Saturday, December 27, 2008

Introduction to the church as "Culture Pub"

Is anyone out there familiar with VOX? Someone recently mentioned to me that they are a religious organization, a piece of information I was rather surprised by as my few visits to their former space on X and 19th didn't necessarily speak to me of anything religious per se. After receiving this tidbit of information I decided to do a little looking into the VOX website and myspace pages for more info about their project.

A careful reading of both their website and their Myspace pages didn't reveal anything of a specific religious nature in regards to VOX although there were a few friend comments on VOX's myspace that were of a religious nature. On both sites they talk at length about wanting to foster a creative community in Sac and a desire to nurture creative talent in all of its forms. Seems cool.

Here's the mission statement from the above mentioned sites:
"VOX Sacramento is a California nonprofit, public benefit corporation, run solely by a volunteer Board of Directors and Officers.

VOX exists to nurture the creative process in anyone, by promoting artistic experimentation, providing the opportunity to collaborate, serving the community, and working in a supportive environment.

Currently, we're a once a month art and music venue manifesting its presences during the Sacramento Art Walk on Second Saturday. Our passion is for the city and for people, and seeing people live their passion to make a difference.

Soon to become a resident artist community focused on providing artists with the opportunity to create new work and encourage risk-taking and innovation in the arts and ideas essential to our human progress...

Essentially, a research-and-development lab for the arts!"

Hmmm, zero mention of god, Celtic evangelism, or church as far as I can see.

After reviewing these materials I then selected a few of the board members names and googled them. Dropping the name Eric Sweiven into google came back with some interesting results. I found the site for VOXtropolis a sort of global VOX network whose intention is to found "culture pubs" all over the world.

Sweiven discusses these pubs in a blog post made last year on the VOXtropolis site in reference to the Sacramento pub saying:

"My name is Eric Sweiven, I’m a church-planter. Over the last 16 months myself and a team of missional leaders have hosted art and music shows in Sacramento, called VOX Parties. These have been hosted at two places. First as a traveling show where we loaded and unloaded a 23’ truck full of furniture, decorations, coffee bar and even walls (the venue would not let us hang art on the walls, so we created our own). Then, more recently (since Feb ’07), at a semi-permanent location that will soon be leveled for new development."

A church? Hmmm, it doesn't mention that on the VOX site. In fact until recently I don't think I ever heard mention of religion in regards to the VOX project.

Here's another Eric quote taken from a different post made in July of this past year that I find interesting:

"Interestingly enough, our “target audience” doesn’t know me as a pastor, but as a venue/gallery director, or creative manager, or as a collaborator. With each event we promote and put together, I come in direct contact with people I’d never have the opportunity to meet otherwise."

Don't get me wrong... I'm cool with religion. Though I'm not personally religious, I respect wholeheartedly the religious beliefs of others... to each his own. What I don't get is why the religious aspect of these "pubs" are such a seeming secret. Why zero mention of church or religion on VOX's various sites? Why doesn't Eric's target audience know him as a preacher?

As a local writer I find it a little frustrating that this information is so important to the group and not front and center to the audience. Having written about local arts and culture for the past two years I would not have immediately known that I was sending people to a disguised church. Perhaps it's just me but these motives don't seem particularly honest.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Won't you please save the date? and Happy Holidays!

I believe this will be my last post before X-Mas so let me start by saying Happy Holidays to all!

Now that's out of the way mark your calenders for the following before the deprograming known as Christmas takes effect and you forget everything that came before.

Open After My Death Stephen Kaltenbach, photo courtesy of Another Year in LA

To kick off the new year the Verge Gallery and Studio Project is hosting it's GRAND OPENING party. Those who attend will be treated to a sneak peek Stephen Kaltenbach's, Nuclear Projects and Other Works, tours of the studio complex, and light snacks and cocktails. Best of all the event is free!

Here's the straight facts:

Verge Gallery and Studio Project
Grand Opening Party
Thursday, January 8th

Verge Gallery and Studio Project
1900 V Street
Sacramento, CA

Do it!

Help me animate this skull

Damien Hirst, For The Love of God, 2007.

Hey all, Paddy Johnson over at Art Fag City is hosting a year end fundraiser in order to maintain the level of quality coverage we've come to expect on her blog. As a loyal follower of AFC for the past year and a half or so I can attest to it's goodness. Best all once Paddy makes her $6,000 goal she's going to complete the animation of the above animated GIF causing both skulls to both sparkle and spin. Wucka, wucka!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A total home run

I have been on fire in the kitchen these past four days. I think it's a result of not really eating at home for almost three weeks and needing to cook at home. It's possible that I've had good meals backing up on me. Whatever the cause I've batted it out of the park four nights in a row now which is rare for me. Usually I make a dinner or two in row that's tasty and then being emboldened by my successes I decide to get creative or inventive and then make something that's just sorta okay or not very good.

The roll began on Sunday with the onion and chard panade featured on Orangette. I've made this thing at least once a winter since I discovered it. To give you fair warning this will take awhile to prepare but it is totally worth it. So good!

The next night I finally sampled the frozen ravioli from Corti's, which I've been meaning to try for some time. In my preparation I decided to shirk the package directions which encourage you to use Corti's pasta sauce and instead made my own marinara. As I assembled my dinner ingredients I noticed that Corti's offers a selection of food items that are not just of exceptional quality but are also of exceptional packaging. The raviolis were delicious and came in a rad box sporting a super happy chef. My marinara was made with the ever so stylish 6 in 1 brand tomatoes completing the time warp I was experiencing while making dinner. What year is it? Cute!

The following night I made soyrizo and potato tacos with Mi Abeulita Bonita corn tortillas purchased from the farmer's market under the freeway in my ever growing attempt to buy as many staples as possible from local producers every month.

In keeping with that trend I also finally tried the Massa Organics brown rice at the farmer's market and it is yum! Man is it good. I've always sorta felt like brown rice was over rated. I've liked it when I've had it but it never blows my mind. This rice was good! Nutty tasting, soft, delicious. I'm hooked. Afterwards the Ol' Man and I debated the health benefits of brown vs. white rice with him asserting that there probably wasn't much difference. I won. boom!

I cooked up my rice with a modified version of Kickpleat's kung pao veggie recipe omitting the noodles and serving it over rice and adding chopped almonds instead of peanuts. This is a crappy picture but trust me when I say it was good.

Now what to make tomorrow. I wonder if my streak is done.

The original Crosleykook

It's official, OMF's a blogger. Aside from being charmed as I often am by my hubbie I also find a blog about Crosley's by a man who it was once joked wouldn't break down and buy a cel phone until he could get a rotary model pretty amusing. Your secret's out Ol' Man! Welcome aboard...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miami Part IV: Douchebaggery

This is it! Make no mistake about it... my final Miami post.

It's kinda silly that it took so long but my computer has been crapped out for months making internet access a bit of an undertaking. I zipped my laptop off to Core Care today though so fingers crossed.

Anyhoo, in getting back to this my final Miami post I will lodge one of if not my most hefty criticism against the event of Basel as a whole. The pretension. Four days in South Beach for an international art fair can get pretty stifling as is best summed up by the following example.

The second morning we were in Miami it took LM and I 4 attempts to find someone that could tell us where the convention box office was. In each effort we were asking an actual convention center employee. After we finally found said box office it took 3 attempts to get a straight answer as to when it would open, again asking convention center employees every time.

Once we had a solid answer we found that we had about 40min to kill before going in enabling us to catch the following absurd interaction:

So Mr. Fashion wearing the Steve Martin-esque a la Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid number was with the fair not the convention center. The two poor shlubs with him were employed by the convention center and not the fair and were operating as his assistants. The three began finding just the perfect angle the ticket sign should be turned at in front of the box office. The plaid dude stood back at a considerable distance while his assistants angled it one way and then another and then back again. Then they would walk away and come back and turn it some more. It was so dumb I almost thought it was some sort of impromptu performance.

After about 20min of pivoting the ticket sign and feeling that it was good not great the attention shifted to the large potted plant by the line to get in. What you are looking at is a discussion about whether the plant should be allowed to stay. Hmmm, it is symmetrical with the other large potted plant but it also crowds the stantions for the ticket line and makes things look a little busy. 15min of careful discussion ended with the plant staying put. The next morning LM and I came back to discover the plant was removed after all.

Funny? Annoying? Both.

Miami Part III: Hello Meth Lab with View

By day three of Basel most folks when asked would tell you that the tops thing to see before leaving Miami was the meth lab. "Go to the Station," was on everybody's lips from the Vuitton wearers of the world to your average art school grads.

On my final day in Miami after a thorough numbing in Scope, LM and I trudged over to the Station, a multi story exhibition in an under construction retail space in midtown Miami. Feeling exhausted after slogging through a roller coaster ride of unpredictable work, curators Shamim M. Momin and Nate Lowman did not disappoint.

Afterwards I told a colleague that "the meth lab made me happy" which struck me as an absurd thing to say the minute I uttered it but then was assured by my dining companions that I was not the first to utter that phrase. We then joked that Station t-shirts should be made with that statement screened on them. The design could mimic an Orange Crush T-shirt. Classy.

I've been seriously chewing on this since I got home and I feel pretty confident that Hello Meth Lab with View was the best thing I saw in Miami. I truly can't remember the last time I saw a work that possessed that kind of attention to detail, narrative, concept, and intelligence. At one point when I was on the top floor of the piece I discovered that I was totally alone and became instantly unsettled. The theatre of Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe's installation was so effective that for a split second I forgot that I was standing in an artist's creation and not the actual scene of a crime. It's the sort of transformative experience one always hopes for when viewing work and rarely receives.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pho Shizzle!

The things to do

I still got a tiny bit of Miami news left and I know it's taking forever but as always I've been super busy. Anyhoo, here's some stuff to catch this 2nd Sat while I finish putting out my fires.

Home for the Holidays: a Benefit for St. John's Shelter for Women and Children at the Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento is a wonderful show. The houses are incredibly inventive and the group effort between donated materials and time invested through the local arts community is quite moving.

Dave Lane

While you're at the Center check out Sacramento Cross Section at Axis. I'm in the show as are Gioia Fonda, Ianna Frisby, Dave Lane, and Joy Bertinuson. Suprisingly, Dave has a relatively small piece in this show which seemed to suprise everyone at the preview reception last night.

True Story: the Vans Shoe Series by Amanda Lopez is at Artifact. Midmo gave her a shout out this month as did the SNR.

Cheri Ibes is calling it quits over at BLOCK so if you've been missing her all this time now's your last chance to see her space. I for one am quite sad that Cheri is pulling the plug on her 10th Street space. BLOCK provided a much needed contemporary space and a home for high caliber contemporary and experimental work. The final show at BLOCK titled If... Then will feature an installation by Cheri herself. I plan on making a concerted effort to stop by and wish her well.
Prints for sale at asbestospress.​etsy.​com
Asbestos Press

Last but not least this 2nd Sat will be the closing reception for Fig. 4 at the Verge as well as a one week only exhibit of area screen print artists. Xico Gonzalez, Paul Imagine, Black Cat Press, Matt K Shrugg, Manuel Rios, and Asbestos Press are featured in the show. This could be the perfect place to pick up some early, low-cost, Christmas presents for the art lover on your list while supporting the scene at the same time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Miami Part II: the good, the bad, and the ugly

The thing to take heed of at an art fair is that it is indeed a fair. It is not a museum, nor an exhibition per se, although many of the fairs are curated. Basel and it's ancillary fairs are markets plain and simple. There are moments when this detail can be overlooked. Like for instance when you're getting a chance to see a Nauman that you've only ever witnessed in books, or a Bourgeois that was missing from her recent retrospective. But even these spottings come with a bittersweet tang when you think about them heading off to a private collector never to be seen by public eyes again. In contrast to these moments the market-ness of the fair can be overly apparent as you trudge through stall after stall of redundant, derivative, and banal commercial work.

The Bad

As others who have recently written about Basel - myself included - have already stated, Barry McGee inspired street doodlings were out in full force. Heading up the derivative department, Scope was graced with what I'm going to refer to as a poor man's Banksy and skull art also seems to still be holding strong. In the end my colleague and I counted a total of 40+ skulls in the 11 fairs we attended making for an average of 3.64 skulls per fair.

The Ugly

Because I was primarily focussed on work that I eventually hope to bring to Sacramento I didn't really take many if any photos of work I wasn't crazy about with a few exceptions.

For anyone who's ever read Art School Confidential I give you Scope's equivalent of "Tangerine Amoeba Apartheid Heartbeat IV." I didn't jot down the title of this work but the gumball machine filled with bloody tampons, dead scorpions, and broken glass with a wolf's head mounted on top should tell you all you need to know.

The Good

The video work of Marcus Coates at Workspace Gallery left me speechless. Prior to approaching Coates' smart video work I was in full on fair-zombie mode. The two pieces Workspace had to offer by this artist left me giddy and smiling throughout the rest of NADA giving me hope that there could be more good work ahead.

Local boy made good Joe Amrhein of Pierogi 2000, rented a space in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood and offered up several lovely works including the above piece by Tony Fitzpatrick.

And this "Rat House" by Kim Jones.

Kate Engelbrecht's "Girl Project" at Scope involved the distribution of cameras to teenage girls throughout America with the intention of documenting their experience as adolescent women in the US. The results were intelligent, charming, and poignant.

Also at Scope was Hassan Hajjaj's stunning "Buy Me, 2008"

The tapestry show at Design Miami was largely disappointing with the exception of this piece by Kara Walker. The era from which much of Walker's work draws its inspiration lent itself nicely to tapestry as a medium. The rest of the works in the show were pretty boring, however.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Miami Part I: Tschotkes

I am buried under things to do today and still so mentally brain dead from looking at art for 10 hours a day for almost four days straight that I can't even begin to distill all that I saw. In the meantime I give you this:

A whole lotta boobs.

Dopey birds. I think these are supposed to hold a wine bottle. Don't ask me why.

Little, teeny, tiny, Hirsts.

So hot!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our really, really boss

I got no pics to post tonight because frankly I too damn tired. Today was a good day. Too good. So good that my feet, legs, eyes, and everything are throbbing, aching, and sore in no particular order. In review I actually can't believe everything I've seen beginning with a Chuck Close lecture to start my day, multiple art fairs, a hellish cab ride from Wynwood to South Beach, a Jerry Salz lecture on the state of the art world in today's economy later in the afternoon, and more fairs, fairs, fairs.

According to Salz the crazy market boom of the past several years created a spike in the art market which left us with a lot of crap art in an effort to meet investors needs. Now that the money is drying up Salz theorizes the market will downsize and the overall quality of the work being shown will improve. He also drew our attention to something that I hadn't really thought about before which is that in recent years when folks talk about a piece the remarks are often punctuated with the amount the work was valued at. In a perfect world that would have no bearing on the quality of the art itself. As we all hopefully know expensive doesn't necessarily mean good.

Just before Basel closed this evening, and LP and I realized we could take no more, we stumbled past Piss Christ propped against the wall in a closet in one stall and then on the way back from the bathroom encountered a 7 foot painting of our boss in another. Our really, really boss. Not some dude who looked like our boss, but our boss. We both burst into laughter at the sureallness of it all.

On that note I now need to call my husband so that I can tell him that I read Carolee Schneeman's scroll.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Please... no more

I said bring it and brung it has been.

After a ridiculously long red eye that included, spotting Danny Glover in Atlanta buying a bagel, lost luggage, nasty egg tacos at the Fort Lauderdale airport, a nap, and a solid Japanese dinner my colleague and I made it to our first few fairs of the week.

The most involved was Aqua, a fair in a motel on Collins Ave.

There were many highlights.

Bay area artist David Stein has been my favorite so far.

And many lowlights which I didn't take any photos of because it just didn't occur to me, seeing as how I am working right now and my focus should be on what I'm interested in versus what I never need to see again.

One thing I know for sure... after cruising through space after space featuring Barry McGee inspired neon geometrical work, I can take no more. It's been awhile since I've been in this large a concentration of truly contemporary commercial art and as such I hadn't realized how pervasive that aesthetic has become. Having seen a gang of that flavor of work in one night I have a sort of overwhelmed feeling like I consumed to much sugar candy.

When we returned to our hotel LP and I were going to go have a drink and dip our toes in the pool and go to bed. Or that's what we hoped for anyway. Alas and alak, when we got down to the pool area there was some hardcore celeb hob knobbing and VIP action going with no clear shot at the pool. After the river of free Campari that was flowing through Aqua I probably didn't need another cocktail anyway.

Here's to where the rest of the week takes me....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

c ya later

I'm about to board a plane for Miami so this will be hella fast just like the last post but such is life.

Untitled; Cascade with Hands, detail, hair, hands, silk leaves, 2008

I've been doing nuthin' but work since I got home from Bend last Friday. I'm in a show at the Axis gallery this month and I wanted to make sure to deliver some new work. In addition to that we're in a full court press to get the Stephen Kaltenbach show off the ground for January at the Verge. Oh yeah, and then there's Midmo. Ug! Things will settle down soon though I can feel it. I think...

Thanksgiving was fun and a pleasant respite from all my other craziness. We scored a super cheap hotel in Bend, drank some tasty beer, and partied with about 95 dogs. JK, it was more like 6 or so. Surprisingly, the day went off with only one jailbreak and one dog fight. Not bad.

On the way home we dialed up Al Sobrante and asked where the best place to dine in Redding might be. He pointed us in the direction of Priya Indian Cuisine and it was bomb. So much so in fact that it didn't occur to me to snap a pic until I had finished my third plate of food.

I used the pot before we hit the road and found the counter part to Macau Cafe's bathroom decor. Simple, and elegant.

Okay, I'm out! Hopefully I can post from Basel. Bring it!!!!!