September 27, 2007

Brad Eberhard

And then Bart said: "That's a blogpost in itself right there.", and snap went my Olympus. I always knew Bart was a blogger at heart.

We were in Brad Eberhard's studio on York Boulevard in Highland Park. Here are a few shots of the paintings he had on hand and a few notes of things we talked about that evening:

La Estrella
I first became aware of Brad's work last spring, my friends were talking about a painter who was coming out of Claremont (my school by the way) who was a good, intellligent and he led a band to boot. Before I departed for Spain at the beginning of this summer, I happened to see Brad's Wounded Lion at the Mountain Bar one night -a great band composed of artists, painters by the way- (My YouTube video links of that evening are here 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5; the quality of the videos are not that great but there they are.) Shortly after that, I bumped into Brad at a show that he curated at High Energy Constructs (Time Machine)and I was impressed with both the show and the curator too.

With all this, I was keen on seeing his work in the flesh, a studio visit was inevitable. Driving up there with Bart Esposito, that part of Los Angeles seemed the same as it ever was: a stucco scruffy melange of garages, thrift stores, bars and taco joints (more than that of course, but this short list has a flavor that represents well enough the character of the place). Located behind a gallery by the name of Sea and Space Exploration, Brad's studio was one of several in an artist's warren of pocket studios tucked behind the peeled paint and acid tagged glass commercial frontage of York Boulevard in the middle of Highland Park/Eagle Rock. The place felt great, a nice community where artists bumped in and out with groceries and dogs through alleys stacked with studio debris and artwork wrapped in plastic.

Since he was fresh out of grad school, it was of no surprise to feel reverb of the academic environment in the layout of his studio (severe cubicle space economy in the disposition of his paintings, equipment and supplies) and in his conversation. He was sweating off the analytic 'tude in the way he talked about his work, the after effects of the necessary immersion into the critical attitude in grad school studio discourse. I could tell that he was a kindred spirit, aware as he is that while it is important to absorb the idea and spirit of criticality in his relation to art, there was also a problem in manifesting an unselfconscious criticality. It was important to be critical of criticality, a governor that can keep us from flying off the handle.

I heard recently that there was a group of artists locally that would meet in each other's studios and manifest a crit session that would acid wash their colleague's artwork. I imagine it was the typical take down, tear down challenge test-to-failure that we were introduced to in school. That was fine enough in school, it is proper to introduce a level of self consciousness that might induce an awareness of the dialogue of art as it exists and in its' history... but I think that it is misguided to elevate it into a standard practice after school. The purpose of the take down crit is to impart a critical mentality (remember going to museums and art exhibitions with haughty dismissive attitudes when you were a kid?) but more importantly to construct a jury in our own heads, within us... voices minted from our own heros so that when we are alone in the wee hours in our own studios, we might be able to critique our own work before we show it to the world. An Occam's Razor to inflict yourself with. Criticality is an instrument, a means to an end, and an unselfconscious absolutist application of it leads to Taliban dead ends of literalism and illustration.

I won't say here that Brad shares this particular idea of mine on a one to one basis, but I believe he shares the spirit of it in that he is careful to distance himself from the typical slavishly deterministic arrangements of meaning that are usually compelled by standard critical theory. To this he turns oblique and focuses instead on his curiosity and enthusiasms. Paul Klee and Jean Arp, for example. Here's a blurb via the LAWeekly's Tom Christie and Holly Meyers:

Brad Eberhard comes to his bright, dense, irresistibly jaunty paintings by way of instinct and free association. Using Dada as a model, he approaches each composition as a collage, assembling impressions from an idiosyncratic array of archaeological, art-historical and popular sources, and formulating elaborate, if not always obvious, schemes of interrelation. Paul Klee leads to Machu Picchu, he suggests, Hans Arp to the covers of Blue Note jazz records to Raymond Pettibon?s Black Flag logo.

?Concocting based-on-a-true-story lineages like this keeps me off the overtrod streets of literary theory,? he says, ?lets visual content beget content, posits ?meaning? as local, subjective and weird, and places my work in the tradition of trying to iconically depict freedom and vitality without clich?s such as eagles or drips.?

And true to this snip, Brad shared his treasured copy of Paul Klee's Pedagogical Sketchbook where he talked about curiosity as metaphoric arrows of intention fletching into flight with the the barbs of the arrow point interpreted as the resultant forces of physics and invested with existential significance of the escape velocity of fascinated inquiry. And in all this I see a kindred spirit looking at the Bauhaus, its phoenix-like mandate to recreate art amidst destruction (critical reverb here), at the ability to get high from diagrammatic conceptualization, and in his appreciation for the ability to form a constraining analysis that tightens up such that a force is compelled to burst out into freedom.

Hell yea.

This theme echoed in a couple of diagrams Brad pulled out for reference, one of which was Ben Franklin's Join or Die. Brad spoke of this in his own way, and surely I am warping his interpretation of it with my bias, but suffice it to say that the snake represents the world and the cut through the snake represents painting, containing in such a way all of the responsibilities of representing the world via that section. Pressurized constraint and resultant expansiveness indeed. Holographic in that a small part can reflect the whole. Post-post modern painting? Is this a picture of modesty and ambition in a renewed -abstract- painting that has reclaimed its legitimacy after the mulit-modal genre expanded field of the past 50 years?

Well, maybe I should dial down the flight of fancy a bit.

In the studio I could see his Blue Note records next to books selected and stacked carefully in the shelf next to the turntables below pottery arranged on top of it all.

Precision, imprecision. A line that draws distinction, a pool that oozes across boundaries. Imprecision made precise. Precision that makes a pratfall.

Bart was grooving on all of this stuff with the design world oozing from Brad's seams. I think Bart is especially design oriented with his concern for line and preparatory drawing where the arrangement and position of color-line-plane compose his horizon. But here I must place a caveat: Bart is not all that comfortable with my association of his practice to design. It is possible that he is concerned that there are aspects of design's influence in the art world that have been adopted in a superficial manner or that the identity mapped from the world of design might rob painting of its' depth. Perhaps. Think of how in earlier times Cubism devolved into Purism into Art Deco (a shakey formulation I admit but I hope you get the point), or how many contemporary artists recontextualize Pop language into lazy critical theory references of the evacuated sign. As a dormant architect, I regard design as the intersection of context/function/materiality, where intentionality is stressed to the breaking point. I don't automatically see lazy associations between design and painting. Design for me is difficult to employ because I was educated to Fine Art via the Design Arts, I'm too close to it... and I imagine that it is easier for artists to pick and choose from the design world when they approach it from the outside. It is easy for me to think that contemporary painters might employ the design world as a lens to approach abstract painting where every mark and daub is made as far away as possible from the mindless Pollock drip.

I could see design precision in Brad's chisel tipped brushes and in the careful arrangement of his worked surfaces; in Bart's sharp edges and carefully considered colors. It was as if this was all a sailboat, ship shape with the gear proven past the breaking point through stormy sea trials, all reverentially maintained and put away properly. And like a ship, the sailor's life is in no way trivial: design in this context is a matter of life and death.

Later, after the sun set with the hot topics of painting's practice, Brad suggested a bar that we might have a few beers at nearby. I imagined a dive bar with a goofed up pool table in the back and flamed out neon Budweiser signs behind a delaminating countertop. We walked up a couple of blocks to get cigarettes, Brad told us of all the galleries opening nearby. Man, is this place changing. As we cruised past York, Marty's restaurant and dropped into Johnnie's Bar where the interior is leathered, the space ample and a looped Logan's Run was projected on the wall... I had this overwhelming thought that all of LA was turning into Williamsburg.


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September 26, 2007

It Was Kinda Like That

The past 9 days were kinda like this:

I'm out here for you! You don't
know what it's like to be me out
here for you. It is an up-at-dawn
pride-swallowing seige that I will
never fully tell you about! Okay?!
Help me help you help me help you.

You're hanging by a very thin
thread, dude. And I dig that
about you.

Jerry has had enough for one day.

(loopy, punch-drunk,
arms flailing)
Hey. I'm happy to entertain you!
I'll see you in L.A.!

Tidwell watches his agent lurch off, muttering and swaying.

See, man, that's the difference.
between us. You think we're
fighting, I think we're finally

The tough parts delivered the better bits.


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September 25, 2007



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September 24, 2007



LOLART powered by rolfbot

Update: Image Macro Deepness.

Update 2: check this out, a searingly just analysis from Tyler Green: "MASS MoCA's mistake was institutional, Buchel's mistake was lacking humanity."

Posted by Dennis at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2007

Trapping Hey Digger

Hanna described Martin in this way:

There was once a fox who was so utterly without cunning that he not only constantly fell into traps but could not even distinguish a trap from what was not a trap.?

.? After this fox had spent his entire youth in other people?s traps ? he decided to completely withdraw from the fox world, and began to build a den [Fuchsbau].? He built himself a trap as a den, sat down in it, pretended it was a normal den (not out of cunning, but because he had always taken the traps of others for their dens).? This trap was only big enough for him.? Nobody could fall into his trap, because he was sitting in it himself.? If one wanted to visit him in the den where he was at home, one had to go into his trap. Of course everybody could walk right out of it, except him.? The fox living in the trap said proudly: so many fall into my trap; I have become the best of all foxes. And there was even something true in that: nobody knows the trap business [das Fallenwesen] better than he who has been sitting in a trap all his life.
Thanks to Hanna (Leland de la Durantaye) via A&L, now I know.

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like tears in rain



LOL Source.

More intense stuff via Gawker.

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September 18, 2007

"Is that what you're thinking?"

Brad Pitt as Jesse James:
"You gonna be like me... or are you going to be me?"


...which brings to mind a lesson I received a few years ago...

Several years ago when I was fencing at Culver City's Westside Fencing Center, I squared off with someone new on the piste. It was a guy who had much more experience than I had, an accountant who competed in tournaments. We shook hands, stepped back and put on our sweaty helmets, squaring off in the en garde position. In any encounter, especially in the first encounter, fencers are assessing the capabilities of their opponent. As in any martial art, it's a contest where you look for patterns so you can disrupt them with an attack. Knowing your opponent is doing this as well, you try to throw them off by simulating patterns so that they might create a pattern when they attack into your pattern. That's when you can attack into their attack... provided that you first defend yourself with a parry, the one rule that makes the sport of fencing sensible.

Mutually assured destruction is a no-go among rational actors.

I don't know where my head was. I was thinking of my opponent's superior experience as a fencer and a character in the salle. I was thinking about the fencing club, the special and strange Westside Fencing center with the odd assortment of instructors, a panolply of characters straight out of central casting.

I advanced and my opponent retreated keeping distance, the cardinal rule in fencing. He adjusted his foil, I compensated. Then I started to mimic my recent instruction from the head coach Ted Katzoff, imitating his posture, a floppy hand and stomps with his feet. I said to my opponent: "This is the Katzoff style.", thinking I could get a chuckle out him.

My fellow combatant stopped and straightened out of his en guarde position. He took off his helmet skewering me with dagger eyes and said: "Is that what you're thinking?", with a slight aura of disgust. He popped his helmet back on and settled back into the en garde position.

A good hard touch.


A memorable lesson it was.


(Image Sources: Pitt and fencers.)

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All Human Actions

Dawn Kasper curatged a show at Cirrus Gallery called "All Human Actions", a title that I spontaneously remold in my head into "All Too Human... Actions". The Nietzschean twitch pointed me toward Kasper's apparent philosophical bent, an intuition that was confirmed when I spotted the Aristotle in her press release. Here's the best paragraph:

Action, and the role it plays in the careers of these three artists, is a theme of this exhibit. The works from these women weave through the possible Aristotelian causes of action - compulsion, habit, reason, passion, chance, nature and desire ? combining material logic and personal interests in a poetic search for connection.
I mean, once you whip out the Aristotle, you had better be able to fan the hammer of that big gun.

I wish that I had the presence of mind to video the tour of the show that Cirrus Owner Jean Milant gave me, so interesting and humorous in turns that I was thrown off taking my usual tiled panoramas. What initially seemed like a rambling friendship show rapidly radiated subtlies that prevented me from dismissing it offhand. The works of the three artists interlocked and the qualities of each seemed to indicate the qualities of the other, the lines and smooshes of scumbled color seemed to utilize the artwork as art material in the installation in a way that drew out the phantom word "Painting", as in "Action Painting" that was intimated in the curatorial statement.

Mimi Lauter delivers up painting in her pastels: compulsion, check; habit, check; reason, check; passion, check; chance, ummmm; nature, check check check; and desire double check. Deep base chakra red all over in her work in the show.

A detail of the crotch of the horns o' plenty. The lines scratch an itch. I look closer to search for a Chagall violinist flying out of a window in the pueblo.

Kasper's titles ("People Say I'm the Life of the Party") are resonant for me. I take my titles from proximity blogposts and the philosophical/literary reverb in her work i like very much. In this one, song lyrics follow in my head: "...'cause I tell a joke or two...".

Her spider web lines are all over the show...

I think I've seen this in a magazine recently, haven't I?

Lucy Indiana Dodd. What a name. Once I stepped into this part of the installation, I was ready to ride the snake. To the lake. Robert, Jean's number one assistant, called them the "Three Horsewomen of the Apocalypse", a friendly elbow to the rib. I haven't met the artists but after I was this deep into the show, I felt as if I already did.

Apparently, the install isn't complete until you sit in the polarized chairs. Macrame auras frame sight lines interrupted by a driftwood lingam, what's up with that?

Well, maybe it's better that way.

Deep inside and to the corner, a memento might serve as a skelton key to the installation:


Jean brought me back into the print shop to see Matthew Brannon print project now underway. Muy bien, Tio.

I had seen in passing, the superb article on Guy de Cointet in this summer's ArtForum but I was unaware that Matthew had contributed to it. A great tribute to a unique and wonderful artist who passed away far, far too soon.

Jean tipped me off to the quiet poem inserted into the crease of the magazine:

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Lari Pittman at Regen

The incomparable Lari Pittman opened at Regen's second space on Santa Monica Boulevard last weekend, much fun was had.

The show seemed as densely installed as Lari's compositions...

...but somehow I suspect one could appreciate the density of his paintings better if the installation isolated single or smaller groups of paintings. I walked through the space, spontaneously imagining a wall or two dividing the cavern up a bit.

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September 13, 2007


Today I talked to Nancy Meyer, Exhibition Coordinator for Michael Kohn Gallery (the big news: this is my gallery here in Los Angeles, Michael and I shook hands last May, my first show will open next Spring) and she described her thoughts in putting together the group show "ab?strac?tion" that will open this Saturday. The intention was to open up this idea/word, abstraction, something we artworlders talk about all the time but the idea has become hardened nut, few really can claim to know what it really means. It is interesting as a side note that there is a perception that the fashion in collecting has begun a swing away from representation (the eyes roll into the sockets... yea, yea... I know) and as the pendulum makes an approach towards its antipode, it would behoove us to break the nut up a bit and see what is in it.

(And speaking of nuts --nut brown for all you knuckleheads--, my friend Mario Correa, "the king of brown" has a painting up front and center.)


Curated by Nancy Meyer

Kathryn Andrews, Dan Bayles, Sarah Braman, Matt Connors, Mario Correa,
Matthew Higgs, Shana Lutker, Rebecca Morris, Maeghan Reid, and Lesley Vance

September 15 ? October 13, 2007
Reception for the artists September 15, 6 ? 8 p.m.

Michael Kohn Gallery is pleased to present ab?strac?tion, a group exhibition comprised of new work by emerging artists from Los Angeles and New York. Utilizing the language of abstraction, on view will be a wide range of paintings, sculptures and works on paper. From process-based works that employ the traditional methodologies of abstract painting and sculpture to more cross-disciplinary and conceptual approaches, the artists have also made work especially based on the literal meanings of the word ?abstraction.?

Dan Bayles depicts dystopic realities of the militarized American landscape. Originally an architectural proposal, his painting became a site-specific reinterpretation that is impossible to realize. Working in a similar vein, Maeghan Reid creates mixed media paintings of fantastical narratives and architectural structures that are culled from found materials and images. For his most recent series, Mario Correa is inspired by portraits from The Guinness Book of World Records. Like the obsessive participants, Correa?s methodical and gestural paintings are abstract interpretations of the human obsession to excel at even the most trivial of tasks. New York-based sculptor Sarah Braman juxtaposes different types of raw materials to resemble broken architecture. Matt Connors? suite of small-scale paintings, a collage by Rebecca Morris and a work by Kathryn Andrews are homages to modernism. Matthew Higgs? abstracted book cover brings attention to the composition, color and design, as well as typography and paper quality of the object. Shana Lutker, whose dreams often inform her projects, has created a new series of inkblot drawings for the exhibition and Lesley Vance presents a new painting that continues to explore representation and the different perspectives of plant life in the real world.

In its presentation, ab?strac?tion attempts to bring to light how abstraction is currently represented in contemporary art practice.

Darren Waterson has several works on paper up in the second space (very angular, different from the biological forms I've known in the past, it's as if he dialed his microscope down to a crystaline level of his appreciation for nature). I've followed his work over the years and I'm looking forward to meeting him Saturday.

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Tom Sachs at Gagosian LA

I dropped into to Gagosian to see Tom Sach's show.

Muy bien, tio.




And then upstairs, there was a ready room where you had to wear booties to get in.

And then there was a Houston Control Center.




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September 12, 2007

Pandora's Refuge

Alberto and Gemma and I have been talking (scroll down halfway to their pics) about the possibility of creating a biannual event in Tossa de Mar, a project which essentially is hosting a retreat for artworlders. Our general calendar is to firm up the writing this year (press release type abstracts, full flavor PDF's, and Keynote/powerpoint presentations), next year is to start pursuing funding, and the one after that the inaugural summer.

What follows is a disgorge of a first draft. It's a big mess but I hope that you
see what I see: that the basic idea might have some legs and the way to make it work is a nudge here and there. We have some thoughts about how to select the participants, and the rough outlines are that they must be informed talkers and should come from a wide spectrum of the artworld.

Without further adieu, here is the first publication of "Pandora's Refuge"*:

Working Title: Pandora's Refuge


For the art world: This is a proposal which seeks to configure a four to six week retreat for art world professionals in the heart of the Spanish and Catalan Costa Brava. This is intended to provide a setting for the exchange of ideas and in depth conversation, as well as a productive space for art making. The extended time frame is intended to provoke and record a deeper conversation about the state of the art world where we have been, where we are and where we are going.

For Tossa de Mar: This is a proposal for the transformation of the tourist industry which forms the economic base of Tossa de Mar. By hosting an annual artists' retreat, encouraging a free exchange of ideas and artworks, by recording these products and publishing them in order to concretize them as historical artifacts, the municipality of Tossa de Mar will be able to inaugurate a legacy of art dialog that will have the potential of garnering a high reputation and cultural achievement. By ratcheting up the reputation of the invitees and quality of hosting each year, Tossa will eventually be able to build not only a reputation but also draw the audience a segment of the culture industry, thus migrating the quality of the tourist visitor from the current mass tourism category to another value, "high" culture category.


(The first draft of the proposal:)

There is a synergy, a "perfect storm" of capacities, circumstances, needs and enthusiasms:

-Tossa has a need for a rejuvenated tourist economy. This is a possibility to grow a seed of arts-based tourism that is ripe with the possibility of lasting historical importance. Mass tourism as an economic strategy has been functional for Tossa, but merely so. In terms of the legacy of pueblo Tossa as a small fishing village by the sea there has been a durable resistance against the conventional metastasising urban development typical to beach cities such as Lloret. In terms of the glamorous historical legacy of Tossa, mass tourism has been an aberration if not a disfigurement. There has been an erosion of the cultural legacy there and the arts ambitions of Tossa need rejuvenation. Historically, high culture came to Tossa de Mar, but luck is something that should not be passively relied upon. If we want to sustain and grow the idea and reality of "Tossa, babel of the arts"(*2), then deliberate cultivation of the full spectrum of the arts at the highest level possible is an indispensable imperative for Tossa's future.

-Catalunya has a need to be recognized by the world at large for its unique historical cultural distinction. Few people outside of the EU know about the world of the Catalans. The potential of establishing a unique and powerful deep-content art activity in Tossa will carve a figure internationally.

-Barcelona, I know has an excellent art scene, but it is small and it is eclipsed by Madrid. Barcelona's art scene is like Dallas' situation (dated material, I hear that there is more than a kernal of young galleries now growing in Dallas): it has a strong top level (museums, foundations, etc.), an almost good enough middle level (galleries that sell high price point, high status art), and no bottom level (creative, hip and art smart knuckleheaded young artists). The ultimate vitality of any art city is measured by this bottom level. If art activity in Tossa is linked to art activity in Barcelona, as in a kind of suburb or adjunct to what is going on there (by sponsorship by Caixa Forum or something like that), then what we do in a small tourist fisherman pueblo can be seen as part of the art fabric that is Barcelona. It would be crazy not to connect the two.

-Spain, indeed has world class art activity, but much can still be achieved by connecting the art world within Spain not only to the art world within the EU, but the art world in New York, London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, etc. If we can bring people of a fine reputation into Spain/Barcelona/Tossa, host them for a time frame, cultivate and encourage creative activity, archive and market the products of that activity... then not only will Spanish/Catalan culture be enriched by this contact but the Iberian experience will be seeded in these influential people and seed the world.

-The Art World has a need for a time and space for reflection and vigorous contemplation. The situation of the international art world is as vibrant and robust as it is strange and in our time. It is supercharged with commerce, art fairs is the standard today. Not only are there multiple art fairs every single month globally, but there are upwards of tens of smaller sub art fairs that occur simultaneously at each event. What is missing today is a kind of contemplative congress, a refuge from an overdetermined marketplace, a time and place for a sustained reflection about the where we are culturally at this moment and where we are going as we proceed into the 21st century. In business, we call this a retreat. In academia, this is called a sabbatical. In Tossa, we can call this Pandora.


(We found an outline for developing projects, we used it to clarify our ideas.)

1) Title - What can we call this enterprise?

(I think we have settled on "Pandora's Retreat", a somewhat predictable nomination from Tossa's POV but I still has enough resonance that it could provoke and vex the project in appropriate ways. (The term "retreat" is troubling with the business overtones, but what else can do?))

*Note to Gemma and Alberto: I substituted "Refuge" for "Retreat", it sounded less corporate. The title is still in flux as you can see and we will certainly talk about it as time goes on.

2) Problem -disintegration of a legacy.

The international legacy of art in Tossa started up with the surrealists Chagall, Masson, Bataille (with Dali in Figueres, Picasso, Miro and Gaudi in Barcelona) then later it was extended and supercharged by Hollywood. Eva Gardner and Frank Sinatra brought glamour and a reputation for class in entertainment, dining and bars. After the 1950's, the arts did continue in Tossa but little occurred at the internationally recognized arena to extend the reputation as the "Babel of the Arts".

Masson and Bataille in Tossa de Mar April, 1936
Art is a garden, it must be cultivated to bear fruit.

3) Solution - Grow the legacy again.

4) Business Model - Host them and they will come: bring a better class of art (artist) (hubris haunts this construction) and you can bring their audience too.

To explain the strategy as simply as possible:

-invite art world figures (painters, sculptors, multimedia artists, writers/critics/theorists, etc.) to Tossa de Mar for a four to five week sabbatical, all expenses paid (airfare, food, lodging, studio space) in return for reproduction rights to artwork or other cultural artifacts produced during their stay. The idea is to host an inspiring context for reflection and creativity.

-Program events for congress and discussion, and secluded time for creative production. One week for introduction and immersion, three weeks for production (oh what a vexing word!) and a week for presentation and a celebratory party. Interface with the community with a culminating exhibition (that travels to Barcelona?).

-Virtually collect their products: by digital photography, audio recordings of conversations, or digital video.

-Process (graphic design among other ways) and archive the harvest of creative work (transcriptions of conversations, etc.). Create and publish DVD's, CD's, catalogs, books or equivalent products.

-Market these products year to year, gradually increasing the volume, reputation and status of the enterprise.

Tossa from on high.gif
5) Underlying Magic - This idea is special because it requires inspiration to succeed.

Art is magical indeed. Art is multidimensional. Art is everywhere. Art is where we want to be.

Tossa has a special creative and glamorous legacy that can be replenished and enhanced with this special retreat.

Cultural diversity and a global dialog is a dream that requires hard work and careful preparation to be realized fruitfully. The prospect of harvesting an unprecedented in-depth conversation centered on aesthetics is in itself magical.

6) Marketing and Sales - Again, the business model: Finding talent with an audience, hosting them for a period of time (promoting dialog), harvesting (and marketing) content, creating historical document (published product), doing it all again every two years.

The product of this activity is what will be the meat of the marketing and the enhanced reputation of Tossa as a true Babel of the arts is what will be sold.

We can and should start small and grow large, scale up. Every year, we use the accomplishments of the previous year to find bigger reputations to come to Tossa. After five or so iterations, we can have a remarkable situation that will put Tossa on the map in the artworld internationally.

This can be repeated for other art forms: music and film.

pandora poster.jpg
7) Competition - generally there are models to research (San Sebastian,
Tarrega, etc...) but specifically, there is no competition.


8) Management Team - Gemma Garcia Farreras (daughter of Barcelona, public relations expert, key to regional story and the P.R. needs of Catalunya), Alberto Barcia Fern?ndez (son of Tossa, young artist, key to the inside story and the political arena within Tossa de Mar.), Dennis Hollingsworth (son of Spain+USA, artist/painter, your friendly liason to the international art world).

9) Financial Projections and Key Metrics - 3 to 5 year forecast that
includes metrics

?????first draft alert!!!!!!?????
(We should probably keep the calculations by the vest at the moment, they are super, super primitive. The initial number crunching brought us to overall figures around 200,000 Euros.)

10) Current Status, Timeline, Use of Funds - How will you spend money
in the near future.

Our general calendar is to firm up the writing this year (press release type abstracts, full flavor PDF's, and Keynote/powerpoint presentations), next year is to start pursuing funding, and the one after that the inaugural summer.

(Link to Pandora in Wikipedia.)

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Monadology is indeed the best of all possible worlds.

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September 11, 2007

Rebuild Them


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September 8, 2007

It's Better that Way.


(I look like I have a goldfish in my mouth.)

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Summer Music 2007

A month ago, Alberto dropped in with a case of music and here are some of my picks:

I've listened to half of them, most of them in the 5 star category.

Yes, 5 star categories.

We've particularly enjoyed some of Kiko and Lourdes' music.

Googling for lyrics, I found the YouTube links of their music videos:




Morena Mia
Miguel Bos?

Here is a roughly patched together fan video of the duet version of Morena Mia with Miguel Bose y JulietaVenegas. Their voices compliment each other, this is a favorite of mine that I'm listening to all the time.

Pokito a Poko

I like the Andelusian reach into the muslim across the Mediterranean. A chambao is a beach encampment, as I understand the word. After a summer in Codolar, such a life is very appealing.

It is interesting to me that the styling of the band is very bohemian/hippy while the music is very suavecito, Sade style. Stephanie and I watched a Netflix movie El Bola and likewise, there was a plot structure that juxtaposed a kind hearted bohemian family against a cold hearted bourgeois (a fighting word, an insult in our art world) family father. But I thought that both families were striving to grow and prosper within the present system, that they were both bourgeois even though each occupied a different part of the spectrum. Likewise, true bohemians are repelled by the system, of society at large. Hobos in the old parlance, hermits, many of the homeless... much of us in the creative aspect of larger society adopt stylistic cues from those who have chosen to opt out. I believe I had touched upon this phenomenon in this post. The ambition to succeed within society at large defines us cleanly within the bourgeois category. A true bohemian wouldn't give a damn about art at all.

And yet still, art derives energy from this "other", the true bohemian, because transgression is fundamental to the story of art. In a way, we in the arts digest the hard realities and excrete express it into culture. We use artifice to do so, strategems. A story cannot tell everything becasue it would never end. So a storyteller must edit and in doing so lies at least a little bit. In doing this he contrives artifice to make it succinct enough to be able to tell the story so that we can recieve his meaning within a normal attention span. This is Picasso's famous "lie that tells the truth". The key notion that separates the wise from the foolish in all the arts is a self awareness of the indispensability and limitations of artifice.

Ahi estas tu

Con la mano levant?

More revolution.


Stephanie and I will be lerning Spanish (Castellano) for the rest of our life. Listeninng to o strong enunciation is imporant for a student, the less so as you learn more. Listening to lyrics is a good way to get started.

Wrap your lips around these palabras...

Mama Tierra (D?a Mundial de la Tierra)
A bette,r less polished/commercial version here,

Every time I listen to this I think of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me". I think of all the good that we've done over the years, how the skies have gotten cleaner in Los Angeles since we've lived here... and how the downward trend of our little part of the Mediterranean seems to dive into the muck. There's a scary decline in the dolphin population in the Bay of Biscay due to the agressive net fishing there. Crown of Thorn Starfish are reported to be devouring the Great Barrier Reef and whaling is not yet universally banned.

It's not a linear story, we've done good things and things go wrong, but that's life, isn't it? Things have been bad, things have been better, bad things continue to occur.

As long as we keep striving as art like this reminds us to do, everything will be alright.


Posted by Dennis at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

September 4, 2007

Penny Aphorism #10

Penny Aphorism #10:

All criticism is self criticism.

(Image Source.)

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Besides being Roger's gig, this line was my lure:


Note: Opening reception is September 8, from 4-7PM

The Glendale College Art Gallery opens the 2007 - 2008 season with its first international exhibition. U-TURN, a show organized by two Melbourne, Australia-based artists, Larissa Hjorth and Kate Shaw, has been funded in large part by a grant from also Melbourne-based Arts Victoria (

The sixteen artists named above will be featured in this show, and the selection of work is broad enough to touch upon a wide variety of approaches to art-making: from painting to photography, from single-channel video to video installation, from sculpture to architectural intervention. For those here in Los Angeles, U-TURN is an opportunity to compare our practices as artists (and the art-obsessed) to that of our counterparts in Australia...

(Emphasis mine.)

Half my family lives down under, we lived there for a short while when I was a kid.

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Departure for Los Angeles

Admittedly, this video is a mess... but then again my approach to video is kind of like the popular idea about deskilling that I have also critiqued in the past. Hipocracy, maybe. But then all critique is self critique after all. (Ahem.) Think of it as a Berta Style approach. Even so, this video moment is best paired with the next one to follow in this blogpost... but more of that later.

Someday, I want to give a slow tour of the house, a 5 min. shot of each floor.

It was built in 1703 as a cava winery. Later, it was a bodega where locals would bring sardines to cook over the fire, toasting Pan Catalan* and drinking cava from porrons. More of that later.

What is of note is that we are building a new kitchen. And a patio. But more of that later.

The filming was difficult while we were making our last checklist, so I shut it down to not be too much of a nut and attend to the important business at hand. Instructions to Kiko, Ramon, Miguel and Tanya had to be attended to, and the exit was the last chance to tie up loose ends.

As we made our way to the bus station; the first link on a chain of events that lead us back to LA: Bus to Barcelona, taxi to the airport, plane to Heathrow, plane to LA, taxi to the car, car to the house; we encountered a noisy group of people in front of Tossa's police station.

At first, I couldn't tell if it was a party or a protest...

The big guy crossing the street was going after me.*2 I could see the eyes of the police asa they were sizing up the crowd, people with the cameras were big priority features in their landscape. He tried to write me a ticket (una denunci?) saying something to the effect that filming the event was a provocation but as I spelled out my name ("ah-che oh, elle elle, eeee, ene, hee, ese, doubly-ooo, oh, arrre, te...), a comic moment wrinkled and the big guy looked up and said "?Estranjero?" and my mind ran to the anticipation of missing the bus for Barcelona because I would be soon sitting in a police station articulating my situation in poor Castellano. "Oh, this is going to be interesting real quick.", so my thought ran. "?Si!" I said with a smile. "?De vacac?ones?" "Si.", still smiling.

He waved us off and pivoted over to that other cameraman you might have noticed near the end of the video. We headed to the bus, relieved and amused uncomfortably in a thrill-park-type-of-ride kind of way.

We learned that it was a protest against alleged police abuse against drunken youth who were breaten up by police late last night, how bad I don't know. The shouting older guy with the gloved cowbell looked like a dad to me. We had seen posters in the street by the police about "hooligans" and violent activity recently, so it seems that the pollice were certainly primed for confrontation. There was also another incident that I had heard about in the early summer, but I chalked it up to the natural effluence that comes with tourism.

I still do. Pueblos, whose solitary industry is tourism should have a procedural, routinized response to this side effect of being a fun place by the sea. Maybe Tossa should go through drunken brawler training exercises where training is judged by artful minimal force methods.


They could make a town party of it.


* Good advice in that link, by the way. You gotta get juicy tomatos for your Pan Catalan, Tio.

*2 For me, this is a vivid illustration how a human eye works in comparison to what the camera can catch. We could simultaneaously see telescopically to sizeup the situation as well as navigate stereoscopically.

How wonderful life is.

Posted by Dennis at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)


Back in the saddle... the LA horse.

Stallions they are, SoCal and Catalunya.

Much to recount, a blogburst is about to happen.

Right now, it's time to play Macaco loud (Mama Tierra y Con la Mano Levanta) and knit the loose ends together.

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September 1, 2007

Nacho Over the Sea


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