27 April 2006

Environmental Defense Ads v. Daisy

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Thank you, Environmental Defense, for making these ads and for making them so easy to share. I want to make it clear that I don't think the ads are incorrect, or that Environmental Defense is wrong. It's just that the world is different than the world these ads are addressing. I would like to compare ED's ads to LBJ's famous Daisy Ad.

The rhetoric of all three ads is similar: we are responsible for our children. The fear (horror, really) of these ads is that we as a people will be stupid enough to allow these shining faces to be obliterated or face certain catastrophe. And all three ads are equally effective on the horror-meter. I like the fact that ED's ads are focusing on children's faces and not glaciers. This is localizing and making climate change relevant to what's in front of you. And I like that they don't try to explain climate change. You don't need to explain climate change any more than you need to explain nuclear fusion, or for that matter how your computer works. Its the results that matter--we live in a culture accustomed to trusting science. It has been bugging the crap out of me for years that Big Oil Power shifted the focus onto how climate change works in order to obfuscate the situation.

The problem I have is with the culture that is consuming these ads, and their respective contexts. LBJ's Daisy Ad had a forceful leader (well, kind of) behind it. The whole reason the Daisy ad works so well is because LBJ is the inferred Daddy who will take the little girl and keep her safe because he is big and strong and in control and sane and will not use the bomb. It's a closed circuit. Without a closed circuit like this, what does the horror do?

Environmental Defense's ads are not grounded in a larger leadership, and so are, IMO, existentially dangerous. I am left wondering what I, viewer, is supposed to do about all this. Turn off my lights? Use flourescent bulbs? Make my errands more efficient? The scale feels all wrong, and the scale shift is too abrupt. There is something so strange about being told that the world of my children will be apocalyptic if I don't spend five minutes thinking about my energy consumption every day. It's so small, so easy not to do. And it is too weird because you look around and see everybody else not doing it. Why should I feel guilty about driving when the roads are clogged anyway? My truck makes very little difference in the big scheme of things.

The problem with these ads is that they function in a world without any leadership. There is no LBJ who will protect us from hurricanes and malaria and warmongering. For that matter, there isn't even a company bus shuttling folks from the exurbs using natural gas or electricity. I see the logic behind showing folks that their consumption matters, and FWIW, I turn off my lights and drive as little as possible. But where's the support? Where's the enforcement? Where's the structure that makes all these personal choices part of a larger whole?

Children model behaviors that adults do, and adults model behaviors that their leaders and community members do. We are not particularly autonomous--we are social creatures. Unfortunately we live in a culture that thinks otherwise. We are doing all this bowling alone and can do everything from home and increasingly turn inward. This is a very powerless position to be in.

What if every single ad campaign was strapped to a larger community action? What if rich people were asked to donate scads of cash and solar power companies were asked to do demos and promote themselves and do in-kind donations? What if ads like these were local, and harnessed to specific action-based programs that provide community-based structure?

Let me be specific:

Say Environmental Defense goes to Salinas California, which is an exurb of San Jose and farming community. And after a small, inexpensive grassroots team defines the specific CO2 problems of Salinas: no good public transportation options to San Jose, maybe, no infrastructure for carpooling and lots of people leaving lots of lights on because of crime. Then lots of money can flow into Salinas to fix these problems grassroots style. Ads like Train and Tick can be harnessed to commuter busses and the creation of a carpooling message board. Maybe there's an inexpensive solar-powered light that can be given away or sold very cheaply in the neighborhoods that have crime problems. Or motion-sensors! Motion sensors cost nothing, and volunteers could go door to door giving them away and helping install them!

Net result: One community gets to be virtuous in a way that makes some sense. CO2 emissions go down. Awareness is raised, and fear is used in a way that is existentially fair. This structure of solutions is strong and provides moral support. It is easy to shame the folks who refuse to carpool in a community where there is lots of public support for transportation alternatives. Shame and fear both stop being bullshit tactics and start actually working when there is an armature in place.

I don't advocate whining about the Bush administration. I do advocate providing a strong, active counterpoint that does more than throw scares into people.

25 April 2006

Against Fear

JEC is right when s/he says that fear is a motivator. It's a strong motivator.

But what does it motivate people to do? Stop the fear-stimulus as quickly as possible. I believe that fear is not going to rally anyone around climate change that isn't already here. And I think it's going to make for more public resistance to climate change, not less. Here's why:

1. Fear only motivates people to stop the fear-stimulus, and generally people start with the easiest tactic for getting rid of it--denial.

The easiest way to stop the stimulus in this case is to ignore it, to say it's crazy, to say it doesn't affect me. Denial and fear love to hang out together. Usually denial just sounds stupider and stupider, and is overcome by the rational mind, not by fear. But could that happen with climate change? I say no, because when all the sane people are talking about a fucking apocalypse, it's just too easy to make the sane people sound crazy.

Fear-induced denial is the most rational response to climate change because it's so huge and one person is so powerless. And it is so easy to feed that denial in our fragmented media culture. This denial would have to be overcome if we lived in a Big-3 Network News era, but we aren't. I can't depend upon Fox News to handle climate change in a way that isn't minimizing and sensationalist and after their own short-term goals.

2. Fear needs to have boundaries, and climate change has none.

You can't just live in a constant state of fear. Well, you can, it's called an anxiety disorder, and it's an awful, disempowering way to live. Anxiety is pathological because it persists in the absence of stimulus. Global warming is, essentially, boundless. It's everywhere, in every aspect of what we do. It's in my computer monitor and thousands of other little devices I own, which refuse to stop sucking power. It's in how I get to work, in hurricane season, in far away places, in choices I make today. Should I take a bath or a shower? Buy a house on the waterfront? Have children?

It's impossible to be afraid of something so complete in a productive way.

Asking people to be afraid of global warming is grossly unfair and can have devastating effects if people actually take Gore/Flannery, et al seriously. Being afraid of global warming is being afraid of your whole world. As someone who has successfully battled anxiety, I refuse to be a part of giving the world an anxiety disorder.

Besides, I didn't do anything to lessen my personal consumption until after I had gotten over my fear. My fear, because it was so total, induced nihilism, not action. We all have seen how powerless a nation that is being frightened into submission can be--our representative government has been completely hobbled by the fearmongering of the Bush administration. Do we really want to follow in their footsteps?

3. Fear motivates in the short term. Climate change is a long-term problem.

Say you start by getting everybody afraid. Are you going to keep everybody afraid for 100+years? And if not, how are leaders going to handle the negative side-effects of fear: powerlessness, nihilism, willful ignorance, anxiety?

4. There are other options.

Europeans actually deal with fear as a motivator well. But Americans like stories of growth and change and renewal and choices and positivity. That's why republicans are in power--they are the ones promoting "progressive", optimistic stories of growth and opportunity. The fact that this is a sham doesn't matter--people are willing to vote against their actual best interests in order to promote a rhetoric of growth and opportunity.

Why aren't we using this American capacity for dreaming to pass a huge gas tax?

There is so much positive change that could happen right now. There are so many growth industries that could spring from this intractable problem. There are so many potential solutions that improve quality of life immediately. The thing that chaps my ass most about climate change is that it's not necessarily a doom and gloom story. It could be a story about vertical integration. About the end of the remote-slavery era of globalism. About getting rid of asthma inhalers. About new relationships to technology, nature and the intersection of the two.

The great thing about fear is that it's really quick, and the situation is getting a little desperate. But I have never seen it work in the way it's supposed to, and have spent too many years paralyzed by it myself. My personal relationship to fear is absolutely what is driving my interest in climate change, and perhaps I overly generalize my experience.

I don't exactly have the readership to call for an open discussion, but if I did, I would say "consider this an open thread."

24 April 2006

Fear Watch Continues

This is a melt-lake on Greenland's ice sheet. In case you wanted to see where and how all the melting is happening. Thanks to Jason Box for his research and cool webiste, where you can see animations of melt lakes and geeky stuff like that.

Sunday's Times has a great article about the problematic nature of global warming... the marketing debacle, the dangers of fearmongering.

Kat and I were talking last night. She says she wants all the tactics, including fear-mongering, to be employed. Spare no tactic! And I see her point, but am not convinced. Conservative is the new progressive, because conservatives have cornered the market on optimistic new visions (Worse! Sham shadowpuppetry of optimistic ideals that ordinary folks are so willing to buy into that they actually vote against their own best interests...).

Liberals are left shoring up, defending, all the progress they made years ago. People hate listening to bad news, and it's too easy to just ignore it.

What the fuck is wrong with just promoting the heck out of growth industries like wind and solar power? Spinning a very powerful, positive story about the newer, cleaner roadways, the healthier children, all the money to be made doing it? My frustration is so visceral: I love New York, but I hate soot. I hate looking out over the east river and seeing that film of smog. It's nasty, I hate living in it. Why not a positive story about cleaning up the city? About being able to live near the BQE without getting asthma because suddenly everyone's buying electric cars that run on hydro-, solar-, wind-generated power?

Since when is fearmongering the only way to buck the fucked-up status quo?

Look forward to much harranguing of Al Gore if it's really true, if An Inconvenient Truth is as terrifying (reactionary) (weak) as promised.

23 April 2006

By A Sculptor, For Sculptors...Mostly

Barney is the most reasonable heir to the Big Boy Sculptor Throne. He's as pompous and beautiful and attenuated as Serra (weird but not accidental word choice, attenuated). He has inherited the obsession with phallus and yoni, flair, and DIY can-doitude of Mark diSuvero. He has Eva Hesse's obsession with repetition of form and material innovation. He attempts to be as completely generous about his fucked up self as Louise Bourgeois. He wrestles with sculpture's relationships to the body and time with almost as much conviction as (although with less than half the grace of) Rebecca Horn.

I do not mention contemporaries because in a lot of ways Barney is a throwback, kind of conservative. Kind of towing the Sculpture Party Line. And I think that's OK. The conversation about sculpture is kind of languishing in that dead space between Donald Judd and Michael Fried. To be right on that cutting edge is to be old-school. Otherwise it's all just stuff-in-a-gallery.

And if you look at DR9 as a sculpture and not a film, then much of it is not disappointing. It's extraordinarily ponderous, but much of this ponderousness is what happens when you meditate on the making of things.

how features prominently. Gaze lovingly on hardware and welds. work is fetishized as only a sculptor can. It makes perfect sense to equate rigging and tea ceremony. One should celebrate the arduousness and riskiness of mold-making with a parade of dancers and drums. the space between things and how things are joined is the most important part of making, and so yes. You will have to sit through both sides of the hose getting connected. You will have to watch lots of boats coming together. And this will take time, because this process of joining and spacing is dynamic and does unfold in time.

This aspect of DR9 gave me a gigantic, throbbing boner, despite the me-Tarzan-you-Jane absurdity of the Phallic Whale Rock entering the Nishin Maru. (Will someone ask Louise Bourgeois to whack Barney with a gigantic sculpture of a penis before she leaves this world? Please?) By attempting to make films that are sculptures, Barney is putting down some wooden planks under the tires and attempting to unstick the Sculpture Bus from the mucky mire of minimalism. And he fails fails fails for sculptural reasons. Making is empowering. It is easy to overly generalize that empowerment and start thinking that everything you do is interesting. And because making is empowering, it is easy to start thinking that you are powerful interesting or something.

Then, drunk on your own high of being able to get petroleum jelly to do stuff, you start thinking that everybody wants to see the way you move this meditation about making into your love life. All your silly sexual repressions come pouring out and this dilutes your power considerably. Your brilliant thoughts about sculpture become a vehicle for your personality and that of your exotic popstar wife. All the interesting sculpture stuff derails entirely. Ponderousness collapses into sheer tedium. Cue the CGI and the flensing knives. And when I thought it couldn't get any worse. When my hopes of finding out something new about sculpture were thoroughly dashed against the rocks of special effects and egoism and cannibalism and schlock, this figure appears:

What the fuck?!?!?

Barney cannot have it both ways. Sculpture languishes, tended by caring, earnest, hardworking folks like Charles Ray, Liz Craft and Jennifer Pastor, who delve quite deeply but are often obtuse, for a reason: nobody cares. Studying sculpture is as relevant as being a medievalist. Barney knows this, and is afraid of it. This is why his practice as a maker often lapses into propshop. This is why the sculpture he's making over and over again is his freaking logo. This is why DR 9 is, ultimately, a celebrity vehicle. This is why we had to endure a fake, boring cannibalist spectacle instead of just getting the mold pulled and watching the gigantic souffle fantastically, achingly fall.

The good news is that DR9 is such a gigantic disappointment, is so achingly, crushingly, embarassingly bad--Barney may actually have to sit down and think about what he has done and do better next time.

Personal note to Matthew Barney: You're famous enough. Be a sculptor! We need you! You have the bankroll, the smarts, and the infinite care that it takes to take sculpture to a more relevant place. Follow through on what is actually interesting and unknown about your work and spare us your ego!

Chelsea Dump

It was a good day for sculpture in Chelsea:

*Matthew Barney at Gladstone in some ways really rocked. More on that later.

*Fischli and Weiss at Matthew Marks... those drawings/C-prints were a little befuddling, but rubber stumps! Who can't love rubber stumps? I liked that they were a mystery, that they just looked like charred and petrified wood, but that they had this confusing heaviness. Why so much weight here? Wood gets really light when you burn it. Nice.

*Shane Ruth at Freight+Volume=sweet gentle woodlove. Craft is tenderness, and I like tenderness. Now really fuck me next time. All that care needs a foil.

*Tobias Rehberger's American Traitor Bitch was a little Ikea, but massive. I like massive.

Also noteworthy: Nathalie Djurberg at Zach Feuer. The consensus on Freeman Street was that Feuer's last show was a case of misdirected talent--bad painting from a guy who should be making collage or sculpture. Djurberg makes it all better. She knows how to play with craft and make bad look good. I wonder about the tactic of young woman artists using sex and sexism and being fucked. It's so American Apparel. So accepting of the status quo, so passive, so titilating. So strangely conservative. Alex McQuilkin and Nathalie Djurberg do wind up riding the Helen Gurley Brown train down the Phyllis Schafly track.

But whatever, at least Djurberg is having a much better time and is more generous than McQuilkin.

22 April 2006

For anyone who tripped on over here from the Weekend America website and does not want to weed through art market controversies, reviews and gossip:

Some Posts Of My Work

New Orleans Elegy
Drunken Forest
Columbia Glacier
Crystal City

Some Posts About Climate Change

Anything Is Possible
Your Daily Dose of Chicken Littlism
The Weather Makers
Fuck This Cassandra Motherfucker
Okay Tim, We Are Weather Makers...
April Fools!
Humans Try
If Richard Lugar Can Dream, So Can We

21 April 2006

Weekend America!

I think I am going to be on the radio tomorrow.

If your NPR affiliate carries Weekend America, give a listen over the airwaves, or you can get yourself a podcast if you are so inclined. I might talk about my work and/or what I think of Tim Flannery (much nicer, much more fair for the radio audience, I promise). My Main Man Tim will definitely be on the air, talking about the end of the world.

There will be actual fanfare if, indeed, I am actually featured. As it is, I don't want to jinx it.

LATE-BREAKING NEWS: Yes, I am featured on Weekend America. Today after 3pm PST (so 6pm for New Yorkers), you can download the show. You can also check out a little slideshow of me and my work at the Park.

A Hearty Thank You to Amanda Aronczyk and Michael Raphael at Weekend America for their time and interest.

20 April 2006


Funny how these older pictures of Barney's Drawing Restraint work are so tiny and grainy that they make him look like Chris Burden... Coincidence or savvy insta-legacy making?

Posting quickly today, because I actually have to get to work on time and do a whole bunch of work while I am there.If you are in the 'hood, it is Crane Watching season at Socrates... we've got two 2.5-ton foundations coming out of the ground today, being pulled up only on their rebar stubs which I spent all yesterday bending into pick points. Are my bends and welds in crappy rebar strong enough to withstand the weight of cement and the downward draw of the earth? The answer by lunchtime! The most impressive display of Newtonian physics around! Mark diSuvero might even get out the really big crane!

Notes and Queries and Leisurearts are both working on restraint themes today. And this is interesting to me as I continue to cogitate about MB's sweet earnest ponderous assholeitude.

Leisurearts is asking for MFA and Curatorial programs to shut down and to shuffle all those kids who care about art into MBA programs. And Joao Ribas (who is getting some play on Edward Winkleman because he manages to incorporate his picture of what he wants the art world to be like into his curatorial practice and not collapse into a cynical assesment of his own personal risk...) is waxing grammatical on the utopian community of Christiana in Copenhagen. It's all about avoiding excess and cleaving to parallel sentence structure. Yeah!

There is a simple takeaway: Every cause seems to have an effect. Can't create kerjillions of MFAs without creating a serious supply of paintings and videos and sculptures and resumes and CDs full of jpeg images and SASEs... and an increasing corporatization of the art world. Bleh. Can't create a utopia without taxing the crap out of luxury items, an effective way to lop off extremes of richness and poverty at the same time. Utopia is ultimately mediocrity for all, and that is interesting to think about.

Oh, but there is so much more fertile earth here! Restraint is what makes flamenco devastatingly, gutwrenchingly beautiful, even though I usually hate such bald displays of emotion. Restraint makes New Yorkers unique as Americans. I knew I was a New Yorker when I stopped thinking about the L train as screwing me personally and kept my frustration to myself. Restraint will become a part of American culture as sustainability, renewable energy and reducing CO2 output become more important than individualism at all costs.

Artists and other cultural producers create this curve. More later, after I have some DR 9 to throw in the mix. (restraint+baroque=interesting connundrum).

18 April 2006

Your Daily Dose of Chicken Littlism

Ooh--a new pinnacle of absurdity with a new bleak vista! Please to click: Kristof's Burp of the Apocalypse. A whole column organized around the idea that fear-mongering is an acceptable tactic is weak, weak, weak. There is not one single suggestion for action within this column. Judgement Day is coming, horror-movie style. Once again, the left is using end-times language that is only good for dismissing.

When are we going to get it through our thick skulls? Nobody cares how many scientists are behind this raving lunacy, because scientists have cried wolf in the past and because Americans have much more room for what Nicole Richie has to say than what Klaus Lackner has to say.

Shame on you, Nicholas Kristof! Stop whining and trying to make this work on your terms. Then sharpen your pencil and go find out what people are actually doing about climate change! There is no time for your gutless collapse--we are on deadline here!

15 April 2006

The Bigness Of It All

Ben Davis' generous ass-esment of Barney's latest effort has me thinking about something other than Kara Walker. Gawd, Walker to Barney...

Not sure where I am going with this--let's call it a trailer for future posts. I haven't had the time to see DR9 yet, and plans to surf the freakshow at Gladstone's Barney opening got covered in a thick blanket of deadlines and tired. But I can be honest with you, can't I? I completely identify with Barney's utter self-importance. And that very acknowledgment makes me want to barf.

One of the foundational concepts of this blog and Greenpoint Sculpture is that sculpture is a specific practice that separates itself from other stuff-in-a-gallery practices in the same way that painting and photography manage to stay separate somehow, even though they are both images on a wall.

And MB is so aware of himself, his body, his gravity... that he is definitely a sculptor extraordinaire. We must examine him thoroughly!

Why are sculptors such ponderous assholes? Why am I such a ponderous asshole? Davis makes the buzzer go ding! when he points out what Kierkegaard thought of Hegel. The way all this works is a joke, and sculpture has the most serious pitfall of all--earnestness. And that problem of earnestness must be understood and harnessed. Barney's fatal flaw and greatest strength is that he indulges ths earnestness so reflexively. This is why Davis can choose to give Barney a free pass and let his review consist entirely of the mental gymnastics he had to do to get the crushing weight of Barney's earnestness off his neck. It's a great review. It's really quite illuminating.

There are technical reasons for all this weight that Davis spins into unbearable lightness, and it has everything to do with the process of actually making something that will work in space. And, of course, I would rather not remain on the surface of that process with Davis.

So homework for me: this week I will get really, really stoned and go see DR9. Scratch that, I will surely fall asleep. I will drink a big cup of coffee while watching DR9. And I will go check out the sculptchah. And since we are gnawing at a theme here, I'll throw in Blessed are the Merciful.

Blessed Are The Merciful? What the fuck kind of show title is that?

Good times ahead. Good times.

10 April 2006

Anything is Possible

A chunk of Larsen B ice shelf the size of Rhode Island shattering and falling into the ocean. If USA Today is reporting it, it's not news anymore...

Denial is not a strong creative response to climate change. But how do we keep from collapsing into apocalyptic end-times listing and repeating of future destructions, plagues and mass extinctions (including our own)?

Keep a very firm grip on the fact that this stuff hasn't happened yet. Anything could happen.

We have what it takes, right now, to at least halt the buildup of CO2 and stabilize climate change where it is today. I can easily shut my eyes and imagine a city with solar cells on every rooftop. I can easily imagine a power grid that burns no coal: geothermal and nuclear energy providing a steady baseload, with wind and sunlight providing consequence-free hours sitting and staring at my screen, running my power tools, and heating my home. I can easily imagine everybody driving electric and hybrid cars.

This vision is not apocalyptic. It's not even about reducing anything. It's about more, which makes it a great American story. More factories, more jobs, more investors creating wealth as new growth industries make more billionaires. It's a story of strength and overcoming and there are real human-scale side effects that I personally look forward to. Less pollution means fewer sinus headaches, colds and "allergies". Fewer sick days. Less cancer.

I am not so naive that I don't understand why this is not the narrative of climate change. Intellectual life has been mired in this dead end of deconstructivism (a/k/a recipe for powerlessness) since... well, since I went to college. And we live in a visual culture that is increasingly driven by nihilism.

But I do, as a thinking and doing person, have the right and responsibility to say Fuck That. I don't have to buy Zach Feuer's Republican Artist Prediction to admit that I am tired of being a bitching liberal. I want to be a revolutionary liberal. And it makes me existentially sick to see artists looking down instead of up, collecting and arranging flotsam instead of twisting and dreaming.

09 April 2006


I am fascinated with how global warming rhetoric is becoming such a mobius strip... We actually live in a world where Ed Driscoll sounds almost sane because it always sounds more sane to say that the world is not ending.

Wow. This cannot be about apocalypse, because if it's about apocalypse we are existentially defenseless.

08 April 2006

Okay, Tim, We Are Weather Makers...

Jamie's response to my work got me thinking. I am being Whitmanesque here. I am trying to play both sides of the fence at the same time, and I need to do that with a much more steady hand. On one hand, I am really angry at the weak marketing, anxiety and emphasis on personal virtue that characterizes the current climate change discussion. People want positive messages, I cry! People want to know they can do something, not wallow in the fact that they are already cooked!

And yet, I am memorializing a city that still has people living in it, that had a Mardi Gras and that is rebuilding.

And I am doing that knowingly, for good reasons. I do not care how many New Orleanians I offend by reiterating structural facts about their great city. Much of it is under sea level, and sea level is rising rapidly. Southern Louisiana is losing land at the rate of a football field every thirty-eight minutes. Much of the bayou is getting claimed by the sea. As the oceans continue to warm, we can expect more hurricanes that last longer and are more destructive. This is only the beginning.

I am an optimist and everything, but I can't change physical facts.

Just to clarify my position, and to back off Tim Flannery a little bit, we absolutely need to know what is unfolding. It is equally important to acknowledge that what is unfolding is really, really bad. New Orleans is not special. The Maldives are also losing ground to the sea. Dutch officials are tearing their hair out. Native peoples in arctic regions (the Inuit, Saami, Laaps) are completely fucked. They are losing solid ground as permafrost and sea ice melts. Hunting opportunities are dwindling as caribou have to fight to get at lichen, and as polar bears have to wrestle with huge tracts of open water to get at seals.

I do not want to dispell the facts. I want to dispell the hysteria and bad marketing. The only way to deal with something this serious is to be able to really look at it for a long time with a keen and steady eye.

A professor once told me that making good sculpture is all about finding comfort in disequilibrium, or being able to handle whatever unfolds without rushing to the finish line. When you're making a sculpture, you've got to just evaluate what it does dispassionately and sensitively, and make every move based on the information the sculpture is giving you. If you're not doing that, you're forcing something, and forcing something results in despair or furniture.

Translating the intimacy of the sculpture/sculptor relationship on such a large scale is tricky but important. We got where we are today by forcing the earth to take us on our terms. We imposed our will. We can't get out of this by crying that we are not dead yet (sorry Jamie) and blaming the levee-makers. It's bigger than that. Anxiety and apocalyism do not make for good listening, but knowing the facts is crucial. New Orleans is dying. So are lots of other places. Our response must acknowledge that set of physical facts.

07 April 2006

Made Possible By The Puffin Foundation

Thank you, beautiful people at Puffin for helping me make this Elegy to New Orleans into a bronze thing and not a wax thing. The plan is to make a bronze memorial for each city we lose worldwide to climate change. Hopefully they will increase in size--this is disappointingly puny compared to how important New Orleans is culturally and historically...but you have to start somewhere.

Look forward to more pictures in a few weeks.

Daniel Edwards

I can't help myself. I am going to the Daniel Edwards opening tonight. Forgive me for not rehashing the controversy...

02 April 2006

Tribes Reviews

I have been writing a little bit for A Gathering of the Tribes, a salon/gallery/magazine spearheaded by poet/essayist/playwright/enabler of emerging creativity Steve Cannon. My writing is collecting here. Right now a review for the WB is there. In a few weeks a review of Kara Walker's show at the Met will be published.

01 April 2006

Chelsea Girls

Kat, Joel and I did the big Last Week Sweep and boy are our feet tired.

There will be an in-depth discussion about why Johnston Foster rocked our world over on Greenpoint Sculpture, and hopefully we will also get it up to figure out why the little McCoy pieces at Postmasters were so delightful, while the larger projected works fell flat.

Short list of Seen and Loved:

Chinese photography at Protech, mostly because of the image above--how could you not love an ass landscape? (the Protech website has the artist's names and titles for only 3/4 of the work in that show... sloppy sloppy)

Kara Walker's film at Sikkema (much more than you want to hear about that later...)

Rachel Whiteread at Luhring Augustine, making the invisible visible. So kind.

Tara Donovan... admittedly not my favorite TD, but how far astray could she lead you? The smell of cups alone makes it all worthwhile.

Short list of Seen and Questioned:

Christoph Ruckhaberle at Zach Feuer... amazing understanding of space. Really unimpressive painting skills. "Folk" is not code for "poorly done". Kat's advice: "Get this man a pair of scissors and get him collaging, so that he does not have to fight with brushes and paint in the future."

Inka Essenhigh at 303. Why the fuss?

Mauricio Alejo at Ramis Barquet. The problem with clever work is that it makes you stop and get a beer.

Saturday Fun

Hijack Chevy's Contest if you're in a haiku mood about SUVs and profligate waste. Climate Change Action, Sustainablog and Gristmill have lots of links. Make your own!

April Fool's!

Last night Alanis Morissette introduced me to the science and morality of global warming in Global Warming: The Signs and Science.

Alanis Morissette. Alanis Morissette! Don't the good people at PBS understand how branding works? Making Alanis Morissette the face of global warming makes climate change the province of angsty teenage girls, faghag secretaries who are a little smarter than all this but lack self esteem, and a number of other genres of marginalized non-movers and shakers in our culture. Alanis Morissette is the voice of the jilted and powerless. Everyone knows that the most desperate, embarassing moment during any fun night of Karaoke is when some poor jilted woman sings that one extra-ponderous AM song with a voice so clear and beautiful, and she knows every word because she *could be* Alanis herself and she cries real tears and tries to act ironic because it's Winnies, not her bedroom, and this is a karaoke machine, not her ipod.

I refuse to accept Alanis Morissette as the face of global warming!

This documentary is worth putting in your Netflix cue, though, because it has a great introduction to a couple of interesting factoids. First, I didn't realize how much CO2 agribusiness is putting out. There is a great blurb about the University of Nebraska, where a team is attempting to not just reduce CO2 output by agribusiness, but actually use farming as a gentle sequestration site. Very cool. Other hopeful (Morissette-resistant) messages:

Cute Canadian architects are making 2-family houses that only take on about $50USD a year in utility costs. HUGE CO2 savings.

Solar power is lobbying, and there are a lot of naked rooftops out there.

Klaus Lackner is prototyping these huge fake trees that look like Glade plugins on sticks, but are the size of skyscrapers. They sequester CO2 in the ground by turning it into Calcium Carbonate (what seashells are made of). I am curious about what will happen to the landscape as huge CaCO3 deposits build up underground, and also what kind of energy these things take to run...

But people are doing things out there, even if PBS wants us to think that the most appropriate thing to do about global warming is to stay in our rooms with our fingers on the repeat button.

EDITED TO ADD: More thoughts on the marketing debacle that is global warming can be found on sustainablog and Seth Godin's blog.