Friday, February 26, 2010

urban field manual

Check out BEYROUTES from onlab. Fanatstic idea and design. Would love for a whole series of these exploring the different nature of urban environments around the world.

Beyroutes, a guidebook to Beirut, one of the grand capitals of the Middle East. Beyroutes presents an exploded view of a city which lives so many double lives and figures in so many truths, myths and historical falsifications. Visiting the city with this intimate book as your guide makes you feel disoriented, appreciative, judgmental and perhaps eventually reconciliatory.

Initiated by Studio Beirut
Supported by Partizan Publik, Archis, Pearl Foundation

HCR Zombies

Image: Tim Eagan

Thursday, February 25, 2010

John Chiara and process

I've been looking at a lot of John Chiara's photography of late and came across this excellent video piece on his photographic process. Really fascinating and such a great body of work.

Vampires and Zombies: Transnational Transformations

Saw this and just had to re-post for the sharper minds that walk among us.

A call for proposals for an exciting anthology has crossed our transom:

Vampires and Zombies: Transnational Transformations (working title)

Editors: Dorothea Fischer-Hornung (Heidelberg University, Germany), Timothy Fox (National Yilan University, Taiwan), and Monika Mueller (University of Stuttgart, Germany)

The undead are very much alive in the contemporary cultural imagination. Vampires and zombies have garnered a generous amount of attention in print media, cinema, and on television. The vampire, with its roots in medieval European folklore, and the zombie, with its origins in Afro-Caribbean voodoo mythology, find multiple transformations in global culture and continue to function as monstrous representatives of zeitgeist.

A publisher has expressed interest in a volume examining the phenomenon of vampires and zombies as transnational cultural icons. Contributors are invited to submit papers on aspects of zombies and vampires as they relate to texts and media across cultural boundaries. Approaches and topics that papers may address, but in no way are limited to:

  • Readings of individual texts, authors, and media
  • Histories and anthropologies of the zombie and the vampire
  • Genre, gender and sexuality, class, and race/ethnic interpretations
  • Comparative, transnational, and translingual analyses (traveling tropes, cultural diffusion, mapping translations)
  • Globalizations and cultural contexts (economies of power, colonialism, post-colonialism)
  • Terrorism, modern warfare
  • Migrations, creolizations, hybridizations, the cyber-undead
  • Xenophobia: the Other, the alien, the invader, the intruder
  • Horror, fear, anxiety, paranoia
  • Encounters with Thanatos
  • Tainted blood, disease, pandemic, viruses and other biological agents of infection
  • Formation of inhuman Communities
  • The postmodern, the posthuman, apocalypse and post-apocalypse
  • The pop culture industry and consumption (series and sequels, slapstick, satire, the “mockumentary”)
  • Video gaming and clubbing
  • Graphic novels and comic books
  • Self-publishing technologies (digital books, print on demand), the Internet (YouTube, social networks, blogs, e-zines)
  • Interviews with authors or filmmakers

Please submit a 500-word abstract and a CV, including contact information, to: (vampzomb at

Deadline: March 15, 2010.

To facilitate procedures, we request that in the Subject space of the email you write: Abstract-[contributor’s name].

The editors will select from among the submitted abstracts according to suitability for the project and contact submitters by April 1. Successful abstract submitters will be requested to submit a full paper (approx. 7,000 words) by August 1.

via: infocult

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I was a massive fan of Wacky Packages and Weird Wheels as a kid. If you're like me, you should be pleased to learn that Tom Bunk has a blog with tons of great stuff - bunkART. enjoy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bruce Sterling on Atemporality

Another great discussion regarding Atemporality and Network Culture. Strangely absent from the visual art discourse.

If progress is to go beyond the banal indulgences that give rise to a never-ending array of car shell designs then we need to analyse our present time with regard to its aesthetics and its media.

Watch Bruce Sterling's keynote on Atemporality at Berlin's Transmediale.

via: Core 77

Defending the Enlightenment

A good discussion via Eurozine between AC Grayling and Tzvetan Todorov.

How to defend the Enlightenment

"To say that reason is only desiccating and too dry is a dangerous caricature. No less dangerous is to eliminate the place for arts, for myth, which is a different kind of knowledge of the world. We have to be cautious about both dangers, both reductions." On the publication of his new book In Defence of the Enlightenment, Tzvetan Todorov tells British philosopher AC Grayling why the Enlightenment must be separated from scientism and cultural chauvinism.

image: Nicholas Hughes

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Sacred Comic Book (final show @ Jack the Pelican)

I received the press release this week, and sadly it appears that one of the remaining iconic galleries of Williamsburg is closing.

From Jack the Pelican Presents:

It breaks my heart to announce Jack the Pelican is closing our space at 487 Driggs Ave. in Williamsburg. It is our hope to re-open some months in the future at another location. But where and when, we cannot say.

But we are saying goodbye for now on a bright note, with one final show that is dear to our hearts...

by anonymous, ca.1921

This is a beautifully drawn, 40-page comic book about an artist, his seedy existence, his community, and his struggles. A single narrative, extending over 30 years, it was completed anonymously in 1921, which makes it the earliest document of its kind. What we're showing here are the original drawings in watercolor and ink.

This comic book belongs to Jack the Pelican and all our artists and also everyone who struggles against the odds and the day-to-day adversities of being an artist. It's central message is Just Keep Pecking Away, and it's dedicated to "the down and outs, the never-was-its and the also-rans (sic), in the Year of our Profits 1921.

In the early days of Jack the Pelican, we invited all our artists to read it. It was akin to an initiation. We always called it "The Sacred Comic Book." It's not really much of a mission statement for a gallery, but it was the closest thing we had. We are happy now to have this last chance to share it with all of you.

by anonymous, ca.1921

opens this Saturday
February 20, 7 - 9pm

February 20–until the marshal comes (1, 2, 3... weeks?)
Saturday, February 20, 7–9pm
487 Driggs Ave, bet N. 9 and N. 10

Saturday–Sunday, 12–6pm, or by appointment

Art: Charles Nicholas Sarka (1879 1960)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

minimalist television

These minimalist television show posters are so good I'm tempted to buy the whole set!

Designer Albert Exergian's TV show posters "created out of a love for posters, modernism, and television.

hat tip: boing boing

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Hoggard Wagner Art Collection

If you follow art blogging then you are likely to know and as well as their collaborative arts calender You may not however know them as prolific art collectors and supporter of living artists. Now you can. Their personal collection is now online and open to the public: The Hoggard Wagner Art Collection. I hope this is a trend that will catch on.

The Collection

Hoggard and Wagner began collecting art as a couple in the mid 1990s, and some works were acquired by Wagner prior to their partnership. This web site is intended to publicize the collection and the artists within it. They have never sold a work of art from their collection and they do not intend to do so. Their hope is that this site will present it to a wider public than the relatively few people who are able to see it in a private home.

optimism Metrocard, 2009
Reed Seifer
New York MTA Metrocard
2.125 x 3.375 inches
Edition: 14 million
Image(s) via Yana Paskova for The New York Times

Carlo Farneti's illustrations for Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal

These are pretty great - Carlo Farneti's illustrations for a 1935 edition of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. (From the collection of Richard Sica)

via: A Journey Round My Skull

Monday, February 15, 2010

r.i.p. Dale Hawkins

Rock'n'roll pioneer Dale Hawkins has passed. See the obit here.

Roberta's rant

Last week Roberta Smith had a great piece on the crisis of curating within the contemporary museums here in NYC. It is a thoughtful complaint and poses strong questions for our arbiters of public display. Also, good to hear someone stand up for painting for a change. Why has painting become the ugly stepchild, yet again?

Here are some clips:

How did we get to this point? In the 1970’s the Whitney used to be committed to showing artists from across the United States; they were called regional artists in those days. That term has thankfully fallen out of fashion, but the artists have all but disappeared from museum walls. The Modern, for its part, used to present several works each by 10 to 15 artists under the rubric of its “Americans” show.

But a combination of forces threatens to herd all of our major art institutions into the same aesthetic pen. The need to raise and make money sends curators hunting for artists with international star power who work big at least some of the time, deploy multiple entertaining mediums and make for good ad campaigns (like the self-portrait featured in the MoMA ads for its coming exhibition of William Kentridge). The small show devoted to an artist who doesn’t have an immense reputation and worldwide market becomes rarer and rarer.

The consistent exposure to the big-statement solo exhibition becomes self-perpetuating, as these shows condition not only curators but the public to expect more of the same. I realize to my horror, for example, that the idea of seeing a survey of contemporary painting at the Modern makes me squirm. It would look — I don’t know — too messy and emotional, too flat, too un-MoMA.

But shows where we encounter an artist’s single-minded, highly personal pursuit that proceeds one object at a time tend to feature past masters. The Guggenheim’s recent, fantastic Kandinsky exhibition was an example (as was the Modern’s Ensor show). Yet there are plenty of artists working this way now. They may not be making history (or entertainment, either), but they are still making really good art whose very unfolding has its own integrity and is exciting to see.

Museum curators need to think less about an artist’s career, its breakthroughs and its place in the big picture and more in terms of an artist’s life’s work pursued over time with increasing concentration and singularity.

They have a responsibility to their public and to history to be more ecumenical, to do things that seem to come from left field. They owe it to the public to present a balanced menu that involves painting as well as video and photography and sculpture. They need to think outside the hive-mind, both distancing themselves from their personal feelings to consider what’s being wrongly omitted and tapping into their own subjectivity to show us what they really love.

studio of light

This is hilarious. A wonderful addition to the Studio Visit.

hat tip: Tim Buckwalter

Sunday, February 14, 2010


for our mindless holiday

via: thisisnthappiness

Saturday, February 13, 2010

teenage riot

flag photographed by raymond jacquemyns antwerp 2005.

via: Nick Drake

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

studio view

Thought I would share some working images of one of several new paintings.

Monday, February 08, 2010

on cloud-based calamity

Haven't read the current issue and full print article by Jaron Lanier but this quote seems right for our moment.

From Jaron Lanier, The Serfdom of Crowds, in the Jan/Feb issue of Harper’s Magazine:

The wave of financial calamities that took place in 2008 was cloud-based. No one in the pre–digital-cloud era had the mental capacity to lie to himself in the way we routinely are able to now. The limitations of organic human memory and calculation put a cap on the intricacies of self-delusion. In finance, the rise of computer-assisted hedge funds and similar operations has turned capitalism into a search engine. You tend the engine in the computing cloud, and it searches for money. In the past, an investor had to be able to understand at least something about what an investment would actually accomplish. No longer. There are now so many layers of abstraction between the elite investor and actual events that he no longer has any concept of what is actually being done as a result of his investments…

The Facebook Kid and the Cloud Lord are serf and king of the new order. In each case, human creativity and understanding, especially one’s own creativity and understanding, are treated as worthless. Instead, one trusts in the crowd, in the algorithms that remove the risks of creativity in ways too sophisticated for any mere person to understand. A hedge-fund manager might make money by using the computational power of the cloud to create fantastical financial instruments that make bets on derivatives in such a way as to invent the phony virtual collateral for stupendous risks. This is a subtle form of counterfeiting, and it is precisely the same maneuver a socially competitive teenager makes in accumulating fantastical numbers of “friends” through a service like Facebook. But let’s suppose you disagree that the idea of friendship is being reduced. Even then one must remember that the customers of social networks are not the members of those networks. The real customer is the advertiser of the future, but this creature has yet to appear in any significant way. The whole artifice, the whole idea of fake friendship, is just bait laid by the cloud lords to lure hypothetical advertisers—we might call them messianic advertisers—who could someday show up.

via John Cole/Anne Laurie

Sunday, February 07, 2010

heading to New Orleans

The above Turner is heading to New Orleans from the Indianapolis Museum of Art as tribute for the Saints Super Bowl victory tonight. Tyler Green take a bow.
from the IMA:

The Fifth Plague of Egypt
Artist Turner, Joseph Mallord William
nationality British
birth-death April 23, 1775-December 19, 1851
Creation date 1800
Materials oil on canvas
Dimensions 48 x 72 in.
Location Charles O. McGaughey Gallery
Credit line Gift in memory of Evan F. Lilly
Accession number 55.24
Gallery Label

This dark, tempestuous painting marks the rise of Turner as a full-fledged Romantic painter. Relying on vast scale, dynamic movement, and dramatic subject, his composition appeals primarily to the emotions to communicate its message. Turner's motive for painting this canvas, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1800, may have been a desire to impress British critics and viewers with his ability to handle serious themes. However, it does appear that the young painter mistitled his picture, as this canvas actually depicts the seventh plague of Egypt, when Moses stretched his arms toward heaven, and thunder, hail and fire rained on the pharaoh and his people.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

the past decade as Horror

Weeks into 2010, the final year of our first decade into the new century, and I’m just now getting around to assimilating all the year-end lists of 2009 and for that matter decade-end appraisals of the "aughts" floating about. There has been much to gleen, but a few commentaries have really stood out as being quite prescient for the strange time we now live. I assume that these lists are basically an attempt to model our contemporary world . For the most part we're handed consumer lists or within the arts another incrongruous helping of post-modernism for our reflection. So consider this post as the first of a series of attempts at highlighting some places that perhaps speak newly about our contemporary condition.

Our horribly distorted world...

Infocult, which at the close of 2009 pointed out the persistence of gothic rhetoric in current American culture. I knew the obsession with vampires had substance behind it! They’ve done a wonderful job of rounding up examples of commentators referencing horror for their political-historical meditations.

via Infocult:

The world in 2010 is a Gothic world, says Bruce Sterling. Monsters roam the scene:

People have stymied sense of denial about the situation. It's very neurotic, anxious, and repressed. It's feeding into a strongly Gothic political temperament where popular culture is haunted by vampires and zombies. The population *identifies* with vampires and zombies, wants to marry them, settle down with them.

There's an autumnal hush over the cultural landscape. People really hope they won't be hit between the eyes with the two-by-four again, but they also know that they are helpless to defend themselves against the sources of the blows.

RJ Eskow adds some horror movie tropes:

It's that final plot twist, the last horrifying revelation that wrings a final scream out of the exhausted audience. You've seen it a hundred times: The ambulance driver taking the battered victims to the hospital grins ... and he has fangs. A close-up shows that the shambling, good-natured GI taking the townsfolk to safety has the marks of alien spores on his neck...

all is not well in Happy Ending Land. The invaders of our civil liberties are being protected. A pointless war drags on. Health reform is being co-opted by cynical politicians and special interests. What else can it be but a Horror-Twist ending to a Horror-Movie Decade?

Jules Crittendon: "God Damn the Naughts,".

He starts off by describing Christmas in Armageddon - the town, that is. And has fun with strangers: “Look, it’s the Angel of Death,” I said. “Let’s go get him.”

image: Carl Dreyer's Vampyr

Monday, February 01, 2010


This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Gandhiwarmer event at Union Square which was a memorial to honor the great peacemaker on the anniversary of his death. There was sitar music, rose petals, and hats and scarves for those in need. The event was conceived by an old peer from art school, Tippy Tippens. Personally this proved one of the better interactions with public sculpture I've seen of late. Despite the frigid temps their was much warmth in the air. For more pics and details head over to the official site.

image: Tippy Tippens