Back in the studio after 10 days in NYC. It has been nearly five years since I last visited and almost six since I moved back to California. The trip was the perfect mix of business and pleasure. I met many of the art directors and editors that I’ve been working with recently. So much of my communication with the people I work with is via email, and the rare phone conversation. It was nice to actually talk to them in person, and have a face to connect with the name and the voice.
The rest of the time I spent seeing old friends and being inspired by the city and all it has to offer.
Stopped by my buddy Peter Hildebrand’s “Live Poultry” t shirt kiosk in Brooklyn. Peter’s designs are inspired by the structural remnants of New York’s past.
He incorporates signage, and abstract scaffold lattices, creating new icon’s that are unmistakeably “New York” Pete is also a damn good painter.
That day I happened to be wearing a t-shirt designed by my West Coast pal, Ben Walker. The shirt from his new brand “Snake Oil”.
Ben’s designs are inspired by the Old West. Gun slinging bears, giant jack-a-lope, and moose antlered hares, fill Ben’s cotton canvases.
I have definitely adjusted to a more casual California pace. Stepping out onto the street was like merging onto the freeway. It was funny to re-experience the craziness, and hustle. Everything seemed very familiar but I had the fresh awe that one experiences the first few years of living in New York City.
Went to the Otto Dix exhibit at the Neue Gallery. I would highly recommend seeing it. I have never seen more than one or two original works by Dix so it was a once in a life time experience to see so much of his art in one place. The show consists of over 100 pieces from 1916-1940’s. The most striking pieces were his prints documenting his experiences as a soldier in WWI.
I also checked out the Greater New York show at P.S. 1 in Long Island City. Man if this show represents the best new crop of “fine” artists NYC has to offer then I would strongly suggest looking elsewhere for inspiration. It seemed like the only criteria for being in the show was that you had have a big enough pair to create total crap and hustle it as art. I have no problem with art that challenges the viewer, but the majority of the art in this show really offered up nothing for me to even stop and contemplate. How many holes in a museum / gallery wall does there have to be before this cheap conceptual shorthand gets chucked in the art history trash bin. It was frightfully bad! The P.S. 1 building itself was far more interesting than 99 percent of the show. This is the third installment of “Greater New York” the first in 2000, the second in 2005. The first two were much stronger. Much of the work had a 1980’s kitsch flair. I spent my teen’s in the eighties and I have very little nostalgia for the era so it didn’t push my nostalgia button either. It could be that this show is a curatorial cluster f*ck, or that we are in a particular period in art history that I have no connection to. I shouldn’t be using this one show as the basis for an entire period of art history, but if it is any indication of what is to come in the NYC art scene in the near future, then the New York art scene has quite possibly “Jumped the Shark”.
All in all a great trip, and already looking forward to going back.