COLUMNS

  • High Art

    No Gavin Brown-organized event would feel quite complete without the impression that it might at any moment degenerate into chaos, but the opening of “Drunk vs. Stoned 2” (the first installment took place in April 2004) heralded its dizzily euphoric spirit via a press release that was later retracted, to be replaced by an almost-identical new one. (I never figured out what was wrong with the first one.) A group exhibition produced in collaboration with Milwaukee’s General Store gallery, “Drunk vs. Stoned 2” purports to explore the two different altered states named in its title as metaphors for

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  • Sex Outside

    The Erotic Museum is—wait for it!—neither. But what does that mean to the hordes of strolling tourists passing Michael Jackson impersonators in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, peering at Hollywood Boulevard's stripper-shoe stores and falafel stands before setting foot in this daunting sex-historical warehouse? Whereas the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe It or Not—the eroticists' chief competition near the corner of Hollywood and Highland—sell Celebrity and Oddity to the Bermuda-shorts crowd, the Erotic Museum sells a Maxim-brand experience for sightseeing

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  • Boys from Brazil

    You can expect to have a good time at a party where the cha-cha shoes are limited-edition Havaianas flip-flops by Vik Muniz, printed with his signature chocolate drizzle. At just $100 a pair, they were among the limited-edition goodies at Robert Wilson's twelfth Annual Watermill Summer Benefit last Saturday. The theme this year was “Brazil.” That meant there were tropical fruit/palm tree centerpieces by Susan Miller Smith on every dinner table, four Brazilian artists in residence, and a hundred pretty-young-thing interns from other parts of the globe—very promising as far as charm and energy

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  • Sweat and Lowdown

    The Extra Action Marching Band is a thirty-five strong troupe of Bay Area drum-and-horn hellions who play an aggro blend of Balkan brass music, New Orleans second-line funk, and primeval Moroccan trance, preceded by a raunchy flag team that marches, bumps, and grinds in corsets, hot pants, and pasties. They have graced the prestigious Guca brass band festival in Serbia, sailed the playa at Burning Man in a self-built Spanish galleon, and rocked the Hollywood Bowl with fan and colleague David Byrne. They incite near-riots wherever they go, and may be some of the best public art available in our

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  • Dog and Pony Show

    “This is Jeffrey at his finest,” announced Steve Powers, a.k.a. ESPO, assessing the Italian dinner served up in honor of the Dreamland Artist Club, Powers’s urban beautification project which, for the past two years, has recruited mostly New York-based artists to create signage for Coney Island businesses, concession stands, and arcade games. To celebrate, Jeffrey Deitch and non-profit Creative Time teamed up to throw a real “island party” in Brooklyn. Held in the sprawling Gargiulo’s restaurant (whose outdoor mosaics and plaster fountains have a new addition, Dreamland’s crowning achievement:

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  • West Side Peers

    “I like the maid’s room, Richard” says a visitor, one half of a ballerina-and-polo-player-beautiful-couple whom architect Richard Meier is guiding around apartment 4B in his latest residential tower, 165 Charles Street, overlooking the West Side Highway. In a dark corner of the windowless little chamber is a video projection of shivering digital flowers. This turns out to be art by Jennifer Steinkamp, courtesy of Lehmann Maupin Gallery. There’s a faint whirr from the projector fan. “Well,” Meier says gently, “that’s a closet.”

    Still, the closet is so well proportioned, with its frosty glass door,

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  • Wild Palms

    Full of honeyed light, looming tropical fronds, and lazily splashing koi, the third-floor conservatory is one of the quieter corners in that Brutalist warren of exhibition and concert halls known as the Barbican Center. It’d be a good place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon in its own right, but add in the fact that Cerith Wyn Evans has mobilized this paradisiacal green zone with a chancy, multistrand sound piece—not to mention that the city’s feeling somewhat torn and frayed thanks to the recent terrorist bombings and the police killing of an innocent suspect—and, as was clear from

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  • Solitary Refinement

    “Against Nature,” a weeklong series of performances inspired by the careening decadence of J. K. Huysmans’s novel of the same name, is a multidisciplinary collaboration at the ten-month-old theXpo Gallery in DUMBO. The neighborhood is deserted on summer weeknights; the gallery was an oasis of activity. Eric LoPresti, a painter, had hung his high-grade Photorealism—mostly paintings of bundled extension cords, with the remarkable exception of a knot of eels—on the walls. They are done in industrial OSHA hues and are placed on flat colored grounds carefully chosen for maximum “zing,” as

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  • Helter Shelter

    On Thursday night, Los Super Elegantes’ new musical, The Technical Vocabulary of an Interior Decorator, premieres at Daniel Hug Gallery in L.A.’s Chinatown, itself a Disneyfied fantasy neighborhood, at least by comparison to New York’s. Fans of Milena Muzquiz and Martiniano Lopez-Crozet’s theatrical mayhem have turned out in force, among them a passel of New York dealers—Jeffrey Deitch and his lovely assistant, Nikki Vassall, and Amalia Dayan and Stefania Bortolami—as well as Chinatown gallerist Javier Peres (LSE’s last play in L.A., The Falling Leaves of St. Pierre, was staged at

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  • Witch on Heels

    Your diarist is wicked hungover but still committed to writing five hundred words about Kiki and Herb’s free concert Thursday night following the opening of “Founders Day,” the Jack Smith-inspired summer show at Grimm/Rosenfeld. (How many words is that?) The charming, disarming, and often alarming pair serenaded their adoring audience from a third-floor fire escape across 25th Street from the gallery. Framed by a spotlight against the brick façade of the gallery building, the mise-en-scène was very West Side Story meets Evita. Every once in a while a truck went by and blocked the talent. The

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  • Pop Rocks

    It was a beautiful summer Friday evening in Los Angeles as I arrived at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre for the world premiere performance of Petra Haden’s a cappella remake of The Who’s 1967 album, The Who Sells Out, presented by the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Sound (SASSAS). Encircled by lush flora, the Ford is a handsome, vaguely medieval fortress, its idyllic charms heightened by its proximity to the decidedly un-idyllic 101 Freeway. I reached the stage in time to hear the end of the sound check. Petra was the sole performer on the recording, but is joined for live

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  • Park Life

    During my harrowing mini-cab journey from Shoreditch to Hyde Park, the meteorological prospects for the Serpentine Summer Party did not look good. A long overdue week of glorious weather had succumbed to fitful rain, and my overblown visions of sartorial extravagance, radical architecture, and green urban meadows were quickly giving way to damp disappointment. The taxi made its way gradually, detained slightly by the hordes scurrying off to a Babyshambles and Kasabian gig elsewhere in the park. The clouds lifted just as I noticed a large “Make Poverty History” banner for the Live 8 concert that

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