Scenes from Montreal

Quote of the week by Silas Farley


Classical ballet is this elevating form — you ahve to rise to meet it, whether you are the dancer or the audience. The Thing is, the audience possesses the same instrument. The audience members have the same body. It’s like a cello playing for an audience of cellos.”

— Silas Farley, quoted in the Jan. 16, 2017, New Yorker Talk of the Town piece by Rebecca Mead, illustration by Tom Bachtell [link]



A secret message from my treadmill?

Here are some shots of the TV screen on the treadmill at my gym.

What does it mean? Is it random? Is it a self-critique about the difficulty of what meaning can be derived from images and sound out of a treadmill screen, when the gym is a noisy place and my concentration should be on things like form, breathing, and effort? Were the screens responding to my workout? Is this a new form of participatory video art? Participatory found art?

Video: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s “Can’t Help Myself”

In Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s “Can’t Help Myself,” an industrial robot works away inside a glass box at the Guggenheim Museum.

What’s it made of? Kuka industrial robot, stainless steel and rubber, cellulose ether in colored water, lighting grid with Cognex visual-recognition sensors, and polycarbonate wall with aluminum frame.

Is it making art? Is it commenting on how art is made? As a robot uses a giant brush to push liquid around, are we watching a creative act or a programmed act? What determines these actions? Where does this leave viewers? In awe of a machine in motion?

Check out one of the Guggenheim’s newest additions to its collection:


Some cool art at galleries in Chelsea, New York City


Carol Bove, Polka Dots, at David Zwirner


Philip Guston, Laughter in the Dark, Drawings from 1971 & 1975, at Hauser Wirth


Josef Albers, Grey Steps, Grey Scales, Grey Ladders, at David Zwirner


Arlene Shechet, Turn Up the Bass, at Sikkema Jenkins


Terry Winters at Matthew Marks


Valerie Hegarty: American Berserk at Burning into Water



Paul Pfeiffer at Paula Cooper Gallery


Joan Mitchell, Drawing into Painting, at Cheim and Read


Ernesto Neto, “The Serpent’s Energy Gave Birth To Humanity,” at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Plårk, plårk, plårk

My wife has created a new word: plårk.

It could rhyme with “park” or “pork” — either way seems to be fine.

She has the word printed on T-shirts that she gives to her first-year drawing students. The idea she is trying to impress upon them is that making art is a combination of “play” and “work.” Thus, “plårk.”

I imagine the word being used as follows:

  • “This assignment is plårk.”
  • “Did you plårk yet today?”
  • “Yeah, man, I plårked earlier today, and I’m going to be plårking later with some friends.”

I suppose a sample declension would look something like this:

  • I plårk. I plårked. I am plårking. I have plårked.
  • You plårk. You plårked. You are plårking. You have plårked.
  • They plårk. They plårked. They are plårking. They have plårked.

She says that in every class period at least one or two (sometimes more) students are wearing their “plårk” T-shirts.

With about 50 students a semester, maybe in a few years the word will be in common usage by scores of young artists, plårking their way through the world.

What do you think: Will plårk catch on?


Pittsburgh, La Hutte Royal, and The Mattress Factory

An art day in Pittsburgh.

First stop, La Hutte Royal, an art installation inside a house in the Troy Hill Neighborhood in Pittsburgh. The installation is by the German artist Thorsten Brinkmann, and the home is owned by the art collector Evan Mirapaul, who commissioned the installation.


The living room of La Hutte Royal (with my brother pointing out an album cover).



A narrow passageway on the mysterious second floor of La Hutte Royal.


One of the few spaces on the second floor where you can stand, after crawling around, with my spouse and brother.


Everything is pretty close in Pittsburgh, but getting from Troy Hill to Bloomfield for lunch meant driving down Rialto Street, which my brother said was like a roller coaster. Our destination wasn’t far, though.


Pittsburgh lunch at Tessaro’s in the Bloomfield neighborhood (the place is known for hamburgers cooked over a wood-fired grill).

The Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory is a museum, artist-in-residence, and educational complex in multiple buildings in the historic Mexican War Streets area of the North Side of Pittsburgh.


A view of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline from The Mattress Factory in the North Side neighborhood.


Ryder Henry’s “Diaspora” at The Mattress Factory.


Ryder Henry’s “Diaspora” at The Mattress Factory.


Ryder Henry’s “Diaspora” at The Mattress Factory.



John Pena’s “Word Balloon” at The Mattress Factory.


Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Dots Mirrored Room” at The Mattress Factory, with my brother at right and spouse at left.


Yayoi Kusama’s “Repetitive Vision” at The Mattress Factory, with my brother.

Highlights of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series at MoMA



MoMA exhibition website.

Highlights from the Met Museum, Pierre Huyghe’s Roof Garden Commission

Pierre Huyghe's Roof Garden Commission at the Met Museum in NYC.

Pierre Huyghe’s Roof Garden Commission at the Met Museum in NYC.

Pierre Huyghe's Roof Garden Commission at the Met Museum in NYC.

Pierre Huyghe’s Roof Garden Commission at the Met Museum in NYC.

Exhibition website