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