Friday, October 23, 2009

Vernissages | NYC, Bill Viola "Bodies of Light"

The James Cohan Gallery presented Bill Viola's latest works of video art as well as several older pieces.
The work exhibited was clearly evocative of the artist's focus on art and spirituality; it included Viola's newest work the Transfiguration series, displayed on flat screens, and the New York premiere of Pneuma, a full room installation with monochromatic images. Pneuma is an ancient Greek word meaning soul and spirit, and also refers to the breath or vital energy.

All the works presented well represented the artist's "focus on universal human experiences—birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness—and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vernissages | NYC, Siah Armajani

Max Protetch Gallery hosts "Murder In Tehran", a powerful exhibition of new work by Siah Armajani. The installation by the Iranian born artist was created as an answer to the 2009 Iranian presidential elections. It combines architectural and sculpture elements with drawings and text.

A glass and wood structure with a suspended manequin evoke the brutal murder of Neda.

A poem by the Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlu is inscribed in the sides of the structure: "The man who comes in the noon of the night/ has come to kill the light."

Seven pencil drawings on mylar, inspired by Goya, complete the exhibition .

The exhibition will runs until December 23

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Camminando | A night at the Metropolitan Museum

Last night, another walkabout between antiquity, neoclassicism, Asian art, Egyptian history. Reminiscent of my childhood and the Vatican Museums.

Photographs and text are excerpts from the conceptual multimedia project

“Axes Mundi: Perceptions and Understanding of Places as Intersections of Space, Time and Culture”

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Events NYC | Marina Abramovic Presentation at Miller Theathre

Marina Abramovic came to Miller Theater at Columbia University last week. Introduced by Carol Becker, Dean of the School of the Arts, she looked lovely, trim, and youthful, with a velvet band holding back her flowing dark hair.

She gave a preview of 5 installations to be shown in her upcoming MOMA show. She asserted there would be no pain for the exhibiting human subjects. But she showed how she had trained them in bodily and sensory control. Perhaps the new Institute for Durational Presence which she expects to open in Hudson NY will offer more opportunities for her work with others in “training for the responsibility of simply being human”, as she put it.

She presented an overview of her work from its beginnings. She believes that the worse childhood you have, the better artist you become; that you have your best ideas at age 13 and then continually recycle them.

Marina was born and came of age in Serbia, a land of continuing strife. Members of her family were leaders in Serbian institutions—the Serbian Orthodox church and the Serbian army. These institutions were/are in the forefront of that nation’s battles with its Balkan political neighbors, its non-Orthodox inhabitants, as well as enemies from afar. Surely this environment has played a role in her ability to endure discomfort, stress, hunger, gut wrenchers, even pain for her performances.

Marina constantly alluded to energy—in her work she takes energy from the audience. She believes that energy sustains the artist. Clearly she feels the transference of energy among humans, whatever their place in the tableaux she sets up. It’s charged and it’s in constant motion—a clear difference from energies given off by a static color in a painting or a shocking image.

While painting was a very early medium for her, sound emerged as a predominant feature early in her artistic development. She used sound, not as a static medium, but as a way to change the environment. For example, she put recordings of thousands of birds in a tree in a Yugoslav town which no longer had any, because of war.

She shared with us her
Artist Manifesto. Some excerpts:

An artist should not lie
An artist should not compromise
An artist should not kill
An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist
An artist should develop an erotic point of view
An artist should be erotic
An artist should have self control
An artist should not have self control
An artist must have total self control
An artist should not be depressed (depression is not productive)

This artist is a sure-footed person with a remarkable intellect and intense creative energy. We look forward to her MOMA show and other work.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perfomances | Emanuele Torquati's Recital at Italian Academy

Emanuele Torquati (b. 1978) played a magnificent recital at Columbia University’s Italian Academy on Wednesday, October 7. He is a powerful player, using his full body to create the sounds required for this program of 20th-century music.

The recital opened with Giancinto Scelsi’s Quattro lllustrazioni sulle metamorfosi di Visnu’. Torquati emphasized its opening melodic flow, which was followed by a stronger meditative section, and then a return back to flow. The piece featured pointillistic glissandos and very flowing ostinati.

Jonathan Harvey’s Tombeau de Messiaen for piano and soundtrack presented a felicitous union of the acoustic and electronic. The electronic music was not intrusive, extraneous, or unrelated, as is so often the case. Instead, it presented a union of the percussive piano sound, artfully controlled by Torquati, with the static clavichord-sounding taped music (percussive, metallic). In many passages the pitches of both were the same, presenting a lovely contrast. It ended with aural pandemonium between the two.

Wolfgang Rihm’s Klavierstuck 7 closed the program. This piece requires propulsive, bravura playing in the manner of Franz Liszt, with many high-note figurations. Unfortunately, it follows the 20th-century dictum of loud, loud, and louder.

The program also featured the U.S. premiere of Silvia Borzelli’s Stalagma. It exhibited warm ostinati ranging widely over the keyboard.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vernissage | Roma, Ceryth Wyn Evans

La Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma ha inaugurato mercoledì 30 settembre la stagione autunnale con l’esposizione dei nuovi lavori di Cerith Wyn Evans (Galles 1958). Nei due spazi espositivi della galleria romana si avvicendano, sia le opere bidimensionali come pitture e disegni, sia opere che esprimono la tridimensionalità come sculture in forma di alti e bassi quadrilateri di specchi: come colonne, sormontate da orchidee e cactus, minimali ed esotiche fonti di luce riflessa. il Neon ‘soffro per voi ma come fate?’cattura l’attenzione dello spettatore : è un dejà vu’? Una frase già vista? L’artista l’ha ‘rubata’ ad un graffito ch egli ha fotografato su di un cassonetto in una città italiana. Evoca il dolore di un Dio impotente, ed emarginato dagli uomini o quello dell’uomo dolente che vede il proprio sé riflesso nel suo simile? Cerith dunque, mescola diversi linguaggi e tecniche artistiche : la scultura, la calligrafia gestuale giapponese, i graffiti, ,. I suoi inchiostri su carta mescolano lettere dell’alfabeto occidentale con segni che ricordano la natura, i rami, le piante: natura e cultura che si intrecciano in una ricerca di completamento..Ma le immagini più suggestive sono, forse, i suoi lavori su tavola, in argento su argento, manipolazioni di fotografie erotiche riprese da riviste giapponesi degli anni Settanta. Le immagini di giovani uomini che si amano si scorgono come attraverso una nebbia splendente, che lascia intravedere, ai nostri occhi, (che non subito riescono a mettere a fuoco le visioni quasi oniriche che ci offre l’artista), una realtà come la pornografia che si trasfigura in atto erotico assoluto e puro. La luce ritorna dunque a specchiarsi sulla realtà e ad indicarci che il punto di vista dipende dalle ombre e dalle luci che ci suggeriscono come interpretare la vita.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Event | NYC | Bright Nights - Manhattan Bridge 100th anniversary | October 7st

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Manhattan Bridge, the event Bright Lights, presented by Random Number, brought the works of video artists Burak Arikan, Motomichi Nakamura, Marius Watz, and Lee Wells to a curious audience as their videos animated the solid stone walls of the bridge anchorage thanks to curation of Christina Vassallo.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Events | NYC | Un Addio a un'America Mai Conosciuta, Quella di Fernanda Pivano

Sto tornando a casa attraverso il Central Park, pensando al documentario appena visto all"Italian Cultural Institute. Strano, vado a vernissages ed altri eventi "culturali" di natura varia, almeno 2-3 volte a settimana, ma non ci penso mai durante la mia camminata di ritorno.

Il documentario era "Fernanda Pivano: A Farewell to Beat", del 2001. Fernanda Pivano e' scomparsa recentemente meno di mesi fa, e nella mia adolescenza rappresento' un' introduzione a quello che succedeva dall'altra parte dell'oceano. Il film inizia con riprese del paesaggio desolato dell'Idaho e Fernanda che evoca memorie di Hemingway, di cui tradusse "Addio alle armi" e che conobbe personalmente. Bello, intenso, evocativo. Specie la fotografia del cielo nuvoloso, e del cimitero col coyote. Paesaggi molto inquietanti.

Poi la cinepresa arriva a San Francisco, con riprese della mitica libreria "City Lights" fondata da Lawrence Ferlinghetti nel 1955. La Pivano si incontra con Ferlinghetti, l'unico ancora in vita di un periodo ---e una cultura--- che non ci sono piu'. Poi i ricordi della Beat Generation, raccontati da Fernanda con foto e parole: Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jack Keoruac... inclusa una lettura molto intensa e commovente di "Urlo"

Mi ricordo un'amica scrittrice che disse che lei quando credeva nello scrivere lo faceva perche' credeva ancora nel potere del linguaggio di cambiare il mondo. Ora la sua fede e' persa, scrive ancora, ma e' diverso. Certo con i romanzi e le poesie dei Beatniks c'era proprio la voglia di cambiamento, spesso distruttivo e psicotico, ma sempre travolgente e radicale.

Carine, e molto condivise, le frecciate sul mondo arido e pedante degli accademici: Fernanda nonostante il suo ruolo cosi' rilevante nella letteratura degli ultimi 50 anni non ebbe mai una cattedra.

Il documentario avrebbe potuto fare a meno di interviste a Erica Jong, Jay McIrney e Bret Easton Ellis, che non hanno nulla a che vedere con l'intensita' coinvolgente, i messaggi e risvolti socio-culturali della Beat generation. E soprattutto la rabbia e forza e volonta' di cambiamento.

Fernanda conclude il suo viaggio geografico e letterario a New York. La luce bassa dell'alba, con le vedute dei grattacieli dai ponti traspira una decadenza surreale ed allo stesso tempo magia ed energia.

Ma esistono davvero la New York e l'America di Fernanda Pivano?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vernissages | NYC, October 1

A quick photojournal from my walkabouts of yesterday....

Frank Stella at Paul Kasmin

Jim Hodges at Flag Art Foundation

Felix Gonzalez-Torres at Flag Foundation

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Event | NYC , Portzamparc lecture at Center for Architecture, 29 September

Pritzker Prize winning architect Christan de Portzamparc presented a broad cross section of his oeuvre of architecture and urban planning to a standing-room-only crowd last night at the AIA Center for Architecture.

Known by many New York designers for his creation of the origami-skinned Louis Vuitton-Moët Hennessy Tower on 57th Street, he presented both individual free-standing works, as well as urban planning exercises.

Of special note were his built examples of neighborhoods which adhere to his philosophy of “open block” – a sort of hybrid planning strategy borrowing from historical contextual design while introducing a palate of diverse architectural forms and spatial interactions.