29 August 2007

Seven Days Article!

The Burlington Weekly, 7 Days, ran a short feature about Solid State Change this week that is interesting because it touches briefly on Middlebury's larger interest in discarded tires.

28 August 2007

Thank Godot

I don't know as any of you needed more proof that Paul Chan is a righteous and insightful motherfucker. Or that Creative Time is a forward-thinking institution, or that the Classical Theatre of Harlem is courageous, or that art can actually do something.

But here it is anyway, courtesy Heart As Arena. Please click here for all the juicy details. They're doing Waiting For Godot on a streetcorner in the Lower Ninth Ward, and in a still-abandoned front yard in Gentilly.

Here's a blurb from Godot snipped directly from the Creative Time press release:

Let us not waste our time in idle discourse!

(Pause. Vehemently.)

Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. Not indeed that we personally are nneeded. Others would meet the case equally well, if not better. To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for once the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us!

What do you say?

22 August 2007

Self-Serving Link Crazy!

New Orleans Elegy, detail. Currently on view in its entirety at Socrates Sculpture Park.

It's been a busy year...

I updated my portfolio, to include Solid State Change, and that show at Dangerous Curve. And I didn't skimp, I even rewrote my statement, which is (just for Paddy Johnson, just to prove that I can evolve), much less bullshit than it was last year.

And I also want to remind you about the opening of Second Line at Ad Hoc Art. That's Saturday night, 6-11pm. Be there!

And if you can't get enough self-destroying maps of New Orleans, you should come by the Park, where you can not only see my own New Orleans Elegy, but you can see the much more ambitious and wonderful work by Takashi Horisaki, Social Dress, New Orleans.

These two devastatingly beautiful sculptures are by the waterfront until October 26, and are sooooo worth the walk from the N-train!

This blog will soon return to its regular format of unsolicited reviews of other people's shows, musings about modernism, worrying about the environment, and bad lay buddhism.

20 August 2007

At The Risk of Sounding Catty...

...Todd Gibson's cameo at Modern Art Notes took me by surprise because, well... because I rarely read MAN anymore.

And all I have to say is that Tyler Green is either very stupid or very secure to let someone who is so much more interesting and insightful than he is wear his hat for a whole week!

The gut's role in art criticism? An actual meditation on the difficulties of living the life of an artist? Ah, I can smell the actual meat of art blogging roasting on a spit!

19 August 2007

Opening Saturday Night--Mark Your Calendar

Garden District Meets The Mississippi (detail), 2005
cupric sulfate crystals over steel armature.

I made this piece right after Katrina, and it's been sitting around killing itself ever since. It is, like New Orleans Elegy, based on a map of New Orleans' flooding printed in the New York Times. And like New Orleans Elegy, it's made of two materials that are working in opposition. The cupric sulfate crystals are corrosive, and are making the steel armature decay and fall apart. And now you can see it in Bushwick:

Second Line
Art and Film related to the Gulf Coast
August 25 - September 17, 2007
Ad Hoc Art
49 Bogart Street (East Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Ad Hoc Art is pleased to announce Second Line, a group exhibition opening Saturday August 25 in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The exhibit will include a fundraiser for eight Louisiana charities Thursday August 30. There will be a closing reception Friday September 14, although the work will remain on view through September 17.

The exhibit includes the debut of documentation from Takashi Horisaki’s Social Dress New Orleans installation, concurrently on view at Socrates Sculpture Park. Also a study of Alvin Batiste by Ed Pramuk, software art from David Sullivan, watercolors by Emily Sartor based on Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins, Kyle Bravo’s House Conglomeration silkscreens, Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat’s thirty minute puppet theater film featuring dance-crazed Formosian termites, and a thirteen-foot plein air landscape from Brooks Frederick depicting the wetlands of Cocodrie, LA.

Jazz funeral parades and their exuberant brass bands are usually followed by an energetic crowd of revelers, known as the “second line”. Attracted to the music, “second liners” release creativity inseparable from the very life celebrated in these marches.

Come to the opening Saturday night! Maybe a street will fall right off in your presence!

15 August 2007

Cowboys In Suits

3. Are artists able, given this existing power structure that has co-opted irony and other kinds of dissent, to truly display bad manners? If so, how?


Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, and the Colbert Report in general.
The Yes Men.
The Yes Men.
The Yes Men.
Jon Stewart's Jon McCain interview.

They are all operating from an actual powerful platform that has either been hijacked (The Yes Men only pretend to be representatives of Halliburton, the WTO and Exxon), or in the case of Comedy Central, repurposed.

These hijinks and face-offs are funny and effective (and can even happen) because they depend upon existing structures. It's not just the suit, it's everything. If these guys were poets, they'd be writing the strictest sonnets--not pumping out some exciting new free verse we've never seen before. They're simply leveraging facts and chutzpah against the existing forms, like:

Public Speaking
PowerPoint and its kissing cousin, the News Graphic

to arrive at a broader point about power, who's got it, how they keep it, and how tenuous the grasp is on it.

There is an unmodernness to this strategy that is fresh. It's not about the artist as an individual. Sure, Colbert and fils must have enormous egos to do what they are doing, but it can't be about them if it's going to work. This is why the Daily Show is increasingly straight, lameass satire--it's increasingly about Jon Stewart Being Funny and less about Playing Anchor And Yet Delivering More Actual Truth Than 24 Hours Of CNN.

This kind of rudeness is also not about invention or finding anything new. It's about pushing one form against another form:

Content v. PowerPoint
Facts v. Truthiness
News or Public Speaking v. Comedy

And seeing what happens. This is why actual context matters. It's why The Yes Men must be in front of a bunch of conventioneers, why Stephen Colbert had to do the dinner.

And of course, this work has nothing to do with dissent. I know it feels like it does, but in order for this satire to work, it has to employ, not destroy. It has to happen from the inside. It has to say Yes to what is happening on a very deep level. Stephen Colbert is consistently better and more incindiary than Jon Stewart because Colbert is on the Bush Administration's side. Jon Stewart was better as an anchor when he was actively attempting to work the impartiality axis. It gave his anchorship an existential problem and made the news look as broken as it is. Whenever Stewart departs from the form and depends on his own funniness, he is surrendering strength in service of his ego. And he is saying No when he should keep saying Yes.

I tend to think that these strategies can work outside of satire and don't have to be expressly political--that one could push whatever rhetorical strategy into the Full Structure Press and see what happens. And that this work is important if we (the big We--all of us) are to understand power as something we can wield and not just something that is wielded against us.

Power is not just political, it's not just about suits. And there are lots of ways to be bad by playing along.

12 August 2007

Solid State Change: Fin!

Installation was smooth. We got to the site about thirty minutes before the sculpture did... and the crane was a little late. So we waited around.

Video of the rigging job in VT will be posted soon. You'll be able to compare the difference and see that Kent's English Shortening Knot made a difference in how sweetly and evenly it picked. But whatever! Who has time to be fussy? We just got that thing off the truck and placed in a reasonable, uneventful (if not completely flat) way... and ate us some sandwiches!

You know you're in a quaint small town when everyone *loves* the local excavating guy, which in this case is Chris Acker. And yeah. He's a sweetheart and so now I love him too.

In this picture you can see that there was a little problem with a drain right in front of the sculpture, so that it looked like it was sitting at the bottom of a huge cereal bowl. But Chris moved the drain out of the way, and this made everybody rejoice!

Last step was to armor-all the surface until it looked like an enormous piece of licorice. Don't worry, though. This will only happen twice a year. It's important to protect the colored plastic from the sun.

After we took these pictures, we ate a huge lunch with two glasses of cheap champagne!

06 August 2007


With huge props to Kent Johnson, Chris Yockey, Dave Lewis, Joel Murphy and Glenn Gabel... I am happy to report that Solid State Change is finally hitting the road!

05 August 2007

Takashi Horisaki on Studio 360: You Should Listen!

Chris Yockey inside Takashi Horisaki's Social Dress New Orleans--730 Days After

Takashi Horisaki's Social Dress New Orleans--730 Days After is featured this week on NPR's Studio 360. Even if you feel like you've already seen the project and everything, the segment is worth a listen.

You get to hear from the owner of the house on Caffin Avenue. And interesting aspects of the process of making the mold itself are highlighted. Takashi is good at talking about his work, and I was impressed with his ability to understand how the smallest aspects of this project are an important part of this ambitious whole.