Thursday, July 22, 2004

ps1, chelsea, free vodka

It is only in the heat that I feel comfortable. It was kind of hot today. I like it when I sit up in bed shirtless, leaning against my wall and have to pry my sticky back off the wall. This is the type of weather that I live for, that I feel like I am living in, where I get slightly delirious and high from being in the heat, where I am sweating, where I am wearing as few clothes as is allowed by social decorum, and sometimes, even less than that. All right, often times even less than that. But, this is the type of weather that I love more than anything. I cannot wait for the even hotter nights, those nights in August where my sheets will be wet with sweat. I know I need to move eventually back down south. I am not sure when and I am not sure where, but god, how I miss that Florida heat. At least, I don’t live or work at places with A/C. That allows me to experience the heat even more so, more naturally. When my body is pouring sweat and I am slightly faint with heat fatigue, there is a happiness and a comfort that is simply not equaled by any other type of weather.

This evening, I went to two openings with Christy, Joe, Peter, and [Peter’s roommate, whose name I cannot remember]. We saw the “Infinite Fill” group show at Foxy Production, which was curated by Cory and Jamie Arcangel. All the artists had to use the black and white shading patterns of early eighties computers, and it was an awesome show. The tiny gallery, which was packed with people and as such was painfully hot (perhaps even more so than what I find enjoyable) was totally covered floor to ceiling to windows in all this black and white imagery, and it was a pretty amazing sight/site. None of the pieces were labeled, so I have no idea, whose was what, but the videos (perhaps Paper Rad or Beige?) were really good, as were some of the drawings. I drank way too many vodka-cranberries served by Christian, and eventually left to go check out the Patterson Beckwith opening at American Fine Arts.

“Home” is supposed to utilize the gallery space as a space to offer workshops to “explore the possibilities of domestic activity,” or so says the gallery’s statement. All I know is that there were home baked cookies for the eating and a school room setup. In the front room, there is a little mock schoolhouse fa├žade, a giant chalkboard listing the classes and a clock that can only be described as a high school clock. God, the clock brought back painful memories. It is the exact same clock I stared at for all of middle and high school, waiting for class to end, for the school day to end. I almost expected a bell to ring each time the second hand hit twelve. I talked to the artist about his photograph of a man dressed as a chili pepper, and he told me that to find out how the costume was made, I would have to attend the costume making class. He finally relented though, and told me it was made from chickenwire and duct tape. However, I do want to try to attend the costume making class. The full schedule is online, and supposedly A.R.E. Weapons are leading a class.

After that opening, we wandered down Tenth Avenue toward the subway station and ran into Sascha*, Kevin and Matt’s roommate, who was not only cordial but also very nice, and brushed away my concerns that our interactions have been awkward. I have run into her probably five times in the last week, and always am so self-conscious, think to myself that this is my ex-boyfriend’s roommate. She must hate me. She must think I am so lame. But it is proved yet again that things are never as bad as you think they are, that most people are nice.

Our posse then separated and now, here I am sleepy drunk at only ten o’clock and resisting the urge to go out to Metropolitan where Peter and Joe are, and where I will spend money that I should save.

So instead, I will tell you about what I did earlier in the day, prior to getting trashed off of free booze, to prevent myself from going out to drink yet more booze, and booze that is not of the free variety. I went to PS1 this afternoon to see the Ryan McGinley show, which was beautiful and dream-like. Naked people underwater, in woods, and in treetops. My notes are a mess scribbled on one of the flyers from the front desk, but the couple shots, “Jake and Dakota” and “Sunrise” are of this male and female in these misty woods. The camera lens is splashed with droplets of rain that look absolutely stunning and dream-like on the prints. And seeing the boy’s boner in “Sunrise” gave me a bit of a boner also. They are pretty hot photos. The other photo I loved was “Garrick,” which is a shot of a young boy sitting underwater and his reflection on the surface of the water. It is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I can’t figure out how it was done for the life of me, and it brought up memories of The Graduate and Benjamin sitting underwater, and this for some reason seemed more beautiful, more willed.

What else? What else? PS1 contains so much right now, so much amazing stuff that it is sort of hard to talk about it all (also see above mentioned references to the current state of my sobriety). But there is a group show, “Curious Crystals of Unusual Parity” that reminded me a lot of the themes in Daniel Reich gallery’s “California Earthquakes,” and not just because both included lots of work by Bjorn Copeland. The adolescent interest in pyschedelica is a prominent theme in both shows. The works of Fred Tomaselli, Amy Gartrell, and Bjorn Copeland are the pieces that stand out in this show, and they all fit into that category which has not really been defined with a neat phrase yet, despite Jerry Saltz’s attempt with “termite art.” These three appropriate the terms of acid art in a way that I really like.

Maja Bajevic has an awesome sound installation, “Avanti Popolo.” The room, full of stereo systems all over the floor, was empty and quiet before I stepped into it. As I walked around the room, I set off the motion detectors in front of all the many stereos, and with each step, I brought to life another stereo. I felt like Tom Hanks in Big, hitting a new sound with each step. There was something amazing and inspiring about it, leading me to think that each of my steps contains this symphony, that I am creating all this noise, that there is all this potential in me. After this rush, I read the curator’s statement out front which explained that each stereo played the national anthem of a different country and that it was supposed to make hyper-nationalism seem absurd. I hadn’t even noticed that they were anthems being played. I chose to ignore that, still choose to ignore that and am going to stick to and remember my original encounter with the art, how amazing it was.

Walead Beshty’s photo series, “Dead Mall,” is amazing also. They are documentary images of deserted shopping malls on the wane, malls that look depressing, that look like malls you have seen, modern day ghost towns after the big retailers have moved out of the malls. William Gedry’s night photographs of suburbia evoke a similar feeling of loneliness and isolation, and manage to do so without the cloying anti-consumerist shtick that Beshty’s other work on exhibit is guilty of.

My favorite exhibit there though is “Hard Light,” works all dealing with light. When you first step into the exhibit, you enter a dark room occupied by a polygonal shape of screens that provides the only light in the room with their images of loneliness. The work is Doug Aitken’s “Interiors” and wandering around the exterior of this piece is way more fun than actually entering it and watching it from the interior of the structure. When you circle the screens, you enter all these dark creepy corners, and the experience provokes feelings and sensations that a solitary image in a lit gallery setting is rarely able to deliver. Bruce Nauman’s “Green Light Corridor” was another work that you experienced rather than looked at. At first I thought this narrow, perhaps one foot wide green corridor was just for the looking, but a kind attendant asked me if I wanted to walk through it. I did, and I started to try to fit through it, half walking sideways, before the guard told me I had to walk all the way sideways. And so taking baby steps, and bumping against both walls of this green corridor, I made it to the other end. I made it. I made it.

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* PS- I just noticed reading through Foxy's website that appearantly Sascha had work in the "Infinite Fill" show.

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