COLUMNS

  • De Young and the Restless

    The new de Young Museum, a smart, sexy, copper-clad edifice by Herzog & de Meuron, has international eyes on an institution that’s historically been more comfortable catering to its local community than to the global entity known as the “art world.” With the exception of conceptually-inflected new photos by Catherine Wagner, the opening exhibitions—an ancient Egypt crowd pleaser, Jasper Johns prints—weren’t designed to engender critical dialogue. It was the building itself, with its metallic façade and twisty, asymmetrical tower, that was thought-provoking. An opening weekend that featured a

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  • Ninety-Nine Percent Perspiration

    My faithful photographer and I arrive ridiculously early at the opening reception for the group exhibition “Both Ends Burning.” The show, at David Kordansky Gallery, is a reunion of sorts for four Los Angeles-based artists—Amy Bessone, Thomas Houseago, Matthew Monahan, and Lara Schnitger—who all met, circa 1994, at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. This is the first local gallery exhibition for them (though Schnitger appeared in “Thing” at the Hammer earlier this year), and anticipation runs high. Walking into the densely installed gallery, I immediately sense the show’s confrontational tone,

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  • Bump and Grind

    Slumped on a bench behind the check-in desk at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 2004 Bucksbaum Award winner Raymond Pettibon and his small-but-perfectly-formed entourage appeared to be less than fully engaged by the Tuesday evening reception. And despite the $100,000 paycheck and solo show attached to the still fairly new biannual prize (currently the largest of its kind), it was an oddly subdued affair. The select gathering of perhaps fifty people included museum director Adam Weinberg, curators Chrissie Iles and Shamim M. Momin, trustee and award funder Melva Bucksbaum, and dealers Shaun

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  • Murk of the Penguin

    It goes without saying that one must suffer for one’s art, but some of us prefer to suffer for other people’s art. And so it was that on Friday night a few hundred hardy, masochistic souls, myself among them, showed up in a downpour at Central Park’s (roofless) Wollman Rink, where a sequence for Pierre Huyghe’s film A Journey That Wasn’t was being shot. The film, which will debut at the 2006 Whitney Biennial (it’s not just for Americans anymore!), centers around a trip that Huyghe and some fellow artists took to Antarctica earlier this year. Having heard stories that the changes wrought by global

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  • Judd Club

    We woke up Saturday morning in motel beds, adobe guesthouses, and dew-damp tents to find that the freak cold front had passed and the skies over Marfa, Texas, were back to their regular shade of blinding blue. Lone Star hangover or no, we were determined to catch all we could of the nutty blur that was the Chinati Foundation’s nineteenth annual Open House weekend. Boots on. Find burrito and coffee. Hit the streets.

    The first weekend in October was not always the “Marfa Gras” it is now. Before Chinati founder Donald Judd’s death in 1994, Open House brought to this one-stoplight town each year

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  • Design Within Reach

    The attendees at the Wednesday evening opening reception for “Yinka Shonibare Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum were distinguished by a preponderance of formal suits and pocket squares, silver hair and lorgnettes (alright, I made up that least detail, but it certainly wouldn’t have looked out of place). Clustered in the oak-paneled lobby, the well-heeled and well-behaved group made for a welcome change of pace from Chelsea’s beer-fueled mob scene. Museum director Paul Warwick Thompson and curatorial director Barbara Bloemink were both busy

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  • Eat to the Beat

    I expect to be offered psychoactive drugs and scalped tickets outside a concert. But an apple? Then again, the Barbican Centre’s concert hall is used by classical musicians, and this is a Monday night Matthew Herbert gig—or, more specifically, a performance of the British electronica boffin’s recent eco-friendly platter, Plat du Jour. Someone has already pressed a complimentary copy of The Ecologist magazine into my hand, and the audience (gaunt metropolitan girls for whom the apple might be a little fattening and who say “dude” without a hint of irony, guys who work for hip-hop labels like

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  • Stealing the Show

    Marfa, Texas, home of the Chinati Foundation, Donald Judd’s sprawling museum, sits squarely next to nothing at all, a town of 2,500 residents that is accessible by rather spectacular desert highways and, more directly, by Lear jet. Recently, the town itself has proven to be almost as much of a tourist attraction as Chinati, enjoying a burgeoning reputation as an austerely chic, exclusive little contemporary art mecca. Craig Rember, the Judd Foundation registrar, put it well when he told me that Marfa is now a town where you can find Goethe at the local bookshop, drop $50,000 on some art, and

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  • Like Father Like Daughter

    Legendary Feature Inc. director Hudson describes the “more inspired . . . larger jumps” in Tom Friedman's latest work as a function of “maturing, expanding one's consciousness, expanding one's thinking.” The delicate, precious (yet conceptually rigorous) new works crowding the modest space precluded the possibility of an opening party, and on the first day of the show connoisseurs and the curious alike were admitted by appointment only. Continuing his Wittgensteinian explorations into the nature of experience (with an Einsteinian bent), Friedman tinkers in paper, paint, Styrofoam, and stuffing,

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  • Deaf Jam

    “Excuse me, do you—is this—do I find the earplugs here?” “I’m sorry—exc—I’m so sorry, do you have the earplug box?” “Hi, hey, yeah, do you—you don’t happen to know—where they put the box with the earplugs?” It’s around 10:30 on Saturday night in the lobby of Royce Hall, UCLA’s home for the performing arts, a dour, doughty, Lombardian fortress erected in imitation of Milan’s Church of San Ambrogio. This is the kind of place you go to for an evening of John Cale burbles, or maybe some Laurie Anderson found-word poems, or perhaps a deadpan morsel of Tom Waits or Lou

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  • Vito Longa

    It all started Thursday night on the eleventh floor of POST CS, the Stedelijk Museum’s temporary home in Amsterdam’s former post office building, where Vito Acconci was giving a talk in conjunction with his—I should say their, since technically it’s the Vito Hannibal Acconci Studio—retrospective, opening the next day.

    But before that, at 7:30, W139, an alternative gallery space also taking temporary shelter in the POST CS building (albeit in the less glamorous basement) was launching a series of books, short monographs on recently graduated art students. They were running late as usual,

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  • Never Mind the Bulloch

    I woke up Saturday morning to find red wine stains on a blouse I wore to the Tuesday night awards ceremony for the €50,000 Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art—odd, considering that I thought I had only drank champagne. That was several nights ago, so heaven knows what blows my memory has suffered in the meantime. I vaguely remember a story the director of the Kunstverein Braunschweig, Karola Grässlin, was telling me about riding a hotel elevator up and down all night long—like a somnambuliste dangereuse—until her beau, gallerist Christian Nagel, came to her rescue. That was at

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