June 28, 2009



Posted by Dennis at 3:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2009


Posted by Dennis at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Summer, 2009.

Since arriving to Tossa a little over three weeks ago, my biggest question was how much of this experience is presentable in the blog. There are several problems involved in blogging, here is a quick list of a few from the top of my head:

-Dave Hickey had once stated that he had left literature for art criticism because he had felt that as a writer of fiction, he was cannibalizing life for art and with art criticism, he was performing something more like a public service and less like the ongoing sabotage of a life lived. (See Prior Convictions. For those not acquainted with Dave Hickey, this and this is a nice start.)

Something like that.

- Too Much Information that tends to destroy the Olympian effect, so necessary in the formation of the classical art career. Come on, don't you have the occasional fantasy of what and with whom Brice Marden is having for lunch, where ever he is having lunch... in the Hamptons maybe? What kind of music does Ed Rusche listen to... ...in the shower? And how does John Currin really feel about the sad and desultory passing of Michael Jackson and Farah Faucett? We want to know these things, and we don't know these things, and so we want ever so much more to know such things, the less we know of such things.

Therefore, they are famous.

Don't you remember the laws of dating in high school? Or Woody Allen's maxim about belonging to a club?

We don't know these things, and perhaps we shouldn't know these things, and yet modernity is heaving us to an immediate future where all of us can publish at a fingertip. And if there are those who decry this trend, let them defend their critique in the face of all the twittering that is justly demolishing the oppressive patriarchy in Iran in this moment, so acute.

TMI? Too much information in an information age? Perhaps even so, when the truism has yet to be overturned that "familiarity breeds contempt".

But then, even as our flood of information approaches totality, we might never reach it. There is always something omitted, the ellipsis always remains... (I remember something about Bertrand Russell wrestling with continuous numbers in a book that I'm reading about Paradox...) ...ah, elipsis!

- Time! I still can't justify Tweets and FaceBook yet, especially when I regard them as diminutives of classical blogging. I mean, do you really want to know just how delicious the pan Catalan was for me last night? I can barely manage this blog as it is!

When I started this blog back in 2003, my wife and I were about to begin our homesteading trip to Spain, to Tossa de Mar, and this blog was a perfect way to document the experience and keep in contact with friends and galleries. It was and still is, a virtual studio visit. But what was once remarkable is in danger of becoming mundane. Take Tocquen a Correr, for example. Next week, Tossa will host another annual Toquen a Correr. I've blogged about it in 2007 and when I blogged it again in 2008, I sequestered the point of view to a series of portraits of young Alberto as the Sardana music blared in the streets below my studio. And when the kids fill the streets of Tossa next week, ?Que?


I guess that will always be the eternal mandate of art, of modernity (are they synonymous?): to make it anew. And thus, I guess I've answered the question posed at the beginning of this post: what do I blog? As much as I can make anew.

It's time to renew our dance together.

Here are a couple of videos that I've had time to splice together, one old:

Another beach video, I know.

It's so good, though. To be there, that is.

...and one a bit new:

This summer, Woodbury University visited Tossa de Mar for an quick assignment to study the town via photographs and photo constructions. Led by Gerard Smulevich and David Freeland, and assisted by young Alberto Barcia Fernandez (now working in Berlin), they were able to make contact with the local mayor (alcadessa) Imma Colom i Canal to present their work to her. This is a video compilation of the preparatory work prior to the ultimate presentation.

Posted by Dennis at 12:16 AM | Comments (3)

June 24, 2009

Please Stand By

Regular blogging to resume shortly...

Posted by Dennis at 4:53 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2009



Posted by Dennis at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2009

Corpus Christi 2009

I don't think Gerry had Corpus Christi in mind when he took his students to Tossa for a day trip of kayaking and touring the town yesterday. As the afternoon grew long, the town was abuzz with people preparing their streets with flower designs for the selected church virgins (emergent teenagers) to trample them with a parade of priests, town politicians, town folk and a police escort. Typical for me, I greeted them to Tossa, took them on an arcing tour of the pueblo to our house so they could doff their bags and jet off on their adventures. Of course, I had my hands full prepping large canvases, I could only tag base with them from time to time.

Here are some of the eleven students after their forced march of fun. I usually don't like spectators in the studio, but these guys were locked on my activities as I sweated stapling down the canvas before the glue sets. A group portrait reverses the roles of performer/performance and I got to document the moment here.

As they trod off to the bus station, I stapled onward, finishing my work as the town was garlanded with flowers, the strange horns of the marching band blaring outside my window. Again, I defer life for the demands of the studio... but with my window at street level, I had an opportunity to catch a glimpse of part of the procession:

Posted by Dennis at 7:34 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2009

Catch Up

So sorry for the incommunicado. It's time to play catch-up.

As some might have surmised, I'm in Tossa. It's going to be a fantastic summer. Stephanie will be with me in a little more than a week. Henry Taylor will be staying with me for the entire month of August, we're going to tear up the studio. Other surprise visitors will drop in now and again, it's best to keep the information close to the vest until the events pop. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and blogging more than the rate that you have thus far seen has been impossible. Or seemingly so. This is a brief account of what has happened so far.

Starting with a cell phone lost at the East gate of Terminal 3 at Heathrow: I was extra-especially, carefully patted down at the security checkpoint... a sad yet ultimately mundane tale which I will spare you with the details. Kiko was kind to pick me up at the airport sans one key piece of luggage. Missing articles of baggage is starting to be a probable event when traveling via British Airways.

Every night since then has ended around 4am. Cava, cava, brindis, whisky, whisky, cava cava, whiskey, whisky, packs of Camels, an occasional shimmy-shimmy-coco puff on the dance floor. Gerry (Gerard Smulevich) rolled into town Friday night. A kayak maniac, his lusty desire to row the coves and caves along the coast is insatiable.

Last Saturday after a kayak trip, Kiko made a paella and just as he and Lourdes brought out the wonderful dish, Alberto's beaming bearded bedraggled face was at the gate. His Columbian/German friend Nicolas from Berlin was with him, they had just bicycled a wide arc through Northern Europe through the Netherlands, France. They finally booted for a train that would buy Nicolas a week in Tossa before he takes off for Pamplona to run with the bulls. They told tales of the road warrior: of making meals from discarded groceries; of sleeping at a drop in any improvised hidden spots on the road along the way; of meeting many kind people and some hard ones; of pretty girls who, like sirens invited them off the road for a respite. Gnarled, tangled hair, heavily stubbled faces, t-shirts stained with sweat and road dirt, they tore into the rabbit and sausage buried in paella rice, cava toasts all around several times. Praises were sung all round for the dish. Afterwards, a huge bowl of candied strawberries and cortados as they reported on their year in Berlin. To my relief, it was a great experience. Stories of people were shared, so many from so many parts of the world there, Berlin is a perfect place for the young artist to survive and prosper in grand style.

After siestas, a rendezvous at a tiny bar that to my eye looks handmade. It was an early night, we said, but conversations nudged the edge of daybreak.

Sunday, more kayak. Then cava at Kiko's patio with neighbors as everyone traded challenges of feats of mental agility: matchsticks on the table shoveling trash, connecting the nine square x's with four straight lines in sequence, the strange wood sphere puzzle made of seven interlocking parts. Laughter and teasing and exasperation in turns.

Handshakes at the bus station, I saw Gerry off as he returned to Barcelona (he heads the study abroad program for the school of architecture at Woodbury University, we taught together for 8 years long ago). I turned to the work waiting for me at the house. Six crates had to be stowed properly. They are like acorns stashed into the corners for some future occasion, better to make new work than adorn the house with older stuff. The dining room had to be cleared out and prepared as a improvised studio, I have plans for a large diptych at the get-go.

The doorbell rings and it's Alberto and Nicholas. Soft drinks and cigarettes into the night, we talked about Berlin, about how to survive with great style, of religion and life and the girls they met there. They took off after 2am, I managed to get to sleep two hours later.

I had to wake up at 8am to catch a bus for Barcelona for a lunch with Miguel Marcos, a five hour marathon of foreign language comprehension. Delightful as always, important business issues were salted with wry and ribald humor, with deep philosophical commentary... my brain, struggling to form new dendrites all along the way.

I made my way to the airport to rescue my baggage from customs, bouncing from official to official like a pin ball and finally I wrested my property and made my way back home.

There's much more work to do...

Posted by Dennis at 3:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2009

LA Studio


Posted by Dennis at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

In the news: Tossa & Sex on the Beach

We caught sight of this news item on TVE recently: Tossa's mayor decided to ban sex on the beach.


I get to tease my friends soon: "What have you guys been doing since I've been gone?" "Has Tossa turned Taliban now?" And, "What exactly constitutes a sexual act, legally? ...dime la verdad!"

I didn't think we had such a problem. Sure, one occasionally hears of such things, but isn't this a private matter? Isn't a dark night at the surf's edge, under beach towels a private enough place? Who would be looking, anyway?

The prohibition of coitus in public places isn't the only proscribed act. Add to this, the consumption of alcohol in public places. And massage. And clairvoyance, tarot cards and games that involve the shooting of dice. And Making braids. And tattoos too.

One can imagine a royal transgression involving all these things at once. I'll have to bring this up with my pal Alberto.

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

In the news: Israel Lancho


Posted by Dennis at 8:15 AM | Comments (0)

Something's Happening


Posted by Dennis at 8:12 AM | Comments (0)