Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Break Horses - Hearts (Tom Rowlands RAR Mix)

There's a chance that I'm too easy to please. One of the things that wins me over about the Swedish group I Break Horses is the video they made to accompany the title track on their album "Hearts," which dropped earlier this month. It's got more than its fair share of Eadweard Muybridge (the first wikipedia page I've seen with running gifs) and other bits of early photography in the montage. Definitely worth a look.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Warm Up at PS 1

Picture Plane at PS 1 on Saturday
People like parties. This is a fact sure to be on the minds of the organizers of Warm Up, the Saturday afternoon seasonal music program going into its fifteenth year at PS1. It’s conscious positioning on the museum’s part, but how much does it have to do with art?

Read the full post on Art Fag City here.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Last month, I spoke with Brandon Stosuy about the selection process for Warm Up, the performance series that's been happening in the courtyard of PS 1 on Saturday afternoons this summer. An editor at Pitchfork and contributing editor at The Believer (he is their in-house metal correspondent), Stosuy had found a kindred mind in fellow committee member Kris Chen of XL Recordings. Both of them were really into Claire Boucher, professionally known as Grimes.

It's probably worth mentioning that the art from the above clip is Grimes' own, as are the paintings for the posters and cover art for her albums Halifaxa (2010) and Geidi Primes (2011). 

Saturday was the ninth time the rising neuroscience student played in New York, and notwithstanding a technical difficulty, her set was rock solid. Boucher later remarked at how different the venue was from what she was used to. From doing shows with the soulful, strings-inflected How to Dress Well, and the rave-y, sugary Gobble Gobble (now known as Born Gold), her experiences have happily occupied the extremes of "a quiet, emotive show, where everyone's paying attention," and "a really crazy dance party."

Darkbloom (2011), Grimes' split LP with D'EON, is available on Insound and Amazon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not as Bad as It Sounds

A year ago, the New York Observer ran a piece mentioning some of the ways bands and promoters profit when they apply force to the term "artist" in describing themselves. It went with some research I was doing for a post about music programming in museums, and has birthed the following list of groups that have at one point or another been called "art bands." Oil yourself up and join in the verbal slippage.


Members of Japanther met while students at Pratt, and they've operated in both realms (crafting their own microphones and instruments, making documentary films), playing five shows at major museums in the past two years. Somehow, when people think "art band," they think Japanther. In 2006, they made an abstract video for the Whitney Biennial, collaborating with no less than Dan Graham. Only that last point sounds a little sexed-up, though I didn't see the show and I do not hate their music. More power to them.


Ssion, an “art performance collective” founded by then-art student Cody Critcheloe, had three shows in one weekend at PS 1 to coincide with the release of their LP Bent this past spring. This, I truly regret not seeing. The 2008 show in Chicago in which they opened for CSS was the epitome of good times.


Fischerspooner during their "pop spectacle" Between Worlds at the MoMA reopening, 2009. Image via NYTimes.
Fischerspooner is a “performance troupe” (which sounds okay) and "electroclash duo" (which sounds hideous). They were probably an easy pick to play at Warm Up in 1999; the stretch to calling them artists isn't a stretch at all, they had solid footing in the gallery system before finding an audience in the music world. Also, they dress funny.

David Byrne
Image via Wired
As I imagine it, Talking Heads was making "art rock" when Cody Critcheloe's dad was chasing his mom around the middle school dance.  Incidentally, he also makes sculpture and has pioneered efforts to establish Powerpoint as a legitimate art form. I want to be just like him when I grow up.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jim Dine: The Glyptotek Drawings at the Morgan Library

Jim Dine. The Glyptotek Drawings. 1987-88. Charcoal, enamel paint, and india ink on paper. 17 x 12 7/8 inches. Photograph courtesy of The Pace Gallery. (c) 2011 Jim Dine / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The thrill, supposedly, should come from seeing such work through an exceptionally gifted set of eyes and hands—as Dine described himself in a 2004 podcast at the National Gallery in DC. Unconvinced when I first heard it, I wanted to retort with a complaint once overheard after the showing of a latter-day Charlie Chaplin movie: “I don’t care if he is a genius. I don’t like that man.”

Read the full post on Art Fag City here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

William Corwin at the Clocktower Gallery

Wiliam Corwin uses sculpture to explore the way people catalogue information and organize the ties that link one idea to another. It brings to mind a lot of the things that interest me about R. Justin Stewart's work, though while Stewart has focussed on creating works that refigure sets of information in a new and insightful way (e.g. relationships between former Google executives, the lines and stops of the Minneapolis transit system), Corwin's sculptures have no referent set of data.

Installation view: William Corwin, Double Rood installation in Auroch's Library, 2011. Wood, plaster, found objects.  
Auroch's Library, Corwin's site-specific sculpture, is a chart that doesn't clearly refer to any place or thing. I saw the piece at the Clocktower Gallery on Leonard Street in lower Manhattan with a friend, and, to be fair, did not do most of the talking. Corwin is interested in military history, and there was a list of Civil War battles tacked to the wall, though it was hard to connect to specific facts about the installation either from his artist's statement or conversations with him at the gallery. What's most compelling is the library's structure (built in a vigorously simple arrangement of beams and shelves that is almost completely free-standing); from what I could tell, it's the organization itself in Auroch's Library that we're supposed to see, look at, and walk around.

The same might be true for a living sculpture event taking place next week where pieces from Auroch's Library will be used in a live chess game. While Grandmaster Robert Hess and International Master Irina Krush play, each of the pieces will be connected to a rope attached at the ceiling to a long stairway, supposedly to impede the order and purity of a more traditional match. A somewhat less serious example of live-competition-as-art might be the mock naval battles Duke Riley staged in Queens two summers ago.

I've actually never seen a Grand Chess Master play before, so the match for it's own sake should be worth checking out. It will be taking place at the Clocktower Gallery, adjacent to Air International Radio, on the 13th floor of 108 Leonard Street, on Wednesday, August 10th. The event will be free and open to the public. Check back later for time.