Cock and Bull

New York
10.25.07

Left: Artist Wolfgang Tillmans with MCA Chicago director Robert Fitzpatrick. (Photo: Kyle Bentley) Right: CocoRosie in concert. (Photo: Kristy Leibowitz)


Some weekends begin with neither a bang nor a whimper but with an adenoidal vibrato warbled over a drum track, as I discovered last Thursday at a performance by musical dilettantes CocoRosie at Deitch Projects. Bianca (“Coco”) and Sierra (“Rosie”), the sisters Casady, presented their eclectic acoustic mélange for a crowd of friends, journalists, and sundry fans of “freak folk”—that slipshod classification that seems to have been applied to every recent quirky Brooklyn- or San Francisco–based band. The event was somewhat devoid of art-worlders, perhaps a consequence of Frieze fatigue, though a few tireless players like performance-art maven RoseLee Goldberg and curator Klaus Biesenbach held court in back. A dearth, to be sure, but one that could hardly account for the zeal the photographers displayed toward some apparently notable figure across the way. Craning my neck, I half-expected to behold the golden tresses of Paris Hilton, but found only the precipitous white coif of Jim Jarmusch.

But I digress. CocoRosie—self-proclaimed “rainbow warriors”—were playing a set to mark the end of Bianca’s exhibition at the gallery, a psychedelic installation of junk and juvenilia (think collages of rainbows bursting from Care Bears) that fit in seamlessly with Deitch’s Technicolor circus. After a long delay during which the musicians donned glitter, silver makeup, and white thigh-high boots, the duo took to the stage. Channeling Björk and Joanna Newsom, Bianca sang of unicorns and hearts and peanut-butter jelly as her sister made with operatic flourishes and played instruments ranging from a harp to children’s toys. When the event finally culminated in a full-on rave, I took it as my cue to split.

Left: Filmmakers Cheryl Dunn and Jim Jarmusch. (Photo: Kristy Leibowitz) Right: Carnegie Museum curator Douglas Fogle with artists Jay Heikes and Gedi Sibony. (Photo: Brian Sholis)


Next stop: West Village standby Beatrice Inn, where Team Gallery was celebrating the opening of its Mathew Cerletty exhibition (of drawings and paintings depicting not his signature waifish lads, but pop-culture ephemera like advertisements and publicity shots). The basement space was sparsely populated when I arrived—likely due to the tricky door policy—but it filled up quickly enough. Mirabelle Marden of Rivington Arms, Cerletty’s primary gallery, was there to support her artist. (The exhibition is, according to Team, merely a “loan.”) Beatrice, with its dim lights and low ceilings, has always had that speakeasy feel, so it seemed par for the course when the cops raided the joint around midnight. The crowd was herded like underfed, overjazzed cattle onto the street, the club apparently closed due to noise complaints (though the plain-clothes officers suggested otherwise). In any case, the jig was up.

Friday night began with the opening at Greene Naftali of Sophie von Hellermann’s exhibition of loosely worked, pigment-on-unprimed-canvas paintings. To maximize time, I arrived only slightly past 6 PM and was greeted by a gallery all but empty save for staffers, artist Gedi Sibony, Chicago dealer Shane Campbell (en route to his artist Jay Heikes’s opening at Marianne Boesky), von Hellermann herself, and—toddling around the concrete floor—her daughter. Steering past the teetering tyke, I struck up a chat with Greene Naftali director Jay Sanders, who shared the news that in March the gallery will open the first US exhibition of the work of elusive Dutch artist Daan van Golden, curated by Anne Pontégnie.

Van Golden is known for paintings of plaids, patterns, and close-ups of Pollock drips that, resembling animals and anthropomorphic forms, reposition the expressive gesture in the figurative realm. He also—alas—photographs his child. I couldn’t help but envision an art world devolving toward Anne Geddes sentimentalism, as I looked past mini–von Hellermann to a painting of a pink, bonneted baby floating above a headless horse and a seated Baconesque gentleman on a dun ground. Following my gaze, Carol Greene chimed in: “It all makes sense when you hear the title: Generation Gap.” My companion and I chewed on that for a moment or two before it sunk in—we’re in our “stallion” phase! Figuring we had no time to spare, we headed south.

Left: Clarissa Dalrymple with dealers Jonathan Vyner and Janice Guy. (Photo: Brian Sholis) Right: CocoRosie's Bianca Casady and Sierra Casady. (Photo: Nikki Vassell)


New York– and Minneapolis-based artist Jay Heikes’s installation at Marianne Boesky saw the latest visual iteration of the joke—about a pirate and his parrot—that the artist first told in a video exhibited in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Since then, Heikes has taken his show on the road, retelling his chestnut in various forms at multiple institutions. For his New York solo debut, Heikes played to a sold-out house, dilating over his addiction to Minnesota-based Dunn Bros. coffee with NADA director Heather Hubbs and catering to a crowd that included the likes of Carnegie Museum curator Douglas Fogle, New Museum chief curator Richard Flood, independent curator Bob Nickas, and artists Peter Coffin and Aaron Young (who, like van Golden, has been known to reference Pollock drips).

Next was the evening’s biggest event: the opening of Wolfgang Tillmans’s eighth solo exhibition at Andrea Rosen. The place was packed. The (mostly male) attendees snaked around Paradise, War, Religion, Work (TSC, New York), an installation of four wooden tables bearing photographs and newspaper clippings, and loitered in front of gorgeous framed sheets of folded or crumpled photographic paper. Robert Fitzpatrick, director of the MCA Chicago, which recently co-organized (with the Hammer Museum) Tillmans’s first North American touring retrospective, was certainly not shy about his opinions: “Holy fuck!” he exclaimed, making a beeline for the artist. Fitzpatrick granted him the highly coveted—and rarely seen on these shores—“triple kiss,” proclaiming the one video on view, Farbwerk, which seductively zooms in on the orificelike red-ink reservoir of a printing press, the artist’s “most erotic yet.” Tillmans flashed him his big, bearish grin.

After a detour, I ended up in the wilds of east Chelsea for the Tillmans after-party at—wait for it—Tillman’s Bar and Lounge. Bathed in red light and lined with curvy banquettes, the space resembled a genie-bottle version of that erotic space projected at Andrea Rosen. A chat with Nate Lowman about bars catering to clientele of a certain persuasion put me in the mood to relocate with Wade Guyton, T. J. Wilcox, V magazine’s Christopher Bollen, and a few others to an even more dimly lit spot, which shall remain undisclosed—though I will say that it’s marked by a red neon rooster and that I was working on that stallion thing.

Left: Artists Dylan Eastgaard and David Altmejd. (Photo: Brian Sholis) Right: V magazine editor Christopher Bollen with artist Megan Marrin. (Photo: Kyle Bentley)