Contemporaneous Extension

“We Are All Living Installations”

It isn’t even May and Brooklyn has transcended the 80 degree mark on the Fahrenheit scale. In feeling so jovial, I wanted to return to my homebase and share the excitement! The evacuation of the art community upon first mention of humidity allows for investigations of artist’s studios and a tizzy of group shows. Emergent artists and artists visiting from abroad blossom in the summertime, and the energy is unfathomable. The first stroke of genius of the season can be found at Michael Alan‘s installation occurring this weekend at Dumbo Arts Center. Alan was recently granted an award from the Brooklyn Arts Council that allowed for the rebirth of his Living Installations: an experiment in performance, artistic production, and the union of audio and visual. The production on April 21st is called We Are All Living Installations and will be curated by the ever-clever Emily Colucci, who has followed Alan’s performances closely for several years. This work will integrate a soundtrack, part of Alan’s Sound Drawing project, made over the course of the last several months featuring artists such as Japanther, Geneva Jacuzzi, Noah Becker, Kenny Scharf, and many others. The installations are loosely guided by Alan’s paintings, which are at once intense, lyrical, delicate, and incredibly aggressive. The show is like resetting and engaging your retina like you’ve never done, tasting an image in a spaghetti bowl of narrative obscurity. Tickets for the show can be purchased online through Alan’s website here.

Installation shot from 'Dinner Party for Two,' featuring David Modello and Kim De'ville, 2012. Photo by Joseph Meloy Meloy, courtesy of Michael Alan

Installation shot from 'Dinner Party for Two,' featuring David Modello and Kim De'ville, 2012. Photo by Joseph Meloy Meloy, courtesy of Michael Alan

I recently had a conversation with Michael and have posted the interview on .CRUDO, a bilingual (Spanish/English) platform for commentary on music, art, film, and video. The interview can be found here for your pleasure! Here’s a short snippet:

“LM: You started with the Draw-a-thon and moved into Living Installations, both of which engage the community while developing your own process and stressing your practice to mutate it. What might be your next move in the live sphere?

MA: The Living President Project where I dress up like the president and do dance moves on TV, pointing at weather patterns and what to buy next with girls in bikinis in the back dancing, drinking Lamborghinis. Sign up now and you can get a free scarf! Don’t you just love global warming?

LM: I read a bit about your early performances, which discuss you performing in a Freddy Kruger outfit and doing remixes to “Ice Ice Baby”. What direction is your current music going in, considering the slew of new collaborations?

MA: Well, luckily, I’m not dressed up like Freddy Kruger anymore. I definitely exert myself and push and turn myself inside out during the show with different material. I can joke and act out the music and scenes with the talented models (those freaks love it).”

Michael Alan, Pardon Thee Intrusion, mixed media on paper, 2012.

Michael Alan, Pardon Thee Intrusion, mixed media on paper, 2012. Image courtesy of artist.

Michael Alan, She is My God, 2012, everything on paper, 9" x 11". Image courtesy of the artist.

Michael Alan, She is My God, 2012, everything on paper, 9" x 11". Image courtesy of the artist.


How to Participate, Not Regurgitate

An extremely insightful article that I helped edit by Federica Bueti, an Italian curator based in Berlin, was put up today on Art&Education. I’ve worked with her a few times before digitally and thoroughly enjoy her inquiries into time-lapse work, process, and the politics of art. This newest article, entitled  “Give Me the Time (for an Aesthetic of Desistance),” investigates participation in art and its evolution from the 1960s to today: is participation still an act of resistance within the traditions of art? Has the socio-political environment completely neutralized participation and its aim to challenge participants and spectators? Has participation just become an institutionalized, almost predictable and thus stagnant, form of art practice? Here’s a small excerpt from the full article:

“But in order to establish a different meaning for participation, we should perhaps reconsider current cultural attitudes and social behaviors. Time, for example, needs to be re-introduced into current artistic, critical and curatorial production. Not as an oscillation of time, but as a “spatialization of the subject”. Against the backdrop of contemporary virtual and physical progress, one could oppose the necessity of durational experience and the sense of prolonged time that resists rapid consumptionExperience is comprised of time spent as well as a space of experience and shared intensities. Time is an essential element in participatory practices. Diverse knowledge and exchanges, and fruitful long-term relations require not just physical time but steadfast consistency. Endured duration is particularly vital in the context of virtual-communications. The reason is quite simple: people don’t share the same level of understanding or sensitivity, and a model of learning, exchanging and developing relationships varies extensively. Speed of pace is different for everyone. We cannot wish for the contrary without surrendering to the trap of authoritarian vision.

Adopting a creative model based on collaboration does not only mean maximizing outcomes or saving economic resources. People should revel in the space and allow for participation, discussion, and confrontating beliefs and modes of thinking. Only then can operative possibilities for transforming the acquired knowledge into operative models of actions unfold. A space of conflict where dissimilarities can play out and subsequently be used rather than liquidated at the first mention of a discrepancy is essential.

We should not forget that collaborations have become a necessity for the growth and implementation of profits in the capital industry. Today managerial agendas abide by more complex yet malleable democratic models. Groups can be identified through their representative members, for example, which spurs homogenization and the dissolution of the individuals ultimately relied upon for the decision. Participation, under the guise of performance, is constantly compromised. It accepts the conditions for the benefit of others, further perpetuating the current illusory, consensual democratic trend. Any partnership in this context becomes a tool for pursuing individual interests at the expense of potentially collective achievements.”


((Federica Bueti is also the founder of MENT , a journal that explores contemporary culture, art, and politics.))

Anticipatory Post

Several amazing shows that I think deserve some attention:

Kadar Brock’s Unclaimed Space at Thierry Goldberg Projects:  Caught up with Kadar last week to check out the new pieces in this show, which I am absolutely in love with. He’ll be showing several large canvases, deconstructed and stripped earlier works that he sequentially scrapes away. They take on a surreal middle ground between artist’s process and complete destruction. I was enlightened by his talk of magical spells and rituals as the basis of his process, which is heavily weighted in gesture and mark-making. Just opened yesterday, and is up through December 23.

Fred Tomaselli at the Brooklyn Museum: I have been thinking a lot about resin, both its characteristics and its place in contemporary art production, and think Tomaselli would be a great reference point and inspiration for what the medium can do. The show is open through January 2.


Fred Tomaselli, 'Untitled (Expulsion),' 2000. Leaves, pills, insects, acrylic, photocollage, and resin on wood panel. 84 x 120 in

Fred Tomaselli, 'Untitled (Expulsion),' 2000. Leaves, pills, insects, acrylic, photocollage, and resin on wood panel. 84 x 120 in

Going International at FLAG Art Foundation:  Nothing like a group show of stellar international artists. However, in looking into it, I realize a good handful of artists (and pieces, even) are drawn from NYC museum bangers  (Ortega’s piece that is the figurehead of the show was in a P.S. 1’s That was Then…This is Now from 2008; Meckseper’s video mentioned in the PR was in the Whitney Biennial this year). Most importantly, I am looking forward to checking out Nigel Cooke’s inclusion considering I still kick myself for not getting to his solo show at Andrea Rosen last year. Definitely worth checking out, its up through January 29.


Nigel Cooke, 'Heavy Beret,' 2009, oil on linen

Nigel Cooke, 'Heavy Beret,' 2009, oil on linen

Ana Mendieta at Galerie LeLong: Love Ana. I think her performance work rivals Marina although she seems to be much less well-known. The show is focusing on the documentation of her work, a large majority of which takes place in the wilderness. I’m looking forward to her drawings and sculpture, of which I’m less familiar but further enthused.Its open through December 11.


Ana Mendieta, 'Nañigo Burial,' 1976, Lifetime black and white photograph, 8 x 10 inches

Ana Mendieta, 'Nañigo Burial,' 1976, Lifetime black and white photograph, 8 x 10 inches

Kim Dorland: New Material at Mike Weiss: I only found Dorland at Freight + Volume in 2009 and was sucked into his fantastical, salivating, strong work. His solo show at Mike Weiss seems like a bit of a departure in that he focuses on single subjects for the most part but still utilizes forceful relief, mixed media, and an emphasis on the nightmarish wood travails of his childhood in Canada. Open through January 8.


Sew Draw at Pandemic Gallery: Features drawings by Richie Lasansky and objects by Allison Read Smith. Lasansky is someone I’m extremely intrigued by, seeing as he works through every step of the printing process from drawing his images, to producing his own ink, and eventually working with the plate to produce each edition. He also studied medicine at Brandeis but then went in the completely opposite direction, so we already have quite a bit in common. Smith is concerned with intangibility through objects, questioning what one finds meaningful and necessary in daily life. I like the fancy-free, the wonderous quality of her work as well. Its open through December 10.

Richie Lasansky, ‘Bug Fly’ Intaglio print on copper (Engraving), 40” x 24”
Allison Read Smith, ‘Tortoise and the Hare,’ Mixed Media
Rita Ackermann and Harmony Korine at Swiss Institute: I like how the press release fuses these two figures by their “shared interest in unorthodox and mischievous beauty.” Korine is obviously insane (Gummo freaked me out for weeks, I’m still eager to see Trash Humpers), and the collabo with Ackermann will prove to be one of multi-hashed surfaces and impulsive backwash. Let’s hope i don’t puke!Open through January 22.
Rita Ackermann/Harmony Korine, 'It's Showtime Cloaks,' 2010, mixed media

Rita Ackermann/Harmony Korine, 'It's Showtime Cloaks,' 2010, mixed media

Albert Watson at Hasted Kraeutler: There’s something so painfully beautiful about Watson’s photos, like he’s saving us from the ugly truth he suspects of his subjects. From Kate Moss to Alfred Hitchcock, fashion to still lives, his work emphasizes figure, the exterior containment of the gems of a given interior. I also like his tendency to play with the viewpoints of the human form, utilizing mirrors, single limbs, and even monkeys to dance around our mortality. Open through December 4.
Albert Watson, 'Charlotte in Prada Blouse, Milan, Italy,' 1989, Platinum print, 30 x 22", edition of 3

Albert Watson, 'Charlotte in Prada Blouse, Milan, Italy,' 1989, Platinum print, 30 x 22", edition of 3

Albert Watson, 'Road to Nowhere, Las Vegas,' 2001, C-Print, 70 x 112", edition of 5

Albert Watson, 'Road to Nowhere, Las Vegas,' 2001, C-Print, 70 x 112", edition of 5

Marina Openmovic

Had to post these interviews in working on my HAHA Magazine article on the Marina Abramovic exhibition at the MoMA.

Everything from ambitious dream art projects to more personal myths debunked are revealed in this conversation between Abramovic and Laurie Anderson, a performance artist and musician with a career as varied and extensive as pant trends since 1975. It’s a playful conversation with some really insightful notations of her process and resultant outlook after such an evolution in her work and sensibilities.

A few good excerpts:

“MA: …In performance, it’s a monologue, and in this monologue you create so many spaces that we can project onto, so many images, one after another. What’s also special is that the sound of the voice will create certain vibrations. Sometimes it’s not even the word but the space in between the words, a long pause that works magic. A monologue becomes something beyond language; it becomes so strong. The moment it becomes a conversation, I think, we try to be clever, we try to construct things, and then everything falls apart again. But with the monologue, emotions come in a different way.”

“MA: I want to live a very long time. This is my obsession. I want to live to be over 100. My grandmother died at 103 and the mother of my grandmother was 116 when she died. I have this idea that after 100 something else happens. When we are young and even now, though I am not that young, there is this idea of emotions and always some kind of suffering involved. I’d like so much to reach the point of nonattachment, of nonsuffering, when you really know things are happening because they have already happened to you hundreds of times before. You can laugh about it all. To have this wisdom and distance and peace!

LA: How do you think you can get there?

MA: Oh—lots of goat yogurt!

LA: (laughter) I mean to detachment?

MA: You don’t take things personally. Even if you love someone, you let them be. And if they leave you, still you love them, because attachment creates such a suffering. This is basic.

LA: Buddhism 101.”

Marina Abramovic by Laurie Anderson


This interview is from 1978, featuring Marina AND Ulay, her lover of thirteen years, published in FlashArt. They discuss the direct reasoning for ‘Art Vital,’ a more optimistic, centered practice stemming from meeting each other and recognizing the potential for unity in the universe, and thus living. It’s wonderful to witness not only their interaction in print, but also get to the inside of their conceptual work early on. Despite the notoriously chemical attraction of their relationship, they debunk any emphasis on feminism or man-v-woman that followed them throughout much of their collaboration. In recognizing the differences in their respective earlier works and the altered insinuations, the progressive motifs are lucid and progressive. Despite the stress on lacking any specific philosophy, I may have underestimated the fluency of their performative understanding.


HK: So you don’t mind physical pain or other unpleasant physical feelings. It’s not important at all for you?

MA: More important is why we do it. It’s like an operation, when they cut you with a knife, but at the same time the operation’s positive. The knife is necessary for your health. Early in my work the pain was almost the message itself. I was cutting myself, whipping myself, and my body couldn’t take it anymore. I was really at the end, if I hadn’t stopped I wouldn’t be here any more. Now with Ulay my work is more constructive in an optimistic way.

U: Our work is real-life drama. Everybody needs energy just to do his daily job. In our art we want to reach what I call ‘autonomic’ energy. The energetic reserve everybody has. Like a chicken, if you cut off its head, it can still fly away; this is autonomic energy.”

MA: Once in Yugoslavia I went to a hospital and asked a doctor, “What’s the most dangerous operation?” He told me that it was the operation on the brain. And I watched for six hours the cutting and sewing with needles and thread. And what I thought at the time was what we do in art: it’s not really dangerous — it’s only illusion! Artists like Ulay and I are very far from real feelings and intuitions. People living in the countryside however are much nearer to the body, to danger, to existence. Living in the cities, we indeed are protected by everything, which makes a confrontation with nature almost impossible.”

Marina Abramovic and Ulay by Helena Kontova