Chris Burden, Part Two — Boys Will Be Boys

Transfixed, 1974

  “Chris Burden: Extreme Measures” is now at the New Museum to January 12. Burden has what looks like a bifurcated career, an oeuvre with a caesura. There’s the Burden of daredevil performance art, and then the sculptor Burden who famously makes outsize boys-toys. The iconic performances, in case you have forgotten, are Shoot, 1971, having himself shot in the arm and Transfixed, 1974, having himself nailed to the hood of a Volkswagen.   Although some sense of his 54 pioneering … [Read more...]

Robert Indiana: Love for Sale or The Sign Problem

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  Self-designated “sign painter” Robert Indiana recently bemoaned the success of his ubiquitous LOVE logo. With the aid of the ever-cooperative N.Y. Times he was prepping us for his Whitney retrospective, subtitled “Beyond Love” (to Feb. 2). In 1964, MoMA commissioned the LOVE device for a Christmas card, and then commercial-art hacks ripped it off. Even worse, the public to this day identifies Indiana with the LOVE icon, even if to the art world proper he is usually considered one of the … [Read more...]

Balthus: Guilty Paintings

Balthus; Thérèse Dreaming.1933

                                    Why Balthus at the Met? “Balthus: Cats and Girls — Paintings and Provocations”  is on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum through Jan. 12. Cats and Girls? Such a serious theme! Barn cats are fine; they earn their keep. But house cats are useless. Unlike doggies, they do not offer unconditional love. You can’t … [Read more...]

Lady Gaga Rejected by Marina Abramović, Plus MoMA Sound

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Is “Duration Art” a real category or just a Marina promotion? Duration Art is the catchy Artopia term; Abramović awkwardly calls the art she supports and wants to preserve “long durational work.” She defines LDW as “any work (of music, opera, film, theater, performance art, science, and others) whose performance exceeds six hours.” We certainly appreciated her The Artist Is Present at MoMA, and understood, because of her previous recreations of Performance Art classics under the title of “Five … [Read more...]

Glorious Summer: Imran Qureshi, Pat Steir, Ellen Gallagher

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                        Important to see this summer is Imran Qureshi’s  Met Roof Garden Commission: And How Many Rains Must Fall Before the Stains Are Washed Clean, Metropolitan Museum of Art, to Nov. 3, 2013. In the MetMu press release, Qureshi is quoted as saying, “The dialogue between life and death is an important element in my work. Leaves and nature, for example, represent the idea of life. And … [Read more...]

Warhol plus Beuys: The Bruce

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                        Art History Exposed: Ode to Joy        The Bruce High Quality Foundation’s “Ode to Joy” at the Brooklyn Museum, through September 22, is not only high quality, but droll. Smart Art returns. We are so tired of ego-tripping nonentities pretending to be artists. We are so tired of art fairs and art investments. So tired of curators sucking up to galleries and the foundations established in behalf of dead artists….Well, … [Read more...]

Nude Descending a Bookcase: New Duchamp Interviews

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                              Love in the Afternoon To understand contemporary art you must mis-understand Marcel Duchamp. The readymade is the template for all things postmodern. But how do you choose which store-bought object to sign? The broken and mended Bride Stripped Bare by Bachelors, Even is the clue to the real meaning of the readymades. The readymades, … [Read more...]

Gutai: The First Happenings Were Japanese!

Suburo Murakami, Passing Through, 1956

                                        “Gutai: Splendid Playground”   (Guggenheim to May 8) forces a rewrite of  art history.  The co-curators, Alexandra Munroe and Ming Tiampo, in their catalog essays meet the issues head-on. The subject matter demands it, for Gutai is the unfairly scorned  post-War Japanese avant-garde movement devoted … [Read more...]

Roomers: Micro-Housing in the Big Apple

Micro-unit by Amie Gross Architects.

  Congruent with the world-wide need for urban housing, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg last year launched an RFP for adAPT NYC. Seems there will be an experimental building in Kips Bay, featuring apartments of 225 to 300 square feet. This is below what the current building code allows. Pre-fab, green, plug-in micro-apartments are now a real possibility. 225 square feet? Bigger than a room at the YMCA, but smaller than an East Village walk-up. The Japanese who made urban history in the … [Read more...]

The House Detective: Very Small Japanese Houses

Atelier Tekuto, Mineral House 2012

                            Small is new. And the interest in small houses is global. Small is serious. The causes are economic, ecological, and in some places the need to skirt onerous building codes. Locally, garages turned into studios or storage units and the proliferation of out-buildings can be noted in suburbia and even in the outer boroughs of New York City. It is not that we need less … [Read more...]