Friday, October 8, 2010

What is new with me October 8th, 2010

View of the MoMA
From the Newsletter:
It has a been while since I have wrote or sent my news letter, but a lot has changed in my life. Now I am living in Philadelphia, PA so I am no longer working in New York. Arthouse28,, and the loft is still there under the complete guidance of Peter with the help of Edit and Natty who is now working out of Virginia. My partner in this venture, Matt Jacobs, aka Gomaar, is still in New York and writing on art and whatever catches his eye. So you should still read his reviews. My role though will be a little different. I will still tell you about what grabs my attention but now it will include Philadelphia, if you are interested, as well as what interests me in New York. Hence, we have taken "New York" from the title and left it Ubihaus. In this sense I have become my audience, so my perspective will be similar to yours. When we started the blog we began with the idea of maintaining the connection with each other that was formed through the loft at 28 street. Now our perspective is a little bigger. Let us know too about you. Cheers! -- Rafael Damast

Other News
Just completed: Apple of His Eye Installation Video that I did for Kukuli Velarde's exhibition at the Barry Friedman Gallery. This video I did for her in order order to document her installation that took her 80 hours to do and was then, at the end of the exhibition painted over. It now in memory and in works like that video I did. It took a lot of work and would not have been finished without Kukuli's input.

I had started Arepa Digital Publishing, LLC.  Now that I have been moving back in video producing, shooting, editing and doing business.  The company focuses on art and education.  Two videos I have worked on for Arepa DP our with Lisa Mackie,  the Art of Printing from a Xerox Copy and Non Toxic Printmaking in Action.

Peter Mackie has partnered with John Stookey to start the Castleton Project Event Space in Castleton New York.  This space is prime 9000 square feet of raw creative space.  More information is here. Contact John if you need further information. Joanne Mattera wrote a great piece on the opening exhibition of the Castleton Twelve and on CPESpace. You can find it here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

MOMA, 11 west 53rd street Abstract Expressionist New York: Through April 25th

MoMA: Abstract Expressionist New York

To use the term "New York abstract expressionist" is a little like saying "southern NASCAR driver", or "tall NBA player."  Virtually all Ab Ex's were New Yorkers at one time or another. The only one I can think of that wasn't was Richard Diebenkorn, who painted out of the California Bay Area.  There might be others, but their names don't exactly jump to mind.   Anyway, it's considered a New York movement, and it's historically what made New York the center of the art world. It's been over 60 years since these artists came to prominence, but I think they're still a little touchy about the whole thing in Europe. The show is all work that's already in MOMA's permanent collection, so if you're a frequent visitor to the museum you've undoubtedly seen a lot of it before, but a lot of the work isn't usually on display, so some at the very least should be new to you. I know there's a lot that I hadn't seen before, and I go there all the time.
It's a big show that covers a big subject and while the bulk of it is on the 4th floor of the museum, it extends down onto the 3rd, and 2nd floors. While Abstract Expressionism is known primarily as a movement of painters, there is a lot of sculpture in the show by artists such as Isamu Noguchi, David Smith, and Herbert Ferber. Refreshingly, there are also a lot of women in the show, like Lee Krasner (of course), Grace Hartigan, the always underrated Joan Mitchell, and the always overrated Helen Frankenthaler. Louise Nevelson and Louise Bourgeois both have great pieces in the show. They are also both sculptors and women, so by including them the curators manage to kill two birds with one stone.
The show starts with some of the early, surrealist inspired, quasi-figurative work that kind of got the ball rolling on the movement by artists like Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and the under appreciated Richard Pousette-Dart. Also, there are a few beautiful pieces by Ad Reinhardt, who's paintings are frequently mistaken as a minimalist. Pollocks "She Wolf"(1943) is the most famous painting in this section, and probably the truest to the surrealist technique of using automatism as a tool to unleashing images from the collective unconscious. Those images would later famously dissolve into pure automatism.   Actually, Pollock was more committed to the ideals of surrealism than most of the surrealists were. He also had the tenacity to take it a lot further than they did. But, they were French and he was a New Yorker, so what do you expect.
Art historical convention breaks the Ab Ex's into two groups; action painters, and color field painters (ignoring the sculptors completely). This show draws attention to how the surrealist roots of this movement created in the artists a fascination with, and an intense search for the sublime. So, I think you could just as easily divide them into two other categories; Ab Ex's that focused on totemic, mythic forms and images, and those that focused on intuitive, painterly abstraction.
In the first category Rothko has to be seen as the leading figure. He's represented by some powerful work in this show, and I have to say that people who can't appreciate him must just lead sad, empty, pathetic lives. Clifford Still is another great "totemic" abstractionist, but is less accessible than Rothko. Barnett Newman painted a couple of iconic images, but to me his paintings are far too self consciously important. Usually when I look at his work I want to say "relax, it's just a painting". Other artists that fit into this category would be Robert Motherwell who I have to admit I never really understood, Adolph Gottlieb, and Bradley Walker Tomlin. Both of whom I also don't really get.
Some of those who would fit into the "painterly intuition" category would be Pollock (obviously), deKooning, Mitchell, Krasner, and Hans Hoffman. Personally I prefer this second group, but some of these artists seem to have pursued more lyrical goals than tragic, or sublime ones. Pollock seemed to be able to do both, keeping a foot in each world. In some ways the same could be said for Philip Guston, who after becoming one of the leading abstract expressionists turned his back on the movement, and in some ways helped to destroy it. If Charles Burchfield is Americas Van Gogh, Guston is our Picasso.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In New York Week October 5th.

Patrons of the 27 de Febrero restaurant come to hear the city's best in live bachata and merengue. (Courtesy of JL Aronson)

This week in New York , some of what I found interesting.

1. LATIN MUSIC: Live Domincan Bachata music in Washington Hieghts. This looked really interesting. I really liked the song they have posted on WNYC. You can listen to it and get more information here.
2. MUSIC: Dave Crawford at the Jazz Standard. What a sound. Listen for yourself here.
3. MUSIC: !!! "AM/FM" This looks like a lot of fun. Dance music in Brooklyn. Check it out here first and go to Brooklyn to see them live.
4. ART: Roy Lichtenstein around the city. Roberta Smith write about these amazing shows of Roy Lichtenstein all around New York. You can read her review here.
5. ART: Joanne Mattera has a review on two shows in Manhattan that look interesting. You can read more about it here.
7. ART: Matisse: Radical Invention at MoMA Looks good. It has been getting a lot of positive press and the show will come down on October 11. So don't miss it!
8. ART: 50 Year anniversary of Pace. Here is some interesting video and it may be worth a visit.

These are just a few of the things that I liked online