tom moody

tom moody's weblog
(2001 - 2007) (2004 - )

2001-2007 archive

main site


digital media tree (or "home" below)

RSS / validator

BLOG in gallery / AFC / artCal / furtherfield on BLOG

room sized animated GIFs / pics

geeks in the gallery / 2 / 3

fuzzy logic

and/or gallery / pics / 2

rhizome interview / illustrated

ny arts interview / illustrated

visit my cubicle

blogging & the arts panel

my dorkbot talk / notes

infinite fill show




coalition casualties

civilian casualties

iraq today / older

mccain defends bush's iraq strategy

eyebeam reBlog


tyndall report

aron namenwirth

bloggy / artCal

james wagner

what really happened


cory arcangel / at

juan cole

a a attanasio

three rivers online

unknown news



edward b. rackley

travelers diagram at

atomic cinema


cpb::softinfo :: blog


paper rad / info

nastynets now

the memory hole

de palma a la mod

aaron in japan


chris ashley




9/11 timeline

tedg on film

art is for the people


jim woodring

stephen hendee

steve gilliard

mellon writes again


adrien75 / 757


WFMU's Beware of the Blog

travis hallenbeck

paul slocum

guthrie lonergan / at

tom moody

View current page
...more recent posts

Memorable Quotes from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) (spoilers, I guess--sorry)

Terminator: Katherine Brewster? Have you sustained injury?
Kate: Drop dead you asshole!
Terminator: I am unable to comply.

Terminator: [after inspecting John Connor] No sign of brain trauma.
John Connor: Yeah I'm fine, thanks!

[The Terminator walks into a strip club to look for clothes]
Terminator: Take off your clothes.
Male Stripper: Talk to the hand, bitch.
[The Terminator grabs the stripper's hand and talks to it]
Terminator: Now!

[Kate shoots the Terminator in the face. He spits out the bullet]
Terminator: Don't do that.

Terminator: My presence in this time has been anticipated. The T-X is designed to terminate other cybernetic organisms.
John Connor: So, she's an anti-terminator terminator. You've got to be shitting me.
Terminator: No, I am not shitting you.

[Notes to fans: (1) It's nice to see the series is sticking to its pulp roots. There was some Freddy Kruegerlike gore that surprised me. (2) No cops get wasted on screen, but military technocrats and teenagers die by the dozens. Go figure. (3) The new female Terminator is really pretty. Jim Hoberman says it best: "This svelte femmebot has an irresistible habit of cocking her head and glaring with impersonal curiosity at the victim she's about to vaporize..." --TM]

OK, now I've done my bit to help America get back on its feet.

- tom moody 7-09-2003 4:12 am [link] [add a comment]

Village Voice art critic Jerry Saltz has introduced a new standard to critical argument, the "I couldn't do it" standard. Here's an excerpt from his review of James Siena in the Voice/artnet this week:
Two weeks after seeing Siena's show, aided by notes and sketches made there, and consulting the gallery's handy website, where all the drawings are pictured, I got some paper and colored pencils, and set out to reproduce a number of Siena's drawings. Gradually, as I either couldn't finish, lost my concentration, got mixed up, was unable to make things fit, or simply produced ugly renditions of what I was looking at, I grasped how much commitment and focus is necessary to make these little drawings and how incisive Siena's mind is.
I'm really looking forward to seeing this criterion applied in future reviews, e.g., Velazquez ("the lifelike rendering was a snap, but who has time to grind pigments anymore?"), Malevich ("after a hundred attempts I gave up trying to match those two whites"), and Piero Manzoni ("crapping was easy, but working with the canning company proved surprisingly complicated.")

- tom moody 7-08-2003 7:45 pm [link] [3 comments]

The Summer 2003 Artforum features an interview with art historian & theorist Jean-Claude Lebensztejn (here or here), who was one of my teachers in school. He filled in at UVa after retired-MOMA-curator-turned-teacher William Seitz died, and I had him for a 2-semester modern art course. Much as I regretted missing Seitz's anecdotes about writing the first doctoral thesis on the Abstract Expressionists, curating "The Responsive Eye," and so forth, I was extremely lucky to have Lebensztejn for a year. One of the coolest things he did was show up one day apologizing for not bringing his slide tray, and announcing that he would be discussing the one slide he happened to have, Paul Klee's Voice Cloth of the Singer Rosa Silber (I prefer his translation to MOMA's). This is a very abstract piece with layers of painterly detail and a few collaged alphabet letters. Lebensztejn proceeded to talk about it. And talk. And talk--for the entire class period, he perceptively and relentlessly theorized about this one small work, weaving in details of Klee's history and philosophy. It was enough to make a kid want to be a critic.

I remember Lebensztejn was interested in Photorealism, which he calls Hyperrealism, and in the interview he discusses a recent show he organized on the subject. Most of the Q&A is very clear and readable, but I found the following paragraph tough going:

Like all the most interesting forms of art of this period, Hyperrealism questioned Charles S. Peirce's famous trichotomy of icon-index-symbol, in which one finds constant slippages from one to the other. This is the case with Francis Bacon but also with Willem de Kooning or even, in the literary domain, Francis Ponge. In Bacon or Ponge, the main slippage would be between object and sign—for example, paint becomes a body, or a body becomes paint; in de Kooning, especially during the '50s, icon and index are monstrously mixed. In Hyperrealism, again, there is a two-way exchange between photographic index and icon.
That just screams for some follow-up questions, but interviewer Jean-Pierre Criqui is eager to move on to Robbe-Grillet and Flaubert's Bouvard et Pécuchet so we don't get any clarification. I believe the "which" in the first sentence should be "that," so it's clear that the slippages in question are the painters' and not Peirce's. Also, why backtrack to Bacon and de Kooning if we're talking about Richard Estes and Chuck Close? A writer, Ponge, is mentioned and then dropped. A distinction is made in the last two sentences between "object and sign," and then "icon and index," and finally "photographic index and icon." All of this is especially hard to follow without a brush-up on Peirce's categories of the sign. (Briefly, an icon is an exact copy, such as a mirror or portrait; an index is a "trace" that has a dynamic relationship to the object, such as a barometer or sundial; and a symbol is an arbitrary, learned designation, such as "Exxon" for a specific multinational oil company).

I gather Lebensztejn treats a photo as an index (as does Rosalind Krauss) but it would seem to me in many instances to be a pure icon, just like a mirror image. Obviously painting the photo complicates the "integrity" of the copy. Hopefully Lebensztejn's catalog essay straightens all this out. Here's another excerpt that's less convoluted; as an artist who painted Hyperrealistically for years I found it especially resonant:

This insistence on the literal copy is the most caustic aspect of Hyperrealism, undoing what had been the basis of art for five hundred years: the judicious imitation, which was sought by the painter Zeuxis, who chose what was most beautiful in nature. In a word, let's call it artistic idealism. This was Hyperrealism's most decried aspect from the outset: the truly useless character of this painting. Why paint paintings of this sort when they are closest to what they are copying? From this point of view, Hyperrealism completes the modernist destruction of classical aesthetics.
What's "caustic" about Photorealist canvases isn't so much that they're "closest to what they are copying" (Zeuxis also strived for that) but that their choice of subject matter seems so arbitrary--anonymous storefronts, bad passport photos, ads. What's destructive to classical aesthetics is the removal of the "judicious" from the painter's program; to the Photorealists, choosing to paint a luxurious bunch of grapes is just a privileged form of delectation. Or perhaps by judicious, Lebensztejn means enhanced or aestheticized? Then it would be caustic to paint in a literal or deadpan way as opposed to "prettying up" the rendering. Again, the catalog may be more illuminating.

UPDATE: A few more thoughts here.

- tom moody 7-06-2003 10:25 pm [link] [5 comments]

I enjoyed seeing the fireworks over the East River last night and...whoops, wrong picture, this is us blowing up Baghdad. But seriously, talk about a disconnect between American ritual festivities and the chaos in Iraq right now. We're fast approaching the point where the number of our soldiers killed after George Bush's victory declaration tops the number that preceded it. After a few exciting days of monkey-screeching and hard-on flashing, Bush, Rumsfeld & Co. have moved on to other things (campaigning, plotting global domination, plundering public funds) and left others to clean up the mess. American troops are getting shot up, the Treasury's overdrawn, people are losing jobs, and the 9/11 conspirators are still at large.

Fortunately we can all go the polls next year and get rid of these clowns, right? Right?

- tom moody 7-06-2003 1:16 am [link] [1 comment]

Below: shot of studio wall. The piece in the center is the new one I mentioned here (more step-by-step shots have been added). It's a bigger scale than the others and better because of that, I think. As it turned out, I did no cutting back into the image; everything was drawn on the computer and (over)printed, beginning at 100% in the center and working out to 300% at the outer edges. Still mulling over a title.

- tom moody 7-04-2003 6:06 am [link] [3 comments]

Contrary to the terrible reviews, The Hulk is an inspired comic-book film--just not much of a crowd-pleaser because it's so damn melancholy. Danny Elfman's somber Middle Eastern score sets a mood, and the kinetic use of digital collage, splitscreen, and unpredictable cutaways is more alienating (in a good way) than seat-gripping. The shots of ol' Greenskin bouncing across the western desert like a 20-ton grasshopper take your breath away, no matter how silly, and there's another wonderful effect where his howling visage is superimposed on lightning-impregnated thunderclouds. Right before that barely comprehensible passage, Nick Nolte and Hulk-as-human Eric Bana do a strange little one act play about morality and Oedipal conflict on a starkly-lit dais between giant Defense Dept. electromagnets--Nolte literally chews the scenery by biting into a live cable and turning into a roiling anime demon. 33 years ago special effects guy Dennis Muren brought an unforgettable flying devil to life in the Jack Woods drive-in howler Equinox; it's great to see he's still accessing his inner Harryhausen in the digital age. Ang Lee continues to look East for ideas and atmosphere: substitute science for the supernatural and The Hulk isn't that far from Onmyoji, a live-action Japanese sorcery film that enjoyed a minuscule theatrical run a few weeks back. Major beef: it's time to retire the "recovered childhood trauma" theme. Hitchcock's Spellbound premiered in 1945 and screenwriters are still revisiting it!

- tom moody 7-01-2003 11:30 pm [link] [2 comments]

Anyone who's ever been to an electronic music concert featuring laptop performers (we often have them here in NYC at Tonic) knows there ain't much to look at. Paper Rad, the Providence-based art collective, went through the entire repertoire of stage moves last night at the closing event for "Blinky," an exhibition at New York's Foxy Production. Concentrating intensely--check; nodding sagely--got it; leaning over to look at a band member's screen--several times; avoiding eye contact with the audience--consistently. The only problem with all this sincere, scientific-looking activity was it had nothing to do with the sound coming out of the speakers: the "laptops" were Fisher Price toys with colored yarn for cables and the music was a prerecorded mishmash of stop-and-start drumming and desultory, singing-in-the-shower vocals--all completely non-digital. You gotta admire a group willing to exhaust an audience's patience to make a point.

Considerably more exuberant was the act that preceded it: the reunion concert of New Yorkers Cory and Jamie Arcangel, who last performed together as hockey-mask and fright-wig wearing metal teens in Buffalo (their band, Insectiside, is documented on a hilarious home video). The duo, now civic-mindedly decked out in Sabres T-shirts and caps, demonstrated a Nintendo Duck Hunt game scrambled to electronic hash with a Game Genie, and then challenged Williamsburg's vaunted electroclash scene with an infectious tribute to Miami Bass titled, yes, "Booty." While an 8-bit computer pumped the bass, Jamie rapped through a heavily-distorted microphone, Cory played electric guitar on his back, and the crowd got down. The last performer, Towondo Clayborn of Occasional Detroit, had a hard act to follow after all this insanity, but did an extended, intermittently dazzling set of hip hop electro noize that had people wandering in off the street (and also leaving--the philistines!). Think a bipolar union of Anti-Pop Consortium and Detrechno, with inspired segues between the two modes, plus off-the-top-of-the-(hot)head lyrics that gave new meaning to the term "loose."

A couple of other photos of this event are here.

- tom moody 6-28-2003 6:21 pm [link] [add a comment]

Very brief update on my Nancy post, after having read most of Brian Walker's The Best of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. Zen, schmen, the strips are all about the gag, and many of them are funny. Clearly artists are drawn to Bushmiller's visual wit: until I saw a large collection I had no idea how devoted he was to puns and sight gags; they're almost half of his output. Here's my theory on the Nancy revival (with help from Mr. Wilson), adapting Kubler-Ross's "stages of grief" for comedy:

Denial. Boomers in the '60s see Nancy as a legacy of the "square" '40s and '50s--no way it could be funny.

Anger. Hipsters start looking at Nancy in a new way, saying it's "zen" or "so stupid it's good." This is still a putdown.

Bargaining. The generic, "anyone can make Nancy" gags start to appear.

Depression. Artists begin appreciating the strip for its craft, and for Bushmiller's "visual intelligence." (OK, my analogy doesn't work so well here.)

Acceptance. Boomers (and younger) read Nancy and laugh their asses off. Yes, I know, it's not that funny.

- tom moody 6-27-2003 12:04 am [link] [add a comment]