01 July, 2010

1 July - Clayton Porter Studio Visit

LAUNCHPROJECTS - Art critic Kathryn M Davis joined us today at Clayton Porter's studio for a sneak preview of his upcoming exhibition Deer Hart, Dog Dick. In four new paintings, Porter explores the contemporary grotesque through influences including Gruenwald’s Temptation of Saint Anthony, the stag hunts of Paul de Vos (pictured above), the Baroque allegories of Peter Paul Rubens, and the surrealist imaginings of Max Ernst.
Porter's paintings are grotesque by the original definition of the word (as explored in detail in Robert Storr's 2004 SITE Biennial, Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque). Coined in 1490's Renaissance Rome upon the discovery of Emperor Nero's "grotto" paintings, the grotesque described the excessive and titillating imagery of Nero's cave paintings, "florid caricatures of unnatural man / beast combinations that decorated the long-hidden walls of the grottoes " (Peter Eleey for Frieze Magazine).

Porter's solo exhibition Deer Hart, Dog Dick opens at LAUNCHPROJECTS on Thursday, July 8th from 6:30 - 8:00. Previews of this exhibition have been published in Art in America, the Santa Fean Magazine, and Adobe Airstream.

Special Thanks to James Bristol for his great shot of Clayton's paint palatte (pictured above).

29 June, 2010

29 June - Phil Binaco Studio Visit

LAUNCHPROJECTS - had a great studio visit this morning with Phil Binaco. He is such an incredible and meticulous artist, it is no wonder the New York Times described his work as "slightly intoxicating - animated by a hint of spiritual luminosity." A former friend and student of Agnes Martin, Binaco's works are included in permanent collections including the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the Neuberger Museum of Art. His show at LAUNCHPROJECTS in May was a fantastic success, and we are excited to also begin planning his summer exhibition in Venice, Italy.

27 June, 2010

24 June - Lunch with Alanna Heiss

LAUNCHPROJECTS - met Alanna Heiss at the Clocktower. Went to a fabulous restaurant in Chelsea recommended by Paula Cooper (of Paula Cooper Gallery) called Cookshop. Alanna had us in stitches relaying story upon story of her sorority life at Lawrence University, meeting Bruce Nauman, and trying to hide her former sorority-girl identity...

We wrapped up lunch and headed to Paula Cooper Gallery to see a newly installed Mark di Suvero sculpture (stunning) and Christian Marclay's new work (underwhelming). We wrapped up the evening with openings in Chelsea and dinner with friends at a fantastic restaurant on 10th called Bottino.

23 June - MoMA and Chelsea

LAUNCHPROJECTS - A morning cappuccino at Via Quadronno to catch the US vs. Algeria match in the World Cup (Landon Donovan and goal keeper Tim Howard pictured above). We then headed to MoMA to see the newly installed Bruce Nauman exhibition Days, created for the 2009 Venice Biennale. A "sound sculpture" of voices reciting the days of week in random order, it is brutal and fascinating, we couldn't help but wonder at the sanity of the guards after hours on end of the relentless words. It is described on MoMA's website as a "sonic cocoon." More like day of the week clown torture. I love the way Roberta Smith described his work in her 2009 NYT review when it was in Philadelphia.

They don’t “present” as art, yet they lodge in the mind and won’t let go, disorienting, irritating, inundating and exhilarating the senses. And with time, the best Naumans make clear their art-ness, laying bare life’s basic experiences, distilled and compressed. They do this profoundly yet, it seems, inadvertently, as if Mr. Nauman were simply providing raw material that we absorb and fashion into art in our heads.

Exactly, Roberta.

22 June - James Franco exhibition at Art on Air

LAUNCHPROJECTS - the James Franco opening of The Dangerous Book Four Boys at Art on Air. An exhibition packed with New York's art and film scene - everyone from Marina Abramovic to Kirsten Dunst to Dennis Oppenheim. Franco's exhibition included short films, drawings, and photographs in addition to two wooden house-like structures and one wooden rocket-ship. Dangerous? There were a lot of films of him busting stuff, and a lot of videos of things burning. And a goat boy, Richard Prior, and a taxidermied house cat (not all in the same room). We haven't figured out the really dangerous part yet, but he was supposed to do a performance that was cancelled at the last minute. Maybe that was meant to be the dangerous part.

Following the opening was a private dinner at Alanna Heiss' home a block away. There we had an opportunity to spend time with the evening's stars and hosts, including Alanna and her assistant Beatrice (pictured above) and, of course, the artist. We also firmed up a date with Alanna for lunch on Thursday to talk in more detail about LAUNCHPROJECTS and the Heiss biography project.

21 June - en route to New York

LAUNCHPROJECTS - en route to New York, I was calmly reading the Leo and His Circle, the recently released English translation of Leo Castelli's biography. About twenty minutes into the flight, our pilot announces that we are doing an emergency landing in Charlotte, North Carolina due to engine failure. After twenty minutes of sheer terror we touched down in Charlotte surrounded by fire trucks and emergency vehicles.

We arrived in New York at midnight and checked into the Surrey Hotel, our new favorite in New York. Greeted at check-in by large-scale Jenny Holzer photographs, Chuck Close tapestries, and an entire hotel filled with art from the Whitney Museum across the street; it was a great ending to an extraordinarily stressful travel day.