Saturday, January 30, 2010

AH, Jaah!... We are the revolution!


Walking into the Mary Boone Gallery the other day I started laughing, behind me i heard deep moans. Ahhhh, Jahhhhh... I just could not believe it, the receptionist is sitting there behind his computer moaning! Wow! Yeah! New York! I was thinking. But, quickly I found out it was a tape that the artist himself had made a long time ago for an exhibit. It did not make me stop giggling though, and set the tone for my viewing. Joseph Beuys the German born artist (1921-1986) is here being shown in an exhibit beautifully installed by the independent curator and art historian Dr. Pamela Kort. The artwork is privately owned and not for sale. "WE ARE THE REVOLUTION" the exhibit is called (Ah, Jaah) I am wondering... maybe he thought that it's actually him that is the Revolution?
"I AM THE REVOLUTION". In all his art pieces he has his name printed narcissistic on every piece like he is the Bible of knowledge and the originator of any craft. Now Joseph Beuys was a professor and had a lot of knowledge, but his play on fact and fiction was also part of his trademark.
The exhibit is only open until February 6th so hurry up. I don´t think it will ever be shown like this again. The viewing boxes was especially made for this show.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Strange fruit

Kara Walker

I have been a silent fan of Kara Walker´s art for a long time. She has a way of fighting the racial issues and showing it´s violence by making it beautiful. The horror in the silhouettes usually done by paper cuts makes you cringe, but at the same time you want to continue to take it in and feel it.

Tuesday, I just finished the page turner and bestseller book "The Help" By Kathryn Stockett.
Teary eyed I sat in a cafe close to the Chelsea Galleries, having to finish it before my book club last night. The book is centered around 2 black maids in the 6o´s Mississippi and a young white woman writing a book describing their life as "The Help". You have the full set of characters that you love and the once you despise, even with the predictable characters, it is a great read. You find the maids get away with small victories of insults done to the once that deserve it, catapulting in a "chocolate cake". But you also find grateful stories told about the employers as well. I ended up falling in love with Miss Skeeter the character who writes the book. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider will be able to identify with her and applaud through her dares.

I know it might be a bit of a stretch to run over to the James Cohan Gallery after having finished the book, to see their "Banner of Persuasion" and stare at the tapestry "A warm summer evening in 1863" (as seen above), but, that is what I did. Kara Walker's picture goes a hundred years further back and shows the civil war but in the 1960´s lynching was still going on and the fight for equality is forever a struggle. I just also recently watched the devastating movie "Precious" although describing the 80´s still representing the now to me.
To stretch it even further, just a couple of years ago I was trying to sell a crack house in Harlem, not knowing it was a crack house before I arrived but knowing the gentrification that I as a real estate agent was part of, I entered one of the old brownstones and I still have images in my head I will never be able to stop from coming back. Kids growing up in the middle of a molded, wet, extremely dirty, extremely messy unlivable place. The dolls and the destroyed teddy bears next to the "fixer" station.

So, there I am in front of the Kara Walker banner ($140K for the one who can afford it) thinking about the beautiful but haunting song "Strange fruit" that Billie Holiday used to sing.
One of the first anti-racist songs ever written, about the extremity of lynching.
Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Elephant!

I found the No 1 Issue of "The Elephant" at the Munich Airport of all places. It made me extremely curious that a new magazine is daring to pop up right now. Just, when a lot of my favorite magazines are sending me "full stop" notes in the mail. And you know what? they are actually looking for editors and contributors.

The editor Marc Valli (together with a handful of others) writes a great deal of this substantial magazine by himself. There is especially an in depth article about Sao Paulo with the title "Things you do in Sao Paulo when you are not dead" that I enjoyed, followed by interviews with imminent great artists living in the city.

One of the artists Pedro Inoue, that I found fascinating said:

There is a famous saying here that goes
"Too much candle burns the altar"
Excess creates unbalance. I am living in the land of the unbalanced.

Other than the Creative Cities section, the magazine is divided into Economies (create your own economy), Studio visits (Canvases, Papers, Screens), Research (Forecasts, Movements, Style) and Meetings (Ideas, Personalities, Cultures).

Thinking there is too few ideas in the creative sector, this new magazine has started with it´s idea of it´s own. I think it's an invigorating effort, and I wish The Elephant good luck on their daring adventure!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The High Line!

Walking along the High Line dreaming about my upcoming wedding yesterday.
The January wind was biting slightly without making it uncomfortable. I felt like I walked all alone in the middle of dense Manhattan, but coming summer I am sure the High Line will be the hottest spot in town.

The High Line was originally built in the 1930´s going through the more industrial areas of the Meat Packing District, Chelsea and Hells Kitchen. Since the 1980´s there has been no trains and the line was left deserted. In the later years a complete demolition was considered, but thanks to the "Friends of the High Line" together with the City of New York they decided
to protect the tracks and instead, brilliantly build a wonderful park, just where the city needs it the

An open competition to develop this park was sent out and the Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the landscape architects James Corner Field Operations got the honor to do so.
The first section from Gansevoort to 20th Street opened last year. Section 2, up to 30th street is planned to open this year.

I might not think it is the most beautiful park during the winter months. But I do look forward to the spring when it will be filled with "Natural" flowers and I can lounge on the movable Sun bed's or simply just go there for people watching. With the Standard Hotel above it and the abundance of great restaurants and shops nearby, you will not find another place that can beat this one.

Read more about the park, or if you live close maybe volunteer?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

The stripped mountains btw. Haiti and
Dominican Republic.
The Photographer, Ecologist and Journalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand keeps impressing with his environmental messages. I remember the first time I saw his free outdoor exhibit "Earth From Above" walking in to Kongens Nytorv Square in Copenhagen 2001 with my girlfriend Line. We were in awe about the beauty he managed to bring forth about our planet. Lined up over the whole square was large pictures from all over the world showing nature and the lives of people. Even where there is desperation and need he brings out the pure and enchanting. The "Earth from Above" exhibit keeps rotating around the world. This spring we are lucky to have the exhibit show in Battery Park, Manhattan for 8 weeks.
Shantytown Port-au-Prince
I was thinking he must have done pictures about Haiti.
Here I found one of the deforested mountains between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and one of a Shantytown in Port-au-Prince.

Yann Arthus Bertrand started the GoodPlanet organization in 2005 and in 2009 the fantastic must see film "Home" came out.

Please continue to support the people Haiti, they need you and me:)
Or text 90999 and write Haiti, you then accept to give a 10$ donation to Red Cross.
A great way to start the day!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haitian Art!

After the terrifying earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince this week I have been looking through art by Haitian artists.
I am surprised by the happiness these paintings show. With red, gold and green as the basic colors it makes you feel these people have a refreshing high spirit.
The nature looks lush and thriving, in a Country that has cut down 98% of its original forest. The food and fruit looks abundant, while the people are starving and poverty ridden, 80% live below the poverty line. There seems to be many parties to celebrate even for the poorest nation of the hemisphere. A lot of Vodou symbolism and fables are represented while the people are illiterate and politically repressed.

Artists like H.R. Bresil (shown to the right) has had commercial success with his "Green Jungle" pictures. While Andre Pierre is probably the most famous artist with his Haitian Vodou pictures. His greatest mission was to bring forth the positive aspects of Vodou and let it be accepted as any other religion.

Dewitt Peters an American school teacher started Centre DÁrt in the 1940´s this has been a place for the Artists of the "Naive Art" to get international recognition. is a great place to get more information and also to view the links to many of the Galleries showing this nations brilliant, humorous and sparkly art.

Please help the Haitians by donating to one or more of these great organizations:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mengele Zoo

This is THE book that inspired me to do this blog! "Mengele Zoo" by Gert Nygaardshaug an extremely captivating ECO novel! I think it has been translated to English but impossible to find. Bring this book out to the public! Nils Gaup´s film version will probably help with that. Since it was written before 9/11 I think Nygaardshaug was in a position to write about terrorists in a more heroic way than anybody would dare to do now. We follow Mino a butterfly catcher from a small tropical forest village in South America, a boy horrified by the destruction that powerful people do to the nature for their own selfish reasons. Starting out with the rage of having his family killed he sets out to revenge anybody who dares to destroy the rainforest. First Mino survives as a Magician and then he turns into an Environmental fighting terrorist. A handsome Che Guevara type. The interesting thing is that during the whole book you intensely want him to succeed with his attacks. I am closer to a pacifist than a warrior and usually not very found of crime novels but I think this "intensity" that is being described here is what we need (without the deaths..:) to save this wonderful planet. The rain forrest should be first priority!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Francesca Woodman

Between Christmas and New Year I walked into the great bookstore next to Cafe de Flore called La Hune. A great sanctuary that makes you wish you could read French, I instead could only admire (and touch) the covers. I walked up to the mezzanine and my heart skipped a beat. There in front of me the first thing I see is a Francesca Woodman´s photography book. I thought I was going to cry. I had somehow had her photography´s in my mind since I was about 20 discovered them in a gallery in Norway. Which Gallery I don´t remember but I remember the room and the feeling I had when I viewed these pictures. She dared to bare her full soul and ended her life with it. I felt that I would do the same, but I survived and I also stayed more in the shadows of viewing more than creating art, unfortunately. Then I thought of buying a book about her work but had so little (student) money that I was going to wait. Wait to never find it again.... Then suddenly it was there in a new edition, Italian. I just checked and the American editions are deadly expensive.
Strange since the girl grew up in Rhode Island. But thankfully to SilvanaEditoriale I am a proud owner of an edition!