Scene & Herd

  • Free for All

    On Friday night, I found myself in a newly renovated loft above the former McBurney YMCA on Twenty-third Street, ambling among the candles and lace that filmmaker Mary Jordan had strewn about liberally in loving tribute to underground film nonpareil Jack Smith. The event was ostensibly a showcase for edited segments of Jordan’s forthcoming documentary Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis; refreshingly, on a weekend during which it seemed that everyone in New York was selling something, the only thing on offer here was Smith’s dream of absolute beauty in an anything-goes environment. If

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  • High and Dry

    How many of the seemingly thousands of art-world revelers drinking to Damien Hirst on the Lever House terrace Friday night knew that what they were really celebrating was the end of art? At least that’s how it felt on West Twenty-fourth Street, where Gagosian presented Hirst's first show in New York since the former YBA gave up the bottle for more sober pursuits. Like painting. Executed in photo-realist style from pictures in magazines and print ads, the thirty variously sized works on view depicted Hirst's familiar fascinations with soul-killing violence and living death. One painting showed

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  • Furry Friends

    At 4 pm on Thursday, a mere hour before the doors of the 2005 Armory Show opened for the preview gala for which ticket-holders had paid as much as $1,000 a head, the floor was still buzzing with non-paying “professionals”—a pre-preview group that, in something of a gaffe on the part of the fair’s organizers, included not only the press and museum dignitaries but a number of “discretionary” guests (read: collectors) invited by dealers who, for the first time, were permitted a pass or two for favorite clients unprepared to pay to shop. By 4:15, fair administrators had taken to the floor with

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  • Junk Bonds

    Among the surprises at the US premiere of Asia Argento’s film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things were the Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys passed out to the huddled hipster masses in the Anthology Film Archives’ interminable stairway line, the pre-screening absence of Argento, and the presence of Lou Reed, wearing black leather pants, natch, and a gray cotton hoodie. The film, based on J. T. LeRoy’s story cycle of the same name, kicked off the twelfth annual New York Underground Film Festival, and Lou, apparently still “underground,” was charged with reading a touching if rambling statement by

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  • Mary's and Jesus

    “Nature abhors a vacuum,” playwright Marsha Norman was saying. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'Night Mother was speaking of life in New York, but her observation perfectly characterized both the capacity crowd filling Mary Boone's Chelsea gallery for Eric Fischl's show of new paintings and the sudden plethora of Martin Kippenbergers all around town.

    At Fischl's opening, just about the only empty space was between the many jostling pairs of legs. The artist stayed near the front of the gallery, greeting friends and fellow Boonies (David Salle, Karin Davie, Will Cotton, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders),

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  • The Dye Is Cast

    The undiscovered, the up-and-coming, and the never-will-be snaked along the cobbles of Wooster, around Grand, and back down Greene on Monday morning, braving a twenty-three-degree wind chill and an approaching snowstorm. It looked like the usual throng outside a Deitch Projects opening, but this time the kids were lining up in hope of being selected for the new reality-TV series Artstar. Created by artist Christopher Sperandio and dealer James Fuentes in collaboration with Jeffrey Deitch, the show will follow nine artists chosen to participate in a group exhibition at Deitch’s gallery. In the

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  • Palaver North

    A meal, a workshop, a bonfire, a film screening, an interview, a hike...uh-oh! It’s relational art, rural style. Art in public has changed its flavor in the last ten years, from formal engagements with (preferably dramatic) sites to social collaborations with the locals. Few projects are more emblematic of this shift than “Artistic Interruptions” in Nordland, the outermost neck of Norway. Per Gunnar Tverbakk, the energetic organizer of this long-term program, argues that “interruption” is the operative word: His commissions aim to shake up forlorn, forgotten little towns by importing big name

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  • Chow Time

    At the last minute, I received an e-mail letting me know that I’d been green-lit to attend all parts of what is, let’s face it, the art event of the year in Los Angeles, Larry Gagosian’s annual Oscar-week opening and dinner (and as everyone knows, it’s not about the opening—anyone can get into that and does—it’s about the dinner at Mr. Chow immediately following). This year’s shindig was for Richard Prince. My favorite thing about the e-mail, aside from the fact of having secured its open sesame, was the question mark punctuating the list of possible attendees: “…EUGENIO LOPEZ, BROOKE

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  • Gold Standard

    Wine, wine, everywhere, but not a drop to drink—such was the case Wednesday night at the benefit opening (for the Henry Street Settlement) of the ADAA’s seventeenth annual edition of the Art Show at the Seventh Regiment Armory in Manhattan. I was standing parched in a long line at one of the “main bars,” hoping to score a glass of San Pellegrino, when MoMA director Glenn Lowry passed by. He was wearing a bright red scarf with his sport jacket. I gave him a coy little Oliver Hardy finger wave by way of greeting and said, “You're not going to avoid anybody wearing that thing.”

    “I forgot to

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  • Trash and Vaudeville

    As people queued up for the opening of “Dionysiac” at the Pompidou Center last Tuesday night, a group of women calling themselves Les Artpies (a pun on “harpies”—it sounds better in French)—distributed flyers that stated, “Glory to virile art! Finally, the Pompidou Center has opened up to masculine art!!!” Clearly inspired by the Guerrilla Girls (though not wearing masks—I recognized a few of the artists and journalists amongst them), the Artpies were expressing the view that the Pompidou has hit a new high with “Dionysiac.” While 93% of the works in the collection are by male

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  • Dialectical Materialism

    Colorful rumors and breathless warnings about the perils of visiting the Moscow Biennale are circulating with predictable alacrity. According to the grapevine, a Dutch installation techie was found dumped outside the city, groggy from Rohypnol, and corrupt police are supposedly extorting money from foreign visitors under the pretense of “visa checks” (though flashing your press pass might deter them). And then there's the biennial itself, plagued with controversies and troubles. The full list of artists was announced mere weeks ago, whereas the lineup of usual-suspect Euro-curators (Daniel

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  • Reductio Ad Rirkrit

    We hopped in a cab last Wednesday night and headed over to ye olde sixth arrondisement, where Rirkrit Tiravanija's “Une Retrospective (tomorrow is another fine day)” was opening in the venerable Couvent des Cordeliers. The Couvent, a beautifully delapidated thirteenth-century gothic hall (and the site of a French Revolutionary club, where Marat's dead body lay in state), is the interim headquarters of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, whose building on Avenue du Président Wilson is closed for restoration. We've seen some good shows at the Couvent in the last year, including ones

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