Online Newspapers: New York Edition by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied * Madison Square Art 2008

 Imagine art that is timely and compelling, saying something about the new, while firmly planting itself in the recent past. Something future regressive. Something worth seeing. Something called Online Newspapers: New York Edition, currently on view at Madison Square Park.

Okay, I admit I was initially compelled to attend this show because of the scarves both artists wore in the promotional postcard. Olia’s scarf is genius in that it’s a knit of the boring Google ads that pervade and pollute our online life. I loved the transgression of turning the visual annoyance of internet advertising into a covetable fashion accessory. In a way it speaks to Online Newspapers: New York Edition in that the show, too, pushes boundaries, bringing internet based new media outside the world of zeroes, ones, and html.

Adjacent to bustling 23rd St, the setting in Madion Square Park could not have been lovelier—a rare glimpse of the bucolic that most New Yorkers are grossly deprived of. Contained within an oval of deep green groundcover, four mounted screens project the cover pages of the New York Post, The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Not the ordinary front pages, but pages layered with a collage of animated horses, kitties, snow, bears, and more.

Internet technology is unique in how fast it evolved, making these examples of detritus all the more important because of the internet’s ability to induce amnesia about its original context. The use of kittens, etc. is a reflection of our tendency to sentimentalize anything, including kitten GIFs, and the use of institutional newspapers is a nod to the corporate streamlining of the internet and how quickly things have gone from amateur to expert. While cute and cuddly, these ingratiating animations speak to a time of limited technology in the early 90’s, when the internet was dominated by amateur hobbyists and tech geeks. Their cheesy aesthetic speaks to a time of web ‘innocence’ and visual simplicity. In short, they are awesome.

It struck me that I was outside in a park ‘watching’ art although I’m not sure if ‘watching’ is an apt description. I could have been fooled because I’ve been trained to view electronic screens as media to ‘watch’. Whatever the semantics, Lialina & Espenschied’s piece astounds us by bringing typically ‘inside’ art outside. Those accustomed to seeing bronze sculptures in parks will be pleasantly surprised to find art that isn’t static. Unlike the shape of some dead white guy, this art draws viewers in, and is engaging by design.

by Peter Killeen


Williamsburg Every Second, Friday March 14th, 6-9pm

Friends, Hope to see you on Friday! March Madness. New Art, Magic Tunnels, Godzilla Puppets and Pernod Drinks… It's Williamsburg Every Second!

Friday, March 14, (WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn)—You've been to the Biennial; now see the brightest new artists before they make their way to the Whitney. Hop from gallery to gallery this Friday night during the monthly art to-do Williamsburg Every Second , where all 38 Greater Williamsburg galleries stay open until 9 pm and beyond.

Love after parties as much as you love art? Starting at 9 pm, join us at Williamsburg's hot new cocktail joint Huckleberry, (588 Grand Street) for Pernod drinks and more—a delicious way to get the discourse flowing about the art you saw. Such as:

(236 Grand Street)—Using puppets and a model of NYC, The Godzilla Project—a collaboration between the Eh-Team and German-Romanian artist Felix Toth—utilizes film and puppet theatre to recreate the infamous city attack.
Parker's Box
(193 Grand Street)—Step inside The Tunnel, a solo exhibition by Patrick Martinez. This interactive installation piece invites you to engage in a hypnotic, psychedelic relationship with The Tunnel itself, using touch-screen technology to modify the parameters of your optical and cerebral experience.
Black & White Gallery
(483 Driggs Avenue)—Heal the world at Law of the Land by Kim Holleman. An operating manual of sorts of instructions on how to rebuild the environment featuring multi-media both indoors and outdoors.
Capla Kesting Fine Art
(121 Roebling Street)—Tonight's closing reception is your last chance to check out Facelift—the latest installment of independent curatorial outpost Bipolart, featuring artists from Amsterdam, Berlin, Warsaw, New York, and LA.
Galeria Janet Kurnatowksi
(205 Norman Avenue)— Deborah V. Spiroff's Encountering Why features person-size canvases revealing an animation of color, light and atmosphere. Her gestural abstractions engage the body—Spiroff paints with both hands simultaneously.
Hogar Collection
(362 Grand Street)—The Dreamy Dreamer group show features kinetic sculpture, video, photography, and works on paper dealing with regeneration, microcosmic and infinite universes, humor, dreams, science, science fiction and the unconscious mind.
Check the website
for complete event listing details.
See you Friday!


Mary Lucier and Phil Bender exhibits at Belmar Lab

404 S Upham St, near the intersection of Wadsworth and Alameda, Lakewood, CO, January 23rd-May 1st Mary Lucier, The Plains of Sweet Regret, and Phil Bender, Last Place, two exhibits that engage in the process of nostalgia and the transitory aspects of memory, opened at the Belmar Laboratory of Art and Ideas last month. Lucier’s project, a six screen video installation, depicts the disappearing small-town farming communities of North Dakota, replaced by agri-culture and big business practices. An equally anguished and exuberant portrayal, landscapes fold, silhouettes of cowboys intertwine and collapse, long grass cradles dilapidated houses, a newborn calf shrugs off its placenta. We are asked to interpret memory in terms of space, as Lucier simultaneously captures the creation and annihilation of rural American culture. Comparatively, Phil Bender’s exhibit is a meticulously ordered collection of objects not quite archaic, not quite present-day. Titled for the gallery space which is presumably the “last place” these almost-artifacts will be used, Last Place includes a series of tool boxes, beaded belts, wire whisks, matchbooks, yard sticks, hangers, tennis rackets and more. This project invites a meditation on how memory can settle on the object world and moreover, engaged in the obsessive habit of object-collecting, implies the perfectly human habit to obsess about (and attempt to organize an understanding) of the past. The most intriguing dynamic that arises between the two exhibits is the collision of memory with material to create artifact and legend, the collision of gallery space with memorial to expose the emotional presence of loss. Belmar Lab’s current exhibits grapple with the relationship of creative exploration to the fleeting, abstract, never (quite) tangible procedures of how we remember. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket photos provided by Belmar Lab

Susana Martinez-Conde

Susana Martinez-Conde
Tuesday, January 29, 2008; 6:30pm
133/141 West 21 Street, room 101C

Susana Martinez-Conde is a research scientist at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where she studies optical illusions. She recently organized a symposium entitled The Magic of Consciousness. Presented by the BFA Fine Arts Department, in conjunction with NYC's Brainwave Festival. Free and open to the public.

Readings at Max Protetch


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ann Lauterbach &
Garrett Kalleberg

Free and open to the public

Garrett Kalleberg is the author of Some Mantic Daemons, Psychological Corporations, and Limbic Odes. His poems, reviews and translations have appeared in Brooklyn Rail, The Canary, Crowd, Damn the Caesars, Tragaluz (Mexico), Fence, Sulfur, First Intensity, Denver Quarterly, A.bacus, and Mandorla, and in An Anthology of New (American) Poets.  His awards for poetry and critical writing include two awards from the Academy of American Poets and two grants from The Fund for Poetry.  Garrett lives in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Ann Lauterbach has published seven collections of poetry: Many Times, But Then (1979), Before Recollection (1987), Clamor (1991), And For Example (1994), On A Stair 1997), If in Time :Selected Poems 1975-2000 (2001) and Hum (2005), several chapbooks, and collaborations with visual artists, including How Things Bear Their Telling with Lucio Pozzi and A Clown, Some Colors, A Doll, Her Stories, A Song, A Moonlit Cove with Ellen Phelan for the Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum, New York. She has written on art and poetics in relation to cultural value, notably in a series of seven columns for the American Poetry Review entitled "The Night Sky", essays on sculptor David Smith's writings and drawings, and a collaborative work for sculptor Ann Hamilton's "Whitecloth" catalogue for the Aldrich Museum. A colletion of her prose: The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience was published in 2005 by Viking, and will be re-issued in Penguin paper in spring 2008.  Lauterbach is Co- Director of Writing in the Milton Avery Gradute School of the Arts and Ruth and David Schwab II Professor of Language and Literature at Bard College. She is the recipient of Guggenheim, New York State Foundation for the Arts, Ingram Merrill and MacArthur fellowships. She is a Visiting Critic (sculpture and painting) at the Yale School of Art.
Hosted by Stuart Krimko and Christopher Stackhouse

Max Protetch
511 W. 22nd St. (btwn 10-11ave)
New York, New York 10011
212. 633. 6999

Censorship Exhibit at the Brecht Forum, by Leah Hansen

Thursday, November 8 saw the opening of “Censorship: An Exhibition Benefiting Artists in Distress” at the Brecht Forum . The reception featured plenty of food and drinks, live performances, and a raucous crowd the filled every inch of the relatively small gallery space. The featured artists hail from countries around the world and utilize an array of mediums, including drawing, painting, photography, video, and performance. The only thing missing was context.

No artist’s statement or biography appeared; no overall explanation of the show’s goal was on view. The press release for the exhibition, which can be found at, explains that a few of the artists have faced political repercussions as a result of their controversial work, but nowhere at the actual show can one read which artists were censored and which are simply responding to the idea of censorship.

This creates a modicum of confusion. Though quite striking, Melissa Murray’s “Bag,” a four-foot graphite drawing of a nude woman in profile, sitting on the ground wearing a plastic grocery bag like a hat, doesn’t necessarily address censorship. Yes, nudity is frequently under attack by censors, but in this case, the woman’s arms and legs obscure any “offensive” parts. Moving on, one arrives at Sarah Valeri’s stunning painting, “Bright”. The 30-inch canvas features a lithe, androgynous child curled in a fetal position on a swamp bank. In the foreground, a dog with a frog riding on its back swims by; lily pads float around them. The painting’s sea of blue, green, lavender, and cream swirl gently together, and, coupled with the child’s morose expression, evokes serenity and sadness. But, again, one wonders how it relates to the show’s theme.

The pieces with clear ties to censorship cover emotions ranging from rage to hope to humor. Particularly humorous are the pieces by photographer “BKLYN Paul,” who attended the opening naked. In “Spring Street,” the artist appears naked and smirking in front of graffiti-covered wall that creates a stark contrast to his unclothed body. On the left, an amateur photographer is caught snapping Paul’s photo with a little digital camera and a woman on the right turns toward us with a big grin. Paul’s “Subway Series” consists of three photos of a friend riding the subway naked. Only one other rider watches with a scowl, while everyone else is clearly laughing. The laughter captured in these photos emphasizes the ridiculousness of the attempts by the FCC and conservatives to fine and jail people for even accidental flashes nudity. Meanwhile, no one in these photos appears harmed or scarred by seeing a naked man on the streets of New York.

Collages by Issa Nyaphaga and Bara Diokhane evoke potent anger at the lack of artistic freedom in their homelands, Cameroon and Senegal. Mel Smothers’ two Mao portraits (of the Andy Warhol variety), painted over with ethereal birds in flight, impart a sense of hope for the future.

While the exhibition is successful as a showcase of eclectic art, it fails to maintain a cohesive message about censorship. Background information on the art and artists is especially important in this context, as artists face the FCC crackdown on “obscene” television and radio programming, and the current administration’s attempts to repeal basic rights in the name of “combating terrorism.” Without an explanation tying this work together, it’s just a mish-mash of art—impressive art, but a mish-mash nonetheless.

“Censorship: An Exhibition Benefiting Artists in Distress” will be on display at the Brecht Forum, located at 451 West Street between Bank and Bethune Streets, through December 6. There will also be a closing celebration held on Friday, November 30 from 7 to 10 p.m., featuring live music and dance. For more information, visit or call 212-242-4201.

Bette Midler's Hulaween * By Leah Hansen * October 31, 2007 * Waldorf-Astoria

Bette Midler looked stunning in her “goddess of the forest” costume at her annual Hulaween benefit at the Waldorf-Astoria on Halloween night. The Pamela Dennis-designed green dress, flocked with gold leaves and topped with a bird’s nest hat, was perfectly appropriate for the evening’s benefit for the New York Restoration Project (NYRP). Other celebrities joined the fun as well, with Michael Kors as a very believable Elton John and Susie Essman of Curb Your Enthusiasm as a spidery vamp woman. Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg got into the act (a little bit) with a set of chunky shell necklaces over his business suit.

Guests arrived in costume, took their seats at tables festooned with hand-carved jack-o-lanterns and gruesome giant rats, and were treated to a night of Halloween-themed food, a costume contest, and performances by Sheryl Crow and the Divine Miss M herself, Bette Midler.

This year’s Hulaween raised over $2 million in ticket sales for the NYRP, which was founded by Midler in 1995 to create a cleaner, greener New York City. The NYRP plants trees, restores community parks and gardens, and saves public spaces from commercial development in New York City. It recently partnered with the city’s Department of Parks & Recreation to launch MillionTreesNYC, an initiative to plant one million trees on public land throughout the five boroughs over the next ten years.

The gala also featured a live auction for trees to be planted in the winners’ names. A concurrent online auction, ending November 8, offers entertainment packages, luxury items, and personal meetings with Bette Midler, actor Hugh Jackman, or Bill Clinton, among other celebrities.

At the end of the night, guests left with gift bags from Target and the satisfaction of knowing that they did something to better the city. And as a last nod to the greening of New York, a note at the bottom of event’s program implored guests not to take decorations home with them, so that they may be recycled for next year’s gala. Truly, conscientious to the end!


Hunt Slonem and Sandra Li Ron Villane and wife

Photos by Marta Fodor

The Valerie Project at MoMA

PopRally presents:



Sunday, October 28 | 8:00–11:00 p.m.

The Museum of Modern Art

11 W 53rd St, btw 6th and 7th 

Titus Theater 1

Join PopRally for a Halloween celebration featuring The Valerie Project, a unique cinematic and musical experience.

Underground Philadelphia musicians perform an original soundtrack to a rarely screened 35mm print of Valerie and her Week of Wonders, Jaromil Jires's 1970 folk-horror Czech New Wave classic. This coming of age fairytale, featuring vampires, the living dead, and pastoral landscapes, promises to awe and surprise you with its stunning psychedelic visuals and surrealist plot twists. The new soundtrack will be performed live by a ten-piece ensemble, led by members of the bands Espers, Fern Knight and Fursaxa and harpist Mary Lattimore, lending a new perspective to this spectacular film.

The party continues upstairs, where DJ Mahssa of B-Music will be spinning funky dance psychedelia.

Costumes are STRONGLY encouraged!!

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Tickets are available at the Museum information and Film desks, and through

Guests of this event will receive a limited-edition print specially made for the night by Los Angeles-based artist Tracy Nakayama, who was recently included in P.S.1's Into Me / Out of Me exhibition.

You must be twenty-one or older to attend this event.

PopRally would like to thank Christiania Vodka, Lagunitas Brewing Co., and Fred for their sponsorship; and Joseph Gervasi, Co-Founder of The Valerie Project.

PopRally is funded by the generous support of Katherine Farley and Jerry I. Speyer

Above: Tracy Nakayama. Print. 2007. Courtesy of Tracy Nakayama