Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Spiral Kitty"

Also see Francis Alÿs: The Paradox of Praxis (Cat Version) here.

Brought to you by Homesession Barcelona via an email link from Adam Davis. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Doug Keyes: Collective Memory

Doug Keyes, Karl Blossfeldt - Photography, 1998

I have loved Doug Keyes' photographs of books since I first encountered them at Rudolph Poissant Gallery in Houston, Texas thirteen years ago. It is not only the subject matter but the content that arises from the technique of exposing many pages of the same book on a single piece of film. The ghostly images are recognizable when they stem from art history though works of fiction are more difficult to decipher. His technique resembles a flip book frozen in time. The pages he chooses reflect his experiences and memories with each publication though I like to think he paused in the same places I do in monographs like Christian Boltanski or Sugimoto

I scanned Keyes' exhibition announcement from Rudolph Poissant Gallery which featured Karl Blossfeldt - Photography (above) and showed it to many of my introductory photography classes since 2000. I was thrilled when his book Collective Memory was published in 2008 and finally it moved to the top of my interlibrary loan check out list (a few years late).

It's one of those publications that is infinitely seen better in person as the bindings of the books he photographs are often are aligned with the center of his book (and therefore difficult to represent here). Here are three of my favorites:

Doug Keyes, Another Water - Roni Horn, 2001

Doug Keyes, Becher - Water Towers, 1997

My attempt at photographing They Called Her Styrene - Ed Ruscha from Doug Keyes, Collective Memory on a sunny day in the front driveway. Needless to say this image should have been included in the Gagosian exhibition Ed Ruscha: Books and Co. last spring.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Screen Capture

One moment ago, two disparate actions (scanning an image from Ron Jude's Lick Creek Line and simultaneously watching the documentary Beautiful Losers) aligned to create this:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Necklace Resolved

I am on a roll in terms of completing projects. What else do I have laying around since 2011 that needs to be finished? [scary question].

Monday, June 24, 2013

27 Months Later...

My response to Arline Conradt's cat scrapbook is complete!

Size: 17" x 14" x 2.5"
Number of Pages: 176
Number of Cats: 3770

Arline Conradt's original scrapbook:
Size: 16" x 14" x 3.5"
Number of Pages: 310
Number of Cats: 3770

Post-its from my response:
Most number of cats on one page: 355
Least number of cats on one page: 1

Post-its from Arline's cat scrapbook:
Most number of cats on one page: 90
Least number of cats on one page: 1

Number of glue sticks it took to adhere my response: 7

Examples of individual pages (above and below)

After spending six days gluing 2200 cats, I added an addendum (perhaps foolishly). Here it is in its entirety. The numbers featured here are not part of the 3770.

Mock-up installation photographs of my response in front of Arline Conradt's cat scrapbook transformed into wallpaper.

Videos I streamed & rented on Netflix while gluing: Zero Dark Thirty, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, Detropia, Into the Abyss, Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, Roman Holiday, Our City Dreams, A Small Act, Crips & Bloods: Made in America, Moving Midway, Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, Elegy, The Rape of Europa, The Gates, and three Wholphin DVDs.

Next up: updating the website and collecting 25 more cat claws. I can see the light at the end of the very long tunnel. Thanks to everyone that helped me accumulate cats the last two years.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Soundtrack to the Cat Scrapbook: Animal Collective's "Leaf House"

Animal Collective, Leaf House

This song is now five years old, yet I think of it often while gluing pages in the cat scrapbook.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Omnipresence: James Turrell

James Turrell  [image via]

Last week, the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy article  by Wil S. Hylton on James Turrell's concurrent exhibitions at LACMA, MFAH, and the Guggenheim. Considering how much I have researched Turrell in the past, there were many passages with new information that were fascinating.

"Not everyone enjoys the Turrell experience. It requires a degree of surrender. There is a certain comfort in knowing what is real and where things are; to have that comfort stripped away can be rapturous, or distressing. It can even be dangerous. During a Turrell show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1980, several visitors to a piece called City of Arhirit became unsteady in the bright blue haze and tried to brace themselves against a wall made of light. Some of them fell down. A few got hurt. One woman, who broke her arm, sued the Whitney and Turrell for more than $10,000, claiming that the show made her 'disoriented and confused' that she 'violently precipitated to the floor.' Another visitor, who sprained her wrist, sued the Whitney for $250,000. The museum’s insurance company then filed a claim against Turrell, and although a member of the Whitney family put a stop to the suit, Turrell still gets sore thinking about it. He spent $30,000 to defend himself, but it’s not the money that bothers him the most. It’s the lingering feeling that the work didn’t . . . work. 'On some level,' he told me, 'you’d have to say I failed.'" 

"We were at his townhouse on Gramercy Park in Manhattan. Like Turrell’s other two homes, in northern Arizona and eastern Maryland, it was furnished mostly in the Shaker style." 
[I am more astounded at how many houses some famous artists own. Looks like I have more artist stalking research to do especially since James Turrell's compound near Flagstaff was the very first photograph taken that inspired this series.]

"Much of his art is located in the far corners of the earth. There is an 18,000-square-foot museum devoted to Turrell in the mountains of Argentina, a monumental pyramid he constructed in eastern Australia and an even larger one on the Yucatán Peninsula, with chambers that capture natural light."

James Turrell, Roden Crater [image via]

"On a recent drive across the desert to see the crater, he turned to me and said, 'I was absolutely going to get this project done by the year 2000, so I’m a little embarrassed by it. There have been periods of euphoria. There have been times that I’ve been discouraged, and times when I’ve just gone out and enjoyed the place — and realized that maybe this would be it. Maybe it wouldn’t get any further.'"

"In 1966, he was arrested for coaching young men to avoid the Vietnam draft. He spent about a year in jail, and after his release in 1967, moved into a shuttered hotel in the Ocean Park section of Santa Monica."

"Over the next five decades, he would become an expert on light-bulb varieties, studying the distinctive character of neon, argon, ultraviolet, fluorescent and LEDs. For his 70th birthday last month, a friend gave him a bulb he’d never used before; Turrell was ecstatic."

"We were pulling around the base of the crater and began to climb the side. Halfway up, we turned into the parking area of a small lodge. The lodge is built mostly from local stone and leftover materials from the crater project. There is a small kitchen, a large common area and four bedrooms tucked into the back. Someday, Turrell hopes to build additional lodges and rent their rooms, so visitors can spend the night at the crater." [someday indeed]

Chuck Close's experience visiting Roden Crater in a wheel chair and the author's description of seeing the crater at dusk are not to be missed. The article ends with this passage: "The crater was perfect, and incomplete, and his time to finish it was winding down. 'You know,' he told me earlier in the truck, 'I’d like to see it myself.' [I have always known that one day I will return and see the interior as the "grand opening" at the base was never quite enough.]

Follow this link to see how the Guggenheim is constructing his piece in the rotunda. The museum guards are going to have their work cut out for them preventing people from photographing it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Commissioned Cat Scrapbook Addition

One day many months ago, 250 of the postcards below were accidentally shipped to the Art office. Since I am working on a cat project, everyone thought I should take the bundle, but one card was enough since it's not about multiples of the same image.

Heather Myers, Administrative Coordinator Extraordinaire, looked up the name on the front of the card and sent me the website. This spawned the idea of a possible commission for the cat scrapbook. Many months later, due to my busy beyond comprehension schedule, this arrived in my mailbox when I returned from Europe.

Jenny Parks created a relatively accurate portrait of Oatmeal and Button Omelet. The one thing that she was not aware of in the sample photographs I sent her to make the drawing, is that Oatmeal is twice the size of Button. Also, the cats would never sit that close to one another. Last night, I had the brief opportunity to take a quick snapshot of the two of them - foreboding shadows sum up their relationship well.

In any case, I now have a portrait of my cats to add to the cat scrapbook in homage to Arline Conradt. Too bad I feel like hanging it on the wall rather than putting it in the book. We will see what materializes from it. In the meantime, I have 2067 more cats to glue. My deadline is next week. This will happen.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summertime Means Interlibrary Loan Season

First round:

The biggest find is Sol LeWitt's Autobiography 1980. I can't believe a library would loan it to little old me considering its worth (in FINE condition). More highlights later as I slowly peruse them (had to catch up on the New Yorker pile first).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

17 months later, this necklace is finally happening

Once upon a time two summers ago, I saw a necklace that I wanted desperately. Unfortunately, it was in the permanent collection of the Pitti Palace in Florence and not for sale (as if I could afford it). The end of May marked the first opportunity to make a prototype before buying silver to reconstruct the real thing. Pat Nelson, the metals professor at Ball State, is going above and beyond to help me despite having three major projects she is trying to accomplish this summer.

Last year, she bought Flora Wiechmann Savoli's catalog. It's in Italian but the photographs are beautiful.

I am hoping to knock this long overdue task out before the end of the summer.

Update: Best sentence I heard while working on this Wednesday: "If you were in my class, I'd give you an 'A.'" I love Pat.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Opening Reception at Stutz Gallery

It was difficult to discern which was my favorite one. Perhaps it was the slice (which was real) but the rest of the cake was styrofoam. I could be jaded because it is also associated with my favorite photograph in the series. In any case, we should have made more chocolate.

Thanks to Natalie for working overtime on baking all of these!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cakes (both real and fake) for the opening tonight

Wish me luck in their transport 60 miles south on four interstates.

Also, Happy National Doughnut Day! To get into the spirit of things, here is a good read: Geoff Dyer's essay "Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (with particular reference to Doughnut Plant doughnuts)". A passage follows:

“What a fantastic doughnut! What a totally fantastic experience!” and that this was attracting the attention of the other customers, one of whom turned to me.

“You like the doughnuts, huh?” he said.

“And the coffee!” I said. “The doughnut would be nothing without thecoffee—andvice versa.”

“Where you from?” he said.


“Don’t they have doughnuts like that in England?”

“Not like this they don’t,” I said. “I’ve spent twenty years searching for just such a doughnut. Now that I’ve found it I can go to my grave a happy man. I’ve achieved everything I wanted from life.”

“Well, enjoy,” he said, as though I had been making a joke.

“Sure will,” I said, and resumed my chewing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cat Scrapbook Cover is... Covered

As Amelia says, it "is in the spirit of the original" though mine features felines not letters of the alphabet.

All of the cats will be counted (though it looks like the interior will feature a headache). Exterior below:


Now to fill it with pages that are not quite done! After this Stutz show in Indianapolis, I have my work cut out for me.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Extraordinarily Late Spring Postcard Collective Submission

In retrospect, I should have bailed on this round. I had too much to do and was leaving the day after the 1st May submission deadline to contemplate starting it. Also, the theme "Life and Death" was very difficult as I didn't want to fall into the "cliché trap." While in Europe, I thought of an idea and it only took an additional two weeks to materialize after my return. It was sent one month late (horrifying as I have never mailed anything this far from the deadline). Why not look at death in the form of an inanimate object? I do that all the time in most of my work so it wasn't too farfetched.

More details are forthcoming as to the content (as soon as I can formulate them into coherent thoughts) on my collaboration with Camden Hardy.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Stutz Gallery Exhibition: First Friday in Indianapolis

If you are in the area, come to the opening! There will be 3.33 real cakes to eat at the reception (replicating styrofoam fake cakes inspired by Wayne Thiebaud's paintings of cakes that were in turn, influenced by real cakes).

More information found here.