Harmony Korine is known chiefly as a filmmaker, best for writing Larry Clark’s 1995 cult hit Kids. His most recent movie, Trash Humpers, was variously decried and praised for its unabashedly gritty commitment to a certain kind of disturbing, voyeuristic realism. Bill Saylor is an artist who works in a surreal vein of the American visual vernacular remixing ideas of the great West, motorcycle culture and 60s psychadelia into a seething new whole. The pair have collaborated on a recently released zine, called Ho Bags, that springs from a similar milieu: messy, dirty, smudged drawings present the psychotic essence of the unrealized and over-idealized American Dream.
Ridykeulous, founded by artists Nicole Eisenman and A.L. Steiner in 2005, describes itself as an effort to “subvert, sabotage, and overturn the language commonly used to define feminist and lesbian art,” primarily through exhibitions, performances, and zines. Attacking the marginalization of queer and feminist art as “alternative” cultures, they insist upon participating in mainstream dialogues about art and culture; in adopting the role of curators and organizing exhibitions, Steiner and Eisenman forcefully insert themselves and their collaborators into the spaces, both literally and figuratively, of the art establishment. Though not all of the artists in Readykeulous are female, nor do all identify as queer, they share an interest in disrupting the status quo.
In another giant leap for art online, Google has released Art Project, a collaboration with a group of 17 international art museums, including New York’s own Metropolitan and Museum of Modern Art, to put their collections online. But this isn’t just a rehash of some online slideshow. Museums participating in Art Project can be digitally toured in two ways: as a Google Street View-style walking trip through the physical museum itself, as well as an artwork-by-artwork tour, with masterpieces of museum collections viewable in a slick image window. Here’s what Art Project does better than any other digital art viewer out there.
Despite Wednesday night’s snow storm, tough cookies crowded the Austrian Cultural Forum to near capacity for Alpine Desire’s opening reception. The wine was gone by 7pm but people stayed. Examining mountain imagery in contemporary art, as well as a few earlier modernist and romanticist paintings, the show wins over its audience not only by exhibiting picturesque (and relatively safe) postcard-like views but also evocations on our darker and quirkier interactions with mountains.
Alison Young is a lawyer and a professor at the University of Melbourne, Australia, but don’t let that intimidate you. She has also extensively covered the Australian street art world, writing and teaching on the “intersection of law, crime and culture.” In Street|Studio: The Place of Street Art in Melbourne, Young works with street artists Ghostpatrol, Miso (Stanislava Pinchuk) and designer Timba Smits to create a book that documents the culture of street art in Melbourne. From introductory essays to photo spreads to in-depth interviews with artists about their work and the role of street art, Street|Studio covers everything you’d want to know about a city’s scene in a way that few other street art compendiums manage to accomplish. Beyond its excellent good looks, this is a surprisingly informative volume.
Joe Zucker’s solo exhibition A Unified Theory at not one, but two Mary Boone gallery outposts is an affair that stretches from day-glo exuberance to quiet, eloquent historicism. In the gallery’s 24th street space, an exhibition of mosaic works on gypsum sees Zucker breaking down the representational plane into its basic elements. The grids of tinted squares, scratched into stone, come together to form figurative depictions of sailboats and architectural atria. Equally at home in the context of 8-bit pixel culture or Chuck Close’s gridded painting constructions, Zucker’s mosaics engage abstraction without losing an interest in transcendent beauty and joy in artistic materials.
Last Wednesday the Lesley Heller Workspace in the Lower East Side, opened The Bushwick Paintings, a new group of work by Deborah Brown. The gallery was packed, teeming with people and vibrant paintings.
Brown has been painting urbanscapes for quite some time. Fascinated by the world in which we live our everyday lives, she points out the poetic beauty of the ordinary; antennas, sneakers hanging on overhead wires, lamp posts, and fences are no longer invisible elements of the city, but the main characters in her scenes.
Jennifer Bartlett’s latest exhibition Recitative at Pace Gallery shows the artist continually breaking down and rebuilding the base particles of art. In the enormous, open gallery installation, enamel-coated steel tiles spaced in rising and falling grids line the exterior walls. Each square holds its own combination of disparate elements of art, remixing line, shape, color and texture into an infinity of combinations. This central installation, “Recitative” (2009-10), is Bartlett’s longest painting composition ever at 158 feet. What at first appears to be a gallery-size abstraction coalesces into a didactic walk-through of art at the atomic level and a joyful celebration of what it means to make a purposeful artistic mark.
Maximum Perception was one thing first and foremost: a lot of fun. As a coming together of performance artists, the crowd at the English Kills event packed the gallery on both evenings, with a noticeable overlap between nights, as well as between performers and spectators. Artists helped fellow participants set up, carry out and document their performances, spectators got in on the action once in a while and Hyperallergic editor Hrag Vartanian, myself and Daniel Larkin attempted to document the whole thing live, an experiment in itself. The vantage from our little blogging table wasn’t ideal, but thankfully I was in a pretty good place to see most performances. Here are my thoughts, five days later, on this year’s Maximum Perception.
The New Adventures of Grossmalerman is a pulpy dime-store comic jaunt through the art world, suitable for anyone with a sense of humor, but especially for those with an underlying cynicism about their own art world adventures. Which makes pretty much all of us. The comic, published by Regency Arts Press and created by Guy Richards Smit, chronicles the life of Jonathan Grossmalerman, a late-career German painter “obsessed with fucking” and in possession of a large drinking problem. Think Archie on too many drugs with a predilection for large canvases of women bending over.
We’ve all wished we could break into an art collector’s house at times, just to take a look at the wealth of objects out of the public eye. Aside from being awesome aggregations of unique things, collections also communicate something about a person, their aesthetic tastes and their own preferences. Collectionof is a new website that brings the private stashes of some cultural figures to public view. Here, you can check out artist Cory Arcangel’s magazine choices or Brooklyn musician C. Spencer Yeh’s CD rack. Of course, some of it’s for sale, too.
From the frothing press release for Haymaker, expectations may be running a little high for these five young artists to mount a full scale assault on the Chelsea firmament. Set up as a reaction to the Pop-driven, ever-quickening pace of the art market and the commodifying of art and the artist, Haymaker’s participants all take the market’s demand for fresh, bright, shiny objects head on, creating works that are eminently consumable. But running under the veneer of consumability is a cynicism and sarcasm that pokes fun at art market systems while still participating in them. This is no revolution, it’s a subversion.