All notes from Archives | Notes on Looking

It is all about Solomon Bothwell (of his pursuit as an Artist) –an ongoing documentary

On January 2nd, 2013 the beloved person/boy who started KCHUNG radio (kchungradio.org), my friend/studio mate, Solomon Bothwell, posted a long letter to his fellow Facebook friends/whomever may be concerned. The exact complete letter (without auto grammar check) appeared as follows: “first off i would like to say congratulations to everyone who has made it to 2013. i hope this a good one for you. for me, the past few months of 2012 have been a time of financial difficulty. my usual runs of art handling/installation/fabrication became rather sparse and i was barely able to pay my rent this month. i have only graduated from imaginary colleges so i can’t get a cushy office job and i would rather not join the military. difficult times call for bold moves and i have decided that maybe now is the moment to try to become an artist. i know that most artists don’t make any money, but i know of at least a couple that make a lot of money. i don’t need to make a lot of money but i would really like to be able to eat something other that instant oatmeal and apples. i know there are lots of other foods i could eat—such as lentils or beans and rice—but i don’t even have a stove. maybe if i was an artist i could make enough money to buy a pressure cooker and an electric burner. now i know what you are thinking, you can’t just start being an artist and expect to make the big bucks. you have to practice a lot and think a lot about good...

A Very, Very Distant Thunder: A film by Zach Kleyn screened at Dutch Door

Please join us for a screening of Zach Kleyn’s “A Very, Very, Distant Thunder”. Doors open at 7:00 Screening starts at 7:30 Description of “A Very, Very, Distant Thunder” from Zach Kleyn’s website: “A Very, Very, Distant Thunder” is a video project using found footage from a fundamentalist Christian film made in 1978. The original film follows the female protagonist as she struggles to survive the collapse of society after the rapture, or the disappearance of all true believers. The artist’s version of this film is an unusual homage inspired by the childhood game of muting the television and speaking for the actors: every portion of the audio, including all character voices, sound effects, and the musical score, have been completely re-made using only sounds that were produced directly with the artist’s own body. All religious scenes and explanations have been edited out of this new version, leaving the viewer within a confusing and incomplete storyline that resembles the artist’s own fragmented memories of seeing the original film at a young age. Because of the rupture between sound and image, as well as the sincerity with which the audio is re-created, “A Very, Very, Distant Thunder” creates an effect that is simultaneously comical and disturbing. The project functions as both an exorcism and possession of a film that represents a foundational childhood understanding of faith – a meditation on the alarming question of whether a clear boundary exists between individual self-consciousness and religious doctrine. I sit down in the room behind the Dutch Door, near the screen, to see Zach Kleyn’s film, and I quickly become engaged. The original...

Kaucyila Brooke ‘Kathy Acker’s Clothes 1998, 2004’ at Andreas Huber (at ALAC)

A single row of photographs, presented simply. Of women’s clothes. A woman’s clothes, I learn. A noted avant garde writer, now deceased. Kathy Ackers, a name that has come up lately in newspaper articles and during studio visits. (It seems there is a play in Belarus…) Looking at the artist’s name printed in pencil on the wall, I learn the photos are by a friend, they are the work of Kaucyila Brooke. This makes me smile, for it is always nice to see a friend shine, and to see their work triumph in the small space of an art fair. These are photographs to look at right now. In these photographs I find intellectual rigor tempered by emotion, I would almost say love. (One might term this ‘subjectivity’ and so relegate the human affect to conceptual safety, but I think not so for Brooke; humans are central to her practice.) I find in these photographs the body of the writer, and I can see Brooke’s respect for and idolatry of Ackers as a fellow artist and intellectual. I also find Brooke’s delight in the insouciant, completely free-spirited dresses, lingerie, etc; and I can also sense Acker’s delight in her own beauty. I find present evidence of relationships: Brooke with Ackers, readers with Ackers through Brooke’s work and informed by their understanding from the novels. I sense around the writer a social whirl, and I want to be there, and so I find myself in these photos, too. I can imagine being such a person, I can imagine falling in love with such a person, I can imagine standing on...

Kathryn Andrews D.O.A./D.O.B. at David Kordansky Gallery

  The ‘white cube’ of the gallery looks even more starkly white than usual as I enter Kathryn Andrews’ exhibition. There are three shimmering objects on the floor (a bed frame and two oval columnar shells that could be futuristic ticket booths), and three on the walls (these are windows with glass-enclosed Venetian blinds), and they all shine relentlessly. The sculptures are made of polished stainless steel and, in another instance of relentlessness, their surfaces reflect light and me and each other and the surrounding white walls; they are difficult to look at, they almost defy my gaze. I stop momentarily. I feel attracted by the perfection of these beautiful objects as well as frightened. I love shiny things, but here I feel oppressed, and as though I am being observed and judged, and I think that certainly, given the drabness and portliness of my middle-aged self, I don’t measure up to these… objects of desire, these objects on display. One sculpture, the nearest to the entrance, Still Life (Woman with Fruit), 2012, lists among its media ‘performance,’ and I learn that for several hours during the opening reception a woman stood inside this sculpture; her naked body was painted in psychedelic fruit patterns and she wore on her head a basket or bowl of fake fruit. From the perspective of the party-goers, one could only see the steel sculpture and the fake fruit rising from the open top, wobbling and dipping as the model strained to keep still. While this might have been comical – I think for a moment of playing a joke on the seriousness of...

Matt Wardell – Hair On My Tongue (No Seas Cabrón) at Commonwealth and Council

First I see a hand lettered sign on a sheet of paper: “Went inside / 2 pool… / please follow / ( :” Following this direction, I find inside paintings on paper organized on the gallery walls in an open grid pattern, using small works to define the grid lines, and with large-scale works placed in the voids; these larger paintings are portraits: full body representations of couples, tiny dogs in bathing suits, a horse, and possibly a friend called “George.” (Even the paintings that are not traditional portraits feel like portraits.) The effect on my senses is something like a terrace or pavilion with views to the seashore, or to a pool – or to memory. (Curiously, I taste salt in the air and I see the glittering sunshine off ocean waves. Am I in the artist’s imagination, or mine?) Among the small paintings (and what look to be printed or stamped artworks) I see a lion face that brings to mind a similar lion that Matt Wardell showed several years ago; the earlier lion’s face was lively and full of expression, and it has stayed with me. Wardell’s painting style is childlike in a way that is considered, rather than affected. The lines, the shapes he uses, and ultimately, the expressions that he gives his characters communicate beyond the simplicity of a childish hand, however; for his subject matter is adult and even universal. Wardell speaks in these works of death and friendship and of love, his characters show self-pride and humor and have carnal and other earthly desires. I picture in my mind vintage book illustrations...

‘Paintings’ at The BOX

Dear painter friend, Go and see Painting at The Box before it closes. The artworks – which include painting and not painting, video and sculpture, object and action – are personal and political and beautiful and objectionable and charming and difficult. Each is a lesson in how to make a thing that that hovers between socially-acceptable-honesty and just-way-too-earnest-for-comfort. Paul McCarthy, for whom this show  represents a partial selection from as well as a kind of reprise of his CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art group exhibition Paul McCarthy’s Low Life Slow Life1, shows two pieces from 2012 taken from the set of his current project Snow White, these include a large piece of used carpet and a wooden pallet covered with brown foam (Carpet, 2012 and Foam Pallet, 2012). McCarthy’s objects make me wonder about the whens and the whys of studio detritus’s relationship to art, and about the exchange value of both. Presumably one’s waste is the most personal thing one makes, and waste is conceptually rich too, as fact as well as metaphor; McCarthy’s art seems to trouble the waters by being both remnant and work of art A painting titled Mine (1992) by Al Payne hangs to the left as I enter, it has two scenes organized horizontally showing two children sitting on a floor and playing. At first glance, these scenes are repetitive, and as I read them left to right, subtle and important differences become clear. On the  left side a small chubby child plays happily with a keyboard and a larger boy-child sits directly behind this happy player and looks on impassively, while on the...

Talking about ‘Desire Armed’ – a correspondence with Aaron Sandnes

Geoff Tuck to Aaron Sandnes: Nov 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM Hi Aaron, I hope my questions to you are okay? I get nervous. I am very interested in learning about your work and about this project. I don’t mean to rush you. I’m kind of laughing at myself – I guess I want reassurance. It is YOUR work that we are discussing, after all. It would be crazy for me to just roll without checking. Thanks a lot, Geoff  Aaron Sandnes to Geoff Tuck: Nov 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM hi geoff i often find my curiosity making me anxious. i know im quiet which is often interpreted as me being an asshole but im not (usually haha) i try to be as open and generative as possible though im skeptical and  critical at the same time. please feel free to start how you want and/or ask anything that comes to mind. something about riding motorcycles that interests me is that a lot of riders often express that they take the long way home when they are on their bikes. i didnt understand why until i started riding myself and realized that i was often riding with no place to go other than to experience the road on my bike.  ask away lets see where this road takes us.  GT to AS: Nov 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM Aaron, Aah. Things make sense. Weirdness from gmail. I (thought I) sent a message to you last week. By the way, thanks for the “long road” reasoning. I like it. haha I wish I weren’t afraid to ride! Geoff GT to...