Nov 20, 2013
Although art in practice brings great difficulties for all those entering into it, this is so to the greatest possible degree in our own time. But for someone who has reached an age at which the intellect has already come to predominate to begin exercises in the initial stages, it must surely be impossible—without destroying himself—to pass forth from his own individuality toward more general endeavours ... He who loses himself in the boundless abundance of the life unfolding around him, and is thereby irresistibly prompted to copy it—and who thus feels so powerfully moved by the total impression—will surely seek to penetrate into the proportions, nature, and strengths of the great masses in precisely the same fashion in which he enters into the characteristic quality of the details ... He who considers the great masses—with a constant sense of the way in which all things are alive, down to the tiniest detail, affecting everything else—cannot conceive of them without a particular connection or affinity, far less depict them without being drawn to consider their fundamental causes. And when he does so, he cannot return once again to his initial freedom without working his way through to the pure ground, as it were ... To clarify what I mean: I believe that the old German artists, if they had known something of form, would have lost the immediacy and naturalness of expression in their figures, until they had reached a certain stage in this science ... There have been those who have built bridges and suspension work and other such technical things simply by eye. That is certainly possible for a time, but once a certain height has been reached and one naturally hits upon mathematical conclusions, his whole talent will be for nothing unless he works his way through the science and back into freedom.
runge to goethe, 7.05.1806
Nov 16, 2013
really is a white cube. heading home after an unexpectedly long lunch in bermondsey, the aggressive luminosity of the white cube's internal lighting caught my eye. it is a feat for the ambient interior lighting of a building to be visible from nearly 40 meters away in full sun.
inside is the usual junk and then a quite large show by larry bell which is very worthwhile. the "light knots" are the most elegant and economical of the works on display. like a fred sandback yarn sculpture, these make a big point with almost no material, achieving the effect of appearing simultaneously there and not with only hanging pieces of metallised mylar. in person, these objects have an apparent volume quite different (and not necessarily larger) than their actual volume.
they're an evolution from the glass pieces in working at the margins of understanding the affordances—opacity, reflectivity, chromatic purity, and now also topography—of various materials. clearly new, yet on a developmental trajectory from previous work and with an ever-increasing economy of means. an artist i have come to admire.
his website is also ... well, you can see for yourself.
Nov 13, 2013
this is a completely disinterested public service announcement.
my black medium deluxe courierware bag is now 12 years old. i have used it literally nearly every single day for over a decade; of everything i own and have owned, i have used this the most.
just enough pockets, just waterproof enough, just big enough, with branding so reticent as to be nearly invisible. it will easily accommodate a laptop, charger pack, cellphone, book, emergency fruit supply, water, and a change of clothing, with room to spare. i can use it as my only bag on anything up to a four-day trip. it handles odd loads with grace: i have carried sharp-edged volcanic rocks in it, as well as rare books, chunks of glacial ice, a large watermelon, and an entire case of wine (but not all at the same time). stuffed with a fleece, it is a serviceable pillow for those nights you spend sleeping in, for instance, a rental car parked in the empty lot next to a motel in el paso or the departure lounge of the bangkok international airport.
people treat their old courierware bags the way people treat their old patagonia clothing; fortunately—unlike new patagonia clothing—new courierware bags are not pieces of overdesigned crap.
once, long ago, courierware were in cambridge, ma between the dolphin seafood restaurant and café sushi on mass ave. these days they are in randolph, vt. they have a $25 discount on a line of anniversary versions of the deluxe bag going now, in celebration of their quarter-century of business. i know from personal experience that they are serious about their lifetime warranty. do you you value quality and restraint over fashion and flash? would you like a messenger bag you will never have to (or want to) replace and which grows better with age? there is no time like the present.
Nov 8, 2013
Oct 28, 2013
Oct 26, 2013
Oct 18, 2013
when just starting research on R&D networks in art, you cannot pass up the opportunity to see a large fraction of the major dealers when they come to a large park 5 minutes from where you live. so i went to frieze. every other stand had a bunch of stuff by gerhard richter on display. and there seems to be quite a lot of carl andré and donald judd inventory too. it is interesting to see which galleries are absent and which artists are in short supply—and speculate about why. blum & poe were undoubtedly the best stand. they dedicated their entire space to a salon-style showing of pieces by mono-ha school japanese artist kishio suga. other nice stuff:
a lot of weird southern arabian and neolithic stuff at rupert wace gallery
there was also a large florilegium by ottomar ellger, who had someone in his atelier paint the reflections of a window on every single glossy berry in a large bunch of white currants. close examination of this painting (see the rose petal above) demonstrates the transparency and luminousness of old oils, which more recent oil paintings nearly never achieve.
the day was not a total loss.
Oct 17, 2013
after the initial burst of irritation, london turns out to be more or less like everywhere else, except better for cyclists, not so good for rain, amply provisioned with parks, and oddly undersupplied with legumes. however: fewer dogs and less tea-drinking than i'd expected and would like.
We saw starsa comforting thought. and not bored yet. in fact, not often bored.
And waves; we saw sands, too;
And despite many crises and unforeseen disasters,
We were often bored, just as we are here.
Oct 13, 2013
it's worth visiting hauser & wirth's show of reinhard onnasch's collection at their savile row galleries. few of the pieces were actively boring, and there was a rare sighting of some beautiful clyfford still canvases. also, nothing is for sale so there is no pressure to buy. i know that this will set many minds at ease in these difficult economic times.
morris louis's paintings always capture my attention, more for their detail than their enormous size—the cloth of the canvas itself is a compositional element in these paintings (the same reason i like sigmar polke's three lies of painting), and the gentle bleed of the thinned acrylic is particularly appealing.
and john wesley, despite the simplicity of his figures, somehow manages something like anatomical accuracy in his very stylised figures. it is the type of accuracy that omits everything except what's needed to put across the point; a sort of distillation.
the nicest thing, however, was the quiet glass box by larry bell which was a bit overwhelmed by its placement in the back room, opposite a flavin fluorescent tube wall-installation. this image does not do justice to the encounter in person.
Oct 3, 2013
Sep 27, 2013
Sep 23, 2013
Sep 16, 2013
Aug 31, 2013
I believe that the best pots are made by potters who have learned to understand rather than to control their materials and techniques.much like going nowhere and seeking no victory.
Aug 17, 2013
for this landmark irwin piece, an enormous room with an odd window at the whitney is installed only with a sheet of sheer fabric scrim, a black painted line, and a black-anodized aluminum bar. as you will not fail to notice, the room and its parts—walls, floor, scrim, bar—look different and unexpected with each new angle and change of light. the scrim, in particular, hovers between complete solidity and bare presence and snaps from one state to another with disarming ease. this is especially noticeable on a partly overcast day, with rapidly fluctuating light coming in the window. this is a worthy way to spend a new york afternoon. do not overlook the hockney video painting tucked in a dark corner two floors down, which takes the question "how can time figure into representative art?" and gives an answer that is unusual not only because it involves jugglers.
at the whitney, at least for the next few weeks.
* also relevant: olafur eliasson in the divine comedy.
Aug 12, 2013
Aug 2, 2013
Jul 6, 2013
ninth street espresso, hi-collar, fresco, japan premium beef, bohemian, the future perfect, mile end, matter, il laboratorio del gelato, the reed space, amor y amargo, umi no ie, and flatiron wines. it takes a great deal of effort to pack this much research on urbanism, design, and frozen confection innovation into just one day, but our commitment to scholarship is unwavering.