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Posted & filed under General.

Our mandatory minimum sentence of frost and wind is over. Time to revisit the places we couldn’t until now. One of my very favorite reflection spots is the café at the rooftop of the Met. Beer in hand, sunglasses and my most bohemian shirt, weaving the nets of the future. The green canopy and cacophony of buildings serve as blinds narrowing my thoughts. Chaos becomes order. I get the feeling I am wearing my favorite shoes. (Oh, I am.) In the first quarter of an hour I have planned the rest of the year, building steadily on a quest for immortality.

All is well with the world. Plus I am standing right on top of Art’s Politburo Standing Committee (literally) holding a beer. Fancy-free like a joker, posing a systematic risk to the art world. Because I know exactly what is going on beneath my feet. The fate of art is being typed in computers by non-decision takers following orders by investment bankers. I would rather be up here. Perhaps if I carefully balance a brick on my head and not move for thirty minutes people will start taking pictures of me. It’s all about pictures around me. Proof, evidence of the past, killing the present.

I feel like an artist whose subject matter is the art world itself. I am penciling down ideas for this article. The city from here looks like a masterfully arranged dish in a fancy restaurant by a chef, a charlatan, a drunken god. The fourth man necessary to compound a salad is a mad man to mix it, bringing the whole of life into the focus of the plate. Well! This is the sort of thoughts that this place induces in me. We all have one I presume, a rooftop, a basement, a garden, a couch, a mall. When we leave we are ready (at least for a minute) to take over the world. Walking away, every foot in time. Bon voyage!

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Posted & filed under General.

I exit the subway at Lexington and 59th Street. Headed in the direction of Central Park on 59th I stumble on an antique bookstore. I walked in to browse and feel the air of sophistication. On the few shelves that were not locked behind glass I came across Quo Vadis (not old enough edition to cost a fortune). I thought it a worthy companion for this day of reflection I had upon me. (it was still early afternoon). I rejoined the streets with the book under arm (double brick size). After reading the first page I didn’t want to go to the Park any more. I turned around and headed east.

I could hear the 59th street Bridge so I slid south until I only kept south zigzagging between 2nd, 3rd and Lexington. At the threshold of 30th street I smelled curry. The aroma stayed with me for ten blocks or so. I navigated slightly to the right through Gramercy to Union Square. I played a game of chess with Mohamed. It was not first time but this time I almost won. His focus and deliverance of the final moves was poetic. ‘You are getting better!’ I joked. The viewers exploded in laughter (five bucks well spent). I kept south-east to St. Marks. I bought a hat and a cigar.

The Bowery took me to SoHo and then to China Town. Mr. Lee was sitting on his usual bench and told me everything I need I need to know about life (as usual unintentionally). I gave him the cigar as a payment for his priceless opinions on being. I walked across SoHo on String street to Tribeca (fancy that). Then up trough NoHo, West 4th, Washington Square Park (where at least three student film shoots were in progress). The meatpacking district makes me feel old (or should I say wise). Up and up through Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen and finally Central Park (carefully avoiding Time Square). I am at the Plaza, my original destination. It’s dusk and I can smell the summer.

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Posted & filed under Art, General.

I will be crispy, very clairvoyant and a little frivolous. Art is food. The ancient realm and art form of paint on canvas holds a central pedestal in my art world. Finding something for my wall is like fitting in a missing piece of my soul. We (humans) like things specific yet universal, simultaneously. Tough fit. But I find Eric Zener’s pieces do that special type of magic for me. He preaches letting go. Living in the present and being fluid. I will do the same. Because if I am going to invest my piece of gold into a metaphor I want it to speak to me daily. And I want it to tell me that my minty garden is the best garden in town.

Oil on canvas, exquisite brushwork and subject as broad as life. He mostly paints women under water, happily engaged and flowing. Also men (the wall street type) balancing each step on a rope suspended in the clouds. (Each Step Counts is a favorite.) Even simply describing his works reads as timeless fiction. Titles like How To Be Happy, Unbound, Blue Smile all wonderfully blue and super-critically fluid make the winter peter away. Abstractly real his kingdom’s dwellers radiate good vibrations and positive balance with their environment. He doesn’t exaggerate, he creates complex devices that add extra determination to your stride.

His work will be on display Apr 24 through May 17 at Henoch. (Be clairvoyant!) It is the time of the year when we are inclined to change religion. When you can either buy yourself two ice creams or dive into the art world. Until then cry your winter blahs away with blue smiles and stay on the king’s trail (plan I mean). Because you need a new religion and you need it pretty soon. (By religion I mean a pursuit or interest to witch someone ascribes supreme importance.) In our case fine art. For believing in the Exodus, the three little birds at your doorstep or a good painting are all religions. So pick your line. And. Keep walking!

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Posted & filed under Art, General.

I am back to MoMA PS1 (not because I have to change three trains to get here). But! Because of a young Thai artist whose name I can hardly pronounce. Korakrit Arunanondchai was raised in Bangkok and is headed to take over the art world armed with a wealth of color and abstraction. It is his first individual museum show 2012 – 2555 (2555 is the year 2012 according to the Buddhist Calendar). Mr. Arunanondchai seems high on music, history and culture for he doesn’t employ empty sentences. He, however, uses a wide range of social relationships as a subject matter.

From his family to collaborations with ex-go-go dancers performing artists. His harmony of abstraction comes close to the very edge of avant-garde, employing color splashes, fire, body prints, denims (for using brush is a thing of the past). The past is quite present in his work. In the end we all live in the past (solving it as we go), feeding on memories and bended bits of information. The past is always in vogue and unpredictable. It is incarnated in art. As this show is a perfect example of it, it is not the art itself that defines contemporary thought as such, it is the process, it is the burden of dreams aggressively dancing on the canvas, expressing the avid unique personality of the artist.

It is the near perfect imitation of life that drives us to art museums. We need reminders that life is mostly beautiful. We need colorful metaphors, poems, songs, dances (or in this case body prints) on the canvas solacing our hard working minds. This near perfect expression of time and us in it, though material in itself, resembles eternity for its end could not be clearly perceived. I am taking the trains back in time (I still can not afford to buy PS1, may be next week). But even a visit gives me enough of a push. On my way back I will buy a few buckets of paint and map my life on my walls. Then (of course) take a selfie with it. La grande bellezza!

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Posted & filed under General, Sports.

I have had my fill of organized art and steered clear of the canonized canvas and plastic smiles in cold minimalist lobbies, for a New-York-minute. As I invested more time in sharing a beer on fire escapes with some of my more eccentric acquaintances, I accidentally stumbled on an exciting world of adventure. I had to go through many filters of the friend-of-a-friend type to get some details. Well! The closest I got was ‘I know a guy who knows the guy’. But I will give you the facts and let your imagination fill in the rest.

It is a very small clique. A pool of dreamers that jog in pairs late at night in alternating neighborhoods. Essentially they believe that cars obstruct the pleasant relief of the city. They have a ‘bible’. They bend a knee to Professor Avenarius (from Milan Kundera’s Immortality. Now I have to read it!). They adopt his hobby (or revolt) against vehicles. They usually jog safely past midnight carrying some sort of sharp device (a knife) and slash car tires at more or less random. That is as much details as I have on this strange approach to releasing steam.

The rules are wrong. If you can’t cross a bridge, destroy it! It’s a mad, mad, mad world. It seems to me they simply like to mingle with danger. It’s about the buzz, the thrill. They couldn’t possibly be seriously ideological about fighting against the powerful, well organized mechanized global army, sure of itself and blood thirsty. (But then again if Putin is doing it, anything is possible.) It would be like fighting for decolonizing the world. But surely they don’t strive for gold but for a feeling of rebellion. Which in itself is a notch closer to ideology. Bandit like but interesting enough.

In a world where our entire social circle is our role model (everyone is spying on everyone) it is rare to see a sub-tribe, alone in its opinions, looking for the ‘god particle’ only with the stones in their hands. Instead of shutting out the world and catching a late night game show that gives you ten seconds to count how many triangles are in the picture, they seek solace in danger. Or is it something bigger than danger! And danger is just a bonus. Food for thought!

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Posted & filed under Art, General, NEWS.

He is the most consummate master of vowels and consonants, the greatest poet. As a philosopher and moralist I have no abnormal respect for him. You guessed it folks. Shakespeare! The man, the dude, the master of masters imbedded in the canons of literature, music, performance art and even everyday language. He had coined hundreds if not thousands of words and phrases in the English language (some we use daily). Others only when wit strike us: in a better world that this, all our yesterdays, brave new world, break the ice, dog will have his day, seen better days.

The reasons the world would stand still in April are countless seeping in every aspect of our lives through the layer cake of centuries of culture. Exact date is not available, as mysterious as he was. But! We know he died 400 years ago, so for about 50 years on this hustling and bustling planet of ours he reached the highest echelons of immortality. And all that only with a pencil. So we look up to him, we dissect him. What sort of drive and motivation he had. What a riot of neuron connections gathered for chat reinvented the English language, all inside one head. But above all we thank him for entertaining us.

Not only with theater but all art that had been soaked by his words and then sang them back into the good warm world. So now in the spring of all things, the world and its most affluent cultural centers (our beloved city being a cornerstone) are gathering for a celebration. UK leads the way, naturally. But NYC’s cultural gravity creates an epicenter of delights to come. We will be blessed with great productions of King Lear, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth to mention a few favorites. I will leave you with a riddle. Where is the following quote from? ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.’ Have a nice spring.

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Posted & filed under Art, General.

Circa 2014. Be aware. There will be no intermission but I do have a smoke machine so don’t panic. Today’s ride will be endowed by the mystical power of writing and centered around William Kentridge. In particular his intellectual installation The Refusal of Time in the Met. (This transit is ready to depart mind the doors please.) Mr. Kentridge lives and works in Johannesburg and has a background in life theatre and stop motion animation. He developed an interest in the nature of time intrigued by a study on a 1905 paper on relativity by Einstein. Addressing that time is not absolute but relative and resistant to control. No need to stir, Mr. Kentridge is not employing quantum electromagnetics, he has given us a more naturalistic portrait of time. However, I do recommend cutting down on the Mexican ice teas to optimize comprehension. Let’s continue this journey overground.

The piece consists of a five channel video installation. A sort of epitome of time and space, colonialism, industry, intellectual life. In the middle? A Dickens inspired monotone automaton incarnating the flattening of the working class into a mechanical force screwing on the same old screw and nodding after receiving a piece of fat as a payment (my humble opinion). Metallic sounds click away the years solaced by tribal music. Clocks and shadows of clocks give shape to time. Silhouettes of hardship, walking, journeying, transiting, decanting into another life, the same but different! Mr. Kentridge attempts a definition of the jar of cherries we call life. A very elaborate one (perhaps a notch too elaborate, too intellectual). Undeniably rife! (This transit terminates at Summerhouse.)

With forced abstraction and artistic randomness designed to comfort and silence our busy minds. It does quite the opposite for me (summoning my demons for a riot). Radicalizing my believes. Depicting plebeians incognito as shapes relatable to, poetically appealing, accustomed to hardship, dissected by white caller intellectuals. It makes me loose my train of thought. It forces me to institute a zone of privacy that few can penetrate. The installation is condescending to the direction society is casually journeying on. The cost of the cultural melting pots, requiring from its cornered minorities the surrender of precious local peculiarities and identities. When art is too deep my pencil gets tired. When I make my fortune reading teacups I will buy the Met and convert it into a summerhouse. (This transit ends here please leave the vehicle.)

Kentridge_poster

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Posted & filed under Art, General.

Welcome to my vaudeville. A pencil driven farce designed to extract you from the battlefield of routine. (It’s not a pencil, it’s a weapon!) Persistently refusing to confront reality is Patricia Smith as beautifully illustrated in Mapper, her show at the Front Room Gallery in Williamsburg. (Sh-Sh-Shame on you, Brooklyn Zoooooo!!!) She has been wondering the world asking the question. Why the cosmos is made of matter? Among many others along that line. Walking the streets of Paris, Barcelona and many more cultural centers of Europe, Ms. Smith has been searching for patterns in the most random of niches were a residue of history is still lurking. Unfamiliar places, unchanged and unchangeable.

She has been collecting impressions of physical locations in order to create idiosyncratic cartographic explorations of the psyche and mental states. Her antique pencil recreates hidden passages through the mind. Neuron maps as delicate as flowers. The very intersections of thoughts, ideas, decisions and roundabout choices. If fate could be mapped there it is. We desperately need those maps as we gradually grow out of being artists. (We are all born artists!) Our schools and all seeing and knowing teachers have educated us that selling stocks is better, safer, enriching and dancing is for fools. Well! Is it too late for reconditioning?

The involuntary kleptocracy of society is on the verge of winning. But it is never too late to exit your very personal roundabout at the Williamsburg Bridge. For culture is as necessary as water to the lives of us ordinary people. (I recently saw a production of Hamlet in the basement of a bar and it gave me more energy than all the sugar in the world.) It’s the best drug there is. And when you sift through the layers of the city and find a great artist like Ms. Smith your biochemical infrastructure releases propeptides – brain chemicals that light up vitality and make you feel alive and kicking. That’s how you want to enter the spring. En garde!

 

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Posted & filed under Art, General, NEWS.

Today was a day. The universe is boundless, therefore everything has happened at least once before, therefore everything is possible. That was my first impression from Out of Hand. This avant-garde plastic show is like philosophical fireworks, a lodestone for geeks and entrepreneurs alike. Witness the digital fabrication of our world. From reality to the virtual and back to reality, assimilated, digested and reproduced with plastic (and 3D printers). Because when an idea takes shape it is like poetry. Shapes touch us more than words. We are a shape or shapeless at times (depending on how much plastic we eat). This is a show about a very special type of shapes.

Brainwave sofa, clone chair, 3D printed gown, diffracted plastic sculptures (as if the printer was stuttering), vehicles to mention a few. The gods and goddesses of design are speeding up the pendulum of the world’s imagination. Like ancient sculptures with keyboards busy hammering away the imperfections of the model of heaven we live in. The show includes significant amount of purpose-built objects. Precisely engineered parts fit to niche needs made with software with a mind. A mind sufficiently accurate to resolve the ancient puzzle of our brains. For the artists included here are the once solving the future longitude problem.

Yes, do bring your brain along to fill it up with capitalist ideas. To weigh out the most economically viable incarnation of this exceedingly affordable way of producing the future. Dressing like a international criminal (wall street like) is recommended. For these galleries are the birthplace of great chat and start-up ideas. Shaping the unshapable. The glamour of strangeness drills through the ordinary until immortality. So leave your star-speckled muddy potato field for a jiffy and empty your cargo pockets. Enter the future and remember that what is now proven was once only imagined. Stay savoir-faire.

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Posted & filed under Art, BREAKING NEWS, General, NEWS.

From time to time even I have uttered the magic words. ‘Let’s go to Brooklyn!’ There is new reason to rave about the Brooklyn Museum of Arts. Wangechi Mutu is her name. So quit rasterizing (fancy word alert) yourself on facebook and get a culture fix in the mecca of hip-hop and avocado flavored ice cream.

Mutu was born in Nairobi, Kenya and her art is deeply rooted in her beginnings. Hers is a very special type of abstraction. A multi-medium journey through the lands of blood and honey with color, texture and emotion that will make you start talking in proverbs. Since the mid 1990s she has been spilling her imagination into the good warm world to our benefit.

Large scale collages (darkly colorful), video works, sculptural installations. Slightly witchlike! Condemning civilization for tolling our nerves and robbing us from some grace in life. Anti-war, -poverty, -consumerism, -political dysfunction, you name it! The world is broken and needs mending.

The world of Ms. Mutu is fluid, shapeless, colorful, random, dancing, parroting away the worries of humanity. Ramshackled urbanization growing by prestige buildings commissioned as displays of power. A cold gray world – corporate America, capitalism, condescending politics. Better to design carpets as a rabbit on LSD!? In the name of the color pink, yes!

(The fine blades of my pink knife (tongue) sometimes get carried away.) But! Ms. Mutu makes me grind and grind. Helmetless head on (Hemingway like). All the terrors and horrors of the world housed in her canvases is what we are paying for. The news! The blank spaces between canvases? They do mean something! Reflection! If they were filled with art then art would be meaningless.

What an emotional show in Brooklyn. It’s all one and the same, mass and energy (according to Einstein). I believe Ms. Mutu creates for the same reason I wear neck ties (and write) to keep sane. Well! It is an insanely good show that makes me wonder… Does god has nothing to do or too much to do? If you wonder yourself you will find your reflection in her works. If not you can still eat your jacket potato. Bon voyage!