Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Identity of Glenn Ligon

Wednesday night I went to the opening of the Glenn Ligon show at the Whitney Museum. Taking over an entire floor, Ligon's vast body of work is the result of 25 years of maneuvering and reacting to the political and ideological tenets imposed on a gay black man in America. "America" is in fact the title of the show, perhaps referencing his works' comment on collective, as well as personal, experiences. This show is definitely an important one, and worth a trip uptown.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Do you have the time?

 The Clock, Christian Marclay, 2010

If you do, check out Christian Marclay's 24 hour video piece, 'The Clock', before it ends it's run at Paula Cooper Gallery this Saturday. If you have a lot of time, go Friday for the gallery's all night screening. In the video, Marclay has pieced together hundred of clips from various films that reveal the time. Whether a character says it, a wristwatch is cut to, or a blurred grandfather clock is silently ticking away in the background, nearly every minute in the day is accounted for and at the exact same time it is in real life. So, when I entered the screening room at 10:39, on the screen a man was sitting, waiting it seemed, in his car looking at the car's clock, it ticks 10:39. In a hurry he is joined by a woman and drives off. Next clip. 10:40. An alarm clock ticks away bedside. Next clip. 10:41. 
And so on and on for every minute of the day.
In film, the clock is useful to connect the viewer to the story's timeline. Often days or weeks are squeezed into just 2 hours, so visual clues help suspend the viewer from his or her temporality. In 'The Clock', however, Marclay manipulates film to match our temporality.

And he does so almost seamlessly,
 sewing time together through subject, mood and sound: 
A character enters a bathroom in one clip, cut to a different character standing in a different bathroom her wristwatch in partial view.
A frantic time bomb in a car moment cuts to a man sweating, staring nervously at his pocket watch.
The ticking of one clock seeps into the scene of the next.
Marclay is known for his work with sound (I hope you all witnessed his installation at the Whitney last spring), but my first introduction to his work was a video piece of a similar vein to this one. Like this piece it has a single "inanimate" object as it's subject and title. I use quotes for inanimate because, like 'The Clock', it is actually quite active. Titled 'The Telephone', it is a series of film clips cut together of  telephones ringing and being answered. My mother owns this piece and plays it often at parties at her apartment. And, let me tell you, standing in a room with the piece for more that 5 minutes can easily drive you crazy. Don't get me wrong, it's a genius collage of film history, but the constant rings and "hellos" make you feel like you're in a office full of telephone operators (who do appear in this piece). 
What is so incredible about 'The Clock' is that it never wares on you.  When you're in Paula Cooper's quite comfortable, make-shift theater, you feel like you could watch the full 24 hours and you really want to.  Each clip hints at it's film's greater story, pulling you in then quickly releasing. 

Two friends had told me about this show and how they spent five minutes in line outside the gallery at 12:30 AM Saturday morning waiting to view the piece. I found this to be a crazy notion and decided I would simply attend a weekday morning to avoid such a thing. Which I did and there was indeed no line, though the theater was pretty full. 
After seeing it, however, I understand the desire why people might go so late. Not only is it unlikely to see the whole piece ever, it is even less likely to see it in those wee hours. Wherever the piece ends up, will probably have even less hospitable viewing hours, thus I urge you to take the opportunity this weekend to wait as long as you can stand to wait and see as much of this piece as you can stand to watch. It's just that good.   

Oh and don't forget to pee ahead of time...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Color Me Mine

Thursday night I popped into two shows that blinked on my radar. After the dark reality of the film "Biutiful", which I saw that afternoon, I needed the colorful surreality of the work I was venturing out to see.
On my agenda was a solo show of artist Robin Williams at PPOW Gallery, and the Trey Speegle show at Benrimon Contemporary.
I checked out Robin's show "Rescue Party" first, and no the artist is not a fifty year old furry male comedian, but rather a twenty-something blonde chick. I ran into an acquaintance just as I was entering the gallery who was too amused that I referred to her as a him. How was I to know? I hadn't really heard of her though her work seemed familiar, I was there purely because I liked what I saw in thumbnail-size posted on art log
To my surprise and enjoyment all her pieces were no smaller than 60"x 40".  She explained that she liked her work to be life-sized. Understandably so, as each piece brought you into this world she's created that, if I had to describe it in few words, evokes a farm on LSD.
Neon-hued scenes of children "at play" or portraits of eccentrically costumed figures fascinate and bewilder. When you get close, the texture pulls you in just as the subject does from afar. Ridged and swirled the paint extends off the canvas like barnacles.
In their entirety, these paintings are truly beautiful and cinematic and a little bit eery.
Photo courtesy of

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And now a visual moment..

Welcome to a new monthly post featuring some of my shots.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm Hung Ry

I don't know about you, but I'm over brunch and in fact often avoid eating out midday on Sundays to dodge the enormous  crowds that emerge for this bourgeoise ritual.
(Side note: I did once enjoy brunch immensely, it's just gotten to big for it's britches.)
However this past weekend, when out erranding, hunger struck and we happened to be near a new spot on Bond St. that I had noticed a few weeks ago. It serves chinese style organic pulled noodle soups, thus on such a freezing day, it sounded utterly perfect.
And it was.
I was surprised that we could get a table considering it's location and the great reviews it's gotten, then I remembered the six degree weather we had ventured out into and that many people were probably brunching in bed this Sunday.
It's a perfect sized restaurant, just enough tables to seat plenty but not too many to feel over-crowded, even when full.
The decor was not overwhelming, in a good way. 
You know this place is about the food.
They have a cool tree bark covered wall, 
but I must admit I was disappointed by the table and chair choice. 
They must have gotten a really good deal on them as they were literally the same sets we had in my high school cafeteria
But anyway decor was not the incentive. 
I quieted the aesthete within and focused on the menu.
The appetizers sounded interesting even intimidating, so we kept it simple choosing the seasonal vegetable dish. 
It was not so simple, but it was delicious
Baby beets, yellow carrots and pickled radish presented in beautiful trio of sunset colors. It was sweet, sour and refreshing. 
On to the soups. 
All the choices were dictated by a certain meat or non-meat;
oxtail, chicken, duck, lobster,  pork belly, veal cheek, or squash
was followed by a selection of tantalizing and sometimes daunting ingredients to complement.
They are very amenable to leaving out anything that, though perhaps standard in China, might not appeal to a NOHO customer.
My lunch date got the duck breast sans gizzard and I, normally a pescatarian, opted for the black feather chicken breast, leg, egg and mixed winter greens soup. It was one of those days when nothing sounds better than chicken soup. I also chose the gluten-free noodle option, which I was hesitant to do as the thick gluten-ful noodles others were slurping down looked amazing. These were the best gluten-free noodles I've ever had, and I've had many. Sadly I left the restaurant without asking what kind of noodle it was, but I'll ask next time, as there will be a next time especially if the weather keeps up this way.
Both soups were incredible. Of course I tried the duck and it's beautiful thick noodles in it's dark broth. 
The broth of both soups had an amazing touch of cinnamon that, though I'm one to add cinnamon wherever possible, I never thought of in soup. Genius.
In mine the greens were great and having the chicken and the egg was a pretty delectable combination.

Obviously this is a place I highly recommend; 
anything to help deal with the bitter weather is a god-sent.

Do check out Hung Ry at 
                                                                            55 Bond St.

Photo borrowed from  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why So Blue?

Saw Blue Valentine Saturday night, and let's just say I cried, a lot.
Ok let's not just say that. 
I'm not normally one to weep at films, but I found this story unbelievably sweet and heart breaking at the same time.
It's a love story interspliced with the story of that love's own demise. So you can imagine the emotional tug-of-war when just as we experience the sweet tears of their pure and young love, we also experience the tears of sadness as their marriage ends. 
Not because of anything specific, they've just grown apart. They don't talk any more. They want different things and resentment has set in.

Now by revealing the basic story line I must stress that I'm by no means ruining the movie for anyone who has not seen it yet. The characters are so engaging even at their most modest and the actors make them so damned cute, you can't help but want them to get together in real life to right the wrong of this story. (I have to admit I always find Ryan Gosling especially cute and fall in love with his characters even when their crack-addicted teachers, as my boyfriend pointed out, he often plays the same role of the well-intentioned guy who just can't get it right, and that's just endearing I guess.)
Anyway, it's a beautifully sad story that really makes you think about love and how if two people who seemed so smitten, who chose to love each other even when circumstance made it difficult, could so passively fall out of love. 

I could say much more , but I'll leave you with this question. 
If the love dissolves, does that mean it was the wrong person?
Blue Valentine is definitely a flick to check out.
And is playing at Angelika right now
or another indie theater near you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quite White

Well first up I must mention my mother's show that opened to great success last Thursday night, 
otherwise I'd be a shameful daughter. 
She curated an all white group art show at the Loretta Howard Gallery on 26th street in Chelsea.  
It's title, THE JANUARY WHITE SALE, is pretty genius and the show was too.

Of course when I arrived I could barely squeeze into the elevator to get to the gallery, and once in, it took sincere effort to focus 
solely on the work as the place was literally mobbed with people. Many of whom , I'm certain, had just wandered it to see where everyone was going. 

Like my mother's other shows, she's curated seven now, this one had a great theme to bind the art together. Yet unlike the others  this theme really let the work speak for itself. The purity of the white pieces forces the viewer to really appreciate the  form and materiality even when faced with a giant jock strap or a roll of toilet paper.

White is also my mother's favorite color, so it felt so utterly Beth and you can't go wrong with that. 
Many came up to me with huge praise for what they thought was  her best show yet.  I of course love all of her shows, but this one had an ethereal quality that was undeniably compelling.  

And, as if part of the show, an early day snow left a perfect 
blanket of white outside the gallery's terrace where 
the oversized "cup" nestled peacefully.

After the show all hustled down to the oh so hip Jane Hotel to enjoy drinks and dancing with sweet DJ Erin Krause at the helm.

I often rely on my mother to  gather an awesome mix of cool, interesting and strange people together in one night and this was no exception...

For the best pics of the opening and the party see patrick mcmullan's website, of course.

credit to Loretta Howard's website for 
unknowingly supplying these photos.. thanks