Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh Christmas (no)Thing 2012: B-E-A-S-T-(IE), Find out what it means to me

For the first time in five years, the KAMP MAYKR household was not outfitted with its customary  Christmas Thing.  With my return from Geneva coming so close to the holiday, and my attention drawn to reflecting on that experience,  I simply couldn't get the job done.
However, to make up for the lack of a xmas assemblage, I want to share a discovery I made which I think may have an impact on current Christmas scholarship.

In the days leading up to - or immediately following Christmas this year, I was at the gym, working up a sweat on the stair step-py machine while watching a 2009 rerun of SNL.  During the Weekend Update segment, a photo of a fur-wrapped Aretha Franklin was shown, accompanied by a punchline about her being eaten by a bear. 

I recognized the image immediately as being directly related to the mural restauration-gone-awry that has come to be known as Beast Jesus.  Last Summer in Zaragosa, Spain, Cecilia Gimenez, in an effort which would bring the issue of art restoration and conservation to the consciousness of much of the world, sought to "repair" the damaged mural of Christ entitled Ecco Homo painted by Elias Garcia Martinez in around 1930.
There must be something mysterious and magical afoot.  The uncanny likeness between the two images, the relation to the sacred in both (the mural's depiction of Christ in a church, Aretha's appearance occurring at that most sacred of Christmas observations; the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, in 2009).  Aside from the conscious internet memes, might we inadvertently see more images of this nature?  It all makes me think that something greater was at work when Mrs Gimenez put brush to mural last year.
Perhaps the one of the greatest painterly fuck ups in history might really be the primitive stirrings (channeled through an 80 yr old Spanish woman) of a more profound vision/message of the divine. 

A cursory search online makes me believe that this connection has gone unnoticed until now, and that's why I've decided to publish my finding now.  I don't know what it means, but I leave it to those so inclined to pursue the trail which may well advance the quest for the elusive true meaning of Christmas.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mark your calendars: Upcoming art/culture lectures at Vassar College.

Vassar College hosts a number of fascinating lectures and events throughout the year which are open to the general public, but historically, they've done a lousy job of making information about such events available.  The college's online calendar has gotten better in recent years, and there is an RSS feed that one can subscribe to which will tell you what's coming up "tomorrow", which doesn't give much of a heads up.  That said, in the interest of my own entertainment and as a service to any readers out there, I've perused Vassar's Spring schedule of lectures and pulled out those that I think would be interesting.  Most of these are visual/media art and art history related - I think.  Most of the calendar listings don't actually give details as to the subjects of the lectures.  In some instances, I've pasted information about the speaker that may indicate the nature of the talk.

On Feb 5th at 8pm, Mo Rocca will appear at Vassar under the auspices of the Krieger Lectures Series which each year invites a humorist or author or humorist author to speak. 

Feb 7, 5pm (Taylor 203), Nick Monfort "Creative Computing and Literary Code."  - Not exactly sure what this talk will entail, but I'm very interested.  It's sponsored by the Media Studies Dept.  Unfortunately, I don't think I can attend.

Feb 19, 6:30pm (Taylor 102), Millicent Marcus.   Prof. Marcus "specializes in Italian Culture from the interdisciplinary perspectives of literature, history and film."  There's no notation as to what this talk will cover.

March 26, 5pm (Taylor 203), Egyptologist Kara Cooney will be speaking - probably on subjects Egyptian. This lecture is part of the Claflin series which focuses on art and art history related subjects. 

April 1, 5pm (Taylor 203), Marcel O'Gorman.  From his website:
His written work is reflected in his art projects, which often seek to materialize specific critical theories about the impact of technology on the human condition. O'Gorman's art draws primarily on sensor-based computing, video, and the creation of sculptural environments designed to challenge the disembodiment of conventional screen-based media.
April 8, 5pm (College Center Villard Room), Judith Butler. This lecture is sponsored by the Religion Dept.

April 9, 6pm (Taylor 203), Lukasz Stanek will be giving a talk on Henri Lefebvre.  From
The book Henri Lefebvre on Space is the first comprehensive account of Henri Lefebvre's theory of the production of space published in English. It confronts a broad conceptual overview of Lefebvre's theory with two largely forgotten sources of his thinking about space: his engagements into empirical research about everyday practices of dwelling in post-war France, and his exchanges with architects and planners in the course of the 1960s and 1970s

April 17, 6pm (Taylor 102), Amy Sillman

April  25, 6pm (Taylor 102), Mirka BeneŇ°. I'm guessing the topic of this lecture will revolve around landscape architecture of Italy or France or both.

Meet yer Maykr: Mark DeLura

On his blog, Form In The Fire, Peter Acheson recounts his recent visit to the studio of painter Mark DeLura.

Peter's posting prompted me to post images I took during a visit he and I made to Mark's studio back in November of 2010.

At that point, Mark had just embarked on his explorations of clusters of drip-tethered "splatters" (at this point, smaller scaled works done in oil on paper) which can be seen as the forebears of the paintings described in Peter's post.

On our 2010 visit Mark also showed us the large stripe paintings the pre-dated his (I'll just refer to them as "cluster") paintings.

What these works all share is the source of their chromatic character.  The colors here are not random "imaginary hues" but appropriated ones which have been found by the artist in the natural landscape and collected into a library through excursions in which they were mixed from nature.  

In Sept 2011 Mark's exhibit at the voluminous Re Institute in Millerton, NY paired his exploration of form and gesture with a new use of industrial paints (mostly silver and barn red).

It's interesting to me that, as with the earlier works, the colors Mark has chosen for the recent ones are not invented but appropriated and are readymade hues that are "naturally" found in the man-mediated landscape.

Peter will be speaking about his own work this coming Saturday, January 19 at 4pm as part of This Red Door's offering of events at the Kunsthalle Galapagos in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Kunsthalle Galapagos is locate upstairs from the Galapagos Art Space.
I was able to check out both the Kunsthalle Galapagos and the TRD set up on Sunday when I went down to do a little recording for Dead Hare Radio, and to take in a reading of selections from Christopher Stackhouse's newly published volume of poetry, Plural.
The visual evidence of TRD's series of talks and presentations on the gallery walls.
Various readers shared selections of Christopher Stachkhouse's poetry.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Geneve Journal: Discordant Eras (CH Missives)

Each of the 24 CH Missives are stamped and numbered.

The objective behind the series of Swiss (CH) Missives I intended to create while in Geneva was to mash together photographs taken on my previous trip with images taken on this recent trip.  As a gesture, these pieces (created as another reward for Geneve Journal supporters) is the most immediately emblematic of the compare/contrast between to moments which is the root of this entire endeavor.  A tangible interaction between the sensibilities of then and now, manipulated by the current me; that's what these things are.    I like the fact that in and of themselves, these photos are the most artifacts that most directly reveal the character and curiosities of the person on each of these trips, and that when jammed together might offer the most naked evidence of the shifts in time and mind.
Using the approach I've used in making the Missive collages since 2009, I made this special edition using only photographs taken in Geneva in 1992 and on this recent trip.

In creating these postcards over the years, I tend to move quickly and intuitively over the pile of material; a breadth of photos and collage material from which to choose.  I skirt points of resistance  by digging into the pile of material and moving on to other compositions, coming back to resolve the unresolved when resolution is revealed to me through the distance covered in the sequence of subsequant compositions.

Shuffling through the more focused material I granted myself in Geneva, I found that photos from '92 were more naturally paired with other photos of that time, and the same was true of the photos taken in '12.  My intention - my assumption - was that I'd simply ride over the imagery and make my mashups. Boom boom boom.  I hadn't anticipated that I'd meet resistance from the polarity of the character and vision represented in each group.  In a minor way this, resistance antagonized the premise of my trip, my thesis which assumed a happy pairing of two moments distanced by 20 years.  I wasn't trying to get the two eras to simply just get along, but to work together.  sitting at the table in the initial stages of looking at the material, I was frustrated by the insubordination of the evidence on hand.  They were neither readily working or playing together nicely.
What struck me through the initial frustrastion was that this was a signal of what is interesting in the excercise of examining our past selves, our past.  Whether we have issues in our past, resolved or not, The accumulation of moments of our lives (to my mind) appear fluid, one moment flowing into another and another a weaving of linkaging making the body a whole.  And as we, through our memory, can go back to any moment, any one moment can be immediate to and touch any other.  But really, I think this mass is granular, not liquid.  En masse, this granularity gives way to fluidity, our pasts coalesce with our presents - their all connected, but look closely at the moments, the hurts, the visions etc. maintain their distinctiveness, their autonomy.  I'm envisioning the fluidity of waves and undulations of desert dunes or clouds of birds, mimicing liquidity through the amalgamation of countless individual components.  The one alternative to that is the effect of forgetfulness - both unintentional and intentional (revisionist) -  which embodies the mechanism of the blender, which masticates and neutralizes and ultimately liquifies all into a gray substance of assumptions.  Assumptions or revisions create an alloy that decimates that granular autonomy.  The narrative in such instances are like the museum displays of ancient artifacts which have sustained physical loss, and no longer exist in their entirities.  The museum may, for structural purposes or for the sake of visualization "complete" the form with a simple, dumb articulation of the missing parts to give the viewer a sense of the scale and nature of the complete piece.  In the retelling of our own narratives, our mind does essentially the same dumb filling in. 
But in this exercise, I faced working with the individual grains, each unique to the era of their origin.
I couldn't just ignore the resistance I faced in the material.  Without the intermingling of the two groups of images, the underlying principle of these cards would be made null.  For once, I had to force the situation, and yet, I couldn't deny the the emergent polarity of  the material.  In the end, some of the postcards, there are 24 of them in total, are predominantly representative of one era, but I made sure to insert at least a touch of the other in the composition.  
It was a compromised process. I generally don't hold the work I'm doing against a prescribed checklist.   I generally let happen what is to happen and push forward toward an open end. Interestingly, I had to inject a different kind of questioning than I usually employ.  A good exercise, for sure.
The results? I think they are, together, are artifacts that pretty successfully embody the history of their making, although if I hadn't toed the line of my own predetermined strictures, I would have made different aesthetic choices. That said, they are still well marked by my visual tendency.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Dead Hare Radio and This Red Door.

After a long hiatus, we have a new podcast episode.  Episode 39, to be exact.

Matthew and I visited the studio of Jomar Statkun to speak with him, Jared Friedman and Christopher Stackhouse about This Red Door.  This Red Door evolved out of the opportunity for an artist residency at PS 122 in 2011 presented to Jomar.  Instead of using the time and space for a solispistic and plastic generative moment, the three artists came together to offer up a broader, socially, intellectually generative one. 

The artists have re-mustered to bring This Red Door into its 2nd iteration at Kunsthalle Galapagos in DUMBO in Brooklyn through January 27th.

PS 122
Kenji Fujita
Incident Report, Hudson, NY.
Video of Kara Walker's TRD talk. 
(more talk relevant links may be forthcoming.)

This episode closes with Willie Survive's remix and rap over Jomar's Chinese Painting sound piece.

The TRD website features a series of video documentations of presentations given in the original iteration and the present one.  As I'm writing this post, I'm listening to the talk given by Kara Walker in 2011 which interestingly dissects her own role/responsibility as an artist - and as an artist of color - who has had a great deal of success in her career.

Dead Hare Radio will be present at This Red Door on Sunday, Jan 13 to record conversations with past/present TRD participants...and possibly whoever else is on hand.  If you're up and around, come on by and say hi.  Kunsthalle Galapagos is at 16 Main St in DUMBO.

Geneve Journal: Wish you were here.

One of my obligations in Geneva was to create work to fulfill rewards for the supporters of my  Kickstarter project. 
One of the reward categories included off the rack postcards, manipulated by me and sent to supporters from Geneva.  Below, are images of these postcards.