Friday, December 25, 2015

Oh Christmas Thing 2015

 Christmas Thing 2015, cement, newspaper, organic material.

The weather here in South Florida is decidedly not Christmasy, but as it has turned out, that's something the entire eastern half of the US is facing this year.

This year's Xmas Thing is a decidedly unfussy and low key affair, consisting of cast cement cones and a little flourish of color I found lying around in the yard.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nari Ward pampers himself

On November 21, 2015 the Perez Art Museum hosted a performative talk by Nari Ward to accompany the opening of Ward's retrospective exhibit Sun Splashed, on view through February 21. 

Upon entering the auditorium, the audience was treated to a back lit screen conjuring the silhouette of a body - that of the artist receiving a massage.  This mise en scene was positioned to the left of the stage with two empty chairs and a podium to the right. 

During the time when the massage was the only action on stage (about ten to fifteen minutes from the point we sat down,) I was vigilantly watching for any moments that would illustrate a crude shadow play gag like those in the Austen Powers movies. 

Somewhere just before the moment when PAMM director Franklin Sirmans took to the podium to offer his introduction to the program and give a talk on Ward's work, a grumbling older couple (actually the wife was doing the grumbling) got up to leave out of impatient disgust.  I worked on the exhibition installation and I was aware, at least broadly, of what Nari wanted to do in the talk.  I'm always interested in how we all react to moments that thwart our expectations and try our patience or our gameness.  We all have our limits and we have all undoubtedly missed out on something we may never know about having succumbed to those internal voices of hurried agitation.  Being aware of those same mechanisms at work in our neighbors who might have relieved us of their presence and comments makes our reward - if there is one, and there is never a guarantee of one being there at the end - that much sweeter. 

Were we rewarded?  I think I was. 

Before working on the exhibit I was not aware of Nari's work....I was sure I had seen it before but had never been conscious of it.  As it turns out, I had installed a work of his at MoMA shortly after it had been aquired.  That piece is in the current show at PAMM, proof that consciousness is a slow, additive process, and only when enough of the stuff sticks to the wall of our minds are we able maintain an awareness.  The talk was a reward because through I learned what I perhaps should have known already.  Sirmans gave a rundown of Ward's career and oeuvre, followed by exhibition curator Diana Nawi who presented a eulogy to the body of Ward's works that no longer exist, complete with a short bio giving the context of each work's creation, existence and demise. 

With the eulogies presented and massage complete, Nari Ward sat down, wrapped thickly in a comfy looking robe, with Diana Nawi to take questions from the audience. 

The choice of massage was performative for sure, but functional too in a way I think most would understand.  First, having the obligation to present a talk of some sort to accompany one's retrospective (it's the least one might expect to have to do as a living artist being granted a retrospective by an institution, as annoying as it may be,) this bit of shadow theater freed Nari from having to do any of the heavy lifting (talking) during the program.  I firmly believe in cases like this, it's almost always better to have someone other than the artist discuss that artist's work. It is the job of the curator or scholar to frame the artist's work for the public and if they are at least modestly able to speak before a group can offer a more robust and transferrable insight into the artist's work.

Secondly, the massage was both a demonstration of, and a coping mechanism to address, the unnatural, nerve racking task of standing before a theater of people and lecture to them on what it is you do, when, not 200 feet away sits the very embodiment of what you do, first hand, on its own terms and in its primary tongue.

Friday, October 30, 2015

In the Studio Today

Well, this is how the studio looked just before we vacated it at the end of August.....And it's still how I feel a little.  I expected to put away the artmaking habit for a while until things got settled here in South Florida - Hollywood Fl. to be exact.   I figured I'd devote my excess time to writing, and I've maintained that effort fairly consistently until just recently when I started getting some jobs in the area. 

I've done just a little tinkering, my attention focused on objectness potential of the hollowed out coconut shells I've harvested from the tree in our back yard. 

I haven't yet mustered the focus or energy to get much useful activity rolling, be it written or visual but that hankering is starting to scratch at the door.  I'm just mustering up the gumption to get up and answer.

The studio I currently have rests largely in my head, but I have a corner or two I can commandeer when I need. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Massive one day art sale Aug 8, right here in Beacon, NY

The time is nigh.  After some 13 years, we will soon be leaving Beacon.  As such I will be holding an unbelievable, not to be repeated (in the foreseeable future) colossal, massive studio sale.  I'll be offering up virtually all the artworks currently in my studio for an almost criminal price.  One must see this to believe it.  And you can, for one day only. 

That day is August 8th. 

Yes, in just three weeks I'll be unleashing an amazing opportunity for folks who adore my work, and are looking walk away with a wall-worthy piece of art to covet and hold dear at less than a dear price.

More details to come.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day: The 3 stages toward manhood

sketchbook, 6.17.2012

I've only managed to reach the level of stage 2 manliness.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In the studio today

Somethymes We Rhymes

OK, it's not truly a rhyme, but it is a little moment of extremities I enjoy seeing.  This photo of Angelika's and this drawing of mine are hanging in our bedroom at the moment. I had put these passages together in my mind long before I physically placed the pieces next to one another.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Dead Hare Radio Episode! - Harvey Tulcensky

Well, it's been a long long while, but I finally released a new podcast episode of the Dead Hare Radio Hour.  This one, episode # 44, features a conversation with Harvey Tulcensky recorded when I visited Harvey's studio in Manhattan last Spring.

Harvey's artwork for the past 10 years plus has consisted of a growing body of small moleskin sketchbooks, numbering well into the hundreds,  that he fills up with ballpoint pen drawings as if it were a metabolic process.  Within this corpus of sketchbooks are countless opportunities for creating discrete statements by corralling a selection of books into a composition .  Harvey hangs stacked arrangements of sketchbooks, streching their accordion pages out horizontally to create large, expressive wall reliefs.
A selection of books filled with ink applied with rubber stamps.

In our talk, Harvey tells of growing up in Detroit, making his way to NYC, via Vermont, living large as a ranch hand in Idaho, and how he arrived at the work he does today.

A stack of painted plywood diamond shapes from an early body of work.
One of two pieces exhibited in 2010 at the Center for Book Arts in NY.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rob Swainston (and his students) at Garrison Art Center, opening Jan 24

Over a couple of Saturdays in December I attended a printmaking master class at the Garrison Art Center, led by Rob Swainston.  Rob is a Brooklyn based artist and printmaker who creates large scale, print-based installations - or "printstallations".  In addition to creating his own work, Rob runs a collaborative print studio called Prints of Darkness.

The class Rob presented focused on creating multicolored woodblock prints using Photoshop to manage the color separation then transferring those separations to multiple blocks for printing. 

GAC is hosting an exhibit of Rob's work, which is opening this Saturday, January 24.  Rob's show, Carry On, will be in the Center's main gallery and in the adjacent gallery, prints created by class attendees will be on exhibit. 
My fellow classmates; Barbara Smith Gioia, Michael Piotrowski, Hildreth Potts, Adolfo Silva-Sadder, William Stafford and Natalia Woodward, and I will show a sample of the prints we made in the class.

Both shows run through February 15th.

Below are a couple the prints I created:

Keel variation
Keel variation