Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pablo Helguera's The Art World Home Companion

Having attended Pablo Helguera's performance at Smack Mellon yesterday - The Art World Home Companion - I wanted to include something that encapsulated his humorous, ironic world view. Hence this Artoon. More of them can be found here.

As to the Home Companion, it is, in the words of its creator,
a radio program originally conceived for Condensations of the Social, an exhibition at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, curated by Sara Reisman in June-July of 2010. The project pays tribute to Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, adapting the concept for the contemporary art community. The “Estheticist” segment of the program invites public participation and offers a counseling and answering of art-related questions from listeners, in the spirit of Randy Cohen’s New York Times column “the Ethicist”.
Yesterday's hour long performance had a variety show format that included:

* a segment on the worst titles of art exhibitions (Skin Fruit was a contender, but did not win);

* Larry Krone, in his electric cowboy persona, strumming a ukelele and singing about never having enough money as an artist;

* a staged reading, by volunteers culled from the audience, of a text by Ryan Hill on an artist's career ambitions and dissimulations;

* an advertisement from "non sponsor" the New Museum, lambasting its corrupt insider cronyism;

* the Estheticist segment, offering advice on such burning questions as what an artist should wear to their openings (covering both group and one person exhibitions), whether a curator needs to answer all their email, and how a choreographer can break into the performance/conceptual/installation art junta (Tino Sehgal was referenced);

* various songs adapted from the Broadway musical canon, including "Documenta" (after "Moon River"), about not being chosen for the hexennial exhibition in Kassel, and "Marina" (from West Side Story's "Maria"), on how performance art has now become collectible; and

* an art trivia contest, with "Flavins" - two-foot fluorescent lights - awarded to the winners.

A genial, deconstructed time was had by all.

Stendahl Gallery accused of ripping off artists

Harry Stendahl and Jonas Mekas in happier days

from the July 13, 2010 NY Post:
The owner of Chelsea's Stendhal Gallery swindled two famed artists to fund his extravagant lifestyle - including paying off a $90,000 bill at Cipriani Downtown, court papers claim.

The artists, "godfather of avant-garde cinema" Jonas Mekas and designer Paula Scher, charge that Harry Stendhal sold their pieces without giving them their cut and is holding millions of dollars more of their work hostage, according to lawsuits they filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The pair say that when they confronted Stendhal, he retaliated by barraging them with profanity-laced e-mails.

"Don't fuck with me - I am warning you", Stendhal allegedly sneered in one e-mail.

Mekas' suit contends that he discovered that Stendhal had given his collection of 40 film stills of Elvis Presley to Giuseppe Cipriani to pay off a $90,000 tab.

Lawyers for Stendhal declined comment.

Stendahl Gallery has had a longstanding involvement with artists from NYC avant garde circles and the Fluxus movement, organizing exhibitions not only for Mekas but also with George Maciunas, Shigeko Kubota, Hans Richter and Bill Morrison. The gallery website indicates they are closed for the summer but plan to reopen in September 2010 with a show of Maciunas.

Anyone interested in speaking with Mr. Stendahl: the gallery phone is listed as 212.366.1549. And you can always look him up on Facebook.

Harry Stendahl

Maya (sister of Harry) Stendhal, Jonas Mekas, and Paula Scher