Saturday, April 30, 2011

Arend deGruyter-Helfer

Arend deGruyter-Helfer's I Got You Something: Facebook Gifts Arranged in a Pile, 2008

There is a pink doughnut with sprinkles on top of the pile.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh How I Love Joe Sola's Latest Project

More Cinematic Artforum Reviews of Joe Sola's Work:

From the 323 Projects Website:
"Sola hired a professional voiceover artist to read Artforum Magazine reviews of his past work. When combined with strange soundtracks, the resulting works resemble the audio structure of film trailers for big-budget blockbuster movies, while engaging questions of appropriation, authorship, connections between Hollywood and Visual Culture."

Sola's Studio Visit is one of my favorite all-time artworks. I watch it every other year when I show it to one of my upperdivision classes and I never cease to laugh. It's featured in both of the videos above but it takes on a whole new level of hilarity when read with a soundtrack resembling a Blaxploitation or Tarantino film. Sola is one of those great artists that makes it okay to make funny work. I have to keep that in mind as the plot for the VB project continues to form.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yet another tornado warning

Francis Alÿs, Tornado, 2000- present

"Every year since 2001 Alÿs, at the highpoint of the dry season in March, drives his car to the southeast edge of Mexico City where smoky clouds rise from cornfields burning after the harvest, and grey swirls of ash and sand loom on the horizon. He carries his video camera and runs toward the tornadoes hoping to catch them as a surfer catches a wave. His nose and mouth are protected only by a handkerchief. Once he reaches one, he runs into the eye of the storm and stays as long as possible. This is an absurd act but he tries to forge a moment of bliss in the midst of chaos."

Susan Silton, From Twisters and Twisted, Twister #2, 2003

From the website: "Susan Silton's Twisters are digitally manipulated photographs of tornadoes originally taken by professional storm chasers, which she then reduces to a small, intimate scale, and converts to black & white with a richness and subtlety reminiscent of drawings or a fine silverprint. Long interested in the aesthetics and metaphor of movement, she is known for her colorful Aviate series of streaking abstractions generated from bookplates of birds. Her new tornado images show spectacular spectral funnels that fissure the atmosphere with a concentration of wind-energy and swirling pressures. Milky-white streams puncture a dark enveloping sky and touch the ground in turbulent, body-like, ways."

Twister #5, 2003

Twister #6, 2003

Another thought for California: (Part 1 of Braydee's Response)

This artwork depicts all the keys that were given to my father when he purchased the YMCA (except one which I added for variation). I was recently given a key which I signed a contract promising to return after one week. It was one of 17 or 18 keys made to open the front door of Braydee's house but it was quickly apparent that not one of them worked. Her project was based on a fabrication - on trusting an audience that may open her door and do harm to her space (or merely occupy it or, or, or). Ultimately, she controlled us by giving us a key that didn't work. I felt cheated once I knew my key wouldn't fit in her door so I didn't return it. Why should I remain true to the contract I signed when it was based on a falsehood? I am usually one to live up to my word (signed particularly) but I couldn't this time. I thought about burying it in her yard but I missed two golden opportunities to do so. Today I decided that her key would become my personal symbol for the "home" I'm trying to find this summer. I'm taking it to California and I'm giving it away. I'm burying it there. I'm attaching it to a piece of driftwood and sending it out to sea. I'm using it to open someone else's door. I'm continuing the lie by making it mine. It's the metaphor for the home I will not find.

Neglecting My Cat Counting/Posting BUT....

Here's one of the best photographs my Mom sent me of 16 cats (yes the same ones are counted as multiples since the original scrapbook featured several of the same birthday cards, etc. over many pages). Priscilla, Sooty, Cinnamon, Curious, Persian, Javy & Jacinda (c. 1984).

Monday, April 25, 2011

More Clouds, More Storms, More Rain: Mitch Dobrowner

The photographs of Mitch Dobrowner remind me of the walls of rain I've driven through in Houston, Texas, the clouds that look like a forming tornado above the car on a Kansas interstate, or rain falling so hard, we had to pull over on the freeway in Wyoming. I'm wishing the cold, wet spring would go away after the freezing, icy winter. Come on summer... where are you? Tired of listening for the tornado warning at 3 in the morning...

Mitch Dobrowner, Road Near Guymon, Oklahoma, 2009

Monsoon, Lordburg, New Mexico, 2010

Funnel, Cornfield, Northfield, Minnesota, 2010

Bear Claw, Moorcroft, Wyoming, 2010

Clouds Near Limon, Colorado, 2010

Wall Cloud, Davidson, Wyoming, 2009

Trees-Clouds, Texline, Texas, 2009

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Paul Nouge, Birth of an Object, 1930

Anonymous, c. 1880

Constantin Brancusi, Beginning of the World [thanks James]

Raoul Ubac, L'oeuf

Paul Outerbridge, Triumph of the Egg, 1932

Eugen Wiskovsky, Eggs, 1929

Theodore Brauner, Untitled (Solarfix), c. 1950

An Egg Magnified 500x

Harold Edgerton, Exploding Egg, c. 1958

Sarah Lucas, Self-Portrait with Fried Eggs, 1996

Chema Madoz, 2002

Chema Madoz, 1992

Arid, Egg Road

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anatomy of "The New Yorker," Volume LXXXVII, No. 9, 18 April 2011

I have several magazine subscriptions: Aperture (because I can get an educator's discount and it's the only contemporary art magazine I now have), Vegetarian Times (I live where there are no decent restaurants and like to make good food), Wholphin (a DVD "magazine" and a great resource though I have the last five to view by my bedside), McSweeney's (because I love them so but I've never opened nor have read one of the issues since subscribing - I just like to look at them = call me a fool but who wouldn't want this on a bookshelf?), Lucky Peach (because I'm a sucker and it was cheap), and The New Yorker (the one I actually read and refer to time and time again).

I have been contemplating this blog post for a week now because the latest issue is the best one I have ever read and it merits its very own, mammoth post. I immediately noticed the enticing cover, wishing I was there rather than here (summer in a foreign country or 44 degrees and a stormy day?). When I opened it and realized it was the "Journeys" issue, I was immediately hooked. After skimming the table of contents, I noticed a couple of my favorite authors contributed stories and what? Did I really see that? An article on earthworks? I vowed not to skip ahead and continue from the front.

The Talk of the Town featured an article on Ai WeiWei who is often on my mind of late. The second thing that caught my eye was Evan Osnos' article, "The Grand Tour: Chinese Vacations in Europe." First of all, it made me sick. I would never in a million years want to participate in a vacation (speed marathon) like this: five countries in ten days. Versailles, the Louvre, AND the Eiffel Tower in ONE day! The paragraph below was a pleasant addition to things that people do in motel rooms with objects that I would like to photograph one day. Hmmm... watch for something in this paragraph occurring on this summer's road trip!

It took me two days to get to the article I really wanted to read (keeping in mind, I can only read this magazine while eating breakfast when school is in session or when I'm on an airplane). The first day, I skimmed it and the second day, I read it over again, slowly. Geoff Dyer wrote one of my favorite books on photography, The Ongoing Moment, which I read for the first time last summer so I was excited when I saw that he wrote this article. He and his wife went on a road trip that featured visiting Walter De Maria's Lightning Field and Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. Their experience of the Lightning Field was so different from mine, I read this section three times trying to determine whether or not we visited the same place. Here are some highlights (though this was very difficult to choose):

"Everyone sees the same picture of "The Lightning Field" - the one on the cover of Robert Hughes's "American Visions," of a lightning storm dancing around the poles. But present-day visitors tend not to know - or are reluctant to accept - that it is naïve, even a little vulgar, to expect lightning. We came in May, too early in the year, but even during the peak season of storm activity, mid-July to late August, lightning strikes are the exception. De Maria spent years searching for an appropriate spot, somewhere with a high incidence of storms. He wrote that there are 'approximately sixty days per year when thunder and lightning activity can be witnessed from "The Lightning Field."' I don't know if any record has been kept of the number of lightning storms that have converged on the field itself, but if you happened to be there for one, you would count yourself very lucky to witness what must surely be one of the greatest shows on earth. De Maria suggested, rightly, that the light is every bit as important as the lightning, but calling it "The Lightning Field" was a sensational bit of marketing.

"Over the years, voices have occasionally dissented from the consensually reverent view of what goes on here.... the critic John Beardsley claimed that the buildup helped 'insure that one will fully expect to see God at "The Lightning Field." Needless to say, He doesn't appear. No artwork can live up to this hype.' Except that it could and it does. Even without the bonus of lightning, the experience of "The Lightning Field" transcends its reputation. Of course God does not appear. There's a lot of space, but, even as a figure of speech, there's no room for God. "The Lightning Field" offers an intensity of experience that for a long time could be articulated only - or most conveniently - within the language of religion. Nothing about "The Lightning Field" prompts one to genuflect. Rigorously atheistic, geometrically neutral, it takes the faith and the vaulting promise of modernism into the wilderness. Part of the experience of coming here is the attempt to understand and articulate these responses."

When Nancy and I visited on 3 July 2009, it was indeed the greatest show on earth. I won't even go into the section on Spiral Jetty as I would love to finish this blog post before 1 AM. Next up... Jonathan Franzen's "Farther Away: "Robinson Crusoe," David Foster Wallace, and the Island of Solitude." I was sold upon reading the title and even more so when I learned that Franzen wanted to visit an isolated island 500 miles off the coast of Chile (Alejandro Selkirk) to read the novel "Robinson Crusoe." That takes the back seat to the mourning of the suicide of his friend David Foster Wallace (whose partial remains he brought in his backpack). It's a profound essay and I could easily imagine his state of mind (oscillating between frustration, despair and relief) and the locale (steep cliffs drenched in thick fog to reveal an unknown paradise at the end).

The past couple issues have featured CATS (though there isn't one depicted in this cartoon, its indirect reference feels like it should go to the collection of 3,770).

Keith Gessen's "Nowheresville: How Kazakhstan is building a glittering new capital from scratch" reminded me so much of another capital built in an isolated area that I am both fascinated by and slightly fearful of (the latter because I'd like to see them but have no desire to travel that far into the middle of nothing). I'm referencing Brasilia. It was the epitome of Modernist architecture while the buildings in Kazakhstan, like the Khan Shatyr below could define spectacle. There is a beach on the top floor in one of the coldest cities on earth. Brrrr....

I rarely laugh at the Cartoon Captions on the last page and I always am perturbed because the one I think is most funny, never, ever wins. This week two (one by Roger Ebert!) made me chuckle. Even though I know people will vote for the famous man's quote, I'm partial to the middle one.

It took me a week to read this volume. I might not tear it up but keep it whole (the first issue I own that is complete). We'll see.... In any case, it is Button Omelet approved!

Bought my airplane ticket home tonight....

Order of operation: before the summer begins - go back home.

Lee Friedlander, Western United States, 1975

In the meantime: the weekend before utter chaos and no time on my hands will entail (final critiques and grading commence Monday):

1) Finish painting and sanding the Nine Fake Cake & Nine Bodies of Water frames
2) Buy matboard in Indy for above
3) Finish editing the remaining 12 Marilyn photographs because I can always hit the Print button while grading...
4) Revel in the fact that I turned in 12 more applications for exhibitions for the cakes last week. Current status: 32 pending & 4 rejections. Come on two acceptances!

Anonymous: Some of My Favorite Found Photographs