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Post #388 • October 15, 2004, 8:37 AM • 21 Comments

Fabiola Santiago for the Miami Herald: A hard light on torture.

Brooke Prescott for the Miami Herald: Miami artist agrees to fix spelling errors in mural. "Shakespeare lacked an 'A.' Einstein was missing an 'N.' Van Gogh had a 'U.' ... 'I can't stand this anymore. I just want it to stop,' [the artist] said Thursday night. 'I have never in my life thought that this kind of idiocy would have occurred.'" Apparently she was not referring to her own. Props to Jide for catching this story first.

Carlos Suarez de Jesus for Street Weekly: Complementary angle: Miami Art Central's latest exhibit ingeniously links the mathematically-inspired works of mid-century sculptors Ruth Vollmer and Gego.

In Street, Nina Arias responds to last week's article about Rocket Projects.

Alfredo Triff for the Miami New Times: Cubans New and Old: Two Gables shows bring together nearly 40 artists and a multitude of visions.

Edmund Newton for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times: Still Missing: The real Princess Di is just a faint presence at the Museum of Art show. UPDATE: Holy cow - just like Oldpro feared, they're playing a looped tape of Candle in the Wind!

Michael Mills for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times: Artbeat.

Gary Schwan for the Palm Beach Post: Artnotes. Oh, no... I hope this isn't a redesign. The PBP had one of the few newspaper sites that didn't look like a conveyor belt accident in a Javascript factory. I think it's a redesign. Shit.

For some reason, Miami artist Hernan Bas has been getting a lot of play on the blogosphere lately. Libby and Roberta don't get what the big deal is, and Cinque sees him as an example of someone for whom not going to New York was a good career move.

Last Paragraph Hall of Fame nominee Roger Kimball (thank you, Todd Gibson): "There is a lot to be said for the old adage de mortuis nil nisi bonum [of the dead, nothing if not good]. Jacques Derrida is dead. Let us not speak ill of him. But his ideas are still very much alive. They deserve unstinting criticism from anyone who cares about the moral fabric of intellectual life."

Last Paragraph Hall of Fame nominee Terry Teachout: "My criticism comes with a warranty: I can't promise that you'll like what I like, but I do promise that I like what I like - and not because I think I ought to, either."

Tyler Green (we're not worthy!) talks about art blogging at NYFA Online. A major art magazine (I pick Artforum) will admit to our existence within the next six months.

See you there: you tell me. The papers are in the car and I'm not going out in this rain to get them.

Horoscope for Leo: "Intense romance, sensual encounters, psychic bonds with lovers and children, sexually inspired artwork, and numerous communications and short trips are indicated close to October 15..." Guess it's time to get back in the studio...

Comment

1.

oldpro

October 15, 2004, 4:19 PM

Libby & Roberta sound appropriately skeptical.

We should all read the full texts from which the Kimball and Teachout quotes were taken. They are exemplars of literate ntelligence combined with uncommon common sense.

2.

Johnny Knows A LOT

October 15, 2004, 4:48 PM

ABOUT THE NINA'S affair:
Seems to me that a rather provincial mentality is taking over here. Everybody complains about parties-young people, but nobody remembers the great shows she brought to town.
By the way, will be great to know something about nick cindric, the remanding rocketer , As far as I know, he fired her because he had to shut her up. about what? not loud music, BECAUSE YOU DON'T BREAK A PARTNERSHIP FOR TROWING PARTIES.
SOMETHING ODD HAPPENED. and she found out.

3.

eddie

October 15, 2004, 5:59 PM

nina makes some good points here. yeah she threw some parties, but that just enhances the art viewing in my own opinion, or maybe not the art viewing but the whole gallery outing experience. my main complaints about the whole issue was the work, i saw some good work there but the majority of it was to much glitter and pop crap. but that's just for my taste. i do recognize that she had some great vision in bringing to miami some of the most cutting edge shows. whether for better or for worse, she gave miami something new and i hope she keeps at it.

4.

Hovig

October 15, 2004, 6:12 PM

I saw Henan Bas's work at the Whitney Biennial this past March, and enjoyed it without much reservation. The scenes are compelling, in an odd way, but more specifically, the compositions are aesthetically interesting, the colors muted but subtly effective, the figures and situations odd but again compelling, and the overall effect dramatic. I happily encourage his work.

It was also interesting to see his work co-exhibited with Peyton's. (Most notably, hers were given the Royal Treatment of hanging with a Master, while his were all but shoved into a corner of a very busy intersection of human traffic.) I enjoyed both artists' works far more in person than I thought I would after seeing them by photo (what's fascinating is, now that I've seen both artist's work in person, I enjoy it more by photo too).

P.S. Speaking of Kojo Griffin, I also saw his exhibit at Mitchell-Innes & Nash that week [having seen his work at the Contemporary Museums here in Houston and Boston previously]. I like it. It's often in danger of becoming too cartoonish, but it has enough aesthetic interest, and its narratives push just enough into the realms of psychological tension and adult drama that I remain more enthusiastic about it than not.

5.

oldpro

October 15, 2004, 6:13 PM

I know nothing about this Nina person or her shows or problems except for what I've read here, but the whole thing seems rather distasteful and devoid of facual evidence of anything, and not interesting enough to occupy anyone but the principles, facts or no facts. Most of it is like Johnny's statement about how she was fired to shut her up because she knew something, or something "odd happened", or some such. Well, it makes no sense at all fire someone to keep them quiet (just the opposite, I would think), and if something "odd" happened let's say what it is or, better, just leave it alone.

6.

eddie

October 15, 2004, 7:14 PM

On Hernan Bas, Libby and Roberta sound Bitter (eventhough Cinque is supposed to be the one with bare and bitter sleep) about Hernan's success and that his show sold out. No Hernan is not Goya, collector's may compare him to Goya but he's not trying to be Goya. Atleast, not in technical bravado. But there is a dark, mysterious, captivating quality to his work that doesn't require prestine technical execution. The scratchy brush strokes are not a fault but an aiding quality in the mood of his paintings. Also the fact that he or his subjects or narrative are gay has nothing to do with the power of his work, it shouldn't be reduced to an illustration of "a gay boy's life" as Libby & Roberta condescendingly suggest.

Cinque may be right that Bas got more attention here than he would've in New York but I have a feeling that for every Hernan Bas getting noticed down here, there are ten or so more in New York. But we have a chance to test this theory as I have decided to move to New York myself. Come November I will have a hand at it up there in the belly of the beast. Not becuase i intend to become instantly famous but becuase the enviroment itself will be a better incubator and motivator for my work. On my blog which has been aimed more towards an artist's chronicle and his developement rather than the great well of information this site has been, I will be posting my progress and random notes on the life of a Miami artist in New York. So anyone interested can check out how I fair and maybe pick up something useful on their situation in the art world. Anyhow, as an artist somewhat disenchanted with the Miami Art scene, I give Hernan Bas alot of credit and respect his approach to painting very much.

7.

oldpro

October 15, 2004, 7:16 PM

Hovig: Kojo Griffith's layouts and configurations are very reminiscent of David Salle, and, like Salle, he is lacking in fundamental drawing and painting skills. The cute ideas and arch bits of non-relating form don't compensate for this. To my eye these are very depressing paintings. De gustibus!

8.

Jack

October 15, 2004, 8:18 PM

Concerning Triff's review of the Spanish Cultural Center show, which I wrote about here (see 14 days ago, October 1 thread), I suggest he either has his eyes checked or get anatomy lessons. The watercolors by Arturo Rodriguez were not young male nudes, but rather a male and a female, whom I called Eve. She was probably my favorite piece in the show, so I looked at her quite intently. Evidently, Triff did not. Pity.

9.

Kathleen

October 15, 2004, 8:49 PM

I saw Kojo Griffin's work for the first time in Freestyle (2001), at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and I was so impressed by his work that I was almost droolingly envious! The man is an incredible draftsman, though some of the new Salle-ish marks may obscure it for you, Oldpro, especially in reproduction. Honestly, the care for and mastery he has for his figures is quite evident in person.

I also think that Hernan's work is very good, in general. However, I have to say that the work of his which I have most adored is the large installation he had last winter in Snitzer's new space. Hernan's work is both poignant and charming at it's best, and that installation was so sad and beautiful.

As for New York, I think it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. I remember the day when I saw through its charm--it was a glum moment; only seconds before, I had perceived before me a city of wide potential (I hope that is good enough English for everyone!), but tout a coup (speaking of not speaking English), I saw instead a dirty city filled with a huge throng of hipsters, everyone scrounging to buy the best tennis-shoes and messenger bag and intent on finding the next undiscovered dive bar. That is so not me. If someone else can stomach it, rock on. But anyway, living in New York is as unlikely to bring me success as living in Miami is, given the way things are going for my art career! :)

10.

Kathleen

October 15, 2004, 8:57 PM

OH! I forgot to mention that insane muralist! What is with her? I cannot believe that she so adamantly refused to fix the errors for so long, insisting that a true creative soul would not care about spelling errors (paraphrase). She sounds like a true queen of Ego. The only good point she has is that no-one noticed the spelling errors before the work was installed. Eistein! Van Gough!! ?????!!!

P.S.--this post was not proofread; I expect you to be duly inpsired by it regardless of any spelling errors which may exist. [I usually transpose E's and I's in words like thier, friend, fiend, etc., and have NO idea what the correct spelling is without resorting to a dictionary--that little mnemonic rhyme helps me not at all].

11.

eddie

October 15, 2004, 9:41 PM

Kathleen: you're right about NY being a dirty city which I even find clausterphobic at times but I have some familiarity with that being born in Jersey. Also there are plenty hipsters and all purpose morons there and in many other cities but the art scene there has many qualities that intrigue me and I would regret not trying at it out atleast once. Besides I'm lucky enough to know people up there and already have good financial prospects up there, albeit non-art related. However the potential for financial stability I have up there would enable me to do more with my art. Atleast that's the plan. And I love dive bars, so rock on I will.
Also, I must say you're right on about that muralist. What her problem? Just fix the public mural you're not making any great artistic statements with your mispellings.

12.

Jack

October 15, 2004, 10:46 PM

An artist, regardless of native language, who cannot spell Shakespeare and Van Gogh is bad enough, but when that person refuses to see that displaying such ignorance outside a library is absolutely unacceptable, we're talking Major Attitude Disorder, for which there ought to be appropriate medication. Maybe Saatchi can buy the mural and have it carted off to London; I expect Emin would approve.

13.

oldpro

October 15, 2004, 11:15 PM

Eddie: Go to NY. It is the capital of the world.

Kathleen: If you think Griffin is an "incredible draftsman" I can only lament that the state of drawing and painting skill is so low everywhere that anything starts to look good. Go to a good museum (like the ones they have in Nasty Old New York) and look at work by people who knew how to draw and paint. Lacking that, get some books. I am sorry to sound preachy but the current blind acceptance of dreary, cack-handed dreck like that Griffin work makes me worry about the future of our enterprise.

14.

unrelated

October 16, 2004, 1:42 AM

a cool way to go

15.

Jack

October 16, 2004, 2:27 AM

I followed the link provided by Libby & Roberta to the NY gallery showing (and sold out of) Hernan Bas, to see images of the work in question. It's undeniably pretty, demurely decadent, imbued with a disarming adolescent sensibility and dreamy self-absorption, all heightened by the gay subtext. It's obviously reminiscent of Peyton's work, as it always has been (the Goya business Libby mentions simply means the responsible gallery person could make a good used car dealer).

Of course, after the Whitney appearance and this kind of showing in NY, his next show here will be sold out before he's actually created it. This is entirely predictable, and I'm surprised Libby was surprised.

Actually, this batch of work from Bas has put me in mind of Gustave Moreau, to whom I see certain parallels--Oldpro should know why.

16.

The Red Queen

October 16, 2004, 4:54 AM

We're very puzzled. How could this wretched muralist and her atrocious spelling have ever become an issue? The solution is so plain even a small child could see it (and not even a bright child, mind you). We have never, EVER had such a problem. Even if this muralist had perfect spelling, yet used a font we didn't like, at the merest rise of our eyebrows the creature would IMMEDIATELY change it AND apologize abjectly AND be eternally grateful if she were allowed to live.

And who ever heard of PAYING such a wretch to do what she should have done to begin with, and thus reward incompetence? What moronic functionaries came up with such absurdity? What rogue Minister appointed them? Is there no proper Queen in this "California" place to prevent such folly? The very idea is shocking. OFF WITH ALL OF THEIR HEADS!!!!!

17.

oldpro

October 16, 2004, 7:28 PM

Jack, good for you for making that Moreau connection. It is not only well observed but immediately suggests comparisons to all of the 19th C. romanticists and symbolists, if not salon painting as a whole.

Your description, concentrating on the characteristics and appearence and attitude of the subjects, was excellent. I had posted a much more mechanical crit of this kind of painting on the blog a couple weeks ago, to wit:

>

The instant success Bas has had clearly depends not on his painting skills, which are undistinguished, but on his ability to zero in on a well-established taste for a kind of mainstream mannerist painting which forcefully conveys an updated package of attitudes similar enough in spirit to certain 19th C salon painting to provide material for for a master's thesis, it seems to me. Interesting stuff!

18.

oldpro

October 16, 2004, 7:39 PM

For some reason my quote did not show up above. it is:

basically figurative, fairly skillful and very tuned in to the current trend of "contained anxiety", a kind of (usually) quiet presentation meant to evoke a mood of ironic abnormality ... I had the perception that such a cautious attention to what is "allowed" was very costly because so restrictive - nothing too direct and straightforward or expressively far out, no bright and garish colors, no forceful brushwork ... no excesses in the sense of "life" or "spiritual values" or protest or committment of any clear and open kind, no frankly evident delight in color or drawing or surface. The rendering, for the most part, has the utilitarian, stylish aura of fashion sketching. This is an art committed to maintaining a cautious observance of certain principles of presentation as rigid as any academy; an art supressed by its own irresolution. It is much more "about" mannerism than feeling

19.

oldpro

October 18, 2004, 6:08 PM

This is a lot of smoke about nothing. As Spud says, people want to party. If you want to have a party, you have a party. If you want to show art, you show art. If you combine the two you take the consequences, and you do so without getting on your high horse.

Frankly, most of the art shown at these things would make me turn to mood enhancers pretty quickly.

Soccermom: your recipe for better openings sounds like one of the lower rings of Dante's inferno. I assume it was meant humorously, but that was not entirely clear,

20.

oldpro

October 18, 2004, 6:56 PM

Sorry - the above post was supposed to go on the next page.

21.

Kathleen

October 26, 2004, 7:04 PM

Seriously, Oldpro? Before I even consider your admonititon to go look at artwork in olde nyc, I need to know whether or not you have actually put your own eyeballs within a foot of KG's works, in person. Honestly. I will be incredulous if you have and can still claim that KG lacks skill. I'm not attempting to cruelly dis your opinion; I am sincerely shocked. I will accept it if you tell me you have personally seen the works and consider KG skilless, but if you have not, then I suggest you take your own advice and go look at the artwork.

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