Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Utility and Absurdity

The style section of The Times just ran an article, Change We Could Live With, and in it, writer Guy Trebay admonishes everyone from Madonna to the Zagat guide to find real, meaningful (and fashionable) change in the new year.

He ends the article saying, “Let’s ditch what the fashion commentator, stylist and gadfly Robert Verdi calls the ‘the gloss and veneer of fabulosity’ and offload at least some of the giddy wealth and ostentation, the label dressing and It-bag consumption of a minute ago. All that nonsense feels dowdier, more clunky and more gross than ever.”

Though most of the artists I know are adept at balancing thrift store finds with haute-er pieces, it is a refreshingly straightforward admonishment to remember and try to apply to oneself...to strike a balance between utility and elegance, the uniform of the self versus the uniform of the crowd, and in so doing, remember that being an artist is not a suit to cloak oneself in, but an avocation, a job, and a calling.

And in my case, a chastisement against endless purchases of heels I do not wear and purses I forget to carry.

American Ruins

The other night I dreamt I was exploring Anasazi (also known as Ancient Puebloan) ruins that went on forever. The catch? In my dream they were a combination of the utility of Bill Morgan’s Dune House, with the startling beauty and efficiency of the cliff dwellings themselves. Oh, and they were carpeted.

On my trip out west (which was cut short die to poor engineering on my brother’s part), the one thing I wanted to do more than anything else was explore the cliff dwellings. Exploring the ruins at Bandelier National Monument, I was overcome with the stark beauty of the place, the practical application of the houses, hand-holds, and even the views from the dwellings.

The combination of practicality (it is postulated that in order to cultivate crops, the Ancient Ones lived in the cliff dwellings for maximum use of the river bed) and the beauty of the rock formations made me wish I was a fearless ten year old again instead of a lumbering, cautious adult.

Though the lives of the Anasazi were often short and brutal, these people were not without self-expression. Carved into the exterior walls of canyon were still barely visible pictographs, and one painted image, now protected behind Plexiglass.

Because historians estimate that Bandelier has housed humans for over ten thousand years, it has ruins form different eras, from structures built of mudbrick, to longhouses, to the more recent remains of an Anglo ranch that later became a guesthouse. As a sort of living document of human habitation it speaks volumes about the way that humans think about and use the land. Even the path it took to becoming a national monument, along with other ancient sites, is a story that illuminates specific aspects of Anglo-American views: both unsavory and those that recognize the wonder of these places.

Really though, it was an experience that made me want to look more closely at the ancient history of America. It was an experience that made the past tangible in a way museums can’t. It was an experience where I climbed to the top of a 140 foot ladder.

On my next trip out, we’re trekking to Mesa Verde.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I will always love you

the well-crafted line.

more Lister here.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Kara Walker's op ed from the Times. It is an interpretation of Winter.

Seriously, I am a huge Walker fan and this just looks like she phoned it in.

BBB Show

Saturday night's BBB Show can, I think, be summed up in the words of a friend of mine: "Dude, I just smoked a bong made from a bike frame."

'nuff said.

*image courtesy Jaxscene.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of An Artist Living?

The feeling is that the Hirst market has been stretched a bit too far, almost as if it snapped and backfired.

New York art dealer Christoph Van de Weghe had eight works by Damien Hirst in his booth at the Art Basel Miami Beach fair earlier this month. He sold only two.

“The timing is not so good,” Van de Weghe said. “Today I’m telling my clients that it’s better to buy established artists who are dead and won’t produce.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

found image

This picture is by photographer Dana Lauren Goldstein, whose works clearly owe a debt of gratitude to Ryan McGinley, but are addictive to look at in the same manner as Vice Magazine’s (where she interned) Dos & Don’ts.

I especially like this image because of the combination of sweetness and gross-outness.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I heard about this a couple of days ago, but now it is official, the wheel just keeps on turin' over at the museum. Per MOCA's press release:

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville announces that Cathy Fitzpatrick has been promoted to the position of Associate Director of Education replacing J. Marshall Adams who leaves the museum December 19 to take a position with the Vero Beach Museum of Art in Vero Beach, Florida.

Fitzpatrick, currently a Museum Educator and Director of Tours and Adult Programs began her career at MOCA through the museum’s docent program. Her decision to work at MOCA was driven by her passion for modern and contemporary art. Her volunteer expertise and knowledge of the Museum will allow her to assume leadership of MOCA’s Education Department. Fitzpatrick has a BFA and NCATE Temporary Teaching Certificate from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame.

“Cathy is an excellent person to take on this role having not only earned the respect of museum members and colleagues, but also as a representative of our mission to the community,” said Deborah Broder, Director of MOCA

The End and the Beginning

In addition to the cross country trip that took me away from Jacksonville, there have also been some personal events that have taken my attention away from this blog. Though I often use this forum to work out my thoughts/test new narratives/vent, in this/these instances, I cannot.

The issues are too tangled and too laden with about 100 years of history, lore, and tradition.

However, good things came out of my trip as well:
Ancient ruins
Impossible skies
Delicious black beans
My brother

I will be back to posting this week.

*pictured: my brother with his strip-built kayak, and the fuselage to the two-seater plane he’s working on. One day, we’ll fly it into Rodin Crater (or at least the nearby landing strip).

** yes, I have a new camera, yes, I am a horrid photographer. Apparently I have not yet learned about backlighting...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

road trip

So, I've been out of town and the loop for a while. I was in northern Michigan visiting family, and now I am on the road to Santa Fe.

My brother and I are trucking his (unfinished) plane across the country and the trip has encountered some unexpected delays.

The above image is from the Christmas parade in Indian River Michigan which featured heavy equipment adorned with seasonal lights, a garge bluegrass band, and the above log reindeer.

My brother and I agreed that the event was one of the most uncynical, heartfelt events we'd ever attended.