December 2007 Archives

installation shots via

Yesterday Holland Cotter wrote a glowing review of Triple Candie's current exhibition of the largely white art world's history of misrepresenting the work of Jacob Lawrence. The show consists of full-size reproductions of all 60 panels of Lawrence's masterpiece, The Migration of the Negro, which the artist painted in Harlem when he was just 24.

Lawrence was sort of the Jackie Robinson of the white art world, the first African American artist to have a show at a major gallery, and as any young artist, he was expected to be thrilled when the Museum of Modern Art expressed interest in buying his work. Or half of it, anyway.

I don't know anything about it, but now I have to find out, because it seems that the responsibility for the breakup of The Migration Series--the first instance of what Triple Candie calls work's "Ongoing Bastardization"--rests squarely with the Modern's offer to buy only half the panels.

Triple Candie's press release for the show has some tantalizing information, but it's all embedded in a giant, unindexable web graphic. So I've retyped it below, as it appears on the TC site, just to get it out there more. Hope that's alright.

[2013 update: TC's website looks to have gone offline this year, though it's still in the Internet Archive. Glad I got this when I did.]

December 27, 2007

Last Days Of Disco Balls


Rhonda Lieberman on the opening of Helmut Lang's exhibition, "Next Ever After," at the Journal Gallery in Williamsburg:

If a New Yorker cartoon had to sketch a perfectly "hip" awkward situation, they couldn't have done a better job: a bunch of not particularly friendly people lurking around a fallen disco ball in a space too small for them not to feel conspicuous. It was fabulous.
Nearly two weeks ago, the Times' Horacio Silva had described the disco ball as "found," which has had me envisioning a world of perpetual morning-after, littered with disco balls, where the main activity consisted of squinting at the unexpected sunlight and picking glitter out of each other's hair like a troop of overdressed baboons.

Or not. It turns out the ball was from Lang's boutique, which makes it as "found" as one's car. And it had been left outside "in Long Island," the slightly too self-conscious, "a little school in Boston" way of saying "the Hamptons."

Which completely changes the question of the disco ball from, "Where the hell'd he find it?" to "why the hell'd he keep it?" A dazzling symbol sentimentally yet unceremoniously hauled out and dumped on an 18-acre beachfront estate in East Hampton and left to weather away in over-fabulous isolation. With a 4-foot disco ball in tow. [ba dum bum.]

Lang didn't make the Brooklyn opening. As his assistant told Lieberman, the artist was "on Long Island."

Ball Drop [artforum]
Now Hanging [sic]: Helmut Lang's Artwork [nyt]
The Journal No. 21 contains an interview with Lang by Neville Wakefield []

Previously: Miuccia Pravda


Though my reflex was to read David Antin's Artforum review of Lawrence Weiner's Whitney retrospective as a bit of an overshare:

...these readings are as slippery as rain and evaporate fairly quickly. Take [a 1962 work] "an object tossed from one country to another." In 1962 it could have read as an ironic invitation to think of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now it could suggest a case of extreme rendition—a Canadian citizen kidnapped by the CIA and flown to Syria for torturing. But “tossed” is a casual term, unlike “hurled,” and less energetic or violent even than “thrown.” So perhaps the most meaningful reading would invoke this casualness more directly, even while taking into account the relation between countries, for which the passage of anything from one to another almost immediately suggests borders and contraband and anything-but-casual concerns with immigration.
you gotta love any story that involves Weiner and Joseph Kosuth and Conceptual champion Seth Seigelaub dropping by a California border town for lunch and Marlboro-tossing.

And yet I can't resist making my own thoroughly subjective associations--like Border Volleyball.

Last summer, Brent Hoff, the editor of Wholphin, McSweeney's DVD magazine, packed up some friends and a ball and headed for a pick-up game of volleyball at the mouth of the Tijuana River, which empties into the Pacific at the US-Mexico border.

For an hour or so, Hoff and Joshuah Bearman played volleyball across the 30-foot border fence with Jerry and Larry. Bearman wrote about the trip for LA Weekly last summer, but I found the documentary short on Wholphin #3.

I've been late to the Wholphin game, partly on purpose; though it involved work by some of my own filmmaker mancrushes [David Russell, Alexander Payne], I felt the need to resist McSweeney's fanboy syndrome. I should've given in earlier. After watching through all the Wholphin issues to date the last few months, I'm quietly blown away, even though there's nothing that feels particularly essential [one exception, just a minute].

Short films are like that; they're a take it or leave it medium that's so inconsequential, even a maker of short films has to wonder what the point is sometimes [ahem]. And yet, Wholphin makes shorts feel organic, logical, and enjoyable. Some of the best moments are actually in between the films: the navigation menus and transitions are all microshorts and unusual footage, programmed in a way that makes you want to explore, as opposed to all the overproduced studio DVD navigation which inevitably feels like it's keeping you from what you want to do, which is just watch the damn movie.

Anyway, after buying all the back issues, I'm caught up, and now I'm a Wholphin subscriber, and I'd be happy to suggest you should be, too.

But about that essential DVD content: Wholphin Nos. 2-4 each include, on a separate DVD, the three parts of Adam Curtis's mindblowing documentary, made for the BBC in 2004, The Power of Nightmares. Curtis traces the parallel, intertwined rise of militantly conservative Islam and emergence of Al Qaeda and the American Neo-conservative movement which, he argues, dishonestly supports and exploits the existence of an Islamist Threat to further its own political and ideological ends. It's a cogent and disturbing read of history--and the present--that Americans should be aware of, not only because it's so full of dots that remain unconnected in our country's mainstream analysis, but because those dots aren't even in the picture our over-consolidated media provides.

Lawrence Weiner at the Whitney through Feb. 10 [artforum]
Check out Wholphin overall or just a clip of Walleyball []
Joshuah Bearman's LA Weekly account of the game and the making of the short [laweekly]


There's nothing I can say that isn't already said by the licensee:

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  • re: The 53 Places to Go in 2008

    I was intrigued as the next guy by the list of 53 Places we're supposed to go in 2008, then I realized that almost without exception, the "reason" to go is the opening at long last of that destination's first "luxury" accommodations. Which seems about the dumbest reason I can think of for choosing where to travel.

    I started pulling out all the quotes, Zagat-style, but I got so bored, I quit around 40. You get the idea, though. And you have to admit, those exceptions are rather awesome: who needs an Aman Resort when you have "flower bloggers" and "death squads"?

  • 1 Laos: "luxury teak houseboats"; "seriously upscale Residence"
  • 2 Lisbon: "style-savvy"; "avant-garde status"
  • 3 Tunisia: "undergoing a Morocco-like luxury makeover"; "stylish boutique hotels"; "increasing numbers of well-heeled travelers"
  • 4 Mauritius: "Four Seasons resort"
  • 5 Mid-Beach, Miami: "faded glitterati hangouts" with "multimillion-dollar renovations"; "a Mid-Beach outpost of the members-only Soho House"
  • 6 South Beach, Miami: "red carpet of designer hotels"
  • 7 Maldives: "high-end hotels expected to open next year"; 50 villas "allowing guests to observe the rich marine life while still lying in bed."
  • 8 Death Valley: "flower bloggers already speculating about a dazzling spring bloom"
  • 9 Courchevel: "ultra-exclusive"; billionaires fuel the "consumption of Cristal jeroboams and high-ticket hotels"; "sumptuous"; "rustic-chic apartments"
  • 10 Libya: "luxury hotels and golf courses are planned"
  • 11 Hvar: "a new Riviera"; "fills with yachts"
  • 12 Puerto Vallarta: "some dozen gay-friendly hotels"; "a glut of bars and clubs"
  • 13 Sylt: "the 'Hamptons of Germany'"
  • 14 Prague: "youth hostels are being squeezed by luxe hotels"
  • 15 Quito: "a crop of upscale hotels has arrived"
  • 16 Liverpool: more "than just the Beatles"
  • 17 Munich: "hybrid Mercedes-Benz taxis"; "cushy living"; "posh new hotel"
  • 18 Iran: "luxury cruise liner"
  • 19 Tuscany: "the nine-hole course covers 247 acres"
  • 20 Anguilla: "Just when you thought the Caribbean island of Anguilla couldn't get any fancier"; "172 luxury accommodations"; "3,200 feet of private waterfront"
  • 21 Bogota: "remembered for its death squads"
  • 22 Playa Blanca, Panama: "tres chic beach club"; "'sexiest project in Panama'"
  • 23 Alexandria: "upscale cafes"
  • 24 Mazatlan: "a half-dozen resorts are now in the works"
  • 25 St Lucia: "upscale progress marches on"; "eco-hedonistic resorts"; "private jet terminal"
  • 26 Oslo: "one of the world's most expensive cities"; "two new design hotels"
  • 27 Buenos Aires: "the first five-star gay hotel in Latin America"; "bohemian-chic"
  • 28 Rimini, Italy: "Italy's bling party capital"; "style-conscious"; "raging club scene, cool boites and designer hotels"
  • 29 Malawi: "luxury lodge"
  • 30 Roatan: "waking up with big plans"; "Westin Resort & Spa"
  • 31 Mozambique: "high-end lodges"; "luxurious tented bandas"
  • 32 Kuwait City; "a slate of opulent hotels"
  • 33 Verbier: "will get decidedly more upper class"
  • 34 Lombok: "other high-end hotels are on the way"
  • 35 Northwest Passage: "Notwithstanding last month's sinking of an Antarctic cruise ship"
  • 36 Easter Island: "its first luxury resort"
  • 37 Virgin Gorda: "raising its profile" with "three villas measuring 8,000 square feet"
  • 38 Namibia: "the country is going eco-deluxe"; "stylish decor and matching rates"; "planning five luxury hotels"

  • sote_1.jpg

    Wow. I can't believe this was shot in 1977. Stations of the Elevated, Manfred Kirchheimer's remarkable documentary--is art documentary a genre?--of New York City's graffiti-saturated trains and their environs is a total throwback feast. The film puts graffiti into the larger context, contrasting the tagged-up trains with the visual cacophony of officially sanctioned paintings of the day: billboards. For 45 engrossing minutes, the lost texture of mid-70's New York rolls by, accompanied by a Charles Mingus soundtrack.


    A Washington Heights native who might've been expected to criticize the poor, non-white graf artists who moved into the neighborhood, Kirchheimer instead provides a sophisticated and persuasively sympathetic view of a visual language that challenged the corporate marketing machinery on its own terms: painting.


    It's ridiculous to say it out loud, but I'd forgotten that they used to paint billboards. It's incredible how familiar yet utterly alien the advertising landscape of Stations is to 2007 eyes. Those billboards are stunning, as if the whole of the Bronx were painted by Mel Ramos.


    As recently as 30 years ago, painting was not [just?] a twee, aesthete's diversion, cloistered in the museum; it was a mass medium of daily communication. When graffiti artists took up their paint, it was the default medium of expression, not only in galleries, but right there along the tracks.

    Stations of the Elevated was screened at the 1981 NY Film Festival, and it's been released before on VHS. According to a letter the filmmaker wrote to the NY Times last fall, Stations and a follow-up doc, Spray Masters were supposed to be released on DVD in the spring of 2007. So far, though, there's nothing online.

    The entire film is on YouTube at the moment, chopped up into the Tube's mandatory <10 minute segments. It's a great taste, but it'd be so worth it to get a clean transfer on DVD.

    Stations of the Elevated, in 5 parts [youtube, images, too]


    So Speed Racer gets to come out, but they stuff Larry Wachowski back in her closet?

    From USA Today, which has first look, very anime-looking stills from the film:

    The brothers Wachowski (The Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta) take a crack at updating the cartoon with Speed Racer, which gets its first look here and whose trailer runs tonight on Entertainment Tonight.
    Jalopnik says the project comes from "The men behind The Matrix."

    Indeed. And as of September, Fox News is reporting that Speed Racer producer Joel Silver says Larry is still Larry, and not Lana. Back to you, Ted.

    In an attempt to figure out why his well-reviewed film, Delirious, grossed only $200,000 at the box office--or rather, to figure out why a small, independent film is subjected to the same make-or-break Opening Weekend metrics as a studio blockbuster--Tom diCillo emailed Roger Ebert some questions:

    5. Does independent film exist anymore?

    Yes, barely. The irony is that indies are embraced at film festivals, which have almost become an alternative distribution channel. "Delirious," for example, was invited by San Sebastian, Sundance, San Francisco, Seattle, Avignon, Munich and Karlovy Vary. All major festivals. But you didn't make "Delirious" to sell tickets for festivals. I frankly think it's time for festivals to give their entries a cut of the box office.

    With the acknowledgement that festivals are a business--or at least have an economic, not just a cultural, value proposition--and that they function alongside commercial screens as a part of the theatrical distribution channel, Ebert is righter than it sounds like he knows.

    Shifts in the way theaters make money--specifically, the split between the studio/distributor and the theater on opening weekend vs later weeks--have combined with the overbuilt glut of screens--and screens per multiplex--to constrain theater owners. They need tons of traffic to generate concession sales, since the studio gets the lion's share of opening weekend receipts. So they fill their screens with the latest releases, pushing smaller and independent films out.

    The maturation and consolidation of non-mainstream theaters, too, means that actual independents constistently lose screens to the products of the mini-majors.

    For the moment, theatrical runs are still apparently important to securing a film's success in the DVD sellthrough and rental markets, but maybe there's a way to change this. The potential returns from DVD's could become key to profitability, especially if there were ways to better leverage a limited theatrical run or decouple DVD's and box office entirely, or if there were a way to capitalize on festival exposure. I think of the way bands burn and sell live concert CD's on the spot or online. If festivals are dispersed enough, there would be next to no downside for selling DVD's of a film, maybe coupled with festival extras like the director Q&A as part of a ticket package.

    diCillo may be a bit of a stretch, but I could picture directors with healthy online followings--from Mike Mills on the quiet end to Kevin Smith in the food court--reaching a decent sell-through audience. Then let MySpace fill in the rest. Or maybe get a blog.

    An indie director asks: Is the whole thing a Kafkaesque nightmare? [suntimes via kottke]

    Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

    comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
    greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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    about this archive

    Posts from December 2007, in reverse chronological order

    Older: November 2007

    Newer January 2008

    recent projects, &c.

    Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
    about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

    Social Medium:
    artists writing, 2000-2015
    Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
    ed. by Jennifer Liese
    buy, $28

    Madoff Provenance Project in
    'Tell Me What I Mean' at
    To__Bridges__, The Bronx
    11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
    show | beginnings

    Chop Shop
    at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
    curated by Magda Sawon
    1-7 March 2016

    eBay Test Listings
    Armory – ABMB 2015
    about | proposte monocrome, rose

    It Narratives, incl.
    Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
    Franklin Street Works, Stamford
    Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
    about | link

    TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

    Standard Operating Procedure
    about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

    CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
    Canal Zone Richard Prince
    YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
    Decision, plus the Court's
    Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
    about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

    "Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
    Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
    about, brochure | installation shots

    HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
    Printed Matter, NYC
    Summer 2012
    panel &c.

    Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
    background | making of
    "Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

    Canal Zone Richard
    Prince YES RASTA:
    Selected Court Documents
    from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
    about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99