Sasha Grey, Neu Sex book signing at Martha Otero 5 May 2011.
It is difficult to imagine a more appropriate, or intimate setting for this signing:
Correct neighborhood, residential scale, eye-level hedges, the serious door man…
Inside, three smallish white rooms, share a continuous gabled ceiling. A small, crooked line of interested humans, wait for autographed copies from the author, Sasha Grey.
I glance around the room, but the queuing for the signing takes precedence, I get in line.
My peripheral vision and hearing realizes it is her, or something like her, in a black full length dress.
I’m having difficulty focusing due to the heat and humidity, compounded by the gallery lights. It’s 90 degrees F. in West Hollywood today.
Then I actually look at her. Until now she has been a series of virtual images, so it is a bit odd to compare both printed photos with a live human, without really getting a good look at either.
But this is a book signing. I wait my turn.
Nearer the table I blurt: “Do you take plastic? Checks?”
Agent: “No, cash only.”
DC: “How much are the books?”
DC: (to guard) “Is there an ATM nearby?”
Guard: “I don’t know, around the corner, at the gas station, down Melrose, there’s a (bank name) across the street”
(I leave for 15 minutes then return)
DC: “I would like to buy one book, please.”
Agent: (takes cash, slides book to SG)
SG: “Hello, what is your name?”
DC: “Hello…David…I am envious of your book.”
SG: “Oh, (writing) I think I messed up your name.”
DC: “That’s OK, I need a new name anyway.”
DC: “Are you happy with how the book turned out? (I haven’t seen it yet)”
DC: “Is this wall (painted wall behind SG) part of the show?”
SG: “Yes, it’s by the artist James Jean”
SG: “Jean, he did the paintings of me in the other room.”
DC: “Are you still looking to hire a photo assistant?”
DC: “I’m from LV, I’m sharing some space in Holsum with some people,
an architect, an art director and some artists/representatives.
Las Vegas has about 25% vacancy now in commercial so there are some deals.
(DC hands SG a card)
Well, thank you. Congratulations on the show.”
SG: “Thank you.”
(dead link to martha otero website)
I should perhaps discuss the actual work being shown at some point.
The photographs are self-described obsessive documentation of the artist during her porn mode.
She documents behind the scenes intimate moments existing separate from the scenes viewers are likely to consume in the porn films…cleaning up what looks to be vomit off the floor… a funny face in between shots.
In her book she observes that “men are incredibly insecure when it comes to their sexuality”.
There is a central piece on the main gallery wall, milky white with grayish impressionist solo figure.
I keep revisiting it for some reason.
To the left, a multi-colored work with a carnival theme insists repeated views.
I’m glad to see the works on walls but perhaps happier they exist now in a book to be revisited. I am glad to have visual confirmation that the artist is flesh and blood.
David Scott Curtis, 5 May 2011 from Las Vegas, NV
I visit the corpse
of the Rem Koolhaas designed Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas over the (native american genocide) weekend.
This project was originally designed and constructed in 2000-2001, I was a senior professional for the executive architect TSA of Nevada (the Stubbins Associates).
The internal partition truss (140′ long, fully clad, both sides in 1/2″ corten) was fully suspended from the underside of the hotel tower. It has been reconfigured, if not completely removed.
Retail shops have been inserted into what is left of the corten gallery shell.
A Hugo Boss store at the north end features one of the remaining exposed corten partitions. The remnant of the stone fireplace from the previous VIP lounge remains, a feature element in the new store.
On the exterior, nearly the entire work has been obscured by vinyl supergraphics of celebrity chefs.
Near the porte cochere, some corten remains visible as does a sliver of window, the laminated glass pin at the partition foot. The former, full height sliding glass and steel door is visible. A smaller, perhaps exit door has been cut in to it.
The (3) former rotating display walls are gone.
Vestige end display cases of glass occupy what would have been the ends of the rotating walls when paused in the East West direction.
One of the cases features a head shot of Grace Hartzel, perhaps a highlight of the remodeled interior.
On a positive note: The removal of the fully suspended East truss partition likely avoids an eventual structural collapse that the corten might have enabled. See also: rust is a thing.
And no, I did not work on this remodel.
I worked on the former museum from schematic design through construction admin. I flew to Rotterdam to provide OMA assistance during the completion of the construction documents. I sketched all the roof details on the plane in pencil. I still have them.
I later served as a Gallery Educator for the Guggenheim Museum after it opened under Anita Getzler.
© David Curtis 2018 (edits 11/12/2022)