Tuesday, July 30, 2013

R.I.P. Walter De Maria

On 3rd July 2009, I walked the perimeter of Lightning Field in awe as a deer ran through the poles before twilight. A thunderstorm rolled in and we watched lightning strike for two hours from the cabin’s porch. I could fill the rest of this post with superlatives, yet no words or photographs adequately describe what we witnessed.

The following morning, I pocketed a few smooth, yellow stones from the center of the field, substituting them for a red rock from the base of James Turrell’s Roden Crater. “From one earthwork to the next,” I thought as I hurled the pebble collected from Lightning Field into Robert Smithson’s Amarillo Ramp a few days after.

I was deeply saddened after learning Walter De Maria died last week. Before leaving for Texas, I photographed a hardened chunk of loam from the New York Earthroom. I am racked with guilt by its presence but now I know what I must do with it. I am sorry that it took a great artist’s death for that revelation to occur.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


In Europe earlier this summer, I made a list of the most important bodies of water that inform who I am (artistically and personally). There are twelve: eleven I know well and one I strive to visit one day. It is my hope that the removal of the fake dessert from the water and simply studying the location, the form, and the feeling will resolve many of the questions I ask but neglect to answer.

I packed art supplies (including the transformation of a Mason jar into a carry-on airplane snack receptacle perfect for cashews and green beans) and headed to two on the list: the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa, Texas where my vision of floating a fake dessert first materialized in 2009 and Balmorhea State Park an hour to the north.

It is not a typical summer in West Texas as the desert was nearly as green as the Thunderbird Hotel's swimming pool. I battled many clouds, at first willingly but later with disappointment.

No visit to Marfa is complete without visiting the Chinati and Judd Foundation. More on that later including the purchase of my first performance art piece. In the meantime, I am researching, making notations, writing and thinking, and with any hope, there will be developments this week before my summer comes crashing to an end, enveloped by school for the first 17 days of August.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Marfa" by Allison V. Smith

Allison V. Smith's photographs of Marfa show the small details that are often overlooked when people write about their pilgrimage to this remote, art world Mecca. Her images give the impression that locals still live there and transplants have not taken over. There is hope that the facade of the house in Giant still stands.

Allison V. Smith, From the series Marfa

Allison V. Smith, From the series Marfa

Allison V. Smith, From the series Marfa

Allison V. Smith, From the series Marfa

Allison V. Smith, From the series Marfa

Check out the rest of Smith's series here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Road Trip (with William Eggleston & Roger Minick)

William Eggleston, From Chromes, 1969-1974

This summer, Roger Minick's Sightseer Series is especially apt in my quest to be a professional tourist. However, I have always loved the Eggleston photograph because it is one of the best depictions of driving into the sun. My indecisiveness brings them together, proving there were great photographs of "vacation" before Martin Parr.

Roger Minick, Man with Hawaiian Shirt at Sunrise Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT, 1980

Roger Minick, Niagara Falls, Canada, 1999

Roger Minick, Man with Tattoos at Cadillac Ranch, TX, 1998

Roger Minick, Couple Viewing Cadillac Ranch, Texas, 1998

Roger Minick, Man at the Alamo, Texas, 1999

From Roger Minick's Field Notes:

"When I approached people for a portrait, I tried to make my request clear and to the point, making it clear that I was not trying to sell them anything.  I explained that my wife and I were traveling around the country visiting most of the major tourist destinations so that I could photograph the activity of sightseeing.  I would quickly add that I hoped the project would have cultural value and might be seen in years to come as a kind of time capsule of what Americans looked like at the end of the Twentieth Century; at which, to my surprise, I would see people often begin to nod their heads as if they knew what I was talking about."

Monday, July 22, 2013

David Hammons' "Bag Lady in Flight"

I cannot believe I forgot to post David Hammons' Bag Lady in Flight last summer when I was researching artists who incorporated paper bags in their art (better late than never). I have always loved this sculpture due to the absence of the woman represented in the title yet her presence is defined by the stains on the paper.

David Hammons, Bag Lady in Flight, 1982

Peter Happel Christian's "Long Nights, Long Days"

Peter Happel Christian, Long Nights, Long Days

From Peter's website:

"Two packages of 11"x14" black and white photographic paper bound with twine and placed in my backyard in Minnesota during opposite seasons of 2012. The dark bundle, Long Nights, recorded the entire duration of winter beginning on December 22, 2011 and ending on March 19, 2012. Long Nights was removed from its protective packaging under natural light and was left to fog in the weather. The light bundle, Long Days, recorded the entire duration of summer beginning on June 20, 2012 and ending on September 21, 2012. Long Days was opened in a darkroom and processed through a fixer bath, rendering the silver particles inert to natural light, preserving the white of the paper base."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Notebooks & Weathered Paper

It will come as no surprise that I collect old paper. This started in graduate school when I constructed artist's books that needed to look worn. Over the last two years, I have accumulated numerous notepads (filled and emptied). It is my greatest hope that they will offer resolution in the presentation of many of the lists in the Autobiography series. I nailed these to the side of the house for one month yesterday:

I hope they will look like the drawing pad Jay Defeo used to adhere her photographs in the image below. I sneaked this terrible snapshot to remember the presentation at her Whitney Biennial retrospective in March.

Since the rental cave is a brick box, I hung them higher than planned. They have until mid August to look less 2012. Let's hope the Midwestern summer cooperates with my first time experiment with weathering paper.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Astoria Megler Bridge, July 2013

In July 2011, I constantly photographed a rock in Monterosso al Mare, Italy:

In July 2012, another rock in Neskowin, Oregon held my attention:

This July, a work of architecture crossing the Columbia River, joining Oregon to Washington, claimed that honor. I can't think of a bridge I like better and someday I hope to walk across it again.

Note: each year these photographs are taken with my iPhone and every time I ask forgiveness for their quality (namely the last image).

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Hour of the Cardinals" by Tina Barr

A judge from Tupelo tells me tankers
piss dioxin past the shotgun shacks.
Done eat the asphalt white.
‘Drive til it’s empty’ is what they told.

Sparrows come through portals
in the chain link windows. Colic
means inconsolable, my sister tells me.
The Pope knew about the gassing of the Jews.

He turned like an eggplant when he died,
all black. In my dining room, a horse
comes through the wall, pastels scratched
against the surface of white-washed feed sacks.

At five, in the winter, they come
six or seven, red-feathered in the boxwood,
for sunflower seeds, a heat’s compression
soaked into the cobbled face of a flower.

Abuse travels inside like the shadow of a ricochet.
Lawanda left with her girlfriend
for one of the Carolinas. She emailed
to tell me she’d seen the sea.

                                                                                    -  Tina Barr

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Postcard Collective Blog

I am trying to rekindle my relationship with the Postcard Collective Blog. There will be more artist's interviews in the future but in the meantime, I have started a "Favorite Mail Art" series. First up... Gordon Matta-Clark's Photo-Fry. Check it out on the link above.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Will Oldham on Bonnie 'Prince' Billy"

I cruised through this book via Interlibrary Loan yesterday on the airplane. It is one long interview with Will Oldham conducted by Alan Licht. For the most part, it held my interest though I kept wishing for more personal revelations than choices behind album cover art & lyrics to obscure songs. The most fascinating parts were:

1) meeting Johnny and June Cash when Johnny was recording I See a Darkness;

2) his relationship with audience (particularly interesting coming from a recluse)

3) how acting and the storytelling arc of a movie has influenced Oldham's song writing


4) identity and more clarity on Oldham's need for recording albums under many different names

My favorite quote comes from page 62:

"I am not of the group of people who make music or other kinds of art who feel they have inherently within them something that needs to come out or is worth coming out. I feel like everything informs and helps add value to anything that does come out. For me, it's by pursuing, absorbing, or just complacently being bombarded by things from all over or that have value to me but are discovered in different times, locations, etc. So that is what I would say is gained, but it's only because inherently I don't have the ability to sit still."

                                                                                         - Will Oldham

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Clearwater, USA

Call me jaded but I cannot help but wonder the veracity of Kansas and Nebraska's claim.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Plates to Pixels: July 2013

I met Blue Mitchell at Photolucida and he kindly chose A Tale of Two Obsessions for exhibition on his website Plates to Pixels for the month of July. It is the first time both David C. Nolan and Arline Conradt are seen together beyond my website and may it not be the last!

Where the Mountains Meet the Sea: The Sea (2013)

 Elger Esser, Undine

Becky Comber, fog to cloud, 2012

Robert Adams, Nehalem Spit, Tillamook County, Oregon

Phil Chang, Sea #1, 2011 (an unfixed photograph that gradually changes when exposed to light)

Luigi Ghirri, Amsterdam, 1981

John Gossage, The Auckland Project, 2011

Robert Adams, Benson Beach, Oregon

Elijah Gowin, From Of Falling and Floating, 2006

Richard Misrach, Untitled #586-04, 2004

Asako Narahashi, Jounanjima #3, 2002

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Where the Mountains Meet the Sea: Mountains (2013)

Summer is the time for sequels. I am from the mountains where the water runs clear. My adopted home is by the sea. One of these days we both shall meet again. Meanwhile, I collect images of high elevation and open bodies of water to make me feel closer to what is so far away. Here is this year's installment of Where the Mountains Meet the Sea.

Becky Comber, the miraculous relaxing ladies, 2012 [I adore Becky's collages - expect more in the future.]

Michael Naijar, From the series High Altitude, 2008-2010

Olivo Barbieri, Dolomites Project, 2010

Clint Baclawski, From the series Shangri La

Gabriele Beveridge, Untitled Mountain, 2011

Guy Laramee, Prajna Paramita Carved Artist Book, 2011

Gwynne Johnson, From the Doubtful Paradise

Jeffrey Deitch's Mountain Sofas by Gaetano Pesce

Letha Wilson, Hug, Grand Tetons, 2011

Nicolas Faure, From Switzerland on the Rocks

Peter Happel Christian, Sunset on Mt. Everest According to Google Earth