Black-Magic Stealth Funk

From the NYT, one of the best descriptions I’ve come across in a long time: Spacious, Black-Magic Stealth Funk. As, “… in Bitches Brew Revisited, a septet led by the coronetist Graham Haynes, powered by the drummer Cindy Blackman and colored by the guitarist James Blood Ulmer, jazz became whatever it was Miles Davis intended in 1969: spacious, black-magic stealth funk.”

Now, I would love to think of myself in these terms, or to think of some personal quality as spacious, black-magic stealth funk, and I hope this will find its way into ordinary conversation within the coming months. Yet perhaps it’s already a way of thinking about graffiti and other sorts of clandestine activities.

Spacious, Black-Magic Stealth Funk as describing the solitary activities of the tagger or street artist:

  • Spacious: spreading its reach ‘all city,’ getting up, spreading seeds, tags spread and grow like wild vines
  • Black-Magic: How did he get up there?: this is the Sport-Character of graffiti: higher, faster, bigger, etc.
  • Stealth: act to avoid detection by authorities; creeping through the shadows do deliver the mark
  • Funk: what’s funkier than a graffiti-filled alley? What’s funkier than a writer’s shoes after running from the police?

So, graffiti as spacious, black-magic stealth funk. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But the article does provide some information on a variety of current jazz musicians should you be interested, and I can personally recommend the Vijay Iyer Trio’s Historicity: definitely one of the best records of 2009, imo.

MFA Thesis Exhibition, 2007

University Art Gallery, March 17 – April 14, 2007

The 2007 MFA Thesis Exhibition includes works by eight artists representing a range of styles, themes, and approaches to art-making: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, video, and installation art all make appearances. Given the breadth of content in the exhibition, viewers might find themselves confused about what ties these works together, other than their having been produced by graduating MFA candidates at Stony Brook. However, careful examination of the works may reveal certain thematic relationships. Continue reading “MFA Thesis Exhibition, 2007”

Lorena Salcedo-Watson: ‘Morphologies’

Melvile Library Gallery, Stony Brook University, February 9 – 21, 2007

As we know, ‘morphology’ is the study of structures. Salcedo-Watson’s art is no different. The images in this show present views of the internal structure of the human body, not as seen with x-ray or other scientific or medical imaging devices, but as felt, as experienced and as imagined. Spinal columns, rib cages and pelvises play a large role in the imagery, though the structures appear distorted, convulsive, twisted, due to movement, pain, anxiety or ecstasy. The forms presented are intended to be a rethinking of the body. No longer merely a physical form, now an ideal (or idea-l) form, the ideas Salcedo-Watson has about her own body and the body of others as felt, as lived. Continue reading “Lorena Salcedo-Watson: ‘Morphologies’”

Amy Marinelli: ‘here: recent drawings’

Melvile Library Gallery, Stony Brook University, January 30 – February 5, 2007

Here. Where is here? Is here a place? A state of mind? When we go ‘there,’ we always end up ‘here;’ yet always, everywhere, I am here and you are there. So where or what is ‘here’? Marinelli’s drawings ask these questions. As a group, the drawings depict landscapes- fallen trees, groups of twigs, meandering streams and heavy rounded boulders- though exactly where these landscapes exist is left to the viewer’s imagination. While suggesting places or landscapes, the drawings also show situations, bodies and memories. Continue reading “Amy Marinelli: ‘here: recent drawings’”

Athena LaTocha: ‘Sturm und Drang’

Melvile Library Gallery, Stony Brook University, November 3-11, 2006

‘Sturm und Drang’ (Storm and Stress), for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, was a cultural movement in the late eighteenth century, built around the desire for freedom of expression and the primacy of instinct and impulse. Members of the group, including Goethe and Lavater, were hostile to rules and reason, and contemptuous of cultural norms, polite manners and social refinements. The movement stressed the importance of inspiration, inner vision and unconscious drives. Given this limited understanding of the movement, LaTocha’s style and intent become clearer. A sense of storm and stress pervades these works. From the extreme variance in scale (some as small as 2 3/4 by 3 3/4 inches, others as large as 12 by 8 feet), to the seemingly violent manipulation of surface and materials, viewers find echoes of Sturm und Drang. Continue reading “Athena LaTocha: ‘Sturm und Drang’”

Alan Goodrich: i’m not scared

Melvile Library Gallery, Stony Brook University, October 31 – November 11, 2007

“I’m not scared” the constant refrain of countless Halloween revelers as they travel from horror film to haunted house to trick-or-treating in local neighborhoods made spooky with cotton cobwebs, inflatable ghosts and goblins, and plastic witches and headless horsemen with burning red eyes. Alan Goodrich presents paintings, drawings, video, and photographs thematically linked by Halloween hijinks, real and fictionalized fright and violence, and the catharsis provided by experiences with the grotesque. Though elements of the work may provide nausea or puzzlement through shaky camera and brushwork or delicate and childlike pen- and draftsmanship, the works will not frighten viewers. Instead, the works in “I’m not scared” serve to interrogate the institution and economy of the fright industry, refuting the possibilities and politics of fear, and pointing towards processes of jading and disillusionment as we move into adulthood. Continue reading “Alan Goodrich: i’m not scared”