Friday, April 28, 2006

so boring

this is really not much of a post, but my aggregator list is probably twice as long as the blog roll at right. God. I need to clean that up because this crap is b - o - r - i - n - g. This post is probly even boring. yup.

My pick of the week: Art Knowledge News. People could learn a thing or two from Museums outside of NYC.

Monday, April 24, 2006

public rumblings

One of the things I am preparing for the next few days is a discussion, in Spanish, of the differences between "my country" and Mexico. There is something wildly tragic in any discussion of "brothers who grow up with their backs to each other." But one part of that discussion might be useful here.

One of the reasons that "the public" or "a public" is so much more prominent in Mexico is that it serves as a safety mechanism. People know how they are expected to act at times of un-certainty, and rely on protocol to fulfill the space where authority is often un-trustworthy. This has serious drawbacks. It strengthens the problematic and already rigid social and class structure that Mexico has inherited from its history. People are much more able to throw weight around for petty and un-just reasons. But - importantly - people are NOT reliant on external authority. As I wrote earlier, they understand very well that the government was responsible for murdering dozens if not hundreds of citizens. They will more likely call their neighbors than the police. They understand that media is not to be trusted for truth. News for just about anything is met with palpable cynicism, healthy and strong. Citizens in the US would do well to understand once and for all that the age of the benevolant news corporation is very much a thing of (mythical) history. It is well known here that major media openly collaborate with power, no payments or other incentive necessary.

The public here results in opposition to concentrated power. There are loads of problems with that. But for what we've been talking about lately, there is something to be said for an expanded, electronic public. I've never been to a restaurant in the US where members of the exiting party from the table next to mine each pause to say good night as they do here. But I already see more decency and class from artists who meet and collaborate here than I do from those who are "legitimized" by Manhattan or any of the myriad 19th century style institutions that litter the educational landscape. Likewise, whatever it is still creating art tastes in Manhattan has clearly outlived whatever usefulness it once had.

Good art, I still believe is obvious, and not created in secret, by academies sanctioned by government, nor by those sanctioned by bullying pretense.
em dash has a great diary over at Daily KOS on Toqueville and class warfare.

mexico and brazil

Don't know if this will show up with the cool Madero for Presidente banner ad at the top on your end, but this article provides a nice side-by-side of the two countries. I am hoping that goofy Lopez Obrador can learn a thing or two from Lula's playbook. Nice to think about countries that are actually going forward for a change.

public, backwater, other things

Am thinking a lot about these two excellent posts, HighLowbetween's thoughtful post here and Bill's post from a few days ago. I forgot how much school was going to occupy me. One more week. Here's a photo I shot in Tuxtla.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fischl at Pennsylvania

I want to emphasize the difference between Fischl's speech summarized in the post linked below with some of the other kinds of statements we're hearing from artists these days.

Fischl was speaking of shared obligation and accountability, not a retreat into isolation and individualism, he challenged the entire artistic community to find its voice and react appropriately to the storms now threatening humanity - and that is the vision to which this web log is wholly dedicated.
This one is too, by the way. Mark Vallen's excellent post captures some of the impetus that a lot of us are working for. Fischl's job is political and defiant and he doesn't cower before an ignorant marketplace shaking his head saying "I have no control over it. I don't even know why I am so successful."

See my previous post on manifesto-ing. Artists who aren't relying on "cool" understand that painting and language are formative processes and we have to fight like hell for the form we want, not blandly accept some marketing nonsense. We make the public, we don't rely on marketers to do it for us.

Don't know why it is so difficult to put into words, but I remember full-well comprehending that the end of modernism meant that visual art was again a part of language. It was no longer the anti-language that late, high, education-crushing abstraction had hoped it to be.

When one is first beginning, of course, one must struggle with styles and messages about the meta-knowledge, the "meaning" of art itself. Other strains, beyond the main philosophical strains of European art come to us from history - social, political, even commercial meanings. But it is a poor reading of history to say that each of us must create a unique (pre-Wittgenstenian) language and then hope the dealers can sell it, independent of any commonality with the people actually looking at it. People will look back from our time and our cowardice before marketers as we look back on any ideology continually declaring its infallibilty in the very face of its failures. In this case it is simply the radical subjectivity of the experience of art being shaken in the face of a beleagured "public." But our public is our public again. We don't rely on the Times or ArtForum to establish things for us. We know who they work for.

And let me just say, I never "liked" Fischl's painting all that much. But then, I no longer see what "liking things" has to do with art. Seeing is not dependent on our taste, but on our ability. And so I like Fischl's vision which is generous rather than beleagured. Certainly that is worthy.

ERIC FISCHL Bathroom Scene#5 (not yet titled (he enters)), 2005, Oil on linen

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

freshness, so underrated

Joel Adas has a nice essay up at Artist's Unite, especially nice after all the crap I have been reading lately. Artist's who can't paint, much less see, enough of thinking. Check it out.

Painting is Lois Dodd.
Red Poppies and House, 2004
oil on masonite, 14 x 16 inches

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Via Philobiblon (thanks), will probably waste the rest of the week at Earmarks. The cabinet of curiosities there is like a whole internet of it's own. God, the pics I wanted to snag from there !!

abstraction and american wiring

Something relatively outrageous about the US government mounting an exhibit about Dada. Tyler Green's review nearly does it justice, certainly his tone is fitting. Green does us the service of linking to Blake Gopnik's piece in, of all places, the Washington Post. I'd reccomend skipping that one.

There are numerous reasons for the split with European thinking and surrealism in the advent of Abstraction Expressionism. Of course there are simple reasons like the CIAs involvement which you can read about elsewhere. Probably more important, as Gopnik's fun Public Relations- style brochure typing shows, the English speaking world is less wired for the hard truth about reality than the continent. Prim, proper English would rather not trouble with the gore in which the ruined continent seemed every generation to immerse itself.

So whether I am talking about Dada after the first or Abstract Expressionism after the second world war, after-all, we are trying to tell a story and that story is one of American triumph, not one of other peoples' misery. Whether the misery be Jackson Pollocks at the hands of a psychoanalyst or Hans Richter, god-knows where, all of it is inconvenient to the myth being created, until later, in Pollock's case, when drama is needed for the secondary market campaign on the soap opera.

You see the danger of giving something like this Arp piece to people with no knowledge of history. A bit like giving a car to a 7 year old and then asking him to teach driver's education. I am still particularly fond of Robert Hughe's comparing the lack of training given American artists to a pandora's box. 2 generations on and we have nothing to show for it but a stream of Yale graduates whose MFAs shine mightily like Wharton Business School diplomas. And these Yalies will be as quick to defend Wharton, which not only teaches nothing but lacks even the ridiculous self-reflective mirror that Yale so amply polishes every year.

Ah, but in Wilde's cliche, those of us screaming the loudest just want in. Part of the reason I am writing more now, is because I believe we are truly staring at the collapse of the US constitution. I don't advocate for this or for anything outside of understanding in the arts. Far and broad understanding I hope. I am going to venture closer to understanding "un-intentionality" in the next post but for now I think it might be helpful to send out some life-rafts to the so many of us not simply drinking in the lounge trying to ignore the odd pitch of the ship's bar.

Illustrations are from the National Gallery of Art's page on the Dada exhibit.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I mean, far be it from me to think that artists would be actually sort of "connected" with the world, not inhabiting some angry small bubble world. I guess Ian Welsh at Firedoglake is probably saying a lot of new stuff that just hadn't been previously considered. I mean, it's not like the same corporations pushing this stuff are also building concentration camps or anything. Oh, wait...

the little s

The difficult thing when you get to talking about the end of abstraction, from a political point of view, is that you begin treading into the most sacred of sacred cows. What seems to have become the official doctrine, is not the logical progression from European thinking about art, but a co-opted and sacralized version of it that is reinforced by every externalised, official voice that can be mustered. It wasn't enough to merely progress from the thinking, it was necessary to create an alternative reality where artist's weren't merely working in thought or in image, but were creating a new kind of "humankind." A total break was necessary. Of course the Soviets realized the haphazardness of this project in about 1924. In our time, the paintings aren't critiqued, but the personality is critiqued. The artist is "cool," and manages his career effectively. And the paintings, however insignificant, are secondary to the careerist project. But I will talk a bit more about the abrupt nature of the split between abstract expressionism and "abstractionism" in a subsequent post. Going forward I believe I will use the terms surrealism (small s) and European thinking interchangeably, just to make things more surreal.
In case you thought such things only happen in the art world.

little water

Among the first things to impress me about Mexicans and Mexico was being offered, on a couple of separate occasions, a truly world class vodka - Wyborowa. Really makes any party a lot classier if the vodka is Polish. Funny, I guess the Spanish colonial prohibition on wine making, made Mexico not only one of the world's great "beer cultures" but also left them good taste in the clear stuff. LA Times has a good article about the Poles and the Russians battling it out for who thought the stuff up.

jane freilicher

, from Terry Teachout's top 5.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

day without people

American Citizens are too ignorant to understand that world-wide celebrations of May Day each year heralds the struggle of American workers for rights and justice and fair living standards.

Let's hope this year, all the new American's can remind us..

so what was it i was shooting my mouth off about ?

Oh yeah, abstract expressionism, or it's more lively and never-dying american freak bastard child "abstractionism." We've seen it now beget another horrible off-spring, "un-intentionalism" which is truly at the heart of what many of us are complaining so miserably about. Particularly in painting, "un-intentionalism" has been the tall mount and steed of the worst painters of the last 30 years. Of course, it is also their strongest defense. How do you know what I intended ? Of course, no one could ever intend anything because that would show some sort of objective bias, and we all know, objective bias is impossible when we live in this little understood world of radical subjective bias.

We understand that Abstract Expression was born from the psychoanalytic meanderings of a few Central Europeans and whisked off to the US where it was given official anti-communist blessing and turned into the cause celebre of that other Manhattan, the historical one that no longer exists. Midway into it's adolesence, it was joined by two other screechey siblings, pop and fluxxus. Pop retained it's English aloofness, Fluxxus wanted too much of the real world, just like Yoko wanted Rock when her fellow-artists all screamed for classical. And so Abstraction was allowed to grow into the megalithic bombastic and horrible in-humane official DOCTRINE of the CAA and the universities and the scramblers looking for cover beneath copies of October magazine. Abstraction's euro cousins returned to fertile matter and have survived without having to watch their world collapsing, as ours is, now. Make no mistake.

Dogeared copies of Greenburg and Friedman later, we've got no excuse for dropping the ball on what Abstract Expressionism was trying to do. Even bolstered by pop, fluxxus and minimalism, we still want to insist that "un-intentionalism" (as I am using to refer to all of the horrible "subjectivists") is the natural end state of things.

I am not advocating a return though, to droopy clocks, and "weird things," dream scapes and fantasy illustrations. I am asking you to look at what you like, and, if any of it is representational, or if there was intention involved in its creation, does it relate to what you think was the broader project of surrealism ?

what exactly is it ?

Of course, I want to be clear. I find "surrealism," at least in my present understanding rather repellant. That was what motivated me to start asking questions about it in the first place. I find the remaining fasicination that Latin peoples feel for Jim Morrison and the Doors, Pink Floyd and 1950s Americana utterly repugnant. Thankfully these things are beginning to fade at long last. The Grease soundtrack is no longer played in discos here.

I don't understand places and people with flat roof-tops, but I try to. I don't understand why mediteraneans and Mexicans, young and old, see fit to make out, kissing heavily in public places, either. Seems decidely indiscreet to me. I've more than once crossed a city park here and disturbed a not-at-all attractive pair of office workers enjoying a triste on a bench. That's never happened to me in the US.

It is easy for me, though, to think of early Russian abstraction, Suprematism and such as precursors of Surrealism. Fauvism, likewise, is not so much scientistic as it is expressionistic, but expressing what ? Liberation ? I'd argue it was all a bit more emotional than expository.

If we pick up anything from the early 20th century though, it seems decidely more italian in all of the nasty and pedantic political posturing. And that's where I'll pick up next time... to discuss Abstract Expressionism and the real split with "thinking."

Opus Dei asking for anything ...

via Huff Post, if the fascist wing of the Catholic Church asks for anything, well god , I guess we know what to tell them.

silly neo-cons

Via 3quarksdaily, this terrific interview with Peter Beinart in the Atlantic.

the paradox of style

The funny thing is, surrealism is treated like it is a mere "decorative" tradition, at least in the sense that the smug modernist position of the northern europeans and the gringos like to dabble a bit in the thought, but basically only remember it for its drooping clocks, a razor across an eyeball, a fur tea-cup, as if it was a "style." Of course, in places like here (Mexico), places that weren't interupted quite so heartily by the full blown post-linguistic explosion of Surrealism, that is, abstract expresionism and just plain old ruinous (and really post-linguistic) "abstractionism," - well in places like this, Surrealism is of course, much more a continuation of 19th century realism and symbolism, propped up decoratively, by lots of Nouveau and Deco. That is to say, it is not so much one in a series of little understood movements. Rather, it is the visible continuation of a still not quite over history.

But I want you to keep an eye out, in what you are looking at these days, and tell me that a lot of it doesn't look suspiciously surreal. If i am feeling ballsy I think I might post another post with about 7 million examples of surrealism in contemporary art, and then talk about why we all find it so, ummm, mid-century (?)

By the way, that's the old Cine Opera, in San Rafael, Mexico City, fantastic and empty, cool cave air blows out the front of it and onto the sidewalk.

One of the first things I realized I wanted to do when I arrived in Mexico was to understand why Surrealism seems to have sunk in deeper and with more voracious roots here than in more northerly places. To the gringo brain, Surrealism is a mere modernist movement, albeit one of the big ones, stuck in the middle of the 20th century where it begins and ends. This is far less true here and, I suspect, in the mediteranean.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

blackhawk up

Look at Geoffrey's post on Pocket Lining. I wonder if Republicans believe that Sikorsky Aircraft is a free-market business, a business that competes with others to sell the best product at the highest price. Does it have rights as a corporation the same as you and I ? the same as other corporations, that is, freedom from taxation ? I wonder if George David's congressman and senators know his name. I've decided to write my thoughts on paradox in a series of posts rather than in the monolithic essay I am un motivated to finish.

Friday, April 14, 2006

the second fall

Was impressed by the modernist, minimal stations of the cross of the church of Santiago, pretty much the first built by the Spanish. The Plaza of the 3 Cultures is the Ground Zero of Mexico City and every living Mexican knows the government gunned down the people here. Seems they were convinced there were communists among them. Interesting to go there on Good Friday. An understanding that governments sometimes kill their own people is one very big difference between mexicans and their northern cousins.

forgiving los angeles

Was enjoying these Thought Form Drawings by Dean Smith. Got there via Flavor Pill LA. They're hosted by Christopher Grimes Gallery. Still thinking about paradox, but it is taking me longer to write up than I thought. These drawings don't dissuade me. When the next movement/understanding in visual arts and "culture" is understood, I think at long last it is going to be so easy.

why ?

Read this Terry Teachout column and ask yourself, why should William Safire support something that would so seriously damage the conservative movement ?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

what i'm actually doing

more about paradox later today. in the meantime please see this brief wikipedia entry. God, i am really digging my own grave now... well, hope not, maybe just a trench.

a new day, a new rant

Earlier today I had a nice email back and forth with a couple friends who believe that blogging about art could return the whole mileu back into the hands of artists where it belongs.

May I say that earlier this week in my aggregator preview I was greeted by not just these paper towel doodles, but next to that by something talentless though I am sure very intellectual. Lord. A bunch of bad figure paintings on cardboard with dripped paint. That one was actually going around the blogosphere quite a lot. At least the paper-towel doodles of how much was spent on laundry is limited to a Greenpoint only audience.

May we please see the end of these sort of overtly open minds, so open that wind is blowing through and garbage is just billowing around the edges. As our email progressed, it was suggested that perhaps artists should call the shots, and not Art Dealers, Gallerists (a stupid title they made up for themselves), and certainly we should see a mass firing of curators of contemporary art. These people make the present administration in Washington look competent. Oh, no, no they don't. But they certainly mirror them in terms of venality and venomous self-righteousness.

No artist worth anything believes in any of this. I read an amusing Tyler Green post earlier today. I hope one can rant and still get points for being witty and earnest. Probly not.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

the invisible state

Funny, my brother, a Pennsylvania biologist, gave me a foto of this very barn as a gift just a few years ago. Happy birthday, Tim.

Via Negativa just posted a fantastic, sort of all over the place history and environment and all kinds of other stuff post. It's just the sort of non-professional, not-too-specialized posts that the internet is good at and that could conceivably keep the fly-over states from
sliding further into the morass of enforced media invisibility. This kind of earnest, serious voice with insight and actual on-the-ground, useful knowledge is really going to set the tone in years to come, at least I'm hoping.
Then we read this. Yoy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

All photos in the post below from today's trip to Jardin Pushkin. Seems everyone here is just fascinated with the new Judas Gospels !!

Also struggling to continue my series on ultra modern Mexican churches. If any one can point me to some tips on photographing monumental architecture from the street please drop me a line.

a couple notes about form

I’ve written elsewhere that the internet is a terrible place to look at artwork. One of the things I always try to do is to create a thing or an image that will stand in a room with all of the presence of an actual person. An image that will make people gasp and remember, that will cause sensations in the body beyond those receive from passively gazing. I believe the experience of painting and sculpture can and should be the experience of the spectators entire body.

For these reasons, I know more than a few artists who are reluctant to slap documentary photos up on the internet. I participate in all number of internet critique groups where people offer some glib responses to one or two fotos, none of the responses interesting, most of the work, just “the best” of an unknown and unexperienced body, that lies enticingly in some home studio. The better work, or the work through which one could draw conclusions, is unphotographed, preseumably stepped on or discarded.

That said, what good is a blog about art ? There is a limit to how much one can actually consume in written words, continually fed to us from an illuminated screen. I have tried to draw comparisons with some of the more compelling political blogs that I really can glance at and pick up a tremendous amount of information in a few minutes. As to art though ? I have lately been enjoying Industrial Feces. Great name, huh? 7teen has a very succinct and developed taste for what looks good on a blog.

I want a blog with a voice, like Gusky’s at ArtBlog Comments, and a position. I am more than happy to burst overinflated balloons, but New York has been wearing the drapery of its burst art bubble proudly for better than 10 years, another blog analyzing the fragments of anti-communitarian art pedantically mocking the pedantic is not really called for. A blog that documents the project of carrying the European tradition of art-making the rest of the way over that speed-bump that was “modernism” is called for. And I say European, simply because we haven’t got any other and frankly the people who are all so against traditions all seem more cliched than the traditions themselves ever were.

I remember very well a lecture we got once in school, on the fifth or sixth straight day of us all assembling bored into a circle and sitting looking at our watches. “We’re getting a lot of complaints that we’re talking too much. A lot of you seem to be saying, ‘god we, want to be doing something else,’ as if talking is the problem. The only thing we’ve ever done with you has been talking. We’ve moved mountains for some of you simply by talking. We didn’t pick up your brushes and paint for you, it was only ever talking.”

Hopefully this post will make more sense as the next few weeks pass.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

maybe I need to be more clear

At this point there is no other reason to support the "right" in the United States EXCEPT RACISM. PERIOD.
Please don't try to explain this. Let's see what we can do about getting them thrown out of school.

art, some work in progress

Among the things I am working on, and to change the subject, wood block print on asphault-saturated felt. 70 x 120 cms.

This is from a starter series of works I put together to have a show up with very little notice, should I need to, custom sizes, great looking work done for a huge space, incidentally one that then of course fell thru, I wonder if that place is still in business ?

comments restored !!

This is a post to tell you that the comments were all hanging in LIMBO for like 3 weeks, not sure why... I fixed them.

Chose this pic cause I was gonna continue this post with more talk about racism, but I don't feel like it. Just a little funny that the racists are ALWAYS on the right isn't it? Why is it that when people think we are condemning the right we are somehow condemning the fiscal policy that they are so famously incapable of ACTUALLY INSTITUTING. Oh, I was condemning the right for actually earning money from work, instead of manipulating governement contacts for more money, oh wait, was that the soviets ? Which side were the Soviets ? Were the Soviets RIGHT WING because their final key insight was that THE ONLY WAY THEY COULD MAKE MONEY was from the government that they controlled ? No, the soviets were on the left, because they monopolized the means of production which oddly is what the right now does. But the Soviets weren't racists, the Democrats aren't racists... the Nazis were and so are the Republicans.... that was the point.
Update: FireDogLakes Latenight FDL series on racial extremism on the right has been exceptional. Please read it. here. here. here. here. here. here. here.

just listening

Listening to Seymour Hersch today, I can't help but think of Ludwig Beck, not that I am in anyway encouraging any sort of violent coup or bomb plots. That stuff was all later by which time Beck had already resigned.
As William L. Shirer wrote in his classic Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:

Beck was convinced, he wrote in his May 5 [1939] memorandum, that a German attack would provoke a European war in which Britain, France and Russia would oppose Germany and in which the United States would would be the arsenal of the Western democracies. Germany simply could not win such a war. It's lack of raw materials alone made their victory impossible.
Not that US lacks raw materials, we are just facing a lot that is obvious now to a lot more people. Also, see here, via AmericaBlog.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

nice photos here

Somehow this is the one I wish I'd taken. Many many others here.

rant of the day

Ok, so i am looking around a little researching a few things before I really get into talking about Mexico and I stumble across some guy named Mark who is apparently in Mexico and I am not linking to his shitty site because I do not engage with conservatives at all now. I think they are liars on their faces and I believe that the 35% or so who still support the administration in washington do so really and truly ONLY because they are racists and support the race hate movement and the other kinds of hate (brown people, gay people, people who support taxing corporations or taxing rich people) . There is simply no other explanation that I can think of to STILL support the administration except from deep-seated emotional hatred of other people.

But here's the point: A lot of them really think that being "Called a racist" is just as bad as suffering from official or unofficial or historical racism. I don't encourage you to read it, but this guy's rant about how "tired he is of being called a racist" is just so typical and pathetic. I am so tired of hearing you try to explain that you are angrily entitled to not be called a racist. poor little guy, he got called a racist and that's so not fair. Not like racism itself is such a big deal. I mean, imagine actually thinking and feeling what other people must think and feel ?
Update: Actually, when I think about it, living in Mexico, you really learn how much of a racist you are. I am constantly catching myself attributing romantic or noble characteristics to the many different faces I see here. I think part of being an adult and a decent human being is understanding that we all come from a historical and psychological background that encourages racism. Part of being an adult and a decent human being is understanding that we have an obligation to recognize that in ourselves and in our socities and try to stamp it out or flush it out into the open. We don't rely on the submerged hatred of the most ignorant and vile among us to shore up support for our ideological fantasies (if we just get the support of these hateful fanatics we can push through these tax breaks for ourselves) - purely disgusting.


Thanks to Geoffrey over at Nonprophet Photo and Nonprophet Art for some help with that new title banner. Both his blogs are off to a great start and worth a visit.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I thought I would be able to post part of my new series of writings about Mexico and USA today but instead I ended up reading this about Italy. Not pretty stuff really.

There is censorship. Critical and impartial newspapers can be counted on the fingers of one hand. In terms of press freedom, according to the American organisation Freedom House, Italy ranks 77th alongside Bolivia and Mongolia, only "partly free". Not really a matter of pride for a founding member of the European Union. But they do uphold the customs of Stalinism. For example, if Berlusconi has the misfortune to speak to an empty auditorium at the United Nations, the state-run RAI simply edits in footage of enthusiastically applauding delegates.

update: i'm not alone....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

little teeney women

Via Pollocks Bollocks, totally agree with the right on screeching by Anonymous Female Artist. All women art shows ? It's a real gas, as is the Charlie Finch review she bounces off of.

fashionable Mr. Barney's intense self-image

Serious snark here, so a friend just emailed me the below which someone at an "art school" (you know what that means!) in San Francisco is using as their email signature!! Ha ha ha ha !! Sad, seriously. It is like thinking that corporate US media is involved in news. Ha ha ha, like thinking that Republican senators "earned" their money. Yeah, and Mr Barney's hard work "means" something. Going to sleep now.

Monday, April 03, 2006

my manifesto

want to understand why our schools suck it so bad ? Here is a clip from Mikhail Epstein's Towards the Techno-Humanities: A Manifesto, over at Art Margins. You should really read the whole thing. It is a great way of understanding why those Cocktale Party slugs at Yale and other American "art schools" don't have a clue what is going on. Epstein argues pretty well for an inventive and progressive role for the humanities:

The main insights of literary theory, as we study its innovative ideas and peak achievements, are found not in scholarly monographs or articles, but in literary manifestos.* The latter are products of theoretical imagination rather than empirical study and scholarly scrutiny. Manifestos of Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Naturalism, Futurism, Surrealism, etc. are not based on the discipline of research, the "careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field of knowledge," as defined by the Webster Dictionary. Manifestos are neither factual nor fictional--they are formative.*

They aim to produce new literary facts rather than register and analyze the facts, past and present. Under which existing academic categories can this constructive activity of theory be placed? Does it belong to the realm of scholarship or literary fiction? Obviously, none of them. Its proper place is precisely in the yet unmarked domain of theoretical inventions, techno- or trans-humanities?

The humanities should embrace both modes of conceptual activity recognized by the sciences: discovery of some existing principles and facts and invention of those tools and ideas that can transform a given area of study. "Inventorship," as a mode of creativity, should become as indispensable a companion to scholarship in the humanities as technology is to science. (*My Emphasis -Ashes)
See, it's not just about if you can get into Barbara Gladstone's party and snort coke off of ... oh well, you know.

Photo is courtesy of The Gallery of Russian Thinkers that I got to from InteLnet. Daniil Andreev (1906-1959)

loving Clowes

still loving him after all these years... but seriously, doesn't anyone bother to read a history book. Comics came from politics and rhetoric. Like in the 17th century or something. It's not even interesting when you try to mix that up with art school. So Dan went to the wrong school, pretty much the end of the story isn't it ? Clowes's genius is in his dead pan caricatures of low brow people. It's not in his writing. 8-ball Comics, excellent drawings, but did it end ? Why don't they make that into a movie ? I remember that 4 page spread of art-school confidential with the poodle haired male drawing class model. Amazing, hysterical and dead-on accurate. Worth a movie ? What if somebody who wanted to be a lawyer went to cooking school ?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Huge thanks to Bill at Artblog Comments. To answer a few questions, and ask a few more... I am working on an exhibition in Tlapan (here in Mexico City) a little bit later this spring. Obviously you'll hear more on that later. These photos are part of that exhibit, part of a bunch of questions I am asking about painting and photography, and certainly, still some I am asking about blogging itself. I don't really take photography quite so seriously as I do painting, but htere is no question you can use it more effectively in mediums such as this one. I despise throwing paintings immediately up onto the internet, but with photography I am a lot less certain. I like blogging a lot, especially reading good blogs. News in the USA would be worthless without them. But I am not certain that blogging for painters is quite as crucial or as pressing. Painting makes me a lot more contemplative, and it is important to be in the same space as a painting, physically. Photography may be a little bit more like writing, instantaneous and versatile for sure, but I find it tremendously abstract. Is a photographer showing me something, like a painter would, or convincing me of a point of view like a writer does ? Not sure I have much of a point of view other than one of awe and mystery, at least I hope not but I am afraid that is rather a difficult point to argue. In painting it seems much simpler. "Look, I put these two colors next to each other and they tingle." So much simpler than the "meanings" that we bring to photography and words. I like to think of these photographs as being like ever so simple drawings. Just lines.