Archive for November, 2007

Funny Games – Michael Haneke

November 30, 2007

Compare the original Funny Games (1997) trailer with the new English language Funny Games (2008). Very similar imagery and order of imagery but the tone is remarkably different. The original seems much more bleak and darker while the new preview has more of an ironic and sarcastic tone to it.

I love it when Michael Pitt says, “You shouldn’t forget the importance of entertainment.”


The poster is surprising and is reminiscent of an early Chuck Close photo-realistic painting or a 1960’s pop painting, albeit much darker in tone.

Funny Games is out in theaters on February 15, 2008.

The New Museum Reborn

November 30, 2007

Rendering of the New Museum Façade by S A N A A
Rendering of the New Museum Façade by S A N A A

I had the opportunity to see the New Museum this morning as part of a press introduction to the new building. I certainly don’t think of myself as a press photographer but was happy to be there photographing the building anyway. I was surely the only person around shooting film.

The building, designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa is impressive and well designed. It’s modern but not cold, clean but not sterile. There are wonderful touches like a dramatic staircase squeezed between a narrow corridor joining the 3rd and 4th floors. Everything is finished in subtle shades of grey or white except for the elevators (crazy Chartreuse) and the bathrooms (you’ll have to see for yourself) in the basement. The concrete floors have been allowed to develop cracks which contributes a strong sense of time as well as a playfulness to the building. I really enjoyed walking around.

I should note that the premiere exhibition on view is titled Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century. I’m usually not that big on sculpture (all three gallery floors are devoted to sculptural work displayed on the floor or hanging from the ceiling) but many of the pieces are strong and fascinating to look at.

They are doing something special with this exhibition as they will expand upon what’s already there by installing a second show in February titled Collage: The Unmonumental Picture. In March they will expand the exhibition further with The Sound of Things: Unmonumental Audio. That means that all three exhibitions will be happening simultaneously. I expect the results to be confounding as well as exhilarating. I’m surprised I have never seen something like this done before at a major museum.

All in all I was impressed with my experience. I’m looking forward to going back and seeing how the space and exhibition develops.

The museum officially opens to the public this Saturday, December 1 at noon with 30 free continuous hours sponsored by Target. All the tickets have been given out but you might be able to get in anyway if you show up at some odd hour in the middle of the night or morning.

Tourism Is A Privilege Not An Entitlement

November 29, 2007


According to the MTA, it is their primary focus to:

“…decrease the hazardous behaviors of tourists and to mitigate the inherent dangers that stem from the tourism trade. Enforcement of the plan will be increased in midtown Manhattan and in other key areas of the city. All tourists, visitors and gypsies are urged to follow the foregoing cooperation initiatives (collectively, the “Tourist Cooperation Initiatives”) wherever and whenever possible.”

Harmony Korine Does Television Ad

November 29, 2007

(via Filmmaker)

It’s amazing when a unique and strangely fascinating filmmaker like Harmony Korine does a television advertisement and somehow manages to pull it off while still being himself. I think this is a lovely enigmatic piece.

I’m definitely looking forward to his new film, Mister Lonely which will come out early next year. Read the plot summary…


On The Beach

November 29, 2007


I made it to Strand tonight just in time to hear what Richard Misrach had to say about his recent project and book called On The Beach. I had no expectations of any kind. I had heard that the book was big but this thing is enormous! It is so big and so beautiful and so extremely awe inspiring that I couldn’t not buy one. I tried really hard to stop myself but before long I was in line to have my copy signed by Misrach himself.

As for the photographs, I remember seeing the first group of them at Pace Wildenstein in 2004. I was instantly smitten yet totally envious. They were stunning photographs and had been made from a very unique and ambiguous perspective. Everyone seemed to be asking where the hell did he shoot these from. And yet not once during the show or since then have I had any of the thoughts or ideas in my mind that Misrach uses to contextualize the photographs. I can get so caught up in the beauty and awe of someone’s work that I forget to think about what I’m actually seeing and what it might represent. I also forget to relate how someone’s new work is informed by their past projects.

Misrach showed slides and described the beach photographs as evoking a post-apocalyptic world. According to him the work was informed by the traumatic events of 9/11. At one point in the slide show he paired the above falling figure with a close up of a man in a similar pose from one of the beach photographs. He followed that pairing by saying that the poses were identical. He discussed how the angle he was shooting from was the same (only in reverse) angle that the falling bodies from the towers were shot from. He also referenced a cold war novel from the 50’s called On The Beach from which he took his title as well as a T.S. Elliott poem.

I was surprised by all the references for a body of work that I assumed was all about aesthetics, the sublime and beauty. I never bothered to look deeper into it to see what was underneath. Although I am always curious about what an artist will say about there work, sometimes it’s a question of whether I want to buy what they are saying or not. In many instances the talk seems to be a way for the artist to justify what they are doing. In Misrach’s case everything he said made complete sense, especially in the context of his older projects. It was an enlightening evening and I’m glad I went.

One last thing I forgot to mention is that Misrach discussed his moving away from pure photographic traditionalism in that he is cropping the 8 x 10 negative and using digital retouching to make these photographs the way he envisioned them. He admitted to having removed figures from the water and beach to create the isolated feeling he wanted. I never would have thought that if he hadn’t mentioned it. Not that it really matters to me anyway, but I find it interesting nonetheless.

Read a great book review here.

Listen to or download a podcast of Misrach giving a similar slide show at The Art Institute of Chicago.

I think these things are gonna sell like hot cakes so you better get one fast (if your coffee table is big enough).

As an added bonus, Strand has about 40 copies of William Eggleston’s Los Alamos which is supposedly out of print, get one while they last.

Peter Paul Chocolates

November 27, 2007

Paul McCarthy, Santa With Tree And Bell, 2007
Paul McCarthy, Santa With Tree And Bell, 2007

Paul McCarthy has opened a holiday chocolate factory and retail store inside Maccarone Gallery in the West Village. He is selling 10″ tall Chocolate Santas at $100 a pop. They will be making a thousand Santas a day until Christmas. The Santa is supposedly carrying a Christmas Tree on his shoulder, but in a short article in The New Yorker, McCarthy admits that the tree could just as easily be a butt plug.

“I’ve made a number of pieces about the butt plug, I like that it looks like a Christmas tree, and also like a Brancusi, or an Arp. As an artist, you look for things that have multiple meanings.”

Get them before they melt…


November 26, 2007

Barbara, (aka Monique Andrée Serf) was a French singer beginning around the 1950’s. Born into a Jewish family in France, she was forced into hiding during the German occupation of France during WWII. Her memories of the war left permanent scars but the haunting music she created is a testament to her strength and beauty.

Richard Misrach: Talk + Book Signing

November 26, 2007

Untitled, 2004 by Richard Misrach
Untitled, 2004 by Richard Misrach

Richard Misrach will be at The Strand on Wednesday night giving a talk and signing books. Although I like his older desert based photographs better than the recent stuff, it could be an interesting evening.

Misrach is also one of those photographers who really gives a shit about the quality of his prints, they are never less than impeccable. You can see them at Pace/Macgill Gallery on 57th street starting this Thursday.

Richard Misrach: On the Beach
Talk and Book Signing

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
7:00 p.m.

Free Admission

The Strand
828 Broadway
New York, New York
(212) 473-1452

Cruise Ship Sinks In The Antarctic

November 24, 2007

From the New York Times and Chilean Air Force, Via European Pressphoto Agency
via NY Times, Chilean Air Force, via European Pressphoto Agency

My mind is blown when I wake up to a news photograph like the one on The New York Times front page today.

It also made me wonder what it would feel like if some of Florian Maier-Aichen’s mysterious photographs came true.

Florian Maier-Aichen, Untitled, 2007
Florian Maier-Aichen, Untitled, 2007

Daniel Day Lewis On Acting

November 23, 2007

still from There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007
still from There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007

“There’s a terrible sadness, the last day of shooting is surreal. Your mind, your body, your spirit are not in any way prepared to accept that this experience is coming to an end. In the months that follow the finish of a film, you feel profound emptiness. You’ve devoted so much of your time to unleashing, in an unconscious way, some sort of spiritual turmoil, and even if it’s uncomfortable, no part of you wishes to leave that character behind. The sense of bereavement is such that it can take years before you can put it to rest.”

-Daniel Day Lewis in The New York Times Magazine

I’ve always been in awe of and admired great actors for their amazing ability to disappear into a role in order to create a character, but I’m beginning to understand that it’s not disappearing but self discovery and as well as devotion that leads to an incredible performance.