One paragraph reviews on art, movies, books, and pop culture by a know-nothing who knows it all

Friday, June 22, 2007

On Vacation--Again

Back in a week or so. Stay tuned for more riveting reviews and catty comments. (Image via

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bigger Than Lifeless

ANDREAS GURSKY May Day VBelieve the lukewarm reviews of Andreas Gursky's recent show at Matthew Marks gallery. I marched in wanting to love this exhibit, but there's something lifeless about it. Perhaps Gursky is o.d.'ing on himself. Many of these large-scale photographs felt like knock-off Gursky images. The artist devotes a lot of wall space to Formula 1 racing teams. (Good God. The Nascar obsession is seeping into the art world.) I've posted what I think are the most successful images from the show. (Images via Matthew Marks gallery)



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shiny, Happy Paintings

MELVIN MARTINEZ Enchanting Garden DetailThese reproductions don't capture it, but Melvin Martinez's paintings at Yvon Lambert gallery are very fishing-lure shiny. Besides using oil and acrylic paints, Martinez decorates these works with lots of glitter and confetti. The show is entitled "Fresh Paint," and the paintings' dominant vertical lines must refer to the image of globs of paint dripping down a canvas. Although the thick paint reminded me of far-out, psychedelic frosting, there is something a little too uniformed and calculated with each painting. (Image via Yvon Lambert gallery)



Faux Real

KAZ OSHIRO Fender Amp and Stereo CabinetHere we go again: another "Gotcha" art show. The photograph of the amplifier on the right? Fake. The microwave below? Fake. Like Robert Gober, Kaz Oshiro has created uncanny replicas of electronic devices and small appliances, including scuff marks and coffee stains, on display also at Yvon Lambert gallery. Unlike Gober, Oshiro lets the viewer in on the forgery. The back of each work reveals the sculpture's true materials--canvas and wood. While Gober's work is much more political, Oshiro's stuff is more playful. (Image via Yvon Lambert gallery)

KAZ OSHIRO Microwave Oven
KAZ OSHIRO Microwave Oven Back View


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Je Ne Sais Quoi

I consider myself a Francophile, but I have never really dug Edith Piaf. So, I nudged myself to see "La Vie en Rose," a biopic on the singer, hoping that the flick would turn me onto to this French icon. It did. Piaf is sort of like Judy Garland: she belts out songs, and it's her heart and soul that pulls you in, not her vocal skill. Marion Cottilard, who plays Piaf, is A+ and amazing, but this flick is a downer. Each sequence is just another miserable building block in the singer's sad life. (Image via


Monday, June 18, 2007

Film Art

Sam Samore Scenarios #14When you enter D'Amelio-Terras gallery, keep repeating to yourself, "This is not a Cindy Sherman show, this is not a Cindy Sherman show." Sure, black and white photographs that look like old film stills adorn the walls, but the artist behind the camera is Sam Samore. Even though this exhibit is Shermanesque, this show stands on its own. Whereas Sherman's faux film stills tipped their hat to foreign cinema imagery, Samore's photos evoke a 1960s independent streak, more like John Cassavettes. As well, Sherman's work is more enamored of mise-en-scene, while Samore's photos capture film's all-important closeup. The grain is large, the mood serious, the emotions real. (Images via D'Amelio Terras gallery)

Sam Samore Scenarios #2
Sam Samore Scenarios #4



Massimo Bartolini Airplane 2007I liked Massimo Bartolini's extremely small show (only two works) also at D'Amelio Terras gallery mainly because I thought, "Hey, I could do that." Here's how Bartolini created these paper designs. He folded a large piece of paper into a paper airplane, unfolded it, and then traced the creases with colored pencil. Viola! You just got yourself some art to hang on your wall. Bartolini framed the piece of paper under glass, by the way. The result looks some Cubistic study. I am really going to try to do this. (Image via D'Amelo Terras gallery)


Friday, June 15, 2007

Monster Mashup

JASON MEADOWS Monster marqueeFrankenstein and Alice in Wonderland get the conceptual art treatment in Jason Meadows' exhibit at Tanya Bonakdar gallery. And it works. This primarily sculpture/assemblage show not only mixes up imagery from the two literary classics but also borrows concepts from other art forms. For instance, "Monster Marquee" features dual images of Frankenstein's creation on a bathroom mirror cabinet (a reference to Alice's looking glass?). The repetition of the cutout White Rabbit in one sculpture looks like a film strip, a nod to the cinematic art form. (Plus, it captures the druggy mood of the story), and the "Graverobber" work in which four coffins are aligned to form an opening or window, plays on that old literary device of the circle of life and death. (Images via Tanya Bonakdar gallery)

JASON MEADOWS White Rabbit Extrusion


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bits of Crumb

R. CRUMB Where am IAfter seeing a small show of R. Crumb's work at David Zwirner's gallery, I may need to rethink my dogmatic view that cartoons don't deserve to be in an art gallery. I was entertained. This exhibit felt more like a sampling of the cult figure's drawings, many of which are doodles on paper place mats from restaurants in France, where he now lives. After seeing Terry Zwigoff's 1994 documentary on the artist (can't believe I just described him as that), I've been a fan. I liked the restaurant doodles (including the stains) the most, as well as the panels that featured the writings of Charles Bukowski. (Crumb and Bukowski--now there's a match.) (Images via David Zwirner gallery)

R. CRUMB Cous Cous Restaurant Ganges
R. CRUMB Yet even during the sex act I think


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

On Vacation

Back next week. Stay tuned for more riveting reviews and catty comments.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Army of One

YUE MINJUN Terra Cotta WarriorsI checked out Yue Minjun's show at Max Protetch gallery only because Yue is hyperhot. (One of his paintings recently sold for $1.4 million). With this show, Yue remains consistent. Known for works that feature multiple self-portraits with a big smile and laughing, the artist has created 25 statues of himself, entitled "25 Contemporary Terra Cotta Warriors," referring to the First Emperor of China's Terra Cotta Warriors in Shanxi Province. When I visited the gallery, a staff member was giving each statue a sponge bath. I have to admit that his unintentional performance art piece was far more interesting than Yue's replicas. (Images via Max Protetch gallery)

YUE MINJUN Terra Cotta Warriors Detail