Friday, July 14, 2017

"Night Music: Essays on Music 1928-1962 by Theodor W. Adorno (Seagull Books)

ISBN: 978-0857424501 Seagull Books
What I know of classical music is what I hear on record/vinyl/cd.   Beyond that, almost nothing.  My reaction to Classical it totally musical, and the occasional liner note on the back cover of the album.  With curiosity, I picked up Theodor W. Adorno's "Night Music," in the hopes of learning more about this form of music as well as dipping into the brain of Adorno, one of the leading 'thinkers' of the Frankfurt School of critical theory.  Adorno was also a composer, and what is interesting about "Night Music" is that it was written from the late 1920s to 1962.  The essays are not organized in chronicle order, but in a manner that is very readable.  The book consists of two collections of texts "Moments musicaux" and "Theory of New Music."  When Adorno speaks of new music, he's not talking about Cage (who does get a brief mention in a later essay) but composers of his generation and time, for instance, Schönberg, who is the main figure in these series of writings, along with Berg, Webern, and Ravel.  There is also the commentary on Beethoven, Wagner, and Bach, but the heart of the book is on the Second Viennese School of music.  For one, it's interesting to read these essays knowing that they were written during a time when Schönberg and Ravel were active and doing music.  One is not looking back, but at the present when these essays were written.   The writing for me is readable, but also difficult due to its density and Adorno's knowledge of music.  People who are either serious fans of Classical (especially 20th-century) or musicians will jump on this book with no problem, but for the guy or gal, it's a serious journey into the rabbit hole that is music.   Seagull Books who published "Night Music" should get special notice for the design of the book, and their great taste in titles.  Also, Wieland Hoban did a fantastic job in doing the translation from German to English.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lun*na Menoh: "A Ring Around The Collar" Fashion Show 2017 with Les Sewing Sisters, July 22, 2017

Lun*na Menoh: "A Ring Around The Collar Fashion Show 2017, with Les Sewing Sisters July 22, 2017

All photos by Steven Nilsson & Jennifer Cheung

Contact Information : (562) 999-2267

ArtExchange - ArtX with the Long Beach Museum of Art

Lun*na Menoh “ A Ring  Around The Collar: fashion show 2017”


Lun*na Menoh “A Ring Around The Collar: fashion show 2017,”
with Les Sewing Sisters
Date: Saturday, July 22, 2017
Time: 8:00 P.M.

ArtExchange - ArtX with Long Beach Museum of Art presents “Lun*na Menoh, A Ring Around The Collar Fashion Show 2017.”

Taking place at ArtExchange Gallery, 356 East 3rd Street, Long Beach, CA, 90802 and featuring art performance/ music band Les Sewing Sisters.

Unlike a commercial fashion show, Lun*na Menoh ’s fashion show is more of a “de-fashion show.”  There are Runway models changing outfits one after another but Menoh’s clothing, although wearable, is more conceptual in theme and practice. For this event/performance,  Menoh’s theme of the fashion show is “ A Ring Around The Collar”  which is also the title of the exhibition of her artwork that is taking place at ArtExchange/ArtX.   Menoh worked on "A Ring Around The Collar" art/clothing project for 18 years, and this is her first fashion show in Long Beach.  The majority of the wearable clothing is made by dirty stained white collars or the image of the dirty collar.

In addition, Les Sewing Sisters will perform their music before the fashion show.

Les Sewing Sisters are Lun*na Menoh’s music project with Saori Mitome, which uses the sewing machine as a music instrument.  All music heard by Les Sewing Sisters are original sounds that come from the sewing machine and then altered through electronics, which in turn changes noise into music.  Les Sewing Sisters is a mixture of spoken word, singing, jazz-influenced pop, with a side of hip-hop, yet danceable experimental noise music. All the lyrics are about dressmaking, sewing, fashion, and clothing.

Also a short video for the program:

"A Ring Around The Collar" 7 min video
Directed by Jeff Mizushima

A video directed by Jeff Mizushima on the history of Lun*na Menoh's collecting and using men's dirty white collars for her artwork.  Ten years of the artwork and fashion shows that Lun*na directed and made with respect to her art. 

 "Lun*na Menoh has brilliantly narrowed the catwalk between art and haut couture, fashioning work that adorn bodies with thrilling ingenuity and restyles our mind.”
- Ralph Rugoff: Director of the Hayward Gallery, London

Monday, July 3, 2017

Paul McCarthy: "WS Spinoffs, Wood Statues, Brown Rothkos" July 1 - Sept 17, 2017 at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

Paul McCarthy
WS, Bookends
Black walnut
Bookends (Horizontal) (12'): 365.8 x 304 x 444 cm / 144 x 119 5/8 x 174 3/4 inches (overall dimensions)
Bookends (Vertical) (14'): 444 x 303.7 x 365.8 cm / 174 3/4 x 119 5/8 x 144 inches (overall dimensions)

Paul McCarthy “WS Spinoffs, Wood Statues, Brown Rothkos” July 1 - September 17, 2017, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

Like many of my generation, Walt Disney’s “Snow White” has a strong presence in my life. The year I was born, so was Disneyland. So I feel very much like the child of Disney, and keep in mind, that I never actually saw the Disney "Snow White and the Seven Drawfs" film, but just the byproducts of the movie that is very much part of my childhood culture. Paul McCarthy and I are only nine years apart, so I feel that him being an American and McCarthy exposed to Disney’s world around the same time as I, there is a common understanding of that culture. Beyond that, I rarely think of Disney as an adult, even though where I live (Silver Lake / Los Feliz) there are traces of this man’s work and his world. Again, hard to avoid. Paul McCarthy jumps into the Disney world with both feet, hands, and head. 

His current exhibition at the Hauser Wirth in Los Angeles is a fascinating show on many levels. When I walked into the gallery and confronted with these massive sculptures, I’m struck by not only the size of the works, but also the Black Walnut wood textures that convey the image of Snow White, The Prince, the horse, and the Seven Drawfs. I tend to draw myself to art exhibitions that take me from the outside world into another world of the artist’s making. McCarthy’s work does that in the extreme. My childhood memories came back to me that instant when I entered the show. I see the work as a re-mix version of my take on Disney’s Snow White.

Snow White came into existence courtesy of the Brothers Grimm, which they published in their first edition of “Grimms’ Fairy Tales.” In German, it’s title is “Schneewittchen. The final version of the Grimms’ version of Snow White appeared in 1854, the birth year of Oscar Wilde and 100 years away from my birth date as well. Disney, like McCarthy, totally did a re-write of the folk tale to serve his aesthetic and perhaps pleasure. I think the exhibition is not a commentary on the Grimms take of the story, but involved and obsessed with the Disney version. 

The sculptures are so grand that I also thought of various portraits of Napoleon done when he was alive. Heroic, on a grand scale, with emotions on the skin level. The fact that these sculptures made out of wood have an organic feeling of nature being contained to make a human’s vision. There is also kitsch added to the mixture, which reminds me of going to my Grandma’s house and she too, with his "WS, Bookends," had fairy tale figures as bookends. Disney became not only a thought but also a product. If we have to think about Cambell Soup through the eyes of Warhol, then clearly we have to think of Walt under the telescope of McCarthy. 

Snow White here (and always in my opinion) is very sexual. The boundaries between The Prince and Snow White are explicitly joined where there is no space between the figures. The same goes for the Seven Drawfs. It’s a combination of an orgy, pleasure, and perhaps pain. On the walls are McCarthy’s “Brown Rothkos” which gives the entire exhibition a sense of balance and placement. For me, it is like putting a period after the sentence. What I’ve read of the Brown Rothkos is that they are carpeting laid out in McCarthy’s designed forest in his exhibition that took place at Park Avenue Armory in 2013, and this is the drippings and residue of the individual trees that are painted on these carpets. Placed on the wall gives the work an importance, but also a connection perhaps the sculptures in this show and the exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory. In other words, these pieces can stand alone but are also connected theme-wise with other artworks by McCarthy. Like Disney’s world, it’s “a small world.”

Lucky me, I can go back to the exhibition again and again. It is both a journey into my childhood obsessions with the Disney motif, but also McCarthy’s take on a landscape that most in my (our) generation can relate to. (Un)happy Trails!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

"The Subject Matter" by Tosh Berman

Hallo, I’m facing a blank page.  

The only words I can see are the ones above this sentence. 

I’m in search of a subject matter.  Although the subject isn’t coming to me. 

The subject matter is like a lover that is kept waiting.  Eventually, won’t come along at all. 

Reservations made at 4, and here I sit here waiting for the subject to come to me.

As I put the pen on the page, I can see reflections of the subject matter, but it’s always from a side view and not straight on. 

Ten minutes later I still wait, and the subject matter is beginning to mock me. 

I’m beginning to feel like a lounge lizard, and people are noticing that I just hang around

 The word here, a word there, oh for the push to add another word!  Well, the wait ever end?

The subject matter you taunt me.   I listen to a song and read a text, in the hope of obtaining you.

I want to remember, just to remember that I should be remembering, but alas, I forgot.

- Tosh Berman, July 1, 2017