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How to Proceed in the Arts (after O’Hara and Rivers, with love)

The following collaboration was inspired by the text “How to Proceed in the Arts,” by Frank O’Hara and Larry Rivers reprinted in “Frank O’Hara: Art Chronicles 1954-1966” (Braziller, 1975). Their “detailed study of the creative act” is a smelling salt for the bureaucratic tool in us all.


What’s in an elbow? The way it moves; the stretching of flesh over bones, then its gathering in tight wrinkles mid-limb. A knee: that complex, delicate system of ligaments that makes walking, running, dancing possible. But these images are non-specific—what of your own elbow? Your sister’s knee? Have you ever really looked at the wrist of someone you admire?

AI WEIWEI New York Photographs 1983 – 1993

Ambitious from the beginning, Ai Weiwei studied English at the University of Pennsylvania and Berkeley before attending Parsons on a scholarship, which he soon lost after he failed an art history exam given in English. Over the next decade Ai Weiwei took more than 10,000 photographs, many of which weren’t developed until recently.


In the face of such forceful female imagery in the work of the graduate women artists I teach, I’ve had to wonder if there isn’t a renewed discussion hovering around the subject of feminism. Cynically I think, “Here we go again.”

Tale of The Tables

My father would not have approved of using a sculpture for a table and in both my mother’s and my memory (and just as importantly, according to his Sculpture Book in which he recorded each of his sculptures), not one welded table is recorded.

Love Is What You Want

The first piece I saw of Tracey Emin’s was “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995,” a tent with names appliquéd inside. I remember noticing the dates and figuring there was something more to this than shagging (Emin was born in 1963), though shagging and being shagged was the primary tone.


Williamsburg is over. As someone who’s probably spent more time, energy, and ink than anybody writing hundreds of thousands (if not millions), of words about this neighborhood, and pedaled his sagging ass through its streets and alleys over the past 15 years, it pains me to say it, but Williamsburg is over.

CY TWOMBLY Sculpture

Just over a month after the opening of Cy Twombly’s exhibition of sculpture at MoMA, the artist died at age 83. Located in the museum’s fourth floor foyer gallery, the collection overlooks the lush, bustling sculpture garden beyond the exterior glass wall.

La Saison de Claude-Oskar Monet

Anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies will understand what I am going to say. It begins with the accumulation of histamines within the body, usually in the springtime. As the body’s immune defenses become debilitated through pollens of various types, allergies tend to intervene.

IN VENICE: Schnabel and the Persistence of Art

Before Julian Schnabel became a successful Hollywood filmmaker, he was a painter—and remarkably, he still is. I say “remarkably” because only an artist with the obduracy of a Zen ox could withstand the art world pressure against doing more than one thing.

La Carte D’Après Nature

Ten years ago in Belgium I was told that a flock of birds had migrated from Africa and settled in the rainy treetops of Brussels. Bright bits of color could be seen on spindly winter branches, the birds not out of place so much as forging a new outpost. The rumor struck me at the time as a little allegory of postcolonial diaspora in a Western European city.


Stepping out onto the gallery’s deck one scorching August afternoon and waiting for my eyes to adjust to the shocking sunlight, I initially thought this exhibition looked like any Brooklyn rooftop hangout, with mismatched, weather-beaten chairs strewn about the space in conversationally-logical groupings.

AGA OUSSEINOV In the Middle of Erewhon II

Referring to Soviet “agit-trains” or “agitation machines,” even as it pretends to deliver a strong message that dissolves into twitters in the wind, this shadowy, involuted world also harks back to the artist’s childhood in Soviet Russia.

TALK TO ME: Design and the Communication between People and Objects

Talk to Me teems with the usual suspects: games and toys, urban planning, ergonomics, and random creativity. It’s a strange, small show whose interest—and commonality—seems to be that it represents mostly experimental art school work from a wide range of First World Western societies, including the Western satellite nation of Japan.

Dihedral Product

Morgan Packard’s participation-based art project, Dihedral Product, came close to taking a stance against creativity. In brief, he tasked participants with work so mindless and autonomous that it could have been done equally well by an idiot or a scholar. So in a way it was an ideal community activity, art as total democracy.


The elevators in McKim, Mead & White’s imposing Clocktower Building go to the twelfth floor. The Clocktower Gallery is on the thirteenth. Throughout August, on the other side of an often-closed door along the gallery’s long white hallway, Will Corwin’s installation Auroch’s Library quietly grew; the artist spent the month steadily building upon a spare wooden frame.

Letter from BERLIN

This is the Pakistani-born, London-raised, and Berlin-based artist’s third solo exhibition with Esther Schipper, and the first at the gallery’s new location on Schöneberger Ufer. Again, Ceal Floyer’s simple and direct strategy of inversion and displacement make for a subtle encounter of surprise, absurdity, and wit.

Can I Get a Witness?

I was miffed at first. Reading the Can I Get Witness? press release as I entered its boisterous opening, I struggled to envision the works by Joshua Abelow, Joachim “Yoyo” Friedrich, and Matt Connolly.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2011

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