• Capitol Infusion

    Why bother plying your wares at yet another art fair when you can simply fly your best customers in for a gallery visit? That was the novel idea behind BERLIN 2005. Twenty-one Berlin galleries—from Arndt & Partner to Galerie Barbara Weiss—invited their favorite collectors and curators for a long weekend of openings, dinners, and parties in “the city where today's most unique art is created.”

    Since Sunday was the sixtieth anniversary of VE Day, World War II was on many minds, yet the weekend’s art extravaganza recalled the 1948-49 Luftbrücke (airlift), bringing collectors instead of

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  • Oys ‘R’ Us

    Fresh from a productive (weepy) session on the old analyst’s couch, I schlepped across Central Park to check out “Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak,” at The Jewish Museum, fully braced for even more primal soup to be stirred up. The legendary auteur of characters such as Little Bear and Really Rosie, and the 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are (yes, inspired by his Jewish relatives in Brooklyn) has a hotline to my kishkes. And who knew these kiddie classics were actually generated from post-shtetl Jewish angst? Add a performance of Brundibar (1938), a Holocaust-era children’s opera recently

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  • Outside the Box

    Low expectations have been at least partly responsible for some of my happiest experiences in art, and they didn't let me down on Saturday afternoon when I dropped into Parker's Box, in Williamsburg, for what the invitation had billed as a weekend “international art market.” I expected the sale of something, I guess, but all I found was a bunch of artists sitting around talking at an art fair that was nothing short of soulful. The artist-run gallery has survived on Williamsburg's Grand Street for five years. To celebrate, directors Alun Williams and Allyson Spellacy opened their doors to a

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  • Remaking Haye

    I accompanied Michele Maccarone to the Julie Mehretu drawings show at. . . what’s no longer the Project, on West 57th Street. One consequence of the ugly legal battle between Swiss businessman and mega-collector Jean-Pierre Lehmann and dealer Christian Haye—an internecine quarrel over some Mehretu paintings that Lehmann had wanted but didn’t get—was that the young dealer had to relinquish the name of the maverick gallery he founded in Harlem in 1998, and thereafter expanded with a Los Angeles branch in 2001. So he’s dubbed the “new” enterprise Projectile; a prominent “X” partially

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  • Given Cake

    An announcement for “What Now? Art Practice and Public Institutions Today,” a panel discussion held last week at the Guggenheim Museum, listed several promising questions to be discussed: Do today’s artists impact institutions in the same way that artists of the ‘60s and ‘70s did? How can institutions balance artistic ambition with limited production budgets? Where can we find new models for public institutions? The discussion was held to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Etant donnes, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, a grant-giving organization that has sponsored over 100

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  • Gang Gang of Four

    Gang Gang Dance, a percussive quartet featuring young old-hand musicians (from avant-metal bands Cranium and Angel Blood) and young old-hand artists (from the stables of Kenny Schachter, American Fine Arts, and Rivington Arms), has been together more than five years but is at a peak right now with its tribal, screechy kind of energetic funk. The band’s London debut took place in the basement of a pub at 2am on the Saturday night of last October’s Frieze Art Fair. I was drunk, and the night stays with me as a jumbled dream of transatlantic assimilation. Band members Lizzi Bougatsos, Brian DeGraw,

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  • Unquiet Americans

    The downtown underground resurfaced in Manhattan last Wednesday, though (sigh) only for the night. At 192 Books in Chelsea, the line between fact and fable grew dim as Harry Mathews read the sex scenes from My Life in CIA (Dalkey Archive Press), his new autobiographical novel.

    Mathews, author of Cigarettes and other gems, has been a part-time Parisian for many years—long enough to have been suspected of being an American agent by the French intelligentsia. His new book chronicles his life in the 1970s as a frog version of the unwitting spy in Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana. Arriving at

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  • Cat's Meow

    Catholic No. 1: Cats—a charming volume put out by Evil Twin Publications and D.A.P. (“with assistance from: VICE”) that celebrates feline grace, beauty, and naughtiness—arrives in the mail. “This is actually Catholic v1.5,” editors Jesse Pearson and Glynnis McDaris explain. “This sounds nerdy but it’s true. The first Catholic was published in an edition of 1,000 handmade zines to accompany a group show we curated in November, 2003, at Guild and Greyshkul in New York.” The book contains contributions from over 100 artists and writers, including Roe Etheridge, Richard Kern, Steve and

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  • LA Residential

    Behind the pale gray facade of a newly built faux-Neutra home at 1482 Inverness Drive in Pasadena, a disc of shimmery transparent plastic—one can’t help thinking a giant LifeSaver—sways ever so slightly on a string. The disc shatters a blinding beam of narrowly focused light, scattering it into multiple eclipses and self-devouring ovals. Elsewhere, a cylinder of what looks like smoky, nicotine-laden glass—dichroic, one expert labeled it—creates modulated, rainbowy effects. A giant ball rotates over a very functional-looking kitchen, casting pentacles on the walls. And then

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  • Fab or Flab?

    Although it’s been a few years since I last saw Mark Morris, I felt reasonably sure what to expect from the opening night of his five-day engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Morris’s rich choreography, astonishing musical sensitivity, ever-expanding vocabulary of sexual entendres, roving eye for other cultures, and performative bravado have all remained constant since the very beginning of his career—even if the fizziness of his work seems to have flattened somewhat. It’s hard to say if this mellowing-out is due to the fact that Morris has (a) won his very own private culture war

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  • Personal and Political

    Something unexpected happened in the closing minutes of the memorial for Leon Golub in the Great Hall at Cooper Union last Sunday: Robert Storr, speaking rapidly and with increasing urgency, turned a pointedly secular tribute into an almost evangelical call for art-world solidarity with Golub's viscerally political vision, rousing the standing-room-only gathering to thunderous, cheering applause.

    Golub died last August, at eighty-two. Like his wife of fifty-three years, Nancy Spero, he stuck to his Old Leftie guns throughout his life, expressing his rage against one state machine after another

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  • American Friends

    After stopping in New York, Boston, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, we arrive in Minneapolis. I'm traveling with curators Gunnar Kvaran and Hans-Ulrich Obrist to map “The Uncertain States of America,” a project that will result in a

    show of emerging American artists in Oslo in the fall. We’ve collected dossiers from almost a thousand prospective contributors and have glimpsed an artistic landscape that we really hadn’t known anything about. Armed with lists of recommendations from friends across the nation, we continue our exploration in the galleries, studios, cafés

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