Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I Learned From This Thoughtful 52-Word Assessment of Brad Phillips' New Exhibition @ CSA Space

1. We should work harder to address our visitors' diverse interests.

2.  No matter how straight forwardly an artist presents content, some viewers will persist in trivializing or ironizing it, thereby exempting themselves from having to think seriously about it.

3. "That's not writing, it's typing."  (Capote on Kerouac)

Image credit: Brad Phillips, Goodbye Vancouver, 2013
Amazon Missed On All 5 Key Metrics: Business Model In Jeopardy While Analysts And Investors Are Pleased

"Analysts are dead wrong to point to gross margin increases as a sign of a healthy business model, as that metric is a false indicator of potential with Amazon. Amazon is simply transferring costs below the line so that while gross margin goes up, net margin will continue to drop (case in point: in the 4th quarter net margin was cut in half as gross margin improved 330 basis points)." 

Also, echoing my own conclusions:

"The Amazon business model, while good at delivering outsized growth, is wrought with profit peril. It draws massive pricing competition in its core markets and when coupled with its move to consignment distribution through FBA, unit growth has far outpaced revenue and delivered significant ASP erosion. These factors have driven the cost of fulfillment up dramatically, and in spite of improving gross margins, had led to net income dropping substantially. Trends show that these economic impacts on the income statement cannot be overcome anytime soon, and attainability of lofty profits as forecasted by analysts is in jeopardy. Anything Amazon does to alter the business model (end Prime, separate Instant Video into a paying subscription, raise shipping costs, sell Hardware at a profit, end discounting, etc...) will lead to reduced growth, so there is no easy answer for management. In spite of the obvious risks, investors have resoundingly approved the business model evidenced by the current bubble level valuation. Due to that, I believe Amazon will continue its business practices to feed that monster, setting up a very interesting short opportunity for 2013."

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): The King (& all that crazy machinery)
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tonight's soundtrack

Relevant to my interests.
Monday, January 28, 2013
"When you get older, your mind slows down and you don’t have a lot of energy, and you’ve used up a lot of your ideas.  You’ve really got to work to do it. It’s exhausting. You think sitting in a room and thinking things would be easy, but it’s not."
Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Rennie added that the world is far more competitive since he left high school and sold homes belonging to his friends’ parents. He stated that his company wouldn’t hire a high-school dropout today. The most important lesson of all, he declared, is 'learning to avoid assholes.'"
Friday, January 25, 2013

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Paul Flandrin, View of the Villa Torlonia, Frascati, at Dusk, c. 1834-8

The beautiful sky, all full of complicated brushwork catching the last light. The moon.

Italy by way of the San Gabriel Valley.

Lower left hand corner anticipating Cezanne, and of considerable interest to anyone planning a career in the depictive arts.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Via the NYT: A Doll's Magic, Free to Renew

"The children hugged and said goodbye to the little well-worn pioneer and put her in a box bound for Wisconsin. Ms. Taube told the girls they would celebrate together when the doll returned in several weeks.

Ms. Taube said Kirsten exemplified the library as a community center that offered diverse services and lending materials.

'I tell the kids that the library belongs to them,' she said. 'And I think that any child who could not afford that doll will remember the time they were able to borrow it from the library.'"

This story moved admittedly old hyper-overworked & sentimental me, both for its egalitarian spirit and because of my inkling, midway through reading, that Kirsten's is a job that my pal Rose T. Cat would very much like to apply for, once there are no more Brayshaws or Helpses or Croquets or Bordas around to care for her.
Monday, January 21, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013
LQ @ Vertical

Mise en Bouche: Lamb Heart Tartare, Razor Clam Congee, Sea Snail Karaage Roll

First Course: Carlsbad Oyster, Smoked Dashi Gelee, American Paddle Fish Roe, Wasabi Darphin

Second Course: Fresh Anchovies, Chorizo Hushpuppies, Roasted Wheat Crumbs, Poached Yolk, Burnt Serrano Ham, Celtuce

Third Course: Chinese Lion Peppers, Duck Leg Confit, Duck Gizzards, Duck Tongues, Duck Hearts, -8, Apricot Seed Dust

Fourth Course: Trotters and Tails Pot Pie, Truffles, Chanterelles, Salsify


Dessert: Bay Leaves 'n Cloves Ice Cream, Pears, Roquefort Cheese, Green Lentil Jam
Right Here Waiting (via L.)

"'I’ve been getting emails from some guy who says he’s Richard Marx,' I said. 'I think it’s an impostor. The only thing that makes me think it might really be Richard Marx is that it’s from an AOL account.'"

Looking south on 165th Street to California 138.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cover version - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"In previous generations, some artists made very successful careers out of presenting revivals or reworkings of once popular tunes, even out of doing contemporary cover versions of current hits. Musicians now play what they call 'cover versions' (e.g. the reworking, updating or interpretation) of songs as a tribute to the original performer or group. Using familiar material (e.g. evergreen hits, standard tunes or classic recordings) is an important method in learning various styles of music. Most albums, or long playing records, up until the mid-1960s usually contained a large number of evergreens or standards to present a fuller range of the artist's abilities and style."
"We've also long recognized, as our Founders recognized [sic], that with rights come responsibilities.  Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same.  We don’t live in isolation.  We live in a society, a government of, and by, and for the people.  We are responsible for each other.
The right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  The right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied shoppers in Clackamas, Oregon, and moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado.  That most fundamental set of rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- fundamental rights that were denied to college students at Virginia Tech, and high school students at Columbine, and elementary school students in Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago on too frequent a basis to tolerate, and all the families who’ve never imagined that they’d lose a loved one to a bullet -- those rights are at stake.  We’re responsible."

Pablo Picasso, Women of Algiers, 1954
Pearblossom Rules

1.  Site

2.  "Joined" physical prints mounted to a surface, not digital collage

3. Big; approx 6' x 10'

4.  Smaller maquette first

5.  Maintenance of each print's physical integrity.  Prints can be overlapped but not cut into.

Someone in the audience offers the unsolicited opinion that this is an odd and unproductive way to spend my time.  To which I can only reply, I wish I had a choice.  In my ideal world I would be making graphic-design "linguistic conceptual art" art a la Lawrence Weiner, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and the early Rodney Graham, but judged my early experiments in that direction failures and stopped.  The current program likely seems inexplicable from the outside, but jibes with my own sensibilities.
Monday, January 14, 2013

"Barbara asked us to do an album with her, I called Neil Diamond because I was very nervous with working with her. Neil told me not to worry, she's a true professional and everything would work out just great - go for it. I did - We did but she didn't send me no flowers."

Mildly Pathological

"Some works stretched the exhibition’s theme too far. Johnson’s deadpan online database of images pulled from Craigslist, for example, spoke more to the digital image’s role in economic exchanges. Similarly, Christopher Brayshaw’s War Game Tree (2012), a photograph of the same site where Wall took his famous work War Game (2007), was intriguing for the research and the mildly pathological gesture of mimicry underpinning it, but didn’t jive with the show’s magic-lantern flavour. Given that one of the most exciting qualities of this exhibition was its focus on Canadian artists who seemed unconcerned with the hyper-referential ethos of photo-conceptualism, I couldn’t sympathize with the impulse to pull Wall, the arch-grandmaster of that tradition, back into the fold."
Sunday, January 13, 2013

YVR from the ISS, @Cmdr_Hadfield behind the lens.  My favorite Twitter stream right now; what would have been science fiction in the 70s, 80s and 90s unfolding in close to real time in the browser window.  Koma Kulshan at lower left, your correspondent somewhere at mid upper right, close (but not close enough!) to those recently snowcapped peaks.
Saturday, January 12, 2013

Metropolitan (74), 2013

Homage to the great Anthony Hernandez.  Probably the cover of the inevitable publication.

(nb. ghost)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Nothing could change you
Set and sure of the way
Sunday, January 06, 2013
"With each new stage of copy culture, the ease of duplication is countered by the increasingly complex technology required to produce and use the copies it creates..."
"Thinking like an attacker is a skill rightly valued among defenders. It helps expose vulnerabilities and brings poor assumptions to light. We suggest that thinking like an attacker does not end when a hole is found, but must continue (as an attacker would continue) in determining how the hole can be monetized. Attacking as a business must identify targets, and this is easy only if we believe that attackers have solved a problem that has vexed multiple communities for decades."

David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April 1986 #1

David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April 1986, #2

3.0 coming in February.

"Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. And while the late steamer Big Missouri worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material; boys happened along every little while; they came to jeer, but remained to whitewash. By the time Ben was fagged out, Tom had traded the next chance to Billy Fisher for a kite, in good repair; and when he played out, Johnny Miller bought in for a dead rat and a string to swing it with – and so on, and so on, hour after hour.

And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. He had besides the things before mentioned, twelve marbles,part of a jews-harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn’t unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar – but no dog – the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated old window sash. He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while – plenty of company – and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn’t run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.

Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it – namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign."
Saturday, January 05, 2013
The Last Word is Beauty -- great Dave Hickey profile via my pal PMCR

"The sudden unexpected harmony of the body, mind and world becomes the occasion for both consolation and anxiety. In that moment, we are at home with ourselves in the incarnate world but no longer in tune with the mass of people who do not respond as we do. We seek out, as a necessity, the constituency of people who do respond, if such a constituency exists."
Friday, January 04, 2013

Metropolitan (73), 2013

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