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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Built to Spill at Terminal 5 09/26/08

It was a mash up. A triple bill of some of the most important indie bands of the 90’s: The Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., and the headliner, Built To Spill, performing the entirety of their album, Perfect From Now On.

The Meat Puppets hadn’t aged well. Their legendary drug use had taken its toll, both the Kirkwood brothers looked haggard, especially Chris, the bassist, who looked like an old tree log. But they still managed to rock through their foot tapping country-tinged grunge with grace. They ended with an impressive jam that left behind a quiet audience in its quake.

The Meat Puppets were loud, but Dinosaur Jr. was a war machine. J. Mascis, their long white haired guitarist and front man, was like a towering Nordic God as he thrashed out angry riffs from within the confines of a Marshal Stack fortress.

Built To Spill played to a packed theatre. Part of front man Doug Marstch’s charm is that his face has a calm to it when it’s not whining melodies, but tonight it seemed that in many ways, he was genuinely tired. After performing the same album day after day for months on end, Marstch seemed weary.

When the band was finished, they were treated to a roaring applause. Amid the shouting and clapping Marstch’s strumming arm could be heard playing the introduction to “The Plan,” a song not on the album. Then they played “Center of the Universe.” And then in what seemed too good to be true, they jumped into their indie rock masterpiece, “Carry the Zero.” For the first time in the show Marstch seemed truly passionate. His face turned a violet red as his convulsing body banged on the strings of his guitar, and he sang with pure cold-blooded conviction about love as a failed math equation.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Market Hotel: The Story





Go to The Market Hotel for a gallery of pictures of when The Americans & The So So Glos performed. 

- Greeley

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Plastic Topography

Normally, I only write about the galleries in the Paris, but on a recent trip to NYC I stopped by the Melville Gallery down at the South Street Seaport. It is a small gallery run by the South Street Seaport Museum. The show, Plastic Topography, curated by Carl Eckhoff, runs through the end of September. The artist roster includes: Steven Baines, Kim Baranowski, J.J. Garfinkel, Adam Henry and Duke Riley.

These works alternate back and forth between the emotional and the absurd - sometimes causing a vast sense of aloneness, sometimes loss, sometimes teasing and, at times, they are even more playful on your second look. The photographs of Antartica, by Kim Baranowski, awe with their absolute beauty and striking colors of nature. At first look, you too might not be able to tell they are real. I had to ask. Although this is just a small look at what these artists have created, you are left wanting more ... perhaps the best indication of a successful show.

Duke Riley, "Photograph of Duke Riley in the Acorn Submarine"

Duke Riley, "Untitled"

Steven Baines, "Monkey Lost at Sea"

Kim Baranowski, "Scenic View"


Friday, September 12, 2008

Tam Ochiai at team Gallery NYC

With a far more sophisticated and dynamic touch than that of author Louis XXX or similar illustrators, Japanese artist Tam Ochiai has taken to delicately mimicking the honest and romantic style of an untrained child sketching with colored pencils—thinly veiling, of course, the formal talent he possesses as an established artist whose current show has been written up in artscape and Tokyo Art Beat.
The opening of Ochiai’s fifth solo show at team (gallery inc.) last Tuesday included seventy 11 x 8.5 colored pencil drawings framed and hung in a neat row which ran all the way around the white walls of the Grant Street space. Some of the forms are wispy gestures on shallow backgrounds, manifesting the crème of Western cultured life’s treasured indulgences—french fries, tennis, classical music; others are layered, waxy color fields in which hover what appear to be moons, but are titled far more ominously (“Benign Tumor”).

The stated source of the unpolished style is the show’s protagonist, real life 19th Century prize-winning show cat Tiam O’shian IV, through whose mind Tam Ochiai approaches his subjects, not unlike an experiment in, say, being John Malkovich. The thin, uneven pencil scratches do indeed suggest a feline presence, but I would argue that it is hard not to associate the drawings more with a gesture towards childhood and memory. One looks upon one of the pieces in the show as one looks upon a Tin Tin story—sweetly optimistic, bright and simple, but unerringly true and somehow aesthetically and emotionally profound. The moments he has sketched out are deeply personal in their rawness: the minimal strokes allow the viewer to fill in the face of their own long-distance romancier or favorite tennis partner, we identify which of the listed French breakfast treats hold special places in our hearts, etc. The more frenzied scribbles seem to reference the way in which emotions, in memory, fall apart, and their strands float freely through our remembered past, as we attach them where we will in its recalling. Tam’s drawings become somehow our own intimate pictorial memories, only more elegant and more exotic—the way we would like to remember them.

It was beautiful to see a slightly older Japanese artist look backwards in time this way, especially because he does it while distancing himself from the now-mainstream techniques of Nara or Murakami: channeling a daunting youth through the whimsical plasticity and consumerism of Japanese anime culture.

Best of all, the gallery was subtly but completely interrupted by two large installations: a giant tube in the main room and a white cube in the back room which creates a sort of square hallway path for viewing the series. You could walk through the show without noticing much of the sculptures except the inconvenience they cause…that’s the point. According to the press release, the objects “can’t help but alter the movement of a viewer attempting to move simply from drawing to drawing. The sculptures serve to foreground the role of the human body and of architecture in the “reading” of drawings.” They succeed—may I say that they explore the ways in which we construct and obstruct our own memories?
The party, too, was fun—photographer Ryan McGinley pranced past team gallery Associate Director Alex Logsdail and social fixture Drew Caldwell to browse the works. If you can’t make it to team for Tam, definitely pencil in time to see the Cory Archangel show which will take its place later in the year. Check out for details.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Selfportrait Summer Podcast

We've all returned to school or whatever and I don't know about you, but I am savagely clawing to hang on to the last remnants of summer. Anyway, for those of you who are like me or for those of you who missed it, summer in New York City saw the production of some great music. Here is a small podcast of the best of it from up and coming recording artists living in the City. Listen to it in January when it's freezing and remember that June is only six short months away.

1. Self-Taught Learner -- Lissy Trullie
2. 123 Stop -- The Postelles
3. One Night Stand -- The Americans
4. We Got the Days -- The So So Glos
5. Start It Out -- Frankpollis
6. Anomalous Phenomena -- Earth Eater
7. Feed -- Julia Tepper
8. I Heart New York -- Samuel

Click here to listen.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Isaac Brest and Still House

Isaac Brest is an exciting prospect to come across. He is a talented photographer though he never considered himself a photographer at all until a few months ago. Even so, he’s been taking pictures for years. Great pictures. And, as someone for whom photography does not normally speak to as a medium (the rash of scene shots and contrived black and white digital works of New York City lamp posts make me really nauseous), Isaac Brest has absolutely renewed my interest.

Sitting in a small coffee shop around the corner from 7Eleven Gallery, the space that he and the artist collective he co-runs with longtime friend Alex Perweiler are transforming into a cohesive exhibition space (but more on that later...), Isaac enlightened me as to the importance of a good eye, film over digital, exposure length, types of cameras, and the general catharsis of the development process.

His most impressive work is a succinct series of photographs taken during time spent abroad in Cuba. Walking through the streets, Isaac captured a world that is rarely seen as a traveler. He exposes something through his pictures that displays a comfort--a familiarity, actually--with these scenes that is very hard to show as an outsider. It is noteworthy that Isaac values his film. He is not of the habit of taking pictures superfluously and then relying on probability to produce a handful of quality shots. No picture is taken without forethought and Isaac will not even focus his lens unless he is positive the photograph will come out well. Hence, these are not the photos of some turista snapping away at a countryside or ecclesiastical monument, they are the products of immersion and research.

As the photos are almost journalistic in their representation, they are artistically resonant. The importance of having a good eye and a handle on craft and technique are present as Isaac’s deft studies of light and shadow create dramatic Brassai-esque atmospheres for his photographs. Most definitely check out Isaac's work at his website.

Isaac is also doing something very exciting in the form of the artist’s collective Still House which he cofounded with his longtime friend Alex Perweiler. It is terrific to see peers and artists coming together with the sheer intention of exposing what they find exciting to the world.

The collective, which consists of Isaac and Alex, Lucien Smith, Jack Greer, Louis Eisner, Zach Susskind, Brendan Lynch, Nick Darmstaedter, Jack Siegel, and John Roman, is something that has been absent for a long time. The mission, according to Isaac, is to create a sort of "one stop shop" for the emerging artists that are working in New York City. Currently, the residents all exist within the same scene, but eventually Isaac aims for the group to be a more open forum based exploration of the youth-based art of high quality in New York. It is an assembly of peers that are very excited about eachother's work. To me, that is the purest form of artist representation. The group is inspiring. Anything that can bring artists together to engage in dialogue and promote the creation of work and generate exposure is always beneficial.

Go see their opening of photography, mixed media, and installation work on Friday, September 5th, from 6pm to 9pm and the 7Eleven Gallery located at 711 Washington Street in Manhattan.