Thursday, September 29, 2011

Heading Home

Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, 1964

First time in Portland in September in five years. Until next week...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One of the Other Things I Miss about Portland: Part 2

The last two Septembers in Portland also featured watching the Vaux Swifts roost in the Chapman Elementary School chimney with the Altmans. Thousands and thousands of birds would circle the school yard and slowly drop into the chimney until they were all inside. Sometimes hawks would swoop inside the swarm and steal a swift away. That was usually met with gasps and boos from the audience below that gathered on blankets to watch them. Sometimes nothing is as beautiful as flocks of birds in flight.

Marc Silver, There are No Others, There is Only Us

Catherine Ulitsky, Hadley Starlings Flock #9, 2006

From Robert Adams: “There are so many astonishing encounters with mystery. I remember one foggy October evening, just after we had moved to Oregon, when we were sitting in the living room and Kerstin looked up from her reading and asked if I’d heard something. I hadn’t. I listened and still couldn’t be sure. She said is seemed to be coming from outside, so we opened the front door and went onto the porch, out into dense, dimly glowing fog. The sounds, we came to realize, were the voices of small birds migrating south over the hilltop on which we live, just out of sight up in the fog. They were perhaps no more than thirty of forty feet above us, but completely invisible. Their passage went on for a long time. How many thousands of birds must there have been? We never saw any of them but we could almost touch them. It was an event from which Charles Burchfield would have made a painting.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

One of the Things I Miss about Portland: Part 1

As September rolls to a close... for two years in a row, Alexis and I (along with her son Justice) walked with the elephants from their last performance at the circus in the Rose Garden at dusk as far as we could to the train that would take them away to the next city. There was something magical about strolling alongside of these animals as they held each other trunk to tail kicking up the dust that surrounded us. When I encountered Bruce Davidson's photographs earlier this year, I knew they had to memorialize this event that was so special to do my last two Septembers in Portland. These images are for that memory that unfortunately seems like so long ago.

Bruce Davidson, Clyde Beatty Circus, 1958

Bruce Davidson, Clyde Beatty Circus, 1958

Bruce Davidson, Clyde Beatty Circus, 1958

Bruce Davidson, Ringling Bros Circus, 1965
[This image above most reminds me of our experience given that we were walking with the elephants under the interstate. No one was riding them though.]

Bruce Davidson, Ringling Bros. Circus, 1965

Jason Polan's "The Color I See When I Close My Eyes"

One of my favorites... Jason Polan.

The color I'd prefer to see when I close my eyes (via the color of).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Marilyn Monroe Sculpture & Tribune Tower - Chicago

Seward Johnson's 26' tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe attracted all the tourists last weekend. There was a steady stream of people wishing to be photographed under her skirt and the antics that they would do for the camera proved to be amusing.

Consider the space between her legs a platform with constantly rotating groups of people who would pause to run their hands all over her and even lick her limbs. Given how scuffed her feet were, this surely wasn't a sanitary affair.

David C. Nolan would be proud.

The Tribune Tower flanks the square alongside the Marilyn Monroe sculpture and I became acquainted with its rock collection for the first time. At first this proved interesting but then it became a source of contention. Over the course of time, correspondents for the newspaper returned to Chicago with fragments of rocks from around the world. 136 of them, including a piece from the moon (on display in a glass window), adorn the walls. All was fine and dandy when they came from generic places like the Revolutionary Battlefield but...

... once the sources became more specific (temples, bridges, buildings in the Forbidden City), it took on this pilfering of national monuments activity that I became uncomfortable with. Here come the Americans with their pick-axes chipping off ornaments from a bridge to display on a skyscraper in Chicago.

Only one specified that it was removed during "reconstruction" and one can only assume that the others were taken illicitly. The fact that it was the White House, an iconic American work of architecture, that the Tribune Towers felt the need to clarify, cemented the thoughts that other country's national monuments did not matter (and were open for "ownership").

One of the most interesting possessions I have is a rock chipped off the Taj Mahal by my great-uncle who was stationed in India during WWII (from the "wunderkammer" above). I have a love hate relationship with this and it directly relates to the Tribune Tower collection. I hate the fact that Uncle Bill defaced a national monument for a souvenir (much like I presume some of these correspondents did when acquiring the rocks for their employer). On the other side of things, who has a piece of the Taj Mahal?

Well the Tribune Tower that's who. Now we are both pilfers of by association - it's hard to feel good about that. [Photo by RSSB]

Artist Stalking

I'll get to the rest of the Chicago posts tomorrow (the photos have been trapped on my camera - not the iPhone - and have been difficult to get to), but while I'm thinking about it... the four images I've accumulated of artist's houses. I'm formulating an artist statement as this is a series that I will continue for years to come. I would like to include some females yet stick to houses, not apartment complexes or condos. This is also a rough print - I don't know if I will continue to use this scale or format or use of text. The Turrell piece will be substituted with my next place that may possibly take place next weekend.... Robert Adams.

I recently discovered John Gossage's The 32" Ruler and his images of his new neighbor's home... Donald Rumsfeld (both images below are Gossage's).

Glad I am not alone in this endeavor.

The quadrant at the top of the post is part of this exhibition. Illicit activity = yes!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Chicago! Art & Culture! At long last! The art highlights included: Pandora's Box: Joseph Cornell Unlocks the MCA Collection. The exhibition was broken down into the Box as Altar, The Voyeur, Repetition, Cut and Paste, and Film Works to name a few.

A Starn Twins double Rembrandt portrait on plywood tilting toward the viewer.

Nam June Paik, Exotic Garden, 1986

A Nick Cave Soundsuit

Mariko Mori, Birth of a Star, 1995 (it looked like a holograph the way it was displayed = ever so 1990s but fascinating nonetheless)

Pipilotti Rist, Sip My Ocean (the more installations I see of her work, the more fascinated I become with the viewing spaces)

Christian Boltanski altar installation (predictably one of my favorites)

Arman, Alarm Clocks, 1960 (note to self: look up more of his obsessive collections)

The main exhibition on display was Mark Bradford's retrospective. It was my first acquaintance with his work and I was drawn to his use of manipulating paper.

Mark Bradford, Corner of Desire and Piety, 2008

On to the Art Institute where Ralph Eugene Meatyard's Dolls and Masks was the main focus (more on that exhibition once I purchase the catalog). There were also some works I had seen a couple times before but was happy to view again:

Salvador Dali, Venus de Milo with Drawers, 1936

Eva Hesse, Hang Up, 1966

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

... and then....

The Wormhole, Wicker Park (with a replica of the Deloreon from Back to the Future).

Shit Fountain

Up next: Fascinating encounters with a giant Marilyn Monroe sculpture and rocks embedded into the Times Building.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meatyard on My Mind

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Ambrose Bierce, 1964

From this website: "Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925-1972) has been on the fringes of photographic history--so much so that he once inserted one of his own prints into a personal copy of Beaumont Newhall's seminal History of Photography, which had not included him."

More soon...

Globes: Part 2

In light of David Byrne's installation Tight Spot, a 48'x20' inflatable world installed underneath the High Line, it's time for another globe blogpost. Byrne's project is definitely a reason why I wish I was visiting NYC in the next couple weeks.

Ruth Watson, A Map of the World that Does Not Include Utopia is Not Even Worth Glancing At, 2004

Marina Font, Dos Mundos, 2010

Vernon Fisher, Man Cutting Globe, 1995

Emma Powell,

Michael Druks, Flexible Geography World 1971

Michael Druks, Flexible Geography (Switzerland), 1971

Doug Beube, First Strike, 2003-2004 [burned shortly after its creation]

John Mann, Untitled (Eclipse)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Interim: End of Summer

Summer has passed though this 80 degree day is deceiving. I spent an additional 13.5 hours editing Italy photographs before school started in August to add to the summer stipend.

I turned a year older as witnessed by some "real cakes."

A very special birthday present from my friend Maura of my friend Shawn's photograph:

A photograph received that was long coveted (Mark Sawrie from the series Specimens).

A postcard I borrowed from Amelia to scan (my infatuation with horned toads started while living in Tucson):

... and what's this? Two acceptances! I'm a Critical Mass Finalist for these photographs. In addition, Nine Fake Cakes... will potentially appear in a publication coming soon to a photo magazine near you.