Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Jörg Heiser on Sharon Lockhart's film "Lunch Break". Read here.

"I also had to think of Roland Barthes essay ‘Leaving The Movie Theater’ (1975), in which he suggests a kind of antidote to the passive-narcissistic, perceiving body of the moviegoer, in the form of a ‘perverse’ body that breaks the illusion by recognizing everything off-screen as a crucial part of the experience: the dark crowd of the audience, the projector beam, the entering and leaving of the cinema. Nevertheless, the ultra-slow move down that shipyard corridor in Maine had its own dynamics that called for different ways of reacting to it. At first, you try to concentrate on details, most of which sit at the periphery of the image – what’s on the stickers that grace the metal lockers? Did that guy come down that metal ladder and walk along the corridor for a bit because he was asked to? Then you realize that the film’s peculiar movement is almost literally like the tool of a hypnotist, and you try to concentrate on the image’s edge to see how it is ‘closing in’ on the scene. Then again, you look straight down that corridor, trying to see the image simply as a constellation of figures, of dudes (few, possibly just one woman) with their tool belts and their imperturbable-seeming dignity of skill. But there is no way around admitting that you also feel moments where it’s not about being mesmerized or losing a sense of time but very much about feeling pushed away from the film, being very aware of time. I think there even is a sense of sportiness involved in watching such a 83-minute shot – not that it’s a marathon, but it has a somewhat similar dynamics between joy, struggle and gratification. The way it rewards you when you start not too fast, patiently; the way you try to keep a pace; the way you hit a wall after about two-thirds into it; and how you come out of that in the end exhausted, but deeply content."

found: an article about sleep e-mailing!

"The 44-year-old woman had gone to bed at about 10pm, but rose a couple of hours later, walked to the next room and sat down at her computer. She turned the machine on, conn­ected to the Internet and success­fully logged on with her user name and password, before composing three emails and sending them to friends. She only found out what she had done when one of them telephoned the next day to reply to the email and accept the invitation."

"The mails themselves were perhaps not up to the woman’s waking standard; each was in a random mix of upper and lower case characters, badly formatted and containing odd expressions. One read: “Come tomorrow and sort this hell hole out. Dinner and drinks, Bring wine and caviar only.” Another said simply: “What the…”

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Why Grad School?

Chris Willard, an artist, writer and instructor at ACAD whom I met only after I’d graduated, has a blog wherein he has listed some “reasons for going to grad school”. My favorite point is #5, where he says “You'll meet other serious artists who are like you, your community will be a smaller pool and you'll often be friends with these other people for life.” #10 is also great: “It helps you to really center in on your voice. Voice is your individuality coming through loud and clear in your art. It's the thing that makes your work unlike anyone else’s. This is often a strong theme in grad schools, and it should be. Again, you can find this on your own, I just think it's faster with grad school playing a role.” There are so many great points in this list, particularly ideas of what a graduate program will expect from students.

Here is the full post!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

'Oranges and Sardines' Artist Panel

What I really liked about this panel discussion was the fact that all the artists faced and had to untangle themselves from things like "going blank", flubbing up their art history (the "sublime" in the history of painting), and being misunderstood. Someone from the audience suggested that Greenberg's views on abstract painting is an unquestionable and inescapable part of talking about abstract painting today, and Amy Sillman disagreed, articulating simply that "contemporary frameworks for discourse that you can work against and with" from which to approach abstract painting TODAY are discovered by artists themselves, through conversations with other artists (through all the stories, as Mary Heilmann said, talking about some of her favorite things about being an artist), and through books that artists pick up on their own; "paintings create a practice which is itself a discourse". There is no unquestionable, inescapable framework which is forcibly attached to abstract painting, or painting in general, Sillman stated. She recommended two books - the book on Poussin "The Sight of Death", and Norman Bryson's "Looking at the Overlooked: Four Essays on Still Life Painting". It was funny how Wade Guyton always sounds like a jerk, or he is always so nervous when he talks on a panel, saying things like "do I have to go through ALL of the works?", sounding like speaking in general bored the hell out of him. Charlene Von Heyl spoke about wanting a lot more discussion about the philosophies and approaches to painting besides describing process and medium; she spoke of wanting discussion for the sake of it, to talk about agreeing with or NOT agreeing with different approaches to what painting can be about.