Art Review

Swimming Lessons

Robert C. Morgan: The Swimming Lessons, 1981 (Translating Duchamp's Green Box), and Related Works
Rooster Gallery, NYC

Saturday Night Special

Michael Williams: Paintings
The CANADA Gallery, NYC
Through December 8, 2013

INT. BELLYLAFFS COMEDY CLUB - EVENING

HOUSE BAND [Jay-Z/Kanye West]: I ball so hard muthafuckas wanna find me, first niggas gotta find me / Tha shit cray / Tha shit cray / Tha shit cray / Ain’t it, Jay?

MUSIC FADES.

SIDEKICK [Tracy Morgan]: Give it up for Jay-Z and Kanye West, Ladies and Gentlemen… and now, you have probably seen his recent special It Ain't Gonna Suck Itself [Applause]…Bellylaffs is pleased to present one white boy who really does ball hard…

HOST [James Franco] - enters stage right]: Thank you Tracy! Thank you! [Applause] Thank you! It’s true, I really do ball hard. Very hard. Mostly by myself… [Laughter/Applause]… Thank you…

HOST: So this guy, who has never been sick a day in his life, calls his boss. He says, "I can’t come in today, I’m sick." The boss says, "No problem, take the day off. I’m just curious, though, how sick are you?" The guy says, "I just fucked my sister!" Read more »

Primitive Culture

Lester Johnson: Dark Paintings
Stephen Harvey Fine Art Projects
Through November 17, 2013

Trick or Treat? October Art Romp

Like sugar-induced hyperactive children, David and I went to the only place where grownups ring doorbells to see art: The Upper East Side. Were we tricked? Yes. Were we treated? Yeah, that too. Read more »

Watch That Man: Larry Krone + Bradley Rubenstein

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1970, Larry Krone was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and now lives and works in New York City's East Village. He has been exhibiting his drawings, sculptures, installations, and videos since the early 1990s. Some of the museums he has exhibited at include the Whitney Museum of American Art Philip Morris Branch and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, which in 2006 presented Larry Krone: Artist/Entertainer, a ten-year retrospective of Larry Krone's visual and performance work. Read more »

Altered States

Bradley Rubenstein: Saints
Creon Gallery
Through September 30, 2013
 
Bradley Rubenstein: Drawings (curated by Lucio Pozzi)
Palazzo Vivaldini Carra
Grioli, 46, Mantova Italy
Through September 28, 2013

Children are innocent, we are told, existing in a state of unperturbed self-sufficiency and looking at the outside world with unlimited trust. They share this ideal condition with the objects of their affection, such as cats, dogs, or other pets. When disaster strikes and this peaceful existence is disturbed, some natural law seems to have been violated. As in much of contemporary horror, the shock effect of evil deeds and ghastly events is greatly enhanced if unleashed on the pure and simple in spirit or invading a seemingly picturesque locale and cheerful ordered communal life. The supposedly asexual and immaculate bodies of pre-pubescent children are the primary site of artist Bradley Rubenstein's investigations into the changing conceptions of identity and the state of ethical, social, and sexual attitudes today.

In his drawings and paintings these icons of innocence seem to have been subjected to experiments worthy of Dr. Moreau: a child with a clenched fist as head; amalgamations of two torsos and several exaggerated limbs or with cephalopod tentacles; and, again and again, adolescents engaging in strange unions with giant adult hands. The faceless configurations of human and animal forms are like defenseless victims, threatened by the grasp of the adult world and in constant danger of forever losing their blissful ignorance.

Rubenstein's human and animal composites are strangely lifeless, frozen in time like ancient monuments. Placed into melancholic isolation they have quietly resigned themselves to their fate, arrested in movement and lost in insurmountable loneliness. Either painted with dense layers of carbon, or carefully rendered in graphite and in black or sepia ink, the drawings approach the cold and distant observation of scientific illustrations, faithfully documenting rare anatomical specimens of deviations in nature. The artist deliberately distances himself from the explicit and loaded sexuality of the adult and, in particular, the violated female body, suppressing the projection of voyeuristic desire which, nevertheless is subliminally and disconcertingly manifest. Read more »

Pretty in Pink

Cary Leibowitz: (paintings and belt buckles)
Invisible Exports
Through October 13, 2013
 
"In the beginning was the Word…"
John 1:1

September 2013 is like a Box of Chocolates

One of the reasons that I returned to the East Village so soon was that my previous August art stomp with David Carbone ran longer than expected and we did not get to visit The Sweet Life, a local candy store on Hester Street. So before David and I headed off to see what the art world had to offer, my sweet tooth had to be placated with chocolate cherries and licorice Scotty dogs. What we found after David slapped me out of my diabetic coma was much like the selection at The Sweet Life, extremely surprising and varied. Read more »

East Village Summer Stomp

This summer, for lack of a better description, has been unusual in that it has been busy for the art world. For those of you who don’t know me in the writing forum: in my other life I own an art shipping company, and we have been busy!  As have many of my competitors!  Good for everybody. Read more »

Little Q and A: Sean O'Connor + Bradley Rubenstein

Bradley RubensteinLet's get the background stuff out of the way -- the rest will be more interesting. You are from Ohio. Was starting out there influential in any way other than making you want to leave?

Sean O'Connor: I started out experimenting in my hometown just out of high school and was heavily influenced by the music scene at the time. There was a little art scene booming in Cleveland at the time, and there still is, but I was really into artists like Derek Hess and other illustrators like that. Read more »

Undisputed Attitude: Dylan Neuwirth + Bradley Rubenstein

Bradley RubensteinI want to talk about your work, but first I want to mention your writing. I totally fucking love your daily, aphoristic pieces. You use Facebook like your own personal Little Red Book. You wrote one about your approach to the art world, I think, but it probably applies to pretty much everything: "If you aren't invited to the table, bring a chair. If they don't serve you, pack lunch. When the bill comes, wash the dishes." It's like a manifesto.

Dylan NeuwirthYes, this is this idea. I'm pretty sure it reads like a tweet-length thought, since that's where I spend most of my digital time. I also follow a fair amount of people no one has ever heard of who trade these kinds of thoughts. Within the beautiful limitation of 140 characters we can convey the most perfect idea without the trappings of aesthetics or decoration or the diminutive garbage of class diluting the concepts beyond recognition. Only the pure idea. Read more »

Head at BOSI Contemporary

Head, a new exhibition at BOSI Contemporary, orbits eccentrically around the notion of the human head as an avatar for the human condition. Curators D. Dominick Lombardi and Robert Curcio have gathered 36 idiosyncratic examples of the head as social signifier, troubled mask, and dream-like presence. The eleven artists represented here unsettle us with their evocations of head as the repository of the psyche which demands to make itself known. Read more »

Holywood

Paul McCarthy and Damon McCarthy Rebel Dabble Babble Hauser & Wirth Gallery
Through July 26, 2013
 
Paul McCarthy WS Park Avenue Armory Through August 4, 2013

James Franco is finishing a joke. "Natalie Wood…get it? What kind of wood doesn't float?" Everyone is very hung over this morning, but fortunately Franco sent his Maybach Landaulet and driver to whisk us to Chlamydia, the new Bobby Flay café in Chelsea, where we are drinking revivifying Bellinis and an assortment of other smart cocktails with Vito Schnabel, Slavoj Žižek, Natalie Portman (or possibly Keira Knightley, or Keira Knightley's body double), Sasha Grey, Heath Ledger, Michael Lee Nirenberg, Lena Dunham, Chloë Sevigny, and a Thai/Puerto Rican pre-op transsexual Franco introduces as "Pinball." Read more »

Nights Without Armor

Heraclitus wrote, "Nothing is constant but change," illustrating succinctly his philosophy of the nature of the universe; with her current exhibit, Battle Armor, Karen Heagle illustrates this adage, with paintings that show that old motifs can have new life breathed into them, in the right hands. In the past, Karen Heagle has made reference to heroic figures in her paintings, including the Incredible Hulk and Xena: Warrior Princess; in her recent show of paintings on paper at Churner and Churner in New York, she revisits some of the same themes, and sense of the heroic, through her choice of subject matter -- primarily medieval armor -- and combines it with a painterly style that draws from great nature morte and vanitas artists such as Hals, Chardin, and Soutine. Read more »

Funtime

Gutai artists (various)
Gutai: Splendid Playground
Solomon R. Guggenheim
Through May 8, 2013
 
"Discarding the frame, getting off the walls, shifting from immobile time to lived time, we aspire to create a new painting." Suburō Murakami, Osaka, 1957

"Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!" MC5, Detroit, 1968

The Guggenheim Museum's Gutai: Splendid Playground presents the work of Japan's most influential avant-garde collective of the postwar era. Founded by the visionary artist Jirō Yoshihara in 1954, the Gutai group was legendary in its own time. Read more »

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