Editor's Message From The Editor
The Man Who Would Save the Earth
Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is a rather unique hybrid vehicle, as it’s in large part an earth science lecture with a campaign biopic running through it. As a primer on global warming, it succeeds quite clearly, and most frighteningly, in showing that the earth is now totally “out of balance.” If Greenland melts down, all of us here in New York City may be swimming with the fishes. The remedies the film offers are plenty, although the primary one seems to be “elect Al Gore in 2008, before it’s too late… .” On this score, there are—Dare I say it? Of course I will—some “inconvenient truths” that the picture leaves out.
The portrayal of Gore in the film is of a dedicated public servant who’s been nothing if not consistent in his commitment to environmentalism. On these issues, that may be true, but such an image conceals the shifting nature of Gore’s politics. Until the aftermath of the 2000 fiasco, in which the Supreme Court crowned George Bush as president, Gore placed himself squarely on the center-right of the Democratic Party. During his run for president in 1988, Gore memorably donned his Army jacket and traveled around New York City with right-wing Democrat Ed Koch, shamelessly pandering to the city’s Reagan Democrats. Through the Clinton years, one of Gore’s main roles was to help sell NAFTA, which among other results has produced an environmental disaster along the Mexican border.
As for Gore’s actual campaign in 2000, the less said about it, the better. Among other lowlights, he “triangulated” on the Elian Gonzalez issue, and chose the ridiculously reactionary Joe Lieberman as his running mate. The campaign was so uninspiring that Gore couldn’t even win debates with George W. Bush, let alone his home state. Since 2000, Gore has finally taken to heart Dan Quayle’s advice in 1992: “Lighten up, Al.” And the new Al—outspoken critic of the Bush administration on the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, Kyoto, and many other issues; as well as two-time host of Saturday Night Live and traveling lecturer—is winning over both popular audiences and leading opinion makers. As the new flick shows, Al’s got Hollywood backing, and the New Yorker also seems to be in his camp (Hillary, meanwhile, has the New York Times on lockdown).
But if (and when) he does throw his hat into the ring, which Al will step forward? The triangulating stiff, or the thoughtful man of principle with a self-deprecating touch? Politicians, like the earth’s ecosystem, can indeed change. But as Gore’s film shows, the future isn’t exactly predictable. We can only hope that our political debate evolves by 2008, before it is indeed too late.
Tomas Vu: The Man Who Fell to Earth 76/22By Jonathan Goodman
JUNE 2022 | ArtSeen
Tomas Vu, born in Saigon in 1963, moved with his family to El Paso, Texas, at the age of ten. He received his BFA from the University of Texas at El Paso, and took his MFA at Yale. Currently, he is head of Columbia Universitys print-making center. His current show, The Man Who Fell to Earth 76/22 is taking place at The Boiler, a non-profit showing space that is part of the Elm Foundation, located in Williamsburg.
Tomas Vu: The Man Who Fell to Earth 76|22By Amanda Millet-Sorsa
JUNE 2022 | ArtSeen
The Boiler in Williamsburg, Brooklyn opened during the pandemic in 2020 as an extension of the ELM Foundations programming, and invites contemporary artists to create installations and exhibitions in its space, previously run by Pierogi Gallery from 20092015. The current show, The Man Who Fell to Earth 76|22, by artist Tomas Vu, is his first solo show in New York since 2008. The raw industrial space exudes an extraterrestrial feeling, perfect for a show whose title recalls David Bowies central role in the eponymous 1976 movie.
Pat Steir: Paintings, Part IIBy David Rhodes
SEPT 2022 | ArtSeen
After arriving at the gallery, located on the Via Francesco Crispi, a short walk downhill from Berninis Palazzo Barberini, I needed a few seconds for my eyes to adjust after the August sunlight outside. Then, the full subtlety and clear radiance of these cool, austere paintings had full effect. This second iteration of a two-part summer exhibition by Pat Steir comprised eight paintingssix predominantly red, yellow, and blue on black and two white on black.
The earth leaked red ochreBy William Corwin
JUNE 2022 | ArtSeen
The earth leaked red ochre is a quote from the artist Cecilia Vicuña, and in the hands of curator Real Christian, this phrase becomes a tool for extracting and discerning traditional, Indigenous, and local narratives about the land that have been buried or become entangled with those of colonial presences and oppressors.