COLUMNS

  • 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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  • Talkin' Fash

    Everyone who has any clue about fashion is over everything (I mean idea-wise, silly, not shopping!). So I was curious to see how this panel of pros—designers Alice Roi, Behnaz Sarafpour, and Imitation of Christ’s Tara Subkoff, chatting with New Yorker writer Judith Thurman—would vivify the deadish horse of “Generation X Fashion.” Of course you gotta wear something (as one was painfully reminded that September day, when the transitional weather presented huge challenges) but lately new ideas in fashion are as scarce as decent Gucci at Century 21: It’s all recycling, vintage, “modernity,”

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  • Wu Yorker

    If my first stop at the New Yorker Festival doled out a satisfying amount of bile—mostly directed at Hollywood—the next panel on my docket promised greater internal acidity. After a calming hour in the sun at Bryant Park, I steeled myself for my appointment with the RZA, the LZA (Ani DiFranco), the Old Skinny Popster (Ric Ocasek), and the Rapeman (Steve Albini)—not exactly Wu-Tang, but some kind of hell-spawned super-group nevertheless. Moderated by Sasha Frere-Jones, the magazine’s pop music critic, the panel was guaranteed to be volatile, based on the presence of Albini alone.

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  • Cartoon Networking

    Where do you go to hear that TV executives are censorious cowards, that Tom Cruise is indeed gay, and that, despite their efforts to appear cuddly and approachable, the Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with? To the New Yorker Festival, of course, the annual culture grope that, with its elbow-patched tweeds, perilously perched reading glasses, and mock seriousness, heralds the arrival of capital-F Fall. Avoiding the standard literary fare, I exhumed a patchless tweed blazer from its naphthalene crypt and set out for the Festival’s margins—events peopled by the kinds of characters who in

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  • Pop Shop

    Last Wednesday, following months of art-world speculation and a plug in Vogue, former Gagosian staffers Stefania Bortolami and Amalia Dayan (granddaughter of eyepatch-wearing erstwhile Israeli defense minister Moshe) opened their spanking-new 2,700-square-foot Chelsea gallery. Bejeweled socialites and Prada-clad collectors mingled with artists, MFA candidates, and the occasional stray bike messenger who had stumbled upon the two fully stocked open bars in the garage-turned-party-venue/performance space adjoining the gallery. The space, itself a converted garage, was designed by veteran art-world

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  • Fine Lines

    If you believe that the sudden simultaneous vending of gyros, unicorn-based jewelry, and Santa-Fe-or-Trenchtown-appropriate schmattes goes beyond the purview of mere “craft,” then every Manhattan street fair is, in its own insidious way, a work of fine art. This was perhaps especially true of The Kitchen High Line Block Party, a festival staged last Saturday on Nineteenth Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues by the eponymous exhibition-and-performance space to celebrate the eponymous elevated railway viaduct in West Chelsea—soon to be, after years of advocacy by Friends of the High

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  • Turkish Delight

    Despite the qualms brought on by an e-mail query—“How many biennials are you going to this September?”—the decision to trek to Istanbul was a fairly easy one. With smart curators Charles Esche and Vasif Kortun in charge of the seven venues (thankfully all within walking distance of one another), a bearable number of participating artists (sixty), and a context-specific theme (“Istanbul”), my anticipation ran high. Pair that with the thrill of spending some time in one of the world’s most fascinating cities and the decision was even easier for quite a large number of international

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  • Green Piece

    “If they really cared about Robert Smithson, they wouldn’t have put down Astroturf!” In one of a precious few ill-tempered (though, one suspects, tongue-in-cheek) remarks overheard at Saturday’s public launch of Smithson’s Floating Island to Travel Around the Island of Manhattan, this exacting visitor was complaining about the apparent conceptual inconsistency of artificially “greening” Pier 46, the arm of Hudson River Park that served as official viewing spot. But it would have taken a hard heart indeed to allow such miniscule details to seriously impinge on the enjoyment of an exceptionally

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  • Flower Power

    The title of the current installment of the Lyon Biennale—“L’experience de la durée” (Experiencing Duration)— put me in mind of the famous Parisian tearoom Ladurée. But alas, no pastel-perfect macaroons were on offer at La Sucrière, the old sugar warehouse that serves as the event’s core venue. Even if there had been, I would likely have demurred, for fear of ingesting psychotropic substances—doctored pastries being more or less in keeping with the show’s theme. Artistic director Thierry Raspail had appointed “odd couple” Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans curators of the exhibition, which they

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  • Mic Check

    At half past eight on Sunday night, I walked into a dark, low-ceilinged room in the basement of Michele Maccarone’s Canal Street gallery and all but bumped into the critics Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith (Voice and Times, respectively), both engrossed in a two-screen video by Los Angeles-based artist Anthony Burdin. It was my third run-in with the duo in four days, signaling the hectic start of another art season, a weekend that not only involved the usual spate of openings, but also parties, performances, and, this year, parades. The teeming crowd of gallery goers in Chelsea on Thursday night

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  • Brit Props

    The tease tactics that ran up to the opening of Mike Leigh’s first play in twelve years were incongruously akin to the short trailers before summer blockbusters, in which a baritone voice booms nonsensically while explosive vagaries of sex and violence whip across the screen, a far-off date hovering portentously. Giddy anticipation is inevitable, though even the nippers know that very little to justify it has been revealed. And so it went with the advance press for Two Thousand Years at the National Theatre, a play so mysterious that it didn’t have a title until two days before the first scheduled

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  • One Night in Paris

    Un, deux, trois, let’s do it again! Saturday, September 10 was the day of the “rentrée”—a new season at the Paris galleries. A crowd of tanned art lovers came back from their Provence holidays with new resolutions, such as to stop drinking and smoking. I guess we’re getting old. At least thirty galleries listed in the Galeries Mode d’Emploi held simultaneous receptions for this ostensibly wholesome crowd. My own rentrée had actually taken place the previous Tuesday at Marian Goodman’s gallery where, in an apparent spirit of iconoclasm or perhaps just a desire to beat the crowds, the gallerist

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