All notes from Archives | Notes on Looking

Thursday night so far

Some of us good people in the city of the angels will spend tonight scampering back and forth from Taft Green’s “Act Natural” exhibition to the LA Mart for BOOM and Re:Present. Human Resources tonight is hosting a listening party to celebrate Green’s investigation of the history and distribution of coffee as a cultural fact with… coffee drinks and music selections by Jan Tumlir and other among the Selectors of Coolth in Sound and Music in Los Angeles. It seems as though the recently much celebrated Cindy Bernard will be spinning a couple of videos to begin our aural/visual quest. I think you should plan on attending. Act Natural Listening Party 8 to 10:30 at Human Resources 410 Bernard Street in Chinatown. While there you can slip upstairs and enjoy Scott Benzel’s triumphant and multi-faceted mal-dis-tri-bu-tion, which everyone must see who is interested in art-making, the distribution of ideas and the presentation of culture in our happy (or not) world. I have seen several exhibitions lately, and had conversations with artists that are good to consider in the context of Benzel’s current exhibition at Human Resources: Sayre Gomez in his recent work at Las Cienegas Projects, Parker Davis’s work as Wintergarten Ltd., Aaron Wrinkle and his continuing investigations into agencies of Display and Distribution of art, and also Authorship in an art practice, as well as Kathryn Andrews‘ powerful ongoing investigation of cultural value. As a side note on Andrews’ work: I hugely appreciate that she imbues shiny, drop-dead beauty with meaning beyond itself and that she does this while taking on the ‘big guys’ of shine, Koons and...

Breathe in, breathe out

    Do you know my friends, there are a bunch of things I need to post about. And then there are things that I am really excited to post about. But none of it is happening now. Don’t know why, I guess it’s the cowboy in me: I’d rather ride free than tend to my fences… Pink...

Congratulations to CCF Fellows, part two

Martin Durazo   Martin Durazo Artist Statement: “My sculptural and installation work is inspired and created from mass produced objects that are often illicit in nature…” (continue reading on CCF website here) Christina Fernandez Link to Fernandez’ page on the “How Many Billboards?” project (MAK Center) website, here. Fernandez’ Artist Statement: “My work examines the intersections between private and public space, personal and historical narratives, ex-urban and city spaces and the cultural border and historical relationships between the United States and Mexico….” (continue reading on CCF website here)   Patricia Fernandez Patricia Fernandez Artist Statement: “Applying an archeological approach to the family archive, my work questions the expectations of inherited history and the inaccuracy of memory…” (continue reading here) Jocelyn Foye Jocelyn Foye Artist Statement: “Raised by a taxonomist in New England, I produce work that incorporates an understanding of this scientific practice of observing and collecting. Currently, I am trying to capture and illustrate how the recurrence of everyday processes derived from labor produces a fundamental visual pattern…” (continue reading here) Link to “The Map Quest,” and interactive web project in collaboration with Jean Robison.     Charles Gaines Charles Gaines Artist Statement quoted in its entirety: “Before 1990, my work investigated the role systems played in the construction of forms and objects. I used numerical systems of progression as a way to form strategies of change where change itself was determined by the rules of the system, or I used numbers to form plotting systems that allowed me to sequence objects (mostly natural objects). Since 1995, my interest moved from the use of systems and numbers to...

Congratulations to CCF Fellows, part one

I’ll save any preamble for a postscript and dive right into the important part of this post: the artist winners of the 2011 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artist Grants. Beginning with Kevin Appel and moving alphabetically through the list. Oh! One thing that I feel is almost as important as the giving and receiving: these grants are UNRESTRICTED and require no production or further action by the artists who receive them. Lord, lord, lord, if you give a person money make sure that you give it freely. Well done CCF. Onward to artist information: Kevin Appel     As I opened Kevin Appel’s website to do some research for this post I thought to myself, “Here I’ve been all morning, looking at images and at the world around me: the newspaper,  morning walk, sundry websites – and this all makes sense to me in a time-based visual way. Objects line up, shapes develop in familiar ways, one thing then another in a moderately sequential fashion.” So looking at Appel’s work images from 2011 my mind said: “Wait a minute! What sense does this make? Why are those shapes there, and why do they seem so unfamiliar to me? When did that trapezoid happen, and is that a white shape or a void, and where is the rest of that triangle???” Understanding that I am viewing images and not real things, and knowing that such questions have been parts of Appel’s practice for years, still – the ability to see fifteen years of an artist’s practice in one place, even if only in reproduction, is a luxury and...

Steve Roden at LACE Thursday Nights

in a darkened room, sitting on the floor, roden in chair at a table faced with small tinkery equipment. the pop sounds almost make a beat – waving sounds, airplane??? louder than usual. static like ocean (sounds) arms crossed at wrists, jaw in hand – the tunes now show rhythm or is it melody? death metal reverb???? einsturzend neuebauten…….  funny constant in waves–why do i hear it that way? like blood pounding–or at least elemental and of-in the body weird laconic hawaiian music on a record :: two notes are half radio tuning sounds—overriding clarion–horn, accordion keys?? now it (underneath noise) begins again like a return of the motif in western classical music____ deeper maybe beethoven 5-ey, maybe a coda? serious now sweet—dance music, melancholic + reflective: a song!!! singing–like a siren or mystic or angel___a chorus, a woman’s reverie is it steve??? sounds like moon piece with low moan chorus the reveries go back and forth–ambiguous contemplations holding in mouth/lips clattering—wires and microphone manipulated by left hand under table in plain view geoff tuck, notes from performance on steve roden performance at LACE, July 14, 2011...

Rebecca Morris, Trixie, Kathryn Andrews, Gaylen Gerber, Alexander Wolff, Matt Chambers and Stairway to Heaven backwards

To honor my friends at Zeitchrift and to celebrate their most recent publication, Deja Vu, I bring to the front page a favorite blast from the past: Pretend it’s July 13, 2011, late in the night with Rebecca Morris rocking painting and photography in one fell swoop. Intellectual Freedom Fighters of the World: Go. Fight. Win! http://www.theselection.net/zeitschrift/  ...

Inside Outfest: (some of) the art

Nao Bustamente has a film and performance coming up on Saturday, July 16 at the Alexandria Hotel for the Night Moves: The Platinum 10th Anniversary Party of Outfest Los Angeles. This would be the 10th anniversary of the Platinum Film Series within the 29 year old Outfest proper. Gotta get that straight, Outfest is quite properly proud of their status as the oldest film festival in Los Angeles. “Silver & Gold” is in fact a filmformance and if this sounds confusing, here’s a helpful YouTube trailer that should help. I know from past experience that Bustamente is as funny as she is dangerous and in all likelihood – should you attend – you will be amused, offended, aroused, horrified and even taken aback. It sounds ok so far, right? What I know about Nao: “The first conscious recollection of the on call control of the emotional body came, when I was about 11 and I wanted to stay home from school to watch an afternoon of Gene Kelly musicals. I quickly realized if I thought about the death of my poodle, Chucha, that I could tear up and present a convincing picture of unfettered distress. The replay of a sad future moment; The way that I would feel, A carefully formatted scene that consistently conjured pure and raw uncontrollable emotion.” Thus develops a great actor, my friends. After gaining this knowledge the world was Nao’s oyster and now, like her parents, we are putty in her hands. By the way, a friend attended that 1992 performance and tells me that “Nao owned the room, she was that powerful a...

Zzyzx at Las Cienegas Projects, Sayre Gomez and J. Patrick Walsh III

First I think are the objects, made over time and slowly becoming embedded by the artist’s actions with possibility. At this point any relationship barely registers outside the studio. When I asked, Gomez and Walsh told me that they “have similar working methods.” Both their practices rely on internal logics, on poetic and often intuitive leaps to achieve their eloquent ends. Similar practices perhaps, but also particular to each and variously rational and wild. “The reason that I am asking someone beside myself to complete the final act of this installation/performance comes from my interest in the removal or displacement of hierarchical relationships. I believe that through constructing parameters and certain limitations, whatever occurs inside these parameters could not produce positive or negative results, but  rather a revelatory sequence of events.” These comments Walsh included in his 2008 invitation to Joseph Grigely to participate in a performance at the Plains Project in Chicago. Hmm. Let me begin again. Thinking about this group (duo) exhibition is difficult for me, the twice so far that I’ve visited it feels seamless, almost as a joint production or collaboration rather than separate works brought together for a show. I admire both these artists very much, Gomez is pushing physical and conceptual abstraction much farther along the food chain than anybody else right now and Walsh is… a poet. (Which sounds like apples and orange but… people are like apples and oranges. Sometimes the particularities that I notice are incongruent from person to person. I think if you stay with me my characterizations will make sense by the close. If not, well, I can...

One more time for Home Show 1988

Hmm. I cannot get away from that Joseph Kosuth piece, the black bedroom which was part of his 1987 series of exhibitions of the same title. In Kosuth’s contributed comments to the catalog he speaks of “The use of Sigmund Freud’s theoretical work as a ‘made-ready’ — from my [ed. Kosuth’s] Cathesis (1981) through Modus Operandi — has permitted me to employ various strategies and (for me, problematic risks), while continuing with the committed agenda… The theoretical object – the system of thinking of Sigmund Freud – was chosen not only for its rich generative complexity, for its use within a variety of discourses, and for the unchartable impact of its practical implication, but also because of its internalization in society and in that culture which forms, and dialectically describes, both” he goes on, “We know where it (Freud’s influence) locates itself, we can’t say where it doesn’t.” [ed. All this is excerpted from “No Exit,” a 1988 Artforum piece that Kosuth later published as a book.] I want to share also some of the homeowner’s words with you, “The project was always cloaked in mystery. I was not to enter the room until the project was finished. Although I would spend a considerable amount of time with John Tower, the artist’s assistant, we would not really discuss what he was doing. As a psychiatrist, however, I have some skill in picking someone’s brain, so I got various clues as the project wore on.” And later, “As the time wore on my fear was that it wouldn’t be drastic enough. I would have allowed that artist to blow a...