Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Odds are...

In a verifiably entropic universe, you are a complex and unlikely piece of highly organized stuff. Of all of the 200-300 million sperm that could have gotten there first, it was you (or the sperm that started the ball rolling toward you) that hit the mark and shut out all other contenders. Though every cell in your body dies out over a 7 year period, you still manage to maintain your "youness" over time. You also manage to maintain yourself in a world filled with germs, viruses, accidents, war, deceit and bad manners.

From this perspective, I'd say you won the mega lottery.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A poem

Can there ever be enough waltzes?
Couples holding tight to one another’s rhythms.
At breakfast, in the bathroom, in the bed.
Rhythms, sometimes cold and brutal,
Danced to the music of whatever
Masquerades as love.
Time and practice
Makes the dance a dance.
They glide and turn,
Stumbling into the grave.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I often struggle with identifying the criteria on which my work should be judged. There's technique, formal issues, theories, on and on. "Criteria" is a slippery issue because it changes from artist to artist and even from work to work. Henry Geldzahler talked about "memorability" and about the relevance of art to art history and to its own time.

One thing I keep coming back to for myself is this: What happens if the art is taken from its well-lighted site in the white cube, from its buffer from the masses, from its protective custody? What happens if it's left to fend for itself on the street?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Not smart enough

I think I'm smart enough to ask the important questions. I'm just not smart enough to answer them. I mull them over. Get confused and jump from one perspective to another. I think I have a workable answer, then wake up the next morning seemingly at square one.

Then it occurs to me that the core of "question" is "quest."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Brain vs. Reality

One brain. Many brains. 7 billion brains. All the brains in the history of the world. All connected by dialogue, text, images, electronics over space and time. Even with all of that, reality is fluid and elusive. Every brain is prejudiced by its filters and prejudiced by its laziness, its courage, its muscularity, the limitations of the vessel that transport it.

With our brains we can sidestep reality, invent illusions of reality, create realities that make the world seem sensible or throw ourselves at reality again and again hoping for a few sparks and a little light.
Click. Bang. Pow.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

10 Observations about Drawing

1.     Drawing is the most direct and naked act of the visual artist.

2.     Often, at its best, drawing becomes a tool for research.

3.     Of all contemporary visual practices, drawing is the most basic, the most embracing, the most permissive of play, the most flexible and open to exploration of process, and the least weighted down by the need to be a product.

4.     When drawing is seen as a language, the possibilities for style, content and poetic vision are infinite.

5.     Drawing is not a magic ability practiced by a gifted few. Drawing is a tool and a skill useful to everyone.

6.     In drawing, talent is a gift, not a necessity.

7.     Drawing, stripped of all else, is a physical act, which carries the potential of the entire body, its history and experiences.

8.     Drawing the figure from life is a skill practiced over time. Drawing life from the figure emerges from a deep understanding of the human condition.

9.     A good drawing is an organic thing, which refuses to have its future planned for it.

10.  When you draw, you dance.

Dividing Up Contemporary Art

What happens if we start dividing up contemporary art into pairs of categories, say:
     whose essence is the human condition or whose essence is formalism
     whose purpose is revelation or whose purpose is decoration
     whose message is about "us" or whose message is about "me"
     who's comfortable being naked or who needs to be dressed in theory?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Are you having fun?

Fun, in our culture, is not something that emerges from an activity or experience. It's something we go after, we create. It is too often mindless, built around entertainment and is even self-destructive. So when the question, "Are you having fun?" comes up in the discussion of the art making process, it's important to tread carefully.

The making of art should be serious business. Making art not about mindlessness, entertainment or self-destructiveness. But it should be fun. A type of fun that emerges from hard work, discipline, discovery, immersion. A type of fun that brings satisfaction as a consequence of stretching, asking a lot of oneself, taking a risk and enjoying the stimulating ride that comes with that.