Art/Exhibition: Courtney Love - And She's Not Even Pretty

 Seeing as I was over in Chelsea on Monday to see the Tim Hetherington retrospective (see HERE), and I was already soaking wet from the rain that was coming at me from all directions I decided to stop by the Fred Torres Collaborations gallery to see the Courtney Love exhibition that is currently showing there. I actually walked along 29th street between Tenth and Eleventh Aves a couple of times until I figured out that the gallery was actually through a small door and upstairs, on the north side of the street. I wasn't really expecting much from the artwork, so I was at the least pleasantly surprised that I actually thought it was pretty good.

My "relationship" with Courtney Love has been up and down over the years. I absolutely adored her in the early to late 90's, and still know the lyrics to every single one of her songs. I still listen to Hole on a regular basis, I mean Live Through This got me through some pretty tough times in 1994, and I have many memories attached to certain songs. Then she completely lost it and all that adoration I had for her just turned into something similar to disappointment mixed with embarrassment. At some point I think that I still hoped she would snap out of it and become slightly human again, but I really doubt that will happen anymore. I know she's been through a lot, but so have many people, including myself, and we don't become insane madwomen who pretend to be a mix between Dickens' Miss Havisham with some kind of Yoko Ono complex (or maybe the idea that she should have been Yoko Ono - the only thing that connects them both is that they both have famous dead husbands and they are both artists). I saw Courtney play with her new version of Hole a few years back, and although it was fun to see her live, it just wasn't really that good. Maybe I just grew up and she didn't, or maybe she just doesn't have what she used to... Probably the latter ;)

Anyway, I was really just expecting a bunch of childish drawings and paintings depicting girl/women complaining about being used and abused by men and society, and really just went out of curiosity and to report back to some friends in England that I had been to see it. Some of the drawings are a little on the childish side, but this actually makes them more whimsical and dreamy. It looks likes many of them were done using mainly crayons, some watercolours and some pencil. All the drawings depict pretty girls and women in different states of undress, many with sad, sad eyes, surrounded by words that are obviously lyrics from songs that already have been released, or just words that Courtney uses as taglines or thoughts to complement her drawings.

"I knew a boy he came from the sea, He was the only boy who ever knew The Truth about me, I'm overwhelmed and undersexed, Baby what did you expect. Your whole wide world in my hands" - pure Courtney Love song lyrics.

I'm still surprised that I liked it. The drawings are pretty and somewhat dark; imperfect but thoughtful. I like being pleasantly surprised like this - it beats being disappointed.

Art/Exhibitions: Batman Returns/New Photographers/Vivian Maier

Joyce Pensato

Joyce Pensato/Freidrich Petzel Gallery: I was actually looking for the New Photographers showing in one of the galleries on 22nd street when stumbled upon a sign saying "Batman Returns". How could I resist?! Located at the Friedrich Petzel Gallery, Joyce Pensato's exhibition contains large, striking portraits of Batman on the walls, dripping with black and silver paint, as well as other artistic transformations of iconic American cartoon characters ("Punk Homer" and "London Donald" for example). While these portraits cover the walls, the floors are covered in paint splatters, stuffed animals and other objects, such as a plastic Mickey Mouse head, a snowman that you would usually find glowing in someone's garden around Christmas and other seemingly random (but not so random) paraphernalia.

Joyce Pensato

You feel like you are walking into an organised chaos, dark and light, good and bad, where characters we perceive to be innocent and friendly have been warped and all is being looked over by an iconic figure who is struggling to remain on the right side of it all. New York City basically. Both dark and bright, slightly ironic, but more just really tongue in cheek than anything else. Anyway - I loved this exhibition and I can't stop thinking about it. I'll probably go back again before it ends to spend more time there. The exhibition is on until February 25th.
Joyce Pensato

Joyce Pensato

Other interesting exhibitions on right now:
Vivian Maier/Steven Kasher Gallery: This is seriously amazing! All through-out her life Vivian Maier took thousands and thousands of pictures on the streets of NYC and Chicago, developed some and kept the negatives of the rest. They were all discovered after her death and as some are currently being exhibited, the rest are being sorted through and developed. I will probably be writing about Vivian Maier again, as I want to go back and spend more time looking at her photos. The type I photography that I really love more than anything, and the type of photography that is probably the closest to what I aim to produce.
More information on Vivian Maier HERE

Vivian Maier

Danziger Gallery: their New Photographers exhibition has some gems - especially Chris Levine's Queen Portraits and Tereza Vlckova's twins and free-flying women (both striking in very different ways). On until February 25th.
(Watch the video on Chris Levine's website (linked above) - there is a moment when the Queen just laughs and seems so lovely and human).

Chris Levine

The “other” Nick Cave

I think you should feel blessed if you find yourself named Nick Cave. This name seems to be synonymous with wonderful artistic talent. If you don’t know already, I absolutely love, adore and admire Nick Cave (musician, novelist, poet), but today I was introduced to another artist by the name of Nick Cave thanks to my friend Jono. Nick Cave is an artist/sculptor/dancer, best known for his amazing “Soundsuits”, sculptures that are also costumes and can be worn as such.

Right now, there is a Nick Cave exhibition at the Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea (see link for more details on the location and to read the gallery’s press release on Nick Cave). The exhibition is called “Ever-After” and is comprised of four separate areas, as well as a video. The video contains a reel of Nick Cave and other dancers wearing other suits and dancing, at one point using pogosticks! Pretty amazing seeing as I don’t know how they could see properly as the suits camouflage the individuals completely. While the video itself is a blast of colour and movement, the rest of the exhibition provides a stark contrast.

The first part is a line of suits made entirely out of real blond human hair. The models are all positioned a little differently, and they kind of look like they are going to start moving on the spot at any given time. The whole human hair aspect is pretty amazing, because not one hair is the exact same colour, and the suits are all made up of lots and lots of slightly different shades of light blond hair. The models all have bunny ears too, and the set is called “Mating Season”, so I will leave it up to your imagination to picture the ideas behind the suits.

When you move towards the back of the gallery there are three other sets of figures. The first one is comprised of 5 or 6 figures of different shapes and sizes, all made out of thousands of white, silver and black buttons sewn onto fabric one at a time by hand. Each figure has a specific individual touch (a metal basket, red fur, wicker basket…). Although they are all separate, all of the models seem to form a unity together. The next two sets are both a set of models all linked together, with slightly different forms and positions, the first set being dark and metallic, the second being white. In the same way as the unit of individual suits, these sets are all made with thousands of buttons. I can’t believe they were all sewn on by hand, it must have taken hours and hours of work! All these buttons give the suits a metallic sheen as well as a strange fluidity, a little like liquid metal. It’s REALLY cool. I mean REALLY COOL. You actually can imagine the suits in movement… I want to wear one, hide in one, and use dance as a form of expression. Hide my face and body and express my feelings in a different way.

I don’t usually go and check out any of the art galleries in Chelsea very often, but I really should start. I really enjoyed this exhibition and I’m sure there are a bunch of other artistic gems out there that I have yet to discover for myself!

The Nick Cave exhibition finishes on October 8th.

Nick Cave site

Nick Cave Facebook

I walked for miles...

Every time I go out to take photos of this city I discover something new...

New York post Office, Chelsea Piers, West Side Highway, Chelsea Markets, Highline, Union Square, 14th Street East, East Village, Lower East Side, Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge... All on foot. My legs hurt and my eyes want to close.

Enjoy: Wanderings in NYC 03/19/2011

I'm giving film a little break for a few days and going back to digital. I'm very excited about using my AE1 in the cemetary in Stow, MA next week though...