Posts archive: December 2003

London’s Tate Modern literally glows with an outstanding installation by Olafur Eliasson. “The Weather Project” in the Turbine Hall through March 21 is best experienced lying down and worshiping the golden orb above.

Also at Tate Modern (but only for a few more days) is Sigmar Polke’s “History of Everything”. Organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, this fascinating look into Polke’s output of the last six years is beautifully complemented by three galleries of seminal works from the 60s through the 80s. Polke does not disappoint with his adventurous combinations of pattern, material and content.

- amy berk [Tuesday, December 30th, 2003]

A gorgeous, sunny day in Brooklyn screamed for a walking tour of Williamsburg galleries. Although most were unfortunately closed mid-holiday, one space delighted: the Holland Tunnel gallery consisted of a tiny, humble Dutch-style tool shed cum gallery and housed (believe it or not) a three person exhibition of Dutch (I think) artists, Susan Daboll, Bix Iye and Jan van der Ploeg. The work played with geometric abstraction and color using photographs, paintings and tiny sculptural objects, but it was the overall concept and execution that I found so charming. Next time you’re in Williamsburg, don’t miss it.

- Ella Delaney [Sunday, December 28th, 2003]

At last week’s New Langton Arts holiday auction, I missed what I went there to see: what from all reports was a very sexy fashion show produced by Mr. Jonathan of San Francisco.

I was totally absorbed in a therapy session performed on my unruly set of keys by Ken Goldberg who had a little work station set up for the purpose upstairs. Even Ken was surprised when he saw my keys: a very hard case. (Two sets of keys for two different offices where I work, an elaborate set of studio keys, including the girl’s bathroom and freight elevator, and apartment and car keys…) As my keys took Ken a while to whip into shape, I got to witness other people having their keys checked, overhauled, or tuned up as Ken took a break from mine. He took before and after shots, added color coding and moved keys around on rings to make them more ergonomic. A woman with a Tiffany key chain was given a matching mauve coder for her door key.

Ken gently helped me determine that I didn’t need an Oregon State Police key medallion that I had picked up along the way on my ring. A fellow Oregonian found the medallion in Ken’s work box and wanted it on his chain. Now we’re both ready for the New Year.

- Cheryl Meeker [Friday, December 26th, 2003]

Imagine the charcoal gray parlor of Jesus Christ Super Star circa 1985. Jiri Georg Dokoupils extra terrestrial blue Jesus strumming Haim Steinbachs skull and crossbones electric guitar while sipping black coffee. In the adjoining piece Glenn Browns Saint who has been scarred by unsuspected colors wears his halo while meditating before Sherrie Levines melting psychedelic black and white photographs of gothic Cathedrals. Simultaneously a dog crawls the wall. Mathew Weirs delicate and horrific treasures grace the Mantel of an unlit fireplace.

Breaking God’s Heart
38 Langham Street W1W7ar
Curated by Glenn Brown
14 November-20 December
Open Thursday to Saturday 12-6pm or by appointment
Tel: 020 7323 5366 E:

—Rebecca Miller

- Cheryl Meeker [Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003]

He was 75 years old. Hedrick had received increasing attention in recent years as a surviving member of the group of Bay Area artists and friends that included Jay DeFeo and Joan Brown. He established a relationship with a new gallery, Linc, and relished his connection with a new generation. In this 1974 interview, Hedrick told stories about his life to Smithsonian Archivist Paul Karlstrom.

- Meredith Tromble [Wednesday, December 17th, 2003]

Museum exhibitions of private collections can be tough to digest, unless there are clearly defined collecting parameters, like medium or gender. SUPERNOVA: Art of the 1990s from the Logan Collection, opens Saturday at SFMOMA, and it’s a who’s who of art from the 90s: Hirst, Gonzalez-Torres, Murakami, Yuskavage, to name a few. Everyone is here, and while the show struggles to find a common thread, what really binds them is their recent blue-chip status. Many of these works have been promised to the museum, understandable cause for celebration. With just a few years of hindsight, we see that these are the names we’re attaching to art of the end of the 20th century. In that way, the presented collection is oddly conservative, even obvious at times.

But to avoid getting caught up in what it all means, I advise pretending this is the Logan’s rather large living room, and do a little fantasizing of your own. I don’t think I have a wall big enough for anything here, but while we are dreaming, I’ll take the protruding Robert Gober leg and the Juan Munoz figures. OK, and the big Hirst dots. I can’t help it.

- Tucker Nichols [Thursday, December 11th, 2003]

Chris Bratton. A videographer and, until yesterday, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bratton is expected to inaugurate a new era at the school. Bratton has worked extensively with youth and media, and was the founder of Video Machete in Chicago.

- Meredith Tromble [Wednesday, December 10th, 2003]

Midway through the Swell Gallery opening of Gene Carnival last night, a guy in a lab coat attacked the art with a stick. Turned out the hanging sculpture of a lab mouse was a pinata bursting with candy made from GMO corn syrup. Each piece came wrapped with a “genetic fortune.” Fortune told in another highlight of the exhibition, Brian Wasson’s Luck,, a proposal for cloning four-leaf clover. Thirty artists, including Stretcher contributor Dale Hoyt, are represented in this jam-packed show. Don’t miss Two/Too and Other Experiments, a deadpan video by Alicia Cattaneo, tucked away in a side gallery, and the untitled Q-tip and Vaseline installation by Paul Zografakis. Go this week - Friday, December 12 is the last day.

- David Lawrence [Tuesday, December 9th, 2003]

Sebastiaan Bremer’s ink-covered photos at Barbara Thumm are part scrapbook recollections, part notepad doodle, and all seductively ephemeral. Look for them or something suspiciously like them in an advertising campaign near you soon. Carsten Nicolai’s closeup photos of sparks at Eigen + Art are equally ephemeral, but beyond the first beautiful flash of electricity in each image there seems to be something not fully illuminating about them: the more you look it seems the less you see.

But around the corner at griedervonputtkamer Britta Lumer’s self-portraits with closed eyes makes the act of looking at them seem like an intimate gift that allows you to see everything. Combined with drawings and watercolors of childhood photos, clouds, and a few low-lying buildings, the show is delicately personal, quietly radiant, and easily the most flat-out gorgeous exhibition I have seen all year.

Just around the corner from there, alas, such thoughts ideas are located in another universe as local university students have been staging protest actions in response to plans by the city government to cut 75 million euros from the annual education budget by 2009 and impose tuition fees. Among the more novel approaches to getting public attention were holding classes in the middle of the Friedrichstrasse train station, conducting a 72-hour physics lecture outdoors at Potsdamer Platz, and setting up camp at the Nordic embassies building claiming “educational asylum.” So far, the budgetmeisters in the Berlin Senat remain unimpressed.

- Ed Osborn [Saturday, December 6th, 2003]

As i peered into the cavernous void of barbara gladtsone’s gallery looking for schneider’s work, i realized there was nothing inside, finding only an indifferent gallery minion trained to never look up from their powerbook. i figured the show was not installed yet and wandered down a door into a dingy, dark alley way for a smoke. later, i relieved myself in the corner of what I soon determined to be gregor’s meticulously recreated sculptural rendering of a dingy, dark alley. i think i added an olfactory authenticity to the piece which it previously lacked.

gregor schneider @ barbara gladstone
thru dec 20

- Charles Linder [Thursday, December 4th, 2003]

here, a true space cowgirl pours the desert a new oasis as she mushrooms out into bright, new technicolor reservoirs. places which were previously only findable in her own mind are vividly rendered for us in ink and bright dye on translucent paper. these astral maps are visitors guides into her heavenly imaginations, which carried me far away.

ati maier @ pierogi 2ooo
thru 22 december 2003

- Charles Linder [Thursday, December 4th, 2003]

The unusually packed house for the Reagan Louie/Diane Arbus panel was bursting with Q&A. The panel had an exciting lineup: SFMOMA senior photography curator Sandra Phillips, photographer Susan Meiselas, UC Irvine California Art History Professor Sally Stein, and last but not least, ex-prostitute and PONY activist Tracy Quan. The official mission of the panel was “to discuss the elusive nature of photographic meaning and address the relationship of photographers to their subjects and audiences.”

Although billed, “Intentionality, Ambiguity, and Truth”, the event could have been called, “Can Anyone Ever Really Intentionally Sign a Release?” Sally Stein recounted the story about the famous Dorthea Lange photograph of a farm woman during the depression who was deeply upset for the rest of her life at the way she was portrayed and her perception of misrepresentation on the part of Lange about the future use of the image. The panelists discussed the work of Diane Arbus, including a hilarious admission from Sally Stein that she would never under any circumstances have wanted to be photographed by Arbus. But the most provocative dynamic in the room was that between those with questions about prostitution and victimization in the Louie photographs and Tracy Quan. When challenged about the question of unequal monetary power, she countered that sex work is not all about money. She pointed out that although everyone works for a paycheck, those involved in sex work often are interested in beauty. Read excellent articles by Glen Helfand in Salon and ">Jesse Hamlin in the Chronicle for background on the exhibition. Then go see it for yourself: you’ve only got 3 more days!

“The Photographs of Reagan Louie” at SFMOMA through Dec 7, 2003.

- Cheryl Meeker [Thursday, December 4th, 2003]

There’s nothing gray about the sparkling new show at CCA’s Wattis Institute, The Gray Area—Uncertain Images: Bay Area Photography 1970s to Now. The walls are a bit crowded, but I wouldn’t know where to begin if I had to trim it down.

Highlights include Keith Boadwee’s ridiculous portrait of what looks like a Fry Guy wearing an Afghan; Ari Marcopoulos’s large print of a plywood climbing wall propped up against a suitably climbable tree; Richard Misrach’s surreal Hawaiian jungle shots from 1978; Todd Hido’s recent discovery of lonely streetlights; Aaron Plant’s exploration of blue goo; and Abner Nolan’s moody prints from found negatives—even the guy on the suspension bridge seems a bit bewildered to be here.

The show is bound not just by the geography of the artists, but also by a collective inquiry into what makes our world so different from the one we were introduced to. Will Rogan’s three prints exemplify the curiosity: very minor miracles, to be sure, but each one is indisputably true, right there in front of you.

- Tucker Nichols [Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003]

From the editors