Posts Tagged ‘Lou Reed’

Tools for Thought

Friday, March 12th, 2010

I am lucky enough to have a brave friend who just returned home after a month of organizing foreign aid efforts from a military camp in Jacmel, Haiti. From her most recent update: “The most amazing thing so far is how many people have a smile and a friendly word to offer to a stranger walking through their nightmare. It’s incredible.”

Maximizing the resources available to them, the chic chicks Diana Campbell and Julie Ragolia bring us Tools for Thought, a beneficent fundraiser event with lots of hot objets d’art to warm your heart and your briefs alike.  Joined by a few curatorially-oriented and well-connected friends, Diana and Julie invited almost 100 artists to select a tool or object relevant to their work or personal life.

African mask from Gordon Hull

“We are looking for a rather unusual donation from the best artists in the world:  a ready- made object…anything from a tool to a book to an old shoe…that the artist will sign and tell a story about.  That object, no matter what it is, will be sold at a silent auction that night.”

(l-r) Shoplifter's synthetic hair, Dan Colen's crackpipe vase, Francesca DiMattio's papier-mache vase

The event originally was scheduled for February 22nd, but in the days leading up to that, the organizers were overwhelmed with queries from collectors, press, artists, and other art world lurkers.  The promised Patti Smith performance might have something to do with that.  Lo, the extra weeks of prep time enabled them to design an impressive website and nearly double the number of artists taking part, which includes current Whitney Biennialinas Huma Bhabha and Aurel Schmidt; Skin Fruitcakes Dan Colen, Richard Prince, Liza Lou, Terence Koh, and of course, Jeff Koons; the recently repatriated Gavin Russom; and those geriatric giants Ed Ruscha and Lou Reed.

Skateboards by X-Games champs Jeff Koons and Marilyn Minter

Personally, I have my eye on the Ofiliated Voodoo Flag by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge:


And will cower as far as possible from this monstrosity:

"How High," 2010, pencil, mix CDs, and vitamins on paper

This looks promising and easily worth every penny of the Benjamins you and your date will drop on tickets, most of which is tax deductible.  Apotheke, the downtown cocktail specialists, will provide relief of a different kind.  Total fox Alexandra Richards will DJ (hey, u can brw my mix cds lol!).  And did we mention Patti Smith?

“We are looking for a rather unusual donation from the best artists in the world:  a ready- made object…anything from a tool to a book to an old shoe…that the artist will sign and tell a story about.  That object, no matter what it is, will be sold at a silent auction that night

Moments Like This Never Last

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

All things considered, it is heartbreaking when any little girl must grow up without a father. Do you blame the father for choosing against his family? Or the compulsion that lured him away? Gauguin chose painting over his wife and five children, ditching them to follow his bliss in Paris. Dash Snow seems to have followed drugs over his daughter, Secret; but we will never know his intentions. But the cause of death seems to be a gradual suicide stretched over the years, made increasingly legendary each time we mention it.

Comments at the NY Times and Gawker range from jaded told-you-so’s to streetz-styled shout-outs. Many attack Dash for selfishly belaboring his high-risk drug consumption, which jeopardized his paternal obligations. But where is the blame in addiction? I’ve never been hooked on anything except coffee and phonics, so I’m keeping mute.

Though we were in a casual group show together, I knew Dash Snow only through what he revealed/boasted in his Polaroids. And my last post was all RIP Michael Jackson. ::Two good reasons to avoid writing a requiem. (The best photo tribute is at Tiny Vices.)

Besides that, Dash Snow’s art didn’t really do it for me. On sex, drugs, counterculture, dystopian glamour, cocks, blood, outlaws, cum, and psychotic violence, who could really top the Sex Pistols, Richard Hell, Bret Easton Ellis, Cady Noland, Tommy Lee, Suicide Girls, Marilyn Manson, Andres Serrano, Larry Clark? And how seriously could you take it after This is Spinal Tap?

RIP Sid&Nancy; Rob Pruitt, iPhotos insltn at Gavin Brown

That doesn’t mean Dash’s work was DOA. For Holland Cotter, Dash was a bellwether:

“…Work that visually goes few places that Dada hasn’t already been. That’s O.K. If a young artist is searching for models, extreme Dada is an excellent choice. What’s encouraging is how far Mr. Snow, who is in his 20’s, has moved in such a short time, focusing and shaping a chafed, loose-cannon energy without reducing it.”

But isn’t extreme usually so mainstream, commercial-friendly, and producty that the nearby Marketing Exec has it tattooed on his shoulder in Chinese?

For Jerry Saltz, Dash was “a drug-addled scion of an American fortune,” and warned that if “Snow’s work doesn’t get more original, all that will one day be said about it will be that we had the luxury to say a lot about it.”

Drugs can be a potent catalyst for art. Hector Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique” is notorious for having been fueled by opium. Jimi Hendrix supposedly nestled a tab of acid under his sweaty headband. Jack Kerouac popped Benzedrine while writing about pot.

Berlioz and his Montmarte real estate

Paul Schimmel curated Ecstasy: In and About Altered States at the L.A. MOCA. Gavin Brown hosted Drunk vs. Stoned, followed by a sequel. Responding to the GBE shows, Jerry Saltz (yes, again), observes that “stoned art” is introspective, hypersensitive, detail-oriented, and prone to surprise, spirals, and repetition, while drunk art is outward-looking, impulsive, romantic, and unafraid of messiness and sloppy emotions.”

What is the draw about heroin? Lou Reed, now 67, canonized it 30 years ago, yet it ambushes us every few years: Jim Morrison, Basquiat, Kurt Cobain, Trainspotting, Pulp Fiction, Pete Doherty, Amy Winehouse. Predictably, every time, the seductive neighbor becomes a rapist warden. Yet, we can’t discredit its generative potency in making art.

But let’s go back a few lines, no pun intended. If drugs can unleash creative potential, then why choose a drug that starts digging your grave? Wouldn’t it make more sense to apply a high that takes a lesser toll? A more “sustainable” drug? -Whoever died of a pot overdose? -Wouldn’t it be more revelatory, fun, and addiction-free to ride acid or mushrooms behind the scenes of reality? –What would mescaline do to a still life painting? Ask Picasso and Braque.

Is heroin just more glamorous, knighted as the hedonist ultimate? Is it more coded, branded as the aesthete’s elixir? Is heroin just more “extreme?” I know lots of people who have tried everything available, except heroin. Heroin is going too far, they think. But in Jim Carroll’s Basketball Diaries, “H” seems as ubiquitous as its “gateway” sibling. So maybe “extreme” is relative.

And to relatives, friends, and loved ones of Dash Snow: I am genuinely sorry that you lost someone in your life.