opened SAT APRIL 12, 2014
the show runs thru MAY 18, 2014
HRS: SAT & SUN / 1-7 PM

the gallery space was the perfect setting for viewing the work. serious, quiet, not too big. with nice clean, modern lines.
but, still lots of old time – character back outside on the street.

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.

BEN BERLOW, ‘Untitled’, 2013. acrylic, gouache on paper. 33 x 25-1/4 in.
entrancing and tough, not too tough, and more entrancing. that’s ok with me.

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.

BEN BERLOW, ‘Untitled’, 2013. Acrylic and gouache on paper. Two parts:
left: 25 x 7 in. / right: 25 x 9-1/2 in.

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 !!

BEN BERLOW, ‘Untitled’, 2013. Casein on brown paper, graphite. 22.5 x 14 in.

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.

talking about quilts, and zen-like paintings, and all things dear to my heart, including the departed ones, DAN ASHER and SIMON CERIGO . .

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 ?!!



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 !!

BEN BERLOW, ‘Untitled’, 2013. acrylic gouache on paper. 25 x 31 in.
the price range is roughly between $1,750 – $3,500.
very doable.

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.

HRS: SAT & SUN / 1-7 PM



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

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.

~DAN ASHER . . GHOST gets final word

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.

his t-shirt reads:


see: DAN ASHER exhibits . . 2005

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.
all radar.
on telepathic . . wings.


being caught between the two of you . . man, that was some fun sandwich !!
spicy tuna sushi roll, anybody ?
slash, slash.


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.

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.

in that summer 2013 show: a row of paintings by JOE BRADLEY, titled, from left to right: MUGGLES #2, #3, #4, #5.

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.
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.

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 / !!!

see: HOW JOE BRADLEY’S PRICES surged 1,100% in five years . . BLOOMBERG NEWS, JAN 8, 2011.



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 !!

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.

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.
wtf ?
for a chauffeur-driven ride ?

mistake #2.
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’.

f-ck that.
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 !!


see: JOE BRADLEY, ‘SCHMAGOO PAINTINGS’ / artlovers pix – from the opening !!

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 ASHER . . sings about, FREEDOM


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.

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.
go figure.
for sure,
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.


from left:

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.
sort of.
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’ !!

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.


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.



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, ‘Untitled’, 1983. pastel on paper.
42 x 30.75 in.

DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, 1980s. oil-stick on paper.
42.5 x 30.25 in.

DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, 1983. oil-stick on paper.
30 x 22.25 in.

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.

SHEPARD FAIREY, ‘POWER (Metal)’, 2012.
screenprint in three colors on aluminum plate with spray paint. 56 x 42 in.
Edition of 5.

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.

beautiful draftsmanship. as grenade morphs into spray can.
very simple, very bold, graceful. eloquent, knock down – graphic info / expressive.

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.