Laurel Nakadate is known for her works in video, photography, and feature-length film. This is Nakadate’s first large-scale museum exhibition and will feature works made over the last ten years in all three media, including her early video works, in which she was invited into the homes of anonymous men to dance, pose, or even play dead in their kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms. Laurel Nakadate: Only the Lonely is on view January 23, 2011 – August 8, 2011 at the Moma P.S. 1.
Painted in 1883 by French artist Alexandre Cabanel, the Birth of Venus was immediately purchased by Napolean III. The original painting is now hanging in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris; a small version is on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
If there was anything in the world to denote the end of artistic sanctity, it would be the work of photographer Jason Levins. Using old point and shoot cameras and disposable film has been done a million times. In the bleary eyed dystopic fantasy Jason Levins captures through his lens there is a sense of irony that peers through, like light through cracks in a pitch black church. And in the columns of light we find illuminated our youth like rats scurrying in the putrid rot of some alternate zeitgeist: pulling their balls out under tables, drinking pabst blue ribbon, breasts, diy tattoos, camping. But this raises a serious question: was there ever sanctity in art in the first place? I have grappled for a little while now on how to fairly criticize Levins’ photography, because, not only are his photographs deserving of questions, they are also worthy of analytical review. If we look close enough we can find small, dazzling gems of humanity peering back out through the cracks, in small private moments of a youth grappling with their identity in an age of war and catastrophe. In this light, Jasons Levins works become a highly critical essay on the condition of youth in our post modern society. We must fuck all to get us through the strange and frightening condition of the world, but fuck all with love – and that just might be the moral of the story. www.staticonthebrain.com
With the all out indifference of New York City suffocating, I found myself barricaded inside, listening to Billie Holiday’s rendition of the jazz standard ‘Solitude‘ over and over again. “In my solitude…..you haunt me.” Her voice in the song sounds as if she’s grasping at a wall, pleading. Who was haunting Billie Holiday? The specter on the other side of the wall? When I was a kid my mother gave me a Billie Holiday record as a gift. When I heard Billie’s voice for the first time, it was one of those mystical moments where I felt alive in a beautiful universe of nothingness and just as long as this woman was singing, oblivion was mine for the taking. I entered parallel dimensions. Billie Holiday was haunting me – certainly. Just a few days ago, after a long nocturnal blizzard blanketed much of New England, I decided to search for Billie Holiday. On a hot summer day in 1959 Billie was laid to rest in Saint Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx. She was 44. I took a train uptown. I spent close to two hours in a frozen, snowed over cemetery looking for her grave stone. I was waist deep in snow, trudging about, losing my breath, and at the moment I decide to take a break to rethink my strategy I find her final resting place. Billie Holiday was buried next to her mother, which I found fascinating and touching. Earlier that day I had bought Billie a little seahorse and left it for her as a gift (sailors used give each other seahorses for good luck before embarking on long odysseys). So there I was – I had found Billie Holiday.
Iannis Xenakis, ‘Philips Pavilion,’ 1958 postcard 4 x 6 in. Iannis Xenakis Archives, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Paris
Now on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, this exhibition features the role of drawing in the work of Iannis Xenakis, a major 20th-century figure who brought together architecture, music, and advanced mathematics. A contemporary of fellow avant-garde composers, including Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, and John Cage, Xenakis also created revolutionary designs while working with modern architecture pioneer Le Corbusier. Many of Xenakis’s innovations in music and architecture were realized first on paper, resulting in hundreds of striking graphic documents that exemplify how the drawing process was used as a means of “thinking through the hand.” The exhibition, the first in North America dedicated to Xenakis’s original works on paper produced between 1953 and 1984, includes more than 60 rarely seen musical scores, architectural drawings, conceptual renderings, and samplings of his innovative graphic notation. Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary is on view at the MOCA through Feb 4th, 2011.
Hailed as a successor to Ritchie Valens, after Valens died in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, on the day most recall as “the day the music died.” Big shoes to fill. Born Ezekiel Montanez, Chris Montez was only a teenager when his first recorded his hit “Lets Dance.” He toured the south during the Civil Rights movement with Smoky Robinson and Sam Cooke. He even went on tour in the UK, as a headliner for the Beatles; and famously brawled with John Lennon. Severely under appreciated and slightly less known, Chris Montez is the resurrection of music on the day music apparently died, and still is the definition of rock n’ roll. A documentary about his life, El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story, is currently in production. More info here.
The idea came to Marc Marmel whilst vacationing in the French Riviera: “There was a time in history when travel was about the journey, not the destination. A time when custom made luggage was a privilege only afforded by the wealthy. A time when luggage traveled to exotic locations by steamship, railroad, and horse drawn carriage.” So Marmel, based in Los Angeles, began to design and construct, by hand, one of kind luggage. Beautiful leather bags that undoubtably stand out in large contrast to the ubiquitous and ever so homogeneous black rolling suitcase: the exact opposite of unique. What with rolling sidewalks and flight attendants with an ever changing job title and muffin tops who serve bad coffee, I think soon we’ll see a small revolution in the way we travel. Oh lord that blows the wild wind: bring back a time that hearkens back to Pan-Am, luxury ocean liners, and the great discovery of mysterious flora and fauna; all with a gorgeous blond at our sides, a ridiculously tiny unsafe car that reeks of leather and petrol, and a Marc Marmel bag in the trunk. www.marcmarmel.com