This is Oswald, with very many Christmas lights.
More art in a few days… but for now…
xoxo – Amy
I’m spending this snowy Sunday writing letters of recommendation for various positions, schools, etc.
This is a task I take ridiculously seriously – perhaps overly seriously. I only really write about people that I think are really fantastic and I only write for them for specific positions, situations, etc. Meaning, I really don’t send out the blanket So-and-so is a very hardworking and dedicated individual far above their peers blah blah blah letter to any and every school that someone wants me to, just to be polite because I was asked.
Anyway, one of the letters I was writing today was for an artist named Beverly Ress who is applying for a teaching position at a university outside of NYC. I’ve known Bev for several years and, in writing her letter, I remembered all over again just how much I love her work.
As I sat writing the letter, I couldn’t help but grapple with questions like, Why isn’t Beverly famous? Why the hell am I even writing this letter, anyway? Shouldn’t they just give her the job flat out because her work is so amazing? Shouldn’t she be writing letters for me instead of vice versa?
The answers to those questions that I came up with all made me really sad. She’s a woman (yes, I think this has a lot to do with it); she lives outside of NYC; her work doesn’t photograph well; her work is minimal and sedate although it often takes on difficult (ie, not-so-pretty) subjects; her work hovers between various formal boundaries of sculpture/installation/drawing which make it difficult to fit into the marketplace. She’s also just a really nice person who – while she’s really smart and articulate and certainly no pushover – isn’t a forceful schmoozer. She’s just a nice, normal person who cares deeply about her practice and it’s really annoying that somehow that’s not enough for her to be a big shot.
Anyway. It’s come to my attention that a fair number of people read this thing, so I want to use it to draw attention to an artist who really deserves it. Beverly is amazing. Below is an image of her work and it loses tons in the photo, but so it goes. She’s awesome.
My Art Basel Miami Beach experiences notwithstanding, I don’t normally blog about shows to go see or to avoid. Plenty of blogs do that; I’m trying to just write about my own process and artmaking here, but every so often I have to make an exception.
This is a scene from Love/War/Sex at Exit Art which is all about the intersection of those three things, and the show is moving and brave and you just have to see it. The walls are papered with all these different voices talking about romance and prostitution and rape and everything in between. You think you’re a jaded New Yorker and you think it’s not going to affect you, and then you start reading and it just stops you in your tracks.
I decided it was relevant to post here because I think it’s going to invade my thinking for some time – probably for a very long time. Go see it. It’s up til the end of January.
Art Lies has a nice article out this month by Jason Hill and Aram Moshayedi featuring pictures by me. Check it out!
(Ah, yeah: I said “pictures”… not so sure if they’re art really or not. Are they art? Illustration? Journalism? Huh? I have no idea.)
I just started fooling around with this – it’s a new artist’s book, not even halfway done but I’m enjoying doing it. Have you seen the new sketchbooks they have at Da Vinci across the street from school? They’re great. They have about 25 pages in them (the perfect amount for an artist’s book) and are incredibly simple. Just softcover bound, with staples… nothing fancy. The paper is ok but not great, but fine for my purposes. I bought a stack because I want to make more books for sure.
Meanwhile, file under “Divine Intervention”: It would appear that the installation for the JC Museum show has been put off for a bit, as they need to have emergency construction on the roof directly above from where my show will be. On one hand I’m a little disappointed, as I want to get this thing installed and up already (this is at least the second if not third time it’s been postponed). And on the other? HOORAY!!! I HAVE MORE TIME TO PREPARE!! I’m thrilled. It truly is a miracle. Any sort of disappointment I felt quickly disappeared only to be replaced by the thrill of the idea of sleeping late on Christmas morning, rather than getting up as usual and going straight to work.
I didn’t realize how much pressure I felt from getting ready for the show until it let up and now I’m in a much better mood. Hooray, hooray. Installation will now be in March and the show will be up til June. Hooray.
I did this one and the one below just before we left for Miami.
Oh man, tomorrow is my first day back to drawing in a week, and I cannot wait. I am such an art nerd. Yeah, but I love it.
Watercolor drawing of performance group 0100101110101101.org re-enacting Chris Burden’s “Shoot” in Second Life
Funny… one of the things I’ll remember most from this year’s ABMB festivities is that it is definitely the year that Second Life “broke” – meaning, I never got over being surprised at just how much art there was around made in or about SL. It kind of has me rethinking my relationship to the drawings I’ve been doing based on SL* which, up until now, I’ve considered to have such a tiny audience of people who understand what the heck is up with them, that I shouldn’t even take them all that seriously. Now, I feel a little differently – maybe there’s enough people working with imagery from the game to make it actually the kind of thing you can have a viable conversation about which, to me, is the most interesting thing about art anyway (the conversation it generates, I mean). I don’t know. I’m thinking about it.
*Ok, so: I’m too tired to remember how much of the project I’ve detailed here, but – I’ve been making these watercolors based on scenes from SL which I then upload back into the game and show and sell within the game. Of course, I also show and sell them in real life as well. And also, in real life I made a book of all the watercolors and then I made a “virtual” version of the book as well, which is also being sold in SL. Got it? I barely do. But it all relates to these ideas I’ve been having about images and reflections and nature and identity and so forth.
I just have to laugh… Jessica Craig-Martin must have mistaken me for someone fabulous and snapped this shot of me and Michael Grant hanging out at the Wolfsonian party last Friday (I snagged a free ticket via SVA’s co-sponsorship of the event). It’s one of a series of photos that were taken at the party and instantly editioned and signed by JCM, and sold to benefit the museum. I have to admit that I bought one – it was only $100 and honestly, when else will I ever have such a famous photographer take a picture of me? It’s totally going in my hallway.
Also, I like that my swimsuit strap is peeking out of my top. Classy, I tells ya.
I want to preface this all by saying: I’m having fun. Really. I’m seeing a lot of great art, too. Aqua is a really strong fair; we went to the Vernissage at ABMB yesterday and – while it was packed and difficult to move around – it looked like there was some great stuff there. We’re going back today. I’m looking forward to it.
So why am I waking up this morning with this undeniably icky feeling? It’s the free drinks here, no doubt, but I think it’s also this:
There was something suspiciously perfect about Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ performance on the beach last night. I wondered aloud at one point if he was lip-syncing (I came to the conclusion that he wasn’t, definitely) but that wasn’t quite it.
Instead, this is what I’m convinced it was: Every movement, every twitch, every swing of his hair, every step, every humping of the speakers, every rolling around on stage was choreographed. It was like watching a robot, an Iggy 3000, wound up and performing for us. He didn’t really want to be my dog; he just wanted to sing about it and dance and get paid at the end.
It was a no-win situation for someone like Iggy Pop – if his performance was flawless (and it was, as long as we stayed), people like me bitch. It wasn’t raw, it wasn’t real – so I’m complaining. But if he was fucked up and his performance was as well, I’m sure the organizers would have bitched. The media would make fun of him. And so on.
But what I think I’m getting at is this: Iggy’s performance was some sort of perfect metaphor for what I see as a too-often strategy with a lot of the work here, in particular the more expensive, more established stuff. It’s rebellion pre-packaged and sanitized and sold to you for loads of money. None of this is new – Green Day comes to mind – but it hurts more when it’s someone who ought to know better, like Iggy. Did he feel some sort of psychic pain up there, going through the motions, singing songs that were shocking 30 years ago to a well-groomed, moneyed crowd in town to buy lots of art? Probably not. But I did watching him. (And I did too as I saw the work of Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy and others throughout the day, who suffer from the same sort of problem.)
For the record, I would recommend to the organizers of ABMB that they consider reuniting the Velvet Underground for next year’s party. Or maybe the Sex Pistols. It would be ridiculous and sort of sick and hurtful to watch, but I think that’s what they’re going for. My dream (going with the “reunion” theme that seems to be prevelant here, given that previous guests were the NY Dolls) would be to reunite the Murder Junkies and just cast some new person in the role of GG Allin, but even with actors straight from central casting, it might be a little too unweildy and unpredictable for this crowd.
Standing there in the crowd of well-dressed folks waving their middle fingers in the air and acting like they’ve seen punk rockers act in the movies, I felt like the oddest girl in the world. Seeing CocoRosie perform at the Deitch party helped, but just temporarily. I couldn’t help but notice how much of the VIP section looked confused or bored or otherwise preoccupied with talking on their phones. Over where the regular folk stood (as much as there is “regular folk” at an event like this) we did better, with the crowd being pretty wrapped up in the performance, which was also pretty darn near perfect, but in a very different sort of way than Iggy.
Hey! Greetings from Miami Beach. We’ve been skulking around and taking photos of different things. Mostly the setup at Art Positions has been the most interesting, including this skate ramp that looks promising. The security guards hate us, but what else is new? There are some photos on my Flickr stream… if you click on this one, it ought to lead you there.
Many, many more pics to come, I’m sure!