29 October 2007

Art Works

What does art do?
48 Possibilities

art that inspires
Art That Excites!
Art that expresses
Art that makes you laugh
Art That Makes You Say Hmmm
art that wants to teach you something
Art that makes you think, wonder and smile!
art that will mess with your head
Art that Rejuvenates Your Spirit
art that speaks to the heart
Art that Feeds My Soul
Art that bums you out.

Art that Moves Us
art that wakes people up
art that defies understanding
art that puts a new face on our outrage
art that transcends sense perception and normal life
art that uses science and technology in innovative ways
art that embodies the vibration of Universal Love
Art that Tries to Actively Engage the Viewer
art that interests its audience
Art That Tells a Story
Art that Shimmers
Art That Heals

Art That Dares
Art That Offends
Art that mocks faith
art that desecrates the human image or the public space
Art that commemorates the brutality and horror of war
Art that breaks boundaries
Art that crosses domains
art that graces the walls
Art That Celebrates Life
Art That Reflects Life™
Art That Imitates Life
Art That is Timeless

Art That Follows the Money
art that brings in a safe return on the investment
art that will get attention from your family, friends and associates
art that works with the look that you want in your garden
art that people BUY versus art that people LOVE
Art That Sells Underpants

art that draws on various forms of popular culture, but plays purposefully elitist, opaque intellectual games with them

art that communicates a sense of urgency about the inequities that seethe below the surface of America's prosperity

art that can make just about any space in your home or office just a little bit more interesting

art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum

art that ends up in museums or on public pedestals

art that had no intrinsic value but would instead deliver ephemeral statements before ultimately vanishing as nature took its course.

~ from Google

21 October 2007


(dī'ə-krŏn'ĭk) adj.
Of or concerned with phenomena, such as linguistic features, as they change through time.
[From Greek dia-, across + khronos, time.]

"Moon's phantasmagoric vision is of a diachronic nature, arriving from the precise present, the mnemonically obsolete and the prophetic future."
Moon Beom, at Kim Foster Gallery (New York, NY), Oct. 13 - Nov. 10, 2007

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Moon Beom, Possible Worlds 510
(acrylic & oilstick on panel, 48 in. x 65 in.)

(h/t: Steven LaRose)

20 October 2007

Which End is Up

Perennial Struggle
"... [A]ll the political battles we fight now were fought in the name of religion in the past. That's why it's so important to study religion. ... You're challenging unaccountable power."
~ from an interview with British politician Tony Benn
As examples, he cites the biblical account of Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel 6:16-23); Martin Luther's challenge to the authority of the papacy; and the Old Testament conflict between the Kings ("who had power") and the Prophets ("who preach righteousness").

O Tempora! O Mores!
"Even intellectuals, once prepared to risk themselves for what was right and true, are now addicted to entertainment, reluctant to inconvenience themselves for any cause, and devoted to personal safety."
~ just a taste of the multifaceted rant to be found at "Dumbing Down". I've been lost there for days -- trying to formulate some coherent notes for my own would-be manifesto. Ideas are still simmering...

Romanticizing Futility
"To give in to that beautiful sensation of individual futility is to abandon any number of possible actions and believe that the intellectual work is complete, because one has opposed that which needed opposing. It is to wash one's hands when there is heavy lifting left unfinished! Art cannot accomplish the act of overthrowing the motherfuckers in the White House. But it can inspire the act, envision the possibility, even define a viewership's relation to power. Punk did this and [Raymond] Pettibon helped. But by limiting outrage and action to the sphere of individual expression and romanticizing futility, they have created a 'counterculture' that the empire has actually come to rely on."
~ Deborah Fisher, in a kick-ass review of the recent (ending today) Raymond Pettibon exhibit in NYC, posted at ArtCal Zine

Great Moments in Artists' Statements
"Existence is vulgar..." ~ Bill Gusky

A belated thank-you to Steven LaRose, for the ink drawing he sent (shown here; click on image to see full-size in a new window).
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It is exquisite -- enough so to tempt me to make a bonfire of my own easel and brushes. But I do have to admit that I was surprised by its size (4" x 4.5"). Seeing images on the internet can really fuck with your sense of proportion, since everything from murals to ATCs can be rendered roughly the same size. In fact, the "full-size" image displays on my computer monitor considerably larger than the actual work itself.

You can see Steven's entire "Structure of the Inner Ear" photo set here. He has a solo show later this year (November 10 through December 22) at the Kristi Engle Gallery in Los Angeles, and he's also part of the current Blogger Show of multiple exhibits in New York, Pittsburgh, and Millvale, PA.

15 October 2007


welt·schmerz (vělt'shměrts') n. Sadness over the evils of the world, especially as an expression of romantic pessimism. [German : Welt, world + Schmerz, pain (from Middle High German smërze, from Old High German smerzo).]

"The modern meaning of Weltschmerz in the German language is the psychological pain caused by sadness, that can occur when realizing that someone's own weaknesses are caused by the inappropriateness and cruelty of the world and (physical and social) circumstances."

"With his 2007 Babylon column, [Jerry] Saltz effectively ran up the white flag of surrender and joined in the Weltschmerz of the moment, the GawkerForum-ization of the present."
~ Tyler Green, "Modern Art Notes" blog

14 October 2007

Ancient Art

World's oldest wall painting unearthed in Syria

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Painted ca. 9000 BCE; approx. 6' x 6' (Photo: Reuters).

"It looks like a modernist painting. Some of those who saw it have likened it to work by (Paul) Klee."

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Paul Klee, Ancient Sound
(1925; oil on cardboard, 15" x 15")

10 October 2007


"Similar to the weblog, the Japanese have a concept called Zuihitsu, which means something close to 'following the brush'. It is a reference to writing one's mind as thoughts come to it, perhaps best described in English as 'miscellany' or 'stream of thought' writing."

"During the Heiian period in the ninth century, a genre of poetry known as 'zuihitsu' began to form in Japan. 'Zuihitsu' (which continues as a genre today) means 'occasional writings' and consists mainly of poetry by women. Inspired by the natural world and sensuality, the genre deals especially with romance."

"Zuihitsu" is the title of a blog by Michael P. Silva -- "Random thoughts on photography and design."

... and the title of a page (from 2003) on the now defunct personal website of "Scottish oddball pop star" Momus, a.k.a. Nick Currie:
"An intellectual is someone who has found something more interesting to think about than sex."
Wikipedia says he is "fascinated by identity, Japan, the avant-garde, time travel and sex." I share four of those five fascinations. But I'm not a pop star.

"This might be a strange analogy, but I like to think of the zuihitsu as a fungus -- not plant or animal, but a species unto itself. The Japanese view it as a distinct genre, although its elements are difficult to pin down. There's no Western equivalent, though some people might wish to categorize it as a prose poem or an essay. You mentioned some of its characteristics: a kind of randomness that is not really random, but a feeling of randomness; a pointed subjectivity that we don't normally associate with the essay. The zuihitsu can also resemble other Western forms: lists, journals. I've added emails to the mix. Fake emails."
~ poet Kimiko Hahn, discussing her book, The Narrow Road to the Interior

08 October 2007

Fresh Ways of Seeing

"Whether we are aware of it or not, a function of our minds is to take in chaotic sensory input and discern patterns in it from which meaning can be derived. Art takes place in the space between raw perception and automatic interpretation and wakes us to fresh ways of seeing."
~ Elizabeth Drew & Mads Haahr,
"Lessness: Randomness, Consciousness and Meaning"

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Matthew Deleget, "No If's, No But's, No Maybe's" (2007)

07 October 2007

Stolen Idea III

"Stolen" from: Steve Durbin's Patina Project (at the Art & Perception blog).

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Click on any image to see a larger version in a new window.

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The above photo shows more of a scuff than a genuine patina, but I like the vaguely landscape-y illusion suggested.

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As with the rusted hinges I had photographed earlier, I think that too much graphic detail distracts from the patina (more on that in my penultimate paragraph, below). Left: a stone marker that seems to be a relic from the railroad era, along the defunct tracks at the edge of Cenci Park in Lancaster, OH. Right: a fortuitous combination of corrosion, graffiti, and the interplay of sun and shadow on a railway bridge.

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For some reason, I don't find the presence of the bolt to be as distracting as the hinge or the alphanumeric characters -- perhaps because the shape is simple enough to avoid specificity. It doesn't intrude too much with an aggressive statement of its identity and scale.

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The presence of two bolts almost suggests a narrative -- although whether one sees confrontation, separation, or tentative approach may be something of a Rorschach test... Still, I find the two shapes to be ambiguous enough to allow the patina to retain its immediacy. And, to me, that's what this "Patina Project" is about: seeing the patinas' colors and textures without (im-) the mediating influence (-mediacy) of quick identification or categorization ("that is a tree; that is a bridge; that is a car") to hedge our gaze. Facile labeling puts us at one remove from the image, as the label interrupts and defines perception.

Stolen Idea I
Stolen Idea II

06 October 2007


Some graffiti shots from an odd little corner of Lancaster, Ohio. I love wandering through this kind of borderline location, where wilderness butts up against a town's structures. In this case the awkward convergence of a small city park and the backyards of three different neighborhoods has created a no-man's land which is crossed by a defunct railroad, a highway overpass, a creek, and several different footpaths. Something for everyone!

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(Click on image to see larger version in a new window)

Abstract Household #2

Just a few more shots from around the house... I'm also playing with larger display sizes. I'm not sure what the web standard is (or if there is a "standard" at all), but the larger versions of these are 700 x 525 pixels -- a bit more generous than my previous 400 x 337. Click on the image to see the larger version in a new window.

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Abstract Household #1 can be seen here.