A blog of personal reflections, adventures both close to home and far away, political musings and commentary, and thoughts on negotiating life as a twenty-something, queer Mainer transplanted to New York City hoping to write, inspire, teach and change the world.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Art Handling Olympics

Gold Medal Ceremony
Originally uploaded by killerfemme
I admit it, I didn't watch the winter olympics. However hard I was rooting for Canada to win a gold in hockey, my lack of TV kept me from the games. But one olympics I was sure not to miss was the first, and hopefully not the last, Art Handling Olympics held today at Ramiken Crucible in Manhattan Chinatown. A bunch of teams of art handlers from institutions, companies and galleries competed in activities like packing, delivering, hanging, the "static hold" (holding really heavy art while a "curator" with a fake German accent barked at them), and "the eliminator," which included uncrating, assembling, and recrateing a "work of art."
Before I started working in museums I didn't know what an art handler was, but quickly realized they are the backbone of the arts world, especially here in NYC. Very few run of the mill people really think about how art makes in from the studio to the gallery or auction house to the museum to the wall, but this is what these guys and ladies deal with everyday. Trucks. Heavy stuff. Impatient dealers, gallerists, curators, and registrars.
Being there felt a little bit like being at Duke Riley's piece "Those about to Die, we salute you" that took place at the Queens Museum this past summer. It was an art world event. However, it was also really fun to get together and make fun of ourselves in the art world a little bit and make an invisible community a little more visible. Maybe this is what it felt like when bike messengers started having races. Maybe art handling is going to become the next hip thing? Probably not, because I can't see how it's marketable in the way bikes are, but I was surprised at how many media reps were at the event, so it definitely sparked some curiosity. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Feminist Review

For the past few years I have been reviewing books and albums for the highly useful and informative blog The Feminist Review. My subject matter has ranged from ethereal Brooklyn folk-duo Christy and Emily's new record Superstition, to the book Zubaida's window, an experimental novel about an Iraqi exiled in Berlin. It's a great resource and provides an important service to independent and feminist minded creators of culture. They are looking for donations to keep up and running. So in honor of women's history month I suggest you drop a few bucks their way via their site:

For archiving sake, I'm also going to list all the reviews I've written (more for my own record than your reading pleasure):
Christy and Emily "Superstition"
Nakatomi Plaza "Ghosts"
The Summer Cats "Songs for Tuesdays"
Oneida "Rated O"
Zubaida's Window by Iqbal Al-Qazwini
Black Male Outsider by Gary Lemons
Lessons in Integration edited by Erica Frankenberg and Gary Orfeld
Pas Chic Chic "Au Contraire"
A is for Accident "Selfish"
Pale Young Gentleman "Black Forest Tra La La"
Dressy Bessy "Holler and Stomp"
The Shondes "The Red Sea"
The Gender Politics of Development by Shirin M. Rai
Cause Co-Motion "It's Time!"
Hawnay Troof "Islands of Ayle"
Bodies of Water "A Certain Feeling"
Juana Molina "Una Dia"
Omar S and Claude Von Stroke
From Bubblegum to Sky "A Soft Kill"
Feminist Coalitions edited by Stephanie Gilmore
Bachelorette "My Electric Family"

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Magnetic Fields and Laura Barrett at Town Hall

I am so happy to report that Venus Zine is back in business, which means that I will now be reviewing shows and writing about music, art and culture for them more regularly. My first review after a long hiatus was the Magnetic Fields' performance at Town Hall on March 10th. It was a very nice and stately show and had the feeling of a reunion of friends who are all in someway connected to the Magnetic Fields. You can read the full review here.

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