Archive for May, 2009
Don P., Age 53, Artist:
"My wife was a legal secretary but went to law school and now works as an attorney. A friend of hers from secretary days, Sheila, works in the same firm, still doing the secretarial thing. Sheila got married a few years ago and I gave her a collage as a wedding present. A Blue Boy type neo-classical portrait head, except I cut out perfect circles of sandpaper and glued them over the eyes. The effect was a little spooky: large pupil-less eyes on a slightly wistful image. I used the title from the original image, 'The Young Boy.'
"Years went by, Sheila got married and had a kid, Eric. When he was five or so Sheila told my wife, Ellen, that the child had become fixated on my collage, calling it 'the Youngboy.' Evidently it scared him. Sheila mentioned it more than once to Ellen.
"One night the phone rings. It was Sheila. 'Ellen, Eric would like to ask Don some questions about the artwork you gave us. Can you put Don on?'
"I picked up the phone. A very nervous sounding kid with an intense Southern accent. 'Did you make the Youngboy?' he asked. I replied yes.
"'Why'd you make him so wide-eyed?' Eric asked.
"I honestly don't remember what I said. I've been wondering why the kid was so obsessed with the image and have decided it must be that Sheila's house has absolutely nothing else interesting in it. Kids are sensitive and he picked up on the one thing in that bland middle class environment that was the slightest bit unusual."
Earl G., 42, Designer:
"Seventh grade, public school, art class, I'm about 12. Teacher is an elderly woman who could teach crafts but had no eye for art. She leaves the class on a personal errand, figures its cool because the kids are all hunkered down working on projects.
"I'm bored and wander to the back of the classroom. I make a tube of rolled-up paper and fill it with red powdered tempera from the jars we had back there. Not thinking of the future, living for the moment, I blow through the tube and watch in delight as a huge red cloud jets out and hovers in the air. Nowadays I guess you'd call it performance art.
"Problem is the plume settles on the floor. Panicking, not using my head at all, I wet some napkins and try to swab it up. Now the floor has a large slick of red paint on it. Kids come back to see what is going on and start tracking the paint all over the classroom. One or two kids becomes a mob. For the next five minutes I watch in horror as crimson footprints fill the classroom floor.
"Teacher has been gone about ten or fifteen minutes. Hoping to do damage control I stand near the front door and wait for her.
"She comes back in, sees all the red tracks, freaks: 'What has happened here?'
"I say, 'Uh, some paint got on the floor and everybody tracked it around.'
"It didn't occur to me till years later but her being AWOL from class probably saved my ass. No way she's going to do a full scale investigation. My next mental image of the affair is a janitor she called in, using a mop and bucket to clean up my mess."
Salon on Bunuel reissues:
When production funds ran out, Buñuel ended [Simon of the Desert] by having the sexy, female Satan (Silvia Pinal) transport Simon by airplane to a 20th-century New York nightclub. What does that signify? Asked that question in a 1977 interview, Buñuel responded: "I don't know."
I recall the night club ending fondly: Simon sits at a table bored, smoking, while clubgoers are doing a crazy, twitchy '60s dance. Someone asks what the dance is and a clubber replies: "it's called 'Radioactive Flesh.'"
Off and on over the years have searched for a movie that scared me as a kid, a very lurid Gothic horror story with a dead witch being brought back to life in a castle catacomb. Turns out it was The Curse of the Crying Woman, 1963:
Not often seen outside of Mexico in its original language version, during the mid 1960s the film was distributed along with several other Mexican horrors of the era including El Hombre y El Monstruo, El Ataúd del Vampiro and La Momia Azteca Contra el Robot Humano in North America by K. Gordon Murray in a badly dubbed and edited version, losing the impact of the original film.
If you thought Mexican horror was summed up by the kitsch wrestling flicks of El Santo et al, think again! Without a doubt, The Curse of the Crying Woman is a classic slice of gothic horror cinema. Although very slightly flawed in places, it has some of the classic ingredients of the genre: a witch being revived from the dead, a clubbed foot henchman, a deranged and malformed relative kept under lock & key, bats, rats, cobwebs, spooky mist laden set pieces, a crumbling gothic looking family home all set off with an atmospheric score and solid acting from all of the cast involved.
Often overlooked by many genre fans, it should be viewed with as much high regard as the noted classics by Italian gothic masters Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda and Antonio Margheriti, Britain’s Hammer and Amicus Studios or of course America’s early Universal monsters or Roger Corman’s Poe / Price movies.
"Dodeco 2 (Fragment)" [931 KB mp3]
It's not really a fragment, that's just internet for "it's short."
On hiatus again, de-toxing from all the high art seriousness and sense of overwhelming purpose.
photo-portrait of blond athlete wearing life jacket and holding gold cup
mirror on wooden base with condensation that runs off into water bottle
blurry thumbnail photos document series "based on photos taken from hotels and apartment buildings in Benidorm, Spain"
contract stating that the work in question (the framed contract) will be stolen by the artist, his heirs, or assignees at some point
slick print-style advertisement for watch ostensibly stolen from Silvio Berlusconi
blurry foreshortened wonder woman video-projected onto gallery floor
inverted basketball hoops connected by partially unraveled, elongated, hourglass shaped net
flavin-like fluorescent light fixtures cascade from gallery wall onto floor
oozing-headed mannikins clothed in form fitting printed fabric that is a collage of spider webs, animal heads, logos, etc
video camera on tripod feeds live image of gallery onto adjacent monitor
gestural marks on blue monochrome carpet
white room sculpture levitates on assortment of chairs (photo)
large conduit pipes angle down hillside and terminate at empty swimming pool (photo)
red paint squeegeed onto photo of Concorde jet
monochrome morphs into found photo causing transitional plasticine highlights (video still)
re-enactment of Jack Goldstein re-enactment of Shane (video still)
link to series of six single records collected from special effects sound libraries
installation with oceanic life jackets on 16 monuments throughout the city of São Paulo
"Lecture on Lecture on Lecture with Actress" - three recursive photos
re-creation of building sign with downscale commercial tenants (barber shop, dollar store, two vietnamese restaurants, pizza place, etc)
ink jettish works on paper pushpinned to wall (installation shot for group show)
red plastic death of marat
cartoon priest demonstrates sign of the cross on plasticized "in case of emergency" card
From the wider blog (trying to screw up the courage to just move over there, the page layout is nicer):
Photos taken in my studio by Aron Namenwirth a couple of years ago, plus one of mine.
Have been working on my "main site" or portal page. Added the photo from LA's Distributed Gallery of one my bitmap animations on a TV monitor in a restaurant hallway. Added the "press clips" link from my sidebar--a million thanks to anyone who took the time to write about what I'm doing. Fixed broken links--it's always interesting to see what has changed and what has disappeared. And slightly updated my "artwork archive" page, to include links to work I've been posting on this blog since July '07. That page, and my art archiving in general is scattered and slightly incoherent. It led at least one editor to tell a writer he couldn't review "isolated instances of work." The concept of a cumulative mass or virtual image cloud is not a ready sell.
Have been using the same artists' statement--about failed computing--since I wrote it around '00. Although it continues to locate me in the "artists using computers" camp, as distinguished from new media, it's basically a dodge. It's always easy for an artist to talk about media or process issues as a way of not talking about the psycho/sexual/narrative/interior issues of what's going on in your work. My archive includes work made before I started using the computer almost exclusively, around '97 or so. Whatever themes carried over are probably what the work is really "about." It's hard to condense to a paragraph.