Friday, December 10, 2010
Recent reading:

Henri Focillon, The Life of Forms in Art

Jeff Wall, "Unity and Fragmentation in Manet"

Photography After Conceptual Art, eds. Diarmuid Costello and Margaret Iversen, esp. Sarah E. James, "Subject, object, mimesis: The aesthetic world of the Bechers' photography," and Tamara Trodd, "Thomas Demand, Jeff Wall and Sherrie Levine: Deforming 'Pictures'"

Jerry L. Thompson, Walker Evans at Work

Hillel Schwartz, The Culture of the Copy

Tom McCarthy, Remainder

David Einhorn, Fooling Some of the People All of the Time
Thursday, December 09, 2010

Tending, 2010

Enter Through the Exit and Exit Through The Entrance When You Can

The full orchestral Demo, kitsch Andean New Age flute and saxophone put to nonironic use, pulsing atmospherics, Rumors-esque lead guitar, wandery vocal delivery that curls restlessly back on itself ("...and they will...").  A great early Christmas gift, perfect for long distance driving on American winter desert highways.

How To Kill Yourself Snowshoeing

Everyone heading out (or even contemplating heading out) into the local back country this winter will benefit from reading this detailed, well-written article.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010

"I, too, wondered whether I could not sell something and find some success in life. For some time I had been no good at anything. I am 40 years old..."

"[V]ariations in his methods, in his motifs, and in his use of the medium might be best understood as continuous footnotes, glosses, and exemplifications of conceptual claims, driven by an ongoing debate on the meanings and the value of reality and realism in art."

"If you showed more often than every three years, no one took you seriously," he said. "Some people worked and worked and never showed at all. That's what I come from."

"There are other kids, other campaigns. They have what teachers call imaginations. Some of them are in gifted. They play in the official after-school club."
Q:  The "service economy of art"?

A:  I didn't enjoy being an employee, writing reviews quickly on commission, any more than I enjoyed typing and filing at the VAG.

I'm not a naturally facile writer, and the reviews took a lot of effort.  It was disappointing, to say the least, to identify an aspect of an artist's practice which they would then, perhaps deliberately, suppress or eliminate from their practice as soon as the review appeared.  Their prerogative, sure, but I didn't like the implication that what I found valuable and interesting in their work was (for them) expendable and passé.

Or: the emerging superstar who phoned one day in a panic.  Video rough-cut, major doubts, just a quick look, please, ASAP?  "I don't feel comfortable showing this to anyone else."  An afternoon out of the bookstore, a long time spent looking, thinking and talking.  Then bumping, in the lobby, into various representatives of the local artist-run scene, the next appointments waiting to go up.  Fool me once. . . .
Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The inexhaustibility of subjects, and by extension the world.
WOMAN WITH UMBRELLA:  Can I put my underwear under your desk?  I mean...wait.  Sorry!

CJB:  Best offer I've had today!

Suicide Demo For Kara Walker (Demo)

(esp. 5:08-on, in my head all day in its full orchestral glory)
Monday, December 06, 2010


"[H]is work ethic has always been impressive, and the aspirational side of him is specific, and fierce, even within hip-hop, a genre that isn’t shy about equating success with money. 'Kon the Louis Vuitton Don,' one of West’s early mix tapes, was part of a transformation from the man who provided Jay-Z and Mos Def with beats to the one who wanted to out-rap his clients. The shift has been partly successful."

(qv. discussions of the "service economy of art" with Neaera)

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