If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
— Mark Twain
When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.
— Anatole France
Pleasure cannot be shared; like Pain, it can only be experienced or inflicted, and when we give pleasure to our Lovers or bestow Charity upon the Needy, we do so not to gratify the object of our Benevolence, but only ourselves. For the Truth is that we are kind for the same reason as we are cruel, in order that we may enhance the sense of our own Power.
— Aldous Huxley
Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
— Frank Zappa
First Things First
We could give an artist a million dollars for a public art commission and not end up with something as jaw-dropping lovely as the six windmills currently dotting the short of Lake Erie. Hands down, the best public art anywhere in Western New York (though I am also a major fan of the swooping modernist grandeur and eloquence of the Skyway). What's immediately apparent, and terrific, about them is their assymetrical positions, just staggered across the craggy shore all lean and mean and sustainable. If you can manage to see them from the water, do. Unless you have a heart of stone, they will fill you with glee. They weren't trying to construct a public art masterpiece, but they did. If that's not enough, at night each one blinks with a single red light. Su-weet.
Regrettably, we passed on the Kickathon
Toronto artist Lee Goreas, who will be showing at Hallwalls in January, came to town to catch a baseball game last weekend.
Also in attendance, artist Jesse Webber, exhibiting at Hallwalls in November.
Lee bought beers from the Conehead and by the fifth inning we were all baking like lobsters in the scorching, cloudless sun.
The Bisons crapped out and we were all disappointed that we didn't have the fortitude to tough it out after the game to watch the promised "Kickathon," featuring a large posse of pumped-up tae kwon do kids. We wanted to stay, but Dunn Tire Park decided it would be fun to let any kids in the stands run the bases first and when we saw the massive queue of kids, the length of a Depression-era soup line, we had to cry uncle and find a cool dark spot and a supply of chicken wings.
Oh, and former Sabres coach John Muckler was there too.
As LL Cool J sang, I'm goin' back to Kandor, Kandor, Kandor...
Having exalted Mike Kelley's Kandor Series installation at the 2008 Carnegie International last week, I realized not every blog reader has a comic geek in their past and it's worthwhile to mention a little more about Kandor. And a little more about Kelley's imaginative re-rendering.
In the CD Comics universe, Kandor was the former capital city of Superman's home world of Krypton. Kandor was stolen by super villain Brainiac and mInituraized into a little ship-in-a-bottle souvenir because super villains exist primarily to fuck with the hero and what better way than to imprison the last remaining chunk of Superman's home planet. Naturally, Superman recovered Kandor and kept it safely ensconsed in his exalted bachelor bad, the Fortress of Solitude. (Kelley was working from the premise of the various depictions of Kandor in different comics and it could be interesting if he applied the same treatment to the Fortress of Solitude some day, as this has also had several versions, being located variously in the Arctic, the Antarctic, the Andes, and the Amazon rainforest.)
Brainiac was—apart from being one of the more brilliantly-named comic book villains—an intriguing anti-hero because he was smart, handsome, had that great forehead tattoo, was clearly a hipper cat than Superman, who was the ultimate square, and could not have been entirely evil on a genetic level because his great-great grandson, Brainiac 5 was a good guy, eventually joining the Legion of Super Heroes in a biblical gesture of atonement for the sins of his ancestor.
In one of the more interesting side stories in the Superman pantheon was one in which Superman wanted to enlarge Kandor to actual size and invented a machine to increase his brain power, which worked so well it actually split Superman into two entities, Superman Red and Superman Blue. With the sort of logic only a comic book could sell as credible, this was featured as an "imaginary tale" within an already-imaginary world.
It's pretty damn ridiculous, but as a boy I loved this storyline. It was crazy entertaining and supremely amusing and thrilling to have two Supermen running around. In an inversion of the typically troublesome situation of having one's doppelganger to contend with, Superman Red and Superman Blue got along famously and I don't recall any repercussions from this implausible scenario. They would have made a stellar pair of tag team wrestlers who could have easily ruled the WWF.
Their teamwork succeeded so well that, as outlined in Wikipedia, "The twin Supermen successfully enlarged Kandor, freeing its citizens from their bottle prison. They then bring the remnants of Krypton together, creating a "New Krypton." The two Supermen go on to create an "anti-evil" ray, which can cure criminal tendencies in anyone. They place the ray into satellites in orbit around the Earth, curing not only villains such as Les Luthor and Mr. Mxyzptlk, but Fidel Castro and Nikita Kruschev as well. The reformed Luthor goes on to invent a serum that cures all known diseases, which he puts into the water supply." Good times, good times.
This is just some of the enthralling filler to Kelley's installation at the Carnegie. In writing about the exhibition, Roberta Smith remarks on Kelley's piece merely in passing, noting "The inclusion of Mike Kelley is similarly predictable, even with a weird, very expensive-looking installation piece that has a kind of department-store-window gorgeousness." Sounds like a criticism and I'm almost tempted to suggest that, having never been a comic-smitten young boy, Smith just can't love it all the same way. But I'm not sure what other kind of visual aspect the work ought to employed, apart from "department-store-window-gorgeousness." Such displays often contain a shitload of gorgeous and drawing from such pulpy pictorial brilliance as those Curt Swan-pencilled Superman tales, Kelley's blunt, beautiful colorations are ideal to the task.
And, should you want for a more poncey articulation, it can easily be suggested that—knowing even a bit of the back story—it's apparent that Kelley's work is toying with broad themes grounded in our own reality, even if derived from a super-fictional unreality: power, colonialism, class struggle and how all of these impact on the telling and retelling of history. He's one of our great contemporary artists and he's managing to hit all the salient, serious notes while not forgetting to play. And to make it look like a million bucks. Way to be, Mike. Rock on.
@ HW thru Aug 30
Karma Cab Boa
Hallwalls 2008 Members Exhibition
gallery hours: tues to Fri 11am to 6pm, Sat 1 to 4pm
with works by:
DAVID ANDREE • MOLLIE ATKINSON • RITA ARGEN AUERBACH • KATE BAE • DIANE BAKER • RACHAEL BALDANZA • MICHAEL BEAM • MARY BEGLEY • DENNIS BERTRAM • AMANDA BESL • ALAN BIGELOW • PRISCILLA BOWEN • NELSON BRADLEY • BRADLEY BUTLER • SCOTT BYE •
ATTILIO CELOTTO (above) • IAN CHRYSTAL • VIKTORIA CIOSTEK • OREEN COHEN • LUKIA COSTELLO • JAX DELUCA • MARIELY DOWNEY • LIZ DRUMM & CHRISTOPHER VEREL • VAL DUNNE • EDOLLIA • JACKIE FELIX • DOROTHY FITZGERALD • JOAN FITZGERALD • JENNIFER GOTTDIENER • ZEV GOTTDIENER • AMY GREENAN • JODY HANSON • PATTI HARRIS • PHIL HENDRICKSON • ROBERT HOLLAND • TOM HOLT • A.J. HUARANCA • BILLY HUGGINS •
DALE INGLETT (above) • ANITA L. JOHNSON • JOHN KENNEDY • LAWRENCE KINNEY • FELICE KOENIG • MATT KRUBACK • JAMIE KUBALA • MARK LAVATELLI • ZOE LAVATELLI • ELIZABETH LEADER • STACEY LECHEVET • GERALDINE LIQUIDANO • POLLY LITTLE & TED PELTON • SANDY LUDWIG • ROSEMARY K. LYONS • NAOMI MARINE • MAUREEN MATTHEWS • SCOTT McCARNEY • CHRIS McGEE • KURT McGHEE • MARK McLOUGHLIN • GERALD MEAD • R.J. MELNYK • DIANE MENCHETTI • LILLIAN MÉNDEZ • CONI MINNECI • ERIK MINTER • BERNARD P. MULLANE • KARA NEWBAUER •
FRANK O'CONNOR (above) • BOB OHRUM • MARY GRACE OHRUM • CATHY PARDIKE • NANCY J. PARISI • KATE S. PARZYCH • JAMES PAULSEN • REBEKKAH PALOV • ELENA RALSTON • JEAN-MICHEL REED • RENA REISMAN • THOMAS ROJEK • SALVATORE SCRIVO • GARY SCZERBANIEWICZ • KATIE SEHR • VICTOR SHANCHUK JR. • KATHLEEN SHERIN • JOANNE SLOAN • BENJAMIN SPENCER • CATHERINE LINDER SPENCER • NATHANIEL SPENCER • NORINE SPURLING • DEBRA STECKLER • KURT TREEBY • CHRIS VESPER • KURT VON VOETSCH • ALFONSO VOLO • GENEVIEVE WALLER • MARY WEIG • JACQUELINE WELCH • SUSAN WILKE • JANET WINKIE • GARY L. WOLFE • SUNG HE YOON • DIANE YUNQUE • and BRUCE ADAMS, listed last because in the world of Buffalo group shows, he always gets listed first.
Opening September 13
• Carnegie Art Center Members Exhibition op Sat, Sept 13, 7-9pm (thru Oct 17)
• Catherine Linder Spencer at Daemon College op Thurs Sept 4, 7-9pm (thru Sept 28)
• Gerald Mead at Studio Hart op Fri, Sept 5, 6—8pm (thru Oct 11)
• Mary Begley @ Chow Chocolat op Fri, Aug 22, 5—9pm (thru Sept 25)
• Ariane Michelle Fulk @ Cosmopolitan Sat, Aug 23, 8—11:30pm
• Monica Angle, Georgia Trimper, Barbara Baird @ Springville Center for the Arts op Sun, Aug 24, 2-4pm (thru Sept 20)
Georgia Trimper: Mapped Facets
@ Olean Public Library
op Fri, Aug 22, 5-7pm (thru Sept 20)
Most Esoteric Premise of the Month
Six Photographers, One Art Writer
The Bryan Hopkins Experience—Update
• a 3 person show at Anelle Gandelman (Larchmont, NY) Oct 4—Nov 8
• a group show of tiles, Transformations: 6x6, at the Clay Art Center (Port Chester, NY) Oct 4—Nov 22
• a group show of tableware, The Artful Tabletop, at the Lyndhurst Museum (Tarrytown, NY) Oct 7—Nov 16
• part of Earthly Treasures at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit, MI. Nov 7—Dec. 31
• part of Gifted: Part One at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. Nov 7—Dec 28
TONIGHT @ HW 4:30—6pm
Free Workshop on $7,000 cash grants for artists
presented by NYFA @ Hallwalls
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) will conduct an information seminar on NYFA Artists’ Fellowships at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY) on Friday, August 22, 4:30-6:00 pm. The information seminar will address questions about NYFA’s on-line application process and inform artists about funding opportunities and other areas of career development. The seminar is free, and no reservations are required.
Each year, NYFA offers $7,000 cash grants to up to 150 artists in all disciplines selected via a peer panel process. Since the Fellowships were first established in 1985, NYFA has awarded more than $22 million to over 3,500 New York artists.
Artistic disciplines eligible in 2008 – 2009 include Crafts, Digital/Electronic Arts, Film, Interdisciplinary Work, Nonfiction Literature, Poetry, Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts, and Sculpture. The 2009 – 2010 cycle will offer Architecture/Environmental Structures, Choreography, Fiction, Music Composition, Painting, Photography, Playwriting/Screenwriting, and Video.
To be eligible for a NYFA Fellowship, applicants must be a resident of New York State for at least two years prior to the application deadline and cannot be enrolled in a degree program of any kind. The Artists’ Fellowships application calls for a small sample of work which is reviewed by panels of artists working in the category being reviewed. NYFA will begin accepting on-line submissions at www.nyfa.org/afp in early-August.
Applications must be submitted on or before the following dates:
October 6, 2008 Poetry, Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts;
October 8, 2008 Nonfiction Literature, Sculpture;
October 10, 2008 Crafts, Digital/Electronic Arts, Film, Interdisciplinary Work
For more information about NYFA Fellowship seminars, please call NYFA at 212.366.6900, ext. 224.
Opening Aug 30 @ Hardware
Josh Dorman's first museum show
Alicia Ross @ Black & White
Alicia Ross Website
Lyle Ashton Harris
opening at UB Art Gallery
Thurs, Sept 5, 5pm / Lecture Mon, Sept 15, 6:30pm
Lyle Ashton Harris: Blow Up will debut new images inspired by his recent experiences in West Africa. A key figure since the 1990s, Harris first gained critical notice for his theatrical black-and-white self-portraits, in which he examined racial and gender identity, using the body as socio-psychological metaphor.
As Anna Deavere Smith wrote (2002), “Lyle’s work questions the meaning of maleness and femaleness, not to mention of blackness and whiteness….Is it possible that, now, we can look at identity as a constellation: that each of us has inside of ourselves many fragments?” Harris has since moved from the self-as-subject to a broader interest in the anthropology of images-and the impact of globalization. A photojournalist (e.g. for New York Times Magazine) as well as a fine-art photographer, Harris is keenly aware of the power of images and the gravity at stake in their production. As Harris externalized his perspective, he similarly shifted from staged, studio photography to using found imagery in photomontage and collage. He pushes the potential of his medium by re-photographing, layering and (most recently) incorporating video. After receiving the Rome Prize in 2000, Harris turned his camera on the crowds and riot police at Italian soccer matches, examining the psychology and performance-style role of spectators.
Acutely aware of the historical interrelationship of photography, colonialism and anthropology, Harris foregrounds socio-cultural context. In Ghana (where he has taught since 2005), he shot video footage of traditional musicians and dancers, fascinated by elements of masquerade. Harris is compelled by the tension between traditional African art and the infiltration of Western media culture.
Lyle Ashton Harris: Blow Up is organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and sponsored by Mikki and Stanley Weithorn, Yvette Craddock, Janis Leonard Design Associates and Linda and Sherman Saperstein.
Zoë The Swinger Says Come On Down
Buffalo Hop Swing Dance
Aug 30, 9—11pm
Unitarian Universalist Church, 595 Elmwood
To benefit Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo
Joel Lewitsky @ Betty's
op Mon, Sept 8, 6-9pm (thru Nov 9)
• OP Art Revisited at the Albright thru Jan 25
• Michael Veit at the Castellani thru Sept 14
• Mark Weld at Market Street Art Center (Lockport) thru Sept 14
• Robert Burley, Avalanche Collective, Ryan Boatright, Jim DeLucia, Bingyi Huang at the Rochester Contemporary thru Sept 21
• Brian Dickinson at Hardware thru Aug 28
• Buffalo Flickr Photographers at Betty's thru Sept 7
• Biff Henrich at the Buffalo Museum of Science thru Aug 31
• Kara Daving at the Niagara Aquarium thru Aug
• Marc Burgess at College Street Gallery thru Aug 30
• Joe Whalen at Market Street Gallery (Lockport) thru Sept 8
• Aasta Deth at Three Rivers Art Gallery, Pittsburgh thru Aug 28
• Max Streicher: Metamorphosis at the Castellani op Fri, Oct 5
• Dianne Baker at Kouros Gallery (NYC) thru Aug 29
• Rita Argen Auerbach at Chautauqua Institution thru Aug 23
• Niagara Frontier at the Kenan Center thru Aug 24
• Rick Steinberg at Quaker Bonnet thru Aug 29
• Tom Hughes @ 218 Grant St by appt. Tom@autocrat-art.org Buff News preview Eisenberg
• Buffalo Flickr Photographers at Betty's thru Sept 7
• Writing With Light at CEPA thru Aug 27
• Lukia Costello at The Rabbit Room thru Nov 1
• Dianne Baker at Galleryh @ Artpark thru Aug 22
• Will West at El Museo thru August 31
• Diane Baker at The Mansion on Delaware (indefinitely)
Thus Spake Spree
Thanks to Buffalo Spree magazine for selecting Hallwalls as the Best Small Art Gallery in Western New York in their current collation of all things Buffalonian over the past year. Congrats to CEPA, the Albright, Beyond/In Western NY, Bruce Adams, and Katie Sehr for other arts-related awards. It's hard to get hugely worked up about these things, as they have no connection to what motivates us to do the work we do, there are no prizes of automobiles or even hot oil massages, and no one's going to remember next year who won this year. That said, Buffalo Spree at least has the professionalism to spend some time thinking about it and debating their choices via editorial meetings. So, in a very real sense, they are applying a critical eye to the question and so maybe they deserve an award for those efforts. A far sight better than the Artvoice readers' poll which is consistent only in its ability to tell me nothing notable about our town.
El Museo Call for Work
El Museo is holding its 11th Annual Altars Exhibit opening
October 31 on view through November 29 2008. Any one interested in building an altar for our annual Day of the Dead Celebration please send a letter of intent with your contact information to 91 Allen Buffalo NY 14202 or to email@example.com or you can call 884-9693.
I'm telling you for the last time:
Castellani Art Museum
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
TopSpin: Artists of Western New York and Beyond
The museum’s Tops Gallery—dedicated to the exhibition of work by local and regional artists— presents the TopSpin series. This juried series of solo exhibitions draws from the richly diverse work of Western New York artists, as well as that of artists beyond the region. TopSpin features a broad range of visual expressions, varied in media as well as message.
Please include artist statement, CV, 10-15 images (preferably on CD) and send to:
Curator of Exhibitions and Collections
Castellani Art Museum
Niagara University, NY 14109
Please DO NOT email submissions.
All submissions will be reviewed this fall for 2009 exhibition opportunity.
Blurb Staff Pick
It's a beautiful, affordable hardcover book self-published by the artist and containing some spectacular illustrations of David's most recent works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and, naturally, plenty of the artist's droll, poignant writings. Here's a sample:
"I once met this art dealer. He was a very rich guy. He said he wanted to be the next big deal. This guy told me he thought I was totally under-appreciated and deserved so much better out of life. That all my other art dealers had mishandled my career and therefore were ripping me off. That I should be rich and famous by now. WEll, what was I going to tell him, that he was wrong? So I started to work with this guy and within a very short amount of time it became totally clear to me that this guy did not have a fucking clue as to what he was doing. And if it had not been for him being a rich motherfucker, he would have been out of the business a long time ago. Things started to fall apart and I decided to tell him to go fuck himself. My wife said to me that she was on to this guy all along and that I was stupid for ever falling for his bullshit. The only thing that I really fell for was believing this guy, that I actually could be doing better for myself. I just wish my wife didn't have to make me feel like such a dope for actually taking that kind of talk seriously."
Manny Farber 1917—2008
NY Times obit
Jerry Wexler 1917—2008
NY Times obit
Something I listened to this week...
First of all, this was an utterly brilliant film. You have to be willing to concede to its beautiful slowness but once you do, it's a rapturously-told tale full of nuance and subtlety, with brilliant performances all around. Within the first several minutes, I was looking at Brad Pitt's marvelous depiction of the legendary outlaw and thought to myself, "Oh, yeahhhh, that guy! The guy who was utterly terrifying in Kalifornia...where the hell has that guy been?" I'd gotten so used to one stupid lazy role after another that I'd actually forgotten that Pitt has tremendous acting chops. With great delicacy, he portrays Jesse James as human, lovable, funny and, undeniably, a dark, frightening psychopath. I realize being one half of Brangelina is a full-time gig, but twould be nice if he could remind us of the deepness of his craft a little more often.
The soundtrack by Nick I-Am-On-A-Major-Fucking-Roll Cave and Warren Ellis was beautiful, as mournful and elegiac as the film required. It was almost a perfect score—never pushing itself into the foreground, but slathering its wonderfully sad texture throughout this wonderfully sad tale. Perfect also because it had, in its quiet way, an epic feel about it, suggestive of the broader theme of the film, the dissolution of an old world to make way for a new one. Naturally, this led me to relisten to another splendid score, one of the many great works for which Bob Dylan rarely gets many props, his soundtrack for Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid.
I have never been able to figure out why no one has, in the more than thirty years since, ever asked Dylan to write another film score. What the fuck. I give up. Explain it to me. Dylan's score is drop-dead terrific—thematically touching upon a very similar tale with an entirely different sound than Cave's. Not as overtly atmospheric as Jesse James, Pat Garrett is nonetheless full of atmosphere. Sad, waning, full of regret and all that terrible terrific beauty that accompanies regret.
Strange end-of-summer listening choices, as they sound as though they are foretelling autumn, and summer hardly needs any help in burning by far too quick. Then again, both these albums are perfect perfect end-of-summer fare, reminding you that you better cherish the Now because it's all over much too soon.
Last Things Last
If windmills on the Erie weren't enough to fill you with enough strange wonder at yet another gem sparkling in the hidden jewel box that is Buffalo, consider this....Scott made the rather significant remark the other night that we tend to forget that, since our city rests on the eastern tip of a Great Lake, we actually have an unfettered and completely flat horizon to our West. In other words, Buffalo actually has California sunsets. They never mention that on the news or in regional travel brochures, but it's true. And, as in Cali, it's splendid.
It is not always easy to diagnose. The simplest form of stupidity—the mumbling, nose-picking, stolid incomprehension—can be detected by anyone. But the stupidity which disguises itself as thought, and which talks so glibly and eloquently, indeed never stops talking, in every walk of life is not so easy to identify, because it marches under a formidable name, which few dare attack. It is called Popular Opinion...
— Robertson Davies