Friday, January 15, 2016

Harney County

As part of a multiyear process to make a photograph after Kelly Reichart's Meek's Cutoff, I've been fortunate enough to spend 2+ weeks and counting in and around Burns, Oregon and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, currently under "occupation" by batshit rightwing "patriots."

My thoughts today are with the shopkeepers, motel owners, Refuge and BLM staff and residents who have welcomed me & helped with my work.


At Thomas Keller's Per Se, Slips and Stumbles

"[T]his grand, hermetic, self-regarding, ungenerous restaurant..."

(aka a hard-driving autodidact taking his foot off the gas without inculcating a culture that can survive his departure)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
“The art I admire is where all my criteria to judge my own work comes from.”

Robert Linsley, one of our best critics, thinking out loud:

"The crux of the Moby Dick series, and of all the greater and lesser works that have come since, is that Stella is a montage artist. His works are assemblages of self-contained parts and his art is to dissolve them into a new whole. Like many other practices with the same principle it is a matter of taste and judgment to what extent the differences between the elements remain and to what extent their links to each other grow stronger and more apparent. So it was when he started to make relief paintings, but the evolution of the work has been not only toward greater unity and wholeness, but toward the recognition that the old masters were all montage artists as well. Preliminary sketches, Iife drawings, landscape sketches, photographs, quotations from other works and sources outside art—those have been the given elements melted down to make large scale unified works, whether in Renaissance Italy or Baroque Spain or 19th. Century France. The great tradition of European painting is a tradition of assemblage and montage, but the modern period proposed a narrower concept of unity and organic wholeness. The central modern tradition, rooted most strongly in Cézanne, imagines the parts of a picture as growing out of each other, not as brought from outside and assembled together. The great modern pictorial metaphor, figured in the arabesques of Matisse, is the plant. One may object that it hardly matters how one gets to such an appearance, and that it takes a lot of work, a lot of fussing and fiddling, cutting and stitching, to turn Frankenstein’s monster into a fair simulacrum of a living body, but the history of modern painting does present us with a distinction between works that are more or less constructed and works which are more or less organically grown. As I said, Cézanne is the ancestral figure, and the visible corrections, changes and rethinkings in his pictures are not to draw attention to the artwork as a conscious construction but to show how the forms grew over time. At least that’s how it feels, perhaps because he never let geometry take over. The temporal aspect is up front, and that’s what Matisse took for his guide and inspiration. Later abstractionists radicalized this move—Pollock, Frankenthaler and Louis being the canonical figures. This work is so strongly temporal that no corrections are possible, only addition. The result has been a new source of energy and many great initiatives, accompanied by necessary limitations. Stella’s drive is to overcome limitations, and his own limits were the early works in which the organic unity of modernism had become concept as much as felt reality. They didn’t grow into their form, they were invented whole, not an untypical thing post Abstract Expressionism."
Monday, January 11, 2016


Above: a wall today at Crawmers Critterz Preschool in Bend, Oregon, which precisely nails the Warholesque side of Mr. Jones' persona.

Below: Mr. Newton and his adopted planet.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
"After all, we're cranky and idiosyncratic."
"Why would young people enter a studio art program to become teachers and translators, novelists, archivists, and small business owners? Clearly, it's because these activities have become so degraded and negligible within the culture that the only chance for them to appear is within contemporary art's coded yet infinitely malleable discourse."

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