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The three Charles Ray installations at Matthew Marks right now, all brilliant examples of post-minimalist/conceptual sculpture, each created in the late eighties and new to New York, rattled my perceptions, jangled my faculties, and made me go “Wow!” They exemplify a drug-addled view of the world. Ray’s sculptures, part of a long tradition of minimal installations, are also forerunners to much of the theatrical Festivalism of recent times (e.g., Maurizio Cattelan and Olafur Eliasson). Each piece is nearly invisible and formally economical. Yet each is outrageously labor-intensive. Ink Line, the best and showiest of the three works, is a sculpture/drawing/fountain consisting of a stream of jet-black ink pouring from a dime-size hole in the ceiling into a dime-size hole in the floor. Initially Ink Line looks like a strand of yarn strung the height of the gallery, a pulsating Fred Sandback sculpture, a free-floating Barnett Newman zip, or a disembodied Sol LeWitt. Get close and you’ll realize the line is liquid, glimmering, the consistency of syrup, moving fairly fast, fluctuating slightly, and thinner at the bottom than at the top. The ink forms a weird climatological aura around itself, slightly changing the humidity of the room. I was blown away when I was allowed to see the elaborate apparatus that makes this simple effect possible. There was a large, noisy electric motor in the showroom beneath this gallery, all sorts of wiring, and plastic tubes that go under the floor, behind the wall, and above the ceiling. A gallery assistant arrives two hours early each day to drain the ink, “de-gas” it (!?), heat it with lamps to between 90 and 95 degrees, and put it back into the system. Anyone who looks at Ink Line can figure out how it works—yet the piece is as much a phenomenological event and a mystery as it is a work of formalist sculpture.good examples of "plug-in" art. (art requiring a power cord.)
jean baudrillard rock star
János Starker is one of the 20th century's greatest cellists. Hungarian born, Starker was a child prodigy touring Europe and the United States by the time he was 12 years old. Starker is a perfectionist and his tireless practice sessions are legendary. The man is a genius with his instrument. His technique is brilliant and his playing passionate.thx edo
These sessions were recorded in New York in the 1950's for the small label, Period. With no producer on hand, the musicians and engineers collaborated on the sound and mic placement. Starker himself helped in the editing process taking a razor blade to the session tapes. I guess that shows what can be done when you take the marketing people out of the creative process. As LP's these recordings were among those most prized by collectors. Sadly, they have been out of print for over 35 years. This is the first time they are available on CD.
This set is marvelous for its diversity, ranging from Boccherini and Mozart to Bartok and Kodaly is amazing.
I have to say that I usually dislike Bartok, but in Starker's hands Bartok becomes fascinating. If a musician can do that with Bartok, imagine how well the Mozart sounds!
We know the technique; but what’s the source of straw man? A poet in the 18th century responded to critical judgment with “Critics, who like the scarecrows stand/upon the poet’s common land.” The best guess about the trope’s origin is the farmer’s scarecrow — an old coat and hat set up on a pole and stuffed with straw to resemble a human sentry and frighten hungry blackbirds away from vegetable seedlings.
Though it appeared in a somewhat sexist 17th-century English saying — “A man of straw is worth a woman of gold” — in U.S. politics it was made famous in 1912 by President William Howard Taft, who had been set in place by the retiring Theodore Roosevelt four years earlier but who was being savaged by Teddy’s campaign to get his old job back: “I was a man of straw; but I have been a man of straw long enough. Every man who has blood in his body, and who has been misrepresented as I have . . . is forced to fight.” Taft won renomination, but Roosevelt ran as a “Bull Moose” independent, splitting Republicans and helping elect Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat.
Early in the 2008 primary season, The New York Post — not inclined to support most Democrats — surprised readers with the front-page headline “Post Endorses Obama.” David Carr, media reporter for The Times, asked rhetorically, “Why did The Post kick Senator Clinton to the curb?” While noting that the relationship between Rupert Murdoch of The Post and the Clintons was complicated, he wrote that the endorsement “invited suggestions that Mr. Murdoch was using The New York Post to set up a straw man for the Republicans to mow down in the fall.”
The noun phrase straw man, now used as a compound adjective as in “straw-man device, technique or issue,” was popularized in American culture by “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy (played by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie), backed up by the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), slaps the paw of the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) for frightening her dog Toto and says, “It’s bad enough picking on a straw man, but when you go around picking on poor little dogs. . . .” The meaning is clear: a figure of a man stuffed with a cheap material may appear scary but is really weak and defenseless.
In the late 20th century, the metaphor was challenged by empty suit, but that was directed mainly at male business executives; as suits lose their fashion dominance, the old straw man endures both as a noun phrase and a compound adjective, scaring off flights of speechwriting fantasies.
Albers painted, for the most part, on untempered wood fibre-board panels, frequently masonite, although some of his earlier painted works are on other composition boards, and some are painted on aluminum. He also did a number of oils on blotting paper. He disliked canvas, as he felt it was too soft and absorbant. Instead, he favored the rigidity of the panels, where his painter's knife could glide smoothly over the surface maintaining a near-perfect, flat effect. Albers felt the rigid surface permitted the color to project more.thx joe c
These panels were carefully selected by Albers for their regularity. In the earlier paintings of the forties and fifties, Albers painted on the smooth side of the panels, priming them, as Doerner suggests, on both sides, to reduce warpage. Albers' grounds were always as white as possible to allow for the most luminous and pure painted surface. As time went on, Albers switched to painting on the rough side of the boards, for he felt that the paint adhered better and he could ultimately achieve a flatter, smoother surface. He no longer primed the reverse, as he discovered this led to the possible development of dry rot. Instead of in effect “sealing” the panel, he found he could reduce warpage equally effectively by merely rubbing linseed oil into the reverse.
Soon after Americans ousted inequitable British taxation, Secretary of Finance Alexander Hamilton, hatched a plan to put the new nation on steady financial footing by imposing the first American excise tax, on whiskey makers. The tax favored large distillers over small farmers with stills in the mountains of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, and the farmers fomented their own new revolution—a challenge to the sovereignty of the new government and the power of the wealthy eastern seaboard. In a fast-paced, blow-by-blow account of this "primal national drama," journalist Hogeland energetically chronicles the skirmishes that made the Whiskey Rebellion from 1791 to 1795 a symbol of the conflict between republican ideals and capitalist values. The rebels engaged in civil disobedience, violence against the tax collectors and threatened to secede from the new republic. Eventually Washington led federal troops to quell the rebellion, arresting leaders such as Herman Husband, a hollow-eyed evangelist who believed that the rebellion would usher in the New Jerusalem. Hogeland's judicious, spirited study offers a lucid window into a mostly forgotten episode in American history and a perceptive parable about the pursuit of political plans no matter what the cost to the nation's unity.via vz
heartbreakers @ maxes staring johnny thunders
picnic table thread (open for submissions)
If Repressive Tolerance, Herbert Marcuse’s ground-breaking 1965 essay lambasting liberal society’s seemingly infinite tolerance for the unacceptable, had a contemporary equivalent it wouldn’t be an opus by Noam Chomsky or Naomi Klein, it would be the current Aernout Mik exhibition at MoMA. Refashioning the repressive environments which have become pervasive in so-called “advanced” Western societies (such as administrative detention centers, absurdist tribunals, inhuman bureaucracies, and even schools), Mik does a better job of plundering the myth of liberty, equality, and fraternity than any contemporary critical essay. Marcuse, the most influential philosopher (with Theodor Adorno) to emerge from the Frankfurt School, stated that “Tolerance toward that which is radically evil now appears as good because it serves the cohesion of the whole on the road to affluence or more affluence.”via vz
New York City’s plan to close Times Square to vehicles looks like a triumph. The chaise-lounges [or chaises-longues, depending on whom you ask - Ed.] the city dropped at the Crossroads of the World on May 24th have stayed popular throughout the week, like day-glo brigadiers in a battle against delivery trucks. (I saw two tourists taking pictures of their feet on the pavement on May 26.) At the same time, the luxuriant plans that Gehry Partners concocted for developer Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project are failing to keep the project financially credible - and the latest rumor is that a no-fuss plan from Ellerbe Becket for the project’s focal basketball arena may bump Gehry’s bundle of crumples.
So: plastic chaise-lounges win a wave of rear ends, while titanium arenas leave the court with a hobble and nary an ovation. What’s the takeaway for urban design? I say it’s an axiom: people want to be together. If they come together under a roof shaped like a hoopoe bird, fine. But in an era of lean government budgets, the plan that gets people together quickly and cheaply should guide policymaking.
A New York that depends on fickle corporations, part-time residents and private partners for big chunks of its tax base should make itself a fun place to be. Happily, fun translates intuitively to ‘free of car fumes,’ ‘planned with clear sight lines,’ and ‘open to the public.’ Most of the city will necessarily remain a web of conduits for goods, executives en route to wherever, and musicians looking for a gig. By bracketing parts of the city as pure public space, the Bloomberg administration has made a pithy argument about why global corporations and jetsetters should stay here. They should stay here, the chaise-lounges say, because they can tinker with what “here” is. That’s a more democratic premise than the ones driving light-rail in Denver or ersatz Mayberry in Florida. It’s also a more replicable strategy than the one behind Atlantic Yards.
The New York Philharmonic would surely have had a better half-century with an acoustically superior home, and nonstentorian opera stars might have conquered New York but for the Met auditorium’s excessive dimensions. Overall, though, Lincoln Center’s benefits far outweigh its faults. Artistic pleasure would have been enhanced by a first-rate architectural landmark on the level of Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall In L.A. or Jean Nouvel’s Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. But Lincoln Center has given generations of never-satisfied New Yorkers something to complain about without fear of contradiction. One cannot imagine life in America’s cultural capital without it.
For the past three years, visitors to Dinosaur National Monument, which straddles the border of Utah and Colorado, have been unable to enter one of the park’s top attractions: the Quarry Visitor Center.
Designed by the San Francisco firm of Anshen and Allen and completed in 1958, the Modernist structure features a round concrete-block administrative building with a sinuous ramp leading to a glass-walled exhibit hall, which contains a quarry of Jurassic-period dinosaur bones and other fossils. But the visitor center was built on unstable bentonite clay, causing it to shift and sway. Photographs on the monument’s Web site show uneven door frames, cracked exterior walls, and detached support columns. In 2006, structural engineers deemed the landmark unsafe and recommended that it be closed.
Now, due in part to $13.1 million in federal stimulus funds, portions of the visitor center will be demolished and a new building, designed by Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, of Denver, will be constructed nearby. Another Colorado firm, Andrews & Anderson Architects, of Golden, will renovate and reinforce the exhibit hall, with its distinctive butterfly roof, that encloses the quarry.
on seeing the barn
from comments: "My suggestion to overcome this “aura” of reproduction, especially with the “Most photographed barn” is: peyote before sunrise. The Tetons never looked more awesome."
the speakeasy trend