HOT COMMODITIES Three
Late-Winter 2001: Valentine's Day Edition
The Winter Blahs
By Scott Speh
So it Valentines Day as I write this and what am I doing? Watching Dawson's Creek. A show I revile, loathe, laugh at and (don't tell anyone) sometimes cry with. It makes me feel old. But it also makes me feel all tingly inside, (generally due to the delicious Katie Holmes - you know, I went to see that movie, The Gift, solely because she was supposed to take her clothes off. She did - but not until the end of the damn movie! It's such a tender moment when a young TV star takes her shirt off for the first time.) what with all the young love on the screen. Oh to be young again. Now you're probably thinking - what a pathetic Valentines Day, get a life loser - but without a little love thing, I can't imagine a better night. Wednesday's the ultimate TV night - fuck that must-see-Thursday shit: The Creek, The West Wing, Law & Order. One more thing about the Creek - that Paula Cole song gets bounced when it comes on my radio, but it gives me Goosebumps during Dawson's opening credits.
THE FAT ELVIS
That Elvis movie with Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell - what could possibly stink worse? And can you believe Chocolat was nominated for Best Picture - ahead of Almost Famous. Garbage. It's all garbage.
Now. Onto the art.
Let's start with something good.
Gorney Bravin and Lee, Chelsea
What do you get when you combine a kick-ass colorist with a funky found object artist? The feel good show of the season! It's not a capital G great show but its damn good: it made me smile and giggle and look intensely. I love the way her applied color knows no boundaries - how it starts on one object and encroaches on the next, so that the color becomes an object itself. The found colors rock too: a birdcage filled with yellow and purple thongs and blue rolls of yarn. The objects aren't really found, they're purchased - luggage, furniture, TVs, shelves, fencing, cables, electrical tape, lamps, rugs, step stools, plastic storage bins (my favorite), bean bags, balloons industrial ephemera, and yes the kitchen sink - Jason Rhoades as an abstractionist, although she pre-dates Rhoades (and kicks his ass). Kooky combos from Home Depot, IKEA and Levitts. I generally prefer her large-scale installations, but these 8 tableaus will satiate me until then. She also showed two unsuccessful painting type things - easel sized mixed media constructions - felt, fabric, leopard and cow prints plus paint. Her compositional sense is much more suited to three dimensions.
This guy is hot - multi-page spread in Artforum, article in Details, but I need more convincing. It seems that you can just take a picture of anything and as long as you print it in large, glossy color, you have an acceptable piece of art. Makes me wanna pick up a camera. Artforum describes his installation techniques as similar to the way teenagers decorate their bedrooms, "scattering unframed photos across the wall, mixing huge and tiny" etc. Oh, I don't think so. Has this writer ever seen a teenager's room? Perhaps he'd like to go home to Ohio with me and check outmy 16-year-old sister's floor to ceiling collage - not an inch of free wall space. Tilman's installation is far from radical. The melting ice series is nice - a gnarly, cool subject matter, artfully composed (yet still deadpan enough) shots - shlush-tastic!
I was prepared to dislike this show after seeing Drew's installation at the Madison Art Center earlier this year, but this was much better than expected. The found objects have better funk and the rust and grime are toned down, and a big plus, none of that cottony substance that marred the MAC piece. And although his works on paper leave a lot to be desired, this was, all in all, a pleasant surprise. Almost makes up for that god-awful Eric Fischl monstrosity Boone showed last month. Plus you need to see Mary Boone's new space - she's wins the award for the best footstools you've ever seen!
The worst show of the season? Probably. At a distance, I thought how neat, David's using bright garish colors instead of his usual mud and grisaille, but up close, eww. Ugh, please stop! Each painting take a stereotypical 18th c. pastoral scene as it's subject, with his usual overlaid non-sequitors, and embedded shaped canvas...wait a minute. Why am I taking the time to describe work that sucks so badly.
Most of this work here is garbage save for the Richard Tuttle/Charles Bernstein piece and John Cage's "Not wanting to say anything about Marcel." Oops, the Kenneth Goldsmith text collages are pretty neat, and oh yeah, I like the Guston/Clark Coolidge prints. So the show's not half-bad after all, but it sure doesn't make up for that Lisa Yuskavage crap last month.
Usually, I'm leery of her work - isn't she basically repeating herself every show? But at least she has an agenda - not just shooting any old damn thing - and the photos provoke a feeling, mood or emotion. Plus there's a lot of sweaty, skanky nudity - always a bonus!
These paintings seemed better upon a second viewing, but she needs to drop the art world text. To paraphrase one of her paintings "Who gives a fuck?" I do love the icing thick paint and the gritty backgrounds and the sometimes icky colors. Some of the text is funny - I especially dig "Thank god for assholes" with imagery depicting a distended sphincter pumping out fetid clumps of shit.
Typical example of boring photo style of just-shoot-at-any-old-damn-thing. Here we have a deli chicken rotisserie, a filing cabinet, a rooster, an ATM and suitcases. Whaddya think it all means? The gallery binder suggests that he looks for fresh visual surprises in an urban environment. With the proper tools and production quality, a photo of, again, any-old-damn-thing can look fresh. Yawn. Photography is the new salon style.
Much like Michael Majerus, Bevilaqua mixes high and low sources with contemporary and modernist abstraction. His combos of pop ephermera and garish hard-edged color are not as sleek as his past works, but then again, the show is called "High Speed Gardening" so it's supposed to be pastoral. Not THAT subject matter again. And garish colors too. Uh oh - don't wory, this shit is much better than Salle's shit.
Paintings that look like furniture and furniture that looks like paintings and sculpture and vice versa. They're beautiful and neat and white and shiny. Go see it - you have just about a week left
THE SHORT LIST
Nino Bovasso, Clementine Gallery - kooky drawings are better than the Baskin-esue paintings
Alexi Worth, Elizabeth Harris Gallery - takes figurative illustration up a notch
Painting Beyond Painting, Christinerose Gallery - Claire Corey's inkjet prints are easily the best pieces of digital painting I've ever seen. Plus I liked Margo Victor's abstract video derived from elements of modernist painting
Because Sex Sells, Nikolai Fine Art - Mostly lame work about, duh, sex, except for Alison Ruttan's spunky little video where she turns porno films into playful color field abstractions. Boom-chicka-boom!
And over in Soho
DRAWING PAPERS 16
The Drawing Center
Great stuff from Scott Teplin - exquisite sketchbooks chock-a-full with little surrealistic doodles and Jessica Hutchins - I'm smitten by her pomo-Tuttlesque "interventions" - she subtly embellishes 6-pack boxes with spackle, paper, paint, paper mache and staples. Kooky! And oddly sexy.
Pyscho-delic! Wacky colors! Wavy and gravy! On stytrofoam too! (I know I don't have much to say about the work, but I sure love to look at 'em).
back to POP culture
ROCK AND ROLL FOREVER
Albums of the Year
If the Voice can publish their album poll in mid-February, so can I:
1. Kid A - Radiohead
2. Relationship of Command - At the Drive In
3. Music -Madonna
4. Stankonia - Outkast
5. Spit - Kittie
6. All that You Can't Leave Behind - U2
7. Rated R - Queens of the Stone Age
8. Had A Burning - NoahJohn
9. And then nothing turned itself inside-out - Yo LaTengo
10. All Hands on the Bad One - Sleater-Kinney
11. The Writings on the Wall - Destiny's Child
What the fuck is this all about? Utter crap.
Martin Sheen, would you please be my president?
Happy Valentine's Day, love Scott
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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...
Best of 2001
Moulin Rouge, Mulholland Drive, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, James Ensor, Wayne Thiebaud, Radiohead, System of a Down redux
Thanksgiving from Hawaii
Serra, Pardo, Katz, Coen Brothers all suck. Grabner, Sienna, Prekop, Jay-Z all rock
Early Fall 2001
The Onion, Rodney Graham, Jim Lambie, Larry King, Music Movie Sundays, sucking up to Jerry Saltz and stuff...
Early Fall 2001
Skinny actresses, Fall Previews, Hair metal (again), and some other crap...
Chicago Art, Radiohead, Tony Kornheiser, another David E. Kelley rip and more...
Wane Thiebaud, Printmaking, movies, more summer shows and more...
Summer Shows, Paul McCarthy, Me, My Sister and more...
James Ensor, Ennui, Journey, New Art Examiner and more...
Late Winter 2001
Dawson's Creek, Jessica Stockholder, David Salle, Albums of the Year and more...
Early Winter 2000
riffs on rock-Roll Singles, the West Wing, Bernard Frieze and more...
The dirt on Damien Hirst, Jibangus, Cable TV and more...
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