Where: Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 E 14th St, New York, NY 10009
When: Tuesday March 15, 6-10 PM
Honoring: Carol Cole Levin
Benefit Chair: Marsha Owett
Tickets: Basic Beaches: Artist tickets: $75, General admission: $150, Ticket for an artist: $75 Private Islands (get your own table!): Individual tickets: $600, 2 tickets: $1000, 4 tickets: $1800. Pick them up here!
Where: Otto’s Shrunken Head
Confession: for two years of my time at art school, I was a fibers major and I never learned exactly how sewing machines work. Now that I’m seeing this, it totally explains things like incorrect thread tension fucking up your bobbin. H/T BoingBoing for sharing this Wikimedia Commons entry by Russian contributor NikolayS. Nikolay, you’ve made at least one person much less ignorant of the world’s arcane machinations.
Last week, I visited Mexico City’s Zona MACO (México Arte Contemporaneo), Latin America’s largest art fair. This was on the heels of our visit to Material, a satellite fair that impressed Paddy and me beyond our expectations. Walking into MACO felt just like visiting the most art fair-y of art fairs by comparison—which is to say, the immediate experience was predictable. There were long convention center lines, groups of “fresas” queuing up to take selfies in reflective sculptures, and familiar overexposed blue-chip names such as Alex Katz and Richard Prince. (“Fresas” is Mexican slang for “yuppies”, literally translating to “strawberries”.) MACO devoted a good chunk of floor space to design wares—from furniture to high-end sunglasses. I wasn’t immediately inspired to lend the event much thought beyond snapping some photos. With a few days of reflection, I realize Zona MACO is noteworthy for its extremes. And that’s not just the quality or quantity of blatantly commercial crap. For all the lackluster blue chip staples on the floor, I also saw an impressive amount of well-curated project booths that smartly positioned emerging artists and galleries in dialogue with the establishment. These two poles served a useful purpose: they lay bare how contemporary art fairs function. Zona MACO is the best model I can think of to demonstrate how for-profit fairs must work to remain both commercially viable and discursively relevant. For better or for worse, MACO excels at both.
Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU) is our kind of institution. Who else would offer, MFU, a new year-long residency touted as a “DEBT-FREE AND DEGREE-FREE” program with a name that gives the traditional MFA the middle finger. And it’s a big one at that. The program offers 24/7 access to personal studios, a teaching curriculum in which artists design their own course to teach, and public programming opportunities. It’s the definition of self-guided education that avoids the homogenized product of MFA programs, while responding to the digital age. Today, countless virtual resources are at our finger tips, yet space and time often remain illusive.
Last Friday, the Internet Archive officially opened the Malware Museum. Organized by cybersecurity expert and curator Mikko Hypponen, the online museum contains malware programs from the 1980s and 1990s that home computer users would encounter when their desktops had been infected by a virus. Thanks to a DOS emulator, contemporary internet users can now safely experience computer virus infections from over 20 years ago sans the originally debilitating effects.
During this hallmark week in which we celebrate our love for our partners, what romance is the art world serving up? Nothing we’ve listed, save for an anti-gentrification protest at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this Valentine’s Day. In fact, it seems the entire week has been taken over by activists. From the Act Up—Dyke Action Machine talk at The 8th Floor to the Affordable Housing Show at Hunter, there’s plenty of discussion about how to make change.
Meanwhile, those with a sense of humor should balance all this seriousness out. Between Jayson Musson and Sean Patrick J Carney at SVA tonight to Larissa Valez-Jackson’s improv dance comedy at DANCEROULETTE this Thursday, you’ve got plenty of events to fill up your calendar.