Art & Development, Community

A Week in Review: Seven Days in My Art World

Art and art experiences from the past seven days.

So I haven’t been to the Whitney or MoMA lately. Does that mean I’m taking living in NYC for granted? Possibly. But over the past eight days, I’ve experienced art and art dialogues in lots of ways….

  • Self-organized studio visits among Bronx AIM participants (Margaret Inga Wiatrowski, Didier William, Tatiana Isotomina, and Anna Ablogina). The cohort’s practices are quite developed; members ask very thoughtful questions; and we stay fueled up on candy and snacks. There’s a lot of mutual goodwill and I’m so thankful to be part of it.
  • A few Chelsea galleries off the beaten path. Making a highly-edited list on forced me off my usual four-block slither…. Killer charcoal drawings by Robert Longo at Petzel—an art school fundamental, executed to perfection. Peter Dreher painted the same glass of water, over and over (Koenig & Clinton); hardheaded persistence seemed winsome to me. Insignia intermixed with Thai embellishments by Jakkai Siributr at Tyler Rollins Fine Art…. My list exceeded my time; yet to see the shows by Justin Matherly, Lisi Raskin, David Maisel, Kristen Morgin, Josephine Mekseper, and Adam Pendleton. [Funny, all but one of these artists I have worked with, or handled their artworks, or heard them speak. This makes me think that Chelsea is less predictable than I usually give it credit for, or galleries are putting their best foot forward for this month’s fairs. Or maybe I’m just getting around more.]
  • Artist’s talk at a Parson’s undergrad class.* Under-slept and over-caffeinated, I delivered a zippy talk about my work, opinions on the art world, and professional strategies.  Seeing the students sprawled out on the model plinths, half-broken stools and paint-splattered floor made me a little nostalgic for art school.
  • My studio. Finishing up a new ribbon text—actually a translation of an existing text—for a forthcoming billboard overseas. (Details will be announced soon.) Starting a new project—the hardest part. I remembered the art school assignment to do 100 drawings—it’s still a great way to declare a no-judgment zone, overcome self-critical inertia, and get to work. Patti Smith’s descriptions of her and Mapplethorpe’s passion for getting lost in creative activity in Just Kids helped too.**
  • LMCC’s Open Studios. Visited one of the strangest settings for art—an entire semi-reconstructed floor of a corporate high-rise in the financial district. Lots of great artists in this highly competitive studio program. I was also very moved by an interactive play-in-progress by Aya Ogawa.

*Thanks, SAS, for inviting me!

** Thanks for the book trade, CLF.


Points of Reference

Lars Tunbjörk

LARS TUNBJÖRK, LAWYER'S OFFICE, NEW YORK, 1997, 20 X 24 inches, Edition of 12, C Print. Source:

This 1997 photo by Lars Tunbjörk is pretty great. It’s from his series on corporate offices. He’s got a great eye for narrative — the feeling you get is one of hygenic oppression, like Robert Longo’s indicting drawings of white collar workers. I really like the abstraction and sense of space in this picture, and the cheeky realization that it’s the most mundane of mundane things, a garbage bin.

I’m also pretty happy to discover invisible thread. It’s not really invisible, and it’s not really thread, if you think of finely wound fibers, because it’s thin monofilament. It worked great in hand-sewing and in my sewing machine. Brush up on your knot-tying skills with animated demos by Grog.

Small victories in procurement, the art activity I love to hate: For my recent sewing/craft projects, the fabric department at the big CVS (formerly Longs/Payless) in North Oakland has been great. A $4 Fiskers portable scissor sharpener (a sharpening stone in two blade guides at the perfect angle) proved its worth within a few minutes. For more specialist items, visit Discount Fabrics in West Berkeley.

Did I mention Calvin Tompkins yet? His profiles of contemporary artists in the New Yorker have been fascinating. Recent subjects include Julie Mehretu (read the abstract), Urs Fischer (read the abstract) and Bruce Nauman (read the abstract). I found the profile of Nauman most interesting, maybe because his career and work is so unconventional, and the expressions of his psyche so singular. The Fischer and Mehretu profiles operate on surface levels more often, but readers interested in the mechanics of art star careers will find them fascinating.