Thursday, July 29, 2010

three hour performance on saturday...


thanks to the folks at VOLUME, i will be doing a 3 hour performance (the second longest performance i've ever done) for the "perform! now!" festival which runs in chinatown for the weekend. i'll be performing on saturday july 30 from 7-10pm in a gallery space at 933 Hill St., Los Angeles. because it will be mayhem all around and people coming in and out of the performance space, i'll probably try something different (especially since i usually perform for about 20-30 minutes), so don't fall over if you see me with a guitar and a distortion pedal. it will still be slow. it will still be improvised. it will still be melodic, and somewhat melancholy. but it might also be LOUD. fortunately the event is free...

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

some color suggestions...



color instructions from 1940's coloring pictures originally found inside boxes of shredded wheat cereal...

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

when sensibility had no crannies...


just as the impressionists of whom i consider myself a descendant, just as, more directly, DELACROIX of whom i consider myself a disciple, i stroll about and consider sympathetic states, a real or imaginary landscape, an object, a person, or quite simply a cloud of unknown sensibility through which by chance i suddenly traverse, an ambiance...

from the voiceless conversation that ensues between these state of things and myself, an impalpable affinity is born, "indefinable," as DELACROIX would say. it is this "indefinable," this inexpressible poetic moment, that i desire to fix on my canvas since my mode of being (notice i am not saying expression) is to make paintings. And so i paint the pictorial moment that is born of an illumination by impregnation in life itself.

" feel the soul without explanation, without vocabulary, and to represent that feeling... this is, i believe, foremost among the reasons that led me to the monochrome!"

for me the art of painting is to produce, to create freedom in the first material state.

the lines, bars of a psychological prison, as i see, it are certainly in ourselves and in nature, but they are our chains; they are the concretization of our mortal state, our sentimentality, our intellect, limiting our spiritual realm. they are our heredity, our education, our vices, our aspirations, our qualities, our gimmicks... in short, they are our psychological world in its entirety, down to its most subtle crannies.

color, on the contrary, on a human and natural scale, is that which is most immersed in cosmic sensibility. sensibility has no crannies; it is like humidity in the air. color, for me, is the "materialization" of sensibility.

color permeates everything just as indefinable sensibility permeates without form and without limit. it is spacial matter that is at once abstract and real.

the line may be infinite, just as the spiritual is, but the line does not have the capacity to fill the all-encompassing immeasurability; it does not posses the capacity of color to impregnate everything.

from "the monochrome adventure" in overcoming the problematics of art, the writings of yves klein

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Monday, July 19, 2010


"everywhere there was the same white play of reflections from the empty plain, a feverish flicker sliding through this little town that was cut off from all reality. before the houses there lay high banks of snow. the air was clear and dry. it was still snowing a little, but the flakes were falling thinly - flat, almost shriveled, glittering little scales - as it it might stop soon. here and there, from above the shut doors of the houses, windows looked down into the street with a bright blue glassy gaze, and the ground underfoot rang like glass too. sometimes a piece of hard, frozen snow crashed down through a gully, tearing a jagged hole in the stillness. and suddenly the wall of a house would glow in rosy light, or in delicate canary-yellow...

then all claudine did seemed oddly heightened, more intensely alive: and in the hushed silence of all things visible seemed to light one another up, as it were echoing one another in a larger visibility. and then it would all withdraw into itself again and in meaningless streets the houses were like little groups of mushrooms in the woods, or like a thicket of wind-bent shrubs on a wide plane, while she still felt a dizziness and an immensity beyond. there was in her some kind of fire, some burning, bitter fluid, and while she walked and mused, she seemed to herself a huge, mysterious vessel that was being carried through the streets - a thin-walled flaming vessel".

robert musil, the perfecting of a love - from selected writings

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

which is itself angles in space...

charles ginnever 1972, untitled

charles ginnever 1972, untitled - detail

i recently discovered the work of charles ginnever while looking through the reviews section of a 1973 issue of artforum, which contained a smallish image of a sculpture, untitled from 1972. in the photograph, the angles made of wood, appear as a relatively simple pair of objects, yet the relationship of the lines, planes, angles, and material presence suggests a slow down, a feeling as if the piece was wrought from a series of complex decisions and calculations. i didn't know anything about ginnever before discovering this image, but he has a great website, and fortunately for us untitled is a middle period piece of work, and he has continued to explore similar territory towards some beautiful structures that mine systems, permutations, and the language of minimalist form.

during the 70's, artforum's exhibition reviews tended to be a few short columns written by one writer reflecting upon 3 or four shows that he or she somehow felt were connected. ginnever's work is reviewed here with a show of helen frankenthaller's sculpture and work by another artist i'd never heard of, boris lover-lorski. the reviews were written by joseph masheck, who connects the exhibitions through their medium... sculpture. while he takes both frankenthaller and lover-lorski to task - although not for the same reasons - his description of ginnever's untitled work expands upon what one can see in the small black and white reproduction.

he begins by telling the reader that "untitled" was shown along with 2 other works of ginnever's and all 3 were displayed on hammarskjold plaza - a public space in ny, which meshack importantly points out had been used for demonstrations. he goes on to describe the work's formal qualities in depth:

"a large construction consisting of two visually simple but geometrically complex angles - their legs meet at a corner angle which is itself angles in space - resting on their legs. this pair of angles is put together with massive, unfinished lumber, to which has been applied a cheerful, workmanly care that is noticeable in the crude yet serviceable joints and the practical yet honest patches fixing flaws in the timber. whether by design or by adjustment to the site, where the legs of the angles are chamfered to rest flat on the ground, they also fit exactly into the corners of the square parapet on which the piece is set, claiming the space as well as enhancing it. i like the feeling that the work is built to spec."

many things excite me about the image and masheck's description of it (especially the use of the word "chamfered"), because the image along with masheck's words, suggest ginnever's work is not exactly what it seems to be, and that it is wholly his own. but perhaps i should mention some of my own first impressions based on the image - before i had read meshack's review...

first off i imagined the scale as being somewhat smaller than "a large construction" thinking the ramps might be scaled to skateboard ramps and/or a small tent-like bus stop shelter. i saw them as architectural experiments (which formally of course they are), but more so towards people occupying their inside spaces, particularly in rain or snow. the wood stood out a great deal, as without any knowledge of the meticulous approach to angles and site, the materials felt wonky and temporary. the visibility of knotted wood suggested something other than the crisp minimalism of the time, and perhaps more human than machined. the angles of the wood edges that meet the ground suggests that the two objects are potentially two smaller revealed areas of a single larger work, connected physically beneath the ground as if forming the shape of an "M".

looking at the image, i kept thinking about a person on a bike or a skateboard moving in and out of both spaces in figure 8's. the odd ramp-like forms somehow suggested entrances and exits of corb's art building at harvard... and for some reason as much as corb is a stretch i can't stop thinking about kaprow, which seemed even more of a stretch - yet ginnever's wooden structure evokes for me some strange connection to kaprow's set for 18 happenings in 6 parts, which was also wrought from cheap wood; and like ginnever's sculpture, kaprow's set was all about the potential of how humans might move through it. for some reason every time i see this image i think of kaprow.

after i read meshack's review, i was interested in the fact that "untitled" was presented in a public space - and a space that had been used for demonstrations. of course, even from the photograph i figured "untitled" was purposely sited (or site specific), but now i see this is not only because of its form (which of course does confront the site with intentionality), but because of its potential "use" by humans - which brings the work's intentions closer to someone like serra (with tiled arc, twain, etc.)

taking my own impressions, along with meshack's writing, as well as what i was able to glean from ginnever's website, it makes sense that his public work could appear to be a stage or a set for activity, as ginnever's performance works of the 60's also fell under the rubric of "happenings", giving my kaprow association to "untitled" a little more intuited weight than a random perception.

on his website, you can see that ginnever's work from the mid-1980's forward combines conceptual sculpture (what i would call something that comes from ideas as opposed to formal concerns) and formal sculpture (obviously concerned mainly with form) into a space of pure perception (where seeing literally changes one's thinking, expanding one's mind simply through the experience of looking). these ideas would not be out of place in discussing an artist like turrell, but ginnever does these things through the careful manipulation of form, with repetition and permutations, and nothing else. his works are static in terms of actual motion, but long before the internet hijacked the word, ginnever's sculpture was filled with "virtual" motion. i am also interested in how his relationship to minimalism seems a conversation rather than a conversion, and more than anything his work continues to feel experimental.

in looking at the evolution of ginnever's work, i realized that while judd shed his early colored idiosyncratic forms in all their awkward unresolved beauty, ginnever still carries something of his earliest work with him. his recent large scale works are generally steel and generally "slick" but they still have a beautifully unresolved quality to their "design", and the work has continued to evolve - less with signature tropes, than continuing to expand the view.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

when houses hang from helicopters...

futuro article 1973 5

futuro article 1973 3

futuro article 1973 4

futuro article 1973 2

futuro article 1973 1



black and white images from a very short article from 1973 found sunday at the flea, and a small color promotional postcard (which may or may not have already appeared on airforms), all related to the the futuro - "a finnish designed fiber-glass mobile pad that looks more like a spaceship than a weekend pied-a-terre". the "bungalow" was 26 feet in diamter, and could be purchased furnished. according to the article the fiber-glass structure was nearly maintenance free, and its "sealed-up saucer shape and unique ventilation system all but eliminate dust and humidity." plus it seems that transport could be done via helicopter.

in the early 1970's the finnish pod was shown in the usa at state fairs, and the company also had offices in illinois and philadelphia. no idea if any of the ones built or shown here are still around.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

when horns sound like stars burst...




Bo Diddley Poster

three images of bugles from a fantastic martin ramirez exhibition seen at the renia sofia museum in madrid a few months ago. one of the best things about the sofia as opposed to the prado is that you are allowed to take pictures, thus one can creep along knowing there is the potential towards phone camera notation of wall labels and artworks. of course, it is generally nice to struggle with notations using a pen in a notebook, which travel with me everywhere; but sometimes it is nice to be able to have a replica on hand a couple of days later when the mind pictures and hieroglyphics in the notebook don't cut it. two years ago i saw a similar show of ramirez's work at the craft folk art museum in ny where no pictures were allowed. i have a few notes in my notebook from that time with cryptic notations about how ramirez seemed to be picturing sound in his starburst forms on the inside of bugles, but i wasn't able to capture with my own hands, the feeling i wanted to take from his. it wasn't until i saw the images flattened onto the screen of my phone, and then computer, that ramirez's sound projecting outward reminded me of the graphic psychedelic sunlight emanating from a tadanori yokoo or stanley mouse poster...

p.s. for anyone that has mucho money to burn, the incredible stanley mouse bo diddley poster pictured above is available here

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

when 2 of my favorite recent finds suggest joseph cornell



banjo player: cdv circa 1880; piano player: rppc circa 1900... if you click on the piano player you can see her larger...

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Friday, July 02, 2010

can a super famous writer still be underrated?

this short paragraph from the beginning of melville's benito cereno completely kills me:

the morning was one peculiar to that coast. everything was mute and calm; everything gray. the sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter's mold. the sky seemed a gray surtout. flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come.

i think if greatness, like men, lead by example, this here little fragment professes at least a whiff of melville's greatness; but i had no intention to post some well thought out argument towards a deeper appreciation, just a slight drawing of attention to a gem.

in truth, i have not read a more beautiful little paragraph in a long time, and as much as my intention was to simply post it and leave it at that, i've been sick in bed all day and me and my cold medicine have decided together that i should bend my mind a little more... so i hope that based on the above, you will agree that melville is underrated, and also that in view of what lies below, you will indulge me in a bit of rambling...

a short list of words and a phrase that melville uses in the paragraph that i've never seen nor heard:

roods, sleeked, "waved lead", and surtout .

(in terms of surtout apparently blogger has never seen the word either as it comes up as being misspelled). sleeked and "waved lead" i can picture towards meanings in my mind's eye, but roods and surtout i do not have any meaningful grasp of (yes, i know i can look them up if i do so desire, but i'd rather let them settle within me before such uncoverings).

here are some words that appear in sequential order in the same sentences and sound fantastic together, almost like poems:

sea, though
roods of swells, seemed
the surface
cooled and set
the smelt-
er's mold.

of troubled
gray fowl,
kith and kin
of troubled
gray va-
among which
they were
low and fit-
fully over
the waters,
as swallows
over meadows
before storms.

to come.

here are some words within sentences that seem to speak to sentences before and after them:


every-thing gray.
the sea, though.

roods / swells, seemed / sleeked / surface / set /smelter's mold.
sky seemed / surtout.


gray / gray.

vapors / skimmed / swallows.
shadows / foreshadow-ing/shadows.


here are words from various sentences that seem to be speaking to each other (and are best read aloud):

morning coast troubled
swells lead set smelter's before
everything everything mixed skimmed which fitfully
gray undulated waved gray gray vapors among gray they
peculiar surface undulated present
though undulated mute roods cooled
long calm mold troubled
sleeked seemed lead see lead seemed deeper were deeper
sky flights kith kin fixed flights
low over over meadows shadows foreshadowing shadows waters swallows storms come
surtout fowl

here are fragments of melville's entire paragraph written from end to beginning, with some words taken out:

come to shadows deeper
foreshadowing, present shadows.

storms before meadows over swallows
as, waters
fitfully and low skimmed,
mixed were they which
among vapors gray

the in set and cooled
that lead
waved like surface
seemed, swells
of roods long into undulated

sea the. gray everything;
calm and mute was everything.

peculiar one was the morning.

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