Friday, September 29, 2006

wrongs, righted

My impetus for going to nyc (no more caps for this city that doesn't need it) this week was to see my friend Laura's show at McKenzie Fine Art. Regular readers may remember this image on the left as being one of two images that I posted in late August when I first wrote about Laura's show. I went to the gallery Tuesday and was having a look around at the work (they are awesome- and I wish I knew how to say something other than "these paintings make me want to eat them"), at the space (uncanny relationship b/t the bronze honeycomb floor and a couple of the paintings). Before leaving I asked the intimidating woman clicking at the desk if it would be ok if I took a few pictures of the show. (AND NOW I GET TO DO AS SO MANY OTHER BLOGGERS DO- I WILL NOW TRY MY BEST TO WRITE A FUNNY AND ENGAGING STRING OF EXCHANGES BETWEEN THE GALLERIST AND MYSELF- I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS AND HAVE HONESTLY BEEN FEELING VERY SELF CONSCIOUS ABOUT IT. BUT THEN, THE OTHER DAY I REALIZED THAT, WERE I TO DO THIS TYPE OF THING I WOULD HAVE TO CONSULT KIM ON EVERYTHING THAT WAS SAID AS I DON'T REMEMBER MOST THINGS THAT PEOPLE SAY TO ME. BUT KIM WASN'T THERE TUESDAY AND I LOVE A CHALLENGE. SO IT'S UP TO ME (AND MY LOUSY LOUSY MEMORY) TO TRY AND RELATE THIS STORY).

Me (Smiling and pointing at my digi): Uh, hi... I was wondering if it would be okay if I took a few pictures of the show?
Scary Gallerist (Sitting at her formidable desk, hand on mouse): You could just go to my website and take the images from there.
Me (Thinking- cool! she's the owner!): Well, I'm friends with Laura and just want to take a couple of pictures to show her that I made it to her show- you know, send them in an email and use them as proof of my attendance...?
Concerned Gallerist (Head raised, hand off mouse): Well, that would be fine but just make sure you orient the image correctly... (shoulders relax and shift to right, Concerned Gallerist loosens up a bit and continues in a lightly joking but serious way)...a friend of hers put the image from her show's announcement on his website upside down-- so just make sure you check my website and make sure that it's correct (Concerned Gallerist gives a look that says:"Everyone knows that when a postcard's image is vertical the left side of the image is up.")
Me (Ha! Shit! I thought I might have had it wrong! Ha!): ...Um that was me (smile)...I'm so sorry... I was afraid I may have done that... shit... sorry... oops... damn...damn...shit...sorry
Bewildered Gallerist (head tilted down in the universal sign of pity, resists shaking head but still conveys -with raised eyebrows, and relaxed face- "It's just kind of sad, isn't it?") Blink... Blink.
Well that was exhausting. The point here is that I promised the one who turned out to be the Serious and Friendly Gallerist that I would right my wrongs:

Pipeline Through the Park, 2006

If only she'd have let me take a picture of her wagging her finger at me. I asked.

Maybe she'll send me one.

Will you?

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I did it- 30 galleries in 6 hours. I started with a list of the 300 that Chelsea has to choose from, whittled my list down to 38, then to 26 and was so efficient with my time (sushi? no, trail mix!) that I had time to hit an extra four and still finish up just a little after 6.

Highlights with comments (in no particular order):

Laura Sharp Wilson at McKenzie Fine Art* Larger paintings than I expected were a nice surprise and I could look at some of these forever.

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot at Paula Cooper vacuum cleaners fitted with harmonicas- surprisingly beautiful installation and sounds that responded to the noise made by viewers

Rafael Lozano Hemmer at bitforms complex, uber-smarty-pants -critical-arts-ensemble motion-activated sculptures...whew. Click to watch video.

Nathan Lyons at Bruce Silverstein Yes Master...

Zhang Huan at Max Lang If you decide to pursue performance art, remember to document it incredibly well, have a great body and do all performances nekkid.

Taylor McKimens at Clementine His show (The Drips) is good and nasty dog poo, fat armpits, hairy legs havin Red Grooms meets up with R Crumb and has a competition to see who can best resemble the love child of Divine and Charles Bukowski.

Alessandra Sanguinetti at Yossi Milo Sobering images of flesh, life and death. Should be required viewing for all.

*Story and apology to follow in next couple of days.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I'm headed to NYC for a couple of days. Talk to you soon...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Here's What I've Been Up To. And You?

Robert Polidori

All artists, as best they can, make sense of a world that is often senseless. Mr. Polidori’s work, from Chernobyl to Havana — in sometimes dangerous, topsy-turvy, out-of-time places — generally bears witness to profound neglect. A photojournalist’s compulsion and problem is always to contrive beauty from misery, and it is only human to feel uneasy about admiring pictures like these from New Orleans, whose sumptuousness can be disorienting. But the works also express an archaeologist’s aspiration to document plain-spoken truth, and they are without most of the tricks of the trade that photographers exploit to turn victims into objects and pictures of pain into tributes to themselves.

From What's Wrong with This Picture?
September 22, 2006 NYtimes

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

No Place Like Home

Greg, a former student, collaborator, and friend of Kim and mine got married this past Saturday in Buckeystown, Maryland. As you can see it was an intimate ceremony (there were maybe 25 people there). Among my friends it's common knowledge that I'm not interested in marrying (and have had excellent luck finding women who feel the same -despite what my mom and sister think) but I love weddings. And I love them not just for the reception, but for the ceremony, the vows, the sincerity, and the time it affords me to think not only about commitment but the relationship b/t the marrying couple and those gathered to witness their union. This relationship was made explicit at this wedding- the pastor actually asked us to promise to be of assistance when (or if) there were rough times for the marry-ees. We all said we would.

It was also great to go to G's wedding b/c I love Maryland much more than I love Virginia.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Larry Sultan

Larry Sultan is lecturing at VCU tomorrow (Monday the 18th) at 2pm in the AFO building (rm. 518 I think).


Friday, September 15, 2006

For the Sake of Normalizing Relations:The Home Post

I've been feeling a little weird about you lately and it wasn't until last night that I started to realize why: When Annabelle died I suddenly had the urge to write- what was once the title of a fake magazine that I designed for a graphics class in '94 became a reality. It was a reality I saw as a sort of memorial to her, and I thought of it as a way to extend the time that I had with her, to spend some amount of my new found time- time that I may have spent walking or playing with her- writing to you. For quite a while writing was an anodyne- writing was fun and in a way I felt like I still was with the dog who'd been w/ me through the last of my teen years, my entire twenties, and one and a half years of my third decade.

And then my Nana died- and I feel like I stopped writing. Granted, I do still write but more often than not it's when I comment on others' blogs and in emails. My writing here has become increasingly distant and further from the play that I'd imagined it would be. When I began writing you I knew that I'd only divulge a carefully measured amount of human stain fodder. And I also knew that I would, as Susie Sunday wrote, be not just expressing what wasn't really the most personal that I could, but also creating myself through the writing.

So, taking into consideration that Annabelle has been dead almost a year and a half, that my Nana's death shut me up, and that in some ways I'm surprised I'm even still writing here at all, I am going to try and steer back towards more personal (albeit carefully measured) posts. So, writing to you from my tightly wound, teeth clenching perch I present the following photos with captions as a little attempt towards "normalcy". These are snaps from our home- I feel like you should see little parts of it- I love seeing snaps of Scruffy's family and environs so let's think of this as the "home post".

These are my coffee makers- they're called maccinettas and they're Italian stovetop espresso makers. Two of them were my mom's and the largest (on the left) was my Nana and Pop's and I just got it about a month ago. Since we moved I've been on a quest to replace the gaskets in them- as of tonight, they are all replaced. They were strewn about the kitchen and after we did dishes Kim lined them up like this.

We made fish this evening for dinner and I accidentally left the broiler on while we ate dinner (we eat in our LR/DR combo room and so didn't feel the swell of heat until it was too late). While opening the window I broke a pane (this is the second time this has happened, first time was in my room) and as I refuse to put cardboard in our window. I cut a piece of foam core to size and taped a picture of a cloud to it. I think that during the day most will be fooled by this sly trompe l'oeil, Kim disagrees.

It's difficult to discern in this pic but Kim got that lamp in Charlottesville this summer and it's neat-o. Hopefully it is so neat-o that no one notices the broken window pane.

This is Todd's cat Reno sitting in the hall, between mine and K's bedrooms. My feet are not small- in fact I have pretty large and wide feet. Reno is a huge kitty and she's staying with us until Todd finds a place to live where he's permitted to have a gato.

Reno is great- she's cranky, particular, wakes me up in the morning, and keeps K's cat Sid from attacking us when he gets crazy. He attacks her instead. There will not be a picture of Sid on this post- he kept squinting when I'd take a picture.

This is my Romertopf- an unglazed terra cotta cooking (vessel?) that I inherited from my Nana, that had belonged to my Aunt Lily. I'm not going to go into the details of Romertopf cooking but I'll say that it's only slightly younger than the concept of agrarian living. You can find info here.

I'll say this too: moist and on our bookshelf.

And finally, this is my nightside table complete with a lamp and saint from my Nana, and a very old Pooh Bear (with a shirt homemade by my mom long, long ago). Pooh has come to live with me after years of being in a bag in my parents' basement, and after years of not needing him because I had Annabelle.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Susan Sontag

Photograph by Fred W. McDarrah
Sontag at a symposium on sex in 1962 at the Mills Hotel, now defunct, on Bleecker Street.

31 December

On Keeping a Journal. Superficial to understand the journal as just a receptacle for one’s private, secret thoughts — like a confidante who is deaf, dumb and illiterate. In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.

The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather — in many cases — offers an alternative to it.

There is often a contradiction between the meaning of our actions toward a person and what we say we feel toward that person in a journal. But this does not mean that what we do is shallow, and only what we confess to ourselves is deep. Confessions, I mean sincere confessions of course, can be more shallow than actions. I am thinking now of what I read today (when I went up to 122 Bd. St-G to check for her mail) in H’s journal about me — that curt, unfair, uncharitable assessment of me which concludes by her saying that she really doesn’t like me but my passion for her is acceptable and opportune. God knows it hurts, and I feel indignant and humiliated. We rarely do know what people think of us (or, rather, think they think of us).. . .Do I feel guilty about reading what was not intended for my eyes? No. One of the main (social) functions of a journal or diary is precisely to be read furtively by other people, the people (like parents + lovers) about whom one has been cruelly honest only in the journal. Will H. ever read this?

From On Self, New York Times Magazine September 10, 2006.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

An Unfortunate Reality

Well, it's not that we didn't have a great time...BUT the first jet that flew over as we approached the beach while we were driving in almost made me cry- and all the others (and there were plenty- both days) were equally as terrifying, and a grim reality check to remind us that for some people the sound, sight, and feeling of American fighter jets flying over, and reminding them that in the scheme of things they are powerless, is their daily reality- not their weekend away from home. Kim and I were pissed and wondered if we could sue someone for hearing loss.

On a lighter note, there was also a Shriner's convention (the old drunk guys with the Fez's who raise money for kids with serious deformities, diseases, etc) and most of the rooms in our hotel were full of them. They started drinking at 1:00pm and I swear not a one was under 70. It seemed that most of the Shriners present were from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland- we watched the parade and even the guys from Cumberland were there (the Ali Ghan Shrine). I asked Kim if she was happy to see people from her homeland- she said no. But I think that had it been other people from her homeland she would have felt differently.

Finally, despite the planes (and all the people who didn't seem to mind them disturbing their peace on the beach), it was good to get a way and to be near (and often in) all of that water.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The opening at the VACR went really well last night, thanks to everyone for coming out. Kim and I are at the beach for the weekend.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Here's a selection of objects made by the artists whose work we're installing for the opening this Friday. The opening is from 6-8 pm and I hope you can make it- the work is really over the top wacky, well made, and (God forbid) fun. Despite the cutting edge work that Ashley continuously brings together for our exhibits, VACR is in desperate need of (and ready for) young blood- book your plane tickets right after you read this...

This is by Imi Hwangbo who's from Athens, Ga (by way of Korea). It's hangs on the wall and is from cut sheets of mylar and ink. There are two more of her pieces in the show.

Rob Demar is a sculptor who makes these odd little flocked islands. This piece is not in the show (the piece at VACR is freestanding and includes 3 islands) so you'll need to stop by to see it.

Richmonder Kirsten Kindler makes us locals proud with a piece she made just for this show. Kirsten is also a finalist for the Trawick Prize, and involved with ADA Gallery on Broad Street.

Roxy Paine is hot shit and had work at the Hirshorn when Kim and I were there. He makes mushrooms, flowers, trees, weeds, and vegetables out of epoxy (and resin) and puts them beneath museum/science laboratory glass.

Yuken Teruya was in the last Greater New York show at P.S. 1, and although we don't have any of his McDonald's bags (they are owned by Saatchi), we do have a Godiva and Tiffany's bag, as well as some small, cylindrical sculptures made out of objects that you have a very intimate relationship with.

There are more artists (Nancy Blum! among them), but it is getting late and I'm being called by my contraption of bellows and reeds- it's warning me that if I keep posting huge pictures you'll never see the other post I put up* this evening.

* Like a can of tomatoes?

Flat Reminder

Nothing can resist the force of this current of technical images—there is no artistic, scientific, or political activity which is not aimed at it, there is no everyday activity which does not aspire to be photographed, filmed, videotaped. For there is a general desire to be endlessly remembered and endlessly repeatable. All events are nowadays aimed at the television screen, the cinema screen, the photograph, in order to be translated into a state of things. In this way, however, every action simultaneously loses its historical character and turns into a magic ritual and an endlessly repeatable movement.
From Vilém Flusser’s Towards a Philosophy of Photography (1983)
Although it may not always be obvious here that I am interested in doing anything other than posting photographs and writing a sentence or two that shows how witty and cultchah'd I think I am, I am motivated by things greater than my fine teeth, and shiny hair. For almost seven years now I've been obsessed with thinking about and have been trying to understand, how people use photographs to construct, recall, tell, live, and cope with their lives and how these uses affect our every interaction with the (seemingly) non photographic world.

There is a very good essay by David Levi Strauss in the July/August issue of The Brooklyn Rail, it's where I got that good quote up there. Strauss is pretty far along in understanding these things and I'm going to make more room for his books on my shelf. There is also a good interview conducted by Hakim Bey here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good Times, Frosto-Norwegi Style

This is Amy and Arne. I wrote about their lovely spawn a number of months ago and Amy purchased that fine lookin' (I have yet to hear it) machine during June (which of course everyone remembers as Accordion Awareness Month).

I imagine that Arne is ready to fire should anyone dare to laugh at this most beautiful accordionist. I was just playing outside on our "porch" but as I don't have security, I was playing very quietly.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Laura Sharp Wilson

Pipeline Through the Park, 2006
Acrylic and graphite on Unryu paper mounted on wood
12x9 inches

My friend Laura is having an opening this coming Thursday, September 7 from 6-8pm at Mckenzie Fine Art.

Awkward Every Moment, 2003
Acrylic on Unryu paper mounted on wood.
24x23 inches.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Funny Guy

I'd say that I read a lot of what George Allen (the artist, teacher, wayward pilgram, and author of Bits and Pieces- not the bigoted former Gov'nuh of this most virginal of states) writes but I had never seen this bio before. So, here it is not only to point you in the direction of one of my smartest, most thoughtful, funny, and loquacious (though rarely parenthetical) friends, but to also show off my newfound screencappin' skills.

Incidentally, I was in the Brotherhood of the traveling Wagon and had a beard that looked a lot like the one he's wearing up there.