This new Grouper track, which features only voice and piano, is beautiful but fucking depressing. Chase it with a bottle of Klonopin and a bath and you have a great way to go.
Fluorescent, thunder-thighs Shia
Aw, precious young Shia before “spectacular career implosion”
…said “spectacular career implosion”
Let’s go back to this. Such anger. Angry, pouty, pissy face.
And back to color. You know what Anna Wintour said she’d never wear? “Head to toe black.”
And a bonus. Because you deserve it. Not exactly sure what’s going on here. but if there’s a lollipop and lace, I’m down.
Nan Goldin, Kathleen, NYC, 1993
Nan Goldin, Kathleen at the Bowery Bar, NYC, 1995
When Alex and I first moved to New York City, in the summer of 2006, we moved into a tiny one bedroom apartment in the Lower East Side, at 151 Ludlow Street. It was a second floor walk-up, in a grimy tenement building. Graffiti was caked all over the door; my Dad continues to joke that when he first came to help us move in, there was a homeless man sleeping in the doorway. It was, in essence, the kind of place New York City dreams were made of, right in the heart of things; pigeons cooed outside my window; the front of the building was overwhelmed with noise from the street, the back blissfully quiet; you could walk out the front door, and get a coffee across the street, and a drink down the block. Mountains of trash spilled off the curb, and rats occasionally ran across your feet at 3 in the morning. This was just before the area became completely gentrified, when there were still good bars to go to, and everything seemed genuinely run-down. It had its drawbacks, but I loved (and still love) the place.
It seemed fitting then that our neighbors were Kathleen White and Rafael Sanchez, an artist couple. They lived literally down the hallway. They were very nice, but I thought at the time a little bizarre. They would ask our plans for the summer solstice; created colonies of worms in the big back yard, which for some reason I never really used; and built a massive, portable dolmen, which was reconstructed periodically. The thing was fucking huge, and kind of amazing (you can see me posing with it below, with some sort of cardboard cut-out stewardess we found in the trash).
Anyways, I don’t think I fully appreciated Kathleen and Rafael until much later, after I had moved out and started to become more involved at PARTICIPANT, where they were also part of the community (Kathleen had a solo show of paintings and drawings there, in 2004). But like with most New York neighbors, there’s a weird intimacy involved even when you’re basically strangers. Like when a homeless man snuck into our building, and pulled down a massive ladder in the middle of the night, waking everyone. Or when there was some sort of fire scare, and we stood out in the hallway together, sort of watching and waiting. When I was moving out, Kathleen came in when the apartment was nearly devoid of furniture, and gave me her email to keep in touch, in case I wanted to write anything in her and Rafael’s magazine, alLuPiNiT.
I never did, and we never became close. But when Kathleen died last week of cancer, it made me a little sad to think that that part of New York is gone, as she was so wrapped up in that building for me, and that time when I was new here, and the city was exciting, and exotic - just as much as the building’s smells, or the way the radiators clanged in the winter. You may never really know someone well, but that doesn’t mean they never had a presence to you.
So I’ve been seeing a personal trainer for a month or two now, and building a weightlifting routine, which is sort of hilarious. And, strangely, true. Me? This faggot? Gym? And no, I’m not going just to suck dick in the steam room. I haven’t sucked dick once in there. This is primarily because a.) I’m on a mission, and it’s not sexual b.) I’m not drunk and c.) I don’t think there’s one homo in the place; my gym isn’t David Barton (barf), but rather a dumpy, and frankly wonderful gym in Carroll Gardens called Body Elite, which is primarily patronized by old people, a few really hetero gym bunnies, and weird old-school Brooklyn people…who…wait for it…drive (my Flow Yoga instructor intones “namaste” in a thick, Bayridge accent).
Anyways, in addition to simply gaining strength, because I kinda feel like a tree branch that could snap at any time, I also want to gain some muscle, and by muscle, I mean gain some ass. One of my trainer’s clients, a female, actually devotes her whole session to getting a “better ass.” What a good idea! I’m just going to squat and do this weird barbell routine Men’s Health suggests for an entire hour, so I can look like a famine victim but have the firmest ass in the universe! I basically want to be ready for jockstrap night at The Eagle. Health priorities, people!
This exhibition review was originally slated to be published this month, but the commissioning magazine pulled it, saying my opinion was too biased. They claimed I wasn’t properly differentiating the work from the person. Normally I would agree with them but in this case, Wolfson was so a part of the Zwirner show, especially in Raspberry Poser, that that distinction was almost impossible to make. His mug is all over the whole thing. Regardless, maybe it had more to do with Zwirner being an advertising powerhouse. Who knows. But here it is, in the dregs of my blog.
David Zwirner Gallery, New York
6 March – 19 April
It’s remarkable that Jordan Wolfson’s first solo show at David Zwirner is notorious for only one thing, its animatronic stripper (Female figure) (2014), especially when it faces such tough competition from the accompanying video Raspberry Poser (2012), which features Wolfson as a skinhead punk in black face, surrounded by chirpy, bouncy animations of the HIV virus and little red hearts slipping in and out of condoms.
Perhaps it’s because the jerky robot is such a novelty, like the first television set probably was, or the first slow cooker. But while those things actually do something useful (one wonders how stews were ever made before the slow cooker), Wolfson’s stripper doesn’t do much but babble – “My mother’s dead, my father’s dead, I’m gay” – and do a little jerky dance while wriggling its fingers (which is actually quite incredible technically). The bionic woman wears a skimpy white dress and thigh-high white stiletto boots, as well as a really cheap-looking white wig. Most disturbing of all is the figure’s mask, which looks like it was taken off the face of some grotesque creature out of a Hans Christian Andersen story. Though one imagines that (Female figure) is meant to offer some critique of how modern technology has rendered our flesh-and-blood bodies obsolete, it seems more like something to laugh at and to photograph than to seriously consider, like a blow-up doll creepily come to life. Imagine your iPhone’s Siri as a tired, defeated, 45-year-old stripper – kinda entertaining, but mostly dumb.
Raspberry Poser, however, is just dumb. It references so many problematic issues of race and sex that it sucks the air and interest out of all of them. The video shows mainly red HIV blobs bouncing around empty stores in SoHo; filling up and pouring out of floating condoms; a kid cartoon character, ostensibly a reflection of Wolfson, cutting his own body into pieces; and Wolfson himself as the aforementioned punk, in blackface and not, laughing and chatting with a suited man and trolling around Paris. There’s a lot of doting attention paid to the artist, staring at the camera like some sort of vague anti-hero who, after selling out and/or becoming ineffectually rebellious, has decided to take off his pants and writhe on the grass naked, ass pushed up high in the air. He does this for an extended take, as if trying to get a rise (literally) out of viewers by combining white supremacist and porn star into one, such that he’s a straight, white, racist, gay sex object, like a Paul McCarthy persona gone horribly wrong. Raspberry Poser is complemented by a few paintings that riff off of its confusion of stupidity with shock: cartoon characters pee into their own mouths, bumper stickers read “Jazz Cunt! Jazz Penis!” It certainly doesn’t make me hard, or especially angry at the way he exploits homosexual desire. Rather, it just seems like an exercise in narcissism
Wolfson once asked me at an opening—after he spotted me fucking a friend of mine on a Brooklyn side street—if I thought him hot. This personal anecdote may be self-indulgent, but it confirms my nagging suspicion that—especially as evidenced by his show at Zwirner—Wolfson’s more into himself than anyone else.
— David Everitt Howe
Why is Frank Ocean so hot???? He needs to be put in Gay Jail for his hotness, so we can all get our work done in peace.
I got inspired to post something on this corpse of an unused Tumblr because of Brie, who’s fashion review of the Met Gala is making me LOL literally, and making it very easy to procrastinate from writing ArtReview's newsletter than was supposed to be turned in, like, days ago. OOPS.
Instead, I’m lusting after Frank Ocean and Riccardo Tisci, seen above being Naomi Campbell’s favorite faggot at the Gala. Rumors have it that Ocean and Tisci slept together, which is such a pairing of sexy men it makes me want to jump in front of a bus, or move to Chad, or lock myself in a closet somewhere with Carrie White’s mother.