Saturday, February 15, 2014

David Hockney, Saw at Howard and Catherine's, Los Angeles, 21st October 1994, 1994

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Just received: Bruce Hainley's Under the Sign of [SIC]: Sturtevant's Volte-Face (Semiotexte, 2013).  The first full length critical study of one of the most radical artists I know.  Sturtevant's brave late 60s work made me feel less alone the first few times I drove out location-hunting, and her reception history made me less puzzled and disappointed when some folks initially failed to grasp what I was up to.  Along with yesterday's Image & Narrative essay, it's a good week for explication.

Hainley:  "[Claes Oldenburg's] The Store was never just a single thing, rather, in many ways, two or more.  Discerning such multiplicity was all the permission Sturtevant needed to activate repetition for difference.  Returning to the Lower East Side, she doesn't stress on the significance of  'no significance,' but, instead, she opens a critical site at which to consider, materially, significantly, what comes to matter and why -- and how it all depends upon using visible goods as a front to push invisible concepts."


"With an obnoxious hodgepodge of typefaces and font sizes as well as impacted blocking, the brash red and black of the Babel of the announcement card for [Sturtevant's] The Store of Claes Oldenburg looks like the design of a disgruntled Constructivist on a grappa bender.  Whatever it announced -- action or emporium -- wasn't corporate or accomplished 'in cooperation with' gallery backing; not sitting on its ass, it opened downtown, unsanctioned, under the sign of Sturtevant."

"Dear Christopher,
You've got a trip coming up! We just wanted to send you a reminder about your Los Angeles/Los Angeles International Airport car rental reservation with Hertz!"

Remembered at the last minute to rent a car big enough to accept an 8' folding ladder, a stack of 2 x 4s, some custom 20" x 30" paper honeycomb panels....
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool." (L. Bangs)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
You, Sir, Are a Mouthful

"In 'visual autofiction' impersonation will remain an important stratagem, albeit no longer exclusively related to institutional critique. 'Impersonation' transforms the artist in an amateur practitioner of different aesthetic means of expression (from silhouette-cutting to stripping) - not as mere role-playing, but as a manner of situating the artistic self by means of a fictional expansion of his/her operative field. The use of impersonation in autofiction has a double objective: on the one hand, it exposes the impossible liaison of artistic agency and critique (rather than establishing it, as conceptual photography desired); on the other hand, it seeks the productive endorsement of the same impossibility. 'Visual autofiction' thus offers what can be described as a participatory critique through role-playing (i.e. the photographic works of Cindy Sherman or Tracey Moffatt)."

(My emphasis.  This exhaustively detailed essay comes as close to summarizing the basis for my "turn to the visual" as anything I have ever found, though the profoundly clunky & tone-deaf phrase "visual autofiction" will never pass my lips.)
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
"At a high level of abstraction I have been uncoding organic structure, carrying shit no one else has ever heard of forward in time."  (@ken_belford)
Monday, February 10, 2014
I'm (Not) Gary

The Llano Del Rio piece is a large framed panoramic color landscape shot with my homebrew Street View rig, accompanied by three smaller tasteful black and white location photographs, a wall-mounted didactic panel, and two pages of framed & typeset script from an unrealized multichannel video projection.  Its juxtaposition of the mechanics of representation with a quintessential failed early modern utopia should be pretty obvious. 

I suppose this work is a reading, or more accurately a deliberately willful misreading, of  William Wood's great essay "Secret Work" (Vancouver Art Gallery, 1999). WW & I have not agreed about much, ever.  But "Secret Work" first hipped me to conceptual art's legacy of creative imposture, for which I was & still am thankful.    

Moving day.  Cats hate moving.
Sunday, February 09, 2014


Technically copyright-infringing "research," courtesy a custom-built image scraping tool written in Python.  All those computer-science books in the side office turn out to have their uses! Depicted: one small piece of #1, Hockney's full size study for the final work.  I wanted to examine all of #2 before heading out on location again, but neither work is currently on display at the Getty & sneaky technological solutionism seems more in keeping with the spirit of this increasingly quixhotic project.

It's becoming clearer to me that the end result of all of this is probably going to be three composite photographs made in the Antelope Valley:

1.  Joshua, a small cut-and-pasted study of a Joshua tree (seen at right in #1, above) made to familiarize myself with the process of hand-assembling a photocollage;

2.  Pearblossom, a digitally assembled composite photograph of the new highway sign dead center in the field of view of Hockney's #2, and;

3.  Antelope Valley, a large collage of cut-and-pasted machine-printed photographs on paper honeycomb panel, which replicates the general appearance of #2, but uses diverse locations drawn from the vicinity of Hockney's own work (Lancaster / Palmdale / Lake Los Angeles).

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