Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Laughter of the Dali Lama

In the film, 10 Questions for the Dali Lama, travel filmmaker-turned-pilgrim Rick Ray traveled to Dharamsala, India after he was able to secure a 45 minute audience with His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama.

Ray weaves an overview of the Dali Lama’s life and by extension, the Chinese invasion of Tibet into the narrative of his journey. Using grainy black and white footage and archival film that looks as if it must’ve been smuggled out from behind Chinese lines, he creates a compelling reason for a closer look into the Chinese/Tibetan conflict. And later, a brief interview with a Chinese political prisoner. Indeed, it is worth nothing that Tibetan political refugees still make the 1,200 mile treck from Tibet to Dharamsala for asylum.

Using a deft touch, Ray illustrates the devastation the Chinese government has wrought in just 4 decades on thousands of years of culture and tradition. 10 Questions also raises the very real, and very ugly specter of an eventual impostor Lama, put in place by the Chinese government. But even in the face of that which others might consider the ultimate blasphemy, the Lama just says that he feels sorry for the person the Chinese will select for the job.

However, it is without a doubt that the Dali Lama himself steals the show. Laughing and smiling throughout the interview, His Holiness answers those questions (in between infectious giggles that seem to suggest that though existence is absurd, it should be enjoyed) that in our hearts, we already know the answers to. That compassion, understanding, tolerance, festivals and picnics are the route to a better world. He also notes that while every life is precious, there can be too many precious lives for planetary sustainability.

But perhaps that is his cause, not to reveal arcane secrets of the universe; but to reinforce--to say and keep saying--those things that we know in our hearts to be true: compassion, love, and understanding are the things that matter most. And birth control is a good idea.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Pen, The Sword, Lost and Found?

John Ruskin is widely acknowledged to be the father of art criticism. And though he wrote in a time, and of place in a manner that largely reflected a concern for the aesthetic nature of an item (be it building or painting) it was his writings that largely are said to have brought art appreciation (or theories of it anyway) to the masses.

Later in life, he suffered from mental disease that rendered his writings more and more incomprehensible, and was also in love with a girl (Rose LaTouche) many years his junior. Famously his first marriage (before he met Rose) was annulled because of his impotence. Ever since, the rumor has been that because his nude wife did not bear a hairless resemblance to the Greek and Roman nudes he’d studied, he could not perform.

However, his dictum, “that art was essentially concerned to communicate an understanding of nature, and that authentic artists should reject inherited conventions in order to appreciate and study effects of form and colour by direct observation,” is still felt today. He said, “go to nature in all singleness of heart, rejecting nothing and selecting nothing.”

I mention him here and now because he was recently name-checked in an article that wittily decries the overburdensome texts accompanying this year’s Whitney Biennial.

Culling other writers' quotes, Eric Gibson waxes rather poetic about the mind-numbing, circular gibberish that accompanied this year’s show. Though I know that I've gone on about the dangers of artspeak before, Gibson does a really wonderful job of illustrating why it is so dully dangerous.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jesus Loves You and I Do Too

Al Letson

Willie Evans Jr.

In the book The Corner, writers David Simon and Edward Burns chronicle a year in the life of the McCullough family—DeAndre and his divorced parents: Gary and Fran. The book is wrenching in its unflinching look into life at the nexus of drug life in Baltimore. The Corner acts as a chronicle of events, neither condemning nor endorsing the actions of its principle characters. In approaching the book from a neutral angle, the authors convey the endless cycles of hope, addiction, despair, and crime that is a reality for tens of thousands of people. Really it’s a glimpse into another (hidden) culture.

So perhaps it was providence that poet Al Letson launched his newest piece, Summer at Sanctuary in Baltimore, a city not unfamiliar with grinding poverty. “Letson is a powerful performer who tells his story by moving fluidly from one role to the next . . . A show full of gems,” The Baltimore Sun.

Summer at Sanctuary is described as a choreopoem, but in truth Letson does very little dancing. What he does do is take the story of his time at spent at Springfield’s Sanctuary at 8th Street, and use it as a lens through which he tells fragments of his life story, and the lives of the children he was working with.

Though he tells us that the consensus from the kids was that “Mr. Al” was corny as hell, the larger story he is telling is one where grown men confront children in the street, with guns drawn. A story where the 15 year-old boy, Biko, must seriously consider whether or not he’s going to kill the man who threatened and shamed him in the street.

These are the kind of dilemmas that most adults are never forced to deal with, let alone a child. So without proselytizing or beating his bear breast, Letson opens the lid of Springfield—and by extension poverty-stricken neighborhoods across the country—and shows the audience how truly bad things are, yet they are not without hope, its just a different and much reduced kind of hope.

The success of Sanctuary rests largely on two things, Letson’s own observations turned into brilliant wordplay, and the production skills of Willie Evans Jr. Consider this: in describing his initial forays into performing in Jacksonville, he cites Stephen Dare as a huge supporter, “one part Beelzebub and one part St. Luke.” It’s as perfect a description as one could desire for the omni-controversial Dare. While Evans, a member of the A.B.’s (formerly Asamov), a producer, and solo artist, brings a light touch to the score that accompanies the work. In fact, it was because his name was attached to the project that my interest was piqued.

Though there are places where the work runs a little long, overall it is a highly cohesive show that does more than memorialize a middle-class poet’s stint as a do-gooder. Indeed, Letson plans to return to the Sanctuary this summer. One wonders what his days there this time around will be like. Will he once again find himself and another staffer holding on to a thrashing eight-year old girl who wants to die, promising her over and over again that “Jesus loves you and I do too?” Or will he, once again by the grace of fate and the universe, be able to hold his own on the b-ball court against a 13 year-old who makes lay-ups look as easy as the simple, laconic flick of a wrist?

Of the piece, Letson wrote on his blog: “Government can’t change the story of Springfield, of poverty, of lost children. Only people can. God may work through governments at times, although evidence of that in recent times is slim to none, but I think it’s in the heart of man, where he whispers his providence. I hope this piece will soften some hearts so they can hear that whisper and do something.”

Though I am not sure when Summer in Sanctuary will be staged again, I suggest that those people who read and listen to David Sedaris, get out and support Mr. Al when it next goes up.

*apologies for the sorry pics. I promise, I am working on getting a better camera.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Perfect Coffee, Every Time

Coffeemakers are ugly. They sit on kitchen counters like cranky gargoyles that are good for only one thing: infusing the senses with a clanging energy--a bullet in the brain.

For most of the Western world, I’d hazard a guess that a morning cup of coffee looks less like watery, bitter mud, and more like salvation in a cup. However, as a confirmed non-drinker of the stuff, I see the coffeemaker perched on my counter less as harbinger of the day-as-yet-unfolded, and more like an assault on the already limited aesthetics of my kitchen (a former crackhouse we’re trying to restore to wholeness).

So when I wandered into Nestliving a few days ago, I was thrilled to discover that they carry the Chemex brand coffee maker. I’d been researching this product for awhile: in addition to the wonderfully simple lines of the mid-century-esque carafe, it supposedly makes the best cup of coffee in the world. And for those of us who like to support good design but have limited means, the 6-cup version (which is for sale at Nest) is a reasonable $33.00. The same price as the website, but sans shipping.

Since I was so pleased with my find, I got to chatting with the owner Shaan Batten. Though admittedly I was a little suspicious as well: the shop seemed to be very similar to Roost, which was in 5 Points a few years ago. I felt a little defensive for Roost, not least because I count its former proprietor, Tonya Lee, among my friends.

However, after Shaan let me wave my arms around and shout about ideas of authenticity and opportunism (okay, I just did that in my head, in reality I brought up the similarity to Roost in a very civilized manner), it turned out I was being ridiculous (a condition I'm pretty used to). Shaan said that he’d taken pains to not carry the same lines as Roost had, and, that his impression had been that the Roost space had been more experimental than what he was attempting to do. And I had to concede the point, in fact, Tonya herself once said, “The shop was never to generate revenue…it was an extension of my obsession with paintings; just more disposable decorative objects.”

Plus, it is really nice to have a shop selling modern-wares in the neighborhood again—it feels like a commitment not just to design that for purely aesthetic reasons feels contemporary, but to design that functions with people. That’s really the crux of good design whether contemporary or Modern: design that functions within the rubric of its time and place.

Sometimes, there is also hope that thoughtful, deliberate, design can begin to permeate other aspects of life…if we were to all become more present and aware, who knows what changes could be wrought? Maybe just golden tiger wallpaper in the dining room…maybe a whole new way of thinking.

So, does that coffeemaker make the best coffee I’ve ever tasted? I don’t know. But it does look wonderful with cut flowers in it.

Incidentally, there's a Grand Opening party at the shop on the 24th. Go out and show some love.

*click on the title to go to Nestliving's webpage.

Friday, April 18, 2008

"I am become death: the shatterer of worlds."

There are schools of though that assert that in death, there is enlightenment, the chance for transformation, or even to be reborn. Then there are sensationalistic simulations/paeans to death. Notably and recently, Damian Hirst's bedazzled skull.

Less glamorously: Guillermo "Habacuc" Vargas' "installation" Eres lo que lees (you are what you read) wherein he is purported to have taken a starving dog from the streets of Nicaragua, tied it to a gallery wall, and let it starve to death over the course of several days during which time an incense bowl full of 175 pieces of crack cocaine was burning as the Sandanista anthem played backwards on a record player.

Though it seems a little too deliberately embroidered to be completely true, the incident has stirred up international outrage in the form of a protest petition being circulated across the web. The main point being that because of his willingness to let a dog die, or a least pretend to, Vargas should not be allowed to exhibit at the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central Americas. Conceptually his project was weak, and needlessly cruel…showing such a single-note artist weakens the entire Biennial.

According to the site, updated on April 14, 2008, the status of the truth of these allegations is "undetermined."

Even more sensationalistically, Yale senior Ali Shvarts' senior thesis project which involved multiple self-inseminations, and then self-induced miscarriages using abortifacient herbs over the course of nine months. Various (online) sources report the student recorded herself, and preserved the blood from the incidents in a freezer.

According to the Yale Daily News, "Shvarts said her project would take the form of a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Shvarts said she would wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around the cube, with blood from her self-induced miscarriages lining the sheeting. Recorded videos of her experiencing her miscarriages would be projected onto the four sides of the cube, Shvarts said, and similar videos would also be displayed on the walls of the room."

In both instances the artist has stepped outside of cultural norms, and ethics supposedly in order to make a specific point. A point that deals both with the hypocrisy and increasing torpor of humanity. The tragic flaw of both projects, however, is that whether "true" or not—whether the dog died or the girl aborted multiple fetuses in the course of nine months, neither is imparting information that is terribly new. Yes, humans are flawed. Yes, we are often hypocritical. Yes, issues surrounding a woman's body (I'm pro-choice by the way*) are complex and difficult to unravel**.

Though their projects seem (from my comfortable seat in front of the computer) banal and sophomoric, what both Shvarts and Vargas have been able to do is capture the attention of the media and exploit our own prurient interests. Then the question becomes, not even one of morality, but of affording sensationalists like this a platform from which to increase their own marketability.

Incidentally, I did wrestle with whether or not to post this essay, and I’m still not sure I should have. However, the larger issue is one that goes to the credibility of contemporary art: once again, in the public mind, artists will be lumped in with scandal-courting charlatans (at best), or with the ill-conceived, inelegant stunts of the mentally unbalanced and just plain cruel.

It also bears mentioning that Shvarts’ project (at least) has antecedents in the work of Kiki Smith, Orlan, and Ana Mendieta…sort of. But really, it just sort of unsubtly shrieks “I hate myself and my body.” While Vargas’ project is like that guy at the bar that hits on every girl, hoping—at the very least--for sympathy pussy.

*Please note, pro-choice does not mean pro-death, it means that I support a woman's right to choose whether or not to continue or terminate a pregnancy. I, nor any other person I know, celebrates the decision to end a pregnancy.

**Historically, women have always used the means at their disposal to control wanted and unwanted pregnancies.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Flux your Muscles

Flux Gallery in 5 Points is Jacksonville's newest entree into the bumpy art scene here in town. Tim, one of the owners, said that this galley is his attempt to give something to the artists of Jacksonville. A commercial photographer by trade, Tim said that his idea is to provide art at reasonable cost to collectors.

*pictured artwork by Lauren Corben (top), Alex Blett (bottom).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The other day, I had the good fortune to be included in a tasting over at the restaurant that was Crush, and will be Orsay. Because it was an informal tasting menu with the chefs requesting feedback, I won’t comment on any of the dishes except to say that I am excited to say that this new effort will be an elegant reflection of what Crush once was.

The premise is to be one of a modern French-style bistro. I will say this about one dish though, the crème brulee was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. In fact, it was so good, I ate the entire ramekin; there was the perfect balance of bruleed sugar over creamy, custardy goodness without a hint of the egginess that can ruin the experience.

*The above picture is of Jon Insetta (he of Chew, and majority owner), Brian Siebenschuh (who along with his wife, Crystal Vessels are part owners as well) and Sam standing where the former (back) building stood just 48 hours ago. It is where the new lounge, patio and private dining room will be located.

Projected opening? June.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


image copyright Lee Harvey

In the 4/14/08 issue of the Weekly Standard, writer P.J. O'Rourke comments on seven more deadly sins as released by the Apostolic Penitentiary (the Vatican body that oversees confessions and plenary indulgences). In an article in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti detailed the seven new ways we can go to hell or, at the minimum, be sentenced to afterlife in purgatory at the Apostle Pen. The bishop's supersizing of the mortal transgression catalog is thoroughly up-to-date (as translated by the Times of London):

1. Drug abuse

2. Morally debatable experimentation

3. Environmental pollution

4. Causing poverty

5. Social inequality and injustice

6. Genetic manipulation

7. Accumulating excessive wealth

However, O'Rourke has his own take on seven contemporary sins:

1.  Celebrity. This is far and away the besetting sin of the 21st century. Note that the root of the word is "celebrate." What evil, pentagram-enclosed, goat-heinie-kissing ceremony are we celebrating with Kevin Federline?

2.  Communication. In former days just Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and only one time at that. Now everybody's a know-it-all 24/7 thanks to Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, email, cell phones, text messages, and so on. A cherubim with a flaming sword is expelling us from the office cubicle of Eden, or would be if he could tear us away from the Internet. (And you, young man in the reading audience, take those ear buds out when your elders are addressing you!)

3.  Youth. Talk about worshiping false gods; why would anyone pray--or pay!--for youthfulness? The young are spotty, sweaty, chowder-headed, and woefully lacking in wisdom, experience, or control over anything, especially themselves. Yet we bear witness to the eternally babyish baby boom. Men in their sixties are on Harleys and snowboards and basketball courts, from which they will proceed to damnation by way of the emergency room. The women go to and fro in the earth, mutton dressed as lamb, with liposuction well-applied to tummy, butt, and brain. And they all come to Mass, when at all, in shorts, T-shirts, and shower flip-flops.

4.  Authenticity. Please do your best to be someone better than who you truly are. Deep down inside we're ravening beasts. This is the meaning of original sin. Everyone's authentic self is horrid. God's message to man has always been, "You can't really be good, but you can fake it. Really."

5.  Caring. This takes so much time and effort that it necessarily results in the opposite of doing something. And notice that when someone says, "I care about the war in Iraq," he almost always means, "I want to lose it." Also there's a bullying logic among those who care. I care more about diddledydum than you do. Therefore I'm a better person than you are. Because I'm a better person than you are, I have the right to order you around. And vote for Hillary on November 4th.

6.  Opinion. It's the reverse of fact. Listen to NPR or AM Talk Radio if you don't believe me, or, better yet, read the opinion page of the New York Times. (I'm talking about you, Paul Krugman.) Some people have facts, these can be proven. Some people have theories, these can be disproven. But people with opinions are mindless and have their minds made up about it. The 11th Commandment is, "Thou shalt not blog."

7.  To Spend More Time With the Family. Alas, I couldn't get this into a single descriptive term, but it might as well be all one word. And when people say it we know that they've been doing something at least as bad as the former governor of New Jersey, his wife, their chauffeur, and Eliot Spitzer in a hot tub together. "We need to move on," is a similar phrase but with the implication of, "And I won't quit doing it until I'm actually behind bars."

Though this post isn't immediately, obviously about art, I thought (well, first I thought it was pretty funny) then I thought about how much of art has been influenced by the Church, and various bodies engaged in deity-seeking and it seemed apropos.

*click on the title link to go to the entire article.

Monday, April 14, 2008

start to finish

I had the pleasure of attending David Engdahl's opening this Friday, and his works really lived up to the advance promotion I gave them in my head. That being said, one of my favorite things about the show was his decision to include some of his preparatory sketches.

The images are both instructive and beautiful in and of themselves. Also Engdahl, who shows nationally and internationally shared a bit if advice with me: He said that he spends 30% of his time creating the work, and 70% of his time promoting them. A lesson perhaps in the power and importance of not resting on one's laurels?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ambiguous Humanity

Untitled Study 1
The Party Dress

A couple of days ago (March 28), UNF was locked down because of a bomb scare…later it was discovered to be an art project, Self. Justin Budwick had attached analogue-style phones—the kind available at Walgreens for about $10.00—to grey Tupperware boxes, closed with a tiny padlock, almost as an afterthought. Apparently he left the devices positioned around campus with the intension that passersby would pick up the phone and listen to a message, or two, or three from a complete stranger. Campus security didn’t see it that way.

At this point it’d be easy to devolve into a conversation about the redundancy of security, living in a culture of fear, or even the odds that UNF would be singled out for a terrorist attack. But those things seem pretty self-evident. A closer look at the piece is, however, in order. When the receiver is lifted, it triggers a recording: a short sentence at most, of a stranger sharing a bit of information about him/herself. It might be the voice of an old Southern lady remembering how hard it was when she was growing up, or the voice of a confident young man exclaiming over the depth and breadth of his magnificent vocabulary...or another of the people that rarely breach another's consciousness.

As a project, though it has NPR/This American Life-esqe overtones, it is successful in breaching the isolation people carry with themself throughout the day. Posing more questions than it answers: who are these people, how were they chosen, what do they think of the project, Self successfully inhabits an ambiguous realm that requires the audience to reconsider the teeming masses around them as actual people too.

Several other projects (all sculptural) stood out: Kristin Bartie’s Untitled Study 1 a nod to Jean Claude and Christo--though there seem to also be hints of Eva Hesse, and Jessica Carantza’s piece The Party Dress were interesting. Then there was Narooz Soliman’s piece, Stacked Ramen Noodles. In the wake of Sang Wook Lee’s highly satisfying installation still on view at MOCA Jacksonville, Ramen Noodles, Soliman’s piece reeked of a sort of last-minute desperation…not to mention the polyurethane holding it together (perhaps why it was placed outside of the gallery).

As a whole, the entire show hung together with the expected lumps and bumps of a student show. Curating the disparate visions, talent, and sophistication of an amassed group of students is no easy task. But sneaking around the shows of these fledgling artists yields surprises and sometimes, hope.

The Ethics of Art

I found this wonderfully pithy essay by Robert Fulford over at the National Post that muses on his ideas of the ethics of art and those who appreciate it (he calls it his religion). Instead of a didactic treatise that devolves into a gobblygook stream of art-speaked laced adjectives, it’s a rather light treatment of the topic.

Fulford even writes, “we also can't claim that immersion in the arts will create a lively mind. Art education has produced armies of learned bores […] As for those who create art, we get it all wrong if we imagine their work makes them admirable in private life. Rebecca West, a great journalist of the last century, remarked (rather like Antonio Salieri discussing Mozart in Amadeus) that "the power to create a work of art, like a good complexion, is frequently bestowed on the undeserving."

The essay is lively and funny and as I mentioned, it eschews the trope of artspeak for straightforward dialogue. Avoiding the trap of boglike art rhetoric is an idea increasingly gaining purchase. Close to home that idea is embraced over at Urban Art Warfare’s Artist Vs. Artist editorial. Though I tend to like the idea, especially where UAW promises: “there will be no cheesy artsy bullshit questions in any interview conducted on our site. And to answer the question your probably already asking yourself…why are both artists doing the interviews? Because the questions at hand can often be as informative as the answers that follow.” I must make the caveat that the proliferation of often seemingly ridiculous or ripped-off terms in art writing is an attempt to be specific in a diaphanous field; to give form and substance to new ideas. Plus, words like fluxism and onotological are fun to write.

Embracing the un-specific or the seemingly ridiculous also seems to be the provenance of Jacksonville-based artist Brian Gray. Gray recently launched his own site:, “a central location on the web where the outsider artist, urban art, graffiti, tagging, bombing, and illustrative artist can share their work with the public and inform/educate the masses about what we do.”

From my perspective, I always like to see what he finds on etsy.

*note: the pictured image is from Gray's submission to the Jacksonville Mural project over at the Art Center. Yes, his is the most accomplished piece in the effort.

** if you are interested in the entire Fulford essay (don't worry, it is short) click on the title link.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tan Lines

A couple of months ago, I posted about the Dan Colen, Dash Snow show Hamster Nest at Deitch. In that post, I made a brief mention of Ryan McGinley. McGinley became famous with a body of work that has been compared to that of Nan Golden (i.e shocking, confessional). But in his recent body of work, I also see a similarity to Slim Aaron’s photographs of the very rich, privileged, and beautiful of the ’70s.

Staged yet intimate the pictures provide an idealized glimpse into an exclusive world. For the past two summers, McGinley has embarked on a cross-country road trip with gaggle of models and assistants. The idea? To create multiple settings that were reminiscent of nudist magazines from the early ’70s. He shot 20-30 rolls of film a day, believing less in composition/waiting for the moment and more in editing. Incidentally the entire project cost McGinley about $100,000 per summer.

“His subjects are performing for the camera and exploring themselves with an acute self-awareness that is decidedly contemporary. They are savvy about visual culture, acutely aware of how identity can be not only communicated but created. They are willing collaborators,” said Sylvia Wolf, in the New York Times. She is the former curator of photography at the Whitney, who organized his show there (he was 24 at the time) in about 2000.

However, looking at his work, I can’t help but thinking of two things: the first, the Lomographic images that one sees on the eponymous site, and a series of watercolor drawings that local artist-turned-nightclub impresario Ryan Rummel was making three or so years ago. Rummel’s imagery was populated with the same waif-thin, androgynous, sexually-charged imagery. So I can’t help but think that not only has this been done before, but also it has been done better.

The Times further quoted McGinley saying, “My photographs are a celebration of life, fun and the beautiful,” he said. “They are a world that doesn’t exist. A fantasy. Freedom is real. There are no rules. The life I wish I was living.”

The sepia-toned, cyan-infused over-and-under exposed prints, though undeniably lovely, are nostalgic and seem a little like Polaroid outtakes from a college photography class. Though they are staged, and there is something inherently decadent and privileged about them, I still find myself liking them more than I dislike them–-or even the premise of the project. Then again maybe I just like tan lines.

The project, I Know Where The Summer Goes, is on view at Team Gallery, 83 Grand Street, cross streets Wooster and Greene, on the ground floor until May 3. And unlike paintings, sculpture, or installation I’m pretty-sure photographs are fair-ish game for online commentary.

One last note: He will be honored as Young Photographer of the Year next week at the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Awards dinner.

*click on the title to go to his website.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Street Kid Who’s Read Ruskin

Larry Salander was a man with a vision of righteousness: he believed that it was a travesty that Old Master paintings were going begging at auction, while contemporary pieces by artists like Koons were selling for millions. He saw it as a symptom of a larger cultural malaise; as an established NYC dealer, he set out to correct what he perceived as this terrible wrong.

Now he's tens of millions in debt, and being sued by those he once called friends. But for those of us not feeding at the gilded troughs of the uppermost echelons in the art world, his fall from grace is an instructive look at how hype and glamour can inflate an unregulated market; how an empires is built and then crumbles.

For the story, cut and paste the links:

New York Magazine:


* image= Paul on the road to Damascus, Carravaggio

To the Moon (or not)

image copyright Gary Larson

Over the past nine or ten months, I’ve had a few people ask me why I call this project Art Isn’t Rocket Science. And my answer is two-part-ish:

1. It is a Dave Hickey quote. Actually, it’s a quote he attributes to a friend of his that is like a hero of old. Briefly paraphrased it says: “Past his personal idiosyncrasy that delights in irony and absurdity, she believes in truth in all its ideological/mythological glory, and justice, both karmic and the kind that is meted out physically.” It’s a statement wherein I recognize my own penchant for windmill-tilting...and I do not think I am entirely alone.

2. It is a reminder--to myself--to resist the seduction of the dogmatic proselytizing of my own opinions. Sadly, I am not always successful.

So when I ran across the above cartoon, it reminded me not just of my own theory of art criticism…but of various pathetic projects I have mounted and seen mounted. The tender ministrations of artist attempts (on occasion) to craft a functioning object are sometimes enlightening, often humorous, and I think they only occasionally make it to the moon. Not nearly as often as NASA. Of course, that presupposes that one believes in the moon landing...

Anyway, no, art is not rocket science.