Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween

voter crunch time

Yes, we're still old school in NY and rockin the lever machines. I have to say, I love these things. They really are time capsules. Things are coming to a close after almost 2 grueling years for this presidential contest. Hard to believe because it seems more like 10 years on most days. I'm anxious to be less anxious and also fear the huge depression that may come as a result of a McCain coup. Regardless, if you want to follow what is happening state to state with all the controversy over fraudulent registration forms, voter purges, touch screens and intimidation in these waning days please saty tuned to the following blogs.

1. The Brad blog

2. Election Law blog

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Artist Lecture Series/ Bidonville Cafe, Nov. 2

The next installment of this intimate lecture series continues this Sunday. I encourage any readers to make it out or inquire about participating.So far so good with this fledgling effort.

Sunday, Nov. 2 @ 7:00 pm
Bidonville Cafe in Fort Greene

Willoughby Ave. (b/w Clermont & Adelphi)
Bklyn, NY 11205

G or C train to Clinton/ Washington and march north
This month's artists:

Josh Jordan

Jordan's ideas stem from his prepubescent and high school experiences from there. They were the emotional basis for his desire to pursue art as a young adult. These ideas are expressed in scenes of various delusions of grandeur. He creates passive/aggressive and sometimes self-deprecating scenarios of heroism, glory, or ardor to illustrate these delusions.The content of his work focuses on adolescence, its persona, and its tendency toward dreams, melodrama, fantasy, and infatuation. The focus of those states of consciousness is motivated by the seemingly mystical energy of adolescent girls and their ability to inspire longing, elusive flirtation, clumsy acts of chivalry, and inevitable humiliation. Jordan also calls upon the psychic, social, erotic power of pop idolatry to realize the extent and scope of the delusional narrative.

Timothy Hutchings:

"Some time ago I consciously chose to adopt a lackadaisical approach to the intellectual rigor of my art making. I'd decided that I was out to make work to amuse myself, not to communicate carefully crafted ideas about the world. By letting my brain go slack, I could accidentally create things which I could find pleasure in for myself - just as a sloppy hand can create a line which surprises it's owner. This has something to do with the structure of joke making, I think. My brain finds pleasure in the off-handed quip more than the finely crafted story, and finds little joy in telling the same joke twice. In retrospect, this may not have proven to be a very good tactic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

hidden water atlas

This is fascinating (via BLDGBLOG):

An "atlas of hidden water" has been created to reveal where the world's freshwater aquifers really lie. "The hope," New Scientist reports, "is that it will help pave the way to an international law to govern how water is shared around the world."
This prospective hydro-geopolitical legislation currently includes a "draft Convention on transboundary aquifers."

"What the UNESCO map reveals," New Scientist adds, "is just how many aquifers cross international borders. So far, the organisation has identified 273 trans-boundary aquifers: 68 in the Americas, 38 in Africa, 155 in Eastern and Western Europe and 12 in Asia." One of these is the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, whose waters are nearly a million years old.
According – somewhat oddly – to the International Atomic Energy Agency:
    The ancient system’s massive reserves, estimated at 375,000 cu km of water (equivalent to about 500 years of Nile River discharge), are confined deep inside the earth’s underground chambers – staggered, tiered, and pooled beneath the sands of the Sahara Desert, oasis settlements, wadis (dry riverbeds that contain water only during times of heavy rain), small villages, towns, and large cities.

Friday, October 24, 2008


This election has permeated all walks of life here in the city. A friend and I saw these funny, enthusiastic (and creepy) "Obamas" at Triple Five Soul downtown on Lafayette Street.

image: Lucas Thorpe

Monday, October 20, 2008

country first

ha ha imitating life once again.

oh shit

Finally, a snarky piece that actually made me laugh instead of implying that I'm supposed to laugh. The ultimate salesman strikes again.

A piece of art by Damien Hirst has set the new record for a single item at auction. The piece entitled ‘Oh Shit’ fetched £2.3bn after frantic bidding by an anonymous investor. The work, which features a Merrill Lynch employee suspended in a tank of formaldehyde secured the highest price yet paid for a single piece of banking history.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

my friends

my friends, who IS that dark knight, hengghhhh... priceless parallel to the prez debates!

via Wonkette

Saturday, October 18, 2008

sticky sublime and the pusuit of strangeness

I've been thinking about this comment recently:

But to get back to the sublime, if you start out academically and you are a student and you are trying to understand some of the networks behind art, and you are getting more comfortable with what might be, what it could be, what some of the apparatus might be, there still is this very self-conscious deliberate journey you are on and that is much of what I felt in graduate school. This journey oriented to assuming a belief that through this intelligence, through mental acuity, you are going to try to pressure these doors open and to give you some sight. And all that is done without being in tune, necessarily, with the enormous levels an artist can bring into himself, and assume, and let open, once you are relaxed about the arena you are in. Your mind is like a blowtorch, trying to burn down things so you can find a home. You’re in the woods, and now it’s time to both feel the repercussions of what you did, and to flavor yourself with a little more feedback from Camus. I thought a lot of that early stuff of mine was deliberate and intellectually oriented. The piece with the spider, where I coaxed the spider through the tube, some of that stuff started to allow certain chemical and psychological things in, that didn’t get in at the start, because you were too targeted. Like the case about the object, the anti-object and the role of galleries. Soon there came a time when the decisions were made in less calculated ways. They were a bit more mysterious. These are the elements that were going to separate you from other people. They were not strategic. They were violating strategy, and in its place there was a kind of uncertainty. So through this mystique I would find references operating in a large universal, or perhaps, in an arena more capable of strangeness.

Dennis Oppenheim speaking with Bill Beckley

Sticky Sublime, 2001 – pg. 109

faking it

October 18, 2006 -St. Louis

via Kos

Friday, October 17, 2008

U.S.A. #1

I had to reduce my posting this month and have made a conscious effort to scale back my news consumption for my own sanity. Still, my friends and I have been batting around McPalin rally footage during the last 2 weeks to diffuse our horror with some sarcastic nervous wit. It helps, but watching these crowds makes us all sick and alarmed at yet unsurprised. Huge swaths of our peers are still mired in a 1960's and increasingly a 1950's culture war of bigotry and willful ignorance. You really begin to understand how easy it is to sway ordinary law abiding people into acts of hate. Imagine how little it might take to insight these people at this stage of the campaigns. How will they handle an Obama victory? Will it be excepted on any level? The GOP is morphing real time into a national "white's only" party right. The apartheid mentality is deafening.

video: TPM

Sunday, October 12, 2008

the sky IS falling

Like many of you I have been trying to overcome a major learning curve regarding the economic shock waves over the last couple of weeks. I’m somewhat more educated but still a ways to go.
I’m at least far enough along to know that deregulation and Fannie/Freddie are not the sole causes – no thanks to the candidate sound bites. One positive development has been the emergence of the British /Swedish proposal as the front runner of a solution, even by an increasingly humble Hank Paulson whose warts are abundantly clear. We all can be glad he did not act on his initial unitary money grab. I’m also pleased to observe the emergence of Paul Krugman and Brad Delong as leading voices on the meltdown. They’ve been on course from the beginning and seem to be getting more play in the MSM because of it. A less familiar name is Nouriel Roubini, who is now likely to be a household name. Oracular in scope, the economist is now being echoed by the IMF.

Here’s the latest somber insight from Roubini:

At this point severe damage is done and one cannot rule out a systemic collapse and a global depression. It will take a significant change in leadership of economic policy and very radical, coordinated policy actions among all advanced and emerging market economies to avoid this economic and financial disaster. Urgent and immediate necessary actions that need to be done globally (with some variants across countries depending on the severity of the problem and the overall resources available to the sovereigns) include:

- another rapid round of policy rate cuts of the order of at least 150 basis points on average globally;

- a temporary blanket guarantee of all deposits while a triage between insolvent financial institutions that need to be shut down and distressed but solvent institutions that need to be partially nationalized with injections of public capital is made;
- a rapid reduction of the debt burden of insolvent households preceded by a temporary freeze on all foreclosures;

- massive and unlimited provision of liquidity to solvent financial institutions;
- public provision of credit to the solvent parts of the corporate sector to avoid a short-term debt refinancing crisis for solvent but illiquid corporations and small businesses;

- a massive direct government fiscal stimulus packages that includes public works, infrastructure spending, unemployment benefits, tax rebates to lower income households and provision of grants to strapped and crunched state and local government;

- a rapid resolution of the banking problems via triage, public recapitalization of financial institutions and reduction of the debt burden of distressed households and borrowers;

- an agreement between lender and creditor countries running current account surpluses and borrowing and debtor countries running current account deficits to maintain an orderly financing of deficits and a recycling of the surpluses of creditors to avoid a disorderly adjustment of such imbalances.

At this point anything short of these radical and coordinated actions may lead to a market crash, a global systemic financial meltdown and to a global depression. At this stage central banks that are usually supposed to be the "lenders of last resort" need to become the "lenders of first and only resort" as, under conditions of panic and total loss of confidence, no one in the private sector is lending to anyone else since counterparty risk is extreme. And fiscal authorities that usually are spenders and insurers of last resort need to temporarily become the spenders and insurers of first resort. The fiscal costs of these actions will be large but the economic and fiscal costs of inaction would be of a much larger and severe magnitude. Thus, the time to act is now as all the policy officials of the world are meeting this weekend in Washington at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings.
In closing, cheers to Krugman for his Nobel!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

those Fleet Foxes

A great show on Sunday at Webster Hall, the above clip is a new song debuted by Fleet Foxes. Another studio soundtrack staple, I was super impressed with the force of their vocals. It is not a studio trick – these guys are for real. Obviously, the triumphant quality for me in their music is the harmony of the vocals. Harkening back to that Laurel Canyon sound, FF conjures two of my favorite records from that era– David Crosby/If I Could Only Remember My Name and John Philips/ Wolf King of L.A. This coupled with some Beachwood Sparks, Shins, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ve got a hell of a sound for making art.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Artist lecture series at Bidonville Cafe (Oct. 5)

Last month I mentioned a new grass roots lecture series put together by some friends of mine in an effort to get a conversation going. This Sunday is the next installment. If you can travel out to Brooklyn it will be worth the trip. We had a great discussion last month and I think it safe to say that each presenting artist walked away a little re-charged. This series is happening the first Sunday of every month. If you want to participate send me an email and I'll put you in contact with the peeps in charge. Here are the event details for those interested in attending.

Sunday, Oct. 5 @ 7:00 pm
Bidonville Cafe in Fort Greene

Willoughby Ave. (b/w Clermont & Adelphi)
Bklyn, NY 11205

G or C train to Clinton/ Washington and march north

This month’s artists are:

Josh Peters:

“Photography taken from 1960s and 70s advertisements and other sources of popular culture are seen through the distorting prism of memory. The images are viewed from a psychic distance, but it is not ironic or coldly critical. Instead the images are imbued with even more mystery and desire, and underlying darkness is brought to the fore.”

Bill Powhida:

“Last year around this time I was in panic mode of a different sort trying to finish a solo show and make enough work for Aqua Art and Pulse in Miami. I managed to get my show A Study for Sofia Coppola’s Film ‘Powhida’ finished and sent off to San Francisco by the end of September. The show opened enthusiastically, but I quickly realized I wasn’t going to sell out the show at the opening. In fact, I only sold two small works—one to the gallery and the other to a collector who explained that he found my work ‘both intellectually challenged and challenging.’ After I assured him that I wasn’t going to suddenly start painting landscapes and would indeed continue developing work about William Powhida, a fictional artist of dubious worth, he bought a modest painting.”