Thursday, January 29, 2009

don't forget: the handshake

Opening: January 30, 6-9PM

The Gallery Group at the Art Institute of Jacksonville is pleased to announce the opening of The Handshake on January 30, 2009 from 6PM-9PM. The Handshake features the works of artists Jason Boyer (Richmond, VA) and Robert Ryan (Asbury Park, NJ). Catalog of exhibition with a limited edition CD will be available at the opening.

Me, I'm excited for the catalogue....

p.s. Afterwards, both artists will be tattooing in Jacksonville for the weekend:
Jason Boyer at Black Hive Tattoo
Robert Ryan at Inksmith and Rogers

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

then who do we turn to?

This morning, when I read that Brandeis University had opted to close the Rose Museum and sell of every one of the works therein it was as if the last bastion against crass capitalism had fallen.

We all know that on the local and state level art and music classes and resources are the first to go. But on a liberal college campus? If those who espouse the value of art cannot be counted upon to protect it, then who?

For the full story, go here.

I saw my first Agnes Martin at the Rose.

Rabbit is Gone

I remember the shock of recognition that went through me after reading the first few chapters of John Updike’s Rabbit Run. It was as if without even trying, Updike had managed to capture all of the anger, frustration, and fear of the older generation of men in my family.

Rabbit’s (Harry Angstrom) combination of entitlement and of memories shot through with absurd grandeur seemed to me then (and to a certain extent now) the essence of my family. Instead of telling stories of the future and how it could be better and happier, I was raised on a diet of the good old days. When wealthy Uncle Al would cart the family around the country in the company plan, before the land had been sold off, before dreams withered on the vine, and Aunt Margaret took up permanent residence in the lake house. Laced through these tales was always a certain kind of anxiety and irrational fear that occationally affects me to this day. Then and now, optimism is greeted with a kind of cruel sarcasm.

However, to a certain extent, reading the Rabbit suite of novels both helped me to embrace my family, while negating their worldview. Updike wrote about the middle-American experience with a kind of fearless bleakness, refusing to blink even in the face of the most cruel descriptions. It was less the weaving of a tale than the gracefully brutal exhumation of a culture on the wane.

Jogn Updike: March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009

Here is the link to the NYTimes obit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The giant, fierce figure of The Colossus as he rises above a fleeing crowd of people, carts and animals is one of Spanish artist Francisco de Goya's most dramatic and famous pictures – at least it was until yesterday, when Madrid's Prado museum declared he had not painted it.

Full story here.

Adrian Searle then poses the question, and some historical points concerning Colossus here. "As the Colossus wades through the world, so historians and critics – and everyone else who looks at the painting – have to make a way through its multiple meanings, its endless mutability. The question of authorship has now compounded those questions. Yet the painting is still worth looking at, just the same."

Friday, January 23, 2009


from 6-10 p.m.

come is you know us, or if you are curious.

should be fun.

Ian [he of Shantytown and HipHopHell fame] as the musical selector.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

from twitter, with love

Actually, from Levi at UAW, via twitter.

"Pretty cool & honest thesis on the state of present day design."

Seemed like a good way to start the week.

Click on the image to read it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Plan now for the end of the month!

The Handshake

January 30 – February 20, 2009

Opening: January 30, 6-9PM

The Gallery Group at the Art Institute of Jacksonville is pleased to announce the opening of The Handshake on January 30, 2009 from 6PM-9PM. The Handshake features the works of artists Jason Boyer (Richmond, VA) and Robert Ryan (Asbury Park, NJ). Catalog of exhibition with a limited edition CD will be available at the opening.

The works of Jason Boyer and Robert Ryan display a quest for knowledge through the individual’s relationship with universal symbols. The images describe a struggle between an alienation and a dependency on the universal for transcendence.
Below is an excerpt from the catalog:

“The Handshake exhibit is an introduction, the work of two meeting for the first time. Jason Boyer and Robert Ryan were, until now, strangers. The work on the wall is a visible manifestation of an introduction, an agreement, and perhaps, an obscure association. Boyer and Ryan seem to have an allegiance to the unknown. They belong to the club of visionaries, mystics, shaman, the priestly class. They are the makers of dreams manifest. Boyer and Ryan are both painters, musicians, and tattooers. Both are fascinated by the oppositions of the known versus the unknown, extensions of the individual expressed in both the macro and the micro.”

-Barrett Fiser, instructor, tattooer

The Handshake has been organized by the Gallery Group at the Art Institute of Jacksonville. The Gallery Group is a focus group of 15 graphic design and interactive media students responsible for curating, installing and advertising two exhibitions each the year. Students develop a concept, research artists and curate each exhibition with the intention of further defining the relationship between “fine art” and design.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

grinding to a halt

from Art Fag City:

Bloomberg news reports Christie’s auction house will begin massive layoffs this week. [AFC] spoke to their PR staff this morning about the cutbacks:

Effective January 12, 2009, we have begun a company-wide reorganization review, which includes the possibility of significant staff reductions, not renewing many consultants’ contracts and the continuation of other cost reduction initiatives, that will ensure we remain competitive and profitable in 2009. Any staff reductions that might be necessary will be implemented globally in accordance with local regulations and in as considered and timely a manner as is possible.

On writing

As a writer, I often find myself injecting my own thoughts and motives into others' works.

As an artist, I try to find ways to articulate my thoughts without obfuscating the work, and the intension (whether multi-faceted or not) behind it.

So I write statements pretty regularly, if only as an exercise for myself. My most recent works, some of which I have posted here are dealing with the horse both as a culturally iconic and as well as personal symbol.

I think, that in the process of writing, because one is forced to make things clearer, revelations are more easily ascertainable and understood. At least that has always been true for me.

Personally, writing has always been the opportunity I take to attempt to study an issue, a work, or even a person as one might a highly faceted stone. To let half-formed thoughts dwell in the penumbra, until they often unexpectedly pop out...of course these moments of clarity often come long after a blog post has published, an article sent to the printer, or a comment posted. But they remain, and often find themselves worked into new essays.

I'm not really sure what has occasioned this comment, perhaps I am curious as to why others choose to write. For me it often boils down to one tenant: writing helps me know what I think.

new year, new show, new attitude?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

{don't} get on the bus

Today I had a meeting with artist Richard McMahan for Arbus. McMahan is a truly extraordinary individual who creates minatures based on famous artworks that span the entire history of art.

However, there will be more on that in my upcoming article, the thing that struck me as a travesty, and beyond the pale, was when McMahan--who doesn't drive--shared with me that in order to make our 11:30 a.m. meeting, he'd left the house at 7:00 a.m., because the bus system here is so unreliable.

So, we can host a Superbowl but can't make the bus system work in a productive manner?

I said it when I first moved to this city (when I wasn't a driver) and I maintain to this day, that the refusal of the city to make public transportation more accessible and reliable is symptomatic of institutionalized race/classism.

Monday, January 12, 2009

makes sense...the city hurts your brain

From Jonah Leher, over at, via a friend of mine.

"THE CITY HAS always been an engine of intellectual life, from the 18th-century coffeehouses of London, where citizens gathered to discuss chemistry and radical politics, to the Left Bank bars of modern Paris, where Pablo Picasso held forth on modern art. Without the metropolis, we might not have had the great art of Shakespeare or James Joyce; even Einstein was inspired by commuter trains.

And yet, city life isn't easy. The same London cafes that stimulated Ben Franklin also helped spread cholera; Picasso eventually bought an estate in quiet Provence. While the modern city might be a haven for playwrights, poets, and physicists, it's also a deeply unnatural and overwhelming place.


The reason such seemingly trivial mental tasks leave us depleted is that they exploit one of the crucial weak spots of the brain. A city is so overstuffed with stimuli that we need to constantly redirect our attention so that we aren't distracted by irrelevant things, like a flashing neon sign or the cellphone conversation of a nearby passenger on the bus. This sort of controlled perception -- we are telling the mind what to pay attention to -- takes energy and effort. The mind is like a powerful supercomputer, but the act of paying attention consumes much of its processing power.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

tight work

Mike Giant courtesy Fecal Face.

Friday, January 9, 2009

more pills

of course I am biased, but if the car companies, banks, et al...why not the papers too?

Oh wait, this is still a free-market society... all of this insertion of governmental/public funds into privately held companies certainly isn't Socialism and it didn't happen during the Republican watch.

...wait a minute...

And I don't have health insurance because?

So, here's Bill Nelson's email form.

And here's Mel's contact form.

If nothing else, writing inflammatory letters is fun.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

bitter pill

It seems that when I assumed that because I'm already pretty poor that the economic slowdown couldn't touch me, I was wrong.

Like an old sock, my column got dropped from the Times Union for budgetary cutbacks.

From my editor: "Oy, no easy way to say this: I have to kill the Art Notes column. Our budgets are being cut to the bone, and almost all of our freelance stuff has to go. No more symphony reviews. No more art notes [...] Thanks for all you’ve done, and sorry I have to end the column."

Honestly, each week I wrote 300-500 words about the local scene, it wasn't much, but I took pride and pleasure in it. This setback leaves me feeling pretty damn hollow, and pretty over Jacksonville.

If, on the off chance you want to write in to my editor, his info is here: I know this isn't his fault, he's actually a good guy, but I am still hugely disappointed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

...go small, go humble...or proclaim you own importance far in advance of history

It seems that Folio Weekly is getting into the art game. Posted over at Jacksonville Confidential is a call for submissions for The Folio Weekly Invitational Art Exhibit ’09.

The flier says the show will open at a site still being determined in March, to coincide with the paper’s visual arts issue. It also says “This very important show will set the standard for the local art scene.”

I can’t help but wonder if the cart is way out there in front of the horse...according to an email I sent over to Folio, they aren’t even sure who is juroring the event yet.

However, for those interested in participating, submit 5 samples of your strongest works by January 31 to:

Kelley Lucas
Art Director Folio Weekly
9456 Philips Hwy, Suite 11
Jax, FL 32256

*Image= Ad Reinhardt’s notes to himself about the how/why/what of art. His writings were later compiled by Barbara Rose in the book: “The Selected Writings of Ad Reinhardt.” It is by turns sublime, frustrating, and absurd.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

...looking back/forward sort of...

Yesterday, a good friend of mine posted a picture of me circa 1999-2000. He took it at the Yaffa cafe in NYC, at about 2:00 a.m. after taking an hour-long train ride in to hang with me.

Looking at the picture, now almost ten years old (and shot on film no less), got me to thinking about the ways we change, and the ways we stay the same; whether over the course of one year, or ten.

This new year I had a grand plan to wake up on January 1, drive to the beach, and wade in to the water up to my neck...and then hustle right on out. I liked the notion of water as a purifying source, a way to symbolically wash off the old year and ring in the new.

However, ahem, I rang the new year’s bell with a little too much vigour {and champagne} and instead found myself in bed the entire day of the 1st, watching a Bones marathon. Not bad, but not entirely auspicious.

It wasn’t until Sunday that I was able to make it out to the beach for an attempt at immersion. Though I couldn’t bring myself to go in past my knees (I convienently blamed it on the tenderness of my new tattoo, more on that later), I spent the afternoon chasing dreams of sharks’ teeth, and coming up with shells instead.

The shells are really beautiful and we found so many that we actually returned home with an “edited” collection. The lesson here? Instead of considering things from the full frontal position, look sideways, and look for spinning. I need to remember that the treasure I seek isn’t always the treasure I find.

In 2009, I look forward to continued blogging, writing, and general commentary. I hope to make more drawings, be more precise with my words, and make more insightful assessments while considering historical antecedents. Oh, and be willing (ideologically at least) to take the train in at 2:00 a.m. for a friend.

Good luck in 09 everyone!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Imagine how exciting the crash will be

One of my favs, Dave Hickey answers questions and generally stirs the art-pot here.

"Good art is still available and being made, of course, but there is no art too sorry to offer at auction these days."

"I love art fairs. I see art. I talk to people who like art. One thing I did notice in Miami last year is that the big galleries’ selections of younger artists tended to be pretty lame—crocheted pink octopi, fake mahogany appliqué on sea-turtle shells, things like that. We’ve gone through 40 years of art becoming more vulgar. Personally, I think we are back, in a stylistic sense, to where we were after Pollock and de Kooning, on the verge of a period devoted to gradual refinement. You’ve got to recognize the end of things when they end. So I ask you: Can you get more vulgar than Richard Prince? "