EAST VILLAGE USA AT THE NEW MUSEUM IN CHELSEA

                     Jeff Koons, Lifeboat, 1985     Whatever Happened to the East Village? 1960-62 I don't just mean the neighborhood, although I first lived there on Avenue D and 8th Street when it was still called the Lower East Side (or as someone tried to re-christen it, the Loser East Side or the Looser East Side), when there were jazz bars like Slug's and you could rent a … [Read more...]

MARTHA ROSLER’S PHOTOMONTAGE

The Other Martha ... Martha Rosler, as opposed to Martha Stewart. The link is the home. For one Martha, the home -- and now perhaps the jailhouse -- is the theater of sales; for the other Martha, the home itself is a sign in the battleground of signs. A new survey of Rosler's telling photomontages at Gorney Bravin + Lee (534 West 26th St., to Jan. 8) presents generous samples of two of her classic sequences: one called "Beauty Knows No Pain or Body Beautiful" (1965-04) and the other "Bringing … [Read more...]

JAMES LEE BYARS AT THE WHITNEY

The Death of James Lee Byars If you were to design your own memorial, what would it be? It is not clear if James Lee Byars (1932-1997) meant The Death of James Lee Byars as a memorial, but it now functions as one, the way the Ana Mendieta silhoueta of lit candles placed at the end point of her Whitney exhibition earlier this year did. The Death and a few other Byars works are now at the Whitney (945 Madison Ave. at 75th St., to March 5). For those interested in the Dada/Fluxus wing of art or … [Read more...]

MOMA STRIPPED BARE, EVEN

        Six Ways of Looking at the New MoMA MoMA from 54th Street 1. Cash-Flow A former director of a nonprofit art institution might look at the newly expanded MoMA -- Super-MoMA, MoMA IV, and MoMA Redux -- in a particular way. He or she would see income-generating party spaces. Earned income equals cash-flow solutions. (How the Museum of Modern Art became The Modern and then MoMA is another story. Branding is all. For a more friendly tag, I suggest the name … [Read more...]

DANIEL ROTHBART

Daniel Rothbart, Meditation/Mediation (Camels, Wadi Shlomo, Israel) Camels Munching and the Mississippi Passing By In a Roman backyard near a big tree, a man singing softly to himself walks around a circle of twelve cast-aluminum bowls of various sizes; he stops, kneels down and sings into the largest bowl; then he gets up and taps it with an aluminum gong-striker that looks like a giant sex-toy. The man is the artist Lucio Pozzi. An anonymous "Algerian Entertainer" in an Israeli hotel is seen … [Read more...]

ALTMEJD, KUSAMA, KOSUTH, AND KRUGER

David Altmejd, The University 2 A Werewolf in Brooklyn I first saw David Altmejd's work in the last Whitney Biennial. In my Artopia essay I gave his Delicate Men in Positions of Power a prize for The Most Strangely Creepy and Oddly Moving Installation. The prize could have been for the best werewolf art, the best art about werewolves. Now at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in Chelsea (525 W. 24th St., to Nov. 27) we can get another look at what this artist is up to. I think it best to concentrate on … [Read more...]

NOGUCHI AT THE WHITNEY

Lessons in Art History You knew it was coming: more about Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988). My June 21 entry (you can find it under Archives, June in the column to the left) covered the reopening of the Noguchi Museum in Queens and included a lot of his biography that I really don't need to repeat. Although the Noguchi Museum has its charms, I wanted to see a more traditionally curatorial view of his sculpture in a white-walled venue, removed from the artist's personal aura. This indeed is what we have … [Read more...]

ROTHKO’S GHOST, AN INTERVIEW

Lars von Trier       Von Trier and Rothko When we hit a writer's block, we know what to do. We fall back on techniques learned from master poetry teacher Kenneth Koch: create an obstruction or a rule to bat your head against. Choose an insane and rigid form like the sestina; exclude the letter E as Georges Perec did for his novel A Void; pretend you are someone else. We are having a hard time writing about the newly issued, long-lost book by Mark Rothko (1903-1979). … [Read more...]

RUBIN MUSEUM OF (HIMALAYAN) ART

     Tibet Invades Chelsea's Eastern Border So far, the most significant art event this fall is the opening of the Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17th St.)in the huge building that once housed Barneys. Ages ago, Barneys featured boy's and men's clothes off-the-rack then went upscale and then uptown, leaving a vacant building behind on Seventh Avenue between 17th and 18th. Of course, MoMA is set to reopen this November in expanded quarters. And it will be great to see some of our … [Read more...]