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Artists Exhibiting in Vacant Commercial Spaces, New York 2009


Matthew Lusk's Untitled Hobo at the NADA County Affair
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I read an article in the NY Times on Monday, October 12, 2009, entitled "Luring Artists to Lend Life to Empty Storefronts". At the time, I thought it might inspire an interesting posting, especially considering an opening I had recently attended way downtown (south of Trinity Church) which the article failed to mention. Organized by Ellen Scott's Smart Spaces, which "presents contemporary art in the windows of vacant storefronts", the exhibition Regeneration opened October 7th at 88 Greenwich Street and featured window installations by Kim Krans, Hilary Harnischfeger, and Cordy Ryman.

But somehow I lost the impetus for this posting until a series of Facebook "friends" redirected my attention to the NY Times article, the thesis of which is that

as the recession drags on and storefronts across New York remain empty, commercial landlords are turning to an unlikely new class of tenants: artists... On terms that are cut-rate and usually temporary — a few weeks or months — the artist gets a gallery or studio, and the landlord gets a vibrant attraction that may deter crime and draw the next wave of paying tenants.


Art Review Power 100 for 2009: Year of the Curator

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Art Review magazine unveiled their Power 100 list at the Frieze Art Fair in London. Damien Hirst, voted number one last year and the cover boy of Art Review's October 2009 issue, plummeted this year to number 48, indicating a possible reaction to the star artist syndrome occasioned by current economic worries. Although artists such as Bruce Nauman (number 10), Jeff Koons (13), Fischli & Weiss (19) and Mike Kelley (20) are highly placed.

Bruce Nauman

In addition to the expected mega dealers and mega collectors, a number of curators have garnered top power spots, led by omnipresent curator, panelist and art world organizer Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Swiss-born critic and co-director of Exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery. He is this year's numero uno.

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Glenn Lowry, director of MoMA, took second place; he did not even appear in last year's list. Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, came in third.


Mel Kendrick in Madison Square Park

Mel Kendrick: Markers
Mad. Sq. Art. 2009
a project of the Madison Square Park Conservancy
Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, New York
September 17 - December 31, 2009


September 18, 2009. Attended an opening yesterday evening for Mel Kendrick's Markers, five striated, black and white, monumental concrete sculptures that will sit in totemic splendor on the main lawn of Madison Square Park for the rest of this year.

They represent both the first public art project for Kendrick, and also incorporate a new materiality - cast concrete - for this formally innovative artist who has previously adhered to one of the more traditional practices, that of a slicer, carver, gouger and gluer of wood.


The Art Aquatic with Duke Riley

Duke Riley
Those Who Are About to Die Salute You
Naumachia - Live Roman Naval Battle
Queens Museum of Art: Launch Pad Artist-in-Residence Program
Thursday, August 13th, 6 - 9:30 pm

August 15, 2009. This event promised to adhere to historical precedents from the Roman Empire, at least as filtered through the popular imagination of Hollywood films like Ben Hur: bread and circuses; pomp and revelry; the heady Coliseum drama of thumbs up and thumbs down; the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat; reenacted maritime battles staged in a shallow reflecting pool; "death" by baguette or balloon sword, catapulted watermelon bomb and tomato projectile; an orgy of flotsam and jetsam; an outdoor food fight seasoned with the anarchic spirit of a college toga party. And the added promise that all of this estival mayhem was being done in the name of art.


Dead Hippie, Buried Far from Home

[Earlier this year I saw a great show by Paul Thek, a deceased New York artist who worked most spectacularly in Europe. The show will never come here, of course, since they loved him there. I wrote it up, and an editor sat on it until it was dead. I’ve been urged to post the notice here, so here you go. The catalogue is due out or is out from MIT Press.]

Madrid’s Reina Sophia is the last leg of a touring retrospective of Paul Thek. Notorious for his 1968 “Dead Hippie” sculpture, Thek, a New Yorker who died in 1988, is underknown. This show is tremendous, revelatory. Much of what has happened in the last 20 years he may be said to have anticipated. (While I cannot easily read the catalogues in Spanish and German – it’s coming out in English in May, I gather from the illustrations that the authors are saying that.) Most of this work is in European collections, so this most singular and syncretic of American artists may not soon be well seen in the United States.


The Importance of Being Ernesto

Ernesto Neto
Anthropodino
Seventh Regiment Armory
Park Avenue and 66th Street, New York
May 13 - June 14, 2009

May 14, 2009.

In Brasil, to call someone or something "ginga" (pronounced ZHEEN-ga)

is to offer a high compliment. Ginga connotes an intuitive, mystical quality of movement and attitude that Brasilians like to think is uniquely theirs, permeating the way they walk, talk and dance, part of everything they do. It is a synthesis of mind and body, a state of corporeal grace informed by intelligence, creativity and rhythm. Most frequently applied to the "beautiful game" evinced by the star players of Brasilian fútbol, ginga is also evident in the Escolas de Samba, and in the other athletes, musicians, actors and artists who are the pride of Brasil.

When Ronaldo fakes out a defender with his splendid footwork and executes a somersault kick into the net, this is ginga. When Caetano Veloso sings and plays guitar on "O leãozinho", this is ginga. And now, Ernesto Neto, a true Carioca, an artist who lives, works and takes inspiration from his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, has successfully exported ginga to New York for his month long playground and sculptural installation in the huge Drill Hall of the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue.


Le Petit Versailles: An Homage, a New Season, a New Exhibition

Le Petit Versailles
346 East Houston Street, NY

(between Avenues B & C, additional entrance at 247 East Second Street)
Aurelio del Muro, 7th Avenue, through May 31, 2009


Aurelio del Muro, Twins, 2009

A sure sign that Spring has arrived in the East Village is the opening of the regular season of outdoor events at Le Petit Versailles, which generally runs from early May through October. A community garden and public art space, LPV is the brainchild of a pair of artists, filmmakers, performers, gay/queer/trans activists, green guerrillas and co-conspirators, Peter Cramer and Jack Waters, who are also amalgamated as Allied Productions, Inc., a non profit arts organization established in 1981.


East Second Street gate


Adel Abdessemed's "Usine": Inhumane?

Adel Abdessemed, RIO
David Zwirner Gallery, NY
April 3 - May 9, 2009

Adel Abdessemed, the 38-year-old Algerian born, French educated artist who now lives in New York, has been a curatorial darling for the past several years. He was included in Rob Storr's 2007 Venice Biennale, and given solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, the List Visual Arts Center at MIT, and at P.S. 1 in Queens. His current gallery show in New York, spread over all three of David Zwirner's expansive Chelsea galleries, reveals a shape shifting, confrontational artist who works in all media and all scales.

There is a room filling installation of several airplane cockpits and tailfins twisted together like a huge pretzel. There are small drawings of proposed projects. There is a steel oil drum that has been morphed into a music box which plays a bit of Wagner when it rotates around a motorized axle.


Of the Danger of Love, Refusal of Labor, and the Beauty of Autonomy

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Proliferating and losing oneself. This was the sense of the collective enterprise that the movement was attempting in Italy at the time.
–Franco Berardi

Please join The Change You Want To See Gallery for a conversation with renowned philosopher, media activist and cultural agitator Franco Berardi "Bifo" and media theorist MacKenzie Wark, author of Game Theory and A Hacker's Manifesto.


Plazaville Videos with embedded player

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Here's the complete plazaville Series.



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