Thursday, July 28, 2005
More sailing photos.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005
On the other hand, while this frontier is what I'm interested in at the moment, it's only one of many strands of inquiry. All valid in their own ways...
Friday, July 15, 2005
This show is wonderfully curated. It's chronological, but also grouped in terms of responses to and experiments in, the formal questions regarding colour and painting. "Beyond Minimalism", "Shaping Space", "Optical Illusions" and one of my favourite sections, "New Generations".
So much of this was just fantastic--Polly Apfelbaum's "Gun Club", a crushed and dyed velvet sculpture that seems to have spilled across the concrete floor, and John McCracken's "Blue Violet", made in 1971. The simplicity of this piece can't be understated: it looks like a large Ikea shelf waiting to be installed over a bed. Still, it seemed so fresh, absolutely perfect in terms of colour and size. The gallery guide points out his "connections between the wall and the floor" as his innovation, and yes, that was part of the power of the piece, but there's something else too. It seems so radical to have such a clean, simple idea. And it's so confident in its "being". There was something incredibly powerful about this--but after doing a little research on McCracken I wonder if seeing a dozen of these boards would be as powerful?
Agnes Martin deserves her own entry so I'll hold off on her. (I'm learning a lot about minimalism, but it's slow going for a greenhorn.) Canadian artist Anitra Hamilton's "Parade" (2000), was a fun addition, as was Christian Eckart. Charles Long has a fabulous, massive stereo unit (1995) which seems now to be a party-sized ipod loaded with Stereolab. Three folks can sit on a groovy orange couch and hook up to the lab sounds, zone out and watch a projection of field--this projection didn't hold my attention, but just about every thing else did.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Kertesz has had a long and varied career. The surrealist photos are wonderful (the famous nudes that call up images of Man Ray and Lee Miller) but so are the portraits and street scenes. There are several very small, technically perfect photos which fly in the face of the current desire for large, larger, largest, in photography. Not that I don't appreciate what Jeff Wall and others have done, just that this is a wonderful, and indeed a kind of hopeful, even innocent, gesture. There's a great piece on Kertesz here on PBS, which is where I found this fabulous quote: I've been making mistakes since 1912. I'm still learning from them.
Here's to being open to error. More shots here.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Rudy and Butling ask, as Marlatt points out, "big questions". They've both been thinking, reading and teaching the work for a long time, and obviously have been in conversation themselves, as well as with the individual poets. This makes for extremely intelligent interviews--they are so concise they'll make wonderful teaching tools. As well they've included a fairly extensive bio for each poet. There really is a luxurious feeling to this book. I hope they're planning more. The University of Alberta press deserves big applause for this volume. My only quibble so far is that the interviews themselves are too short. I have yet to read the Derksen, Anneharte, and finish the Brand, but already I can tall you it's fabulous. I'll add excerpts a little later.
From Zwicky's Thirty-seven Small Songs
Small Song: Height of Summer
Before breakfast is finished, the cicadas have begun:
the fly-casts, then the home runs of their drones
arc through the trees.
Love, too, is sometimes like that languid flashing line.
Hey-cicadas: it's morning again!
A morning that's a day that is a year.
These in brackets:
[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
[be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre:
[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;
my heart’s grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.
This state I oft bemoan; but what’s to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there’s no way.
Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world’s end,
handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o'ertook him, husband of immortal wife.
And here is the first few lines without:
the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
girls, clear melodious lyre:
body old age now
my hair’s turned instead of dark;
But I do want to think that Sappho went on to appreciate her gnarled limbs, tough as olive trees. And I have to confess that for me, now, there is only Carson's translations... I did at one time love Mary Barnard's translations. Now they seem so even, so orderly, so Poundish, so thoroughly "modern", that I am aware of how little I was hearing "Sappho" in the poems. Perhaps now I'm only hearing Carson, but it seemed to me that when I first read her translations aloud a shiver ran up my spine and really, it seemed I could hear the rustle of thighs as she reached for something cool to drink, so parched was she after waiting all these years to speak...
Thursday, July 07, 2005
I leave the last word to Woolf, for whom Tavistock Square was central:
And all the tubes have stopped and all the omnibuses, she sais, turning round. A breeze went through the square. In the stillness they could hear the brances rustle as they rose stlightly and fell, and shook a wave of green light through the air.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Karen Solie and Paul Dutton last night. Solie read from her new book Modern & Normal, due out from Brick this fall. Of course an excerpt from that book is available now in OPEN FIELD which is out in stores as I write this. Solie is one of the poets who came down to New York for the book launch.
I had never heard Paul Dutton read before. In fact I had little idea about his history (shameful I know), and his work, which I readily admitted here, and to him. Ah, he says, I didn't have any idea who the line up for the Scream was. How can you keep up? True enough, but he is an important Canadian poet (one of the Four Horsemen!!!) and I hang my head... Enough said. Mea culpa. He's a great reader--energetic and booming. Started off with a few pieces by bp Nichol which I appreciated having never heard Nichol read myself. I'm going to try and make the opening of a group show including Dutton's work tomorrow night at the Londsale Gallery. There is also work from Christian Bok, Steve McCaffery, Darren Wershler-Henry and others:
Metalogos, meaning “after words” or “beyond words”, is an international touring-exhibition of Canadian intermedia and language-based, contemporary art blurring the borders of poetry, music, and visual art. The Metalogos exhibition features objects, bookworks, video, installations, and audio-recordings. While the entire exhibition is intended as a formal presentation of cross-disciplinary practices, the individual pieces selected for this exhibition are specifically chosen to create a dialogue between materials and media in a celebration of language.
Christian Bok, Paul Dutton, Nobuo Kubota,
Beth Learn, Steve McCaffery, Sylvia Ptak,
W. Mark Sutherland, Francesca Vivenza,
410 Spadina Road
Toronto, Canada M5P 2W2
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Friday, July 01, 2005
Cindy Sherman has new work in a group show at Metro Pictures in NY. This series reminds me of her earlier work, and it was one of my favourite shows in Chelsea last week. She achieves absolute transformation. The gesture is familiar from other work, and there's something sort of retro about it--both modern and absolutely unhip at the same time. Very rustic backdrop, bright lighting, crude in a way. The variety of characters moves outside of predictable zones. Check out the slideshow of a few of my favourites.
This show was a lot more successful than the clown show last year (there is a post on that earlier). Here's an interview she did with the Tate about the clowns.
Other people in the show were less impressive. A photographer with an incredibly pedestrian eye and not doing anything with that either. Not sure which one he was and can't find a sample of his work on line. The other less than impressive inclusion was Mike Kelley's series of collages that, well, this is the kind of thing that gives art a bad name.
NOTE: The above photo is a detail from the Annie Lebovitz photo. Details for the show:
BRUCE SILVERSTEIN GALLERY 535 W 24th St 10011, 212/627-3930, email@example.com, Mon-Fri 10-6. Through Jul 29:
Jesus Christ Superstar: 140 Years of Jesus Christ in Photography.