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WEEKEND UPDATE
by Walter Robinson
 
Say one thing for Turner Prize winner Keith Tyson (b. 1969), heís not shy when it comes to choosing subject matter. His Large Field Array, now on view at PaceWildensteinís 22nd Street space in Chelsea, is nothing less than a complete Pop cosmology. The warehouse-sized gallery is filled with 230 colorful cubical sculptures, each about 24 inches to the side, arranged in a grid and suspended on the walls.

Dubbed Large Field Array (after those radio telescope dishes in New Mexico), the grid ostensibly ranges from hot to cold, from sun to moon, from birth to death. It has intersecting rows devoted to time, carbon cycles, chemical elements, autobiography, the literature field, "a canopy of skies" and more.

Individual sculptures -- and theyíre not all cubical, by any means -- include an overscaled die, a soccer ball, a clear box filled with bubbling mud (after Robert Rauschenberg), a mini-tornado of water mist in a box, a giant pearl in a oversized clam, a chair made of skeletons, a block of stacked Slovak 10-koruna bills, an oversized pink piggybank, a large cubical wrapped birthday present, an old-fashioned barrel, a big cowboy hat, a model of a Medusa head and a baby doll in an incubator.

Other elements are less easily identifiable, and the whole suggests a vast and encyclopedic system of meaning that seems schizophrenic, though in the end itís more Disney than demented. Overall, itís a marvel of art fabrication, a bit of Matthew Barneyís "The Cremaster Cycle" channeled through Jeff Koonsí "Celebration" series. Maybe "Maximalism" is a real art movement after all.

We donít get it here in New York first. Large Field Array has toured museums in Denmark and the Netherlands, and has already been sold by Tysonís London dealer, Haunch of Venison, to London-based collectors Anita and Poju Zabludowicz, who are said to be planning a museum in Las Vegas for the work. The sale price hasnít been revealed, but a good guess would be somewhere between $5 million and $10 million. The only thing available for New Yorkers to buy is the poster-sized guide to the sculpture, which is $2.

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In 2006, the photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark (b. 1943) released his most recent film, Wassup Rockers, to something less than wide acclaim, especially from conservative critics (the New York Post called it "entirely a bore," while Richard Roeper said "the music sucks, the acting is weak and the skating isnít very good -- a big thumbs down"). The movie stars a group of Central American teens living in South Central L.A. who favor skateboarding and Punk Rock-style over the prevalent hip-hop culture of their slum neighborhood.

The soft-spoken gang travels to Beverly Hills in search of a good skateboarding ramp and, after being chased away, head back home, encountering a variety of adventures (and losing a few of their number) along the way. The picture has been compared to Burt Lancasterís The Swimmer (1968) as well as Ferris Buellerís Day Off (1986), but the true model for this tale is the Odyssey. Among the highlights: one of the kids ends up in the bath with a zoned-out Janice Dickinson.

Now, Clark is exhibiting a series of color photos of one of the stars of the film, Jonathan Velazquez, at Luhring Augustine in a show titled "Larry Clark: Los Angeles 2003-2006," with an accompanying book. Clark met the 14-year-old Velazquez in 2002 while doing a photo shoot to promote his film Ken Park (2002), and clearly was snowed -- he has photographed him ever since (Velazquez is 18 now). 31 pictures are in the exhibition and 46 in the book.

Like Tulsa (1971), Kids (1995) and most of the rest of Clarkís provocative work, "Los Angeles 2003-2006" (and Wassup Rockers) is personal and intimate. But after all these years, it also shows that with Clark, all that pushing at the boundaries has ended up centered on love.

The photos are printed in editions of three with one artistís proof. Single images are $18,000 and diptychs are $30,000. The exhibition travels to Simon Lee in London.†

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The photographer Jessica Craig-Martin is a kind of an upside-down version of Larry Clark, who made her art-world reputation with jarringly cropped color close-ups that reveal the grotesque physical reality of high society. Leggy and blonde and something of an It Girl herself, she would slip into those fashionable galas and come away with snaps of sagging breasts, yellowed teeth and cocktails grasped in gnarled hands. The ugly underside of wealth and vanity made palpable, "the horror under sheer silk," as Glenn OíBrien once wrote.

Craig-Martinís new exhibition at Greenberg Van Doren Gallery in the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue, a group of 13 color photos called "American Summer" and taken largely at benefit cocktail parties in the Hamptons in 2006 and 2007, shows that she has already tired of this more-than-effective formula. "Iím not trying to lampoon anyone," she said to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts magazine, rather wishfully it seems.

The best new pictures take a more careful semiotic reading of her subject. A photo subtitled Safe Champagne, for instance, shows a bartenderís hand in a latex glove, presumably to protect against all manner of infection, while the amazing Showing Pink pictures the midriff of a woman wearing a bright magenta mini with rosettes at the hem, more or less at the level of her sex. Hello, Desmond Morris and The Naked Ape!

But Craig-Martinís sense of mischief is still in evidence. Denise Rich, that bÍte-noir of the Right Wing (it has so many), is shown in the midst of a grimace typical to an Air Kiss, and the photo of ladies doing the Frug in their animal-print gowns is as ludicrous now as it was in the days of Rowan & Martinís Laugh-In.

Finally, call me a sap, but From Town Car to Tent, which shows some socialite, calf to waist, wearing a childish white dress and dangling a jeweled clutch like a Madison Avenue Christopher Robin, is almost endearing -- no doubt the intended result.

The photos are done in editions of five with two artistís proofs, and are priced at $8,000 and $15,000, depending on size.

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One irrefutable rule of the permanent avant-garde seems to be that everything comes back around if you wait long enough, so congratulations are in order for Los Angeles artist Jedediah Caesar (b. 1973), who has revived Armanís classic Nouveau Rťaliste method of encasing everyday stuff in clear resin and then presenting it as sculpture.

While Armanís art is about the "consumption of mass quantities" (as the Coneheads would put it several decades later), Caesar -- could he have found artistic inspiration in his own name, which he shares with the late French assemblagist Cťsar, Armanís Noveau Rťaliste compatriot? -- seems to prefer studio detritus.

Whatís more, Caesar cuts his blocks of resin-and-trash into thin, pictorial slices, like some kind of industrial-era fruitcake. His installation at DíAmelio Terras, called "Three Views from Space," includes a wall of 24 of these panels, measuring 29 x 24 in. each (213 x 73 in. overall), faced by an upholstered recliner chair that is surrounded by refuse as if it were ready to be resinized. Accessorizing the scene is a kind of "planter" -- a resin cube of organic matter with dried plants sprouting from it.

Thus, the artistís enterprise is presented as a rather drab and fragmented amalgam of a fairly random and hardly integrated studio practice. Roberta Smith wrote in the New York Times that it might be too gimmicky, but it sounds just right to me. The large wall piece is priced at $32,000, while the chair is $23,000. A sole single slab of resin was priced at $5,000, and marked sold.

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Note here on the sixth anniversary of 9/11 that the New-York Historical Society has taken several artifacts of the disaster, mounted them like art objects and put them on view in a commemorative exhibition that also includes several galleries full of photos from "Here Is New York," the photo archive now in the museumís collection. Among the objects is a section of a landing gear from one of the airplanes, a twisted fragment of the World Trade Center aluminum faÁade and a bank safe deposit box, its contents burnt to a crisp but still recognizable.

N-YHS museum chief Linda Ferber acknowledged the difficulties of "estheticizing" objects connected with tragedy and death, and indeed the items do resemble Abstract Expressionist sculpture to an uncomfortable degree. "In the end," said Ferber, "itís about treating the objects with respect. They do become like Ďrelicsí."

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Art superstar Damien Hirst was definitely in the house for the launch of New Yorkís fall season last weekend, first on Sept. 7 at the Prada store on Broadway in SoHo, where his interior design -- wallpaper of patterned pills and skull designs, and a large glittery skull dangling like a chandelier over the stage -- was the setting for a concert by the English band The Hours.

The next day saw Hirstís fashion stylings on the runway at Gagosian Gallery, which was installed with Hirstís spin and dot paintings for the event. Among the designs were jackets with rhinestone skulls on their backs, and pants done spin-painting style. "They looked like PVC!" said Artnet Magazine photog Mary Barone.

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Is there any reason to archive art-world rumors? Some people think that if itís gossip, it must be true. One bit of news that came over the transom last week had former Walker Art Center director Kathy Halbreich taking some role at P.S.1, perhaps succeeding founding director Alanna Heiss, who may be due for retirement, as hard as it is to imagine the place without her. Not so, according to a Museum of Modern Art spokesperson, who said that "Kathy is not coming to P.S.1 to succeed Alanna."


WALTER ROBINSON is editor of Artnet Magazine.