Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hudson River...School

I share with you a few of my humble Picturesque pics from our last trip before Bruce goes to grad school at UConn for his MFA. Tomorrow, he gets oriented, picks his studio, and then classes start next week. Updates as needed. We're in for a big change!

Kaaterskill Falls
(this was a tough hike with ~20 lbs of Bruce's 8x10 film and lenses on my back! Boy do I understand large format work so much more.)

View from
Olana, Frederick Edwin Church's house

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Next Stop Wonderland

Two artists (and a museum) that I featured in the PRC show Picture Show are in the Boston Globe today, and it's a great, wild ride of an article thanks to Greg Cook. Neil Salley, curator of Le Musée Patamécanique--think cabinet of curiosities meets new media museum--has a large spread and even a video (see the latter here). I can't wait to see what it looks like on paper! If it's possible to miss an exhibition after it's down, I sure miss this one! Here is a link to the piece I showed by Hans Spinnermen at the PRC (you can explore the flickr set to to see the whole PRC show).

I spoke to Greg at length on the phone about le Musée and other efforts, such as the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Here is my quote in the newspaper:

The Musée's website is packed with footnotes that purport to explain what's going on and the institution's historical underpinnings. Leslie Brown, a curator at Boston University's Photographic Resource Center who has exhibited one of Spinnermen's contraptions, says, "You cannot read some of the footnotes . . . and not laugh. I think one of the footnotes said, 'See Marcel Duchamp.' All of Duchamp. It's like saying, 'See Philosophy.'"
Congrats Neil, Hans, and all of the patamechanics! A thanks goes to Greg, who is also at the helm of another another seemingly kindred institution, The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research.

UPDATE: Greg Cook posted some excerpts from his conversation with Neil on the NEJAR blog. Great stuff!

Neil Salley and Hans Spinnermen's Earolin, From
Boston Globe

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Flickr flurry, then dénouement

Over on the Soth blog, there has been a hullabaloo about flickr. Earlier, Alec posted a comment Stephen Shore made about flickr and posed the question "where are the great pictures on flickr?"; today, he emailed and received Shore's response, calling for any ire to be redirected and for a truce to re-establish the "thoughtfulness and civility of debate." For me, as it always is on Soth's blog, it was the hope of higher discussion that inspired me to throw my 2 cents in. With 227+ comments and counting, I thought I'd highlight a few quotes, including my attempts to explain my fascination with such things, as both a form of introduction and closure.

From Shane (not in comments, but on his blog): Venue aside, it’s really just a fact that all the greatest work is generally found hiding amongst everything that’s not; how could a single piece of art be particularly moving or especially nice to look at if all art was? ...It can be rather tragic to witness any previously tangible practice go digital (as Flickr is, for many, a replacement to a dusty photo album) and perhaps this is part of Shore’s frustration?

From me: As has been echoed by now hundreds of times, flickr is a tool. Some use it for marketing, some for games, some for documenting, some as a diary, and some for art - just like photography itself. It’s not so much individual images for me, but the great uses that are so brilliant, much like an amazing archive or a powerful database. This is also similar to the purpose, function, and now renewed interest in vernacular photography. With the patina of time, will all flickr images gain such collector status (that is, if they can be retained later and perhaps become physical)? Flickr for me is a giant box of photos at a flea market that I can dive in, sort through, and take what I want from it and perhaps use or think about images in new ways...Signing off - WWST (What would Stieglitz think?)

From Ryan A: Being someone who is in the process of studying cultural anthropology, i think flickr and other online sites like it are amazing–and yes, i think they are fascinating insights into people’s lives. im not sure about the images gaining some kind of artistic collector status though. i like your flea market comparison though. it seems to me that photographers, writers, and many others are always going around trying to understand humanity and life. well, sites like flickr (whether art, vernacular shoebox nonsense, or what) give pretty amazing views/slices of SO MANY lives that it’s mindblowing really. when have we ever been able to access so many people? anthropologically, flickr is a gold mine. i dont really care how much great art is there. great art is so personal anyway. who knows.

From me: Hi Ryan! I think we’re coming at this from similar angles (from art history and anthropology). What I meant by collector status was really the fascination of an image divorced from its original use. i.e., if someone came across a shoebox full of some neat square photos that had circles in them (a group on flickr) but didn’t know about its origin, man would it draw a lot of interest, both money wise and in a museum! We showed a great documentary film a while back in conjunction with a show. Other People’s Pictures followed snapshot collectors and dealt with why people collect what they do. In a way, flickr allows folks to both photo and collect, groups and pools take that one step further. And yes, it is fascinating. This weekend I will go to Home Movie Day at the Harvard Film Archive (to find where and when in your city, go to Will I see stunning art films? No. Will I see some glints of art and brilliance in someone’s old super 8 kodachrome? Yes. Will I see some amazing pieces of history, culture, and windows into people’s lives? Most definitely!

And lastly, from Ryan's blog, this comparison is apt: To me, it's a great tool, and it's incredibly fascinating to see the multitudes of ways that people employ it. Fine art be damned; I like Flickr. Speaking out against it is like coming out and saying you don't like paper. It's a tool. Some people use it to mail off their bills, some people use it to write the Grapes of Wrath.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pow! Kablam! NYC watch out for Boston!

I just got this great email from one of my favorite artists, Jane Marsching, in which she describes how she is involved with an "absurd, crazy, ambitious, bold campaign to change how the world views the Boston art scene. Imagined and coordinated by the brilliant Brian Burkhardt, it features twenty Boston area artists dressed up as superheroes (I will be Rogue from X-Men)." This Saturday is the big shoot at EP Levine's with an afterparty to follow.

This is wicked cool. Sign me up! More info and image:

The project starts with a photograph: an iconic image of twenty Boston-based artists dressed as superheroes, posing against the Boston skyline. Through the production and distribution of this image, we intend to lay the groundwork for a local and national/international advertising campaign to raise awareness of the caliber and accomplishments of artists residing in Boston.

The photograph and the advertising campaign is a non-profit initiative that is by artists, for artists. The artists who are involved live in Boston, and have varying levels of career recognition. Some of the artists have gallery representation, while others are independent. Some have national and/or international exposure, while others are more local. The group of artists represents a variety of media and mediums, concepts, and interests.

We intend to spearhead the initial phases of this project. This includes the production of the photograph, hosting of a launch party, and development of a website. We also intend to leverage the photo shoot and launch party as an opportunity to get press exposure. Looking ahead, we feel that a strategic national/international advertising campaign featuring the Superheroes photograph and website link is critical to building significant awareness of Boston’s vibrant art scene. The photograph and related publicity has the potential to act as a blueprint for an on-going and evolving awareness campaign designed serve Boston, its artists and its public.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Antiques Roadshow meets Robot Wars

Anyone who know me knows I love stuff. My apartment looks like a Victorian parlor. I am also an Antiques Roadshow geek. I was thrilled when a friend started working for them and got Bruce and I behind the scenes at a show in Philadelphia. I was disappointed that our stuff wasn't worth anything (and the appraisers weren't as excited about them as we were), but my heart beat fast when we were allowed to hang out in the green room where those who were chosen for taping were being prepped. We got to see their objects up close and hear even more stories. I keep hoping that I will discover a treasure someday, something that the shop owner won't recognize. So, I read with a mixture of horror and glee about a new Chinese television show in my latest Kovel's Komment's e-newsletter (seen below). What's next? Antiques Roadshow survivor? Wait, they've come close.

"'Collecting Everything Under Heaven' is the latest hot TV show in China, according to Reuters. It starts out like the Antiques Roadshow -- bring in an antique and get it appraised. But this is literally a "hit" show. If the piece is deemed a fake by the experts, it is smashed to bits with a hammer by Wang Gang, host of the show, famous actor, and collector. Since China is the largest source of fakes in the world -- everything from DVDs to medicine -- the show claims to be symbolic. Wang says, "We must eliminate the false and retain the true. I want to shock people with a smash." We bet this is one show that won't be copied in the U.S." - from Kovel's