A visit last week to the Kunstraum introduced me to their new studio program dedicated to provided short term affordable studio space and exhibition space to artists. The spaces I saw didn’t look to be much larger than a couple hundred square feet—perfect for some and small for others—but part of the program includes the opportunity for studio artists to use the gallery as a space for curation and events. So that’s awesome.
Over the weekend, Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center tweeted the above GIF, along with the text:
Yes, over the weekend the Pacific Ocean saw three category four hurricanes for the first time since humans began recording the weather. This almost definitely has something to do with the fact that we’re experiencing one of the hottest El Niño warming cycles due to climate change.
Even for those of us who don’t live in the middle of the plastic-filled Pacific Ocean, this is indicative of a very bad trend. After the UK suffered a winter of extreme flooding and persistent storms, a government report found a link between an increasingly hot and wet Pacific and changes to the global jet stream. That same destabilization of the planet’s ocean/wind currents has been blamed for the awful “polar vortex” that made pretty much all of us on the East Coast hate winter even more than usual.
In short, the Pacific Ocean is much warmer than it should be. So much so, that maybe people will actually be tempted to go in the water at the beach in LA.
Come on, humanity. Get it together.
This year, while you’re biting your tongue over the holidays when some crazy rural relative is denying climate change, don’t. Explain the ancient proverb “don’t shit where you eat” calmly and how that applies on the scale of the chemical composition of the atmosphere of the one planet we’re all stuck on together. Because we’re already way past the point of terrifying, as the GIF above illustrates.
Skip the blockbuster museum shows and blue chip galleries; what makes New York so great is access to the under-exposed. Tonight, hear a lecture at Asia Art Archive in America about the little-known influence of Seattle modernists on the career of art star Yayoi Kusama. Tuesday, go check out poetry and art at Outlet—part of an exhibition I’m convinced is on the cutting edge of a sea change regarding artists’ relationship with place. Wednesday, traverse a secret garden for a chance to see a performance by Otion Front Studio artist in residence La Martelle, which will be performed for just two groups of twelve people at a time. Thursday, go play a quick game of basketball with the New Art Dealers Association. Then, head to Rhizome for a lecture about the emerging ontology of digital painting or hop on the F train to check out off-the-beaten-path art spaces in DUMBO’s First Thursday Gallery Walk. Friday night, head to Tender Trap in Greenpoint, where bi-coastal gallery Superchief is throwing a pop-up exhibition of Penelope Gazin’s trippy horror-pop illustrations. And Saturday, load up on affordable multiples and zines from DIY presses from across the East Coast at The Silent Barn. Some of the most talented young artists aren’t Instagram celebrities, they’re distributing their work with Xerox machines and silk screens.
Ben Schumacher originally posted this tribute to Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ Perfect Lovers on the blog shu and joe in 2009. The original Perfect Lovers was created in 1991, shortly after Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ partner Ross Laycock was diagnosed with AIDS, which ultimately claimed the lives of both men. The two readymade clocks ticked in unison, presumably until one or the other died. It was a powerful allegory for the limited time the artist knew he had left with Laycock.
Schumacher’s homage is also a readymade of sorts—the artist found a link for the above GIF of a clock face and inserted it twice into his page. His Perfect Lovers also come with an expiration date—the clocks will disappear when the original host eventually deletes the file. Here, though, we’ve archived the GIF on the Art F City servers, so it will be keep ticking for as long as we do.
And the legacy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres is as vital as ever. Tomorrow afternoon from 3:00 to 5:00, Visual AIDS is hosting the Last Address tribute walk, which will lead a group to various sites in Manhattan where artists who died in the AIDS epidemic lived their final years. The event kicks off with a screening of Ira Sachs’ short film Last Address at the SVA Theater and includes visits to the homes of Gonxalez-Torres, Vito Russo, Assotto Saint, Tseng Kwong Chi, Hugh Steers, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Chloe Dzubilo. More information is available here.
In one of her many talks at the Creative Capital retreat this July, President & Executive Director Ruby Lerner spoke of the importance of keeping the organization weird. The short explanation of what this means is simply that she wants them to continue to fund projects that aren’t beholden to the market. (Lerner has announced her retirement, so the succession planning has begun in earnest.) More specifically, though, it means supporting artists who bring a point of view to the table, who aren’t afraid to fail, and who pursue excellence in whatever field they work in. These are artists who exemplify the creative spirit. Their work must be supported.
In my previous two posts summing up highlights from the Creative Capital retreat, I’ve tried to highlight presentations by artists who I felt exemplified those qualities. In my last post on this year’s retreat, I highlight three more. Here goes.
Thanks to critic and curator Ed Halter for pointing out this morning on Twitter that the Internet Dancing Baby meme would be 20 now if the baby were alive. Cray-cray. Cited as one of the earliest memes, “Baby Cha-Cha,” came to life in 1996 as viral video of a 3D-rendered baby dancing to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” by the Swedish rock band Blue Swede. By late 1996, web developer John Woodell created a highly compressed animated GIF from the original movie, as part of a demo of the movie-to-GIF process, which further launched its spread.
Since this time, we’ve seen the Dancing Internet Baby show up in seemingly countless places, including the AIDS 3D IMG MGMT essay Hubris/Nemesis/Whatever. We expect to see this ageless baby a lot more in the future too. It’s of historical importance, but it also harkens to all those weirdly shaped babies in Madonna and child paintings, which perhaps explains why it sits a little longer in our consciousness. It’s a creepy kid.