Saturday, October 23, 2004

Forest litter, Kanaka Creek Park, Maple Ridge, B.C.

That Ruskin picture, right at twilight? Don't ask. Posted by Hello
Friday, October 22, 2004
Three new John Latta poems here

"Gap-tooth’d and blue, I
Dive the slurry stretches of
Sky, sky myself and goatish.
I want a minstrelsy wench.
I want a slender Russian
Apple-picker to chuck green
Granny Smiths at me, beginning
With a zhili byli, one
Way to momentarily lock up
A sizeable piece of continuum..."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Lawrence Weiner, As Long as It Lasts (collection: public freehold)

Some more useful thoughts about producing and disseminating artworks digitally
, courtesy the Guggenheim's Jon Ippolito:

"Digital watermarks are a bit harder to see (and easier to rub off), which makes it very easy for unscrupulous artists to download someone else's photo and pass it off as their own work. How is the artist of the original photo to prevent the public from destabilizing the market for her work?

"Again, the answer may be not to fight such destabilization but to encourage it. In the 1960s and 70s artists explored many relationships with their audience that were a lot more interesting than simply 'I make, you buy.' Since the 1970s Sol LeWitt has created a series of 'democratic drawings' made from folded paper and altered maps whose price is permanently fixed at $100 (take that, art market). While most of Lawrence Weiner's ephemeral language-based installations can be bought and sold via certificates of authenticity, he has entrusted his piece BROKEN OFF to public freehold--thus 'breaking off' any claims he or anyone else might have to future ownership of the work. Robert Morris was ticked off at a collector who had never paid for his art work Litanies (1963), so he created a new work (Statement of Aesthetic Withdrawal, 1963) that includes a notarized statement in which Morris claims to withdraw from Litanies all aesthetic quality and content. (No doubt this act brought a shudder to all those who place artistic intent paramount among the sources of aesthetic meaning.) In one of the most elaborate examples of a Conceptual artist provoking a new relationship with his audience, Douglas Huebler announced in 1969 that he was adding $1,100 to the reward for the capture of outlaw Edmund Kite McIntyre, who was already wanted by the FBI for bank robbery. Any collector who bought the piece acquired not only the wanted poster with Huebler's affidavit, but also the responsibility for paying the reward. (One can only assume that Mr. McIntyre would have been less than pleased to learn of Huebler's latest innovation in artist-public interaction.)"
Coming Attractions

I've been making pictures for a while, first with a manual focus camera and then, when my (never substantial) patience ran out, with a tiny 35mm autofocus I bought for $50 at a Wal-Mart in Butte, Montana. The camera used to just go on book scouting and mountaineering trips, but, lately, I've found myself returning to places I had initially wandered through, with the idea of trying to recreate feelings or sensations I had when I was first there. I think this impulse might be art, or something close to it, in that it seems planned, more made than taken. Often this process involves thinking about landscape, something I seem to have been doing for as long as I can remember.

Anyone who has ever seen Clement Greenberg's paintings will have at least one good argument for why critics shouldn't make art of their own. Still...

Editions of 5, mostly smallish c-type prints, 8 x 10" or 11" x 14". First of each edition's free, just r.s.v.p to First come, first served. All the others are $50CDN each including mailing.

(I think this might be an experiment with "alternative distribution systems." Back when I was running Anodyne, I was always amazed at the number of people who expressed interest in buying the art on display but wouldn't for one of two reasons: either they genuinely couldn't afford it, or they wanted the reputation of a "real" (e.g., for-profit) gallery to certify it. I was also amazed by how many of Jason McLean's friends seemed to own his work, and how his freely given or budget-priced objects were always proudly displayed by their owners, instead of being squirreled away in storage or in some dealer's back room. And I have always admired Lawrence Weiner's designating certain of his works as "public freehold.")


Kanaka Creek, Maple Ridge, B.C. A toss-up yesterday between a return visit to Larabee State Park -- with photo gear this time -- or Ruskin, B.C. (pursuit! fear! catastrophe!) Woke up at noon, too late for morning light on that special sandstone cliff, obtained car at 2pm, drove out Highway 7 watching light leak steadily out of the day, and got as far as the Maple Ridge Value Village, where the rain started in earnest.

Several hours spent on Kanaka Creek's winding trails and at the hatchery, fish-watching and mushroom photographing. Great downed snags in the creek. Veils of waterfalls along the steepest parts of the canyon. Mist dropping down through the trees. The showers cleared, briefly, and Golden Ears and Edge Peak rose out of the clouds to the north.

A brief visit to the fish fence at 240th Street. Pissed-off huge salmon, their bodies cut and bruised in countless places, leapt shivering from the river, knocking against the bars of the counting cage. You could hear them very clearly from the parking lot -- bong bong bong, ringing against the metal like a distant cowbell, then the gunshot slaps of their weight hitting the water.

One picture of Ruskin, right at twilight. Grey lake, grey parking lot, grey mist rising off black hills, grey pickup in the grey gravel parking lot and an aircraft warning buoy on the overhead wires, bright orange, the only real color at all in the picture. When the disk comes back from London Drugs I'll post it here.Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Jeff Wall -- new (at least to me) short interview

"I can’t explain why I want to make this or that picture except to say that I never have an idea for a photograph. I have a subject, which derives from my experience, and some sense of a picture that might be made with that subject. I wouldn’t like to have an idea for a picture, or in relation to a picture. As for ideas, I might develop some in the process of analyzing the subject, or the mood or feeling suggested by the subject, and seeing if I sense that it can become a good picture. That’s a complicated process and I can’t explain it, but what’s important is that I have an intuition that what I consider a good picture might be possible starting from a certain subject."
Every Bus Stop in Surrey, B.C. -- web archive and slideshow!

Monday, October 18, 2004
Rackstraw Downes on Robert Smithson (among many other things)

"Smithson was a very brilliant polemicist for what he was doing. He died very young, and that was very sad because obviously he was an extremely daring and free-spirited man. He was not held back by any constraints; he tried all sorts of wild things. That’s very important, to have such people around. He broke a lot of ice, and I have a great deal of respect for that. My connection to Smithson came when I started working in New Jersey, where Smithson came from. In New Jersey you see what he would have called entropy very much at work with things which he considered wasted or used up. I have a slightly different idea: I think there’s a certain hypocrisy in our attitude to landscape. We give it a role in our mental construction of the world, that it is somehow pure and outside us and separate from us and over there, and we’re over here, and what we do is impure compared to nature, or dirty, or somehow that we’re not worthy of nature. Alternatively, there is a view that man is the center of everything and measure of everything and therefore we’re greater than nature. For me, we’re part of it. I can’t paint a landscape without some notion of man being in there."

Rackstraw Downes, Three London Plane Trees Near the Track in Red Hook Park (2002)

"Oh, realism," said an artist friend who should have first looked and then spoken. Downes' paintings are concerned with how perception organizes itself, and in translating this organizing process into paint. In practice this means multiple points of perspective; objects wrap and bend and warp around his canvases in ways that can probably only ever be accomplished with brushes and pigment. And so the landscapes depicted in these reticent pictures -- Texas irrigation ditches; East Coast parks; desert suburbs -- are inner landscapes, too, maps of how the eyes and mind (to say nothing of the heart) translate sight into knowing.

Great Peter Schjeldahl review and color illustration in this week's New Yorker, interview and more pictures from the current show here.

From Schjeldahl:

"Philosophically, “realism” is the doctrine that things exist independent of our perceptions of them. In art, it names any effort to square perception with what is perceived—a project long ceded, in modern times, to photography. There is an existentialist, not to say quixotic, flavor to Downes’s insistence on realizing the real by hand. Such is the case with his five-canvas study of the Rio Grande flood-monitoring station, an accumulation of views of an antennaed metal shack above a tire-tracked floodplain, red aerial markers on an overhead cable that stretches to a distant bluff, prickly brush, sun-soaked concrete, umber shadows, and burning blue sky. The result is a sense of place overwhelming in its very banality. Downes likes jam-ups of culture and nature, where practical human uses overlap with indifferent geology and shaggy flora—he is the bard of weeds."Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 17, 2004
Why are you posting at 5:24 am? (instant replay in bold)

Great big book sale (this year they advertised "120,000 books," which, based on previous years, is probably accurate) in Undisclosed Location (Fraser Valley) at 7am! (already underway when we arrived; probably 80,000-85,000 books, not counting kids' books and series romance)

The Pulpfiction All Stars: Chris B., Chris C., other Chris C. the bookscout, Chris C. the bookscout's friend (didn't show), Abe, Keith and Gavin from Book and Comic Emporium (slept in -- forcibly rousted from bed and packed into the car).

Hopefully the sight of so many intensely focused, hyper-caffeinated men at the head of the lineup will instantly put every less commited dealer off their game.

(This roll call all the more amazing considering that prompting used booksellers to do anything as a group before 9am is like herding cats)

Q: Why so much overkill?

A: Unnamed Local Competitor, who, for several years running, hired what seemed like every kid from the local high school, stuffed them all into fluorescent yellow t-shirts bearing his business' name, and parked them at the head of the line. Dealers arriving more than 5 minutes after the sale started were able to spot every good book in the sale -- stacked up in the 18-24 shopping carts up by the cash desk, wrapped up with yellow crime scene tape and a handwritten note reading, "[Unnamed Local Competitor] -- SOLD." (1 VW Jetta of books returned to Vancouver through pouring rain, old Smiths tunes accompanying us through showers and snow up on the Cheam Range).

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