Let It Come Down.
The pipe organ is a reckless instrument. Even with the most controlled player it is an extreme, overbearing thing. Remember that Tom Waits line, "The piano has been drinking"? Well, the pipe organ has been sucking down the wine since it was a baby in Europe and it took to the hard stuff in the horror films and skating rinks of America. It's a lush.
Closing The Plain of Heaven Sunday night, Trisha Donnelly
exploited the organ's naturally inebriated state to do what priests and storytellers have done since the beginning of time . . . get us drunk too. Donnelly explored the precipice of sound, and in doing so told the story of the building, the neighborhood, and the city. Wafting up the stairwell and spilling out of the exits it was a sound that penetrated, that you could feel in your gut and in your groin. It spoke directly to the life force running through us all--through our ever-changing city--with the promise of both death and regeneration. Bring it.
Harvey Party Pics.
Thanks to Yael, here are a couple pics from last Saturday's party at board member Dillon Cohen's wonderful loft.
Also, I couldn't figure out why Harvey's publisher looked so familiar. Later I realized that he had been featured
in the latest Art Review
. I know I was whining about the Power 100 content of the issue on my blog
, but I have to say that I always enjoy the collector profiles. This one was no exception. Love of the work . . . A fine reason for buying (as well as publishing).
There's also a nice review of Keith Farquhar's
excellent show at Nyehaus
in the same issue. I discovered this underrated gallery when Tim Nye was a featured collector in an earlier issue of Art Review. But I digress. I really digress.
Anyway, the pics . . .
From left to right: artist Ellen Harvey, publisher Gregory R. Miller, and Creative Time director Anne Pasternak.
Buy This Book!
Seriously. I'm not going all sales-y on you. I'm just being enthusiastic.
Last night at the Creative Council's celebration of Ellen Harvey's
new book, New York Beautification Project
, I was knocked out by the artist's warmth, intelligence, and wit. She talked about some funny things that were actually quite serious, and some serious things that were firmly planted on the funny side of the fence. I picked up a copy of the book (And snagged a print that was given away to the first 10 buyers. Woohoo!!!!!). When I started to read it this morning I found the same entertaining charm and insight between the book's covers as I'd witnessed at the party.
It's one thing to put art in unexpected places
. I could do that. It wouldn't be pretty, but I could do it. Anyway and however, to do it in a way that surprises and delights is another thing. Furthermore, it takes a special artist to make that surprise and delight extend beyond the initial contact. Ellen Harvey is that kind of artist.
In the book Harvey walks you through the story of each painting. My favorite tale is about her painting a scene on top of some grafitti in Washington Heights. When she revisited the site later she found that the graffiti artist had placed a small tag on Harvey's painting. Tagging a tagged tag. Art working itself out. That's the kind of stuff that makes me giddy.
I also like that while many artists--including Harvey--challenge the institution, here she challenges the non-institution. Painting unexpectedly and illegally on surfaces that had often already been violated begins a dialogue with almost anybody who sees it.
Near the end of the party a Harvey fan said to me, "Isn't it great when you meet an artist whose work you love, and they turn out to be this cool and nice?" Yes, Lauren. You got that right. (NOTE: The same rule applies to rockin' IT people as well.)
On The Philly Tip.
An invitation to the next Creative Council event, a book party for Creative Time alum Ellen Harvey, reminded me that I had been meaning to post a note about her show
at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. About a month ago I visited PAFA to see the painting show and the Vik Muniz. They were installing the Harvey at the time, and it looked like it was going to be an interesting exploitation of PAFA's wonderful main building. From what I've heard it's lived up to my hopes.
Another PAFA/Creative Time connection was brought to my attention Saturday when I ran into Anne Pasternak at Phillips de Pury. She told me that Peter Eleey, Creative Time curator and producer, is speaking at an upcoming PAFA luncheon on November 16.
I know I've said this before, but I highly recommend an art trip to Philly that takes you beyond the Philadelphia Museum of Art
and the ICA
. Read about my last trip to the "6th Borough" here
. For more up-to-the-minute and comprehensive guidance the best place to start is Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof's Artblog
. They rule.
CREATIVE TIME in the Times.
The Plain of Heaven
gets a nice mention in the NY Times
today in Roberta Smith's piece about performance art.
And I quote Ms. Smith:
"In Creative Time's beautiful exhibition "The Plain of Heaven" (in a former meatpacking plant at 832 Washington Street in the West Village), catch the installation/performance piece by the choreographer William Forsythe, in which Brock Labrenz, a tirelessly inventive dancer, improvises among a forest of plumb lines for six hours at a clip."
Yep. And that's just the beginning. I've been to the show 3 times and it continues to yield the deep goodness.