The New Museum Curated by Jeff Koons
I was of the opinion that the New Museum was supposed to be about emerging art. What happened? The Jeff Koons exhibition had my art friends in a fluster this weekend – twenty-five-year-old art from an established collector is hardly emerging. That aside what really aggravated my co-museum goers was the lack of cohesion in the exhibition. To them it felt sporadic. For me its organization was akin to the art fairs I was viewing this weekend. I embrace the randomness of selection and placement and feel that in some ways it enhances the discovery of viewing art.
The Hort Family Collection
The vibrant and eclectic aesthetic of Susan and Michael Hort was on display this weekend in their Tribeca home. It is fabulous to envision them living day-in and day-out with so much art adorning their walls. I appreciate their passion for emerging artists and their dedication to a continually rotating selection. Fifteen years ago they created a foundation in honor of Rema Hort Mann whose untimely death from stomach cancer at the age of 30 inspired them to become the advocates for emerging artist that they are today. To the support their efforts, please got to www.rhmfoundation.org
The Armory Show
Every March, artists, galleries, collectors, critics and curators from all over the world journey to New York for the Armory Show. This year was no different.
In general, I wasn’t overly impressed with the production of the exhibits, especially with PULSE. The show felt cramped, overcrowded, and left me gasping for air. At it’s best, was “Pier 94” which offered the occasional glimpse of avant-garde. There I enjoyed the work of Daniel Gordon. Gordon creates vibrant, tactile, and innovative photographic collages that boarder on the surreal and grotesque. The female figures he depicts are cobbled together concoctions of found images, reconstructed into three-dimensional tableau.
At the Armory Show on 67th and Park, there was one artist in particular who stood out – “The Horizon Line in 19th-Century Photographs.” Although, I am not typically a vintage photography enthusiast, I found these photographs exquisite.
What struck me the most was actually more the viewers than the objects being viewed. Many of today’s art enthusiast seem trapped by generational gaps: traditionalists unsure where and how to look in a contemporary world. The paradigm has shifted and many appear incapable of adapting.
Can I say I came away inspired? Not really. But I was uplifted and felt satisfied if not satiated by the occasional glimpse of good work I was able to catch.
Eldridge Synagogue – Kiki Smith Design Preview
The Kiki Smith stained-glass window is the final element of the synagogue’s 20 year $18.5 million restoration. A piece that is intended not to be a replica of the damaged window it replaces, but rather an interpretation that integrates into the Neo-Moorish interior without entirely mimicking its structure. The window is scheduled to be unveiled later this spring, but from the preliminary designs all I can say is “beautiful”!
Theater and Lectures
In the Words of Duras – La Vie Materielle
Included in the multi-venue tribute to Marguerite Duras by fi:af is the stage production entitled La View Materielle. Director Irina Brooks (daughter of the famed Peter Brooks) promised “extraordinary words whilst cooking, laughing, crying, singing and dancing together in an imaginary and theatrical kitchen.” And in my opinion, she delivered. The ensemble cast portrays vivid interpretations of daily life and intimate relationships with frank guile. Hats off to my dear friend Joan Juliet Buck for her splendid performance.
Panel Discussion: On Gluttony at Independent
When you gather an art historian, a gallery owner, an art advisor, a journalist and writer, and a handful of artists together on one stage it is inevitable that disparate opinions will emerge. Throw in a topic as polarizing as the systemic nature of gluttony in the art world, and you’re bound to witness a few flairs. In this panel of experts, the dialogue ebbed and followed over topics of our the insatiable appetite for “new,” the transformation of art access and digestion fueled by the ever-increasing pervasive nature of information, and the resulting pressure on galleries and artist to produce. Peppered in were excellent commentary and visual examples of greed versus gluttony by Anthony Haden Guest. But, what I found most resonant was a point raised by Linda Yabonsky on the topic of morality. Many artist, like co-panelist Jennifer Rubell, blatantly ignore the morality of their work. If morality were of paramount importance, could or would you be creating what you do? Utterly absorbed by this question, I approached Linda after the panel. Her response: “Well, we live in a hypocritical world.”
Lunch at Freeman’s
Bored and disgusted. Not by my company nor by the food, but by the topic of conversation. Here we were – three New York City Art Veterans – and all we could do was bitch. Worse yet, regurgitate the pre-voiced opinions of the many art-critics this city spawns. It’s maddening to hear the same thing again and again. We read the same blogs. We follow the same columnist. But come on New York is there really no original point of view left? It’s not that the critics lack opinion, it’s that we as viewers and artist have become lemmings to their thoughts.