Tag Archives: art

The Radiant Child: A Film DJ Spooky Didn’t Want Me to See

Portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat By Shepard Fairey

Few things are more personally disappointing to me than people who promise something and then fail to deliver. (Note: people who behave in this manner are also sometimes euphemistically referred to as “liars”). Last week, both Geoffrey and I received email invitations to an advance screening of the soon to be released documentary, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, which is Director Tamra Davis’ film about the late NYC painter. This particular screening was sponsored by local scenester DJ Spooky. G and I RSVPd separately to the address on the email and, in short order, we received email confirmations that our RSVP had been recorded, accompanied by the address of the screening venue. The email also noted that our email addresses had been “added to DJ Spooky’s Email list.” Fair exchange, I figured: I get to attend a free screening of a movie that I can write about for my Rad Blog, and the film not only gets free press but DJ Spooky gains access to my email account to spam me with whatever message feels inclined to send my way. I got really excited to see the film, because I love Jean-Michel Basquiat and The Radiant Child had already gotten so much positive advanced hype that I felt certain it would be worth it. Plus my keyboard has a “delete” key.

The day of the screening rolled around, and lo and behold, what did I find waiting for me in my mail box on that morning but a message alerting me that the “Radiant Child Screening Has Been Overbooked”! Apparently, the screening venue only holds 150 people and DJ Spooky’s mailing list received – wait for it – over 1,000 responses requesting to attend the screening!! Holy crap on a canvas, Batman! Surely there is no way that DJ Spooky’s organization could have foreseen that putting something out there on the Internet  for the entire world to see might possibly result in an overbooking of this event. Surely there was no way that the mailing list could have been kept to perhaps 200 recipients, which would with little doubt have still filled the theater without disappointing 800 other art fans. And please don’t even imagine that this “invite to an advance screening” was just a ruse to collect email addresses with which to pad DJ Spooky’s promotional mailing list. Heavens no! Lastly, I was asked to understand that I was now officially uninvited to the screening of The Radiant Child, but could I please remember to “support the film’s theatrical release”? Wow. I mean, not that Radiant Child doesn’t deserve my support, but this incident just reminded me so much of the time Radiohead’s publicist sent me press release after press release for whatever new CD the band was promoting at the time, and when I emailed her back requesting a review copy of the album she suggested I “go buy a copy when it comes out and help the band sell some records.” Uh, Fuck and You, was I believe my response. Because I know bullshit when I smell it.

Blah Blah Blah.

Inviting a thousand people to a screening of a huge-buzz-generating film that you know at the outset only a slim fraction of those invited will logistically be able to attend is a pretty low method to use for augmenting your email list. Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, I will be deleting any messages I receive from DJ Spooky followed by a swift unsubscribe action. The Radiant Child looks like a great film. Too bad I can’t blog about it, because I wasn’t able to see it.

Last Rites Gallery Presents Jason D' Aquino and Lead Poisoning Exhibits

The Dimming Room By Chris Mars

One thing really stands out when I look back on this past weekend: it was an amazing couple of days for checking out rad, edgy new art in New York City. Sometimes an art exhibit is made all the more impactful by the space in which it’s displayed. This is definitely true when it comes to a venue I visited for the first time on Saturday night. If you can remember back to the time, about ten years ago I think it was, when the Limelight nightclub was in full swing and much of the club’s interior resembled something from the most horrific pages of a Clive Barker novel, then you will want to check out an art space called the Last Rites Gallery. Like your darkest, Halloween-meets-Hellraiser nightmares, Last Rites, which is also a tattoo parlor, is a trip in itself before you even get into the gallery space, and really must be experienced to be fully appreciated. People who really know me know that I like dark, fucked up shit, so I just fell in love with the place immediately and will absolutely be returning for future exhibits.

Right now, Last Rites has two cool shows running simultaneously. The first, curated by Jason D’Aquino and entitled Lead Poisoning, is a group show with contributions from over forty artists who work in a black, white and grayscale palette. A few of my favorite artists including Greg “Craola” Simkins, Ron English, Robert Williams and Michael Mararian have pieces in the show. This exhibit definitely fits into the realm of dark art that Last Rites is reputed for. Loved it.

The second exhibit is a solo show by D’Aquino featuring drawings and sketches in his whimsically twisted signature style, executed in graphite on ledger paper and other unorthodox canvases such as actual matchbook cover interiors. D’Aquino’s passion for mixing almost storybook innocence with violent, sexual or otherwise disturbing images reminded me a lot of the amazing work of Mark Ryden. My favorite drawing was one depicting a sailor who has just harpooned a mermaid under the watchful eye of a smiling full moon. Unbelievable! Jason has also made some interesting modifications to Milton Bradley’s classic Operation board game that you will appreciate if you ever owned that game as a child.

Photo By Geoffrey Dicker (Click to Enlarge)

The Brave Words heavy metal news site has a super informative post which will go into a lot more detail about both exhibits than I am going into here, so I suggest you check that out at this link if you have any questions about what you are going to see. But mostly, I would just suggest that you don’t miss these exhibits.

Last Rites Gallery is located at 511 W. 33rd Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10001. Both shows run through July 25th, 2010.

One Night Only: Pint Size Paintings at The Sacred Gallery!

All Photos By Geoffrey Dicker  

If you weren’t at downtown New York’s Sacred Gallery (located at 424 Broadway at Canal Street, 2nd Floor) on Friday July 9th, then you missed out on the happening art party of the summer, Pint Size Paintings! Curated by Durb Morrison (who also contributed works to the event), Pint Size Paintings collects over 400 original works of art by 350 artists, all painted on canvases measuring only 2 by 3 inches in size (each artist was given two canvases)! Geoffrey and I could not believe the fine detailing and originality of these paintings, which ranged in subject matter from conventional portraiture and well-known celebrities to the surreal, the visceral, the horrific and the fantastic.

Besides the sensorially overwhelming effect of the dozens and dozens of captivating miniature canvases (we circled the room a half dozen times at least, noticing new details of these tiny masterpieces on each successive pass) the show was also a great party with tons of cool people to chat up and free-flowing, ice-cold PBRs – so important with this ridiculous heat wave we’ve been having! We had a fantastic time and got completely wasted for free – Art!

Don’t get too bummed though if you missed the exhibit here in NYC, because you can purchase a copy of Pint Size Paintings Volume #1: Miniature Paintings By Big Artists, featuring a large selection of the Pint Sized images, for just $29.99 from the Hell City store. Thanks to Durb Morrison and gallery manager Kevin Wilson for a truly memorable evening!

Paintings by Durb Morrison

This is what the Paintings Looked Like After A Few PBRs!

Just Another Day In Paradise

Art by David Kramer, Photo by Geoffrey Dicker

Shepard Fairey Celebrates the Spirit of Revolution at May Day Art Show Opening!

All Photos By Geoffrey Dicker

It was as much of a scene outside on Wooster Street as it was inside Deitch Projects Gallery when political-meets-pop street artist Shepard Fairey hosted the May 1st opening for his latest provocative art extravaganza, May Day. In conjunction with Fairey’s recent, hotly topical mural on East Houston Street in NYC, Fairey’s new body of work celebrates the spirit of Revolution with recognizable images of iconic political personae as well legends of the rock and art world – from John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Jean-Michel Basquiat to Joan Jett and John Cage.

Unlike Mr. Brainwash, who tends to appropriate images directly from existing sources, embellishing them in some kind of outrageous, whimsical fashion, Fairey interprets his subject image realistically, yet in a softer light, generally revealing them as  more aesthetically appealing than they are in real life (example: check out his portrait of Neil Young with his guitar and tell me that Young was ever that good looking). The limited color palette of red, navy and gold also adds a cohesive, grounded feel to the collection. For anyone who knows Fairey only from his “Giant Obey” street art campaign or his now universally familiar “Hope” poster for Barack Obama, May Day should open eyes and minds as to this artist’s immense and wide-reaching talent. As an added bonus, because we were among the first 300 people to enter the gallery, we received a limited edition, commemorative May Day poster personally signed by Shepard Fairey; a very nice surprise indeed!

Edward Hopper, Anyone?

May Day shows through May 29, 2010 at Deitch Projects Gallery (Note: this will be the final exhibit at the gallery, which is moving Los Angeles) located at 18 Wooster Street, Between Canal and Grand.

Final Day for John Lennon Art Exhibit in NYC!

It is no secret that The Beatles were the greatest band ever in the universe of all time. For those Beatles and John Lennon fans in or near New York City, Sunday October 12, 2008  is the final day to see a moving and impressive collection of John Lennon’s drawings and song lyrics entitled “Imagine Peace.” Geoffrey and I went yesterday and spent about an hour enjoying the funny, insightful and often provocative collection of over 100 drawings and framed lyrics of songs from both The Beatles’ and Lennon’s solo catalogs. Some of my favorites were colorful sketches John did with his son Sean, like the frog drawing seen above. They also play Beatles songs non-stop over the gallery’s sound system, which makes it an even more enjoyable experience, because you can work in a little dancing! Sadly, the exhibit has a limited run which ends this evening. Do try to make it by if you can. Gallery address info is below.

Exhibit is at Openhouse Gallery, 201 Mulberry St., in SoHo. Hours: Thursday night 5-9; Friday 12-9 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-6p.m. The suggested $2 donation benefits City Meals-On-Wheels.

Robert Rauschenberg, Titan of American Art, Is Dead at 82

RIP Robert Rauschenberg
1925 – 2008

Legendary artist Robert Rauschenberg has passed away on May 12th, 2008.This is Sad News, because Robert Rauschenberg was awesome. I took a lot of Modern Art classes in college and his combine paintings definitely opened my eyes to different ways of seeing and thinking. I was actually just at LACMA out in Los Angeles on Friday and saw some of Rauschenberg’s work up close, and it still blows me away. Sad.