Tag Archives: art

Michael Barletta: Visual Soundtrack

A bit of shameless self promotion but I just finished working with friend and artist Michael Barletta on a very exciting installation taking place in the NYU area! On display are some of his sharpie drawings on mylar, which are among some of my personal favorites of his work. It was a great time watching them go up and I highly encourage you to  check out the show’s website or Mike’s flickr site for pictures of the artwork!

The Art of Financial Accounting in relation to Birds somehow.

Today my Stern business class started: Financial Accounting. I had been dreading it, thinking “oh, business, this is going to be sophisticated and difficult! I am going to dread this 6-9pm course!” However, upon my first day of class (although I will need a pack of skittles to stay awake) I really enjoyed it. In fact I would venture to say that it’s my best class so far, well right up there with Carlo’s course in London.

Now in financial accounting you have your assets and your liabilities and owner equity. Since its a double balance thing you record things like such. Say you want to buy a chicken. Don’t ask me why, you just do. So you spend $30 on a chicken of your assets but then add $30 worth of chicken to your inventory of chicken. Inventory also being an asset. However, if you wanted to buy a whole hell of a lot of chicken and you put it on a credit card in basic terms. You’d add + $ for chicken to your inventory and + $ for chicken to your liabilities, basically your bills. At the end of the day assets = liabilities + owner’s equity. Owner’s equity being if you decided to sell stock in your chicken. Oh god that was the worst unintentional pun ever! I may actually use it again just for the sake of the cringe that crept over me.

So had class today. But yesterday is when the important thing began. I was thinking about President’s day weekend as I was walking to the PATH and Benjamin Franklin (who was never a president but also goes with the bird theme as he suggested the turkey – relative of the chicken – to be our national bird) for that matter why do we have a national bird and no other national animals? Really animals, stand up for your rights!

But back to Ben. So Ben would keep a day planner. I remember reading about this in middle school in some terribly illustrated book in a class by a woman who I wasn’t so keen on. I would regularly fail our reading tests. So Ben would have this day planner and he’d keep track of where every one of his hours went. Or more like, how he spent them. He’d get up terribly early and utilize the daylight and such and work off into the night. So I began thinking about how I use my hours and where do they all go to. I figured that I spend at least 2-3 hours a day in just commuting! That adds up! I spend another 40 hours a week in going to work, my internship and classes.  Again, a lot of time. Then when you think about how much sleep you get and how much time that takes up! So you can imagine my mind is just reeling over how much time I spend where and doing what.

Now bring this back to Financial Accounting. Again, I was walking to the PATH. I do my best thinking when I’m walking as anyone who has seen me on a telephone or dictating something would be able to tell you. And here it is the art of financial accounting. How can I make a balance sheet of my day? So instead of assets = liabilities + owner equity, you’d end up with Enjoyment = Work + Extremities. I was counting sleep and eating under extremities. But then… bear with me as I take you through a train of thought that really belongs on a carnival tunnel…. how would I assign value to the numbers? Would I make the measurements units of time, units of experience, units of money, units of quality? Its just mind boggling! For instance, though I was considering sleeping and eating as extremities, things you just need to do, they can also totally be considered enjoyment. And in that case, how do I create my balance sheet?! Hence the concept of quality or for that matter experience. If I spend $2 on a cupcake and it make my entire day, how do I weigh that against the 4 hours of work I just did so I could buy the cupcake or feel that I emotionally deserved the cupcake enough to financially buy it!

So you can see, its really difficult to account for yourself! I mean, then you get into the whole concept that accounting is just numbers and the number have no real meaning! Because there are plenty of things that aren’t considered in accounting that do contribute to the value of your company! For instance with all the big pharmaceutical companies, if they develop the Paten for the drug in house, they don’t have to put it on their balance sheet! Or if you bought a building 10 yrs ago and the real estate is now worth more, you still put the price of purchase on your balance sheet. So numbers mean absolutely nothing and I can’t even begin to consider how that will effect my personal accounting! I mean my mind just may explode by the time I figure it all out. And if then you take into consideration that TIME IS JUST A  HUMAN PERCEPTION! Thank you Data/Star Trek episode and the book Speed, then where are we to begin with? And isn’t time acutally a dimension, like the 4th dimension? Does the forth dimension not exist? Oh my gosh this is just amazingly crazy and I have no idea how I’m going to get this personal accounting thing to work. Then again, its just as likely or rather maybe more likely that I’ll have forgotten about this whole art project by next week. However, if there are any suggestions out there – send them my way!

The Art Market as defined by some book.

So. Course readings. You would think that as an MA student of art administration, that certain things wouldn’t need to be explained. Like for instance, what a curator is, a critic, a connoisseur or particularly the artist. However, I guess it is better to never assume anything – even if this means a lot of page flipping. In this page flipping, I found a great chart of the art market. (there were many charts, but this one, more of a list actually, was the best!) So here it is, how you divide up artwork?

Alpha: gilts or treasury notes, high quality art of dead artists. Old master paintings, the best modern and highest quality Asian art and antiques. Exclusively second market with considerable and certain resale and investment value. Proprietors: Collector-connoisseurs, businessmen (former merchant-bakers or speculators), amateur dealers who may choose, for tax reasons, to operate at a loss.

Beta: blue chip securities, highest quality contemporary art, exclusively second market with highly potential resale and investment value. Proprietors: Businessmen (financial services), amateur dealers who may choose for tax reasons, to operate at a loss.

Gamma: index-linked bonds and futurers, works of art that may prove worthless or ascend to the beta level. Proprietors: Artist dealers and intellectuals.

Delta: junk bonds, i.e. worthless unit value of art, with significant aggregate value but no resale value. Oil paintings, sculptures and low value (often damaged) antiques. Proprietors: souvenir merchants and tourist memorabilia sellers, parkrailing merchants, art supermarket and warehouse salesmen.

(taken from Understanding International Art Makerts and Management by Iain Robertson)

So, what was the point? you might be wondering. Now for that to come across, come with me on an imaginary journey. Picture this: me. sitting at my kitchen table. reading on google books, thinking why am I reading this stuff. Alpha, yes. Blue chip, beta, uhuh. Reading chart, reading chart. Get to gamma. Interesting term and then here, in this quick second you find why I’m bothering to spend time writing about this book. Gamma art, Proprietors: Artist dealers and intellectuals. That just gets me right there. Who wants to sell art that may have no value? The intellectual of course! And funny that this should be the only mention of the intellectual in the art selling market. Funny that they mention the mysterious category of intellectuals at all, because last time I remember the list of public intellectuals wasn’t that long. Go ahead, try and name some. I’m coming up short, but thats just natural. And the artist of course, the artist would take a risk on art that may not go anywhere. Its just fantastic. So there we get to my part of the art selling world. The land of aesthetic philosophy and faith in what we love. I love how it gets just stuck in this chart like an after thought, or an aftertaste of appreciation if you will.

Vik Muniz you are a god or, why Rebus should be required viewing.

Dear Vik Muniz.

You are a god, but certainly you must know this. You must have other worshipers. I first came in contact with your work because it made me laugh. And I love art that makes me laugh. I love art that makes me laugh at art, or more appropriately, with art. Now thats successful art for you. Now, as you must know, there isn’t always a lot of art out there that fits that unique category. So it wasn’t hard to figure out that your name kept coming up. And this when I fell in love with you. (I know pretty heavy for a first time imaginary love letter, but what can you do?!)

So when I saw your name mentioned in the context of the Rebus show at MoMA, I have to admit I couldn’t even finish reading the sentence. I was sold. I was going. And I went. And really, honestly, I expected to see your work. I was expecting a show of you. In fact I had read Rubik rather than Rubus and had expected you to be making things out of Rubik cubes like Pollock pieces or something. So, it caught me for a moment that it wasn’t your work, but really that’s not true either. For all the work that wasn’t yours, it was really just one larger work that was yours. And does so truely fit with your body of work, your use of art as the subject of art. Its really brilliant you know. And if I keep saying really, let me just put it this way, I wish I could find a greater emphasis to use instead.

I laughed immediately upon seeing the show. I mean just the first work, which I was already familiar with, and its huge crowd surrounding it. It was hard to get in! I love the way the name puns as your opening piece. I love the references to Plato in the second through fourth pieces. I love the way you drive this exhibit like a car changing lanes or making turns whenever it feels like it, but at the same time, keeping that rhythm, the beat, the soundtrack of our lives. Keeping it going and letting it also change course. I walked through the whole exhibit and giggled. I like the use of your gray wall to keep our eyes focused on the art. I just want to go back and take notes on how people respond. I asked the guard, but I don’t think he was honest.

I kept going around and around and then I found out about your talk and ran down to sign up for a ticket. No luck. It would have been my first day of financial accounting and I would have gladly missed it for you. Thats both not really and is really the comment on financial accounting that it could be seen to mean. I think I ran back and forth to and from the gallery at least two other times. Getting the audio guide that the guard said didn’t exist. Even if it was just one number, that was particularly hard to find, it was worth it.

Now I know I should be critical and say something academic sounding and the like. But this was such a pleasure trip for me visually and intellectually that just trying to put it all in words makes it sound bad. So I understand if you don’t make it through the rest of this letter that you’ll probably never read. Its okay. But what I do want to say and say rightly is that, part of what made it great was that each time I returned I found something new. It didn’t have to be all out shocking like some of the work you see now. Shock value just for shock value. It was clever, it was funny, it carried meaning, it asked questions and it made statements. But, of course, what else would it do? Its yours.

And I love the handouts, the educational guide. I just want to frame it and put it above my bed. I love the way you think, I love rocks, paper, scissors. I love the movie screen and the end. And how I will not make boring art or how I will love Marcel Duchamp even more when he is next to this pail. I think he would too, personally. I love how all of these works that I knew came together to be something more than their individual worth. I love how you do this to art and I love how it makes me feel to see it.

So there you have it, Vik Muni -, a love letter, or if you will, a love post, just for you. No stamp necessary.

And most importantly, thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for keeping art on its toes.

Deitch Does Stephen Sprouse

Frankly Stephen Sprouse, and no- its not awkward addressing this post to someone whose dead, I’m not familiar with you or your design work. Maybe its my lack of interest in things that walk down runways, or perhaps its the fact that my birthdate is a little past your prime. In any case, Rock on Mars is clearly a memorial to you. Cheers.

Stephen Sprouse: Rock on Mars is a Deitch Project located at 18 Wooster St. Open til Feb 28th, make it a stop on your lower east side adventures. So, the show is interesting based on two components, Deitch and his ability to create a fantastically lavish space and then, of course, Stephen Sprouse’s work itself. So, in sum, exhibition design concepts + art. For me the design here is actually more interesting, but we’ll start with the art.

So if you’re a small girl, fashion senseless, born out of sync with the rest of your time, then you don’t have the faintest clue who Stephen Sprouse is. As I’ve now learned, let me share the knowledge. Think fashion explorer of the punk rock 80s. Think clothing made out of rows of safety pins, think big shoulders mini skirt, baggy, angular, color and pattern traumatized. Place extra emphasis on that traumatized.

Now that you get the image of what’s on display, lets check out how its displayed because this to me is more interesting. First, bright napalm orange walls covered in a sort of screen printed graffiti. Line of mannequins against the wall in a runwayesque look, your center stage display of course and then both an upper and lower level of more memorabilia. Heading downstairs you find yourself in a room of black lights with sketches like the one above popping with its day glow color scheme. Opposite, the wall is covered in gray spandex camouflage sheen. Its pulled and stretched and wrapped about with its nose up in the air. Its fashion punk and it knows it. Now get out of its way. Upstairs, its a wall of Polaroids, some random some documenting people actually wearing these clothes. I get a kick out of finding someone wearing the see-through mesh dress covered in large (but not large enough) dangling sequins. Its quite funny, as is the scribbled on Barcelona Chair – its a message to Mies Van Der Rohe of course.

The place flaunts the punk culture – this fashiony aesthetic that might as well be from a different time. With all the appropriate music tastefully not quite blaring in the background, you might just be convinced you’re backstage at the catwalk waiting for some leather and studs to appear.

Adventuring.

Being in London woke up the part of me that thrived on exploration. Paired with the quick after thought that having been plopped down in NYC with school around the corner, a mysterious apartment that wasn’t ready on time, and a family life to sink into; that I had completely skipped the embracing and adventuring step generally common to my big city lifestyle. I like how it takes me this long to realize it. And I wonder about if I hadn’t been in London, how I would be doing right now. So while red shoes an an LBD are nice, the best souvenir was remembering how to adventure.

There are, I might, add rules for adventuring. That’s right if you don’t have rules to play by, then having an adventure can be boring. What? Isn’t this all counter intuitive? No. If you can do anything you like and you know what you’re about to do, then where’s the satisfaction in doing it?

Rules for adventuring: having a start destination. Having a goal for the adventure. Being able to sidetrack. Realizing that completing the goal is not necessarily the mission. Keeping track of random things as you go (the other day I kept track of how many Starbucks I passed in addition to how many Battlestar signs were of stealable quality). Remembering to be where you are and be conscious. I think that’s most of the rules.

So adventuring commenced to say the least and has been progressing since I arrive back on Saturday. Here’s the debriefing of the highlights:

Saturday: Goal: rearranged my bedroom. not a full blown sort of Indiana Jones adventure but changing your physical lifestyle is a no-joke thing. it certainly reorients your sense of being in more that a physical way.

Sunday: Goal: pearl paint, canal st. frame for artwork, $10 in my pocket. without direction, without caring so much about direction, I wandered from Christopher St. down, around, etc. With great mini-trips into dog boutiques, a chocolate store, a high-end sex shop, and an Aldo where I found my red shoes at twice the price than in London. Wandering back, stopped off to make use of the NYU library. Scanning room + Tom Robbins.

Monday: Goal: Ikea, Ikea water taxi, as much of my buy list as under $9.00. Found lots of art on this part of my trip through the financial district. Theres something delightful about finding unexpected pieces of large scale public art. And taking your picture in the mirrored one. Water taxi- not enough room, I ride on top in a snow storm. More white than usual, more cold than usual and also happier than usual. Coat hooks and planter base at $6.00. Going back to Manhattan sitting inside the water taxi, you got it: priceless. Then visit to Southside Seaport and Seaport Museum. Museum no misnomer, Seaport well yes. I was expecting more fish and less tacky mall.

Tuesday: Goal: Find place to view inauguration. In NYC there were lots of places to view publicly, but at 9 am I selected my Aunt and Uncle’s place in Brooklyn. Threw some spice cake muffins (calling them muffins so I can eat more than if they were called cupcakes) and took them on the F once they popped out of the oven. Family, lunch, watching my man Obama getting sworn in. First day of class, goes smoothly. Get home in time to write up my grant and get it submitted – big weight off my shoulders.

Wednesday: Goal: Rotunda Gallery opening. First day at work. 5 mins late. Don’t have the paperwork done. Get it all set up and I’m off by 1pm. I scan images. Its not all that bad. Second class of the week. Done at 4pm, how to kill time before Rotunda’s opening begins? Lower East side: Deitch Projects and Nyland Blake. Nyland disappoints. Stephen Sprouse: Walk on Mars does not. Gallery is completely transformed into a crazy punk wonderland. For a person who could care less about his clothing, I was impressed. Add to this trip the store Evolution (advertised as the meeting of art and science) and you now know where to buy human skulls the next time you need one.

Thursday: Goal: make it through the day. I work 9-5 in the Blackroom. Around 4 pm, I start to fade. It takes all the chocolate I have to keep me going. Thats okay, tolerance is something you build and in that respect, I’m at a good starting point. Last class of the week: Exhibition Design. By the end of class around 8:30 I’m ready to head home. Get back to outside my apartment but I don’t want to stop walking. Head ove r to the waterfront and watch the lights for a while. Close eyes and wish I was in a hammock, in the middle of no where, cold enough to tingle but hands are still warm, looking up at the stars. Film of the night: Kenneth Branaugh’s As You Like It. Absolutely beautiful to say the least. And you can always depend on Shakespeare for some quick wit.

Friday: Goal: Don’t screw up. Internship at Chelsea gallery. Goes smoothly. Labeling, sending postcards through postage meter. No problems there. Find toothpaste stain on black shirt. Great! Get off work and head to the Whitney for a tour of their Calder show. First time there. Free. Calder. Have mentioned that I love Calder? Excellent show, so glad I saw it. Walk back to the Path train from 75th st. Yup, count down to street #14. Go past the Chrystler Building. See that blue lite building that I can see from the Hoboken waterfront and I keep walking. Its at 14th st. so now I have a good idea of where things are in relation when looking from the other side.

Saturday: Goal: MoMA, Buffalo Exchange. Saturday was pretty direct for an adventure. On a time schedule with meeting friend for dinner does that to you. But good all the same. MoMA was amazing, I now know I can get more than one free ticket in. Vik Muniz is my mascot of Mock Art. He’s curated the show Rubus from the MoMA’s collection. If you’re within traveling distance, make it happen. I’m in love with this man. I’m in love with his humor. The way he connects his thoughts. I will be using his exhibition as the topic of my exhibition display paper. He will get his own post. Buffalo Exchange is disappointing. Meet Chris in Chinatown. Dinner, bottle of wine and I’m getting back into the groove of Guitar Hero on his couch. Good friends are great.

Sunday: well that’s today! Goal: PS 1. More later.

Last of London

With two days left, my class makes a stop over at Saatchi Gallery. This worth mentioning for two reasons: first because of the nature of the gallery and second because what I did before going to the gallery. Lets start with the gallery.

Old Person's Home - Sun Yuan and Peng Yu

Old Person's Home - Sun Yuan and Peng Yu

Mr. Saatchi is and is not the person I want to be when I “grow up” I would certainly love to own a beautiful gallery space and be able to show and catalogue all of the masses of art that I own ( my personal favorite above ) but at the same time, I hear the Indiana Jones catch line – from film #3 to be exact – hovering in my head, yes you named it, “It belongs in a museum!” At the same time I think Dali and his museum, which isn’t exactly what I was intending by the use of the term. Its an interesting debate though. Saatchi is free to public and self promoting. There seems to be something not quite right about it, but not quite wrong either. Its up in the air Mr. Saatchi.

Now briefly, a fantasy interlude: It a bright and beautiful day. The sun was shining. I was in an airplane reading about a sexy redheaded vampire who had recently become self-empowered to wear the LBD. Little Black Dress for those of you who don’t know.  (Like me!) LBD is not part of my vocab. But since this reading on the airplane I had gotten it in mind that I would find the perfect little outfit as well. …and rainbow colored unicorns pranced under puffy clouds to songs that emanated from strawberries….the realism here is that on my adventures in Camdon Market I had found the perfect shoes. Aldo 10 pounds. Red. Not red in the “*#$@ me” sort of sense of the novel or according to Lola, but red in that sort of Librarian lets her hair down sort of way that embodies me to a T.

I was satisfied here with the shoe purchase. I had been spending very little, I require very little, so I was tempted to just exchange the money back. But then I remembered how I needed money for postage etc and that ended that. So empowered with my own desire for a LBD, I checked out the All Saints website since I had been hearing rave reviews. Then I actually visited the store and did something I don’t really do. Be prepared. I wasn’t. I walked in, in my rainbow winter garb (no fantasy joke there), looked at the first employee I saw and said.  “I am looking for a black dress, simple, elegant and on sale. What can you find for me?” I’ve never went into a place known for their expensive stuff and said. I have money and I am going to buy. Show me. But I did and it was strange, gratifying in a strange sort of way. I don’t plan on doing it again soon. And I didn’t fulfill the part when I pranced around in the dress through the store after trying it on. Yes, go ahead. Little deer like creature, in tight waisted but flowy skirted black taffataeque dress, skipping past the racks. I really did do it. Hadn’t shaved for months. Probably embarrassed several patrons. Enjoyed every moment. For 36 pounds, for which I had lived on bread, cheese and yogurt for the past two weeks and for which I hadn’t really gone out, I had in fact secured an experience and a LBD that I won’t forget…And there were chocolate sundaes sprouting from the ground and chocolate fudge sauce in rivers and gnomes running around in a hypercolored farmland. Fantasy interlude completed.

In any case, on my last day I meet up with Forbes – a really nice adjunct SU professor who has been teaching in London for the last 17 yrs. We meet at an artsy coffee house above an artsy cinema in Brixton – the first really gentrified neighborhood which I’ve seen since getting to London. For never having met before, we spend a good hour and a half talking about art, visual culture, theory, film, our backgrounds. Fascinating guy and the time flies! Its my last night in London, so I ask him what I should do! With a bit of persuasion, he’s given me some ideas. I take the bus over to a bridge from which you can see the houses of Parliament and the whole London sky light up at night. Its really beautiful. On my way I’ve passed the British Film Institute (playing Michael Snow!) and I pass through the free gallery exhibit. Yup, its Michael Snow’s work! I had screened him back through Thursday Screeners and it was  good to get a refresher course. Near by is some neat advertising which makes me giggle:

Quite the advertising!

Quite the advertising!

I’ve been taking pictures of poster and ads all over London – they just have such a better sense of humor! So this one is for the Southbank Centre (love the “re”) which hosts some free programs that I couldn’t quite figure out but asked about profusely. From here I can see almost everything in London. But I head over to the TATE Modern and go up to their 7th floor bar to get an even bigger view. Its all beautiful. All the lights and shadows and mystique that the camera can’t capture. I gave up on photos right then. Just beautiful.

Coming back to earth I finished up my trip with two other stops: Primark and St. John Wood’s Tube stop.

As mentioned, I am extremely conscious about finances. With 15 pound in my pocket, the remainder of all of my money for the trip. I did what I had planned on doing, spending my last few pounds at Primark. I love Primark. I love Penneys. I love the company that sponsors them. These are two sister store brands that I’ve encountered in my UK/Ireland experiences. They’re delightfully cheap and they’re always full. So many people pulling things out that they’ve hired a staff to refold things. I spent my last few pounds there buying these amazing pants with bondage like suspenders that were slightly too big but pinstriped and absolutely something I would love to wear.

As for St. John Wood’s Tube stop. It was really about walking down Abbey Road. I have a heart for the Beatles, who doesn’t? Had to ask a really nice ambulance driver to find my way, but got there. And, late at night, in the dark, I completed my journey. Alone, happy, pleased. Everything was as it should be and I was fully content. London was successful and I headed home to write the last few of the 22 letters I sent out about it. Crazy girl, but happy.