August 28, 2006

SunRise

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Meanwhile, I've been communicating with my gallery in Tokyo and Tomio (Koyama, the main man) and I have set March 3rd as the date for the show next Spring. That gives me two weeks of breathing time and a four month sprint that looks good on paper from this vantage point.

Loins, girded.

Now, I've been listening to my iTunes podcasts of Japanese language lessons (Japanesepod101.com), very good stuff that. I'm looking forward to seeing Hiroshi Sugito, yoshitomo Nara, Brent Hallard and of course Tomio and the gallery staff... what fun that will be.

Posted by Dennis at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

Visita

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Miguel (my gallery, see side bar) accompanied by his wife Mirentxu and his number one, Alberto stopped by for a visit. This week is the end of August and next month will have a tempo beat that will crescendo with the opening on the 28th. Alberto has the P.O.V., and thus you have this glimpse of yours truley.

I'm finishing the sixth painting, with two more in train. So far, so good.

Next week, Miguel invited "un Hombre de Madrid", a writer and photographer to come into my studio here and shoot pix, talk and write as I paint. Normally, my studio is a private den, but this time I'm looking at this as if I were working in a print atelier as I did recently at Jean Milant's Cirrus Gallery. As long as the guys in the room are working too, and not merely voyers, we can do this.

Besides, I'll be shooting and interviewing this guy as much as he will shoot and interview me... something I wish I could have done in the other interview's I've had in the past.

Posted by Dennis at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

Dear Theo

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Posted by Dennis at 1:34 AM | Comments (0)

Rabbit Holes, Dead End Trails.

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I've been struggling , looking for the grace that obviates the need to struggle.

Scrape offs, doublebacks, secondary straegies, contrary and contrasting tacks.

There are tmes when it is easy and you don't expect it.

There are times when you expect it and the bus doesn't arrive.

Godot, afterall.

The trouble for me is that sometimes, he does arrive.

There are times when you thought you would go down one path only to find another and take it, or not, or to think you are on one path but yet not... or you think that today, I will undertake a wild adventure, only to find yourself trapped in a group tour.

That's when you siphon gasoline out of the tank and torch the bus (witout killing the hapless passengers of course).

I plan enough to start but not too much more, and yet sometimes perhaps more than I would want to. A few times I have tried the empty the head and use the "get wet and crazy strategy" only to find myself eating lunch from a bento box and waiting in line for the bathroom at the back of a ratty old stinky Greyhound. And then there are the few times when I would go berserko and lay waste, etc. finding myself the king of a sceptered isle.

It's about looking for the ladder you cast away as you enter the clouds, I guess.

Stay tuned please, more hablabbery to come once I pass through this weather system.

Posted by Dennis at 1:14 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2006

Rock. Sky.

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Posted by Dennis at 8:35 AM | Comments (0)

Greener

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(Post scrape off.)

Greener.

It looked greener on the mixing table.

I'll make it a little greener still,


Posted by Dennis at 8:32 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2006

Craig and Brigitte

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Old friends Craig and Brigitte dropped in from a road trip through Southern France. They are film editors in the movie industry, a world I know little about yet I have lived in Los Angeles for over twenty years now. I get to hear battle tales from them, fascinating.

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Fun and frolic for three days. A wonderful time.

Now, I'm compressing into the studio. More pics to come soon.

Posted by Dennis at 1:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2006

ZED!

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(This is a screenshot of the great unsung John Boorman movie, Zardoz. A film as loved as much as it is mocked. By all means, see it for yourself and choose which side you're on.

I thought I had lost this and many other shots when my digital camera went nutty and swallowed them all up without a trace. And then one day, they inexplicably reappeared. And I took this as a sign to post them online.... on occasion. Someday, I'll post some kind of text and explicate... someday.)

Posted by Dennis at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2006

Ahora

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A bigger eyefull at the jump:

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Posted by Dennis at 5:06 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2006

Kiko Noguera

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Kiko, action figure.
He could be a secret agent, better than the Bronson guy, a better 007:

***


Secret Agent Noguera snorkeling off the Costa Brava, collecting lapas for an afternoon bar-b-que, when his "In Like Flint" watch silently taps his arm. He surfaces and pulls a ball pen sized tube and launches a U.A.V. with the pull of a trigger. The device flies toward a passing cruise ship and navigates toward an unsavory charcter lounging on the pool deck. As it closes, it fires a mosquito sized dart that impales itself lustily into the pulsing temple vein of the unsavory character, disgorging cargo. Nano bots begin their swim toward the neocortex as progress of the operation flickers in Kiko's mask and snorkel head's up display.

He flips another lapa over and stuffs the delicious shellfish into his bag amidst the hammer of exploding Mediterranean surf on Catalnan rock.


***

On this day, Kiko took me with him on a client meeting. A local building owner had built a huge retaining wall on his property -badly- and he asked Kiko for some advice. As all architectural clients are worldwide, they are susceptible to good news and abhor bad news. As I used to tell what few archtiectural clients I've ever had: "It's going to cost twice as much as you can imagine and it will task you, it will take you to the extremes of emotion and through pain you will uncover strata of patience that you have never known... but... afterwards, it will be the best thing you've every done."

THAT"S why I've had only a few and to such little effect (so far).

This time, Kiko needed some back up, and I'm the ringer, the "architect". Let's forget that I am registered to practice in California, not Spain. I'm the architect. Like Tarantino's "Mechanic" in Pulp Fiction (Harvey Kietel, what an actor!): "I fix things." I get to tell the client what he doesn't want to hear.

This time;

"You've got to tear it down and build it right."

He didn't want to do it.
Default to a lame less preferable solution.

"If you support a crumbling wall with buttresses, you'll need a network of cross beams and more buttresses... and the buttresses will have to be BIG."

He didn't want to build too many buttresses.

"Build as many until it hurts, then build more."

So it went.

So it goes.

Posted by Dennis at 5:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2006

Something About an Opening

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After over a month of struggle, the day of Alberto's opening came. All along the way, he was on the edge and all along the way, he risked and won at each juncture.

Here are a few images from the opening. After all the words I have crafted along the way, I hope you will pardon a bit of textual minimalism.

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That's the mayor of Tossa, reading the text I prepared for Alberto, a copy on acetate that he affixed to the window that incidentally affords a view of my house.

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One of my neighbors came, the first time they have been to this museum... and I wonder if it is the first time for them in any museum, but that's hard for me to believe. A nice famly, they come to Tossa for the summer every year, their family life spilling out into the street as if it is a living room.

The painting: "Foo Dog", painted in 1998. To the right, a screenshot of the recent blogpost containing the text I wrote for the show.

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And then the moment of the speech arrived. Alberto was melting with anxiety. My advice: think of protocol and thank everyone from the mayor on down to the artists in the show.

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He did pretty well with the speech. The mayor was nice to reinforce and endorse the pirate flag, saying that pirates used to sail off the coast, prompting the construction of the fortifications and that now it is the upstart energy of young artists who are the pirates entering the fortifications of culture embodied by the museum.

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One sign of pirate activity in the exhibition is a triptych painted by Rafa de la Rica. Que barbaro como un bucaneer, tio. A curiously arresting detail is here (not safe for work, and not recommended for minors, although our former president Clinton did more damage than this already).

Alberto asked me what I thought about it, and I hemmed and hawed a bit, recognising the crudity and yet not wanting to shut it down, acknowledging his need to simultaneously represent the artist's commitment to treating the precision realist painting within the theme of vanititas in a contemporary way and to also work some edge into the show, an effort made complicated or difficult by our hyper mediated and, let's say, "sophisticated" age. Not an easy call. A full treatment of the issue will consume a day or more of writing, so pardon me if i let it go for now.

Some people were offended, many were not.

Finally, it seems good to have it in the show, despite the difficulties. At the very least, one argument is that after ascending several floors of conventional landscapes and portraits and still lifes; after seeing so many versions of supple paint handling from studio and plein aire work; after all that, there is a show in the attic that seems young and odd and scattered... and along the way, there is this one problematic piece that hits you like a slap in the face so to speak. And hopefully, all of the paintings on the way down would look al little different.

Maybe people would see them twice and therefore more deeply?

Posted by Dennis at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

Piratas

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Alberto's Pirate flag story begins with a recent dinner we had together with my gallerist/dealer Miguel Marcos and his lawyer/judge/wife Mirentxu. Miguel was sporting his usual surrealistically inclined conversation and the table split into two streams as Mirnetxu and I dwelt on art and politics while Miguel was poking young Alberto with conceptual barbs, testing the lad to see how strong he was. As we were cleaning off our plates of paella, Miguel and Alberto were reaching across the table, shaking hands for a sealed deal.

Apparently, Miguel said that if Alberto had any balls, he would hang a Pirate flag from the museum as a statement of recognition for the unknown artists of the world. Now, Alberto is kind of like a big bear or puppy anyway (specifically a NewFoundland Water Dog, the breed of his big hairy affable 9 year old) and he seems to have an astral tail that can seem to wag like his dog does. To this deal, Alberto raised the stakes: if he pulls this off, Miguel has to fly the same flag from the balcony of his gallery. Miguel has this particular smile, almost Chinese in appearance and like a Bhudda, he tends to sit back when he does, as if questioning whether his interlocutor realizes that he has just been stuck with a trident of wit, drawing blood.

Alberto was smiling with the astral wag in the handshake, probably because he thought he had a narrow yet sufficient chance for a riposte.

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I was home wondering when I will get in position to paint the next painting sleeping off the remnants of last night's whiskey as the doorbell rang. Alberto was with his friend Ivan's wife, both carrying last night's studio work in tow. "Would you like to come with us to hang the flag, Dennis?"

?Claro que si, tio!

Along the way, we met up with the city workers. In the preceding days, Alberto asked the alcadesa of Tossa (the mayor) for permission to fly the flag off one of the towers of the old city. Not knowing what the reply would be, he was pleasantly surprised that for the mayor, this was a gift from heaven: a chance to bring young people to the museum, to invigorate the arts in Tossa de Mar. Yes of course was the reply and she instructed a crew of city workers to assist even though they were on vacation.

?Que guay!

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We wound up the road to Cap Tossa, nudging tourists along the way. It's amazing to witness the nonchalance of these guys as they negotiated the narrow winding crowded road, inches away from baby carriages, rock faces and steep plunges.

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We tumbled out and scrambled to the tower. Alberto's best friend Ivan was to coordinate the top as Alberto worked below. Tourists began to swarm closer like flies.

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Now, Alberto has been burning the candle at both ends for a week now. It was interesting to see how he handled the stress as he dispensed instruction to Ivan and the city workers.

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The city workers weren't all that excited at first. One was particularly vocal and negative. Nothing would work. The rope would break. The wind would rip it all down.

Their keys didn't work, so they had to hacksaw the lock off.

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I was beginning to wonder about how this would work out.

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Finally in, we hauled up the ladder.

Supercool.

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One of the workers asked if I wanted to get up topside.

Hell yea.

?Es una vista con conjones! (It's an impressive view a view with balls!)

?Pero, no mira a mi cojones! said one of them in rather loose fitting shorts as he neared the top of the ladder.

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That little hole is where we emerged at the top.

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By the time we got to the top and unfurled the flag, the mood of the workers lightened up.

"Are you one of the unknown artists?"

"?Si!" I said with a smile that said that I'm afraid I am probably classifiable as such.

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Here are some cojones for you all.

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Alberto struggled at the bottom for a bit.

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It's amazing that the circular crown of the tower is a wall supported by a chorus of little cantilevers, first off the wall and jumping arches then from each other ring around the rosie.

Now, that's cojones.

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Finally, the flag is hoisted.

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The gathering clouds seemed appropriate for pirate activity.

"Do you think it looks ok. Dennis? Aren't the ropes a little off?"

"This is the work of pirates, Alberto."

"Tienes raison."

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The opening was an hour away as we departed.

Posted by Dennis at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2006

Vanititas.

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One of the rewards for writing is rereading one's own writing. It is the pleasure of indulging in a kind of mathematical-like poetry in the combination of thoughts/words/sentences/paragraphs/etc. ...not that this is aparticular exemplar of this kind of thing this moment. But the reach for music in a string of words is a good start.

I think I actually feel the squirt of endorphines right now, this moment.

A weblog is a kind of diary and therefore a rolling first draft. One of the pains of maintaining a blog is to repeatedly encounter one's tics, conceits, the horizonal limits of intelligence. This darkly revelatory form of confrontational self knowledge stems from inability to edit and refine one's blog entries, especially in the way I am living this summer furtively surfing as I do from ambient wifi. The quick edits on the fly as I used to do before is not possible here.

Rereading one's blog is like taking a long look in the mirror, frankly encountering one's flaws and shortcomings. Wrinkles from the years, scars from that pox so long ago, the curdling turn in the jelly and yolk of the eye sockets, the burnt away dermal elasticity, exhausted flesh draping over a protruding skull, that slight with which you so unjustly harmed a friend long ago, the many ways you had fallen short of being the good son, that train of indulgences that took the place of responsibility once upon a time. I may be self flagellating a bit now, that too is a shortcoming.

Vanititas.

Oh, so human, "all too human". So mortal we are with our reach that will always fall short. But then again, we do reach, don't we?

I think of the lyrics in Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" :


I used to visit the very gay places
Those come what may places
Where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life
To get the feel of life
From jazz and cocktails.

The girls I knew had sad and sullen grey traces
With distant gay traces
That used to be there you can see
Where they've been washed away
By too many through the day
Twelve o'clock tales...

"Twelve o'clock tales"? Here in Spain, that would be four, five and six o'clock tales.

All of this and the only saving grace is that we care to strive at all. To live is to struggle after all.

I love how the rhyming words fly: "...where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life!""; and then a moment of zero gravity at the crest: "...to get the feel of life...""; and then the fall with the appropriate symbols that point towards death and mortality and therefore, self knowledge: "...from jazz and cocktails." Maybe life and therefore G-d is a process of garnering self knowledge, the G-dhead issuing itself into materiality and mortality, a divine ejecta propelled away from the absoluteness of itself, a forgetting of oneself in order to extend into experience and self knowledge? The sea throws itself ashore onto the rocks breaking itself and mixing itself with that which is not the sea, another which is not itself: the crust of the earth, the air of the sky above.

No wonder there is so much life at this edge.

Maybe the reach is not a reach unless you risk the fall?


Posted by Dennis at 9:03 AM | Comments (0)

August 9, 2006

New Genre

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Alberto says that he will exhibit a print of the screenshot of this blog entry at the show that he's curating at Tossa's Museum of Art. The show opens this Saturday.

A blogpost and therefore a blog as art. Free for the taking. Another genre that swallows up a bunch of other genres.

If anyone has an anxiety of the inability to commodify this as artwork,well we can always print out a limited edition and strike out this blogpost... or even produce a small yet expensive set of back lit transparancies a la Jeff Wall.

Posted by Dennis at 5:13 AM | Comments (0)

Something About Us


"Something About Us"
Museu de Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain.
August 12th to September 12th, 2006.

I. Post Script as Prologue: Changing Hats

Like the reverse chronological arrangement of a weblog, what s usually presented as an after thought must here be inserted into the beginning of an apologetic text introducing the show curated by Alberto Barcia Fernandez at the Museo de Tossa de Mar entitled "Something About Us". Like an ever evolving diary, the curator's idea and approach to mounting this show involving artists known by him in and around Tossa de Mar changed from day to day, week to week. The changes always converged on the same subject or strategy: the open question of what the sum of these artists gathered here amount to... what changed constantly were the tactics of presenting the artwork itself. As the military theorists say: "The first victim of battle is the battle plan.", an idea which is familiar and natural to most artists for time immemorial.

It is important to remember that the art world as we know it is young, minted perhaps in Picasso's Paris, codified and consolidated into the form that we know it to be in today in Pollock's New York. I like to think of the artworld as an aquarium wherein to sustain sea life, you need several elements to intermingle: oxygenated water of course, fish that eat from the bottom, fish that eat from the top, plants, sand, rocks to hide in... the list goes on but ultimately it is limited and concise. So too, an artworld needs a concise list to constitute it existentially: the oxygenated water is artwork and the conversations surrounding them, artists of course from bottom feeders to top feeders, critics, museums, collectors, cities to make the art in... this list too, goes on. Of course our world and our artworld changed since the formative years of Abstract Expressionist New York. Then, the artworld population probably numbered in the small thousands and today I would estimate our population exploded into several millions. The genres of art multiplied beyond the immortal three of painting, sculpture and drawing into multimedia's multitude. Another important change today is that artworld actors are changing roles with greater frequency: curators think of themselves as artists; artists become gallerists and visa versa; collectors curate; critics have morphed into mere writers or conversely into historians; museums have overtaken the role of galleries with the recent presentation of contemporary art, thus opening up the Pandora's Box known to some in the artworld as the "legal insider trading" of art-as-investment in the primary art market; the list can go on but I assume that by now, you might get the point.

Artists have too engaged in changing roles especially for those artists who specialized in multiple genres such as the famous yet recently deceased Jason Rhoades. Warhol's span into film and beyond is legendary and of course there is the great Martin Kippenberger, that legendary outlaw artist who knew no boundaries when it came to genre in art. Painters, however, have a strange position in this story. While installation artists can easily enlist the help to manifest a show from a gallery or museum both monetarily and otherwise, the idea that a painter can or should change the physical context of an exhibition space is not widespread and indeed there is a kind of typological ghetto that painters must conform to to garner a strange kind of status however now less regarded yet set apart as a special perhaps august category.

The curator of "Something About Us", Alberto Barcia Fernandez, is nominally a painter. He is a young artist and perhaps it is too early to affix a label onto him, but the identity that he first gravitated to was that of a painter. And the central question for him was how he should approach the design of the installation of this show. It is strange that this might be a new idea, but Alberto's disposition was to dispose this show as an artist would: to use the artwork and the artifacts of the artists' lives as his art material. How can one use such unusual art material? How can a life (the artifacts indicating the worldview of each artist) and a avatar of an oeuvre (the single representative art work) be used as one would wield a pencil, or pastel, or paint, or marble and bronze, or as is normative in today's exploded world: anything within one's reach? When one is drawing, a line is pulled and distinctions are made and when one flows liquid paint, distinctions ooze and boundaries melt. How can a curator draw and ooze? When one is sculpting or rendering, one displaces intentions by looking, harmonizing the twitch of the fingers with the regard for the subject. How can a curator regard a subject -in this case, this group of artists- and render with the twitch of the fingers an image in a formal exhibition?


II. Interlude: A River

A mist in the mountaintops, melting snow.

Condensate.

A very cold stream falling down the rocks, spilling faster and faster.

Streams join into rivers that widen, the water darkens, thickens, warms.

The river broadens it seems to slow.

And then it meets the sea in a delta. Oozing, fetid, muddy, water steaming into the sky.

Evaporate.


III. "Something About Us"

Resist your desire to be told how to think about this show.

It's a natural response. "Why have I been brought here? What is this all about? How should I think about what I am seeing?" Yet perhaps you are still entitled to an answer. How else can you begin to determine the worth of the experience that is now presented to you? "What is the story behind what we are seeing?"

What is presented here in the exhibition "Something About Us" is not so much the artworks themselves, but a hanging question as what they all add up to. Hanging is not always a pleasant experience to be sure and the unpleasantness ranges mildly from a missed appointment to something as brutal as lynching. One can be "hung up" as in the song "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." and that's not much fun however obsessively or romantically preoccupying it might become. There are however, more appealing aspects: think instead of "hanging out", an activity which in itself a happily open question.

The sculpture of Richard Serra comes to mind in a streak of work he called "Prop" wherein he took two sheets of lead and... propped one flat up on the wall with the other buttressing in a rolled up form. The king of Minimalist sculpture, Serra pointed to a paradoxically disembodied experience: gravity. A sculptor of gravity, his tilted arcs and steel cubes several meters to a side seem to bring an achingly palpable sense to gravity's field. Indeed, the trajectory of the PostModern turn was into the direction of the disembodied. Instead of the Modernist transcendent reach towards G-d through material means, the revolution in the 60's was to touch everyday life through conceptual means. And this revolution has churned for quite a long time now. For example, the generational turn of sculptor Charlie Ray in Los Angeles opened up the disembodied subject into other territory than the classical categories of the type that noble gravity would belong to. Instead of steel or lead, Charlie Ray used himself as material and lens for psychosocial fields, perhaps a cultural version of gravity. Through it all and for forty years of permutation, we have been presented with some-thing and asked to see a non-thing, nothing that can be touched. "Something about us" is perhaps like this but finally, it is different.

But let us not leave you all hanging in a bad way... let us therefore jump to the end of this argument and state flatly that our curator, Alberto Barcia Fernandez, has presented not so much a collection of individual artworks but an open question. With this show we have been presented with a "no-thing" or better, a "some-thing-about " and we are asked therefore to see very real things, the work of the various artists in this show. This bears repeating: we have been presented with a no-thing and we are asked to see some-things.

What is more, we are asked to consider something about... us. Specifically, these are artists local to Alberto's experience, artists working in the heart of the Costa Brava. Immediately the question is heightened as to who we are and this question is extended from the "us" of the artists in the show to the "we" of the character of the inhabitants of the Costa Brava. "Who are they?" becomes "Who are we?" Indeed the curatorial thesis of this exhibition is a militant one, restless. The word "some" is an open and incomplete assessment. The word "thing" is an anchor but like an anchor for a boat, it is at best furtive and temporary. Nomadic, and like the nautical anchor, it is ultimately a point from which the wind can spin you around with. As for the word "about"... what a word. It is an idea held forever aloft; cloud hidden, whereabouts unknown; a command in abeyance; active like a maritime search at the last point of contact; and ultimately for this show, a conjecture.

Reality as conjecture.

An old friend and colleague in graduate school, artist Marcus Adams used to say that "...art is that which is presented for its' aesthetic appreciation..." and that the aesthetic comes from the Greek as in sense perception, which can be understood contrarily if you consider the meaning of anesthetic as given into English by Oliver Wendell Holmes to signify insensibility. The ramifications of this train of definitions is that the idea that art is presented less for a consideration of its beauty but that beauty might instead be something interesting. In the former, the idea of beauty is a closed, conforming and foregone conclusion. In the latter, beauty is bound with curiosity, open as an unanswered question.

The task of talking about art is similar to the way poetry talks about life, which is to surround and frame the world. The aesthetic grasp of reality cups but does not crush. The way to talk about art is to lasso it with words, to surround and encircle it as carefully as grasping dandelions or capturing soap bubbles in midair. Therefore as in a bouquet of dandelions, what artworks constitute our bouquet, just who are the artists that Alberto Barcia Fernandez has presented to us for our aesthetic appreciation?

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Victor Jimenez Guri

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Rafa de la Rica

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Enric Montejano

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Annemarie Otten

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Daniel Herrera

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Luis Casado Casardo

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Dennis Hollingsworth

Posted by Dennis at 4:09 AM | Comments (0)

Admin/MailCall

Peter is drawing me out of my recent taciturn mood:


Hi Dennis,
Love the blog,
Please describe the taste of the grilled yellow sea creatures.
They look TASTY!
How to prepare them?

Peter


Yes indeed they were muy delicioso, tio!

Lapas are meaty and all we did was to spritz them with olive oil and dust them lightly with pepper, the saltiness was provided already by the sea. They cook fast and we ate them off the grill with toothpicks a la pica pica. The shallow shells form a natural plate and the attached vegetation form a spongy cushion that softly conditions the bar-b-que and unlike mussels or snails, you can eat the entire creature. The proportion of meat to supporting internal organs is high and you never feel like your mouth is full of the latter. Chewy to a degree but less so than snails, the bar-b-que give them a wonderful smokey quality as the meat liquifies in the mouth like good steak.

The whole experience was wonderful, paddling in the white water as waves crashed on the rocks. Physically, it's great exercise as one struggles to juggle knife, prey, bag, timing wave action to breathing, all the while keeping oriented in the blinding white water and keeping yourself from getting thrown and therefore cut up on the sharp clusters of mussels on the rocks. Lapas have a specific habitat in that they seem to prefer flatter rock shelves at a water level where the waves cover and uncover, where there is less vegetation so that they can suction onto for safety. Barnacles and vegetation grow on their shells, creating mounds that look like other non-lapas mounds that surround them. When you find them, it is possible to catch them by surprise with your hands and pop them off quickly. But that doesn't happen very often. Usually, they react quickly and hunker down fiercely as your knife finds an edge to deliver los pobrecitos to the bar-b-que.

Poor things.

Delicious creatures, like they were meant to be eaten.

The science fiction writer I dimly remember from my youth, Clifford Simak (sp?), wrote a story about a planet that was one vast praerie filled with creatures resembling cattle whose bodies fell into easily partitioned pieces, as if they were meant to be eaten as designed by the creator (or an other worldly natural selection, according to your beliefs). Later, the spacemen discovered to their consternation that after eating them, they transformed into the alien cattle themselves.

Perhaps one day I too might similarly wake up on a rocky surf, hiding from a knifing snorkeler with a mound of barnacles and vegetation on my back? ?Dios mio!

***
Someone who has possession of a few monotypes, prints, is asking me about cashing them in. The discussion of art as investment might seem to be a rich offering in this blog, so therefore I take some measure of risk in opening it up to you all:


Dear Dennis,
My name is XXXX XXXX and I live in XXXX and I am looking for anyone who may be able to assist me with regards to a task on hand. I must admit...I am clueless in what I am doing and way out of my area of experience. Thus, is the reason I am contacting you...in hopes that you may have some knowledge that could perhaps help me.
You may recall...I had contacted you a couple?of years ago when you were getting prepared to move to Spain. I had a friend who had given me some artwork of yours as a gift. I understand if you don't recall afterall that was some time ago. Regardless, I am happy to see that you are doing well and still going at it.
I have 5 pieces of your artwork, the pieces I have are all lithographs numbered and signed by yourself. As much as I dislike having to do this...I am in desperate need of selling them. I recently was laid off of my job as a XXXX...with the real estate market being so slow and uncertain these days...there was nothing more for my company to do than to let me go. Therefore, I am in dying need of money to survive. I know that the artwork I have?has to be worth some money...however...I have no idea were or who to contact for this type of thing???
This is why I am contacting you....to find out if you have any idea and/or thoughts that could direct me towards the right direction. I really hate having to part with the pieces...however....I am in urgent need of funds due to my recent lack of employment.
Please advise me of any information that may be helpful.

Thank you in advance for your time...I apprecicate anything you may have to suggest.
Thanks??again,

XXXX XXXX

It is never welcome to receive an email like this. but obviously this person was gifted by the work and is not one who sought it out in the first place. Personally, gifting art is something I do rarely. It's like giving puppies away... what a responsibility to lay on someone! Will the recipient ultimately feed and care for them? If art is as I like to say: in constant movement between the land fill and the museum, a gift of art is a greased slide in the direction of the former.

So keeping this in mind together with an ache for this person's harrowing financial circumstance, I replied:


Dear XXXX:

I do remember your previous email.? I hope that things turn around for you soon, sorry to hear of the changing fortunes of the real estate business.? I guess the assets that roared out of the dot com market have had their way with real estate.? I have heard that art is the next place for investment money to migrate to, and I have talked to more than one art dealer who is eager with anticipation.? I do wonder about the reality of it, however.

Surely, it is the relatively recent advent of the museum world into the primary market (art work sold as it is first issued from the artist... the secondary market is from collector to collector), specifically the museum of contemporary art (I think the first one was LA's MOCA, wasn't it?) that allowed a certain class of collector to directly participate in the mechanism that establishes value: the art critical/curatorial nexus.? The famous curator from LA's MOCA, Paul Schimmel, produced a show that attempted to convert this curious circumstance into art theory with his show "Public Offerings" where the importance of the singularity of each artwork in the show was played down in favor of the idea of an artist as a branded entity whose artwork functions as stock to be invested/traded in the marketplace.? I'm sure that Mr. Schimmel has a more nuanced idea in mind but the ghost of insider trading still haunts regardless how legal it may be at the moment.

As strange as this may sound, the stranger thing about art-as-investment is that unless the artist is in this smaller charmed circle of the museum curated, art magazine buzzed world; it will take a much longer time for the "fixed asset" to be able to be liquified in the fullness of its' promise.? Perhaps I am too self critical but my assessment of my position out there in the marketplace is that I am not yet in this charmed circle... and maybe by putting these ideas out into the ether of the internet, I might be decreasing this probability somewhat.?Yes indeed I am a lucky guy, however.? I show in galleries around the world and my work is known to some degree in the market of the art fairs.? I may be violating the law of "greener pastures" (the tendency of people to think that there is a party in town that is more fun than the one you are in at the moment, a tendency I recommend that all struggling artists out there exploit to the fullest), but the cold hard fact is that it will probably take my entire lifetime for my work to achieve the status of a ripe investment.? It may seem like I'm living large but the inside tip is that I am hanging on by the fingernails, plowing everything I make into the circumstances that help me make art.

The term "investment" is not a not very felicitous name for art today and yet it is the twist of irony that the intrinsic value forged by the artist's ongoing lifelong effort in creating the work becomes an extrinsic value in the marketplace.??I?may be tough on myself in the assessment of my position out there, but I want to note that I have been fortunate to have been collected by people who do enjoy living with my work.? This is a special kind of collector who looks at art with their eyes and not their ears, and in this way I think of myself as collecting collectors.? In any local market, there are only a few of these people and since I had cast my wish upon a star many years ago to participate in a global marketplace (to reverse the hidebound custom of the artist who first makes it in their hometown and only afterward extends into the world at large), I have been able to find via the hard collaborative work of my galleries, several small pockets of them around the world.? Each pocket grows slowly yet surely... but finally, slowly.

A yet stranger issue is the probability that if you sell my work now, you will make the statement that you would prefer to cash out early, which has the unfortunate effect of lowering the value to some degree, a self fulfilling prophesy.? People who hold on to these investments are making the statement that they yet have value, and that the dividends of enjoying the artwork's presence in their lives is more important and valuable than making that value liquid sooner than later.???Other factors influencing value is the limited number of work I produce, the growing audience I have been fortunate to broadcast to and integrate globally with the weblog and the yet to be appreciated fact that there are not many people in the world who are doing the kind of work that I do.? I can count maybe less than ten off hand.? To answer your question directly:? yes these prints are worth some money but the longer you wait to sell them, the more money they will be worth.? Since I know only the primary market of my work, and that it will probably take some time for the secondary market to establish itself as the network of collectors and secondary dealers integrate themselves, I'm not sure how to direct you into the latter marketplace.

I hope that your circumstances improve, or better yet: I'm sure that they will.??

All the best,

-Dennis Hollingsworth

***
My cousin Harold sends his kind regards:


Dennis

Big Hoss is something else, like a skinned animal [black n white striped area], evidence of a trek [the lift portions], and what it must look like, of course abstractly diving straight down to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The evidence of events is breathtaking, damn proud to share your last name cousin! The poetic is that of the unanswered accident, the evidence of some sort of life, either experience, or the avalanche of the absurd death, and this absurd life. That it's hovering in the dark leaning toward the light makes me feel the logic of the living, breathing, dying, charming world arrested, and all the unanswered horrors, and accidents, and life, and laughter, sex and breathe all thrown together, like the turning of ones head, simple.

Your posts are driving me Dennis, I really get the feeling of a guide, thanks!


Harold


Thanks, cuz.

Harold has a fine blog himself which you can find in the Soup of Links in the colophon to the left.

Posted by Dennis at 3:58 AM | Comments (0)

Alberto's Museu Exhibition

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Alberto is curating his first group show, this one at the Museu do Tossa de Mar.

A nice way to start.

The show opens this Saturday. Alberto asked me to write something about our conversations leading up to the show. A blogpost on that will follow. He's going to take a screenshot of the blogged statement and present that as artwork, a debut of this blog-as-art, a pet idea of mine. Let's see how the artworld will react to or ignore this offering, a new genre indeed. Remarkable too, that is availble to anyone who has access to high speed internet.

Here are a few shots of his efforts in preparing for the show:

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Tossa's museum is just behind teh walls of the old fortification, right behind Codolar, a great location.

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The space is on the top floor. A nice mix of windows and wall space. Funky and funky is good.

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There is a terrace and since it is hot there, it's wonderful to open up the windows and step out for some air.

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About-face.

Posted by Dennis at 3:51 AM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2006

Codolar Rain

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A day of rest, of which I dedicate to our creator...

...who sent some rain over to say hello.

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It was nice. Everyone scurried for cover under the questionable roof of the chiringuito. Personal space got all squished after the careful property rights negotiated on the beach via beach towels and umbrellas. I

It was nice too, to sip a cortado in between the goteros (drips).

Posted by Dennis at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

August 7, 2006

Ahora

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After messing around taking too many pics, unsatisfied with the lack of detail in them all, I took one large jpeg and patched it at the jump. It's 1000 by 1333 pixels, and I named it "BIG HOSS".

Click on at your own risk...

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Posted by Dennis at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2006

Snorkel Report

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I'm still a man of few words:

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(A correction: they're called "lapas". And the other: "caracols"?)

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...for now.

Posted by Dennis at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

Sketchbook

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One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight.

Posted by Dennis at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

To Live is to Struggle

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There's been trouble in my family this week, rough stuff, long distance phone calls, my head hurts. Drifty.

It has chewed up a lot of head time in the studio, monkeys on my back.

Diaristically, it's rich territory with lots of lines that lead into philosophies of life... however, it's perfectly unbloggable right now. So this post is to seal it in a bottle and cast it away so that I can move on.

Time to move on.

Posted by Dennis at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)