Giving Up the Ghost: Carey Young

September 14, 2009

Here is my recent article that can be read in its entirety at The Rumpus:

It’s not often that you look at a line forming in history while it’s happening. Usually it’s from some vantage in the future—here’s how life used to be and now things are different. But over the past year I’ve had this feeling that things are changing and we all actively sense the stakes on some different level, drawing lines in sand every morning as we wake up, only to revise them again before tucking ourselves into bed. Art helps gauge our shared place in the world, but the environment of art changes, everyone proclaims that a bad economy is great for art, that it thins the herd and reinvigorates the impulse. But there’s panic in these affirmations—what happens to the art that we are moving away from—the art that comes from the time just before?

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Bad Habits

July 24, 2009

“Bad Habits,” on display at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery through Oct. 4, is a far-reaching show and the first since the gallery’s recent re-commitment to highlighting works in its permanent collection.

While I’m not convinced that each piece in the exhibition is naughty enough to fit the theme, it does include a hodgepodge of works from some of the most important artists of the past few decades, showcasing the gallery’s Noah’s Ark approach to art collecting. Loosely organized around the premise of bad habits — taking its name from a series of prints by Lisa Yuskavage — the galleries house such art world heavyweights as Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Cecily Brown, Gilbert & George, Glenn Ligon, Tony Oursler and Jeff Wall.

Read the rest at Buffalo News:


It’s good to want things.

June 22, 2009

So I’ve been caught up with submitting work and sending out a couple reviews—and that’s good, but it’s been a little too busy. Here are a couple of things I’ve been meaning to check out. (Feel free to send them my way if you’d like to help a poor post MFA student—with no money—out!) Oh and does anyone have recommendations for anything else? I’ve been so immersed in my thesis manuscript that it’s kind of a luxury to look at anything else now that I am done.

Notes on Conceptualisms—This came out in May and I’ve been seeing reference to it around including Dennis Cooper’s Best of 2009. Here’s a blurb from the publisher’s site:

“What is conceptual writing, how does it differ from Conceptual Art, what are some of the dominant forms of conceptualism, where does an impure or hybrid conceptualism fit in, what about the baroque, what about the prosody of procedure, what are the links between appropriation and conceptual writing, how does conceptual writing rely on a new way of reading, a “thinkership” that can shift the focus away from the text and onto the concept, what is the relationship between conceptual writing and technology or information culture, and why has this tendency taken hold in the poetry community now?”

Whew—-that’s a long sentence. Has anyone had a chance to look at it yet?

I’ve also wanted to read Dave Hickey’s revised and expanded The Invisible Dragon… The old version was on my reading list for a while, but I never got around to it. But now that it’s re-issued… I read Air Guitar a while back and enjoy Hickey’s writing style.

From University of Chicago Press:

The Invisible Dragon made a lot of noise for a little book When it was originally published in 1993 it was championed by artists for its forceful call for a reconsideration of beauty—and savaged by more theoretically oriented critics who dismissed the very concept of beauty as naive, igniting a debate that has shown no sign of flagging.


Line Items: New drawing form embraces color and abstraction at Nina Freudenheim

May 22, 2009

Painting can seem like such a loaded endeavor. So it’s nice to sit down with the more intimate immediacy of drawing — its focus on line and mark-making and casualness of materials — as an antidote to modernism’s impervious bigness.

Read the rest of my review in the Buffalo News


Louise Bourgeois and Scheherazade

April 17, 2009

Louise Bourgeois is the rare artist whose orbit intersects with many big thinkers and personalities of the last century, while always remaining relevant and enduring. Not bad for ninety-seven. I love the way she hones her images and takes them into new psychological spaces, and even the way her voice sounds when she speaks. On June 25th, 1984 she wrote:

“Scheherazade talked to ward off castration (assassination). She talks as a last defense. It is a pretty miserable motive, useless and dangerous, silence is wonderful.”

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Uta Barth’s Distrust of Narrative/Cause and Effect

April 10, 2009

Writing is most alive when directly engaged in the experience—as a cartography of an encounter or inner space. Recently I stumbled across an interview with photographer Uta Barth where she was asked why narrative annoyed her. Barth’s response captures a lot of what I’ve been thinking:

Narrative holds out for a certain inevitability, it places deep faith in cause and effect. Narrative is about reconstructing a chain of meaningful events based on a known outcome. I’m curious about visual art that’s about the visual. Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees is the title of Robert Irwin’s biography. Originally, it was a line in a Zen text. Narrative in art makes us think about all sorts of interesting things, but it derails the engagement with a visual experience.

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Process Letter to My Second Reader 5.4: Thesis Submission

April 6, 2009


I trust you are well, ready to do this all over again? It’s been a (mostly) good three months since we last spoke—in LA, back from LA, sunny there, maybe snow here tonight… But the trip was good, and the news was optimistic, so that’s good.

You now hold in your hands my thesis draft entitled Stalking America. Hopefully it’s noticeably shorter. I cut over twenty-five pages from the total page count, mostly through cuts, tailoring, minor character deletions (and I have to confess, excessive white spaces), on top of the 50 or so pages I cut in the time surrounding residency and leading up to sending you my first draft. There was a lot of condensing. My main focus was integrating the stories (or as XXXXX1 calls it: cross-pollinating). I also changed the order around in a number of scenes. These should be obvious, but I didn’t track all of those changes in this document when they were too big, because Word’s notes made the manuscript virtually unreadable at that point. Those and everything else should be clear though. I’m new to ‘tracking changes.’ Does it always look like this? And then it prints out so tiny, new fangled technology.

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Thomas Hirschhorn’s Monuments and Displays

April 3, 2009

Thomas Hirschhorn’s work parallels elements of a project I worked on and developed for a number of years called the Tollbooth Gallery. The Tollbooth was a reclaimed hunk of concrete in a public space that housed a twenty-four hour outdoor video galley and paper-based installations (video, audio, and paper) in an urban setting. The exhibitions changed every six weeks and featured work from artists from around the world. One of the most exciting aspects of the project was the precariousness of the materials and equipment that were left in public spaces even in the most extreme weather. The project was always in danger of vandalism, theft, or weather failure, but that became part of the work and how it was received. In order to succeed the project had to create a relationship where it trusted in the casual passerby and chance encounters. Like the Tollbooth, Hirschhorn’s work often consists of hewn together spaces in public locations that house an idea or event.

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Process Letter to My Advisor 5.3

March 21, 2009


How’s life? So I’ve been back in New York for a couple days, and on the first night it actually snowed! Can you believe it? In the morning it was around 80 degrees in Louisiana and by the time we drove up north it was snowing… So anyway I am home. Buffalo. The return drive cross-country is never as much fun as the initial drive out. We planned on spending a day in New Orleans this time (never been), but by Sonora, Texas we were both sick and had to be resigned to bed rest at the La Quinta in Baton Rouge. There’s nothing worse (okay I’m sure there are many things) than being sick in a roadside motel on a road trip, so at that point we loaded up on vitamin c and took marathon shifts driving back up the coast. It’s kind of a blur of small towns after that point, but we’re back (and missing the sun we had in LA).

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Letter From Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse

March 10, 2009

M and I were talking about this, so he sent me a copy of it. I thought I’d put it here, because it’s good advice:

Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!
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