barely a review: District 9

Wow, I’m glad I have access to old action movies;  the one’s like “The Outlaw Josey Wales” where everyone gets shot — one or two times. It’s taking me a long time to adjust to the last decade’s fashion of total overkill of shooting and explosions. I kept longing for the cuts to quiet interview scenes to get a break from what ultimately looked a lot like the “Transformers” previews I saw in theaters this summer.

That said, the rest of “District 9” was fascinating in its ability to comment on so many political situations of the current day without becoming self-righteous or pedantic. The main characters are fascinating and believable. I sympathized with the everyman Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) in his quest to do a good job and his failed attempt to save himself; I loved the wife’s steady emotion; and I appreciated the alien scientist’s balanced relationship with Wikus given the treatment his people have received from humans.

The scriptwriters/director decided to leave out a fair amount of the backstory, despite the documentary format. For the most part, I didn’t mind, but I did wonder why only one alien seemed to have the ability and motivation to generate an escape plan. Was he the commander (there was some speculation from one interviewee about the population being workers who followed orders) or did they all have an underlying technical prowess that was somehow not functioning? Why weren’t they using their advanced weaponry to main standard of living gains?

All in all, glad I saw it, though I think all that noise messed with my sleep last night.

what i want to do 9/8/09

Boy, it’s hard to come back from the country. Everything there seems so, well, simplified: haul wood, stare at fire, make food, hammer nail, haul water. It was especially nice to have so much stimulating conversation this time as a handful of great friends came to share the weekend that Labor provided for us. I got through most of last week’s wish list (see review posts). Here’s what I want to do this week:

  • District 9 (the movie, not next month’s city council election). I was wary of this, but the personal and media reviews I’ve heard made me hopeful of a new sci-fi flavoring to add to my galactica staple diet.
  • ENYA (the Emerging New York Architect competition, not the singer). Artists Unite and the Bronx Museum are hypothetical clients for the AIGA’s ENYA committee biennial project that re-envisions a section of New York City. In HB:BX, it’s the High Bridge that spans from Washington Heights to the Bronx.
  • Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting (the Author of, not the song). CUE in it’s inimitable cool taste is exhibiting Naeem Mohaiemen as curated by DJ Spooky. Vijay Prashad, who wrote Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting and Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World will talk with the artist on Sept. 17.
  • LES (the new chelsea, not the old knish district) Jon Pestoni and Zak Prekop at Lisa Cooley. Of the many invites I get as editor of Artists Unite ISSUE, this one hit me like a cool summer breeze.

MoMa sept 09

normally a trip to MoMa is one of the following:

  • interesting
  • boring
  • informative
  • sentimental
  • BUT NOT TODAY!!!!!

    I went to check out the Ensor show and saw so much more. I have rarely been so inspired by a visit. It was such a tug-of-war between wanting to go home to make work and wanting to see one more room of exciting reminders and new ideas.

    Ensor’s show was informative and fun. I do not know his work and it was exciting to see both the balance between humor and skill and the dexterous handling of formal painting considerations with fascinating subject matter.

    (to take nothing away from it) it was after the Ensor show that things really got interesting. Ron Arad’s No Disipline show made me want to go home and start making furnishings for my cabin, the In and Out of Amsterdam exhibit of conceptual art made me want to plan my next action, and the Judith Rothchild Foundation drawing exhibit in the contemporary galleries simply blew my mind. (The inclusion of Jan Mancusca, whom Wendy and I fell in love with in Prague several years ago utterly made my day.)

    Here’s the low-tech tour.

    3 Skin chair, Ron Arad

    Song Dong’s amazing “Waste Not Want Not“. The installation is the entire contents of his parents’ house+the house. The bags reminded me of Generation Jeans from last year’s Under the Radar Festival, where shopping bags were an indicator of “cool” during earlier communist times in Eastern Europe.

    (detail of one panel of a triptych)

    somewhere in here is my name, with the date (today) on which a gallery assistant marked my height. This killer project by Roman Ondák takes a gallery to “measure the universe.” This brilliant project makes me proud of my Slovak heritage — and aware of my average height! (check the link for a great video description of the project.

    And speaking more of Eastern Europe, here’s Jan Mancuska’s piece plus a detail (a butterfly drawn in sugar).

    what i want to do 8/1/2009

    (my spin on the myriad offerings of New York—some will end up as further blog posts)

    • Tar Magazine 2nd issue is on newstands. the Kate Moss cover by Damien Hirst has made me rethink (to the + column) his work.
    • James Ensor at MoMa. It’s on its way out and I think I’m the last to get there.
    • Ponyo. Hiyao Miyazaki’s latest. With Cate Blanchett, Tina Fey and Liam Neeson in the English version that’s in theaters now.
    • Not quite a thing to do yet, but I must go through the line up of shows opening this month and make some picks. I’ll let you know…