I have come back to the couch—
hands behind my head,
legs crossed at the ankles—
To resume my lifelong study
of the ceiling and its river-like crack,
its memory of a water stain,
The touch of civilization
in the rounded steps of the molding,
and the lick of time in the flaking plaster.
To move would only ruffle
the calm surface of the morning,
and disturb shadows of leaves in the windows.
And to throw open a door
would startle the fish in the pond,
maybe frighten a few birds from a hedge.
Better to stay here,
to occupy the still room of thought,
to listen to the dog breathing on the floor,
better to count my lucky coins,
or redesign my family coat of arms—
remove the plow and hive, shoo away the bee.
Mar 10, 2014
Mar 9, 2014
Mar 3, 2014
Mar 1, 2014
Feb 19, 2014
Feb 16, 2014
Jan 31, 2014
a densely packed visit to nyc. while standing up, i discovered that entry-level dönnhoff, unfortunately, is not the dönnhoff worth drinking—for that, only the expensive dönnhoff will do. early on the morning of the second day, a damp flake fell from the grey wool sky, shortly followed by many of its little moist pals. much-loved, well-worn chuck taylors are not suitable footwear for crusty slush. a real-estate/seafood preservation magnate presented me a rare copy of a nyc-themed board game of his design in which players must perform a simulated mugging in order to win. or something like that. some empirical research conducted in the field indicated that caesar salad, veal parmesan, citrus-marinated rutabaga, and tarentaise with corn purée may all be appropriate foods for quiet and snowy days and nights. the next day, every acela express train was canceled, but i whined my way aboard an ice-encrusted northeast regional—which anyway has better seats—that eventually deposited me in boston. when i finally made it to cambridge, i was relieved to find it drier and colder, and with better mugs.
Jan 13, 2014
this city perplexes, surprises.
the strip is filled with people trying energetically to convince themselves that they're having fun. downtown has more pawnshops and bail bond brokers than it has grocery stores. everything you want to go to is at least a 10-minute drive away. there is a pervasive belief in the virtues of excess.
on the other hand: its winter weather—crisp air, bright sun—is hard to beat. the low-angled evening light on the northern hills is a spectacle. west spring mountain road, particularly between south decatur and hauck, is filled with chefs with singular ideas and precise execution. in the "stab-and-rape district" (not my words), between a wedding chapel that has seen better days and a shop selling "turquoise," is a gelato shop that would hold its own in any city.
Jan 4, 2014
Dec 31, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
yesterday, the streets were a cyclist's almost-dream: free of even the slightest trace of london buses though not free, unfortunately, of london drivers. then, in the afternoon, to deepest west london. there was too much cheese but that was ok, polish mushroom borscht, many interesting bottles of wine—including one brought at considerable inconvenience from barcelona that i was particularly looking forward to drinking again*—and christmas music. a lot of christmas music. suddenly, dense white smoke was everywhere, followed by thrown-open doors and windows, an overturned bowl of very delicious ice cream mix, a crying baby. through the smoke and the respiratory distress, we discerned that the oven was the source, of course, of course: our goose was nearly cooked. there is nothing like kitchen chaos to bring people together around the table, especially if that table is in the room that doesn't have smoke in it. plus, now i know: never forget to put water in the roasting pan when cooking a goose.
today is for making bread, getting the goosefat out of my cellphone and left sock, and studiously avoiding oxford street where vast amounts of money no doubt are changing hands.
* the casa pardet 1995 tempranillo reserva is a beautifully reserved, composed, alive wine—a rare (but fortunately not the only) anomaly from the country of strident fruit and Too Much Wood. it had seemed ok, if a bit depressed, the night before when i decanted it, only revealing its hideously corked nature when i opened it again just before dinner. tw, who is wise in matters of the vine, says: "I have never had a wine that seemed fine then turned out to be corked. I have had many that seemed iffy and then turned out to be truly fucked."
Dec 18, 2013
these statements seem indisputable:
the more valuable a class of objects becomes, the more likely it is that someone will try to counterfeit instances of the class.let us consider the implications of this for bitcoin. the only media of exchange that are systemically immune to authentication-related trust failures (though not immune to local trust failures) are those in which trust in the medium is highly distributed.
the more counterfeiting attempts there are, the more likely it is that good counterfeits will be produced.
the better the counterfeits, the more effortful it will be to authenticate any object.
trust in the value of the class of objects is proportional to the ease with which any instance of the class can be authenticated.
Dec 6, 2013
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:
martin boyce at the modern institute
edith dekyndt's yellow blanket covered in silver leaf (up top), and paintings by john mcallister at carl freedman
olafur eliasson's fading mirrors at tanya bonakdar
richard long's stones and clay-washed wall at lisson gallery
a lot of weird southern arabian and neolithic stuff at rupert wace gallery
a beautiful wall of not-books by irma blank (another case of nominative determinism?) at P420
"september 1955" by ben nicholson at richard green
the shadow series by philip hanson at corbett vs dempsey
nicolas de staël at malingue (why are his paintings not on show at more museums? this is also the clyfford still problem.)
anthony caro's flat, yet dimensional metal sculptures at mitchell-innes & nash
pierre huyghe's aquaria evoking the dystopian world of michel houllebecq (my interpretation) at esther schipper
zhu yu's proposals for the member states of the UN at the long march space
waqas khan at galerie krinzinger
massimo bartolini at frith street 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.