Thursday, November 25, 2010

Books, Baseball Cards, & Fido

The portions of the essay below are from A.D. Coleman’s “I’m Not Really a Photographer” first published in the NY Times, 10 September 1972. [This was one of Coleman's essays I helped edit in his bibliography as a grad student - I was in charge of attributing the correct information to all the photographs in his articles.]

Ed Ruscha with his books, c. 1969 courtesy of Gagosian Gallery, LA

“It’s a playground, is all it is,” says Ed Ruscha. “Photography’s just a playground for me. I’m not a photographer at all.”

"Despite this disclaimer, Ruscha’s fourteen small books of photographs have found much of their audience among people interested in contemporary photography. They were among the first of the new wave of privately published photography books; they also pioneered in the use of photography as a basic tool of conceptual art. Quite aside from their historical significance, these books have a consistency and a charmingly mystifying ambiguity which results from their very literalness…."

“I just barely got my feet wet with gas stations…then I just had a lot of other things come out. Fires have been a part of my work before too, I’ve painted pictures of fire, and there’ve been little things about fire in my life – not experience, not in a negative way, there’s been no catastrophe as far as fire goes, but the image of fire has always been strong in my work and so it just culminated in this little book here [Various Small Fires, which contains sixteen images – burning pipes, cigars, cigarettes, a flare, a cigarette lighter aflame]. It’s probably one of the strangest books – it kind of stands apart, a lot of people have even mentioned to me about how it stands apart from the others because it’s more introverted, I guess; introverted, less appealing, probably more meaningless than any of the other books, if you know what I mean.”

From Ed Ruscha's Various Small Fires, 1964

“I mention finding, in a Fourth Avenue used-book store, a copy of a catalog from one of his exhibitions, the cover of which was charred by fire. ‘Charred by fire?’ Ruscha laughs. ‘Everything gets its due, right? Bruce Nauman took a copy of Various Small Fires and burned it ceremoniously, took a picture of each page, and made a big book out of it, which is an extension of that. I think he liked Various Small Fires."

Bruce Nauman, Burning Small Fires, 1968

*** ****

At the same time I read the above essay, I was paging through an Aperture magazine and reacquainted myself with Mike Mandel's The Baseball Photographer's Trading Cards from 1975. Interesting how Ed Ruscha became a "photographer" for this series.

Then there's Ruscha's latest nonphotographic project below (selling for a mere $27,450). More here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A couple finished cake plates (and cats)

It's dark upstairs in the studio hence the low quality photos. Out of the ten plates/puddles (one for the slice itself), seven are made (one broke in the kiln last round), three are in the house and the other four need to be ground down because I'll slice my fingers if I touch them the wrong way. Here are the finished ones for Lime Green and the Slice (and Button Omelet and Oatmeal - the closest they get before a fight breaks out). The Lime Green plate was so heavy, my arm was shaking while taking the photograph.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scott Hove's "Cakeland"

Hove constructed the cake from: wood, cardboard and paint.

From the artist's statement: "Cakeland is a sculptural installation resembling a collection of perfect delicious cakes-- wall mounted, hanging and standing-- a walk-through cake environment complete with its own lighting. It is a sweet refuge, an endless kaleidoscopic landscape of cake, a respite from the grinding realities of the outside world. The sculptures have all of the appeal of the best cake you have ever tasted, but can never be eaten. Whereas the nature of edible cake is fleeting, lasting only as long as the brief celebration it was made for, these cakes last as long as the artist or society have the wherewithal to preserve them, in order that they remain a place of pilgrimage, a seemingly idyllic oasis."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two coats of primer, one coat gloss

Two more coats of gloss to go... next weekend. Not looking forward to my office smelling like spray paint tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Glass Puddles AKA Cake Plates

We are almost done with the glass cake plates. Since the last visit to the glass studio, I decided to go with the clear molten pours because they replicate water best. They have many imperfections (size, amount of bubbles, etc.) just like the cakes. Seven of the nine are complete. I will go back later this week to make the final one with the "shield" constructed yesterday. Brent requested photographs to be taken of this event for the glass website and Elise kindly was up for the task. All these images were taken by Elise Rorick. THANK YOU!

Brent and JR figuring out the diameters of the plates before the pouring begins.

Organization (no surprise there) and ordering from largest to smallest.

... and so we begin.

Pressing out the bubbles and pushing the glass outward to make a larger plate.

It starts to smell like S'mores right about now.

Using the torch to get the edges right.

Hannah was recruited to push the plates onto the plywood.

I became an expert kiln door opener.

We weren't getting large enough diameters of plates so Ben, the grad student, stepped in to help pour as well. This photo shows the order of operation: Brent poured first with JR manning the kiln door followed by Ben with Hannah at the kiln door.

Ben's pour for the largest plate 18 inches in diameter (and I can't imagine how heavy it's going to be).

This one had the largest bubble which popped in an irregular shape. It might fit the "Slice" well but I'll find out later this week.

Of all the images Elise took, I love this one most. It captures the difficulty of this task. When I visited Niagara Falls this summer, many people talked about the lure of the river and their desire to jump. I did not have this experience AT ALL but I will say that a desire quite similar to that was recognized today. I just want to touch that glass. Of course I wouldn't but the temptation was great.

Smile and Wave (spoofing the genre of images to be found on the school's website).

In the past 36 hours ...

.... all cakes were photographed in the studio (post below);

7 glass plates were made (photos above);

1 circular form to make the largest glass plate resembling a shield was constructed (to be finished later this week);

a mammoth trip to Lowe's took place (contemplating colors for fake cake frames - just kidding as they will be glossy white like frosting);

14 frames were built (to be spray painted tomorrow);

two coats of paint applied to the Project Room (third coat to take place in December).

It's 3:05 AM and I worked solidly for 14 hours today. Tired! Hannah is the best. I owe her dinner, drinks, and one more coat of paint on the project space for all her help making frames today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cat Lynch's Five Minute Drawing

(for her to turn into a performance once I finally return it two months later).

In late September (embarrassing to admit), Cat Lynch sent me the following instructions:

I began the task today at 10:12:03 AM and finished it at 10:17:12 AM. I spent the majority of that time running around trying to find my xylene marker. Incidentally, it's taken me twice as long to post this entry.

With this drawing, I'm revealing that I'm obsessively keeping my lists (and counting them - a little over one list a day). I also date the day they were "retired" on the back side (so it became imperative that I do the same to this one). The graph paper and instructions screamed numbers and that's the end product. More on the lists at another time. They continue to grow because of course, a copy of this drawing was included in the list pile. I'm looking forward to seeing what Cat does with it!

Studio Photographs of the Cakes

I have wanted to photograph the cakes (and their cuts and bruises) since the beginning of the semester. I desired an image of 9 in a cluster but then Serena, master photographer of all things 3-D, suggested some close-ups. I have never spent so much time moving a cake two inches to the left or four inches to the right but they look perfect. Thanks Serena!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

c. 1978

It snowed/sleeted/hailed Friday (I stand corrected... Drew informed me that the correct terminology was graupel). Dreaming of swimming pools.... Since it is late fall, getting dark far too early with the time change, and bordering on winter, how about some black-and-white swimming pools? It helps imagining a combination of the previous IKB post with these images.

The only color photograph in the whole book (courtesy of Brent Cole = thank you!).

i seriously want this pool (except for the snakes undoubtedly basking in the sun on the boulders).

Nice burned in cloud of doom in the sky above.

Love how the diving board looks like a straw (and the "freeform" a bladder).

Just insert Yves Klein's Folding Screen seen in the previous post here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Little International Klein Blue to Start the Week

Thought I'd make this entry heavily blue since the next post will be overtly black and white (and you'll be wishing it was blue). Infinite thanks to Nick Jones for letting me borrow his Yves Klein catalog.

Yves Klein, Blue Terrestrial Globe, 1951

Yves Klein, Ex-voto Dedicated to Saint Rita of Cascia, 1961

Yves Klein, Folding Screen, 1957

Yves Klein, Assemblage of Used Paint Rollers, 1956-62

Yves Klein, Air Architecture, 1961