July 25, 2013

Something's Happening

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Valencia, the train station plaza and Santiago Calatrava's extravaganza.

I'm in Spain, visiting my gallery in Barcelona, Miguel Marcos, Ana Serratosa in Valencia, and our place + friends in Tossa de Mar.


I've heard this said in Valencia in reference to the Calatrava and the massive amount of money the city spent on their legacy: "We've spent a lot of money, but at least we have something to show for it.", which is much, much more than other cities around the world can say. Didn't the parthenon also bankrupt Athens?

The Parthenon construction cost the Athenian treasury 469 silver talents. While it is almost impossible to create a modern equivalent for this amount of money, it might be useful to look at some facts. One talent was the cost to build one trireme, the most advanced warship of the era. (http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Classics/CL56/CL56_LN11.html), and
"...one talent was the cost for paying the crew of a warship for a month" (D. Kagan, The Peloponnesian War, 61). According to Kagan, Athens at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war had 200 triremes in service, while the annual gross income of the city of Athens at the time of Perikles was 1000 talents, with another 6000 in reserve at its treasury.

Posted by Dennis at 6:04 PM | Comments (3)

July 22, 2013

Station Point Judd

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Thanks to the generosity of collectors Michael and Sirje Gold (fellow recent transplants from LA to NYC, they made their home here near Wall Street), I was invited to accompany them on a tour of Donald Judd's cast iron district home in SoHo, now a museum. The building is nearly a mausoleum, with each turn up its five stories, I nearly expected to see a freeze dried body of the great artist. The building is nearly a shrine and Donald Judd has certainly been sainted, so my expectation is not that far fetched. To be able to see his body in a vitrine would at least be a wink and nod to the over the top adoration that art history is heaping upon Judd. Now, don't get me wrong, I do admire Donald Judd as an artist... but after visiting Marfa, Texas several years ago (the pre-Prada Marfa, that is), and reading nothing but venerated history of his art and its milieu, this visit compels in me a strong desire to read a warts and all biography to bring this saint to earth.


Take a look at the photo of his bedroom above. Are we seeing a station point here? Notice that the ceiling slopes on the right of this view. I'll have to return to confirm my corroded memory of a ceiling that is double sloped to create a hyperbolic paraboloid. Even if it is sloped only in one direction, it creates this perspective that compliments the Flavin on the left of this view. Are station points typical to Judd's oeuvre? If not, is this an anomaly? If so, would this be a wrinkle that reveals the wink and nod? At the least, this would mean something to Dan Flavin, at the most it would mean something to the art world at large.

From the NPR report linked above:

Overall the effect is like Judd's sculptures -- sparse, deliberate, rectilinear and non-organic. As he said in a 1965 interview for the Archives of American Art, "I don't want it descriptive or naturalistic in any way. So for the time being, I'm left with a fairly geometric sort of arrangement because that doesn't have any of these things."

This blogpost is an initial attempt to sharpen a critique of Judd. Judd is admirable and I do admire his work, even though I'm nearly the polar opposite of him: bilious where he is sparse, appreciative of accident and kismet where he is deliberate, and organic enough to describe myself (in shorthand to a not-art-world public) that I could be Gaudi's great grandson (would that make me religious where Judd is secular?). Descriptive doesn't bother me, representation is a large part of the empire of painting. Naturalistic? When have we learned enough from nature? Geometry is wonderful in Euclid, enchanting as it passes Pythagorus, charming to a fault as it etherealizes with Plato. Geometry evaporates into Platonic heaven and in Judd's hands, his secularism became a kind of religion. Let this sentence lifted from the afore-mentioned NPR report testify on my behalf: "On the ground floor there are just a few pieces of art, including a wall of Judd's purple anodized aluminum rectangles and a pile of bricks by artist Carl Andre. It's meant as a kind of spiritual space for the work to be shown just as Judd intended."

Amen.

Posted by Dennis at 7:08 AM | Comments (0)

Painting

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Second Creation
#422
2013
71"x63"

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Posted by Dennis at 6:45 AM | Comments (0)

GOWANUS

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Posted by Dennis at 6:26 AM | Comments (0)

NYC DriveBy

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Here's a shout out to Wendy White, a shot of Chinatown looking north from the Manhattan Bridge at landfall. For me, this is a relic of NYC, circa 1970. Kids still seem to tag the city today, but mostly from the rooftops. At the street level, it's mostly stickers, the ocassional acid on glass and hand gesture scaled markers on the go.

Posted by Dennis at 6:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2013

Joel and Sarah's Wedding

Posted by Dennis at 8:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2013

Vitrine

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and the stranger escaped out the window
#417
2013
10.5"x5"diameter
Oil on Wood Armature, Glass Vitrine

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Posted by Dennis at 6:29 AM | Comments (2)

July 1, 2013

Aloft

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These are the lengths to which a real collector will go...

Posted by Dennis at 9:02 AM | Comments (1)