José Parlá's "Order, Pattern, Organization, Form and Relationship"
Chelsea Gallery District, NY from my 2011 archive

José Parlá's wall installation
Chelsea Gallery District, NY
from my 2011 archive
Hope Gangloff's "Vio et Livres"
Chelsea Gallery District, NY
from my 2011 archive

Hope Gangloff's "Land's End (Vic Masnyj)"
Chelsea Gallery District, NY from my 2011 archive

March 17, 2011

Gallery Run

The Chelsea Gallery District is home to several hundred galleries. I typically keep to 19th Street north to 26th Street between 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue. I head out to do a "gallery run" with one or two shows in mind, then weave back and forth, up and down the streets going into any gallery that catches my eye.

This time it was Hope Gangloff's show at the Susan Inglett Gallery that initially piqued my interest. There are no doubt amazing shows happening at any time of the year. However, I do find certain times more exciting (and inspirational) than others. This visit was one of those times. I caught Hope Gangloff's show on its final day so it is no longer on exhibit. The scale of her paintings are large enough to command your attention, but are small enough where you feel an intimacy to them. The subjects in the paintings have a bluish green tint to their skin and initially I thought these subjects were sad characters. After a longer look, I realized they were not. They are comfortable with themselves and what they are doing (or not doing). Gangloff's paintings are beautiful and personal, and I hope to see many more.

On the other hand, José Parlá's "Walls, Diaries, and Paintings" Exhibition is still up and will remain so through April 16, 2011. Parlá is certainly an artist I will be following. His works are richly saturated with color, calligraphic strokes flow freely throughout the plane, and some works are heavily layered with found papers. Each work is powerful in its elegance, and they are interesting to view from both afar and from close range. But the scale of his work left me wanting. His work has a strong relationship to Street Art, and I wanted to feel immersed by their scale. There is one larger than life installation in the corridor from the entry to the larger exhibition space in the back. This installation has the scale I desired for the other works but lacks the intensity and richness of those works. Go figure. Even so, José Parlá has a fan in me! If you have the chance, check out his show.

P.S. When in the neighborhood, I always try to pop into Printed Matter to check out my favorite zine and see what other interesting publications are on offer.

Terence Koh performing "nothingtoodoo"
Chelsea Gallery District, NY from my 2011 archive

Terence Koh
Chelsea Gallery District, NY
from my 2011 archive
45 tons of rock salt (sans armature)
Chelsea Gallery District, NY
from my 2011 archive

March 14, 2011


This is the last week Terence Koh is performing "nothingtoodoo" at the Mary Boone Gallery. This is the fifth week of his performance which began February 15, 2011 and ends on March 19, 2011.

This was the second time I embarrassed myself at that gallery. The first time was when I walked into an exhibition and said very loudly to The Swede, "Who is this artist?" The Swede quickly shushed me (which he never does). The Artist, Jacob Hashimoto (whose show it was) was standing nearby talking to someone. It was not a huge faux pas, but nonetheless embarrassing. Back to the second time.

Immediately upon entering the gallery, I noticed something was different. The reception area is devoid of anything. There is not any text on the wall announcing the exhibition, press release literature that typically sits out is not there, all artist publications on display are gone, and the walls have a faux concrete finish on them. The entrance to the large exhibition space is draped with two overlapping white curtains. I felt something special was behind those curtains. As I parted the curtains, I said enthusiastically, "Oooooh, I wonder what's behind here?"

All eyes turned to me...I walked into the middle of Terence Koh and his excruciatingly painful-to-watch performance. For the five weeks of his performance, he shuffles on his knees around a 45 ton rock salt pile (sans armature), Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm without taking a break.

The setup is bare and silent. As a viewer, watching a person clothed in a plain white garb moving knee by knee slowly around a pile in the middle of a gallery is a humble experience. I immediately felt sad for him which I did not feel when I watched Marina Abramović perform at MoMA. Sitting (as Abramović) versus being on your knees (as Koh) is the difference to me. The performance took me through the emotions of begging or being inferior. Koh is reduced to a wretched state, and he willingly succumbs to the dominance of the pile. And we, the audience are the voyeurs watching him do it which is what I suspect--what he wants.

Manhattan Union Square, NY from my 2011 archive

March 11, 2011

Street Art continued...

Normally street art or graffiti on a truck will not particularly catch my eye. In an overloaded visual culture, it is just another thing that whizzes by in my periphery. But I have noticed that for some reason or another, work done on a truck is not typically as masterful as a piece you will see on a wall or some other stationary object. My guess is that the artist wants to be able to go back and see their work from time to time.

Upon exiting the subway on a extremely windy, dark, and rainy night, this truck instantly caught my eye. It stood on the street aglow from a nearby street lamp, and the colors popped in contrast to the dark and wet asphalt. It was lovely.

If you notice the woman in the upper left corner of the frame, she was probably looking down and laughing...I was taking the picture with one hand while my umbrella whipped around violently in the other. Anything for a picture, right?

Mark di Suvero's "For Mother Teresa"
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Bloomfield Hills, MI
from my 2005 archive
Mark di Suvero's "Pyramidian"
Storm King Art Center
Mountainville, NY
from my 2008 archive

Mark di Suvero's work (Title Unknown) in courtyard of MoMA PS1 Museum
Long Island City, NY from my 2007 archive

Mark di Suvero's "The Calling"
(adjacent to Milwaukee Art Museum)
Milwaukee, WI
from my 2009 archive
exterior of Mark di Suvero's Studio
(adjacent to Socrates Sculpture Park)
Long Island City, NY
from my 2010 archive

March 5, 2011


The Sculptor, Mark di Suvero was honored on March 2nd at the White House (by the President himself!). He received the National Medal of Arts. Can it get any better for an artist? Well--maybe getting the MacArthur "Genius Award" (and the $500,000 that comes with it), but getting an award from the President is a BIG deal. What an honor.

I first learned of Mark di Suvero in 2005 at a lecture he gave at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Not only did I find (and still find) his work impressive; I was touched by his story. He was born in China in the 1930's as Marco Polo Levin. His family later moved to California and he then eventually found his way to New York. Fast forward to the 1960's and he was paralyzed in a freight elevator accident. Through rehabilitation (and I imagine a strong will) he was able to walk again. His artwork requires such physical strength in its making due to its scale and materials that I cannot imagine how he does it. My guess is through an intense passion and commitment to his work.

Across cities in the U.S. and in many other countries, you will find a Mark di Suvero sculpture. Each sculpture is unique in its own right, and it becomes easy to spot "a di Suvero" after you become acquainted with his work. Some of his works are interactive (you can play them with a mallet or sit and swing on them) while others have pieces that move/sway with the wind. The latter you notice when you stare intently and patiently. His sculptures are beautiful and a little scary. If you have ever stood underneath one, you know what I mean. Although he uses incredibly heavy materials such as steel, there is still an intimacy to his work. The massive steel beams are welded and bolted together in a way that allows the work to become visually lightweight.

Last year, I had the fortune of spotting Mark di Suvero when I walked past his studio en route to the sculpture park he founded. I only saw him for a few seconds through a large open door as he went up a scissor lift. I wonder what he was working on...

Ursula von Rydingsvard's "Ocean Floor"
Long Island City, NY from my 2011 archive

Ursula von Rydingsvard's
"Elegantka" (cast in resin)
Long Island City, NY
from my 2011 archive
exterior (a mix of old and new)
of SculptureCenter
Long Island City, NY
from my 2011 archive

February 28, 2011


This past weekend, I went to check out Ursula von Rydingsvard's exhibition in Long Island City. The SculptureCenter (S.C. for short) is a short trek from the Court House Square subway stop and MoMA PS1 Museum. The exhibition space at S.C. is simply amazing. It reminds me of Smack Mellon in Dumbo, Brooklyn; industrial, raw, and expansive. Ursula von Rydingsvard's work situates itself perfectly within the architecture of the space.

I have previously experienced one of her pieces outdoors in Upstate New York. This exhibition shows a wider breadth of her work, and the potential of wood as a material. Her monolithic works resemble geological formations (think Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon) which upon closer examination reveal their machined and hand made parts. The immense scale of each piece potentially threatens to overpower the next, but they do not cancel each other out due to the space. The natural light coming from a skylight overhead casts a glow throughout that gives subtle shadows enhancing the depth in the undulations in the material. It is a breathtaking exhibition, well-curated with each piece allowed to have its own breathing room.

Takashi Murakami sculptures in the front window of the Gagosian Shop
Upper East Side Manhattan, NY from my 2011 archive

Pharrell Williams for Domeau & Pérès (yellow bike) in the side window
of the Gagosian Shop, Upper East Side Manhattan, NY from my 2011 archive

February 26, 2011


Finally went INTO the Gagosian Shop on the Upper East Side today. I have walked by it many times when visiting "The Met" (the real name is too long, The Metropolitan Museum of Art--just call it "The Met" or "Guggenheim" (also has a long name, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum) but have never gone in. I made the trip to the Upper East Side today specifically to visit the Gagosian Shop hoping to score a copy of an exhibition catalogue from a show I saw last week. They were sold out and the desk clerk said I would find the catalogue in stock at the Gagosian Shop on the Upper East Side. So as the story goes, went to the Shop today and no catalogue to be found! Disappointed to say the least but it can be purchased online...so life goes on.

The Gagosian Shop is a mix of artist editions, one of a kind originals, knickknacks (key chains, postcards, mouse pads, plates, "Gagosian" inscribed pencils), posters, clothing, skateboards, books, catalogues, and magazines. You will find work by: Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, Elizabeth Peyton, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Takashi Murakami, and the list goes on and on.

Some works/items for sale that stick in my memory are a Jean-Michel Basquiat candle, a signed catalogue by Keith Haring ($10,000), an Elizabeth Peyton painting with a bright light shining on it (is that archival?), a Visionaire Edition 50 magazine (described by some as the non-magazine magazine), and all the Damien Hirst works. Damien Hirst definitely ruled the Shop with various wallpapers ($1,000), his famous dot paintings ($6,000), skulls, posters, and butterfly paintings and prints.

If you find yourself in the Upper East Side, it is worth a stop. The Shop in itself is colorful, bright, and eye candy for Art Enthusiasts/Collectors/
Artists/or however you define yourself.

Artist Unknown, Chelsea Gallery District, NY from my 2011 archive

Artist Unknown, Chelsea Gallery District, NY from my 2011 archive

Space Invader piece (Pacman Ghost in green)
Chelsea Gallery District, NY from my 2011 archive

February 13, 2011

Street Art

My love affair with Street Art continues. The image above is of Space Invader's (French Street Artist, real name unknown) work on the wall of Comme des Garçons's building on West 22nd between 10th and 11th Avenue.

Would it be wrong to climb up there and take it for my Collection? Not going to happen, wishful thinking.

gallery visitors waiting in line to see Christian Marclay's "The Clock"
Chelsea Gallery District, NY from my 2011 archive

February 12, 2011

"The Clock"

Recently, The Swede and I have been hearing from friends and reading in the media that Christian Marclay's piece, "The Clock" is a must not miss New York art event. It is showing at a gallery in the Chelsea Gallery District.

The Swede and I plus our artist friend ventured to Chelsea to check it out (brrr, it was a chilly day and very light flurries started to fall). We arrived fairly early on a Saturday morning and the usual amount of people were cruising around to visit galleries. We spotted the line from afar but were not sure what people were doing in a line (not typical for a gallery show). We waited twenty-five minutes just to get in the door to wait another ten minutes in line before entering the expansive room where the video was playing. We watched "The Clock" in real time from 1:15-1:45pm. There was no time limit but we had a tight schedule and other shows to see.

I have to say that "The Clock" is quite a feat. It is a 24-hour video montage including audio. As an artist (or not), it is impossible to see this piece and not think about the process of its making. Marclay uses thousands of excerpts of film footage to illustrate the passage of time using snippets of clocks, watches, alarm clocks, and the list goes on and on. The segments span all decades and genres of film. The film also happens in real time (verified it with my cell phone) meaning that around lunchtime the actors/actresses in the piece may be having lunch too and when a clock in the film says 1:15pm, it really is 1:15pm. I will try to go back to see another segment of it, preferably some time at night. I spoke with a woman in line for the restroom (YES! Paula Cooper Gallery has a restroom that you can use which is rare/non-existent and when you live in NY you become overly concerned about where the restrooms are that you can use) that watched the video from 2:00-3:00am on Saturday morning. She mentioned there was still a line at those early hours!

Upon exiting, I spotted Kara Walker (with her daughter) waiting in the front of the line about to enter the viewing room. This is the second Kara Walker sighting for me, the other was at her own show opening with Mark Bradford at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. I did meet Mark Bradford at that opening but lost my nerve to meet her. Arturo Herrera is also represented by that same gallery and has a show up now, check it out. More on Arturo some other time.

San Francisco Chinatown, CA from my archive

February 3, 2011

Happy Lunar New Year, here is to the Year of the Rabbit! Hop. Hop. I am hoping for a great year. Last year was a little rough around the edges.

Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year to me) is a big deal. It is a time to celebrate with family and there is much superstition surrounding it. In my family, we follow a few traditions but otherwise we keep our superstitions to a minimum (thank goodness because any more and I would not be able to handle it). I once broke three mirrors within a few weeks time and by my calculation (seven years per mirror) that would mean twenty-one years of bad luck...

The house must be cleaned and you must bathe/shower the day before the new year. You are not to shower or clean on the day of the new year; otherwise you wash away your good luck. It is a few minutes past midnight, and I am ready to ring in the new year. My betta fish, Phuket is also ready. He received a water change about an hour before midnight.

There are certain foods that should be eaten such as noodles which stand for longevity, boiled white chicken for purity, dumplings which resemble nuggets of gold, and countless other dishes. This year instead of going out for dinner, I plan to make a few dishes at home. I also plan to have Dim Sum this weekend with friends (any excuse for Dim Sum).

Wishing you much prosperity in the new year!

screenshot of Herb and Dorothy (with Richard Tuttle)
on Netflix from my 2011 archive

January 29, 2011

Herb & Dorothy

That is all that needs to be said really, but I want to say more. I watched this documentary about the Art Collectors, Herb and Dorothy Vogel twice in one week. I enjoyed it the second time just as much as the first time. What can one say about them? They are cute. And they are passionate.

It made me start to think of collecting. Not only in the sense of collecting art but collecting in general. And of hoarding. Actually it is not true that I just started thinking of collecting. I think about it often. I think of collecting each time I have to deal with an overflowing pile of art supplies or materials (that are waiting to be used).

Are Herb and Dorothy borderline art hoarders? I should just say it; they ARE hoarders. But the best kind.

I simply love Herb (or as his wife calls him Herbie) and Dorothy. They are so sincere and know what they want. I remember years ago when I lived in New York (the first time) with a roommate. I was taking continuing education courses at Parsons and took two silkscreen (or the more modern term: screenprinting) classes. I would come home from class and my roommate would always ask me for some of the test runs on newsprint. I would say "sure" and she would insist I, "sign it." I thought it was funny (and flattering). Her collecting instinct kicked in. I was never sure if she really loved my work or thought it may have value one day.

Back to the Vogels. What a beautiful story. There is so much love. Not only a love of art, but of artists, and the love Herb and Dorothy have for each other.

Collecting must go back to our days as hunters and gatherers. It must be the gatherers in us, but then along the way that instinct became mutated (hence the illness of hoarding). I think it is safe to say that everyone collects something. It can be something as valuable as art, or something like jars and containers (I personally know a few of those people).