Friday, October 16, 2009

A Lengthy Intermission (Things To Do, Places To See)

I will be here for the next couple of months:

Le Comte de Lulli

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Because Some Rise By Sin, And Some By Virtue Fall*

Fig. 1. José de Madrazo - La muerte de Viriato, 1807

Justice without might is helpless; might without justice is tyrannical.

Blaise Pascal

* Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. (William Shakespeare - Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene i)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Untitled (When No Means Saying Yes To Narration)*

Fig. 1. Lenin (Vilnius, Lithuania), 1991

Photography implies that we know about the world if we accept it as the camera records it. But this is the opposite of understanding, which starts from not accepting the world as it looks. All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no.

Susan Sontag

* Only that which narrates can make us understand. (Susan Sontag)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Relatively Recent: Leo And His Sky Of Many Colours

Fig. 1. Leo Villareal - Sky, 2009

The sacred has no face, only masks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It Is Happening A Day At A Time ... And Not At All ...

Fig. 1. Damien Hirst - For The Love Of God, 2007

Every death is a miniature extinction.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

To Those Few Friendships That Should Have Lasted

Fig. 1. Caspar David Friedrich - Evening Landscape With Two Men, c. 1830-35

To be unexpectedly (and suddenly) abandoned by a long-standing friend is not only the pinnacle of cruelty, it is also the ultimate act of kindness: one for which so few of us, in our abject, self-pitying grief, are capable of giving thanks - as we should.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Voltaire's Monkey Learns To Plant His Own Garden

Fig. 1. Georges Seurat - Casseur de pierres à la brouette, Le Raincy, 1882

We are always happier when cultivating a life of our own choosing.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Irreplaceable Charm Of Homemade Menageries

Fig. 1. Alexander Calder - Calder's Circus (Lion and Cage), 1926-31

She told me the best of stories about the worst of things. Not from a book, but from memory. Sometimes I would ask to hear a story again, simply to see of she could tell it exactly the same way twice. Well, she could - and not just twice! ... Now that she is gone, just once would do. I wouldn't be listening to catch her out, but, rather, to catch myself in the act of listening to a tale only my grandmother could tell.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Once Upon A Time There Was An Artist Who Wasn't

Fig. 1. Marina Abramović - Performing Joseph BeuysHow to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Nov. 13, 2005

All great impersonators strive for a degree of imperfection. This is how they sign their work.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Places & Spaces That Exist Because We Think Them

Fig. 1. Etienne-Louis Boullée - Perspective View of the Interior of a Metropolitan Church, 1780-81

Space is as much a figment of the imagination as it is a verity of sensory perception.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nostalgia Can Sometimes Make The Familiar Invisible

Fig. 1. Roy Lichtenstein - Bedroom at Arles, 1992

Occasionally it is necessary to reinvent an image in order to see it for the first time.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Within Reach, But Only If You Let Her Be Your Venus

Fig. 1. Pompeo Batoni - Diana and Cupid, 1761

Touching - be it verbally or bodily - is a dangerous business. Done in the right manner, and at the right time, it is a caressing, seductive zephyr: done in the wrong way, and at the wrong time, it is a barbarous, bond-shattering gust. … Intimacy is correspondence by other means. It challenges us to know more than simply how to conjure closeness. It also requires us (as Julia Kristeva has wisely observed) to '[know] how to handle distances'.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Sunday Six: Things Animal, Vegetable, & Mineral

Fig. 1. Charles Ray - Family Romance, 1993

Fig. 2. Axel Hütte - Audubon Swamp, 2005

Fig. 3. Goshka Macuga - Madame Blavatsky, 2007

Fig. 4. Jill Magid - Vetting Box, 2008

Fig. 5. Israel Hershberg - Todi from Afar, 2009

Fig. 6. Louise Hearman - Untitled #1298, 2009

We stalk the infinite by means of its finite becomings - the very same means it uses to evade us.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Not Very Grand Tour ... A Not Very Grand Traveller

When travelling, one is always arriving or departing - even when stationary.

Friday, October 2, 2009

For Times When There Is No Such Thing As Normal

Fig. 1. Nicolai Abildgaard - The Archangel Michael and Satan Disputing about the Body of Moses, c. 1782

I have lost more arguments to myself than to just about anyone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Untitled (Ooooooh! ... Dat Waskily Wabbit Twikt Me!)

Fig. 1. Jeff Koons - Rabbit, 1986

You can't copyright a self-image.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

[Insert The Name Of Your City Here], Mon Amour ...

Fig. 1. Diane Cook - Little Red Lighthouse - Fort Washington Park, Manhattan, 2002

I am less interested in how one locates oneself in a city than in how one locates a city within oneself. ... For the traveller willing to be seduced, a new city is not only an affair of the mind (all that remembering) and body (all that perambulating), but also an affair of the heart. We leave the cities we love as reluctantly as we leave the beds of our beloveds. We leave the cities where we have loved (albeit briefly), and been loved (albeit badly), even more reluctantly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien ... Je Ne Regrette Rien ...

Fig. 1. Andi Domke - Ausgestopftes Meerschweinchen auf Rollbrett (Stuffed Guinea Pig On A Skateboard), 2009.

We can’t always be worthy of our opportunities. We should, however, always strive to be worthy of our gifts, no matter how great or small, because it is from these that we derive our fundamental - and, yes, final - greatness or smallness. In truth, I wish I’d been granted more gifts and fewer opportunities. Too late … too late.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Histories Are The Collective Memoirs Of Our Species

Fig. 1. Anselm Kiefer - Germany’s Spiritual Heroes, 1973

Pasts are lived. Histories are told.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Then There Were Three - Now There Is Only One ...

Fig. 1. Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Francesco Clemente - Alba's Breakfast, 1984

The necessity of sharing the world with others is a fate we can hardly avoid. Sharing our way of being in it, on the other hand, is a fantasy rarely achieved.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

On Obscuring, And Unobscuring, Objects Of Desire

Fig. 1. Lorenzo Lotto - Venus and Cupid, c. 1525

A lover becomes a lover long before obtaining, or even locating, the object of his or her desire. Lovers are created (or, rather, create themselves, and each other) the instant they affix a name or image to their latent impulses, which would otherwise have remained worryingly anonymous - and, perhaps worse, perennially amorphous. These names and images are potent aphrodisiacs, as well as the first warning a lover receives that their desire, no matter how precisely objectified or labelled, will always exceed its objects. ... Unsurprisingly, lovers routinely ignore this niggling augury.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Memories Are What Clinch Our Exile From The Past

Fig. 1. Holger Niehaus - Untitled, 2000

Nostalgia is one of the many skins in which we wrap our memories. ... Like us, they perish when flayed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Most Beautiful World In The Girl Is You, Not Her

Fig. 1. Damián Ortega - Cosmic Thing, 2002

Falling apart is sometimes the only means we have of discovering how we fell together.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From Little Things Big Things Grow ... And Grow ...

Fig. 1. Giulio Romano - Fall of the Giants (Sala dei Giganti), 1526-34

The problem with always putting the very smallest of your problems under the microscope is that the very biggest of your problems will eventually follow suit, undergoing a far more terrifying - and paralysing - magnification.

Addendum (click): Jack and the Beanstalk, 1933 (ComiColour, Celebrity Productions)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Best Gamblers Can Always Absorb Thier Losses

Fig. 1. Georges de La Tour - The Card-Sharp with Ace of Diamonds, 17thC

Trust because you can afford to, not because you need to.

Addendum: Barry Lyndon (1975) - d. Stanley Kubrick

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'd Leave, But A Promising Future Is Blocking My Way

Fig. 1. Henry Moore - Reclining Figure, 1939

Feelings are punctures of varying dimensions in our psychological fortifications.

Addendum (click): Yes, it's just a video of Andy eating a hamburger.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bill Viola: Further Explorations In The Digital Sublime

Fig. 1. Bill Viola - Memoria, 2000

A face is to a body as a fingerprint is to a finger.

Addendum: Click me! Click me!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 10

Fig. 1. Matt Mullican - City as a Map (of Ideas), 2003 - 2008

Friday, September 18, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 09

Fig. 1. Jill Magid - I Can Burn Your Face 2008

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 08

Fig. 1. Sibylle Bergmann - Untitled (Gummlin), 1948 (from the series A Monument), 1975-86

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 07

Fig. 1. Richard Long - Berlin Circle, 1996

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 06

Fig. 1. Gilbert & George - Lacewood, 2008

Monday, September 14, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 05

Fig. 1. Matt Calderwood - Some Things Just Work, 2004

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 04

Fig. 1. Mircea Cantor - Chaplet, 2007

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 03

Fig. 1. Raoul De Keyser - Seventh Linen Box, 1971

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Untitled (No, No, Just Looking, Thanks ... ): Part 02

Fig. 1. John Baldessari - Ear Sofa & Nose Sconces + Flowers, 2009