Hop hop hop

I took my 12-year old on a Chelsea gallery hop. The 17-year old is out of the game. She has a Saturday gig and a boyfriend now. There’s no room for gallery hops with Dad. Eventually, I’ll lose 12-year old too and be back to wandering around these galleries alone. I’m not hurt or insulted. It’s the nature of how things work.

I think she was a bit bored. I occasionally caught her standing in a corner staring at her phone instead of the art. I think she enjoyed the time spent with Dear Aul Da but I’m not sure how she feels about art. I either opened a world for them or turned them off to art permanently. It could go either way. But you have to make the introduction. What happens after that is out of my control.

This is Anthony McCall’s fetching light installation Split Second at the Sean Kelly Gallery.

I’m like a parrot. I like shiny objects and light is my favorite medium. Light + mist is even better.

A young child ran into the light and I couldn’t resist a pic.

James Turrell is the grandmaster for me but this is a very fine example of McCall’s ‘solid light’ works.

This room of shoe oddities tucked in the back of the Marlborough Gallery is Towards An End to Biological Perception by Genesis P-Orridge. Animal lovers beware.

My daughter didn’t spend any time looking at these. She found them disturbing, spun around on her heels and walked straight out, which I understand. But *I* liked them.

The larger part of the gallery is filled with Davina Semo’s large scale sculptures in All The World. Along the floor are heavy cubic bales that anchor chains linked to bells cast from bronze.

I didn’t want to get thrown out so I asked permission to ring the bells and they said it was OKAY. So you can imagine what that lead to.

Brightly colored reflective acrylic sheets studded with ball bearings hang on the walls throughout.

I was reading a review in ARTnews, which is something I rarely do. ARTnews sucks all the joy out of art. The reviewer said of the piece in question:

For an oeuvre that is so self-consciously synthetic, the overall experience offers a surprisingly potent meditation on attention, lifespans and mortality itself.

What does that even MEAN? I have a very base, visceral reaction to art. I look at it. Does it make me have a proper laugh (in the good or bad way)? Is it beautiful to behold? These are my criteria. It’s why I hate political art.

Cold in more ways than one

I forgot how fun these are (for me). This made me melancholy for an entire afternoon.

bins

January 18, 1994

I met Oswaldo and Ellis at The Public Theater despite it being 10 degrees out with a chill factor of 25 below. The cold gave me a headache so severe it felt like I had a mild concussion. They invited me to pre-show dinner but I said I was too broke join them. I can barely pay my bills. I was embarrassed. It’s humiliating to not have any money.

I had a long chat with Bonnie. She is still broken-hearted. When is she going to stop tormenting herself over that old man? Bonnie’s old boyfriend, Ricky Jay, is in the Times. He’s doing an off-Broadway show and she wants me to join her. I love magicians and that guy is the grandmaster. Somehow, I’ll find the money for a ticket. She introduced me to him in a restaurant once. I was star struck but held it together. I told him I admired his work and didn’t want to know how any of it was done. He said, “That’s good because I wouldn’t tell you.” David Mamet is directing the show. Bonnie hates him. She watched him dump his wife for a younger women. That’s kryptonite for women. She said she could tell it was going to happen because he suddenly started paying close attention to his appearance and clothes. I hope we go backstage. I’d like to see the dynamic between Bonnie and Mamet. [Note: Ricky Jay passed away last week.]

I had a job interview Friday. Afterwards, I didn’t want to go home so I went to the Angelica and saw Mike Leigh’s Naked. I’d heard it was excessively violent but the story was so compelling and the acting so adroit I didn’t notice if that was the case. I felt stupid sitting in the Angelica lobby café in a suit. So obvious. Took a slow walk home in dress shoes that hurt. They look great but feel like two bear traps.

Called [my brother]. That nutty girl I met at his wedding—Jezebel or something like that—was visiting. They handed the phone to her and she got all breathy and wanted to know when I was coming to Cleveland again. I remember trying to kiss her in the Holiday Inn parking lot after the wedding. She gave me her business card and it had her photo on it. When I got back to New York I found it in the folds of my wallet and threw it in the garbage. I didn’t think I’d left any kind of impression at all.

I stopped in a bar where I suspected Peggy, the girl I met at Kris’s Christmas party, worked and I was RIGHT! There she was, behind the bar. I made a fake call at the payphone, talking into it while listening to the dial tone, and then sat at the bar. She said, “I know you,” and I said, “Yes, I met you at Kris’s party.” Her eyes lit up and said, “That’s right! I remember you! You’re Joe!” That hurt. I thought we had a pretty good time at the party but the conversation was just awful. Her teeth are brown and rotten from smoking.

There was a terrible earthquake in Los Angeles yesterday morning. They cancelled regular programming to cover the destruction and I couldn’t tear myself away from the TV. It’s a miracle only 30 people died when you consider the amount of damage it caused. The town is pretty fucked up. The highways are all collapsed. Why would anyone live in Los Angeles? Aside from it not being 10 degrees with a -25 chill factor?

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A few more from last month’s auctions. Rothko usually didn’t work with such a dark palate but I love his use of plum here.

Mark Rothko
Untitled (Rust, Blacks on Plum)
Est. $35,000,000 – USD 45,000,000
Sold for $36,312,500

Impractical to display in home. Fun to say 10x fast. They’re just neon lights is all.

Bruce Nauman
RUN FROM FEAR FUN FROM REAR
Est. $ 400,000 – USD 600,000
Sold for $427,500

Another Warhol/Basquiat mash-up. That Reganesque figure in the back is Basquiat, correct? And the pricing is Warhol? Sold over estimate. That’s a Calder sculpture in the foreground.

Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat
Outlays Hisssssssss (Collaboration #22)
Est. $1,000,000 – USD 1,500,000
Sold for $2,052,500

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This was a food bodega near my apartment in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s long gone. Wiped off the map for the Barclay’s Center.

Art Amok: Fall Auction Sampler

My fascination with these semi-annual big-ticket art auctions continues unabated. It’s where commerce collides with integrity. The appreciation of art is so subjective. How are they able to convince wealthy folks to spend these astronomical sums? I know from collecting books that values are ephemeral. A book I paid $950 for three years ago, same variance and issue, just sold at auction for $550. Imagine that happening on a grand monetary scale. I hope they like what they buy. They could be stuck with it.

Here are a few early results to whet your appetite. Some big, interesting pieces are being sold tonight. I’ll lump those results in next time.

This is the one that’s causing palpitations in the dealer/collector community. Previously, the high watermark for a Hopper was $40.5 million. What made them think to double that in the estimate?

Edward Hopper
Chop Suey
Oil on canvas
Est. $70,000,000–100,000,000
Sold for $91,875000

Hopper is the master of sunlight. Just look at her. Beautiful. But $91M? Can you imagine the good that could’ve been done with that?

Here’s the obligatory Monet. There’s always a Monet. This is a big, important one. I mistyped “Monet” and it came out “Money.” Ha.

Claude Monet
Le bassin aux nymphéas
Oil on canvas
Est. $30,000,000–50,000,000
Sold for $31,812,500

Poor Jackson Pollock. Only did one thing. Dripped paint onto canvases that were spread across his studio floor. They’re beautiful (esp. this one) but after that, no one was much interested in his output. I think it’s what drove him into that tree. I wish I’d have done just one thing. Harper Lee only wrote one book. I’d be content with that.

Jackson Pollock
Composition with Red Strokes
Oil, enamel and aluminum paint on canvas
Est. $50,000,000–70,000,000
Sold for $55,437,500

So many Picassos. There are always so many Picassos. How many pieces did he create? Unlike Pollock, who did just one thing, Picasso changed and morphed his work over the decades. Constantly reinventing his output resulted in his dying of old age instead of plowing his car into a tree. This, from his multiple-perspective phase.

Pablo Picasso
Femme au beret orange et au col de fourrure
Oil on canvas
Est. $15,000,000–20,000,000
Did not sell

Here’s an ugly gray owl.

Pablo Picasso
Le hibou gris
Painted earthenware
Est. $1,500,000–2,500,000
Sold for $2,412,500

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I am home convalescing from a successful back procedure. I made the mistake of reading my surgeon’s detail Operative Report. I found it both fascinating and revolting. Here are some highlights. I don’t understand most of it but it sounds horrific. To think these things were done to me and I walked out of the hospital THE SAME DAY is a miracle to me.

This isn’t for the squeamish. I don’t know why I feel compelled to share this. Is anyone else fascinated? Now I know how the frogs in biology class felt.

The incision was made with the spinous processes of L4, L5 with the incision being carried down to level of thoracodorsal fascia. Then, a right-sided subperiosteal dissection was completed, exposing the bottom half of the L4 lamina top of the L5 lamina. Deep retractors were placed. 

The bone piece was removed en bloc exposing the ligamentum flavum. Ligament flavum was opened bluntly and then resected using Kerrison rongeur. There was a large focal disk herniation compressing the L5 nerve root. The L5 nerve root was gently mobilized off of the disk herniation and a nerve root retractor was used to hold it in place.

Using a 15 blade, a cruciate incision was made in the annulus. Then, very soft fragments of disk were easily removed.  The sac where the disk herniation was, was probed with a nerve hook.  A few small fragments were removed.

The patient tolerated procedure well, was brought to recovery room in stable condition with plans for discharge.

Presto. Nothing to it.

Picture this

My last post was VERBOSE. 900+ words. Highly unusual. As penance, I will rely mainly on photos for this post. Also, I have the August lazies. And I am growing weary of the sound of my own voice. But I’m still having fun taking pics so I’ll stick with that.

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I packed-up the fam and hauled them to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in western Mass. I had to drag the daughters. One insinuated it was a selfish act. That it’s something only I was interested in. Nice.

The museum is a group of old, repurposed warehouses and factories. The vast spaces allow for big-piece installations. It’s exhausting. But not in the way a teenager is exhausting. This is more exhilarating. Seen here is a small sampling of what’s on display. It’s a two-day visit, easy. I include the daughters for scale.

Liz Glynn’s three caves are constructed from shipping pallets.

Inside each is a different sensation; touch, smell and sound. One had hanging strips of black, thick felt. One contained bottles with different fragrances. This was sound. A turntable with albums.

There’s a huge Sol LeWitt retrospective. I’ve been indifferent about his work over the years but I found this very satisfying.

The exhibit occupies a historic mill.

I’m like a parrot. I like bright colors and shiny objects.

There’s a fantastic virtual reality piece by Laurie Anderson. It takes a few minutes to acclimate yourself with the controls and the goings-on but once mastered it really takes you to a different consciousness.

James Turrell is one of my favorites. Right up there with Rothko and Vinny van G and the rest. His medium is light. Here are two of the nine installations on display.

Jenny Holzer’s Ribs. It’s kind of like a news zipper.

Spender Finch’s Cosmic Latte was designed specifically for this space.

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After Mass we visited a county fair outside of Cleveland. It’s a genu-wine slice of rural life. Just look at these two sleeping angels. Adorable. Too bad for them they’re delicious in over a dozen different recipes.

I don’t know what this creature is. My friend Carolyn said she thinks she saw it in a David Cronenberg movie and I think that’s possible. I wouldn’t eat it, that’s for sure.

This bad boy won a second-place ribbon. Was the competition for most hideous cancerous growth?

There was some racist memorabilia in the 4-H pavilion. What if you’re a little kid and you see this? Wouldn’t it stay with you for a long time?

The King at the county fair in the heat of summer. If this won’t put a smile on your puss, nothing will. Thangkewverrmuch.

Meet the fried gator lady. She’s super-friendly with the same grin as that beheaded gator. I love fried gator.

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I wish had the wherewithal to make a gif of fire coming out of his mouth.

Are you going to have children?

…it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. That is unacceptable.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand

This, when she was asked whether or not she intended to have children.

It’s the Neanderthal in me but I make no apologies. It’s WOKE to say businesses have no right to ask women if they plan to have children. But here’s the reality of it.

My colleague had a baby last December. She took off from December through April, all while drawing partial salary. She came back in May, waited ten days, collected her annual bonus and promptly quit. She had no intention of ever coming back, just stuffing her pockets with money and running. They held her position and we absorbed all her duties in the interim, which was a big, fat, drag. She screwed the company and her colleagues over pretty thoroughly.

My bride did the same thing. She took three months’ maternity leave and resigned the day it expired. I had a fit. It’s perfectly legal but it shows a moral bankruptcy. I just had dinner with a friend who manages a team of lawyers. He said one of his charges is up front about it. She’s going to get pregnant, take her full maternity leave and then quit to be a full-time mommy.

Spare me any lectures about what’s acceptable to ask unless you’ve been on the receiving end of the new mommy whip.

It’s entirely her business,”
Ex-Prime Minister Bill English

No, it isn’t. Nobody is entitled to extort money from a company and double their colleague’s workload. If you plan on returning, fine. But if you have no intention, do the honorable thing.

~~~~~~~~~

We spent Father’s Day at the racetrack. I taught my 11-year old how to box a trifecta. It’s a useful skill. She already knows to stand on 16 if the dealer is showing a 2-6. Soon it’ll be time to show her the sucker bets on a craps table.

Sports betting is now legal in New Jersey and the track has a sports book. Do you know what a cooler is? A cooler is a mythical figure employed by casinos to throw water on a hot game. Their bad luck is so pervasive that casino management sends them over to sit at a table if the house starts losing too much money. I’m kind of a cooler when it comes to sports betting. I can tank a team’s entire season with one bet.

I put $10 on the Yankees to win the World Series. I hate the Yankees and always have. As of today, they’re one of, if not the, most powerful teams in baseball. But with my Dementor’s kiss, they’ll be lucky if they make the playoffs. Play ball.

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An unusual perspective of the Flatiron building. The offices in the point have irregular spaces that aren’t very workable. This is my bride’s favorite building from an architectural standpoint. I like it, too.

Chelsea graffiti.

~~~~~~~~~~

Pablo Picasso
Le Repos (Marie-Thérèse)
Oil on canvas, 1932
Est: $10,000,000-15,000,000
Sold for $11,562,500

I post a lot of jokey art so I thought I’d post something I admire for a change. $11.5M can be put to better use but this has a beautiful simplicity and gentle flow to it. The red and green play off of each other nicely. She was Picasso’s secret lover.

~~~~~~~~~~

The boredom of Alice.