Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lopped off.

Thanks to a fateful trip to the hairdresser and instructions to simply trim up any split ends, I emerged looking more like Anna Wintour's 3rd grade yearbook picture than a neatened up version of myself. I am not sure whether or not this more coiffed version is an improvement, but on the plus side it is much less work in the morning and if I decide to be a mod for Halloween I won't have to go out and buy a wig and hairspray. Maybe I should have a Quadrophenia party in celebration. No, wait, in respect to the Anna Wintour reference I think we would have to go Blow Up. Who's in?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Young Americans

Sheila Pree Bright's current Young Americans exhibit at The High reeks of shallow propaganda. The series is comprised of portraits of young voters, all who appear to be in the 18-25 age group, posing as they choose with the American flag. From the uninspired concept to the naive statements of the models on their ideas of patriotism the entire show was a flop. Perhaps it was that I went into the show with such high hopes. After all, Pree Bright's previous work has been smart and thoughtful commentaries on African American culture. Her Suburbia series was one of my favorites of last year. What made this work so emphatically one-note was that her usual subtlety was completely absent.

The Young Americans portraits were saddled with recycled connotations, but without any undercurrent of commentary. Each of the portraits featured the subjects dressed in what seemed to be their everyday attire against a stark white background. If the point of the portraits was to show the newest generation of voters' relationship to their country, then the execution of the portraits was too blank to convey that. Based on Pree Bright's previous bodies of work, this minimalist canvas shouldn't have been a hurdle, but it was. I wish that Pree Bright had interjected a bit more with the poses, because I have the impression that it was the models' lack of inspiration as opposed to the artist. Unfortunately the exhibit came across as a GAP ad as opposed to a study in Americanism.

For a subject matter that was so revered by our 19th century counterparts, it seems that the idea of nationality has simply turned into another pop cultural notion, as opposed to something that deserves to be looked at with a bit more rigor.

Friday, May 16, 2008


For anyone that hasn't been to Atlanta Station recently, let me assure you that the contractors are getting dumber by the day. On my way home this evening, I noticed as I was sitting at a traffic light on 17th Street that the median is now adorned with a triumphal arch. Say what? I know Atlanta is trying to make itself more appealing to tourists, but the last time I checked the most recent battle through Atlanta resulted in us being burned to the ground. After laughing hysterically in my car I became absolutely dumbfounded. First of all, if there is going to be a triumphal arch in Atlanta, why in the hell would it be placed in Atlantic Station? Let's choose the most vapid part of the city to place what I'm guessing is intended to eventually be an architectural landmark. Secondly, why would they build a triumphal arch? Did they not realize that Paris, Rome, Vienna, I could go on do not have these merely for show. They are markers of the cities success. An illustrator of history. Ok, I get it. They want to show how Atlanta Station is a marker of the cities success in building an enclosed "urban landscape." This arch is a sign of Atlanta's capitalistic virtuosity.

Ugh. Between that and the Atlantic Station logo, "Life Happens Here" I don't think I'll be able to keep my dinner down tonight. More to come on this atrocity, I just couldn't wait to let you know.

The joys of being a homeowner

My new stove arrives today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It is always kind of surreal when an artist as iconic as Rauschenberg dies. I don't know if it's becuase they are idolized and examined so closely in art history classes, retrospectives and the like, but it's kind of a slap in the face when they are brought to a more human level.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A show proposal

On returning from a thankfully brief trip to see maternal family members in New York this weekend I am realizing that I have so much catch-up reading to do, that it just may not happen. From what I have gleaned so far though, the discussion over at Thoughtmarker right now on group shows and the roles of critics-curators-artists in these shows is certainly worth taking a look at.

Perhaps as a supplemental post to said discussion, I wanted to talk about a show that I am currently working on getting on its feet for January at Eyedrum. On my flight into New York I finished Michael Kimmelman's An Accidental Masterpiece and became really interested in one essay that he wrote on Hugh Francis Hicks, who was a dentist in New York who collected lightbulbs throughout his entire life. His obsessive collecting resulted in the largest private lightbulb collection in the world and consequently a personal museum in his basement. Call it peeping tom syndrome, but I have always had a certain fascination with the private sector of peoples lives. That has manifested itself in fairly bengign forms of snooping in people houses to see what exactly is on their bookshelves (and more importantly which books appear to have actually been read), taking note of exactly what kind of soap people like to use in their bathrooms, what is displayed on the mantle as opposed to a nightside table. More recently, since the beginning of undergrad specifically, this has shifted more to the makeup of artist studios. Not surprisingly, the most telling thing about an artist's work is in how they keep their studio. After reading Kimmelman's essays, I started thinking about this tendency of collecting in artist's work as well as the pack rats who unknowingly become collectors in the same way as Hicks.

Charles Wilson Peale, The Artist in his Museum

In the 16th and 17th centuries in Holland, before the modern-day concept of the museum came about, collectors of anything and everything held a similar status to that of the Met or the Tate Modern today. Collections became iconic symbols of the society. The underlying interest in these earlier forms of the museum though, certainly touch on this innate fascination in peoples life. In the same way that you can learn about a person through what they choose to present to the public, the undisclosed is always where the most captivating details are present.

On a local level, artists like Tom Zarilli, Susan Cipcic, and Susan Winton have all managed to merge their private lives and the objects that they find and collect in their quotidian routine into a kind of self-portrait of themselves. What my plan is, as of now, for this show is to work more in the mindset of these archaic museums, or "wonder boxes," which they were originally called. Perhaps showcasing side-by-side both the colelcted objects that become the artwork, as well as the finished projects.

I have certainly not worked out all of these details yet, but it always helps to write these things out.

[EDIT] More visuals that I am thinking about in relation to this show, not directly, but as background visual cues.

Joseph Cornell,
Hotel Eden

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A counter:

After speaking with a friend of mine last night about Jason Freeman's piece, Graph Theory that opens tonight at Spruill, I wanted to address his criticism. His main concern with Graph Theory is that it is pretentious and completely ungratifying. Frankly, I just don't understand that at all. If anything, what makes Freeman's piece so intriguing for the average bear is that it allows for something, music composition, that is generally restricted to a select educated few to become a realisitic possiblity for anyone. In the same way that paint-by-numbers destigmatized fine art by allowing anyone to paint like Van Gogh or Matisse, now the same is true of music.

Come and decide for yourself. Beaking New Ground opens tongiht at Spruill Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. We are so much more fun and more free than Radiohead.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Like a tall glass of water

For a myriad of reasons I rarely will attend shows anymore. Be it having too little money in the bank for both rent and covers or the cramped rooms with no breathing space I just don't really enjoy it. Call me an old woman, but I just have been on hiatus. It takes a lot to drag me out of my home-bodied existence. However, when a band who tours about as often as I emerge from my cave comes to town, that can be enough. Especially when said band is Seattle based drone band, Earth.

For a band the tours as infrequently as Earth, and for a band with as many followers, their show at the EARL last Thursday was shockingly empty. As myself and three friends perused the crowd we bemusedly found ourselves to be the only ladies persent with the exception of one other who appeared to have been mistaken and was actaully looking for either the Suicide Girls audition down the street or the ICP show at the Masquerade. Either way, she was a treat to watch throw pelvic thrusts at Dylan all night. At one point I did happen to notice, after an accomplice pointed out that this would be a great show for someone who was smoking pot for the first time, three young'uns who certainly should not have been allowed through the doors had indeed had that same train of thought. I am failry certain they missed the entire show. Outside of that, the usual characters of Atlanta's bartenders guild and various other familiar faces.

But, to move on from the people watching extravaganza, Earth was everything I could have hoped it to be. Right before they started playing I was told that they had been playing 1.5 to 2 hour sets, which just about defeated my spirit before they even began. I love Earth as much as the next person, but dear god, 2 hours of drone might just put me to sleep on my feet. Good thing I mastered sleeping with my eyes open during 7th grade trig (not really! that's super creepy, and anyone with that skill should cease and desist immediately). In my opinion, Bees Made Honey in the Earth's Skull is easily Earth's best album (followed closely by Hex, of course) so I was pleased as punch to hear THE ENTIRE ALBUM played. I kind of wish I had the foresight to have brought a Lazyboy with me, though.

Anyways, I have no illusions of being a music critic so I won't bother to make an attempt at descrbing how awesome the show actually was. My point in this post was primarily to share with everyone a fun little tidbit of information that I learned. Dylan, Earth's founder and prodigal son, if you will, is the person who gave Kurt Cobain the shotgun. Now, if I have ever heard of something to give someone a guilt complex, that has to be number 1. And I haev a Jewish grandmother, so I know all about guilt. That is intense.

Well, anyways. Lovely weekend to all. Enjoy the festivities at Eyedrum for me this evening. I shall live vicariously through you as I continue to paint gallery ceilings this evening.