Tara Hart, the New Museum’s digital archivist, testified to the exhaustive nature of the project. “Since we’re not a collecting museum, there was no physical archive in place,” she said. For the job, the museum hired scores of interns from library science programs, who tracked down yellowing 30-year-old press releases in public storage facilities scattered around the city to accumulate a comprehensive image catalog.
The Bronx Museum, still a diminutive cousin to the Metropolitan or Brooklyn Museums of Art, and very much connected to its South Bronx neighborhood in spirit and attitude, has always focused on exhibitions that celebrate the grittier side of urban living. In 1979, Devastation/Resurrection: The South Bronx, documented the neighborhood's fall and purported rebirth. Two decades later, Urban Mythologies: The Bronx Represented Since the 1960s, showed that although that rebirth was still a work in progress, the Bronx was and had always been anything but an artistic and cultural wasteland.(2)
The Mark that I met upstairs will be at the gallery for the next week, on a mattress, on the ground, trying to play the guitar, impersonating the Mark I chatted with downstairs. Flood’s den upstairs could be a mock-up of the domiciles of his younger days: he has said that he would essentially squat in soon-to-be demolished buildings, thereby avoiding even the threat of rent (although he’d give the landlord a few hundred dollars for his stay).
I watched scenes from thousands of films: people chatting, sitting in rooms, waiting, but perhaps more often people running to make trains, catch planes, stop bombs—action movies are privileged in the mix as they so often rely on time to create suspense, and many are returned to repeatedly, broken up by minutes and sometimes hours. The thriller Déjà Vu, where Denzel Washington must go back in time to stop a bomb from exploding, recurs a number of times (he spends most of the movie running around carrying a kitchen clock).
But, as the Whitney show amply illustrates, Kusama's work can bear the weight of all this mythologizing. The retrospective is less exhaustive, more representative, accounting for Kusama’s major keynotes and obsessions, her idiosyncratic but rigorously-executed practice, and her development as an artist. Like Kusama’s best pieces, the show—which arrives in New York after stops in London, Madrid, and Paris—is animated by the energy of simultaneous oppositions.
Of course it's not just the old, familiar "information overload" complaint that actually echoed through the ages long before the digital era. For those of us who don’t give in to the paranoia that zettabytes of cat videos and baby pictures are unstoppably degrading the sanctity of The Image, it’s extraordinary to be confronted, as one is at the Guggenheim Museum’s current Rineke Dijkstra mid-career retrospective, with rather ordinary-looking images of rather ordinary-looking people, and to be intensely moved.
Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad Sq. Art announces Adam D. Glick as park’s first-ever Martin Friedman Curator(1)
Wendy tried her best to cool down the crowd, Wendy being Matthias Hollwick and Marc Kushner’s huge courtyard installation and winning entry of the museum's annual Young Architect’s Program. The giant blue starburst structure, encased in a cube of scaffolding, dwarfed the whitewashed stone square at the front of the outdoor space. Every five minutes, from one of its top spikes, water dumped onto the crowd below, providing welcome relief to the 92-degree humidity. A brave few stood mid-stream and got completely drenched, while most looked on and laughed.
“I was interested in habitual rhythms, and the idea that daily patterns have a rhythmic dimension,” he said. “This project was basically an attempt to ask, ‘What are the rhythms of my life?’” To make the record, House created a program in which the places he visits regularly are matched with certain harmonies. Different keys correspond to different cities, and notes correspond to places inside those cities. One full rotation of the record equals 24 hours, and 365 rotations makes for an 11-minute track. “The key of Major C, with a Major 3rd note on top—that’s the sound of my apartment in Bed-Stuy,” he said, handing over the headphones. The sound was melancholy, but also strangely hopeful. The album will be available for purchase this week at Eyebeam’s bookstore.(2)
As the wacky assemblages started to come up on the large screen, the fruits of everyone's collective labor, it became apparent that "head, body, and legs" had been interpreted as rather loose categories. One body was a circle in which someone had written “Sasha will you marry me?” Perhaps as a reaction, another body-circle bore the message, “Lauren, I want a divorce.” To continue the domestic theme, one pair of legs included an emerging newborn from between them.
On Sunday, the eight-day Northside Festival capped off its last day of music and art programs with daytime open studios and several night shows. The festival's film portion kicks off today. Here, some scenes from yesterday and last night.(1)
“I’ve never seen a human being look at paintings longer than Siri,” Auster told the Strand Books audience proudly. He recalled a time at the Prado museum when Hustvedt examined Francisco de Goya’s painting The Third of May for hours. She stared at it for so long, in fact, that she even managed to make art history. “I saw this foggy but present image of a—probably Goya’s face—in the canvas itself,” Hustvedt explained to the audience. “I wrote about it, and it turned out that this had never been seen before…. What’s most important isn’t that I found this face. It’s that most people—and so many people working in art, this is all they do—don’t actually look all that deeply at the paintings.”
"I wondered, What's the ultimate brand. And I thought, NASA represents our destiny in the stars and ... the mutation of man growing wings using his super-powerful mind," Sachs said. It's this celebration of the human mind that is the through-line connecting all the pieces in Space Program: Mars, from the modified Winnebago (Mobile Quarantine Facility) to the exercise unit (Space Camp) to the bike-repair shop to Mission Control Center—a huge array that includes a boombox, an iPad, turntables, bottles of vodka, and monitors that can show dozens of locations around the Armory, from miniature sets of splashdown to the intimate moments the astronauts share inside the Lunar Module—most of the things constructed from plywood, fiberglass, and Con-Edison's familiar white-and-orange wood pedestrian barriers.(1)
“Big” is clearly what a lot of new-jack festivals are going for. But there are only so many big names to go around in any category (and only so many weekends out of the year music fans are willing to endure long lines, pricey water, port-a-potties, and the rest for a chance to see their favorite acts). Scott Stedman doesn't happen to think that bigger is better. Stedman, who runs the Northside Media Group, promotes the 8-day, multimedia Northside Festival, whose music and entrepreneurship elements kick off today. (The art portion of the festival gets started Friday, while Northside Film begins on Monday.)
After all the prim attendees filed in and sat in the New Museum theater (which was not at full capacity, as the couple next to me noted, quite surprised), James Franco walked on stage to introduce the video. Franco was particularly upset that Renfro’s name hadn't been mentioned, along with the year's other recently deceased actors, at the Oscars in 2008, the year he died. ”I felt like it had such a slap that he didn’t get mentioned," Franco said. "That’s what he gave his life to."