Thursday, May 24, 2007

Going Home!

We're headed to Frostburg tomorrow for the long weekend and I'm giddy with the thought of seeing all of my favorite people in the whole wide world. I have been thinking all day about making numerous t-shirts that exclaim my affection for these people, but can I really walk around with a t-shirt that says "I love you" on it? or "The Frostburg Family Fan Club?" I probably don't really have the nerve, but damn! if I'm not thrilled about all the hugs, the catching up, the air, the stars, The Robin, The Paula, The Lisa, The Susan, The Edward, The Stephen, The Kris, The Mark, The Josh, The Amy, The Arne, The Jon, The Carolyn, The Griff, The Jeff, The Bill, The Katharine, The Allison, The Pat, The Jackie, The Sherry, The Jason, The Mary Jo, The Kurt, The John, The Jason, The Barry, The Anne, The Rick...even the people I don't see-- just to know that I'm there-- smelling the same air that they do, seeing the same things they do, seeing and being at the place that feels the most like home.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Alyssa Salomon Precedes News of New Helmet

Alyssa Salomon Cabinet Specimen: Parakeets 1998

We went to Chop Suey Books yesterday to get a guidebook to help us identify trees and once again (4 years of going to Chop Suey now) I was delighted by Alyssa Salomon's photograph (a split toned silver print is what the label says- despite my being a MASTER of photography, I don't know what this means) that is hung along the stairs that lead to: the sexy books, the God books, the cookbooks, the history books, and Doug Utley's 12x12 Record Bin Art Show.

Also, I replaced my bike helmet (circa 1991) with a newfangled black, aerodynamic thing that fits correctly and doesn't make me feel like I'm quite as likely to die of a head trauma should I get hit on my way to work.

The cockeyed old helmet- I look like a mushroom from Super Mario.

The new helmet- so sleek- and look, it made me open my mouth and smile. Buying things makes me smile despite what I may want you to think.

On your left...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Anonymous III

Thanks to Travis Fullerton I (along with 100 other artists) will have work in Anonymous III at the Flashpoint Gallery in DC . Anonymous is a fundraiser for the WPA/C. Here's the blurb:
The third installment of WPA\C's incognito fundraiser show: 10 artist curators each create a 24" x 24" piece and select 9 more artists to do the same. The resulting 100 artworks are then hung with no artist identification, and all sold for the same price. Only after a piece is purchased is the name of the artist revealed.
Curators: Seth Adelsberger, Iona Rozeal Brown, Cynthia Connolly, Travis Fullerton, Ian Jehle, Ledelle Moe, Michael Platt, Noelle Tan, Alessandra Torres, and Heide Trepanier.
I'd post what I'm showing but it's supposed to be ANONYMOUS so I can't- I want people to confuse my work with Cece Cole's.

I don't know the majority of the people involved but I do know (or know of): George Allen, Cynthia Connolly, Kathryn Cornelius, Tim Devoe, Suzanna Fields, Pamela Fox, Travis Fullerton, Madeline Hoch, Matthew Lively, Ledelle Moe, Diego Sanchez, Heide Trepanier, and Bruce Wilhelm. I've not googled everyone but of the people that I have, most have their own websites and so far, of the random names I like Emily Barletta's work.

Here's her piece Spill:

I will post all the names when the WPA/C does- I am not typing them all in, I have to eat my dinner (that's the same reason I didn't hyperlink all the names listed above.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


My name is Michael and I have been trying my best to post a picture for you but I can't seem to find it. It was a picture of a 12 ounce Pe*si bottle filled with urine. Undoubtedly thrown out a window during someone's drive home from work- photos of it, and its brethren (seen primarily along the side of the highway), have become a new photo fixation. These bottles of urine are the focus of my newest, typologically bent, acquisition behavior.

I think the interest has something to do with voodoo. Friends, hold tight to your fingernail clippings.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Scopophilians in Paradise (or Kim in Front of Everywhere we Went) ll

No doubt you're tired of our trip by now so I'll try and make this final batch as brief as possible. I loved Olympia- flat out loved it. It's great to be 3000 miles from home and be with friends in a town that is progressive (when it comes to some things) and within walking distance of a rain forest. K is standing in front of Bryce's Barber Shop where Laura Sharp Wilson and elin o'hara slavick have curated a show of works on paper about Heroes. Judy, Martin, myself and many more illustrious artists are in the show. Martin has a good post about it here and Judy has images from the show here.

K in aforementioned rain forest. We went walking with Laura and Owen, making our way to the beach where Owen and I lifted big rocks and chunks of concrete and looked at the crabs. Sunday night Robert and Laura made dinner and Judy came over and we had a great time- lots of excellent conversation, fatty salmon, local asparagus and greens, and I learned about Manarchy, defined through my BS cursory search as:
"Aggressive, competitive behavior within the anarchist movement that is frighteningly reminiscent of historically oppressive male gender roles. Such behavior includes acting macho, holier than thou, and elitist. Manarchy often results in exclusivity."
Sounds familiar to me.


Monday we left Olympia and drove to Seattle where we saw everything tourists go to see. The first stop was the Seattle Public Library. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and OMA, the library was amazing- it lived up to all the hype it received in the press two years ago when it opened. If you visit Seattle be sure to go there. Every inch of the space is well considered and the ceiling is lined with a puffy white cloud/comforter type of material that makes you think that the bathrooms and comfortable chairs aren't the only reasons why the homeless want to be there at all hours.

No rain while we were in Seattle. Bizarrely clear and warm.

K in the shadow of a cheesy Richard Serra sculpture at the new Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park (SAM's OSP) sculpture garden. The free park, in terms of a public space, seemed well designed if a bit too nautical in its themes (it is right on the Puget Sound) and Serra's sculpture was much too wave and ship like. Regardless, it was perfect for a photo and we dodged in and out of other people's photos to take our own.

As you can see behind K the sculpture garden is full of work by the usual suspects- the big boys and the two women (Louise Bourgeous and Louise Nevelson in this case) who get to hang out with them. My favorite piece was Roxy Paine's sculpture Split. It's a tree made out of shiny stainless steel. Seattle is kind of like being at an amusement park- everywhere you look there's another shiny or pointy thing to take a picture of. The people are nice nice nice and while we waited for the Louise Bourgeois sculpture to do its thing, we were chatted up by two locals who welcomed us and asked whether we were looking to move to the area and seemed disappointed when we said we weren't.

Look at K's face. It says "How can anyone even entertain the idea of taking Frank Gehry seriously when Rem and Co.'s library is just down the street kicking major ass?" It was good to see a Gehry building in person so I could dismiss what I thought looked like crap from the oodles of press he gets every month in the NYTimes.

Pike Street Fish Market. Spike Lee wasn't there, but there were guys yelling about fish and being very manly.

In Chicago's Midway airport- before we realized that we'd be waiting for 10 hours before we'd finally fly back to DC.

That's it!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Scopophilians in Paradise (or Kim in Front of Everywhere we Went) ll (with Judy!)


Friday included a visit from Judy. With her we had the option of getting the insider hipster tour of the city and I'm afraid that we asked her to take us to all of the same places that her parents insisted on when they would visit her there. We went to the Japanese gardens which were beautiful and afforded, among moss covered maples, a partially obscured view of Mt Hood, and a rock garden that made me have a "whoa it's like I'm lying on my back on the floor looking up at the ceiling imagining it's the floor" experience as well as an opportunity for Judy to not have the front of her head photographed while she stood next to K.

Judy drove us all over the city for the day and so after the Japanese Gardens, which are on the west side of the city, we headed to the east side to Mt Tabor- which by EVERY account, even that of our gracious tour guide (I wanted to write hipster b/f tour guide but I don't want to upset her), relayed is that Mt Tabor is the only extinct volcanic cinder cone within city limits in the U.S. K is facing east here so looking beyond her to the far hill is the ridge that the Japanese Garden is on.

After some food on Belmont (another neighborhood, not wholly unlike Hawthorne but younger so a little less slick and a bit more cool- Portland has done a great job of integrating their residential and commercial districts so, like NYC everywhere you turn there's a block -or seven- of cafes, bike shops, restaurants) we went to the skate park under the Burnside Bridge where I felt like a total wuss and feared being beaten up by bad ass skaters, Judy ogled the dudes and K looked on in her serene way, finally sizing up that the older guy with the grey hair was her favorite (we all agreed- even Judy who no doubt was a bit more taken by the shirtless Stacy Peralta-Leif Garret combo). Actually that's not true and for all I know, Judy liked the guy who looked like he may have been the bassist in Linkin Park. Ha! That's probably not true either but I will say this in all honesty: when K and Judy showed up the dudes were obviously affected. It was great. It was also a skater maintained park where they don't wear helmets and their moms aren't on the sidelines checking that their pads are secured properly . I like skaters to be tough- these were. Excellent.

We eventually made our way to Powell's Books which everyone knows about. I looked at as many photo books as I could get through- not that many, despite what Judy and K thought. The last time I was at Powell's I did the same thing (I don't really buy photo books- they are too $$$ and heavy) and Robert Polidori won the contest of "best book perused" for his book Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl. And this time it was a tie between his book After the Flood about post-Katrina New Orleans and Lili Almog's book Perfect Intimacy (about cloistered nuns).
The evening with Judy was capped off by a couple slices of pizza and beer at a place near our hostel called Escape From New York. For Judy's version of events go here. Thanks to Judy for showing us around, and like she says on Play this was the first time we had ever really hung out (outside of a bar that is) and it wasn't half bad.


Portland is known for it's Saturday morning craft market. Everyone you talk to, and everything you read mentions it. It's held in an area that appears to be the oldest part of the city (most of the buildings have cast iron facades and the streets are cobblestone) and was the area where the farmers would bring their wares to be sold and shipped out on the Willamette River. It's also the Skid Row of Portland. So, I don't like craft markets and I didn't like this one. The state of crafts in America is really sad. That's all I'm saying - except this- maybe I'd be interested if everyone didn't make the exact same things. Everywhere. I want regional crafts- things that tell me something about the place where they are made- like those excellent Western, MD saw blades that were painted with farm scenes by people whose last name was Bender.

I was most impressed by the vegetarian dog chews made out of sweet potatoes strung up on lengths of hemp! Now that lets me know what it is to live in Portland and in the West.

We rented a car and took the scenic route to the coast (wait, its all scenic 15 miles outside of the city b/c Portland does not allow Sprawl.) It rained for the entire time that we drove but it was great. So green! So much moss! So beautiful! and this pretty girl always popping up in front of my personal electronic image capturing device.

This was K's first trip (and my third) to the West coast so despite the rain we played on the beach in Seaside, OR before getting a bowl of clam chowder, french fries and ice cream. Needless to say, not the healthiest day of eating during our trip. But we worked up an appetite chasing gulls and doing our best Reineke Dijkstra poses for one another.

On the northwest tip of Oregon is Fort Stevens park- a fort that was an active military installation from the time of the Civil War until the late 1940's. It's the only military installation in the US to receive hostile fire during WWII. There was also a Japanese freighter that ran aground there in the late 1800s, and the ship was abandoned. I believe that's the prow of the ship sticking out of the sand. Maybe it's not.

This was taken at the tip of the park where the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River meet. It was so beautiful- lots of clouds and wind and in the distance Washington, and the Astoria bridge.

This was awesome. On top of Coxcomb Hill in Astoria, OR stands the Astoria Column, a 125' tall monument depicting the history of the town built in 1926. Astoria was Lewis and Clark's last stop during their (Jefferson designed) trip across the the newly acquired Louisiana territory in 1805. The town's website says the column was designed by "New York architect Electus D. Litchfield, decorated by Attilio Pusterla, an Italian-born artist, and financed by Vincent Astor, the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, and the Great Northern Railroad." The site goes on to say that the column was modeled after Trajan's Column in Rome and that it's the only "large piece of memorial architecture made of reinforced concrete with a pictorial frieze in sgraffito technique." The frieze depicts the history of the town ending with... The arrival of the railroad of course. Check out the link above to see some good pictures of the frieze.

I am still excited about this place! It was great because to get to the top you had to climb a spiral staircase and then you get out and...

Wham! you're dizzy, it's windy, raining and there are people up there throwing paper and small balsa airplanes off the top laughing and having a good time (good no one in Portland saw them.) Climbing those steps made me think about the time (20+ years ago) my family visited the Statue of Liberty. At that time you were allowed to take the stairs to the top. In the crown of the statue you could feel the statue shifting in the wind.

Astoria was great across the board- I left there thinking that I'd like to live there because of the column and a great bakery/cafe we went to that reminded me of all the best parts of Frostburg. Seems to be an interesting contingent of people there. We arrived at our friends Robert and Laura's house in Olympia, WA about nine hours after having left Portland, had a couple of beers and some good conversation with R before going to bed.

More to come...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Scopophilians in Paradise (or Kim in Front of Everywhere we Went) ll


We went to Portland so Kim could attend a Cultural Studies conference. It began Thursday morning so I rode the street car south with her from the hostel (it's free within a certain area of the city) to the University Center where she did her attending. Overall, K liked the conference and is going to apply to a number of programs for the next academic year (note to those thinking about grad school- what K did is brilliant- if you need me to spell it out: she attended a conference BEFORE taking out $40K+ in loans for school to see whether she's really interested in the field before she took the plunge.) I spent the day hanging out (something I'm not particularly good at) but did start my day by walking up the big hill that overlooks the city where I eyed the aerial tram and checked out the hospital (yup.) I did a lot of other things as well but Kim isn't pictured in front of any of it so it must not count.

After K was finished attending the conference for the day, we met at Madison Street and walked over the Hawthorne Bridge (as you can see it was a beautiful day) and to the Hawthorne district. I don't think K meant to close her eyes.

The Hawthorne district is a shopping district (what else do you call it?) There is a great neighborhood on the way there called Ladd's Addition. And a restaurant (called Rick's?) that has tennis balls fiited onto the bottoms of all the chair legs (like an old pperson's walker) so the chairs don't make a sound when they are scooted across the floor (that's my reason.) This is a mural that was on the side of a bookstore (I think?)

Tomorrow: Judy!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Scopophilians in Paradise (or Kim in Front of Everywhere we Went) ll


At PDX airport in Portland. It was nice and quiet compared to Chicago Midway. We were up at 4:50 a.m. and on the plane in DC by 6:25. By the time we arrived in Portland we were already very tired and it was only 10:45 (PST).

We stayed at the Northwest Portland Hostel. It's located in the Nob Hill neighborhood and is the same hostel where Chris Freeman and his friends stayed the week before we were there. It's a great hostel and surely the only thing we could have afforded in the neighborhood.

At the notable (notably ugly?) teal and desert rose Portland Municipal Building by Robert Graves. You might know this building from your art history books (it's always in the architecture and Postmodernism chapter) and you might know Graves' name from his line of housewares at Target.

The Willamette River separates the east and west sides of the city, it runs north and eventually meets up with the Columbia River. Kim is photographing the Aerial Tram- a cable driven gondola that connects a medical campus on a high hill with a southwestern neighborhood. As everyone knows by now, Portland is progressive when it comes to public transportation, and it's a great place to walk because there are so few cars on the streets.