Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kitchen of the Future: Vermin

Mouse Trap vs mind trap

For those in the US: Happy Thanksgiving. I just wanted to put up a short Kitchen post today for those sneaking away from the family for a moment of peace and quiet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looking at Nick Cave with David Brin - 4

David Brin's Postmen; David Brin with Nick Cave's post-men 
(Return to Part 3)
After visiting the Serra installation at Gagosian I took David and Cheryl next door to the Mary Boone Gallery to see Nick Cave's show of "Soundsuits." Of the three shows we saw together, this was the artist and art I knew the least about. Unlike Serra, who's shows I have been visiting since I first moved to New York 15 years ago, and who I've been thinking about ever since (I had a Richard Serra anxiety dream once), I saw Cave's work for the first time only a week or so before meeting the Brins. What I could see I did know walking into the show, was that Cave was clearly not a sculptor in the same sense as Richard Serra. The Modernist consensus was that David Smith was America's greatest sculptor - with Smith setting the bar, both Serra and Cave are solidly (and somewhat confusingly) Postmodernist. What I did know for sure, was that it was a great show, and one I felt certain the Brins would enjoy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Looking at Richard Powers with David Brin - 3

John Powers. Spiral Jedi (2008); Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty (1972) 
(Return to Part 2)
As David, Cheryl and I were leaving the Richard Serra show and headed over to see Nick Cave, we were talking about Isaac Asimov and how, like him, David had used the device of using a murder mystery as the back drop for his first novel. David had just solved a small artworld mystery for me about an odd connection I have to Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty via one of his favorite scifi authors, J.G. Ballard.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Looking at Richard Serra with David Brin - 2

Cover art for David Brin's 2nd Book, Startide Rising; David Brin at Gagosian Gallery in front of Richard Serra's sculpture Junction
(Return to Part 1)
To begin our tour, I had David and Cheryl meet me at the corner of 11th Ave and West 24th, just outside the Gagosian gallery. Because over the past couple years David had made it very clear how much he disliked the sanctimonious stridency of the original Modernist artists and architects, I thought the best place to begin would be with contemporary art's most obvious inheritor of that overbearing tradition: the massively overweight installation Junction/Cycle by the sculptor Richard Serra.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Looking at Art with David Brin - 1

The cover art of the first David Brin book I can remember reading: Sundiver; David and I talking on the Highline 25 years later.

A couple weeks ago I gave a gallery tour to the scifi author David Brin and his wife Cheryl. They were visiting NYC for the Singularity Summit, where David had been invited to give a talk. I have been a fan of David's speculative novels since high school. For the past few years I have enjoyed reading his thoughts about today's world unfold in real time on his blog; and more recently via twitter. The tour was my opportunity to meet an author whose ideas about the world I admire. I offered myself, as a working New York artist, to be his "native guide" to the artworld of Chelsea. But it was also an opportunity to make my case for the modernity and Modernism I know and love best: the universe of useless things that make up our visual culture, and the greater part of our built environment - the art and the architecture, that David has dismissed as being based on "grandiose theories [that] serve largely to promote elitist snobbery" - and therefor antithetical to the modernity he loves most.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

For Those in the NYC area:

Clement Greenberg as a Sith; installation view of Make/Believe and Benthic Empire

I am going to be giving a talk on Star Wars and Minimalism this Thursday, November 10th, as part of Performa 11th. For those interested in talking about how awesome and exciting Postwar art and Cold War politics are, as well as picking apart the visual program of the original 1977 Star Wars film, this talk is for you: STAR WARS AND THE RHETORIC OF POWER

Meanwhile I also have two works up as part of a group show called "Full Fathom Five" at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery on West 26th, that is open through December 23rd. I share Jerry Saltz's impatience with the "endless stream of art-school-trained artists trying to crawl up the asses of Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, and Gerhard Richter in order to stake out a microscopic piece of insular, already-approved territory." For myself I enjoy inhabiting the colons of Jay DeFeo, Robert Morris and Robert Smithson. If my art looks like something out of scifi, it is because I believe abstract art is an arm of futurism - additionally I like art that gives the impression that it can defend itself.