(As seen at the Whitney Museum)

After some optimistic hope that the Whitney could pick up the ball and show some innovative stuff, I have found myself disappointed with their offering in the digital exhibit bitstreams. Nothing grabbed me.

What I took away from the show was, “Wow, that sure was a lot of fancy, expensive computer equipment they hoisted up on the wall there”.

Not one image managed to gel with my brain over the long haul (edit- obviously untrue down the line). The curators voices which read via the accompanying wall text were eager to point out cross references to some of the pieces: “Just like El Greco!” (uh ,no.),” Just like Paul Klee!”.
I imagine as to justify to themselves what the heck this stuff was doing in the Whitney.

Unfortunately, like all multimedia shows,this one had you subjected to a lot of those “little dark room” installations, which unfortunately make me claustrophobic.

I hate going from the bright white light of one part of an exhibition, groping your way into a small, black side room with 20 silhouettes squished up against the wall, that you gradually start to decipher as you simultaneously try to decide if you want to give this piece your five seconds or not.

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Unfortunately another diatribe I can express involves a piece that the Whitney had on display maybe a year ago of Janine Antoni’s “installation”. This piece had you walking mazelike into utter and total darkness- only to be confronted with an image of yourself (surprise-a mirror),which I basically smashed into and screamed loud expletives,something that I am generally not up for shouting in public spaces.
Just fucking hilarious. I hate that kind of crap. I hadn’t come there to be on the Flight To Mars.

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At any rate my crankiness should be taken with a grain of salt, considering I have a thing about my personal space being trotted upon in public situations. So(back to bitstreams) of course a lot of pieces in the exhibit where shown like this.

There was also a bank of audio pieces that you had to stand in line for and when I put the head phones on, I got some asshole’s idea of an art piece- total feedback.
Glenn Branca none withstanding, I didn’t see the merit in that.

So do I have any thing constructive to bring to this?

1. First of all, I think the Whitney was burdened by being a high profile art institution shouldered with the responsibility, shall we say, of convincing people this is art. I think the blandness (for my taste) of the show reflects that fact.

2. My first thought after stepping away from the exhibit was, “this is a curatorial problem”.

3. My other thought was, “the technology is still young and awkward- that must be the problem”.

4. My last thought was – “it’s me, I am stupid for coming here on a Friday night because I am too cheap to pay full admission so I am stuck with the hordes of other Pay-As-You-Wish attendees,which didn’t allow any breathing space”.

One other thing I chewed on was I don’t know if some of the pieces were really justified being blown up to a size for mass (crowd) consumption. Perhaps I am used to being alone at my desk, peacefully grazing.

Lest it appears that I have some vendetta going against digital art,I hope that is not true. I have twice seen the downstairs digital lounge at the New Museum and really enjoyed what I saw. They have presented their works in a more, shall we call it “casual environment” though. I guess there was just something about the presentation at bitstreams that rubbed me the wrong way that night. Who knows.


That same evening I proceeded to go up one more floor and immensely enjoy a quiet, intimate retrospective survey of Kenneth Josephson’s photography. Hardly anyone was on the floor.

April 27, 2001

I can’t get vending machines off my mind. Ever since my friend Susan thought they could be the best money-making scheme since,I don’t know, sliced bread, I’ve had ridiculous visions of coin operated gadgetry dancing in my head. Then I found Raphael Carter’s web site. Like they say, its ALL been done before.

I guess they remind me of what I was really dreaming to find when I moved to NYC. A serviceable Automat. This notion occurred to me from reading the E.L. Konigsburg book From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (a story of two siblings who try to teach their parents a lesson by escaping to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) too many times as a kid (albeit naive and unknowing of the East coast). They were always eating in Automats. It seemed so exotic. Now so extinct.


“They went to the Automat and used up a dollar’s worth of Bruce’s nickels. Jamie allotted ten nickels to Claudia and kept ten for himself. Jamie bought a cheese sandwich and coffee. After eating these he still felt hungry and told Claudia she could have twenty-five cents more for pie if she wished. Claudia, who had eaten cereal and drunk pineapple juice, scolded him about the need to eat properly. Breakfast food for breakfast, and lunch food for lunch. Jamie countered with complaints about Claudia’s narrow-mindedness.”

“Claudia read the paper while they ate breakfast at Horn and Hardart’s. That morning she didn’t eat breakfast food for breakfast. Crackers and roasted chestnuts in bed at night satisfied only a small corner of her hunger. Being hungry was the most inconvenient part of running away. She meant to eat heartily for every cent Jamie gave her. She bought macaroni and cheese casserole, baked beans, and coffee that morning. Jamie got the same.”

Happy eating.



April 26, 2001


More celebrity knitting.

Staying on topic today,Index magazine pitches in too:

Marc Jacobs Interview with Mary Clarke:

MARY: The first time I saw your work was back in the mid-’80s when I was an editor at Seventeen. You were doing sweaters.

MARC: Yeah. I learned to knit from my grandmother. She loved to knit in front of the TV before going shopping for pantyhose at Saks Fifth Avenue, or wherever she was going.

MARY: You’re a city kid.

MARC: I grew up with my grandmother on the Upper West Side. Anyway, she taught me to knit, and I used to design sweaters. Then when it came time to do my senior project at Parsons many years later, I had Perry Ellis as a critic. I designed these three really oversized, very heavy, hand-knit sweaters.

MARY: I just took up knitting again.

MARC: It’s really relaxing. Needlepoint, too. I’m working on Jeff Koons’Puppy right now! [laughs] I went to Bilbao, and the gift shop had thisPuppy needlepoint kit. I had to have it for my couch at home. I do like crafts and things.

MARY: How did you get those student sweaters into production?

MARC: I was working at Charivari at the time.

MARY: Which one?

MARC: I worked at two of them. I started out working at the one on 72nd and Columbus, because I lived down the block at 72nd and Central Park West.

MARY: I used to do a lot of window-shopping there. It was so chic.

MARC: Barbara Weiser, who was one of the buyers, had seen the sweaters at my school show. She decided she wanted to produce a limited edition for the stores. Andy they were photographed all over. It was a time when Gaultier had a very big, tapestry-looking sweater. Bill Cunningham picked it up for “On The Street”, which he still does for the Sunday Times. He did a story that depicted four different people in the sweaters, as seen on the street. That was sort of the beginning of my career.

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Index magazine appears to currently not have a functional web site. In the April/May 2001 issue you can also find Thurston Moore interviewing 30-YEAR-OLD-DRUMMER Susie Ibarra. This is cool, I did not know who she was.

THURSTON: A lot of hard-core Houston bands used to play in New York in the early ’80’s. I was really into DRI and Pissed Youth.

SUSIE: Oh, is that what you’d call that- hard-core? I’m really bad with the lingo! [laughs]

(Edit- Bless you Susie).

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And finally if you only have 5 seconds and always wanted to see what Manhattan cable- access TV star Robin Byrd looks like not wearing a macramé/crochet bikini, turn to page 103. I guess that brings us right back to knitting.

(Edit- as if to drill some strange point home, when/if you move out of Manhattan, you no longer are privy to Manhattan’s Cable Access is a distant memory for me. Who knew that Brooklyn ran on family values.)

April 24, 2001


Earlier today, upon a lead I had from perusing metascene, I grabbed the New Yorker and discovered a short article by one of my true favorites, author Lorrie Moore. Maybe this is an indication that she might be finally publishing a new book? I don’t know, I really don’t know the mysteries of the publishing industry. At any rate, the piece can be seen on the currentNew Yorker web site (section: FIRST JOB), bunched in with other authors recounting first job experiences. A nice passage by Jonathan Franzen thrown in for the measure.

An excerpt from Lorrie Moore’s Self Help:

1973. At a party when a woman tells you where she bought some wonderful pair of shoes, say that you believe shopping for clothes is like masturbation- everyone does it, but it isn’t very interesting and therefore should be done alone, in an embarrassed fashion, and never be the topic of party conversation. The woman will tighten her lips and eyebrows and say,”Oh,I suppose you have something more fascinating to talk about.” Grow clumsy and uneasy. Say, “No,” and head for the ginger ale. Tell the person next to you that your insides feel sort of sinking and vinyl like a Claes Oldenburg toilet. They will say, “Oh”? and point out that the print on your dress is one of paisleys impregnating paisleys. Pour yourself more ginger ale.

         -How to Talk to Your Mother (Notes)

Nabokov’s Blues; The Scientific Odyssey of a Literary Genius Nabokov, who never learned to drive a car, estimated that in the glory years, between 1949 and 1959, Vera drove him more than 150,000 miles all over North America, mostly on butterfly trips.

April 20, 2001

Ode to Crispin Hellion Glover

Larry , Born to Lose


was not the King of the Echo People.
Howdy Cleveland
But Rubin Farr was.
Larry Huff on Channel 2 knows not of
But that’s not The Big Problem.
Jimmy is in The Final Chapter
Which explains why
Joey got a G.E.D.
(Although) not from My Tutor.
Maybe so did Archie
(At High School U.S.A.?)
Don’t ask Lucas, he’s At Close Range.
Nor undertake a question from Bobby McBurney,
While eating a whole watermelon –
With Cousin, hungry Dell.
Maybe Andy sucked a big one but-
What’s the Solution,the Solution=
What is it?
A:Your hair is very, tall.

Born today, 1964

Found- one Mr. Density.

April 16, 2001


I went to my corner Pakistani run deli tonight on an emergency TP run, and found this. All displayed with a handmade “2 for 50 cents” sign. What the fuck you may say. 4 rolls purchased.

What a stinking week, and that is no pun intended.

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I was glad today to see a few kind words of thought for Joey Ramone on a couple of my favorite sites, especially Dangerous Monkey and DAM, who voiced my sentiments exactly. There is something inherently sad about his passing, and it is hard not to feel your own gone-by-the wayside youth. I flashed back to my own memory of listening to my first Ramones album in 8-track form,and that was when they were selling them, brand new still in the wrapper.

“The format of all early Ramones are made for 8-track. No songs are cut in the middle for program changes, and since they’re so short in the first place, you can listen to the whole thing in a spare 31:05. Also available on this 8-track is “Carbonna Not Glue”, which was taken off the LP early on in the run due to its ‘controversial’ drug message. It is a great song. Some would argue that ‘Rocket to Russia’ or the ‘Ramones’ is better. No question all three would belong in the 8-track hall of fame. The Ramones sound great on even the cheapest portable 8-track player and the carts even now are not the hardest to find of 8-tracks, thanks to Sire Records’ (GRT Tapes) distribution. “

8 Track Heaven