Sunday, November 29, 2009

its going to be dark again already

so this daylight savings time is still messing with my head, i often have no idea what time it is or what day it is for that matter. and ok, i'll admit, staying out til 2 or 3 (or 4)AM probably does not help any, but a) hanging out with old and new friends is very important to being a healthy, happy human being and b) i can do this easily in NY - this is what being in the city is for. if i went to bed at 10 I might as well live in ......ahem.... Providence (sorry people).

absorbing the car into city life as well is a bit of a mind-bender......i HAVE been using it to facilitate the creation of art, but then i put it "away" and grab my bike to run around or hop in the subway. its like i have too may choices. i know i sound like i'm complaining, but really i'm not.

additionally, i've been spending most of my daylight hours in Williamsburg (and photo stores but mostly Williamsburg), because my recent project revolves around stalled building sites there. I haven't spent much time there since i worked building audio furniture on Berry street in 1995, and then in East Williamsburg on Scholes street in 1998-99ish, so you can imagine its changed dramatically since then, esp. the northside. Every now and then i'd go over to meet with friends, see a show, get a drink, but usually just riding my bike down bedford to my studio in Greenpoint sent chills down my spine due to the intensity of hipster-y people all hanging out even on a weekday. One day, last summer, Betsy and i had a girls afternoon out and she showed me some nice bars near grand that had craft beer and back gardens. i was sort of impressed, as anywhere in the LES with nice beer like that is full of wannabe yuppies. the Williamsburg places felt way more like Berlin. (or, i guess Berlin became Williamsburg, right?). I feel like more and more the East Village and LES is full of generic NYU/SVA students and people who moved here because they think it makes them cool (but they work for an investment fund company or something). Williamsburg is sort of the same but there are no dorms and the people who move there to be cool actually probably work at cooler jobs. (or don't need one - trust funds). anyway, as of right now, i feel like it seems like a nice place to retire. plenty of nightlife, good record stores, maybe a little full of itself but i so is Manhattan. Now, i can say this because i never have had to live in Brooklyn, while most people have. yes, i am on my high horse. sorry again peoples.

Another good (and bad) fact about Williamsburg is that the rabid trend of massive condo building has stopped. in its wake a series of abandoned empty lots have been left adjacent to the hulking shiny new structures. so, weirdly, while more destiny has been created in previously desolate spots, once populated blocks have now become dangerous and empty wastelands.

I started photographing some of the structures built to shield the public from construction sites this summer, though mostly structures in Manhattan. I began scouring Williamsburg in earnest about a month ago, and have noted several spots which i have been visiting weekly. To my amazement i've witnessed an incredible amount of transfiguration within a short time period. Typically we are meant to ignore the crude structures, and to the untrained eye not much may have changed. The areas they exist in seem like desolate wastelands, their facades invite interaction on a scale like no other in the city. There is a battle being forged, between nature and man as well as man and man. hostile external forces are constantly on the attack, driving the internal occupiers to perpetually shore up their fortifications. creating a visually rich and layered dialog back and forth. this trail of mark making on these sculptural piecemeal structures tells a universal yet anonymous time sensitive story.

blah blah blah...ok, putting this artist statement part of this on a word document and working on it separately......cos you all don't need to go though THAT. this was meant to be more informal but, well, i guess it just started me off.

4PM = 26 pieces of 4x5 film to pick up from manhattan color! yeah!!!!! i wish i would have waited until today to shoot, as yesterday the wind was terrible (but created some cool destroyed construction barricades which got knocked over. my camera was swaying at times though)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

video connections:

hollaback girl just came up on my itunes, so i watched the video again (yes, procrastinating again in stead of using the computer for work purposes.....)

so watching this made me think about the history of high school band-ish videos (amoungst other things intangible at this moment)

then i thought of tony basil:

then i thought of one of my fav kate bush (and ok, not as wide of an audience saw this video) (and ooh, the rollerskates)


Thursday, November 5, 2009

bill viola/james turrell - 1980's- pittsburgh peeps some help? please.....

uber rambly, beware, this is the contents of my brain after teaching 9-5:

something today compelled me to look up, yet again, the line up of artists from the 1988 Carnegie International. I looked it up once at Bobst (NYU's library) and like most books you'd actually want there, it said they had it, but it was missing. Jump to now and well, Brown has the catalog from 1988 and 1991. They are fascinating to me because, well, i'm sure i saw at least one of them, and have very vague memories about what i saw. nothing in these catalogs, though, seems to be the work i remember the most vividly, so i'm imaging there must have been a show somewhere in between the two.

looking back i've put names to two pieces, though maybe the names are wrong. there was what i've determined was a james turrell piece, a larger than life size mesmerizing blue glowing circle seamlessly placed on the wall which had a path towards it lined with small speakers which gave pout a faint buzzing sound. i'm not sure how long i stood staring at it, trying to figure out how it worked. it was the most amazing thing i had ever seen. i think its interesting that it resonated on some basic level in my teenage brain.

the other was a video piece, in a dark, thin, tall space. there was an image of fire projected on the top of the walls and ceiling. it sort of dived across the space fleetingly, it was there for an instant then gone. there was sound. it was scary, but not terrifying. i feel like there were also hands instead of fire sometimes. hmm, now that i'm thinking about it maybe it was bruce nauman. will look up now. ok just checked and no it wasn't.

so i'm stumped and there isn't an exhibition archive online for the Carnegie Museum that goes back that far. does anyone remember these pieces?

in coming back to this memory, and placing it in time with other memories, i think i have begun to identify my displaced feelings about being here at Brown. its not just taking myslef out of New York, but there are many levels. i keep saying things like "i feel like i'm in a movie which is about going to a University", in that my college experiences were very much not like this. Sure, there was some "bubble" ness, but not this "University" experience. but its not entirely alien, i've only just uncovered. I spent nearly 3 years of saturdays and 2 years of summers going to pre-college at Carnegie Mellon. I never lived there, but i could take book sout of their library all year round and use their studios in the summer. it has a campus, you could eat in their cafeteria. i could walk into Oakland and buy records, and go to the museum. while not everyone in the program was talented, they were all much more serious about art than i'd encounter on a daily basis in high school.

i don't remember much about visiting RISD back in 1989, except that the tour around RISD and Brown gave me a familiar feeling, it was like Carnegie Mellon but far away form home. it felt do-able. very do-able. i have no idea what my life would have turned out like had i gone to RISD, but i bet it would be very different. no, i know it would have. being in NY set me on a different path entirely. So i bet in some ways being here is some weird continuation of that thought from 1989, but now instead of familiar it just feels foreign and maybe just a tad restrictive in some unconscious way. i'm beginning to make connections between here and pittsburgh now, and maybe that way it will make more sense.

the reason i looked up the Carnegie International in the first place was for my Brown artist talk, before i got this job. i was trying to pinpoint when, and where, my sensibilities came from in terms of how i relate to photography/art. looking at these catalogs now, i'm not 100% convinced it was any of the Carnegie Internationals, but instead two things i saw in college......Christine Osinski took us to see "Special Collections: The Photographic Order From Pop To Now" in 1992 at ICP, and the Gordon Matta-Clark retrospective at the Serpentine in London in 1993. Things started to congeal after this point. something clicked. i think, perhaps, it was one of the first times i'd seen photographs used in a sculptural way.

but back to these here catalogs.......i'm sort of shocked to see all these household names were in these exhibitions in 88 and 91 (thomas struth, anish kapoor, jeff koons) who i though had risen a little later that that. its also hillarious to see an agnes martin painting then turn the page to an elizabeth murray. another aspect though it that a lot of the work doesn't look dated. i'm not sure if its because people my age grew up with this and are now producing work which sort of references it, or if its the younger generation of artists which are a) maybe not aware of this work and some kind of similar aesthetic is happening or b) HAVE (or are) discovered(ing) this work and think its awesome and are just going with it or c) it never really went away.

I mean, Phillip Taaffe is back. fischli & weiss, bruce nauman, michael asher, richard artschwager, hiroshi sugimto. but then again some of the curator/critics are the same now as then, lynne cooke, barbara london, thomas mcevilley. (i didn't take out the catalog for '85 but Saskia Bos has an essay in it i think.....)

also looking at the Mattress Factory's past exhibition lineup......maybe i just think i'm younger than i really am, i mean if Tracy emin did a performance there in '94......hmmmm

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the early 90's are definitely in the air

ok so i bought several flannel shirts the other day, at Uniqlo. why does this matter? i'd like to discuss.

recently i gave a portrait assignment to my photo 2 class. on tuesday durn g our preliminary crit we were discussing the difference between the photographer dressing up the model for the shoot, the model dressing themselves up for the shoot, and the model just being shot as they were a that moment. how do these factors add/detract from the sense of "portrait"? but anyway thats a whole big can of worms and not really where i was going.

one student directed her roommate to dress in a certain way, tough she said it was in a style the roommate would wear. her model was wearing a red flannel shirt, black spandex-y paints, and those girly faux combat boots. the student photographer said she was gong for a "my so called life" aesthetic, and so we discussed what that meant to all of us, me being in my late 30's, my TA being 30, the students being in their early 20's.

which, in my head, led me back to the buying of flannel shirts. my initial motivation was because Jersey, who i used to work with at Cooper Union, was wearing them and they looked good on her. i suddenly remembered they used to exist in my life too. She's the one who initially told me about the Uniqlo store on Broadway (big Japanese clothing store, men's and women's clothes cut very unisex. their women's button down shirts fit me and that never happens). so i went there recently and lo and behold there was a large selection of flannel shirts. so i bought 3. (and ok, they only have like 2 stores in the US, so they aren't really a trend but they def. can be starting one, though i think its started already where it left off maybe in 1994?)

NOW....Jersey is 25. she grew up in Italy. grunge was happening when she was like 10. i was there. you did not buy flannel shirts, you acquired them. "New" was not cool, used, preferably with holes in it, was. and of course baggy baggy baggy.

but now is not baggy at all, but slim. and come to think of it while re-reading this, my thoughts on this topic really didn't start with Jersey at all, but Alannah last semester, a Cooper student who i noticed wearing a red flannel shirt, who's style is kinda rather on the other end from Jersey. Alannah is rather fashion forward though. hm.

then on Wednesday night i had a chat with my TA again, this time about what the hell happened exactly in the mid 90's......when did the shift happen, where did grunge go? also earlier in the week i had a chat with Simone at A.I.R. about riot grrl, so the early 90's are definitely in the air.

so in my aged state (haa) i've started to look back at the early 90's with a different kind of filter than i would have when i was living in them. (Simone kindly asked me if i was able to discuss this because i was listening to all these BBC documentaries about music and, well, yes, but the truth is i'm old enough that i was actually there.). what things were in place to make grunge happen, and why did it fizzle out so completely by the mid/end of the 90's?

american radio has always been the blandest of the bland (i mean compare to British radio). why i just don't know. but there was a time in the late 80's when we had a syndicated alternative radio station, all over the states. it wasn't quite college radio, but it was rather radical compared to most. here you could hear the cure, siouxsie, echo and the bunnymen, and a host of lesser names making what was, arguably, kinda crappy late 80's overproduced music, but still, it wasn't milli vanilli. we had 120 minutes on MTV and Night Flight on USA (someday we'll have that discussion Terri). and as much as we might have thought it was ours individually, we were living in a countrywide "i have cable" (and its new) cultural moment. this stuff was being made available on a level it had never quite been before.

what i'm not 100% sure about is why. Reagan was in power, so everyone had something to rebel against. then it was Bush Sr. I remember being at an election party in NY when Clinton won, and it was joyous everywhere. The world changed, the economy changed, people changed. but as soon and the country equilbrisallized (ok thats not a word but, whatever) and there were "good times" (i.e. people being able to pay me to walk their dog, park their car, and eat lunch....i.e. artist assistant), the music situation turned to crap. the rein of grunge ended (its been touted as an anomaly anyway in terms of "popular" music if you read any theory). so i wonder why, with Bush Jr., we didn't see a resurgence (or did we and i missed it)? what kept mainstream music bland? i know the way music "happens" now has changed radically with the internet and all, and that probably no one really listens to radio at all anymore (i know i plug my iphone straight into the car, though when it crashed one night i was very pleased to be able to find Providence College radio playing some "Future Sounds of London" tracks at 12:30 AM).

which brings me back to flannel shirts. and "my so called life". we have had a large dose of the 80's revived over the past few years, though happily its been all mixed up, so much to the point that all the meaning has been drained out of it (pennyloafers and oxford sweaters on grungy art boys with bad mullet haircuts is just kinda funny and wrong). so what's going to happen now in popular culture now that that "reality bites" and "slackers" might be back, and Pearl Jam has reformed?

i'll keep you informed. since i'm working at a university now and not an art school, i'll be experiencing a larger demographic of students. we'll see how they morph......

Friday, October 30, 2009

the reading.......

after reading terri's post about goodreads earlier and almost posting "i'm a member but don't read books", i was compelled to look up some spatial politics books i might want to re-read from grad school for a course proposal. and you know what, now as was then, the ones i'd want are all checked out of the library already. the article "'New Wave' interchanges: Celine and Julie and Desperately Seeking Susan by Laura Mulvey" was of particular interest, in a book called "Hollywood and Europe : economics, culture, national identity, 1945-95", which has an image from "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" on the cover. NOT related to the course proposal, but you know, whatever. its checked out anyway. instead i think i'll go home now and watch my roommates DVD's of "the Sarah Connor Chronicles", and be able to say I TRIED to be scholarly........

Saturday, August 29, 2009

listening to la roux

silly english pop star fodder but she's quite sweet and charming and down to earth. fun to see when pop stars are just starting out, before they're "seasoned". plus that song "bulletproof" has been stuck in my head all day, so you have to hear it too so it can be stuck in your head (if you already are in the UK then you can laugh at me because i'm sure you hear it on the radio every day).. sorta tilda swinton-ish? but the hair...well, i think it can only last for one album.

i guess, also, since posting all those clippings yesterday...well i guess this is sort of the new version of clippings from magazines? you tube'm gonna go with that i think, maybe do this for other bands as i get obsessed with finding little weird info and clips about them. sounds right! things is though, 20 years later, i won't have you tube clips in a folder under my bed. sad. but in some ways more humanizing than the magazine articles we used to read. (love when the shapes explode)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


OK, here are the rules. Test your memory and your love of live music by listing 50 artists or bands (or as many as you can remember) you've seen in concert. An act you saw at a festival and opening acts count, but only if you can't think of 50 other artists. Oh, and list the first concert you ever saw (you can remember that, can’t you)?

Should you choose this challenge, here's what you do:
Copy my note. Click on “notes” under tabs on your profile page. Select "write a new note" in the top corner. Paste the copy in the body of the note. Make your list. Once you've saved, don't forget to tag friends (including me) on the right.

ok, i did end with friends bands, good ones, and a few obscure ones, and i'm sure i've seen other shows too. sorry , this is all i have in my brain tonight.


1. gene loves jezebel
2. new order
3. echo and the bunnymen
4. cranes
5. love and rockets
6. the pixies
7. depeche mode
8. siouxsie and the banshees
9. muse
10. catatonia
11. cocteau twins
12. skinny puppy
13. nine inch nails
14. lamb
15. luscious jackson
16. pj harvey
17. pulp
18. kristen hersh
19. shellac
20. lady sovereign
21. dresden dolls
22. jaggery
23. r.e.m.
24. susanne vega
25. bikini kill
26. le tigre
27. stereolab
28. M.I.A.
29. Bauhaus
30. Yeah Yeah Yeah's
31. The Creatures
32. Dead Can Dance
33. Garbage
34. thrill kill kult
35. Hole (acoustic at Rough Trade in London)
36. Laurie Anderson
37. New Young Pony CLub
38. rebecca moore
39. Ari up
40. tracy and the plastics
41. duran duran
42. siouxsie sioux (just siouxsie)
43. tampasm (terrible name!!!)
44. diamanda galas (sat by her feet....amazing!)
45. huggy bear
46. the dust dive
47. the raincoats
48. tara de long
49. lianne hall
50. bela emerson

Monday, June 15, 2009

finally, a thought

so here i am in Rochester, NY, on a residency. i thought, while here, i'd be posting more, that my thoughts would be clearer, that everything would fall into place after a crazy hectic six months or so. i was not entirely wrong, but i think i thought i'd just switch gears and that'd be it. i know better, really i do. the list is too big. at least now i'm honestly trying ot tackle one thing at a time., instead of 3 or 4. and speaking of that list, its still in my brain and not on paper. something i also know better about, when you write it down you aleviate some worries. i'll do it tommorrow, along with laundry....

Rochester isn't a bad town, and the Visual Studies Workshop isn't a bad place to be. i live in the building where the studio facilities are, and i'm here by myself what feels like 90% of the time. the interesting thing about it though is through facebook and skype and the internet well, i'm not really alone. esp facebook, cos you all are out there if/when i need you, sitting by the computer just like me, emailing, color correcting, watching youtube, etc. and we share. although some part of that equation seems like it should be "sad", in that we're not interating in person, actually i've come to believe its not. if i want to make my work, i need to be here, in front of this laptop, next to the darkroom, exposing cyanotypes for 35 no 40 no 50 minutes, using 5% acedic acid diluted to be a 5 solution in water, yadda yadda. and lucky for me, a whole bunch of you also need to be by your machines to do the things that make you tick. so united we sit.......

and i still have my moments of being 21 again (ok, for me more like 25), staying out talking til 4AM, because at times i can, my job allows for it and i'm thankful. i just can't do it every weekend like i used to. i think its necessary sometimes to give perspective, and remember the world outsidethe 9-5. and, well, the longer i'm here in Rochester on my own, the more my schedule shifts towards a 12PM - 3AM world. this happened the last time i was on a residency, so its not so unexpected.

i'm torn between making work about where i am, and making work that i proposed to make. right now i'm doing the latter, as i thought i would require less prep work, but ultimately its really the same, as the "prep" work i did previously was half cocked. i just got the roll of film i need to use, and because of that i pretty much needed to start testing out everythign iwas doing again. i've been attemting to learn gum printing, but its a beast. i have 12 other things i wanted to accomplish, but all i really want to do is ride my bike around and take pictures.

i know i shoudl take advantage of the reseach library here, especially because i'm going to be a profesor next year. talk about life change.....i still am not sure how this is all going to pan out. well, theres know way of knowing. i bounce between thinking "you can handle this" to "OMG you better get those lesson plans together RIGHT NOW!!!". I've taught 2 classes a semester before, while working a full time job and other stuff on top of that, but this is 15 weeks of classes meeting 2 times a week. i'm worried about keeping the students attention. i don't want them to get bored. the thing i'm not going to be used to is the fact that i will be able to just focus on them...i won't have this other full time job to worry about which takes up 40 hours of my week. weird!!!! but, ultimately, super awesome. unbelievably awesome.

then there's the whole commuting/Providence thing. as betsy pointed out the other day, all our friends have moved outside the city anyway. and its more than just that, so many things are up in the air. who knows if our new landlord is going to renew our lease? other personal issues are up in the air anyway, now they're x2. yet i'm worried i won't be able to make art without the city, without its struggles and strains and ultimately its energy. i've been other places, and the energy just is not the same.

at the same time i do sort of have a weird side "reailty" (shall we call it for lack of a better term). My job at Brown give me a studio. yeah. so, i should just move there, i'm not sure why i'm pussyfooting around that. well i do, i mean providence is not NY, and there was a mall next to the train station which throughly scared the bejesus out of me. but anyway, what if........i can live in a place where i can make music too, bring my drum set back, have it all ready to go. i've always felt bad that my speakers have to live in an apartment, i barely can move the dial to 1/4 before they are too loud (they are HUGE and i got them for free, but thats another story).

alright, anyway, my cyanotype is cooked. more tomorrow

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Cooper Building photo update and Foundation Building Hole!

The NAB is sloowwwwly being closed up, supposedly (hopefully!) to be ready for the Fall semester. Its looking pretty good. We're all wondering how they are going to finish the corner details of the skin.

also, they are doing a big renovation of the heating and cooling of the Foundation building. they had to get out a huge hole in front to get out some of the machinery.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

images from cooper union "quality service" show

An image of the wall installation i put up today for the show! it was a fun process learning this new material (pro-tex wallpaper-like removable sticky-back inkjet paper), and working around a few of my printing faux pas. overall ithink it turned out alright, and a step toward the future.......

cyanotype 30"x 38" right around the corner:

some installation diagrams kindly penned by my lovely assistant for the day - Alannah Farrell (aren't they fun! i love the drawings she made):

A shot of my studio form the night before, cut outs by myself with help from Natalia:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

no more mushrooms

a cold finally caught up to me, yesterday. been trying to take it easy, watching some sarah connor chronicles and samantha who? both from season 1. room is a mess from trying to fill out applications over the weekend, its hard to look at and not want to clean up. yesterday i remembered i had this bottle of awesome mushroom tincture which boosts your immune system, but its almost gone and i can't seem to find it in the city (metagenics: mycoferon), which has made me very sad. how am i going to get better now? still on this colon detox, until thursday, but i have to admit that i'm not following the dietary guidelines very closely. so, well, it will still do some kind of job, just maybe not the best. i have been giving my liver a rest though, so at least thats something. i thought maybe at first this "cold" was related to detoxing, but i think its a real cold. maybe i need some vitamins, which the "dietary guidelines" would be providing if i were following them more closely. but bugger, i'm sick and don't want to cook - so soup from a can is just fine. anyway, here's some iphone pix from a mid-morning walk last week with my gal somewhere in the east village, i can't remember where now, but up in the alphabets below nearish to many reflections! i need a mini polarizing filter for the cameraphone!! they had awesome little plants inside...truly other worlds, and thay were huge! some were 2' wide.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

promised myself i'd go to sleep on time tonight

last night i got sucked into you tube, then there was an incessant barky dog outside for like 2 hours, THEN a couple all bundled up in winter jackets, proceeded to have an almost fist fight outside my window at like 4 AM. or something. so, even though i've gotten myself slightly more organized to tackle the week ahead, i really should just go to bed now. i want to show you pictures from walking around chicago. and i already posted a bunch of pictures from home on facebook. and i have like 6 rolls of film to get processed. all of this not related to any real up and coming art project. i have to pack 4 pieces to go to the slow way to Seattle....seems like its going to be a great show at Platform Gallery, i wish i could be there! this is my first "someone found me" show, i.e. i was asked out of the blue to be in it, and it just feels great! new hard drive for my computer is coming tomorrow, with a new back up drive, hopefully soon my new keyboard will be here so the laptop can be portable again (dont' spill things on it, its a no-no. especially when you don't recall spilling anything on it, but obviously something was spilled on it). work starts tomorrow, which isn't necessarily a bad thing because i work best against the grain. i have a bunch of teaching stuff to apply for, hopefully i can write some cover letters without too much brain numbing action. and i want to alter the desk in my (half) studio. lets just hope martin luther king day is farther away than i think it is. all this and the day has been spent reading final papers from digital photo last semester with yo-yo ma playing Bach cello suites in the background. all i can say is in some sick sense its good that there was only one season of Firefly, or would have gotten nothing done at all this weekend.

have to figure out how to post things here, on flickr, and facebook simultaneously. or not.

and i have to finish that book about richard nickel in 2009. or any book. seriously. not counting the ones with mostly pictures.

to sleep. now.