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The new trend in New York area galleries and museums is claiming a show is "digital" whether it is or not. "Glee," a
slightly-above-average abstract painting show that closed January 7 at the Aldrich Museum, began its press release with
paeans to the Internet, Y2K, and the "digital revolution," then waited until paragraph 2 to mention that the show was about
"artists' renewed confidence in painting in the face of new visual technologies." (The strategy worked--it led Tim Griffin, art
editor of _Time Out New York_ to inattentively include "Glee" in his fall roundup of digital shows.) Griffin himself then
curated "Compression," (which also closed in January) at Feigen Contemporary, including Michelle Grabner (painter), Diti
Almog (painter), Dike Blair (sculptor/installation artist), and some artists who use computers, all tied together with dialogue
about "image compression technology," "flagship stores," and "economic mainframe(s)." Now we have "Jello," curated by
artnet columnist Max Henry (through Feb. 17 at Frederieke Taylor, 535 W 22, NYC), which claims to be based on a
"coalescing digital zeitgeist," even though only 3 out of 11 artists work with digital media. The show's highlight, digitally
speaking, is Daren Kendall's video, in which strategically cropped and Rorschached footage of a high school wrestling
match yields a very funny post-human blob of multiplying heads and arms--equal parts Paul Pfeiffer, Jerry Uelsmann, and
H. P. Lovecraft. Unfortunately, the "digital zeitgeist" simply isn't big enough to include Charles Long's
orange-extension-cord-with-elephantiasis, a Dan Flavin light bulb (!), and all the weak paintings Henry packed into the
Independent film maker Michael Almeryeda has just finished shooting a film in New Orleans called "Happy Here and Now," which may or may not be in theatres by the end of the year. He's another one of many who came here and got seduced by something he can't really describe so he's making a movie to try and exorcize the demon that is his awareness of that something special which is the pulsating undercurrent of life in New Orleans. With a mere million dollar budget he has a cast which includes Clarence Williams III (Linc from the old Mod Squad), Liane Balaban (up and comer), Ally Sheedy, and David Arquette.
Purportedly this will be a film wherein the "details, personalities, and images are more important than the plot itself."
In the words of Almeryeda--"There's a fair bit of declaration of place. New Orleans is definetly a character in the movie. It's a cliche that this is a magical place, but it is. The local atmosphere seems charged. I hope to capture something unrelated to the familiar postcard images we see in the movies--the voodoo, the vampires, the cemetaries, the French Quarter. I hope to capture New Orleans in a way I've never seen it on screen before--a style of living, a pleasure of life, the spirit and the people."
I applaud your effort Mr. Ameryeda, a worthy cause indeed, and I have a jealousy for your method which has you here and gone in a year's period with a story or product which may or may not ring true while I think I'm going to spend most of my life here, with the same result.
Look for this one. (Bill, the flick also includes John Sinclair, the poet with the great voice but whose work does not overwhelm me, but that you mentioned to me once because you heard about his history which includes a prison term for a small amount of marijuana, and Ernie K-Doe, and, last but certainly not least, your boy, Quintron.
"Open the pod bay doors Hal."
opens tomorrow (Thursday, 12/7, 5:30-7:30) at Feature gallery (530 W 25th St), and features eight artists, including Lisa Beck and David Shaw, who are familiar to some readers of this page. Feature has long been one of the more interesting local galleries. Proprietor Hudson has supported a wide range of artists and aesthetics, creating a community vibe, rather than a hierarchic stable. Eco-friendly techno-spiritual quasi-psychedelic minimalist revisionism, and that sort of thing, if you know what I mean. If not, you'll just have to check it out.