The End…


Hello friends,

            Notes on Looking is closed. Thank you all for your attention and encouragement. Thank you for making art. Thank you for being in Los Angeles (:

 Geoff Tuck

I found these words, dated December 17th 2014, in the drafts folder of Notes on Looking while intently yet ineffectively attempting to figure the ins and outs of managing the website. In January, Geoff Tuck asked if I would like to take over the blog that he created, nurtured, and pursued with voracious passion, for nearly a decade. Yet, now that the torch has been passed I have hesitated to begin; stumbling around town, looking for a way to feed the fire, whilst attempting to not burn everything to the ground.

When I came across Geoff’s brief words of departure (that he never posted) I could relate all too well, in my current disheveled state of not knowing how to start. I knew immediately that his letter was written while in a dark place; exhaustingly brief. We have all been there, laying in bed oscillating between words, the absolute most perfect way to say something to someone else; and then, in a moment of fatigued rumination, we disregard all prose, toss away all drafts, and return to the minute rudimentary inscription of what we are trying to say- Thank you, Good Bye, Notes on Looking is closed. And even still, we don’t send it; we reach into the trash bin, un-crumple the discarded pages and write twice as much; read and reread, until eventually deciding it may be better if it simply goes unsaid.

Until now, I didn’t quite understand the platform that I had been given and what direction I should aim to take. I have used these last few months as an opportunity not for writing, but for looking. I couldn’t find the perfect words, just as Geoff couldn’t find his perfect farewell, so let’s start by saying Notes on Looking is not about perfection, but it is a lot of things; these are just a few of my observations.

Notes on Looking is about discovery. It’s about leaving your back window open overnight with your rent money sitting in the front seat. It’s your best effort to pay your bills on time. It’s writing fifty questions in a row. It’s about that left turn over the double yellow line, ‘cause circling around is out of the question. It’s that article that’s too long to read to the end, even though you truly loved the first half. It’s endless scraps of paper with scribbled and crossed out words. It’s making a best friend that you never speak to again. It’s receiving a follow up email from someone you knew you would forget. It’s the 11th hour. It’s bad grammer. It’s introducing someone to someone or being introduced to someone for the fifth time. It’s not washing a dish until you need to use it again. It’s being interested in someone without asking to see their credentials. It’s attempting to see someone.  It’s cunnilinguist tote bags, bottomless mimosas and charcoal cigarettes. It’s your phone having 10% battery or less, all of the time. It’s about the word fuck written thirty times in a row because you can’t find the right one to get your point across. It’s about to do lists, and more to do lists and more to do lists. It’s about late night conversations with Young, Jennifer, Iris, Jenny, Anthony, Noah or whoever is left standing at the end. It’s falling in love, again, and again, and again, and again. It’s canceling a studio visit with someone and running into them at a stop light moments later. It’s a red dress, in a red car, with red lipstick. It’s a song on repeat for three weeks straight. It’s a love letter in the guise of an art review. It’s regifting, it’s story telling. It’s Otis Redding’s voice; it’s Otis Redding’s voice after remembering that he died at the age of 26. It’s that last drink or the secret stash. It’s that 3am regrettable text, that 4am regrettable email, and that 7am apology. It’s forgiving someone by 7:15am.

It’s flying to New York to see someone, only to arrive and they surprise you with it’s over. It’s then talking to the friend that convinced you to go until 4am, in a hotel, alone; that same friend that came to your aid at 2am weeks earlier, post paramedics, as you freak the fuck out, on your other friend’s floor. It’s about broken glass. It’s the smooth take off after a rough landing. It’s meeting a friend to exercise, then sitting and smoking and drinking flat whites instead. It’s throwing a tequila bottle through the window and a chair through the wall. It’s mopping. It’s giving someone space. It’s about timing. It’s staying in touch with your exes. It’s wishing she’d call and knowing she won’t. It’s chips and beef jerky for lunch and explaining to someone that you ate chips and beef jerky for lunch. It’s skipping dinner because you ate chips and beef jerky for lunch. It’s setting extremely high expectations in the form of to do lists. It’s sharing someone’s toothbrush. It’s about places to shower. It’s who uses the best products and who needs to be restocked. It’s living behind the gallery, opening the door wearing your pajamas and handing someone a checklist. It’s being over served and under represented. It’s ordering five books from Amazon that you’ll never read, but they’ll look read. It’s lighting a cigarette inside of the art fair and not waiting in line for the bathroom. It’s those particular people with those particular smiles.  It’s foggy glasses and excuses to hang out with someone. It’s Woman Wimmin Womin Womyn, Jay, Amy, Pam, and Alexandra. It’s too many names to remember. It’s about knowing that I didn’t forget about you. It’s the people who look up from their desks, the people who come around from their desks. It’s the gallerist/preparator/artist. It’s walking into an opening wearing filthy clothes. It’s Rachelle and Gala’s eyes and Ben’s hugs. It’s being notified that you’re getting kicked out of your studio. It’s double booking and rescheduling for when you don’t have time. It’s the painter who also does performance art. It’s holding onto a napkin. It’s sharing a pair of earrings. It’s walking a half-mile to see your friend’s mural. It’s the taco stand at the end of the walk. It’s the person you leave with. It’s Rafa and EJ’s sweat and blood. It’s that last breath before you begin and that first breath once you’ve started. It’s wondering why we never met before. It’s that song that’s still on repeat. It’s realizing that it can never be tomorrow, it will always be today. It’s somewhere between art and life. It’s looking.

David Bell

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