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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eric Shaw: In the House

The work featured by Eric Shaw in his new, one-man exhibition is a perfect sampling of the artist’s highly referential and tightly themed art. The show presents a series of painstakingly ornamental and stylized interior works. With meticulous attention paid to the intricacy of patterning, the non-gestural works actually gain body as the illusory effect of the twisting and turning lines weave and form patchworks of decoration. Meanwhile, Shaw makes appropriate reference to those who have preceded him in the same vein. With a clear grounding in history, there are smatterings of Op Art , ancient Mesoamerican symmetrical work, a de Kooning-esque portrait, and Pop Art explorations of camouflage and tie-dye. Like Édouard Vuillard within his own interior works, Shaw often flattens his dimensions and lets the embellished texture speak for itself. The amalgam of references is well taken though not overpowering and the artist is able to move forward with his own original thesis.

The most enigmatic aspects of these pieces are the representations of figures. Ambiguous and often androgynous, they are faceless with uniform physique and shoulder-length black hair; their bodies cut off or contorted at awkward angles. It is notable that they are simple, line-drawn creatures, bereft of the phantasmagorical color and detailing that permeates the works that they inhabit. As these blank humans reside within the Technicolor playgrounds that Shaw has created, the depiction is evocative. Man, in this world, appears very simple when compared to his environment.

Overall, the work is strong in style and creativity. Shaw uses an distinctive (almost 1950s retro) color palette to create his interiors making the work playful. His application of the palette to established patterns like camouflage or the normally two-tone, hard-edge abstraction that Bridget Riley uses in her optical art maintains the work’s lightheartedness. What makes it especially noteworthy is the juxtaposition of styles and object representations. Shaw does not partake in academic dimensionality or typical scaling. This technique creates a visual puzzle. When viewed, each piece needs to be broken down as furniture, wall hangings, and other fittings, organized and cognitively registered. Truthfully, at first examination, the works seem a little too big a mouthful to swallow. Once time is spent with them, however, the pictures reveal themselves as thoroughly conceived and carefully produced living areas.

“Eric Shaw: In the House” is available for private viewing at the selfportrait gallery until September 12th. The gallery is open from 12pm to 5pm. To arrange a viewing, for a complimentary catalogue, or for pricing please email

Photos courtesy of Antwan Duncan -

Saturday, August 23, 2008 presents the "Eric Shaw : In The House" opening party at the Market Hotel with Amazing Baby

The opening party was a huge success! Special thanks to Amazing Baby, Colt 45 and Fizzy Lizzy.

Photos by Ryder Haske:

Bright Idea Shade: Design for a Changing World

Contrary to popular belief, it is easy being green. As always, the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center is on the foreground of making ecologically conscious living a realistic and attainable goal. As your incandescent bulbs begin to burn out, try replacing them with compact florescent light bulbs (the spiral ones that burn brighter and longer using far less energy). But oh, the brightness! Here's a little video that can help you dim the harshness and show your design savvy:

Bright Idea Shade from Michael Mandiberg on Vimeo.

Check out the full info here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Renovating The Market Hotel/ Eric Shaw : In The House (Tomorrow Night!)

In preparation for Eric Shaw : In The House, the first ever art show at the Market Hotel, beginning tomorrow night at 7pm, featuring DJ Max Kamins, a set by Amazing Baby, 25 cases of 16 oz. Colt 45 cheap vodka and a shit load of Fizzy Lizzy, Greeley and I have built track lights:

The Market Hotel is in Brooklyn, on the corner of Broadway and Myrtle. Assuming you live in Manhattan, take the JMZ to Myrtle Aze. and walk 30 ft., just left of Mr. Kiwi's.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Americans

It is clear that Rolling Stone sometimes still has a point. This was especially proven in a small blurb under the editor's picks column last month. “Powerpop” they said, “is the new Afro-Pop.” And indeed, it seems that the type of music that Vampire Weekend made so popular last winter is being usurped by the style of music that is being played by a young, New York City band of great talent, the Americans. Made up primarily of Charlie Klarsfeld (vocals and guitar), Julia Tepper (back up vocals), Xan Aird (bass) and Peter Negroponte (drums), the band features accompaniment by the Dap Kings (Mark Ronson's house band) on horns. Together, they have created a wonderfully strong collection of catchy pop melodies that are as danceable as their lyrics are pertinent.

Klarsfeld, the chief songwriter of the group, has constructed an erudite, Baroque pop sound making excellent use of his musicians to create songs that remain chipper and lighthearted, yet orchestral and well contained. Dominated by thumping piano and punctuated by Klarsfeld's relaxed, garage-y guitar playing, the compositions embrace their retro feel while maintaining a progressive structure of successful transitions of disparate melodies; not just between songs, but within them. At the same time, nothing seems excessive or pretentious, the bells and whistles (literally) all fuse to a serious musical undertaking. Add his strong, Brian Wilson-eque voice, some goose-bump raising soulful licks (courtesy of Ms. Julia Tepper) and you have a combination capable of anthemic sensitivity in lyrics and musicianship.

Klarsfeld's words are something of the literature of place and, lyrically, he is clearly paying homage to his hometown of New York City. While songs about New York are nothing new, the urban schema provides him with a background for some seriously original reflections on life, love, our awkward yet often hilarious idiosyncrasies, and even a little backhanded hopefulness. The Americans are a band for the moment; a band for the summer in New York. Their exuberance and vanguard talent is something that has come along at the very best time. And, as Fall begins in the City and NYU students return to their dorms, the song "One Night Stand" will, I'm sure, become even more appropriate.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Louise Bourgeois: personal obsessions, the repetitions of them, and the binary relationships that keep them resonant

A lazy accident at night happened in blurry vision and with a fast heartbeat caused by mildly extreme exhaustion from a long run and swim that were part of my triathlon training routine. I should not have been driving in the first place. The side mirror crashed into a stationary and even very shiny object, a warning object - a twist of irony. The mirror popped out and I still have hope I'll be able to pop it back in. The traffic starts bringing the car to a crawl. I have some time, roll the window down and fidget with the mirror, and then immediately realize that it is not easily fixable and the glass of the mirror is even cracked - a twist of the damage costs (later the next morning, I'd wake up, drive to the shop with only one mirror and find out it will be $200 more than the $48 I thought it should cost).

I dropped the car off at my parents' house, just as my mother was leaving, and I knew I would - and I did - confess my guilt. I can't drive anymore, or at least her look reacted to me that way. More flustered, I went straight for a donut and sat in my misery for a couple of hours watching olympians do things I'd never cared to try better than my imagination would let me do them had the thought even entered my mind. The phone rings. Someone wants me to meet them and I say I can't until i take care of some things, which, when I said it, I did not realize that meant going for an 8 minute mile run wearing only underwear - gray boxer briefs that day.

And so after I broke a sweat, then washed some of it off in the shower, I started my day and went to meet this person at the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Guggenheim, hoping that the cultural experience would also lead to me getting treated to lunch (it would). The run for me rested in my mind as a humorous triumph. Running in only my underwear served as a symbol for me of the pathetic state I was in after the accident, but simultaneously, the assertive decision to run and the aggression I let off reinvigorated confidence in me. Combined, the binary relationship of these two aspects formed the perfect catharsis.

Louise, as I like to call her, is a fascinating figure for several reasons. She is currently 96, an art world living legend, an obsessive personality, and a repetitious one at that. Throughout this retrospective, the form and content in her work does show an evolution, but it is an evolution of nuances within repeating themes. Louise's work remains resonant because of a strength in binary relationships and contrast including humor v. trauma, expanding v. contracting, male v. female, penile v. breast-like, and rough v. smooth among others. Repetition in her work reinforces, enhances and attracts interest in the themes, rather than signaling a staleness in it. Her work is tied together through a peculiarity and a genuine darkness that invokes the feeling of hearing someone that doesn't know you're listening reveal their deepest secrets out loud to themselves and then doing it again without losing any earnestness in its catharsis. There is a charm that is produced by that kind of intimacy and it forms yet another binary: attraction v. repulsion.

Louise's work is not impressive for its aesthetic qualities. More specifically, they are not pretty to look at. However, through being overwhelmed with the intimacy of the secrets in her work and the fervent, insistent repetition of them I found myself lulled into an intrigued boredom that I did not want to let go of, and could not escape if i tried. Slowly her secrets evolved from concerning me to reflecting my own secrets in her artwork. As I traveled up the rotunda, through the chronologically ordered display of her work, I became increasingly, but unaggressively, vacuumed into her world and, subsequently, into my own.

The introspective behavior taking place at this moment was a familiar place. I was experiencing repetition of my own in my reflection. Ultimately, it is a mistake to call it boredom, but that word does describe the vessel for which my own personal binaries were taking place. The feeling could better be described as an even hum in my head to the tune of contrasting elements canceling themselves out. The work conveys a steady and still powerful hum that inspires an investigation into acquired routines in life and the formative emotion experiences they are a product of and often cover up. Routines, it turns out, are made up of the same stuff as obsessions.

In this retrospective of Louise Bourgeois's work, the draw comes from the obsession, compelling one to look, to be unimpressed with the aesthetic, but to be moved into a familiar introspection in an unfamiliar way that then becomes recognizable once again along the walk as its obsession-ridden binary relationships begin to morph into one's own.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not the Pompidou, she said

Not knowing what I was going to see on Sunday, my expectations were quietly napping when I got there. A new friend, Maggie, suggested we meet at the Museum of Modern Art – not Pompidou, she said, and sent me this link. Looked good to me, and I welcome the opportunity to visit someplace in Paris I have not yet been, which is still a whole lot of places. Everyone told me I would love August in Paris - all the French people are gone, they said. And as this picture of the Museum front entrance will attest – empty as empty gets on an overcast, threatening but never really following through with rain Sunday at 11AM.

The Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is in the 16th, right next to the Palais de Tokyo, which makes these two museums an excellent opportunity to hit 2 birds with 1 stone or, as they say here, faire d'une pierre deux coups.

There were 2 or 3 shows and a permanent exhibit. We went to see the Peter Doig show. At the end of the show was an interview with Peter that you can see on TateShots, in which he shares source material and describes how he constructs his work.

Concrete Cabin, 1992

Briey (interior), 1999

Gasthof zur Muldentalsperre, 2000-2002

Figures in Red Boat, 2005-2007