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ISCP NYC


Dsc02183, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

Up early after late night at Scope and Korean with Tina and Sara > Gumshoe brunch and open studio promoted through Armory VIP schedule > Armory and the slight tussle getting in – it would have been nice to arrive before the storm, but hey > bottle of nicely chilled champagne to relax and celebrate Tina’s birthday > deal with paparazzi endlessly photographing Gari Lewis > trying to meet Marco and get around the lock-down > Actually viewing the fair > A lot of walking> Back to the studio > Deliberating which event to attend later tonight > Deciding on Zeroboy’s rooftop party under the Empire > And enjoying great sound performance in freezing cold > Makin’ it home to do it all over again tomorrow.

Completely famished and reeling from Strand Books, I headed for one of my favourite home away from homes’. I’m really going to miss this place. I wish there was a Korean Restaurant with the same qualities at home. I haven’t passed a single opportunity to go. Every time someone’s visiting or is hungry nearby, it’s basically the only suggestion I offer. And screw Epicurus; while it’s happiness to share a meal with good company, I was also completely happy to eat here all by myself.

I had my bibimbap, tea and Boon Book Ja rhasberry sake. My all time favourite sake, which I want to track down a case of and take home. It was also perfect tonight, because sitting by the window, I was able to quietly observe all the action and it started to snow. I was glad that I came here after the strand and not before, that I was sitting here, down the road from the apartment, and not blocks away.

Gradually the pavement was covered in a thin coating of white and when I left, my coat become covered with a light dusting of snowflakes. (Later I’d have to adjust to the sound of snow tapping my windows). I wish I could at least order take-away from Australia. It’s a shame that this place can’t be transplanted home.


DSC02095-102, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

Lately when I ascend from the 7 I hear rhythmic, pulsing beats from African drums. Reverberating through the tunnel leading to 40th St, with its ‘so tired’ etc. text pieces’, it’s a good mood lifter and the beat sets an encouraging, steady pace for commuter’s steps. The performance is comparable to other good subway regulars. Namely, the group that enthusiastically plays plastic drums at Union Square, a bit of a rarity.

Just as I’’m literally experiencing ‘urban-jungle’, the preformance is replaced by the haphazard sounds of a keyboard, by a guy whose prosthetic leg leans against the wall. A little better than the usual keyboard fare: the guy who just slaps any key confessing through ‘song’ that he has no clue how to sing; and the guys who just play and sing badly. The type of performer sometimes employed by Chinese restaurants, where you eventually learn that you’’ve made a mistake in thinking that there’’s a karaoke machine somewhere. Thankfully, in NY, I only encounter these guys in the subway and haven’’t had to pay for the infliction.

I’’ve also been leaving the studio at more reasonable times and see the illuminated 5 quietly jostle alongside the 6. People are doing the same things or stand by the doors, staring out blankly. It’’s like watching or being in a theatre set. Everywhere is a performance space.

The street is another. You hear the funniest, sometimes quite private thoughts un-edited and verbalised. Damian and I were giggling and trying to comprehend two nerdy types, basically saying ‘‘so, it’s agreed, we’re going to Australia to pick up chicks’’; And fully burst out laughing when a woman, perhaps inebriated, loudly projected ‘‘Ahhh, my stilettos are caught in my too long jeans…, both actually’’.

It’’s an obvious thing to dwell on about NY. I remember the last time I was here (2000), encountering comical outbursts and confrontations on the street, but I’’d almost forgotten the lived experience of all these things that just happen around you.

I only have a couple of weeks left now. I’’ve been scheduling my last appointments and plotting my last gallery run. I’’m going to miss the immediacy, but I’’m also looking forward to returning home. Afterall, home is where the beach is.

I’ve been starting to draw some conclusions and expanding on my initial impressions. Basically, I just want to shout home: RELAX! NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE SO PRECIOUS AND NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE SO DAMN PROFESSIONAL!

It’s easy to make predictions about New York’s demise. Without even being here it’s plainly visible, but I hadn’t realised the extent. When I first arrived, I was surprised that New York had changed so much. Specifically, it seemed overly gentrified and had unfortunately lost all its edginess. I started to question whether the avant-garde had ever really existed here (or was my memory weirding) and that it’s easy to be outwardly considered avant-garde in ultra conservative environments.

Everyone’s been fairly quick to point out that New York is no longer the centre of the contemporary art scene, but rather the centre of the art market. Yes, it’s surprising to hear that art school students are solely focused on attaining representation; how much a recent graduate’s work will sell for before a Baldessari, particularly compared to the market in Australia. However, this has been a persistent reflection of society since the renaissance, and I’m pretty sure no-one’s predicting the demise of capitalism. There are obvious issues when decisions are so closely tied to and determined by an unregulated market.

But there are still some really nice qualities. It’s not overly professional and there’s a complete lack of preciousness. Schedules are re-scheduled. Performances start late and can happen in multiple locations. They’re disorganised and events often require an effort from the viewer.

At the same time they’re accommodating and open. They’re open late and make an effort to be responsive to the audience’s schedule, rather than determined to set their own. And I really like that I can walk into a gallery, say hello and essentially open a door for the person behind the desk, who’s very rarely a volunteer, to promote their programs. Maybe because I’m a curator rather than an artist it’s easier, but this never happens at home.

There are also opportunities for difference, steadfast characters and space to be comfortable with awkwardness. Dialogues are verbal and critique is in writing and there’s a clear distinction between personal and professional criticism. Some of the work I’ve most appreciated may have appeared unfinished, even a bit clumsy, but it was completely unselfconscious. It presented an idea, it’s process or mechanisms. Simple.

I also want things to be messy and unresolved sometimes. Difference shouldn’t always be subsumed by professionalism. Not everything should be the same: It’s really boring. There should be comfortable spaces for experimentation and unresolved awkwardness.

It’s INCREDIBLY! cold today!! 14 with a high of 18 in midtown, but there’s 20 mile ARCTIC winds, so it feels like -6. I didn’t even now how to enter the minus into the calculator that translates Fahrenheit into Celsius! The 14 was -17C. So, I was like, HOLY CRAP! That’s bloody cold! Better wear everything I own. Still, pretty cold. So, that’s the weather report.


Monica Bonvicini Never Missing a Line 2007 Sculpture Center P: L. Rollman., originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

It seems that it’s all been happening at ISCP the last couple of weeks. Guest critics have included Henriette from the Whitney and Mark from Creative Time. Later this month it’s Lex ter Braak and Susanne Altmann. Damian and I also got to meet with Jan, who introduced us to a new great bar. Always endearing for Australians.

And then there was the field trip. We went to Isamu Noguchi Museum, where there were limited sandwiches; Socrates Sculpture Park; Fisher Landau Center for Art, where we were encouraged to sit in the chairs that needed to be reupholstered after Mathew Barney borrowed them for 3; and the Sculpture Center introduced by Sarina.

And then there was the field trip after party. There were decisions about whether to go out into the cold for dinner – definitely not. But eventually we ran out of drinks and only made it across the street. Sara had the giggles, but may have sobered when trying to determine whether a pimp had tried to pick her up. Some went home and some went on.


Meret Oppenheim Object (1936) Fur-covered cup, saucer and spoon, overall height 7.3cm
, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

We’ve been to 2 free Friday’s in a row. Normally big crowds in the gallery aren’t especially fun i.e. blockbusters, or even worse blockbuster openings, but it was fun. Perhaps because we didn’t know anyone, no stop and chats were required and we could just focus on our specific interests.

The new gallery is a bit of a shopping mall; it’s casual. It was enjoyable hearing small crowds verbal responses to and laughter, particularly to Pipilotti Rists’ projection. Best of all everyone was taking lots of photos in the gallery: of work, posing beside Picassos’ etc. etc. Our photos focused on detailing Merrit Oppenheim’s Fur Cup. I always see the same, typically black and white, photos. It’s always better to be able to sight the details in person, or at least a variation.

Related links:
creativetime.org/blog
newyorkhack.blogspot
villagevoice.com

Yeah. We had the best time. Almost as fun as, maybe better than, our first night back at ‘Cock, formerly known as Hole’.

It was great. We tapped out toes collectively, bounced a heel to the beat and felt the reviberation on those timber floors at the Bowery Ballroom. We even had a super-fun lounge room boogie amisdt the crowd. It was the best.

He has the the whole David Byrne thing happening. Not with the Elvis twitch from the hip down, but from the waist up he’s got it goin’ on. Not so great with the harmonica, but that stance with his back to the audience makes up for it. In case you haven’t noticed, I do have a predilection for silhouettes.

Actually, we’d seen them earlier in the week on our way to Astor Place. We were leaving St Marks and they, the five of them, were standing in a straight line at the lights about to cross and enter St Marks. In fact, it would have made a good photo.

We clapped and clapped, pounded our feet expecting an encore. But alas, my entire life, never has there not been an encore. But alas. Still, I’ve determined they’re my equivialant to Damian’s Belle and Sebastian.

The supports were also great: The Tiny Masters of Today (Willie Mae graduate?) and particularly Kimya Dawson: ‘The ghost of the girl I use to be’. Who is that and would she even recognise me??

PS. Ciel! I never ask for anything, well I’ve been asking for stuff lately, but Kimya Dawson was great. Book her, and I’ve never said ‘book ‘em’. She even has a panda.

PPS. I’m havin’ the best time.

We had the Wild Mushroom Ravioli and Potato-almond Gnocchi as starters followed by Chef Geraud’s signature Vegetable B’Steeya (oh that flaky pastry) and the Counter Cutlet alla Milanese. Not to mention the fab organic beers and wines at this vegetarian haute cuisine restaurant. The taste was indescribable. All we can manage is yummmmmmmm hahmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. And poor Cameron thinks that vegetarian Tea Pot café was the bomb, it was pretty darn good, but in retrospect it’s not Counter. http://www.counternyc.com/home.html


Hold your breath and think of Spinoza Erwin Wurm, realised by Cameron 2007, photo by Damian.,
originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

I only chose one exhibition to see in Seattle: I love my time, I don’t like my time presenting recent work by Erwin Wurm, at the Frye Art Museum.

After spending the morning at the Seattle Library we were hungry and hoping to rely on a good museum café. We could and for once it was reasonably priced too. So, with our bellies full we went straight to the show and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Some of the works we’d seen before, but the recent work was presented within a firm context. We had the most fun ‘realising’ sculptures according to the instructions.

When Damian realised that there were instructions for a sculpture referencing Spinoza, we went in search of Cameron, knowing that this is what he was reading. Cameron was compelled to realise the sculpture. We later came upon documentation of a one-minute sculpture where Wurm placed grapes in the gaps of his toes. I was particularly amused to learn that Damian was personally familiar with this experience and predicted that the outcome of the work would be grapes squirting between toes. When I shared his comments with Andrea we were laughing hysterically when Damian further, off-handedly, remarked that we were the weirdos for never having tried it. Further hysterics.

Andrea also overheard some interesting comments from some older ladies first encountering the one-minute sculpture in the entry drum – what appears to be scattered clothing. Initially they discussed the work as a new style of clothes storage, then a fundraising venture (op-shop style), before lamenting the current state of the arts. Further hysterics.

I enjoyed almost everything about this museum. It appeared intimate and connected to its audience. This was illustrated in the didactic panel accompanying Franz von Struck’s Sin, which stated that the work had recently been reinstated in the permanent collection’s salon and presented comments by viewers. Basically, it elaborated on their relief to see the work on permanent display again, their attraction to the work and its ‘compelling and dangerous sexual persona’.

Even the youth project and exhibition Pieces of Clothing presented quality work. Using the ideas addressed by Erwin Wurm as a departure point, students employed stop-motion animation to animate clothing and cutout fashion images, re-interpreting everyday attire and exposing the secret lives of clothes. The lecture program was thorough and even the membership programs were attractive; pity I don’t live in Seattle.

The Frye Art Museum focuses on representational art, but includes all its contemporary complexities. It seems that they’re directly achieving their recently developed vision statement: ‘The Frye Art Museum is a catalyst for transformation in individuals and communities. Furthermore, ‘admission to the Museum will always be free’, which seems to be a very rare statement in the US. Our only minute suggestions would be espresso coffees and to treat the museum shop as a more generous resource.

What a lovely, intimate, little museum.


DSC02003, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

There is a LOT of stuff on the web about this building. It’s gotta be the most genuinely exciting building built in the USA for years.

Favourite bits on the promenade: auditoriums that connect levels; living room landscapes; chartreuse yellow escalators and elevator interiors; the delicate curtain-like perforated metal screen that wraps the very glossy and very red meeting room ‘box’; internet ahoy; the finally realised Jussieu book stack idea; fab views from the uppermost reading room/conservatory and last but not least the journey’s culmination over the atrium on the popular juliet balcony.

The friends of the Library Shop (and the café also) have shifted from the NE corner to the SE adjacent to the main entry. Our favourite item for sale was the ‘Deluxe Librarian Action Figure’ http://www.mcphee.com/items/11548.html

Damian


Juan Puntes, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

So now that the sublets have been squared, I can finally move on. During the week I met with my first ISCP guest critics Laura Hoptman, Senior Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art and Gabrielle Giattino, Curator at the Swiss Institute. I’d now sighted most exhibitions, but was desperately trying to squeeze in a day for my last chance to see the Chelsea galleries before this bloody Christmas thing. Luckily about 50/50 were open, but at the second gallery – White Box, exhibiting Forecast by Mary Mattingly, I was virtually hijacked by Juan Puntes (who really just wanted a break). We spent the afternoon drinking and discussing various art topics before later being welcomed into a friend’s dinner with family. It was great fun. It seems much easier here, certainly in this instance, to meet and greet, exchange cards and establish some immediate rapport.


My Cupboard, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

Like my cupboard? $60 a night: priceless. Before I eventually went to sleep, I was thinking about all the public debates I’ve heard about arts funding: artists etc get a free ride; the term sacrifice associated with artists; Ah! What a joke, this is sacrifice. My train of thought was distracted when I noticed a circular configuration of holes, and wondered if they were suppose to be air holes. Actually, they look more like holes for a speaker, and the wall has been hollowed out to roughly fit a speaker. Come to think of it, this Interfaith League, has cult potential written all over it! Only 2 more sleeps and I’m outta there. Is that a tick between my toes? – I really hope this is the final post re NY sublets. – In my defence, it had been a particularly cold day when I agreed to this, so I thought at least I’ll be warm. In fact, I’ve since realised it was advertised as ‘spacious furnished room’. Mental note to self: Don’t bother trying Japanese sleeping capsule, you won’t find it novel.


Since I arrived I’ve been seeing solitary gloves, misplaced by their owners, teasing me. For the most part the weather has been rather mild and I didn’t need to rush anywhere to buy gloves. Well, until there were a couple of really cold days. I withstood the cold until I couldn’t hack it anymore and ducked into Macy’s: a. to get out of the cold, b. take a look around and c. buy some gloves. Apparently, everybody else in town had the same idea. Seriously, it was like a night club. You had to get behind the velvet rope just to go up the escalator. Of course, it was completely irritating and I decided to hack it a little longer. Well no more! I have mittens!

For weeks I’ve been in a daze, in between places. At home, feeling like I’d practically gone already and then here, not quite settled. In addition to being awarded a second grant to cover accommodation expenses, I’ve actually found somewhere to temporarily live. Triple Yay! It’s taken weeks… and weeks, but I’ve at least settled on a sublet/s for December. I’ll definitely be in the East Village until late December, then I may have to go through the whole ordeal again. Hopefully, I’ll still be in the East Village January and February, but I’m waiting to confirm. I’m not sure if it’s easier to find a sublet when you’ve landed. It seems New Yorker’s want to stay in their home during the fall. In the meantime, I no longer need to be super preoccupied with the immediate possibility of being literally homeless during a New York winter. I can finally move on with my work. Yay!

Again, dear sadly neglected little blog and life in general, I didn’t mean to neglect you, but I’d been sucked into a totally despise-able craigslist vortex. For well over a month I’ve been starting each week in the worst possible way. I’ve logged on and gone directly to craigslist in search of temporary accommodation in NY. In response to my email ‘I don’t want to be homeless and dirt poor in NY’, almost everyone recommended craigslist. Some of whom had direct experience and were able to elaborate on its drawbacks while stating that it’s the best free forum for posting and finding apartments?? It’s a nice concept, but it’s so far from being efficient or effective.

At this point, I’m starting to personally comprehend Jenny’s stress induced crying. I’ve been consistently on the brink and really don’t feel like myself. The listings are inconsistent, there’s no standard benchmark, mostly no images and competition relies solely on urgency. It’s rife with terms like ‘x amount… difficult to find’ and ‘x amount… won’t last’; bullsh*t look around buddy, in fact look either side of you, they’re everywhere. And when you actually obtain images, they’re of the curtains! What the fc*k. They’re lovely, but where’s your apartment?? Not to mention establishing trust; another Aussie’s message included ‘Watch out for weirdos…a lot of lonely and cuckoo people here. Unfortunately for me I’ve lived with them…twice!’

I’ve also gradually gained the distinct impression that share situations aren’t really sharing. The NY definition of sharing apartments often seems to cover your room only. If I want to move freely, utilise the kitchen or have access to the bathroom I’d best be looking somewhere else. Perhaps this is one strategy to obtain or inflict a sense of control in a coarse city. Regardless, as a result I’m starting to imagine New York as a series of rats’ nests and New Yorkers as rodents scurrying from one place to another.

So to be clear, craigslist sucks banana flavoured eggs. If you generally expect a direct correlation between time invested searching, corresponding etc. and outcomes, then don’t even bother going there. If you’re a rodent who doesn’t value or even deserve a life then knock yourself out. Noting that I’m relatively relaxed on almost every issue and until recently have had some solid karma, it’s been so hard. Even my usual affirming mantra ‘if I just get through this I can move on with the rest of my life’ isn’t helping.

In the midst of that there are some people, incredibly generous with their space and time, but it’s so darn hard to wade through all the crap to find them! I’m easily approaching a tally of 100 and have nothing to show for it. Instead all I have is a throbbing headache, bulging eyes, smoking like a crazy person, being distracted, my conversation hijacked and my manners distorted. I don’t believe in God, but if I did I’d be praying, for the rest of my life and all my after-lives please never let there be another situation where I have to lay eyes on that absolutely loathsome site.

To blog or not to blog: I realised today that I haven’t blogged anything all month. In fact, this has been a fairly steady pattern since returning from Mexico and Cuba. I look at friend’s blogs detailing weekend bushwalks, pub outings, and all the stuff I / we do, but choose not to blog. Where’s the line between my life and our life??

I refer to Jenny Wynter’s blog entry ‘Dear Sadly Neglected Little Blog: I do still love you’. Actually I’m going to refer quite a bit to Jenny’s blog, which I perused this afternoon, mining for any information applicable to further planning my residency. Instead, I’ve had a good laugh and considered some things I hadn’t thought of i.e. plane crashes, brains bursting through my nostrils and having my blog read at my funeral?? Not to mention stress related crying. I come from a male family; hopefully it won’t come to this. Again, I’m going to refer to Jenny for descriptions of the Lord Mayor’s Fellowship presentation, because Jenny actually prepared. Hell I just showed up and said Thankyou!


Ian Tippett GROUND LEVEL 2005
, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

Approximately 3 months after receiving the Lord Mayor’s Fellowship I’ve only just got around to telling everyone through my e-flyer ‘THE USUAL’. Even so, the topic has managed to pervade almost all of my conversations. Every time I see the same people: When are you going? Where and what is ISCP? How did you get it? What are you doing again?? And there’s another 3 months to go!!

At the moment I’m oscillating between an eagerness to get on with it and the realisation that it’s 3 months away. How do you plan a residency, including appointments, 3 months out? 11 weeks out for sure, because it inevitably creeps up on you, but not longer. Surely.

Even though the blog should be a medium for FAQ’s I’m going to circumvent some key questions again. And in person, I’m going to start deferring all questions back to the blog. Today it’s a forum for managing my more unusual life.