SOME ART THAT INSPIRED ME DURING ART BASEL WEEK... & BAGELS

I gave myself 4 full days to try & see as much of the art during the Art Basel week as possible. I'm guessing I only saw 60% of what I had wanted to see, and I was really pushing it too.

Even starting as the doors first opened to the convention center, I lasted till about 5.00pm, exhausted & burnt out, without getting round the whole thing. It's overwhelming.

Below are images of works that I found either inspiring, thought-provoking, amusing, or simply nice from the fairs & exhibitions. Possibly my fave new discovery was Mark Flood who had several new works on show at the always-incredible Rubell Family Collection. I was so excited by these that my normal shy-ness took a backseat to a girly-like excitement that allowed me to tell him how blown away I was by these. He told me he’d been making these "lace paintings” for about 15 years now.  

I’ve been a fan of Daniel Arsham for a few years now but recently I’ve become almost obsessed. His "future relics" are both super groovy and a strong statement on consumerism. The show in Miami was like an excavation site, with the concrete floor of the exhibition space being dug up to reveal a landfill of the future.

I think my favorite work at Art Basel itself was this 1994 “Reclining Buddha” by multi-media legend Nam June Paik.

Below are some others I loved...

Not heard of Wolhem Sasnal, but liked this a lot.
Always love me some Jim Lambie.
Diptych by Lisa Yuskavage
An angry Jim Shaw.
These two from Friedrich Kunath
"The Experiment" by Elmgreen & Dragset struck me as funny & also pretty real.
Really found these small drawings by Miriam Cahn stunning. I think she could be my favorite painter right now.
Raymond Pettibon had an entire wall of something like 50 works, ranging form the early 80's to this recent self-portrait.
I kick myself for not trying to buy one of these amazing Dan McCarthy vases when I first saw them years ago & might have been able to afford one!
These sculpted heads were beautiful, & I was surprised to find out the artist was Venessa Beecroft.
A classic Nate Lowman bullet hole, now only $650,000.
 Fun portrait by William P Immer.
Possibly my fave skull of the week by Dick Bell.
Ravi Zupa gun.
Tiny work by Marko Mäetamm.
Luiz Zerbini. Perspective of this painting had me really confused.
New to me, Chloe Seibert. She made me smile.
This Ged Quinn was massive, check out how detailed the work is.
Tiny but very powerful Richard Colman.

This year the only theme that seemed to emerge for Gary Pini and me was Bagels ;)

ART BASEL MIAMI: THE MUSIC VERSION - FKA TWIGS, JAMES BLAKE, TV ON THE RADIO &...... MILEY CYRUS

Most think of Miami Art Basel as purely a visual art extravaganza, but there’s a whole other dimension that for me is as important, and potentially exciting, as the daytime fairs--f live music events. Due to working in music for over 25 years, I’m incredibly lucky to have friends that are able to sort me for pretty much any gig I want.

On the Tuesday evening that I arrived, I tagged along with Gary "writer of the ultimate guide to the week" Pini to the opening party for Ian Schrager's new hotel, The Edition. While I’m not much of one for mega parties there was enough room outside to not feel uncomfortable. I noticed there seemed to be a live singer coming over the hotel speaker system, and the voice sounded really familiar, so I set off to try to locate the source. Blood Orange had been booked as guest performer for the event but had chosen to play stage-less. Singing & playing his guitar on the ground, only the immediate 10-20 people directly in front of him could see him. What I also love about going to most of these kind of events is that the majority of the invited beautiful guests would not know the musical artists if they sat next to them at dinner. Consequently, I got to watch Blood Orange with no more than 50 others.

Wednesday night is historically Jeffrey Deitch's very exclusive invite-only party. Previous years have included such awesome guest performers as Soulwax/2manyDJs, Santigold, and, the one that I missed because I was stuck at JFK, LCD Soundsystem! Finding out that this year the performer was going to be Miley Cyrus caused me, and most of South Beach, to have a variety of reactions. While I was happy that I had the connections to get in, I really could not care less about Miley. But then as the gossip fever pitch grew during the day I figured, "when else would I ever get to rub shoulders with a bunch of the 1%, while watching one the planet's mega celebrities?"

The show was even more bizarre and surreal than I could have imagined. Visually stunning, if not over the top, she & her band played cover versions from such diverse greats as Rick James, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, and (god forgive her, for she knows not what she’s done) Led Zeppelin. All were remarkably better than I expected, except for the Beatles songs, which were all duets with the way-too-high-for-the-microphone Wayne Coyne. While I was a little offended by some of the music, my sense was that most were offended by the absence of any Twerking.

Miley Cyrus, Super Freaking.

Thursday is when the “real” gigs started, with FKA Twigs being promoted to fans, not just Art Basel folks. I do love the music, but  it's really her live stage presence that mesmerizes me. Sadly, unless you were up front, you cannot fully appreciate her hypnotic movements & dancing. I wish she would tour some traditional theaters, like the beautiful venue that The Chromatics played a couple of years ago, where all can see for stage. Nevertheless, in the 2000 person purpose-built tent with massive sound, the music was incredible. Some songs felt a little more fleshed-out than the album versions, even more so than the Webster Hall show a few months ago. Afterwards, the crew I was rolling around with that night, including Paul Weston, wanted to check out the the Kettle One event close by, as some of them had worked on the bit-mapping projections for the party. After Twigs this just felt like another flat corporate event, & while I'd sort of liked some of Twin Shadow’s album, hearing him live there did not make me want to revisit it.

FKA TWIGS : More phones than hands in the air.

I woke up on Thursday with Twigs' "Two Weeks" still buzzing around my head. By the evening I was jittery with excitement to see one of my absolute favorite bands, TV On The Radio, who were performing to a very lucky group of free ticket winners, via some TUMBLR giveaway. Due to the traffic resulting from the killer-cop demonstrations, we missed some of the show but what we got to witness, with only another 250 or so people, was really raw and powerful.  Right now, their new song “Trouble" could be my fave song of the year! So excited for the new album.

(TV on the Radio)

As if that wasn’t enough, we were now heading to a completely sold-out-for-months James Blake show at the same venue as Twigs. I’ve been loving his music since he was known as a “dubstep" producer, releasing 12”’s on R&S, yet I’d never seen him live, so I was psyched. Same situation as Twigs really, sound was unbelievable, but most could not see the man, as he was sitting at the piano. Musically it was truly inspiring, reworking the ”hits" & live sampling/chopping his own vocals.

(James Blake)




THANKSGIVING WEEKEND : REAPPROPRIATION IN THE AIR

Being English, Thanksgiving doesn’t have the same warm & fuzzy meaning for me as it does for most around me, although I do like having a bit of a break from the office to hang out with the family...plus I like eating. 
As a family we’re real homebodies, and it's a major achievement to get all four of us (at one time) motivated to go anywhere.
So I was quite surprised when I suggested a trip to the MoMA, & all were on board. My logic was that because it was Black Friday the majority of the population would be beating the crap out of each other to save 25% on something that they absolutely must have, thus leaving the MoMA spacious & airy. Of course, I’d forgotten about the tourists.

It was crowded, but not unbearable. Being with an eight year old makes it hard to stop long enough to read anything. So when we rushed past the entrance to "Sturtevant: Double Trouble" & I started seeing Warhols, Rosenquists Harings & other contemporary masters, I simply thought it was a curated collection of works owned by the MoMA.
But seeing this black Marilyn made me stop in my tracks & try to understand what I was looking at!
This is the explanation (directly from MoMA's site) of a Sturtevant’s work, an artist I’d never heard of, but now love:
 Sturtevant (American, 1924–2014) began “repeating” the works of her contemporaries in 1964, using some of the most iconic artworks of her generation as a source and catalyst for the exploration of originality, authorship, and the interior structures of art and image culture. Beginning with her versions of works by Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol, Sturtevant initially turned the visual logic of Pop art back on itself, probing uncomfortably at the workings of art history in real time. Yet her chameleon-like embrace of other artists’ art has also resulted in her being largely overlooked in the history of postwar American art. As a woman making versions of the work of better-known male artists, she has passed almost unnoticed through the hierarchies of mid-century modernism and postmodernism, at once absent from these histories while nevertheless articulating their structures.
All three of these are by her.
These are the real Warhols.
The design history floor has some really awesome music-related artifacts & ephemera, including some punk & new wave posters that were doing a bit of reappropriating themselves.
Today, Eve I took a trip to the LES to check out a small group show at Con Artists Collective called "Action Figures: Objectified.”
Def worth a trip if you like culture jamming, or simply DIY weird art. The show includes works by SUCKADELIC, Wizard Skull, Tone Tank, Sean Gallagher, HEALEYMADE, Dean Millien and Weird Luke. Below are just a few in the show.
Eve in conversation with a new friend.
My fave works would have to be these tiny (about 3") tinfoil guns by Dean Millien.
Funniest art of the whole weekend was in this pile stuff for sale on the Flatbush sidewalk, with a couple of attempts at Warhol flowers.

EPHEMERA EXCAVATED IN LONDON FLAT

While back in London visiting my mom in her Abbey Road flat that she’s lived in for forty-odd years, I went on an archeological dig in my old room and unearthed more than a few treasures.

While I don’t expect many to know, or care, what any of this stuff is, I’m sure a few, like my man cultural historian Paul Gorman, will get some sort of sensory rush, as I did. They are not in chronological order at all..

First find was a mint, unplayed U.S. cassette copy of Public Enemy’s debut album. Not sure why, or how, I got this. I was one of the first UK DJ’s to be on Def Jam's promo list, but that was for vinyl.

This is a roll of tape that was used by the record label to seal Public Image Ltd's “Metal Box,” either given to me by my then-friend Keith Levene, or possibly swiped from the Virgin Records office, where I might have used his name to blag promo stuff.

Super cute 60's style guide! Must have been a gift from mom.

Flyer from one of the nights I was a warm up DJ at the Limelight. What's interesting about this is that it’s for a guy called Barnsley who was a total character, and face around town in the 80s. He’s actually the one who created Stussy’s double “S” logo, a spin on Chanel, and was one of the very first logo jams! Also, the two DJ’s on the flyer are Tim Simeon, aka Bomb The Bass, & Nelly DJ, who was Nelly Hooper, one of the two main creatives behind Soul II Soul. I remember shitting myself playing records while they smoked weed and chatted behind me. That was also the first night I heard Trouble Funk, as Tim was dropping these sick DC Go-go imports.

My first job out of school at 16 was working for a photographer whose specialty was photographing art works for galleries, museums and print. This is a photo of an incredible Allan Jones painting that I must have either asked her for, or just nicked. I doubt I even knew who Allan Jones was but there was something about this image I must have found attractive ;)

Years later my flatmate, and very talented friend, Barry Jones gave me a Generation X flyer he’d designed, reappropriating Allan Jones art.

Just weird cool stuff found in a drawer, including dice-petrol lighter, heavy brass thumb-tacks, folding ruler, smiling-banana patch & a Johnny Thunders “Chinese Rocks” badge.

Couple of passport pics taken during that Chinese Rocks badge wearing phase.

BLURRING RADIO #48 "Exclusive Business"

This show has two exclusives! The first comes in the form of a just finished track by producer Norik, and the second is the first BLURRINGradio exclusive mixtape from Spanish techno weirdoes Downlines Sekt. For those who like electronic music on the dark, weird, and experimental side will love this 50 minute eclectic sonic collage.

Before that, you'll hear tracks, from Spoon's new album, Woz, Fischerspooner, Darkside, Still Corners, Phon.o. Then enjoy the Downlines Sekt's 50 minutes of cool, sonic weirdness!

http://clocktower.org/drupal/play/12216/show/db48-exclusive-business

Downlines Sekt's track list is..




EXTRACTS with Greg Lamarche, Jurne, and Max Rippon

Tim Strazza, who I met when he worked for the Joshua Liner Gallery, curated this small but tight text based show. I'd become friends Greg Lamarche, and Max Rippon (aka SP1 & RIPO), two of the three artists included in this show, while working on my sticker history book. Greg, as SP1 is a Graffiti legend, & back in the day also made wicked postal stickers. RIPO was included in the book for sticking up beautiful painted shards of broken mirror. Def worth checking out the show at No Romance Galleries

Photos in order, Rippon, Lamarche & Jurne.

DARKSIDE -FINAL SHOW at MASONIC TEMPLE BROOKLYN 9/12/14

Pulling in favors at the 11th hour, I managed to get Ned & I on the list for this completely sold-out final show!
While the show I saw in Miami back in December was amazing, both visually & sonically, this was a whole other level. Darkside had developed greatly.
The lighting was still super minimal compared to the normal electronic and rock-type shows. In December they had a single white light behind the pair of them, but at this show there were two. They also added a color, plus a bank what seemed like industrial floodlights, that literally made your eyes feel like they were being cooked at times.

It’s so hard to tell how much of their sets are improvised, but musically the songs were seriously embellished & often chunkier/fuller than on the record.
I know it’s never done, but I’d love to see Jaar and Harrington re-record the whole album, including the A1 first single.
As much as I sincerely love Psychic, I feel like it would be better recorded now having toured it for 9 months. And if anyone likes to go against the grain of the music biz, its Nicolas Jaar. 

The crowd was a painful mix of the uber-hip (mostly drunk), druggy models & what we were told were all ex-Brown college friends of the pair.
Even with that against us, we had an amazing time.
The Brooklyn Masonic Temple itself added to the wonder of the show, a beautiful example of Greek Revival architecture, built in 1906, & now possibly my favorite venue in NYC.

I’ve never read anything to this effect, but I feel that the whole project could be some sort of tongue-in-cheek tribute to Pink Floyd.
There are times when I swear I hear Dave Gilmore-type guitar licks being played by Harrington…and then, of course, there's the name ;)













SOS at Glasslands 9/8/14 + Elephant Stone at Rock Shop 9/11/14

Both of these bands have been on my radar for a few months; both use sampling (ES sampling & looping live sitar), both are referencing influences from the 60’s, both are very young in their development, & both have names that I think are poo, compared to the power of their music.
The first, SOS (formally known by the name I prefer, Shadows On Stars), was on Monday. Since all of New York went back to work & school after the summer, it can’t have been easy to get people to come out.
However, Glasslands was heading towards full for SOS's first NYC performance.
Hard to really put a genre name to SOS, but if pushed, I guess I’d call them a cross between abstract R&B/cyber soul & spaced-out modern rock. They simply call it Alt on their Soundcloud.
While the gorgeous Randa Leigh sings, one can not help but be seduced by her smile, & hips, but for me, the show was most interesting when Brian Vincent & the band actually dug in on the instrumental parts of the tunes.
 
Elephant Stone at Rock Shop, a venue I hadn't been to before, was equally a hard night to pull people since it fell on 9/11.
The band was cool & tight, playing their own brand of pop-tinged psychedelia, & channeling both the Beatles & the Byrds at times, but with bass & drum rhythms that are danceable.
I’d love to see/hear these guys with a "real" loud system.

Both bands will also benefit when they can afford to add visuals, & in ES's case I missed the diva-type backing vocalist on the record.
Even though they both played in Brooklyn, they could have been in different countries, in different eras.
Monday’s Williamsburg show was a young & cool crowd, making me feel my normal mix of uncomfortable & self-conscious, being the old guy in the room. While Thursday in Park Slope, I actually felt sorry for the band who were looking out on the oldest & uncool gig crowd I've ever seen. If I didn't live in Park Slope, which is a black hole of style, I might have thought this crowd came from some normcore fashion-week event.

SOS & Elephant Stone both have albums out this month .
Coincidentally both are featured on this month’s Blurring Radio mix tape, "Pop Isn’t a Dirty Word."