Andrew Durbin

  • Left: The Poetry Project's 50th anniversary gala. Right: Poetry Project director Stacy Szymaszek. (All photos: Andrew Durbin)
    diary May 19, 2017

    Get Me to the Church on Time

    FOR FIFTY YEARS, the Poetry Project—long housed at Saint Mark’s Church in the East Village—has, as Allen Ginsberg put it, “burned like red hot coal in New York’s snow.” In more prosaic terms, it has been one of the epicenters of American poetry and literature, where nearly every major poet (and an artist here or there) has kept the coals burning with a twenty-minute set on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday evening. A thrifty institution from the start, the Project, as it’s known, has been a site of alliances, contention, protest, and antics: Allen van Newkirk staged a fake-shooting of Kenneth Koch

  • Franco “Bifo” Berardi at “the Destruction of Europe.” Photo: Stathis Mamalakis.
    diary February 12, 2017

    κρίσις Management

    ATHENS WAS COLD, the coldest it has been in some thirty years—so cold, in fact, that it recently snowed. Without the blush of warm air, the city’s usual statement piece—the Acropolis, high on its hill—had assumed the gelid, distant role of a winter palace, icily lit at night and dull in the afternoons, abandoned to an uncharitable background of gray sky that darkened, occasionally, into fits of frigid rain. While the rest of the world was undergoing its hottest winter on record, Athenians bundled up and trudged on, and you might have mistaken them for New Yorkers—sniffling, bound in parkas—or

  • Left: Artists Cibelle Cavalli Bastos and Raúl de Nieves. Right: Curator Milovan Farronato, dealer Felipe Dmab, and artist George Henry Longly. (Except where noted, all photos: Andrew Durbin)
    diary June 10, 2016

    Pride and Prejudice

    “LAST NIGHT I DREAMED OF NOTHING: Pure black. And a voiceover: the voice of Marilyn Monroe.” So begins a letter written by the Cyprus-born artist Christodoulos Panayiotou to the Italian curator Milovan Farronato, director and curator of the Fiorucci Art Trust in London. The missive—a winding consideration of that many-faced god Marilyn—serves as the press release for “Prediction,” a full-throated exhibition curated by Farronato at Mendes Wood DM in São Paulo. Heady but sexy, “Prediction” considers queer legacies, the melancholy of the afterhours, and the specter of Marilyn in the work of twenty-six

  • Left: Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance at the Museum of Modern Art, with Performa curator Adrienne Edwards. (Photo: Andrew Durbin) Right: Dinner for the Material Prize.
    diary October 02, 2015

    Poets’ Problems

    LAST WEEK, the great alliance between poets and artists held strong. On Monday, Wayne Koestenbaum launched his latest collection, The Pink Trance Notebooks, at the Kitchen. Set against a pink, black, and gold net stretched along the back of the Kitchen’s black-box theater—a site-specific installation by Leeza Meksin—Koestenbaum took to the piano to perform short pieces by some of his favorite composers, including Scriabin, Chopin, Fauré, Milhaud, and Poulenc, while sing-talking improvisational monologues that obtained the look and feel of both poetry and stand-up comedy. Koestenbaum struck a

  • Left: MoMA director Glenn Lowry with artist Joan Jonas. (Photo: Andrew Durbin) Right: The bridge outside the Prada Foundation.
    diary May 11, 2015

    Sink or Swim

    VENICE IS, OF COURSE, SINKING. In some places, it’s collapsing. Like early last week when the bridge leading to the Prada Foundation buckled, taking down roughly seven wealthy-looking art-goers with it. Photo after photo of the soaked soigné struggling to climb out of the water circulated online. “LOL,” everywhere. Dresses, suits, purses, iPhones were ruined: The Fifty-Sixth Biennale di Venezia—titled “All the World’s Futures”—had arrived.

    On Tuesday night, after the Biennale’s limited VIP professional preview, MoMA types joined director Glenn Lowry for a reception honoring Joan Jonas in a

  • Contessa Stuto, “Horny Lil’ Slut,” 2014, video, color, sound, 3 minutes 7 seconds.
    slant February 13, 2015

    Ethical Slut

    CONTESSA STUTO, the Brooklyn-based rapper and founder of the Cunt Mafia, released her new single “Killing in Vain” within twenty-four hours of the release of New York cultural ambassador Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” two odes to messy love. While Swift’s litany of clichés about millennial coupling is characteristic of peers Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and Selena Gomez, many of whom she apes with sheepish modesty, Stuto rejects the Swiftian promise of a happy norm with her “low-budget realness,” serving an aggro femininity that contravenes Swift’s suburban sameness with Dreamlandesque swagger.

  • Left: Wayne Coyne and Miley Cyrus. (Photo: David Velasco) Right: Artist Jacolby Satterwhite. (Photo: Andrew Durbin)
    diary December 10, 2014

    Foul Language

    “THIS IS A PLACE where I bet you thought you could escape me,” Miley Cyrus shouted to her audience at Jeffrey Deitch’s Wednesday night party at the Raleigh. She lit up a joint and passed it around the crowd.

    “Well, I’m here.”

    Forty-five minutes and six covers later she launched into “Love Money Party,” an ABMB anthem if there ever was one and the only original Cyrus recording she sang all night. A rocket launched wads of fake bills with her face printed on them into the audience, while a giant penis and the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne danced around her. (“It’s southern outsider art,” Deitch claimed

  • Left: Mykki Blanco at MoMA's Hood By Air event. (Photo: @thevillagemayor) Mykki Blanco at MoMA's Hood By Air event. (Photo: @themuseumofmodernart)
    diary November 04, 2014

    Nights at the Museum

    “TWINKS AND THOTS,” Jacolby Satterwhite observed of at least half the crowd at Hood By Air’s Thursday night invasion of the Museum of Modern Art. “But I love it.” It was the eve of Halloween, and near us, the musician Ian Isiah was performing in a caged platform next to the cash bar, which served only beer and liqueur. Without a coat check, the space around him swelled with jackets and backpacks, a mosh of synthetic fibers and pushy kids insistent on Brooklyn Lager. Lowered at about chest level in the densest part of the crowd, Isiah seemed to float over us, shouting that Hood By Air had taken

  • View of “Fashionfashion, 2002–2006,” 2014.
    picks October 08, 2014

    K8 Hardy

    Opening after a mostly boring New York Fashion Week, K8 Hardy’s “Fashionfashion, 2002–2006” continues the artist’s ongoing fashion revanche with four large-scale zines, each blown up from originals the artist produced in the 2000s. Consisting mostly of self-portraits and handwritten text about ghosts, the zines fleer magazine beauty by staging the artist and some friends (dressed up, dressed down) in thrifty editorials. Part avant couture, part “riot grrrlesque,” Fashionfashion resituates the fashion image (“for the opposition,” one page reads), stripping it of its slickness to reveal its

  • Sadie Benning, Mask, 2014, aqua resin, casein, and photograph on medite, 17 x 13 1/4".
    picks October 02, 2014

    Sadie Benning

    While Edward Snowden’s disclosures of the scope of global surveillance have been met with every imaginable response, the least common seems to have been humor. In Sadie Benning’s “Patterns,” images of that peeping police state—metadata, found photographs, weaponry—are woven, often playfully, into wall-based works, suggesting less the ominous tone of the panoptical regime tracing our lives than the comedy of (military-industrialized) errors those lives have produced. Benning first cues the comedic point with a sedate green shag carpet the artist installed in the gallery, a sly evocation of cheesy,