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HOT COMMODITIES 10
A Hawaiin Thanksgiving Special (go Packers!) Fall 2001
By Scott Speh

So it's Thanksgiving. I'm in Hawaii and you're not! Ha Ha Ha. Seriously, it's not that great. I'm here with two 50-somethings and three teenage girls, so my nightlife is mighty rocking fer sure. And very few 25-35 single women here at our resort -it's all family and couples. Couples make my stomach turn, All that hand holding, and kissy-facing. Yuk. Ah, who am I kidding? I'm just jealous, and...Hawaii is fucking awesome. Sun, surf, seafood - it's all good, save for that asshle who has babbling on his cell phone on the balcony below at 6 fucking a.m. yesterday. I almost had to open a can of whoop-ass. Anyway, wish you were here.

Before I left, I did manage to look at some art on a rare day in the City (damn this cursed job!). Did I see anything good? What do you think? Here's a short list from Chelsea:

Jeremy Blake at Feigen: Somewhat intrigued by the idea of animated Morris Louis paintings, but am less enamored of the antispetic texture fills and the sliding door effects - kinda like a Star Trek screensaver, which in my book is not a good thing. Jennifer Steinkamp, an L.A. artist who is criminally underseen here in NYC does this sort of thing much better as she incorporates the architecture of the projected surface in her digital abstract animations.

Jorge Pardo at Friedrich Pretzel: This is just crap - Pardo is stealing people's money. Ugly grey geodesic sculptures that double as pinhole cameras that take pictures of each other. All these photos will then be compiled into a book. Who. Gives. A. Fuck?

DeKooking at Matthew Marks: These paintings aren't quite as horrid as I used to believe. I've only seen these suckers in reproduction before where they look wispy and weightless. In person they're slightly more substantial, but again, who gives a fuck? Do they have any relevance to anything going on right now? No. Marks is just trying to move some back catalog. Plus the fresh coat of paint on the gallery walls gave me a serious contact high. Maybe a reason why I gave these shitty paintings the benefit of the doubt?

Michelle Grabner at Ten-in-One: Now these paintings are wispy and weightless, but purposely so. Grabner seems to be in a happy place with these pastel rainbow paintings of pale yellow, pink, blue and green striped grids. Up close, the color virtually disappears, yet a distance, the rainbows pop off the canvas and sort of do a little jig in the airspace in front of the wall. Keeping these works from complete airheadedness is an insidious flourescent yellow that seeps through the negative spaces of her grids. This acidic color (and these works are intensely about color) gives these seemingly light-hearted paintings a slightly disturbing edge.

Chris Hammerlein at Derek Eller: Profane, obnoxious, riotously funny drawings that mish-mash New Yorkers cartoons, Picasso erotic prints, R. Crumb and Peter Saul. The highlight of the show is the weirdest sculpture I've seen in a coon's age. A figurative (maybe) bronze that I'd ordinarily not glance at, except that as I was walking out the door, I realized one end of the sculpture looked like a severed penis tip. Stepping back, this thing looks like a kneeling horse, save for the penis head, and the hump back (more Quasimodo than camel) and severed hoofs and the unrelenting perversity. A Rodin, crossed with our old pal Picasso, taken out the woodchipper in Fargo.

Jenny Holzer at Cheim & Reid: I'm not generally a fan of her leaden and all-too-obvious text pieces but was blown away by this show. She really should stick to architecture. The best installation had four steel columns with elegaic blue LCD text scrolling up to a vaulted ceiling. The mood is somber and has a palpable tension between strength and fragility and I really couldn't help thinking about the WTC. It's shame the text was insipid - I won't bore you with any of it here - because the form, the color and mood was right on.

Richard Serra at Go-Go-Gagosian: The power of these gargantuan structures is undeniable, but massively macho slabs of steel don't do it for me anymore. I worry about the possbility of one these hunks will topple over and crush me. Giant chunks of metal with the potential for killing, well, I think it's played out. I saw this show after the Holzer, where I was reminded of the WTC. This show made me think of the tragedy as well, but in all too real terms. That said, "Union of the Torus and Sphere" is fucking beautiful.

Alex Katz at PaceWildenstein: Alex, like Jorge above, is also stealing money. Desultory, lazy, gigantic non-spectacles that are more played out that Serra's manly pursuits. Gawd these paintings are boring and shockingly, poorly painted. I guess that artforum piece where Alex painted a painting in like 2 hours was all too true.

Also worth a look:
Sam Prekop at Clemetine: Handsome understated abstracted cityscapes with big skies.
Elliot Green at Postmasters: Postmasters forgoes the technobabble crap they're partial to for at least a month for these charming abstractions using 40's style comic strip (or Ben Shahn) hands and feet as compositional elements.
James Sienna at Gorney Bravin + Lee: Delightful little doodles masquerading as serious painting. Sienna makes me feel lazy - I say I don't get any work done because I don't have a studio. All Sienna needs is a tiny sketchbook and a colored pencil. He could do these drawings on the bus! I really, really want of his small drawings for Xmas. So go out and buy me one!
Wayne Gonzalez at Paula Cooper: Is this what the world really needs now? Cheesy, piss-poor graphic design-y paintings about John Fucking Kennedy! Didn't Oliver Stone cover this already? Although, the crappy execution of these paintings in a tony Chelsea gallery makes me feel better about the crappy execution of my own stupid paintings. The pink Lee Harvey was kinda affecting, but then I'm a sad sucker for pink.

Pop:
My pop culture radar is a little out of whack.

TV:
I'm watching Boston Public, Ally, Undeclared, 24, Dawson's Creek, The West Wing, Friends and the Simpsons this season but I have nothing delicious to say about them yet.

Movies:
The Coen brothers' "The Man Who Wasn't There" was, um, boring. Real boring. I actually fell asleep. Sorry.
The Hughes brothers' "From Hell" - also boring. Heather Graham was fetching, though I didn't truly believe her teeth could be that white as a penniless whore living in the slums of Whitechappel.
Mulholland Falls was another mindfuck from David Lynch. I saw this one in Northampton, MA and followed a couple uni-eds (thanks Adriane, for reminding me of Smith's uni-ed-ness! Adriane also thinks I'm an idiot, as she found this movie utterly dissectable)to a coffe shop afterwards where I overheard them dissecting, or attempting to disscet the plot points in the film. Admirable, but ultimately a losing game. C'mon it's a David Lynch - it's not supposed to make sense.

Music:
I'm on the road 6 days a week in the fall for work so I listen to a lot of radio. Last year my not-so-guilty pleasure was Aerosmith's "Jaded" - this year it's Train's "Drops of Jupiter" - what a wierd little mini-epic (do you realize the sond only lasts 3+ minutes. It seems like one of those 6 minute Alman Bothers jams). It actually sounds as if the Black Crowes are performing a BernieTaupin-Elton John composition. And the second to last line: "...the best soy latte that you've ever had..." What the...?
I'm also digging two (!) Jay-Z songs - "IZZO" and "Girls" - I've never cottoned to Jay-Z's crass materialism before, but here the hooks keep on coming.

I've also gotten a bunch of CDs in the mail from my music club - the highlights are Heart's and .38 Special's greatest hits. Gawd .38 Special had two great songs - "So Caught Up in You" and "Hold On Loosely" and 2 or 3 other decent songs. Heart's package is surprisingly strong - I bet you remember "Magic Man" and "Barracuda" which, yes, rock the house, but how about "Straight On" or "Crazy For You". Heart was killer. These greatest hits discs got me to listening to other greatest hits albums - often I buy them for one of two songs, like the .38 Special, but there are a select few that rock the whole way through:
Alice Cooper: This was released before he became a parody and his succession of third-rate hair metal albums. Classic rock thay way it should sound.
Hall and Oates: No filler here, just sweet harmonies baby.
The Carpenters: Some of the most righteously depressing soft rock ever. "Goodbye to Love" is fucking heartbreaking man...."I say goodbye to love, noone should ever care if I should live or die..." Heavy.
Night Ranger: Even the filler satisfies by the best pop metal band of all.

Hope to update more frequently (and dream about a major re-org - any webheads out there willing to donate their talents?) In the meantime, thanks for reading

Mahallo!

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HC12
Valentine's Day 2002
Way too much info on my TV watching habits, plus Daniell Tegeder, Brad Tucker and art in Boston and much, much more...

HC11
Best of 2001
Moulin Rouge, Mulholland Drive, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, James Ensor, Wayne Thiebaud, Radiohead, System of a Down redux

HC10
Thanksgiving from Hawaii
Serra, Pardo, Katz, Coen Brothers all suck. Grabner, Sienna, Prekop, Jay-Z all rock

HC9
Early Fall 2001
The Onion, Rodney Graham, Jim Lambie, Larry King, Music Movie Sundays, sucking up to Jerry Saltz and stuff...

HC8
Early Fall 2001
Skinny actresses, Fall Previews, Hair metal (again), and some other crap...

HC7
Late-Summer 2001
Chicago Art, Radiohead, Tony Kornheiser, another David E. Kelley rip and more...

HC6
Summer 2001
Wane Thiebaud, Printmaking, movies, more summer shows and more...

HC5
Summer 2001
Summer Shows, Paul McCarthy, Me, My Sister and more...

HC4
Spring 2001
James Ensor, Ennui, Journey, New Art Examiner and more...

HC3
Late Winter 2001
Dawson's Creek, Jessica Stockholder, David Salle, Albums of the Year and more...

HC2
Early Winter 2000
riffs on rock-Roll Singles, the West Wing, Bernard Frieze and more...

HC1
Fall 2000
The dirt on Damien Hirst, Jibangus, Cable TV and more...

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