Sunday September 10, 2006

September gallery hop

I may as well come right out and say it: it’s been a while since I’ve made any art. Lots of things interfere (not the least of which is this blog), but probably the most significant is the somewhat incomplete sense of accomplishment brought about by my most recent project, the wall pictures (which, surprisingly, a couple of people have quite randomly complemented me on lately, not the least of which was Tom Virgin, last night). I’m planning out another project which hopefully be more satisfactory, but my reason for bringing all this up is something else entirely: that last night I was looking at art more as a spectator then as an artist, and it is in that spirit that I share my observations, and my joy of looking, in hopes of attracting more non-art types out to the gallery walk, say, next month.

gallery hop

Michael Tedja at Locust, including painted and bejeweled bicycle tires, lots of ape faces, ab-ex scrawls, collage, a black Santa, crazy snatches of text (“More money more murder”), more fabric then immediately apparent, a pair of flip-flops with paint squiggles, and, yes, real beer bottles stuck everywhere. At some point I suspected that this was an art joke; that no serious person could leave without being annoyed by something. More likely, it’s created for the sheer joy of making stuff, without such overintellectualization.

gallery hop

Here’s Gean Moreno and Fred Snitzer hamming for a press photog in front of one of Gean’s pieces. Self-conscious and capital-A “Arty,” Gean’s pieces were nonetheless beautiful, and satisfying in a way that Michael’s weren’t. Attached to free-standing 2×4’s for no particular reason (nothing interesting happening around back), they made unnecessary reference to all sorts of shit (e.g. 80s metal), yet achieved a sort of effortless (say it with me) grace. I suspect that the effortlessness is more important to Fred then the grace, and for that I disagree with him, but as ever, the shit is good.

gallery hop

Frances Trombly at Kevin Bruk. Unless I’m completely ignorant, Frances didn’t knit, crochet, or weave the fabric for these streamers, as she did in the past. Still nice, though. (*Update:* Confirmed: I am completely ignorant. KH sez: “Frances spent a bazmillion hours weaving and hand dyeing that silk, man!”) The less said about Craig Kucia’s paintings the better.

gallery hop

I believe this is “Against the Girl” at MoCA’s Goldman warehouse. Sounding like a cross between Tori Amos and Iron Maiden, they left me, frankly, wondering who picked them and why. Here is someone’s idea of a representative half-minute of their performance. It’s a little more disco then the rest of their set. A Kyle Trowbridge video piece, of moshing at hardcore shows in 1984, in the next stall, made the visit worthwhile. (As did something else, which . . . more on that later.)

gallery hop

Here’s a bit of the actual “hoping.” Say what you will, but it’s September in fucking Miami, and it’s nasty hot outside. The industrial beauty of Wynwood is undeniable, but I was unplesantly sweaty all night, despite making any trip longer then a block in an airconditioned car. Maybe I’ll skip September and October and see you folks in November.

gallery hop

But no, because our last stop made everything worth it. A performance by Tracy + the Plastics. It’s funny, but though the “live performer + life-sized video of the same performer interacting” is so much of a genre as to be a cliché, when done right, it has undiminished power. Tracy’s was a piece of live performance art that also spanned elements of installation, (2-channel!) video, music, digital illustration, poetry, audience participation (the audience didn’t particularly rise to the challenge, actually), and more then a little sound design (microphone hiss that came and went depending on dramatic need, not any technological factors). It was a little drama wrapped inside a riddle (involving sheets), and it came down, as all performance art might, of being aware of yourself in the moment in which you exist. Which it couldn’t have been more successful at: I’m still aware of myself in that particular moment, a full day later.

gallery hop

By the time I got home (a road that involved a visit to Denny’s, and not to the Forge), there was a guy passed out in the street across from my building. It seemed fitting somehow; I feel like that guy. Don’t worry, he’s OK—I passed by looking for a parking space a few minutes earlier and he was in the same spot, but sitting up. And the cop cars swarmed the next morning around a completely different spot, down an entire block. Life goes on.


comments powered by Disqus
  1. Jonathan    Sun Sep 10, 10:13 PM #  

    This blog post might itself work as some kind of virtual installation. I like the bottom three photos best.

  2. KH    Sun Sep 10, 10:54 PM #  

    JEEZ ALESH! Frances spent a bazmillion hours weaving and hand dyeing that silk, man! All those goofy flags are completely hand-made!

    [PS: it is the month of September. :) Still hot, though!]

    Oh, also, I saw Tracy + The Plastics today and it was excellent.

  3. KH    Sun Sep 10, 10:57 PM #  

    Adding: not only the flags, but the fabric connecting them too!

    [In case that wasn’t clear from my last comment]

  4. duh    Mon Sep 11, 07:29 AM #  

    you might as well have been passed out. It is september dude, not august. how drunk were you when you wrote this?

  5. alesh    Mon Sep 11, 07:34 AM #  

    oops. My bad, on both counts. I actually wasn’t too drunk: this type of shit comes natural to me.

  6. Franklin    Mon Sep 11, 07:40 AM #  

    Animated Flash banner ads? Is that new, or did I previously fail to notice and become commensurately pissed off about it? Dude, kill that before my plugin does.

  7. KH    Mon Sep 11, 08:09 AM #  

    Hm. Alesh, I really appreciate this post! Thanks for putting those images, your opinion, and story up.

    [The comments seem as if we’ve all decided to pile on you like a mob of lousy nitpickers; sometimes the blogospheric harmonics get to us, I think.]

  8. Church of the Soldiers of the Cross of Christ    Mon Sep 11, 08:19 AM #  

    Don’t know the passed-out vagrant personally, but we’re sure he deserves to be beaten to death with rebar.

  9. oldswish    Mon Sep 11, 08:55 AM #  

    You state that you have not been making art lately. I disagree. as evidenced by some of the above photographs and your flickr site, I think you have been making art. Albeit of the effortless kind, which can be some of the least ego driven and most satisfying. Please keep it up.

  10. alesh    Mon Sep 11, 10:45 AM #  

    Hi again Franklin! I give Google the space, they do as they see fit with it. I LOVE it when I get image ads, Flash all the more so. I have flashblock, so I can’t see it right now, but before it was a static image. It makes me feel like I have a real web site.

    thanks, oldswish. It’s not the same, but I appreciate the sentiment. I am making art!

    KH~ I like the nitpickers. They keep me honest.

    C’mon you nitpickers . . . CLICK MY FANCY COLORFUL AD! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!!

  11. Manola Blablablanik    Mon Sep 11, 12:13 PM #  

    More art from Alesh! More art from Alesh!

  12. alice fields    Mon Sep 11, 02:38 PM #  

    Saw the Kucia show at Kevin Bruk on Saturday night, and thought it was one of the best things to come out of Miami in a really long time. Not exactly sure what your problem is.

  13. bb    Mon Sep 11, 04:35 PM #  

    Great shows!
    Gean Moreno show was very nice, works gettin better all the time. Kevin Bruk’s shows were amazing! Francis as always making impressive pieces and Craig Kucia’s paintings were kick ass, one of the most memorable painting shows seen in a long time!

  14. alesh    Mon Sep 11, 08:18 PM #  

    Well, there you go: the whole world disagrees with me about Craig Kucia’s paintings. Maybe I’ll go look again, but as I recall they looked like a clumsy, less finished, and idea and technique impoverished take on Laura Owens. I guess that’s my problem in a nutshell!

  15. Mister Mumbles    Tue Sep 12, 09:29 AM #  

    Regarding Kucia and Moreno unfortunately they both look like someone else’s work…perhaps Laura Owens or Albert Oehlen.

    This furthers my theory that there are only six “types” of contemporary art.
    funny and pathetic art, science geeky art, formal serious art, and children’s art…perhaps there a few others like the art of the mentally ill, old lady still-life painting and sad art.

    There is really nothing new out there. Everything looks like something else.

  16. alice fields    Tue Sep 12, 12:16 PM #  

    There’s a lot of words I’d use to describe Craig Kucia, but clumsy, derivitive, or impoverished are not among them. I think you both missed the point. Kucia (occasionally) uses a more naive handling of the paint to give the works texture and depth, not because he can’t paint properly. Alesh, I think if you took a closer look at his bees alone you’d see that.

    As for you, Mumbles, your “types” are so willfully simplistic as to defy comment. To quote our host, “the less said, the better.”

  17. Barca    Tue Sep 12, 12:54 PM #  

    What do they teach you in Photography / Art school about producing work under a common unifying theme, instead of separate and autonomous pieces?

  18. alice fields    Tue Sep 12, 01:04 PM #  

    Is that a riddle, Barca?

  19. alesh    Tue Sep 12, 01:44 PM #  

    ok, Alice, I’ll stop by Bruk and take a closer look at Kucia if I get a chance.

    I like Mumbles’ categories. I might print them on an index card and bring it along next month to see if they hold up.

    At least in my experience, Braca, they don’t get into that too much, at least until close to the end of B/A and in Grad school. Till then they want you to explore as much as possible.

    Though it’s pretty obvious to anyone taking more then the quickest look at the art world that what’s called for are “bodies of work” that consist of a number of pieces that relate together. AND that an artist’s life output should make some sort of coherent sense together, with any big right turns somehow accounted for.

    Not sure what that has to do with anything, but there you go.

  20. Mister Mumbles    Tue Sep 12, 02:05 PM #  

    Actually Ms. Fields my willfully simplistic types perfectly mirror the contemporary art world.

    Both Kucia and Moreno fall perfectly into the funny and pathetic art box.

    Kucia’s silly animals are funny. [and cutesy]
    Moreno’s heavy metal teenage angst is pathetic [and funny]

    This isn’t a bad thing, but it is just the way it is.

  21. bb    Tue Sep 12, 02:58 PM #  

    its just the way it is, and is pretty much how its always been…i don’t get your point?

    you can make ‘types’ since the beginning of fucking art and for pretty much everything else in the world.

    the thing is, ‘types’ are only set up by and for those who don’t have any extended knowledge or ability to read art beyond the obvious or by ‘simplistic’ viewing.

    if you have ever talked to either of those artists, you would know that both have a wide knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and what came before them, more than most of the artists out there.

  22. Carl    Tue Sep 12, 04:14 PM #  

    My girlfriend cheated on me with Craig Kucia. I wish I could hate on his paintings, too, but unfortunately he’s pretty fucking good. I’d still kick his ass though, if I got the chance.

  23. Mister Mumbles    Tue Sep 12, 05:00 PM #  


    “having wide knowledge and understanding of what they are doing ” has little to do with the fact that they are both making art that looks like so much other stuff out there.
    I’ve spoken with both artists and they are both exceptional human beings.
    My type casting of contemporary art is more of a fun pastime than a serious and ridgid practice.

    Carl: Don’t worry about your old lady. Mr. Kuica likely has rickets from dwelling indoors all day. Try some vaporub, lavender and vetiver oil, lovingly stroke her clockwise on a full moon and feed her marinated fiddleheads.

    She’ll be back in your arms toot sweet.

    If that doesn’t work play her Stoned Out of my Mind by the Chi-Lites while she’s sleeping.

  24. bb    Tue Sep 12, 10:55 PM #  

    i still don’t get it, what you are saying has no point really?

    everything looks like something else and has for years now!!!!!!!!

    i dont’ think any artists out there think they are onto something that has never been made before or believe that its even possible to make something brand new (especially with painting)

    i think what makes good work now is taking what is left and making something great, i could care less what styles or artists another looks like if they are making those other artists work look mediocre in comparison.

  25. KH    Tue Sep 12, 11:18 PM #  

    Awesome Alesh. CM is rocking out with the crazy art-world comments!

  26. Mister Mumbles    Wed Sep 13, 06:38 AM #  

    bb’s statement “i think what makes good work now is taking what is left and making something great”

    should read….

    i think what makes good work now is taking what is left and making “THAT SELLS”

    Kucia and Moreno’s work is good. Nothing more, nothing less. Greatness is another story.

  27. alesh    Wed Sep 13, 06:59 AM #  

    The thing that struck me about Moreno is the effortless grace of his pieces—the sort great abstract expressionist paintings have. He’s not afraid to leave them looking just a hair unfinished. If they fall into one of those categories it’s the ‘formal/serious’ one. Of course the exception to that is the one off in a room by itself with all the punk/metal stuff on it. That one’s done to death (though it has its own charm).

    Then you get into ‘good art is the enemy of great art.’ There is also the issue of what you want from art. Do you want to see a piece once of twice in your life and have an aesthetic experience (as will be the case for anyone living in Miami for Klimt’s paintings hanging in Austria, say), or do you want something you can live with every day for the rest of your life and not get tired of. I believe Snitzer and Bruk are shooting for the latter? Did anyone see a price list for either show?

    Oh, and I don’t see how classifying stuff dismisses or even diminishes it. You can classify music into folk, jazz, and hip-hop. You can classify cars into sports cars, SUV’s, and family sedans, etc. The existence of those categories does not diminish anything’s greatness.

    Isn’t ‘Stoned Out of my Mind’ a Rolling Stones tune?

  28. alice fields    Wed Sep 13, 02:36 PM #  

    mumbles—- i’m just curious what you think qualifies for greatness?

  29. Mister Mumbles    Wed Sep 13, 04:29 PM #  

    I want a work of art to jump off the wall and fuck me till I’m speechless.

    That is Greatness!

  30. Mister Mumbles    Wed Sep 13, 04:33 PM #  

    The Chi-Lites Lyrics
    Stoned Out Of My Mind Lyrics

    Baby, when I found out you were lyin
    Playin around and connivin
    Undesired tears I was cryin
    `Cause sugar coated lies I was buyin

    I was just a backseat driver in a car of love
    Goin wherever you take me
    Dont know why I put up with the pain
    `Cause nobody else could make me

    You got me goin [Stoned out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned] Hey, hey [Out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned] Hey, hey [Out of my mind]

    When you led me to the water I drank it
    Man, I drank more than I could hold
    When you took my mind and body
    You know you wanna take my soul

    Where can I run
    Where can I hide
    Who can I talk to
    Tell me what, what can I do

    When you got me goin [Stoned out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned] Hey, hey [Out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned] Hey, hey [Out of my mind]

    Hee…you got me goin [Stoned out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned] Hey, hey [Out of my mind]
    Been around with every guy in town [Stoned out of my mind]
    Funny but I just cant put you down [Stoned out of my mind]

    You got me goin [Stoned out of my mind]
    You got me goin [Stoned out of my mind]

  31. jank    Thu Sep 14, 11:13 AM #  

    “I want a work of art to jump off the wall and fuck me till I’m speechless. That is Greatness”

    If that happens, that is also your personal taste/opinion

    that doesn’t make it greatness, that just makes it something you like and 100 other people might think its utter shit

  32. Mister Mumbles    Thu Sep 14, 12:24 PM #  

    I meant to say that a great work of art jumps off the wall and Fucks EVERYONE until they’re speechless.

    I don’t think that work of art has been created yet.

  33. Bonnie Seibert    Thu Sep 14, 01:16 PM #  

    I just don’t think such a work is possible. For everyone to be SO impressed, it would likely be mediocre….for such a universal appeal, to a common denominator.
    Take any 10 highly revered works by the “stars” of the art world, someone will be unimpressed by some of them.

  34. Mister Mumbles    Thu Sep 14, 02:38 PM #  

    ...And then there are works like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band by the Beatles that seemed to change the whole landscape of popular music….but I guess that is a stretch of the imagination.

  35. alice fields    Thu Sep 14, 05:41 PM #  

    Mumbles, I think you’re wrong. I’ve had exactly that experience with Cezanne, Manet, and Nicolas de Stael, and, incredibly, Craig Kucia.

    Cezanne, Manet and de Stael took my breath away all at once (a real coup de foudre, as they say in French), whereas Kucia came on more slowly. Almost like falling in love.

  36. Mister Mumbles    Thu Sep 14, 05:52 PM #  

    Almost like falling in love?
    Who said anything about LOVE?
    Cezanne, Manet, and Nicolas de Stael?
    Wake up when your done…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  37. alice fields    Fri Sep 15, 01:37 PM #  

    Seriously? God, how sad. But then you’re probably one of those people who thinks some naked indie rock chick pooping on a stage is a profound comment on contemporary culture.

  38. jank    Fri Sep 15, 04:56 PM #  

    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band by the Beatles

    Yeah, and there are people out there who think its shit. Its all opinion and you are failing and backing yourself up.

    My grandma couldn’t give a shit if it changed the landscape of music, and in her world, it didn’t change shit.

    All i can say is don’t dismiss things until you KNOW exactly what your saying and have put enough time and effort into learning and understanding it before you diss it.

  39. Mummbles    Mon Sep 18, 08:16 PM #  

    Who dissed what?

  40. KH    Mon Sep 18, 11:13 PM #  

    Hey, Critical Miami got added to Tyler Green’s Miami blogroll! See here

  41. ss    Thu Sep 21, 03:56 PM #  

    what the hell is wrong with you people? art, as far as I know, is interpreted differently by every person in the world. People paint, sculpt, draw, shit in a bucket…whatever so that they can express something. If enough people like it, the artist can actually make some money, if they even care about that. some poeple will like what an artist puts out, and some will not. I happen to love Craig Kucia’s work. The colors are vibrant, and the paintings are kind of fun, for me. I really don’t care whether any of you agree with me. What I do take issue with is most of the ridiculous, self involved artsy fartsy people who walk around trying to analyze an artists work, and trying to impart their evaluation on others. I like some things, I hate others. I couldn’t care less what you people like. That is my prerogative (thank you Bobby Brown)

  42. alesh    Wed Sep 27, 10:40 PM #  

    Tyler asks “How did I not have Critical Miami here before?”

    My answer is that probably it’s because my arts coverage is sporadic, sophomoric, and skewed. But I’m trying, Tyler. Wait for Basel—I’m going to do my best to make myself worthy.

    ss~ That’s a fair world, and you’re welcome to live in it. But there’s another world, where we like to share notes, listen to each other’s thoughts, and sometimes even re-evaluate things on the basis of outside input. Do whatever gives you greater pleasure in the long run.