Monday, September 27, 2010

some things to share...

in case you haven't noticed, things have been somewhat crazy here with activity for the past few months or so, and now i've got another week before all should calm down. this afternoon i was trying to deal with an incredibly messy desktop and found some image files that have been hanging around like little magnets of attraction... so i figured i'd post them (and since they are all without reference to where i got them, if i cribbed them from your blog please forgive the lack of credit).

i hope they will suffice for the week, and perhaps by next week airforms will become a bit more active again...


this 7" record sleeve is one of my all time favorites, and the only thing here that i own. unfortunately the music isn't too exciting (sounding a bit like the theme to the early 70's tv show the dating game), but the image of the band standing upon a giant floating upside down starfish kills me.


this is an image of agnes martin's last drawing, sent to me by michael ned holte, whom i will be collaborating with on a public talk on october 7th at 8 pm in conjunction with my exhibition at the pomona college museum of art. (and i do wish i owned this drawing, very much...)


this is a still image from gary beydler's hand held day. one of my absolute favorite films i've seen in a long time. the ucla film and television recently showed some 60's and 70's experimental films that had been recently restored, and beydler's film was a revelation. it's a deceptively simple work, made by shooting still frames over a single day of beydler's hand holding a mirror reflecting the opposite view. over the 6 minutes of the film, the images move from dusk to dawn, and it is incredible beautiful. there is a wonderful contrast in the light movement, the slight jittery finger tips and mirror movement stutters. it also reminded me of some of dennis oppenheim's films using his hands, as well as a kind of secret companion to early land art and earthworks.


a 1940's linen postcard of a bandstand looking like a rainbow with eyes.


one of the best record labels i've seen, from a mexican 45, probably 1970's, certainly influenced by rat fink, weird-ohs, nutty mads, etc.


a small cardboard and paint sculpture by lygia clark... no words necessary...


a 1971 japanese woodblock print by joichi hoshi called snowball. it is one of a series of prints all related to the snowball motif, but this is by far the nicest, particularly because it looks so much like an audio speaker...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, September 24, 2010


coastlines4 coastlines1

coastlines10 coastlines6

saturday night i will be presenting a newly commissioned film work entitled "coast lines" for a one night event on the santa monica beach called "glow".

for those of you who don't remember my last "glow" experience, i was supposed perform at sunrise but the site of my performance space was shut down by a slew of cops because of the activities of some drunken hooligans. the nice side to that story is that the curator invited me back two years later to do one of the larger installation commissions this year, and i'm quite excited about the piece.

"coast lines" consists of two projections and a wooden screen structure, facing the ocean and installed on the sand. the film was made by tracing maps of the pacific ocean coastline from the uppermost point of alaska to the lowest point in south america. like most of my hand drawn films, the piece runs in both positive and negative image treatments, and because the upper pacific ocean coast is shorter than the southern, the films loop at different lengths, creating ever shifting relationships. because of the amount of noise coming from the pier as well as other installations, i decided to have the projected work silent, allowing the natural sound - ocean, and the human sounds to become its soundtrack.

for those who are local, glow takes place on saturday september 25 from 8 pm until 3 am. it is located in various places on the santa monica beach adjacent to the santa monica pier. my own piece is just north of the pier on the sand.

the event is free and features 20 or so artist installations...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

when eyes make drawings...


found this image in a 1964 issue of scientific american. it's a "contour map" of the movement of the eye while staring at a pinhole for two minutes. each of the numbers corresponds to the eye's focal point during automatic shifting, while the subject was trying to stay focused on a single point. i'm not sure exactly how the numbers are working, but the image is pretty darn wonderful...what's also interesting is now "reading" the image, following my own path through the numbers and abstract shapes, trying not to look at the white holes, and sort of tracing the various images with my own eyes, wondering if their movement might resemble the movement of the original looker's eyes 46 years ago... the activity reminds me a bit of seeing one of those warhol dance diagram paintings, where eyes follow patterns meant for feet...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

midnight performance...

calling all northern california dwellers... i'm going to be performing this friday at midnight in san jose, at trinity church, for the 01Sj biennial. tickets are $10. stephen vitiello and molly berg are performing at midnight on saturday, olivia block on thursday... i'll be improvising with some of the sound and video footage i took in marfa earlier this year, as well as using a number of acoustic objects, small electronics, microcassette recorders, and hopefully some audience members... should be a sleepy good time... info here.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 09, 2010

when the slow road finally leads to the bigtime...


he hasn't gotten an at bat yet (although he did get into the game last night, getting only as far as the on deck circle before being pulled in a chess move between managers, pitchers, and batters...); but dodger minor league first baseman john lindsey has finally been called up to the majors. i've been following this story for about a week or so, since espn starting talking about him here and then his call-up here.

on the surface, this seems perhaps not a big deal. usually around this time of year, when a team starts tanking (as the dodgers have...), some of the better younger players in triple A get called up to fill in for veteran players who have logged over a hundred games and need a few games off. it is also a time for the organization to audition players who have done well in the minors, to see if they can handle big league pressure.

what is amazing about john lindsey, is that at 33 years old is hardly a youngster - particularly in baseball years - and he's been playing in the minor leagues for 15 years... yes, that's nearly half his life. lindsey has played more seasons in the minor leagues than any active player in the majors without at least one trip to the majors. at age 33, lindsey is the dodger's oldest minor league player to make his major league debut since 1954. he's always been a pretty good hitter, but this year he also won the triple A batting title.

there are so many amazing things about his story, but what i find incredible is the patience and fortitude lindsey has carried with him. he as never given up on his dream, and remarkably he seems to be lacking the "i'm entitled" and "i'm bitter" genes.

at 33 he is already a "middle aged" ballplayer; and in artist years, his call-up to the bigs at 33 would be like having your first exhibition at age 70 (or as someone recently said to me at an opening: "dude, how much longer are you going to be an emerging artist...").

to continue the comparison to the art world, there has certainly been a glut of younger players moving into the majors before they are ready, mainly because of a "buzz" that surrounds them; and similarly, many of these players are brought up too quickly, their careers are short, and they disappear along with their promise. as much as ability and talent does mean something in sports, the system's need for spectacle, sexiness, and "a spin" is certainly on par with the artworld - and every other facet of popular culture.

fortunately for us, and perhaps for lindsey, his story finally became hard to ignore (or at least after all these years, the press has finally helped the team to find a way to make the situation "news"). lindsey is a blue collar guy who works his ass off. he has never - to my knowledge - publicly griped about his situation, in fact he generally considers himself lucky because he is doing what he wants to do - play baseball. it's great to see that, finally, the press and the fans have gotten behind him - so while he has been a known entity amongst the farm system and the upper-brass powers at be, he is hopefully on his way to having his lee bontecue moment.

last night, while the dodger's were losing, manager joe torre put lindsey into the line-up as a pinch hitter. as lindsey was standing in the on deck circle, swinging the bat with a largest smile in the world, i would imagine a ton of people were smiling in there homes, thinking "finally" - and then suddenly torre pulled lindsey back, and brought in another hitter. i can't imagine the anticipation and disappointment hitting one more small bump in the road, particularly for someone who has been "close" so many times.

it seems this weekend, when the dodgers are in houston, lindsey will finally start a game, hopefully playing first base and getting several big league at bats. his family lives in mississippi, and houston is as close as the team will get as the season fades. i believe that is the real reason he was pulled last from last night's game before batting - as in houston he'll have his first major league at bat in front of his son, his wife, and his parents. (and yes, i can be incredibly sentimental about this stuff!)

so, i'm rooting for the guy for many reasons. for the most part he seems like a decent human being who has worked his ass off because he still believes he can achieve something if given the opportunity - and he seems to have his own ideas of success, that are defined and determined whithin himself. it reminds me of the artist dreamers whom have i have always held the most esteem for, who continue to make work, and continue to believe in the value of making work, while being mostly invisible within the mainstream museum, gallery and magazine worlds.

i don't know a lot of folks who have worked as hard as john lindsey without getting a break, who have not given up and moved on to something else. most of us rarely get to the door we are searching for - much less given an opportunity to open it... so i'm hoping, if nothing else, in the next few games lindsey gets his shot. i will most certainly be watching, and i will also be rooting for him...

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 03, 2010

when a scary painting becomes a madeleine...


i was looking at last night, and he has a really interesting post on a 1958 fire at moma. no, i don't remember the fire... i wasn't born yet... but somewhere in the middle of the post was the image pictured above of pawel tchelitchew's 1942 painting hide and seek. i remember tchelitchew having a presence in the joseph cornell biography "utopia parkway", but more than that, i instantly remembered that my mom had a pretty large reproduction of this painting hanging in our living room when i was a very young child.

greg's blog story mentions that the painting has always been one of moma's most popular, particularly with kids; which i find hard to believe, because it scared the hell out of me as a child. while most people seem to enjoy finding the children in the landscape, i always saw the vines and branches that made up their faces and bodies as veins, so the kids always looked to me like they were skinless ghosts. they also seemed to be screaming, or crying or dead; as well as being left alone to wander eternally in a forest.

i do remember staring at it a lot (it faced our dining table), but i don't remember it as something fascinating, as much as i remember it being very disturbing and creepy, and the notion of zillions of reproductions in zillions of homes seems pretty darn strange to me. what is interesting is how discovering the image again has suddenly started to reveal in my mind's eye the entire room that surrounded the painting, much of which i hadn't thought about or "seen" in 25 years or so.

hide and seek was rather large, but it was hung on a wall that was salon style and i remember now a number of other things that were on that wall, some victorian mirrors and a very large skinny vertical painting in dark greys and browns of a woman's face in a sort of christy-girl kind of style, but with a lot of textured paint (i remember running my hands over the surface of this painting a lot). strangely, that painting was just about the exact size of a painting in my upcoming show that was based on my own dimensions.

as i got a little older, the creepiness of hide and seek evolved into more of a kind of trippiness, feeling more like a virtuosic high-school stoner notebook drawing. i certainly remember staring at it a lot more at that time, but as a suddenly angst-ridden teenager, the painting felt even darker.

so, of course, it's interesting to me that tchelitchew's painting was so popular - particularly as it was painted around the start of WWII - because the image seems suggest to me a field of orphans or lost spirits... there's so much ghostliness to its mood, and emotionally i think along with the creepiness, it always felt like an incredibly sad painting to me.

looking at the image this morning, i think it would make a perfect cover for agota kristof's book "the notebook", which tells the story of two boys during WWII. it's an uber creepy tale of darkness, that has a kind of detached emotional quality, that feels similar to tchelitchew's painting... here is some of the description of the story from amazon:

"With icy dispassion, Kristof, herself a refugee of war, spins a modern-day fable set in Eastern Europe during WW II. It records, in the form of a notebook written by two small boys, the nightmarish ordeal of twins brought by their mother from the bomb-spattered Big Town to their grandmother's home in Little Town. Grandmother, whom they call the Witch, harbors the boys only because they may prove useful. But they are wilier than she, spying on her through holes in the floor of the attic she can no longer reach, deliberately wounding each other to inure themselves to pain, learning the language of the occupying forces. The officer who has commandeered a room in the house takes them to bed, first making them beat him until the blood runs... They boggle at nothing: not theft, sodomy or murder, which last, when necessary, they manage with insouciance, having become a pair of soulless charmers, unflinching proof that monsters are not born but made. They are truly spoiled by war and their terrible, unforgettable history tells in microcosm the tale of a whole people warped and destroyed..."

Labels: , , , , , ,