Thursday, June 25, 2009

forever summer

I'll have a piece in this lightnin' quick group show opening tomorrow. Swing by the opening.

Platform Project Space at Denise Bibro Fine Art
June 26- July 2, 2009
529 W. 20th St. 4W
Artists' reception, Friday, June 26th, from 6-8pm.

Platform, the project space of Denise Bibro Fine Art, is pleased to present "Forever Summer," on view for two days only, June 26 and 27, 2009. Organized by Scott Malbaurn, this impromptu salon-style exhibition features small works (maximum 24” x 24”) by more than 50 greater New York City area artists. Malbaurn has brought together a diverse range of artists with eclectic practices and backgrounds for this special celebratory two-day event. In the face of challenging economic times, this show provides the collector with a unique opportunity to purchase small, affordable pieces by emerging artists, as well as offering the artists a forum to meet and discuss their work.

Artist Scott Malbaurn has curated exhibitions at venues including Platform, the project space of Denise Bibro Fine Art, Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; H. Lewis Gallery, Baltimore, MD; as well as Pratt Institute's 2007 M.F.A. show for the College Art Association Tri-State exhibition at Hunter College, New York, NY. Malbaurn is a visiting artist instructor at Pratt Institute.

Friday, June 19, 2009


The North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition (NbPac) is proud to present:

The North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition (NbPac) is proud to present:


A fundraiser to benefit the India Street Mural Project.

The India Street Mural Project is the kickoff project for the North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition (NbPac), a new initiative whose goal is to work with local artists, community members, arts organizations and businesses in order to increase the presence of public art in North Brooklyn. By doing so, NbPac hopes to beautify, revitalize, and energize the Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick neighborhoods through public art. Visit our website for more details.

RE/PAINT RE/BUILD will take place at Gallery 1889 on June 24th, 2009, from 7PM to 11PM. The event will feature:

· RE/WARD - Silent auction featuring art from the mural project artists (8-10pm)

· RE/FUEL - Food by Chef Michael Sullivan from new Greenpoint restaurant Anella

· RE/CLAIM - Live found object portraits by artist Zito

· RE/DESIGN - Live screenprinting by the Brooklyn Printmaking Collective (bring your screenprintable goods!)

· RE/IMAGINEHaircuts by designer/inventor/sculptor Dan Harper

DJ Painted will be mixing music all night, and we’ll have wine and beer on hand from North Brooklyn businesses Brooklyn Oenology and Brouwerij Lane.

Tickets are only $20 and can be purchased through PayPal here or by paying cash at the door. All proceeds go to benefit the India Street Mural Project.

Gallery 1889 is a new gallery and event space located at 1066 Manhattan Avenue and Eagle Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The space has been transformed from a long-vacant storefront to a bustling site for art, design, architecture, and unique events. For a map and to find out more about Gallery 1889, visit the website.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

empty lot

NPR has a slide show of the emerging swath of empty car dealerships across the country as automakers claim bankruptcy. If you go to their Flickr pool you'll also get a healthy dose of strip malls too.

You can add your own photos of empty dealers to our Flickr pool or Facebook page, Twitpic them and make sure to let us know on Twitter, or e-mail them.

image: NPR/Thomas Merton(Flickr)

hat tip Matt Yglesias

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

forcing an event

image:Daily Dish

India Street Mural Project begins

If you reside in Greenpoint you might want to head over to India St. to view the progress on the new mural project. The artists involved are Ali Aschman, Eve Biddle and Joshua Frankel, Joshua Abram Howard, Bob Seng, Skewville and Chris Soria.

Joann Kim has more at the North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition.

Monday, June 15, 2009


This is pretty much my studio soundtrack at the moment. Heavy, dark and majestic.

Eleanor Heartney talks with Phong Bui

I've come to really look forward to these interviews in the BR. Another excellent one by Phong Bui. Heartney looks back on the emergence of globalism in the context of the waning hours of the Cold War and the culture wars of identity politics. Also noteworthy for today's world, Heartney discusses the role of religion in our new era. This is an issue that I assume many of us are grappling with whether we realize it or not. The 'new' metaphysical presence is certainly dictating a lion share of social and political realities across the world. Artist's need to pay attention to this in some manner.


RAIL: From my own observations, I do feel that the multiculturalism that arose in the 80s, which as we all know was associated with political correctness and the rise of identity politics, had to do with both cultural and economic aspects of globalism. Hypothetically speaking, though culturally it addresses art as a manifestation of basic human interests, economically it seems tied in with corporate interest and political allegiances. In other words, artists tend to see the world at large, from the inside out, whereas corporate interests see the world as small, from the outside in. This, I would say, inevitably creates a huge conflict of communication, which means that artists are usually put in a position of having to satisfy corporate interests, which is so far removed from their intention. But at the same time we also are aware of the real issue of art being irrelevant, no longer as an isolated phenomenon, pursuing its imperatives or personal ideologies without reference to the outside world. How do you see the polarity?

HEARTNEY: I think globalism is very double-edged. It’s interesting because in the art world, when you say globalization, it tends to be a very positive thing because it suggests this new kind of inclusiveness, which admits different sorts of narratives from different places in the world. But it also of course has this other connotation, certainly on the economic front, which is invested in a variety of aggressive forms of corporatization and homogenization. Not only does it wipe out diversity, it seems to be devoted to making us all into the same sort of consumer. However, for artists, I think they find it both exciting and strange to skate between those two realities when they’re dealing with the global art world.

At the panel last week, which was about art critics and globalization, one of the things that was very clear to most of the panelists was that the explosion of International Biennials over the last three or four years has really been a vehicle for bringing artists from far-flung places and introducing them to the larger art world, which is all good, but each of them requires large amounts of money and has multiple agendas. In some cases there is a hidden political motivation that desires to wipe out some egregious kind of political event from the past. In other cases, it’s simply based on pure economic motivations. Either way, artists who participate in those Biennials are quite aware of the two different agendas, yet they’re also advancing their own agendas. So it becomes very complicated. In my case, I find it very important to figure out, “Why this Biennial, at this place, and at this time?” And then I can go on and look at the individual works.

RAIL: To go back to the late 70s and 80s, the name F.A. Hayek, the Viennese economist who wrote The Road To Serfdom (1944) and Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (1988), somehow loomed quite prominently in the light of Reagan/Thatcher’s political and economic policies. As we knew then, the multiculturalist view had its advantages and its disadvantages. On one hand, there were those who really advocated for and embraced the so-called redemptive “diffusion” from non-Western cultures, which they thought could perhaps replace the old image of the melting pot that allowed differences to be submerged in democracy. Yet on the other hand, you have those who opposed it, who thought it was an anti-Western ideology, and therefore downgraded or undermined U.S. national culture, while raising the status and power of other cultures. Since you have written extensively on the subject, particularly in Critical Condition: American Culture at a Crossroads (1997), which traced the rise of Neo-Expressionism, appropriation, Neo-Geo, and of course multiculturalism, how would you reassess that decade from today’s perspective?

HEARTNEY: You know, writing that book gave me a chance to think about a lot of those issues. The whole multicultural movement, for instance, laid out the groundwork that preceded globalization. On the one hand, it was very much about opening up the art world to these other voices from other cultures and other traditions that had been excluded. But on the other hand there was something about it that often became very militant and very exclusionary, to the point where people were only allowed to express a certain part of their identity. So the notion that we’re all kind of hybrid and made up of many different aspects kind of got lost there. In Art and Today, I have a chapter on art and identity, which I begin with that unitary notion of identity, and by the end I concluded that we’ve moved to a more hybrid notion of identity as something that is much more free-flowing and changing. In terms of the culture war, it had a lot to do with the rise of so-called “identity politics” and the notion that certain groups—non-white, non-male, non-European—were vying for power in the art world.

What was interesting about the whole culture war that rose really in the late 80s and early 90s was that it coincided with the end of the Cold War and the rise of the global market. In so many ways, I think it was a losing battle for the right, but nevertheless one in which they were deeply engaged; and of course looking back now, one that forms the perspective of a year in which we have elected a black president and the nomination of the first Hispanic woman, Sonia Sotomayor, as a Supreme Court justice. I think it’s kind of amazing when you look back to those wars and think that they really felt that they could hold back this tide.

RAIL: Did September 11th, and its aftermath have any bearing on your next book Defending Complexity: Art Politics and the New World Order?

HEARTNEY: September 11th was such an unimaginable event that changed so many things in our lives. One of the things in particular that I was concerned with in that book, which also overlapped with my other book Post-Modern Heretics: the Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art, finished right after September 11th, was the way in which religion suddenly was on the table in a very significant way, religion being a subject the art world had long ignored or seen it as a purely reactionary force. At any rate, when Serrano’s “Piss Christ” created controversy, the one thing that the right wing and the art world establishment agreed on was that it was an anti-religion work. Whereas, in fact, it wasn’t simply that; Serrano has a much more complicated relationship to religion.

Nevertheless, it became clear that there were certain things we had to pay attention to which we didn’t before, and part of it was the role of religion. Whether we see it for its positive and negative sides or not, religion wasn’t something that we’d put behind us, as some kind of relic of the past. In fact, it became an evermore important and growing force. And within these various religions, there is a great deal of controversy and dissention, and to see it as a monolith is a mistake. I think the political uses of religion, both on our side as well as on the side of those who perpetrated that disaster on September 11th, became more amplified. In both cases, it empowered the people who practiced the fundamentalist versions, which tend to see things as solely in terms of good and evil. And of course that kind of mentality had been guiding the Bush administration, pretty much up till Obama’s election.

Drawing: Phong Bui

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The High Line opens

At long last, the High Line is now open to the public. Very exciting.

Image: Joel Sternfield


...or should I say watching the creeps crawl out of their bunkers for a summer of local terror. I swore to swear off the news but you know, interesting times and all. This is one of those posts about not posting and so on....

Basically what is happening on the HLIB front is a confrontation with reality. Dwindling funds do to the economy and the eternal survival mode one gets accustomed to in NY. Aside from the worry over finances and increasing overhead, the daily practice of painting has never been better. That's all I've been doing - painting, painting, painting - and some needed walking. Walking is starting to figure into my practice in someway yet to be fully understood. I guess you can't always live in the clouds.