Monday, June 29, 2009

Low Blow: And Other Species of Confusion

written by Anne Marie D. Lee in NYC

It begins with a room by Kristen Schiele featuring a dilapidated dollhouse turned French brothel—or wherever it is that B-movie vampire lesbians are normally housed. Schiele adeptly plays with texture, colors and patterns to create a tawdry atmosphere of faded beauty and morbid lust. That’s the first of many scenes of iniquity you will come across in Low Blow: And Other Species of Confusion.

A brash and witty exhibition, Low Blow features works by a group of 18 bold artists, many of whom seem to share in common a fetish for anodyne portrayals of lewd subject matter. Take for instance Ashley Hope whose impeccably girlish depictions of crime scenes bring to mind something along the lines of Mary Engelbreit meets Law & Order SVU. Then there’s Barnaby Whitfield, master pastel artist of the languorously maniacal. In his baroque world, golden bubbles of urine delicately float amidst pink flamingos and blue cake. Topping the list of contradictory forms of design and content are Benji Whalen’s stuffed-cotton arms with embroidered tattoos. In addition to the inherent irony of tattoo embroidery, there is the added dichotomy of themes. One arm bears a colorful rendering of a naked woman riding a tiger emerging from dense green jungle foliage and the other a black embroidery of the “Road to Calvary”. Equally audacious is Don Porcella’s weird encounter of the pipe-cleaner kind titled “Nature Boy: The Naked Beekeeper with Split Personality.”

Looking at Tracey Snelling’s miniaturized strip club, complete with lurid details—a desolate parking lot and glowing marquee promoting “World Class Topless Girls” on the outside and loud music, little red vinyl chairs, strip poles and video of dancers inside—is like looking through a rear view mirror at a cultural relic fading out of view. The tiny scale of Snelling’s work, like the dollhouse contained in Sheile’s, disarms the seedy setting of any potency so that it may be appreciated as a bygone aesthetic, pondered as an allegory or viewed simply as a cultural emblem. But perhaps the most attention-grabbing statement of this exhibition is Tom Sanford’s giant adult-movie poster of “Client 9” featuring Eliot Spitzer. A reminder that life often imitates art, even in its low forms.

Artful and daring, Low Blow is worth a peek.

LOW BLOW: And Other Species of Confusion

June 18 – July 17, 2009
530 West 25 Street, New York

Curated by
Aaron Johnson and Stefan Stux

Scott Anderson | Brent Birnbaum | Miki Carmi | Claudia Hart | Ashley Hope | Aaron Johnson | Reena Saini Kallat | Tracey Moffat | Shimon Okshteyn | Dennis Oppenheim | Don Porcella | Tom Sanford | Kristen Schiele | Christoph Schmidberger | Tracey Snelling | Lydia Venieri | Benji Whalen | Barnaby Whitfield

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Longer Empty!

written by Don Porcella in New York City.

I attended the opening of No Longer Empty (in two storefronts at 222 w 23rd St NY NY next to the Chelsea Hotel)) in New York City June 18th, 2009. I was greeted by Manon Slome, former head curator at Chelsea Art Museum. She and others have started a great organization that provides exhibition space in vacant storefronts throughout New York City (see

Manon was nice enough to personally escort me through the whole exhibition. No Longer Empty utilizes vacant spaces by exhibiting challenging and provocative art. Two storefronts were used by the artists as their exhibition space. Several artists are in each store and the art is aware of its surroundings. There are 5 large poster sized photos of artists from the Chelsea Hotel paying homage to the rich artistic tradition and history of The Chelsea Hotel. There is also a tape installation by an artist from The Chelsea Hotel in one of the storefronts.

A neon artist uses the window of one of the storefronts to change our perception of language by providing a different context for storefront signage.

Michael Bevilacqua curates a groups af artists in what was formerly a fish and tackle shop. The artists incorporate the former fish and tackle business into the exhibition by utilizing some of the features from the original shop including the pegboard.

NO LONGER EMPTY - revitalizing space : unlocking creativity

NO LONGER EMPTY is a group of curators and artists who
present thought provoking exhibits in empty store fronts.

Their first exhibit is at the storefronts at the
Hotel Chelsea
Opening June 18 6pm - 9pm
222 w 23rd st NY NY
June 19 - July 18 Wed - Sat 11am - 6pm

Curated by
Manon Slome and Asher Remy-Toledo with Julian Navarro, Ivan Saragusti, Felicity Faulkner, Yasaman Hoorazar, Molly Ryan, Nunu Hung.

Guido Albi-Marin | Joseph Aloi | Rita Barros | Sam Bassett | Michael Bevilacqua | Alina and Jeff Bliumis | Scott Campbell | Tara de la Garza | Kate Gilmore | Noel Hennessy | Michael Mandiberg | Cheonwook Park | Diana Puntar | Bruce Richards | Raimundo Rubio | Linda and Lothar Troeller | Dani Tull | Marnie Weber.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Venice Biennale 2009

Making Worlds

So far, quite an amazing and massive exhibition. Check back regularly for various updates across the web2.0 channels, I will post various comments, pictures and videos on Facebook, twitter, flickr, and here. If you would like to subscribe to all of the various updates, email

My notebook computer's battery died beyond any hope of repair. So not exactly sure how I will post anything but I will figure something out.

from venice,


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Monday, June 01, 2009

AC Screening and discussion: Jean-Luc Godard Film

Art Comments Hosts Its First Screening and Q&A

written by Anne Marie D. Lee in New York

A posh group of art world insiders turned up for an engaging evening of cinema and dialogue last Tuesday night, at the luxurious Tribeca Grand Hotel in NYC, popcorn included. In celebration of 50 years since the start of the French New Wave era, Art Comments presented a screening and discussion of Jean-Luc Godard's "In Praise of Love". Released in 2001, Godard's film of densely articulate imagery, lumbering pace and sharply opinionated dialogue exemplifies the experimental form and freethinking spirit of this revered cinematic movement. It is also a tribute to Godard's mastery over the cinematic medium, obtaining from it a stylistic malleability that feels as bold and new today as in the early 60s.

Enhancing the film-viewing experience was a brief though engaging Q&A that analyzed the film through the lens of contemporary discourse with Jonathan T.D. Niel, contributor for Art Review magazine and Peter Duhon, director of Art Comments, that also included several provocative questions and statements from the audience. Conversation continued at the hotel bar, where the valiant evening came to an end at around 10:00pm.

Judging by the attendance and the lively conversations that ensued after the screening in the lounge, it was a successful inaugural event that hopefully, says Duhon, "Will serve as an apparatus for further events that facilitate dialogue centered within the discourse of contemporary artistic practice today."