Monday, September 26, 2011

Finer Things

David Byrnes new installation "Tight Space"

At PACE Gallery

My favorite feathered friend, Amor.
He's been by my side for more than 10 years now,
and I love him as much as a person can love a bird.

Artist Martha Wilson making a convincing President Clinton.

Taking a nighttime stroll to Dylans Candy Bar.

Finding out Dylans Candy Bar has a fully stocked bar.
With gummy garnish, of course!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tight As A Drum! Brian Jungen

Photos from Brian Jungen's solo show at Casey Kaplan Gallery. His sculptures consist of varying desk chairs, bound by deer hides until they are tight as drums. I never got to personally find out how these seats sounded, as whacking your hands against such pieces of art on display to test acoustics is not allowed... generally everywhere.

I found these pieces absolutely beautiful, in the way they feel so organic and natural, yet at the same time, knowing full well that any body can buy these chairs at Ikea, and they fill most skyscrapers here in the city, and could not be more mass manufactured.

It is a very interesting show, and is visually stimulating as far as textures go. The sleek metal of the chair bases are contrasted by the doting brown animal hides and thick black string creating a veil type screen into and around the familiar forms.

The wall pieces accompany the restricted furniture, they are silver prints on foam. That's why they are so soft and bendy. I'm very fond of artists who are fond of a myriad of mediums. They could have been done on paper, or canvas, or vellum, but no, its thick foam.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tabaimo: DANDAN

Journeying into the Chelsea galleries this week, one of the first things we were told was ‘our minds would be blown’ by all of the new shows not previously available to view the week prior. I am a skeptic. Yes, I was thoroughly impressed with the shows seen thus far, but mind blowing? I am a New Yorker, after all. We’ll see, I thought to myself, as we were all led through an enormous wooden door- the kind across a moat to castle to keep invaders out, into an even more medieval type of darkness. Literal darkness, Edward Gorey darkness, so dark you can’t hear a thing.

The show is video animation by a Japanese artist named only Tabaimo, no last name, like Cher, or Madonna. I am not a fan of most video art. I feel it is annoying in the sense that viewing it in a gallery or museum requires you to stop moving, stop talking, sit still, be quiet, pay attention, wait around to catch the beginning of the loop and watch until the point you saw when you first walked up to it. However, Tabaimo, it would seem, is my kind of video artist.

The piece grabs your attention and forces you to appreciate it. With the thickest, most soundproof-seeming blackout curtains the theatre erases all signs of light and sound, except for those on display on the screen in front of you. This must be what purgatory is like, or what being trapped in an elevator, alone, during a power outage, after taking large amounts of hallucinogenic drugs is like.

The animation itself is beautiful rainbow colors, of drawn hands and feet, morphing in and out of one another, rolling on and off screen, but it is the room that feels like a pair of hands of darkness and deafness have grabbed your head, and is holding it still in the direction of the work and saying “Look at it! It’s beautiful isn’t it! Look! Don’t you see?!”. I did see it, yes, and it was amazing.

Catching my breath from the awe of the first video, I was overcome with vertigo stepping back through the curtains onto a… pool of water? No, a projection of bubbles beneath my feet, on what appears is a vertical ramp, like skateboarders use, with animated flowers, feet and hands materializing and disappearing on either side of me, undulating over each other. This show is like sensory deprivation and overload of the very best kind.

Set up in the floor to ceiling corner of the next room is a floor plan of an apartment, visible form every angle as it ebbs and flows in each direction. I am equally disoriented and astonished by every piece in this show. I can say with every fiber of my being that this show is mind blowing.

Ps: There was also a room full of hair pieces. Get it? Ha!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nick Cave: Ever After

Review and photos of Nick Cave's solo show Ever After at Jack Shainman Gallery, by Alexa Strautmanis.

Upon first entering the gallery, one is met by a small army of bunny men, all standing in a row, at ease, gentlemen, sporting long, flowing white-blonde hair head to toe. Not totally uniform, but each in erect postures, which vary slightly from figure to figure, a reoccurring theme at the show. There is something menacing about them, especially the one in the middle, crouching the most, like they are about to jump out from their assigned spaces when your back is turned and attack you.

Warily walking past the six-foot-plus humanoid rabbits, you feel like a subject on the queen of hearts croquette field, staring up at the bulbous and bizarre silhouettes upon the heads of mostly normal button-sequined bodies, complete with attatched boots. One is taken aback by the meticulous detail paid to each button, sewn together so well it forms a scaly sheet. The white of the mother of pearl outer layer contrasts the opening of the head/neck holes of the garments, made of wicker and wire and the deepest reds, brightest blues, oranges and yellows. This literal body of work is slightly terrifying and I cannot imagine seeing a child’s reaction to these boogiemen.

Across the floor, there is another stand full of adorned mannequins, all joined by one film of reflective onyx colored buttons. At first glance this could be carved out of single stone, or millions of coins welded together, but any way you look at it the work is impressive. The pieces are more or less uniformed by the share of material, and none too different from each other in stance. All wearing the same outfit of a big flat disk for a head/face, some looking up, some down, creating an undulation in the room, like visible sound waves, or that freaky torso plasma in Donnie Darko.

Buttons galore, yes, but in the tiny, one-bench theatre beyond the platform of people, you can watch a video of furries. Costumes just as intricately designed and assembled, but out of colorful furs and fabrics. Though each dances and jumps alone or with others against a white background, you can almost imagine a huge fire with smoke signals and native drums present, booming over the techno music.

This show is both playful, and haunting at the same time. The whimsy of the pieces is equaled only by eeriness, a sort of Pan’s Labyrinth embodied by fashion mannequins. A must see for any fan of costume and/or rabbits.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Storm King

I ventured to Storm King Art Center with family last weekend, to celebrate my great aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary. It was a surprise party, and let me tell you, I've never seen a grown woman cry harder that early on a Sunday before. The waterworks were in effect, that is certain. The party was a hit and I drank entirely too much champagne while sitting on a baby blanket, but hey, we're Latvian, and thats how we do. Some of my older cousins were happily surprised at the lack of getting kicked out of the establishment. It's happened before, and it will happen again. Did I mention that the party started an hour late? The couple of honor wound up at DIA Beacon, instead of Storm King, right out of the gate. Too hilarious. A sculpture garden by any other name would smell as sweet.

For more information and better resolution photos please visit Storm King's website. The center is located in Connecticut, about an hours drive from the city. Well worth the trip.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some of The Finer Things

Preview of Storm King

Class is back in session, students! With a whirlwind of activity happening being back in school I thought it might be nice to stop and smell the roses. In case you haven't noticed, I've been going apesh#t over that Hipstamatic app on my phone, which is my only good camera since mine broke in PR. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

Here's a few shots that brought a smile to my stress ridden face these past 2 weeks. More frequent posting to come! So many things to cover; Storm King, gallery openings, weird goings on in Chelsea galleries, home decorating for imminent foreign house guests, etc etc!

A wonderfully delicious, healthy little snack on my favorite red plate.
Also ice coffee in a Grande cup.

Enjoying the facilities of my new film class,
despite the content of the course is heavily influenced by feminism.

Being a spectator at the driving range. With beer.

Making use of the bananas I let ripen one day too long
in a refreshing smoothie.

Exploring Old New York and discovering new and exciting bike paths!

Keep tuned in, folks, updates and reviews coming shortly!