Thursday, May 27, 2010

Give it up for Royce Jones!

(& for these early demos of Brooklyn & Barrytown)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today's soundtrack: Jerry Butler, Lost. Gamble & Huff production, natch!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Excerpt from an exhibition proposal:

"My pictures are drawn from my own experience of the world, and are probably best described as a kind of vernacular realism, which I understand as a methodology that doesn't discriminate between subjects on the basis of their place in a preexisting social hierarchy. Democratic attention to the phenomenal world is the goal of any truly critical representational practice. 'No ideas but in things.' (W.C. Williams). I like the work of Atget, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Stephen Shore, and, closer to home, Jeff Wall, particularly his idiosyncratic post-1990 'straight' landscapes and still lives. Also the work of filmmakers Michael Haneke and Pedro Costa, and cinematographer Conrad Hall, who shot John Huston's beautiful Fat City."
Monday, May 24, 2010
A Closed Door That Leaves Us Guessing

"The first photograph shown to the world in newspapers was of the corpses of the Paris Commune, it showed the bodies of the Communards. So, you begin to see that in the first film ever shown we see people leaving a prison, and the first photo published in a newspaper showed dead people who tried to change the world. When we speak of cinema starting from there – or of photography, documentary, or fiction – we're speaking of its very realist basis. It's sort of a basic historical given that the first film and the first photograph are somewhat terrible things. They're not love stories, they're anxieties. Somebody took a machine in order to reflect, to think and to question. For me, there is in this gesture, this desire – be it the gesture to make a film or a photograph, or today to make a video – there is in this gesture something very strong, something which says to you: ‘Don't forget.’"
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lower Spring Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park. Those beige sandstone walls are 300m. high! No trail to speak of; 9 miles of climbing over boulders, slogging through soft sand, dodging in and out of slots where the canyon narrows to 6m wide & etc. Plus occasional pot holes full of stagnant water, decaying leaves, larvae and sludge, and an unbridged river crossing right at the end of the day. Very quiet down on the canyon floor. We saw four other parties in the first hour of our trip and then no one for the next eight hours save for a four foot long black and yellow kingsnake who came winding out over the sand, drawn by our footfalls.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Useful relationship advice from Jerry, D., CJB & Sam
"These products are not cheap imitations, they are genuine replicas of the real products."
Thursday, May 13, 2010

New artist's site up at, soon to include all the photographs that made it through the filter.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Saul Leiter, Shopper, 1953

I recently bought a second hand Steidl monograph, Saul Leiter: Early Color, in Las Vegas. Leiter's commercial photographs, shot for Vogue, etc., aren't too interesting, but much of his color work from the early 1950s looks totally up-to-date, with its off-kilter framing and proto-cellphone-photograph smears, blurs, and tessellations. Echoes of Leiter's highly activated surfaces can be found in the granular, "swarming" quality of Stephen Waddell's overenlarged 35mm negatives, and in recent cellphone pictures like Jeff Wall's Passenger (2009).

Rim Pine, Bryce Canyon National Park, 2010
Sunday, May 09, 2010

Blue twilight, Yosemite Valley floor.

Deal Me In and Do Your Preaching

I heard them whispering

I saw their eyes, their chests
Their secret smiles
Dance a wild new tango
Overrun the great placenta
And who received the first "Bang, bang?"
It was the whole God damned gang
What could the price for freedom be?

The old regime is falling
The ball and chain is gone, you see
No winning team
Is calling for volunteers
Don't hesitate. . . .

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Caleb Larsen, A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter, 2009

"[The] sculpture exists in eternal transactional flux. It is a physical sculpture that is perpetually attempting to auction itself on eBay.

Every ten minutes the black box pings a server on the internet via the ethernet connection to check if it is for sale on eBay. If its auction has ended or it has sold, it automatically creates a new auction of itself.

If a person buys it on eBay, the current owner is required to send it to the new owner. The new owner must then plug it into ethernet, and the cycle repeats itself."

From the (lengthy; essential) eBay contact/FAQ:

"Q: If I were to buy this, how long could I expect to own it before it sells itself again?

A: [H]ard to say. Like any commodity [the sculpture] is subject to demand. It could be moments or years. The perpetual state of uncertainty and the instability of ownership are primary components of the work."
Friday, May 07, 2010
Insert in My Obituary, Please

Charles T. Munger: "A very flawed person can do well if he seeks out dumb competition."

(Much more complete transcript here for the curious)

Dan Siney interview. A Vancouver photographer I've never met, but feel awfully close to (q.v. Stump Skulls #1,2,3 (under the cut) and Man Waiting For Fireworks (above)).
Thursday, May 06, 2010

Yosemite Falls from the valley floor. Every now and then chunks of rime would peel off the cliff and come down with a gigantic crash clearly audible above the roar of the water. Undepicted: the so-called photographer beside me with the safari vest, fanny pack, huge barrel lens and constant barrage of complaints about the snow, the low light, and the clouds.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Flâneur, 2010
Today's reading: The Story of the CDO Market Meltdown: An Empirical Analysis, by 24 year-old Harvard student Anna Katherine Barnett-Hart

(and an even more complete BH 2010 question-and-answer transcript)

Margin of a Freeway, 2010

US 99 near Tulare CA. I spent an hour here while my clothes visited the local laundromat. Flat light. Warm white sky, with only a smeary trace of blue. I like these guys a lot; they remind me of the overcrowded passengers in Bill Reid's great Jade Canoe.

Surveillance Tower and Palm Tree, Livingston, CA, 2010

(Thanks to the undepicted CHP officer who kindly reversed his cruiser out of the frame)
Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Fruita Campground, Capitol Reef National Park, 2010

Electron Boy Saves Seattle!

"Electron Boy seemed a little dazed by his powers. Out on Qwest Field, the Sounders gave Erik a hero's congratulations, posed for pictures and gave him a jersey and autographed ball.

Everyone was startled when, overhead, the Jumbotron crackled to life.

'Electron Boy, I am Dr. Dark and this is Blackout Boy,' sneered an evil voice, as the villain — Edgar Hansen, and his sidekick Jake Anderson, both of Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch — taunted the young superhero. 'We are here to take over Seattle and make it dark!'"

(via dru)
Monday, May 03, 2010

Self Portrait in a Mirror, 2010

Fragmentary Roof Ornament With Medusa. Etruscan, 550-500 B.C. Collection J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA, 2010
Just reprinted by University of Chicago Press: Thierry de Duve's excellent Clement Greenberg: Between The Lines. I found my copy at City Lights in San Francisco, but there should be copies on PFB's shelves pretty soon.

Jeff Wall, A Sapling Held By a Post, 2000
Collection CJB

"Munger is taking a whack at the same question. He doesn't repeat himself as much. He says he became comfortable making such judgments after he realized he could survive hardship. Then he pauses, and says to the questioner: 'Maybe you should get your feet wet with a little more failure.'"
Saturday, May 01, 2010
San Francisco. Creak and groan of this old hotel.

The elevator passes the third floor's sliding glass-and-black-wrought-iron door, descending.

Today: Luc Tuymans @ SF MOMA. Then the long drive home.

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