Friday, April 25, 2008

artist lists and process

Timothy Buckwalter has a good run of posts on process this week as well as the always present artist "list". You know you have one...

Artists profiled include Julie Mehretu, Kiki Smith, Robert Smithson, Mary Heilmann and more.

Image via Buckwalter - Philly based painter Doug Witmer's studio list

Thursday, April 24, 2008

the pie is flat

This is a cheap post of course, but I love watching Friedman getting a well deserved moment of humiliation. It's as close to an apology as we'll get from the millionaire pundit. I'm always amazed at the effectiveness of this act, people really buckle. Now if someone could only pie Bill Kristol...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PA results? not so bad really..

First, I have to say that I officially hate CNN. I could barely stand to watch that circus of nitwits last night. Like FOX they are operating at the level of pornographers. My favorite moment is Blitzer lauding the Casey democrats as Hillary's stronghold, only to cut to Bob Casey who just happens to be heading up Obama's campaign efforts in PA! so ridiculous but no surprises either.

Here's the clearest picture on what last night means with a comparison to another rustbelt voting block - OH.

One of the arguments the Clinton campaign is making to the supers, hoping they'll overturn the will of the voters, is that Obama can't win certain demographics. Yet looking at the exit poll numbers, it's clear that Obama has actually been making serious gains the past six weeks.

Obama's percent of the vote:


60 and older 28 38
White 34 38
White men 39 44
White women 31 34
Less than $50K 42 46
No college 40 38
College 51 49
Catholic 36 31
Protestant 36 53

What was a 10.5% win in demographically friendly Ohio has become an 8.6% win in similar Pennsylvania, except the state was even less black and with a much smaller youth voter population (Pennsylvania's seniors accounted for 32 percent of the electorate, compared to 23 percent in Ohio).

And, those gains were made despite the Wright controversy as well as manufactured bullshit about "bitter" and flag pins and whatnot.

On top of that, Obama has had to run against Hillary Clinton, against former President of the United States Bill Clinton, and against John McCain and the entire GOP apparatus, which has trained its guns on Obama hoping to give Clinton a boost.

Yet he continues to gain among most of Clinton's best demographics, is still raising more money, leads comfortably in delegates, leads comfortably in the popular vote, leads in states won, leads in the national polls, and does better in the head-to-head matchups against McCain.

So why should the supers spark an intra-party civil war by overturning the will of the electorate again?

This video is pretty great with regard to the above.

via: Kos and Andrew Sullivan

Monday, April 21, 2008

Obama - the voting record

I've been wanting to point to this for ages but as we head into the PA primary I guess now is a good time. Obama has pulled within 6 points of Clinton which is a huge gap closed. Let's hope he gets the win. In case you are wondering still about his experience as a legislator and the types of laws he has pushed, here is a short list and then links at the bottom to the full records via Obsidian Wings. I think you will agree that this is very interesting and hopeful.

109th Congress, Obama:

S.2125 : A bill to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 12/16/2005) Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 109-456

S.3757 : A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 950 Missouri Avenue in East St. Louis, Illinois, as the "Katherine Dunham Post Office Building". Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 7/27/2006) Note: For further action, see H.R.5929, which became Public Law 109-333 on 10/12/2006.

110th Congress, Obama: (8 amendments)

S.AMDT.41 to S.1 To require lobbyists to disclose the candidates, leadership PACs, or political parties for whom they collect or arrange contributions, and the aggregate amount of the contributions collected or arranged. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 1/11/2007) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 1/18/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 41 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.524 to S.CON.RES.21 To provide $100 million for the Summer Term Education Program supporting summer learning opportunities for low-income students in the early grades to lessen summer learning losses that contribute to the achievement gaps separating low-income students from their middle-class peers. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 3/21/2007) Cosponsors (None) Latest Major Action: 3/23/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 524 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.599 to S.CON.RES.21 To add $200 million for Function 270 (Energy) for the demonstration and monitoring of carbon capture and sequestration technology by the Department of Energy. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 3/22/2007) Cosponsors (4) Latest Major Action: 3/23/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 599 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.905 to S.761 To require the Director of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education to establish a program to recruit and provide mentors for women and underrepresented minorities who are interested in careers in mathematics, science, and engineering. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 4/23/2007) Cosponsors (None) Latest Major Action: 4/25/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 905 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.923 to S.761 To expand the pipeline of individuals entering the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields to support United States innovation and competitiveness. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 4/24/2007) Cosponsors (None) Latest Major Action: 4/25/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 923 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.924 to S.761 To establish summer term education programs. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 4/24/2007) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 4/25/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 924 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.2519 to H.R.2638 To provide that one of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5 million or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee owes no past due Federal tax liability. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 7/26/2007) Cosponsors (3) Latest Major Action: 7/26/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 2519 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.2588 to H.R.976 To provide certain employment protections for family members who are caring for members of the Armed Forces recovering from illnesses and injuries incurred on active duty. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 7/31/2007) Cosponsors (8) Latest Major Action: 8/2/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 2588 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

109th Congress, Obama: (15 amendments)

S.AMDT.159 to S.CON.RES.18 To prevent and, if necessary, respond to an international outbreak of the avian flu. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 3/15/2005) Cosponsors (2) Latest Major Action: 3/17/2005 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 159 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.390 to H.R.1268 To provide meal and telephone benefits for members of the Armed Forces who are recuperating from injuries incurred on active duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 4/13/2005) Cosponsors (3) Latest Major Action: 4/14/2005 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 390 agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote.

S.AMDT.670 to H.R.3 To provide for Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) refueling capability at new and existing refueling station facilities to promote energy security and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 5/11/2005) Cosponsors (9) Latest Major Action: 5/12/2005 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 670 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.851 to H.R.6 To require the Secretary to establish a Joint Flexible Fuel/Hybrid Vehicle Commercialization Initiative, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 6/22/2005) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 6/23/2005 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 851 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.1061 to H.R.2361 To provide that none of the funds made available in this Act may be used in contravention of 15 U.S.C. section 2682(c)(3) or to delay the implementation of that section. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 6/27/2005) Cosponsors (None) Latest Major Action: 6/28/2005 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 1061 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent. (Note: 15 U.S.C. section 2682(c)(3) deals with the certification and training of people who do lead paint removal, and requiring that properly trained and certified people do lead paint removal.)

S.AMDT.1453 to S.1042 To ensure the protection of military and civilian personnel in the Department of Defense from an influenza pandemic, including an avian influenza pandemic. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 7/25/2005) Cosponsors (2) Latest Major Action: 11/8/2005 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 1453 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.3144 to S.CON.RES.83 To provide a $40 million increase in FY 2007 for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and to improve job services for hard-to-place veterans. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 3/16/2006) Cosponsors (2) Latest Major Action: 3/16/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 3144 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.3810 to H.R.4939 To provide that none of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for hurricane relief and recovery contracts exceeding $500,000 that are awarded using procedures other than competitive procedures. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 5/1/2006) Cosponsors (4) Latest Major Action: 5/2/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 3810 agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 98 - 0. Record Vote Number: 106.

S.AMDT.3971 to S.2611 To amend the temporary worker program. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 5/15/2006) Cosponsors (5) Latest Major Action: 5/17/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 3971 as modified agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote.

S.AMDT.4224 to S.2766 To include assessments of Traumatic Brain Injury in the post-deployment health assessments of member of the Armed Forces returning from deployment in support of a contingency operation. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 6/14/2006) Cosponsors (6) Latest Major Action: 6/22/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 4224 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.4254 to S.2766 To require the use of competitive procedures for Federal contracts worth over $500,000 related to hurricane recovery, subject to existing limited national security, public interest, and other exceptions. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 6/15/2006) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 6/16/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 4254 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.4545 to S.2125 To make certain improvements to the bill. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 6/29/2006) Cosponsors (None) Latest Major Action: 6/29/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 4545 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent. (Makes modifications to his bill on the Congo.)

S.AMDT.4573 to H.R.5441 To assist individuals displaced by a major disaster in locating family members. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 7/11/2006) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 7/13/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 4573 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.4624 to H.R.5441 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available for expenses in carrying out the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act may be used to enter into noncompetitive contracts based upon the unusual and compelling urgency exception under Federal contracting law unless the contract is limited in time, scope, and value as necessary to respond to the immediate emergency. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 7/12/2006) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 7/13/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 4624 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.AMDT.4972 to H.R.4954 To ensure the evacuation of individuals with special needs in times of emergency. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 9/13/2006) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 9/13/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 4972 as modified agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote.

Full records for both candidates are
here and here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

breaking up: an artist and her gallery

For artists, I think this is a useful post on the anxieties and frustrations of this difficult field.
Read here for the saga of the dreaded breakup and one artist's decision to be open about it.
When it happened to me, I was inconsolable. I figured I was an impostor anyway, and was finally found out. I wasn't really angry at the gallery, I was just deeply saddened because I kind of really liked them. No other profession demands so much of its practictioners. The stoicism, narcissism, and complete denial of reality one must deploy to continue on is formidable. I see people give up every day.

Pink Slip Mantra at Tire Shop [ the flipside at Winkleman]

Pentagon Institute: Iraq War "A Major Debacle"

welcome to "party.....

"Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath" (pdf) The report is from the National Defense University by Joseph Collins, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations in the Pentagon until 2004. it begins:
Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle. As of fall 2007, this conflict has cost the United States over 3,800 dead and over 28,000 wounded. Allied casualties accounted for another 300 dead. Iraqi civilian deaths--mostly at the hands of other Iraqis--may number as high as 82,000. Over 7,500 Iraqi soldiers and police officers have also been killed. Fifteen percent of the Iraqi population has become refugees or displaced persons. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the United States now spends over $10 billion per month on the war, and that the total, direct U.S. costs from March 2003 to July 2007 have exceeded $450 billion, all of which has been covered by deficit spending. No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans' benefits or the total impact on service personnel and materiel.
continue reading at TPM.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

angels wanna wear my red shoes

Pope Benedict XVI steps into a limousine upon arrival at Andrews
Air Force Base.
Photograph © Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images.

via: (Notes on) Politics, Theory and Photography

Green Cloud

Here's a fascinating eco-visualization concept - "Nuage Vert" ("Green Cloud"). This is a city-scale light installation representing the actual energy consumption of a coal burning power plant. A high power laser beam illuminates the vapor emission of a coal burning CHP power plant, converting the emissions into a green neon cloud.

Learn more at the Nuage Vert home page.

via: information aesthetics.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

more signs of the apocalypse

From Printculture:
Every issue of The New Yorker is full of signs of the apocalypse, if you chose to look for them, but this week I was particularly struck by three items that may, alas, say a good deal to future time capsule excavators:

1) A Mastercard contest in which you can win a commissioned portrait by Julian Schnabel. The game piece/involvement device is simulated formal stationary, including a wax (i.e. paper) seal reading “certificate of authenticity.”

This I completely missed when it was launched at the Oscar's. Here's the spot.

Wonder which art world luminary can trump this scheme?

image: J. Schnabel

the kneecapping of Obama - courtesy of Clinton

How pointless is the Clinton campaign at this point? how pointless is her kneecapping of Obama?

John Cole nails it:

Even if she blows him out (and I expect her to win by 6-12 pts), she won’t make up any real ground in the delegate race, which, as we all know (except, apparently, at Clinton HQ), is what matters. All she has is the hope that the super-delegates will give it to her, and the only way that is going to happen is if she absolutely destroys his chances at electability. And she has to do just that, because if the supers give Clinton the nomination under any circumstance other than one in which Obama is completely ruined, expect large swaths of Democrats to bail in the general. Forget the AA vote.

That is her gambit. That is her only hope. She won’t win North Carolina, Indiana will be so close as to give marginal gains, and all she has is this last hope that she can knee-cap him and get it from the supers. Of course, she most likely won’t succeed, and instead we will have a crippled Obama limping into the general against a united Republican party armed with a half year of Clinton video clips calling Obama elitist and out of touch and unelectable and stating she takes him at his word that he is not a stealth muslim. By the end of the week I fully expect her to be asking whether or not he is a Marxist.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Obama and the media's faux populist heart

They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

-Barack Obama

In case you missed it, (but how could you?) the media is a flutter with the above perceived swipe at the working class folks of PA. Certainly a bit of a blunt assessment for Obama who is usually more nuanced, but why the dust up? for whom (insert McCain/Clinton/wingnuttery)? I mean it has become so absurd that Bill Kristol, with an assist from Joe Lieberman is using the “M” word in questioning Obama’s remarks.

Please, is this all they have left to resort to? Red baiting? Is Obama so far off the mark? Doesn’t economic hardship lead to reactionary beliefs? A loss of hope and reliance in leadership? Isn’t this the neo-con argument regarding the spread of Islamism?

These comments are not a big deal and they are not off base in my opinion. I see the transformation of “back home” over the last 20 years. I’m not saying there is a one to one relationship between economic hardship and the type of church you attend, but in many cases it is a factor. The role of church in rural communities is very complex and the Obama comments at worst are a bit tone deaf, but hardly indicate some lack of empathy on his part.

Let’s look at the broader issue here instead of the media’s caricature of the quote – Rachel Maddow excluded of course.

Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas” looked at the trend of Republican policies over the years, and the impact on the working class.

What we are observing, then, is a populist movement that has done irreversible harm to the material interests of the common people it professes to love so tenderly-a form of class animosity that rages against a shadowy "elite" while enthroning a new aristocracy of bankers, brokers, and corporate thieves.

Obsidian Wings takes this up quite well with the recent Obama PA comments.

From Obsidian Wings:

While his theory may not adequately explain why working class people support Republican cultural policies, it’s far more persuasive in explaining why they support Republican economic policies.

To back up, Frank’s argument is more complex than I suggested in that there are various potential ways to understand it. First, he could be arguing that working class culture is determined by economics. Under this view, religious zeal is actually caused by economic hardship. This is closer to the traditional Marxist view, but I don’t think either Obama or Frank is making this argument. In any event, I think it’s wrong.

The second potential argument is more interesting. It’s not that economics causes the culture wars, but that the culture wars are distractions from economic issues. This one hits far closer to the mark. There’s no doubt that Republicans fan the culture war flames to distract working class voters from other issues.

This “distraction” argument is the one Democrats use the most often, but it too has weaknesses. In particular, it’s not clear why cultural issues should play second fiddle to economic ones. Objectively speaking, economic issues don't necessarily have more value than cultural ones. Sure, most of these cultural grievances seem silly to me, but I drink steamed milk with espresso (sometimes even with delectable pumpkin spices) so what do I know. But seriously, if I thought abortion was truly murder, then marginal tax rates would be a lower priority.

That leads to the third potential argument, which is Frank’s strongest — and the one most damning to working class Republicans. To repeat, it’s not irrational for working class Americans to support conservative social policy. It’s not even irrational for them to support Republicans on the basis of these cultural preferences. After all, I support the Democrats even though I disagree with their slavishness to Hollywood on IP law.

But what is irrational is for working class Americans to support Republican economic policies themselves. It’s one thing to support the Republican Party, but it’s quite another to support its regressive, anti-work, pro-wealth economic policies on the merits. If working class Republicans were acting rationally, they should at least advocate for more populist economic policies within the confines of the party.

OW then asks a crucial question about activism (or lack of) within the Republican party:

But you don’t see that. Unlike the IP example above, it’s not like a big chunk of working class Republicans support the party on cultural issues, yet push behind the scenes for more equitable tax codes or more labor-friendly legislation/regulation. Most are as gung-ho on tax cuts for the rich as they are on gay marriage and abortion.

It’s here, then, that Frank’s “false consciousness” argument gains steam. It’s not so much that the culture wars are distracting people from economic issues. It’s that the culture wars cause people to prefer specific economic policies that they should be opposing.

Specifically, the anger and resentment triggered in the culture wars bleed into the realm of economics. If the liberals like it, it must be wrong. For instance, if contemptible secular liberals prefer gay marriage, then whatever economic argument they are making is probably wrong too. In this sense, the culture wars cause many working class Americans to give their “proxy” to Republicans, even on economic issues.

More on varieties of religious experience at Andrew Sullivan

Michael Kimmelman on the new anti-intellectual fad in politics.

tithing postcards and mouse pads

The New York Times reports this morning that N.Y. State officials plan to offset government spending by levying a tax on museum gift shops. For years lawmakers have been asking why an Alessi corkscrew should be taxed in one kind of shop but not in another. Now it’s official: “An array of smaller tax law changes — requiring nonprofit organizations like museums and advocacy groups to collect sales taxes on T-shirts, mugs and other items — will bring in more modest amounts.
Nobody tackles the hard budget deficit decisions like Albany!

Continue reading at Artworld Salon.

image: MET - Starry Night mouse pad

planes over Hong Kong

I think you'll agree that this video is stunning and well, claustrophobic (in the best way). The short snippet videos were shot from Kowloon city under the approach path to Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport in 1998. I'm unclear as to who the artist is - if someone knows please comment.

Monday, April 14, 2008

the love/hate of French theory

book was pointed out at Larval Subjects. I'm not certain many camps within the art world care anymore (for some reason) but this could be a useful read for many laboring in the trenches of continental thought.

The must-read exposé of America’s love/hate affair with French theory.

During the last three decades of the twentieth century, a disparate group of radical French thinkers achieved an improbable level of influence and fame in the United States. Compared by at least one journalist to the British rock ‘n’ roll invasion, the arrival of works by Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari on American shores in the late 1970s and 1980s caused a sensation.

Outside the academy, “French theory” had a profound impact on the era’s emerging identity politics while also becoming, in the 1980s, the target of right-wing propagandists. At the same time in academic departments across the country, their post-structuralist form of radical suspicion transformed disciplines from literature to anthropology to architecture. By the 1990s, French theory was woven deeply into America’s cultural and intellectual fabric.

French Theory is the first comprehensive account of the American fortunes of these unlikely philosophical celebrities. François Cusset looks at why America proved to be such fertile ground for French theory, how such demanding writings could become so widely influential, and the peculiarly American readings of these works. Reveling in the gossipy history, Cusset also provides a lively exploration of the many provocative critical practices inspired by French theory. Ultimately, he dares to shine a bright light on the exultation of these thinkers to assess the relevance of critical theory to social and political activism today—showing, finally, how French theory has become inextricably bound with American life.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Imagined Community in Europe and the United States

Via The Monkey Cage, Jack Citrin and John Sides are introducing a new paper they have authored looking at the current/historical attitudes towards immigration in the US and Europe. Both Europe and the US are confronting historic challenges of immigration and cultural integration.

What are American and European attitudes toward immigration? Do they differ? Clearly, the centrality of immigration in “settler societies” such as the United States — both in terms of the literal populating of the country and in terms of its founding myths — is greater than in most, if not all, European countries. But does this make the United States “exceptional” in how immigrants are viewed?

well worth the read.

see also: European Social Survey, Citizenship, Involvement, Democracy Survey

"Olde" europe still ahead

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has unveiled his new cabinet, which for the first time includes more women than men. He has also created a new Equality Ministry. Pretty good for a former police state. Spain doesn't get enough credit for how far it has come in 25 years. A truly remarkable story I think.

full story at the BBC.

Here in the US - our cabinet is well, still dominated by torturers....

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I meet Keith Richards at his office....

the [GQ]interview.

image: Keith Richards in Tonite Lets All Make Love in London (1967) (vertigo magazine uk)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008



They shall not return to us, the resolute, the young,
The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?

They shall not return to us; the strong men coldly slain
In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
Are they too strong and wise to put away?

Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide--
Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,
Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?

Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour:
When the storm is ended shall we find
How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power
By the favour and contrivance of their kind?

Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends,
Even while they make a show of fear,
Do they call upon their debtors, and take counsel with their friends,
To conform and re-establish each career?

Their lives cannot repay us -- their death could not undo --
The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,
Shall we leave it unabated in its place?

-- Rudyard Kipling, Rudyard Kipling: Complete Verse (Anchor; 1988).

via grrlscientist (for national poetry month)
image: British police commissioner inspecting his men, Basra WWI

Monday, April 07, 2008

Anna Malagrida

I haven't written about the current round of fairs in NY or thought that much about them now that they have closed. I did manage to spend a day at Pulse and Scope. In all they were well executed with Pulse having the stronger group. Somehow in these events, everything manages to blur for me which is why I've never done much on the review side of these events. I've exhibited at Scope twice and the experience was pretty much the same. My guess is overload but I'm never sure if it is my weak constitution or that most of what gets shown really does look and feel the quite the same. Is it cancellation or standardized multi-style? That perplexes me.

Anyway, one artist that blew me away and has really been lodged in my head is photographer Anna Malagrida who was showing with Galeria SENDA at Pulse. I think this works is wildly strong in terms of concept, history and aesthetics. I keep coming back to Chris Marker/Tarkovsky somehow
and definitely early color works by Saul Leiter. Regardless, the work is very humane and exciting. Makes wish they were my own photographs!

Judge for yourself and enjoy these images and the links below.

Video: Anna Malagrida exhibition at Figge von Rosen Gallery.

images: Anna Malagrida, [via artnet]

a weak dollar IS the policy (hello dubai stock exchange)

"If you're one of the 2 million American families losing your house this year, it's a depression," argues Greg Palast, BBC investigative journalist, author of Armed Madhouse and onetime student of neoconservative privatization guru Milton Friedman. "If you're a mortgage shark, happy days are here again. The difference between the Great Depression and this one is that, back then, everyone was in it. Now, it's a selective mangling. Exxon's profit hit $40 billion, the highest of any corporation since the pharaohs. So how can you say the economy is going down? For whom?"

Palast's point is well taken, even as it is ignored by everyone from the Bush administration to the financial (which is to say, entertainment) media and all the way to homeowners who ignorantly refinance so they can buy that new Hummer: Your life may suck ass, but others around you are sucking you dry. And most importantly, they're crushing the dollar on their way out the door to Dubai, or wherever suits hide in the New World Order's afterlife.

"I'm sorry to tell you this," Palast adds, "but higher oil prices and weak dollars is not a failure of policy. That is the policy. Clinton had a strong dollar policy and Bush hated it. The weak dollar is a way to temporarily hike exports to create short-term pretend juice for the economy. But the weak dollar also made it easier for foreigners to buy up U.S. assets. The capitalists are cashing out of America. They're keeping condos in New York, Palm Beach and Malibu, but their investments are where the returns are fatter: Malaysia, China, India. A weak dollar helps the transfer of capital ownership."

read on at Alternet.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

all in The Family

From the jacket
The Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist power—not its angry masses, but its sophisticated elites. Sharlet follows the story back to Abraham Vereide, an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the Far Right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. From that core, Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a “family” that thrives to this day. In public, they host prayer breakfasts; in private they preach a gospel of “biblical capitalism,” military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao, Doug Coe, the Family’s current leader, declares, “We work with power where we can, build new power where we can’t.”

Sharlet’s discoveries dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American fundamentalism, revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the Cold War, and the no-holds-barred economics of globalization. The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not “What do fundamentalists want?” but “What have they already done?”

Looks to be a must read for anyone on theocracy watch here in the states. Also, and alarmingly,
here is a post about candidate Clinton's apparent relationship with the dark prince of the neo-pent mafia. More at Kos here.

I'm glad that a major news outlet is looking into this, not to single Clinton out, because I'm sure she's playing the same game many others are, but bright lights need to be shown on this topic. too much is at risk. These people need to be identified and removed from the political process.

via wood s lot, daily kos, dark christianity

France slips to 4th in art sales...and why nationalism is good for business (part 1)

It's official, France has slipped to #4 in international art sales and has been eclipsed by upstart, China. This has prompted French officials to put forward a proposal for interest-free loans (up to $10,000) to less wealthy people toward the purchase of contemporary art.

Via Winkleman -

From the BBC:

Banks providing the loans will be compensated through tax breaks for corporate art patronage.

Small businesses, too, are to be given greater tax incentives to buy art works and auction houses will be modernised.

An independent study by art market experts Artprice showed France with 6.4% of art sales worldwide in 2007.

China has 7.3%, Britain 29.7% and the US 41.7%, according to the survey.

Figures suggest the French art market is growing at only 13%, compared with 36% globally.

The new proposal/strategy mirrors programs in the UK and the Netherlands. (see Bill Gusky)
The UK's Own Art program works something like this.
Own Art offers interest free loans (typical 0% APR) of £100 to £2,000, which are repaid in regular instalments, making it easier for people to buy high quality contemporary art and crafts. By encouraging sales in a wide range of visual art and craft including painting, sculpture, photography and ceramics, Own Art aims to encourage new buyers and patrons of contemporary art and develop the visual arts economy through increasing sales, which will benefit both galleries and artists.
Galleries are selected by an independent panel which assesses each application based on certain criteria including the quality of work on sale, their professional relationship with artists, the quality of exhibition space and the knowledge and training of staff.
Blogger Katherine Tyrrell adds more detail on the Own Art program.
The schemes were set up by the Arts Council and, as my post makes clear, the intention behind it was threefold ie that they should:

* enable people from all walks of life society to access and own original works of art - by having an affordable means of buying art
* help artists to live by means of their own creative endeavour and output - by helping more people to buy their art
* support galleries which sell high quality contemporary art - and stimulate local and regional economies through promoting the small-scale gallery network in the regions – with a particular focus on supporting the tourist economy.
Ed's dilemma on the subject and from the comment thread:
But back to my originally stated uncertainty about this. I'm not a raging free market nut by any means, and I appreciate that one goal of such programs is to help emerging artists, but there's a little voice in the back of my head saying there's a longer-term side effect of this that will possibly do more harm than good. Also, I'm also not so sure the nationalistic pride component that's driving France to this measure isn't antiquated in the global market.

If nationalism has to play a role (because that's what politicians do), then rather than put energies into making it easier to buy or sell the art France is producing (which, quite frankly, can be seen as somewhat insulting on one level...the notion that French artists needs a government program to help them compete), why not put the money into promoting it to a wider audience instead?
My take on these schemes is a basic one. If it keeps artists producing and generates a wider audience then this is sound investment for the countries involved. These countries are basically getting on board with what most banks and the high net worth set are already invested in - the new asset class is global contemporary art. It's a lot less messy than oil or arms, and it is a sector that is basically the last outpost of unfettered, unregulated capitalism. Look at how obsessed Dubai and Abu Dhabi are at getting in on the action. There is a lot of money to be made and a lot of structuring to be implemented, which in itself sets up new and unknown market niches.

With regulatory oversight - something painfully missing in the U.S. - then I don't see why these schemes can't achieve mostly the desired result - global competitiveness matched by local business development. That local development is not only, tourism, and gallery growth but also sustainability for smaller cities like a Glasgow or a Rotterdam. Artists stay instead of fleeing which helps real-estate development/ renewal, etc. Let's not forget the arts service sector - local arts storage, framers, shippers, etc. Lot's of potential new business and tax bases, plus bragging rights.

Would this work in America? Right now, I don't see how. The political and regulatory atmosphere is wrong. Plus at 41% of the global market, I don't think the movers and shakers want to rock the very lucrative boat they are in.

The real question isn't the economics which seem quite timely, but how will it impact the making of art in the 21st century? How (by whom) will the new audience/owner be cultivated into owning? Can a lifetime commitment to collecting be articulated through these schemes? Or will this new demo-graphic's approach resemble buying a car? Will a new class structure arise within the gallery system/network where these subsidy schemes are in play? Will it create a new aesthetics regime?
What role will the university play in all of this?

Big questions, which also lead to a very large and somewhat en vogue notion of the economics of
national pride. This is particularly applicable for France, England and China. Sorry, just not convinced America sees its global identity in art terms. However, the truth is that no matter the nation, as nationalism grows so does a nation's wealth. Something to think on.

More on the economics of nationalism in a following post.

links: Winkleman, Gusky, BBC, and Artprice

Amnesty International takes aim at Beijing

The text reads: “In the name of ensuring stability and harmony in the country during the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese Government continues to detain and harass political activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers.

more here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

seat the delegates - a primary parable

this is a funny dramatization of the Clinton campaign's logic for demanding that the Michigan primary delegates be seated.

via john cole

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

the artworld is not the world

Indeed, what does happen when there is publicness without a public sphere? When the language of philosophy and politics is used everywhere, at all times, but without referent? We are afloat in a world in which the endless invocation of theoreticians, philosophers and political theorists serves very little purpose other than to bolster the cultural capital pretensions of an artworld detached from anything other than its communicative connectivity and its obscure economic value in an economy of fleeting and faddish desires.......

Pick up any gallery catalogue, read the blurb stuck to any gallery wall and this conflation will come back to you: creativity is communication, and vice versa, and all is well in the world. Whilst there is no doubt a real immaterial practice that corresponds to the happy belief that creativity is communication, it is increasingly the case that the artworld simply is the unfolding of a series of ‘creative communications’ – and that it is in fact quite pleased to think of itself in this way.
continue reading at Long Sunday