Offering a heavy hand of irreverent wit striped with compassion, Kate Clark’s sculptures ask viewers to disregard pretense and to apprehend the idea of emotional uncertainty. Although the artist embarks on a journey towards shocking and repelling viewers as they recognize and reject the thing?
It’s considered by some to be a controversial appointment, but the news of New York gallerist Jeffrey Deitch taking over the top spot at the embattled Museum of Contemporary Art comes off as a stroke of genius to us.
Speaking myself as a longtime New Yorker—before I finally wised up and put down roots in Los Angeles— I’ve long regarded the rise of Deitch and his Soho galleries to be the best—as in the single best—thing to happen to Gotham’s art world since, well, Andy Warhol died. That’s saying a lot, obviously. Deitch’s shows and opening-night parties were always the highlight of art-world socializing, mixing the highbrow and lowbrow crowds in way that only someone with Deitch’s Rolodex and social connections could deliver. His championing of emerging stars such as Ryan McGinness, Kembra Pfahler and E.V. Day was never short of visionary, and the art scene of Los Angeles gained much with Eli Broad and the MOCA board’s unanimous vote of confidence in Deitch’s hiring.
A great deal of the brouhaha seems to revolve around the fact that Deitch is an actual businessman, and a successful one at that, when it’s customary for museum directors to be cherry-picked from other museums or academic posts. Why this might prove detrimental to his performance in the job—Deitch is a Harvard MBA, a good business head is something MOCA desperately needs—is a complete mystery to us, but there have been calls for Deitch to divest himself of what must be a fairly substantial (to say nothing of quite valuable) collection of Modern art. Why? Should Eli Broad and David Geffen be required to do the same? Because Deitch has proved himself to be a shrewd operator in his chosen field of endeavor, he should therefore be penalized? Makes no sense. It’s hardly like the guy is a corporate lobbyist. This is the art world, after all. This is the way it’s supposed to work…
I, for one, welcome the arrival of Jeffery Deitch to the best coast with open arms. Smart move, MOCA, just make sure you spell my name right on the guest list.
Check out the incredible mandalas of A. T. Mann, mandala painter extraordinaire, who has assessed the world’s sacred traditions to create some of the most impressive mandala art I’ve seen. A trained architect, Mann (whose actual name is indeed Alden Taylor Mann) has been designing these works since the seventies, as well as writing on a huge panopoly of subjects, largely on astrology and tarot. You can see his works at the site linked below.
The Rubin Museum in NY, a formidable midtown institution dedicated mostly to preserving Tibetan thangkas (and a hell of a place to spend a day), has opened a new exhibit tracking mankind’s efforts at depicting the cosmos. Can’t think of a more impressive, or important topic for an art exhibit. (A lot less boring than another round of snooze-inducing works on “identity politics,” for f*k’s sake.)
In the Grilandus Inventum, a beautifully-preserved handwritten Italian book from 1506-07 currently on display at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, there is a figure of a man surrounded by zodiacal signs. In his left hand, he holds an armillary sphere, a celestial sphere with the Earth at the center of the universe, in accord with pre-Copernican astronomy. Lines from the zodiacal signs connect to Zodiac Man’s body parts. The lesson is clear: man is governed by the cosmos.
The medieval manuscript depicting Zodiac Man is part of the Visions of the Cosmos exhibit, the Rubin’s examination of the ways in which humans have conceived of their place in the universe over the centuries.
Since antiquity, humans have pondered the meaning of the universe, crafting creation myths and cosmologies to explain the heavens: the seasonal change of the night sky, the movements of the planets, the beauty of the Milky Way. That the planets and constellations are somehow responsible for earthly affairs was a common theme to the cosmologies of many cultures.
Visions of the Cosmos also depicts Hindu, Jain and Buddhist worldviews through carefully selected works including 18th century Tibetan Buddhist scrolls, loose leaf Jain manuscripts from the 16th century, black stone Hindu statues from the 11th and 12th centuries.
Dangerous Minds pal Brian Butler has a new short film that’s part of a film festival coming up in Los Angeles soon. Brian was a producer on the Disinformation series with me a while back, helming two of the show’s more memorable segments: the feuding Satanists and Rocketboy, the real life superhero/half cat. He also introduced me to Uncle Goddamn. Brian also contributed the great essay on Marjorie Cameron, Cameron: The Wormwood Star to my Book of Lies anthology. For these reasons and more, I shall be forever grateful. The video clip below is a shorter version of Night of Pan that was made for a Beijing arts festival, the full version will be shown at the Projections festival. It’s pretty striking, I think you’ll agree!
From the press release:
Brian Butler’s Night of Pan Premiers in LA at Projections Festival, January 16 at Roberts & Tilton
Los Angeles, CA: Noted filmmaker, artist and musician Brian Butler (www.brianbutler.com) will premier his short film, “Night of Pan” in Los Angeles on January 16 at 7:30pm at the opening of Projections, a festival of rare and hard to see films including other directors such as Spike Jonze, Harmony Korine, Jean-Luc Goddard, and Miranda July . Projections was curated by Aaron Rose an artist, film director, writer, musician, and independent curator most noted as the co-curator of the successful museum exhibition and book Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art & Street Culture which toured the world through 2008.
Projections takes place at the Roberts & Tilton Gallery, 5801 Washington Boulevard, between La Cienega Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, in Culver City, California from January 16 to February 20, 2010. In addition to screening on January 16, “Night of Pan” will also be screened in a loop at the gallery on February 18, 2010.
“Night of Pan” is a seven and a half minute film featuring film auteur Kenneth Anger and actor Vincent Gallo. The film has been screened in various versions internationally in Beijing, Lisbon, Cannes, Athens, Rome, Berlin and elsewhere, but never in Butler’s base, Los Angeles.
In the film, Anger, Gallo, and Butler depict an occult ritual that symbolizes the stage of ego death in the process of spiritual attainment.
Brian Butler is a multidisciplinary artist who creates works around dark magical themes. He had worked extensively as a producer on director Kenneth Anger’s recent work. Additionally he has written for Dazed & Confused and performs along with Anger in the band Technicolor Skull.
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