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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

This is an article I wrote for The Village Voice, published August 12, 2008. Read the original here.

Beauty bomb: Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s  Atomic Age, 1955, Courtesy Kinz, Tillou + Feigen/The New Museum of Contemporary Art

Beauty bomb: Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s  Atomic Age, 1955, Courtesy Kinz, Tillou + Feigen/The New Museum of Contemporary Art

Americans experience the world as being in a state of perpetual pre-apocalypse: Disaster looms large in the form of terrorism, AIDS, nuclear war, or environmental devastation. Assembling a collection of works that pit the vulnerability of man against the devastating force of man-made catastrophe, the New Museum’s “After Nature” exhibition heralds our fear and bravely imagines the world post-apocalypse.

The power of the exhibition lies in curator Massimiliano Gioni’s complex and contradictory view that destruction is beautiful. Werner Herzog’s documentary Lessons of Darkness inspired the show and is a fitting opener; the film is a smoky chronicle of Kuwait on fire in the months after the end of the first Gulf War. Herzog splices footage of firefighters battling blazing oil wells with exquisite aerial views of the desert pocked with searing red flames and billowing black smoke. In his paintings Atomic Age and The Birth of Light, outsider artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein also revels in the exuberant beauty of fiery explosions. Made during the Cold War era, his glossy waxworks envision the final atomic blasts as bright, looping mushroom clouds gleefully signaling the end. (more…)

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This is an article I wrote for the Architect’s Newspaper, originally published in the November 19, 2008 issue. This is actually the only version of it you will find online, because this was one of my rare instances of writing for print only.

339 Lafayette in 1991, Photo by Ed Hedemann

339 Lafayette in 1991, Photo by Ed Hedemann

Tenants of “Peace Pentagon” at 339 Lafayette oppose building’s potential sale

At three stories high, 339 Lafayette Street is a dwarf in a sea of giants, a 90-year-old unrenovated relic in a gentrifying neighborhood north of Houston. For the past 40 years, this modest brick structures on the northeast corner of Bleecker and Lafayette has been home to the War Resisters League and a collection of social justice groups who pay only $6.65 per square foot for their office space. Past and current tenants include David Dellinger’s Liberation magazine, Paper Tiger Television, the Socialist Party, and the Metropolitan Council on Housing. Now the informal collective is at risk of losing the building that Abbie Hoffman famously named the “Peace Pentagon”

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Sarah Stolfa is a spectacular photographer I first got to know while we were both at Yale. This is an interview I conducted with her for the Flavorwire, published February 25, 2009. Read the original here.

Sarah Stolfa, Los Angeles, CA, Courtesy the artist

Sarah Stolfa, Los Angeles, CA, Courtesy the artist

VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY OF HER WORK HERE

Philadelphia-based Sarah Stolfa is a fine art photographer who holds an undergraduate degree from Drexler University and an MFA from the Yale School of Art. She’s most famous for her series, The Regulars, which won the The New York Times Photography Contest for College Students in 2004 and became a popular book with an introduction by one of our favorite writers, Jonathan Franzen. After the jump she talks to Flavorwire’s Adda Birnir about changing her visual language, seeking out the universal trauma in American culture, and suggesting the link between religion and sports in her work.

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Sad White People

This was a humorous art criticism piece I put together for the Flavorwire. It was originally published December 12, 2008, see the original here. Make sure to look at the slideshow.

Oh man, I am really bummin'. <br> Photo: Sarah Kalagvano, Kyle, Brooklyn, New York, 2008, © Sarah Kalagvano

Oh man, I am really bummin'. Photo: Sarah Kalagvano, Kyle, Brooklyn, New York, 2008, © Sarah Kalagvano

If contemporary art can serve as a litmus test for the state of the world, it’s time to get worried. A survey of major bodies of work by both established and emerging artists reveals that everyone is very sad. Sad and unproductive — large portions of the population can’t even get out of bed. But apparently, this strange melancholia only afflicts the fair skinned.

Don’t believe us?

VIEW THE SLIDESHOW HERE

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This is an article I originally wrote for Art Cat’s The Zine, published November 5, 2008. Read the original here.

Shimon Okshteyn, Reflection #8, 2007, graphite, canvas, mixed media, paint, mirror. Via Heist.

Shimon Okshteyn, Reflection #8, 2007, graphite, canvas, mixed media, paint, mirror. Via Heist.

Shimon Okshteyn
Heist Gallery – Shimon Okshteyn at Heist, New York NY
10 October – 7 November 2008

For one more week, merry wanderers and afternoon flâneurs can find a funhouse gallery of mirrors hidden on a quiet block of Chinatown. Tucked between two small shops on Essex Street south of Delancey, you can enter a wormhole that will send you back to a Coney Island spectacle or a Times Square peep show. But peek around the corner of a mirror and you will see nary an amusement ride technician nor a beautiful girl, but a cheerful gallery attendant eager to hand you a press release.

Shimon Okshteyn’s show, Reflection on Reality, is the fourth exhibition at the newly opened Heist Gallery located in eastern Chinatown. The immersive installation, including a mirrored floor, is made up of slightly distorted mirrors bolted to the gallery walls. The mirrors swell and contract light and splinter where the screws bite. Thin purple and pink neon bulbs light the hall, bouncing against the opposing mirrors, and illuminating the space with an appropriately artificial glow.

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This is an article I originally wrote for Art Cat’s The Zine, published October 18, 2007. Read the original article here.

Kohei Yoshiyuki, from the series The Park, 1971, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery.

Kohei Yoshiyuki, from the series The Park, 1971, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery.

The Park
Kohei Yoshiyuki
Yossi Milo Gallery – 525 West 25th Street New York, NY
6 September – 20 October, 2007

If you have read anything about Kohei Yoshiyuki’s show The Park, currently on view at Yossi Milo Gallery, you know the basic story — that Yoshiyuki went about photographing young lovers coupling in Toyko’s public parks and the many men who watched them do it. As told to The New York Times columnist Philip Gefter, the story goes that one night in the early 1970’s while innocently photographing lit skyscrapers, Yoshiyuki strolled through a local park and happened upon a group of men secretly watching a couple fool around. The couple seemed unaware of the rapt audience and went about their business unperturbed. Intrigued, Yoshiyuki decided to shift the focus of his camera lens away from the steel phallus to real phallus. After spending months infiltrating and observing these clandestine gatherings sans camera, Yoskiyuki began documenting the events without disrupting the lovers or the peeping toms, using a film camera outfitted with an infrared flash.

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The following is an article I wrote for ArtCat’s The Zine. Find the original here.

Ryan McGinley, Highway, 2007, c-print, 30 x 40 inches. Via Team Gallery.

Ryan McGinley, Highway, 2007, c-print, 30 x 40 inches. Via Team Gallery.

Ryan McGinley
I Know Where the Summer Goes
Ryan McGinley
3 April – 3 May 2008
Team Gallery – 83 Grand Street, New York NY

New York based photographer Ryan McGinley made a surprising admission in the press release for his latest show, I Know Where the Summer Goes: his photographs are staged. In fact, the lithe young things writhing in the 30 or so pictures on display at Team Gallery are models that he cast in an official casting call where each potential model was judged on “mellowness… strong personalities,” comfort naked and “long-limbed[ness].” And then the road-trip across the country was meticulously planned, with locations extensively researched for their symbolic weight and McGinley planning plenty of activities for his hired cadre of enthusiastic companions to partake in. The truth is that McGinley’s images have always been staged in his drive to create an aesthetic world where youth runs wild against the backdrop of iconic landscapes of the American West, this is just the first time he admitted it on paper.

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