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102 Reviews

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  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    What a wonderful small museum! The name of their show of new acquisitions made me laugh--"Initial Public Offering," a nod to San Jose's status as the capital of Silicon Valley and a tech industry center, but there was nothing funny about the show itself--a remarkable group of works, each one an exciting use of materials and allowed room in the spacious first-floor galleries to have its charms felt from all sides. Two of the most memorable pieces for me were a totemic  figure by Tim Hawkinson, woven from cardboard with enormous mitts and no head, its crinkly stuffed body both forbidding and inviting to touch, and a large photograph by John Chiara, who as I learned drives around in a van that he converts into a camera and does long exposures, so some of the traces of the developing process appear as blurs and imperfections on the surface, which he cuts in irregular shapes. it was a shot of the ocean, dappled and sparkling with sunlight, huge and awkward and gorgeous. I had never heard of Hawkinson or Chiara before (or many of the artists in the collection) but I will keep an eye out for their work in the future! Appreciated the chance the San Jose museum gave me to learn about them.

    The upper floor galleries had an exhibit about food an art--there were some nice pieces here too, and the school group touring there made me realize that the topic was a great one for public engagement and educational opportunities. On that note, a lot of signage encourages people to post to social media about their experiences, and use the San Jose musem's branded hashtags. When I searched for them I didn't find that much activity--so it's like they were trying to hard, and social media discussions are something that happen on their own and feel weird when forced from the top, so my one suggestion would be to tone that down a bit. Otherwise, fantastic museum that any American city would be fortunate to have!

  • 2.0 star rating
    First to Review

    I came to Andrew Kreps with great expectations as a fan of Darren Bader's work but this show--or three shows, he says it is--left me sighing with a tinge of melancholy. Bader is a sculptor, I would say, and what I've liked about his work in the past was the feeling of an organic synthesis  forging a deeply resonant and closeknit connections among disparate objects, while employing unexpected materials such as animals, living plants, dead vegetables among images and products and the other usual elements of sculpture today. It's a really thrilling sculpture that electrified the space around it, making all the environment alive and me excited to be in it. Or it was.. now, in this show at Andrew Kreps, the materials are atomized, disconnected, and the space of the gallery is just ordinary gallery white space that's there to separate objects and set them apart from my life and life outside. The walls, floor, and air were there between things to isolate them from each other, and isolate me from them.

    It was a show of photographs and objects--photos on the wall, objects on the floor. (Already a significant separation, a categorization keeping everything apart in its own conceptual cubbyhole.) For the most part the photographs don't have a lot going on in them, or at least not anything that really caught my interest. They look like fashion shots or ads or stills from movies I wouldn't want to watch in full. And they are framed in black on white walls, very isolatory. The objects, as I said, are all on the floor, some of them are plain like a can of beans whereas a limited number are big and crazy--a panel printed with a weird text about celebrities along with collaged images, which appeared to be a full-fledged work of art in its own right, and a big plexiglass box with black rubber gloves reaching inward, perhaps a kinky torture chamber of some sort? These were interesting to look at but looking at them only reminded me of the plainness of all the rest of the objects, how little there was to link any of them together, just this analytical picking and choosing that just repeats what any gallery in Chelsea does instead of transforming it and making it a worthwhile space to be in.

  • 2.0 star rating

    This hotel is fine. My parents stayed there when they visited New York in 2005, I think, and they didn't have any problems with it. More recently I was there for a presentation of.. art? products? I don't know, by Cory Arcangel. Renting out a conference room on the second floor, the event was billed as a presentation of "surfwear," clothes to wear when surfing, not the waves but the internet--pretty standard T-shirts. But there were other things there as well, sheet music related to conceptual performance projects, some electrici tiki décor, like plastic glowing palm trees and icicle lights, a DVD tower full of shitty 90s comedies (Happy Gilmore etc.), a stack of books about contemporary art and how it's shown.. not to mention the DJ table, and the free donuts and coffee from Dunkin Donuts on a folding table and a mini-fridge, branded Coke, but stocked with Nice brand water from Duane Reade. Everything about it was aggressively average, low/middle brow--and I suppose the hope was that amassing all that in one palce (which is itself totally bland--a Holiday Inn conference room!) would eventually transcend it, concentrate it, make it special, but that's not what happened. It was just boring, textureless. Maybe the artist wanted to bore everyone.. certainly the grossly too-full-yet-undernourished feeling one gets after eating two Dunkin Donuts donuts was a bodily feeling that matched the aesthetic impression... I Can't figure out if that's an artistic achievement or what. After a while I moseyed over to the bar, conveniently located just outside the conference room in the second floor lobby, because the event was dry and I needed a martini. The drink was good but the bartender was slow and kept disappearing for long breaks, so I was glad I was the first attendee of Cory's event who decided (around 3:30 pm) that it was time to drink. I was originally planning to give this three stars but now that I've written it out I realize that nothing says it better than "meh" so, two stars.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    I went to see the Tom Friedman show at Luhring Augustine and it had lots of fun trompe l'oeil conceptual art, which means familiar-looking things were made out of the wrong materials--like a pile of apples with bites taken out of them were all wood, and a TV camera was also made of wood. One guy tried to look through it but of course he couldn't see anything through the wood!

    Tom Friedman is a real popular artist. There were a lot of people in the gallery and they were having a good time. When I walked past the gallery's office and the front desk the people who worked there were talking and laughing. That was nice to see because usually people who work at galleries look so somber that you feel bad for them. Maybe it was Tom Friedman's art that put them in a good mood!

  • 520 W 20th St
    New York, NY 10001
    4.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    I saw an exhibition here by Jutta Koether, a painter who likes to apply fluorescent colors with an expressionistic/primitivistic brushstroke. She mixes in some strange material once in a while, too--one painting had pools of clear gelatinous liquid that looked like it had been spilled on there to harden. Also the floor of the gallery was covered wall to wall with gravel the color of dried blood or cedar chips. The contrast of the rusty rocks and the paintings' fluorescent pinks and oranges from a totally different part of the "hot" palette created the kind of visceral gross-out effect that a lot of artists are using these days to try to make painting seem like a relevant and compelling medium. Works for me! Four stars.

  • 3.0 star rating
    First to Review
    Listed in My Firsts!

    This is a very small gallery that shows smart, handsome conceptual work, which is pretty standard for the neighborhood. When I went in April there was a show with pictures of buildings and newspapers clippings and other printed text. It all looked nice but I couldn't quite figure out what was going on, nor did I feel compelled to look close enough at the words to understand it. Fortunately a guy came out of the office and told me that it was about architecture of financial and retail spaces--how banks built neo-classical facades earlier in the twentieth-century to project an image of sturdiness and reliability but are now occupying light-and-mobile looking modernist spaces, while retail companies are taking over the old and weighty vaulted buildings. Very interesting, I was glad that this got explained to me. The artist's name was Jason Simon.

  • 4.0 star rating
    First to Review
    Listed in My Firsts!

    The first time I walked into Galerie Suvi Lehtinen I was like "... What?" There was a video installation, which was not surprise in itself, but the sequences of clips on all the channels were from thirty-year-old Hollywood movies, and it had the kind of soundtrack and female voiceover you'd hear on an insurance commercial. There were bursting fireworks and swelling music. What sort of gallery was Suvi Lehtinen, I wondered, to show such kitschy stuff? But it got to me emotionally, because even when they are all cut up Hollywood movies always make me have feelings. I just can't help it! So I kept watching, and the installation looped back to the beginning.  There was an audio track (added to seem like diegetic sound but it wasn't in the originals) with reporters on the TV and radio talking about the AIDS crisis. That's when I understood that Allese Cohen (the artist) was grounding the time when the movies were made in political history, and using the movies to communicate the history of the AIDS crisis with Hollywood's techniques of manufacturing emotion instead of the usual didactic, agitprop way. It was very smart, like contemporary art usually is, and very moving, which contemporary art usually is not. I'm glad Galerie Suvi Lehtinen showed this work.

    The only problem with this gallery was that the press release said the installation included a fragrance developed by the artist in collaboration with the perfumer. It seems like "smell art" is becoming popular now and that's cool. The problem with Allese Cohen's smell art was that I only learned about it from reading the press release. I didn't notice it when I was there. If you're going to show smell art it has to be bold! So minus one star for faintness of scent.

  • 38 Ludlow Street
    Manhattan, NY 10002
    5.0 star rating
    1 check-in First to Review

    Nice little spot. A rare non-profit in the area, which is partly why the offerings here are often so unlike the other stuff you see in the neighborhood. It is funded by the German government but there is so much more than German art here and you might enjoy it even if you don't have any particular interest in Germany.

    A recent exhibition had work by Adrian Jeftichew. There was a lot going on and I don't even know how to describe the mixture of humor, curiosity, and excitement I felt while walking through the gallery so rather than try to sum it up I'll list some of the themes/motifs: dogs, dog hair, dog-man, human hair, wigs, balloons, prehensile tension, drawings on the wall with ketchup, drawings behind doors, art that's hard to see, art in the bathroom, sculpture with tortilla, animal faces, noses. Pretty interesting, right? I was lucky that the curator was there and he generously walked me through it and made sure I didn't miss anything. He also explained some backstory. Turns out Adrian Jeftichew isn't even a real person, it's a name of a nineteenth-century circus freak (a dog-faced man) and a two-person artistic team took his name for their collaboration, and they also use pieces of his biography in the life of their fictional artist, to present their wild installations as the work of an Eastern European beast-man. So they play with your perception not only on the level of your physical experience in the gallery but also the narrative around it, which, honestly, is usually what people remember and talk about more than the art itself--especially when art is description-defying as theirs. Very cool. Looking forward to seeing what Ludlow 38 does next!

  • 4.0 star rating
    First to Review

    My favorite thing in the Jonas Wood exhibition that's currently on view at Anton Kern is a gray dog at the bottom of a big painting--a schnauzer? not good with breeds here--that looked so funnily uneven and odd, not only because its head was cocked to one side, its eyes looking directly out of the painting at the viewer in that inquisitive, expectant way that dogs do--but also the way its face was painted was split in half, making its expression not just searching but also insane. Some dogs really have expressions like that! The split in the face was mainly caused by the way Wood paints--making strips of paint with ragged edges, as if he's dragging the brush downward in a very tense zig-zag, leaving these skinny tight tiretracks of paint. The dog is made of these stripes. In Wood's paintings lots of different things--animals, furniture, whatever--are made of these strips. But not everything is, so there is a variety of texture to his surfaces that I find appealing, and it nudges against the repetitive pleasure of the stripe patterns.

    Jonas Wood's paintings are mostly interiors, and when they're not they are the kind of paintings you'd expect to find in a normal home--a portrait of a pretty peacock, some flowers, a portrait of a couple--and he underscores the fact that he's making "paintings of paintings" by cleverly inserting them in his interiors. So in the one with the dog at the bottom, you can see the peacock painting (which hangs separately in the same gallery) IN that painting. There's a painting of a poker tournament, the one thing in the show that might be thought of as happening in a public space, but you can tell from lettering on it that it's a painting of a TV screen, so again the perspective is domestic. And the television studio where the poker game is being played is made up of the same stripes that the dog is.

    I wouldn't say Jonas Wood is a mind-blowing painter but I certainly enjoyed myself looking at his work.

  • 2308 44th Dr
    Long Island City, NY 11101
    1.0 star rating

    A rubbery, tepid and overspiced chicken cutlet, a sad stripe of orange cheese half-melted on (that they apparently added another dollar to the price for), two handfuls of hot jalapenos (when I asked for hot peppers I thought I'd give the yellow banana peppers?), a mouthful of chewy white bread--everything about the chicken sandwich there I got was gross. It was supposedly a hot sandwich but there was nothing hot about it. Shouldn't that mean they throw it in the oven for two minutes to get the bread crisp? Anyway I threw it out after one bite, what a waste of $6.50. It was full of people sitting at the tables, who either know something I don't about this place or know jack about sandwich.

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Yelping Since

February 2012

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