Archive for the ‘art’ Category


Prompts 7.3.09

July 3, 2009

HIStory teaser

° This tour teaser, shot in 1995 in Budapest, was directly referencing Triumph of the Will per MJ’s wishes. There is more footage rumored to be buried, and a little more here.

Hin Chua

° An amazing-looking, at times startling, photography show about food curated by Melanie McWhorter, and including the work of no fewer than three Hot Shots.


° The difficult genius of Michael Gira now migrates from music and words to a twenty-drawing portfolio.


° “It’s been great for building community.” The vaunted Espresso Book Machine, blogged here earlier, is one of the last independent bookstore employees left. Check out the video, they managed to make print production rather dull. Via Ted Weinstein.


° Adam Michaels of Project Projects launches X, a document of the trajectory of the X symbol within (and without) underground music culture. Exhibition is already over but phase one, a book of initial visual research, is available.

° Last, Darius Himes is always talking about what makes a good photo book. And is dead-on.


Slow art: David Ireland RIP

June 9, 2009


San Francisco artist David Ireland recently passed away (obits here and here). Ireland was a titanic figure in the Bay Area’s intense little art scene, whose work I appreciated for its emphasis on process. Like a number of artists of his generation, Ireland’s engagement in art activities looked a lot like life—whether stripping architectural structures down to reveal their historical layers, valorizing found items and humble byproducts of his work as art objects unto themselves, or patting a dollop of concrete back and forth for half a day until it cured.

One of Ireland’s best-known works was his own house at 500 Capp Street, a Victorian he acquired in the seventies, which he transformed over the course of several years. As Richard Pinegar wrote in a 1987 catalog for an exhibition at Ireland’s alma mater, the San Francisco Art Institute,

This transformation occurs during what Ireland describes as a two-year maintenance action (1977–1979) designed to cleanse the dwelling of the lingering presence of the previous owner without losing the special character of what he contributed to it. Performance, painting, and sculpture were the component parts of this action, fitting together in a natural sequence. The performance aspect was the process of renovation, the stripping of the house to reveal its underlying structure and traces of previous habitation. The walls of the house have become paintings through this process of archaeological reduction. Finally, they were coated with a thick layer of polyurethane varnish to stabilize the bare plaster and traces of paint. The aspect of sculpture is visible as the final product of these activities, a house that has been transformed into a work of art.

Ever since coediting a book about Bay Area art (Chronicle Books’s Epicenter: San Francisco Bay Area Art Now—now super cheap!) I have been fascinated by the conceptual constraint and simplicity of Ireland’s practice (especially his Dumbballs, to me the epitome of Slow Art, which I define as a process-oriented art entailing methodical accretion or iteration—or just operates on a very long scale of time).

After Ireland moved out of 500 Capp for a dedicated care facility, the house was imperiled by San Francisco’s freakishly inflated real estate values. Last year it was bought by a patron and saved from reverting to just another Mission-district house, but before this several Chronicle colleagues and I had the privilege of meeting David there; I took a few photos, which don’t do justice to the site. I’m regretful that a book about 500 Capp Street could not come to pass, but David Ireland left the world with numerous other important legacies.




Sublime gestures in the semirural art park context

June 1, 2009

The tour tram at Storm King Art Center barely slows down to take in Magdalena Abakanowicz’s “Sarcophagi in Glass Houses” (1989). Video recorded by Jenn Shreve, May 23, 2009.


A sublime gesture in the urban context

May 10, 2009

One of Joshua Allen Harris’s mylar installations in Manhattan in 2008. A sublime gesture in (and about) the urban context.


Found Architecture in Queens

April 3, 2009

When we were housemates in the Bay Area in the in the ‘nineties, Tyrome Tripoli made ornamental sculpture from rough materials and a heavy trace of the hand. Now he constructs large composite pieces from cast-offs, and while he is not the only artist to do so, his tight color and material palette make for engaging conceptual assemblage.

“Found Architecture” is a show comprising “models of futuristic buildings made from banal (but beautiful) objects of the past.” At M55 Art, 44-02 23rd Street
Long Island City, Queens.

Reception is Saturday April 4, 5-8 p.m.


Prompts (a few quick links)

March 23, 2009


°Elinor Carucci trumped the clichés of confessional photography in her first body of work (disclosure: I was Elinor’s editor for this book). Now she explores the world of her children in ways that likewise flip the bad associations with art which goes All in the Family. The frank textures of flesh covered with juice and snot, eyes which see beyond the frame and the medium of the print, gestures of ravenous love—it’s intimacy unbounded.  See it at New York’s Sepia in the group show The Intimate Line until April 18.

°Buzz Poole of Mark Batty Publisher handed off a copy of the recently published Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie, a phantasmagoric parade of UK fast food graphics and storefronts. Yes I *will have a Mixed Doner with a side of Cod Roe!chicken_2

°Southwestern master photographer Mark Klett and collaborator Byron Wolfe (disclosure redux: I worked with Byron on his great book Everyday together) have rephotographed the big chasm in Charting the Canyon at Phoenix Art Museum.chartingcanyon

°Adaptive reuse + viticulture tourism=huge wine casks as hotel rooms. Via BoingBoing.binnenkantwijnvat

°I’m going to see Welcome to My World at Greene Contemporary based on this painting, “The Black Damp” by Jean-Pierre Roy, alone.

°Visual Morphology runs through April 24 at KLOMPCHING in DUMBO. David Trautrimas’ rescaled and recontextualized objects in the landscape are of particular interest.trautrimas-sprinkler-house