Friday, July 23, 2010

Surprisingly unhungover...

So much to catch up on!

Thursday boasted an art crawl which was slowed by an accidental after work nap. I had nothing but ambitions about the Lower East Side gallery thing, even if it wasn't entirely too clear what it was (in hindsight it was something to the tune of MOCA's Contemporaries, read: young bourgeois would-be collectors hob-nobbing, read: something that strode out of a Nicole Holofcener movie). As I got to my first destination, Participant Inc., my confusion was affirmed by their utterly fabulous director, Lia Gangitano. "You pay to walk about and get booze." "But, isn't that just an opening?" My question was met with a shrug and cigarette break and I was left to fend for myself with some delicious Michel Auder video work.

Auder's output dates back to the early portapack years of video. Since then, he has used the medium to document his daily life (which is of great interest when you happen to have been married to both Viva and Cindy Sherman). Well, Viva was on high (or just high) in the Participant exhibition "Keeping Busy: An Inaccurate Survey of Michel Auder," occupying more than one of the carefully positioned monitors sculpturally stacked to greet as you walk into the space. The back which typically serves as the screening wall (Lia's been screening amazing and challenging works for years, previously at Thread Waxing Space) is an on-demand space, set up with a catalogue of Auder's plethoric output for perusal - including his recent A Feature, which had a week-long run at Anthology. Some patrons with great taste selected a tape featuring Viva and Taylor Meade cooing over a young Gary Indiana. Indiana, Taylor informs us, came from a very rich family. So rich they started the state of Indiana. But they only give him money if he keeps the right company. Assuredly Viva and Meade would not be the "right" company in the eyes of these fictitious barons, but they kept me in the gallery for some time, listening to the pedantic ululations on offer from Auder's fine videography. (The other noteworthy snippet came as Viva lamented her inability to discern cultural heritage. "I can't even tell if someone's high, let alone Jewish.")

Next up was Envoy Enterprises, which has made quite the name for itself as a gay social space. The whole art craaawwl doubled as a marketing opp for alcoholic sponsors and Envoy's greatest piece was the collection of one-sip Pernod glasses jetisoned at the door to the gallery. I seriously thought the floor was the bar! Sure, Pernod is not for everyone, but this is free booze, here, people. Forgot my phone or else you would TOTALLY have a snap of that. Amazing.

We then stumbled upon DCKT Contemporary which showcased a rather noteworthy exhibition by a friend of D's from SF: Brion Nuda Rosch. I'd seen Rosch's work at the Pulse fair last Spring, and, at his strongest, the work is really something special. Rosch works with cut out retro pages from photography books (D joked he got a residency at Adobe books). Rosch cuts slits and other geometric patterns out of the nostalgic images and allows them to hang by the top of these slits on a nail in the gallery wall. Gravity turns these flat pages into frowns as they relax. There's an elegiac simplicity to the pieces, as they linger like battle flags of a forgotten war, suggesting a cognitive relationship with the banal imagery that is not specific, per se, but completely evocative. Rosch's decision to throw some color into the mix (turquoise walls and thin floor linings that drift farther onto the gallery floor, from time to time) is quite well played, adding a lightness to the graphic base of his work. But perhaps the time was not right to commit to both gallery spaces as works like Monument Struck Cactus and Past Laid out Before Us are somewhat clumsier and less confident the real zingers in the back room. And the sculptural objects are totally unnecessary.

And finally, we drifted into Zurcher gallery to be met by its director, Gwenolee Zurcher, sunnily perched amid the gallery. She smiled on as I walked in, the only one at the time. It felt odd in the arid NYC art climate. "Are you closed?" Zurcher's attitude is refreshing i.e. she's open. We had a nice chat about the rather strong, minimalist work on show by Sarah Rapson, a Dorset artist who works old-school art world references into her sleek, yet earthen sculptural works. There is a lot of seventies going on here, and she includes old art articles about Lee Lozano and other period references like the austere image that is rather unfortunately used to represent the show: an attempt to recapture a photograph by Robert Frank of a suit strolling down Lombard street. In the show, its enshrouded in a structural piece. As a card, it's isolated to the image and becomes another cold art object. And Zurcher is noteworthy for not being that type of gallery. The video in the back room, East Cliff is the most melodramatically concise, a grainy black-and-white film that depicts the artist lugging some Sisyphean suitcase away from the oncoming tide. It's at once hilarious and poignant. Maybe my read is one-note. Zurcher pretended like she didn't hear me when I made a comment about "the baggage" in the video. But, at the end of the night, all I wanted to do was kick back with Gwenolee. So nice, I hope one day we'll brunch.

Friday I went to this new-ish roving party that Sean B of Spank is throwing called Xanadude. It's was fun, alright, but ladies, I'm getting mighty sick of Public Assembly. Let's imaginate more please. Danced to some "Bad Girls" which got me shouting "Toot toot! Beep Beep!" for the rest of the evening which didn't last that long. They have this annoying dance-off with judges who eye you judgementally as you're just trying to let loose. So we went home.

Saturday, well... that you can read about HERE. (Empire Live Blogging!!)


And last night, I hung out with my filmmaker friend, Adam Keleman, and the lovely Sam Ashby (of Little Joe) again after Adam Baran (with whom I did Saturday's liveblogging) and Ira Sachs' Queer / Art / Film screening series. Last night was Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! presented by Joe Gage. I haven't seen that movie in years, and does it hold up! Funny, though, the girls lost the cartoon edge that I maintained from my youthful viewing and were much more acidic this time around. Fabulous lines abound and I can hardly believe I forgot the scene in which Varla fucks the Vegetable to death with her car. That's truly one of the most sexually overcharged moments of any cinema. Gage, a porn auteur, was right; every single shot of the film is immaculately composed and considered. Really, a treasure. I didn't know this, but just like Samuel Fuller, Meyer was a war photographer (in Korea). Me, I've never seen any of Joe Gage's films (Kansas City Trucking Company) but after an insightful Q&A it made me want to go check some out.

As is the custom after Q/A/F, we convened at Julius', the oldest gay bar in New York, for some (read: too many) lime rickeys. We oggled the new Mattachine party poster which features Rock and Dorris kicking back, which led me to goad Adam K. to see my favorite Doris Day thriller Midnight Lace (1960) for the umpteenth time this week. I'll miss this Mattachine (the party thrown at Julius by PJ Deboy and John Cameron Mitchell - who was there last night and almost wacked me in the head whilst pointing out some photograph he had restored that now lurks on the dark wood walls of Julius, he is quite invested in that bar) which I would be sad about if I wasn't going upstate ALL WEEKEND! Haven't been out of the city in 6 months and it's driving me crazy. But before I go packing my mosquito netting, I'll leave you with a handy little just-learned lesson. No matter how much you drink the night before, down a gallon of water before you go to bed (not too fast, mind you). I should have woken up hating the world, I breezed into that morning meeting with style, class, and charm!

oh, I know you've already seen it, fag, but one more time, cause it's just SO darling


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