Monday, May 10, 2010

Two Famous Artists I Saw This Weekend

Posted By on Mon, May 10, 2010 at 2:22 PM

SWOON signing Books
I'm not usually one to brag about such things, but over the weekend I saw two very famous contemporary artists who are among the most creative young forces in the art world. On Saturday evening, street art star SWOON was in Williamsburg to celebrate the opening of a sculpture show in the East River State Park organized by Urban Art Projects, signing books at Slate Gallery in conjunction with her soon-to-shutter gallery Deitch Projects. SWOON's latest endeavor, the Kombit Shelter Project (of which the new sculpture is a mock-up of sorts), involves assembling materials and a team of artists and builders to create low-cost, durable shelters in Haiti for those still homeless after the earthquake. When it came my turn to get a book signed, I asked how soon she expected to go to Haiti and start construction.

"Right now we're aiming for June," she explained, "we've only just started scratching the surface with sorting out all the details, but obviously the need is there." I said my congrats and stepped aside to let the next person get their book signed, and to keep myself from falling any more in love. The waterfront sculpture, meanwhile, is a stunning, pyramidal sandbag structure topped with figures in SWOON's trademark meticulous, two-toned line drawing style. The UAP's inaugural public sculpture exhibition in East River State Park stays up through June 6 and features works by nine artists.

Earlier in the day, at MoMA PS1 (new name!), where I stopped on my way home from seeing the excellent new show Knight's Move at SculptureCenter, they're hard at work installing their quintennial survey of NYC artists, Greater New York (opens May 23), so the ground floor galleries are free for the next couple weeks. Those rooms feature some pieces from 2005's Greater New York, and a half-decade cultural bibliography of sorts, which is slowly being populated with a survey of all the major events in New York City art, performance, film and music of the last five years.

Terence Koh
While I was in that gallery, kind of like a giant living room with a very long cushion-couch thing in the middle and TVs along all the walls, Chinese-Canadian art star Terence Koh (pictured) walked in with a PS1 curator whose name escapes me, looking surprisingly casual and down-to-earth given his, um, larger than life persona. I didn't dare ask why he was there because, well, for a short, effete Asian man in his early 30s he's quite intimidating, but since he's not included in the GNY show, maybe he was there to discuss an as-yet unannounced future exhibition? That would definitely merit inclusion in the GNY 2015 cultural bibliography.

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