It's been a busy few days here at Personism HQ. Mostly good, some bad.
- The fine fellas from Little Jacket, 20x200 designers of record, were in town. We've had a bunch of meetings and topped things off last night with a divinely delicious meat fest at Kun Jip in Koreatown, followed by a full-bellied walk all the way down 5th Ave in the Village on a beautiful Spring night. (The raindrops started falling just as I reached the corner of my block.)
- Amy Ross is a freakin' rock star! The show looks amazing and I've been swamped with press requests and sales inquiries. This is what is called a high class problem.
- Riding my bike! Granted it's not my beloved Bianchi, which was stolen not once, but twice. (And, shockingly enough, I saw a delivery guy ride by on it again just last week but couldn't catch up to him, how crazy is THAT?) The bike I have now is perfectly serviceable however, and I feel like a total city girl riding around town in my black Proenza dress from Target and my shiny gold clogs. Now if only I could reclaim the Bianchi for a third time...
- Poor Ms. Otter's been sick since Sunday. We're about to go off to the vet, which is never fun because she has no manners.
Hopefully I'll be back with a more substantive post later on today.
I love this story, found via Archinect. Working under the leadership of Frank Fantatuzzi and Brad Wales [scroll down for bio at that link] architects/professors at Buffalo University, a graduate studio class came up with a concept that evolved from demolition to deconstruction to full-blown art-project.
Open House, a story in Art Voice, describes how a derelict property that was on track for demolition was turned into a test lab for this group of architects and students:
Once Fantauzzi and Wales examined the houseâ€”a solidly built, three-story structure whose cramped rooms disguised abundant space, with an empty lot beside it that would accommodate dumpsters and serve as a construction staging areaâ€”they hatched a more ambitious plan. Instead of demolishing the 107-year-old house, they would save it. Instead of a transient work, a piece about the processes of deconstruction that ended when the last timbers were carted away, they would make a permanent piece of public (for the neighborhood) and private (for the owner) art...
In addition to returning the structure to a single-family dwelling, opening up the interior to reveal its hidden space and stripping away the siding to the original clapboard and shingleâ€”big projects by themselves but hardly radicalâ€”the students would saw off the entire front faÃ§ade of the house, disengaging it completely.
They would then put rollers on the bottom of the faÃ§ade and place it on a lateral track made of heavy steel I-beams, so it could be pushed from side to side, opening the interior to the street.
When that was accomplished, they would attach the faÃ§ade to a vertical track of the same fabrication, and lift the entire faÃ§ade about six feet, using a handcrank from a turn-of-the-last-century, manual industrial elevator Fantauzzi harvested from the basement of his building on Main Street.
Then they would attach the faÃ§ade to an axis and spin it 360 degrees.
The project is still in progress... If you watch the video that accompanies the piece you can see the sliding faÃ§ade in action. Architecture students busting their asses on some insane project is hardly out of the ordinary, but I love that this is real world stuff that addresses community issues of blight, preservation and urban life and the teamwork that went into realizing it is inspiring - the graduate class came up with the concept, but its execution has involved two additional undergrad classes as well as skilled expert advisers and sponsorship from local businesses. I'm looking forward to seeing the 360 degree spinning action!
Joe took this photo at the gallery last week. It was on his site and also on the always excellent Manhattan Users Guide on Friday (special bonus: it's up through the weekend!)
Incidentally: do you subscribe to MUG? If you don't yet, you should. Not only do you get one great Joe Holmes photo per day, you also get a wealth of NYC information, delivered with a minimum of pretension or breathless buzz. For example, their Framing Guide is a link I forward often.
Back to the photo, as I said in comments over on Joe's site, I love this photo because it reminds me of why I love photography so much. Joe's captured a mundane moment that I was in the midst of and made it into something beautiful, interesting and memorable. I'm always looking and taking stuff in, but a photographer's unique ability to find that thing to capture is a thing I admire and adore.
This post contains multitudes, in terms of my interests. Poetry (which I majored in, in college *cough*), Frank O'Hara (who, as regular readers of Personism know, I love immeasurably), architectural preservation (St. Brigid is in jeopardy of being demolished - you can read up on it over at Curbed and also on Polis) and NYC the source of almost everything that inspires me in the world.
More about Berkson and O'Hara later today, for now, here's the poem:
Hymn to St. Bridget's Steeple
It is to you, bending limp and ridiculous, on Ninth
Street, that I turn. colder than usual after a summer
of lime and smoke. I think you are the first of Ireland's
saints, or the last, it doesn't matter you are my dream
of an actual winter with your icicle hat and your arms
which somehow seem square like something I couldn't see but
guessed at in the last Reinhardt I looked at. It wasn't
black, it was red, like New York if you're waste and
contained, or maybe maroon, like my heart which I imagine
inside me, although it looks black to you, St. Bridget,
although it is quiet and in need of filling. Please tell me
what it means "to pump," as if I were a well
growing upwards and into a steeple which someone who cares
names my own, for always to face the dullest wind,
and you should know, St. Bridget.
I am a big fan of urban biking. Not the crazy kamikaze messenger style biking, but I always feel tres chic and fancy-free going around town on a bicycle. It's often the easiest way to get from point A to point B, taxi and semi-truck hazards aside. I've been without wheels for a while now, and in my fantasy life my replacement bike would be a sweet Euro-style baby that would come with a special magical forcefield ensuring that it'd never be stolen.
The bike above from Jorg & Olif is close to my ideal (without the forcefield, so far as I can tell). It's a little more sexy-ugly than the Skeppshult I coveted on Unbeige nearly two years ago (see below), but both share that utilitarian yet fetching aesthetic I love so much.
It's been a bad year for me and cell phones. Before last Autumn, I'd managed to hold on to the same cell phone since approximately 1997. It's distinctive analog ring was a jb signature that would set my dog bounding across the dog park in search of me after it's first two distinctive tones. (She actually found it for me a couple of times, and this is nothing short of amazing because while she is cute as a button, she's um, not highly intelligent.)
Anyway, I loved my lil' old skool Nokia and didn't need to be bothered with texting, much less (and God forbid!) email on my phone. I lost my baby in a taxi last October, in the midst of the chaos of installing Pin-Up Show over above Fanelli.
Ollie, my dog, the not so smart one, chomped on the replacement phone the day I got it. (And I only got it after really and truly endless tedium and contention with dozens of inept Cingular CSRs who forced me into changing from AT&T in order to get a replacement phone.) The new phone was a flip phone with a camera that I never used and I didn't like it anywhow. The flip thing was annoying and the keys were hard to press and I missed my battered yet reliable little Nokia.
I didn't have to suffer long though. A few months later, during the chaos of installing Meditations in an Emergency at the gallery, a junkie swiped my phone off the front table. (I am steps from the the Bowery after all.) I caught him red-handed, but he slipped the (basically worthless) phone down his pants, and as you can imagine, I was disinclined to go hunting for it.
I sold my soul to Cingular for another free replacement phone. I was back to a little brick sized Nokia. Simple, black, cheap but completely functional and most importantly, boasting the silly imitation old-fashion brrrrrrrrrrrring! ringtone that I'd coveted for a while. (I am not a download ringtones kind of girl. I'm more technically savvy than a lot of people, but I really haven't spent any time at all figuring out how to coordinate my laptop and my phone, or the internet and my phone. The last thing I need is more internet in my life.)
In late September, I left the phone in a cab. I wasn't installing a show, and I wasn't even particularly stressed out. I was just distracted and poof, it was gone. I hoped some benevolent soul would return it to me,but no. It's gone, and has stayed gone. My initial frenzy to replace it was quieted by the prospect of paying cash money for a replacement. Right now I have a small shoebox full of old cells offered to me by friends as potential replacements. (None of them work.)
I was anxious to address the situation first, but then I noticed something: I was a lot calmer without my cell phone. Walking around downtown NYC without a cellphone attached to my ear opened up a whole new nearly-forgotten richness of experience. I noticed more: the buildings, what people were wearing, how traffic flowed, what was in shop windows. Myself.
There was one particular day that stands out: I was going from the gallery to meet a friend at the Joe on Waverly Place. I was anxious about being out of touch for a few hours, but once I was a block away the anxiety faded. The walk over, which took about 20 minues, was completely restorative. I met my friend, who enjoyed the rare occurance of my complete undivided attention, and I enjoyed it too. And the best part of all of it was realizing: almost anything can wait for at least an hour. I don't need to be in constant contact. The world did not come crashing down.
Now don't get me wrong. Not having a cell phone kind of sucks. Pay phones rarely work, and are often kind of crusty and gross. I go upstate to visit my granny a lot, and long drives on the Taconic without a cell give me a bit of anxiety. (My '87 Volvo wagon is awesome, but awfully tempermental.) I'm getting ready to replace it. (Got a nice Cingular compatible phone for me? I'm all ears.) But not having it has been illuminating, on lots of levels.
This post is getting long and I have other things to talk about and tend to today, so I'll post more on the subject tomorrow.
I used to bike all around downtown and loved it, in spite of the obvious hazards. My beloved blue Bianchi was stolen and then miraculously recovered, then stolen again last Spring. I'm considering replacing it, but unless I tether it with a $100 lock that it a huge pain to lug around, it'll likely be stolen again.
The new A bike looks like it's really and truly portable. (If pricey.) I want one!
As patient Personism readers know, the gallery keeps me very very busy. I just sent out a big update to my mailing list and figured I'd cross-post it here to show you just how busy! (For those avid Jen followers out there who read all my announcements + blogs, God knows there are zillions of you, sorry for the dull repetition...)
Spring @ jen bekman (and elsewhere too!)
jen@joe Reception *this* Sunday (4/30)
Enjoy some delicious coffee at the jen@joe reception this Sunday (April 30) at Joe on 13th St. | Addie Juell's show gets held over til May 6 (next Saturday) | Our greatest hits are coming back to the gallery for a limited time only, starting on May 11 | Hey, Hot Shot! heats up for Spring | The gallery blogs: updated daily | An amazing Summer group exhibition, Meditations in an Emergency, glimmers on the horizon.
Read on for details!
jen@joe reception THIS Sunday (4/30) 2pm-4pm jen bekman and Joe are pleased to present jen@joe: a revolving selection of photographs from jen bekman artists exhibited at Joe, the award-winning pair of coffee shops.
Jen and Joe proprietor Jonathan Rubinstein will host a reception to officially launch jen@joe this Sunday, April 30th, from 2-4 PM:
9 East 13th St. (between Fifth Ave + University)
Stop by for tasty treats compliments of Joe, delcious coffee + some arty chit-chat.
Currently on view at the 13th Street Joe shop are photos by Martin Amis, Kelli Anderson, Dylan Chatain, James Deavin, Joseph Holmes, Florianne de Lassee, Diane Meyer, Youngna Park, Tema Stauffer and Matthew Tischler.
More Monkey Business: Addie Juell Extended
Addie Juell's exhibition The Way It Is has been extended through next Saturday, May 6, 2006.
If you've resigned yourself to missing this most excellent exhibition, you've got a second chance! Seeing these photos in person is approximately a million times better than looking at them online, so come on down...
The jb's Greatest Hits
After three years and dozens of exhibtions, we've got a lot of fabulous work in our archives, so we decided to take some time out of our busy schedule to re-show some of our greatest hits.
From May 10 - June 3, the gallery is going to take a little walk down memory lane.
We'll have work on view from all of our previous solo exhibitions, as well as fresh stuff from artists new to the represented artists roster. I get a little misty-eyed just thinkng about it.
Hey, Hot Shot!, Gallery Blogs + More
In other gallery news, the deadline for the Spring edition of Hey, Hot Shot! is fast approaching. You have until Monday May 8 @ noon to submit your entry.
Also, do check out our often updated gallery blogs, manned by our able interns. Christine is posting regularly to the jen bekman news blog and Anna is filling the Hey, Hot Shot! blog with lots of updates from previous winners, photo news and competition announcements.
Last but not least, we're very excited about our upcoming Summer show, Meditations in an Emergency, an exhibition based on Frank O'Hara's excellent poem by the same name. More detailed information about that show is coming soon.