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  • Posted 11/26/14 at 12:10 PM
  • Art

Sorry, People: Here’s the Real List of Sexiest Male Artists

After People magazine recently awarded photographer Javier Gomez as 2014’s Sexiest Artist Alive, we here at SEEN collectively scratched our heads and muttered, “Who?!” Google informs us that he’s a 34-year old fine-art photographer based in New York, but we’re unconvinced that Gomez, who seems like a lovely person, is actually all that sexy, creatively speaking. 


A Brief History of the Food Coma in Art

There’s a very good reason gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Eating and drinking are two of life’s greatest pleasures — our only problem seems to be not knowing when to stop. Of course, Thanksgiving wasn't the first event in history that caused the unbutton-your-pants-at-the-table move (or, in the case of the Romans, loosening your robe) at the end of the night. Lucky for us, art history provides countless depictions of our descent into food-related madness. So, before you indulge in a tryptophan-fueled evening, let us walk you through a more vivid display of what your Thursday night with the family (or friends) has the potential to become. 


  • Posted 11/26/14 at 10:45 AM
  • Art

European Art Collective Trawls the Darknet With Bot, Gets Creepy Packages

By now you’ve probably heard about the internet’s shadowy “Darknet” black-market sites, where Bitcoin-rich shoppers cloaked in anonymizing software can buy everything from hackers’ services to MDMA. The FBI clamped down on the most famous of the sites, Silk Road. Another site, Utopia, was shuttered this year by Dutch National Police after undercover agents bought “several thousand” ecstasy pills and were even offered an assassin. A third site, Agora, has reached a critical mass, with more listings than any other; shoppers there can find everything from “Pakistani Culero hash” to semiautomatic firearms.


SEEN in the Studio: Marilyn Minter

It was an unusually warm November evening as my cab maneuvered through midtown traffic to Marilyn Minter’s studio. Upstairs, several assistants were at work in her spacious, brightly lit loft. This space was for painting but she has another one for photo shoots. Minter is best known for her sexually loaded and photo-realistically-rendered paintings of the female body that are cropped and magnified to the point of near abstraction. Dripping with nightlife decadence, pearls spill out of mouths, eyes shimmer with metallic eye shadow, and manicured feet teeter on four-inch, rhinestone-studded heels that have splashed through the mud — as if to say: Here’s what really happens when a woman has fun in her shoes.


  • Posted 11/25/14 at 2:08 PM

Swizz Beatz Wants to Change the Art World

Next week, the rapper and record producer Swizz Beatz will put another part of his life on display, as an art collector and curator at SCOPE Miami. A selection of emerging artists from his Dean Collection (his real name is Kasseem Dean) will be on display, and he’ll also be throwing the artist Swoon a birthday party at a $40 million renovated Miami Beach mansion. It’s a sample of his dedication to art world. “People have this perception of me that because I come from music, they think I am just some famous person who now wants to do art,” he says. “But I bleed this for real.” He and his wife Alicia Keys own a home in New Jersey that he’s nicknamed Eight Acres of Showtime, with works by Ernie Barnes, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol. He paints there, too, but for now he’s still more comfortable promoting other artists than putting on a show of his own work. He spoke to SEEN about why his graffiti tag growing up was “Loco,” choosing buying art over buying a Lamborghini, why he thinks the “art world is the new music world,” and why gallerists are afraid of him.


  • Posted 11/25/14 at 2:00 PM

Meet London’s Subway Gallerist

I paid a visit to gallery situated in a 1960s-era kiosk under London’s Marylebone Flyover, in a subway station run by a vintage Westernwear-wearing cowboy, artist, and gallerist personifying British eccentricity at its best — except for the fact that he hails from Canada. His name is Robert Gordon McHarg III FRSA (Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts, whatever that means). Encounters like this partly account for the difficulty I have reading fiction. For eight years, he’s staged more than 80 exhibits ranging from a rock ephemera library — he’s Clash-obsessed, in particular with Joe Strummer (who died in 2002) — to an upcoming Western-themed vintage clothing pop-up.


  • Posted 11/25/14 at 11:33 AM
  • Art

How Tom Sachs Reinvented the Tea Ceremony

SEEN learned how Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, the owner of Salon 94, was first introduced to the tea ceremony, an ancient Japanese tradition, and how she learned to appreciate it again this year — as a busy New Yorker with too much to do and too little time — through the eyes of Tom Sachs. 


  • Posted 11/25/14 at 9:08 AM
  • Primer

A Timeline of the Abuse Charges Against Bill Cosby [Updated]

Thirty years ago this fall, The Cosby Show debuted on NBC, and its star was catapulted into the comedic stratosphere. The timing is prime, then, for the release of a sprawling biography. Written by former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, Cosby: His Life and Times documents the man’s rise from the Philadelphia projects, while also detailing the creation of his family sitcom and the murder of his son Ennis in 1997.

The book is notable, however, for its complete avoidance of sexual abuse allegations that have dogged Cosby for more than a decade. In a statement to Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur, Whitaker says, "I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently." Regardless, their absence is glaring. Consider the following timeline an appendix to the book.

"Tamara Green, a lawyer, alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s." »

What’s Actually Incubating at the New Museum’s Tech Incubator?

On a recent Saturday night, an "incubator-warming” party was held for New INC, the New Museum's mimic of a start-up hub for art, tech, and design. Amid angular Knoll and Vitra furniture alongside whiteboard wallpaper, members who pay between $350 and $600 a month (part-time and full-time, respectively) sipped on sponsored vodka-cognac cocktails mixed with Club-Mate. "This is what all the hackers in Berlin drink," explained Gabe Liberti of Studio Indefinit, which develops sound installations, while waiting in line at the bar. "That was all about yesterday," he offered, "and this is tomorrow."


  • Posted 11/24/14 at 10:00 PM
  • Theater

Theater Review: A Tristan & Yseult That Tries to Be Laughed Off

A Cornish knight, an Irish princess, and the king they both betray by falling in love: For centuries the tale circulated Europe in various forms. But after Wagner’s monumental Tristan und Isolde had its premiere in 1865, his idiosyncratic version seemed to supplant all others. If you know the story today, it’s probably through his music, the epitome of high Romantic sincerity. Still, writes Emma Rice, an artistic director of the Cornish theater company Kneehigh, it was a local story, “asking to be told,” and so she set out to create a less bombastic and more vernacular take, “not an epic tale of grand romantic love held at arm’s length from our own experience, but a tender unraveling of love in all its beautiful and painful forms.” The result, first presented in Cornwall in 2003 and extensively produced on tour since then, is Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult, which has now come to St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. Sweet and enjoyable, alluding to sad things without being sad itself, it’s hardly what you’d expect from the tale, however you spell it. 

The Kneehigh approach. »

  • Posted 11/24/14 at 5:25 PM

Reading Lists from a 31-Year Old Matthew Barney, a 44-Year-Old Cindy Sherman, and Others

The following recommended reading lists have been excerpted from An Ideal Syllabus: Artists, Critics, and Curators Choose the Books We Need to Read, a slender little book published in 1998 by Frieze and edited by our own Jerry Saltz. “Too many syllabuses I gathered from colleagues and art schools all over the country indicated far too solid a consensus,” wrote Saltz in his introduction, “The same authors are prescribed, chapter for chapter, page for page. If everybody thinks differently how come much of what is assigned to students (at every level) is the same? Large doses of Derrida, Baudrillard and Lacan. If art is pluralistic and composing from all over, why are ideas presented as unified and monolithic? Mighn’t there be an array of more private syllabuses out there? So I asked.” We’re glad he did, and now, with the advent of SEEN, we’re doing it again; in the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more recently assembled syllabuses from people we admire and respect. For now, we think these hold up pretty well — see who thinks you need to be reading Raymond Carver and who would be lost without Emily Dickinson.


  • Posted 11/24/14 at 3:35 PM
  • Art

Sitting for Francesco Clemente

A few weeks ago, Lisa Dennison, the head of Sotheby’s in North and South America, told me that she owned a truly significant work of art — a portrait by Francesco Clemente. Early one morning last week, I went to visit her at home, to find out what it was like for her to sit for it. We sat down in her living room as she told me the story.


  • Posted 11/24/14 at 11:32 AM
  • Art

Why Terence Koh Quit the Art World

Artist Terence Koh — best known for wearing all white and selling series of his own excrement plated, in gold, for $500,000 at Art Basel, as well as saying things like, “I’m the Naomi Campbell of the art world” — is rethinking his “art is a party” attitude. Or maybe the party was just over. “I recently left all galleries to live on mountain,” he emailed, in his customary child-speak, when asked about where he'd disappeared to. “I donut [sic] have cellphone or read news.” Indeed, Koh is no longer represented by his galleries in New York (Sean Kelly), Paris (Thaddaeus Ropac), or Berlin (Peres Projects, whose owner, Javier Peres, says he initiated the split several years ago: “I closed the door on that chapter and haven't looked back since”).


  • Posted 11/24/14 at 8:00 AM

Lynda Benglis: NSFW 40 Years After Artforum

Forty years ago this month, Lynda Benglis published what is certainly the most famous advertisement in Artforum history. Here, the artist speaks with Bard’s Tom Eccles about the life of that confrontational image.

It's now exactly 40 years since you published the famous image of yourself photographed with the double dildo. It caused a storm among readers of Artforum and its editors and is perhaps one of the most important images of its time, if not the second half of the century. What were you thinking at the time? The work (it's been called an "advertisement," but it is actually an artwork) was situated within the context of Artforum magazine, which was running an article on your work by Robert Pincus written in that month's issue. Prior to this (in April 1974), you had just used, as an exhibition announcement for a show at Paula Cooper Gallery, an Annie Liebovitz photograph of yourself in Betty Grable pose wearing jeans dropped to your ankles. You've called the Artforum image a "centerfold.” Was it directed explicitly at the use of women's bodies in magazines?
I realized the old-fashioned pinup that I did was not clear, as I overheard a woman coming into Paula Cooper's gallery saying, "Who did that to her?" So I wanted an image that "looked back at you" ... !


20 Years of Street Photos Tell an Amazing Story About Humanity

When the Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom sits down to meet me at a café in Paris, he pulls out a paragraph by the writer João do Rio that he has cut out and stuck into his notebook. It begins:

“In every street, in every city, in one hour you can easily find eight themes. I think I can do that now in every city in the world.” »

  • Posted 11/23/14 at 9:02 PM
  • Art

26 Female Artists on Lynda Benglis and the Art World’s Gender Problems (NSFW)

If you are a young or emergent artist working today, there’s a pretty good chance you hadn’t even been born when Lynda Benglis published her infamously naughty ad in Artforum in November 1974. The legendary work turns 40 this month, and we reached out to 26 female artists — some working in 1974, some born since — to ask what they made of it then, what it means to them now, and how, if at all, they thought the state of gender politics in the art world has changed in the years since.


  • Posted 11/23/14 at 8:00 PM
  • Books

The Strand’s Stand: How It Keeps Going in the Age of Amazon

Walk into the Strand Book Store, at East 12th and Broadway, and the retail experience you’ll have is unexpectedly contemporary. The walls are white, the lighting bright; crisp red signage is visible at every turn. The main floor is bustling, and the store now employs merchandising experts to refine its traffic flow and make sure that prime display space goes to stuff that’s selling. Whereas you can leave a Barnes & Noble feeling numbed, particularly if a clerk directs you to Gardening when you ask for Leaves of Grass, the Strand is simply a warmer place for readers.

In the middle of the room, though, is a big concrete column holding up the building, and it looks … wrong. It’s painted gray, and not a soft designer gray but some dead color like you’d see on a basement floor. Crudely stenciled signs reading BOOKS SHIPPED ANYWHERE are tacked to it. Bookcases surround the column, and they’re beat to hell, their finish nearly black with age.

This tableau was left intact when the store was renovated in 2003. Until then, the Strand had been a beloved, indispensable, and physically grim place. Like a lot of businesses that had hung on through the FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD years, it looked broken-down and patched-up. The bathroom was even dirtier than the one in the Astor Place subway. You got the feeling that a lot of books had been on the shelves for years. The ceiling was dark with the exhalations from a million Chesterfields. There were mice. People arriving with review copies to sell received an escort to the basement after a guard’s bellow: “Books to go down!” It was an experience that, once you adjusted to its sourness, you might appreciate and even enjoy. Maybe.

Why is there still a Strand Book Store? »

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 6:37 PM
  • Art

24 Hours in the Art World: The Sleepover Edition

Remember the terror and joy of freshman lock-ins? Well, the art world is having its equivalent tonight, courtesy of Creative Time, where 200 pajama-clad party people will descend on Neuehouse for a 24-hour sleepover. Word currently being passed around is proper dress code includes “designer sweats, sloth onesies, health goth, pj's, and even birthday suits.” Also, unlike high school, where sleeping bags and adult chaperones were the evening’s entertainment, the run-of-show reads more like a Burning Man than Bayside High. 

For starters, there will be a re-creation of Salvador Dalí’s infamous dinner parties, following his obscure, limited-edition, 136-recipe book Les Diners de Gala. Then Andrew Kuo and Mike Boner are teaming up as the duo Hex Message, which Kuo says is “close friends making a racket,” probably on par with your high-school punk band. Following this will be Tom Sach’s "Space Program: Mars" Red Beans and Rice, where the NASA-loving sculptor will wheel around a food cart filled with red beans and rice (which — fun fact! — follow Louis Armstrong’s own recipe and are the traditional meal consumed by the NASA launch crew whenever they send a successful mission to space). Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman have also put together a film program that includes a variety of shorts — from early Walter Ruttmann and Hans Richter abstract films to an amateur ethnographic film. Most of these are from film prints from the collection of David Hollander, founder and co-director of Cinemarfa. For those who survive the evening — and staying is not required; one can come and go as one pleases — at 6 a.m., Grey Area is sponsoring a yoga session, and then the cult-y downtown favorite Dimes is catering breakfast. 

Will there be any actual sleeping involved? Creative Time has secured a few dozen “deluxe cots” and pillows and blankets, as well as toiletry kits from Aesop, ensuring that halitosis and under-eye bags don't spoil the fun, unlike the high-school principal. 

For those with sleepover fright, tomorrow at 9 p.m. the events ends with a dance party with sets by Chairlift's Caroline Polachek and artists Matt Jones and Kadar Brock. 

  • Posted 11/21/14 at 5:42 PM
  • Art

Dan Loeb Rolls Sotheby’s and Its CEO

Six months ago, Sotheby’s chief executive Bill Ruprecht welcomed the billionaire investor Dan Loeb — his largest shareholder and vituperative critic — into his York Avenue office for a joint interview with The Wall Street Journal. Loeb had just agreed to quiet his campaign for internal changes at the 270-year-old auction house in return for three seats on the company board. Like a pair of boxers who had just gone the distance, both men sported some bruises. Loeb had publicly called for Ruprecht’s ouster, while Ruprecht — in an email that became public in a related court proceeding — had referred to Loeb as “scum.” But they were determined to make a public show of reconciliation.


  • Posted 11/21/14 at 5:23 PM
  • Art

Listen to Cory Arcangel’s Piano Dances

There are other names that come more readily to mind when one thinks of compositions for the piano: Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Debussy. And while the world of classical music tends to remain entrenched in an era long gone, there have been some undeniable additions to the piano canon with the advent of electronic keyboards — from everyone and everywhere like Madonna to Detroit techno — however flimsy a contribution they may be. Leave it to wunderkind artist Cory Arcangel to consider this more closely with a set of new compositions entitled “24 Dances for the Electronic Piano,” which he recently released on SoundCloud and will be performed tomorrow night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with pianist and accomplished composer Chris d’Eon.



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