November 28, 2008

Work on Paper



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November 24, 2008


Backing up once and once again.

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(Back Up.)

The painting:


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November 23, 2008

More Tomatoes in 2009

The tomatoes were such a hit that we thought we'd do it again a little better. Here's the plan.

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November 21, 2008

Seems Interesting

I'd love to attend.

My position on the matter? The framing of the question missed the point. The source of all ethics is human, so both art and equities are interchangeable and outside the question of ethics.

Maybe the question is framed better as: does art or the stock market favor humanity's dark side?* Something like that.

Check this out:

I guess it's all about the behavior we encourage from one another, isn't it?

*Update: Old news recently snatched back fro the memory hole:

It is becoming an increasingly obvious fact of economic history that the development of economic systems which concentrate on the common good depends on a determinate ethical system, which in turn can be born and sustained only by strong religious convictions. Conversely, it has also become obvious that the decline of such discipline can actually cause the laws of the market to collapse.
-Pope Benedict XVI, 1985.

I don't know about the stock market, but the art world is spectacularly disadvantaged in this regard.

Posted by Dennis at 12:47 AM | Comments (0)

Four Bears

Here is a chart that's worth pondering while scanning the recent news that MOCA LA is strapped for cash. They are looking for emergency "cash infusions"... does this sound familiar? Some say LACMA might take it over, some say that the remaining trustees have a responsibility to carry the water during the current recession.

Whatever the case, we all have a responsibility to survive and bob out on the other side. Maybe MOCA/LA will make it, maybe it won't.

As an aside, I've been thinking recently that the institutional level of the art world has been inadequate to the rapid acceleration of change, that it is optimized for an art world circa 1970, but since that era, there are far too many stories in the bloom of artists and art scenes worldwide, a bloom of stories that far exceeds the capacity of the institutional world to tell. Recall that the art world of 40's, 50's New York was tiny, Paris must have been tinier. How big is it now? Gigantic and getting bigger. Television went from the big three to hundreds of channels, the internet has an infinite number of "channels". And the museum... a show a month? What we need is a revolution in the institutional world. Survival might be easier for them if they adopt an insurgent's attitude. Maybe this revolution should involve something that has to do with the information age, to get small and nimble like an entrepreneur and multiply the channels, to find another way to conceive, acquire and maintain a collection? Just a thought.

Regarding survival, I like to remember that whenever the economy is doing gangbusters, things aren't as good as they seem. And when the economy is in the toilet, things aren't as bad as they seem. It's time for everyone to learn to surf the sinusoidal motion of the marketplace. It's as natural as the seasons and tides.

Oh yea, and the four bears? Notice that we are standing at a particular kind of brink: we are at the same lowest level of the past two recessions. We got there fast (but not as fast as '29) and the question today is just how deep will we descend in relation to the deepness of the Great Depression.

Check this out:
It appears that the dollar fell during the worst part of the bubble, and found buoyancy as soon as the bubble popped (an inverted metaphor!). Could the exchange rate be a convenient gauge of market health?

(Hat tip: Barcepundit Source.)

Posted by Dennis at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2008


Some recent history after the jump...

The short story: a scrape off after a week of grappling. I wanted to crack my egg but I think I broke the yoke too. Here's a peek at the monster, a Frankenstein it was, no amount of electricity could jolt the stitched chunks of flesh to life.

Two and two. Two paintings from the summer held the promise of more: The Wrecks of Nations (ww#312) and Damocles (ww#313). I was looking at two paintings by Goya: The Dog and Staurn, sometimes to one or the other I oscillated, no matter how far I amped it up, no matter how I drew on the horror of Saturn's mouth... like Dante climbing down into hell, I thought the only way out was to jump through Satan's ass, but as the clock ran out, I couldn't find the portal. Trapped in hell, I pulled the rip chord and scraped it off. The first iteration was broken into four quadrants, four paintings, all colors deployed, I realized that the scale of The Wrecks was central to the discovery of mad-scooping-as-drawing.

Fine. It was a scrape off.

So I plied the green and blue back on, spreading the reclaimed paint thinly across the surface. Most of the day was spent picking skin fragments off the surface, the result of which was to distribute the blue/green even more thinly across the exoanse. Decision trees abound in my studio, and at this point I chose away from following the Dog too closely in terms of amber, ochre. I had taken a cue of Goya's foundational colors of grey green, at least in the reproduction that I was looking at. After a long look, I noted a smear of black/umber... so I took the opportunity of uniting this color, skipped on the surface as it was, with a similar foundation color. The circus was finally tamed, and with representation handled in a gesture or two, I was able to find a feeling similar to that of The Dog of being lost, adrift, being dwarfed by montrous existence, the sting of mortality, all this made vivid -in black, green and a little ochre- the shock of current events.

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November 17, 2008

rabbi milkblood


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November 14, 2008

Un Pringado, No.

Young Alberto has made his move to Berlin, a young artist seeking his fortune in the premier art city of Europe, balls in his hands. He's staying in a hostel, and it seems that he was pickpocketed on his first day there... at least he has the company of cute roommates to soothe him.

Good luck and work hard, Alberto!

Here is his poem at the end of his first blogpost upon arrival:

Pues pa ser tan pringado,
y aunque ma?ana lo hechen,
veinte euros me ha costado
un trabajo "de aficionado"

y dudo yo que lo enderecen
mand?ndolo para otro lado,
pues para enderezarse
es menester levantarse
y este est? mejor acostado.

Cosas mejores hoy han pasado,
he visto arte, he paseado
he escrito este pareado, esta rima.
incluso habl? con la francesa de la litera vecina.

As? que con esto os cuento
que se que la culpa es m?a
por haber ya descuidado
la cartera el primer d?a.

A translation:
(this html is confounding me, so the first stanza is broken by /'s)

For being such a wretch
/Even if tomorow he is thrown out
/20 euros it cost me
/The work of a professional

It 's doubtfull that this changes him
Sending him to another place
'cause to change it is necessary
To get up and this one is
Better laying down

Better things have happened to me
I saw art, I went sightseeing
I wrote this this rhyme
I even spoke to the french woman
In the neighboring bunk

So, with I this I tell you
That the fault is mine
For not taking my wallet
In the first day.
Posted by Dennis at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

notes on the downturn

-For at least the past couple of years, I have heard people in our art world asking for an economic downturn to clean the streets of the corruption of art by filthy lucre. Well now we have one, people. A deep recession is here, and I hope they are all happy.

But the trouble is this: it seems that our art world needs an external force to compel an auto critique... we are apparently incapable of performing such an audit internally. The critical capacity of the art world is seemingly nonexistent, so dependent we are on it to get our critical house in order, something we have all known for some time.

Binge and purge, is this who we are? From Wikipedia: "Anorexia nervosa is deliberate and sustained weight loss driven by a fear of distorted body image." Does our art world have a distorted body image?

Worse still: we all seem to be complacent about such a condition.

-Many people I know have recently extended themselves into the risks that normally come with growth: I have recently doubled my studio space, several galleries here have moved to better, sometimes multiple locations, friends have moved into better houses, businesses have been started, everyone seems to have ratcheted up in new levels of enterprise. All this, into an economic downturn. Good luck everyone. May we all weather the storm well and bob out the other side with a harrowing smile.

-The root of the current malaise is singular: the nearly unanimous desire in our country to provide the American people with a chicken and a mortgage in every pot, the sole cause of the destructuring of the home loan industry. The problem isn't deregulation, the problem is broken regulation. Check out this Wikipedia entry on Community Reinvestment Act for a concise summary.

First the good intentions, then all hell breaks loose.

-The current malaise has two aspects: first, the broken regulatory structure of the mortgage industry, and second, the logrithmic tendency of "complex financial instruments" aka derviatives, aka hedge funds... see WikiP: "Derivatives allow risk about the value of the underlying asset to be transferred from one party to another." Yea, that's right, but for a price. Buyers of derivatives couldn't assess the true nature of the risk after they got scrambled up in multiple evolutions of these "complex financial instruments" (such jargon!), creepily resembling a shell game. Risk, like fire, is a natural part of life but after the mortgage industry had been tampered, risk became unreasonable, concealed, irrational, super-mega-nasty. We got burned badly. The financial instrument so defended by Alan Greenspan as a reasonable manager of risk became something like an accelerant to a fire when the nature of the risk became perverted.

-Recessions are normal, deep recessions are not. Our economy -worldwide- works soundly by and large. Sure, boom and bust cycles are an integral aspect of the market economy and economic bubbles are as natural to it as it is to champagne (or better, Catalan cava). This is a good moment to recall my favored description of Darwinism: survival of the fittest in times of scarcity and the proliferation of types in times of plentitude. Boom and bust, this too is the template of market economies. (This model has been tacitly accepted in our art world seemingly since the beginning of time.) Fine, let's celebrate it, but it is the size of the bubbles that is the problem here... and therefore the need for government to govern via prudent yet minimal regulation. The trouble is... our government seems to be incapable of the prudent-yet-minimal.

-The bailout seems to be a bailout solely for the politicians... of both parties. It is easy to concede that we need to catch the economy before it crashes, it is also untenable to have every ailing industry climb aboard this crude rescue apparatus. (Not to mention the pork and perks that abound along the way.) Creative destruction is as necessary as it is terrible, a sentiment usually accompanied by the saying: "better thee than me"... I just wonder if our government has the wisdom and the cojones (balls) to both apply it where needed and not apply it where it is not needed. Meanwhile companies such as American Express, the GM, and a few badly run states *cough*California*cough* bleat their case to crawl onto the safety net crafted by the seemingly bottomless taxpayer's pocket.

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November 13, 2008


I am honored to be included in a group show, Accrochage, at my gallery in Z?rich, Galerie Mark M?ller. It opens this coming Saturday.


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November 10, 2008


The title for the recent project with George Page will be Joge-e (Image Source: here.)


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November 7, 2008



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LA DriveBy


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November 6, 2008


Ahora 110608.jpg

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November 3, 2008




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