ALFREDO MARTINEZ: New Work After China
FEB 24- APRIL 9, 2011
Althingsproject @ Neighborhood Church of Greenwich Village/NCGV
269 Bleecker St – bet 6 & 7th Ave, West Village, NYC


ALFREDO was in fine form – and in good spirits.
(and nice haircut, dude !!)

ALFREDO MARTINEZ – our earth – aka – the world . ‘drawing’ on hand-made collaged paper.
. . . perhaps inspired by showing in a Church storefront gallery – Alfredo took a new tack – and went global – as if to talk to world peace ?
it was a neat departure from the guns – yet just as evocative. and yep, pretty much every artist who works within the ‘gun’ genre is for peace, not terror. it’s just well – everything in this world, and even this country – is settled by violence and force – is it not ?
yeah Alfredo – it’s a great piece – really love it.

but let’s start at the beginning, it’s a nice narrative. and it was a sweet place to find our recent political escapee from China – !!

as you walk west down Bleecker St – you see the NCGV/NEIGHBORHOOD GREENWICH VILLAGE CHURCH – banner.

so, it turns out – the NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH GREENWICH VILLAGE is essentially a storefront church – and the first floor is devoted to a gallery for the visual arts – how nice. it was a fun opening – they actually served some really good white wine.

checking out Alfredo’s big gun collages . . .

ALFREDO makes his gun drawings on big sheets of paper he hand collages together himself.

another sense of the scale of the work – on the wall.

ALFREDO MARTINEZ (seated) with the show’s curator: SAMUEL W. KHO.
(I’m curious about how they first crossed paths – gonna make a point to ask Alfredo bout that – next time I see him . . . )

artist – SETH “they call me Daddy” McBRIDE !!

Alfredo Martinez (R) – with his friend – T.J.

ADAM TYSON, a big fan of Alfredo’s and a friend of SAM KHO – the show’s curator.
Adam is a painter and a writer – you can follow him: here – Adam Tyson

one of Alfredo’s small robot drawings . . .

Alfredo was looking kinda Buddha-like . . . at the opening . . .

but no doubt, he had one of his “Saturday nite specials” at his side. actually he told me it was “street legal” – a piece of metal blocked the barrel – so it could not fire – and he had brought it to the opening in that cardboard box.
look, Alfredo just has an innate ability to build and assemble guns – and that about sums it up – in a nano-nutshell. in a different time & place – that would be a good thing – or: just wait and see.
or look back.
to the brave young Maryland soldiers of the Revolutionary War of 1776 – who fought and died – at the Old Stone House – in the Battle of Brooklyn !!
same genes, dude. amen.
guns and Americans – it’s our history. get it ? it’s in our blood. dude.
in fact later, in his ‘artist’ talk Alfredo said he had been raised in SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN !!
He said his dad had owned a junk shop – and often guns, most likely illegal and real Saturday night specials – would turn up for trade and sell.

there’s nothing more natural than seeing Alfredo handle a gun.
he told me – he made it from a kit. according to Alfredo – apparently you can buy the parts online for $50 – or was that $450 !!???
it’s a PPS43 – whatever the hell – that is. but it’s an assault rifle – period.

actually Alfredo was looking for a pretty girl to hold it – and up first was – BRIGID !!

and yeah. she got the hang – of it !!

KATE wanted a try, too. anybody evil thinking of invading Williamasburg – look out !!

never mind terrorists plotting to – plant bombs in baby dolls – in baby carriages – throughout the city, but in particular at the Empire State Building.

see: a blood-thirsty Saudi Arabian college student was busted in Texas for a sickening plot to pack baby dolls with explosives, put them in strollers and set them off . . . / aka ‘the toy terror’ / NEW YORK POST/FEB 25, 2011

aka – ‘FEDS FOIL BABY-DOLL PLOT’ – !! – you just can’t make that stuff – up !!

and that was just yesterday’s !! headline. so . . .
so. don’t ask me again – why I think artists, esp NYC artists – and the kids who grew up here post 9/11 – are fascinated by guns.
enough said.

yikes. SETH McBRIDE – poster boy for – NYC artists – want guns !!

ok. time for the serious stuff. curator SAM KHO, on the right – asks Alfredo about his secret incarceration in China.
and it was sobering.
According to Alfredo – he spent 3 years in China – and the last 3 weeks of that 3 year span – in secret detention.
According to Alfredo he was tortured by the Chinese secret police. things like he was made to stand 24 hrs a day. he was put into stress positions – where you are told to hold a small object – like a book – but are not allowed to put it down – for hours. he was allowed no sleep.
he was in fear of losing his life, for real. He was kept in conditions just warm enough that he would not get hypothermia – i.e. ‘the cooler’. he was eating food that was supposed to be ‘steamed’ hot dog buns – but was in reality – he thinks – ‘crushed’ cardboard. he was terrified – that’s for real. he was held improperly – that’s for real.

watching Alfredo’s talk – American/Chilean filmmakers – NICO and KATIUSHKA. now based in Brooklyn, they were in China – when Alfredo was there, 2007-08. and they have footage of Alfredo in China – talk about video gold, dude. they are currently working on a documentary about Alfredo and that time . . . hope to keep you up-dated on that !!

also dropping by – JACK CASTILLO – an Alfredo pal from the notorious GREENEHOUSE SQUAT – days . . . in Soho – pre-China.
(need we say more ??!!)

and long-time Alfredo pal: EMIL MEMON. he let Alfredo stay in his house in the Lower East Side in 1991.

along with the big gun pieces on huge sheets of thick hand-made paper – Alfredo also had a few of his ‘rough’ sketches up on the wall . . .

it was fun to see how Alfredo “thinks” – visually – and how ‘collage’ in his case – is more of ‘note’ taking – than a decoration . . .
(apart from the collaging of his big sheets of hand-made paper – that is . . . )

super loved this one !! so funny, and whimsical – from such a big tough guy !!

and, what about this one – a “folding submachine gun” – a “personal defence weapon” – !!
(defence – sic !!)
and, note the date – 2009 B.C. !! – is that for: BEFORE CHINA ??

one of his robot – studies . . beautiful or what. elegant. fluid. realistic. dimensional. the whole 9 yards.
and yes. he did make them life-size. showed them at P.S.1 and in several Chelsea galleries – back in the day – pre-2001.
(the most notable – was called: PIG MAN !! a story – for another day.)

and yep. just as you would expect from a convicted art forger – Alfredo copyrights – and codes !! – his signature !!
yeah. calligraphy and code. amen.

just as we were leaving – we note the proverbial !! – “writing on the wall”:

For of Him
and through Him
and to Him
are all things
to whom
be glory forever

ROMANS 11:36
Adam Tyson told us – this Bleecker St. Church is currently considered extremely happening & relevant, esp to young people in the city seeking spiritual guidance.

JESSE PETERSON – who gives popular weekly lectures at the NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH GREENWICH VILLAGE/NCGV – on Sunday nights at 7 PM.

JONATHAN COWAN – who had the show previous to Alfredo’s in the storefront gallery.
he hails from SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – and told me he has many quilt makers in his family.

and what’s this beside the door – some archival magazine articles – on Alfredo !!
and yes – that is MY photo . . . meaning, I took it.
as Kate said: “you guys – were so young, at the time”.
what, only 13 years ago – how time flies.

my photo of Alfredo’s – large scale ‘gun’ drawing on collaged paper – also from about the same time.

one of the BASQUIATS – Alfredo copied – that was shown as – ‘evidence’ – in his 2002 BASQUIAT FORGERY trial !!
what a caper.
it was my photos of Alfredo – that kick-started my photo-journalist career – I just sort of backed into it – from taking casual snapshots of my friends at work. When Alfredo got convicted of art forgery, technically – wire fraud – and was sent to jail for 2 years – you can imagine how that rocked the art world, esp the blue chip – big money secondary market art world !! esp as regarding hotter-than-hot as in serious dough – as in BIG !! BIG !! money – Basquiats !! ha. the story got lots of ink. lots of media coverage. plus it was funny. like the Three Stooges.
The Man Who Would be Basquiat !!
Since I was the only one – with any photos – of him and his work – I had a nice little cottage industry going on there for a little while – sending, make that: selling !! pix of him – all over the world – !! magazines, tabloids, you name it.
not half bad for a quilt maker. make that archival quilt restorer.

and well . . . as regards the art world.
you just never know. do ya ?


anyways – just to turn the nite around, a little more skewed our way – afterwards me and Kate went to check out the newest hot spot – THE BROOKLYNEER . . .

a new bar and restaurant on lower West Houston . . . just around the corner from Bleecker St. actually pretty much opposite the FILM FORUM.

it aims to bring the best of the must-have Brooklyn ‘artisanal’ dining-out experience – closer to home for Manhattanites . . .

(the collaged “dimensional” Brooklyn Bridge mural . . .”is the brainchild of Wiiliamsburg’s DOMESTIC CONSTRUCTION”, and the “30-foot long bar top – was once part of the old Coney Island boardwalk”.)

so we don’t have to go running all the way over Brooklyn. funny thing was – Kate’s friends were coming all the way over here, from Brooklyn !! – to meet up – to say good-bye to a pal – who was departing NYC – for L.A.
go figure.

and, yeah, the food and the drinks – were that – good !!