Monday, February 28, 2011

oh, the petty injustices and disappointments of my world.

fear not, people. i will not use this blog to say anything of importance. that said, let's get down to the most recent crimes against kitty joe. let me set the scene for you.

i'm tired. i had a triumphant opening on friday night (yes, as far as work and exhaustion go, it was my opening too). but many things were put on the back burner in order to meet that deadline. hence, weekend does not equal weekend, and sunday night found me still plugging away to get a proposal out.

it's 9pm and i've eaten one meal. i have at least three hours of work ahead of me. i cave in to the huge craving for a burrito. even though i know i will not be california burrito satisfied and i will feel guilty for spending the money even though i have soup in the fridge, i desperately need a burrito fix. so i go to calexico, the hip newcomer to greenpoint, and i wait a half and hour in the party atmosphere, shouting my order over the music and waiting impatiently. by this time i don't care if it's california good. i'm so excited to get home and tear the inauthentic paper-lined foil from its beautiful body.

when the moment arrives, however, my frenzied mouth is not rewarded with the frijoles negros, avocado and crack sauce the menu promised, but big chunks of gag-inducing beef.

sadness!! disgust!! mutiny!! i must spit the bite out in the sink and run the water on my 20-years-without-meat-offended tongue. and then i must re-wrap the burrito for my carnivorous mate and internally cry for the loss of a dream. to punish the world, because the world really gives a shit about my stupid vegetarian plight, i go to bed without eating dinner. because i'm that pissed off and stupid. oh, the very important trials and tribulations of kitty joe.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Announcing! Duke Riley/ Two Riparian Tales of Undoing/ Opening Reception Friday, February 25th, 6-10pm

Dear Friends,
This show, put simply, constitutes the fruits of a solid year and half of my labor. For those of you who have wondered what exactly that labor entails, now is your chance to understand. Sometimes by rail, sometimes by helicopter, sometimes by beat up pick up truck, and sometimes, just in front of a laptop, I work with Duke Riley to execute projects. Come celebrate the opening on Friday night, or swing by before it closes on April 9th. Duke's announcement below.

Two Riparian Tales of Undoing
Magnan Metz Gallery
521 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
On View: Saturday, February 26 -- April 9, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, February 25th, 6--9pm
7:30pm: Performance by Lara Allen

Please join me at the opening of my next show, Two Riparian Tales of Undoing, at Magnan Metz on Friday, February 25th from 6-10pm. For this show, I divided the gallery space into two projects that I completed in the past year outside of New York City. Both projects deal with stories of riverfront communities that were destroyed, and address how these events relate to the current global political and economic climate. I've included a broader description of each project below.

Reclaiming the Lost Kingdom of Laird

Petty’s Island is a tiny island situated in the middle of the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden. In 1850, Ralston Laird immigrated from Donegal to Philadelphia. Shortly after his arrival, he set off for Petty’s Island, where he married, had ten children, and declared himself King. The generous king helped several struggling immigrant families to also establish themselves on the island. Over fifty years later, the island was eyed for industrial development. The elderly King was the last to remain when a mysterious fire finally drove him from Petty’s Island.

Today, the island is a fuel storage facility owned by the Venezuelan oil company
In April of 2009, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez offered to donate the island to the state of New Jersey for wildlife conservation. Details regarding the toxic waste cleanup are still being resolved between the two governments and the island remains off-limits to the public.

Using the historical society and the Internet, I tracked down and contacted all of the surviving descendants of the king, reestablished their royal status and minted a set of commemorative plates bearing their royal images. Artifacts from the site of the king’s former palace were also uncovered over the course of several unauthorized visits I made to the island.

Coincidentally, a group who identify themselves as the LKLA also permeated the island and painted a large-scale monument to Ralston Laird—the rightful King of Petty’s Island—atop one of CITGO’s remaining gas storage drums. It can only be viewed from satellite or aircraft, and from that vantage point, interestingly, bears a striking similarity to the Laird Family Royal commemorative plates.

I decided it only fair that Chavez be alerted that this once mighty kingdom is re-staking a claim on his land…

An Invitation to Lubberland

Buried beneath the city of Cleveland is a prehistoric river known as Kingsbury Run. Before it was rerouted underground, itinerant workers made their home along its banks. During the depression of the 1890s, a “tramp census” conducted by John McCook indicated 6% of the population of the United States were itinerant. At that time Cleveland was regarded as a “hobo’s paradise” because of the gracious handouts itinerants would receive, and lenient treatment by the city’s police.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s the itinerant population swelled to 30%, and the Kingsbury Run grew into a sprawling shantytown. However, a series of gruesome murders occurred along the Run, targeting the hobos. As a band-aid solution to stop the serial killings, the police department arrested and displaced the population, burning the neighborhood to the ground.

Today, itinerant cultures both nationally and globally are being marginalized to the brink of extinction. The hobo census, a once a respected barometer for the American economy, is now obsolete.

Motivated by our current economic climate, I traveled the country by freight train, attempting to re-conduct McCook’s census, ultimately returning to Cleveland. By infiltrating the sewer system, I regained access to the forgotten Kingsbury Run. In search of the lost “hobo’s paradise” I followed the Run, beneath the streets of Cleveland, to its headwater.

For more information please contact the gallery at 212-244-2344 or
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11am-6pm.

Monday, February 14, 2011


that's right. texas shaped waffle in bed.

meanwhile, back on diamond street, the morning doves are probably having their usual morning courtship.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!

it seems that groundhog day gets a bit more attention since bill murray got hilariously stuck in it in 1993. it was, however, always a big holiday where i grew up because i went to gravenstein school and we were not the ferocious panthers or the eagles that our teams faced off.

we were the groundhogs.

we were groundhogs in kindergarten and we were groundhogs when we graduated from eighth grade. (though sadly, i hear that a more recent class of junior high kids, reacting to that awful time of discomfort in your own pubescent skin, finally caved to the pressure of being the joke of the county school system and possibly to the harry potter craze, and voted to change the mascot to the gravenstein griffin. yeah, i also had to pause to even call to mind what exactly a griffin even is. turns out its a cross between an eagle and a lion. oy). but in the classic good ol' days before that blasted democracy interfered, groundhog day was huge! i mean, how many schools get their own holiday?! and guess what? groundhog day was as innocuous of a holiday that the jehovah's witnesses didn't even seem to have a problem with me celebrating it. brilliant! (though if you ask me, they may want to re-consider that stance. i mean, it sounds a little pagan or hocus-pocus to base a seasonal prediction on an underground animals behavior...) nevertheless, on groundhog day we dressed in our school colors--blue and gold. this tradition ingrained the idea in my little mind that groundhogs, the animals, somehow preferred those colors. but what else could you do to celebrate such a holiday? of course, you could have drawing contests.

so come with me back to second grade. i was decked out in blue nike swoosh sneakers, tall gym socks with a yellow-rimmed blue stripe, blue koo-lats (that's what we called 'capri pants' back then, except they were a little more skirt-like) and gold clickety-clacks in my hair. surely i was wearing a shirt too, but i can't remember which....what do you think i make this shit up?

a school-wide assembly was called to announce the winners of the groundhog drawing contest. i didn't think much about it. the week before, in a fit of shame at my lack of drafting skills, my big-time honesty good-two shoes self had lost out to my already fully developed self-consciousness and artistic inhibition. faced with the assignment to draw a groundhog, i'd finally followed my sister's advice and traced one out of the encylopedia. it looked a bit like this:

except, no offense to rmckay001, even better. cleaner. like an engraving. like the future boss would draw.

i turned it in to save myself from embarrassment, not to compete or win. but c'mon, principal lapinski, does a 2nd grader whose drawing style, even by 6th grade, only progressed to this:

(this, by the way, is a drawing sample from a hilarious family book that i'll share another time)

...suddenly start drawing encyclopedia worth block prints?

i should have been apprehended for cheating. at the very least i should have been glossed over for the prize. instead, and perhaps they were on to something that i never considered til just now, i suffered the even greater shame and humiliation of being awarded 2nd prize (keep in mind this contest spanned K-8), being praised in front of the whole school and photographed with the fake, for the yearbook.

i could barely lift my head.

somehow, this experience didn't instill in me a hatred for groundhog day. i continued to dress in blue and gold. i continued to listen excitedly for the seasonal prediction (though let's be real, by february 2nd, the magnolias have already bloomed in california, the green fields have already burst into gold mustard rhapsody...). but damnit, i'll never cheat again.

and by the way, in case the brooklyn groundhog has any confusion in its mind--it's not looking so good today.