Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Susan Klein

I'm writing this so I can remember Susan Klein. Every day I see, read and hear of and about so many incredible and interesting things. Every day I learn of and about some interesting person — often three or four. And then I immediately forget it all. So, it occurs to me, one reason to write is to remember. And I want to remember Susan Klein

Susan Klein's work came across my mind screen in the excellent four person group show at Crossing Collective called "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast". It's a collection of kinda whimsical abstract art. Whimsical in terms of it's color palette mostly. Everything in the show is very likable but there is something about Klein's work that singles out my attention. I'm not sure I can yet explain what that is. I'm still processing, still "framing" it for myself. All thoughts that follow are tentative. 

One. Her art makes me think of Philip Guston's later work. And I very much like this about it. Not the earlier work documented on her website but, rather, the stuff from 2016 onward. Which, of course, includes the pieces in the Crossing Collective show. It's not obviously like Guston. For one thing, many of the pieces are in a different medium, ceramics. For another, there are no Guston-like figures in her work. The closest thing to that is those fingers. No, what it is is the loose, sketch-like mark making that she adopts in 2016. 

Two. If you look at the work Klein documents on her site, one of the stories it tells is a movement from something that is more precise and precious to something that is faster and more fun. Something that is more brittle to something that is more loose. It's a movement from what I want to call "the intellectual architectural" to something  that is weird, psychological and slightly hallucinogenic. 

Three. Are those things fingers, people, or penises?  

Four. There is an aspect to Klein's work that makes me think Memphis-style design. A looser, less hard-edged version. 


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dropping out while dropping in

I've been exploring the Bronx a fair amount the past couple of years and this has gotten me wondering a lot lately about why there are not more small artist communities scattered around New York City. I'm not talking about large concentrations of artists like the one in Bushwick (right now). Or the way Williamsburg or SoHo used to be. I'm talking about smaller groups of intrepid and avant garde deep thinkers and creators who relocate to more remote and poorer parts of the city in order to take advantage of cheap real estate so that they can concentrate on their work in solitude while simultaneously staying connected to the life pulse of New York City. Leaving the city is always an option. But "leaving" while staying is more interesting. Dropping out while dropping in is what I say, man. I lived in the middle of nowhere for much of childhood. I hated it.

If you ask me, groups of artists should band together and relocate to these farer flung locations in New York City. They should band together, buy real estate and create secret communes within the city. They should create places where they can securely go deep into their own weirdness, cross pollinate with a small group of like minded freaks, and develop unique and hidden perspectives. They should move like tortoises, resisting the public eye. They should kill the rabbits. They should NOT become real estate speculators attempting to bet on where the next hot, gentrifying artist neighborhood will emerge. They should go to unexpected places and turn inward while secretly remaining fully present in the city.

New York City is both bigger and smaller than most people think. It's more interesting than the handful of well worn places everyone treads. There are a lot of interesting places within the city that are completely unknown and totally off the master beaten path.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And All Across America
The Poison Fires Glow
And In The Blood Of Our Procreation
...Annihilation Grows
Yes Love Was Made For Slaves Like Us
Designed To Fetishize
Consumption, Waste And An Identity
Based On A Dying Lie
So God Forgive America
The End Of History Is Now
And God May Save The Victim
But Only The Murderer Holds Real Power

We Came Across The Seas
We'd Fill With Offal And Disgust
And Any Object Industry Required
We Bought, Enslaved, Or We Crushed
And Now Our Minds Are As Naked
As The Paradise We Stripped
And Our Reward Is Our Entropy
Our Emptiness Is Our Gift
So God Forgive America
And Every Human On This Earth
And God Forgive The Ruined Lives
And Nothing Is What It's Worth

Tuesday, October 19, 2010