November 28, 2007


Talking to a Swiss artist at our local cafe the other day (he's now a citizen of the states), I learned that he is now painting for the first time. Young with arms tattooed to his shoulder blades, he was formerly working in film, trained at CalArts, I asked him the classic question: why painting?

He talked about a kind of finality in painting, the absence of which he missed in the world of moving pictures or whatever.


Which brings to mind a bit of Chesterton:

Critics are much madder than poets.
Homer is complete and calm enough; it is his critics who tear him
into extravagant tatters. Shakespeare is quite himself; it is only
some of his critics who have discovered that he was somebody else.
And though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in
his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.
The general fact is simple. Poetry is sane because it floats
easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea,
and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion,
like the physical exhaustion of Mr. Holbein. To accept everything
is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only
desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in.
The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician
who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head
that splits.
This might be the kind of paradox that Chesterton would appreciate, that the finality of painting enables us to build the poet's raft. Seeking the infinity of media over the infinity of meaning seems to induce a splitting headache.


and more:

Anarchism adjures us to be bold creative artists,
and care for no laws or limits. But it is impossible to be
an artist and not care for laws and limits. Art is limitation;
the essence of every picture is the frame. If you draw a giraffe,
you must draw him with a long neck. If, in your bold creative way,
you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck,
you will really find that you are not free to draw a giraffe.
The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world
of limits. You can free things from alien or accidental laws,
but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like,
free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes.
Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump: you may be freeing him
from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles
to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle
breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end.
Somebody wrote a work called "The Loves of the Triangles";
I never read it, but I am sure that if triangles ever were loved,
they were loved for being triangular. This is certainly the case
with all artistic creation, which is in some ways the most
decisive example of pure will. The artist loves his limitations:
they constitute the THING he is doing. The painter is glad
that the canvas is flat. The sculptor is glad that the clay
is colourless.

Posted by Dennis at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2007

no, no, no

Check out the interview:

DL: ...You referred to yourself as an old Jewish man about music.

Amy: I do!

Click around, an interesting site, the DL beta

Posted by Dennis at 1:16 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2007

The Poppy Said to the Wheat

The Poppy Said to the Wheat
ww# 282
112 x 244 cm (44" x 96")


Posted by Dennis at 6:14 PM | Comments (0)

Fly Far and Wide

Very Interesting:

Accusing all modern art of being left-wing probably doesn?t get us very far. What might be more useful is to ask whether there is a dominant consensus when it comes to political attitudes in modern art today. Is art good at presenting alternative perspectives and shaking our worldviews, or does much of it congratulate us on our prejudices? If we?re honest, most of us would probably have to say ?yes?, in as much as wider contemporary society can be dominated by bland consensus and conformity. Of course, there is still challenging and provocative art, but perhaps not as much as we?d like. Even Nicholas Hytner at the National Theatre complained about wanting a really good ?mischievous right-wing play? to shake things up a bit. If we take him at his word - that he?s not censoring them when they land on his desk - then why are these spiky, thought-provoking works not being written?

There are some rather obvious gaps. For instance, there?s plenty of anti-war art out there (think of Mark Wallinger?s State Britain, which is the recreation of Brian Haw?s eccentric protest on Parliament Square, or the spate of anti-war plays produced, like David Hare?s Stuff Happens, or the verbatim plays at the Tricycle Theatre), but where?s the pro-war art? It?s a minority view, but it?s intriguing that for all its spirit of experimentation and shock, no one in the arts is prepared to explore this argument further. And with all this concern for community art, there are a few communities that never seem to get much airtime. In the 1980s there were lots of agitprop plays about the impact of mine closures on working-class communities, so where are the plays about the end of foxhunting in the countryside? Most obviously, where is the satire about radical Islam or the ultimate attack on political correctness? When an issue so dominates in the media (and has, potentially, so much comedy value), why hasn?t anyone really touched it?

Although the political compass is changing, so-called radical artists usually stick to what?s comfortable. It?s very easy to be anti-Bush these days, but try being anti-recycling. You?ll be branded a heretic and lose your friends in high places very quickly. Indeed, there is hardly any artistic critique or satire about environmentalism, even though the majority of people in surveys feel deeply ambivalent about being hectored about flying, carbon footprints and so on. Never mind Jerry Springer: The Opera, or even ?Mohammed the Opera? (if any artist would dare to do such a thing), Al Gore is practically crying out for his own musical! The artist Mark McGowan is one of the few artists who has managed to spoof environmentalism. He once tried to ?raise awareness? about pollution in Britain?s rivers by publicising the fact that he was going to dump a tonne of waste in the Thames. On another occasion, he announced he would leave a tap running in his London gallery to raise awareness of wasted water. On cue, green protesters arrived to try to turn it off. Why isn?t there more of this in our age of supposed irreverence and playful postmodernism?

More crucially, however, what passes for ?radical? these days is actually quite conservative and reactionary in character. In 2001, the artist Michael Landy publicly destroyed all 7,277 of his possessions in a former C&A shop on Oxford Street. ?Breakdown? was supposed to be a statement about consumerism, the pressure of material wealth, money doesn?t make you happy, etc - practically Church of England stuff. Much of contemporary modern art displays our own pieties. As the editor of spiked Brendan O?Neill has argued, Marc Quinn?s preachy statue, ?Alison Lapper Pregnant?, displayed more elitism about individual identity being shaped by nature than even the imperial Victorian statues she shared Trafalgar Square with (see Statue of limitations, by Brendan O?Neill).

As many critics would accept, it?s a tough challenge to bring politics into art without losing some subtlety. It is a very rare thing for artists to hit the right political note without their work looking like a simplistic didactic message. Picasso?s ?Guernica? (1937) is a rare example of a painting that succeeds as propaganda and art ? telling the world about the Luftwaffe bombing of the Spanish town, while also screaming out the existential misery of twentieth-century warfare. But, as the art historian Simon Schama notes in his book The Power of Art, much of Picasso?s work and politics afterwards was too closely aligned to Stalinism to achieve the same effect again. The radicalism of an artist in his art does not necessarily correlate to his politics. Salvador Dali, possibly the most subversive artist of the twentieth century, supported Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

Which is why it is hard not to feel a sense of relief when fine artists today avoid bringing politics into their work, especially when you know how bad their politics can be. Thank god for a bit of apolitical postmodernism, one might say.

She goes on to say quite a bit more, this writer from Britain, Munira Mirza.

And as for me?

Some people are left wing. Some are right.

I have two wings and I fly very very far and wide.

Everyone else flops around in circles.


More here:

Arts, Faith and Freedom

For a Free Art School

Manifesto Club

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

Acrobatic ChinaTown

(The performer is Mongolian, something I missed in the video.)

Posted by Dennis at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)

Hiroshi Sugito Opens Friday

Hiroshi will open this week in NYC, I wish I could be there!

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery is pleased to present under the cloud, an exhibition of new work by Hiroshi Sugito, running from November 30 to January 5, 2008. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 30, from 6-8 pm.

Rooted both in a contemporary Japanese aesthetic and in the traditional painting style of Nihonga, Hiroshi Sugito makes paintings that elude both categories. Using delicate layers of acrylic and dry pigment, the artist begins with an ambiguous painted space into which figurative elements are introduced, creating a slow-burning tension that quietly but insistently questions the role of painting as object and site.

From his early works, which featured elements such as towers, ships, rockets, and small fighter planes, to more recent works in which a space such as a stage, pond, or mirror becomes a gateway to another world, Sugito?s paintings subtly oscillate between abstract and concrete, strange and beautiful, familiar and estranged. In the artist?s words: "I start moving my brush like walking into the woods, away from everything, and I want words and meanings to lose their power and just fade away."

These new works continue Sugito?s exploration of other worlds, visually evoking tactile sensations such as hardness and coolness as well as intangible feelings and musical tones. According to the artist, the motif of the ?connecting man? in these works evolved from an almost musical approach to the painting process. The artist writes: ?I have been using my paint in bowls and buckets like a drum set. Three years ago I started using a palette thinking of it as a piano. And finally now, I'm looking at my brushes wishing to use them like a theremin.?

Hiroshi Sugito was born in Nagoya, Japan, where he lives and works. He has exhibited frequently throughout Japan, Europe and the United States including 2006 solo exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas and The Sculpture Garden Museum, Vangi Museo, Shizuoka, Japan and such exhibitions as The Door into Summer: The Age of Micropop at Art Tower Mito, curated by Midori Matsui Painting and Art at the Edge of the World at the Walker Art Center, curated by Douglas Fogle. This is the artists? sixth solo show with the gallery.
Posted by Dennis at 6:48 AM | Comments (0)


Luego 11 2007.gif

Posted by Dennis at 6:38 AM | Comments (0)



Posted by Dennis at 6:28 AM | Comments (0)

Jim Butler and Others

Longtime friend Jim Butler is in a blunderbust of a group show at BravinLee, featuring Jim's crazy glasswork I shot some video of last year:

Ornament: Ho Hum All Ye Faithful
Along with new friend Maya Hayuk too...


Posted by Dennis at 6:25 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2007

Garcia Family Chronicles

"I was born in Bacolod, on the island of Negros Occidental...."

For years I've been trying to talk my mother into writing about our family history with no luck. My grandfather Pacifico Garcia was quite a patriarch and his story leads back into the mists of Philippine history: of datus, Spanish priests, of arguments with overbearing Americans that led to fistfights that led to family ruin, of a struggle from poverty to professional status as a lawyer and to the edge of political life in Manila... She always talks about writing an Ang Lee type epic someday, and I am keen on the idea but for some reason, her fingers have yet to fly on the keyboard.

Last summer I was having coffee in Tossa with her at La Granja coffee shop and I flipped open my digital camera and shot a movie, asking her to recount our family history. This is four segments edited from the first two sessions.

I intend to groom this post from time to time and elaborate a rough oral history. this will be a blogpost that will always be one that is in progress.

Bacolod Days: from sugar cane plantations to money lending... (!)

WWII: the Japanese occupation of the Philippines

Occupation days, continued. Angel sings Japanese schoolyard songs.

To be continued, BLOGPOST IN PROGRESS...

Posted by Dennis at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2007

Diamonds are Forever


koons2 copy.jpg
More here.

Posted by Dennis at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2007

New York Last Week Thereabouts

NYNY 18th Street.gif
After a whirlwind short but near perfect week in New York, I noticed trouble when I awoke Sunday morning to prepare to take the E train to the airport: a sore throat. After all that human contact, I must have inoculated myself with some microbe along the way.

My immune system is under siege.

The result was a drag of a week after the return, punctuated with long hours of tech support as I rigged up to shoot and process movies of studio visits with a Sony Handicam and iMovie '08, and a ship out of paintings to Miami. More about that later to be sure.

Meanwhile, I have a pile of fotos to share with you. It's time to chop some wood....

Before I went to New York
I stopped in to Andrew Hahn's open studio as he prepared to ship work off to his gallery in Paris. In his "Siamese Origins", Andrew seems to be fusing Gustav Courbet's "Origin of the World" with David Cronenberg..


Click on the image to see Andrew's paper folding detail, paper imitates stretched canvas. All of his work was doing this.

Andrew's looks into the horrible face of death and it's got him riveted. For example, he knows so much about Forest Lawn Memorial Park here in adjacent Glendale that I've asked him to give a tour that I'll record on video. Excellent. I'm looking forward to that.

Traces of Fontana, Bu?uel, Hitchcock, the Black Dahlia, ummm Chuck Close....

...and Paul Klee



Late that evening, I looked my old friend Joel Mesler as he was overseeing the installation at his Rental Gallery for a new show for a gallery from Basel Switzerland: Patricia Low.

The image above: a painting from Maya Hayuk, who I met for the first time that night at Rental as she was painting site specific wall paintings for the show. More than simple chemistry, Maya is a wonderful person, motivated by curiosity and full of gratitude. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her. A young artist who is just getting her groove on as the ground rises up to her footsteps, she lives in Williamsburg, her folks immigrated to the States from the Ukraine not too many generations ago. I happily asked her about her roots (I once knew a few Ukrainians here in Echo Park LA, our old landlords back in the day, remarkable people they were), and she was excited to tell me all about her heritage, one that led through Russian oppression to Attila the Hun and thereabouts.

It was an interesting night that lasted until 4:30 am. The bars in the Lower East Side are super cool, by the way.

Hangover. Oh man.

Earlier in the day, Aaron and his wife Sharon (a great sculptor, by the way) stopped by the gallery with their baby Joy in tow.

Later in the evening: the opening of my old friend Aaron Parazette's show at Marlborough's new Gallery in Chelsea.



(Pardon me whilst I play with a new way to show people in places...)

Aaron has a nice mention in ArtNet Magazine by Walter Robinson, here's the link. Check it out.

If g-d is in the details, one should expect such perfection as we see here. (Interesting to connect Mies with Aaron. Mies was a methodical son of a mason, Aaron is a methodical son of an architect. I'm just sayin'.)



Richard Prince at the Guggenhiem: I liked Prince better before I saw this show.


Studio Visit: Joanne Greenbaum




Studio Visit: Doug Henders




In this generation, the laptop equals a sketchpad and pencil.

Trade secrets revealed.

Finding g-d in Doug's details is bit difficult when the jpegs are blurry, but you can try to see what I was trying to capture here and here.

Context for the video: we were hanging out prior to our trek to Rental Gallery in the Lower East Side, beers and cheese and chocolate, mystic party music overhead while Sharon talked to a friend on the phone nearby as daughter Joy slept on the couch. I flipped on the camera and stepped out back for a minute to let the camera catch the discussion that Aaron was having with Doug about his paintings, another device to disarm paralytic self consciousness. As a slice of studio crit life, this works just fine.

Pip, aka Philip, Joel's Number One. They kicked their butts this week setting the show up. If you look close, you'll see the toothpicks in his eyes.

Rental NYC 11 2007 2.jpg
Robbie and I hung out a little bit too. He's a writer and his office looks onto Union Square from a perfect sniper's nest, a marvelous urban escondido in the bowels of a New York midtown city block. The building is a warren of corridors built probably before the subways were built. The hallway floors are held together with a fierce glaze of highly polished wax over a brittle ancient linoleum tile surface.

Rental NYC 11 2007 a.jpg
For some reason, I didn't flip the camera open during the party. These pre-party shots in the fading Manhattan light are all I have of a great night, meeting many fine and interesting people.

Posted by Dennis at 8:51 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2007


I'm back from New York, another whirlwind trip. Much has happened. I'm crunching fotos and jelling my head to relate the experience here in the blog.

Jelling. I'm a jeller.

True, I've been a bit introspective... quiet here in these webpages. When I'm in the crunch of painting, I tend not to chatter in the blog. Blogging (a.k.a. "writing") is a parallel art form, something I respect enough not to take for granted yet at the same time I recognize the need for chutzpah in any creative enterprise, especially in a new one.

I'm also thinking about blogging and the big news is of my recent agreement to write blogposts for the online art magazine Glasstire, "...contributing on a semi-regular basis...". This is a big decision for me. The commitment to write in a way that shifts even ever so slightly away from avocation to vocation (they are offering a paltry token modest small yet decent compensation for the task and so they can ask for something specific: some kind of account of life here in LA) is important to ponder. You see, Glasstire will be expanding next year their empire from an online magazine covering Texas art to an online magazine covering Texas and California art. The draft of a limited number of bloggers to their online magazine is part of this strategy.

In the meantime, I've spent most of my first day back wrapped up with support phone people, trying to make my iMovie '08 work in a new Mac Mini. I'm setting up a closed circuit movie making situation in the studio. I've bought a Sony Handicam and my intention is to capture butterflies of moments of conversation and crunch them into movies to share with you all in the blog and elsewhere. But so far, the featured program quits unexpectedly at startup, I can't get past the bouncing icon in the dock without the dreaded dialog box from popping up. I'm sure the solution is simple but so far, finding one isn't.

(foto: Joel Mesler in a golden moment at Rental NY)

Posted by Dennis at 1:12 AM | Comments (0)

November 7, 2007


I'm setting off for the Burbank airport to fly to New York for five days. I'll be seeing my old friend Aaron Parazette's show that will open tomorrow at Marlborough Chelsea, the Micha?l Amy curated show "Quirky" at the Westport Arts Center on Friday and my old buddy Joel Mesler who will host another show on Saturday, this time its Patricia Low Gallery from Switzerland.

I hope to be able to bump into some of you there!

Posted by Dennis at 4:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2007


Professor Micha?l Amy curated *me into a show called Quirky:

November 9? December 19, 2007
Curated by Micha?l Amy
Opening: Friday, November 9, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Curator?s Talk: Thursday, November 29, 7:00 pm
Morning Art Talk: Quirky in Context with Tom O?Connor: Thursday, December 6, 9:30-11 am

Quirky, an exhibition of contemporary painting and sculpture curated by Micha?l Amy, opens at the Westport Arts Center on Friday, November 9, with an opening reception from 6:30 ? 8:30 in the gallery at 51 Riverside Avenue. The show features work by Dennis Hollingsworth, Shirley Kaneda, Jonathan Lasker, John Newman, Paul Henry Ramirez, Heide Trepanier, and Sofi Zezmer.

?We were intrigued and then captivated by Micha?l Amy?s concept for this show,? said Eileen Wiseman, executive director of the Westport Arts Center. ?Quirky appeals to a wide range of gallery visitors?scholars, artists, school children, casual visitors. The show has an inherent sense of purpose, and also a sense of humor.?

Quirky explores idiosyncrasy, the seemingly accidental twists of color, composition and texture that are found in contemporary abstract painting and sculpture. The works in Quirky playfully mock formalist principals of painting, and crosses the boundaries of decorum and ?good taste? through use of vibrant colors and unexpected forms. These lively, eccentric works challenge the status quo, defy categories, and rebel against a culture of conformity.

According to curator Micha?l Amy, ?Quirkiness has rich antecedents in the history of art. From the eccentricities of Bosch and Bruegel, through the invented biomorphs of Miro and the gentle humor of Klee, to the inimitable drips of Pollock, the idiosyncratic has always held great appeal.?

Tom O?Connor, co-chair of the Westport Arts Center?s visual arts committee, said, ?Quirky is a visually engaging and buoyant exhibition that celebrates the idiosyncratic in the face of an increasingly homogenized culture. While each of the artists brings his or her own very particular artistic personality to bear, they all share an acute visual intelligence that reflects a profound engagement with the issues in contemporary art.?

Micha?l Amy is a critic, art historian, curator and lecturer, and an associate professor of art History in the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology. He received his doctorate and master of arts from New York University?s Institute of Fine Arts, and his BA from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. He has written for The New York Times, The New York Sun, Art & Antiques, Burlington Magazine, Viator, Apollo, the Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, DITS and CAA.Reviews. His book One to One: Conversation avec Tony Oursler (Brussels, Facteur Humain) appeared in 2006. He is a frequent contributor to Art in America, Sculpture and tema celeste. Amy lives and works in New York City and Rochester.

It just so happens that I will be in NYC next week, and I just might be able to jump on the train to make it to the opening this coming Friday night.

Here's what comes to mind when I consider the idea of quirk in painting:

When I touch tool to canvas, there are times when the paint looks better on the tool than on the canvas surface. It's a bit comedic, a happy circumstance. Sometimes, I'll scoop a mass of paint off the paper palette and notice something marvelous left behind.

The spiny blobs that I call monads came into being on the day I lifted a palette knife from a blob of paint. The cowlick that spring from my withdrawn tool was wonderful, and I did it again and again. I eventually spun the licks round hemispheres of paint to render a potentially endless array finite as the licked hemisphere closed in on itself.

Art is as simple and as difficult as paying attention.

Here's something I wrote about the subject last spring, working on a set of monotypes at Cirrus:

Jean's point man on this project is Francesco X. Sigueiros, a grandnephew of the great Mexican painter. He owns his own press called El Nopal and he also teaches at three schools locally. Francesco sports a laconic demeanor, he likes to joke in Spanish with his assistant Lino. Since I'm a perpetual student of Spanish/Castellano, I asked them not to translate unless I ask for it. Immediately, Francesco taught me what would be a recurring word: "ojete" (phonetically spelled), which means something like a mistake or a goof up. "Where did that come from?" I asked, looking for the entymological root. "O.J. Simpson", as in don't pull a boner like O.J. did.

To orient them to what I might be looking for in the monotypes, I talked about how one can be working away on a painting, perhaps frustrated, and then a glance at the pallette or pallette knife reveals the most marvelous manifestations of paint. I said that the objective is to be alert for kismet that occurs at the edge of the "radar screen" and find a way to get that marvelousness onto the canvas or paper, in this case. That means we started with some experimentation, goofing around in "ojete" territory.

And later:

...We woud be in an experimentalist mode, a little bit of a goofy mood, ojete territory for sure. With each pull, we would study the result, forensic notes for the next attempt. Accident and deliberate intention following one after the other in rapid succession...

...Momentum rolled as we kept catching glimpses of beautiful kismet all about -on the drum, off the taped boundaries of the steel bed, even on the back of the paper as the medium soaked through. I kept asking: "How can we get this onto the paper?" So we kept inventing other forms of printing -blotting paper directly off the bed by hand, blotting off other wet sheets, printing off the rollers as we spritzed it with mineral spirits and water.
Posted by Dennis at 4:08 PM | Comments (0)


Take it easy: Relajate, Calmate, No pasa nada, No te preocupes, Tranquilo, Paso a Paso...

Posted by Dennis at 2:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2007


Here's a big shout out to THE BLOGGER SHOW massive five venue Pennsylvania-New York extravaganza opening tomorrow night. And here's a bigger shout out to Bill Gusky, of ArtBlog Comments fame (Bill's been making some very interesting turns in his studio recently) and Steve LaRose, (who is preparing for a show here in LA soon) both have work in the exhibition(s).

All the best, break a leg y'all.

Posted by Dennis at 1:43 PM | Comments (0)

What's up with you?

Jacques is grooving on Pinker, here's a slice:
"Freedom's just another word for --nothing left to lose...", Jacques s having a Decker moment:
The inevitability of death is great to meditate on so that mortality ceases to be an abstract concept and becomes the impetus for personal individuation. In this vein I'm really beginning to embrace the theory of living my beliefs and putting it all on the line rather than engage in a complicit massage of the system for personal gain. It could be a bad idea from an evolutionary perspective, but I guess I don't really care at this point. Institutions are not the meaning of life. And it's way cool to actually believe in something. What's up with you?

That's right, Jacques. Bureaucracy is the natural enemy of art. Go get 'em. I'll watch your back.

Old friend, fellow blogger and Chi-town neighbor Jacque de Beaufort is kicking butt over at his blog. I saw the Gerald Davis Show, a great show, a great artist, paintings to marvel at and Jacques has a remarkable post on it. He's been getting into Steve Pinker's "The Blank Slate". My Pinker foto-grab above goes on to this:

The conviction that artists and connooisseurs are morally advanced is a cognitive illusion, arising from the fact that our circuitry for morality is cross-wired with our circuitry for status.

Posted by Dennis at 9:50 AM | Comments (0)