Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Money Money Money

I found this in the parking lot at the Post Office today: a $1 bill from 2006.

A few hours later I opened a letter from my mom to discover this gift from my grandmother arriving 3 decades later:

The two bills were significantly older.

I still carry this $2 bill around in my wallet that I found at the motel in Clemson, South Carolina in the fall of 2010:

Needless to say, money is on my mind.

Will Steacy, Washington, Rip, 2011

Abelardo Morell, $4 Million, 2006

Hans Peter Feldmann's 100,000 $1 bills, 2011

Art Guys, United States of America, 1994

William Powhida, Griftopia, 2011

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cat Scanning Conclusion

After spending most of yesterday working on my Postcard Collective Winter 2012 submission, I've come to the conclusion that it is going to take me the rest of the year to scan this box of cats and put a white border around each one of them in Photoshop. I've moved the box to school with the hopes of doing it there on slower darkroom days. If I did 100 a day, I'd be done in 38 days. Alas, I won't be eating, applying for exhibitions, grading, or doing much else but here's to trying.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinpointing my fascination with David C. Nolan and the Cat Scrapbook Lady

I have a lot in common with these two characters that I'm currently researching and creating art in response to their photographic and printed paper collections. My fascination with David C. Nolan stems from his organizational skills, his neat handwriting and his method of archiving his photographs. I never had an interest in Marilyn Monroe before encountering his collection. His words written on the back of the Monroe images make me feel strange and I always like it when that happens (that moment when I start to question everything I thought I knew but ultimately don't know anything about at all). Needless to say, I see myself in his archiving system. Now that I know he had nearly 300,000 images in his basement, that aspect of his life is all the more intriguing. My messy handwriting can't compare to his fastidiousness but my labeling system can.

As for the cat scrapbook woman (whose name I must extract from the greeting cards written inside)*, I see myself in the moments when I realize that I am posting too many photographs of my cats on Instagram or when I walk into the half bathroom that houses the litter boxes to see that it really is the "Cat Bathroom."

I know I won't become a David C. Nolan but I fear I could turn into this woman whose obsession in the 1940s produced the largest scrapbook I have ever seen. Both of these people make me realize my interest in numbers and replicating activities.

My thoughts on how to install the David C. Nolan and Marilyn Monroe series are now in flux since I learned that his collection was more expansive than I ever would have believed. Suddenly he's not as "clean" anymore so I am contemplating ways of viewing the Marilyn Monroe photographs in another way that conveys this. Drew described him today as a "porn hoarder" which is quite accurate. As I am thinking about this, I will begin scanning cats at long last. Nothing like a deadline to make that finally happen.

*UPDATE: Her name is Arline.

Autobiography: The Netherlands

The first photograph below, despite the brown California hills in the background, always reminded me of the closest any of the Goedhart sisters came to visiting Holland. Yes, I know these aren't tulips but if you imagine hard enough, seeing Aunt Marion in a field of gladiolas, holding her sunglasses and sporting a corsage on her red coat, she could be in The Netherlands.

In 2004, I wanted to recreate that image in a place far from Holland and then again once visiting the real country. The second image is another imagination of what Holland could look like but this time the only accurate connection is the contents in the foreground.

I didn't go to The Netherlands during tulip season and ended up, the moment I saw the final location in the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland, depicting the anti-thesis. Perhaps the whole point is the misconception of the imagination.

Marion Goedhart Bailey
"June 11, 1967, North County Glower Grower Tour in a field of gladioli near Oceanside, Calif.
Ann Hoffman took this picture."

Jacinda Russell
3 April 2004, Tulip Festival, Woodburn, Oregon

Jacinda Russell
Hoge Veluwe National Park en route to the Kröller-Müller Museum, The Netherlands,
August 2004

These images mark the beginning of the Autobiography series. I've been thinking about it for 8 years and the contents I am collecting are vastly different. The main connection is the passage of time. So far, this triptych is the only part that features a pre-existing photograph.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Anatomy of a Failed Attempt at Artist Stalking

I will blame it on being overworked and overwhelmed but I did not do my research properly. I took someone's word and it wasn't until after I visited the location and returned to Indiana did I realize my mistake. I have accepted this fact as Columbus, Ohio is easy to return to and I was a little hesitant on including a female before I knew I would visit. Perhaps I am not supposed to.

I was informed by a good friend of mine that Ann Hamilton lived in her workspace as she had dinner there one night with a number of artists that taught at Ohio State University. It was dark and my friend didn't tell me until later that she wasn't 100% positive. She did, however, provide me with the address and that was my entry to Ann Hamilton Studios. I also didn't feel the need to double check the information because I believed her but alas, memory doesn't always work in a factual way.

There was a large "Absolutely No Parking" sign in the driveway with one vehicle inhabiting the large space that could fit twenty cars. It was the first time I opted to walk right up to the front door as it looked less residential than any other artist's place that I had been to in the past. Needless to say I was a little nervous about that.

I took a few quick (and I mean QUICK!) photographs and then felt compelled to walk along the perimeter. There were bars all over the windows and a large roll up garage door that looked ideal for an installation artist to use. I was fairly convinced that someone could live there but it didn't look like anyone was home on this Sunday afternoon (no I wasn't looking inside the windows).

There was a small pathway between the abandoned church next door and Hamilton's studio space that I was drawn to perhaps mainly because of the graffiti.

Needless to say that it looked a little barren without a cheesy picture taken (yet another first). "Look at me! I'm touching Ann Hamilton's studio!" is really all this portrait has to offer.

I did find this in my examination of the edifice in that little back alley which certainly made me chuckle.

I returned to Muncie ready to start the Columbus trip off with another Artist Stalking blogpost but as I was looking the photographs, I was filled with doubt. Why? I remembered Ann Hamilton's Art:21 video clip in which she was interviewed inside a house, not a studio/living space. Her neighbors had such colorful columns in this screen shot looking over her shoulder and after a bit more online research...

I discovered that this is where she truly lives (image courtesy of Google Maps) only the neighbors had switched from blue to green.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Portfolio Box Arrived & Now It is Full

After visiting Alexis in Montana last November, I decided to re-think my portfolio box situation. She gave me some good tips since she has attended more portfolio reviews in recent times than I have. I bought a smaller box that fits 13"x19" prints which will be far easier to bring as a carry-on to San Francisco for the Society for Photographic Eduacation in March. I added three new From Venice Beach to the Venice Biennale images (above).

I made some 13"x19" "contact sheets" to show all of the images included in the portfolio at once for easier viewing. It includes the studio photographs of the cakes and glass plates which obviously will not fit in the box itself. I have applied to a lot of exhibitions with the Marilyn Monroe photographs in the last month. If one happens to be accepted, all of the prints are now tweaked and edited so they have the same exposure, saturation, and are lacking the blue ghost around the edges. Yay! here's to 4.5 hours of editing last night!

I spent way too much time obsessing about this and didn't get to the Postcard Collective entry yet but fortunately there is one more weekend in the month to start and finish it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

11-13 Hour Work Days

Unfortunately, not working on art but drowning in school. I did manage to make three blue Marilyns last night though. Feeling a little like Andy Warhol (or at least his studio assistants).

Mad scientist mixing cyanotype chemistry.

After spending the day learning the curve on the new inkjet film combined with all the problems of new printers, I have a few results for a demo Wednesday.

Soon: Postcard Collective Winter Submission!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Postcard Collective Interview: Tim Walker's "Circa 1978"

Check out the interview on the Postcard Collective Blog.

Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

Images via. I am thinking that Kodak filing for bankruptcy will affect my teaching more so than my artistic practice. Ever since Color Photography class at Boise State, I was always a Fuji gal.

It's still sad that an icon like Kodak never managed to embrace the digital revolution despite inventing the digital camera.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Topiary Park, Columbus, Ohio

The Topiary Park was conceived by Columbus sculptor James T. Mason in 1989. Even in the winter with very little greenery, it was still interesting albeit slightly goofy.

Of course I was looking for the monkey but it was a little too shadowy to photograph and blended in too well with the surrounding figures so I settled on a portrait with a dog instead.

I had never paid much attention to the boat rowers and was intrigued to think about the subjects in Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in more detail than I ever had before. One of my favorite parts was the frozen pond and the ice blue color of winter combined with the warmth of the evening light.

After closer inspection, the Topiary Park might only depict half of the people but I will give them props for trying.

Here's to returning during the same season as the painting when feet and hands are not feeling like they could fall off and the plants are more filled in.

Monday, January 16, 2012

James Turrell at the Franklin Park Conservatory

I had often heard that I should see the James Turrell light installation at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. It was always followed by "It's a bad one though." I wondered what that meant and approached it this weekend with the hope of finding out. Light Raiment II, 2008 can be found in the Palm House at the Conservatory. As soon as night falls, the building is illuminated by bright colors that change gradually over the space of several minutes. For a sequential example of this, see James D. Decamp's photographs of it here.

What makes a James Turrell artwork bad? Some thoughts:

1) After calling the Conservatory and talking to a very nice woman who informed me of the best way to view it during a cold winter night, I learned about the back parking lot - "ideal for watching it from the car." Unfortunately, the only real view was from the "Reserved Parking" space where I illegally parked for 15 minutes. Even though the lot was empty, this activity produced anxiety nonetheless. As seeing two of Turrell's artworks in the past have induced vomiting, adding stress to the "physical discomfort" list surely wasn't promising.

2) There is a security truck that circles all the parking lots every 5-10 minutes. The headlights from this vehicle often obscure the night time viewing experience especially when parked in the wrong spot.

3) First and second impression of the installation itself: Laser show at the planetarium? Where is the Beastie Boys soundtrack?

4) What's this I see once exiting the car and looking up close? Dale Chihuly sculptures tucked in every nook? I couldn't help but associate all my opinions of Chihuly as a sell-out onto those of Turrell the longer I viewed this piece. Proximity was not helping.

My two favorite Turrells are the Skyspace in the Live Oak Friends Meetinghouse and The Light Inside in the tunnel between the two Museum of Fine Arts buildings in Houston, Texas. Both work with the existing architecture to a far better degree as the building doesn't dominate the changing light. His signature use of flat space is also missing at the Conservatory.
I couldn't help but feel that Turrell was "phoning it in" with this installation.

Here's to another commission that will probably pay for Jimbo the security guard's salary who inhabits the top of the Roden Crater in a Land Rover looking for trespassers. Better yet, how about opening the Crater to the general public a year sooner than the always-delayed-expected-finished date posted on the website?

The Mystery of David C. Nolan's Marilyn Monroe Photographs Resolved?

I love the Internet. Rather, I love my stat counter. After being gone for most of the holiday weekend, I noticed a lot of traffic coming in from a certain website. When I first saw the name of the link, my thoughts were "Why on earth is a porn site linking to my blog?" That thought didn't prevent me from immediately checking. Enter... astonishment (!!!). I like to think of this blog as a serious documentation of my artistic process in addition to other artists' work that I am contemplating in some form or another. So with that thought in mind, here is a link to Billy Watson's "I Shoot Porn" and his amazing story of the "world's greatest pervert... David C. Nolan."


What follows is the information written by Watson that strikes me the most:

"Each picture (herein referred to as “Nolans”) was numbered and date-stamped in black ink (the 1.50 was the store’s price). Then, in red ink, we get owner information (maybe too much for a porno collection? As if Mr. Nolan actually thought someone would return his pictures if lost/stolen?!) Below that, in pencil and in almost perfect penmanship, either an odd sort of description for the girl/post/photo or some dialogue formatted like a movie script: you can read the one I showed you [image below]. Then, below that, denoted with a small red circle (in pen) a sort-of categorical note. And, below that, the very most important information of all: the model’s ...."

"The best part of this story comes when I’m paying for my stack of pictures: “What do you know about this guy David C. Nolan?” I asked. The store clerk didn’t know much. “You don’t have any more of these laying around, do you?
I was out of luck.
“Did you guys have a lot of these?”
“How many?”
The clerk looked up at me and said, “there’s a whole lot of Nolans floating around. We got them from the flea market down in Pasadena a while back, and the person we bought them from said he’d been selling them for years. Apparently, when Mr. Nolan passed, his wife went down to the basement for the first time to see what was down there. The basement was strictly off-limits to her, so he dies, she goes down there, and to her horror she discovers files and files of these.”
“Files and files?” I repeated.
The clerk looked up at me and said cooly, “Three hundred thousand. Give or take.”

"My jaw dropped. “You mean like…a quarter million Nolans?”
The clerk nodded his head. “She was so embarrassed she didn’t even sell them. She just gave them to the first person who agreed to haul the whole lot out of her basement.”
I didn’t know whether to gasp — or laugh. I think I did both. “And each one of them had the same kind of information on the back?”
The clerk nodded his head.
“But it must have taken at least 5 or 10 minutes a picture to number and stamp them, and then come up with these whacky sayings, and then label them as to whether or not the girl shows beaver…and then finally add the model’s name. And do it all really neatly.”

Watson then goes on to tell how he Google searched "David C. Nolan" with his San Francisco address and came to Something Between Want and Desire. He further offers his assessment on Nolan's character (as Watson has more information, I am inclined to believe his version while mine was just a guess).

The following photograph is from Watson's post of the back of his "Nolan" card from the above link. It's amazing seeing Nolan's handwriting in a completely different context. I am also glad that someone else was as fascinated as I was in this odd character who clearly spent more time in the basement than he did in other room in his house. Now if only I had known that when I went to photograph his address last summer!

Now to rewrite that artist statement.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Amber Ibarreche

I'm enamored with collage these days (another post coming soon). The above image contains all sorts of things that interest me: the color of old postcards, Texas kitsch, taxidermy, pets, iconic phrases inserted in unlikely locations, and so on. Check out more of Amber Ibarreche's work here.


Alternative modes of flight in the form of dirigibles have always intrigued me. (frightened may be a more apt word in relationship to some of the images below). One summer while driving from Marfa to Houston, Texas I saw a shape on the horizon moving slowly toward the car. Gradually the Camry met up with the large Rolling Stones lips that adorned this yellow airship following I-10 from Houston to Los Angeles on their 2002 tour. It was a surreal experience as I suddenly recognized the popular culture icon attached to this mode of a century old transportation.

Image via.

In addition, "dirigible" is one of my favorite words in the English language - its definition is quite unlike its pronunciation.

Gimpel, Departure of Dirigible Zodiac III, 1909

I was always amazed by this photograph hanging in the Tillamook Cheese Factory (Oregon Historical Archive #37696). For the size of the exterior of the building, click here.

Alfred Hilderbrandt, French Airships, 1910

Ruth Thorne-Thomsen, Blimp, Mexico, 1980 (perhaps my favorite of the group because it's a collage photographed with a pinhole camera)

Atomic Bomb Stokes, 1957