Posts Tagged ‘art’

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Agnes Martin’s Writings

February 4, 2009

Agnes Martin’s Writings read like art torah, striving towards an inner perfection and finding a place of honesty in one’s efforts. In my work I am at a crisis and wish I could spend more time wrapped in her process. Her ideas are profound, yet resonate with the dailiness of life, as she seeks an underlying awareness of perfection. I found myself wishing I had some Agnes Martin chip I could have installed in my head (keeping these ways of thinking at the forefront of my thoughts about art and writing). She is wise in exactly the way I am not.

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General and Annotated Bibliography

January 29, 2009

For those that are interested I’ve finally posted my general bibliography and annotated bibliography as their own pages (link to the right). All of these books are from the past two years and correspond to the manuscript I am currently working on and art writing/essays that I have done during this process.

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Schjeldahl: Let’s See

August 19, 2008

The New Yorker format of a three to four page column allows Peter Schjeldahl to leap into subjects, look around, and amass a glittering pile of insights for each installment. In these essays on art he seamlessly blends high and low language to bring descriptions and ruminations to life where phrases like “drag queen cheek” cozy up with arcane words like “inchoate” and “fungible.” In addition the scope and range of Schjeldahl’s knowledge and history is daunting, but in spite of all this, his writing comes across as generous, accessible, and possibly even hospitable. His style invites the reader into subjects even if they have no previous knowledge of the sometimes-obscure topics, but his approach leaves the ramifications of these posited notions up to the reader to discover. That’s part of the beauty of this diving-in short format I mentioned before.

Schjeldahl gets right to the point. In his first essay from the collection Let’s See entitled America, he takes a rather worn theme of a lack or hole being at the center of American identity, but transforms it into something fresh.

Americaness is nobodiness. Deep down, I feel like nobody; and this void in me is the earnestness of my belonging. A hole in my heart pledges allegiance to America. (14)

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Robbe-Grillet: Jealousy

August 17, 2008

After reading Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousy, it’s apparent why his writing is so closely aligned with visual art, as his approach embodies a sort of object based conceptualist mise-en-scène. The reader is bound meticulously to the cataloguing and scrutinizing of objects in rooms and nurtures a relational system based on distance, proximity, and difference.

Jealousy is a compulsive observation of interactions between the implied narrator/character’s wife A… and a neighbor Franck. The novel is set on a banana plantation and documents the narrator’s growing suspicion that A… and Franck are having an affair. The language focuses on extreme surface, chronicling objects, proximity of things, and disembodied individuals treated as bits and pieces; relational. All is static, purgatorial, and repetitive in this world; change and growth come through revisiting the flood of surfaces and exterior observations. What is different? What changed in how the narrator decodes the tableau of objects as he seeks to confirm his suspicions? A slightly damaged and subjective empiricism is at work here. Sitting on the veranda the narrator observes:

A…’s arms, a little less distinct than her neighbor’s because of the color—though light—of the material of her dress, are also lying on the elbow-rests of her chair. The four hands are lying in a row, motionless. The space between A…’s left hand and Franck’s right hand is approximately two inches. The shrill cry of some nocturnal carnivore, sharp and short, echoes again toward the bottom of the valley, at an unspecified distance. (49)

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Liminal Space in The Science of Sleep

April 28, 2008

When The Science of Sleep came out in theaters I was teaching a Surrealism class to a group of about thirty high school students at a public school as part of my film program. One of the hardest things to teach students at that age is content. They were great with technique, craft, and formalism, but the hardest thing was to get them to understand what their work was or could be about. This class was probably one of the most successful tools I had for helping students to understand this leap, and in retrospect it helped me with my understanding of the film The Science of Sleep.

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Chromophobia and the Illusion of White

April 11, 2008

In Chromophobia, the central argument of artist and writer David Batchelor is that a societal fear of corruption or contamination through color permeates Western culture. Opening with the example of a visit to a fetishized ultra-white modernist house, he concisely sets up the idea of a dominatingly oppressive whiteness.

This great white interior was empty even when it was full, because most of what was in it didn’t belong in it and would soon be purged from it. This was people, mainly, and what they brought with them. Inside this great white interior, few things looked settled, and even fewer looked at home, and those that did look settled also looked like they had been prepared: approved, trained, disciplined, marshaled. Those things that looked at home looked like they had already been purged from within. In a nutshell: those things that stayed had themselves been made either quite white, quite black or quite grey. This world was entirely purged of color. (11)

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Mueck at the Warhol

April 8, 2008

One of life’s revenges is that when someone becomes truly famous and successful, their memorials are usually put in their hometowns. Arguably it’s a desire to escape from the limiting environment of formative years that drives many successful people to differentiate themselves from their past, and strive towards reinventing who they are. That’s why I always feel a little bad for Warhol. He spent his entire career trying to distance himself from his Polish brethren in Pittsburgh, desiring to become synonymous with New York, the jet set, and celebrity… Then after he dies, they banish his museum to the homeland of Pittsburgh not New York, but Pittsburgh has great museums (thanks to both Carnegie and probably Warhol).

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Hello Central, Give Me Heaven, Hello Central, Give Me No Man’s Land

March 4, 2008

Hello Central, Give Me Heaven, Hello Central, Give Me No Man’s Land was a collaborative new work that combined video images from the ‘between the wars’ years with audio clips from notorious and anonymous figures of the era, then set to an original musical composition. Original prints and etchings created a panoramic scroll of architecture and gesture.

Click here to view interview.

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Bridget Irish at the Tollbooth Interview

March 3, 2008

Continuing the wrap-up of interviews from the first year of the 24 hour outdoor video project the Tollbooth Gallery, here is an interview with artist Bridget Irish. Her Tollbooth Junction 11th & Broadway was a collection of various subway rides the artist took over the past several years, and filmed on Hi-8 video. Featured subway routes, shot when traveling above ground and during the day, included: NYC’s D-Line Brooklyn to Coney Island route and back, Chicago’s downtown loop from the Green Line, and Boston’s Blue Line from downtown to last stop Wonderland. These videos are as much studies in motion, form and light, as they are travel diary excerpts.

Click here for interview.

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Just an Experiment

February 13, 2008