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How to make a rainbow

Helmet Smits via Amy Goodwin … [Read more...]

A reader’s waking nightmare

From Oliver Sacks, A Neurologist's Notebook, A Man of Letters, The New Yorker, June 28, 2010: On the morning of July 31, 2001, Canadian novelist Howard Engel awoke and discovered that he could not read the newspaper. His room looked normal, and he could still read his clock, but his books were all unintelligible....Buzz Spector (second Spector image via)Rachel Khedoori … [Read more...]

Painting, pound for pound

The heavyweight in the field is Jay DeFeo's The Rose (1958-66), tipping the scale at 3,000 pounds. DeFeo didn't intend gargantuan. Over the years, as she added and never took away,  it grew. Most painters are content to work with a flat surface, but there are artists for whom flat is a synonym for starting gate. Once they blow through it, they go for volume, volume, volume.Leslie WayneIvanna Brenner (via)Peter Fox (via)Margie LivingstonPeter Tollens Untitled 2005 oil on wood 3.75 x 3 inchesMichael Toenges 16-07-32-28 2007 oil on linen 15 x … [Read more...]

How Yeats echoes through our lives

Fallsapart is Sherman Alexie's website address. Things Fall Apart is the title of Chinua Achebe's masterpiece and also the title of the Mario Van Peebles' upcoming film about a football player with cancer, starring 50 Cent. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is Joan Didion at her brilliant best. Dan Savage tips his hat to it in Skipping Towards Gomorrah.When law professor Elyn R. Saks wrote about her illness - "paranoid schizophrenia with acute exacerbation; prognosis: grave" - she titled it, The Center Cannot Hold. Paul Krugman went to the same well … [Read more...]

Jen Graves: discourse deterioration

Just as I feared. It's not just Jerry Saltz. Bravo's Work of Art is deteriorating the discourse. Jen Graves' post on the last episode is devoted entirely to what she thinks of the artists' personalities. She ended with:May the winner not be a douchebag. Jen. Shake your usually admirable head to clear it. We care about art, remember? Look down and check the color of your jersey. You're on the art critic team. Art critics don't care who's a douchebag, not that they would  would presume to judge based on the edited clips of a reality TV show. … [Read more...]

Work of Art & So You Think: Who’s fault?

Bravo's Work of Art and Fox's So You Think You Can Dance head for the finish line with opposite problems. The former arrived at the gate packing a fatal flaw: Of the 14 candidates, at least 9 were unsuited to the format. Week after week, we've seen weak after weak. Last night Jerry Saltz woke up to the problem and started blaming the victims, hurling insults at the artists. This show does not represent contemporary art, artists or how people talk about art. And yet, yes, I'm watching it. (Tick, tick: the sound of me wasting my life.)The latter, … [Read more...]

Open Satellite: I fear thee, ancient Mariner!

"Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest! This body dropped not down.Heather and Ivan Morison, Frost King at Open SatelliteSome exhibits end early, even at major venues, earning from procrastinators lasting enmity. Rarer are the exhibits that trail behind their closure dates, still in place when they promised to be gone. They reward those who believe despite repeated evidence to the contrary that anytime they show up will be time enough. Curated by Eric Fredericksen, Heather and Ivan Morison's Storm King was supposed to end July 17. It's still … [Read more...]

Art & golf in a gallery

Somewhere between art...(Lorna Green)...and miniature golf courses......is the Links Invitational at the Kirkland Arts Center, curated by Cable Griffith. Twelve artists turned the galleries into 9 holes of playable golf, with courses running down the stairs, across a table top and through a passel of sturdy constructions. Putt through the stove top into the sink, rattle through the pipes to land on the ground. If you're going to get a hole in one, this is it. Ben Hirschkoff & Jason Wood, 7 Ways to Enjoy Washing the DishesAs Robert Morris … [Read more...]

Reality TV: artists as female stereotypes

On all the reality shows remotely connected to art - Bravo's Project Runway and Work of Art,  So You Think You Can Dance on FOX - the judges are identified by full names, and the artists by first only. Why? The artists are the chicks, an idea reality TV did not invent. June Wayne explored the cute-little-artist theme in a 1973 essay titled Male Artist As Stereotypical Female, unfortunately not online. I haven't read it in years and don't have a copy but remember it as conclusive. When Donald Kuspit claimed in a lecture in Seattle that … [Read more...]

Your eyes (on Seattle art blogs)

Peter Gabriel's version, mutated to Seattle art blogs.Shaun Kardinal on Translinguistic Other:Andy Warhol, Ann Buchanan's Screen Test on Best Of:Joey Veltkamp on Best Of, deer, all the time, deer:Except, of course, for Joey, there are also bears. (Eye of ownership, eyes of ecstasy.) Joey on Getting to Know You Better:Staring over the burn: Ariana Page Russell on Getting To Know You Better:Staring at nothing: Diane Arbus on Jouissance: … [Read more...]

Painting the Skagit Valley – beyond Fishtown

Fishtown artists had the vibe, but few produced the goods. It's tough to work in a leaky shack. For every James Castle, using spit and soot on discarded bits of cardboard, there must be hundreds of artists who could have connected if they had a creature comfort or two. Below, 10 non-Fishtown painters (and one photographer) who've covered the Skagit. All could retreat to  rooms somewhere, far away from the cold night air.  Richard Gilkey A 1955 weather report: muck with the certainty of flowers.Guy Anderson, not dated. (Yes, the earth … [Read more...]

Fishtown – artists were welcome

Starting in the late 1960s, a motley group of young poets and painters took over abandoned shacks bordering the mouth of the Skagit River within walking distance to La Conner. They lived there for a decade without the burden of rent, running water or electricity. As a fellow-traveler from that time observed in the catalog for Fishtown and the Skagit River, an exhibit at the Museum of Northwest Art, through Oct. 3:I never lived in Fishtown. I couldn't afford the rent.Yeah, I know, the place was well beyond the reach of landlords and realtors, … [Read more...]

NW women artists – Show of Hands

Because the past is a sealed world, what we know of it we've replanted in our own soil and viewed through our own strange light. Canvases rolled up and left in the attic or discarded by relatives hoping to forget the dead are lost. What of the loyal who guard their own family's past? Sentimental attachments do not long survive each generation's efforts to define itself. In a capitalist country, an artwork's only hope is to have attracted monetary value, but even the cash-worthy have a tough time avoiding time's edit. When photographs fade, … [Read more...]

Marilyn Lysohir – how to lose weight

1. Eat only in your dreams. Bed and Board2. Don't bring your head to the table. (Or your hands.) Bad Manners, detail. … [Read more...]

Spike Mafford – the claim of no claim

Spike Mafford takes photographs to erase himself. His claim is a romantic one, that wherever he is, he isn't there. Because his subjects define themselves, they are not limited to theme or style. Mafford is nothing but the projectionist in a theater, running their movies. No one believes that a photograph has nothing to do with the photographer, any more than a painted ship upon a painted ocean owes nothing to the person standing in a studio holding the brush. And yet, in shrinking his role, Mafford has managed to enlarge the remote purity of a … [Read more...]

If objects could breathe…

They'd be accordions. Drew Daly, COMPRESSION, 2006 One bureau, adhesive, lacquer 34 x 36 x 20.5 inches Photo credit: Eric EleyPeter Millett LEVERAGE, 2010 Welded steel 70 x 120 x 24 inches … [Read more...]

He who digs newspapers…

Can measure his life. John Kirchner My Sad Daily Life as Measured in the Daily Paper, Newspaper, rain coat and steel 1994-2005 … [Read more...]

Derrick Jefferies – transubstantiation

From muscle tissue with bacon scarf to smoke...Derrick Jefferies Anatomy (Muscle) Polyethylene and tube lamps 2010 Backlight inkjet print & lightbox … [Read more...]

Isaac Layman – a shot of sainthood

When I asked an addict what she got out of heroin, she said, "a shot of sainthood." I thought of her when looking at Isaac Layman's photographs at Lawrimore Project, the addict who has my face and sounds like I do on phone, sober now a long time and younger than I am but wrecked, always more wrecked. Inside a drugged stupor, grace can deliver a hallucinated clarity. It's only the world in Isaac Layman's large prints, common as dirt, but his delivery has the force of revelation. Were you Saul, these photos would knock you off your horse. Because … [Read more...]

Preston Singletary – tradition as a light source

When in Tacoma, the last place on my list is the Museum of Glass. Its exhibits tend toward the didactic and its galleries have no natural light source, remarkable for a glass museum. With their low ceilings, they look like storage units. Even so, I intended to see Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows long before now. (It closes Sept. 19.) It's hard to admit I was hesitant to see what MOG would do with this artist, but there it is. Fortunately, I was wrong. Not once inside this mid-career survey did I think about the limitations of the … [Read more...]

In praise of lumpy

There's a one-word hint in Michiko Kakutani opening paragraph that her review of Laurence Gonzales' novel will take a disparaging tone:Think of a contemporary version of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" in which an egotistical scientist's creation is not a hideous-looking monster but a well-mannered teenage girl who quotes Shakespeare, listens to Tom Petty and uses Facebook and YouTube. This is the high-concept premise of Laurence Gonzales's lumpy new novel, "Lucy." (more)Right. It's "lumpy." When lumpy is the first descriptive in a book review, … [Read more...]

John Baldessari – make your own 17th Century

Click here, via Molly Norris. … [Read more...]

Peter Millett – cake boss, sculptor, imaginary architect

From a physical understanding of volume, Peter Millett built a cake. BIG CAKE, 2010 Galvanized steel 48 x 26 x 26 inchesHis triangles join, like cupped hands, to make a bowl.FEAST BOWL, 2009 Painted wood 25 x 21 x 8 inches $7,500 He moves back and forth between wood and steel, from carving into a solid to manipulating the empty skin of metal. In metal he can extend and twist a triangle. When triangles try to become a square, they fail, just as, in Millett's mind, the American effort to remake Iraq in its image will fail. OPEN SQUARE, … [Read more...]

Northwest Sound: M. Ward – Rave On

The Northwest sound continues to evolve. Following William Blake, M. Ward turned Buddy Holly's song of  innocence into one of experience. I love how Ward lags slightly behind the beat, taking the plunge but knowing it won't go well. The lyrics make more sense Ward's way: "When you say, I love you, I say, rave on." … [Read more...]

Seattle artist Molly Norris: first the death threats, then a Huffington Post bully

Correction: The narrative in this post contains a crucial error. While Molly Norris published her cartoon - Will the Real Likeness of the Prophet Mohammad Please Stand Up? - she did not launch the Draw Mohammad Day facebook thread.  After Comedy Central censored an episode of "South Park" that featured Muhammad in a bear suit, The Simpsons responded: Who were they afraid of? The usual thugs ready to kill anyone who doesn't see the world their way. Seattle artist Molly Norris attempted to lighten the issue with humor. Can't depict … [Read more...]

Name that (Dale Chihuly) masterpiece

Ries Niemi, commenting on this post, On Dale Chihuly's tide, other boats can rise, wrote:I am curious, "Pro-Chihuly", and others - please name a single Chiluly artwork that you consider a masterpiece. Or even one that is a great work of art that deserves to be pictured in the next version of Janson. Cause I have seen a lot of em, and they are all middling examples of production craft, from my viewpoint. And, having worked in the production craft world, proudly, for over 15 years, I have seen a LOT of production craft. There are, without doubt, … [Read more...]

Oil: Roll credits; everybody back in their cars

Zoe Strauss, from her as-yet unedited file of photos taken in the Gulf. (Story via, with headline from a comment on her site by rolopix.) … [Read more...]

John Clarke & Bryan Dawe – how oil spills happen

Being a British company, BP is best understood by British stand up. (Translation to American models is seamless.)Clarke & Dawe, The Front Fell Off … [Read more...]

David Shrigley – I’m dead

Andrew Graham-Dixon on David Shrigley's contribution to the Tate Britain's new exhibition, Rude Britannia: British Comic Art, an indignant yet deceased feline on a plinth:This defiantly ambiguous object could be seen in a number of ways. Is it Damien Hirst redone as taxidermical stand-up comedy (its theme, after all, is pretty well identical to the title Hirst gave to his original, Saatchi-sponsored shark in formaldehyde, namely The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Something Someone Living)? Or is it Monty Python's Dead Parrot … [Read more...]

Nature continues to abhor a vacuum

Jean Marc CalvertMike Simi Beef Stew Monster Custom fabricated robotics and software program, cast plastic, wood 2007 (Video here) … [Read more...]

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