Wednesday, November 26, 2008

anatomy of a painting [5]

So before taking off again this week, I wanted to post the latest update on this piece. I went back into the midsection and I'm getting closer to the space and feel of the final piece. Still laboring on the grid and think I am closer to understanding it's role which will likely be more of a subtle aspect of the ground and less of an overlay. But then again, who knows...

Monday, November 24, 2008

anatomy of a painting [4]

A little time has passed since my last update on this painting. The election consumed much of my head and heart space and then of course other works were demanding more of my attention. Last week, I got back into this one. Mostly still adjusting the grid and have some play with the colors. Tiling and discothequing endlessly, which turned out to be a good exercise and annoying at the same time. I decided to move into the center of the work with a different read of daytime. I moved heavy on the turquoise- really just to see it as I haven't explored the color enough. It's not really what I want at this stage but it has been useful to have it there for a day or two. Ultimately what is above is now a pretty well aligned ground for the painting to be which should more or less see this come to completion. This is the ugly duckling part of my process or the transition point where it seems like nothing is working but all most of the clues are there speaking in some way, however muffled.

Color adjustments for the grid are in order, more recession and sublimation as well as a new resolution for the midsection. After that the main focus will be to determine if this painting has an action, what player will activate the field or will I go another route. Perhaps some doubling/repetition of a sequence. Not sure and I'm guessing that makes little sense to anyone, but I know what I mean....
the piece is coming into focus for me as you'll see in the next "clip".

A detail in closing with a somewhat better color accuracy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stop proposed budget cuts for the arts

As many of you know, New York is heading into some perilous financial times. The financial crisis has hit this city and state quite hard as it is overly dependent on Wall Street. Big cuts are in the making across the board from fire station closings, police cuts and so forth. As you might expect, the Arts are front and center when cuts are needed. The following if from CAA. Take some time and call or email your rep.

Governor David A. Patterson proposes emergency budget cuts to the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

Send an email to your senator, assembly people, and the governor today to oppose these reductions.

We only have a few days to make our voices heard because the special legislative session convenes on November 18, 2008.

The New York State Senate and Assembly will consider the governor’s proposed cuts, including an additional $7 million reduction to the current arts budget. This could mean that almost four hundred grantees in the October cycle and a similar number in the December cycle would receive almost nothing. The inequities are staggering.

Governor Patterson’s proposal comes after $2.6 million (6 percent) already cut from the NYSCA budget a short time ago—thereby potentially decreasing the council’s total budget by about 20 percent, from $49 million to $39 million midyear.

The governor called the special legislative session to deal with the additional shortfall in the current year. His proposed plan is a comprehensive, two-year $5.2 billion deficit-reduction plan that he says will entirely eliminate the state’s $1.5 billion current-year shortfall.

The legislature can alter the “cut list” and make different recommendations. The governor proposed significant cuts to all sectors, so let your legislators know that the tiny savings they gain from the arts cut pales in comparison to the resulting social and economic losses in communities across the state.

Send an email now. It takes only two minutes to do so.

Thank you,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

James Castle retro in philly

The Philadelphia Museum of Art still has an ongoing retrospective of James Castle through January 4, 2009. I haven't seen it yet but a day trip is in the planning as this is a first and a must see. Also, a great new and comprehensive catalog is available. Do yourself a favor and check out this national treasure.

Here's the blurb:
James Castle: A Retrospective marks the first comprehensive museum exhibition of the work of James Castle (1899–1977), an artist from rural Idaho who, despite undergoing no formal or conventional training, is especially admired for the unique homemade quality, graphic skill, and visual and conceptual range that characterize his works.
By all accounts deaf since birth, and presumably never having learned much language, Castle turned his obsessive and constant production of drawn images into his primary mode of communication with what must often have seemed the strange and baffling world around him.
The exhibition consists of some 300 drawings, color wash pieces, handmade books, assemblages, and text works selected from museums and private collections, including many from the holdings in Castle’s estate.

a field guide to melancholy

Here's a new author for me and a title that I'm itching to read. Not quite available yet in the U.S. but it has been released in the U.K.

Dylan Trigg has this brief assessment:

As though to perfectly coincide with the onset of winter, Jacky Bowring’s new book, A Field Guide to Melancholy has arrived. I am working through it, slowly. Already I sense it is a book that deserves to be read with a particular kind of pace. Somewhat like memory itself, a book that is conducive to a certain light and rhythm, full of both twilight and permanence simultaneously. Recommended.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jeff Sharlet - the Family interview

Guernica recently conducted a fascinating interview with religion journalist Jeff Sharlett regarding his recent publication: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

Excerpt from the (Rawlinson) interview:
One of the most interesting things about anti-intellectualism in American life is that it’s a very intellectual project. Real anti-intellectualism, the Family kind, you know, “Jesus plus nothing,” the systematic stripping away of history, of theology, of any kind of influence—that’s an intellectual project. Not for nothing does Doug Coe express some admiration for Pol Pot. In year zero, he did the same thing. Pol Pot had all the intellectuals killed. You only do that if you have an idea. That’s an extreme form of ideology that says: I can purify things.

There are two great traditions that have been written about before, which are American rationalism and American sentimentalism. What you see in the Family’s expression of power is that these are not two opposite poles, but the head and heart, the realpolitik of world power. The sentimental narrative, which is anti-intellectual—is absolutely interwoven with the rationalist Family agenda.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

All Obama - the covers

I never did get a paper yesterday, but here is a link to all the cover pages from around the globe. Incredible.

Alain Badiou - tonight LES

Miguel Abreu Gallery presents:

Is the word 'Communism' forever doomed?
Thursday, NOV.6 7PM
Harry de Jur Playhouse
466 Grand St.

For the launch of Lacanian Ink #32

Seating is first come, first served basis

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

the new sheriff

The tsunami that we all hoped for. Let's get to work!

image: Iglesias

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

voting in Greenpoint

This was my view this morning heading into the gym where we vote. It went smoothly but I have never seen a crowd this size. The wait was 30 minutes which is quite different from what people are experiencing in the Bronx or even Bushwick. I have to say, I got a little choked up watching everyone eager to cast their vote.


You can report any voting problems to the Election Protection hotline.

• For immediate assistance, call the nonpartisan 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline.
• To report problems to Election Protection’s state teams through Twitter, use these guidelines.

• ( – A live map and full database of all the reports received through the hotline
• OurVoteLive Blog ( – Breaking news and analysis on the state of the vote
• 866OurVote Twitter account ( – Breaking news and reports as they happen

Also, the Obama campaign has set up its own election hotline:

• To report problems at your polling place or your vote to the Obama campaign, call 1-877-US4OBAMA.
• Also, you can find information about your polling place on the Obama/Biden website

Monday, November 03, 2008

idealogues and the philosophical pragmatist

We're heading into the final hours of this historic campaign and it seems as good a time as any to look at the nature of Obama the candidate. This entry over at Phronesisaical truly renders why there should be excitement and interest in Obama the President. It also reminds me what is sadly missing from not only the GOP but our national punditry at large. I highly recommend you spend the time to read the full post.

Here are some of the juicier bits from Helmut:

To put it simply, Obama seems to me an experimentalist problem-solver of a pragmatic stripe.

A pragmatist thinks in terms of problems and tools and experiments for solving them. A problem arises, which is such precisely because we don't have the conceptual or normative tools at hand to solve it. The pragmatist looks around for explanations, interpretations, analyses, arguments, and new understandings to try help us resolve the problem. If it's political, or a matter of policy, or a matter of ethics or legal interpretation, the pragmatist understands that we start from an irreducible pluralism of values that are crucial to even understanding the problem, let alone resolving it. In a pluralistic country such as the US, policy and political disputes are often disputes involving complex, competing values and ideas. They are problems of intelligent cooperation.

Ideological commitment of the sort that drives the US political system is problematic here - it may provide us with some useful interpretive tools, but it more than likely frames and constricts our understanding of the nature of the problem and the range of possible solutions a priori, prior to investigating the problem. This suggests that the truth of the matter comes prior to testing ideas and policies. The ideologist ends up, by default, resolving problems from a partial and usually self-interested perspective. Pragmatists think this has it all backwards.


The pragmatist seeks to suspend prior ideological commitments and focus rather on generating ongoing dialogue, attempting to build a community of public discussion, in order to gain the fullest possible view of the problem as well as in order to eventually engage the most democratic means for resolving it.

What does this mean for Obama the president? I'd like to hope that the office doesn't convert Obama into yet another pragmatist of the crass, non-philosophical version I mentioned above. I'm not worried about him being an ideologue. Despite the right's best efforts to paint him as such, there's little evidence that he's that sort of person. He's going to make a lot of people unhappy on both the left and the right when he doesn't follow the rules of prior ideological commitments. That unhappiness will unwittingly reflect something profoundly wrong with the older and hopefully dying form of polarized ideological politics in the US. But, unlike how many pundits put it, the problem is less "polarization" than it is the epistemological backwardness of ideology-driven politics.

But can Obama function as a genuine philosophical pragmatist? I think so. Given the serious nature of the problems he'll be dealing with as president - from the wars to climate change to poverty and economic collapse to education and healthcare - we really do need someone who's not blinkered by prior ideological commitments and hackneyed policy ideas and tools. We need a philosophical pragmatist with a rich understanding of the complex diversity of the US and the world, a morally reflective person who's willing to listen, to experiment, to involve and engage, and to lead when it is time to lead. Everything in his background says this is precisely who Obama is.

Now vote Obama!



Tomorrow is the big day even though millions have cast early ballots. Here’s a video worth watching about a very important ongoing project called Video the Vote.Everyone who goes to vote, and has the technology to do it, should document their experience. Disinformation? Purged from the list? Long lines? Vote flipping machines? Turned away because of "missing" registration information? Harassment by partisan "monitors"? This collective effort will go a long way towards election reform, which I hope will be a big priority for the new congress and president but it can only happen with a mandate from us.

The clip above is from Video the Vote, a national initiative to protect voting rights by monitoring the electoral process. They organize citizen journalists—ordinary folks like you and me—to document election problems as they occur. VV then distributes their footage to the mainstream media and online to make sure the full story of Election Day 2008 gets told. You can watch another video here. If you have footage from your polling place you can upload it at the videothevote site.

via: Mudflats/videothevote