NYC Whirlwind

The newly curated Museum of Modern Art in New York, which I visited over a week ago lives up to the hype, it is spectacular .

It did my heart good to see so many people engaged in art.
I was particularly touched by this group of school kids piled up in front of Faith Ringgold’s painting.

Faith Ringgold
American People Series, #20: Die
Oil on two panels, 72” x 144”


My personal favorite room at MOMA is Amy Sillman’s ‘Artist Choice: The Shape of Shape‘.
She was allowed access to MOMA’s collection and curated a room full of works that essentially ended up looking like one of her paintings. I’m thinking life size representation of her work “Me & Ugly Mountain” which is essentially a painting of her dragging a bunch of ideas around.
Just being in a room with her color choices come to life was swoon worthy.
The Shape of Shape’ is up through June 7th. I actually had to ask one of MOMA’s staff how to locate it as there so many choices to be had there.

Shape of A Shape

MOMA also has a fantastic fiber exhibit up titled “Taking A Thread For A Walk” exploring the history of modern textiles. Anni Albers is getting her due all over the place this year finally and some of her early sketches and work on on display through May 17.

Taking a Thread for a Walk

That’s all my head had room to think on in my whirlwind one day visit to NYC.

Editorial note from the future – little did I know that literally days later the world would go into lockdown a few weeks later and there would be no more visits to New York or museums in general for a long, long time. 

Thurs…if wishes were horses

echo eggebrecht

Not only do I wish I could see these paintings by Echo Eggebrecht, I wish they were mine.

(opening at sixtyseven today, yes in NYC)


Tyler is breaking out all over the place. You should check out his thoughtful piece on Lari Pittman in the recent issue of BlackBook. He’ll be at the 92nd Street Y giving lectures before we know it!

Actually the piece by Irvine Welsh interviewing Damien Hirst is quite good too, a chat about about what happens in life after drugs. Kind of a their version of Behind the Music.


On guard. Modern Kicks lets the cat out of the bag regarding his past as a museum guard. More stories please!


This post is becoming a little too East Coast-centric today, but I just came across the recent Finch piece on artnet. Finch reviews the new Bellwether space in Chelsea. What a nasty man, hitting below the belt in his insults of gallery owner Becky Smith by proclaiming her,”Jocular, sardonic, self-interested and fleshy; also calling her “the lumpy persona of Becky Smith” . I always thought they were the strongest gallery in the Greenpoint and then Williamsburg area, and of course haven’t seen the new space (nor will I anytime soon), yet I can’t imagine what action would warrant such insidious commentary on behalf of Mr. Finch. Ah, yes, the tiny small world of the NYC art scene.

April 4, 2002

If anyone is interested, a painter I very much admire, Neo Rauch opened a show yesterday in Soho- they let me take pics of his work. I’m smitten.

Neo Rauch @ Dave Zwirner April 2002

August 21, 2001

remnants of the Brooklyn Giglio Festival

August 20, 2001

Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retropective Whitney Museum

I like Wayne Thiebaud. I thought this was going to be my summer painting show. But somehow, something in the work did not entirely engage me. He is a beautiful painter, but his style leans toward the academic. With the exception of his mid-sixties food series(which he is still best known for)his subject matter is too reminiscent of others from that era. I saw shades of Jim Dine and lots of Richard Diebenkorn (especially in his San Francisco street landscapes).

I felt a little sad, because I respect his work immensely. I just didn’t have any epiphanies as I did when I saw the Diebenkorn  retrospective a few years ago, or my mild obsession last summer when I saw Alice Neel’s work numerous times. Not really a disappointment, but it somehow just didn’t resonate beyond the door.

Another thing that didn’t make it out the door were photos of the Mies van der Rohe architecture exhibit. Upon entering the Mies chamber, there was a strange feeling of being in a Wings Of Desire sub plot. Lots of low level lighting, immense black and white photos and a strange hush in the room. I was busted almost immediately for trying to take photos. Photos I might add would not have come out anyway with the lighting situation. All the same it put a damper on my evening and I decided to come back and see more of Mies some other time.

*[please note: Thiebaud has a beautiful palette of color that he works with, and the poor reproductions I have put up here really don’t do justice to his work, just thought I would mention that it is my ill handy work, not his].

August 1, 2001

Another Random Dinnertime Parade

Occasionally on our block you can be woken out of the daze you are in by the sound of heralding trumpets and a bugle core,announcing the arrival of another neighborhood parade.

These little events, which last as long as it takes a group of 30 or so people to walk the stretch of Union, Metropolitan and then Lorimor are always police escorted and sure to bring traffic to a dead crawl.

The girl who cuts my hair grew up here. I asked her the secret meaning behind all the shenanigans. “Hell if I know”, she replied.
She said she never really figured it out, and frankly after being around for almost 30 years she was pretty much over them. I guess if you were not Italian American, who could blame you at that point.

All the same, I still get a kick of these occasional displays trumpeting the “Saint of the Day”, breaking the monotony of the rumbling semi-truck traffic and showcasing what a festive bunch live around these here parts.

July 17, 2001


Implosion of the Brooklyn Union Gas Tanks

I am convinced my neighborhood is going to be one of the most documented industrial wastelands in this country. I guess that’s what the advent of affordable technology and a high density of creative types will do for you.

The day before these tanks were to be blown up I suddenly found myself possessed to get on my bicycle to get one last look,and take a few snaps. Unknowingly, I was to be joined by a whole flock of people doing the same thing including a documentary film crew. You can’t count out human curiosity.

The tanks I am disappointed to see go. With their checkerboard loudness they have served as the one landmark in the neighborhood recognizable from a distance,a point towards home. Now the landscape will all fade into the rest of Brooklyn and be just another blur from the highway.

By the time I touched down at the actual site of the tanks (which is truly industrial) about 5pm in the evening, the Police crews were rounding themselves up and getting ready to evacuate the area. Stacks of barricades made the business seem official.

The documentary film crew, making a blotter about the tanks, (working title: Implode!) were giving interviews to a handful of media types and selling T-shirts to fund/commemorate their project.

Tomorrow when I step out the door and walk a few blocks North to the park, I am sure it will be odd that gaping hole, giving way to a little more skyline and a little less comfort.

The tanks are scheduled to be blow up at 7:AM Sunday, July 15 2001. RIP.

July 15, 2001

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Paulinus of Nola

Williamsburg, Brooklyn July 2001

These photos are representative of the almost 3 hour process that finds 100+ men parading the statue to St. Paulinus through the crowd filled,sausage eating and cheering throngs of Brooklyn’s Italian American section of Williamsburg.

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go here for the Official Giglio Feast Page!

If you are in the NYC area this mid July, you still have a chance to see some of the fun- other
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Parish
sponsored events include:
Tuesday July 10th 8pm Caribe Night- Steel Band
Friday July 13th 8pm Live entertainment- Italian Night
Saturday July 14th 6pm Children’s Giglio
**Sunday July 15th 2pm Dancing of the Giglio 8pm Live entertainment- Latin Night: Bobby Rodriguez y Su Orquestra. Midnight Mass in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
(12:01am July 16th morning)

and you might want to ask for Monday off:
Monday July 16th
Feast Day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel 10am Festive Mass in honor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel
11am Procession with statue 11:15am Mass in Italian with Choir
12:15pm Mass in English with Cantor 4pm Procession with statue
6pm Polish Mass 7:30pm Creole Mass 8pm
8:30pm Spanish Mass 9:30pm Closing Ceremonies of the Feast 10pm Drawing of the Raffles on Church Steps

June 24, 2001

6/24/01, Sunday night, 7:30PM

Heaven on earth is:

Sushi, WKCR’s Garam Masala show, and a nice bottle of wine to share.

Notes from an ICP visit: Kiki Smith

Ding dong the witch is dead, which old witch, the wicked witch!

Here I sit in the side cafeteria/cafe/school lunch room on the bottom floor of International Center of Photography’s main branch. I am sipping on my really delicious and oh so worth it $1 and 90 cent coffee. Mmmm.

Okay, I have just come to see the Hans Bellmer show, which unfortunately I find a might bit boring. Why all the buckle shoes? And the bows. A little too much German sensibility for my tastes. To be fair this era (1930s and 40s) has been covered so much before, I have lost my interest in picking apart the sexual/political overtones of that time.

There is an photo he took of a human head wearing a bird cage, which immediately brought to mind the famous photo of Anais Nin dressed in the same manner. Maybe she saw the photo and decided to make her costume for that “Come As Your Madness” party she went to. My problem is I read too much Anais in my 20’s and then bookended it all with that Deirdre Bair biography where she kind of let the cat out of the bag. Yeah, how did Anais live so wonderfully and charmingly on her little houseboat? Her husband paid for it! The one she never mentioned. Oh.

Kiki Smith : Telling Tales

At any rate, the other two shows at ICP I enjoyed a lot more. First off, I found it nice that the International Center for Photography let Kiki Smith install not only photos, but her sculptures, videos and drawings as well. Working with 3 intermixed fairy tale themes,she also uses doll imagery,(yes), like Hans Bellmer, but I personally found her take on it a lot more engaging. The first thing you see as you enter the gallery is series of poisonous black apples that are nice and wicked. Smith has always had a certain organic quality circulating throughout her work, and the photos shown here are a natural extension to what she has previously done. The exhibit is titled Telling Tales.

The other show, Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together,1840-1918 gathers daguerreotypes, tin types and other photos from the mid 1800’s. The photos documenting male friendships from the Victorian era are almost alarming in their show of intimacy. The very tender depictions of (now anonymous) friendships are surprising, and in this day and age, very refreshing.
For myself it was a very interesting window into how acceptable behavior in our society has changed,and how social norms have shifted over the course of time. I think people would now be far too self-conscious to shine through a photo with such genuineness.
Of course you have to take into consideration our conception of photography, and why you would be posing for a portrait has undoubtedly changed in the past 150 years. It was lovely though to see such a comfortableness depicted between people,especially considering the Victorian age brings the word “stuffiness” immediately to mind. This small but very interesting gathering of photo documents was a wonderful surprise to find out about.

So, there you go. There was much to take in at ICP Midtown. I like knowing now that they are open late on Friday nights and offer a “pay-as-you wish” program. My coffee cost more than my admission.

Here is a nice review of Kiki Smith’s work in the show, unfortunately the photos have disappeared since I viewed them yesterday.

Julie Heffernan at P.P.O.W. gallery

At the other end of the aesthetic spectrum from Mr. McCarthy, is the extraordinary painter Julie Heffernan. We found ourselves a few blocks down the way from the New Museum at a Soho’s,P.P.O.W. gallery.

Until a couple days ago,I was not even aware there was not only one, but two shows of her painting in NYC this month. As usual it is always a treat to see her work. In my humble opinion, she is the most talented painter on New York’s horizon. This new work retains its wonderful organic focus,continuing to combine those elaborate Velazquez suggestive self portraits with nature(and landscapes). This time around though she has snuck in bright pigments(lots of pinks hues)and additionally found a way to return to those strange allegorical “paintings-within-a-painting” that I first witnessed at the beginning of last decade. I almost missed this show (it all comes down in a couple of weeks) which I would have really kicked myself over later.

I feel very fortunate that I had the good luck to stumble upon her work eight years ago,for it has been fascinating to see how she has evolved. Her technique alone is phenomenal, I don’t know who as a contemporary, in this country anyway, would be considered comparable. As usual I find it really surprising she has not had more critical attention, although I suppose her quiet subject matter (oriented in the manner of seventeenth century still life painting) doesn’t qualify as hype provoking. All the better for viewers.

At any rate I could go on and on about the pleasure her work brings. A second exhibit of her painting can be found uptown at Littlejohn Contemporary Gallery, which I am hoping to grace with in the next week. At P.P.O.W. I purchased a catalogue of this new work for a reasonable $10.00.