02 December 2008

J.C. Leyendecker

Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951)

"Leyendecker did what few artists ever do: he gave an entire era a way of thinking about itself. It would be nice, in light of that achievement, if more than just the cognoscenti knew his name."
~ Steve Donoghue, "Semi-Obvious," a review of J.C. Leyendecker: American Imagist for the December 2008 issue of Open Letters Monthly

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See also:
  • J.C. Leyendecker: Wikipedia entry
  • "Leyendecker: Finding Poetry in Realism" at the Illustration Art blog (13 June 2007): "...concrete examples of painting that I believe does go beyond mere realism to display design and grace and charm."
  • A traveling Leyendecker exhibition (currently in Augusta, GA, and scheduled for Yonkers, NY, and Stony Brook, NY, before ending in Abingdon, VA, September - November 2009)

24 June 2008


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Confusations: Seven Photographs and a Commentary

"After photographing one reflection, I showed it to a friend, who found it 'confusing.' Thus, I decided to gather photographs as 'Confusations' -- a neologism I parsed into: 'confiscation' ('taking a picture'), 'sensation,' (as in Debord's spectacle), and 'fuse' (how the brain fuses memories to mediate a world)."
~ Joel Weishaus (Summer 2007)

20 June 2008

Archibald MacLeish

American poet, writer, lawyer, professor, statesman.
(7 May 1892 - 20 April 1982)

"A real writer learns from earlier writers the way a boy learns from an apple orchard -- by stealing what he has a taste for and can carry off."
~ Archibald MacLeish, A Continuing Journey (1968)

The Snowflake Which Is Now and Hence Forever
by Archibald MacLeish

Will it last? he says.
Is it a masterpiece?
Will generation after generation
Turn with reverence to the page?

Birdseye scholar of the frozen fish,
What would he make of the sole, clean, clear
Leap of the salmon that has disappeared?

To be, yes! -- whether they like it or not!
But not to last when leap and water are forgotten,
A plank of standard pinkness in the dish.

They also live
Who swerve and vanish in the river.

16 June 2008


In the classic discipline of rhetoric, parrhesia is a figure of speech described as: to speak candidly or to ask forgiveness for so speaking. The term is borrowed from the Greek παρρησία (παν = all + ρησις / ρημα = utterance / speech) meaning literally "to speak everything" and by extension "to speak freely," "to speak boldly," or "boldness." It implies not only freedom of speech, but the obligation to speak the truth for the common good, even at personal risk.

"More precisely, parrhesia is a verbal activity in which a speaker expresses his personal relationship to truth, and risks his life because he recognizes truth-telling as a duty to improve or help other people (as well as himself). In parrhesia, the speaker uses his freedom and chooses frankness instead of persuasion, truth instead of falsehood or silence, the risk of death instead of life and security, criticism instead of flattery, and moral duty instead of self-interest and moral apathy."
~ Michel Foucault, "Discourse and Truth: the Problematization of Parrhesia" (1983)

"Informant helpfully places Kucinich's Impeachment resolution next to other parrhesic moments."
~ Tom Matrullo, at IMproPRieTies (14 June 2008)

14 June 2008

Class, Shame & Aspiration

So I set out to "learn how to behave," to acquire what Marx called "cultural capital," or what's more simply called learning to "pass." This aspiration, celebrated in the phrase "upward mobility" is rooted in shame and, in its undermining of authentic selfhood, creates the vulnerability required by all manner of predators from child molesters to military recruiters to advertisers and financial institutions. After all, aspiration is not an identity but the rejection of one's identity.

* * *

Everyone in my family called themselves middle-class, all my aunts and uncles, each and every household, whether anyone had a job or not, regardless of what kind of work they did when there was work, regardless of whether or not they had "a pot to piss in."

We never used the term "working class." My father called us working people....
~ Richard Hoffman, at Mnemosyne's Memes

[via wood s lot]

11 June 2008

Birds Say

Stan Brakhage:
"I always liked best what Hollis Frampton said (a great filmmaker, Hollis Frampton, a teacher and an aesthetician as both of us hoped to be). He said the whole history of Hollywood movies, any movies, was comparable to birdsong. He discovered after years of listening to the birds that there are only five things that birds say, and he discovered that there are only five things that movies do. They say 'Good morning!' 'I found a worm.' 'Love me.' 'Get out!' 'Good night.'"

What Hollis Frampton actually said:
"One fine morning, I awoke to discover that, during the night, I had learned to understand the language of birds. I have listened to them ever since. They say: 'Look at me!' or: 'Get out of here!' or: 'Let's fuck!' or: 'Help!' or: 'Hurrah!' or: 'I found a worm!' and that's all they say. And that, when you boil it down, is about all we say. (Which of those things am I saying now?)"
~ from Circles of Confusion: Film, Photography, Video: Texts 1968-1980

09 June 2008

Analecta Dump

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Hal Higdon, "Cultural Capital"; acrylic on canvas, 48" x 36"

"It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing."
~ Mark Rothko (1903-1970)

"Art is not what we see; it is in the spaces between."
~ Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

"Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist."
~ René Magritte (1898-1967)

"Imagination is the landscape in which the artist goes for a walk."
~ Méret Oppenheim (1913-1985)

"The paintings are the shadows of my adventures."
~ Francis Picabia (1879-1953)

Click on image to see larger version (and other works) at Hal Higdon's website. All other links in this post are to Wikipedia articles.