Friday, May 29, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba, s'il vous plait

Don't let this one pass you by! there was a sweet little story in my SF Chronicle this morning. I read it in bed. It's Shavuot, so I don't have work and I still get the newspaper delivered to the house.

Look, Charles Rivkin one of the people who made Yo Gabba Gabba is going to be the American ambassador to France, if he gets approved.

"Charles Rivkin, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Wild Brain Inc. and co-producer of the children's program 'Yo Gabba Gabba,' was nominated as ambassador to France," writes Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer. (The San Francisco Chronicle still has a staff?! @FrannyDink what's going on here?)

I think this is funninteresting because:
  • he's newculture and he made a lot of money and friends, I guess:

    While those efforts have been hailed in the diplomatic community, they have fueled a long-running debate over the tradition of presidents using diplomatic appointments to reward fundraisers and political supporters...

    ...In addition to tens of thousands of dollars in personal contributions to various candidates and committees, both men were "bundlers" who raised at least $500,000 for the Obama campaign in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The two were co-chairs of Obama's California finance committee.

  • he thereby immediately qualifies as "low culture"/high culture [Kirk Varnedoe R.I.P.*]

  • and it's his youth. he grew up in the civil service, so the whole thing's like a tribute to his dad.

    Rivkin is not completely detached from the foreign policy world: He is the son of William Rivkin, who served as ambassador in Luxembourg, Senegal and Gambia in the 1960s, and who is remembered by the annual American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award for "Constructive Dissent" given to midcareer Foreign Service officers.


    (* - if the reference is too oblique, I'm talking about the watershed and maybe reviled 1990 exhibition at MoMA High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture curated by Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik)
  • Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Thank You WMA

    Hey, I'm psyched I launched this new(ish) blog for the Western Museums Association. And I am psyched it's taken off the way that it has! and thanks @publichistorian for describing westmuse as "essential museum profession reading." Check her blog, and she just defended for her doctorate. That's Dr. Fischer to you!

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    My Ning Groups

    What's up with ning? Is it THE thing? Does it slowly take over? Or is it over?

    Any thoughts?

    Visit Museum 3.0

    LOVE MUSEUM 3.0!!

    Visit Art + Environment


    Visit Top Secret Dance Off

    CAN'T REALLY CLAIM TO BE PART OF TOP SECRET DANCE OFF. I DON'T DANCE TO/IN IT but I know several who do...VERY active site, made by Queen of Games.

    Visit JFKU Museum Studies

    JFKU Museum Studies Ning Group -- should be more active...

    Jazz Ambassadors

    On my way over to the Jazz Ambassadors installation at the Jazz Heritage Center today, I walked past the Saint John Coltrane Church. And, oh man, was that a beautiful thing. There were observers, screaming horns emanating from within and huge, icon-like painting of John Coltrane.

    To perceive again and this time it must be said, for all who read to know that no matter what, it is all with God. He is gracious and merciful. His way is in love, through which we all are. Wherever and whoever you are, always strive to follow and walk in the right path and ask for aid and assistance...herein lies the ultimate and eternal happiness which is our through His grace.

    - John William Coltrane

    The pics below are from the event which was fantastic! I'll post captions later...

    Why Go to A Conference Anyways?

    @lidja @lyndakelly61 @futureofmuseums @creativemerc @museum_flavor pLz look &here assoc./conf. grpthink @RichardMcCoy @DanielCull very import.


    To read more Burgelman now click here. I am falling in love with this, and it makes me think about @mpedson's Smithsonian 2.0 and his "institutionalization of Innovation at the Edges."

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    Give 'Em A Pickle

    With fond memories of Farrels from when I was a kid, I was glad to see Jeremy Clark put a post up on the WMA blog westmuse using Farrel's phrase "give 'em a pickle" about using Twitter and other tools to give museum friends and members regular freebies.

    To read the post click here.

    And here's what I got when I tweeted the link to Max Anderson (My fifteen minutes are up...):

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    WestMuse Vol II 2009 <<- pdf to download

    comments -- good, bad or otherwise - MOST welcome.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    Joaquin Miller Park

    The monuments themselves are crude by almost any measure. Miller seems to have done all the work himself, mixing equal parts of serpentine and Portland cement. There is a barrel-shaped tower dedicated to the Brownings, a pyramid to Moses, a battlement-like tower dedicated to General John C. Frémont.

    The shapes themselves-triangle, circle, square-suggest a child's basic play set. His house remains, The Abby, California Historical Landmark no. 107, along with a "Sanctuary to Memory," where he stored his mementos and where his grieving daughter Juanita created a replica of her father lying in bed as he had during the last days of his life, surrounded by his boots and other memorabilia


    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    MAGNES at The Jewish Museum, New York

    The NY Show made The New York Times ( read the older review from the SF Chronicle when it opened at Magnes click here).

    Monday, May 04, 2009

    New Article in Today's NYTimes about the Jewish Museum, New York

    Ed Rothstein's done it again, by way of paying tribute to the work we all do in museums and by way of thorough honest and throught provoking analysis of something happening in a museum -- in this case the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

    His review is pretty scathing. Overall, I agree. But that's not really the point, more Rothstein's a teacher.

    I've been lucky enough to go to Berlin within the last several years and see the things he writes about, the Eisenman-designed memorial, the Neue Synagogue and the Bibliotek memorial.

    Basically, Rothstein says the museum sucks and that there are better sites in Berlin that serve as memorials, such as the site-specific Memorial for the Burning of the Books. Read this:

  • ...the potency of the underground “Bibliotek” memorial built in the mid-1990s on the Bebelplatz, where the Nazis held a book burning in 1933, consigning thousands of volumes to the flames. The memorial’s creator, Micha Ullman, knew he couldn’t reproduce the magnitude of the event or its destructiveness. So instead, he put a transparent window in the ground of the plaza, under which you can see an illuminated array of empty white bookshelves. “Where books are burned,” a bronze plaque simply reads, quoting the poet Heinrich Heine from 1820, “in the end people will burn.”

    It's how Rothstein cinches up the article. It's more than a is both profound and quotidian -- and all too real, like Kafka's "Like a dog, he said..."

    One of the lines that sticks with me, too, from Rothstein's piece is "Judaism here [at the Jewish Museum] seems like a religion whose main importance is sociological."

    But, I mean, how can it not seem like that, if this is a museum about a religion...I mean "a people"?

    How do we ask this same question -- how do we not give the impression that human importance is not just mainly sociological? -- for all the work we do in museums?

    As usual, his story is full of lessons. Read it here
  • Sunday, May 03, 2009

    An Artful Afternoon in Queens pt 3: Chris and Anne in Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool

    Spent a lot of today at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. There was installed there Leandro Erlich's Swimming Pool. According to the P.S. 1 site, it is:

    an extraordinary and visually confounding installation...on view in P.S.1’s unique, double-height Duplex gallery from October 19, 2008 through April 13, 2009. Leandro Erlich is known for installations that seem to defy the basic laws of physics and befuddle the viewer, who is introduced into jarring environments that momentarily threaten a sense of balance or space. For this exhibition, Erlich presents one of his most well-known and critically acclaimed pieces, Swimming Pool.

    Speaking about the project, Erlich says: “When I first visited P.S.1, I remember thinking how perfect the Duplex space would be for the installation of Swimming Pool. This space divided the experience of seeing the work perfectly, and in the correct order. Almost ten years since its creation, Swimming Pool is finally in the exhibition space for which I have always felt is so perfectly suited.”

    Erlich has constructed a full-size pool, complete with all its trappings, including a deck and a ladder.

    The whole thing's a trip. It's a beautiful tribute to perception and leisure. Here's a pic of Anne "under water" in the pool, then a picture of Chris "in" the pool with me down there with him.

    An Artful Afternoon in Queens Pt 2

    Here we were out at P.S. 1. The sexy picture below is a Cecily Brown created for the 1997 group exhibition Vertical Paintings. It remains in the upstairs stairwell and looks like a relic of kinky old Napoli.

    And the Michael Jackson video is part of Jonathan Horowitz exhibition And/Or, on view February 22, 2009 - September 14, 2009. P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents Jonathan Horowitz: And/Or, the first solo exhibition of the New York-based artist at a New York museum. Per the P.S. 1 site, "Working in video, sculpture, sound installation, and photography, Horowitz critically examines the cultures of politics, celebrity, cinema, war, and consumerism."

    Really, Jonathan Horowitz exhibition And/Or was one of the finest, most earnest and personally committed exhibitions I have seen in some time - think Haacke -- and the artist has set a new precedent for empathy and social responsibility.

    An Artful Afternoon in Queens pt 1

    We went to the Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island City and LUCKED OUT!

    We were there for the opening of Columbia University's 2009 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition (May 3-23, 2009). It was so refreshing, enlivening and wonderful to share all this work with Chris and Anne there. What a great way to get back in the swing!

    Women, multimedia and empathy were the strongest forces at play for me in my viewing. My favorite artists, as of this writing, were:
  • Davida Nemeroff
  • Einat Amir

    Nemeroff pushing boundaries with varied works in several media, a nostalgic slide show about lost connections to meaningful acquaintances, re-photographs of family and friends, a tiny tribute to a strong young woman and a video screen that broadcast the Babylon stop on the LIRR.

    Amir had a live model weeping over a smashed, flat, HD, large-screen T.V.; a paid actor; an old boy friend and a video still of an abstract painting -- each of which she solicited through Craigslist. And for so many reasons -- not least of which the narratives created through Craigslist like the most recently accused Craigslist murderer -- this kind of "unintended" and "real life" drama made for the show left the viewer with much to discuss and discover.
  • Good Friends in Queens

    Friday, May 01, 2009

    Mario García Torres: Je ne sais si c’en est la cause, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, and Some Reference Materials / MATRIX 227



    Mario García Torres looks to recent history, in both its anecdotal and official articulations, to make connections between the present moment and artists who, in García Torres’s words, “were fundamentally trying to legitimatize a different way of conceiving art.”

    huhn?! well, yup, actually and...

    García Torres’s work illuminates past projects and rescues them from obscurity in the service of metaphorical poetics.

    uh, o.k. "go bears!"