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In the moment of Melodie Mousset

What is it about being between wet clay and its table? The table as I write reverses the direction of spin. A person – incidentally or not this person is a man (more, or less, on gender later) – this man again begins shaping the clay object, then delicately dipping his fingers in water (this last is heard and not seen), he subtly reshapes the clay thing (thing or object, NOT a vessel, I sense). Is the woman, the artist, in a yoga position? Backward leaning Buddha? I see that her hands brace her, they grasp white handles (white and flesh are the tones of this piece) and I think for a moment of structure, and of the three legs in the Sphinx’s riddle. The shape of the clay is sexual – a vagina and an asshole – and it also speaks of gender, though not much. The shapes speak more of life in general than of anything specific. Huh, I am seeing now the lip open, revealing… well the base of the clay looks a bit like the soft head of a baby. Moving to another screen, I notice a brace at the woman’s back – again in white, like the table. Wet sounds predominate, or simply dominate ( : The clay sculptures on their white base look almost yranslucent, without being that. They are tubes and their openness feels fragile and also hungry. They look like sea creatures. Accompanying the wet sounds are mechanical ones, hums and shifts. I watch as one thing is closed to make a small hole, then a nib. The hands once again...

Authenticity? (where is something real, when does it matter and who gets to decide*)

*Reconfigured and partial quote from Simone Montemurno, Hologram of Andy 8-11-12 (source document uploaded below) Andy Robert proposes an authenticity that is demonstrated when artists “question myth, origin and the everyday through didactic and trompe-l’oeil aesthetic strategies.” In his exhibition Authenticity?, at Untitled Art Projects,  Robert presents the work of artists who may and may not be working in the familiar field of realism/photo-realism and who in their maybe yes / maybe no practices pursue the authentically political, the post-Essentialist, and the personally mystic – kind of all at the same time. In 1906 Charles Ives wrote a piece of music that foreshadowed much of Modernism, and Ives’ music remains vital today. The Unanswered Question is quiet and modest, not quite melancholy – slow strings support one’s emotional body while a horn calls in search of something undefined. After brief, strident urgency, the piece closes softly, and still undefined. In an essay on Ives’ music, biographer Jan Swafford finds in the piece (and defines Modernist music as) “… polytonality, polyrhythm, free dissonance, chance and collage effects, (and) spatial music.” She continues,  “…Ives makes a philosophical point: a question is better than an answer, in the immensity of creation. And those determined to force the answers are apt to look foolish in the face of that immensity. (…) In The Unanswered Question we see the elements of his (Ives’) art in a nutshell: a work at once timeless and revolutionary, spiritual and concrete, comic and cosmic.” In Authenticicy? I see artists whose work reminds me that philosophical concerns in life – Ives’ unanswered questions – can/must be based in one’s...

Getting to Know Each Other

Recently I spoke with someone who dramatically enlivened and refocused my attention. For the art world, the small chunk of it we inhabit inLos Angeles and the practices that he and our friends conduct. I do not speak to many people who have such a casually contemplative air about them, who slowly disclose absolutely personal information with an ease and pacing that makes the conversation feel entirely natural while continuing to be deeply revealing and profound. Before we spoke I felt as though I hardly knew this person. Sure I knew the position they occupy in a Los Angeles art community, some of the effects and connections they have—I knew their professional self but had no idea who they actually were. After four hours, which seemed to disappear as though time was no limitation, I could begin thinking about this person not as a fictionalized figure in my art world, but as a concrete, living, loving, knowing man. I began to see this man’s personal and professional selves coincide. I began to move beyond an understanding of what he does to contemplate how and why he began doing it, what it might mean, and how it relates to our lives and practices. I am beginning to realize there can be no art without an artist and no understanding of either without an understanding of the other. We are lucky enough to have an exhibition platform that knows who we are and always wants to know more, not a blank room that tries to objectify and sell us, but a real man who is just trying to help himself and...

Just Cy Twombly

Eyes, lakes of my simple passion to be reborn Other than as the actor who gestures with his hand As with a pen, and evokes the foul soot of the lamps, Here’s a window in the walls of cloth I’ve torn.   With legs and arms a limpid treacherous swimmer With endless leaps, disowning the sickness Hamlet! It’s as if I began to build in the ocean depths A thousand tombs: to vanish still virgin there.   Mirthful gold of a cymbal beaten with fists, The sun all at once strikes the pure nakedness That breathed itself out of my coolness of nacre,   Rancid night of the skin, when you swept over me, Not knowing, ungrateful one, that it was, this make-up, My whole anointing, drowned in ice-water perfidy. Stéphane Mallarmé, The Clown Chastised Hyperbole! From my memory Triumphantly can’t you Rise today, like sorcery From an iron-bound book or two:   Since, through science, I inscribe The hymn of hearts so spiritual In my patient work, inside Atlas, herbal, ritual.   We walked set our face (We were two, I maintain) Toward the many charms of place, Compared them, Sister, to yours again.   The reign of authority’s troubled If, without reason, we say Of this south that our double Thoughtlessness has in play   That its site, bed of a hundred irises, (They know if it truly existed), Bears no name the golden breath Of the trumpet of summer cited.   Yes, on an isle the air charges With sight and not with visions Every flower showed itself larger Without entering our discussions.   Such flowers, immense, that...

Thrust/Everything Must Go (Field Guide) Keith Rocka Knittel

Thrust/Everything Must Go (Field Guide)   “Thrust/Everything Must Go (Field Guide)” is the companion publication to “Thrust/Everything Must Go #3,” a performance that uses Herbie Hancock’s album “Thrust” as a starting point to compose a set of contextually related records culled from records amassed during years of djing professionally.  With your commitment to a pre-order of the publication, this key component to the performance will be able to be produced. “Thrust/Everything Must Go (Field Guide)” is an integral part of the performance that will enable viewers to “read-along” in real time as a new narrative of the creation of the universe is presented through the manipulation of album imagery and sound, rendering time and space as an immeasurable unknown.  The publication will also serve as a re-telling of the story after the performance is complete. “Thrust/Everything Must Go (Field Guide)” is a full color, web-offset printed tract, printed on newsprint and measuring 8″ x 22 3/4″ when unfolded.  It will be printed in one edition of 500 copies.  Printing will be completed on October 23, 2012, in Los Angeles, and shipping can be expected by November 16, 2012.  Copies will also be available at the performance “Thrust/Everything Must Go #3,” which takes place on October 27, 2012, at Anthony Greaney in Boston. http://www.anthonygreaney.com/ 14 backers $516 pledged of $700 goal 9 days to go (posted to Notes from Kickstarter on 9/25/12 at 11:ish PM. Stats will have changed by the time you read this. click through for more.) Back This Project $1 minimum pledge This project will only be funded if at least $700 is pledged by Friday Oct 5, 8:37am EDT. Project by...

Thomas Butler curates The Figure in Contemporary Art at Cypress College

A strength that almost gives up is present in Domenic Cretara’s Caretaker. A wedding band signals marriage – I see it on the man, laying slumped on a couch, bare-chested, his left arm hanging to the floor. The young woman – his wife? – sits on a chair, her hands are folded in her lap, and her head is downcast. She faces away from the man, near his feet. (This pose feels important, and is charged with equivocal emotions: placing the woman facing away from her husband conveys to me her exhausted emotions – she cannot look at him. I think also that the woman’s hips and legs complete the figure of the man – they are one. Here, the artist shows us despair and yet gives us hope.) That the artist denies me a glimpse of her own wedding ring may signal this wife’s denial: care-taking is rough on the soul – it tries every commitment. The selfishness of disease can hollow out love. “This is a show I would want to see as a student.” (curator Thomas Butler) There is a freemasonry of painting among figurative painters – and I mean the term in the metaphoric sense of a secret club as well as the sense of a guild of highly developed craftsmen, for great skill is required to observe and render the body. And it is both, observation as well as drafting. Over a lifetime of close watching one learns how muscles move and pull and place our bones into postures, and the ways that our bodies and faces can reveal our thoughts; the long, slow, laborious...

The Last Post: We’ll Always Have Paris, by Lindsay August-Salazar

Alpaca: Figure, Form, and Abstraction Joshua Aster Lindsay August-Salazar Sarah Awad Leon Benn Kristin Calabrese Jacqueline Cedar Art Guerra Daniel Ingroff Devin Kenny Lauren Luloff Lily Simonson Paris, was the last city for Alpaca: Figure, Form, and Abstraction. Once again, duration was the over-arching theme of the show. Generally, a viewer and an artist confront time in a performance piece more often than they do with an autonomous 2-D object based exhibition, but as the show traveled from city to city, each place explored different definitions of duration over different periods of time. In Berlin, the show was installed and activated over the course of a little less than 12 hours, transitioning from day to night, and then back to day. In Amsterdam, the show followed the span of one weekend, opening on Friday and closing on Sunday. In Paris, I had met and made friends with a few people in the first three weeks of my visit, and shared that I had an art show in my suitcase instead of clothes. I explained the project, and that I was to follow the actions of the Romanian artist Victor Brauner, who, upon his first visit to Paris met André Breton and in 1930 discovered Surrealism. Soon after, Brauner traveled to many places, including Amsterdam and Berlin and became a major figure in the Surrealist movement. A new friend from École Nationale Supérieure d’art de Bourges (Art Academy in Bourges), Léa Lanoë said that she liked the approach to the show and that she was so excited to be involved and follow the show as it traveled. I explained my...

Jibade-Khalil Huffman – The End of the New World (and) Sculpture for Jeffrey Tambor

The sound of the slide projector is regular and dependable in the space: constant fan cools the motor, a mechanical shift and drop of each slide, one sound over the other, again and again. This mechanical action that is attendant to old fashion projectors changes my understanding of light, and for me the beam has presence on its journey to the wall, as heat, and as intent. The slide images in Jibade-Khalil Huffman’s The End of the New World are full of colors and angles, and the images from the three projectors often collide and make increasingly complicated patterns. The complication that Huffman makes is unlike cell growth – which goes only one way, toward denser complexity – and is more like stasis, or balance. The carrels are filled partly and empty slots make areas of void. These voids moderate the growth, and in fact rebuke the notion of growth, with their moments of blinding white laid over color, and then only shocking white and then total black. Hmm. Thinking of Huffman’s title, The End of the New World, and thinking that the assumption of growth underlays everything we do in this world (whether it be New or old), I wonder whether there is room to view this work as a political statement? It would be nice if the future was colorful and interesting, rather than exciting. The darkness and the voids disturb me in my vision, but perhaps I take this idea too far. Because I am looking at rectangles of color on a wall, I think of paintings, and perhaps this impulse belongs to the old, New...

Erich Bollmann in Echo of Echo

Erich Bollmann’s drawings at Shoshana Wayne Gallery insist on developing a relationship with a viewer. They are small, they are not framed; when I lean in to look, my breath touches the surface. This kind of intimacy is precious, without being precious; modest and interesting, rather than sweet. The pages are wrinkled a bit and this makes me think of trust and even of confidence: the paper in this work is as much part of the subject as the medium is in any artwork, but here I am engaged by a completely different conversation than I would be with, say, Fabriano Rosaspina or another fine medium. Recognizing this, I see that I have been guided to my understanding exactly by Bollmann’s choice of paper – fancy paper I would simply not have noticed due to its aura as art, as artful. The drawings show mundane objects floating in a visual field, overlaying these (in all but one of the drawings) are geometric renderings that appear to depict three-dimensional shapes, if rather open-ended ones. The mundane objects might be signifiers of objecthood: present are “wristwatch” and not wristwatches; in  one drawing Bollmann calls out – and I see – generic snot, rather than more specific boogers; another is labelled “ferny” and accordingly does not depict identifiable ferns, etc. These mundane objects (or generic representations thereof) that I mention above as “floating” in fact look more like wallpaper when I consider them in context with the geometry of the superimposed schematics, which try for volume. These “wallpaper” and the “volumes” must accommodate the very real (undeniable?) dimensionality of their support –...

a last quarter moon

I visited LACMA  last week, and then my mind wandered. Cheers. Our County museum gives up thumbnails only. Hence this sad little guy. I like the specificity of the lengthy text ( : LACMA Giacometti page LACMA Dubuffet page “I’ll swim you out beyond the breakers and back!” Beautiful. Marion Kalter / Portraits d;artistes femmes dans les annees soixante-dix – Centre Pompidou...