Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Internet Archive has a downloadable/viewable copy of "Venom and Eternity"on their site that I found to be a endlessly entertaining and fascinating film. You can put it on your ipod and watch it on your next flight. It is a film that defies almost all the conventions of movie making. "Venom and Eternity" is a chaotic 1951 film mostly made up of Jean Isidore Isoumaker yelling at the viewer and as seen above - telling them that they are "all a bunch of idiots". The narrative is difficult to make out, the images flip around the screen (sometimes upside down) and are frequently stained or scratched up, and there are even parts that sound like an "Sung Tongs" era Animal Collective tune made up of rhythmic, chanting nonsense/noise:
Check out this rant I transcribed in which he compares his unconventional approach to Picasso's approach to painting;
"Before him, others indeed destroyed the image – Why any child who destroyed the image was a Picasso – But Picasso was the first to leave beautiful, normal painting and with infinite research and enormous pains, progress towards the destruction of beautiful, normal painting. He thus systematized new painting and hacked out of the forest of painting the path that goes from ordinary figurative art to non figurative art to abnormal art.”
Fellow blogger Bret Wood also transcribed a section that says "Let people come out of a movie with a headache. There are so many movies from which one emerges as stupid as one entered. I'd rather give you a migraine than nothing at all. I'm not paid by an optometrist to bring him clients, but I should rather ruin your eyes than leave them indifferent."
According to Jean, the "destructive image is superior to an ordinary image" and in this short clip you can see how well he has excelled at destruction:
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I have a magazine page featuring his work up on my studio (kitchen) wall right now (as seen below).
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition: White on White. 1918. Oil on canvas, 31 1/4 x 31 1/4" . 1935 (photo by Nathan Abels)Robert Rauschenberg, 1951
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sadly, nine months since I posted this the first time, it is still very appropriate. I was reflecting on some of Martin Luther King's his speeches this morning and came across "Beyond Vietnam - A Time to Break Silence" (you can download the mp3 to listen to the speech) delivered exactly one year before his death. The speech makes many points that parallel our current war in Iraq. Writer Juan Cole outlined his analysis of King's stance against the war in Vietnam with what he assesses as "10 Things Martin Luther King would have done about Iraq" here. Below are some very wise, forthright, and challenging excerpts from King's speech:
"But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government."
"Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition."
"If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war."
King closes with a statement of hope, eloquently saying:
"If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Given how beautiful they are I guess it shouldn't be a huge surprise that a Hiroshi Sugimoto photo is on the front of the upcoming U2 album. It does seem a bit unexpected though - if his photos were used by bands like Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky it would seem more appropriate, but U2? Maybe this is their ambient/experimental album. Ha ha.
For more on Hiroshi Sugimoto, check my previous posts.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
The shadowy silhouette of a building and the glow of a dozen or so windows are all that can be seen through the fog in Alex Katz's hushed nighttime view of New York City, "New Year's Eve" (1990).
Borrowing some of the innovative approaches he employs in his more widely known portraits, Katz merges representation and abstraction in the oil on canvas, a highlight of Denver Art Museum's collection of modern and contemporary art.
Alex Katz, "New Year's Eve"
Nathan Abels, a highly promising 28-year-old artist who moved to Denver in 2007, takes up
where Katz left off in "Stills," a striking new group of paintings on view through Jan. 31 at the Rule Gallery.
Indeed, "Not Lightness, But Darkness Visible," a 16-by- 20-inch acrylic on canvas with three glowing windows in an invisible building piercing an otherwise unbroken blackness, can be seen as a direct echo of Katz's painting.
Nathan Abels, "Not Lightness, But Darkness Visible"
These dozen peopleless works, which can be categorized loosely as land- and cityscapes, all exude a sense of emotional detachment and mystery while never seeming distant or cold.
A few of these pieces, such as "A Lot of Little Rain," even possess a gently romantic quality. In the gray, monochromatic 16-by-20-inch oil and acrylic on canvas, the faint, dreamlike outlines of pine trees and glow of rain drops can barely be seen.
Nathan Abels, "A Lot of Little Rain"
Abels, an Indiana native with a master's degree from the Savannah (Ga.) College of Art and Design, is clearly aware of the many styles and movements that have rocked the art world in recent decades. Like Katz, he fuses abstraction and representation, but the younger artist injects his works with a subtle conceptual edge at the same time.
All this gives his paintings a decidedly contemporary feel. He can be counted as part of a recent surge of painters who are reincorporating narrative into their works, though his story lines are more remote and his style considerably more nuanced than many of his peers.
While speaking to the present, he also conjures the past. It's
"There, There" (2008), a spare, straight-on view of a lonely house with a barren tree in front, is reminscent of similar forlorn compositions by Edward Hopper, such as "House By the Railroad" (1925) or "Ryder's House" (1933).
Edward Hopper. (American, 1882-1967). House by the Railroad. 1925. Oil on canvas, 24 x 29"
Rather than full-on depictions, many of Abel's compositions offer little more than a glimmer, a glimpse, an enigmatic hint at something larger — an isolated fire in "Nothing Is Fair or Good Alone," a section of chain-link fence in "Somnambulism."
In others, though, the subject matter is evident. The exhibition's largest selection by far — "Overpass," a 3-by-8-foot acrylic on panel, depicts a prototypical expressway interchange.
But in Abels' hands, even this recognizable scene remains elusive and distant. Other painters have taken on similar imagery, but he puts his distinctive stamp on it, giving this expansive work a haunting presence.
Here and elsewhere in the show, the young artist successfully marries concept with craft, matching his distinctive creative vision with deft, well-honed paint-handling skills.
"Stills" demonstrates again that gallery owner Robin Rule's eye for talent remains keen. Abels possesses all the ingredients necessary for a significant artistic career.
Mark Motherbaugh at Andenken - starting at 7 pm.
"During his downtime on early worldwide tours with DEVO, Mark Mothersbaugh began illustrating on postcards to send to his friends and family, which he still creates, and has been creating every day for over 30 years. It’s an obsessive habit/hobby which still yields anywhere from one to a couple dozen new postcard-sized images per day
The cards were originally created as his personal diaries, and were never intended for public viewing. That all changed when Mark decided to share his postcard works in his critically acclaimed solo shows during the 1980’s & 1990’s. Since then, he launched his worldwide Homefront Invasion! tour in ‘03, and the Visual Art of Mark Mothersbaugh tour starting in ‘05.
Mark has archived nearly all the original postcard-sized works, filed neatly in spiral-bound folders at his home in Hollywood, CA. It is an astonishingly obsessive collection of private thoughts featuring Mark’s plethora of provoking & unusual imagery.
The 2009 Gallery Tour features high-resolution, limited edition digital prints of Mark’s works. Each original postcard diary sketch is scanned and altered especially for the tour, often with the addition of text, digital effects, photos, etc. Each customized image is printed on quality archival Lysonic paper in a very limited edition (usually editions of 3-20, each embossed and signed by the artist). Mark archives one of each print edition for his own archives, which further limits distribution of each postcard diary print. Mark explains, 'Usually, the only way someone can get an original sketch is if I give it to them myself. I’ve sent a few in the mail, and handed others out to friends and family. I’ve probably got around 30,000 of them filed away now….and I keep making more every day. The limited edition prints are my way of sharing these personal images with other people around the world.'"
January 16th thru February 14th, 2009
For the New Year Dave Seiler fills Ironton with 5 ambitious Phrenitiscope's. These objects, akin to early pre-cinema devises such as mutoscope's also known as "What the butler saw" machines which are moving picture machines that are viewer interactive; they must be cranked in order to see the short film.
The content of the films are based on research the artist has accumulated on Jean Gebser and his writings about the history and development of consciousness. The imagery ranges from the joyful banality of everyday life to the serenity of moving landscapes, the sense of devastating decay and the surreal feelings that evokes.
These films were shot with digital video then reduced to fifteen frames per second and converted to JPEG stills, effect's were added with various photo programs and printed. the printed photos were the glued together with a stiff "backer" card between each image and assembled to a wood core. This core is then attached to the drive shaft of the machine and when cranked can be viewed.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, is exhibiting a collection of art based on the arctic landscape called, To the Ends of the Earth: Painting the Polar Landscape.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Here's their blurb:
"Amie Street helps you discover new music you'll love quickly and easily. With millions of songs to choose from we make it simple and enjoyable to find your next favorite song.
How do we do this? It starts with the fact that all songs on Amie Street are priced from free to 98 cents. Instead of the arbitrary $0.99 per song, on Amie Street the community determines the price of music. Every song starts free, or very cheap, and increases in price, up to 98 cents, as more and more people purchase it.This variable pricing system ensures that the public gets music at a fair, community-driven price point, and makes it easy for you to find the type of music you want. We then encourage you to talk about the music you like by putting money in your account for more downloads when you recommend songs that continue to rise in price. You can play the music you purchase from anywhere on the web and all Amie Street downloads are iPod compatible DRM-free mp3s. "
I just downloaded the new Coconut Records (Jason Schwartzman) album called "Davy" for a little over 7 bucks! This album is exclusive to Aime St music, but even if you could find it on itunes or zune -you can't beat the price at Amie St - and it is DRM free.