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Fiercely Independent Abstraction for Idiots

Janet Kurnatowski has run her gallery out of the ground floor of 205 Norman Ave. for the last seven years. There is something both welcoming and powerful about her modest space. The finished plywood and low ceiling are a welcome environment; a spacious hobbit hole for art. The owner’s earthy dedication to her craft seems to radiate throughout the space. The current exhibition Idiot’s Delight was curated by Craig Olson, one of the gallery’s artists. The exhibition is a love poem of sorts, an ode to those who spend their days in the studio. Old skool Brooklyn artists like Jim Clark and Chris Martin hang their work proudly next to young up-and-comers like Elisa Soliven. The resulting installation is less about a unified aesthetic than a kind of rugged independence.

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Cory Arcangel and Pierre Bismuth Tag Team in Soho

When I walked into Team Gallery this week to see their current exhibition, Cory Arcangel vs. Pierre Bismuth my gut reaction was annoyance. The exhibition presents three works by each artist. Though Arcangel’s rise to fame has come somewhat immediately and unexpectedly, as a kind of young hip digital concept artist Pierre Bismuth’s 20-year career is equally concerned with technology and media. The result is seamless and startling to an admittedly backwards curmudgeon like me.

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If Gender Is a Performance, Can’t Artistic Importance Be Too?

Attending transgender singer, songwriter and performance artist Mx Justin Vivian Bond’s exhibition, The Fall of the House of Whimsy at Participant Inc., I left feeling horribly conflicted, so conflicted that it took me a few weeks to even approach the topic in writing. Even though I originally felt irritated by Bond’s self-mythologizing tenancy, I began to later wonder if Bond’s self-creation as an artistic icon is any different from any other art exhibition.

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For the Tasteless Millionaire in Your Life

If you have not yet bought a small gift for the tasteless millionaire in your life, I recommend visiting H. Maxwell Fisher’s Underground Toy Emporium & Spaceship Parking at Jim Kempner Fine Art. The “emporium” imagined by Randy Regier is an exhibit of the type of cheap toys in flattened colors from the mid-20th century that projected a robot-infested future in breakable plastic.

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3 iPad Apps Recreate the Museum Experience…Almost

MANILA, Philippines — Over the past few months, I’ve watched with envy as stunning museum shows have gone up in my old haunts in Los Angeles and New York. Thankfully, in recent months three museums have released exhibition-related apps for the iPad and iPhone. To see how they stack up, I reviewed three apps (CA Design HD at LACMA, AB EX at MoMA, Cattelan at Guggenheim) in their iPad incarnations. Here are my thoughts.

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I Am Underemployed and Underwhelmed

On Saturday I visited Underemployed at Zurcher Studio on Bleecker Street. I read the press release for the show and got excited. First of all, the show is curated by an artist, Josh Blackwell. The premise of the show hinges on Oscar Wilde. His quote from The Decay of Lying: An Observation gives Blackwell’s exhibition form: “The ancient historians gave us delightful fiction in the form of fact; the modern novelist presents us with dull facts under the guise of fiction.” The art in this exhibition tickled my fancy and my funny bone, but I’m not sure that much of it stood up on its own.

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A Bedroom for Art

The pop up alternative exhibition has become a digital alternative to the fixed “alternative” space of yesteryear. Most of these experiments are on Brooklyn or the Lower East Side, and unusually accompanied by a fair mess of e-hype. When I was invited by a close friend to accompany her to Second Guest Projects an apartment based space in the East Village, I couldn’t help but smiling. Here was the respite from the free tote bag giveaway credit card and Ford Taurus-sponsored art world that can be so headache inducing.

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A Painterly Odd Couple

Michaël Borremans’s The Devil’s Dress, and Neo Rauch’s Heilstätten grapple with the human figure and landscapes in contemporary painting. Both artists provide inscrutable visions of humanity, but differ in approach and aesthetic. Where Borremans seems to use a scalpel to paint, Rauch uses a shovel. Borreman is Felix to Rauch’s Oscar.

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Art Hopping in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma — Curious what the Flaming Lips, the psychedelic rock band, would do with their own gallery? Then get to Oklahoma City, but be sure to catch an opening, because otherwise their Womb gallery is available for viewing by appointment. Over my holiday weekend visit to my (and the Flaming Lips’) home-state, I tried to see the Womb and a couple other downtown Oklahoma City art spaces, including [Artspace] at Untitled and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

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Work of Art Recap: Lola Displays Her “Loose Morals,” The Artistes Sell Out

This week, China announces that this week, “it’s time to sell out.” Because no one has “sold out” by going on a reality show, right? Anyways, the challenge is to create art to sell in the street and also display in the gallery. Art and commerce! The challenge rules are a little different: everyone works in teams of two, and they have five hours to combine shopping and studio time.