I’ve decided to start a fantasy art collection because my real life art collection is slow-moving. I have hundreds of Manneys, and one Pearlstein lithograph. It’s been like this for years, so recently I asked my friend to explain how fantasy sports work. I’d been thinking how cool it would be to pick my favorite art in the same way that guys pick their favorite Yankees.
Once I got an understanding of the ins and outs of fake sports, I couldn’t figure out a clever parallel to jot down here. But I still think it’s a good game. Art that I like, and art that I would actually purchase and want to look at daily for the rest of my life are very different things. Also, I would never trade these picks, so out the window with the sports analogy. I know what you’re thinking, how rich is the fake me? That’s tricky. I’m not sure. I guess we’ll find out.
As we’re all well aware, Banksy was in town last month doing his NYC residency. I’m glad it’s November, and my Twitter feed has returned to normal. No more Banksy this, Banksy that, the government, Banksy Banksy.
The long and short of it is that I wasn’t very interested in what he did here—which is a big surprise since he’s in my Fantasy Art Collection. Although I kept my eye on what he was doing, all the hype made me wonder how much I like Banksy. I like his work because it’s pretty cool-looking, and usually clever, but the mobs and drama surrounding his presence in this town annoyed me so much, I didn’t want to like him anymore. The verdict: I like him, just not that much.
The deal: I send a check to the P.O. box of his choosing, he can do whatever he wants, has one year to do it (tardy). Although it will be tempting once he completes his end of the bargain and the bloggers and reporters start poking around, we have a clear understanding that this never happened.
Back then there were a lot of mix-ups in the details, and we weren’t able to set up the P.O. box. But I guess he thought it was a good idea anyway and charged ahead. He did it in Brooklyn as his 17th NY piece, and unfortunately it happened to a lady named Cara, not a lady named Laura. Read “I’m the Accidental Owner of a Banksy” to get the full scoop.
No hard feelings, Banksy, thanks for holding up your end of the bargain. As payment, I promise to never trade my Fantasy Art pic #3.
I’ve finally thought of 2 things that are wrong with NYC. #1: rats, #2: you can’t see stars. There’s no solution for #1, but there is one for the stars problem. I just purchased this 8.5 x 6 foot photograph by Thomas Ruff, hung it on my brick wall, and it looks incredible. It’s a little strange looking sideways instead of up, but living here takes compromise, so it works for me.
Ok, I’ve actually never seen it in person, but recently my friend and I were talking about the depressing state of a recent art fair, and I asked him to name one thing he saw that blew his mind. He picked Ruff’s Sterne (Stars) photographs, and as he was describing them to me I got choked up and decided to buy one on the spot.
I’m not much of a photography collector because I like to see the hand of the artist, and always lean towards drawing, painting and sculpture. But Sterne, as the third photograph in my collection, is very similar to my very first fantasy purchase from Misrach’s On the Beach series. If either of these photographs were paintings, they’d be terrible so I wouldn’t have noticed them. It’s the fact that they are photographs of the existing world that make me love them so much.
I like feeling very small in the big picture of the universe sometimes, and knowing that something greater exists or I wouldn’t be here. When I look at these pictures I’m reminded of it and it puts things into perspective.
This art purchase is in memory of my grandfather who died at the age of 92 last month. He was a writer and artist, and a few months before he died he gave me a book called “How It Ends: From You to the Universe.” The cover looks a lot like my new Ruff, but I haven’t read the book because the topic freaks me out. But I think he’d definitely love this picture. If he hadn’t lived, neither would I. Thank you so much James C.G. Conniff.
A few weeks ago I raced to the Met to catch the last weekend of Matisse: In Search of True Painting. I was thinking about buying one, but a weird thing happened, and all the show did was remind me how much I really love Diebenkorn. So I bought these two: Ocean Horizon and Ocean Park No. 67. It’s the combination of Matisse and Diebenkorn that’s helped me learn to see, and how to paint.
I started taking drawing classes in high school, and have a terrible memory of sitting on the local defunct train tracks with a sketchpad, trying to figure out perspective. The experience was terrible because sitting on train tracks of any kind is nauseating, but also because looking at the huge world in front of me, and trying to put it down on a piece of paper was equally nauseating. It simply didn’t fit on the page (I had the same problem with obese models in figure drawing).
It was around this time that I discovered Matisse, and remember seeing the two paintings below—finally able to see 3D as 2D. Something switched in my head, and I suddenly saw the paper as a flat surface, and the picture on it as an arrangement of shapes. Everything collapsed and the receding train tracks became a triangle, the horizon a rectangle, I saw lines instead of streets, shapes instead of cars and was finally able to draw the world in front of me. AND for this I thank you, Matisse!
So … back to the weird thing that happened when I went to see the Matisse show … I was walking through room after room of his paintings and couldn’t for the life of me remember why he struck such a chord with me in my youth (the previous thoughts came later). Aside from these two, I was looking at paintings of fruit, landscapes, women, and felt nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Diebenkorn is obviously influenced by Matisse, but his work makes more sense to me. I can relate to it better because it feels contemporary. I don’t know why exactly. I don’t live in California and spend little time at the beach, but it’s not really the subject matter that I’m drawn to. His paintings look like things I see, and they have more to do with perception. Their non-specificity allows me to see my own world in them, and the layers of color and energy of his marks equally amaze me. Perfection!
I think it’s natural to grow out of artists. I guess it’s a positive thing that signifies creative growth and life moving ahead, but there’s a part of me that wishes I could still hang on to all the old inspiration with the same intensity. From time to time I still think of Matisse when I’m sitting here writing at my desk, looking out the window.
I was going through my books of his work tonight and pulled out Dance Me to the End of Love. I bought it 19 years ago, and started remembering why I loved him so much. I didn’t know who Leonard Cohen was at the time, but the book actually has more meaning to me now than it did all those years that it sat on my shelf.
On Saturday I was telling my friend that I needed to make a quick March purchase for my Fantasy Art Collection so I didn’t fail my new years resolution to make one fake purchase of real art every month for a year.
Since Easter was happening in a few hours, we were thinking I should buy something religious to keep in the spirit of things. I thought about it, but I already bought Carravaggio and couldn’t think of any other religious art that I really wanted. David is amazing and so is The Pietà, but not so much that I want them looming over me in the tight space I call home. That seems weird. I’d rather go to Italy anyway.
So we decided I should buy the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That works. I love it so much I’ve gone out of my way to see it twice. I could just slice off the top, bring it back to nyc, hang it from a crane so it didn’t take up too much space, and wait for the day that I have a big barn art studio in need of a roof. It would also give the new pope an opportunity to flex his Argentinian muscles and make his mark replacing it. AND my collection would rule in the meantime. win win.
Truth be told, I intended for this story to be the time-sensitive intro to a different art purchase. But as I got to looking at Michelangelo’s work tonight, it choked me up—I just love it. I grew up catholic and have known of it for as long as I can remember. But now I see his work differently, with much more meaning than it ever had for me before. It’s simple. It’s about connection—the reason why we’re here. I know I can’t have it, but hanging above my fantasy art collection it looks incredible.
I finally saw Hope Gangloffs paintings in person this weekend and they’re incredible. Please please go see them. I bought her work as pick #13 in my fantasy art collection without ever having seen the work in person, and I’m happy to know that I didn’t steer myself wrong. Contradictory to my blog theme, it’s refreshing to see work that isn’t so much about mediums, but just about excellent painting—good old excellent amazing painting.
I was jealous when I snapped this pic because balding heads and leather jackets in Chelsea on a leisurely Saturday afternoon signify real-life, art-buying wealth to me. And they were taken into a private room soon after. ARG! I really hope they bought something, but someday I will too, and I guarantee I’ll love it more.
http://lauramanney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/HopeGangloff_2-1024x679.png6791024laurahttp://www.lauramanney.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LauraManney_Logo.jpglaura2013-03-05 06:41:072016-10-11 01:47:47Best show in Chelsea: Hope Gangloff
This is a picture of me sitting here deliberating over which Giacomettis I’m going to purchase. I’ve been sitting like this all day because I’m stuck. I love so many.
I actually drew this self portrait 15 years ago and the story behind it is tied to Giacometti. I transferred colleges right before my senior year, (which led to a lengthy undergrad career) but in my first drawing class the assignment was a self portrait. After many failed attempts sitting in front of a mirror with chalk and paint, my sister Carolyn came to sit and chat with me. I got distracted talking about stuff while still drawing, and did this once I wasn’t thinking about it at all. Damn you, creativity! Have you no rules to follow?
So I brought this drawing into the crit and my professor said, “well…you must love Giacometti.” I reluctantly said “who?” and went straight to the library to look him up afterwards. Turns out we have similar marks and I dream to be as awesome as he is some day.
What I love about Giacometti is how you can see the energy and uncertainty of the creative process in all of his marks—painting, drawing, sculpture. They vibrate. There’s something about them that seems unfinished, but they also seem to have nowhere else to go. They’re finished, but only because they’ve posed enough questions to warrant the next piece. Giacometti said “Every time I look at the glass it seems to remake itself,” and that’s the way I feel about so many things.
When I was younger I identified with his existential leanings. Now I’m happier and far less dramatic, but still find his work inspiring and so beautiful. I want to look at it forever, whenever, so I’m purchasing one sculpture and two paintings. It’s bittersweet—I’d rather purchase 2 sculptures, 4 paintings and 1 drawing, but my apartment is really small, so these are the 3 winners ….
BUT … if i had a big huge house and was a zillionaire, I’d also buy these and a 20 ft skinny man sculpture to put in the corner … come on, the fake me is rich, but not that rich.
Hello 2013. Last year I had 2 resolutions: to install a working fire alarm in my apartment, and go to Orlando. I was so successful on both counts, that I decided to add 2 again this year: to drink more water, and beef up my Fantasy Art Collection.
I’ve been collecting like a ninny—making only 3 acquisitions (Marclay, Gangloff, Albers) in 2012. I’m not sure if I’ve been acting like a super rich person, or a super poor person, but either way I’ve been overly cautious and I don’t like it. On the whole, I don’t like making big public statements about my personal goals, but I think that making one fake purchase of real art every month for a year seems doable.
So … as numero uno of numero 2013 … I’ve added Guards to my collection.
I first saw this video at MoMA PS1 in 2011, as part of the show Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception. My friend and I stopped in randomly, and quickly became miserable as we wandered from room to room looking at giant photographs of a certain anonymous artist crying, and video of this person dressed in a Girl Scout uniform watching the twin towers burn to the ground on 9-11. We were so depressed, heading up to the roof to plot our escape, when we were saved by Francis Alÿs.
For a moment it felt like comic relief since we stumbled into a hallway lined with videos of people tripping over dogs, but the show was great and more complex than that—exploring the boundaries between and overlap of art, architecture and performance.
Most of his work was interesting to me, but I thought the videos were the best. For Guards he documented 64 of the Queen of England’s guards, who each marched along one of many routes that he planned through the city. When one soldier met another, they aligned and began marching together until they met another group or guard. Eventually the entire troop was in formation, they marched to a bridge, crossed it and then dissipated—circulating back into regular life.
“Many of the elements of Guards are found throughout Alys’s work: walking, rhythm, the use of the street and bridges are all common tropes in his oeuvre. These strategies, evoking the poetic and sonic palette of the urban environment, involve a sometimes loose and other times overt relationship to social resistance and to the symbolic and often political implications of these actions.” [umich.edu]
Unfortunately, you can’t watch the video anywhere online (fortunately for me since I just bought it). But it’s on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art until March 31 (Mom…Dad…Betty…).
http://lauramanney.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/OPF-2-FrancisAlys-TheGuards-image5-1024x354.png3541024laurahttp://www.lauramanney.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LauraManney_Logo.jpglaura2013-01-08 21:41:232016-10-11 01:19:30Fantasy Pick #15: Francis Alÿs
As a very belated birthday present to myself, I bought The Clock by Christian Marclay yesterday. Since I’ve been living on a shoestring ever since my pricey Albers purchases in February, I was trying to be more realistic in my art-buying, but my big dreams got the better of me so I decided to stick to my budget and become an art thief.
I had a great plan lined up—The Clock closed at 10pm on Aug. 1 at Lincoln Center, and my birthday was the 3rd, so I intended to hijack it before it left town, and spend the 24 hours leading up to my birth watching it. That didn’t happen, so I’m embracing the fantasy once again, acting quite fancy, and buying a Marclay. Here’s to dreaming, and to my next year, which is already in full swing.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that The Clock is the best movie I’ve ever seen. I heard about it last year when it was at Paula Cooper—that it was a 24 hour clock video, and there were lines around the block all night to see it. Without looking into it, I imagined something like Warhol‘s Empire State movie, which sounds like a pure torture art experience to me. But I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.
I went twice. The first time I got there at 8:23 a.m. on Saturday morning and watched until 10: 39 a.m. It was so strange how I completely lost track of time even though time is the subject of the movie, and every single minute is represented by movie clips on screen. It’s very suspenseful, and funny to see the activities that are averaged in movies in the early morning hours… people waking up, late for work, panicked, in love, having breakfast, terribly hung over.
But what made it particularly fascinating to me is the way Marclay plays with audio—cutting it short on some clips and running it under others, changing the context of each scene—calm, beautiful moments have terrifying music or conversations going on at the same time, and vice versa, in varying degrees.
“This elliptically simple, spectacularly dazzling 24-hour film is made up of thousands of scenes and snippets from films, all marking the passage of time, minute by minute, sometimes second by second, on clocks and sundials and people speaking the time and, in one case, a child drawing a timepiece on his arm. It’s all synchronized so that whatever time it is onscreen is the actual time in New York” —Saltz!
The second time I watched from 3:42 p.m.–6:43 p.m. It was still fascinating, but it seems like a more uneventful time in movies—people finishing up work, heading home, having dinner, relaxing etc. (I also stood in line for 2hrs 45 minutes, so I was a bit frazzled once I got a seat. It’s sort of like staring at a cab while you’re waiting for the bus, there’s no telling how fast the line will move, people might sit for hours or minutes.)
And here’s the best news of all—The Clock is coming to MoMA from Dec. 21 through Jan. 21 so Get your memberships, people, and go see it as soon as it opens! This procrastinator city will guarantee super long lines as the end approaches, and you’ll want to go back, I promise—$85 for the whole year is wayyyyy better than $25 for one little old visit.
GO SEE THE CLOCK! If you can, and you don’t, you’re a big dummy. It’s the coolest thing ever.
http://lauramanney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Marclay_TheClock_1_Betweenmediums.png227640laurahttp://www.lauramanney.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LauraManney_Logo.jpglaura2012-10-27 23:03:442016-10-11 00:01:55Fantasy Pick #14: Christian Marclay
I’m playing “Fantasy Art Collection,” inspired by games like Fantasy Baseball. Go to the main page to get the idea.
I think my art collection is getting too snooty, and my fantasy life has become insanely disproportionate to my actual life. I guess it’s also a little suspicious that I’ve only made one acquisition this year—and I really am thrilled to have 2 Albers paintings hanging on the wall of my rent-stabalized apartment—but I didn’t budget properly and I’ve been living on a shoestring ever since.
Truth be told, I really want to be able to buy art someday, although it’s doubtful that I’ll be snapping up Banksys and Lichtensteins like I did last year as my collection got increasingly fancy. So for the time being, I’ve decided to switch gears and buy work by artists that are working today, in need of the support, and maybe, just maybe, not impossible to have in my real life art collection someday.
I love Hope Gangloff‘s work, so I’m buying one of her paintings. I’ve actually never seen her work in person, but I know of her because she was mentioned last summer on East Village Radio when the DJ had spent the weekend posing for a painting at her studio upstate. So I looked her up and just can’t get the work out of my head. I love it.
Her paintings and drawings have elements of Klimt, Alice Neel, Matisse and Schiele, but what I love most is how personal they seem. I also love the way she incorporates graphic design—detailed wallpaper patterns, colorful textiles, cigarette logos, book covers, magazine pages, ticket stubs, beer bottles etc. Each painting feels narrative to me because of how specific they are—much like a snapshot, I imagine the story that’s developing on either end of the moment she selects to magnify—making the “insignificant” significant.
It seems like it’s always the casual unexpected moments of life that turn into the most important memories, and her work makes me smile and remember that every time I find myself clicking through her website.
I started off the new year with 2 resolutions—to install a working fire alarm in my apartment and go to Orlando. I guess sitting on a balcony in Orlando right now makes the new fire alarm seem unnecessary, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the new year, so I’m buying 2 Josef Albers paintings. (kidding about Orlando, I’m here for work).
When I was a young art student my dad and I spent a Thanksgiving in NYC so I could interview for painting apprenticeships. Once the stress was out of the way, we went to the Guggenheim to see the Claes Oldenberg retrospective. I knew how to draw, but I didn’t know much about art yet—Matisse was still my greatest inspiration. But Claes made a huge impression on me. Art could be fun, funny, cool, pop? sweet.
We wandered around the museum shop afterwards and my eyes zeroed in on a t-shirt of this yellow Albers painting on the left. I’d never heard of Albers, but I loved the image so much, I bought it with all the money I had. Within the hour I left it on the subway and was terribly sad about it. Of course in the large scheme of things it’s a silly thing to be “terribly sad” about, but my dad sensed the mysterious importance of it to me and bought me a new one to replace my new one. It was important to him because it was important to me, and I wore the Albers for a year without knowing anything about him (pre-Google). I finally found out what I’d been advertising when I took my first color theory class in 1996—still my favorite class I’ve ever taken, and taught many years later.
Albers had been off my radar for a while until I went to the DeKooning show last year and started thinking long and hard about abstraction. I realized that ‘I tend to write off a lot of abstract art because I’m impatient, and more interested in art that reflects an experience of the world rather than an experience of paint’. I tend to like either representational or abstract because I’m frustrated by the grey. I like one or the other—I’m extreme.
But I love Albers’ paintings for the same reason I’ve always loved the work of Robert Irwin—it’s about perception.
I love the Homage to the Square paintings because they’re so abstract, they reflect an intense experience of the world—more so than any work in my collection so far. They never look the same to me, and I’m amazed by how color changes the way I see and experience space. Albers formal exploration of this phenomenon is exactly how I see the passing moments I study with the video camera and make art about.
Albers gets my first “between mediums artist award” of 2012 because he was a designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker, painter, poet and educator, influencing so many artists throughout his life as a professor at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College and Yale.
But what I love about these paintings is the beauty in their simplicity. Like the quickly passing moments in life that I try so hard to capture and slow down with my camera in order to see them, these paintings remind me to stop, take a breath and look at the basics—the foundation that makes everything else possible.