Monday, June 29, 2009

Passion: Lesbian Visions

On the occasion of NYC Gay Pride (and this one is especially significant, given the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall crackdown and riots) I devoted one of my other blogs (I write a few) to what I think is an interesting and controversial topic: "gay art," and how to define it. Sadly due to its unusual length I didn't even get to plug the exhibition I plan on checking out for my gay art education!

The Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation and Gallery provided the cornerstone of my internet gay art education; their most recent exhibition just closed on the 27th, but their next exhibition opens July 11: in conjunction with the Fresh Fruit Festival, the gallery is hosting a show called "Passion: Lesbian Visions 2009," curated by Heidi Russell. There is actually not much information about the show on the Leslie-Lohman website, but the Fresh Fruit Festival has a more detailed write up:

What is a Lesbian? Who occupies post-modern Lesbos? Fresh Fruit has invited an international array of self-defined Lesbian artists to tell us what ignites their passion. Their unique perspectives are revealed in this multi-media gallery show. Sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, mixed media, installation, fabric art, video, sound, poetry, prose, and performance art all involve the on-looker in an astounding range of Lesbian creative passion. Among the participating artists are: Jeanine Alfieri, Prinny Alavi, Laura Cappadrione, Cecy Canarte, Leslie Cloninger, Felice Cohen, Giegia Cotellessa, Maggie Cousins, Marge Doherty, Liz Gold, Nicole Guest, Kanika Hodges, Joan Katz, Jill A. Kolodin, Nina Lourie, Lora Morgenstern, Mari Morimoto, Sara Mussen, Olga, Kenya Robinson, Daniella Shachter, Alina Wilczynski, An Xiao, Heather Young, Lisa Zilker

Friday, July 10th, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Opening and artists' reception,
Saturday, July 11th - Saturday, July 25: Tue-Sat, 12 Noon - 6:00 pm
Special Events: July 15th, 7:00 pm performance art evening
July 21, 7:00 pm Readings
Admission: Free / Open to the Public
Leslie-Lohman Gallery, 26 Wooster Street, New York, NY 100013 (212-431-2609)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What you lookin' at?! The Female Gaze in art

Any art history student has most likely had their dose (overdose?) of feminist art history in college, reading about the male gaze, the voyeur, etc etc. But it's not too often that you hear about the female gaze. Opening this Thursday, June 25 at Cheim and Read gallery in Chelsea is an exhibition called "The Female Gaze: Women Looking at Women." According to the event profile on, it's a

group exhibition of women artists depicting the female form. With this premise, the show seeks to present a collection of works which reclaim the traditional domination of the "male gaze" and reorient the significance of the female figure to allow for more varied interpretations...This exhibition attempts to debunk the notion of the male gaze by providing a group of works in which the artist and subject do not relate as "voyeur" and "object," but as woman and woman.

The list of participating artists looks varied and fantastic. I will definitely be checking this show out!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Keepin' it on the "DL"

Every week for a year I've been walking by a poster of Picasso's 1900 Moulin de la Galette (above) in the hall of my graduate department. I think Picasso's pre-Cubist career is too often overshadowed by his Cubist works, but recently this painting has stepped into the limelight--and not for the work's technical bravura. Since 2007 this painting, along with Boy Leading a Horse of MoMA's collection, have been in the middle of a Nazi restitution case. The Guggenheim and MoMA just settled out of court with the claimant, Julius H. Schoeps, without the judge's authorization. He was less than pleased.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Richard Avedon at ICP

My own familiarity with the photographer extraordinaire Richard Avedon is his portraiture, such as his iconic image of Marilyn Monroe with her guard down; after hours of posing for Avedon, the tired actress plopped down on a stool and let him snap a few more, which artist Vik Muniz rightly characterizes as "a picture of Norma Jean, not Marilyn."

The current show at the International Center for Photography showcases another side of the versatile photographer's oeuvre: Avedon Fashion photographs, 1944 - 2000. The exhibition opened on May 15th and runs through September 6th (note, press release says Sept 6, website says Sept 20). Roberta Smith had nothing but glowing things to say about the dynamic, vibrant photographs in the ICP exhibition:

Avedon’s fashion photographs from the late 1940s to the early ’60s are everything you want great art to be: exhilarating, startlingly new and rich enough with life and form to sustain repeated viewings. Their beauty is joy incarnate and contagious. The best of them are as perfect on their own terms as the best work of Jackson Pollock or Jasper Johns from that era, and as profoundly representative of it.

You can read Roberta Smith's full review here. I am putting this exhibition on my must-see list of the summer!

(below, left: A 1994 shot of Stephanie Seymour; right, Veruschka, dress by Kimberly,
New York, January 1967.
Copyright 2009, the Richard Avedon Foundation)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

In the summer 2009 issue of ArtForum, the magazine is publishing a conversation between Rirkrit Tiravanija and Yoko Ono. The former is presenting at this year's Venice Biennale, and the latter is being honored with the Biennale's Golden Lion award. The preview of the phone interview on artforum's website is, uh, rich. Here's a snippet:


YOKO ONO: I’m here. You sound really distant; why is that? Is it your phone, or . . . ?

RT: Well, I am in Thailand. [laughter]

YO: Oh, of course, that’s right. So we’ll have to sort of stretch our ears. It’s very interesting, doing it like this, you know. But please go ahead. You wanted to ask me some questions?

RT: Well, something noteworthy to me is that it’s the fortieth anniversary of the Bed-In, and maybe we should talk about that. Many people have heard a little bit about that moment already, I think, but maybe you could say more.

YO: I do feel that it was a very interesting performance-art work, in the sense that it has stayed in people’s minds for such a long time.

RT: That was something I found myself quite interested in, actually, because Bed-In seems like something that happened in an almost completely natural way.

YO: Yes, it did begin as a rather natural thing to do. At least, you know, we were in bed. It wasn’t like standing around every night for four or five hours. It was very comfortable.

RT: But you had started it in Amsterdam, and then you went to Montreal, where you continued it, right?

YO: Montreal is a very, very beautiful, beautiful city. And we enjoyed that.

RT: And that was also when you recorded the song . . .

YO: Pardon?

RT: That’s also when you recorded the song.

YO: Yes, yes.

RT: And was the song just written in the bed?

YO: About what, the bed? This what?

RT: You wrote the song in the bed?

YO: [pause] You know, maybe you need to talk a little farther from the microphone or receiver.

RT: I just kind of continued on the question about the bed.

YO: Or maybe say it slowly.

RT: It’s about how you came to write the song that was set in the bed, right? [laughter]

YO: I think this is very interesting, the kind of challenge that we have been given. You’re an artist, and I’m an artist. And somehow we were given this incredibly strange situation where we have to communicate over a very, very long distance, which means a huge amount of air is between us.

Hopefully the fully published interview in the magazine issue is more than a chronical of "huhs?" and "whas?". If you'd like to read a little bit of reflection Rirkrit was able to squeeze out of Yoko, check out more of the interview at ArtForum online.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happily Stranded in LIC

One of the best kept secrets of the Manhattan art scene is its extension to other boroughs, where one can experience the refreshing work of emerging artists without the 'tudes of Chelsea gallerinas. Opening this Sunday, June 7, at the Dutch Kills Gallery in Long Island City, is Stranding Memory, a sculptural video installation by collaborating artists Erik Sanner and K Staelin. The work will only be on view Sunday (2 - 6pm) and Tuesday June 9th (5 - 8pm), during which time both artists will be present.

A description and image (digital collage) from the collaboration are below, although something tells me that neither will truly do the piece justice: this is the kind of work that must be experienced in person, so get your hide to LIC on Sunday or Tuesday! And as long as you're making the "schlep" (really, no griping, it's just a few subway stops!), here's some other current LIC art events and shows worth checking out.

Stranding Memory
A sculptural video installation by Erik Sanner and K Staelin
Sunday, June 7, 2-6pm and Tuesday, June 9, 5-8pm
Opening: June 7, 2-6pm

Press Release:
Dutch Kills Gallery presents Stranding Memory, a collaboration between Erik Sanner and K Staelin, two artists who grew up in the same town yet first met in New York City while living around the corner from one another. Stranding Memory uses the structure of the double helix to explore our movement through time and the falling away of events and memories. Captured within a translucent plastic membrane, fog rises, forming one strand of the helix. Images of people are projected onto this fog and as they ascend their movements gain speed. In contrast to the people in the rising strand, video and animated pictures of discrete events in the artists' personal lives is projected onto the descending mist and slowly spirals down the second strand. On the journey, portions of the images blur while other portions become more focused and delineated. Some memories become intertwined; all are lost.

Dutch Kills Gallery is a contemporary exhibition space that presents new work of various media from artists with a diverse set of creative practices that draw on the energy of the rapidly evolving artistic hub of Long Island City. The gallery is committed to fostering a rigorous and open community as well as providing a place for experimentation and interaction. In addition to monthly exhibitions, programming at the gallery includes frequent performances, screenings and events.

37-24 24th Street, Suite 402, Long Island City, NY 11101 +
718.784.2737 +

Dutch Kills Gallery is located at 37-24 24th Street, Suite 402 which
is between 37th Ave. and 38th Ave. in LIC. Three subway lines are near-by:

N/W to 36th Ave.
7 to Queensboro Plaza
F to 21st Street/Queensbridge