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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Today my visiting-from-LA sister and I braved the midtown crowds, Christmas-crazed and gift-bogged that they were, to venture up to the MOMA. I was there during the erstwhile summer months to check out the Richard Serra exhibit – but it was sis’s first trip in a while. The initially daunting line notwithstanding, the entrance fee (one genuine student and one fake student: $8 off the entrance price!) paid and complimentary coat check checked, we headed into the depths to check out this “art” thing.

In one of the first main galleries we encountered HUGE wood pieces – a convoluted and slightly arthritic looking ladder was suspended above our heads and extended into the horizon. Or rather, as your eye traveled up the length of the ladder you saw that the physical narrowing of the piece itself tricked your eye into thinking it was significantly longer than it actually was. The same was true for a contraption with a huge base of treated wood that was topped with a long, unfinished piece of wood that extended into the air and narrowed to a deceiving point.

ladder
“Ladder for Booker T. Washington.” Am I as long as you think I am?

The most interesting art for me retains a flickering quality, where opposed ideas can be held in a tense coexistence. – Martin Puryear, 2007

I like reading the artists’ quotes and curators’ statements at exhibits like this. Being left alone to contextualize a roll of paper suspended from the ceiling and dribbled with ketchup and graphite can be a daunting task – at least when I’m reading I know the right spot to nod or furrow my brow. So I guess Martin Puryear’s quote above, whose art I was so admiring, helps me get the juxtapositions of space and solid, flexibility and rigidity, that he’s getting at with his pieces. But all these highfalootin’ words can’t do justice to the strength, comfort, and appeal of these huge wooden pieces.

Upon viewing Puryear’s gallery as it continued on the 6th floor, I decided that the dude has a thing for dinosaurs. (Who doesn’t?) Several pieces significantly resembled brontosauruses (brontonsauri), with lofty necks extending at a graceful angle from a grounded, boxy base.

puryearlever.jpg
“Lever #1.” I look like a dinosaur.

Another theme running through Puryear’s work was a recreation of lattice work that at first glance looked pliable, and on second look was revealed to be rigid pieces of wood coaxed and stapled and glued into curving, organic looking shapes. The space inside these overturned baskets was a nice place to dwell mentally, and I imagined curling up comfortably inside a few of the larger ones.

Brunhilde
Big enough to hide in. Small enough to love. “Brunhilde”

So instead of taking a trip all the way up to Sturbridge Village to see quaint handicrafts, take a shorter trip to the MOMA and see quaint handicrafts, rendered in mammoth proportions. When a lot of art is exhausting to look at and doesn’t leave me feeling any better equipped to do, well, anything, Puryear’s sculptures really did seem to have something to say about the relationships between carved wood and the hands that carve them, and the natural world and the Brooklyn world we live in.

Martin Puryear’s exhibition is at the MOMA through January 14, 2008.

The MOMA costs $20 for adults and $12 if you still have your student ID. Every Friday 4-8 PM is free. The cost of admission also gets you into PS 1 for free if you go within a month.

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A young man named Eric (San Francisco resident and Brooklyn Skeptic friend), has set up a unique festival where all films are to be shot on “disposable film.” This means that you can use your camera phone, webcams, security cameras or disposable cameras from stores like Rite Aid or CVS. All that he asks is that your films be under ten minutes and creative. The submissions are due on December 15th of this year. For more information, go here. It’s an awesome opportunity to flex your creative muscle and compete without spending much money.

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Last night I attended an open studio event at the Lower East Side Printshop. The Lower East Side Printshop is located on 306 37th Street, which some might say is not the Lower East Side at all. But I like to keep an open mind about these things.

I always enjoy attending art events, reminds me of just how uncreative I am when it comes to art. Hence, these events are incredibly character building. (I love you, inferiority.) Anyway, here’s the night in review.

Around 6PM I met up with some friends. After entering the building we waited a few minutes for the elevator. A few minutes = an excruciatingly long time in “elevator waiting” terms. We decide to opt for the stairs, but no stairs in sight. We find two more elevators. Sweet. We get off on the 6th floor into a enclosed foyer area about the size of a closet. Interesting. I open the door only to find a small man stitching up some pants. Oops. We all let out a few chuckles, as nerds usually do when encountering this type of situation. It turns out the building’s floors are sectioned off into divisions, which is both confusing and inconvenient. For us. And for you if you ever decide to attend an event here. So, take note.

After coming full circle, we wait at the initial “taking too long” elevator. We are all clear on the fact that our wait was prolonged even further by our looking for a shorter route. (That’s irony.) And not to throw out some crazy assumptions or anything, but I am pretty convinced there was a muscle man down below manually pulling the carts up and down the floors. (In case you just looked up “muscle man” and didn’t find anything because the internet is not as savvy as I am in terms of labeling human beings, the muscle men I’m referring to are those really strong men from the 20s who donned those overall-ish unitards and handlebar mustaches, and at times could be found riding a unicycle. I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here.)

Once we enter the 6th floor we immediately start looking at the prints. There were eight stations, all very distinct in personality and design. Subjects varied from environmentalism to consumerism to personal narrations. I would go on further to describe the prints, but I would just butcher every single one with my interpretations. So I’ll let your imaginations run wild. However, what I will say is the exhibit was divided into two rooms, one with the artists and their work, and another with their pieces hung and displayed. Most, if not all, the art could be purchased (prices ranging from $30-$2500), and if you’re not on the brink of destitution (like me), I would highly suggest looking into purchasing anyone of these for yourself. I found Kakyoung Lee’s charcoal animations to be particularly mesmerizing.

All in all, I would strongly encourage a visit to the Lower East Side Printshop. It’s free and definitely a worthwhile trip.

You can find more information on their open studio events here.

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Plastic Bottles, 2007 by Chris Jordan.

Detail shot.

Detailer shot, actual size of installation photo.

This is a picture of two million plastic bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

DAMN!!

His website has more in this series. Want to see what the amount of money the US government spends in Iraq every hour ($12.5 million) looks like? It’s on there. Along with 2.3 million prison jumpsuits for the number of incarcerated Americans in 2005, the 60,000 plastic bags used every 5 seconds in the US, and 65,000 cigarettes representing the teenagers under 18 in America who become addicted to cigarettes each month.

In the intro to this amazing series he makes the viewer promise to go see his installations in real life if given the chance. We just missed the prison jumpsuit exhibit at the Von Lintel gallery in Manhattan, but I’m keeping my eye out for more chances to see this. When you look at his website it is clear that the scale of these pieces is HUGE and it makes sense that it would be hard to find the space in NY to actually show these pieces.

I couldn’t find my reusable water bottle-type thing today and I bought some Poland Spring. I feel guilty now.

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One of the millions of Americans with a tear in his eye after Joey Chestnut’s stunning, record-shattering win: his proctologist, who will begin the process of removing the 66 impacted hotdogs from his colon on Monday.

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Zach Galifianakis, along with Band of Horses, will be holding an auction of “bad art” in Manhattan on July 10th, 2007. Tickets are thirty bucks ($33.75 with tax), and are on sale now. Having seen Mr. Galifianakis perform a few times, I can say that it will undoubtedly be an interesting evening, and well worth the ticket price. All the money made goes to New York Cares. If you are unfamiliar with Zach Galifianakis, here is a short video of one of his jokes (and there’s plenty more on youtube).

So basically, it’s good comedy, good music, a good cause and shitty art. What’s not to love?

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