Monday, March 21, 2011

I Hate Art

Janet Bruesselbach

the "I Hate Art" show

April 23 - May 23, 2011

Opening Reception Saturday, April 23, 7-9 pm

Tribes Gallery

285 E 3rd St. 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10009

212 674 3778

"The Artist is Absent" minded : Live Portraits Every Saturday

Wallow in Immanence, 2011.  Oil on canvas, 32 x 32 in: a central female figure has a mirrored skin that reflects the rainbow of multi-directional male figures surrounding her.

You have assumptions, if you’re reading this.  Either that it will explain what you’re looking at, or that it will be theoretical gibberish, or that it will be yet another idiot artist whose shtick is to defy of either of those assumptions.  There are many ways what you are observing could only fulfill your expectations. 

 You should probably tell Janet what you’re seeing, and tell her what to paint.  She doesn’t know either any more.  If you have empty wall space, maybe you should put art in it.  Otherwise, it’s not going to try to be socially conscious or transcendent or even successfully satirize those goals.

Consider these experiments produced by an algorithm that forces choices on a well-trained* unconscious human machine.  See something not about art, but about science, that is, the pursuit of truth, and therefore, compulsively honest, to the point of both representational loyalty and continuous contradiction.  Choices were made to please you, to make something that is simultaneously what you want to see and what you’ve never seen before.  They were made by finding sympathetic shapes in other shapes, generating one signal out of another by treating it as noise.  Or simply trying to make a self-deprecating joke.

You should visit on Saturdays and sit for the artist.  You may buy the portraits, and the proceeds will go towards turning this building into somewhere artists can be as stupid as they want to be.  You should leave feedback, but only if it’s negative.  We are fishing for insults, here.  If this attitude annoys, you can reasonably be expected to ignore it.  Thank you.  I’m sorry.

* MFA, New York Academy, 2009. BFA, RISD, 2006. TMI, Internet, just Google her, you hardly know her.

Letter from Steve: Repossession of property at 285 E 3rd St.

A Gathering of the Tribes

(where I'm doing my first solo show next month)

Say folks,

Here's the situation, read it and weep: NY Times Article

Because of the situation I find myself in, and I'm certainly not going to get my eyesight back anytime soon, I need your help.

Since selling this building to Lorraine Zhang, I have found that she has no idea how to manage this property here in NYC.  She seems to have found herself in an awful lot of debt.  

With your help, I was hoping you might know anyone with deep pockets or charitable organizations that might help me with repossessing the building to place it under new management.  

I've owned the building for over 40 years and in the process, lost my eyesight, and currently have nobody around to manage the property.  I'll need someone to manage the property properly.

If you know anyone that might be able to help with this current crisis here, please forward this email to them.

For the last 20 years, for the most part I, Steve Cannon, have been financing Tribes myself.  2/3 on my own, and 1/3 funding

The total loss in running Tribes since opening is well over a million dollars, if not more.  Since Lorraine has proven incapable of keeping up with the bills of the property (tax, mortgage, bills, etc.), she finds that she's had to put it on the market.

What I'd like to do is to rent the other spaces out to artists.  Have them pay a maintenance fee...  And find a philanthropist or charity to pay off the mortgage.  I need your help in this search and if you know someone who can help, let me know. The discrepancy between rich and poor is ever widening in the nation, and artists are among the people who suffer most. For over 20 years, Tribes has sought to help emergent and established artists pursue their calling in the arts, and I should like to keep it that way.

If you have any questions, please give me a call:  212-674-8262

Please read the article line by line carefully.

And here's another article to consider as well:

For more info about Tribes, check out We're also on Flickr, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook.   
Love you madly,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mix for my dad's birthday

I used to send him these pretty regularly.  This year I reinstituted the tradition.  It's got lots of good music I've been listening to lately, on it. It's topical and stuff.

Side A: War dead baby blues

1. Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs - Devil Do
2. The Builders & the Butchers - Cradle on Fire
3. O'Death - Only Daughter
4. Vivian Girls - Sixteen Ways
5. Amanda Palmer (on her magical ukelele)-Idioteque
6. PJ Harvey - The Glorious Land
7. Arcade Fire - Half Light II (No Celebration)
8. David Byrne, Fatboy Slim, and Roisin Murphy - Don't You Agree
9. Cut Copy - Blink and You'll Miss A Revolution
10. Deerhoof - I Did Crimes For You

(not on 8tracks) 11. Anna Calvi - I'll Be Your Man

Side B : wallow in immanence

12. The National - Conversation 16
13. Wolf Parade - Pobody's Nerfect
14. Jenny & Johnny - Committed
15. Tennis - Baltimore
16. Dum Dum Girls - Jail LA LA
17. Lykke Li - Rich Kids Blues
18. Best Coast - Bratty B
19. Wavves - Green Eyes (these two songs are basically about each other)
20. Thee Oh Sees - MT Work
(not on 8tracks) 21. Scott Pilgrim Soundtrack - Sex Bo-bomb - Threshold
22. Andrew Jackson Jihad - We Didn't Come Here to Rock
23. The Books - Group Autogenics II

Download before March 31

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

SCOPE Art Fair highlights

       Oh, SCOPE. You are a symptom that screams "ENJOY ME!" I hate myself for loving you, because it means that, whether I enjoy their company or not, I, too, am a hipster.
       This was my last fair. I visited on Saturday around 2. As mentioned before, SCOPE took over Pulse's space from last year, a sprawling seaside warehouse block beside the West Side Highway at Houston. To get to the entrance you had to walk by the entire building, which involved passing a half-open loading bay where they'd parked trailer potties next to their resident caterer, Roberta's, a trendy North Brooklyn pizza place that was selling no pizza but lots of booze. I'll also get Roberta's out of the way by saying the restaurant area was decked out like a space disco on several different drugs. The space seems to go on forever and is easy to get lost in, which very much suited the fair. Maybe I just like the space a lot, because I liked the irrational exuberance of Pulse last year.
       SCOPE is the most promo-savvy (I got updates every day on their schedule, and I'm not even sure how I got on their mailing list). Geographically, this one seemed very Brooklyn- and Miami-heavy, with enough Asian to be notable, as well.  They show up at every major art fair cluster, although they never create one. They are the most like a trade fair, the most commercial, the most circus-like, and possibly the most self-conscious about all of the above.  But you know what?  There's more art I like here than anywhere else.  Which is to say, there's a lot, and it's made more provocative in the competition.  By admitting to pretention, they are less pretentious. They're selling to art lovers and collectors, not museums and dealers. It's the middle class, which right now is a bit concerned with its own mortality, and loves to look like the rich and poor, fucking.
Renee Gertier - Space Junk
An image of satellites in earth orbit made by poking holes in paper bags. Okay.

Kris Knight - "Belladona Atropos" and "Blood Flower"
Miami's Spinello Projects had a sprawling area of the front of the warehouse space, without great identification, and sometimes work displayed on tables like this - possibly visiting-collector fallout. Another highlight of theirs was Antonia Wright's "Are You Okay?", video of her crying in crowded public places.

Jorge Santos - Soapbox King
David M Bowers - The Collector
David Bowers! He has often been one of my favorite artists, illustrating fantasy covers with these classicist allegories. He advised me to join a country club if I wanted to sell work.

Ori G. Carino - "Selfexistenlessness" at Dean Projects
Carino counts as my favorite "find", since I'm a sucker for East/West clashes and stuff that looks like porn. Also he titles well. Jenny Bhatt, take note. I like the Dean Project. I hope I deserve to show there someday.  My quibble with this is that the airbrushing makes the figuration weak.

TRUSTOCORP at Contra Projects (a street art/lowbrow gallery based in Detroit)

Lluis Barba

Jennifer Cutrone and Paul Outlaw for Artists Wanted
Yeah, so, this was performance art about decadence and so forth. A bunch of artists being assholes. Every once and a while one was going around with a platter and offering you his sliced sausage at groin level. They probably took turns - I was also handed some grape juice from that golden fountain.

Andrew Ohanesian (image courtesy of the artist), "Mandies" at English Kills (Brooklyn)

Carrying on with the theme of free booze as relational aesthetics, this was my very favorite. There were two doors, looking grimy and clubby and run-down and covered in graffiti, with "please keep the noise to a minimum and respect our neighbors" signs on the front. One door led to behind the bar, one to in front of the bar. There was space for one or two people on either side. There was a keg underneath and a tap. Whoever entered behind the bar ended up in the role of bartender, and whoever entered on the patron side tried to get beer from them, generating these ad hoc arrangements. The doors weren't marked, so you didn't really know what to expect, approaching them, or which side you'd end up on. I'm told they temporarily had a tip jar going, so it was like a job of a couple of minutes. Maybe it's just because I got weak beer out of this, but I thought it was brilliant.

Apparently there was also a "frat party" performance that was supposed to be going on, but nobody was in the zoo-like enclosure, and I didn't want to volunteer. The upper lounge, "Home Away From Home", had a massage station and meditation and comfort foods and free condoms, and an author.

Matthew Oates - "Red in Red"
Station Independent is not a gallery, but a group of curators and consultants that mostly just do SCOPE NY.  Oates's painting caught my eye immediately - he's probing the uncanny world of living dead faces.
Jenny Morgan - "All This Time" at Like the Spice
I hit this near the end and after going to Mandies until the keg ran out, so I don't have a great description besides that I love Jenny Morgan's work.

       Maybe next year I'll try to hit up Volta finally, and a different set of third-tier fairs, and whatever Dalton and Powhida and Rad and such cool kids have set up for institutional critique (this year it was the Failure Desk). You should too. Look for jobs a couple weeks before hand, lots are available. Call yourself press, I'll show you how, and help me out with this, it's revelatory. Thanks for your attention, and see you next year.

Pulse 2011 NYC

      What happened, Pulse? Was I rushed? Hungry? Or were you just small? You were definitely smaller than last year. You were in the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th, right in the middle of the city, nearly. Last year, you were where Scope is now, which encourages even more qualitative description in the form of contrasts between you and Scope, and only serves to confuse the two more.
Here's a contrast: 20x200 and Jen Bekman projects gave out free swag bags including useful art tools, canned coffee, chips, and way too much breath-freshening (mints, tongue brush) to avoid insult.  A little art fair humor, aimed more at art proles than VIPs.  Scope, my last stop, was all about the free beer, and wine, and condoms.
      It appears that what caught my eye was mostly based on personal affect, here.  Or maybe Pulse really does lean towards more work by women, more focused on craft, and often concerned with technology.  In fact, the frequency of animals and machines I've seen at it everywhere gives it a perpetually cybernetic theme. Galleries from Canada and the West coast make a good showing.  I often wonder how much local galleries debate whether they can just lure collectors in town for the fair directly to them without renting a booth.  I also skipped last year's repeats, of which I saw plenty.

Cindy Wright, "Web of Tears" at Mark Moore gallery
She makes big juicy paintings from closeups. Non-human subjects fare better - "bacon cube" was another highlight, but I like starry rhizomes, even with maudlin titles.

Laura Ball
These were exquisitely detailed, delicate watercolors, primarily of animals made of animals, were just spread out on a table. I suppose there were too many and they wanted to sell as many as possible.

Tim Etchells
Oh. More neon. Can we stop? With the neon? We get it.  Then again, it always does get my attention.

Carla Camino
Ironically, I cannot find a web presence for her.  Maybe I mis-transcribed her name.  She had some less impressive work up amongst this assortment of small drawings, but I dug this one.

Kevin Bourgeouis - "Inventions of Love (Natural Discourse)"
Syncronicity!  Nina at Causey in Williamsburg got back to me super fast after we chatted.  She is clearly a networker to emulate.

I don't think I liked anything in the artist project spaces upstairs ("Impulse").
Still, so:
Pulse: hip but friendly.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Independent Art Fair, NYC 2011

The Independent is in the X-Initiative, formerly DIA, building in Chelsea. It's touted as being "by and for gallerists", and is the more intellectual but less commercial (and less expensive, being free) Armory satellite.  Very curator-friendly, and dominated by Europeans.  It can claim to be the most vertical of the fairs, and the least walled-in, with natural lighting and a rooftop lounge.  The result was several galleries collaborating to assemble a somewhat cohesive museum show - a socially magic accomplishment!  Labels and identifying info were sometimes hard to find, though.
David Shrigley

Zach Feuer gallery is right next door, and has an eclectic, hilarious, brilliant solo show by Mark Flood (Murk Fluid) up now.

Alex Brown - Hummingbird
Ryan Gander - N.. n... n...nostalgia
This caught my eye because I'm a little nerdy.  That's an enlarged replica of a Roman d20, and there are some magic-force doodles stuck to the wall behind it.
Ricci Albenda - "Universe (Benny)/ Negative - Left"
I'm a fan of these in-wall sculptures.  Overheard collectors: "It IS part of the wall!" "Anish Kapoor does a lot of that."
To play art fair bingo.  I'm that much closer thanks to you, Neon Art.

Maybe I'm weak, but I think art fairs need regular kitten breaks.  We understand these aesthetics.  Kitty!

John Pylypchuk, you had me at "cigarettes smoking cigarettes".  Why did you put other stupid crap in there?

This wasn't at the Independent.  This was a weird painting about old Kraftwerk in a nearby Chelsea show.  I don't know where.  Sorry.
I walked to Pulse from there.  That is coming soon.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Verge Brooklyn Art Fair

I'm going to write wrap-ups of art fair week, even though they're all closing down now, so you can't take my recommendations, except to have an idea of what to do next year.

I went to this Brooklyn thing Thursday night. My friend Cecilia got a piece in A.I.R.'s biennial. She is a better Alice Neel who doesn't ruin children. You also just missed her show at Tribes. Speaking of which, Its building needs a friendly buyer

So this fair took over 111 Front, DUMBO's art building. Plus a nearby ground floor space, which I could see was probably still being set up, and I didn't make it over there.  Some of the galleries were curated by video reporter and artist Loren Munk, who was wearily lamenting intra-Brooklyn art politics.

This is all I saw that I liked:
Stephen Brower - Child Astronaut.  The caption described a company researching reducing payloads by using orphans as experimental astronauts - "half the weight of a real person".

Patricia Smith and Eric Ayotte are also highlights.

I considered buying an artist project space but then realized it was basically for suckers. I was right - and seeing that many desperate artists in a space that would have made them look bad even if any of them were good kind of made me lose interest in looking at art.  The crazy cyberpunk ChiĆ©zo was memorable, mostly because of her elaborate installation, costuming, and extremely detailed electronic-looking narrative drawing cycle.

Coming up next: the classy Independent.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Armory Show 2011

This show seemed much much smaller than the previous two years. Either I've learned how to efficiently find what I like or it's a really boring year.

$25 prints on dollar bills by Reed Seifer (the artist that presented the "spray to forget" campaign last year). It looks like he has a very close relationship with the fair as a designer and marketer, and always has this little booth to present ad-art projects.

Laura Oldfield Ford is fun, either slightly scrambled or not.  I'm really into word art at the moment - the only opportunity for narrative in a show sparsely populated by representative imagery.

Ron Mandos was raving about his prodigal artist Anthony Goicolea, although only this funny piece got me.

Erwin Wurm at Regina Gallery - Es, Ich, Uber-Ich (Id, Ego, Superego)
There's so much stuff like this.  Rehashed Freudianism thrown at abstraction with a frisson.  shrug.

Everyone liked this series by Gustavo Artigas of pure pigment painted canvases with the health dangers of the pigment, at Mexico City's Caja Blanca.  The show features galleries from a particular geographic region.  Last year it was Berlin, one city.  This year it was Latin America, so, pretty much a quarter of the earth.  Equal wealth?  Probably more.  Stronger showing than Berlin, in fact - they could have limited it to one country.

Xia Xiaowan at Galerie Urs Miele - Human Body.  Drawing on layers of plexi.  Lovely!

Jonathan Schipper at Pierogi, which has moved into the big leagues this year after previously being sort of Brooklyn and Indie.  This was a machine that was dragging these porcelain sculptures up and down, slowly breaking them apart.  The mechanism was repetitive, but of course, the movements change chaotically.  Liked this much.  Also at Pierogi were super-detailed drawings by Daniel Zeller that must have taken infinite patience.

Untitled Gallery seems to always have an unusual setup, in this case tiles made of pennies on the floor and canvas prints with art jokes by Andrew Hahn.

 Erik Thor Sandberg was in Pulse last year, but here's some gorgeous skeeve showing up at the Armory.  Almost soothing, since such classicism was rare this year.

Naaaaaah na na na na na nah naa, na nah na na-na-naahhhhh.  It's like everything you gather on a trip balled together.  Katamari lodged itself firmly in the cultural unconscious like some self metaphor.  "Cheap Magic Is Anticipated", by Ryan Garder.

I may be my usual unobservant self but that's about all the highlights worth sharing.  Tonight: too many openings?  Independent? Pulse?  We'll see!