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Archives for July 2009

Present in the Making

From ArtForum, 1970, "Some Notes on the Phenomenology of Making" by Robert Morris "Much attention had been focused on the analysis of the content of art making—its end images—but there has been little attention focused on the significance of the means...I believe there are 'forms' to be found within the activity of making as much as within the end products. These are forms of behavior aimed at testing the limits and possibilities involved in that particular interaction between one's actions and the materials of the environment. This amounts to the submerged side of the art iceberg." Below: Robert Morris, Untitled (Pink Felt), 1970, Felt pieces of various sizes, overall dimensions variable. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Panza … [Read more...]

Richter 858 – Frisell, Richter – Part 2

These really are extraordinary works. Frisell plays the classicist. His jazz roots are the underpinning, but the compositions defer strictly to late 20th century classical "New Music". Frisell is no stranger to that world. In 1995 he World premiered Steven Mackey's "Deal" with the Los Angeles Philharmonic's New Music Group as part of the Green Umbrella concert series, a legacy of Esa-Pekka Salonen, music director and principle conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1992 to 2009. It is interesting to note that Richter 858 pre-dates The Tristan Project, another phenomenal pairing of "Art" (Bill Viola) and composition (Richard Wagner). And while The Tristan Project is firmly embedded in both the pioneering worlds of video art and … [Read more...]

Richter 858 – Frisell, Richter – Part 1

Richter 858 is an extraordinary collaboration between the painter Gerhard Richter and musician/jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, first released on CD as part of the limited edtion book RICHTER 858, published by The Shifting Foundation/SFMOMA (San Francisco 2002), ISBN 0-9718610-0-5 In 2002 Bill Frisell was commissioned by producer/poet David Breskin to create the music for an elaborate art book project on the great German painter Gerhard Richter. The book, RICHTER 858, was published in connection with a comprehensive US retrospective of Richter's work, although it focused entirely on a recent series of eight small abstract paintings numbered 858 1–8. There were poems, essays, superb reproductions of the works, and Frisell's music on an … [Read more...]

Intimate India

Quotidian photography by Paul Cabanis. India 2008. Cabanis, who travels often in India, gives us evocative, familiar insights. No longer tethered to nor compelled to seek the remarkable, these photographs instead, offer up an intimate conversation. Here asylum is at hand, automobiles possess a bovine nature and technology is on pause. What is "Cyclostyling'? … [Read more...]

The Ukrainian Surprise

Grotowski Festival 2009, Wroclaw, Poland – The process by which a child learns how to navigate the world is, from beginning to end, profoundly theatrical in nature. The child imagines herself into the world of pencils, bookshelves and full-moons-in-the-sky by embodying them in the eyes of another, making the felt experience of the object personal, direct and surprisingly immediate. Watching this kind of "imaginative play" is completely engaging ("baby TV, Eliza channel," my wife and I used to call it) and there is never any doubt that your witnessing presence is allowing the learning to take place. When a piece of theater is very, very good it attains a similar kind of startling immediacy, the performers drawing on the attention of the … [Read more...]

It’s Something That’s Human and You Can’t Stay Away from It

The Interview Project, Directed by Austin Lynch and Jason S., Produced by Sabrina Sutherland – The Interview Project could very well be the perfect web experience. Austin Lynch, Jason S. and crew cross the United States from west to east and back again interviewing people as they stray by. Strays could be the operative word here, because unlike say a Studs Turkel interview, who aims to put forth a true cross section of society or lets say a Deborah Solomon interview who carefully spotlights each subject, Interview Projects picks up on who ever is walking, biking or just sitting around and poses up their version of a Proust Questionnaire. Interview leaves behind the high rises, takes to the back roads and is very comfortable with … [Read more...]

Night Tide – Amusement

A little bit of fun. A little bit of Flavin. – " template="default" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"] … [Read more...]

Night Tide – Typography

Night Tide, Directed by Curtis Harrington. US 1961, 35mm, b/w, 84 min. – I start with the typography of Night Tide, not because it is special in itself or a beautiful execution of script, but, more for its clumsy portentous attempt to sell the melodrama of the action. Acting like a petulant child incapable of not giving away the ending, these titles just spell it out. And lucky for us because the story line of boy meets girl and girl turns out to be mermaid under the spell of the dreaded "Sea People", probably needs all the help it can get. The more time I spend with Night Tide, Curtis Harrington's iconoclast Art Film, the more I find a sincere ardent cinefile hard at work. Shot on the Santa Monica pier (and adjacent Venice … [Read more...]

Applauding in Poland

Grotowski Festival 2009, Wroclaw, Poland – At a performance of Gospels of Childhood by the Zar Theater Company in Poland you are spared the indignity of applause. As the piece ends the performers fling open windows and exit, the sounds of the city filtering in, joining with the space. You feel the collective awareness that has formed in the room drift out into open air. The lights rise. After a time people stand as if on cue and begin to walk back into their lives. Gospels of Childhood was part of this year's Grotowski Festival in the city of Wroclaw, as was a second Zar piece called Cesarean Section. Essays on Suicide. The two pieces were billed as a diptych, but a third piece, a work-in-progress that I saw, but whose … [Read more...]

Sitting with Anselm Kiefer’s Angel of History and ZimZum (1989)

  At the National Gallery of Art, April 2009 There is the airborne escape mechanism which is the airplane, or the effective instrument of destruction which is the war plane. Anselm Kiefer's The Angel of History is a poetic antithesis of both forms, fabricated of lead, its wings laden with books of beaten lead sheets. The lack of utility makes it not only about art, but a sublime object with which to contemplate the idea of the plane, one of the great icons of the war years of the 20th century. Like all icons its pragmatic uselessness makes it sacred in an areligious way. Its payload of leaden manuscripts piled on the wings, pages stuffed with dried poppies, the better to fuel an auto-da-fé, is a righteous Dada juxtaposition. … [Read more...]

The Fire Sermon

I became first drawn to the the Fire Sermon (Adittapariyaya-sutta) when reading Aldous Huxley's Perrenial Philosophy's chapter on Good and Evil. I went looking to penetrate and quantify the nature of these moral opposites and found instead a rousing poetic call to action. The sensuality of the dialectic, the simple audacity of the conclusive "Birth is exhausted..." make this a powerful and seductive read. The Fire Sermon Adittapariyaya-sutta Thus I have heard. The blessed One was once living at Gayasia in Gaya with a thousand bhikkhus. There he addressed the bhikkhus: ‘Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning? ‘Bhikkhus, the eye is burning, visible forms are burning, visual conciousness is … [Read more...]