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Goings On: posted week of January 9, 2008

1. Michael Goldberg, FF Alumn, In Memoriam
2. Paul Henry Ramirez, FF Alumn, in Art in America, Dec 2007
3. Doug Beube, Joyce Kozloff, FF Alumns, at Limn Gallery, SF, opening Jan 11
4. Terry Braunstein, FF Alumn, new public art piece, Sun Valley, CA, and more
5. Galinsky, FF Alumn, at NY Film Academy, Manhattan, Jan. 19, 9 pm
6. Kriota Willberg, FF Alumn, at BAX, Brooklyn, Jan 11-12, 8 pm
7. Jackson Mac Low, FF Alumn, publication party at CUE, Manhattan, Jan 18
8. Laura Parnes, David Wojnarowicz, FF Alumns, at Schroeder Romero, Brooklyn, opening Jan 10
9. Peter Grzybowski, FF Alumn, in Lodz, Poland, Jan 11


1. Michael Goldberg, FF Alumn, In Memoriam

Our condolences to the friends and family of Michael Goldberg. The New York Times obituary follows below.

January 4, 2008
Michael Goldberg, 83, Abstract Expressionist, Is Dead

Michael Goldberg, an abstract painter of the New York School whose vibrant works are in major museums and private collections, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 83.

The apparent cause was a heart attack he suffered while working in his studio on the Bowery, said his wife, the artist Lynn Umlauf. It was the same studio he took over from Mark Rothko in the 1950s.

Mr. Goldberg was a painter of strong convictions who in his youth was influenced by the gestural Abstract Expressionist mode of older painters like Kline, Still and de Kooning, and never abandoned it. The improvisational nature of jazz, which he admired, was also important to his work.

Stuck like some of his peers with the label “second-generation Abstract Expressionist,” Mr. Goldberg shrugged it off. “Labels come and go,” he told Saul Ostrow, the conceptual artist who was a close friend, in a 2001 interview for the magazine Bomb. “It makes no difference to what you’re trying to do.”

He saw abstract painting, he told Mr. Ostrow, as “still the primary visual challenge of our time. It might get harder and harder to make an abstract image that’s believable, but I think that just makes the challenge greater.”

Mr. Goldberg and his wife both taught at the School of Visual Arts. Since 1980 he had spent five months of each year in Tuscany, Italy, on an estate outside Siena. Most of the works produced there last summer appeared in his show at Knoedler & Company in September. Done with oil sticks pressed directly against the canvas, a method Mr. Goldberg chose some years ago over brushing with paint, they are energetic productions based on what he called a “quasi grid,” with patchy squares of color intersected at random by strong diagonals.

Born in the Bronx on Dec. 24, 1924, Michael Goldberg began classes at the Art Students League at 14. From 1940 to 1942 he attended the school run by the Abstract Expressionist painter and teacher Hans Hofmann. His studies were interrupted at 18 when he volunteered for Army service in World War II. He became a master sergeant in North Africa and Burma with the commando unit known as Merrill’s Marauders. Mr. Goldberg received a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star that was awarded to every member of the unit.

After further study at the League and the Hofmann school, he set up shop as a painter, eventually occupying Rothko’s Bowery loft. Hanging out at the Cedar Street Tavern and with the Eighth Street Club, a discussion group founded by downtown artists in 1949, he came under the influence of Abstract Expressionism.

In 1951 his work made its first public appearance in the Ninth Street Show, a groundbreaking exhibition of the new New York avant-garde organized by the club and the dealer Leo Castelli. In 1953 the Tibor de Nagy Gallery gave him his first solo show.
Besides Ms. Umlauf, whom he met in 1969 and married 10 years later, Mr. Goldberg is survived by a younger brother, Gerald Jay Goldberg, of Manhattan, and two stepchildren from an earlier marriage to the writer Patsy Southgate: Luke Matthiessen of Brooklyn and Sara Carey Matthiessen of Northport, L.I.

In his youth, he reminisced, he and his colleagues never expected to make money at painting and created art just for themselves. When buyers began to appear in the mid 1950s, he recalled, the collector Walter P. Chrysler Jr. came to his studio one day and bought $10,000 worth of his work, to be paid in $2,500 installments. Unemployed at the time, with no bank account, Mr. Goldberg received the first payment on a freezing midwinter day. His first act was to buy an electric blanket. He spent the weekend in bed under the blanket, the money tucked beneath his arm.


2. Paul Henry Ramirez, FF Alumn, in Art in America, Dec 2007

Paul Henry Ramirez at Caren Golden – Art in America, December, 2007

If previous figures of comparison for Paul Henry Ramirez included Aubrey Beardsley and Lari Pittman, his current work triangulates Carroll Dunham and Ellsworth Kelly. Buoyant, funny, sharp but not so it hurts, Ramirez’s new paintings, individually and collectively called “Chunk,” are as close to erotica as hard-edged abstraction gets. Bouncing across fields of bright color bound by smartly angled contours and tidy curves are paired balls of every size.

Straight lines shoot out between them. Gone are the hairy, furry or cloudy (if always meticulous) passages of previous work, which sometimes spilled from canvas to wall; the crisp lines and fetishistically smooth acrylic surfaces of the painting in “Chunk” speak of a certain belief in the perfectibility of form. But they are considerably too raunchy to suit abstraction’s more resolute purists.

Ranging in size from 36 to 66 inches square the numbered compositions (all 2007) include the bilaterally symmetrical 4, in which two pairs of testicular forms nestle against the ample curves of pendulous white lozenges set against a field of sunny green, the whole bisected by a big black bar. Numbers 2 and 3 are even more explicitly sexual, the latter a semaphore-like image of crossed phalluses in two shades of pinkish red, the former an elegantly bold icon in matte black that could serve as international signage.

In other compositions, though, smaller circles and narrower lines, some in glittery graphite gray, carom across straight-edged declivities to less suggestive effect. Occasionally, stray gestures familiar from earlier work, including thin striped accents in day-glo pink and orange and little peaked dollops of candy-colored paint, sweeten the imagery. A three-lobed black form set at a jaunty angle in the nested white and yellow fields of 6 vaguely suggests Mickey Mouse – and, even more generally, childhood’s innocent enthusiasms. And in all these paintings, the palette, dominated by bright primaries, as much as the squeaky-clean delineation of form, pulls against associations to flesh and its pleasures. Still, the point is made.

Discreetly but distinctly “Chunk” also invokes a specific pop-cultural moment – roughly, the early ‘60s – when game theory was a favored way of looking at personal relations, jazz was represented on record covers with heavily abstracted bongo drums and the Pink Panther was the cat’s meow. Covetable for their stylishness and formal satisfactions as well as their wholesome sexiness, these paintings are one more blow to geometric abstraction’s foundations in spiritual quest and moral rigor. Myron Stout probably wouldn’t be amused and Barnett Newman surely appalled, but, for more jaded – or more tolerant – 21st-century eyes, “Chunk” is hard to resist.

-Nancy Princenthal, Art in America, December 2007


3. Doug Beube, Joyce Kozloff, FF Alumns, at Limn Gallery, SF, opening Jan 11

curated by Doug Beube and Sherry Frumkin

Louisa Bufardeci, Doug Beube, Linda Ekstrom, David Brody & Douglas Henderson, Nina Katchadourian, Joyce Kozloff, John Noestheden, Christian Nold, matthew Picton, Lordy Rodriguez, TOFU, Robert Walden and others.

"Zoom+/-" is a group exhibiton of work exploring space and meaning through the various devices of'mapping.' All artists in the show emply maps as resource material, not as an exploration of actual geopgraphy or the time/space continuum but rather as a matter of charting, subverting or deconstructing the very idea of mapping as a representation of the world.

Limn Gallery,
292 Townsend, San Francisco,
CA 94107

Reception Date is Friday, Jan. 11th, 2008

Open:Tue.-Sat. 11:00 AM-5:30PM


4. Terry Braunstein, FF Alumn, new public art piece, Sun Valley, CA, and more

Terry Braunstein, FF Alumn, new public art piece Sun Valley Health Center, Sun Valley, CA; and private commission, Blog of mosaic installations at



5. Galinsky, FF Alumn, at NY Film Academy, Manhattan, Jan 19, 9 pm

FREE SCREENING & Q & A WITH ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH presented and hosted by FF Alumn Galinsky

FREE SCREENING OF “A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY” DIRECTED BY SPIKE LEE STARRING ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH FOLLOWED BY LIVE QUESTION AND ANSWER WITH ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH at the New York Film Academy, 100 East 17th st. 4th floor screening room ONE NIGHT ONLY Saturday January 19th, 2008 - 9pm FREE ADMISSION at the New York Film Academy 4th floor screening room, 100 East 17th Street between Park Ave South & Irving Place more info: rgalinsky@nyfa.com, 212. 674 .4300

"A Huey P. Newton Story" - Originally born in a small town in Louisiana and later moving with his family to Oakland, California as an infant, Huey P. Newton became the co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for over 2 decades. Director Spike Lee and Roger Guenveur Smith collaborate for the 7th time to bring Newton's thoughts, philosophies, history and flavour to life in A Huey P. Newton Story. Produced by Luna Ray Films, A Huey P. Newton Story is the film adaptation of Smith's Obie Award-winning, off-Broadway solo performance of the same name. It was filmed before a live audience and Spike Lee directs the film with his signature mix of film and archival footage to capture the thoughts of this revolutionary political leader. This website explores many of the subjects only briefly touched on in the film, bringing them into greater focus and creates opportunities for further investigation into the truth behind the man and the movement he founded. He was a modern day American revolutionary.


6. Kriota Willberg, FF Alumn, at BAX, Brooklyn, Jan 11-12, 8 pm

Can't get enough of the historical precision of the Bentfootes?

Come be a part of Dura Mater's newest historical skewering, CM Barrassed at BAX's First Weekends performance January 11th & 12th.

Dura Mater presents a low-budget, multi-media, dance-in-progress inspired by the most elaborate, expensive, and commercially successful phenomenon of 1866. C M Barrassed depicts the tragic life of the author of The Black Crook, the first American musical extravaganza. Blending scenes from this famous melodrama, biographical research, and historical and contemporary movement, with music from the original production, the dancers take us on a reeling and dazed journey depicting the highlights of Charles Barras' life and career in the late 1860s. The excerpts presented here include: a domestic scene with Charles' dying soubrette wife; the pitch meeting that sells his play to one of the biggest theaters in New York; Faustian deals with the Devil; and a re- interpretation of the March of the Amazons number from the show. C. M. Barras' life becomes the archetypal struggle between art and commerce, telling the story of a man whose life was "ruined by dance."

Featuring: Jessica Ames, Julie Betts, Heidi Brewer, Nathanael Buckley, Janna Diamond, Meghan Frederick, Kristin Henry, Jeremy Laverdure, Janine Pangburn, Carly Pansulla, Karla Quintero, Beth Simons, Gretchen Weber

Choreography: Kriota Willberg

BAX's First Weekend Series also presenting work by Ryan Migge and Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance

DATE: January 11 & 12
TIME: 8:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 421 5th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11215
ADMISSION $15 / Low-income $8


7. Jackson Mac Low, FF Alumn, publication party at CUE, Manhattan, Jan 18

You are cordially invited to come celebrate the recent publication of
Thing of Beauty: New and Selected Works
by Jackson Mac Low

edited by Anne Tardos
(University of California Press).
Copies of the book will be available for sale and poems will be read and performed by Charles Bernstein, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Katie Degentesh, Drew Gardner, Mitch Highfill, Chris Mason, Joan Retallack, among others.

Thing of Beauty: New and Selected Works is a landmark collection, bringing together poetry, performance pieces, "traditional" verse, prose poems and other poetical texts from Jackson Mac Low's lifetime in art.

Mac Low is a significant writer, comparable in stature to such giants as Robert Creeley, John Ashbery and Allen Ginsberg. Often associated with composer John Cage, they both shared a delight in work derived from "chance operations."

The works in this volume span the years from 1937, beginning with "Thing of Beauty," his first poem, until his death in 2004 and demonstrate his extraordinary range as well as his unquenchable enthusiasm.

This collection, edited by Anne Tardos, his wife and frequent collaborator, offers a balanced arrangement of early, middle and late work, designed to convey not just the range but also the progressions and continuities of his writing and "writingways."

CUE Art Foundation
511 West 25th Street
(Ground Floor)
Between 10th and 11th Avenues
Phone: 212-206-3583

Friday, January 18th
From 6:30 - 8:00 pm


8. Laura Parnes, David Wojnarowicz, FF Alumns, at Schroeder Romero, Brooklyn, opening Jan 10

(212) 630-0722 fax (212) 630-0716 www.schroederromero.com

Charles Browning Jennifer Dalton Eric Heist Laurie Hogin Lou Laurita
Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz Laura Parnes William Powhida
Heidi Schlatter Michael Waugh David Wojnarowicz

January 10 - February 16, 2008
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 10, 6-8pm

“What is a Caucus-race?” said Alice …

“Why,” said the Dodo, “the best way to explain it is to do it.” …

First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle ("the exact shape doesn’t matter,” it said), and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there.

There was no “One, two, three, and away!” but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so … the Dodo suddenly called out "The race is over!” and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, “But who has won?” from Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

The idea of a caucus is distinctly American, which is probably why Lewis Carroll ridiculed it in Alice in Wonderland. A caucus is a group of like-minded people who come together to make a decision, and often that decision is about a decision. The US Congress has a Black Caucus, a Hispanic Caucus, even an Internet Caucus; the members of these caucuses discuss how they will vote – when a vote eventually comes. The Iowa Caucus, as well, essentially decides whom voters might like to vote for in the future – when the election occurs. It is in this spirit of deciding about decisions, and especially the deferring of decisions about leadership, that the artists in this show have formed a caucus.

Though most of the works in this show are not essentially about politics, they offer insight about the nature of choice and the lengths people go to in order to be chosen. As such, this show is timely and relevant. But more than that, the works in this show employ a dark beauty that reminds us of how power engenders its own aesthetics, an aesthetics in which a choice may seem a forgone conclusion. When that happens, the caucus is not mere procedure, but a necessary attempt to call each other out, to identify our own self-destructive desire to relinquish responsibility.

David Wojnarowicz’s iconic photograph Untitled (Falling Buffalo) typifies the attitude in this show towards deferred decisions. His gorgeous landscape presents buffaloes suicidally racing off a cliff, presumably chased by hunters. The herd mentality isn’t particularly good at devising creative solutions. Yet the crisp tonalities, the setting, and the fact that the buffaloes are merely maquettes all conspire to make the narrative seem as romantic as it is apocryphal.

By placing into a snow globe a scene of soldiers who are alternately shooting into the sky and blowing their own heads off, Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz transform a scene that should be horrifying. Physically diminutive, technically ingenious, the piece elicits a dark glee from viewers that is so strong as to make one forget simple questions like: why are the soldiers spinning out of control and choosing to end it all? Though, we may just as easily be avoiding that question because we already know the answer.

Heidi Schlatter’s light boxes also present seductive scenes, referencing the advertisements at bus stops and on subway platforms, with hip youths bearing corporate logos. The scenery may be bucolic. The logos may be prominent. The youths may be beautiful. But they are dead. By taking the form of advertisements, these pieces imply a persuasive rhetoric. But how far are we willing to be lead?

Lou Laurita avoids that question through a mandate: FOLLOW. Written large, the letters of this word form the outline of his drawing. Within those large block letters are two other things: the lyrics of the song Make it With You (also the title of Laurita’s piece) by Bread – and photographs grabbed off the internet showing people in various states of intoxication. Amid the sincerity of the pop lyrics (with their entreaty that a sexual encounter could lead to something deep and lasting), the command to follow and the drunk faces set a scene in which a locus for the right decision gets hopelessly deferred.

Michael Waugh's drawing, The Assumption (of the Public Debt), writes out by hand, a long, rhetorically sophisticated argument: Alexander Hamilton’s report to the US congress on why the federal government should assume the debt incurred by the states during the revolution. By accepting his argument, the congress transformed the United States into a capitalist institution and global power. The image of the drawing is of George Washington being assumed into heaven, neither that nor global dominance were mentioned in the report, though a master rhetorician knows when to withhold and simplify the choices.

With Teller (from US trust), Eric Heist presents the simplest of choices: none. The minimal elegance of black glass framed by more black offers us nothing but a beautiful abyss. Seductive though it is, such transcendence falls away when one realizes that the blank panels are actually bank teller windows. The austerity of the work is non-negotiable.

Jennifer Dalton seems to offer viewers more room for negotiation. Visually spare and elegant, like Heist’s piece, her sculpture, Would You Rather be a Loser or a Pig? sets a transparent box on top of a white pedestal; the box appears to be filled with grey rubber loops. But, again like Heist’s piece, the elegance disintegrates. The rings are actually cheap rubber bracelets. Moreover, viewers are instructed to take one bracelet, choosing between one that has the word “Loser” printed on it or one with the word ”Pig.” Presenting as a choice that which is no choice at all may leave one with the desire to abstain.

In Charles Browning’s painting Fluid Allegory, even the option to abstain has consequences. Referencing 19th century American romanticism, Browning presents America (symbolized by an Indian maiden) with Europe (symbolized by a pink baby) attempting to suckle at her teat. The maiden recoils, refusing to take part. But the baby has already latched on. Self-consciously over-the-top, blood from a dead deer and milk flow across the landscape.

Laurie Hogin’s work offers another route towards abstention: drugs. In a series of paintings, Hogin presents a pharmacy of animals who are anthropomorphically twisted, vile, pitiable. Yet the cheerful colors and astounding craft of these paintings make even these horrors marketable. Painting, still the king of art world commerce, transforms the grotesque into capital. But the self-reflexivity of these paintings, with the animals locking eyes with the viewer, turns consumption itself into allegory. Consumption of drugs or paintings, it makes no difference.

The actors in Laura Parnes’s work seem to have a more proactive solution: take up arms. In a still from her video, Blood and Guts in High School, a 1980’s punk girl is up against a wall, with gun in hand. Behind the wall, a sinister, white-collared man holds a gun too. Are the characters aware of each other and the threat the other poses? Are they working together? Making a choice is never easy, but if the rubble strewn in the background of the photograph is any indication, decisions have been made.

William Powhida presents a new work in which decisions have not been made. The artist has set up a web site at which anyone can cast a vote and nominate New York art-world allies and enemies. As the nominations come in, Powhida will draw portraits of each person and post them on the wall of the gallery. Part voting booth and part gossip column, this project lays bare the cult of personality on which we decide to whom we give power. please visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=rgvpNXPHLZ9_2b998Ff0jKfg_3d_3d

Caucus was organized by Michael Waugh, Lisa Schroeder and Sara Jo Romero.

Please contact the gallery for more information. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am - 6pm.


9. Peter Grzybowski, FF Alumn, in Lodz, Poland, January 11

January 11, 2008, 7 PM
Galeria Manhattan
ul. Wigury 15, Lodz, Poland


Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller


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