Posts Tagged ‘Adam McEwen’

Dance to the New SIC

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

The Man. The Legend.

“He’s totally crazy!” an insider confided to me. “He wrote this insane book all about himself” (which said insider admits he has never read) “and gets all his friends together to read it. That’s crazy!”

But good crazy, right?

1. Adam McEwen 2. Matthew Higgs 3. Richard Phillips 4. Stefania Bortolami 5. Sean Landers

At an event produced by Art Production Fund and White Columns, an all-star roster of art world veterans read from the revised edition of Sean Landers’ SIC, originally printed as (sic) almost twenty years ago. The daisy chain of old friends read nonstop till 2am, by which time the audience had been whittled down to a few concrete devotees, who were rewarded with delicious pizza and the remnants of the vodka open bar.

(l-r) Artists Richard Phillips, John Currin; Jonathan Horowitz, Rob Pruitt

Readers included the old bachelor-pad studiomates John Currin, Richard Phillips, and brother Kevin Landers; the stately art-world incarnate Clarissa Dalrymple; former Landers dealer Andrea Rosen; new Landers dealer Friedrich Petzel; and of course, Sean Landers himself.  Rob Pruitt was lined up to read, only minutes after the signing party at nearby Gavin Brown for his new book, Pop Touched Me.  He didn’t get to read, however, as the event’s schedule required some trimming for brevity.

The Fab Forties

Star-studded? Indeed, there was even a portrait station to capture each of the shimmering pulsars participating.

White Columns' Matthew Higgs ready for his close-up

Like a teen dunking his little brother while swimming, SIC plunges its readers into the neurotic cesspools of Sean Landers’ polarized self-evaluations. His ruminations, mostly phallocentric, regularly cover masturbation, getting laid, and the shortcomings of his own anatomy.

(l) Clarissa Dalrymple and reclining Matthew Higgs; (r) Andrea Rosen

But he also circles the pithy topics of an old friend hopelessly lost in poetic misanthropy, the welcome gentrification of his neighborhood and himself as he turns 30, a revitalizing yet anticlimactic love affair in Greece, and the gradual, painful sinking of his relationship with Michelle, his girlfriend of three years at the time.  She is now his wife, but that break-up nearly pushed him over the edge.  Luckily, there is a dramatic deus-ex-machina rescue by the tender memory of Sean’s long dead sister.

(l-r) New SIC, new SIC, old (sic)

The new version of (sic) is so heavily revised that it was difficult for me to read along in my 1993 print.  But revisions might be helpful.  The 1993 version frustrated readers because of its protagonist’s recurring self-flagellation, the manic-depressive pace, and the aimless march of unresolved conflicts. But the funny parts are hysterical and the intimate candor seems touching; and doesn’t retouching the text compromise the stream-0f-conscious spontaneity that makes it so gripping?

(l-r) New SIC, new SIC, old (sic)

I love the book. But did the evening’s stream of readers dissipate into an arduous drone? Was there nothing to look at, something frustrating for an audience of visual artists? The projection cast behind the reader added nothing but scale and light. How about an accompanying slideshow? Or intermittent projections of the handwritten manuscript?

Gavin Brown, Jessica Craig-Martin; Adam McEwen, too

And did the absence of young artists participating seem to wall up Sean Landers and his peers from the great flea market of influence? This blog praises without reservation Sean Landers as a titan of 1990s art, and for some critics, he is THE FACE of that period’s slacker art. But the phalanx of mostly heterosexual 40-somethings seemed to deny the intergenerational fertility of Sean Landers’ work…

…which should be extruded through the channels of more mixed 30- and 20-somethings. Once a 90s artist, always a 90s artist? (I sure hope not! I wish there were more artists like Sean Landers.)  What will a decade with Petzel produce?

Use Yr KOHllusion

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Koh intern and vamp, Val
Koh intern and vamp, Val

If I were a member, I’d be livid,” whispered one super fierce publishing figure last night at the National Arts Club, referring to the dinner jacket-clad grown-ups who weren’t there for the Terence Koh lecture, who might have felt uncomfortably bumrushed by the scores of the artist’s ab fab fans, friends, a-KOH-lytes, and KOH-konspirators.

Garrick Gott and event organizer Stacey Engam
Garrick Gott and event organizer Stacy Engman, NAC Chair of Contemporary Art

To appease the outnumbered, but patient and actually very welcoming real NAC members, and to satiate the hungry, anxious club visitors, refreshments were abundant, including exotic absinthe spritzers, chocolate covered ants, port wine cheese spread, and Campbell’s soup with straws.

Who was there? Who wasn’t?

NAC President Arlene S. Hamsun introduces Terence Koh
NAC President Arlene S. Hamsun introduces Terence Koh

Marina Abramovic, Klaus Biesenbach, Phil and Shelley Aarons, Jerry Saltz, Roberta Smith, Cecilia Dean, Adam McEwen, Jeffrey Deitch, Mary Boone (happy belated birthday, still sexy at 58), RoseLee Goldberg, Kathy Grayson, Sophia Lamar…

…and lots of fashion people I can identify only by their looks.

W.W.W.D.?
W.W.W.D.?

The patrician, oil-on-canvas dinner jacket set would have been pleased.

Armchair historians
Armchair historians

At 45 minutes, with nearly 400 images handpicked from local libraries and the artist’s bookshelves, individually scanned to ensure the highest quality, Terence Koh’s Art History 1642-2009 was a whirlwind tour of Western and Eastern Art, mostly chronological from 1642 to the present, and admitting into the Koh canon a few book covers, party photos, vintage porn, and even some line graph charts to diagram art market confidence.

Autumnal Degas moment at the NAC
Autumnal Degas moment at the NAC

Who was in it?  Who made the Terence Koh Canon?

KOHlympia
KOHlympia

Marcel Duchamp, Vermeer, Velasquez, Warhol, Koons, Aurel Schmidt, Adam McEwen, Marina Abramovic, David Shrigley, Goya, Rembrandt, Judd, Bourgeois, Wojnarowicz, William Blake, Hockney, Rob Pruitt, Kelley Walker, Dash Snow, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Karen Black/Kembra Pfahler, Christian Holstad;

Maurizio Cattelan, Aaron Bondaroff, Muntean/Rosenblum, Yoko Ono, Bianca Jagger, Nauman, Robert Smithson, Yayoi Kusama, James Lee Byars, Girodet, Chardin, Flavin, Jenny Saville, Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel, Murakami, Zhang Huan, General Idea, Dan Colen – not in that order (no McGinley? no AVAF?) – and that’s just a fraction of art history according to Terence Koh – which is more expansive than the Eurocentric humanities courses I took in college.

RIP Jeanne-Claude, Long live Bruce High Quality
RIP Jeanne-Claude, Long live Bruce High Quality

Koh spoke his own private ida-Koh language, which sounds something like Proto-Indo-Cabbie, though I heard someone ask Terence if it was Swedish.

Tonight at NAC
Tonight at NAC

He barely stopped to breathe, only taking breaks to sip from his glass of vodka.  He frequently strided away from his lectern to gesticulate and indicate details of the projected images.

A few times, he ranted at a rapid-fire clip, sounded like a Sotheby’s auctioneer, notably while discussing the Jeff Koons chrome bunny, which at the scale of the projection, looked like a anthropomorphic Sputnik.

RIP Dash Snow
RIP Dash Snow

Terence shouted and waved his arms indignantly while covering pictures of Hitler looking at artwork, and in the more emotive moments, slowed and spoke solemnly, especially when Dash Snow appeared, and when he displayed AA Bronson’s heartbreaking AIDS revelation, Felix, which is, for me, one of the most moving images of contemporary art since I first saw it in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.

Long live AA Bronson
Long live AA Bronson

In these heavyhearted moments, Terence sounded plantive and morose, though somehow resisted tears.  His lecture was politically charged, addressing, for example, 20th Century China and the Reagan administration’s delusional failure to intervene during the incipient AIDS epidemic.

Ups and Downs
Ups and Downs

And although nobody but Terence understood his words, he still said a lot, contextualizing himself and refreshingly reminding us that ultimately, art is remembered for being seen, and all that matters is how it looks!

Shrigley vs. Seymour (vs. Brant)
Shrigley vs. Seymour (vs. Brant)

Is this the new Terence Koh, post market crash, post Snow?  Still cheeky, but more substantial, orchestrated, polychrome, narrative, and profound?  Let’s find out at his “secret” performance tomorrow evening at Tompkins Square Park.

Ike-Koh (gesundheit!)
Ike-Koh (gesundheit!)

Oh, and rumor reveals a potential Terence Koh/Lady Gaga collaboration! DisKOH Stick!

Of translucent and – have my and use, viagra generic know I a in ever really my yet dry?