Eric Shiner is the man behind Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum. He’s also this year’s Armory Focus curator, turning the Armory Show spotlight — now in its 100th year — to US-based artists of thenow. As a curator, he has a very strong voice — he’s commissioned an on-site tower of Brillo boxes in tribute to Warhol by Charles Lutz, and light sculpture by Peter Liversidge — and he’s also orchestrating an installation and performance at Ace Hotel New York we’ll tell you about soon… Another distinguishing facet: if you Google Image search him, you find a lot of guys named Eric with black eyes. We recently talked with Mr. Shiner a little bit about the centennial and these last hundred years of art.
Is the centennial of the first Armory Show an inspiration or a long shadow that it’s hard to get out from under? If the lead-up to WWI was the catalyst for the revolutions that were going on then in art, should we just be happy our own malaise are tame by comparison? Does art benefit from adversity and how much adversity is enough/too much?
I can safely say that the first Armory Show is just one of the countless change agents that have occurred in the art world over the past 100 years, although it is certainly an important one. For me, it was simply a point of reference for the Focus Section of The Armory Show, and I am including one installation that makes a direct reference on Marcel Duchamp, whose work at the 1913 Armory certainly ruffled many feathers. War and political upheaval do indeed act as a major influencer on the art being made in that period, but it’s important to note that the Armory was in 1913, with World War I starting a year later in 1914, so there is no connection to that specific war, but more broadly to the cataclysmic social change that was unfolding on a number of fronts in Europe at the time. Art always benefits from adversity, and so too does art present a fair amount of necessary adversity to its audiences. I think that great art should always make the viewer somewhat uncomfortable, challenging them to think in new ways. So, in the end, too much is never enough.
As curator of the Focus section, the country you got handed was the United States of America. That’s a big, rich country. How do you even start to narrow it down?
Yes, indeed. America is a very big thing, both in terms of geography and in more importantly in terms of its psychographic presence in the world, both within and without its borders. It’s true that it is a big, rich country… for some that’s very true, but I think it is critically important to always remember that for many, it is a very poor country with millions of people facing actual need on a daily basis. America is nothing more than a continual series of juxtapositions, from Big to Small, Rich to Poor, Liberal to Conservative. One might even say it is a series of never-ending internal strife and conflict — something that keeps it alive, if nothing else. This being the case, I didn’t narrow anything down at all. I simply addressed some of the juxtapositions that make up this nation, and selected artists who make a career out of always questioning the powers that be, in one form or another.
On this day in 1862, Emily Dickinson’s poem “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” was published in the Springfield Daily Republican. This was the second of only a handful of poems published in Dickinson’s lifetime, all of them anonymously and, most think, without her knowledge.
Safe in their alabaster chambers, Untouched by morning and untouched by noon, Sleep the meek members of the resurrection, Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.
Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine; Babbles the bee in a stolid ear; Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence, —— Ah, what sagacity perished here!
Grand go the years in the crescent above them; Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row, Diadems drop and Doges surrender, Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.
Summer School tenured professor Justin Krietemeyer — cofounder of National Forest and of worldwide good vibes — celebrates his new show “Oh Snap” at This Gallery in LA tomorrow night, March 1 til about 10pm. Bring a friend and hang out with us at La Cuavita down the block afterward. Find above an unstill and censored preview of the work you’ll witness.
POST-NEMO FASHION WEEK : THEFUTUREFUTURE & 3D DESIGN
From their Brooklyn workshop, thefuturefuture melds burgeoning technologies with a very DIY-informed aesthetic and sensibility. They’ll be joining us for our Nemo-delayed 3D printing jewelry bazaar at Ace Hotel New York this Saturday — and took a few minutes to talk about their work as they prepare.
How does your architectural background influence the way you relate to the human body in jewelry design?
As architects, we typically develop our ideas in terms of constraints. Working in NYC forces us to constantly work within the obstructions of the existing built environment, and we approach the human body in the same way. Our architectural pieces are always very site-specific, however designing a line to fit each individual is not necessarily possible. So our approach is to make pieces that are generated by custom algorithms so that each piece is as unique as the person wearing it.
Do you dream in 3D?
Absolutely. Actually, we dream in 4D because there is time involved! We also daydream of dark matter and parallel universes.
Chef Ari Taymor at Alma, a soon-to-be next-door neighbor to Ace Hotel Downtown LA, is a kindred spirit who understands that a dish holds every bit as much power to take you back in time or across the big ponds as the most haunting note struck on a Mellotron M400. We stopped in recently and broke bread with him and the Alma family and asked him if he could ruminate on some formative dishes for us.
Most of my memories of food and the compositions that take place from these memories center around other senses than taste.
Celery root soup, smoked lardo, apple and pine: This is a winter dish that for me evokes a summer day. A drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains on a first date. The cool, misty fog that covers the central coast each morning in the summertime is starting to burn off. The late morning turns to early afternoon and the lazy sun makes the resin of the pine trees fragrant, mixing with the smell of campfire. The blue of the ocean is visible in the distance. This dish that conjures for me a very clear moment in time and the flavors for me compartmentalize those emotions. Sweetness, smoke, bitter and salt.