collect pond park


Am interested in the aesthetics of my non-smart phone's camera -- no arty filters here, and no "social" -- but I like the flattening out going on in this pic, and a hint of urban bleakness, courtesy of decisions made in the Samsung technicians' lab. This photo was taken while sitting, waiting to meet a friend at the new Postmasters gallery space a block away from this historic site.

Addendum: Am guessing that lower tier of concrete is supposed to be filled with water, a reminder of the lake that was once on this spot. It's not, just some puddles, making this park look even bleaker than it did before it was renovated a couple of years ago.

social photography after instagram

carriage trade gallery is having its annual fundraiser, which for the past several years has been a show of cell phone photos called "Social Photography"; installment IV opens Nov. 12. I donated (i.e. bought a photo) last year and enjoyed seeing the exhibit.

Possibly the premise is dating as cell phones become smart phones and 3 x 4 inch standard sizes with point-and-hope-for-the-best aesthetics have given way to extra megapixels and more especially Instagram, where every lousy shot can be doctored with "arty filters" to look like a masterpiece.

Instagram is the elephant in the room of Social Photography IV, because of (a) The Kids (who left Facebook for it, in droves, and stayed after Facebook bought it, also in droves) and (b) Richard Prince, who put Instagram front and center in the white cube environment this year. Read Vulture's obsequious review, artnet's criticism, and ArtFCity's follow-up.

Is Instagram social photography? Yes. Is it a wildly successful model compared to say, Flickr's storage bin approach? Yes, it has supermodels artifying themselves and getting mad likes. You might hate this and want nothing to do with it, but you have to acknowledge it's the new normal for passing around photos.

return of the energy cardigan

Thomas Frank, in a Salon article comparing Pres. Obama to Jimmy Carter and discussing Rick Perlstein's new book on the '70s:

Like Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter was drawn instinctively toward austerity—keeping the White House thermostat down and advertising his personal devotion to domestic thrift by donning a cardigan in a televised chat on the energy crisis.

Felt compelled to leave this comment, even though it's hopeless:

Ahh -- the myth of the Carter "energy sweater." The "sweater" wasn't about turning down the thermostat -- he began wearing it shortly after inauguration to show he was a down home guy, in reaction to the pomp of Nixon's "imperial presidency." Sometime in the '80s it became a Republican meme that Carter was a wimp shivering in the White House rather than a manly energy squanderer, and the sweater's meaning transferred from "humility" to "thrift." Perstein's book should have clarified this but perhaps it didn't.

John Pomara, Digital-Distraction exhibit Barry Whistler Gallery in Dallas


Oil enamel on aluminum
48" x 36"


There is glitch art and then there is obsessively hand rendered, meticulously-crafted (but not too meticulously-crafted) glitch art. Wish I could be in Dallas to see the show -- the artist's exhibit in NYC last year gave an idea of the surface sensuality and presence of this work. By "not too meticulously-crafted," that's to say there are little blurs and slippages that remind you a person is making these, albeit self-effacingly compared to painters who want you to notice what individualistic hands they have.