June 2005 Archives

A couple of snaps from Robert Melee's Talent Show at The Kitchen. With touches of Wigstock, Laugh-in, Blow-up, Moulin Rouge, Merce, Cher, Olivia Newton John fitness video, Puppetry of the--um--and Fischerspooner-meets-Spinal Tap, it's a NSFW riot.

And don't forget Robert's mother. As if you ever could. There's one more performance, Thursday night at 8. If tickets are available, you should get them.

Robert Melee's Talent Show 6/30, 8p [thekitchen.org]

" [G]round zero is not really being shaped by architects; it is being shaped by politicians."

"[Freedom Tower] will be seen by the world as a chilling expression of how we are reshaping our identity in a post-Sept. 11 context."

[ouroussof, nyt]
">Redesign Puts Freedom Tower on a Fortified Base [nyt]

June 28, 2005

Philip-Lorca diCourtroom

Philip-Lorca diCorcia is being sued by this guy for taking his photograph on the street in Times Square in 2001. More precisely, he's being sued for exhibiting it, selling it, and publishing it in books, and his gallery, his publishers, and unnamed others who distribute the photo are included in the complaint.

I got this image from the Guardian, which wrongly describes the image as taken in the subway. It was taken on the street, under a construction scaffolding. I ran into P-L several times while he was shooting this series. So sue me.

Photographer sued for taking portrait
Buy Philip-Lorca diCorcia's Heads for only $22 at Amazon. While you still can. [amazon]

George Pataki demanded "an absolute guarantee" that no one be offended by what goes on with the cultural organizations at the WTC site. That's frankly offensive.

I love that the problem here is couched in terms of politicians' "difficulty of policing artwork," not in terms of, say, "a blatantly anti-American demagoguery that mocks the very idea of 'freedom.'"

Pataki Warns Cultural Groups for Museum at Ground Zero

In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
Issue of 2005-07-04
Posted 2005-06-27

COMMENT/ POLITICAL PORN/ David Remnick considers the latest literature on Hillary Clinton.
SUMMER JOBS/ THE ENRON EXAMPLE/ Alec Wilkinson attends a lesson on legal ethics.
DEPT. OF EDUCATION/ DONíT LAUGH/ Lauren Collins on Peter Yarrowís anti-bullying program.
THE NIGHT LIFE/ OFF DUTY/ Ben McGrath at a taxi driverís book party.
ROME POSTCARD/ DOWN BY THE RIVER/ John Seabrook on the state of the Tiber river.

LETTER FROM WASHINGTON/ Jeffrey Goldberg/ Real Insiders/ A pro-Israel lobby and an F.B.I. sting.
SHOUTS & MURMURS/ Bruce McCall/ Camp Correspondence

A CRITIC AT LARGE/ Anthony Lane/ The Disappearing Poet/ What ever happened to Weldon Kees?
ON TELEVISION/ Nancy Franklin/ When in Rome/ ABC revisits ancient history.
THE THEATRE/ John Lahr/ On Your Toes/ "Billy Elliot" leaps from screen to stage.
THE CURRENT CINEMA/ David Denby/ They Live by Night/ "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" and "Elevator to the Gallows."

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It's a relief to know that some folks in Venice did know they were being targetted by Francesco Vezzoli's Biennale-stopping Caligula trailer--and are fans of his work because of it. Our Other Man In Venice was like, "but that's the whole point--it's an institutional critique from within the system. Vezzoli is a hustler, and he sees how the system works and is exposing it. And still, he's best friends with Miuccia."

And after reading about Donatella's costumes for the Caligula in W, and how Vezzoli describes the work as "mirroring the superficiality of the film industry," in Vanity Fair, I'm confident that Vezzoli knows what he's up to. He'd have to be on top of things to be able to shoot the trailer in March, and still able to plant these fashion magazine stories in time for the piece's Venice debut. To paraphrase Choire Sicha, Francesco's a master in the medium of publicity machinery.

I'm totally cool with a smart artist exploring--and even taking advantage of and critiquing--systematic vapidity. But it still bugs when the art world looks into the mirror that artist holds up and doesn't recognize itself.

Related: Marc Spiegler's look at the Biennale-hype Industrial Complex in Slate; actor Glenn Shadix's report from the set of Caligula ['deliciously over-the-top and outrageous and the food was excellent,'], plus photos and VF scans; 'the best part of the film is the trailer'? on Jen Shiman's 30-second Bunny Theater.

June 26, 2005

Earth Art Via Satellite

[via land+living]In the wake of Google Maps' release, a few sites have started collecting coordinates and satellite images of various earth art works, including Spiral Jetty, Michael Heizer's Double Negative, James Turrell's Roden Crater, and Walter deMaria's Lightning Field.

Here's my own contribution, a Google Map view of The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX. You can see Judd's large concrete sculptures lined up in the field, the twin barrel vaulted warehouses with milled aluminum boxes inside, the arcing row of converted barracks-installations, and the Judd-altered gymnasium on the left.

Looking for Earth Art With Google Maps [petermorse.com.au]
Monumental Land Art [daringdesigns.com]
Chinati Foundation [chinati.org]

smithson_swamp.jpgIn the NYT, Edward Lewine talks to some collectors of video- and projection-based art to find out what it's like to actually live with work that demands both attention and extra hardware.

I know collectors who have flatscreens propped all around the house and long shelvesful of viewing copies of their work; whatever they have playing when you visit, you still read and assess the spines of their VHS's the way you would their book collection.

And although we have some TV's that we've archived because the artist considers them integral, sculptural elements of the piece, there are other multi-channel pieces where we've gotten rid of all but one or two flatscreens (which now double as our TV's) until we need to exhibit it again as per the artist's original schematics.

But then there's the projected piece, where I've duped 100 slides off of the dupe of the master that the artists provided [the slides burn out after a few weeks of constant projection]. And then I still have to scour ebay for good old slide projectors, because they sure don't make'em like they used to.

PS what's up with the Kramlich's built-for-video Herzog & deMeuron house in Napa? Haven't heard much of that lately.

Art That Has to Sleep In The Garage [nyt]
Watch an excerpt of Robert Smithson & Nancy Holt's 1969 film, Swamp, which gets mentioned in the piece. [robertsmithson.com]

Upset that the Wall Street Journal is having all the fun, what with all the Bush Republican-campaigning sisters of dead Sept. 11th pilots demagoguing about whose "truth" is in and whose "propaganda" is out at the WTC site, the New York Daily News tried to gin up a controversy of its own about, of all things, The Drawing Center.

At least the critics of the International Freedom Center's are sophisticated (sophistry-cated?) enough to demand that no politically distorted manipulations of "history" or "freedom" be allowed to cloud the memories of the people who were killed on Sept. 11th. [Except, of course, the revealed truth of the Gospel according to the Bush Administration, but who'd ever doubt that? Terrorists and their friends, that's who.]

Left to pick up the crumbs of the new Political Correctness table, the Daily News got suddenly outraged at "anti-American" art--four pieces that have been critical of George Bush or the US--shown at The Drawing Center since 2001, and "demanded" that something be done about it. Doing his best combover and his steeliest resolve, George Pataki declared that he'll never let any anti-American art be shown at the WTC site.

Governor, I know Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani was a pandering, fascistic, constitutionally guaranteed freedom of artistic speech-trampling mayor of mine. And you sir, are no Rudy Giuliani. Not for lack of trying, though.

Nutty 9/11 Art Nixed [nydn]
Meanwhile, the NYDN, for one, welcomes our new government overlords [nydn]
Get the Picture, Governor? [nydn]

Previously (06/2004): WTC Site Cultural Anchor: The Drawing Center?? Ironically, the Daily News cites the vast, painstakingly investigated and researched [!] schematics of the late artist Marc Lombardi. The work they complain about maps out ties between the George W. Bush's Harken Energy, the Saudi royal family, and the Bin Laden family. The title says, "fifth version, 1979-1990." It was made in 1999. Lombardi took his own life in 2000.

June 23, 2005

Mad Hot Clearances

Once again, a highly acclaimed documentary is nearly wrestled to the ground by the exorbitant cost of clearing the rights to music--including a ringtone--that appears in the film. Not talking about the soundtrack here, either, but the diagetic (i.e., in-story, on-camera) sound that permeates the real world where the filmmakers shot.

This time, it's Mad Hot Ballroom, directed by Marilyn Agrelo and produced by Amy Sewell. The filmmakers spent $140,000, 45% of their budget, to clear the rights. Stay Free! interviewed Sewell about the IP challenges they faced, which went well beyond the music:

Well, we had to watch out for billboards and Frito-Lay trucks all the time. But I usually didn't care, we would just shoot. The biggest danger with clearances is when they interfere with documenting real life. Something spontaneous like a cell phone ringing is different than a planned event. If filmmakers have to worry about these things, documentaries will cease to be documentaries! What happens when the girls go shopping and there's music playing in the stores? We were lucky because in our movie the music wasn't identifiable, but otherwise what are we supposed to do: walk up to the store manager and say, "Excuse me but can you turn off your radio?"
That sucks. Of course, we say that all the time when we go into stores. It can be an audio pain to edit a scene with a song playing through it.

How did Mad Hot Ballroom survive the copyright cartel?
[stay free! via waxy]
Previously: Clearing Tarnation cost approximately 2,200 times that film's $218 production budget.

Do you ever wish you still had those Matisse Cutout posters from freshman year? Well, the good old days are back, my art advertising-loving friend.

BetterWall will sell you an actual, cleaned up, polyvinyl street banner from your favorite museum exhibition--or, if that one's sold out, from some other exhibition you chose to make yourself look sophisticated-- that's ready for hanging right in your own home!

They're cheaper than art, but hella more expensive than posters. But if you've got $300-1800 to spend, and you don't want to buy actual art for some reason, BetterWall is for you.

Buy one of 30 Robert Smithson Spiral Jetty banners from the 2004 MoCA retrospective, $549
[betterwall.com, via nyt]

You have to admit, she does look rather mannish."

For a brief moment in the early 90's, The Modern Review was really good, almost a smarter, smugger Spy, if such a thing can be imagined. Then it started to turn in on itself, then it imploded in a brawlful of recriminations between its two egomaniacal founders Julie Burchill and Toby Young [who both happened to bed the magazine's soap-operatically named would-be-usurper/editrix Charlotte Raven] and then--jump forward ten years so I don't have to recount the whole annoying Vanity Fair Toby Young saga again, thank you--well, and then Monday at 9PM GMT, Mark Halliley's documentary about the coke-fuelled rise and fall of MR airs on BBC4.

From his account of the making of in the MediaGuardian, the whole show is a bunch of self-absorbed liars and cokeheads in various stages of denial and/or sobriety who continue bitching about each other instead of doing something more productive with their once-promising talents. Which sounds about right. Enjoy.

[And this, from someone who counts Toby as a friend of two different friends.]

Julie and Toby in the hall of mirrors [mediaguardian.co.uk]

In the magazine header, image: newyorker.com
Issue of 2005-06-27
Posted 2005-06-20

COMMENT/ WATCHED POT/ Hendrik Hertzberg on the Supreme Court and medical marijuana.
D.C. POSTCARD/ TYSON'S CORNER/ David Remnick on Mike Tyson's last round.
DEPT. OF SECOND ACTS/ TO BOLDLY GO/ Rebecca Mead on Leonard Nimoy, photographer.
DEPT. OF URBAN RENEWAL/ STADIA MANIA/ Nick Paumgarten on Ry Cooder's latest album, and urban stadiums.
THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ COPS AND ROBBERS/ James Surowiecki on tracking down fraud.

ANNALS OF EDUCATION/ Hanna Rosin/ God and Country/ The Christian feeder college for the G.O.P.
LETTER FROM EUROPE/ Jane Kramer/ Painting the Town/ A former artist reinvents Albanian politics. [not currently online]
OUR FAR-FLUNG CORRESPONDENTS/ Alec Wilkinson/ The Crossing/ Tackling the Pacific on a homemade raft. [not currently online]
FICTION/ J. M. Coetzee/ "The Blow" [not currently online]

BOOKS/ Louis Menand/ Fat Man/ Herman Kahn and the nuclear age.
THE THEATRE/ Hilton Als/ Kicking Up Dust/ Chekhov and Maugham on Broadway.
MUSICAL EVENTS/ Alex Ross/ Sound and Vision/ Glass's "Koyaanisqatsi" and the art of film scoring.
THE CURRENT CINEMA/ Anthony Lane/ Bewildered/ "Bewitched," "Me and You and Everyone We Know," "Yes."

TALK OF THE TOWN/ Paul Brodeur/ 1969 to 2019/ On Herman Kahnís appearance at a conference, in 1969, on the future of New York, and his plan for doubling the size of Central Park./ Issue of 1969-02-22
PROFILES/ Calvin Trillin/ The Newspaperman's Newspaperman/ Gene Miller, a legendary Miami Herald reporter and editor, died last week of cancer. He edited fellow Pulitzer Prize-winner Edna Buchanan, who Trillin profiled here./ Issue of 1986-02-17
Subscribe to the New Yorker via Amazon

One of my top picks of 2004 for film/video art, Sleepwalkers, by the British collective Inventory, will be included in the first ever US installation of their work at White Columns. It opens Friday 17 June and runs through 23 July.

Sleepwalkers was filmed at an "Americana" festival in the UK, where Britons gather to celebrate such high-minded touchstones of American culture as monster trucks, RV's, and big rig tractor trailers with huge, pimped out sleeper cabs in the back. If White Columns' a-rockin', don't bother knockin', just go on in.

Other People's Projects: Inventory [WhiteColumns]
Previously: My 2004 Video Art Top Ten Seven

June 15, 2005

The Views Of Venice

Finally hearing more reports and reviews of Venice. So Francesco Vezzoli's trailer for an imaginary remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula is the favorite of Artforum-istes and the Guardian alike? How amazingly uncritical of these critics to not notice that a star-filled, 5-minute trailer filled with S&M orgies--a contrived and condensed meta-work for a film that won't exist, a series of shorthanded, empty, titillating referents--is perfectly and cynically designed for ADD-addled art worlders at a sprawling Biennale? Don't these people know when they're being targeted?

Also in Artforum: "I'm still bored." and "Math is hard! Let's go shopping!"
The Times is pleasantly relieved, if not surprised.
And WPS1, well who knows what WPS1 thinks, since their live-via-FM programs from Venice are still not online?

[update from Our Man In Venice:

Subject: Hands off my boy Vezzoli.
> Sorry my friend -- Vezzoli's work was one of the highlights of an absolutely
> terrible Biennale. Ignore (as usual) Kimmelman's review; Claire Bishop at
> artforum.com had it about right. The arsenale was the worst p.o.s. I have
> ever seen -- so terrible that I have issued a fatwa against Rosa Martinez.
> The national pavillions were passable; the italian pavillion was perfectly
> respectable. Offsite, Pippilotti Rist, Karen Kilimnik and Olafur Eliasson
> looked great. The Lucian Freud show at Museo Correr was perhaps the best
> thing in all of Venice (other than Paul Allen's yacht -- any relation?).
On the list of somewhat dubious accomplishments, then, "Highlight of the Biennale" ranks slightly below "better than Phantom Menace," but still miles ahead of "well-known blogger."

The Times' Kelefa Sanneh sounds pissed off, but weary, as he unpacks the contradictions and outright hypocrisy of mixtapes and the RIAA's stunt raid on Mondo Kim's last week:

So while record labels donate money to honor a man who helped promote mixtapes, the trade group representing the labels cracks down on those who sell them. And who goes to jail? Well, suffice it to say that the police haven't arrested any of the major-label record executives who profit from the hype generated by mixtapes.And who scout out new talent at Kim's. And the RIAA neglects to mention that the artists whose authority they claim also work hand in hand with mixtape producers to release, promote, test, and experiment with tracks.

Mixtape Crackdown Sends a Mixed Message [nyt]

drawing_restraint9.jpgFor the first time, Matthew Barney and Bjork have collaborated on a film and soundtrack called Drawing Restraint 9, after some of Barney's earliest, pre-Cremaster works. In DR9, the two visit a Japanese whaling ship in Nagasaki, undergo various Shinto wedding-inspired rituals, form and reform a large Vaseline sculpture, and then themselves transform into whales by cutting each others feet and legs off with flensing knives.

Bjork's soundtrack incorporates Japanese instruments, vocalizations, and both folk and court music traditions.

[No, I didn't know, either. Flensing is the process of cutting strips of blubber off of a whale carcass, as in Moby Dick, or this 1970 National Geographic photograph of a flensing Icelandic whaler.]

No word yet on when/where this will be released. The film premieres July 1 along with an exhibit of Barney's work at the 21st Century Museum in Kanazawa, Japan, and the cd comes out later that month. I love that a museum with this name still follows the antique Japanese corporate tradition of requiring postcard requests for seats. [kanazawa21.jp, via pitchfork]

Drawing Restraint 9
[bjork.com, via kottke, archinect]

From the imagemaking insurgency at the Associated Press:

Army Aims to Catch Up on Recruits in Summer
[wp, img jamie roper, ap]

Why, copyright, for one thing. And a quaint, lingering fixation on outmoded technology for another.

Kim's St Mark's location got busted by the NYPD, the Feds--"everybody was here," says one nonbusted employee--the other day, who confiscated all the computers and arrested four employees.

Although the store has been a speakeasy-type outlet for bootleg copies of Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle and Todd Haynes' Barbie doll classic, Superstar!: The Karen Carpenter Story, neither Barbara Gladstone nor Christine Vachon--as intimidating as they are--was behind the raid.

No, it's an even scarier outfit--yes, it's possible--the RIAA, who patted the NYPD on the head in a statement given to MTV. Apparently the problem was the store's brisk mixtapes business, which, according to the RIAA, were largely "urban in nature."

And speaking of urban in nature [sweet segue, right?], artist Janet Cardiff's audio/photo walking tour of Central Park, which was commissioned last year by the Public Art Fund, was so popular they're bringing it back again this summer. The piece, titled "Her Long Black Hair," can be experienced by picking up a CD player, CD, and stack of photos at a kiosk on Central Park South, Thursdays through Sundays until Sept. 11, only between 10 and 3:30.

I guess we should be only slightly thankful the original equipment--a Victrola in a wheelbarrrow and a watercolor set--didn't work out. It's nice to know that Cardiff's work is so popular, but it's too bad there's no easier way to distribute a 45-minute piece of audio and a handful of images to large numbers of people...a Magical Media Mover-- call it the MMM for short--and some kind of player for it, a 3MP... Oh, I give up. Never happen.

Police Raid Video Store in East Village in Piracy Case [nyt]
Police Seize 50 Cent, Jay-Z Mixtapes In Raid On NYC Store [mtv, 50 Cent? You mean the guy who launched his career via mixtapes? Someone's hatin' the game here.]

Read info from 2004 about "Her Long Black Hair," by Janet Cardiff,, which is being restaged June 16-Sept. 12 [publicartfund.org]

northern_exposure.jpgGood Morning, Cicely! Whether that's Cicely Brown or Cicely, Alaska, only time will tell. WPS1 is broadcasting live from a party barge near the Arsenale, site of the Venice Biennale.

The web audio programs will should be up within a couple of hours days, max, of their actual creation, so if you're the other [*cough*] art world groupie not in Venice at the moment , you can still follow along online someday.

But who cares what you think if you're not in Venice, anyway? And if you are, you won't care, because you'll be gettin' your WPS1 on over the air, via one of the 10,000 free WPS1 fixed-frequency radios being distributed to the masses of VIP's. (And you've probably expended too much energy trying to get it upgraded for one of the 5,000 VVIP radios, which, although they look less cool, still, in an irrational way you can never adequately explain to your parents over Thanksgiving dinner in that leafy suburb you fled with disdain, signal your ascendance into the top third of your class, 67th percentile, which if you think about it, is barely passing. Hope they're grading the art world on a curve.)

Anyway, by pumping out a low-power FM signal on the ground [sic] in Venice, WPS1 is making a play to become the local radio station for the art world's small town. Entertain yourself with the notions of artmacher flashmobs and storming the Arsenale if you like, but it suddenly reminds me of Chris, the DJ on Northern Exposure, who later packed it all in, changed his name to Aiden, moved to the city, and hooked up with a neurotic sex columnist.

WPS1 Live Venice Broadcast Schedule
[wps1.org, most of Monday's shows are up. must be one helluva party on that barge]

How else to explain this totally out-of-nowhere reference to one of the worst "short films on a theme by different directors" compilations EVER? Kuczyinski is fast becoming the Times' new crazy auntie, Joyce Wadler.

"I wandered from one rack to the next, dragging my mitts over the textures and beading, feeling like Buck Henry in the 1987 movie Aria, when he spends an ecstasy-fueled evening stroking the iconographic statuary at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif."

Let Clothes Be Your Guide to Adventure [nyt]
Look--but don't touch, rent, or buy--Aria at imdb.com
Hey Alex, I have a Netflix recommendation for you--switch to greencine.

Recent record flooding in Utah has raised the water level (elevation, that is) of the Great Salt Lake to a five-year record high of 4,198 feet, enough to submerge the Spiral Jetty and scuttle any art world latecomer's summer pilgrimage plans.

With mountain runoff, the lake is expected to keep rising through July.

Meanwhile, the rest of the artworld is in Venice, which is also sinking. Coincidence? I wonder.

Floods pump life back into lake [sltrib, thanks, dad]

But gee, people really eat this stuff up at E3...

After skimming the bullet points in Trade Show Product Launches For Dummies, Microsoft and their Hollywood assistants at CAA did a quick find-and-replace to kick off the studio auction of the Redmond-funded script for Halo.

The Halo armor-clad bike messengers who delivered the scripts looked so rad, several studio execs got confused and, thinking this was the Quicksilver 2 auction, and bid the price into outer space.

Supposedly, the script somehow manages to suck and blow at the same time, a talent Alex Garland might need when this game is over.

Halo: The Studio Stunt [defamer]
Previously: Waiting for Halo
Virtual Warriors Have Feelings, Too [nyt, my interview with rvb's Burnie Burns]

I heard different parts of Thelma Schoonmaker's interview twice, and it was pretty great. It makes an impact when someone can be so articulate and lucid about her process; I imagine working with Scorsese will do that to you.

The Woman in Scorsese's Edit Room [fresh air, npr.org]

Actually, when I saw Cy Twombly, he wasn't naked, and neither was I. I'd gone to Houston for work, right after graduating from college, and I had an extra day, so I set out to find this Rothko Chapel I'd heard about. No luck, or maybe it's that low-slung grey clapboard building. With the blackboard Twombly in the lobby. Holy moley, what is this place?

It was, of course, the Menil Collection, and while I was standing in front of one of my favorite paintings, a tall, elderly man came around the corner from behind it and stood there, too. I looked at him, then at the painting, then back. "Excuse me, are you Cy Twombly?" "Yes I am." I babbled something---I was obviously clueless but well-meaning--and he was gracious, then he left.

I later learned he had come to do an interview for the exhibition catalogue of "Rauschenberg: The Early 1950's," a tremendous show which was organized by Walter Hopps at the Menil, and which traveled to the Guggenheim. (Remember when the Guggenheim used to have good shows?)

I was reminded of this incident by the article in the Times about the panoply of Twombly shows in Houston at the moment. The artist told of a Menil guard who came upon a French woman standing naked and transfixed in front of a large Twombly canvas.

A Celebratory Splash for an Enigmatic Figure [nyt]
Buy Hopps's 1991 Rauschenberg: The Early 1950s catalogue for --sheesh, $255?? [it's that and more--up to $400 on abebooks]

Mr. Chris Lehman is apparently the sort of well-intentioned but misguided gentleman who fancies himself a champion of the lower classes and enjoys getting his own hands dirty my laboring in the muck. I do hope, for Mr. Lehman's valet's sake, that the writer doesn't unpack a suitcase as well as he unpacks the NYT's recent series of articles on class:

the main dispatch by Times reporter Tamar Lewin sets up elaborate social quandaries better suited to a Victorian novel than to 21st-century American life. It describes the course of a second marriage for both partners thatís taken them beyond the reach of their familiar social stations: wife Cate Woolner is a rich heiress, husband Dan Croteau is a working-class car salesman. Itís hard to suss out just what the social lesson of such a plainly atypical union is supposed to be. Apart, that is, from the manifest truth that, left to their own devices, the rich will always raise the most irritating children on earth ("[Woolnerís son] Isaac fantasizes about opening a brewery-cum-performance space, traveling through South America, or operating a sunset massage cruise on the Caribbean").
All classed up and nowhere to go [bostonphoenix.com (Do we know them? Where did they prep? Harrumph.)]

Wow. The New Yorker will publish its entire archive, indexed and searchable, on DVD this fall for $100 MSRP. [NYT, via kottke]

Amazon's already taking pre-orders for $63.

June 1, 2005

Just Don't Do It

While I smirked at the transparent publicity-hounding of Nike's store-you-can't-go-in-unless-you're-cool-enough when I first saw it a few weeks ago, I figured it couldn't work; no one'd fall for it and actually care because--hello!--it's such an obvious stunt. I mean, the craptrap restaurant Jekyll & Hyde on 57th & 6th never lets people in immediately, either, but lines them up on the street. If tourist maroons fell for it, I always figured New Yorkers could spot a Barnum-level manipulation a block away. I guess I was wrong.

In this week's NYT Magazine, a writer accompanies three celebrities in whose reflected glow NikeID wished to bask: an artist, a designer, and an NBA shoe salesman. [Never mind that the whole thing is fraught wtih publicist-paper complicity issues. This ain't On The Media, folks, and I have a lot of room to talk, anyway, what with the Times picking up about a quarter of my Jamba Juice tab each month.]

What I got from the Times piece, though, was how hermetic NikeID's own design concept for customization turns out to be, and how thoroughly at odds it is with the influencers and outside creatives' tastes. I mean, "despite some gentle urging from the design consultants," Vince Carter replicated the archetypal Nike shoe--white with a Carolina Blue swoosh--and both Sarah Morris and Narciso Rodriguez chose monochrome designs; Morris even chose the putty grey sample shoe.

Customizing Nikes is to expressing your individual creativity what rhythmic gymnastics is to sports. Whatever the people who actually do it obsessively say, most sensible people can see it for what it is after a couple of colorful swooshes.

Just Do It Yourself
Note: this post was inspired by Jen's inspired takedown on Unbeige

Since 2001 here at greg.org, 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 greg.org that time.

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

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Posts from June 2005, in reverse chronological order

Older: May 2005

Newer July 2005

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
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
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99