Sunday, February 24, 2013
"She wasn’t copying the works—at root, a photographic process—but instead repeating them, mastering the actual techniques involved in their creation in order to make works that would look and feel as close as possible to the real thing. 'She adopted style as her medium,' is how MoMA PS1 curator Peter Eleey explained it to us when we called him. 'At least early on, most of her work looks like other people’s work, which makes it very challenging to describe and discuss.'"
Huge Tree Pastry, Monterey Park -- closed 'til March 1st, but the rental car and I will be on the doorstep first thing on Friday morning, guaranteed.


Five days in my favorite city to walk, drive, hike, eat, and to make pictures of a mixed-use building in a working-class neighborhood, a little tree in a public park, a South Pasadena hedge, a desert crossroads, and some smallish black-and-white pictures of not very much at all.

"When Sturtevant presented her repetitions – including Warhol’s flowers – in her first solo show at the Bianchini Gallery in New York in 1965, she was met with incomprehension, reproach and indignation. Her works were understood superficially as copies. However, in repeating works, Sturtevant wanted to open up the space behind them, to initiate a critical discussion about the surface, the product, the copyright and the autonomy and the silent power of art. Warhol himself, who blithely left behind the debates about the original and reproduction and rendered the principle of uniqueness obsolete, made an original screen available to her for her flower series. With her works she also anticipated Gilles Deleuze’s ideas about difference and repetition in his 1968 book of the same name. In addition to numerous Warhol flowers, Sturtevant also produced other works after Warhol and after Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys and James Rosenquist, whose surnames she refers to in the titles of her works – along with the title of the original – hence alluding to the iconic nature of a name, behind which a work can even disappear. In 1974, the criticism of her approach became so intensive Sturtevant decided not to create any more art until, she said, the retards caught-up. This happened in the 1980s with the emergence of the generation of appropriation artists, including, for example, Sherrie Levine, Louise Lawler and Richard Prince. In the mid-1990s, Sturtevant shifted her focus to younger contemporaries like Keith Haring, Félix González-Torres and Robert Gober, but with the same instinct for works that would instantly become icons of art history."

Sturtevant's method isn't mine -- not exactly -- but without her brave, rigorous example I don't think I ever would have picked up a camera.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Store as Cunt, by Bruce Hainley.  Free typo-ridden version of an extraordinary, longish, Art Journal essay on Sturtevant, first paragraph apparently MIA.

"Three weeks later, on Sunday, May 14, 1967, a more standardized (or authorized) bulletin ran in 'What's New in Art':

STURTEVANT- 623 East 9th Street. The Store of Claes Oldenburg by Sturtevant. To June 11

However many questions remain unanswered, certain matters are clarified: there's a new closing date, and an artist's name now accredits the enterprise, twice over, as if to notarize in duplicate who was doing what to whom again.

Something related to Oldenburg and his work changed the dynamics of the response to Sturtevant and hers, despite the fact that The Store of Claes Oldenburg by Sturtevant never was The Store by Claes Oldenburg. When asked about Oldenburg in the late 1980s, Sturtevant confirmed, without mentioning her performance in Washes or any other interaction the artists may have had, that 'he was one of my big supporters both intuitively and intellectually until I recreated his store [sic] and he just went bananas.'" His wasn't the only volte-face, as the artist noted. 'People thought I was joshing, or saying that anyone could do it. Of course that was not my intention.'"
Friday, February 22, 2013

The character Barney, from Thomas Harris' novel Hannibal, 1999, whose goal is to see every Vermeer painting in the world before he dies.

Barney brings [a] pigeon into his home. Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. The Holy Spirit is sometimes represented in art by a dove. This injured or dead pigeon is a metaphor....

Go Play in LA

"Number of Playgrounds: 116 and Counting."  As those internet cats say, This is Relevant to My Interests, though visiting all 116 in 5 days seems like a bit of a stretch.  Fortunately, with the help of my old pals Street View and Flickr, I might not now have to.

Image: not quite, but close.
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh the leaves how they shimmer
Trees lift their skirts and they quiver
Gently they lay down
To the dirt and dust and ground

They lose their innocence to find it all over
Ain't nothing missing, they're just high on a feeling
All they need is believing, no reason will do

I'm hanging on like the last leaves of autumn
But I'm coming through like the first shoots of spring
I'm standing outside of space and time
And I'm healing

I'm ready for a first time feeling
Something I can believe in
I'm ready for a first time feeling
Awaken sleeping season


If ever that morning came again I'd take it
If ever that morning came again I'd be there
I have tried to live each day as a last
I have found life is long and I've gone and got a past
And it's best to stand in the shelter of my love
I'm hanging on like the last leaves of autumn
But one ray of sun and I bleed into one
I would light up the sky in one burning mist of flame
I could light up the sky in one blinding mist of flame...

I'm ready for a first time feeling
Something I could believe in
I'm ready for a first time feeling
Awaken sleeping season

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
DF Plays w/ Young Guns in Fort Worth

"Always hard to describe music … easy to make comparisons. Early in the show there were certainly some similarities to the more bluegrass-ish moments of The Grateful Dead’s long strange trip — falsetto vocals, sweet mandolin. But the band is more multifaceted than that, emulating the rhythm of a train on the tracks at one point and then building into a bit of a reggae beat, showing signs of country and rock. At one point in the show, I was reminded of Denton’s Midlake [!!!], but with only about one third as many musicians.

All the while Fagen was weaving in and out with his cool, jazzy, Deacon-bluesy keyboard stylings adding yet another flavor. Improvisational. At times funky. It worked ever so nicely. One can only think the Oh Whitney-plus-one chemistry onstage will lead to great things in the studio."
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
"The guy's pretty wasted and he comes sloshing up to John and Michael, drink in hand, belligerent, and says, reaching for menace, 'Hey, aren't you the guys that did away with the object?'"  (David Salle, quoted in John Baldessari: Pure Beauty)
Saturday, February 16, 2013
It's just that every moment casts a shadow / A sadness...

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Jens Lekman's sublime, deeply melancholy Some Dandruff on Your Shoulder.

(Let link finish loading and song will play)
The Future of Photography is Now

"With a constant feed of all that she might see, the photographer is freed from instant reaction to the Decisive Moment, and then only faced with the Decisive Area to be in, and perhaps the Decisive Angle. Evolve this further into a networked grid of such cameras, and the photographer is freed from those decisions as well, and is then merely a curator of reality after the fact."


Postscript to yesterday's events, the logical consequence of showing junior-high science class videos to a little stuffed cat with a big personality.

"Su44eNd3r, eA4thLiNgs!  !!!ROSE!!! tZaRiNa."
Friday, February 15, 2013

Winter's over. Day 1 of direct sunlight through the front window (all 45 seconds of it), falling lightly on my tired old face.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wide on the CABIN as a gnarled hand, larger than the house and on an arm a hundred feet long, shoots up from the crust of the earth.
Sunday, February 10, 2013

"'I have no delusions about my likability, in every scenario,' he told me earlier. 'I know that in order to get things done the way you want them, oftentimes your position will be unpopular.'"

TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) [Original 12" Version] - MFSB featuring The Three Degrees (1974)


MFSB - The Sound of Philadelphia TSOP (Pied Piper 2012 Remix)

Recent reading:

Craig Johnson, The Cold Dish

Jan Zwicky, Plato as Artist

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

William Poundstone, Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street

Taleb's book is virtually unreadable, full of insights marred by the author's snobbery, classism, and grotesquely mangled English.  Taleb has all of V.S. Naipaul's charm and none of his style.  Still, just as even a stopped clock is right twice a day, Taleb is deeply, profoundly right in passing, for example, in his essay "Philostratus in Monte Carlo: On the Difference Between Noise and Information" (pp. 64-69), and most of all in that essay's helpful Table 3.1, "Probability of Success at Different Scales."  I reread this essay five times last night between 1:30am and 3:30am and plan to photocopy it before dropping Fooled by Randomness back into New Arrivals at work.

Fortune's Formula is impeccably paced and well-written, and, despite the somewhat corny title, is probably the most useful investing/risk management book I've read since Graham and Dodd's Security Analysis.  Highly recommended for its ostensibly artless style, its humor, its synthesis of diverse fields (Mob bookmaking; horse racing; no-limit Texas Hold'em; blackjack; probability theory & etc.), and its immediate applicability to most aspects of my daily life.
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Perennial Anodyne Inc. favorite Glacier Media, the largest holding in my real-world portfolio, gets the thumbs-up from the G&M:

"The idea of buying a small illiquid stock in the face of such a huge collapse and prolonged period of weakness might be unfathomable to some. But the value seems right."

The G&M analysis is good, but fails to differentiate between paid-circulation newspapers, which are in critical, if not terminal decline, and free community newspapers, which are a totally distinct business model. The G&M's analysis also understates Glacier's current profitability.  Glacier recently purchased a pile of community newspapers from CanWest, which had run them, as with every media property in the CanWest empire, into the ground by cutting content to the bone and neglecting necessary capex in favor of funneling every spare dollar off to Canwest HQ.  Glacier's management, capable of longer-term and more rational thinking than Canwest's, has chosen to spend a few years building the papers back up, in order to enhance their value over the medium- to long term.  What is remarkable is that Glacier has been able to do so while instituting and increasing a sustainable dividend which currently yields 4.6%.

Glacier is the best-looking value stock I've recently run across, and my money, in this case, is firmly where my mouth is.
Waste My Time, Please

PHONE CALL:  Hi, do you carry books at your bookstore?
Friday, February 08, 2013

Rephotography -- from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Rephotography has also been a useful visual method for researchers in sociology and communication to understand social change. Three main approaches are common -- photographs of places, participants, or activities, functions, or processes -- with scholars examining elements of continuity. This method is advantageous to studying social change due to the capacity of cameras to record scenes with greater completeness and speed, to document detailed complexities at a single time, and to capture images in an unobtrusive manner. Repeating photographs offer 'subtle cues about the changing character of social life.'"
"Material reenactments of the way the work of art history is always doubled in and structured by language, and of the ways the art itself resists."

Here's our man in the lunch line at the vegetarian burrito place around the corner.

GIRL IN LINE: ...then he moved to New York City.  He works for a hedge fund.

OTHER GIRL:  What's that?

GIL [hedging]:  They, uh -- finance companies.

OG:  Huh.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Carol Lynn's teeth

Neil Wedman, Newspaper #1, pencil and ink wash on paper, 2011

The Newspapers are pretty great on their own, but are also accompanied by what look to me to be charcoal-on-wove-paper drawings of flying saucers, Seurat by way of Amazing Stories.
Thursday, February 07, 2013

"You can easily visit this spot on your own in Streetview and walk up and down the street and do 360s and take in the view in all directions. It makes you wonder if Frank were shooting The Americans today, would he even bother documenting Butte? Would a list of Google Streetview coordinates serve the same purpose?

[. . . .]

You can look up the [. . .] address in Streetview but all you'll find is raw information. The photo won't tell a story. It won't stand on its own. Without a lot of curation and editing Streetview is just Streetview. Another day, another town in the life of a nontraveling nonphotographer."

After visiting Corporate Thrift Store (rear) this afternoon in search of a new pair of used pants I left my car in their parking lot, crossed to the produce store (center) for an apple, then, munching contentedly in the bright late winter light, continued on around the corner and up the block to revisit this site.

Both trees are now gone, a new sidewalk and curb in their place.  I'm glad I photographed them when I did.  This picture is still one of my favorites.

(Image: Christopher Brayshaw, After Men Waiting, 2006, 2007)

"In the 1960s and 1970s, the artist Ed Ruscha created a series of small photo-conceptual [sic] artist’s books, among them Twentysix Gas Stations, Various Small Fires, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Real Estate Opportunities, and A Few Palm Trees. Featuring mundane subjects photographed prosaically, with idiosyncratically deadpan titles, these 'small books' were sought after, collected, and loved by Ruscha’s fans and fellow artists.

Over the past thirty years, close to 100 other small books that appropriated or paid homage to Ruscha’s have appeared throughout the world. This book collects ninety-one of these projects, showcasing the cover and sample layouts from each along with a description of the work. It also includes selections from Ruscha’s books and an appendix listing all known Ruscha book tributes. These small books revisit, imitate, honor, and parody Ruscha in form, content, and title. Some rephotograph his subjects: Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Forty Years Later. Some offer a humorous variation: Various Unbaked Cookies (which concludes, as did Ruscha’s Various Small Fires, with a glass of milk), Twentynine Palms (twenty-nine photographs of palm-readers’ signs). Some say something different: None of the Buildings on Sunset Strip. Some reach for a connection with Ruscha himself: 17 Parked Cars in Various Parking Lots Along Pacific Coast Highway Between My House and Ed Ruscha’s.

With his books, Ruscha expanded the artist’s field of permissible subjects, approaches, and methods. With Various Small Books, various artists pay tribute to Ed Ruscha and extend the legacy of his books."

"Paying tribute" isn't often an aesthetically successful methodology, but the word "legacy" strikes a chord with me.  I want to own this book, though I don't think that most of the works in it will or have been made out of motives similar to mine.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Alec Soth, Frank's View, from the sequence Broken Manual.
The man with the drawn face sprawled on the courtesy seats with 24 Hours open on his lap is telling no one in particular about his drug conviction(s).

-It's a crooked world.  A fucking crooked world.  Twenty-four years in the penitentiary it took me to figure that out.

-Twenty-four years.  My life.
A cleaning vehicle drew a line across my camera's lens
Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Metropolitan (75), 2013

Monday, February 04, 2013
Michael Turner, dropping science:

"Do we miss books sections?

What I miss most about books sections is what I also miss about being a teenager and walking into Duthie Books at Robson and Hornby -- the circular staircase that led downstairs to its Poetry section, where handmade (and often well-made) books lay on a table surrounded by those made in factories, their spines out. Seems every Saturday there was something new in this section, or something to look at again, like Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology (1915) or Diane Wakoski's The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems (1968), books I had to look at twice before buying.

But then the day came when the section stopped changing, replenishing itself with new books. Sure there were books that had not been there the week before, but they only looked like different versions of books that had been there the week before that, and I did not feel the need to look at them again. Of course by then I was getting that kick at Granville Book Company, who could support their varied Poetry section through the sale of computer books, until those books became available online, not as books but as information, a situation that led them, like Duthie's, to close."

The next exhibition is probably going to be called Trouble in Paradise.  Two big "location pictures," Pearblossom and Haddonfield, one in color and one in black and white, plus some smaller colored architectural photographs made on Beverly Boulevard and Foothill Boulevard, plus some very small foliage studies in both color and black and white made at the margins of the city.

Reading, in preparation: Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: the Architecture of Four Ecologies, and David Hockney, A Retrospective (LACMA, 1988).

Thanks to Helpsy, w/ love.

(Image: David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967)

(Update for all those wiseasses who thought "Beverly Boulevard" was a lay-up: the Beverly Boulevard picture is not a "location picture" and not of a former theatre and current synagogue.  It's of a nondescript north-facing mixed-use commercial and residential building on the corner of Beverly and New Hampshire which I first saw in 2008 or 2009 and have been trying to photograph ever since)
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Someone asks why I don't write that much here any more, "instead of just cut-and pasting."  Exhaustion, mostly.  80 hour weeks will do that.  But the plan was never a curated selection of Serious Texts.  I wanted something like collage, images and overlapping voices, mine among others', fine art and recipes and mountains and pictures of my cat and various friends and loved ones all jumbled up together.  Bakhtinian polyphony!

Also, like my friend JT, I've intuited, lately, that spending time writing about in-process projects takes time away from completing them. The lack of recent non-Street View pictures here doesn't mean they're not being made, just that, these days, I'm more interested in presenting finished, or mostly finished work, as opposed to blogging about the production process.

"Still to come, bide your time." (Warren Tallman)
Bookmark in used copy of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food: Good Vibrations warranty card ("Congratulations on Your Purchase!")

Girls Send a Hello Kitty Doll Into Almost-Space, Surely Igniting a Stuffed Animal Space Race

"Ever build a model rocket? Ever play with a Hello Kitty doll? This video is both of those things, simultaneously, and the fact that a group of seventh grade girls launched Hello Kitty most of the way up to the Kármán line (the boundary between Earth and the mysteries of the universe) should encourage you to do something science-y this Saturday, like going to the zoo or digging up a public park in the name of amateur paleontology."

Emailed to me this morning by L.; Kato and Rose likely working on their rocket right now.

I watched the amazing video with the sound off.  One of the best things the interwebs has recently served up, equal parts Prometheus and mad-science and The Mouse & His Child and that old 18th-century sublime.  Plus, one very brave little traveller in the face of a much, much larger world.
Friday, February 01, 2013

HI DADdy, itz me gREy Kitteh. MuMz siCk so I HeLP heR wiTH YARn tANggLINg aND sITTIng. THiS kEYboARD iS hArd. ShE iS SLEeP nOW. BeFoRE mUM SLeeP, shE seZ, oH, if oNLy mOAr KrunchYs foR GoOd KIttEhs. No moAr KrunchYs. KiTTeH sAd, buT tHEn Haz IDEA, asK DAD. So KIttEh asK DAD: y no moAr krunchYs? Y You No lOVe KIttEh? PlZ BrInG krunchYs. BETwEen KITteh and DAD. No woRRy muM - no tELL her. MAil sLOt ok. PLEaSE bRINg SooN. KIttEh dOn't No wHEn sHe WAke Up. Kthxbai.

Powered by Blogger

.post-title { display: none!important; }