COLUMNS

  • Plane Sight

    It was an offer I could not refuse: Fly upside-down from Berlin to Buenos Aires. When the architectural collective m7red invited me down south, the artist Carsten Höller provided the exceptional means of transport: A pair of Upside-Down Goggles, 1994-2001. As ophthalmologists and students of geeky trivia know, the human eye actually turns images upside down as rays of light are focused on the retina. The fact that things appear right side up is merely a trick of the mind. Inspired by equipment devised for psychological experiments, Höller's goggles simulate vision without the inversion of the

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  • Hustle Beach

    It may be only a few golf swings from that height of East Hampton hoity-toitydom, the Maidstone Club, but for much of its sixty-nine years Guild Hall has contented itself with remaining a small-town art space dedicated to the artists in its hood. Of course, when the local talent boasts names like Close, Sherman, Salle, Fischl, Bleckner and Chamberlain, not to mention Pollock, de Kooning, and Rivers, the place may not have to try that hard to be the Little Museum That Could.

    Take last Friday night, when all of the above (minus Pollock, de Kooning and Rivers, that is), joined Dennis Oppenheim, the

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  • Cool, Calm, and Connected

    A band of red parachute silk stretched across the length of the back of the parking lot, separating the ground from the sky. Above the band were trees, rooftops, telephone poles, telephone wires, and a great deal of purple-gray, then gray-to-black clouds. The busy Angelenos who dropped in at the Venice gallery Cherry de Los Reyes Wednesday night for an ambient concert by William Basinski don't usually pay attention to these things—or, I'd bet, to loops of wispy, smokelike fragments of sound that get repeated a hundred times or more. Do these people meditate? Three minutes during a yoga

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  • 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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