look: paths of desire


Spring in NYC is doing its best to make up for the cold and the slush, and it might be overcompensating – the weekend has been gorgeous, and Central Park joyously overrun. On a long walk a few days ago, I passed this installation that’s down at 60th & Fifth, by Tatiana Trouvé, a Polish-born, Paris-based sculptor (can that be her real name?) Giant spools of colored rope map all the possible paths through the park. Continue reading

explore: do it (outside)

It’s hotter than balls in New York right now, but it’s cooler by the river, in the evening, if you can fight off the bugs. I’m writing a piece for my dear friend Ali’s fantastic online art review Artvehicle about the current exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park (which will have a more decorous lede) so this evening I walked down there to take some pictures. I’ve written about Socrates many times before, and it might be my favorite outdoor space in the city. I love the combination of a community-minded space and a genuine curatorial vision; I love being able to visit a farmer’s market in an outdoor gallery, and I love the juxtaposition of picnic space, views of the city, and weird, challenging, quirky, colossal, and silly art.

Here were some of my favorite pieces from the main show, Do It (Outside), conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, which presents a series of instructions from artists on how to create a piece of art, which cannot be permanent and must be dismantled at the end of the show. It raises all sorts of questions about creation vs. “realization,” and highlights the importance of space, collaboration, serendipity… plus, there’s candy (courtesy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres) and lounge chairs.  Continue reading

look: hello Columbus

If you’re in New York, you still have a few days left to visit Signor Columbus at home. It’s a bit of a climb, but worth it for the wallpaper.

The Public Art Fund is behind Tatzu Nishi’s whimsical, perspective-upending “Discovering Columbus,” in which the artist has enclosed the weathered old statue in a reasonably ritzy apartment in the sky. Usually exposed to the weather, the old sea dog, hand on his tiller, is temporarily aloft on his own coffee table, while visitors admire his bookshelves, furniture, and enviable view. You’re not allowed to touch him (or borrow his copy of the Steve Jobs biography) but you can get pretty comfortable, and forget you’re standing on a platform wrapped around a 75ft-high column.

Before long Columbus’s real-estate-obsessed guests settle into the same conversations they adopt in any stranger’s apartment: where did he score that vintage leather chair? What’s his taste in books? Is that wallpaper custom? And most importantly – how much do you think he pays for a place like this?

Go speculate before December 2nd, by reserving your tickets here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

look: roman tragedies

So thanks to my wonderful, culturally savvy compadre Susan, I was lucky enough to go to the mind-blowing Roman Tragedies at BAM last night: a spectacular six-hour production of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra, staged by Toneelgroep Amsterdam and the director Ivo van Hove. Yes that’s right. Six hours. In Dutch.




Continue reading

look: after the superstorm

I sincerely hope these don’t become annual posts.

Hurricane/Superstorm/Frankenstorm Sandy pounded the east coast yesterday, and much of the city is underwater, without power, or otherwise struggling, so we are extremely grateful for our high ground in Astoria and the large local contingent of dedicated small businesses, most of which are up and running, if they ever closed. There was a line outside Bareburger this afternoon (Tuesday) waiting for tables. We’re not going to go hungry, and save for a little light-flickering anxiety, we were able to eat, drink, and watch weather-disaster-porn in safety and comfort. The best collection of pictures of the storm’s impact in NYC and surrounding areas is here, via the inimitable Alan Taylor.

Here are a few pictures of the aftermath in the neighborhood. It’s cold and blustery out, but dry, and things are getting back to normal. I have a new camera lens, too, a manual-focus 50mm/1.8 which I LOVE and am trying to master. Here goes:

Worst downed-tree damage I saw – 31st Avenue
More common sight: leaf litter & general mess. 31st Avenue
Skies clearing over 30th Avenue
The Apple House still open for business
Sandbags and tarp outside the Academy for New Americans
Tree down across the street from us, 30th Drive

look: don’t call him a dissident

The lives of Chinese artists are marked by remarkable multiplicity and confusion, change and disorder, doubt and destructiveness, a loss of self and the emptiness that follows, hopelessness and its attendant freedom, shamelessness and its accompanying pleasures.
– Ai Weiwei’s Blog

I had the pleasure of seeing the fantastic documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry at the IFC Center this week, and writing a roundup of books on the artist & his work for Biographile, a beautifully curated new site focused on biography and memoir. Before going in I didn’t know much about Ai Weiwei, who strides through this film like some kind of ancient statue come to life, and frankly, I expected it to be a worthy but not especially fun hour and a half.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s the trailer:

Continue reading