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Submitted by Matt Jones on Sun, 10/16/2011, 11:29pm
Have you ever had sex with a pharaoh?
Kanye West (Monster, from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
Each of our experiences brings us to the next part of our life, and there is no telling what the future might hold.
Patrick "The Innovator" Chapin (Next Level Magic, page 77)
I really thought I could take you there but my experiment is not getting us anywhere.
The Cardigans (Gran Turismo, My Favourite Game)
For years during and after college I spent as much of my time in my studio as possible. That's more or less true if you extended my studio to Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place, the Royal Oak, Sweet-Ups, and Union Pool in Willamsburg, and/or many other drinking and drugging establishments in Brooklyn, the East Village, and Chelsea. I helped to bring together an art group (or an art team) called Nineteen-Eighty that put together a few shows, maintained a mailing list, and ultimately dissolved after our exhibition Art Show at Rare Gallery in 2004.
In 2006 my life wasn't going the way I wanted it to. Going to endless openings and after parties and hanging out in studios until 6am or later (or does is it "earlier" once the sun comes up?) wasn't working for me. I stopped drinking and drugging and ended up going to three or more AA meetings per day for a year. What do you do when your normal response after work (or any reaction to anything) is "I'm gonna go get a beer" and you don't want to do that anymore? I had and abandoned one sponsor (and had little to no interest in getting another). Slowly less meetings were attended and eventually I was going to none (the two exceptions being when two different dudes asked me to go with them because they needed help). It felt like AA helped one progress from the unmanageable nature of an alcohol problem to a sort of bridgeless river crossing of life. Lots of god talk, lots of "giving power over to" whomever talk. This never jived with me, a straight up atheist. Buddhist study and meditation practice built a bridge over that river (metaphors are so weird) and I'm hanging out in this whole new land. I popped in and out of IDP and other Buddhist/contemplative centers for a couple of years taking many classes, reading many books, and sitting many hours. I took refuge or took refuge vows in February of twenty-eleven. Since then my practice has become deeper and more personal. I don't feel as much a part a Buddhist community as I once did and I'm not very interested in talking about Buddhism. Talking about it doesn't feel as natural as experiencing it, studying it, and practicing it.
The affect that a daily meditation practice has on me is noticeable on a daily basis. Things have slowed down and sped up simultaneously. The search for a community goes on. I feel tied to all artists and distant from them simultaneously. I don't know how well I get along with other Buddhists. I don't know how primary my interest in Buddhism is. Lately it feels like my primary intersts are art and Magic: the Gathering.
On Saturday I visited one of my very best friend's studios during Gowanus Open Studios. His work is more his than anyone else's work is their's. The absolute best piece is this incredible iridescent pigment dusted raven. It's incredible. Jen loves the feather "paintings" (wood panels covered in orderly parrot feathers). His drawings are so clear and loaded with vision and energy. Seeing Giovanni in his element is the same and different than seeing him at our shared day job. He's a different kind of radiant. It's like he's radiating from his power rather than helping you find yours. It's totally beautiful to experience.
Jen's on the phone in the other room. I'm waiting on the couch for her to come in and cast my ear so she can make a prosthetic ear for a performance she's doing around Halloween. The encore presentation of The Walking Dead season two premiere is on. This show rules. I'm thinking of taking a survival course. My buddy Eric said he'd join me.
Reviews and Re-reviews*:
Matthew Barney @ Barbara Gladstone (21st Street) - This is the second time I've seen the show. Things I like about the exhibition - 1., the drawings (timelessly old from the future?), 2., the mix of contemporary nostalgic-ish imagery (cars, the 50s, Detroit, American industrial whatevers), intriguing materials (alchemical feeling), and archetypal mythology, and 3., the space created in the space (from one model of ancient post-apocalyptic ruins to a sensitive Giger/Goya-esque Rodin drawing, to the birth of new symbols from the tools used to MAKE things, imagery copyright ancient Egypt).
Lisa Yuskavage @ David Zwirner - I have always wanted to like Lisa Yuskavage's work but I don't. I get that she's a good painter technically. I prefer Frank Frazetta's monsters, futurescapes, swordsmen, humor, voluptuous babes, and generosity to Yuskavage's paintings which I feel are somehow judging the viewer with an "I don't give a fuck" attitude. Not giving a fuck is just about the worst response to anything one can have. I'll keep looking at these paintings regardless because I'm probably wrong about all of it (except for my love of Frazetta's work). Some bigotry on my part: I don't like nudity in art (it feels too easy and exploitative) unless the intentions are clear. I'd like to talk about this more so bring up any issues you have with me writing that. It'll be an Art Blog post topic at some point I'm sure.
Raoul De Keyser @ David Zwirner - Someone must've called De Keyser a painter's painter. That feels accurate. If I had issues with Yuskavage's nudes the issues are maybe more serious with De Keyser's painter's paintings. It's pornography on the other end of the spectrum but really about the same thing. I don't know what the content is. Is the content painting? Is the content some bizarre psychological romp through the artist's childhood? I don't know that the work I'd have to do to get into De Keyser's work is worth it. The trade off seems to be in his favor. They're pleasing enough and almost totally non-offensive but man, boring. When I look at work I sometimes think "would I like it if I made this work?" and if the answer is no then I'm probably not that into it. I wouldn't want to make paintings like De Keyser (enough people are already doing that anyway). Even so, I still like to look at them, sort of. Maybe that's what indifference is.
Haim Steinbach @ Tonya Bonakdar - meh. There was a Munny on one of the shelves. I have one of those. I like how orderly it all is. I don't know, I mean they're fine ... just ... maybe I can't see them with the clearest eyes.
Brian Jungen @ Casey Kaplan - I liked the styrofoam pieces. They look cool. I like the leaning/curve/whateverness of the installation. The other stuff I didn't like that much.
Friday morning I went to Christopher Stout's studio. He's a good dude with good ideas about community and sharing ideas and experiences. I got to see him pull apart some preparation stuff for some concrete mixed with paper. Watching him work was super interesting. His process is very different from mine. His work has a clear intent and purpose and his medium is incredibly bizarre to me. The work ends up looking very beautiful. I could see some Buddhists getting into it for its contemplative surface and the space it the work creates. I look forward to talking with him more in the future and having him over to my studio.
*Each week I'll write something about the exhibitions I saw and studios I visited. They'll probably be short and hopefully helpful.
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