Hey big bloggy, I’ve seen a lot of art lately. Turning over stones during listless hours of surfing my favorite art reporting interweb outlets.  Summer is always a cool time to catch up and since my art production in the studio is ramped up as I hammer out a new body of work and  forge ahead getting ready for some exciting exhibition opportunities I like to slip away during the day job to wash the stench of corporate complacency off my body with a refreshing gallery visit or internet poke around. Here is what I found recently.

I secretly ghost traveled with James Kalm to see Katy Moran at Andrea Rosen Gallery. She had a solo show last year in Columbus at the Wexner Center that was great. I’ve enjoyed for the past few years running into Morans work. Each time it changes and grows in ways I love to see in an artist practice. It shows explorations and searching in the studio and in thinking about process and painting that to me exemplifies the spirit of a true painter. These paintings are not as slick as usual. They are manhandled and struggled with. It shows work and thinking.

I also really like the Mark Grotjahn show at Anton Kern Gallery. I think the same work or similar from this series was shown recently at Blum and Poe, none the less the work is magical. Along the same lines as Moran but I think with much more confidence, Grotjahn creates these heavily worked and layered decorative works that suggest to me the tribal drum circle ritualistic haze and magic of a serious painting session. I love the connection between some sort of tribal ritual and the energy, motion and movement of a really serious painter working out problems and personally connecting with making art. Plus just wanting to smell that paint all day would send someone into a K-hole of extacy induced spinning….or maybe that was just me, back in the 90’s.

As I mentioned before I entered Hey Hot Shot last week and just when I was feeling confident I am confronted with Martina Lindqvist as a critics pick of HHS blog. I mean these pictures are poetic, dark, moody and they take you there. You want to be there.  Martina  can execute her vision with clarity and passion. These slick pictures have the feel and drama of a Hollywood-esque high production value Crewdson picture but land more toward the moody, dark outside looking in singularity of man, camera and landscape of Todd Hido. If this is my competition, I’m doomed. Ha-ha.

from NYMAG

And last I end with Urs Fischer at the Venice Biennale.  His installation of a 3 wax sculptures one, my favorite a portrait of the artist Rudolf Stingel that just happens to have a wick in it. A giant man candle. It burns bright from the mind but melts all over. It’s the perfect show piece. Poetic and accessible. Urs has usually bombed for me. Big budget, yadda yadda yadda. But I really like this trio.


Tomorrow is my little buddies last day of the first year of the next 12 years of his life. I can’t believe he’s finishing up Kindergarten. As I choke back some tears I reminisce about summer and about playing long hours of wiffle ball in the backyard. The 50 foot old pine was the green monster, a solid smash over which could net you legend status. Or maybe the humiliating bocephus. A skyscraper lob that was pulled out when the batter had 2 strikes. A pitch so ruthless it enticed the batter to swing for the fences. A seemingly easy pitch to hit except you almost always missed.  Regardless, we were good, and I had a knuckler that gave Phil Niekro a boner. Then I found this and subsequently retired.



So I move on. What I am going to do this summer is ponying up some cash and entering the annual Hey Hot Shot competition. Figured I will gather up 5 of my pictures throw em against the wall and see what sticks.  I had mentioned before that I don’t quite believe in the juried competition but there are a few that have the status of well won Guggenheim fellowship or Joan Mitchell grant. HHS is one of those with such prestige…for me at least. It would be one battle I’d love to win.

Other than that, I think since I didn’t win this on ebay…bummer…

I am going to go see some art. Perhaps over at the Bill Busta gallery. Heard there is some good painting covering up those white walls. We will see as I brave the 95 degree, 220 degree internal car temperature schvitz. Gasp.

MOCA Delicious Feilds: Jordan Tate and Pipo Nguyen-duy

Oh Bloghart the Magnificent as I sit here lullingly typing on my plastic apple keys I am amazed at the wealth of photographic bounty ripe for the picking at the various local institutions. I know you say, blech, that cutting edge media critic conceptual stuff just reeks of hollow academia. If I wanted to be confused and angered I watch CSPAN. I’d first say don’t be so quick to judge something new and a little odd. If you were to go to MOCA tonight to see the opening of the new Summer season you’d be confronted with some very interesting and thoughtfully curated photographs in a show titled Delicious Fields:Ohio Photographers a Work.  New looks at and uses of photography all with the Ohio landscape/environment as a broad underpinning.  Here artists explore and manipulate the tradition of reacting to and documenting the land by using it as a jumping off point for image critique and social exploration of the role photograph plays today in representation. Also there is some land as stage in which things happen on or manipulated by the artist to create narratives or other possibilities.  Among others, there are two artists I am super excited about, Pipo Nguyen-duy and Jordan Tate ( wasn’t that Dexter’s white whales name in season 4?).  There is a lot of photographic boundary pushing going on and coming from someone who likes to explore and dissect standard photographic notions that makes my water run.

CMA: William Clift, Robert Voit

Well Bloghart if you are still not sold then go on over to an equally exciting yet more traditional leaning exhibition of landscape photographs culled from the Cleveland Museums permanent collection.  Contemporary Landscape Photography is the fight of the century.  It’s the photographic version of Aruthor Vs. Aspartemay! ( yes iCarly is awesome).  Adams Vs. Adams. Robert and Ansel. Landscape as pristine wild and/or human impact on said land. Take sides one and all and take pictures. CMA has curated an exhibition that shows both sides of the story from when it began and how it is carried on today with current working artists. The show looks great.

Get out there Bloghart and stop sitting around and waiting for people to read you.

Oil on Canvas!

I have to totally make amends with both  myself as a viewing professional and Royden Watson.  I admit I casually dismissed his piece at the MOCA benefit  by assuming it was a quirky artist gesture or some rehashed mash-up of minimalist sculpture and Duchampian mass-produced found item turned art object.  It was actually hard to get close to it due to the  ratio of space to people, not that I didn’t appreciate it or find it somewhat thought-provoking as I mentioned in my MOCA diary entry, but I did just breeze by it, made assumptions and was embarrassed by not doing my due diligence as an art viewer. I certainly judged the book by its cover.

The irony of it all is that  my assumptions and the artist intent is the point. Watson mentions in his artist statement that in his own words:

“One of my studio aims has been to create highly representational painted “portraits” of the prosaic objects that we so often overlook”

Right and so I did. He goes on to mention how in a contemporary society where information is consistently readily available and certainly not in short supply that the easy searching of Google and the thousands of sources and viewpoints often both confuse and test the limits of truth by loosing and changing the context of pictures, stories and facts. So here Royden is making incredible lifelike painted “portraits” of mundane objects, in this case a 2×4, and me a man of contemporary society doesn’t think twice about seeing the object from across the room, through a sea of patrons and dismissing because of the nature of the object he chose  and all of its mundane utilitarian glory and its history as an art object in sculpture and installation art.


When I sit back and reflect on my humbled experience here as an artist and viewer I am reminded of Tauba Auerbach and how Watson and Auerbach would make a great show. Their works have a good dialogue going about representation and the nature of materials, perception and the flatness of the support vs. the ability painting has to fool us and the eye. I really admire both artists and I am thrilled to have found out about Watson.

Dewers gives me a headache. It tastes so good. It tastes even better when a heavy-handed cater bartender at an open bar is pouring too. But damn, I’m just not that much of a drinker any more. But when in Rome as they say. The MOCA benefit on Saturday night had me feeling flush.  I went solo and ironically found a few participating artists there also sans significants due to the free one ticket contribution comp.

I walked around, sipped and looked.  I saw lots of great art up for silent auction….many  I wanted to bid on but knowing I’m going to need to have electricity to make more art I left the pen dangling on the wall. I did snap a few pictures of some of my favorites and most likely bid upon if I had a spare 2 grand to spread around. Forgive me father for not having a writing utensil so I can’t attribute a few of the pieces, it wasn’t intentional.   The Tim Callaghan was featured on this blog before from his show at Bill Busta. The Michelle Muldrow whom I had the pleasure of sharing a few moments with on Saturday painting was a treasure to be taken home. And the 2×4 as much as I heard it drawing some smirks and snickers was kind of cool. For someone one who is in the throes of a bathroom renovation right now, I thought the consideration of the raw material as art was cool. A ready-made that was “sculpted” but with a different purpose. Planed wood is really elegant and it leaning, resting from its normal duty of support and structure. I found it poetic and economically thoughtful.

I stayed for a few hours. Through the live auction and then munched on a few catered goodies, then I called it a night. Thanks MOCA for asking my to be a part of such a cool event and thanks Kate for being an even cooler  host and liason.

I also leave you with some pictures of that crazy ass storm yesterday and my munchkin surveying the scene after the madness sporting my muck boots.

Maybe I can get  Rainbow Lighting an artist duo currently transforming Spaces into a plush cavernous hide-a-way to collaborate on an arc. I mean seriously this rain is biblical.  But then again I guess it’s a perfect time to get over to Spaces and experience Pink Milk Mild, the installation by said duo. The two, Chelsea Blackerby and Erica Hoosic,  proclaimed “agents of materials” have used recycled materials (clothing, fabric, etc…) to build an environment that focuses on an inner monologue of nostalgia, memory and reflection.  I am going to try to head over there this week to see it. I have drywall to hang on Saturday then hopefully I will not be too dusty to attend, with my complementary artist donation ticket, the MOCA fundraiser.  I don’t think I own any formal wear…I do however have a nice collection of prep school ties, I imagine I could implement one of those. Are Birkenstocks formal? They are Bostons, so my toes are covered?

from Cleveland Magazine

Well here’s to dust, everywhere in my house,  to plush recycled caves ( I see and H&M tag in that one promo picture), and free tickets to sumptuously catered benefit events I raise my glass of highly recommended Speakeasy (W25th) concoction the Farmers Gazpacho. A, in the spirit of ecologically minded and environmentally friendly farming practices that SPACES is exploring this season, drink even the hardcorest locavore can suck down with reckless abandon. It’s a west side market inspired black pepper, radish, dill vodka drink soup salad that will satisfy at least 3 major food groups. Slurp.

I was asked a few months back to participate in the MOCA benefit.  The yearly party auction gathering, sumptuous fundraiser is held next Saturday and is the last of its kind in the current MOCA location. A sort of send of it will be to more 2 decades, yes? of challenging curating and acclaimed art. So in that theme it looks like there will be all types of art representing the illustrious tenure of the institution.  Where my piece fits in, not sure…perhaps the future section. And here it is, When I Grow Up, 16 in x 24 in chromogenic print mounted on sintra, up for auction and donated in full. I’m getting good at packing note the after shot when it is almost unrecognizable in its bubbly cocoon.

I got a free ticket so you can bet my cumberbund is already dusted off and airing out.