The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘performance art’

The Nineties Are History, and Other News

May 14, 2015 | by


Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cutcher, Man with a Computer (detail), 1992. Image via Hyperallergic

  • Today is the first-ever Dylan Day: a commemoration of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, which he debuted at 92Y (his voice “removed and godlike in tone”) on May 14, 1953. Dylan Day grants you a plausible reason to seize strangers by their lapels and scream about raging against the dying of the light. Do this. The opportunity comes but once a year.
  • What happens when a performance artist abducts a bunch of curators and collectors for an “experimental expedition” in the Swiss Alps? More or less what you’d expect: “Kobilinsky appeared out in the snow. He was completely naked and he was walking toward the structure. It was a wild sight. Not just the naked man staggering through a wide expanse of snowy nothingness, but the group of esteemed collectors crowding the windows like eager schoolchildren. When Kobilinsky reached the crystal igloo and began to crawl inside, agonizing screams started emanating from somewhere outside the train.”
  • “I would sacrifice my own life for a chance to throw a single brick at Ernest Hemingway, the American novelist who eats too much … He coughs up feathers out of his mouth wherever he goes.” New “letters” between “Hemingway” and “Fitzgerald.”
  • As the nineties cedes its contemporariness and becomes “an object of historical inquiry,” it is now time to ask: What the hell happened back there? A new show, “Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s,” begins the critical task of contextualizing the works of the Clinton era. “The show marks our own radical break with a decade at once familiar and unfamiliar … The nineties were marked by various points of turbulence that have now evolved into unremarkable if not unproblematic features of our daily lives: a changing geopolitical order, precipitated by the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union; the “digital revolution,” which linked spatially disparate societies for the first time; the emergence of a global art scene and the series of international festivals and events it spawned; and the advent of so-called ‘identity politics.’ ”
  • Before there was Naples, there was Parthenope, a beautiful city on the bay in roughly the same location; Virgil retired there, and the city traded on this fact for centuries. “Virgil’s place in Parthenope was paraded from the moment of his death, though not perhaps in the way he might most have wished. He became much more than a poet. The author of the Aeneid was variously the city’s owner, its founder, a wizard, a magician tunnel-maker, a worker of miracles and, when Christianity sensed a rival, a worker of Christian miracles.”

Art Amnesty

December 9, 2014 | by


Why are some people artists while others are not? Was Joseph Beuys an idiot when he said everyone is an artist? Do artists think they are a cut above the rest of us? Are the arts a good in themselves, or is it much, much, more complicated than that?

Many artists delude themselves into believing that they are promising, productive artists when they would live much more fulfilled and useful lives engaged in proper employment. I PROMISE NEVER TO MAKE ART AGAIN provides a baptism of necessary real life and allows artists to “Get Real.” Ditch a life of poverty and precarious self-employment! Don't miss a life-changing opportunity.

Art: It’s had a good run.

You know, there was the Venus of Willendorf. And the Dutch Masters—remember them?—and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, all with some very nice work. And Picasso! Who could forget Picasso?

But we’ve come to the end of the line, more or less. The art world may continue apace, with its Jeff Koonses and its Damien Hirsts, but most artists know only suffering. And to these artists, Bob and Roberta Smith have issued a clear message: go home, clean off your paintbrushes, and do something meaningful with your lives.

“The personal journey for most artists starts with enthusiasm and joy,” Bob and Roberta have said, “and ends, if the artist does not have huge success, in embarrassed children taking their dead parents’ work to the dump.” Read More »


Regina and Louise

July 23, 2014 | by

A companion to yesterday’s piece by Edgar Oliver.

Edgar Louise and Helen by Regina Bartkoff

Regina Bartkoff

01 Savannah

Louise Oliver

Deer Trio by Regina Bartkoff

Regina Bartkoff

Louise Oliver - Notepaper 1 for web

Louise Oliver

Edgar's favorite Regina drawing

Regina Bartkoff

For a long time, whenever I visited Edgar Oliver on East Tenth Street, I would look at his mother’s wonderful paintings. They hung all over his crumbly walls and because it was always night when I visited, they were amber lit from the lamps sitting here and there in Edgar’s living room. Whenever I looked at the paintings, I would feel a pang at the thought that I’d never get to meet her. When I decided that I wanted to make Louise Oliver the subject of the third issue of my magazine, Housedeer, Edgar brought out portfolios filled with her drawings for me to see and we looked at them together, sitting on the floor. It seemed as though his whole childhood, and his sister Helen’s too, had been recorded in pencil by Louise. She must have drawn her children constantly, and she drew cemeteries and swamps and old houses and churches and ordinary people going about their business on the streets of Savannah, where they lived. Many of her drawings included detailed notes to herself on the colors of everything in them, so she could use them later to make paintings. Edgar told me that he and Helen were raised to be artists.

I wanted to ask Regina Bartkoff to do a drawing for Louise’s Housedeer cover because while she and Louise have very different styles, there is something about each of them that reminds me of the other. To my eye, the beauty of Regina’s drawings is in their mystery and their innocence. And I think if I had to choose one word to describe what Regina and Louise have in common in what they’ve made, the word innocent might be a good one. Honest would be another. When I told Regina what I wanted, it had been more than a year since she had done any drawing at all, the reason being that she and her husband, Charles Schick, had just finished doing a play by Tennessee Williams called In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel. The play was put on in the gallery they have use of on East Third Street, and they had not yet come out of that other world. Regina and Charles love theater and they love painting (Regina loves drawing too), but when they do a play, it is all-consuming. Regina was still waking up as Miriam, her character in the play, and feeling the kind of lost that theater people often feel when the play is over. Read More »



May 7, 2012 | by

I’m sitting in an apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. It’s a nice apartment, with decidedly un-Ikea furniture and mild-mannered art on the walls. It feels well kept but welcoming, gently used. The room I’m in is a classic New York living/dining-room combo, its zones delineated by, on the one hand, a multicolored wood table and, on the other, a sleek white couch.

The couch looks surprisingly comfortable, but I have no idea if it is; I’m sitting back-to-back with it, on a triangular block of foam. There’s a semicircle of these foam stools filling the room’s neutral territory and six people sitting with me. As we wait in awkward and anticipatory silence, I notice the sunlight streaming in from the windows. It glosses the shiny floors, which stay that way, I assume, because everyone who enters this apartment has been told to remove her shoes, just like in my home growing up.

I don’t know who lives here. According to a map the Guggenheim has given me, this is “Erin’s House.” Erin is nowhere to be found, but she has generously loaned out her living/dining room for a few weekends in April and May, for a project called Stillspotting. As its name implies, the project is a search for still spots—quiet spaces, moments of respite, refuge from chaos—in New York.

Read More »