If you haven’t seen Searching for Sugar Man yet, I urge you to do so before reading this, anything else about the film, or watching trailers.
I’m sounding off to take issue with The recently publsihed Lefsetz Letter commenting on the Oscar nominated documentary, Searching for Sugar Man. Bob Lefsetz claims the film is a bogus work of “fiction,” exaggerated merely for profit motives. His argument: “You mean a guy was hit in South Africa and didn’t know it and labored in obscurity for decades, until some filmmaker in Sweden found out about it and made a movie?” Lefsetz is confusing the movie itself with the events it documents – events that occurred some fifteen years ago. The film, nor anyone involved making the press rounds (director Malik Bendjelloul, Rodriguez, Sony Pictures Classics) is claiming this movie found the lost musician Rodriguez. Rather, the movie documents a remarkable series of events that unfolded in the 90s, and weaves an unbelievable but true tale with both accurate and inspiring artistry. The sad irony here is in accusing the filmmakers of misleading the audience, Lefsetz is actually misleading his readers with these baseless, sophomoric conspiracy theories. I was wondering how he, who has been writing about the music biz for some 25 years, got it so wrong this time and missed the obvious. Upon my second read it all made sense – he hasn’t seen the movie yet.
This Thursday, The Standard Hotel Shop will release their latest artist edition, this time collaborating with Tomokazu Matsuyama. While no images of the product have surfaced yet (update – we were just sent the above video), we expect to see a snow-globe based on Matzu’s paintings. The release will be in an edition of only 30, so best grab one quick. Those in the NYC area should drop in for the launch event and after party.
Past collaborations have included products by Julia Chiang KAWS, Barbara Kruger, Ryan McGinness, Jose Parla, and Rostarr.
Earlier this week I attended the opening reception for Print/Out, MoMA’s latest exhibit to highlight printing practices, this time, surveying contemporary projects and series of the last two decades. Culled almost exclusively from the museum’s Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, the exhibit is as visually compelling as it is informative. A section devoted to the work of Edition Jacob Samuel, highlighted by a display and video demonstration of his portable aquatint box and Marina Abramovic portfolio, offers a rare glimpse at the technical artistry of the print master and his practice. In Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), Kara Walker’s solid black silhouette figures find new context, silkscreened against reproductions of an 1886 publication of Civil War prints. Selections from Damien Hirst’s 1999 Last Supper portfolio remind me why he was once interesting. Danish collective Superflex (who launch a solo show at Peter Blum next month) have set up a functioning workshop, inviting visitors to create replicas of iconic modern lamp designs by selecting a design and pasting computer print outs onto small wooden box frames. The works will be periodically hung from the gallery’s ceiling, growing an installation of art reproductions over time. The participatory piece in flux may just compel me visit again in a few weeks.
The latest reports confirm that artist Mike Kelley , who was found dead in his L.A. home Tuesday, did commit suicide. Kelley’s creative roots trace back to his involvement as a college Michigan student in the self-dubbed “anti-rock” group, Destroy All Monsters. He departed the performance based band in 1976 to pursue a degree from Cal Arts. Since then, Kelley had gained prominence as a contemporary and multimedia artist, collaborating with Paul McCarthy and Tony Oursler. In 1992, his self portrait, Ahh…Youth, featuring the artist surrounded by raggedy away of stuffed animals, graced the cover of Sonic Youth’s biggest commercial success, Dirty.
Kelley’s work is slated to appear in the 2012 Whitney Biennial. He was 57 years old.
In our second story of the day involving Disney and cultural appropriation, the world’s largest mouse-based media conglomerate has begun selling a new t-shirt riffing celebrity graphic designer Peter Saville’s now legendary cover art for Joy Division’s 1979 classic, Unknown Pleasures. As Pitchfork aptly notes, “Does Disney know that the singer of this band hung himself?! Do they know where the name “Joy Division” comes from?! Do they know how stupid this guy looks wearing this T-shirt?” Amen…
The word is KAWS and Medicom will release their latest figure collaboration, Partners, this Saturday. This time, the artist appropriates a bronze statue of animation legend, Walt Disney , which can be found in Florida’s Disney World (souvenier miniatures of the original also exist.) Take it or leave it, KAWS seems to be commenting on his own biography, which includes a stint working for Disney’s animation studios after college. Instead of holding his character creation’s hand, as Disney was holding Mickey’s in the original, we see Companion cowering away from his creator. Our old friend markilepsyhappens to be visiting the amusement park right now with his family, and quickly snapped this for us:
This weekend, DB Burkeman unveils the 2nd installment of the Stuck Up Tour, a traveling exhibit that accompanies the meticulous ethnography of Stuck Up Piece of Crap (Rizzoli), his book chronicling the history of sticker art in pop culture. Those in Chicago should brave the storm and head out to Maxwell Colette Gallery on Saturday Jan 21, for an afternoon (1-3pm) book signing featuring DB and celebrated photographer, Martha Cooper.
Coinciding with the show are a number of exiting new additions. First, there’s the free Stuck Up iPhone ap, which allows users to browse, upload and geotag stickers around the globe. It is a fascinating addition to the overall project. Next, a new video short called Gate Wars (watch below) presents a mesmerizing montage that weaves together a tale of competition and sticker rivalry amongst New York City’s locksmiths. It really is worth viewing. And don’t forget the swag! – go cop a truly cool t-shirt here.
Plane Folded Flight 11, 175, 2002, pencil on handmade paper, folded as schematic.
Fans of New York City icon, Patti Smith will want to check out 9.11 Babelogue, on view now at Hunter College’s Leubsdorf Art Gallery. While best known for her pioneering contributions to NYC’s downtown music and poetry scenes, the exhibit presents Smith’s role as a visual artist. Comprised of 26 works on paper created between 2001 and 2002, the series responds to the destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001, while offering them as symbols of the universal resiliency of the human spirit. Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the exhibit marks the first time these pieces will be shown together in their entirety in NY.
Ground Zero and Gold Poured Forth, 2002, silkscreen, colored pencil, graphite, and acrylic paint on nineteenth- century handmade paper.
South Tower Skyline, 2002, silkscreen on canvas.
Patti Smith: 9/11 Babelogue
Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College
Sept. 8 – Dec. 3, 2011
68th Street & Lexington Ave., West Lobby
New York, NY 10065
After much quiet, Matt Leines has launched a new website, blog and online store. Go get yourself one of these t-shirts while they last. Matt has promised more cool stuff to spend your money on shortly…check back.
Barry McGee has quietly opened a new solo show at Worshop Arte Contemporanea, a new gallery in Venice, Italy. The show marks a continuation of the artists shift in presentation. Rather that engulfing space in wall to wall panel installations, McGee is increasingly moving toward single isolated pieces, consisting of clusters of paintings on wood or framed photographs, and a greater use of white backgrounds as opposed to his past practice of overwhealming viewers with dizzying geometric color patterns. Recent exhibits at Modern Art (London) and Ratio 3 (San Francisco) also signal this move. The show runs through October 14.
Sept. 3 – Oct. 14
Workshop Arte Contemporanea
Dorsoduro 2793 / A, 30123