Cary Leibowitz--of Creative Time winter hat
fame--is at it again with a Fabulous (with-a-capital-F) show of paintings and multiples at Alexander Gray
in Chelsea. These Fran Drescher Fan Club hats are just the beginning in a show that charms and then penetrates its way into the heart. Suddenly you realize that Leibowitz's finger is on your aorta. He's trying to save your life, and it kind of tickles. What more can you ask for?
Sleepwalkers, Night 28
Heart full. Arena bursting. Words have left the building.
The pics below aren't great but I had to post them, because they contain one of the last discoveries I made while viewing Sleepwalkers. Well, actually . . . to be honest, it's something that was pointed out to me by Jeff Manzer (aka The Building King). Look at the space behind the mostly-intersecting walls of MoMA and you can see the back of the neighboring church. I've looked into this corner for 24 nights over the last month and I'd never noticed this architectural duet.
Sleepwalkers, Night 27
I have to say that it's just been wonderful to see so many people checking out Sleepwalkers
this weekend. Heartwarming.
Some nights the garden becomes so still sound seems to disappear and a sense of reverence comes down. Maybe it's a reverence for the open secret that Aitken has hit upon. Everybody knows that what they're seeing is beautiful, but it ain't pretty. It's us.
Sleepwalkers, Night 25
Tonight I saw it with a friend who had grown up here. Because of Sleepwalkers
connections to Times Square it was interesting to hear her accounts of the place from when she was growing up. Necklace snatchings right in front of you. Walking with keys-as-daggers at the ready hidden in the palm of your hand. You know, the stories. I think that it might actually be more dangerous now, but in a different way. You don't need to stick your keys between your fingers, but that doesn't mean that you're not going to be assaulted.
Sleepwalkers, Night 24
But just lately seeing you
I rise a.m. off pink sheets
I am renewed
I am aglow
I wasn't expecting two things tonight.
First I found a song that worked with Sleepwalkers
. I absent-mindedly left my headphones on when I walked up to the museum, and The Fall's Bill Is Dead
was playing on my iPod. Serene, rumpled, and happy sad it rolls forward into its day. Although less neutral than Aitken's film generally, the song worked perfectly with the daydream sequences. At least for a minute. Ah, the illusion of safety
. The song ended and I was ready to return to the only soundtrack that really works, the city.
At any rate, this discovery was entirely appropriate. The Fall's new album, Reformation ! Post-TLC
, will be released on February 12th, the last night of Sleepwalkers
. This will soften the landing for me.
The second surprise of the night came in the garden when I burst into tears. I've seen this 22 times and that hadn't happened before. I've been moved, but not to this extent. It was unexpected and sad, but mostly it was just overwhelming and beautiful. The combination of an abstract segment that brings 9/11 to mind followed by the postal worker dreaming was too much. Something in the way she moves. Something in the way things are falling up and coming down at the same time. Fuck.
Bonus tracks. Some pics from across the street in front of the CBS building where you can view the projections on the facade and in the parking lot at the same time.
Sleepwalkers, Night 23
I've all but stopped taking pictures now. "I'm in the milk, and the milk's in me."
I was asked today why I liked Sleepwalkers
so much by a friend who wasn't liking it so much. Responding was a good exercise in reviewing what I've seen and felt since the beginning of the installation. Some of these things I've mentioned before, and some of them I'll be discussing here soon.
1. I like repetition, generally.
2. I like how repetition isn't really repetitive. (Says he as he repeats himself. Yet not quite, which proves my point.)
3. I like all the reflections that happen within the work, obviously and especially in the garden.
4. I love the cups. They make me think of Chardin.
5. I like the there/not there performances. I think that there's something very post-9/11 about them. For some reason I don't think that it was intentional.
6. I like the clocks that fill the screen at 6 o'clock every night when the church bells are ringing. Again, not intentional. This one I've asked Aiken about. He had no idea that it happened like that.
7. I like the occasional night when it feels more like a sound work than a visual piece.
8. I like the different grids that divide the images.
9. I don't see the design of the piece as a problem. I think that it's essentially cool. I think that that augments the distance that is part
the work. I've heard other people mention the "corporate" nature of it, but I don't quite get that. It's all too slow for that. You couldn't sell shit with this thing.
10. I like the hole it's going to leave behind.
Sleepwalkers, Night 22
No pics tonight. It was all about rhythm & sound. On the way uptown I was listening to Muslimgauze's Iranian Female Olympic Table Tennis Team Theme
. The way the loops run parallel to each other while interlocking inside your head reminded me of the way Sleepwalkers'
projections work it out in the garden. Mesmerizing
It wasn't just the rhythm of the images in the garden tonight, though. It was the sound. The city as DJ, spinning out the flying cymbals of the sirens and raining down the bass rumble of the helicopters from above. I knew that I was missing Doug Aitken's conversation with Thurston Moore
, but that's ok. I was more interested in action than talk, and the city brought it. There have been a few nights where everything has come together and Sleepwalkers
throws down dreams on the spot. This was one of those nights.
I'm going to miss this.
Sleepwalkers, Night 20
I arrived at 5 tonight. It was the most light in which I had seen Sleepwalkers
. It was beautiful in an icy way, but it really really really didn't photograph well.
Sleepwalkers, Night 18
Two things about the Aitken Happening. 1. Was great to see New York Hack
killin' it on stage with a backing band. Wonderful rhythm of delivery. No surprise that she writes the way the city moves as she moves through it. And Cat Power
. Bad acoustics and a loud rum-fuelled audience couldn't stop the glory of that voice. On the one and then some. Especially loved the last song. Like one of the darker rumblings of Alan Hovhaness
, the piano line provided an unruly sea for her to row her steady boat out into the sunset.
Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of the right wall in the parking lot tonight. The rain created mottled patterns cast a disturbance underneath the projections. I loved it, of course. I have much faith in the accident.
Sleepwalkers, Night 17
Tonight, shadow and accident.
Check the shadows of the trees cast on the wall behind the sculpture. Sepulchral in nature, it reminded me of about two-thirds of the Black Metal
cassette covers that've hit the posts over the years. Not wholly inappropriate here. Not because of the metal connection, but because of the darkness that can appear in these lights.
Secondly, well, secondly there was a little projector malfunction tonight. This is the image that was frozen into its own beauty for about 30 seconds. It was disorienting to feel all the surrounding motion continue while the electrician was stuck between frames. It reminded me of Gabriel Orozco's Samurai Tree (Invariant 6)
.Samurai Tree (Invariant 6),
2005 from the Marian Goodman Gallery site
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About the author
Brent Burket has his own art blog, Heart As Arena. He also writes for ArtCal Zine.
Brent has been a member of Creative Council since January 2005.
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