Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Update and a Few Notes

A blogger who covered the Vargas dog exhibition long before I did was emailed an explanation by the gallery's director in the form of a press release being sent to the local news and the national Costa Rican paper. From Lifestyles of the Chic and Vegan [via an anonymous comment on yesterday's thread]:
Managua, 19 of October
Gallery Codice from its creation in 1991, has promoted the Central American, but specially the Nicaraguans visual arts, as much in the national level, like in regional and the international. In Codice they have exposed great Central American teachers, as well as consolidated and emergenging artists. The contemporary languages of the universal art also have had space in Codice, reason why periodically it welcomes samples of conceptual art. With that spirit, Thursday 16 of August just last No.1 Exhibition appeared, of the Costa Rican artist, Guillermo Vargas, known artistically as HABACUC.

One of the exposed works consisted of presenting/displaying a famélico dog that Habacuc gathered off the street, and during the exhibition he appeared moored with a nylon cord, that was subject as well to another cord that hung of two nails in a corner of the Gallery. Habucuc named the dog "Natividad" in tribute to the Nicaraguan Natividad Canda (24 years) that died devoured by two Rottweiler dogs in a factory of San Jose, Costa Rica, the dawn of Thursday 10 of November of 2005.

The dog remained in the premises three days, from the 5pm afternoon of Wednesday 15 of August. He was loose all along in the inner patio, except the 3 hours that the sample lasted, was fed regularly with dog food that the same Habucuc brought. Surprise, to the dawn of Friday 17, the dog escaped happening through the iron doors of the main entrance of the building, while the nocturnal watchman who finished feeding cleaned it the outer sidewalk of the same one.

The Gallery Codice reserves the right of guarding by the quality of the exposed works, respecting at any moment the creativity of the artist and it has never tried to exert no type of censorship, as long as they do not attempt against the elementary principles of the ethics and much less than they imply the life of a living being, is human or animal. I thought to remain with "Natividad", but he preferred to return to his own habitat. I celebrate the one that so many people in the international level have been annoying by the declarations offered by Habacuc, in which she maintained that its intention was to let die to the starvation dog, which is of its absolute responsibility. When fulfilling informing the truth into the facts, I hope that all those same people have also elevated their voice of repudio when Natividad Canda was devoured by the Rottweiler.

Kindly, Juanita Bermúdez
Director Gallery Codice Managua, Nicaragua"
I agree with VKO (of the above linked blog) that the bottom line here remains that "Guilermo Habacuc Vargas, Galeria Codice & all those people at the exhibition did nothing and let a sick starving animal be tied up to a gallery wall as an exhibit." I'd still consider that cruelty to animals and would still favor prosecution of the artist and at the very least a fine for the gallery (possibly prosecution as well). YMMV.

1. Bambino and I are heading to Los Angeles tomorrow (yes, yes, just in time to enjoy the wildfires from Hell...our hopes for calmer winds are with the folks in Southern California). We have a rather tight schedule, but if you know of any exhibitions we absolutely must see, please share. Blogging may not happen until we return.

2. Tyler and Jeff already blogged about this, but with kind appreciation to writer/artist Peter Plagens I'd still like to also direct you to the bloggers round table discussion published in the November issue of Art in America. From PORT's Jeff Jahn:
Besides myself, the cogent voices of gallerist Edward Winkleman, Seattle PI critic Regina Hackett, Libby Rosof and Roberta Fallon of Philly as well as that art blogging machine Tyler Green are present (who once again had the scoop).
Tyler may have had the scoop, but I'll share one behind-the-scenes impression of the piece. It might just be me, but it felt like I was the most the heavily edited of the participating bloggers, which may simply be evidence of how pointlessly verbose I tend to be, or may simply be evidence of how I'll take advantage of any topic to drone on about myself, or may be simply evidence of my penchant to write in long complicated lists, or may simply be evidence of the repetitiveness of my prose, or may simply be evidence that Dick Cheney is actually running the show over at AiA as well, or may simply be evidence that I do indeed need a few days in Los Angeles.

We'll see you when we get back.

Labels: personal notes, the limits


Anonymous joy said...

or may simply be evidence that Dick Cheney is actually running the show over at AiA as well

that is hilariously scary.

10/23/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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AND Dalí: Painting & Film

October 14–January 6 | Art of the Americas Building, LACMA

Installation view, Dalí: Painting & Film.

Throughout his life and career, renowned surrealist Salvador Dalí maintained a deep connection with film as an artistic medium. He collaborated with movie greats such as Luis Buñuel, Alfred Hitchcock, and Walt Disney, and created works influenced by Cecil B. De Mille and the Marx Brothers. Dalí: Painting & Film, coming to Los Angeles, the epicenter of film, aims to illustrate the cinematic influences and elements that are present in Dalí's work as well as the contribution he made to cinema. The exhibition brings together a variety of key pieces from Dalí's oeuvre, incorporating painting, film, photography, sculpture, and texts.

The exhibition was curated by Dawn Ades, Montse Aguer, Fèlix Fanés, Matthew Gale, and Helen Sainsbury. Curators at LACMA: Ilene Fort, American Art, and Sara Cochran, Modern Art. This exhibition was organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, Spain, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Los Angeles presentation was made possible in part by LACMA’s Wallis Annenberg Director’s Endowment Fund. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

10/23/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Road trip to Escondido, California to see Niki De saint Phalle Magic Circle Sculpture Garden:

10/23/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two more leads from Artnet:



10/23/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous sherie' said...

See Mark Dutcher's "Curtains" @ High Engergy Constructs in Chinatown. Corner Hill St and Bernard. Then head out to Huntington Beach to see his "Shelf Life" exhibit at the Huntington Beach Art Center at 500 Main St. It's an outstanding exhibit space no one is aware of and easily the best show of the year by a kickass painter. follow the least likely path...treasure! And gorgeous ocean all the way down Highway 1.

10/23/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Hungry Hyaena said...

Edward, et al.

While I am very much opposed to animal cruelty/torture of any kind, I find this debate a little odd, though I'm having trouble figuring out exactly what about it rubs me the wrong way.

Firstly, yes, I agree with Edward that the installation is "art," whether or not "bad" or "good," which are of course subjective distinctions. Yet the very outrage the piece provokes might suggest that the artist has succeeded where most of us fail.

The recent brouhaha over Michael Vick's dog fighting habit is of interest. Our country is united in its condemnation of the player and his "hobby," yet still unwilling to confront the similarly reprehensible practices all meat eaters (and, to a lesser extent, everyone) are quietly complicit in. As a result, extreme acts are sometimes necessary to force feed a public bogged down in denial.

Having said that, I'm still not sure the stunt was warranted (it certainly isn't ethical or moral), so I'm having trouble coming down strictly on one side or the other.

Secondly, having visited Managua just after the "closure" of the Contra-Sandinista conflict, I recall how poorly animals were treated. I stayed in a hotel in which multiple dogs and monkeys were chained to trees and tables, left for hours immobile (or with limited mobility). But the conditions were basic for all. When I peeled back my bed sheet, dozens of large cockroaches darted every which way. I had to accept that these roaches were my bedmates for the evening, but with full knowledge that the room I found myself sleeping in was the envy of all the locals, who gathered in large numbers just outside the hotel entrance and followed this scared boy with their machetes - no ill intent, but still - as he used the available outhouses, even gathering beneath to comment on the whiteness of my ass compared to the darkness of my shit.

Given these conditions, the treatment of the dog there is unlikely to raise any eyebrows, and so questions of cultural colonialism must come into play. You say "tomato" and I say "potato." It's fine to condemn the act (and the artist, I suppose), but can you fairly call for him to be condemned by his culture if they do not find his actions reproachable? I think not.

Oh, well....just rambling in an attempt to straighten out my thoughts or find a hold. Anyway, best wishes for you and Bambino on the road again!

10/23/2007 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous David Patton Los Angeles said...

If you find yourself eastside, I invite you to swing by Highland Park (10 min. north of Chinatown) for Lisa Anne Auerbach's show, "Auerbachtoberfest".
It is already open for viewing with a reception to be held this Saturday eve.

Details, maps and a few images are here: http://davidpattonlosangeles.com/

Have a great trip and thanks for the blog.


10/23/2007 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger prettylady said...

Oh, it's not just you, Edward. Art in America published one of my letters once; or rather, they published portions of two sentences from my single-spaced, page-and-a-half letter. Sound Bite. Punchy. Ya.

10/23/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Jahn said...

Ed, writing in a way that editors will leave alone is a dark art that one learns over time. I suspect Tyler, Regina, Libby and Roberta and I have all spent years learning how to play jedi mind tricks on editors. My favorite edtior of all time was Karen Wright (formerly of Modern Painters), she hardly messed with my stuff but everything she did made everything clearer and better.

PS I think your contributions were really great and extremely important, you are the most personal POV writer included in the round table and what you've done with this site shows just how relevant a personal POV art blog can be.

PPS. I was just in California... definitely see Robert Irwins Primaries and Secondaries at MCASD. Probably the best show of 2007... it's just that good.

10/23/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

Have a great trip, Edward!

If you are already in Culver City (and why wouldn't you be) and have not yet checked out the Museum of Jurassic Technology, then I would definitely do so!

Vaya con dios!

10/23/2007 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Don't know any galleries in LA, but should you be On Western Ave. just north of the 10 and south of Venice Blvd there is an incredible taco stand called Chabelita's they make some of the best burritos, including a great vegitarian one, there is always a line there 24 hours a day (I have been there at least 23 of the 24 known hours) great fare if local street food is your thing.

10/24/2007 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger Brad F said...

I fear I'm still confused about the dog; wasn't the statement saying that the dog was regularly fed, exhibited periodically, and ran away? While I object to stealing somebody's dog (it was tied up initially somewhere else initially, right?) and am certainly a fan of animals, this doesn't really seem like gross negligence/cruelty. Am I missing something?

10/24/2007 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger bgfa said...

Hey Ed, if you have time come downtown and visit the gallery. We are at 102 West 5th St. at Main.

Bert Green
Bert Green Fine Art

10/24/2007 08:09:00 PM  
Anonymous reginahackett@seattlepi.com said...

Hey. Just a fan note. I think you're wonderful.

Every Winkleman word belongs in the article. I read you every day and never see slack.


10/25/2007 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger TJ said...

Looking forward to the Art in America piece. I appreciate the mention too of the Chris Burden quote!

Nice to find you.

Unblogged (http://www.tjnorris.net/blog)

10/25/2007 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cornelis Droog said...

What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? (2 Samuel 9:8)
I was an dead dog but chosen by His mercy and grace.

We read in Ephesians 2:1-10: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

I like to visit the dear people in Costa Rica to share the True Gospel of Salvation with the tract “¿Sabe Usted si DIOS lo Ama?” of Family Radio:


Sincerely in Christ,
Cornelis Droog

10/26/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C. Finch in artnet just dissed art bloggers in general (and included Edw by name) in a very immature and condescending manner. Besides his generally griping tone, what's with the childish name-calling? He calls Ed "Dinky Winky" and implies that no one ever visits his gallery. What kind of journalism is that? I guess I'm posting this here because Ed you are generally so nice and polight and I wonder what your reaction to this will be?

10/26/2007 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger painterdog said...

I just read that, this man is an ass.
Ed I don't always agree with you on many subjects but I must say I fully enjoy your blog and your take on subjects. I find what Finch has written about blogs in general and art not made in the art capitals he deems worthy to sum up this poor intellect we are dealing with.
Finch is no Dorothy Parker and someone should point this out to him.

Ed I might be wrong but is this not slander?

I think this man needs to be taken down a few notches, this is really uncalled for, and Artnet should start editing this poor excuse for a writer.

10/29/2007 03:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think this man needs to be taken down a few notches"

I tried to do this on Saturday, right after I read Finch's rant.


10/29/2007 09:01:00 AM  

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