BRANDON JOHNSON, MANAGING EDITOR, ZINGMAGAZINE. NYC. APRIL 22, 2014.
AT THE ZINGMAGAZINE SOHO OFFICE – that’s DEVON DIKOU’S, ZINGMAGAZINE’S founder/editor/publisher . . ARTWORK on the WALLS.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
I went by the ZINGMAGAZINE very fashionable downtown office yesterday to meet with BRANDON JOHNSON, who is putting together a series of interviews with people who knew DAN, while they are still around (!!). the collected / edited interviews are scheduled to come out next Fall 2014 – in paperback format as a pre-packaged addition to that season’s ZINGMAGAZINE.
although it was great to learn of the project, and to share in Brandon’s plans – it was definitely bittersweet to remember so far back, and to miss not one, but 2 really close friends: DAN ASHER my friend and fellow high functioning (maybe !!) autistic, and SIMON CERIGO, father of my 2 kids, so-called hubby, (well it was pretty ok, for a while), and mostly – great great really missed: fellow art buddy, and talent scout.
Simon and Dan were joined at the hip, from the moment they meet, sometime in the summer’s heat of 1981 at the legendary Red Bar, in the East Village. I meet Dan shortly after, and we developed our own relationship, and we were very very close for many decades. Simon was to give Dan his first really serious shows at his short lived, but critically acclaimed SIMON CERIGO GALLERY on AVE A at 12th St. and I was to be Dan’s studio assistant, on and off during the years but esp from 1996 – 98, the years of the Iceberg photos, working for cash when he had it, or for (his) art work – when he didn’t.
how do you convey almost 3 decades of knowing someone as complicated, and contrary !! as Dan, or Simon for that matter. I esp felt the loss of Simon in speaking about Dan – as Simon had the oral knowledge, he had a mind like a huge roladex – he was a classic ‘flaneur’, and there is such a void on that level with him gone, it’s unbelievable how the art world gets up in the morning any more, without his daily ‘buzz’. Simon took a lot of stories, and even more rock solid knowledge with him, and I don’t see any . . clones. they were both severely under-estimated & under-valued by the mainstream scene in their lifetime – and maybe it is that void – that is making it more apparent just what gifts, natural born talents, and intense to the very last drop – those 2 guys had.
all I can say is, they sure don’t make characters like either one of them, any more – and how I survived it, living with them !! and how I survive their being gone – I just don’t know, it’s probably because my kids watch out for me, and they both well . . understand the legacy.
in fact I had to confer with my son, Theo (and yes, corny or not – me and Simon – did name him after Vincent V G’s younger bro – kindness to artists – and yes, apparently, he has lived up to the name . . last night to confirm a few facts – that Brandon brought up.
SPECIFICALLY: DAN & THE STOCK MARKET !!
yes, it is true that in 1995 DAN inherited, after a mad crazy legal battle with his dumb-ass brother, $400,000. yeah, I know that’s a lot of sushi !!
the deal was . . DAN was to keep $200,000 to fund living and art projects .. month long cruises to the Antarctic, & daily $400 sushi jaunts – anybody !!
and Simon invested the other $200,000, in Dan’s name – in APPLE STOCK.
the understanding being, that when the stock took off, which it did, big time !! Simon would get 10% of profits for the management/advice. so we all felt set for life, sure we would be millionaires in minimum 5 years time. APPLE was selling at $11 a share in 1995.
but, Dan just could not keep his autistic obsessive hands off the stash. despite many a screamin’ battle in the streets, and between the two, believe me Simon could scream louder . . Dan started pissing it away – on penny stocks. with Dan saying, “but it’s my money, Simon !!”.
sad story short – within 6 mos it was all gone, not just the entire $200,00 – but it’s vast vast potential. was Simon depressed, don’t even ask.
the opportunity – just flew though Dan’s ginger-stained hands like sand.
was Dan broke and starving. on the edge of apt eviction, and stressed for medical bills . . for the rest of his life ?
you guessed right, if you guessed: yes.
put it this way, Theo did the math – the $200,000 invested in APPLE in 1995 – would have been worth, easily . . $29 million, yes: 29 MILLION in 2010, the year Dan died. he could have been dipping into it, and taking out a nice chunk every year to live on, and paying us our share – and still, still he would have had – at the very least . . $10 more million in the fund.
it was a little hard for us to feel sorry for him, after that. esp when Dan had no money, we had no money, as we both worked for him in different capacities, and we, unlike him, had 2 young kids to feed and clothe. I mean we did feel sorry for him, but not as you would say . . in a ‘good’ way.
no wonder Dan had to turn to new, and younger friends, like BEN BERLOW . . who didn’t know, didn’yt have a clue, about the real bottom-line drop-off. I’m sure the hidden inner secret of his financial wipe-out, added to Dan’s inner stress, and countered any of the numerous homeopathic medications, he surrounded himself with, that’s for sure.
ah, of such stories, tragic character flaws, and major fuck-ups – Jackson Pollock had his groupie & speeding alcohol-driven car . . legends are born.
and if ‘autism-compensation’ telepathy extends to the after-life, I hope you guys are having fun up there, and . . send a sign.
a little ‘HELLO NANCY’, sky-written across Manhattan, tomorrow – would . . suffice.
SIMON CERIGO, ‘Newspaper Piece’, early 1990s. acrylic & watercolor on New York Times, 12 x 22 in.
CURATED BY THEO CERIGO, NYC
PHOTO: THEO CERIGO
just so you know . . .
NANCY SMITH, watercolor. early 1990s. watercolor on arches paper. 18 x 24 in.
CURATED BY THEO CERIGO, NYC
PHOTO: THEO CERIGO
‘BEN BERLOW – RECENT WORK’
opened SAT APRIL 12, 2014
the show runs thru MAY 18, 2014
RAWSON PROJECTS – 223 FRANKLIN ST, BROOKLYN, NYC
HRS: SAT & SUN / 1-7 PM
modern plate glass storefront windows allowed a flood of natural light to play up Ben’s nuanced color block hues, and, the seriously ‘off’ tonality of the work . . did well, in the natural light.
the plastic ‘fictional’ i.e. creative tensions on the paper, and the very real – real estate tensions . . outside in the street, kind of went hand-in-hand. the power plays of gentrification – starting to play hardball, wrecking havoc with the rents. people moving in, people moving out. some happy, some sad. like they say . . a million stories, nothing stays still for long, in this town.
just even on the very block of the gallery. you could feel it.
the contrast between the old walk-ups, the mom & pop hardware stores now shuttered, and with fading signs . . the chic hipster hang-outs, great pop-up restaurants, and the ‘rush’ of new beginnings. it’s not a matter of good or bad, it’s just . . the new wave, coming in like it always does. it’s classic New York City moment, it’s both exciting, and . . super fraught with tension.
yeah, Greenpoint was right at the tipping point, and just about to fall over on the other side, hard.
you could so feel the ‘pulse’ of change in the air, you could smell it.
the works were small, but strangely dynamic beyond their inherent scale . . each work on paper with its own ‘pulse’ . . talking bout, pulse. just saying.
the swings of their individual . . emotive and compositional range, each offering up a differing pictorial ‘focus’, or ‘story’ was clearly apparent – as the diversely proportioned selection . . ran playfully along the walls.
BEN BERLOW . . with JAMES MORRILL, a partner in the gallery.
as it happens, this gallery – RAWSON PROJECTS . . seems to have an unofficial ‘acorn fallen off the tree’ aspect, that tree being DAVID ZWIRNER GALLERY in Chelsea, esp today with this show . . in that BEN BERLOW happens to be the registrar at Zwirner, while James Morrill is their Director of Finance.
meanwhile, CHRIS RAWSON, the other partner in the gallery, and from whom it takes its name . . is the archivist at ZWIRNER.
it’s always good to have a day job, when you are starting a new gallery, esp from the street up.
but when that day job provides experience, and gallery skills, not to forget the essential ‘networking’ . . it’s a no-brainer.
it was interesting to watch people really engage with the work. though the work seems simple at first glance, there is a lot of compression, both of ideas and forces . . in those defining lines, shapes, and color fields – that just open up, and, then . . like they say: game on.
as well there was something about the small scale of the work, as opposed to the huge color field paintings of many generations back by now, that brought the viewer ‘in’, as opposed to . . say, ‘taking over’.
it’s not as easy as you think, to carry that off.
so much so-called abstract art today, is just so bad, don’t get me started.
I’m talking 99% of it. I’m thinking, people who don’t know anything about art, turn to quote, abstract art because if they seriously can’t make heads or tails of it, that must make it . . good ?
when it’s really quite the opposite.
abstract art, good abstract art lays down a very very well written trail.
the brown paper surface was an integral, intimate element of the work. it was all about a subtle universe of scale, where even the small crinkles of the paper, and its borders, including a serrated edge, played a part.
even the ‘commercialism’ of the paper, as well as the ‘found’ aspect – played into the whole story presented here. it was 24-7 pure / pictorial forces at work. no slackers.
small measures – became like tidal waves.
shadows, enter the equation, too.
it’s really, the work – not all that ‘flat’, or ‘still’ – as it appears to be on first impression.
no flat screen here.
it’s kinetic – in its own way. very subtle.
of course if you frame it, you are going to have to include a slight depth to the interior ‘box’ of the frame, and . . ‘floating’ the work – with no overlapping mat, is the only way to go.
it’s interesting to google Ben’s early work, and see just how focused, and evolved the journey has become.
this piece was unique in that it was a two-parter.
the space between the two paper surfaces . . helped emphasize the contrasts, or dynamics at work.
though the color work was very very . . gentle.
it’s the opposing shapes, the way the borders, or edges get defined. and of course, the varying degree of ‘hue’ that is imparted to the paint areas.
the un-painted paper, what we call the negative space, took on an important role.
in a nutshell . .
it’s kind of a . . ‘shape-shifter’.
it struck me as very oriental in impulse, as well.
very zen. lots of opposition, but, no . . war !!
I esp liked this piece, it plays out like a more apparent . . ‘puzzler’.
more straight-forward, less rounded, what can I say.
that about suits . . my mood these days.
no-nonsense, just show me the real stuff !!
and though, I was very happy just to gaze upon these works as pure non-objective abstraction . . poems without words, I did finally take the time to read an accompanying artist statement, a printed hand-out, available on the gallery reception desk, which takes the form of a ‘conversation with the gallery’. . in which you learn these pieces were done while Ben was lucky enough to be on a residency
in the rural countryside, specifically . . Steep Rock Arts, in Connecticut. and so yes there may be some residue of the sun’s orb, and the landscape in that ‘Two Parter’, or an actual barn roof rhythm in this one . . but, I think mostly what you feel, intuitively . . is that he got to really step back, and immerse himself in the solitude of being, and was able to slow down . . and really think. and . . feel. and then express that.
also you get a sense of his being so aware of how rare this is, in his life, in all of our fast paced lives, today. add to that, the super powerful feeling of knowing that this is . . just such a lucky break, such a special moment in your life, and . . yes, in such beautiful surroundings . .
going from the crazed hyper city to a sun speckled barn, with no worldly cares for the moment, is surely a transformative, powerful, maybe fleeting, but still . . zen state of mind.
but you don’t really need to know the specific background story – to pick up on the isolation, and wonder . . the focused, slowly realized energy forces that . . ‘flow’ through the the work.
the work has its voice, irregardless of what you know about Ben, or not.
but it was still very interesting to read, and all info . . is good.
but, talking about barns, and the countryside,
made me suddenly think about . . old quilts and rural quilt patterns, and I realized, maybe that’s why I can relate to these shapes – so much !!
yep, there was something, definitely .. . very quilt-like in this one !!
those early quilters even used to cut out their ‘template’ pattern pieces from common household brown paper – just like this, too.
and sometimes you can even see the pencil lines, traced on the material, some slips of the hand . . peeping out in the ‘geometry’ . . just like happens here, too.
yep, as some of you know, these are mine . . and Simon’s kids.
they grew up in a rough and raw storefront, 5 Rivington St. corner of the Bowery – way before the area gentrified.
in fact, it was a sublet from Richard Hambleton, the Shadowman, talk about your . . hardcore.
so, fast forward.
THEO works in finance, hedge funds. go figure. but he is definitely into the art world, esp from a collector’s point of view, and if you were at Simon’s memorial last year, you know he can also put on a pretty good art show, which included samples of Simon’s framed newspaper pieces, a slideshow, and of course – an amazing soundtrack, cutting edge music, and all.
don’t believe me ?
. . ask Charlie Finch !!
as for Kate, she’s the senior designer for STYLE.COM – and, yeah . . she does their home page.
and Dan ?
DAN ASHER was like their uncle. their very eccentric uncle !!
sushi dinners . . with booster seats – here we come !!
believe it, they have lots of their own stories about Dan, too.
in fact, I hear a kid could pick up a small fortune in coins . . right off the floor, just by shifting a few books, and such . . when you visited Dan’s ‘storied’ and notoriously squalid apt on 10th St – right across the street from the Russian baths, and nobody would know the difference, least of all, Dan. Dan wasn’t always broke, he just always spent the money, til he did get good and broke !!
I hear it was: first, Dan’s – and then . . TOYS R US !!
and Simon would be like, Theo . . where’dyou get all that money ?!!
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
artlovers is on a bit of a spring break.
as opposed to full-on ‘break down’, no holds barred, & no names left . . unturned.
next post goes live this FRI APRIL 18 – with GREAT PIX from the BEN BERLOW OPENING.
now that’s what I call serendipity !! cutting edge curatorial reporting.
I will say this, it was a fine night, the work was extremely engaging, and very focused.
it had the breath of . . new vision.
it was akin to listening to, well . . live music in some small venue, and you knew you were coming up roses.
the small crowd was so interesting, I swear you could think you saw Shoshanna, straight from GIRLS leaning against her pals, and then turn around, and she’d be gone. LENA did actually film on this street, or so I’m told.
Greenpoint is so interesting too – just starting to really free fall tumble into next wave gentrification. with it’s good and bad sides – there is no stopping the force of ‘progress’.
afterwards we strolled over to the Lobster Joint for you know what, mean and feisty lobster !!
do I recommend heading over there, to see Ben’s show this weekend, yes – I do !!
ok. I eat my words – if you want to talk to me about re-vitalized ‘abstract’ art, well you can . . start here. lyrical, and yet most def smart.
single-minded, cutting edge – and lands hard, and . . gentle !! plenty full of ‘poetic’ narrative – with an emphasis on composition, watch out . . geometry at play. to the point where it’s almost . . music. I was gonna say sushi, but maybe that’s a bit too loaded !!
and, color !! tell me about off-toned color . . with a capital ‘C’.
no wonder DAN took to Ben, like a duck to water.
‘BEN BERLOW – RECENT WORK’ . . . APRIL 12 – MAY 18, 2014.
RAWSON PROJECTS, GREENPOINT, BROOKLYN.
HRS: SAT & SUN / 1-7 PM
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
talk about . . timing !!
things are just spinning along, and in such good harmony.
BEN BERLOW . . the young executor of the DAN ASHER estate, who posted that wonderfully evocative interview with Dan in BOMB MAGAZINE, has a show of his own work opening . . TODAY.
SAT APRIL 12, 2014 / 6-8 PM
‘BEN BERLOW – RECENT WORKS’
RAWSON PROJECTS – 223 FRANKLIN ST, BROOKLYN / btwn FREEMAN ST. & EAGLE ST.
HRS: SAT & SUN: 1-7 PM
SUBWAY: G at Greenpoint Ave / L at Bedford
quite beautiful, serene, yet concise. fluid, elemental. rhythm.
lots of . . rhyming !!
as in: colorfield rhyming, compositional dynamic. tension. gesture. definition, feeling.
interestingly, this piece by BEN BERLOW appears to be painted on ‘found’ paper, maybe a large brown paper grocery shopping bag ?
DAN ASHER and SIMON CERIGO both worked on found, easily available . . newspaper sheets, of actual media printed newspaper . . specifically, the New York Times.
this is a way more ‘durable’ selection.
though later on, Dan did turn to some very expensive artists’ papers, often in a colored tint, whereas Simon stuck with the newspaper format, as he was always interested in the background news – the story, and its accompanying image(s) . . which would then become a starting point for his work.
Dan was very internal in his work, whereas Simon was always looking outside for what was going on . . around him. Simon’s ‘newspaper’ pieces are somewhat fragile, but if you spray them with archival ‘PAPER SAVER’ – that does stabilize them, and they will not turn yellow or brittle over time.
the process does not affect the paper in anyway, except to deacidify it.
oh brother, look what I found.
this is one hell of a persistent . . undead, or what ?!!
DAN ASHER at his GBE/PASSERBY opening, ‘BIRD OF PREY’, OCT 14, 2005.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
his t-shirt reads:
MY SHITTY ATTITUDE IS NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.
we didn’t have $2 between us that night.
end of story.
it’s not the first time in art history that “too successful” rhymes with . . “desperate”, as in no dough. zero, zip, broke. jumping turnstiles.
and, no. a chauffeur-driven Escalade ride, just doesn’t cut it.
thanks. but no thanks.
and, make your own rep. while you are at it.
I heard autistic people harbor feuds, can that be true ?
all I can say, don’t tread on – me.
might come across clueless. definite, NOT.
just flying, autistic-like – right the hell over your head.
on telepathic . . wings.
R.I.P. SIMON CERIGO and DAN ASHER.
being caught between the two of you . . man, that was some fun sandwich !!
spicy tuna sushi roll, anybody ?
are we talking . . mega million muggle bucks, or what !!
don’t cry for GAVIN, what he lost on SWEENEY – he made up 10 fold, if not a hundred thousand fold . . on JOE.
as for me ?
FILE UNDER: jet planes might be a going down in the ocean, but looks like, my ships . . are finally coming in.
JOE BRADLEY IS BLOWING UP . . MEGA MEGA BIG TIME – TALK ABOUT . . MAGIC.
and make that MUGGLE MAGIC . . with a capital ‘M’.
should I dedicate this to ELEANOR CAYRE, and all the other bogus socialite art collectors / ‘art consultants’ – out there, or what.
or is that, just too too sad ?
the siren call of the underdog . .
DAN, I’m picking up – where you left off !!
must be hearing voices inside of my head.
JOE BRADLEY, in a wonderful photo . . by yours truly.
looking like Ernest Hemingway, or what ?
at the opening of his last show – at GAVIN BROWN’S enterprise.
titled, ‘LOTUS BEATERS’, it ran MAY 17 – JUNE 29, 2013.
behind him, the exterior wall of the gallery on Greenwich St had been plastered with black and white vintage photos – in a project by RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH.
first of all, what’s it got to do with me ?
besides, obviously . . the series of write-ups, ‘muggel’ to mainstream ‘translation’, and pix I posted for Joe – on that ‘LOTUS BEATERS’ show.
the best way to access them, is to scroll down this site’s left hand index: JUNE 2013.
but, I got in that JOE game, early.
I posted the very first mainstream photo of JOE, with his band CHEESEBURGER on artnet, when he was just a crazy kid in a crazy art band. back in the early 2000 era. seems so long ago.
there were like 3 galleries, on the Lower East Side, the bulk of the cutting edge action was just gearing up on 27th St. in Chelsea. Joe was out on the scene every night, and a more wild, brilliant chile – you could not imagine. his girlfriend at the time, EUNICE KIM, was also a fascinating brilliant artist person too. you really couldn’t tell who was more full of creative fire or brain power.
they used to go out west to farm marijuana, and come back with a big enough pile of dough to last them through the year, til the next harvest. then one year, Eunice went and never came back.
rumor was, she fell for a surfer and had had it with NYC.
if you don’t want to believe me about how brilliant she was, check out her only show, here in NYC any way, at CANADA.
where I heard home-made marijuana cookies were passed around in copious amounts at the opening.
somehow ‘weed’ cookies, just doesn’t make it.
see: EUNICE KIM, ‘MOON THE MAGIC LOSER’. CANADA, 2008.
Magic, check – !!
then I wrote up a huge review of Joe’s debut painting show in NYC, at CANADA, titled ‘KURGAN WAVES’ – which ran JAN 27- MARCH 4, 2006.
coincidentally the same time DAN ASHER’S ‘BIRD OF PREY’ opened at Passerby.
which just goes to show you how ‘hot’ the scene – used to be.
sorry, the pix from that opening, or either of those 2 openings, are no longer available online.
but you can read the follow-up post, which states the obvious: brilliant show, and sure enough KEN JOHNSON followed thru, a few weeks later . . with a strong review in the TIMES, on FEB 17th.
see: JOE BRADLEY ‘KURGAN WAVES’, CANADA.
but otherwise, the media & the collectors who follow like dumb sheep, were a hard call.
just google JERRY SALTZ & his early take on Joe Bradley . . “I don’t get it.”
so anyways, I managed to score a nice size drawing from JOE, for my inspired effort – if I don’t say so myself. so whereas usually, having just been fired by Walter at artnet, for “being too successful” . . I sometimes didn’t even have the $2 for the subway, let alone a few hundred for the art, at least this time, all was: magic.
I got a real nice piece, and it says, ‘Thanks Nancy’, too.
but who am I, when we are talking, mega watt . . LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / !!!
I can’t even do the math, on that raise . . % now.
I recently brought this to the attention of a young, aspiring art collector, who happens to be my son.
he’s in finance – hedge funds, and only 25 . . so go figure !!
kind of just as gifted as Simon, but with his head on his shoulders, not in his ‘pipe’.
and he said incredulously, “well I hardly think people are gonna know what goes on from art magazines.” !! !!
and, I’m like, dude: BLOOMBERG NEWS and FORBES – are NOT art magazines !!
as for ELEANOR CAYRE.
well, telepathy direct from DAN in heaven . . and his LOVE for stories, and the reason why we are all so messed-up, is behind this.
then, guess I gotta shut those grouchy voices down.
don’t want to end up like PEACHES GELDOF, talking to the dead, and ending up: dead.
ALEISTER CROWLEY, omg.
wannabe collector, even worse art consultant !! . . ELEANOR typifies what used to bum the hell out of . . me, SIMON and DAN.
she shot me a couple of bucks to document her ‘STATION’ show in Miami, a decade back bye now.
and then she thought . . she owned me ?
mistake # 1.
she picked me up in her chauffeur-driven Escalade, and took me to what was then ‘SUNDAY’ gallery, in Chelsea – HORTON, on L.E.S., now. to tell her which . . KELTIE FERRIS to buy ?!!
in other words: gimme some FREE ADVICE.
since FERRIS is all garbage and there’s no way to tell, I declined, “can’t say” . . but – kept polite.
but I def got the feeling I was being driven around both as a kind of . . insider ‘status’ accessory, and even worse . . as a free ‘art advisory’ for someone who was then going to turn around and cash in . . on my smarts, for herself & for her ‘consulting’ business.
for a chauffeur-driven ride ?
then she just casually dropped that CANADA had reneged on her purchase of a painting from the
JOE BRADLEY, ‘KURGAN WAVE’ show, guess she was an artlovers fan, bless her heart – and they had offered her instead a piece from his new ‘Mr. SCHMAGOO’ show – and what did I think of that ?
knowing damn well that was a ‘million dollar’ question . . I just rolled my eyes heaven-ward. and kept a poker face.
well, she said she was going to decline.
which she did, and every time you google her,it comes up as her biggest ‘regret’.
now SIMON, Simon . . would have shown off, and would not only have told her to buy it, (well, maybe not exactly, he wasn’t quite that sharp at that point) but he would have given her the run-down on everything else that was hot, and that kind of info is PRICELESS, just for the ATTENTION, and maybe a joint. or, in this case maybe a dinner.
DAN . . would have started cursing her . . as a ‘user’ – up and down the block, and maybe caused her enough agitation, she would never come back. if not make her car crash, driver and all.
I just blew her off. zero of zero = zero. so what’s the diff.
plus like they say, I don’t suffer fools too well. must be my ‘autistic’ side.
I’m sure as hell not going to let somebody else peddle their ‘consulting’ services . . on my back. and . . no dime.
either one of us: me, Dan or Simon . . could have built any one of you a world class collection, and Simon did, believe it. and for what ?
Sunday soirees, and all the drugs you can smoke . . dinners at at the Odeon.
and yet there we were broke as hell, in a nutshell, it’s called: on the bitter side of glitter.
just to leave y’all on a good note.
here’s to . . JOE BRADLEY.
one JOE BRADLEY is worth all 70 galleries on the Lower East Side !! circa spring 2014.
no matter what KEN JOHNSON says. or doesn’t say. he just laid it out like a tourist road map, is all.
he’s no real scout dog = there !!
and no, PETER COFFIN does not hold a candle to JOE BRADLEY.
sorry to burst your bubble. when an artist leaves a ‘trail’ of previous dealers in his wake, there’s usually a reason. don’t ask me, I’ve spilled enough beans.
ask KREPS, and . . VENUS OVER MANHATTAN. though maybe not, in the latter case.
he might have too much invested, already.
try to channel SIMON – in your dreams, he knows !!
but talking bout Madison Ave. VENUS OVER MANHATTAN, and all.
wonder what that slime bag YOSHII, is doing without Simon’s advice these days.
what do you think happens, when you don’t pay the people . . that feed ya info ?
they . . die.
old samurai saying, artlovers 101.
continues . .
DAN was really an exceptional artist. a very feeling, and a very funny person, but prone to outbreaks esp on those nearest and dearest. when he started to feel very comfortable with a person or place, the overflow of frustration he felt at his life – began to sputter outwards, increasing over time.
he was a person at odds with his humanity, and overwhelmed by his inner artistic drive.
but that was his . . great, singularity.
if you didn’t read his interview with BEN BERLOW, maybe you will go back to it today. it looks long, but, as it unfolds . . it becomes absolutely fascinating. and fragile.
not only does the real Dan resonate, but so does his unique charm, yes. he could be charming. his humor, and insight are off the wall . .
plus it’s an apt reflection of NYC at the time.
the bits about SPENCER SWEENEY and GAVIN (BROWN) are so true, that I can tell you.
Gavin did in fact, way before this interview took place – give Dan a show, way back when the gallery was called Passerby on 15th St – but nothing sold, and I guess Gavin couldn’t afford to float that kind of no-where dollars boat.
so . . is it the lack of insight on the part of collectors – that Dan was so unrecognized and underfunded. I think you’d have to say yes, esp if you look around at the sorry art scene that surrounds us today.
though you’d also think maybe it was the role of a really gifted gallerist – to get the ‘real’ art across ? maybe the collectors are just that . . awful.
they sure don’t go for . . misfits.
I’d say, ha !!
but – it’s not so funny.
same, ditto with the mainstream critics.
all I know is, get back to me in maybe 2, 5, for sure . . 10 years.
if you bought SPENCER SWEENEY you . . lost.
if you DIDN’T buy DAN ASHER, you lost out – big time.
it’s so obvious – how do you NOT get it ?
how do you NOT feel heat from a . . flame.
also, the part about DEVENDRA BANHART, as told by Dan – is priceless.
DAN ASHER, ‘Extreme Backyard Wrestling’ – large C-PRINT, exhibited at GBE/Passerby.
the show, titled, ‘BIRD OF PREY’ opened OCT 14, 2005 – to NO reviews. wtf ?
it was an amazing show, right off the charts.
INSTALLATION PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
you can read a brief description of the show, and my disappointed one line rant, re critics . . in this town:
“it was one of the best shows of FALL 2005 which for no good reason slipped by under the mainstream radar.” – here.
when you see a ‘link’ to more photos, on this site – and then get an ‘ERROR 404 – NOT FOUND’ PAGE, it’s because we had to drop a whole archive of photos, (ALNY ARCHIVE) due to costs of re-formatting the site, when web format made a big change-over – re: mobile devices.
and, I just got fed up with seeing my photos everywhere, withno credit, let alone minimal usage fee, and / or permission .. nor link back to artlovers, etc.
plus it costs a lot of dough – to maintain a steady stream of over 200,000+ google hits a day – which was what was happening. so we just cut it all back.
and that’s why the IN-HOUSE SEARCH, doesn’t work either, oand hasn’t been cured of it’s back door (translate: google) hacking.
maybe I’ll get around to re-formatting them one day, maybe when some gallery, or gallerist in this dumbed-down town finally gets around to putting some of – my work up on their walls.
not one of my photos has yet seen the light of day – of a gallery exhibit.
though I get more traffic in one day than these jerks, (mainly) – get all year.
I’m picking up Dan’s prickly mantle – where he left off. why the hell, not.
though all in all, I’d say I was pretty damn restrained about it.
though I guess chopping off a whole block of archives – is pretty extreme in its own way.
talk about . . ARTISTIC FREEDOM !! chop chop, f-ck you.
put it this way, even though I fueled many a new artist & gallery to wide acclaim, and new found & mucho !! big $$$ in the years 2002-2004 while I was at artnet, damn it – if success wasn’t going to bring me down, according to Walter Robinson, who fired me for that very reason: “too successful” – can’t have it, chop.
and all these galleries who took the dollars they made from publicity I gave them – and then forked it over to Artforum. a big wtf moment for me, I can tell you that.
thanks for nothing . . losers. where are they now ?
sad story. go ask FOXY PRODUCTION.
yep, after that great run at artnet, I found myself so broke in the year following, I actually had to jump a subway turnstile to get home from Dan’s ‘Bird of Prey’ opening.
I remember this distinctly because . . I got caught, and had to pay a friggin’ $60 fine.
$60 it cost me.
but, on the other hand you can see how much Dan and seeing Dan’s work meant to me – that I went knowing I had no way to get home. in fact I tried to hit Dan up for the $2 – but he was too broke, too.
I shoulda hit up – Gavin.
I can just hear Dan laughing up there, on that one.
though to be fair, like Dan – I have to say, Gavin did help me out sometimes, because I “seemed’ so desperate.
what is about desperate – and being fired for being “too successful” – that make them rhyme ?
and like Dan, I was saying for a long time, to Gavin, come on Man – just give me, one, one . . 2 week show !!
but, I’m so over that – I can’t even begin to tell you.
end of story.
all I can say is:
if sushi was heroin, we’d all be . . dead.
what am I saying, I am the only one – left standing !!
I guess, dead a lot sooner. but if the big bucks sushi days – didn’t exact a toll, the hard times certainly – did.
as for yours truly, what did I tell you . . tomboy chick !!
we were all fast friends, for decades – with lots of funny stories to tell between us, and among us.
we loved each others’ art, and shared the mighty struggle against the dumbed-down masses,
the party vultures, and esp. the get-over artists, translate: collectors.
whenever one of us, backed into a run of good luck, he would pretty much use it to help the others.
but those are what the stories are . . all about !!
BEN BERLOW . . deserves a lot of credit for taking care of Dan’s estate so well.
Ben, legally designated by Dan Asher to be his executor . . published a remarkable interview with Dan – that took place, just a month or so before Dan finally lost the cancer battle. Dan died April 23, 2010.
any interview that starts off . .
“Before I knew Dan, I knew him as the craziest guy at the 10th Street Baths” – has got to be both engaging, and . . ‘conjuring’ !!
read: ‘DAN ASHER by BEN BERLOW’ – BOMB MAGAZINE/SUMMER 2010
the strangest thing for me in the interview – was when he mentions the CAKE SHOP incident. that actually was the last time I saw Dan, the night he had that big dust-up at CAKE SHOP and he had got kicked, literally – to the curb outside. me and my daughter Kate just happened by out of the blue !!
(“a bunch of Asperger’s people have a telepathy . . !!”)
DAN was a cursin’, screamin’ and yellin’ at full tilt . . he was in a real rant and could not be consoled, for love or money.
I was seriously concerned the cops were gonna roll up any second, and take him away. we even offered to take him out for dinner, nada. in fact he got very abusive & hurtful towards us – just for caring !!
it was sad for me, to have my twenty-something daughter who had known Dan her whole life – treated like this. esp as she was going to foot the dinner, I was broke.
we just reached a point where we could not take it anymore – and left him to his howling at the gods, alone. I guess, just by a fluke, or was it telepathy . . I had caught Dan at his lowest point.
I had certainly caught him at his highest – when he had just inherited a big, big pile of money, and was making those iceberg photos. $400 sushi lunches – here we come !!
I guess there’s some kind of poetry, symmetry – in that. seeing how that Cake Shop night stood out so vividly . . in own mind.
the part in the interview that I loved the best though, was when Dan talks about his love of other people’s stories !!
“I would hang out at Burrough’s with Patti Smith in the 70s, before he hung out with James Grauerholz. We’d all tell stories and have a wonderful time.”
Dan also relates how he loves “humor”, and people with a sense of humor.
I think that’s what Dan loved best about me, besides my ability to archive and organize his place during it’s heyday, beyond being what he concluded was a fellow, high-functioning ‘autistic’ . . beyond my art skills and art smarts – was my sense of humor.
Dan came alive for me – in this post, the eternal . . unbroken circle.
DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, 1980s, pastel on paper. 14 x 11 in.
image via BOMB MAGAZINE
BEN BERLOW is a NYC-based artist, and executor of the DAN ASHER ESTATE.
Ben works a day job as registrar at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea.
he is married, and recently became father to a beautiful young daughter.
all of these traits play into why Ben is doing such a good job at keeping the flame alive – for Dan, for which his friends thank him – very much.
I’m thinking Ben became for Dan – the son, he never had.
DAN ASHER: UNDERDOG, no more.
I heard that the MARTOS GALLERY, located in Chelsea . . was showing some DAN ASHERS at the Independent Art Fair of last month, and that the work had even attracted some serious media attention, specifically: the NEW YORK TIMES.
that’s so cool . . that Dan’s work could rise above the usual suspects in a cutting edge fair like that. though I’m not surprised, in an increasingly over-populated art world of ‘wannabes’ . . I had no doubt, Dan’s singular intensity was always going to prevail.
so I swung by the gallery, and sure enough . . DAN has found a serious platform here. TAYLOR TRABULUS, the Martos Gallery director . . who personally seems to be very interested in Dan and his world – told me that the gallery will be mounting a major show for DAN, this coming NOV 2014 – and she is working closely with Dan’s executor, BEN BERLOW to make this happen.
Taylor was kind enough to provide me with some images – close to the type of pieces that were shown at the Independent, all larger-sized oil stick, or pastel on paper – from the early 80s.
guess the art world’s best kept ‘dirty little secret’ – that everybody who’s anybody owns a few, and they are looking to make a killing . . is secret – no more.
DAN ASHER IMAGES – COURTESY: MARTOS GALLERY – 540 WEST 29TH STREET, CHELSEA, NYC
DAN always knew that his day would come !!
a veritable ‘live wire’, if there ever was one – the fact that mainstream support, translate: the not very inspired ‘critics’ who dominated the scene in the 80s/90s – eluded him in his lifetime, only fueled his frustration, while stoking his firecracker personality & uniquely powerful . . creativity.
a contemporary of JEAN MICHEL’s, they were close friends – who lacked Basquiat’s charismatic charm, and back story – DAN nonetheless had that great vibrant 80s ‘juice’ in no short supply. his greatness went over a lot of people’s heads, esp when his obstinate & contrary character kicked in.
but that was Dan, hard-wired from day one, and it’s just this, his very personal primal scream at life, that explodes to life in everything he touched – be it the pencil or ink drawings, oil stick or pastels, the early 70s black & white BOB MARLEY photographs, on through . . his great 90s iceberg & extreme wrestling documentary color photography series.
from the moment his brain engaged – no mater the format or cause – Dan’s huge internal ‘rush’ of self-expression, bubbled-up, and made . . ‘CONTACT’.
his impulsive non-stop creative urge took flight, and as you can see from the above samples, it was total – ‘touch down’.
watch out world, DAN ASHER about to take over, and about . . time.
while I was at PACE PRINTS, 521 West 26th St, checking out the HOW and NOSM show, I caught a great SHEPARD FAIREY, down an extended exhibit – hallway.
the message is clear.
the riff . . is bouncing off ROY LICHENSTEIN & comic book art, in general.
though the ‘drippy’ stuff, around the ER – is much more contemporary, makes me think of TAYLOR McKIMENS.
that ‘drippy’ stuff – is what takes the piece to another place.
plus it’s a nice tension/contrast – that it’s drawn so awkward and skimpy, as opposed to more bubbly or robust.
makes the over-all expression of the whole piece come off as more authentic and spontaneous, and in that sense – more powerful, raw.
as opposed to a more ready-made ‘canned’ goods, ‘perfecto’ – stylized-type composition.
of which Fairey is clearly capable.
he didn’t just phone it in, which at this point . . he could easily be doing.
the artist has survived mega-success, and is still – in the room.
love how the OBEY GIANT logo is half off, and half-toned.
the message is clear, but the pictorial range runs from obvious to . . not.
adds a third dimension, in what is other-wise a flat plane piece.
it’s like Fairey himself, remains . . in the picture.
the metal plate ground – is very cool, too.
also nice touch, detail: how the circle around the logo is ridge-edged to mimic the barrel of a gun.
what a ride that OBEY GIANT has taken, from the early days plastered all over Manhattan, to sitting on a high-end print !!
nothing April Fool’s day – bout that.
esp since the mainstream press, insert ‘New York Times’, specifically . . ROBERTA SMITH, either totally ignored the work, or trashed it outright when it came off the street, and popped up . . in exhibits.
specifically: DEITCH PROJECTS . . SHEPARD FAIREY, ‘MAYDAY’, MAY 1 – MAY 29, 2010.
(& check out the show’s poster !!)
ROBERTA took one of her first big falls in credibility – with that.
so, happy April’s Fool Day !!
more power – to the mainstream . . ignored !!
the underground is not so underdog – anymore.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
talking about . . NUKES !!
and, the grand flux . . of LIFE & DEATH.
HOW AND NOSM – ‘WAY THINGS ARE’
MARCH 7 – APRIL 5, 2014
PACE PRINTS, 521 WEST 26th STREET, CHELSEA, NYC.
all the action, both painterly and narrative . . fluctuates on a very very shallow plane.
life vs destruction, life, death / future reality – it’s a ‘MESH’.
a grid-based mesh. the MATRIX.
and it doesn’t exactly look: utopian.
but hey, the birds and ferns and light bulbs look . . hopeful.
or are they . . just ghostly half-lives emanating from the past !!
the traditional wall – between life and death has become a . . m-e-m-b-r-a-n-e.
and, opposed to . . MEMORY !!
what the hell, is memory, now. now – that we are wired to the web.
these pieces aren’t so much anger-filled, as just, laying it . . down !!
Japanese-style, German . . precision.
street art – vision.
facing your demons, ha. it’s a big big sea out there. radar aside.
big enough to swallow a jet plane, and it’s ‘hi-tech’ payload.
black box and all.
BOMBS AWAY, into the SEA !!
the deep watery, watery grave.
plus: love how that grid-like background breaks down into diamonds, American colonial quilt patterns !!
and origami – hooray.
also: a kind of literal . . ‘radar’ depiction ?
all art . . is a membrane in flux, telling a story.
it’s just the . . ‘WAY THINGS ARE’.
and, yes – that is a tear drop.
I’m guessing this represents . . us.
civilization as we know it – graff ‘writers’ aka spray painters . . at the forefront.
note the Basquiat ‘crown’ again / chess ‘castle’ game piece . . just below the spray painter’s hand, at center. under the umbrella’s shade.
‘nozzles’, and variable caps/tips – are key . . to a graffiti artist.
shake that can & channel . . future ‘shock’.
I crossed paths with these guys back in 2006.
they made a very big, if . . non-verbal impression.
speaking of which . . .
watch: HOW & NOSM PAINT . . the L.A. WEEKLY BUILDING, FEB 2012 – PART I
it’s a good intro, but these guys are not exactly public speaking – stars !!
their ‘animation’ and skills – lie in their ‘hands-to-brain’ . . connects !!
though they do bring up . . life before the internet !! FASCINATING & FAB !!
watch: PART II
this is a GREAT !! CLIP !!
mostly because it’s wordless, and has a great snappy soundtrack.
but, a few key facts emerge:
they don’t like the term ‘street artist’, they prefer to be called . . ‘muralists’.
watch: PART III
the finished project, plus a great rambling discourse on the behind-the-scene . . tech issues.
including how they came to use a ‘limited’, black, white, and red . . palette.
very FAB !!
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH – except the YouTube screen grabs.
so, contrary to what I had thought.
which was quite logical, given the information that first surfaced . . .
Brit-based art & fashion photographer . . TIM WALKER did NOT post that haunting image of colorful dresses hanging from the boughs of a huge old tree.
according to a follow-up media article – the image was “posted” to her Facebook account by her “social media team” – one hour after she was found dead, from self-inflicted hanging.
the clear implication is . . this was her parting thought. and it’s a beautiful one.
one that leads from sadness & death – to new life, new trails, and sweet ‘dreams’.
L’WREN SCOTT left behind a touching, pictorial trail of bread crumbs, and contrary to what that article linked above says, personally I strongly believe it was misguided bullying that took that lovely & personal, very positive and super emotive – ‘parting’ image from us. if a person leaves instructions to post an image, a thought . .
I think to not respect that – is the disgrace.
life and death – have always had shape-shifting dimensions, but never more so, with the advent of the web.
from a tiny tear – a beautiful tree did grow.
it was WRONG to delete L’WREN’S final intentions.
TIM WALKER – “great #inspiration”, “love his #photography #light #colour”.
TIM WALKER, ‘THE DRESS LAMP TREE’, ENGLAND, 2002.
image via MICHAEL HOPPEN CONTEMPORARY
FOR A WORLD AT NEVER ENDING . . . WAR !!
LAST WEEKEND TO CATCH:
DEVIN CLARK / ANTHONY FREDA – ‘THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL’
BUNNYCUTLET GALLERY – 158 ROEBLING ST, BROOKLYN
MARCH 7 – MARCH 30, 2014
HRS: WED-SUN / 2-8 PM
more info: BUNNYCUTLET – ‘THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL’
THIS WEEK’S – TOP FOUR – YOU CAN FILE UNDER: THAT’S . . JUST AWESOME!
1. OBAMA’S TOP FEAR is Manhattan getting NUKED. Thanks for sharing !!
2. OBAMA ON RUSSIA: ‘This is NOT another cold war’.
3.OMG: THE US AIR FORCE has 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles/ ICBMs on alert at all time – and they want everybody to know !!, never mind the cheating scandals & drug issues / and that’s our side !!
like I said, just great. that’s just frigging awesome – in other words:
we are lucky to be alive on any given day.
4. I was RIGHT about the slinky IRANIANS & the YELLOW DOGS !!
a photo-copy mistake. and that’s . . it. end of story ?!!
DON’T TASE ME, BRO ?
L’WREN SCOTT vs MICK JAGGER.
MY AUNT PIGGY in TORONTO.
YOUR AUNT PIGGY in … IDAHO ?
if you want to check out some art in BROOKLYN, this is the last weekend to catch a small retrospective offering of the work of . . MATT LEINES.
& YES, YOU CAN ALSO FILE THIS UNDER: WTF ?
FOR A WORLD AT WAR !!
‘MATT LEINES – THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION’
thru MARCH 29, 2014 / FRI & SAT / HRS: 12-6 PM
note: believe the gallery hours have been extended to 6 PM – for this weekend.
GREENPOINT TERMINAL GALLERY – 67 WEST ST #320, GREENPOINT TERMINAL WAREHOUSE, BROOKLYN
ARTWORK by MATT LEINES / image via ART NERD NEW YORK
THE LAST BRUCENNIAL – ‘GIRLS ONLY’
MARCH 7 – APRIL 4, 2014
837 WASHINGTON ST, MEATPACKING DISTRICT, NYC – HRS: WED-SUN / 12-6 PM
CRAFTY, with the SKILLS !!
day ‘dress’ . . anybody ?
it’s funny how the stripes and knee pads complete the scenario. and the orange hue, of course.
which otherwise . . esp the black and white hat has post impressionist-in-the-garden overtones ?
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
THE LAST BRUCENNIAL – ‘GIRLS ONLY’
MARCH 7 – APRIL 4, 2014
847 WASHINGTON ST, MEATPACKING DISTRICT, NYC – HRS: WED-SUN / 12-6 PM
BEST ‘HYPER-GRAPHIC’ PHOTO . . MORIAH SEE.
reminding me of RICHARD PRINCE, JEFF KOONS and .. STEFAN SAGMEISTER.
but what seals the deal for me – here, is how her calves are so . . ‘chunky’, and not airbrushed, it’s a curious tension, over all.
BEST REALIST, DOCUMENTARY / NAKED PHOTO, GOES TO . . MARGARITA JIMENO
so FRESH. so HAPPY. so SELFIE !!
so far past, so over the heads of all those other in-your-face explicit ole school porn dawgs.
we get it, ALREADY !!
get HAPPY !!
BEST CROWD SHOT, mostly because . . competing for my heart along with that ‘rough’ and ‘ready’ MORGAN ST. EVEREST painting above, that is MY OTHER FAVORITE, ‘INFORMATION GRAPHICS’ & ‘STREET STYLE’ PAINTING . . just, just visible on the right.
INTERLOPER ‘BOY’ ART . . by AARON KUHN.
ha, so cute, what a man cave !!
note the dirty sneakers at right. love it. cracked iPhone screen and all.
and I mean is that Phallic, or what.
just staying on topic, ‘GIRLS ONLY’ !!
‘POST YORK’ – a multi-media project – a comic book illustrated by his dad . . JAMES ROMBERGER, inspired in part by Crosby, which comes with a musical flexidisc, music by CROSBY . . just garnered a very prestigious WILL EISNER AWARD – NOMINATION 2013 for BEST SINGLE ISSUE (One-Shot).
congrats, James and Crosby. seriously !!
and see, growing up in a storefront with artist parents on the Lower East Side, back in day when the 80s, and the L.E.S. (!!) were the real deal – doesn’t seem to be such a bad way to bring up a kid, after all.
(just ask Kate & Theo !! 5 Rivington St / East Storefront)
CROSBY – PERFORMS: ‘POST YORK’ image via The Rumpus
most definite, check out: CROSBY, JAMES ROMBERGER, ‘POST YORK’ . . THE RUMPUS – THE NEW YORK COMICS SYMPOSIUM – !!
with many great illustrations & good background info.
IMAGE via SLATE
CROSBY’S parents . . JAMES ROMBERGER and MARGUERITE VAN COOK have been in the news as well, big time.
for another project.
they worked with the late DAVID WOJNAROWICZ on his critically acclaimed autobiography, a graphic novel – ’7 MILES A SECOND’ – which was just re-released 2013 in a deluxe edition by Fantagraphics, and which received a ton of fab fab press, and a place on the NEW TIMES best seller list.
Crosby’s dad JAMES ROMBERGER penned the drawings, while his mom, MARGUERITE VAN COOK did the inking/coloring, via . . very vivid watercolor.
and, definite, catch: a great review in . . SLATE !!
watch: CROSBY, ‘Are You Listed ?’ . . on YouTube, AUG 2007 – DEITCH PROJECTS.
of course, one of young CROSBY’S . . most amusing 15 mins of fame, to date !!
would have to be this clip of him, doing manual labor, and boring !! – with a few other (also bored) downtown denizens, in support of the very last DASH SNOW exhibit: ‘NEST’ – at DEITCH PROJECTS !!
well, who do you thunk, ripped up all that paper !!
ps: if you listen closely, you can catch taskmaster KATHY GRAYSON admonishing Crosby to get back – to it !!
yeah . . way to go Kathy.
take a kid who does graphics for SWIZZ BEATZ !! and have him rip up phone books, for Dash Snow.
good crashing – CROSBY, or what !!
MORE PIX – TO FOLLOW.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH, unless otherwise noted.
IVANA BASIC . . is the name of artist who did that ‘GIRLS ONLY’,
ghostly strange haunting transparent beautifully realized and articulated, melancholy and erotic,
a hanging piece – in the window of the BRUCENNIAL 2014 exhibit.
it hangs like a heavy gauge piece of mylar, as opposed to fabric.
so it doesn’t flutter, but upside . . it is both transparent, and opaque depending on the light,
time of day, and . . how you walk around it.
a self-described ‘multi-media’ artist, according to her website – she was born in BELGRADE, SERBIA.
no date of birth is provided.
she holds a Master’s Degree from the TISCH SCHOOL of ART, NYU & a BFA from the School of Art & Design, University of Belgrade, Serbia.
and, wouldn’t you know . . she has an amazing online / portfolio website.
AND, the site is very playful . . tech-wise.
she is definitely a ‘materials’ person, as well as an incredible draftsperson.
this is: the link to her website / IVANA BASIC,
where you first encounter this beautiful ethereal image:
it is animated, with the wind blowing through the leaves on the tree, and the long blue grasses shiver.
the image can also be ‘pulled’ out – horizontally – neverending / infinite panels keep repeating across the screen.
if you follow the ‘SELECTED WORKS’ option, you will find her ‘ABOUT’ & . . PORTFOLIO.
where you can find:
IVANA BASIC, ‘THE SKIN’, c-print. year 2009.
a series of photographic portraits.
model: ALEKSANDRA ZIRAVAC
location: Belgrade, SERBIA