Sunday, August 26, 2007

My lovely niece Tiana was down this weekend so I dutifully shepherded her around the city on Saturday, hitting several museums.

First up was the Frick which she'd never visited. Easily my favorite of the "classic" NYC museums, it's a small but incredibly strong collection housed in the former mansion of the Frick family. How strong? Well, there are 37 Vermeers in the world and the Frick has three. Plus, world-class works by Titian, Bellini, Holbein, Ingres, Velazquez, Rembrandt and Whistler. I've been there countless times but there are certain narrow hallways that tend to escape my perusal. I went down one yesterday and saw (I don't know if it's always been there or is a rotating piece) a fantastic little sculpture, I think you'd call it an haut-relief, by Houdon of a dead thrush:

Then over to the Whitney, which I'd not visited in a bunch of years. Very impressive show of Rudolf Stingel, whose work I was unfamiliar with. Something of Gerhard Richter in his range, to be sure, though not quite of Richter's depth, imho, but still pretty cool. The top image is his but he'll also produce thing like:


The Psychedelic Era show there had some fun stuff. First time I've ever seen a Mati Klarwein painting in the flesh, I'm pretty sure. Some good light show/videos. The La Monte Young piece, an illuminated box in a darkened room with complex sine-like tones occurring wasn't too engrossing.

Onto the subway and out to Queens to PS 1 to see the Organizing Chaos show. I think this might be the same one Richard caught a while back. In any case, it includes the Scratch Orchestra documentary as a featured event. Very funky place and surprisingly crowded. There was electronic music going on in the courtyard, eventually eliciting a pang of early 80s nostalgia in this listener as electro-percussionist David Linton took the stage. His stuff hasn't changed too much--less "primitive" sounding than it used to be, probably to its detriment--but it was nice seeing it get such relatively large exposure. As to the show itself, eh, it was ok. Nice video by Christian Marclay, Guitar Drag, providing ghostly echoes of the James Byrd murder case.

The book store there could have seriously dented my wallet if I had any surplus cash. As it was, Tiana bought me the score for 4'33" as a belated birthday present!


Watched "Wild Strawberries" this afternoon which, inexcusably, I'd never seen. Very beautiful, moving film.


Richard Pinnell said...

I've not seen a show called Organizing Chaos Brian (to be honest the name alone would probably have put me off!) but after looking it up on the web there's a few things in the exhibition I've seen elsewhere.

I'm mightily impressed that Luke Fowler's film on Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra is there though, good to see that great little film getting some serious recognition.

I've seen the Guitar Drag film in a couple of places before too Brian, its a piece that does make you stop and think. Some time back on audition we played an excerpt from the soundtrack, which isn't anywhere near as powerful minus the imagery, but is still quite listenable. Alastair will post a comment just below with a link to the show in question ;)

It would be nice to see that show come to London anyway, although they would have to spell Organising correctly if they did ;)

Brian Olewnick said...

I thought maybe the context you saw the film in might have been more or less the same show but, I guess not.

The Scratch film was actually the first thing one saw when entering the show, projected on a wall about 12 x 15 feet (that'd be about 3.7 x 4.6 meters...excuse me, you guys. ;-)

While I was there, the sound was interfered with by the courtyard goings-on so I'm not sure how much the average interested observer would have been able to understand, at least on that day.

Alastair said...

an excerpt of "guitar drag" kicks off show 10, our "guitar" show (one of the ones I'm most proud of, IIRC). Listen to it here

(ok Richard? :))

You can get the whole soundtrack on a one-sided LP now, a gallery edition from Sweden (FE and Mimaroglu have copies). Obviously it's not as powerful as with the visuals but it's an interesting listen as a noise piece.

Alastair said...

Bugger. Tinyurl'd it for you:

Richard Pinnell said...

Its great having a secretary...;)

Brian, I actually haven't ever seen the Scratch film in a public setting. I've turned up at festivals twice (Stirling and Huddersfield I think) only to find it was screened the night before unbeknown to me on both occasions. as i'd met Luke once or twice and got fed missing the film he very graciously burnt me a DVD copy.