Friday, February 01, 2008

A Closing, An Opening, a Political Poser, and Another Chance to Take Action

This is your last weekend to catch the solo exhibition of Brooklyn painter Joyce Pensato at Friedrich Petzel Gallery. Joyce remains one of the most under-celebrated painters of our time, IMHO, despite that fact that, well, Jerry Saltz raves about her here, James Kalm pours praise on her here, James Wagner applauds her show here, R.C. Baker toasts her here, and even I made the case that she is a national treasure back in the day. When I say you owe it to yourself to catch this show, that's my nice way of saying you'll want to kick yourself later if you don't. As Mr. Saltz says:
In her Easter Island–meets–Disney–de Kooning–and–Warhol portraits of Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and others, Pensato combines the gesturalism of action painting, the painterliness of Abstract Expressionism, the blatancy of Pop, and the wild style of graffiti. Warhol gave us Double Elvis; Pensato paints a diabolical Double Mickey. De Kooning destroyed the female form to make his Woman paintings; Pensato destroys preconceptions of cuteness and innocence. An older woman is using Expressionistic male angst to make these buggy subjects while pointing out a disturbing racism inherent in many of our most loved cartoon characters.
What are you waiting for? Go see this show!

If you're in Boston, however, don't miss "Traveling without Moving," the exhibition of fabulous new paintings by my dear friend Amanda Church, opening tonight at the newly launched Julie Chae gallery.
450 Harrison Avenue
Storefront 47 Thayer St.
Boston, Mass 02118
In this new series of what Ken Johnson, then writing for the Boston Globe, recently termed "vibrant Pop-style abstractions," Miss Amanda takes her uber-cool palette of psycho-sexual canvases to locales muy tropical like Miami, Puerto Rico and (OK, so it's nice in the summer) Eastern Long Island. Again, Run, don't walk, to go drink in this gorgeous show!

I had a nice chat at the opening of a fellow gallerist's space last night about what to expect should the GOP retain the White House or a Democrat win in November. His take was that either Hillary or Obama winning would send shivers down the spines of collectors. Fearing that their disposable income would be taking a tax hit, they'd pull back on art buying. If McCain wins (none of the others is even remotely acceptable, so let's limit our speculation to one possibility here, shall we?), he may not extend Bush's tax cuts without deep cuts in spending, but he'll be inclined to support the notion that it's better to let the wealthy keep as much of their money as possible. My colleague pointed out, however, that Hillary or Obama are more likely to support Federal funding of the arts, and that while this may not be great for the market, it might be good for Art itself. So it depends on your priorities. I, of course, want the best of both (more arts funding, at least for nonprofit spaces that take chances on under-represented artists) AND a strong confidence among collectors that they can keep supporting the arts on a personal level. I'll be pulling the lever for a Democrat come Tuesday, but I'm still not sure which one. I'm leaning toward Obama, but, being strongly of the opinion that people should mostly vote their own self-interests, I'm willing to listen to others' opinions on who's best for art's future.

Finally, the deadline for you to take action in protecting Spiral Jetty has been extended. Tyler explains:

This just in from the Utah governor's office: The comment period about the Spiral Jetty-impacting energy development has been extended to Feb. 13. For more information from the state of Utah, click here. For more information on how to comment, click here.

UPDATE: The Seattle P-I's Regina Hackett says that the state of Utah has already received 1,000 comments, and that those comments have alerted them to the importance of the Jetty. "I think they were impressed to be taking calls from Europe and Japan about an artwork in Utah," the acting director of the Salt Lake City Art Center, Leslie Peterson, told Hackett.

Don't almost do something here! Take Action Today! Here, I'll make it easier for you [from Tyler]:
If you want to send a letter of protest to save the beautiful, natural Utah environment around the Spiral Jetty from oil drilling, the emails or calls of protest go to Jonathan Jemming 801-537-9023 Please refer to Application # 8853. Every letter makes a big difference, they do take a lot of notice and know that publicity may follow. Since the Spiral Jetty has global significance, emails from foreign countries would be of special value.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama - wants to make insurance affordable for everyone, although you are not required to buy it.

Hillary - wants universal health care.

I'm for Hillary.

2/01/2008 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Joyce remains one of the most under-celebrated painters of our time...
a.) Jerry Saltz raves about her
b.) James Kalm pours praise on her
c.) James Wagner applauds her
d.) R.C. Baker toasts her
e.) even I made the case that she is a national treasure

This makes me wonder how much under-celebration a painter can endure before they just get discouraged and quit.

2/01/2008 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Molly Stevens said...

No new health care plan will kick in for years. So, that difference is moot.

I'm for Obama. He's fresh, inspirational, and he's a unifier.

2/01/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post over at I call it Oranges, on Obama and the arts:

2/01/2008 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger John Hovig said...

Obama sez: Support Increased Funding for the NEA: Over the last 15 years, government funding for the National Endowment for the Arts has been slashed from $175 million annually in 1992 to $125 million today. Barack Obama supports increased funding for the NEA, the support of which enriches schools and neighborhoods allacross the nation and helps to promote the economic development of countless communities.

The NEA budget figures referred to above are here.

2/01/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

The part of Obama's statement (on Oranges) that jumped out at me was his recognition that many artists have no access to health insurance, and his desire to do something about it. The fact that he even noticed is refreshing.

Many of the candidates talk about supporting arts education, which is all very nice for the soccer moms, but this is the first I've seen someone address any of the problems that occur when those arts-educated kids grow up and decide to be artists.

2/01/2008 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

I'm for Obama, because he listens to people who don't agree with him, instead of demonizing them the way Hillary does.

I'm also leery of any healthcare plan that will force people to spend any part of their dwindling disposable income on a mandated healthcare plan that does nothing to curtail the out-of-control costs in the healthcare industry.

I finally bought health insurance, because I absolutely need it, but during the years when I didn't absolutely need it, it would have been a terrible investment.

I would vote for Hillary if the alternative was McCain or Romney, but she gives me the heeby-jeebies.

2/01/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Vote for you really agree with on the issues, vote Dennis Kucinich!

2/01/2008 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

I would vote for Hillary if the alternative was McCain or Romney, but she gives me the heeby-jeebies.

PL, you may end up voting for her and Obama in November (or Obama and her). Me too.

2/01/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Not for nothing, but that Joyce Pensato looks like one of the worst painters of all time.

2/01/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Not for nothing, but that Joyce Pensato looks like one of the worst painters of all time.

Dude...I've just lost so much faith in your eye.

2/01/2008 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Dude, you need an intervention. Not least for using the word "dude" in a sentence.

2/01/2008 04:05:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

In my opinion Joyce Pensato's show was AMAZING. Loved the work, show was fantastic. Beside that she is very lovely person in real life. Always always would have time to say hello.

2/01/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Also agree, I thought Joyce Pensato's show was tough.

Re election winner: I don't think there is much real evidence one way or the other on this. As far as I can tell, art buying is linked to the state of the economy more than anything else. The huge rate cuts and the election year bribe will turn the economy around.

Obama will be good for the country's psyche, the stock market will double, happy days are here again. (yeh, I changed my opinion Ed)

2/01/2008 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Dude, you need an intervention.

Good luck with that!

Not least for using the word "dude" in a sentence.

It connotes a certain distance and disdain, while attempting to not come across as too elitist. Did that not come across? ;-P

2/01/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

It connotes a certain distance and disdain, while attempting to not come across as too elitist. Did that not come across? ;-P

I took it to mean you were moving out here to California.

2/01/2008 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.


2/01/2008 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Ed sez:
It connotes a certain distance and disdain, while attempting to not come across as too elitist. Did that not come across? ;-P

I just thought you had turned into Hurley from Lost. (In case you don't watch the show: Hurley says "dude" a lot. But then, he's from California.)

2/01/2008 11:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Obama on Tuesday--went in with what I thought was an open mind, but came out utterly convinced. He mentioned support for the arts in a context where one might have thought it extraneous--the crowd roared--amazing! Besides his obvious intelligence, the man has some serious charisma!

2/02/2008 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Thinking out loud here:

You have a senator, a smart, effective middle-aged woman who has been working in politics for much of her life, seeking the presidency. Then you have a relative newcomer, also smart, but relatively inexperienced. Suddenly he's the hot new thing, and everyone wants him because everyone wants him.

Both are talented and intelligent, but the charismatic young guy gets the solo show. Er, the nomination, maybe the presidency. Are we artists doing the same thing with politics that we see happening to us in the art world?

2/02/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

On the flip side, you have a manipulative, opportunistic woman who has ridden to prominence on the coattails of more powerful men and stands for nothing beyond her own ambition; and an untried unknown with good charisma who speaks in comforting platitudes about nothing in particular other than "Can't we all just get along?" while his party has been getting along so well with the opposition that there is no opposition any more.

Both are talented at looking intelligent and both are intelligent enough to look talented, their platforms are virtually indistinguishable, and neither one is going to do anything to shake the status quo aside from appearing to shake the status quo ("the first black American president" versus "the first woman American president").

On the other side you've got a contest to see which rabid dog can work up the most spittle foam. McCain -- who apparently was driven entirely insane over the past four years -- is most likely going to end up the craziest, and therefore the candidate.

Scary scary. I'm tired of voting for the lesser of two evils -- I'm voting for Cthulhu.

2/02/2008 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Are we artists doing the same thing with politics that we see happening to us in the art world?

I don't think so.

In the art world, what we're seeing is wide-ranging discrimination, epitomized by that well-known statement by the moron who co-owned the now deservedly defunct NYC gallery Moron, Something & Something, that he wouldn't even look at an artist's work if they were over 28. Or was it 26? In the current Democratic race there are now only two remaining contenders, both of whom have a good chance of being the nominee. You have two specific individual people with a wide range of personal qualities, abilities and baggage to evaluate. So it's a lot more complicated than whether to choose the young black guy or the middle-aged white woman.

I'm registered as an independent and rarely vote in primaries, but on Tuesday I'm going to vote for Obama. And not because of his age, race or gender. (Actually my first choice would have been a Gore/Obama ticket, but that's not an option.) I'd also be very happy with his opponent as a candidate, and I'm voting for him knowing that there's a chance I'll be voting for both of them in November. Either of them would be such a huge improvement over what we've been suffering under for the past 7 years that their differences seem slight. But there are differences.

The description you gave of Hillary could also be applied to other women. If Obama were running against Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer, I'd have a harder time deciding. And it's not just because they're from California.

2/02/2008 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Nancy Pelosi is, at least, her own woman. She got where she is under her own steam. I liked her a lot more before the last few months -- why isn't she standing up to the executive branch?

2/02/2008 04:27:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

I am actually infuriated by the "people aren't voting for Hillary because she's a woman" argument. It portrays her as a victim, which she most certainly is not. And it takes attention away from the actual issues at hand.

I am not voting for Hillary because she's equivocal, extremely cynical, and working to increase her own power at the expense of actual change. She's too invested in a status quo that is too broken.

I am voting for Obama because he is idealistic, has policy I agree with, will state unequivocally what his stance on the Middle East is, and understands that huge changes, not incremental changes, are necessary right now.

Besides, Hillary is not electable in the same way Obama is. Not because she's a woman, but because she is cynical and depressing and enjoys hardball too much. It would look just as Been-There-Done-That on a man. In fact, it looks awful on her husband these days.

To say that people aren't voting for her because she's a woman diminishes every single word that comes out of her *very* powerful mouth.

2/02/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

...why isn't she standing up to the executive branch?

Chris, I can't speak for the Speaker, but I might point out that:
a.) Pelosi is the Speaker of the House, but she isn't the whole House, and
b.) even if the Democrats agreed on everything, which they don't, they still wouldn't have enough votes in the House or Senate to override a veto. But at least there's no longer a congressional rubber stamp for Executive crimes.

Also, I agree with everything Deborah said about the differences between Hillary and Obama. But if Hillary wins the nomination I'll vote for her in November. Her flaws are minor compared with those of our current disaster and his handlers.

2/02/2008 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get the Obama thing, don't want to vote on personality or because someone is charismatic and feels fresh, and don't happen to find Hillary to be cynical at all. What is all the dumping on Hillary? It's like you've been brainwashed by Limbaugh and friends years of hate.

2/02/2008 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's Limbaugh?

2/02/2008 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hillary is machiavellian enough to cry on demand. Obama is republican for spoiler and its politics as usual. Ho hum.

2/02/2008 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

What is all the dumping on Hillary?

"I have an idea! Now that my husband's no longer president, how 'bout I run for Senate in a state chosen entirely because it's a known road to the Oval Office? Hm, New York or California...."

2/02/2008 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

David says:
But at least there's no longer a congressional rubber stamp for Executive crimes.

Telecom immunity.

Whoa, and Dave's argument goes down in flames!

2/02/2008 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, what is your point? She wants to be president? Who do you think just "ends up" president?

2/02/2008 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, what do you mean New York is a known road to the Oval Office? Who are you talking about, Martin Van Buren?

2/02/2008 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Chris is right. Every time I go to the Oval Office, I take the New York route.

2/03/2008 03:22:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

To get to the Oval office via New York, I like the Williamsburg bridge to the Holland tunnel and onto the Jersey turnpike headed south. But the tolls are substantial.

2/03/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Hardy har har. You're all laugh riots. That's it, you're all on the List.

Including Anonymous. Especially Anonymous.

2/03/2008 07:58:00 PM  

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