Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pass this On

The Knife

Simmering hot

This song was on the Deep Cuts album, which actually came out about two years ago. However, on our last three nights out, DJs have dropped the tune to stir up the dance floor into a simmering hottitude. It's like the anti-crunk, inspiring a slow groove, similar to what's seen in the steamy video, which reminds us of Jean Genet and maybe Hedwig.

We're also posting the clever live version.

The Knife - Pass this on(

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Whitney Loves a Goth

We can't measure the breadth of Warhol's megavalent insemination. We also wonder why it coincides so much with the Whitney. All three artists on that magazine cover have been prominently featured at the museum: Dash Snow and Dan Colen at the last Biennial and Ryan McGinley in his 2003 Whitney Show. And as the Terrence Koh shoh opens Thursday night, we recall how Banks Violette filled the same space about a year ago. And BV curated TK into his recent show at Bortolami Dayan, the cherry picker of Chelsea. And BV was in the 2004 Biennial before that, and was in that big Gladstone show 2 summers ago, "Bridge Freezes Before Road," which also featured Dan Colen.

So does the Whitney just love a goth? Sue De Beer at Altria? Liz Craft in the 2004 Biennial? Seems that if you want a show at the Biennial, listen to Bauhaus often. Who will be the next young artist featured in the lobby space? a)Gardar Eide Einarsson b) either of the Liden girls c) Dan Colen (not goth but goth by association) (but it won't be him because he is foremost a painter and the last two Biennials suggested that Biennials restrict painting) d) Aaron Young (also not goth but clad in black)

Or does the Whitney just love the Lower East Side? Would a studio on Ludlow increase your success?

So speaking of LES and of Warhol's children: Terrence Koh's 4-story loft on Canal St is painted pristine white everywhere, with ultraminimalist design. Rumors say that he resisted even having kitchen appliances, which would corrupt the virginal white space. It's vacuum-like, similar to the interiors in "2001: A Space Odyssey." The basement is all black enamel, however, like an S-M dungeon (with a refrigerator). It's disorienting, like the first 20 minutes of "Irreversible." Casa Koh has abundant gallery space, studio space, and office space, and also two bathrooms. Terrence and his talented partner, Garrick co-hosted (koh-hosted?) a bash this week complete with 60 fresh lobsters, endless bottles of Moet, and other favors as the night continued. Despite the heavy-hitting art-world attendance roster, the vibe was mellow, most revelers reclining or squatting cross-legged on the white floor, sharing cigarettes, aglow from the glowing neon cock on the wall. We wondered about this generous hospitality: after posting his income on his blog and after seeing his earnings announced in New York magazine, was this Koh's way of sharing the wealth? Earnestly greeting each visitor, Koh seemed sincere. Or more like tree-whacking to stir up some action?

So this must be the emergence of our generation's Factory. Pristine white instead of foil? Vitrines filled with modified readymade knickknacks instead of Brillo boxes? A flamboyant but polite but naughty Asian instead of a soft-spoken but manipulative but vulnerable Pole? Skinny white boys aged 17 covered in white powder instead of Joe Dallesandro or Jed Johnson? Who will be Koh's Velvet Underground? Both Koh and Warhol told white lies to the media, both produced publications (thoh Koh's are artist's books and not a big magazine), and Koh even indicates an interest in producing films (or at least porn films). Of all the supposed "Children," Koh seems the most legitimate.

Who's going to shoot him then? Or will the only killing be Koh's growing scene, squashed dead by such speculation and mainstream press attention?

Maybe think about it while waiting to get into Deitch Wooster tomorrow for Koh's "Winter White" performance.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Capture the Rapture

Ostensibly, Ryan McGinley's new photos at TEAM Gallery are about Morrissey. But they are also about Elvis or Axl Rose or Michael Jackson – or any rock star with an international following numbering into the hundreds of thousands. But they aren’t actually about rock idols.

These photos are really about idol worship. They capture the rapture of a messiah onstage, wooing and rallying the fervent masses, while seeming to connect with each individual, who internally affirms, “I know it; he’s singing to me…”

The devoted fans depicted in Irregular Regulars have memorized the lyrics, heard the B-sides, and charted the collaborations: “Yeah, and then Johnny Marr formed ‘Electronic’…” So the performance for them is a transfiguring, intimate interaction with their idol and a unique, irreplaceable tab in the history of their performer - and maybe even music in general. More importantly, however, it’s a visceral whirlwind that sweeps them into a serotonin flood of musical catharsis. We see the fans’ hands reach into the air, pawing for contact, receiving good vibes and sending them back as blessings.

In fact, the fans appear so moved that these photos could be from an evangelikkkal youth revival: in the Astrodome, with an impassioned minister preaching the words of our Lord and Savior.

It just proves that being uplifted is a content-free process. Some find salvation in the lyrics of Morrissey, some in the verses of Matthew. McGinley wisely acknowledges this and universalizes his images by skirting subcultural contingencies – dress, ornamentation – and focusing on facial expressions and body language. Likewise, Morrissey’s face doesn’t really appear, except in “Morrissey 1,” where we see only his shadowy visage – and also McGinley’s own face. By restricting the specificity of both the performer and his audience, McGinley allows everyone in to share in the joy.

Given that, the strongest photo in this show is “Morrissey 16,” where a pale fog encloses the enraptured fans, a misty pictorial stand-in for the blissful emotional buzz of crying, “And if a double decker bus, crashes into us…” (Or, “Hallelujah!”)

This is also the most colorful photo, with an aurora of violet and blue countered by a gold nebula among the heads of the fans. Most of the others feature one or two colors, as lusciously as a Rothko. In “Morrissey 17,” Morrissey himself – or his silhouette – is a black tower lit from above in white gold. “Morrissey 11” is the cleverest entry here, with a stern looking lad in strawberry red – it could be the cover to a Smiths album.

Lads prevail, despite the occasional angelic nymph, and we remember that McGinley rose to fame by documenting gay lovers and friends, even offering a new genre of “Sexy Boy” against the reigning Chelsea boy movement. His boys were skinny, wide-eyed, wasted, scarred, and unibrowed.

Formally, McGinley is in the same grainy-film processing that we saw in his 2004 show at P.S. 1. That goes with the snapshot aesthetic he continues, which is perfect for candid documentation, to which he seems equally committed. Although his underwater athlete portfolio brims over with tantalizing shades of blue, the manic, artificial, saturated colors here seem new to his oeuvre - although overstimulation does not.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Exchange Rate

1 Million Photos, 1 Euro Each

Never mind the bad exchange rate from dollar to euro. We're too busy to count, preoccupied with clapping for artists such as A.L. Steiner who make the most of their exhibition space and time and do things like conducting public discussions during their shows on issues addressed in their work. ALS has too much to say to just put up pictures, hang 'em and leave 'em. Indeed, she is also a co-founder of Ridykulous, with Nicole Eisenman, another artist too restless for a monomedium practice.

3 PM, Saturday, Jan 6th: A special warming discussion, "Body of a Lesbian Woman," featuring Nicole Eisenman, K8 Hardy, Faye Hirsch, A.L. Steiner and Dr. Laurie Weeks. Pussy galore!

Come ask them, "What is the deal with the lesbian utopia we see everywhere?" (Take JD Samson and Hilary Harkness below, for example.)

Artforum Cover

So what do you think of this new Artforum cover?

The TD crew finds it strange that AF's cover is the press/publicity/poster image for Bong Joon-Ho's film "The Host." ("The Host," a disaster/monster film, is the highest grossing film ever in Korean cinema, and will open in NYC in March. Gary Indiana wrote a bit about Joon-Ho in this issue.) Why a big movie, and why a poster image?

So let's just pretend for a minute that AF isn't already a portfolio of ads, and actually carries significant, informative art writing. Of course, it does do that, but try ripping out all the ads and see what happens.

Then its use of a press image for its cover just makes Artforum look like a participant in the publicity machine of "The Host!" Just like "Vogue" putting Julianne Moore on the cover when she has a new movie coming out? ("Don't you just love her?" "Yes, and she looks great!")

Apparently, AF considers "The Host" to be so culturally compelling that it deserves front-cover honors. So this relation between "The Host" and AF doesn't reduce AF to a publicity rag; instead AF elevates a popular culture event to the realm of art, where sophisticated discourse is appropriate.

But why not use a production still or frame enlargement, as in the "Zidane" cover? That would be like using a detail of a painting, as in the Brice Marden cover. It must be the case that the poster image carries a special meaning that a frame enlargement would not. We think it's because "The Host" is an meta- and mega-spectacle. Its form is a big-money cinema sensation. Its content is a disaster story. So with all this spectacularity, its whole is more important than its parts and the press poster is like a token or icon of that whole.

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