Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Museum

I was really looking forward to seeing Mary Heilmann's work in person -- her work looks great as jpegs and is right up my alley. But sadly, I was super disappointed at the surfaces. The acrylic really kills the painting surface and makes them feel really lifeless and her hand seems really lazy to me. I did like the pieces where her hand was less evident, like some of the ceramic tiles, but overall, huge disappointment. I wanted to like her so much :(

The Elizabeth Peyton show was surprising in a couple of ways. First, I was surprised at how crappy our Philadelphia Museum's Peyton is. I used to like Peyton a lot, but I guess from only being exposed to the Philly Museum one over and over again, I kind of stopped liking her. I was also surprised at how object-like the small paintings on board were; the surfaces are coated in a super thick oil ground and the frames themselves are pretty deep. It was interesting to compare her hand to Heilmann's -- some might call Peyton's hand lazy as well, but I think there is a grace in Peyton's hand that I really like. Finally, I was surprised at how bad the paintings became when she stopped working from photos and worked from life instead. Her brush strokes almost seem to become trapped on the figure she is painting and doesn't wander and have as much fun as in her earlier work.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Song of the Year?

Nothing Ever Happened - Deerhunter

Eh, maybe not. But it's still a really fucking good song.


I finally got to the Morandi show. It was smaller than I expected but that was fine; they probably would have stuffed the show with more crappy early work if they had more space. It was a Thursday morning, so it was me, a bunch of old ladies who would go on and on about how they "love the pallettes" and a few school groups that would whizz by every once in a while, the majority of the kids texting.

It's the first time I've seen more than 3 Morandis in a room together and I was a bit concerned that they would all sort of blend in together. But, they didn't. I had a lot of fun looking at all of the still lives, especially the later super-reductive ones. Morandi is surprising to me because every time you go back to look at a painting that you think you know, you notice another great moment or idea in the painting. I love how his work really slows your eye down, how you get trapped within his little painting world, his deliberate and graceful hand, the way his colors and their relationships slowly reveal themselves. A ton has been written (much more well written) about him, so I'll leave it there. It's going down to the National Gallery after the Met, so I'll probably see it there too.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tell Me Why...

Tell me why Jack Black isn't always Jesus in every movie. It'd be funnier if it weren't true. Like, a lot funnier.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Poetics of Space

Before Thanksgiving I went to see the Michael Edward Smith show at Jenny Jaskey Gallery. The show's closed now, but I thought it was one of the strongest shows I've seen in Philly this year. The show was divided into 2 separate-but-together installations, but I was most attracted to this arrangement above. I think it was more successful than the other side of the gallery because, well, it was more fun to look at. I literally had to crouch down to examine it and felt like a kid looking in a tide pool, a little snapshot of Smith's larger artistic world. Anyways, hope everyone saw it.

On another note, Jenny is looking to open a live/work studio space in the same building as Vox. She's charging a dirt cheap rate, so if you are looking for a studio space, send her an email. You can even specify how much space you want if you are one of the first tenants!

Business Week Article

My friend Tayyib just posted this Business Week article from 2001. It's a funny "career" we've chosen, eh?

Portrait of the Artist in Red Ink (Thane Peterson)
What do talented painters and teen basketball stars have in common? For most, big dreams and little paychecks

Recently, high school basketball phenoms Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, and Eddy Curry made headlines when they were picked for three of the top four slots in the National Basketball Assn. player's draft. It was the ultimate hoop dream come true: Eighteen-year-old high school seniors suddenly becoming multi-millionaires for playing a game.

Yet, physically gifted as these athletes are, what were the chances that they would succeed so gloriously? Of the millions of kids who play high school ball, only a tiny fraction of 1% can make a career of it. The odds of becoming a wealthy professional artist aren't any better. I'm not talking about graphic and industrial designers and other people with more of a commercial vocation. I mean painters, sculptors, and art photographers -- the people whose work you see hanging in art galleries and museums....