NEW WHITNEY vs ‘old bank’ . . . ?
‘OLD BANK’ – wins !!

talking about ‘under the volcano’ – ha, !!

file this under: ‘ON TOP OF THE VOLCANO’ !! . . . caves, !!

yeah, you know, ‘under the volcano’ . . .
as in . . ‘the underground’, as in . . the under-represented creative power seething . . just below the surface of the scene, as in . . trying to get out from under the . . powers that be – at the top !!

this show, Vito’s show – was obviously the exact opposite – let’s be honest.

in the purest sense, this wasn’t a ‘pop-up’ in the real functional sense of needing to dig up any empty or alternative venue, for cheap, or better yet . . FOR FREE. this was . . a ‘pop up’ in a classic 70s Lower East Side ‘happening’ context, a shabby chic, and still . . . an absolutely awesome, beautiful and significant moment.
a moment as temporary, and as shiveringly awesome – as the glassy, prism-like soap bubbles the little kids next door are blowing up and way with a flip of their magic plastic wands, what no more tiny bubble-blowing pipes ? – on their summertime stoops.

designer budget, or well-oiled connections, or what, or not. who friggin cares ?
‘FIRST SHOW LAST SHOW’ was a show with a great card, a great title, a great line-up, and a rare chance to see for yourself . . a slice of Lower East Side history – the storied 190 Bowery Building. in a weekend of super mass, super dumbed-down art retail big time – this was an authentic voice, and intelligent voice. this was bringing it all down to the superlative ‘singular’, and . . NOTHING WAS FOR SALE..

and guess what, people got that !!

everything about this show spoke, softly. but with great eloquence. relevance, a curatorial bell ring – that caught people in the cross hairs, and stole the big FREIZE, right from under their tent poles, and divider walls.

and you know what . . ?
obviously !!
I’m still ok with it – because the novel artist line-up, the precise careful artistic production, the total sum of the whole, from the first glimpse of the graphics on the card, to the well-burnished non-commercial location, and of course . . looking at the few online pix that have surfaced . . . this show was amazing.
even if it just lives on as a virtual reality, stab in the dark – I’m glad this show was.
that the opening had to bomb, is another story.
and yeah, I’m blaming the NEW WHITNEY, the tourist traffic fairs – for the void that caused the kind of anticipated crush, I’m assuming ? that shut the opening down.
I guess bad timing on Vito’s part. should have done it on an off-weekend ?

it started to trickle in Sat night, that people were being turned away at the door, and told that although it had been clearly promoted as a public event . . . it was a private event. who knows the real reason, Vito has handled over-size audiences before ? case in point: the BHQF Biennal throw downs.
I dunno, maybe the building wasn’t covered legally for a crowd, and they didn’t want to get shut down ?
maybe HEIDI panicked. she had had a big bomb scare in Europe, the day or so, before ?
it wasn’t such a great rep – to gather. it was a major misstep.
from authentic, and wild – to elitist and . . private.

the show being shut down, before it even happened. sucked. don’t get me wrong.
plus gimme me a break, we ALL KNOW it was only going to happen for the opening night.

no matter how I love the production, please don’t fuck us over with that ‘appointment only’ – crap. we all know that’s only for VIPS and the press, and who needs . . another class ‘rejection’ in this town ? it’s like . . don’t play shabby chic & cutting edge, when you are at the top of the charts ($$$$), hire a decent security force. why didn’t you guys – man up ?
well however, and for whatever reasons, it played out, the opening did NOT GO DOWN, and became a bad elitist misstep, instead. plus from the tabloid pix – Heidi’s outfit was really bad.
what ? a sequined top, way too-skinny jeans, paired with towering, nail-studded heels.
tacky. Heidi, a wannabe hipster art moll – does not make for a pretty picture.

doesn’t mean the show wasn’t great.
in the few pix that came out online – it totally, TOTALLY lived up to my ‘intuit’ based on my experience with the scene, the art being shown, . . and the players.
totally loved how it was generational, and let’s face it . . anything that brings JOE BRADLEY up against JULIAN SCHNABEL sounded like a ball park home run from the get-go.
the classic old bank setting – was priceless.

the really big take away, is NOT some garbage about some ‘bad advance flack’, about the show . . . ‘only being about 7 (successful/careerist) white dudes’, shutting the show down, as if !!
and thankfully, for not. things don’t run that way yet, at least in NYC ca 2015 – because that is such a low ceiling fascist, bully low-brow faux stance. it’s the kind of turkey gobble-talk, only ‘the usual suspects’, let me guess, perhaps the class clown puts out ? . . because they can’t really can’t talk about art, or call the shots . . . in a more meaningful way.

and it’s so boring. god does every show – have to be diverse ? what NO women, no people of color ?
first of all, this was a private project, and second – if those kind of inane, and just plain moronic pressures, if they apply anywhere – would perhaps apply to PUBLIC PROJECTS . . institutional tax-payer funded curatorial forums.

but exactly – !!

the big take-away here is not . . on-the-fly pop-ups vs high profile starry night soiree, or even – ‘careerist male painters’ vs the rainbow coalition.

the big take-away is: where the HELL ARE THE MUSEUMS in this town ?

what the f-ck are they doing with all their money, cultural resources, and teams, literally T-E-A-M-S of well-paid, (obviously over-paid) directors, curators, administrators, and their small army of MFA assistants !! they are the – who are supposed to be putting on compelling shows of this nature – in the buildings with the security, and organization, and prob insurance (!!) in place to handle big crowds.

I mean Vito is basically a kid, if he’s even 27 / ok his dad is Julian, we get it. but, still . . he puts on a small 7 artist downtown show, in an old building way past its prime, that started life as a bank for god’s sake !! – and is being renovated for ‘creative’ media offices and retail spaces – NOT GALLERY or MUSEUM space !! – and that was shuttered for decades, and has none of the bells, whistles or even a set of exterior wall ‘hooks’ – !! for artists to play on. let alone the pull of the High Line.
and he has to shut down, or so it’s being put out – because the response to his show, is over-whelming ?!!

meanwhile . .

. . . back at the NEW WHITNEY – !!

what a joke !!
tell me the attendance numbers aren’t tanking – now that the ‘innovative’, novel, brand new artist ‘wonderland’ of an art space’s initial ‘house a & garden’ variety architectural reviews, have dwindled off – ?!!!

go on, I dare ADAM WINEBERG to publish the NEW WHITNEY attendance numbers . . . haha.

the old bank . . wins !!


and, no despite their headline, it DID NOT START OFF as – ‘INVITE ONLY’.

BUT, even if the show only lives on, only – as a sketchy virtual reality – that still beats . . . THE NEW WHITNEY.

an, that’s saying something.


MAY 16, 2015:

probably the most dynamic, if not the most important – event of the entire FREIZE WEEKEND.
and, it’s a . . . pop-up, of course !!

it just takes one night – to make a splash in this town, with the legacy of the Lower East Side, but esp the Bowery being looked back upon, with fresh and enchanted eyes.


‘FIRST SHOW LAST SHOW’ – SAT MAY 16, 2015 / 5-8 PM
the show runs by appointment only thru MAY 29, 2015
curated by VITO SCHNABEL and featuring the art work of:
190 BOWERY, the ‘old bank building’ as we used to call it, at the corner of SPRING STREET.


for more background, see: THE LO-DOWN !!