OPENING TO-NITE: FRI MAY 17, 2013 / 6-8 PM

MAY 18 – JUNE 29, 2013
Gavin Brown’s enterprise – 620 GREENWICH ST, WEST VILLAGE – NYC

when young artists ask me about JOE BRADLEY, and what he was like in his early days, in the very happening, beginning decade of this millennium, when he was trying to break onto the scene .. the first thing that comes to mind was how extra-ordinarily respectful and appreciative he was to anybody who ‘got’ who he was, and what he ‘did’. you’d thunk that was art school 101 – but funny, it is not !!

maybe it was because he was so hard to get ? that ‘recognition’ was like clear flowing water to him, and anybody who offered up a sip – was a huge solace ?

that said – for sure, he sailed over a lot of peoples’ heads at first. he did ‘abstrac’t art, when people were doing psychedelic collage parties. comic art. organic musings. also he was very very wild, in that .. quelle horreur, he was an active musician. a frontman for a crazy ‘art’ band called Cheeseburger. he used to show up, revved up, resplendent in girl’s tights, and rainbow suspenders. ha. o.k. sometimes he just wore white jeans. no, I don’t have any pix of him in the tights. sometimes having fun, trumps pulling out the camera.

but I did catch a photo of him way back, playing with Cheeseburger, and in fact – I was the first to post his image – mainstream – on artnet.

JOE BRADLEY, on the left, with his Cheeseburger bandmates. downtown NYC. JULY 24, 2003.
see: GOOD-BYE TO SUMMER 2004 – artnet

but forget the music, it was hard-core & spirited, but not really memorable . . . inside that head ticked a very lethal .. brain. the humor so dry, it could bust a desert . . equivalate a drug trip, cross-up the thought ‘zones’.
I see from the title of this show, he is still . . in fine form.

the ‘Greek’ reference reminds me of the ‘SWOLLEN FOOT’ video/music project of NICHOLAS STEINDORF and DARREN WILL – presented at ENTWINE, just a few months back. it also reminds me of SIMON CERIGO the recently departed art maven. who was very proud of his .. ancient Greek heritage.
he wasn’t exactly ‘lazy’, but he was kind of ADD/no patience .. and prob, sometimes too high, to get down to brass tacks, always being on the fast track to pleasure. or really the most direct, as in direct, do not pass Go. do not pick up $200 – road to pleasure. the road induced by the narcotic .. lotus flower.
the road to .. art. in its truest meaning. exhilaration.
yep, Simon was a Greek, a true Lotus-eater, if I ever did see one.

I bet there are quite a few collectors, I’m not naming names . . who miss Simon’s free-flowing but, acutely correct .. advice on where to art/park their millions, this auction season. hey, no wonder the samurai class disappeared, pay your people. they are NO damn good to you – dead. yeah, one was a really big Japanese ‘pretender’. almost rhymes with ‘tushi’.

the other interesting thing that comes to mind, obviously – is the work. which is really the kernel of the deal.

Joe’s work was so ‘banal’ and ‘abstract’ . . yet, so in your-in-face and challenging. as to be shop-stopping, at least – to me. no dead dogs here. the first piece I saw of his was a ‘found’ brown rug hung on the wall. at that music party above, actually.
ha. and he was serious.

catch me if you can !!

that was in the ………. SUMMER 2003.

the next work I saw of his – was his first one man show at CANADA, ‘Kurgan Waves’ – which opened in JAN of 2006. so take heart young dudes, it was a long slow road for Joe.
well, all things being relative. his friends were shooting by him, like shooting stars, since well before 2003. you could see the frustration – written all over his face, at every intersection.
sometimes, the slow turtle wins the race. esp if he is BRAINY. and, against the grain.

titled, ‘Kurgan Waves’, pipe-bomb brains title, or what .. JOE didn’t have much dough, as in $, so the paintings were made from shallow, flimsy store-bought stretchers, painted in primary solid colors, and strung together in a fragile way – to compose large abstract pieces that – stood like, men. equivilated: men. the human form.

though there were no eyes, or mouths, or any human features, just the ‘proportions’ of the pieces .. animated the whole. made the metaphoric .. leap.

so I’m thinking, it’s kind of the exact compositional opposite mental-state ‘startle’ you get, as opposed to say, the recently discussed Jack Goldstein work. where the hyper-realist photo image becomes totally flat and abstracted . .

in Joe Bradley’s work, no matter how minimal, or abstract the elements are – his work . . . always adds up to, takes on a ‘humanist’ stance. it’s very mind-blowing, if you think about it. the kinetic property of the work is in . . . the ‘cross-over’.

even in the black & white invite image, above – the grid looks to be more of a ‘window’ – than anything else.

the piece on the left, reminds me of Joe in his ‘performing’ tights !! damn, I wish I had a photo.
the other 2 pieces . . the ‘rug’.

see what I mean, about minimal elements adding up to a ‘humanist’ posture …
a featureless one, at that. no face. but I guess the head ‘proportion’ is there – as the tipping point.

and funny enough, typical Joe Schmoe, his next solo show – was pretty much all about – features !! details.
as in features on a face. a smile, a grin. a superman logo on a chest. as opposed to abstracted bodies.

Mr. Magoo. Mr. Shmagoo . . . the show: ‘Shmagoo Paintings’ opened Oct 2008.
some people felt confused. they could ‘get’ the ‘Kurgan Waves’ figures, but not the close-ups !!

I’m just shaking my head – in disbelief, and ok, laughter, here.
I remember at the opening, one innane socialite-type collector telling me, she had bought a piece from the Kurgan show, but CANADA took it away – and sold it to a bigger better fish, and had offered her one of the new Schmagoo paintings instead, and she had turned it down.
no words to relate what idiots collectors can ‘be’. she wasn’t about to pay for my advice – and we already had one person in the family giving it away for free, the afore-mentioned Simon – so I just kept my mouth shut.
about the only time – I do. ah, life in the fast lane.


watch: IT’S MR MAGOO !!/ Thin-skinned, haha. short-sighted / art collectors – way yes !!
Mr. Magoo originated . . in 1949.

ps: yeah, I got . . scored is more like it, an early piece of Joe Bradley’s. it’s just a drawing on paper, but it’s big. 2 ft x 3 ft.
for sure, whatd’ya think ?

next up – pix from: the JOE BRADLEY OPENING TO-NITE.
then: BACK TO YALE !!