Thursday, July 30, 2009

little people left in the world to fend for themselves

Slinkachu, Crappy Christmas, Old Street Area in London, 2008.

British artist Slinkachu has been placing miniature train set figurines in public places since 2006, witty street installations that evolved instantly into an ongoing photography project. The thirty year old artist finds his characters from model shops, paints them and sometimes alters them with modeling clay before placing them in action with found objects and props from eBay. He had solo exhibitions at the Cosh Gallery in London last summer and most recently at the Andipa Gallery in a show called Whatever Happened to the Men of Tomorrow? that was accompanied by life-size blow ups of his work on billboards around London. The installations find Slinkachu’s little people in ironic, tragic and funny situations that emphasize their tiny size and make them seem more pathetic and helpless. As the artist intended, they embody the loneliness and disillusionment that characterize city life. An old woman walks home, arms crossed to keep warm, dwarfed by a giant bag of potato chips next to her; a lady of the night propositions a miniature super hero from the entrance to her house of ill repute--the mouth of a drainage pipe.

Slinkachu, The Lair, Whatever Happened to the Men of Tomorrow? 2009.

Slinkachu’s gallery shows presented magnified photographs of the many scenes he has set up on the streets of London and left for passers-by to ponder or overlook, as well as new little sculptures on the floor and in corners of the gallery. He also published a book of his photographed street installations called Little People in the City this June.

Slinkachu, Pigeon Carnage, Ground Zero Solo Show, 2008.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Creepy Teepee Festival

As the 2009 GASK Art Fest's musical counterpart,
the Creepy Teepee Festival is about to start in Kuntá Hora, about 45 miles east of Prague. Put on by the DIY Czech art collective, A.M. 180, the six-day concert series features thirty bands, mixing local Czech, Austrian and Slovakian acts with a dozen names from North America, plus New Zealand, Portugal and Sweden. The bands will play on a stage in the courtyard of a Jesuit student dormitory, at the GASK Gallery. Celebrating artistic independence and progressive culture, the GASK Art Festival starts this weekend before the concert series and will hold free film screenings, art workshops and other events during the day and after parties every night at Klub Ceská at 11 PM.

day 1: Aug 4 2009
Afterparty features Isobutane and Teapot.

day 2: Aug 5 2009
Afterparty features AM 180 and Fettkakao DJs and Bohemian Like You.

day 3: Aug 6 2009
Afterparty hosted by VICE Magazine.

day 4: Aug 7 2009
Afterparty features
Marcus Nyke of Swedish group Tar...Feathers.

day 5: Aug 8 2009
Afterparty hosted by Creepy Teepee, featuring Mahjongg.

day 6: Aug 9 2009
C (CZ)

Creepy Teepee Festival
August 4th - 9th, 2009
4 - 10 PM Tuesday - Saturday, 2 - 4 PM Sunday.
GASK Gallery / The Central Bohemian Gallery
Barborská 53/24
Kuntá Hora, Czech
Admission to each show: 200 Czech Koruna


Monday, July 27, 2009

when nature and normality run out of control

Untitled (white), 2007

Owen Schmit only claims responsibility for his initial actions with his paintings and electroluminescent wire sculptures; eventually he loses control over his artwork and the pieces create themselves. He likens his creative process to humankind’s “interferences” with nature—every human action leaves a permanent mark on the earth but the planet evolves and reacts organically, forming its own consequences. Likewise, Schmit shapes his electroluminescent wires into sculptures, but attributes the light they cast on their environments and the overall visual effect to the materials themselves. These ‘consequences’ also serve as his inspiration. Abnormalities created by artificial constructions and pollution appear otherworldly to Schmit and render damage and beautification to indistinguishable processes.

Untitled (pink), 2007

With the electroluminescent wire sculptures, their alien neon glow a pillar of artificiality, Schmit aims to “stage an extraordinary, transcendental experience of a space ordinarily expected to appear 'normal’.” The pieces depend on their surroundings both literally, as the room’s walls and beams support them, and artistically, as they are crucial to their final appearance. “The ultimate form of each installation answers only to its location, and never repeats another's appearance or presence,” Schmit has explained. “The outcome is somewhat unpredictable.”

Schmit was born in 1984. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Untitled (Blue), 2009

Owen Schmit: Footprints On Air (Painting and Sculpture)
August 1 - September 8, 2009

Frank Pictures Gallery
/ Bergamot Station Gallery A-5
2525 Michigan Avenue
Santa Monica California 90404

Opening Reception: Sunday, August 2nd
, 6:30-9:30 PM

Tuesday-Saturday: 11:30 am - 6:30 pm


Thursday, July 23, 2009

performative bodies and utopian architectures

Hans Hollein, Erotische Architektur. Drawing/Watercolor. 1969.

Last chance to see Mind Expanders at the Museum Moderner Kunst in Vienna! Always committed to the conversation between contemporary art and its history, this exhibit breaks the grandparents of performance art out of the vault to show how the relationship between art and space has evolved. Until August 30, MUMOK is exhibiting works dealing with the boundaries between performance, visual art and architecture in the 1960s and 70s, when artists first began to cross them. The ‘happenings’ of American artists Claes Oldenburg, Carolee Schneemann and Serbian-born Marina Abramovic, all featured, were neo-dada precursors to performance art that truly installs the human form in art’s spatial landscape. The exhibit's artists and architects then stretched the human creative impulse past art into the design of physical environments, to project their own visions of utopia into architecture. This exchange between art and space will expand your mind through the exploration of four main themes: “Space and History,” “Space and Art,” “Space, Color and Light,” and “Space, the Public and the Private.” Pieces focus on the human body but also the individual in the face of social bodies, interacting with the world.

Marina Abramovic, Performance The Lips of Thomas, 1976

The self-described grandmother of performance art, Marina Abramovic often bridges the gap between herself and the audience and her interest in the possibilities of the mind embodies the exhibit. In one of her taxing and more gruesome performances, The Lips of Thomas, Abramovic carved a star on her stomach before a fit of self-flagellation and then laid on an ice cross below a space heater that exacerbated her bleeding. Clearly alluding to punitive religious practices, she uses the body as a medium to bridge individual and societal anxiety.

Schneemann Eye Body Snakes

Carolee Schneemann, Eye Body, 1963

Museum Moderner Kunst
The exhibit will close August 30, 2009
Museumsplatz 1 1070 Neubau, Vienna, Austria
Daily: 10.00 a.m.­18.00 clock
Thu: 10.00 a.m.­21.00 clock


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

chaotic colors from brazil

Born in Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, when Carlos Dias (aka "ASA") was fifteen he moved to the latin country’s biggest city, São Paulo, where he became one of the 1990s artists (like Herbert Baglione and Vitché) to put the metropolis on the map in the art world for graffiti and skateboard art. Still a member of two bands, Polar rock and Caxabaxa
, he began by making concert posters for São Paulo’s underground music scene, and then handmade stickers (or adesivos). His childish imagery gained popularity in Brazil, and soon France and the UK, but it was jail time in 2002 that served as an impetus for his artistic growth. This “deep and needed rebirth” brought on an expressive, dark series of paintings, but his work has since regained its childish flair in bright colored drawings, large paintings and installations.

ASA’s art has always been a form of personal expression. Self-taught, rejected from art classes, ASA funneled his rage into painting and coloring whatever he could find, and he will still work with whatever he can get his hands on— acrylic paint, markers, crayons, or spray-paint. Often the subjects are detailed, single iconographic monsters or large collage-like scenes of thickly doodled characters.

Skating, swimming and biking have also always been a part of ASA’s life in Brazil, but one of his biggest influences (besides caffeine—the artist has said, “espresso is the best partner when it comes to producing in large scale”) is music. In Juxtapoz Magazine he named his top 5 albums as Johnny Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, anything by the Descendents, Teixeihinha and Mary Terezinha’s Desafio das Perguntas e Respostas, Jorge Ben’s O Bidú Ou Silêncio No Brooklyn, and Check Your Head by the Beastie Boys.

Still a big name in Sáo Paulo’s galleries, he now lives by the beach in Florianópolis with his wife, who makes Veraneyo bikinis. Check out his flickr account for more pictures of his work.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

lo-fi showcase at bowery

Lo-fi showcase not to miss...Wavves, Woods, Popo, and Real Estate are not on tour together, but will unite for one special night in NYC at the Bowery Ballroom, July 15 at 7 PM.


popo band

Popo are a trio of brothers from Philadelphia who sing, shout and mumble their way through weird, fuzzy songs about alienation and violent fantasies. In the past they have released a self-titled album from Buddyhead Records, and claimed to be a post-hip hop band who went by the names Pops Ghostly, Fullscreen, Blue Bishi and Hamstar. After evidently losing one band member, Hassan, Zeb and Shoaib Malik recently signed to Diplo’s budding label, Mad Decent and released a 7” for “Kill Tonight,” a catchy lo-fi anthem of frustration and destruction that has brought comparisons to the show’s headliner, Wavves and opening slots for Philly’s Spank Rock. Heavy bass and drums keep the song and its b-side, “Feel Good Song of the Year” dark and foreboding. Check out their interview with the whole Mad Decent family in this month’s Fader, and Popo’s archives of live performances here

Real Estate

real estate band

Real Estate are a band that no one seems to know about, but at the same time, everyone is talking about. This summer they’ve showed up all over the New York City club circuit, turning heads at the fourth of July Woodsist/Captured tracks festival, and opening for Titus Andronicus at the Whitney plus lining up several other shows in July. Perhaps that’s because their music is the perfect soundtrack to summer—soothing and layered like so many tides crashing in on a beach. They have several 7” out whose songs about chilling out, drinking and swimming are featured on Real Estate's MySpace.


woods band

Jeremy Earl’s falsetto crooning helps to neutralize and in a sense calm down the wacky distorted guitar licks and jangly psych-folk silliness of Woods’ latest Songs of Shame (Shrimper/Woodsist). The album is primarily a collaboration between Earl and his Menenguar bandmate Jarvis Taveniere, who brings more country to the table from his work with Wooden Wand. Lo-fi and hazy nonetheless, Woods’ music is warmer and more rustic than many of their Brooklyn peers. Their ‘songs of shame’ range from melancholic to melodic, but are always full of soul. This show is an early stop on their tour with Swedish folk-rockers Dungen and Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile.


wavves band

Nathan Williams, who goes by the musical moniker Wavves, is a character. This spring the eccentric San Diego-based musician/party animal suffered a breakdown in Barcelona that spurred the cancellation of the rest of their tour in support of Williams’ (sort of) eponymous sophomore album, Wavvves (Fat Possum). Personal problems aside, it’s a great piece of music; a frenetic collection of hazy noise-pop tunes with possibly the most intensely fuzzy lo-fi production out there. This show marks their return to the stage before they play the Pitchfork Festival on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 @ 7 PM
Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York City NY 10002
(212) 533-2111
18+ $13/$15


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

dan graham & indie music take over the whitney

Dan Graham performing "Performer/Audience/Mirror" at P.S.1 Institute for Contemporary Art, Long Island City, NY, 1977, photo courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art

A critic and theorist, Dan Graham has become a central figure in contemporary art. “Dan Graham: Beyond” charts where Graham started, with conceptual ‘zines and photography to his later pavilion installations that question the public versus the private, while blurring the boundaries between sculpture and architecture, complete with his signature two-way mirrors. Graham worked with every medium imaginable, from writing to performance art, often infused with scientific and philosophical perspectives. He pioneered video and film installation and musical collaboration as well, and has worked with Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca and Japanther.

Dan Graham, still from "Rock My Religion", 1982-84, single-channel video, 55:27 min., black and white and color, sound, image courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Dan Graham, "Figurative", 1965, printed matter, collection Herbert, Gent, Belgium

Dan Graham: Beyond
Exhibiting now until October 11, 2009

Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
New York, NY 10021
General Information: (212) 570-3600

Wednesday–Thursday: 11 am–6 pm
Friday: 1–9 pm (6–9 pm pay-what-you-wish admission)
Saturday–Sunday: 11 am–6 pm
Monday & Tuesday: Closed

Adults: $15
Senior citizens (62 and over): $10
Students with valid ID: $10
Members, NYC public school students with valid student ID, and children under 12: Free

In conjunction with their retrospective on Dan Graham, the Whitney has booked some of the best new bands in the world of independent music to perform every Friday in July.

The concerts are part of the exhibit and start at 7 PM. That means they’re essentially FREE if you get there after 6 PM (admission to the Whitney is “pay as you wish” from 6 to close on Fridays), but there are no reservations and space is first-come, first-served.

Live performances every Friday include:
July 10: Titus Andronicus / Real Estate
July 17: Abe Vigoda / Grooms
July 24: Woods / Yellow Fever
July 31: Vivian Girls / These Are Powers

Titus Andronicus

Glen Rock, NJ’s Titus Andronicus are almost as discipline-defiant as Graham.
Their debut album, the 2008 indie favorite The Airing of Grievances (re-released this year in the U.S. on XL Recordings) brims with literary and artistic allusions (to Hunter S. Thompson, Albert Camus, and Shakespeare before you even get to their lyrics), all while being an innovative work of wailing and ethereal punk.

Real Estate

Also from New Jersey, Real Estate make drowsy psych pop songs with contemplative riffs, surf rock slides and titles like “Pool Swimmers,” “Beach Comber,” “Black Lake” and “Let’s Rock the Beach.” In “Suburban Beverages” (mp3 available here) their voices chant the song’s only words, “Budweiser, Sprite, do you feel alright?” in echoing harmonies. Their 7-inches from Woodsist and Underwater Peoples could make a lazy summer day on the Jersey shore out of any time of year.

Abe Vigoda

L.A. punx Abe Vigoda’s thrash and no wave roots don’t keep them from generating the sort of tropical ambience popularized by this same showcase of bands, with layered guitars and lo fi production. But, jagged, percussive guitar parts add to the noise on their 2008 album, Skeleton and less tropical 2009 EP, Reviver. Singer Michael Vidal shouts in frantic rhythms, always receiving a high boost of energy from ex-drummer Gerardo Guererro (since traded for a Dane Chadwick).

Grooms (formerly Muggabears)

The male-female vocals of Grooms immediately switch on a Kim Gordon/Thurston Moore-shaped light bulb. Layer them over the sonorous electric guitar picking and spacey feedback on the Brooklyn band’s forthcoming LP Rejoicer (Death By Audio) and you have a revival of Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth, and when is that ever a bad thing?


Psychedelic folk rock with the tie-dye to prove it. Their quirky, layered vocals and warm, distorted guitar solos are refreshing like no other self-described jam band could be, possibly since they keep the jams dirty with tons of feedback. Singer Jeremy Earl also heads Brooklyn label Woodsist that put out the band’s album Songs of Shame.

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever is Jennifer Moore from Voxtrot, Luis Martinez and drummer Adam Jones, a minimalist art pop outfit from Austin, TX. Moore’s voice is clear, straightforward and lovely, following or floating above the simple beats and strumming on their Culver City and Cats and Rats EPs (Hugpatch, MP3s here). This is one of five shows they’re playing in New York this month.

Vivian Girls

This surf-punk Brooklyn trio with ghostly, three-part female harmonies awash in Shangri-las and Beach Boys nostalgia writes songs that are equal parts dreamy and gritty. Their lo-fi, shoegazey records from In the Red and Woodsist have created a resounding buzz in music media that will send them to Japan and Australia this fall after they finish their US tour.

These Are Powers

These Are Powers bring tough electronic beats based on a Brooklyn-Chicago connection between members Pat Noecker, Bill Salas and Anna Barie, whose sultry vocals teeter between singing and rapping à la grime superstar M.I.A. Always fun live, tracks on All Aboard Future (Dead Oceans) are dark and debauching with bright guitar hooks and samples to light the way.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

neckface: return to the womb

Return to the Womb is the latest exhibit in Copenhagen from American artist Neckface. In a way it's like a trip through Dante’s Inferno - Neckface, who previously released a book of his drawings called Satan's Bride!, leads us through a sideshow of his odd, spiny characters.

Neckface gained notoriety as a street artist in high school in Stockdon and Lodi, California, before making his mark in New York while attending SVA. He has since returned to California, exhibiting his work globally, expanding his work from drawings and snide self-deprecating mantras (Neckface is ugly!) to 3-D installations of fetus trees.

His style is childish, as if his angular, deliberately ugly pastel figures sprang from the psyche of some disturbed child horror archetype. Return to the Womb permits access to Neckface’s demented kingdom of skateboard culture iconography, splayed with scenes of graphic violence, colorful funny looking critters, and a deeper exploration of the artist’s fetal imagery.

V1 Gallery
Flaesketorvet 69-71
1711 Copenhagen V, Denmark

NOW to July 25
Open Wednesday-Friday 12:00-18:00, Saturday 12:00-16:00