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NoL later on Saturday…

We visited Mieke’s show on 4th Street twice. Once when artist Josh Nathanson was gallery sitting and again with Mieke. On our first visit, although I tried to keep in mind the entire space and how the various works related I realize what I mostly did was look at and try to experience each piece. Moving from one of Mieke’s room set ups to the next, looking in and seeing objects. (I imagine this to be part of her Ikea inspired installation.) Circling the gallery space each art filled room vignette opens up – one may move inside to look closely and interact with the work and then one moves on, passing walls that close off the previous experience to then reveal a new vignette. On the second visit Mieke took us to a corner I missed previously and showed that what I took to be a simple four room grid or cruciform floor plan has this amazing view that I’ve posted above. Suddenly the space opened up in my mind – I could picture a plan view of the gallery space in my head and this transverse passage somehow humanized the grid I had been imagining. It was truly a delightful discovery! A simple gesture on the curator’s part that feels like a key to her thinking. In the photo above from the left: walls and grid by Fiona Connor; shiny door sculpture by Joshua Nathanson; styrofoam punctuation marks in various fonts by Fiona Banner; floor covering by Meg Cranston; leaf blower sculpture with squirrel by Jason Rhoades; glazed suspended frame with photos by Asha Schechter; monolith of...

NoL – more in between, later on the 26th and early on the 27th

Carrying on from the last post about artists in various group shows: Apologies to Brendan Threadgill. Having my memory refreshed by online images I see that in fact Threadgill doesn’t “make plaster casts” of bombed car parts – rather in one series of works he “refinishes (the mangled roof of a car used as a bomb) in strict accordance of automotive industry standards.” (quoting from Burgerworld Chronicles Photo Epicenter) One thing I notice in looking at these beautiful sculptures and photographs is Threadgill making use of  somewhat mechanical (for want of a better term) outside forces to achieve or enforce the lovely aesthetics he achieves. “Strict accordance of automotive standards” to which he also seems to include current art and historical fragment conservation standards of “fix nothing but stabilize.” In a March 2008 interview on iheartphotograph.com with Nicholas Grider querying Threadgill I find him using a similarly hands off approach to beauty and abstraction: “…the aesthetics of the image, the colors, values, contrast, etc., are determined completely by the automated algorithm with no intervention or manipulation on my part.” Threadgill furthers this conversation noting that his examination of the physical, digital and technological processes that make photographs results in what we may see as “gestural abstractions” and in fact what we see (in the light boxes) is the act (process) of photography made clear in an image as well as a photograph of… something. The light boxes at Turner seem in a similar vein. I wonder about the need for a lack of agency here. Part of me wants to say, “Well yes, but you do make these things....

Notes on Looking, August 26, 2010 (additional postings)

Two years ago I had music on my mind, as well as art. I can sing a song to myself while looking at a painting, but it’s tough to hum a painting… This afternoon I was at LACMA and saw in the permanent collection two neat things by Kurt Schwitters, a portrait by Giacometti (that looked like Bacon  a little) and a really painting by Dubuffet called   Hi my friends, In between days is a phrase that might describe this time we spend before the end of summer really hits us and we focus once again on… wherever it is we left off all those long daylight hours ago. This is also the title of a diverting thirty year old pop song by the Cure, which is here linked. (Is only my opinion that 10:15 Saturday Night is a better Cure song? Do wait for the guitar extravaganza.) It’s summer. (Minor Threat Salad Days) More specifically, we’re almost at the end of the season and I’m feeling a little melancholy about what’s past just as I’m getting excited by what I see coming. (Public Image Tie Me to the Length of That and Anna Lisa; New Order anything from Movement, e.g. Doubts Even Here) For me these in between days have been marked by music as long as I can remember – back to 1965 when at the beach in Del Mar I watched my parents do their various things against the backdrop of Roger Miller singing England Swings, Archie Bleyer’s Hernando’s Hideaway, and Petula Clark singing Downtown. (This last is a song with which I serenaded my...

Notes on Looking, August 19, 2010

Hello my friends, I don’t often recommend bars to you. Or to anyone – I mean good lord, who wants advice on a drinking establishment from a middle-age man? (Oh, right – taking into account life experience who might know better?) On the other hand I’m definitely not going out on a limb by telling you to visit 1642 on Temple Street. I do this because the room felt good to be in. Really good. Easy even. It fit my soul, so to speak. And the proprietor was extremely nice to me even though I had only $2 for a root beer and no tip. The place is entirely comfortable, spare, and hosted by the aforementioned proprietor – the charming and also bracingly spare Elizabeth Fischbach. (I deduce her name from this helpfully descriptive LA Times article by Jessica Gelt.) By the way – I read 5 online posts about 1642 and three of them mention salted peanuts. It’s important for me to note that the peanuts are not salted. The pretzels are. The peanuts taste fresh, not sugared and definitely not salted. Yay. The address again? 1642 Temple Street in LA, 90026. Just south-east of where Glendale Ave. and the 101 cross below Echo Park Lake. This has been a particularly good weekend for being out of doors and then moving inside to look at things. Beginning for me in the burning glare reflected off of Disney Hall, where we considered waiting on line for two or so hours to trade concert tickets we don’t want for ones that we do. With Redcat just around the corner it...

Quick Note on August 14, 2010

I’m getting back in the swing. Kind of. An email came my way this week from artist Nicholas Grider about his ongoing project of documenting troops in training for war, and a new phase in which he hopes to embed himself with troops in a war. Two years ago he began studying war simulations in the Mojave Desert – incredibly huge and (from what I see in his photos) lifelike war installations. He did a practice embed (as a photo-journalist) with the training troops in the desert. This starts to fee challenging. Now Grider has an opportunity to embed in Afghanistan, “real” as opposed to “fake.” The challenge he sets for himself magnify. And promise us fascinating and thoughtful documentary/art photographs, books, and exhibitions. Imagine what we may learn from Griders experience. Now for the “ask.” Join Grider’s Kickstarter campaign: Two Afghanistans – Art Photography Project and Military Embed Check out his page, think about it. I’ll be back later with Notes about what I see today. Cheers,...

N o L, August 7, 2010; still more about WWP: Jason Evans and his critics, interlocutors and commenters

Hello friends, The second of several posts talking about and quoting Words Without Pictures. See August 6 N o L post for introduction and explanation of what’s going on here. Before we go any further let me make firmly clear to you that Words Without Pictures is in fact for sale. From Aperture. Um, Aperture also publishes a quarterly journal of photographic concerns. One might say the journal of photographic concerns. Subscibe here. (Sometimes paying attention requires paying $$. This is good. Enjoy. Jason Evans, from his essay “Online Photographic Thinking.” Pages 43 – 44 and 44 – 45. …If an audience is what you prefer (as opposed to a physical thing like a book or a show as the testimony to your photographic talent), then the Internet is for you. How the perceived populism and the lack of exclusivity of my online presence places me in relation to, say, a gallery system has yet to be determined. In the inevitable and frankly tedious digital versus analog debate, my position is one of either/and. Both systems offer distinct possibilities, but I ultimately believe that they are just different sides of the same coin. Photography’s comparatively brief history is littered with mechanichal revelations and methodological revolution. I see the digital as nothing more than the most recent of these. Those who whine about the demise of Kodachrome rarely bemoan the lack of populatrity or common usage of the cyanotype. Those fuzzy thinkers seldom make the connection between a beloved aesthetic and the motivations of the corporation that created it. We are not having our choices taken away from us by...

N o L, August 6, 2010; more about Words Without Pictures from John Divola, Alex Klein, Sarah Charlesworth and Darcie Alexander

  Hello my friends, Welcome to Part 1 of several posts focused on Words Without Pictures. The book release party was a few weeks ago at Art Catalogues at LACMA. I plan to excerpt a few portions that stuck out to me as I read. I hope I’m not infringing on anyone’s copyright. I’m linking to sites offering the book for sale all over the post and I’m posting just enough to do the authors justice and whet your appetite for more. For example, the portion excerpted here is not quite 4 pages out of 33 pages of the text. (And I’m typing rather than doing cut and paste, btw.) More newness to Notes on Looking. These posts won’t be on the weekly email which will always focus on recent, current, and future exhibitions and concerts. Rather, this represents an opportunity for me to expand my view somewhat. Here goes. (Read on and you’ll know that you must buy this book!) As I’m asking you to consider with me the best book I’ve read in a while I’ll also add my oft cited proposal that you take into account commercial concerns. Money does in fact help, if not make, the world go around. Before we go any further let me make firmly clear to you that Words Without Pictures is in fact for sale. From Aperture. Um, Aperture also publishes a quarterly journal of photographic concerns. One might say the journal of photographic concerns. Subscibe here. (Sometimes paying attention requires paying $$. This is good. Enjoy. Panel Discussion on Alex Klein’s essay “Remembering and Forgetting Conceptual Art,” page 141,...

Notes on Looking, August 5, 2010

Hello my friends, I’ve been thinking about posting more often and compiling the week’s worth in my Thursday email for publication by FOCA and by For Your Art. Here’s my initial foray into immediacy. I’m excited! Check back during the week – I’ll be adding posts, images and links as I come across things. If you don’t already receive my emails contact me at [email protected] or FOCA at [email protected] or For Your Art at [email protected] (Here goes!!) [But first a brief break in the 4th wall of the Internet. I’m going to be away for a week or two. The pancreas and kidney transplant I had in March 2008 needs a tune up. Nothing to worry about, but it does mean time off. Which is definitely not my style…) I spoke with Pam Jorden and John Pearson (both members of the WPA team) about Swap Thing (closing Saturday, August 7 at 9 pm). True to its title this exhibition, or rather series of exhibitions (more about this later), began on Saturday, July 31 with 15 works hanging, one by each of the WPA-ers: Bart Exposito, Adam Janes, Andrew Hahn, David Hughes, Charles Irvin, Pamela Jorden, Michael Minelli, Rachel Neubauer, John Pearson, Terri Phillips, Fil Rüting, Amy Sarkisian, Henry Taylor, Ryan Tomcho, and Tyler Vlahovich. Each of these paintings, drawings and sculptures were (and their successors still are) “available to the public for trade” and although the work of each artist may be pretty distinctive there is no list with names and places. Each work is offered anonymously. For trade. To anyone. “Value is determined by the trader.” Is your...