Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In with the New...

Happy New Year! 2008 looks like a train wreck and I'm surprised that we survived it as well as we did. Still there were plenty of bright spots throughout the year and the gallery had it's good share of them. Looking ahead I am super excited by what is shaping up to be another provocative year at Seminal Projects. Special congratulations go to Lael Corbin and David Adey, whose exhibitions--"Remodel" and "I've got a river of life flowing out of me", respectively--made the San Diego Union-Tribune's Top Ten list. And did I mention that we were the only commercial gallery on the list? Check it out:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Farewell, dear Nathan, my Prince of Pals


1918 - 2008

Dear Friends,

It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my dear friend Nathan Gluck. He died at the end of a beautiful sunset on Saturday, September 27, as the final rays of light set behind Mission Hills.

Anyone who ever visited the gallery during one of our openings over the past year may remember seeing Nathan, sitting quietly in a corner behind the front desk or near the flat files. He was an unassuming presence who nevertheless had a remarkable ability to draw people in with his warm, endearing personality, his charm, and his gift for gab. If you were fortunate enough to have met him, you instantly fell in love with him. He had an extraordinary sense of humor and playfulness, and an all-encompassing knowledge that seemed to know no boundary. The stories that he shared about his many years working with Andy Warhol in his pre-Pop studio in New York and all of the great artists and design masters of the 20th Century that he befriended along the way turned people into small children. They couldn't wait to hear more from this kind, gentle man.

It's hard for me to separate Nathan, the person, from Nathan the artist. The two were inextricably bound. Anyone who knew him personally can see his quirky, yet elegant sense of style, sharp wit, appreciation of language, music and the classics, and, above all, his oddball sense of humor reflected throughout his work. This is most apparent in the collages that he created beginning in 1995, during his 'retirement' period. It is in these works that Nathan finally found his unique voice, as if everything that he had ever collected over the years--all of the thoughts and ideas, competing influences and styles, tidbits of trivia and non-sense, recipes and scraps of ephemera--could no longer be contained and compartmentalized and simply exploded in a remarkable output of creativity. He leveled the playing field and everything became equal. It says so much about him as a person and an artist--honest, warm, unpretentious and a true original. I am truly fortunate to have known him.

Farewell, Dear Nathan. We love you very much and will miss you.

Memorial tributes will be held in New York and San Diego. In New York: Sunday, October 26th, 4:00 p.m., The West End Synagogue, 190 Amsterdam Avenue at 69th Street (behind Lincoln Center), New York, NY 10023; in San Diego: Sunday, November 2nd, 2:00 p.m., at the Athenaeum of Music and Arts Library, Rotunda Gallery, 1008 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037, where his current exhibition of collages, titled "Limited Time Offer", continues through November 8.

Photo: Nathan Gluck by Gerard Melanga, 2005, taken in front of building where Andy Warhol shot "Sleep".

PS - As much as I would have liked to have posted this entry last week, I simply could not wrap my head around it. I hope you understand.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Last Call for COCKED!

Since we've got less than half an hour left in this COCKED! show I figured it's o.k. to start on this much delayed but anticipated blog entry.

What can I say? COCKED! was not your typical show and I realized early on (probably the day after our slammed opening) that it deserved the space and time for deeper observation and reflection. So I decided that it would be best to sit back and take it all in before attempting to address it. ...Hmmm, where do I start?

The opening itself seems like a blur now. We got a taste of what was to come when people started showing up before our 'official' opening time of 7pm. Seth Augustine was still busy setting up for his performance out front and I was inside trying desperately to get the price sheet and other materials finished and printed out. Finally, at around 7:15 and with the crowd growing, we kicked the door open and let them in. From there on it was total mayhem. I just want to laugh. It's actually hard to describe this night. There was so much happening at the same time: the waves of people coming and going; the three black-outs inside the gallery over the two hour period of Seth's performance (caused by the commercial halogen spotlights that he used on himself)--no one seemed to mind and it just added to the carnival atmosphere; the crazy-ass writer who kept interrupting everyone (even during performances!) for the piece he wrote on the show; Scott Horsley breaking down and drinking wine (inconceivable!); and all of the other stranger-than-fiction goings on. I should have known this wouldn't be a normal opening--not with 21 artists in the show. At midnight we still had a small group hanging out in front and it was 1am before I finally locked the front door and went home.

It took me about two weeks to get over the opening. Not just the hangover but the total shell-schock exhaustion that followed. I seriously don't think that I could have written anything, even if I'd wanted to. But little by little a semblance of order was restored.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Bright New Future: The Museum School Benefit

Saturday, July 12 - The Museum School took over the gallery for a few days last week in preparation for their annual benefit art auction this past Saturday evening. We took these pictures early on, before it got jam-packed. Even the air conditioning couldn't keep up... It was a hot night all around with the local crowd putting their hearts and wallets where it counts. I can't help but laugh at some of the funnier moments caught by the camera (and there were many)--like the guy who showed up in the shinny new red mock-crocs with the Sale sticker ($15!) proudly displayed on the soles. Now that's style... Fierce!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Three's A Charm...

Tap, tap, tap...clack, clack,!...Some reviews: (click on links below)
"Construction Zone | Lael Corbin's 'Remodel' is familiar looking, but full of surprise", Robert Pincus,
The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Lael Corbin remodels his art", Kevin Freitas, San Diego CityBeat
"Lael Corbin at Luis De Jesus Seminal Projects", July-August issue, ArtScene
[note: this is a preview; complete review will appear in upcoming isse]

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Sorry folks, my web guy is m.i.a. (Buenos Aires, last I heard), so we're a little behind getting the installation shots of Lael Corbin's Remodel exhibition up on our site. Nevertheless, I just want to say, this is in no way a substitution for experiencing the work in person, which in truth, is why I held off doing it. Like the "drive-by" gallery visitor who slows down just long enough to crank his head and take in the show (seriously!), the web has become too convenient an alternative for visiting galleries and experiencing the art, live, in person. And, after all, I think most people get that Remodel is as much about the experience as it is about the 'objects'. Each space generates its own "storyline" and "scent" (think dirt, humus, sawdust, wood...) that triggers a flood of memories and responses, as different from each other as they are from one person to another. One of my personal favorites is Untitled (Laundry Room). These Rubick's cube-like objects are soooo soft and soooo beautiful (I admit, the temptation to caress and give them a big hug is pretty huge--and this is such a manly show) but it also gives me the creeps! ...Not sure why. Something in my childhood, I suppose... (dirty things happen in there!), but I'm certain it's grist for some therapist's mill.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Scene and herd: a few more afterthoughts on REMODEL...

Now that the dust has settled I look back at this whole REMODEL experience with an uncommon pleasure I know rarely accompanies the "real" thing. So, here are a few of our favorite sights and sounds generated over the course of the installation and opening...
#3: Our neighbor's reaction to the bright orange scaffolding that went up hours before the opening: "How long is that thing staying up for?!"
#2: The guy on the bike who shouted "
You need a plumber?!" as he passed by the day before.
#1: The little 3-year old boy who, at the height of the opening, entered "Untitled (Bathroom)" and began to unzip his fly in front of the "toilet" (his grandma caught him just in time). Oh, if only!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lael Corbin's REMODEL packs 'em in!

"Amazing" and "brilliant" sometimes sound like clich├ęs and certainly among the most overused of adjectives, but in the case of Corbin--and specifically this new body of work--it barely comes close to describing the full experience of this phenomenal artist and exhibition. I haven't seen so many heads turn and mouths open since Leigh Bowery showed up with Boy George one Halloween night at the Sound Factory with his big bald head poking out of a toilet seat. Except this was a way classier affair. With Remodel, Lael Corbin has proven he's earned his chops as possibly the singularly most talented young artist in San Diego today. Some people may argue this point, but, let me tell you--I've seen a lot of art in the last 20+ years and instinctly know when someone 'has it'--and this young artist stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of them. His type doesn't come around very often and I am convinced that he is on his way to becoming a big deal. I really wish that everyone in New York and Los Angeles could see this show. This is what I am talking about--the seminal experience--being inside a point in time that marks a revolution, an adjustment of the status quo, of the same ho-hum crap that too often passes for art these days. Ok, I'll get off my pedestal... Here's Brian Dick, fighting for the spotlight with "Glue Bear" at the top of "Untitled (Stairs/Bear Den)" installation (guess who's going to win this one?) ...and Lucia Sanroman, assistant curator at MCASD, staring lovingly at a 2x4. Her "I am so jealous!" made my night. Thank you, Lucia!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

REMODEL gets under way...

Lael Corbin and his crew landed earlier this week to begin installing his solo show, which opens this coming Friday night. We're being very hush-hush about the whole thing...even the show's evite reminder that was sent out this morning posed more questions than it answered.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tina Yapelli and Anja Bruggemann drop by...

Around 5pm yesterday, Tina Yapelli (left) dropped by with Anja Bruggemann. Tina is director of San Diego State's University Art Gallery and Anja is a curator and teaches at Ohio State University in Columbus. Tina had just finished giving Anja a tour of the future satellite space that University Art Gallery will inaugurate this coming fall. UAG is taking over the front half of the ground floor at the new 43-story Electra condominium tower (built around the shell of the original 1911 SDG&E building), which sits directly across from the Museum of Contemporary Art, at the corner of Broadway and Kettner. This is going to give a fabulous boost to the already hot art scene developing downtown, with India Street as the main axis. Tina is a one-woman wonder and San Diego is extremely fortunate to have her.