's blog covering community artists, gallery shows, and the whereabouts of young entrepreneurs and artistic talents from NY, LA, London, Paris, the world.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Unreal City

Unreal City:

Life keeps trying to fake me out. This past weekend was filled with delirious half waking dreams. I'm left with vivid memories of things that I know couldn't have happened and a pair of very real socks that had disappeared over a night's journey through Brooklyn. Somewhere in there was a super well-done stage dive during SSS-Spectre's set at Don Pedro's.

By Sunday, I was a wreck. What made it all better was the art of reality television: shows like Giada in Paradise on the Food Network and the new season of The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie on E!. I followed Giada on a trip to Crete where she bathed in sulfur, stomped on wine grapes with her bare feet, and picked pretty flowers with which she made fried flower dumplings. As she bites down, you wait expectantly through the three seconds of suspenseful silence, then she smiles that perfected smile and says "mmm; delicious!" What else is she gonna say? Predictable is not always a bad thing. I wish life were more so. Then Paris and Nicole go crazy as camp councilors at Camp Shawnee: turning boys to men, teaching six year old girls to say, "hey bitch" and seducing 60 year old men. What's real and not real is pretty different between the rich and the poor, the smart and the dumb, the strong, the weak, the beautiful, the foul… it's fucked. I don't know where I stand and I don't know how it's all supposed to work but I guess I'm glad that, you know, there are these fairies out there kicking ass doing their things. But hold. That isn't the moral of the story. The moral of the story, I think, is that the art of reality is a game everyone can play.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


So, I'm about six months late on this, but...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Overwhelmed and Jittery

This is neither a rant nor a praise. All the vodka ads on the 14th street subway station, both the 8th ave and the 6th ave ones are freaking me out. Stolichnaya has replaced every ad in those stations with their ads, ranging in 3 or 4 different colors. It is beautiful but it is weird. It evokes both the fear of Big Brother and Communism as well as capitalist in your face advertising brainwashing... its as if the two sides are secretly buddies... I mean in a way they are and in a way we are tiny and helpless.

Let's just get drunk and forget about it....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What is art?

NEW YORK, June 20, one of the days here at the office the question of what is art? was brought up. I had a dream. It was pouring words. Torrents gush forth from all directions and I Rihanna-like had to fend and deflect with kung fu strokes of Taichi grace to pick out the words that mattered the most like "buoyancy" and "chrysanthemum." Art is my umberella, ela, ela, a.

Free Shows

NEW YORK, June 16th, after a hard afternoon of drinking at the Astoria Beer Garden, I headed drunkenly with other drunk dudes to the Central Park Summerstage show featuring the legendary Television. Apples in Stereo played before them and during the Apple's set, it rained and thousands of fans got drenched. Just as the set was coming to an end though the rain stopped and by the time Television was ready it was all dry. By the time Tom Verlaine started doing his bad ass guitar solo/melodies it was a sunny and perfect day. Marquee Moon and Venus de Milo were played. People were happy. Not sure what else to say, movin on.

Apples in Stereo:


NEW YORK, June 17th. On that island between Manhattan and Queens called Roosevelt Island where there is a hospital and an abandoned smallpox hospital i.e. castle-ruin, there was an all after noon DIY BBQ.

Amongst dozens of happy souls lying peacefully in the sun to the tunes of 20 some bands playing acousticly whether they liked it or not was one unmanned barbeque grill. It had buns and meat and condiments all around it and you would just go and make yourself something all DIY like. Some interesting moments were when Dave from Dirty Projectors sang in a hearty freaky falsetto with the two female members of the band in an accompanying chorus about: not enough girls. I only think that's funny because I'm like that too I think. The three voices permeated the grassy landscape and resonated with the East River watersss. It was pretty. Then later on Big A Little A, better known as Aa played with 3 drum setups, a dude with a loud speaker, a dude with an alto sax, a baritone sax, a violin plugged into a mini speakers, lots of maracas, 2 "school is out" bells, a guy with a sampler or a drum machine or something plugged into a mini speaker, a guy with a tape player, and a boombox. It sounds like an army but I think it was 6 people in all. The coolest part I thought was when, in order to be heard, the vocalist / baritone sax player ran around on the outside of the drum circle pointing the "phone" portion of the saxaphone at the audience so that you could hear the bass line only once every revolution. Other really cool bands that played were Woods, Necking, I forget what else but I missed a lot of it because I was busy frolicking.

Moral of the story: do it yourself asshole, make your own fun via ingenuity AND WE AT SELFPORTRAIT ARE HERE TO HELP YOU ORGANIZE!! ...

P.S. I know my posts aren't very comment-worthy but if you were at these and want to reminisce, that would be awesome, maybe comments and suggestions to DIY entrapeneurs or to the bosses in the central park towers for future reference. Accounts of epiphanous moments would be great too. Thanks!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"Nothing Happens But A Lot Goes On": The Lighter Side Of Dustin Yellin

When he isn't coating thin layers of resin with drawings of sea anemones at his Red Hook studio, Dustin Yellin explores the finer, more 'exclusive' attractions of New York City: Commandeering the Forbes yacht, scaling the nature observatory at Central Park, and suggesting emotionally-depleted Fitzgerald to the night shift at Chelsea Piers:

The Crack-Up (part 1)

The Crack-Up (part 2)

He also has a show going on at Robert Miller Gallery(524 West 26th Street). Dustin Yellin: Suspended Animations runs through July, 2007, and is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Marina van Zuylen, Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Bard College. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

"For his second exhibition with the Gallery, Yellin presents large scale, cast resin sculptures. Some tower over eight feet in height. His works, reminiscent of insects and plants captured in amber, are a fusion of sculpture and drawing. The illusion of encapsulated specimens in suspension is achieved by layering drawings in acrylic or India ink on resin. Yellin builds his drawings, sometimes as many as two hundred, one on top of the next in precise orientations. The overlap and transparency of each layer result in an astounding effect of three-dimensionality. When viewed in the round, a new set of ideas surfaces. Seen from the side, the images mimic the optical trickery of holograms, disappearing and re-appearing at once. As portions of the image fall in and out of focus, the underlying, individual layers re-assert themselves and reinforce the mutually supportive relationship between drawing and sculpture and the deliberate construction of illusion. As scientists meticulously collect and study organisms of this world, Yellin has fastidiously created his own taxonomy of species that resemble organic structures; vines, skeletons, sea anemones, in another. Yellin has quickly mastered both his craft and vision and expanded on his ideas not only in scale but in concept. Set before us, in the most unnerving way, are beautifully crafted, suspended animations of the unknown yet familiar." -

Robert Miller Gallery

Friday, June 15, 2007

Duke Nukem

Is it just me or do you miss the days of the unbeatable online demo games? I sit on my 2000 Silver iBook, sifting through the remnants of the person I used to be as I came across a copy of Duke Nukem 3D Demo. Inarguably one of the greatest first person shooters of its day, the demo is frustratingly hard, savage and without proper instructions. But that’s part of the fun. You find yourself immersed in a Bladerunneresque world only constricted by the Zombies, who are relatively easy to kill one by one, but together make it almost impossible to remain alive. I then realize there are simple codes to attaining unlimited health, and equally easy codes to make the strippers undress themselves, and I find myself in a journey through conscious thoughts of the person I used to be. I blast the Ludacris and the rare Chris Webber and Allen Iverson tracks that were only free if you were really good at navigating through Napster. Barmitzvah planning that I had erased from my brain years ago came back to me like I had just eaten Proust's cake or cobbler, or whatever that man ate before constructing his beautiful modernist epic about relative memory. Journeying through nostalgia can be one of the revelatory experiences in one's life. If you have an old computer, I suggest you look through it, and if you ever had Sim Cinema, you will remember the days when Will Smith only made ten million dollars a movie and Arnold Schwarzenegger made 25. If you're wondering where this past is going, you may be at a loss. Art has become the appropriation of an endemnic, diminishing historical awareness. The world is no longer composed so simply, so that all people live with a limited attention span. Through the exploration of the past we can predict the course of the future. When I was an adolescent, subconsciously influenced by a burgeoning and conflated society of global Internet capitalism, traces of the person I once was have all but vanished. In the same era David Foster Wallace had already composed his magnum opus Infinite Jest, which essentially predicts the rise of YouTube, the inclusion of Mexico in the United States public policy and the future of AA. His novel is evidence proving that possessed by the cultural norms of a time, one can vaguely understand cultural consciousness, and be an ambassador, bridging the gap between the present and the future. So users, while looking at the art that floods our pages, be aware of a context that the world has never seen before and will never see again.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A View from Art Basel

photos by stefan simchowitz