Category Archives: In and around New York

in and around New York

SciCafe: Life, the Universe and Everything with Neil deGrasse Tyson

There are very few things that really stop me in my tracks and I can watch and listen to for hours on end without ever getting tired – one of these things is anything Space and Cosmos. I could live on and steamed broccoli.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, talks about Newton and the importance of keeping the lines of thought and conversation open. He says when open conversation ratchets up – you make discoveries and you make discoveries rapidly..

Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, Ed Ruscha and I

…all at Postcards From The Edge – A Benefit for Visual AIDS. January 25-27, 2013 @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co – 530 West 22nd Street, NYC.

The 15th Annual

Featuring artworks by Mirena Rhee, Ann Hamilton, Donald Baechler, Kara Walker, Dana Schutz, Bjarne Melgaard, Marilyn Minter, Burt Barr, Kiki Smith, Ed Rusha, John Baldessari, Louise Fishman, Arturo Herrera, Ida Applebroog, Ross Bleckner, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Katherine Bernhardt, Nayland Blake, L.J. Roberts, Marcel Dzama, Catherine Opie, Tony Feher, Mary Heilmann, Jim Hodges, Julie Mehretu, Jeff Koons, Robert Longo, Moyra Davey, Bill Viola, Jane Hammond, Lawrence Weiner, Kay Rosen, Jack Pierson, Louise Lawler, John Waters.

A few great things – Damien Hirst’s Spot paintings, The Happenings at Pace

I had heard so much criticism about Damien’s Spot paintings before going to the three New York shows, that I had the sneaky suspicion I am going to love them. They gave me pleasure – pleasure is hardly an argument – you either like having it or not. The flavor colored paintings made me want to lick every single dot, were named after various chemical substances and defied Jerry Saltz’s argument “You see one, and you really have seen them all.” In fact, they all tasted different.

When I think of Damien – I also can’t help but think of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Hey, if that artist’s intent is to make a lot of money – that is not a reason to reject the work – although this is not my intent but can’t speak against that being someone else’s. The spots aren’t things by themselves and they do not create a traditional artistic value (via the artist’s hand ). We all know from math that a dot cannot be defined as having a substance, it’s a destination. Each room of the three Gagosian galleries was brilliantly hung – thus all the paintings in a room worked together with scale to triangulate space and create a giant, Three-dimensional musical piano ( you know, the toy ones – i had one when i was a kid ).

It was a pure pleasure to indulge in the simple language of color, to occupy the space within the dots and just listen to the music.

When I think of Damien – I also can’t help but think of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Hey
Damien Hurst Spot paintings at Gagosian gallery on  24th St, New York
Damien Hirst Spot paintings at Gagosian Gallery on Madison ave in New York

The exhibition Opening at Pace gallery’s Happenings: New York, 1958-1963 was packed with the Who’s Who in the art world today. Although the crowds for the most parts obscured the actual show – I think it was more or less the point. The exhibition opening was, all over again, a Happening on its own.

Works by Jim Dine, Simone Forti, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, Carolee Schneemann, and Robert Whitman.


This piece was inspired by a climbing wall I saw in Brooklyn. A climbing wall is usually littered with tiny boulders of various shapes and sizes and your climbing path is marked and color-coded with tape. Say, black tape with a stripe designates a VO, a beginner’s path, a dark red could be a V6, a path for only experienced climbers. I thought the climbing wall was a good metaphor for life, with the tape off.

V6 ( Brooklyn Machine series ) - 4 x 6 inches, pen, ink, gouache and acrylic on hot pressed board, 2011

This piece went this past weekend to Cheim & Read‘s Postcards from the Edge.

Postcards from the Edge benefit for Visual AIDS is this Weekend

I am participating in Postcards from the Edge benefit for Visual AIDS with a very special piece..

Hosted by Cheim & Read, 547 W 25th St, New York

The Preview Party is tonight:
Friday, January 6, 2012 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Benefit show:
Saturday, January 7, 2012 from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday, January 8, 2012 from 12:00 – 4:00 PM

100 percent Ultra Violet

I went to Ultra Violet’s studio this past weekend to take photographs of her and her work. Ultra Violet said the first person she met off the boat ( arriving from France in the 60’s ) was Salvador Dali.  She became his muse, and later on, became a muse to Andy Warhol and a superstar in his Factory.

Ultra Violet with her piece 99 percent, in her studios in Chelsea
Ultra Violet with her piece 99 percent
Ultra Violets piece IX XI in memory of the 9/11 attacks
Ultra Violet's piece IX XI in memory of the 9/11 attacks
tiny versions of the IX XI pieces
tiny versions of the IX XI pieces

A few more digits

Painter Scotto Mycklebust, is putting together Revolt magazine, an art-talk large format, limited edition paper. I am heading down to Occupy Wall street to take some photographs for the first issue.  Also saw De Kooning show at Moma for the second time.. barefoot because my shoes were too tight and I couldn’t think properly. I took the shoes off, and this being New York, no one seemed to care except that I gained a different perspective.. could be the height but this time I loved De Kooning’s last paintings.

The power to feel

Painting is an active language. Pollock once told De Kooning “You know more, but I feel more”.

To feel and to observe are the two most powerful weapons an artist uses.. on himself. When you are out in the world you really see, you dissect the world down to the particles and reverse back through to the whole to construct a mental image, however distorted. You later bring these images to the canvas. In front of the canvas, you feel. To observe and to feel are somehow in a quantum entanglement, the better you observe, the better your ability to feel. You see a brick for what it is and then you really see it, for what it isn’t, a sort of stereo vision which overcomes the senses. That’s why if someone feels one, an artist feels ten. You need that feeling powers ten in order to get the feeling flick through to the brush ( or whatever tool is there ) and via the paint – onto to canvas and from there to the viewer. The feeling needs to have that power in order to travel.

The confusion is that art is about learning how to draw or paint, that ability to render some ( or even strange ) reality. I think art is about learning how to feel. To feel is a powerful narcotic and immensely seductive. It is the blue pill, and the red pill simultaneously.

Joan Mitchell at Cheim & Read
Friedel Dzubas at Loretta Howard

Careful! Some bugs still in this one.

Pace Gallery in Chelsea mounted an amazing Social Media show but their Iphone App Fakes literally took my breath away… laughing.

“The exhibition  features the first presentation of works from the David Byrne’s new Apps series from 2011. The works are advertisements for witty applications authored by Byrne that speak to the rapid proliferation of apps for the iPhone and other smart phones..”

The Seven I’s of Why I Paint on Paper by Michael Brennan. A Manifesto of sorts.

It has been long since I read something that I feel is close to my own practice and how I feel about paper, drawing, my work, the world and my footprint on matter.

And here is what Michael says:

“I went to paper after rethinking Thoreau’s Economy and reading about sustainability in From Cradle to Cradle.

I decided to work smaller because we live in an era when dumb things are getting larger (televisions, SUVs, McMansions) and smart things are getting smaller (smart phones, smart cars, smart cards). The generation behind me has been described as “platform agnostic”, meaning they’re willing to watch a cinematic wonder like Lawrence of Arabia on a palm-sized screen. I also prefer the face-to-face engagement that smaller works require—that is the modern interface.

I work exclusively in black and white because I like absolute contrast, and participating in the larger, global tradition of monochromatic painting.

I acknowledge that paper is the perfect surface.

I have come to loathe the wealthy and prefer to make high quality works more cheaply that anyone might afford.

I have become bored with the “grand manner” of painting and its heroic trappings. I felt that my most recent paintings were really drawings masquerading as paintings. Lastly, I’ve always been attracted to simpler, not minimal, more direct means of making art.

I have long maintained that if the artist isn’t surprising himself, he’s most likely not surprising anyone else.”

Profound Richard Tuttle

“I have had two or three non-art thoughts in my life…”
“Art sustains polarities that cannot be sustained in the (real)world.”
“Art accommodates the mystic.”
“Art provides the viewer with the experience of reality. Art performs a “blimp”. A line becomes a primary thing… Presents itself.”
“A miracle belongs to the viewer.”
“When you make art you access the back part of the brain(the animalistic part of the brain), and the animalistic gives us relief.”
“The relationship between art and the viewer is a relationship more profound than marriage, than parent/child relationship. There is no pain, destruction and a reason for fear.”
“Trust your work.”