 1,250 foot project has already had its crown knocked off and it is now slated to be 1,050 feet high but no word yet about the final design, according to the New York Observer this week …
Williamsburg artist Joshua Abelow makes some pretty cool work. When he’s not in the studio he’s working on his website Art Blog Art Blog. Most of us now spend a great deal of our lives online, so its no surprise that the artistic process has begun to bleed over from the studio into the web.
We would like to take a break from our daily posting to thank our sponsors for the month of July. These are the people and places that keep us publishing, so be sure to check them out.
It’s been nearly a month since we dismantled our mail art show, Presents: Three Months of Mail Art for Hyperallergic HQ. The show was a first in a lot of ways … but not all the mail art that was sent our way got to us …
It was 1982 and it was just an ordinary night in the Bronx, Don with his wife Annie and I were sitting around talking and listening to music at their apartment. When the end of the record was over, Don got up to flip the side over. He suddenly turned toward us and we just stared at each other without saying a word. In this brief moment of silence, the future had just arrived. No, it wasn’t the sound of Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Grandmaster Flash or even the Clash. From the darkened bedroom next to us, came the sounds of smacking lips and bursts of ecstatic exclamations from Don’s kid Anthony and his stepbrother Danny. With bits of dribble and droll and tongues poking out from the corners of their mouths, they were feverously huddled in their pajamas staring at the screen of a Commodore 64 computer. It was 8-bit, hypnotic and all encompassing. The moths were caught in an overbearing and hypnotic light. The invasion had begun.