Monday, December 31, 2007

Well, Risa n' Rose is here in Berlin. We ate a hearty German breakfast at Morgenland and then I dropped them off at Museum Island. I sincerely hope they make it back. We are going to the Turkish Baths tonight, and then will party until the wee hours of the morning. Again, debauched tales might ensue. But hopefully they don't involve a firecracker in my eye (this actually happened to someone, who told me about it a few moments ago).

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just when I want to trade in my artists' card for something more valuable, (like a shit taco or a used Honda Civic) I see something that changes my mind. Today I tried going to the Jewish Museum, but the line stretched for blocks, so I went to the Berlinsche Galerie down the street. I was hoping for nothing more than a semi-cool Max Beckmann print and a fancy bathroom where I could relieve myself. Instead, I saw one of the strongest and most exciting group shows I've ever seen. It was called, "Neue Heimat, Berlin Contemporary" and had the work of about 20 Berlin-based artists. It was really refreshing. Whether or not I liked all the work or it aligned itself with my aesthetic tastes isn't the point, all of the work was solid and well-conceived, and some of it was really exciting and ballsy. I found myself getting really excited about Nordic photography, slow-moving videos and patterned quilt-tents. The videos especially, seemed to really push the medium.
In my mind, this exhibition lived up to the trendy Berlin mist that is super dense at the moment.
The images don't really do any of the work justice, but I'll post some anyways.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Well, today I walked up and down Bernenstrasse to see the galleries, but most of them were closed for the holidays. Sad. I could see in the windows though, so I got a tiny thimbleful of what Berlin's main gallery district tastes like. And it tastes like trash. No, literally, a lot of stuff was made of trash. There was this motorcycle made of trash and this big ping-pong type game thing...I dunno.
I went in this one gallery, and the director was like the nicest woman I've ever met. Too nice actually. She talked my ear off as I looked at documentation of a staged performance of a woman with a bag over her head. It was like a less hearty and caloric Marina Abrokamovic. Anyways, she said, "You are from New York yes?" So, I lied and said I was from New York, and then I felt bad and bought a one-dollar postcard of this weird photo of the New York skyline. D'oh.
Then I drew a pillowfight boarding school scene. Then I went to this Brazilian restaurant that specializes in fruit/meat dishes. It was sooooo fucking good. Then I went to a bar by myself and had 2 whiskey and cokes with neon raver straws. I didn't get drunk and I felt kind of stupid pretending to read my phrasebook in the dark. Now I'm home eating capuccino chocolate in my long underwear!
Risa and Rose come on Monday, hopefully I'll have debauched tales to tell of our New Year's as my BadAssedness is waning in favor of chocolate and Apfelsaft.

P.S. I keep forgetting to mention this, but if you go on the subway after 9 PM everyone is drunk. I swear to god. I usually like and appreciate this, but tonight some girl made loud hiccup noises everytime the train stopped and I wanted to eat her.

P.P.S. People are setting off fireworks in the street, and I keep thinking that they're gunshots or something. You'd think I grew up in Compton to see me duck and cover.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Today I went to the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien (an international residency/exhibition space) and the Gay Museum. Both were fairly lame. The Kunstlerhaus was lame because most of the space was closed for the holidays, the Gay Museum was just gay.

I met a nice man named Rolf who bought me mojitos in hopes of scoring. He works in a family-owned plastics factory, speaks very little English and wore a tye-dye shirt. In a rush to leave (so as to avoid the "can I drive you home" speech) I put on my sweater upside down and Rolf had to help me get it off in the middle of the bar. It was very embarassing. Rolf was a nice guy and one of the only people here who seemed interested in talking to me. Too bad we didn't speak the same language. Or too bad we couldn't make due with "zeeee language of love," or Esperanto or something.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Well, today was Xmas and it was pretty swell, albeit lonely (solo German flutist plays a melancholy waltz as I hulk in a corner in an improvised slouch-dance). I went to Sony Center to enjoy the festivities. There was a giant Christmas tree made of legos, an ice shuffleboard field (?) and a lot of little wooden stalls selling Bratwurst.
I ate a nutella crepe with WunderSchocolade and it made my heart swell with Christmas spirit and momentary diabetes.

Then, I saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I realized this was the first time I had ever been to a theater alone, you know, cuz usually I go with my D&D group n' shit. Um, German movie-going is weird, here's why:

-They assign you a seat and everyone actually sits in their assigned seat! (half the movie theater was empty, but most of us were huddled in the center, I'm guessing out of fear of the German Cinemastappo.

-There were a good 45 minutes of commercials, most of which involved cell-phone plans and the implication of "doing it." I like the free-wheeling "doing it" aspect of German advertising, I mean, my thumbs are completely erect on that one. But why so many commercials? It was annoying. I had already finished my "Cab" cola (which is cola and beer mixed, mmmmmm) by the time Cate Blanchett appeared onscreen. And I needed that buzz to dull her overwhelming whiteness.

-Everyone stayed until ALL the credits were over. I was honestly so weirded out by this. Not one person moved until the screen was completely still. I guess Germans like rules a lot.

But you know what? My assigned seat was M20, and I moved to M21. In your face Kino International authority!

*A note on the movie: I really enjoyed it and even shed a little tear for poor, alienated Elizabeth. However, I can't tell if I liked it because it was a good movie or because I like any and all period dramas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hey! It's Christmas! What better time to discuss the absurdity of our schools' abstinence programs! The following article, from AlterNet pretty much summarizes how I feel about our sexually detached bipolar youth (sorry, I've been a little political lately and even gave some monies to stop executions in Iran. I care about something? Whaaaaa?) Enjoy!

Virgin or Slut: Pick One

By Courtney E. Martin, AlterNet. Posted December 20, 2007.

As the middle-aged gym teacher in a track suit stands in front of the class and reads a health book out loud in a monotone voice -- "Intercourse can lead to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, such as ..." -- a couple of girls swap the latest issue of US Weekly

and a Gossip Girls novel, all the juicy parts underlined in pink pen. Welcome to contemporary American adolescence, where sexuality is either up for sale or moralized into nonexistence.

On the one hand we have a hypersexualized and pornified pop culture -- thongs marketed to tweens, Victoria's Secret ads with models who don't look a day over 13, and reality shows like A Shot at Love on MTV, where both men and women will do anything -- including jump in vats of chocolate and discuss their sexual histories on national television -- all for instantaneous love with a petite model. The message to young women is loud and clear: Your body is your power. Flaunt it. Use it. Get attention. The message to young men is also unmistakable: Your gaze is your power. Your role is to judge and comment on women's bodies. As a man, you are inevitably obsessed -- sometimes stupidly so -- with the female form.

On the other hand, we have a federally funded (over $1 billion thus far) abstinence-only sex education program in this country. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly half (46 percent) of all 15- to 19-year-olds in the United States have had sex at least once. According to the government's most comprehensive survey of American sexual practices to date, more than half of all teenagers have engaged in oral sex -- including nearly a quarter of those who have never had intercourse. Regardless of this reality, health teachers from Nacogdoches, Texas, to Newark, N.J., are taught to emotionlessly repeat -- as if pull dolls of the Bush administration -- "The only guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy and STDs is abstinence. The only guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy and STDs is abstinence. The only guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy and STDs is abstinence."

Here, the message to young women is also resolute: Your body is dangerous. Control it. Ignore it. Don't ask any questions. Teen girls are cast as asexual princesses happily trapped in towers, guarded by their Bible verse-spouting fathers. The message to young men is more subtle. In this fairy tale written, produced and directed by abstinence-only advocates, teenage guys are both potential villains -- the oversexed, hormone-crazed young men who must be refused continuously by good girls -- or potential knights in shining armor -- saving enough money from their summer jobs to buy sparkling rings that will save their sweeties from the hell of slutdom.

In between pornified culture and purity balls, in between the slut and the virgin, the stupid, lascivious dude and the knight in shining armor, in between the messages directed at young women -- your body is your power vs. your body is dangerous -- and young men -- your gaze is your power vs. your gaze is dangerous -- are real young people trying to develop authentic identities and sexual practices. And they are struggling mightily.

Too many of them are diseased, disordered, and depressed -- participating in inauthentic performances of sexual bravado, cut off from their bodies' true appetites and desires, and hurt because they can't seem to identify or communicate their own boundaries.

How could we be surprised? We've constructed a polarized culture that gives teenagers edifice, not education. We've sent them out into the wildly complex country of contemporary adolescence without the essential weapons -- sexual literacy, communication strategies, self-reflection exercises, and at the very least, accurate information about anatomy and contraception.

We've let the increasingly conglomerated raunchy mass media pollute the visual world with plastic, codified images of "sex" and the increasingly out-of-touch, religious and righteous federal government play Pollyanna -- deaf, dumb and blind. As the schools relinquish responsibility for educating American teens about sex, the advertisers and networks step in, providing an airbrushed, inauthentic, unrealistic view of sex and the bodies that are "doing it." They're happy to play sexy nanny while our government officials and educators are out to lunch; it guarantees ratings and the next generation eager to fork over cash on products marketed to their effectively socialized inadequacy.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ok more on the Mike Kelley show, since I am awake and bored:
It was amazing. He had a myriad of different glass vitrines encasing crystalline structures which referenced cityscapes (and sometimes dildos). Connected to these cities (which actually are based on Kandor from Krypton: i.e. the only remaining city on Superman's home planet) were tanks which pumped oxygen (?) to the little planets. Meanwhile, there were projections of windswept glass jars and a soundtrack that sounded like a NASA siren.

Oh, and there were also holograms! The holograms were of the same glass cities inside a flesh-colored rocket ship which again, referenced a rubber phallus (but in a very subdued, tasteful way). The whole show was pretty slick and super designy, which is not usually my thing, but it made sense with his cosmetic planet idea. Keeping in mind that it was Mike Kelley, the whole thing was pretty subtle----my description makes it seem more concrete than it actually was. It was one of the more enigmatic installations I've seen. Images above.

Next door was a wooden toy shop where I spent a good 20 minutes. I love thee Berlin.

An American stopped me on the street today, and asked if I was Ellen Page, the actress from the new movie "Juno." I think the woman was mildly blind and most likely intoxicated, but for good measure I have put up the following picture of me mimicking my underage doppleganger (gaw, no wonder people ID me all the time).

In other news, I saw a fabooolus Mike Kelley show at Jablonska Gallerie, which I will describe more in depth later. I also saw a good drawing show of Bettina Krieg's at Spesshardt & Klein. Annnnd I tried to make it to the Gay Museum, but went the wrong way and ended up at "Berlin on Ice."
Insert numerous jokes about them being the

Friday, December 21, 2007

Today was a good day. Nein, a great day!
Here are all the super-duper-deutsch things I did today:

-Ate an eclair for breakfast (not necessarily Deutsch, but certainly a long held fantasy of mine)
-Saw a Chloe Piene show at Barbara Kremm Galerie (as recommended by Teresa Hubbard, who also shows there)
-Saw Queen Nefertiti at the Egyptian Museum. The Egyptian Museum kind of rocked my socks off...and then replaced then with beautiful leaden sandals to drag me to the underworld.
-Saw the restored Pergammon Altar at the Pergammon Museum (thanks Shannon). It was breathtaking.
-Saw exquisite Islamic manuscripts that made me salivate more than my morningtime eclair (also at the Pergammon).
-Saw some kind of cool Deutsch painters at the National Gallery. Eh. Some of them restored my love of painting a little. There were a couple of Lovis Corinth's that caught my eye.
-Ate SwineFleisch Schnitzel. This is breaded pork in some kinda Deutchsauce. It was delish, but heavy as shit. It is sitting in my stomach like the Hindenburg.
-Drank a Berlinner Pilsner. MMMMm.

Here's the one bad thing that happened today: my cigarette partially froze in my mouth and pulled off part of my lip when I pulled it out. Ouchies. It's ok though, because now my lips are swollen and lovely like a starlet's.

*I was going to go to a Turkish Bath tonight, but I think I'll save that for later....internet wink.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not much happened today really. I plein air painted....just kidding, it's coooooooooold here bitches! It's like so cold I feel like I'm in some DePeche Mode snowglobe or something.
I did paint today though, but only inside my poorly heated cell.

Here's an interesting statistic:

No. of beers Ali has had in Berlin: 3
No. of times Ali has almost been run over by a tram: 3

A sidnote on the beer: It's awesome. And I don't even like beer that much. And it's like .50.

I tried going to this fun bar I read about tonight, but I couldn't find it. Chances are, I would have just sat in a corner by myself, reading my lame german phrasebook and drinking my appfelsaft. How's that for an exciting tour Axel? Me drinking my apfelsaft all lonely n shit. Huh?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today I saw the Reichstag and ate a minced meat quiche.

Is this getting boring yet? Next I'm going to show slides of myself watching myself watching slides of when I went to Coney Island.

Here's something adequately gross to satisfy you: I went to this medical anomaly museum inside a Bavarian style hospital complex called Charite. It was so cool. And they had these amazing prints of hospitals from the 1800s---probably some of the best art I've seen in a while. But the main draw for this particular museum was the crazy collection of jarred fetuses, toes of lepers and encephalitic skullcaps. I am so disturbed yet intrigued by these oddities. There was one fetus that was a cyclops. An honest-to-god cyclops! And there were conjoined twins...oh were there conjoined twins.
Apparently this doctor Gruffenpoopen or whatever collected all his dead patients (without their consent, but this was in olden times) and cataloged them meticulously.

Even though I've been to Ripley's Believe or Not Museum (excellent educational institution bar none) I have never seen shit like that. And it was displayed beautifully I might add, like some accountant-cum-murderer's secret cellar. I came close to puking a couple of times. But I stopped myself because that quiche wasn't that tasty.

P.S. I don't think anyone's actually reading my blog anymore, but I don't care because this is my travel diary and I have to speak in English for part of the day or I'll kill all the Germans.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Germans love Christmas! I went to two Christmas markets (fairs?) today, one in West Berlin in Postdamer Platz and one in the east in Alexandreplatz. There was a giant ice slide and little whittled toys (some of them even moved! Elf!). I ate the biggest Bratwurst ever, it was slimy and delicious. I saw a cafe called "Weiner Cafe" and I walked along Marlene Dietrich Platz (swoon). I was perturbed by a giant Koons' phallocentric balloon sculpture which hindered my enjoyment of Marlene Dietrich Platz. Is nothing sacred Koons??????? I also saw another public sculpture by Keith Haring, which looked like two guys diddling each other with their oversized mitten hands. Peace?

Speaking of sculpture, there are a ton of former GDR sculptures in my hood.' I find them fascinating. Some of them are big burly working men, smiling up at the sky thanking Marx for all he gives them. Then, some of them are bears (communist Soviet symbol), there's this one where a lithe momma bear allows her little bearlings to suckle from her anti-capitalist teat. BUT the weirdest GDR sculpture I've seen was a tiny girl, who looked like a boy (with pecs and all) and she was wearing a skirt (but no top) and waving at someone (Stalin?). Weird eh?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ah Berlin, I love thee. I dont have time to type (and I dont understand hyphenation here), Im in east Prenzlauerberg at an internet cafe and the keyz are crazy and Deutsch-ish.
Short version: East Berlin is full of dilapidated Bloc architecture, biers, cigarettes and insane people. Yes!
Yesterday, I followed the Berlin Wall all the way down, it was sad and beautiful.
Um, whoever said everbody speaks English in Berlin was lying. At least not in East Berlin (I am in the Friedrichshain district). So, Ive been trying to get by on my meager German, which has been like a sitcom. I asked for a sandwich and got a donut. I thought I was going into a cafe and I entered some kind of secret underground Chinese Bistro. Luckily, Ich Learne sehr schnell.
Sidenote; I just saw a German motorcycle gang with Christmas trees strapped to their backs. No joke.

I have been looking for the Apple Store for 4 hours; I need an adapter to make my lil baby computer work.

Also, Dennis, I dont take pictures, because I am an idiot. But it looks like Beautiful\Decay has done that for me. Zimmermans, somebody doesnt think we´re vanilla! I dont remember where I know B-D from but I think it might be sponsered by Deitch, which I find funny.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here's a pic of my installation and Seth with the mysterious "seagina."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm leaving for Berlin tomorrow!

I'm in Charlotte now, hanging out with my momma. Here are some things that she made me do today that are like, so like totally mommish:

-Get a flu shot. Bleh, I like the flu and the weird things it does to my body. Muscle cramps and sweaty hallucinations? It's like Ibiza in my stomach!
-Cancel my gym membership (as the steamroom and all its body smushing is not worth half my salary).
-Cancel my phone service (while secretly trying to retrieve the number of "underage Cuban").
-Listen to three hours of Beginning German tapes. Um. German is funny. They have a number called "elf."
-Tell my grandmother I'm going to quit smoking.
-Watch "I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," which is about to start, so I have to go now.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Miami was so crazy. I can't even go into it without freezing into some stone of Puritanical mortification, so my memories will forever stay twixt' the lustrous sand of South Beach. Along with my phone. Which I lost on the Beach. Which had a new entry titled only "underage Cuban."

*To clarify: the underage Cuban in question was a young Cuban boy who wanted to take Anjali and I to La Playa. He kept calling me "little white girl," which I find funny in light of my recent series.

I saw a lot of good art, and a lot of shitty art. Seriously, there's just too much to really retain. I liked Aqua best of all actually. Yes, I'm kind of full of shit (as I was a participating artist there) but I liked the casual presentation and atmosphere.

*I missed a lot of stuff, so I have very little room to compare Aqua to anything else. I heard the Rubell collection was amazing, but my grams was tired (she waddled her way to Miami!) and so I couldn't go.

Risa and Arturo are on Artforum diary! I'm so jelly, here's a pic:

Left: Geisai artist Eric Doeringer. Right: Art Palace's Arturo Palacios and Risa Puleo.

I'm erecting a creepy taxidermied girlcrush altar to Elaine Bradford.
I am not as good as I thought at bodysurfing.
Vagina shells do exist.
Takashi Murakami is kind of a prick when he thinks someone (me) is stalking him on the street. Even if that person (me) is totally awesome and just wants to sniff his moo-moo or tunic or whatever.
London galleries are hawt.
Miniature things are hawt.
Miami is hot (and hawt) and colorful and full of good-hearted cliches like speedoed men on roller blades and ill-fitting coconut bra-ed women (also on some kind of roller bladeish vehicles).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Risa and I had a party for our little collegiate babies and now I want to die on so many levels. One level being the purely physical result of overindulging in almond champagne (thanks Jaimie, I know you're reading this, you little blonde stalking machine) and cigarettes. Probably mixed together in some fucked-up gumbo towards the end of the evening. My house looks like a barf tornado. My brain feels like a barf sponge. My body feels like a big white barf log. barf.

One highlight: Two of my students dressed like robots. That means I did something right.

I'm going to get a double cheeseburger now.