I'm sitting here typing this at just about one in the morning. I should be sleeping. I could barely get out of bed all day. I would have said -- I did say it, if you were around to hear -- that I didn't want to see a computer or an art gallery for a week. After the week I had, what with spending half a day dragging my fat ass through Chelsea, then writing up almost 5000 frigging words about it, and then Thursday night....
But of course you don't know about Thursday night. My Plan Ahead section has been woefully out of date because I haven't had the energy to make plans. I just don't wanna. I sit and look at the Douglas Kelley Show list and even though I've got this great hack for Firefox called Advanced Dork which lets me highlight an artist's name and immediately, with one right click, open up a Google search on them; even though I've got this great hack which makes checking through openings a breeze, I just can't look right now. I'm sure there are dozens of great openings happening at his very moment, but I'm temporarily out of service.
Even if I'd been keeping up with planning ahead, though, you wouldn't have read about Thursday night because I was asked to keep it hush-hush. Free food and drink, you know, and we wouldn't want to give out too much. Which I fully understand -- it's time these freeloaders calling themselves my kids got themselves some useful work. In any case: I was invited to a small party and I never get invited anywhere so I simply had to go. And that's where I was Thursday.
Ed Winkleman invited me to a party he was throwing for New York City art bloggers. Even though I'm new, both to blogging and the art world, and even though I don't know anybody and I'm antisocial by nature, I went. And it was earthshaking, it was wondrous, it was a phenomenal meeting of the finest minds of my generation....
Oh, who am I kidding? It was just a bunch of people standing around chatting. In all honesty I barely talked to anyone. Ed introduced me to Tyler and an unnamed art writer and sometime curator. I had only the vaguest idea of who they might be and without last names I was mostly lost. The two of them were in the middle of an abstruse conversation involving Judd and Christie's which involved whether or not the Judd Foundation was managing Judd's legacy well and included the fact that you can look up the salaries of museum directors online. This was not a bad conversation; this was not a boring conversation. But it was a conversation to which I could add exactly nothing. So I smiled and followed along for a bit before wandering off.
I had no way of entering any other conversation so I stood around looking at Nancy Baker's art for a while. At one point a guy was taking pictures, some guy named Mike, so I was able to talk to him about digital photography. Then this really pretty woman (who turned out to be Sloth at Log World; real name, Andrea) came over and started talking about Detroit, another topic about which I know nothing. Mike tried to keep me involved but eventually the conversation fell apart anyway.
I had a very hard time being involved in conversations in the gallery because of a bit of a hearing thing I have; I couldn't pull the local conversation out of the background noise of all the other talking going on, so I tried turning one ear towards the speaker, which helped, but then I found myself concentrating on my Quasimodo pose too much; then I tried lip reading, but found that what I was really doing was staring at someone's moving lips while thinking, "I am lip reading. I've been reduced to trying to read lips. Am I Ludwig Fucking Beethoven now?" All in all it was very frustrating, and no one's fault, but still.
I was on my way out when the gallery next door to Plus Ultra -- they share the same front door, actually -- the Schroeder Romero gallery caught my eye. A woman towards the front waved me on in. She and her partner were painting the gallery floor, but they'd left a strip of unpainted concrete down the middle for us to walk on.
I ended up having a great conversation, then, with the two intelligent, beautiful, friendly women whose names are over the door, Lisa Schroeder and Sara Jo Romero. They really lifted my spirits. It helped that I could hear them. They were very open and willing to discuss art, and blogging, and criticism of art, in particular the art they show; they asked my opinion on what they had hanging and asked who my favorite artists were and if I'd seen anything else recently. All three of us agreed that Inka Essenhigh was really something else; we split two to one on whether Tara Donovan was worth the effort. In the end, I wished I had a camera to take their pictures or that I could've gotten them naked for some sketching or something. They made me feel much better.
I also got a look at an exhibition I had sort of kind of meant to see but hadn't, which was what they had up, which was Ken Weaver's "ROYALLY FUCKED!" Now I'm going to ask you to look at the reproduction here and use your imagination a bit, because the JPEG just isn't enough. Imagine this image here only five feet tall. It looks almost like something from an offset printing press, all benday dots, but if you look a little closer you see it's actually pastel on rough paper. Bright red pastel, not the sort of burgundy here. And these are drawings. Absolutely meticulous drawings. The technique on display is impressive. It's not as obsessive as Dan Fischer's, but it's still very well done.
The exhibit as a whole is almost like a comic strip. It tells something of a story, about some kind of Italian villa or other European type place, with chandeliers and baroque woodwork, in which several people are, with some vigor, fucking each other. At one end of the room the Duke or Count or King or whoever appears theatrically horrified; at the other, his female counterpart seems to have drunk someone's blood, or maybe got punched in the mouth, or maybe just ate a pomegranate or something. Hard to say, really.
Of course it's clear Ken works from photos. And ultimately his technique, while good, is not the hardest thing in the world; it's just drawing, after all. Lots of people can draw from photos, especially if they've got an Artograph. And if you work really big -- say, five feet tall -- the job is even easier, because big drawings make for small lines. Still, I like drawings. And Artographs are okay -- I've got one myself.
In the end I found looking at these drawings like viewing a type of pornography which doesn't do anything for me. Like hentai -- I can see it's supposed to be pornographic, but since it doesn't work for me, I'm left without much of an opinion on it. I felt it clear that Ken's drawings were not intended strictly as porn, but they lacked some essential something to put them over into something more; and they didn't give me wood. So I was left unsure of how I felt.
But I know how I feel about this: It's 1:30 in the aye em. My family is asleep upstairs. My bed is no doubt warm and soft. And I am tired, oh so tired.
Before I go, though, I just want to say something quickly about Ed Winkleman's partner whose name I didn't catch. He served drinks at the party and later joined the conversation with Lisa and Sara Jo. He is just about the nicest person I've met in Chelsea yet; open, interested, asking good questions -- all around a great person to talk to. He made me feel like a star, he really did. A great guy. If this gets back to him in any way, tell him I said thanks.