Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wisdom from Anthony Bourdain

Artists and creative folks. To be a creator, you need to expand your mind, experiences, boundaries, get out of your comfort zone. I cannot emphasize enough the life-lasting power of travel, and I don't mean flying somewhere and sitting in a resort. If I could go back in time, one of the things I would tell myself would be to travel more, somehow, someway, suck it up - travel. And go live somewhere for a few months. One of my biggest regrets is not taking one of those "Teach English" gigs in Japan for 3-6 months. As always, the much-missed Anthony Bourdain sums it up wonderfully here, so please read it and think about how it applies to your artistic outlook.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Friday, October 11, 2019

Kenny Schachter on KAWS and the current market

Kenny Schachter, who writes really interesting and witty "insider" looks at the art world, does so again in this article for Artnet. Interweaving KAWS, auctions, flippers, shady dealers and a not-so-happy look at the art market, Schachter highlights some tales of art sales w "infantilism" as to the rise of KAWS. Geez, 888 items at auction this year alone?? Suckahhhhs!

Although I agree w KS who casts a raised eyebrow at the KAWS KRAZE (to put it plainly, there are merits to some of his work, but the prices are ridiculous and alot of people are going to end up burned) I suppose looking at it as glass half full - those prices raise the sea and prices for everyone?? Eh, not really, just for KAWS and others who are the hot investment/flip flavor of the moment.

Full disclosure, if it raised MY prices and made me the flavor of the moment, I probably wouldn't be too upset.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Whitney Biennial 2019 photos

The Whitney Biennial: some oohs and ahs, some boos and fahs.

It's always a mix of inspiration, what the f's, and feelings of admiration and sympathy for every biennial's curators. You know what they say about opinions, and the art world is full. This one is very heavy on socio-political commentary, I wouldn't be surprised if 75% of the work falls into those categories. But we're living in very charged times - Trump, immigration, gender issues, race, sexuality, 24 hr news, an upcoming election, climate concerns, the internet and privacy issues - all those issues surround us daily and feel impossible to escape from. For those looking to art as an escape, this is not the show for you, but the Biennial is not an "escape" show.

Here are some random photos from the exhibit which closes Sept 22nd. Hope you're enjoying the final weeks of summer!

View of my old home, Hoboken, from the Whitney

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Poem for the Ages by Charlie Chaplin

I just saw this post on Facebook. I've been a Chaplin fan since I was a child but this is the first time I read this poem by him. Had to share it with you.

"This is Charlie Chaplin at age 26, photographed 100 years ago. Below is a poem he read on his 70th birthday, written by Kim McMillen. (Thanks to Roni Turner and others who corrected my citation via Messenger.)"

As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living
against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is Authenticity.

As I began to love myself
I understood how much it can offend somebody
if I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right
and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call this Respect.

As I began to love myself
I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything
that surrounded me
was inviting me to grow.
Today I call this Maturity.

As I began to love myself
I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call this Self-Confidence.

As I began to love myself
I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects
for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness,
things I love to do and that make my heart cheer,
and I do them in my own way
and in my own rhythm.
Today I call this Simplicity.

As I began to love myself
I freed myself of anything
that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations,
and everything that drew me down
and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is Love of Oneself.

As I began to love myself
I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since
I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is Modesty.

As I began to love myself
I refused to go on living in the past
and worrying about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment,
where everything is happening.
Today I live each day,
day by day,
and I call it Fulfillment.

As I began to love myself
I recognized
that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But as I connected it to my heart,
my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection Wisdom of the Heart.

We no longer need to fear arguments,
confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide,
and out of their crashing, new worlds are born.
Today I know: This is Life!

"Make Art and Make Your Soul Grow"

 Wonderful video of Ian McKellen reading Kurt Vonnegut's letter to high school students.
Short and well worth the watch.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

NURTUREart announces it is closing

Just got this email from the good folks at NURTUREart in Brooklyn:

NURTUREart announces that after careful consideration, we have decided that our current season of programming will be our last. Due to a confluence of resource challenges and a shifting environment for non-profits, we find ourselves unable to continue serving our communities in our ideal capacity. We are grateful to have been able to make a dynamic contribution to the creative vibrancy of art in New York City over the course of our 22 years. We would like to thank all of the supporters who made it possible for us to provide services to emerging artists and curators, as well as local public school students.

In all, NURTUREart presented 17 full seasons of 6 to 8 exhibitions each in our own galleries, in addition to many curatorial projects at guest locations around the city, hosted over 120 Muse Fuse talks, as well as dozens of enriching performances, readings, and panels over the years. Through the online registry we drew attention to the work of 2,100 emerging artists and curators. Our Education Outreach Program is proud to have had 161 artists and 11 curators teach 1,170 public school students in 4 neighboring schools’ classrooms, as well as through gallery and studio visits. These education programs culminated in 35 exhibits and events, creating exhibition opportunities for 80 artists.

In 1997, George J. Robinson founded NURTUREart Non-Profit, Inc. to realize his vision of an organization dedicated to helping emerging artists. Long before the term “pop-up gallery” became fashionable, he began by mounting guerilla exhibitions in donated spaces whenever and wherever possible, starting a slide registry in a filing cabinet in his Washington Heights apartment. As the Artists’ Registry grew, exhibits took place in all corners of the city from the United Nations and the Limelight, to Presbyterian Hospital, empty Lower East Side storefronts and corporate lobbies. From its’ inception the organization sought to not only provide opportunities for exhibitions and exposure, but to create a nurturing community. To that end a monthly networking meeting was started to introduce the artists of the registry to one another. This forum, “Muse Fuse,” evolved into a popular salon, organized and hosted by board member Karen Marston in her studio for 11 seasons. During its tenure the salon featured an impressive roster of guest speakers from the forefront of the New York art world who engaged in direct dialog with artists in a friendly and informal environment. 

In 2002 NURTUREart expanded programming to include emerging curators, facilitating introductions and collaborations between curators and artists. Then in 2003 NURTUREart opened a gallery of our own in a small space in an artist filled warehouse on Keap Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, generating the exciting opportunity for a full season of exhibitions. The gallery was launched with a philosophy of openness and accessibility for diverse artists, curators, and audiences, seeking to create opportunity for artistic experimentation and expression with a transparent process of selection by means of an annual open call, administered, like all of our programming, free of charge. Eventually we grew the budget to allow for paid stipends to participating artists and curators.

Establishing our own space allowed NURTUREart to embark on an exciting period of growth in all of our programming. The rapidly expanding slide registry was digitized and launched online, the exhibitions took place monthly year round, and Muse Fuse and other special events flourished. In 2005 board member Eliot Lable, a teaching artist himself, founded our Education Outreach Program with 9th graders at the neighboring Juan Morel Campos Secondary School. He created a blueprint for promoting teaching and learning opportunities for artists and school students, which quickly grew to encompass hundreds of students in an array of schools with far reaching programming—even including collaborative projects with school children in Africa and South America.

Our ambitious exhibition program continued to succeed and grow as we relocated to bigger and better spaces in response to gentrification and the shifting locus of emerging art. We first moved to East Williamsburg on Grand Street (2006–2011) and then on to our current location at 56 Bogart Street in Bushwick. We are proud to have presented an extraordinary number of exhibitions, enlarging dialog and creating awareness of hundreds of emerging artists and dozens of emerging curators, providing unique opportunities to make, discuss, and experience contemporary art, bringing recognition and praise by the public and the press.

The 2018–2019 season energetically caps our achievements. Our education programs continued to bring robust and dynamic programming to over 250 students at our 4 Brooklyn public schools taught by artists- and curators-in-residence. One of our most esteemed programs, Project Curate culminates this year with the current exhibition (Im)Perfection, curated by students from Juan Morel Campos. Our exhibitions and public events this year featured critical programming by artists and curators investigating social and psychological constructs of race in America; detainment of immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border; affective haptics, distance, and intimacy; the history of child psychology, spectatorship, and subjectivity; technological advancement and the continued erosion of workers’ rights; and artists’ roles in protecting the environment in the face of government rollbacks.

NURTUREart was built and sustained by the collaborative energy and commitment of many, many people—more than we can list in entirety. The earliest iterations of the Board of Trustees were primarily composed of working artists volunteering tremendous amounts of their time, idealists who forged an organization to serve the needs of their peers. Some of these pioneering artists included: Sandra Bermudez, Kristin Anderson, Patrick Meagher, Robert Martinez, Robert Curcio, Eliot Lable, Maria Spector, and Mariestella Col√≥n-Astacio, and carrying on the tradition in later years Susan Hamburger, Deborah Brown, and Rachel Klinghoffer among others. Still with us from the early days are artists Carol Salmanson, serving as Vice President, and Karen Marston, who succeeded our founder after his retirement in 2006, and lead the organization as President for ten years before passing the mantle to Christopher K. Ho. Over time the board’s composition has expanded to also include other dedicated art world professionals and business people lending their knowledge and expertise. We welcomed the engagement of Sayaka Araki, Chief Financial Officer of the Noguchi Museum, in our earlier days, and Larry Mascera, Partner at Capital Market Solutions, our most recent Treasurer. We had the benefit of input from independent curators Julie McKim and Ian Cofre, Dave Harper, who was the first Curator of Visual Arts at BAM, as well as architect Steve Scuro, Partner at Janson Goldstein. We have been fortunate to have the advice of several gallery directors, Asya Geisberg of her eponymous gallery, Benjamin Tischer of Invisible Exports, Liz Dimmitt of Lehmann Maupin, and Heather Darcy Bhandari of Mixed Greens, as well as Benefit Auction Specialist Laura Burton of Paddle8. We also wish to acknowledge our latest additions to the board, gallerist Cindy Rucker and educator Jon Ramsay, whose enthusiasm we wish we had more time to cultivate.

Many generous funders believing in us made it possible to realize our mission. As our budget grew, we were very pleased to be able to establish a paid staff. NURTUREart was fortunate to attract some phenomenal people who contributed tremendously to the growth of the organization. Our gallery program got off the ground with our first director, Veronica Mijelshon, and our Education Outreach Program would not be what it is today without the tireless and innovative efforts for over ten years by Education Director Molly O’Brien. Among the others we are particularly grateful to have worked with in the past are Gallery Director Benjamin Evans, and Assistant Gallery Director Rachel Steinberg, from our formative Grand Street years, and our defining Bushwick era Executive Director and Curator Marco Antonini—all of whom left their creative mark on the organization; followed by the recent tenure of Executive Director Will Penrose, previously of the LMCC and Rema Hort Mann Foundation.

That legacy of talent, tenacity, and heartfelt commitment continues with our current staff, Programs Manager Ivan Gilbert, who in recent months graciously stepped up to the role of Interim Managing Director, and Education Director Grace McDonald. It is through their hard work and leadership that we are able to seamlessly wrap up an excellent final season, fulfilling the vision of our founder with enthusiasm and integrity.

George J. Robinson, Founder and Executive Director Emeritus, offers this note of inspiration, “I encourage all those who have contributed to and benefited from NURTUREart to please reach out to others you’ve met and worked with along the way and continue nurturing those emerging artists and curators such that by extension and the multiplier effect the nurturance will continue to enrich our communities well beyond the boundaries of atelier and gallery walls.”

All of us at NURTUREart are saddened to find our time together drawing to a close, yet very happy and proud to celebrate a long and distinguished contribution to the art community. NURTUREart, our name is our mission.

Any inquiries regarding this announcement may be addressed to our Interim Managing Director, Ivan Gilbert, who can be reached by phone at 718-782-7755, or by email at, through the summer.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Jeff Koons Bunny sets record

From Artnet:

Jeff Koons’s Bunny Sets a New Record for a Living Artist in Christie’s Half-Billion-Dollar Postwar and Contemporary Art Sale

Koons's 'Rabbit' was part of a blue-chip collection of work belonging to the late publishing magnate S.I. Newhouse.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Gallery Hoppin' - quick one in Chelsea, April 2019

     Nicer weather and a run into the city to do a quick gallery hop in Chelsea. Misplaced most of my notes, so this is a photo post. Yes, The Gallery Guy has a messy desk. If you know the artist and gallery of the first 2 pieces, please email me.

4/26/19 Cleaned my office and found the card and the missing artist! The first 2 are by STEPHEN PACE at Berry Cambell.

Stephen Pace, "White Bikini, Mauve Spread"

Stephen Pace, "Ostrich Courtship"

Mark Shenkman at Lennon Weinberg

Mark Shenkman at Lennon Weinberg

Mark Shenkman at Lennon Weinberg

Arghavan Khosrani at Yossi Milo

Detail from above image - Arghavan Khosrani at Yossi Milo

Arghavan Khosrani at Yossi Milo

Julia Wachtel at Mary Boone

Julia Wachtel at Mary Boone

Juan Travieso at Lyons Weir Gallery

Friday, April 5, 2019

Great article on The Shed, Hudson Yards NYC

     Following is a link to a very interesting article on The Shed, the new mega -arts-billonaire-public etc etc structure at Hudson Yards in NY. This article mixes the skeptical cynicism that the author (and these days, MOST of us) has towards something like this. However, he gives props to artistic director and chief executive of The Shed, Alex Poots, for trying his best to keep it real.
     There is a cool time lapse animated video of the construction and application of the Shed, well worth watching. About half of the structure is glass and wheels and closes in on the other half, and is moved out for events ranging from concerts, large scale installation (uggh a hint of a large KAWS critter), and misc live events. I giggled at the chains coming down and then the acrobats appearing on them, kind of like Hellraiser meets Cirque de Soleil!
     Take a look, no doubt The Shed will be a big how much of that will actually cross the economic/social barriers that the powers that be promises it will, remain to be seen.

Watch the video in the link to see what the whole structure looks like.

Friday, March 15, 2019

NY Armory Art Fair 2019

     Rallying back from a potentially show-cancelling disaster, the 2019 Armory show was on. Parts of the pier were deemed unstable, so those exhibitors were shuffled over to the nearby Volta show area. Bad news for the Volta exhibitors, but some of them were able to show at Plan B in Chelsea in David Zwirner's and 1969 Gallery spaces. Kudos to them!

     Two words that came to mind at the Armory Show for me: "Instagram-y" (a new word?) and "Shapes." Yes, there were the standard blue chip works, some masters, and of course, what art fair would be complete without the big eye candy pieces? Often these works get attention because of that - they're big, or eye candy, or both. You can see this in all the camera snapping, selfies, and media coverage. This piece (right) was of interest (besides being eye candy) because of the timing. Plastic bags are a big issue now, and this piece makes something pretty out of trash - completely made of colorful plastic bags.

     There was the big blue sculpture, the 2 big head sculptures, and so on... but I'm sorry, this is just a fucking hot tub on a wall!!

     Ahem (he said regaining his composure) and let's not forget the big neon letters piece (below). But getting back to those Two Words. There was alot of work here that I'm describing as "Instagram-y" and by that I mean work that catches your eye/heart/mind, you think, "Cool!" or "Interesting!", snap a photo and onto the next thing. Just like flicking through Instagram. I didn't see as many people pausing and looking and thinking and feeling as much as all the art fairs I've gone to. Granted, the Armory is a huge show and you have to keep moving. Not saying that all the work was slick and not worth pausing to ruminate over, there was quite a bit of solid work to see. Perhaps "look, snap, go" this time around is just a sign of the times.

     Shapes: for the past few years there has been quite a bit of geo-based work done in sculpture, painting and mixed media. This year there were shapes in several styles and media, too, but looser, simpler, more gestural. Many abstract works had large loosely painted basic shapes, especially circles, in their composition. I saw several glossy 3D shapes replicating paint swatches in plastic or similar materials. Photos seemed to focus on large shapes, too.

     A standout for me was Alex Gardner's work at The Hole NYC. Many black artists have taken up the style of painting skin in blue black rather than brown tones. Gardner's paintings contrast the dark skinned figures in white clothes with off-white sheets,walls, and shadow. The booth was elegant and simple, and his work looked fantastic.

     My big smile moment was at Pierogi Gallery with an installation by Brian Dewan. He replicated a classroom like ones from my youth with a film strip projector and screen. They used to project the image from a film loop while a record (yes, a vinyl album) on a record player narrated the image. There was a beep signalling the teacher to move to the next image on the film strip. This was all pre-video and DVD, and we loved it. Dewan also created the images and the film strip that he (proxy for a teacher) showed. Totally fun installation, especially if you're in my age range.

      All in all, a standard Armory show, with a bit of everything for everyone's tastes. Just search NY Armory Fair 2019 online for more images and reviews, there's plenty of both.

Muffat Takadiwa at Nicodim Gallery - made completely from computer keyboard letters
Ndidi Emefiele at Rosenfeld Porcini, London

Jonas Burgert "Blindet"

By Chantal Joffe

Miriam Schapiro "Lady Gengi's Maze" at Eric Firestone Gallery, NY