On A Big Art Thursday

Last night at a friend’s house, Jeremy Blake showed us some recent work and talked about it.

  • and by “house,” I mean a sprawling, gorgeous Fifth Avenue apartment filled with pictures of supermodels (not kissing ones, but just hanging out ones)
  • and by “some,” I mean two of his DVD-based pieces, including Blossoms and Blood, a beautiful, expressive short film he made with Paul Thomas Anderson and Jon Brion for the Punch-Drunk Love cast and friends. It’s a closely interwoven mix of scenes from the movie, Jeremy’s paintings, and Brion’s music.
  • and by “recent,” I mean the DVD was still warm. 1906 is the just-finished second part of a trilogy about the Winchester Mansion, which combines 8mm film, paintings, and an organ/symphony/film projector-interlaced soundtrack. It’s eerie, moody, historically rich and beautiful.
  • and by “talked,” I mean blew people away with passion, articulate discussion of his work and his process, and intelligence regarding the context it inhabits. One thing that surprised me: Even after “air-dropping from the farthest margins into the center of the film world,” and working with one of the most famously creatively empowered directors, Jeremy finds that artists actually have it pretty good, in terms of freedom to “pursue subjectivity” with their work.
    The New Museum previewed a strong group show, “Living Inside the Grid,” where Dan Cameron exercises his international muscles in advance of the Istanbul Biennial. There are some obvious (and thus, intentional) omissions, but many nice pieces, including a creepy-sleek prison door by Elmgreen & Dragset.
    And finally, while I didn’t make the opening, the after-party came to us at dinner: The Whitney opens a show about Diller + Scofidio, architects who have PR-muscled their way to the front of the technology/media stage. Eager to make amends for the dustup caused by his baldly partisan, king-making articles about the WTC redesign, the NYTimes‘ Herbert Muschamp returns to clear-eyed, of-the-people objectivity in his review. Here’s the first paragraph:

    The search for intelligent life in architecture is artfully rewarded at the Whitney Museum’s retrospective of the work of Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, New York’s brainiest architectural team. But intelligent visitors will have to pick their way through a few unwelcome booby traps: curatorial winks and nods designed to dumb things down for the chimerical unsophisticates to whom far too many museum shows today are needlessly pitched.