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Donald Judd’s Plain-Spoken Masterpiece – The New York Times

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Donald Judd’s large, untitled installation piece in unfinished plywood at Gagosian Gallery is a plain-spoken giant that, surprisingly, has quite a bit to say. In its complexity and openness, it seems like almost nothing else Judd (1928-1994) ever made, and it hasn’t been seen in New York since 1981, when it debuted at the Castelli Gallery in Soho a year after its completion.

I remember being stupefied by it then. Reviewing it for the Village Voice, I called it a masterpiece almost in self-defense. Seeing it again, before the coronavirus pandemic shut the gallery, I can say it’s definitely a masterpiece, and also a pivot. It sums up both the wall and floor pieces from the first two decades of Judd’s three-dimensional work, while turning toward his more expansive later works. A prime example of these is the large multicolored piece that dominates the final gallery of “Judd,” the superbly selected and installed retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art — a show that I think would have pleased Judd, who was no friend of museums.

The work at Gagosian is a big grid of 30 rectilinear volumes, each measuring 4 by 8 by 4 feet and arranged in three horizontal rows of 10; or, conversely, 10 vertical stacks of three. The whole thing is made of standard sheets of Douglas fir plywood around 1.5 inches thick. Each unit is partitioned to some degree by an additional plane or by two parallel ones; all slant diagonally down and inward, but at different angles. Some connect to the back of the unit, others to the bottom, alternately suggesting slanted ceilings or eccentric garage doors. Stretching in total 80 feet across and 12 feet up the longest wall at Gagosian, the result is arguably the most communicative, extravagantly available work of Judd’s career: a great flutter of planes, volumes and edges — the cardinal components of Judd’s language — and shifts in light and shadow. The six images on the Gagosian site provide plenty to look at.

Flavin Judd, the artist’s son, has compared it to a Bach fugue. One fuguelike aspect is the variations in the cutting of the laminated edges of the plywood partitions. As the diagonal sheets slant closer to the front of the piece, their upper edges are cut at ever sharper angles until they and their laminations spread out, nearly tripling in width — offering a second measure of the planes’ steepness.

The piece is a big, magnanimous puzzle and an exercise in vision-sharpening comparative looking. Where Judd usually prided himself on pieces that the viewer comprehended by circumnavigating, here we are limited to a single side but granted a surfeit of information to sort through. You may seize on clusters of repeating elements, both horizontal and vertical, as signs of an overriding system. But as you proceed, comparing volumes, edges and angles, rehearsing Judd’s decisions and their effects, you gradually realize that almost none of the volumes repeat exactly. The system is open-ended.

Judd’s midway masterpiece has the beauty and clarity of full disclosure. From the first instant it puts everything up front. As is not always the case with his work, the process of self-enlightenment it stimulates may make you feel smarter than you thought you were. And of course, you are.

Donald Judd

Through April 11 at Gagosian; gagosian.com.

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It’s a TikTok! No, It’s a Song! Drake and the Viral Feedback Loop

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Drake’s new single “Toosie Slide” was released on Friday, but that’s only if you think of a song’s release in an old-fashioned way — which is to say, a full song and an accompanying official video put out by the artist himself.

“Toosie Slide” was truly let loose a few days earlier, when a well-known viral hip-hop dancer named Toosie posted a clip of himself and some of his dance celebrity friends — Ayo & Teo, Hiii Key — doing a smooth floor routine to a small section of the then-unnamed song, including the crucial dance-instruction hook: “Right foot up, left foot slide/Left foot up, right foot slide.”

The voice was Drake’s, but the track was a mystery. Instantly the snippet, and more crucially the dance step, entered the slipstream of content on TikTok, where it began to spread.

“Toosie Slide” sets a low bar for participation — it’s a dance song that even those who can’t really dance can dance to. It is marketing stratagem first, song second. Maybe this is inevitable, though. Attention spans are shrinking, and the most effective modes of distribution favor the brief and interactive.

TikTok videos end up like the equivalent of a movie trailer released before the film’s completion. The platform’s power goes hand in hand with the rise of snippet culture, in which sections of songs played by rappers — Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert, among others — on social media become cult favorites, and sometimes more popular than actual hits. Increasingly, the way to cut through the clutter is to do less, and leave behind a thirst — and an opportunity — for more.

This has been happening organically on TikTok since the app’s beginning: TikTokers mine music (new and old alike) for snippets they can reinvent as short dances or comic films. Look at recent popular dances, like the one-pose-per-mood routine to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” (“I’m a savage/Classy, bougie, ratchet/Sassy, moody, nasty”), or the soundtrack to the Renegade craze: “Lottery,” by K. Camp — or at least the beginning of “Lottery,” a song that K. Camp eventually raps on. In the case of Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin,” the clips don’t feature a dance, but umpteen thousands of handsome young people shamelessly flirting with their phone cameras.

“Toosie Slide” merely anticipates the response — why not just cut to the chase?

Drake had already done this, unintentionally, with “Nonstop,” his 2018 song that recently became the soundtrack to one of TikTok’s funniest routines — see Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez flipping the switch and swapping outfits.

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‘The Addams Family’ Musical Was Panned. Then It Became a Hit.

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LIPPA It’s a very public forum, writing a Broadway musical. If you’re going to play in the big leagues, as it were, you have to learn how to tune out the voices that you don’t necessarily want to listen to.

HOFFMAN Nothing really prepared us for the unleashing of absolute cruelty and vitriol when the New York press got wind of it.

PRICE One of the most enlightening moments of my producing career was the day after opening night in New York, where Stuart Oken and Roy Furman laid out the disastrous New York Times review that we all read the night before. That team started that ad meeting reading the terrible first paragraph, and then the terrible first paragraph of the “Mamma Mia!” review and of the “Les Miz” review and of the “Wicked” review and of the “Cats” review — all these hit shows. It was very encouraging, because we were like, “You’re right, it’s not over.”

HOFFMAN It only really affects you as a performer if the audiences are affected. There were a couple of nights where you felt from the audience, “Well, I kind of like it, but I’m not supposed to.” I mean, people are very, very affected by reviews. They shouldn’t be, but unfortunately they are.

ELICE I was in the elevator in my building with some neighbors who live on a lower floor. The woman said, “Well, we just came from ‘The Addams Family.’ What a disaster.” Fortunately for me, the elevator opened and they got out. The next morning, under my door was a note: “Oh my God, I’m so embarrassed. When we got out of the elevator, my husband said, ‘You idiot. He wrote it.’ So I just want you to know I’m really sorry for being so rude. But we would like our money back.” My husband, who was a wonderful actor and a great human being, said, “I want you to write her a check right now.”

OKEN Even though the show ran 20 months and recouped a big chunk of its money on Broadway, it was hard. It was a hard experience.

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Teresa Giudice Holds Dove Release Ceremony 4 Days After Dad’s Death

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Teresa Giudice has laid her father to rest.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star and her family held a special memorial service for Giacinto Gorga, who passed away last Friday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, Teresa took to Instagram to share a video clip of her late father’s ceremony. In the footage, Gorga’s grandchildren could be seen releasing doves from a beautifully decorated box.

The grandkids, which included Teresa and Joe Gorga‘s kids, were all dressed in black. Moreover, as they released the doves, Italian music played in the background.

“today we set you free,” the reality TV personality captioned her touching post. “fly high to mommy.”

Teresa’s brother also wrote the same message on his Instagram page.

“The beautiful Grandchildren watching the doves fly into the heavens in honor of their Nonno,” Melissa Gorga, Joe’s wife, shared, alongside a photo of the kids looking up in the sky.

It appears the family kept the memorial service small, which could be due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and many states’ restrictions around gatherings.

“My father, my protector, my hero, God took you early this morning to be with mommy, I saw you peacefully pass & I know you kept fighting for my daughters and I,” Teresa shared, announcing the heartbreaking news that her father died.

“I have so many amazing thoughts of you, every day seeing you in the kitchen at my home, teaching my girls to cook, my partner in crime on shopping trips, your love of the shore & my travel buddy,” she continued her message. “You always wanted everyone to have a good time, eat great food, have a stiff drink and enjoy life. You are the absolute strongest man I know & I know you missed mommy so much but you stayed for us.”

She added, “Thank you for being the best husband, father & Nonno. Your devotion to mommy was one for the record books, you were the true example and a gentleman and devoted husband. You visited mommy every single day & would go twice for the days you missed while traveling or if you were to sick to go, my silver lining is knowing you’ll be together now.Thank you for showing us all what true love is. Love you Papa Rest In Peace.”

Additionally, Joe also expressed his heartache over his dad’s passing.

“I can’t believe he is gone,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “The world lost an amazing man human being today. He was exactly what a true father and husband should be. I will miss you more than you know, But go find your wife because I know that’s all you want and all you’ve ever talked about for the past 3 years.”

He added, “You will be missed every single day. You had energy that lit up a room and everyone fell in love with you. You were truly one of a kind. I’m so happy you’re in no more pain. Rest In Peace Finally.”

Giacinto was 76 years and passed away peacefully.

At this time, the family hasn’t disclosed the cause of his death. However, Gorga had battled health problems for years, which was sometimes shown on the Bravo series.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)



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