Archive for October, 2008

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

October 29, 2008

Merriweather Post Pavilion is the name of the upcoming Animal Collective album due in stores on January 20, 2009.

After seeing the cover art, I’m intrigued indeed.

Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait

October 26, 2008

still from Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait, 2006

Zidane takes a breath, walks a bit, then runs after the ball, jumping, kicking, sweating, spitting, yelling along the way as he tries to make a goal.

In essence that is the whole subject of Douglas Gordan & Philippe Parreno’s epic post-modernist portrait collage of the great soccer player Zinédine Zidane.

Taken as an all encompassing experience, the film is kind of like a contemporary cubist take on Duchamp’s Nude Descending The Stairs, with a famous soccer player replacing the nude and a soccer field replacing the stairs. Think Muybridge meets Étienne-Jules Marey as seen through the lens directed by Leni Riefenstahl.

Or, think of it as hyper-kinetic sports porn which a friend mentioned while leaving the theater.

We watch in awe as Zidane “performs” during a single soccer match. He is photographed from multiple camera angles with as many as 17 different cameras placed around the stadium. The great Darius Khondji (he shot Se7en as well as Delicatessen) is credited as the cinematographer, Mogwai composed the soundtrack, and Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine frontman) is credited with noise consultant.

I’m glad to have seen this on the big screen where it really belongs as I can’t imagine having to endure this experience in a museum or gallery while sitting on a hard ass wooden bench. I have no patience for video art these days unless I set out to see something specific in the first place. I feel bad about that, but I just can’t sit (or stand) to watch a feature length “art” video projected onto a gallery wall. Luis Gispert’s El Mundo Es Tuyo (The World is Yours) which showed at Mary Boone Gallery earlier this year was a prime example of something that should have been shown in a “real” theater.

Throughout the history of cinema there have been films that test an audience’s power to endure the experience, Andy Warhol’s Empire and Béla Tarr’s Satantango are just two examples that spring to mind. Beginning to understand and appreciating what is at stake in these extreme works of cinema usually requires the actual experience of sitting through them in their entirety as words cannot accurately describe the visual sensations that can form through the duration. Sometimes the experience is absolutely worth the “torture,” while other times I wish I had left half way or right at the beginning.

Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait is less than a quarter of the length of either Empire or Satantango, but a certain level of dedication and perseverance is still necessary. There is something rewarding in the experience, not that I can place my finger on it quite so clearly but within the non-narrative is a narrative of movement in space and time that can be fascinating and surprisingly climactic.

Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait is playing at Anthology Film Archives through Thursday October 30th.

Here is the preview:

The Village Pet Store

October 24, 2008

Banksy has set up a bunch of site specific installations in New York City right now. Billboards featuring giant rat drawings can be seen in SoHo and a full fledged “store” can be found in the West Village.

The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill is located at 89 Seventh Avenue South (near Bleecker Street) in Greenwich Village. Admission is free and open to the public through October 31, 2008.

Although it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s strange, unexpected and quite enjoyable. It’s also open late as well.

If you are going to visit the store, don’t bother watching the videos on the website as it will ruin the experience.

Chris McCaw – Sunburn

October 21, 2008

Sunburned, GSP#254, Santa Cruz Mountains/Fog, 2008 by Chris McCaw

A perfect example of why looking at photography on the web sucks in comparison to seeing it live in the flesh is Chris McCaw’s Sunburn currently on exhibition right now at Michael Mazzeo Gallery in Chelsea.

I had the opportunity to see the exhibition and to hang out with Chris a bit over the last weekend and I’m smitten by his gorgeous and unique black & white photographs.

These are not just photographs but physical objects that require 3-dimensional space to fully make their case. On the web the photographs appear straightforward but in reality they explore space and time in wonderfully ambitious ways. The photographs also recall the long lost history of mega-large format photography as represented by Carelton Watkins and Eadweard Muybridge. The main difference being that McCaw’s images look like they’ve been jacked up on monochromatic acid.

Each photograph is a unique large format image photographed directly on paper. The print is the negative in this case and they run anywhere from 8×10 to 20×24 inches. The exposures are long, usually many hours long in bright daylight. The final result is the opposite of what you would expect as the images look like moonlit landscapes shot in the middle of the night. The long exposure time has solarized the prints and the sun has been allowed to burn its image directly onto the print. Many of the prints here contain serious burn holes in them which is a big part of their beauty. It’s quite a sight to see.

As McCaw says on his website about his process:

“Not only is the resulting image a representation of the subject photographed, but part of the subject (the sun) has become an active participant in the printmaking.”

A visitor to the gallery I spoke to on opening night commented that the photographs looked like apocalyptic images of a dooms day situation or a giant meteor crash landing towards the earth. I would have to agree and hopefully you will too once you see the show.

Chris McCaw’s Sunburn is at Michael Mazzeo Gallery through November 22, 2008.

Horses Can Think And Paint too

October 20, 2008

Cholla, the painting horse

“We live in a world with constantly shifting boundaries and obviously expanding definitions,” said Kurt Kohl, curator at The Art Cafe.

“The horse is creating art on the level of a very young child,” he said. “There may not be a lot of thought behind the process, but one could also ask the same question about Pollock or De Kooning or Rothko.”

“The action of the art is in the viewers response to it,” Kohl said. “And that’s why we decided to hang it on our walls.”

-excerpts taken from an article on

The fact that the man quoted in the article justifies this stuff as art by questioning whether Pollack, De Kooning or Rothko put thought into their work is just preposterous. The whole thing is pretty entertaining though.

Watch the video of the “artist” in action and decide for yourself:

(Thanks to Amy for the link)

Let The Right One In

October 20, 2008

still from Let The Right One In, 2008

The Swedish film Let the Right One In (Låt Den Rätte Komma In) by Tomas Alfredson is getting a lot of buzz in the press these days and I’m definitely intrigued by the trailer.

Looks like a very different kind of vampire movie and supposedly the two young lead performances are incredible.

Word out on the street is that it’s already slated for an American Hollywood remake from the same director who brought us Cloverfield, Matt Reeves.

What is it about this concept of remaking a foreign film, I just don’t get it. It’s one thing when we remake a terrible film that had a great idea at its core but completely retarded when we remake a good film.

Here’s the trailer:

Thrift Find: Portrait Of Lynn Badey

October 20, 2008

Portrait of Lynn Badey, May 1955 by Carolyn Badey

Found this small painted portrait (8×10 inches) at the outdoor antique market over the weekend. The painting has a strange sense of scale which is almost miniaturized but I love the colors and the expression on her face.

Stan VanDerBeek

October 18, 2008

Collage (from Breathdeath) by Stan VanDerBeek, 1957

No, the above image is not a collage by John Stezaker, but by Stan VanDerBeek made many years earlier.

I can’t believe I’m just finding out about this exhibition closing today of Stan VanDerBeek’s work. I’ve known his experimental film works for years but I’m confounded by these amazing collages I never even knew existed.

By the looks of the gallery installation at Guild & Greyshkul, there are tons of collages that will blow the mind. Most of them seem to have been made during the 50’s and 60’s.

This is a must see exhibition and we have one day to see it.

Guild & Greyshkul is located at 28 Wooster Street in New York City. If you can’t make the exhibition before it closes, feel free to explore VanDerBeek’s work online here.

Here is just a taste….

Collage (from Science Friction) by Stan VanDerBeek, 1959

Collage (from A La Mode) by Stan VanDerBeek, 1958

Collage (from Science Friction) by Stan VanDerBeek, 1959

Photograph (from Breathdeath) by Stan VanDerBeek, 1963

(via Daylight Blog)

Photograph #20

October 16, 2008

Untitled, Outside Moab, UT, 2008

To request the above photograph:

Send an email (subject: photograph #20) to horses [at] with your name and address.

If you are the first person to respond after the posting, you will receive the photograph in the mail.

* This photograph is no longer available.

Erik Dalzen – Commodities

October 16, 2008

Sony TPS-L2 Walkman 1st Portable Cassette Player, 2008
Ink on Paper, 7 x 8.5″

Erik Dalzen sent out an email recently announcing a new project titled Commodities.

As Erik describes the concept on his project blog:

“Commodities is a collaborative project between me and spirited bidders. Art pieces are created based on specific marketable goods and cater to niche audiences of collectors and enthusiasts. The works are then exhibited on the auction website, eBay, under search terms that coincide with the vernacular from which each piece derives. Potential buyers may experience the thrill of shopping and the excitement of competition by vying against one another to win the art piece. The culminating action occurs at the close of each auction once rival bidders complete each piece by determining its value.”

The project, which contains a bit of Dalzen’s humor and ironic perspective, is off to a start with four items consisting of 3 photographs and one drawing.

I’m most interested in the Sony TPS-L2 Walkman drawing as it reminds me of the good ol’ days and I like the straightforward drawing style.

The internet seems to be a great launching site for all kinds of art sales and giveaways.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this project develops.