Monday, December 29, 2014

4 Years Today

Photograph from the Madonna Inn (more pink coming soon)

Four years ago today, this blog was born. 2014 was the first time I thought about letting it go because I was concentrating more on making artwork rather than discussing and documenting it. Also, it was a difficult year and perhaps I am letting that taint my productivity in posting more than it should. In any case, I will try for year five. I hope to finish my water and artist stalking series soon. Another trip abroad may be in the near future as well as an earthworks road trip redux. I am excited about all of this and will try to channel that here more so than I have in the past six months.

On the Subject of Stalking: Jon Horvath's "Stalking Michael Stipe"

Jon Horvath, From Stalking Michael Stipe (all images via)

I found Jon Horvath's photography last summer when he was taking over an Instagram account that I was following. He was in Southern Idaho, depicting the places I had visited days earlier for the "autobiography in water" project. After perusing his website, I discovered a small surprise, the series Stalking Michael Stipe: Another Prop to Occupy My Time. I think about it every once in awhile in relationship to my own activities, noting the differences and similarities between Stalking Artists: In Pursuit of Home. I appreciate his sincerity, the use of multimedia, and more often than not, I am thankful that I am not alone.

Jon Horvath, From Stalking Michael Stipe

From Jon's artist statement:

"Stalking Michael Stipe: Another Prop to Occupy My Time is an interactive multimedia installation detailing the accounts of a 36-hour photographic road trip through the Georgia landscape in pursuit of my one-time Rock n’ Roll idol. The project parameters were simple. When Michael emerged from his house the project began. When I lost his trail the project ended. All spaces I was led to in between became my photographic territory.

"Stalking Michael Stipe is experienced in 3 parts: 30” x 35” color photographs, an interactive 35mm slide box experience referencing the research and events that brought me to Michael’s door in Athens, GA, and a performed lecture detailing the many moments of coincidence that happened along the way. This online gallery is an abbreviated reinterpretation of the original installation, integrating both research slides and the final photographic outcome into a new self-contained and nonlinear sequence. Many have inquired about why I chose Michael Stipe as my subject. In short, for me, he was worth it."

Jon Horvath, From Stalking Michael Stipe 

Check out the rest of the series here.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Stalking Artists: Ed Ruscha

In June 2011, Adam Davis took the above photograph of me outside Ed Ruscha's Venice Beach address. Later on, after reading a profile in the New Yorker, I realized he lived in Beverly Hills. At the time this image was taken, Adam and I remarked how surprised we were that he lived in a "dump." I owe Ed Ruscha an apology after seeing the remainder of his real estate holdings earlier this month.

I will reiterate that this side project is supposed to be humorous with an earnest sense of trying to discover the definition of "home" as seen through the eyes of other artists. As this activity winds down (with only a handful more to go), I cannot help but feel unease. I dread every single moment of it, most specifically when I talk myself into stepping out of the car and walking by the house in question. There will be a great sense of relief when this is done. If anything, Stalking Artists: In Pursuit of Home has challenged me in ways that I have never imagined (making art from the Internet, placing myself in difficult situations, researching the law and making sure that I am not breaking it, and so on). I cannot help but wonder if anything will ever become of these photographs other than documentation proving that I did something I never imagined I could do.    

A terribly blurry photo above of the Beverly Hills address (the cake was delivered here) and a well groomed front yard (proof that the poorly positioned sun could illuminate something correctly).

One Malibu address:

Check out those security cameras:

Another Malibu house:

Yet another Malibu house:

One conclusion: Ed likes his fences and security systems.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

John Baldessari Lives Here

I have threatened to find John Baldessari's house for a couple years and I can cross that off the Artist Stalking list as of last week. Above is the video still from A Brief History of John Baldessari and below is his house. The foliage has grown considerably between the two.

Of all the artist's houses I have seen, this one is my favorite (read: I am most envious of this location and design = this is something to strive for one day).

There were two visits to this Venice Beach complex because I neglected to bring the big camera the first time. This blown out photograph features the front door open (!) and evidence of someone moving around in the house (!!).

The second day, the sun was in a better position (damn this winter light) and the front door was closed.

On both days, this truck was parked out front complete with a map of the US tossed in back. That small detail was a highlight since one of my favorite artworks of his is California Map Project.

Also, see that bush on the far right of the house in the photograph below?

A piece of Camden's Rock was tossed there.

Next up... Ed Ruscha.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Ed Ruscha!

A couple weeks ago while walking through the neighborhood on a chilly fall day, I realized that I would be in California on Ed Ruscha's birthday. I thought about making him a fake cake, resurrecting the Styrofoam and caulk decorating experience. Unfortunately, I uttered this statement out loud to the two people that helped me in the past and they convinced me that it was a good idea. What follows is photographic documentation of what took place the first week of December (here's to hoping he opened the box delivered to his real address in Beverly Hills).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Forever bouncing around from one thought to the next...

Earthworks are again entering my life as my colleague, Lara Kuykendall and I prepare to teach a course called "Space, Land and Concept in Art of the American West." Today, I saw this video documenting Julian Sand's visit to the Spiral Jetty. There will be more posts as I revisit this genre of art and contemplate whether or not I will be making work in response during another visit in May. Part of me is hoping that is the case.

Link via.

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Russell, Russell who was [s]he?"

Once a couple years ago, I wrote this about my "photographs not taken." The Daily Iowan obituary of a Professor Russell's death at the University of Iowa in the 1960s and its prominent position in my father's office for several decades, will haunt me forever (much like it did him). Unfortunately, I cannot find this article online nor can my father find the yellowed clipping.

Today I recreated it by installing vinyl letters of the phrase on my office door. I have steadily rotated the slide tape crumpled into an abstract design from the back to the front of the door all semester so its placement is not staged. I sewed the curtains my first semester - some of the last fabric I bought at Bolt while living in Portland. My only fear is that it looks like the text was Photoshopped.

In the meantime, Amelia once told me that karoshi will be my downfall. I need to prove both these statements wrong.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems

Hannah loaned me this book months ago and I finally had time to read it this week. I have always felt indifferent to Dickinson but this may change my mind. The Gorgeous Nothings is the most elegantly printed monograph of worn paper and text that I have ever seen. Who wouldn't be enthralled with a page that reproduces aged paper resembling shark's teeth or an arrowhead flake?

The excerpts below focus on Dickinson's interest in birds as their migrations away from the Midwest in the fall are often on my mind. Beside each torn fragment printed to scale, there is a diagram that translates the handwriting into type.

In some cases, I was more enamored with the condition of the paper than Dickinson's text: particles floating on a white expanse, saved from further decay, memorialized in print.

I will leave you with one that was not scanned as the words were more important than the visual representation:

"There are those that are shallow intentionally and only profound by accident."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Madonna Inn

"Let's say that Albert Speer, while leafing through a book on GaudĂ­, swallowed an overgenerous dose of LSD and began to build a nuptial catacomb for Liza Minnelli. But that doesn't give you an idea. Let's say ... Chopin's Sonata in B-flat sung by Perry Como in an arrangement by Liberace and accompanied by the Marine Band."

- Umberto Eco in On Ugliness

The third visit is the charm. The Swiss Rock is booked and this time, I hope to have access to the swimming pool (though this tennis court color scheme may be photographed once or twice during my visit).

I am either going to love or hate this (hopefully the former). In any case, my intolerance for pink may be tested. [All images via.]