Somebody's boring me... I think it's me.
— Dylan Thomas
People say that what we're seeking is a meaning for life... I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
— Joseph Campbell
Let's have no talk of temperamental, self-absorbed and petulant babies. Being a good artist is the toughest job you could pick, and you have to be a little nuts to take it on. I love them all.
— Charles Saatchi
I am an unpopular electric eel in a pool of catfish.
— Edith Sitwell
image above: flickr
File Under: You Gotta Be Shitting Me
Well, Prince said "Ain't no fury like a woman scorned...."
Read Colin's recent blog entry to get a link to the article in Der Spiegel which is at the heart of the latest wrinkle in the travails of Artemis.
Here is today's article in the News, which does not include a response from the Buffalo Art Keepers.
File Under: Wow
Currently on view at Hallwalls:
Kelly Richardson: The Edge of Everything
Megan Greene: Rappaccini's Daughter
Here are Lucy Yau's reviews of the exhibitions in Artvoice.
Here are Cynnie Gaasch's reviews from The Buffalo News.
Megan Greene is represented by Kinz, Tillou, Feigen in NYC.
Kelly Richardson's exhibition is co-presented with the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, who have made a pdf publication of Kelly's work, with an essay by me, available here.
Sat, Feb 2 @ 8pmBrian Milbrand: The Claire Cycle
The Claire Cycle is a four part film series created by Buffalo-based artist Brian Milbrand. Each film in The Claire Cycle stars Milbrand as Claire and her male antagonist, including a date rapist, an abortion doctor and a priest. This series addresses Jungian archetypes in genre films ranging from documentary to horror. Claire is a representation of the Anima, the Jungian archetype that is the dream representation of the feminine aspects of the male psyche. Each film in the Cycle is an interpretation of the filmmaker's dreams, and can be seen as an inner struggle between masculinity and femininity. The masculine characters can be read as different Jungian archetypes. The abortion doctor in There's Nothing Harder than an Abortion represents The Wise Man archetype and the killer in The Killer represents The Shadow archetype.
• Kurt Treeby at the Castellani Feb1—Apr 20, opening Fri, Mar 7, 5-9pm
• Cathy Pardike at NCCC opening Thurs Feb 14, 5:30-8pm
• Catherine Shuman Miller at Nichols School opening Feb 3, 2-4pm (thru March 10)
• Toni Pepe at Buffalo Big Print opening Fri Jan 25, 6-9pm (thru March 21)
• Joey Buczek at Hardware opening Sat Jan 26, 7-9pm (thru Feb 23)
• My Best Work at Art Dialogue opening Sat Jan 26, noon-1:30pm (thru Feb 1)
• Eva Huber at Divine Machine Tattoo, 82 Elmwood, opening Sat Jan 26, 7pm (thru Feb 2)
• MIchael Rogers and Jack Wax at the Rochester Contemporary, opening Fri, Feb 1, 6-10pm (thru Apr 6)
CEPA Members Exhibition
Deadline: Jan 28/08
CEPA Gallery is seeking submissions for its annual Members’ Exhibition to be held February 2 to March 15, 2008. An opening reception will be held at CEPA Gallery in the Market Arcade Complex, 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, on Saturday, February 9 from 7:00-10:00 pm. We are proud to announce that this year’s juror is Holly Hughes, Associate Curator, Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
All work can be dropped off at CEPA (M-F 10-5 and Saturday 12-4) or mailed to CEPA between January 7 and January 28, 2008. For Artists who wish to have their work sent back to them, returns will only be made via US Postal Service or FedEx. Please provide postage, FedEx account number or a check to cover the amount for the return.
• All current, new, and renewing members of CEPA are invited to participate.
• All members may submit only 1 piece of photo-related art for inclusion.
• All work should be ready to hang, meaning matted and/or framed with appropriate hanging hardware. All work should be labeled with artist’s name, title, process, date, and sales price.
• Video and Film work is acceptable, but please contact the CEPA prior to submitting to make arrangements.
• Select work will be exhibited on CEPA’s website – www.cepagallery.org
• Visit CEPA’s website or call 716-856-2717 for membership information and exhibition guidelines.
• Exhibition Dates: February 2 – March 15, 2008. Submission deadline at CEPA is Monday, January 28, 2008.
This year CEPA will continue its new tradition of awarding 2 EXHIBITION AWARDS. EXHIBITION AWARDS recognize those artists who demonstrate an elevated level of artistic maturity and skill in their work. The winner will receive a solo exhibit of their work in the 2008/09 exhibition year. To be considered for an EXHIBITION AWARD artists must submit 10 slides or images on CD, a slide script, an artist statement, and an artist resume with their Members’ Show artwork submission. This facet of the Members’ Exhibition is open to all artists. It is an option and does not affect regular submissions to the exhibit. Other awards including “Best In Show” will also be awarded.
(winding down/see em now) • Shelly Niro at Ub Art Gallery thru Jan 27
• Jackie Felix at CG Jung Center (408 Franklin) thru March 7
• Phil Hendrickson at NCCC thru Feb 7
• Alan Larson at Artsphere thru Feb 16
• the Artvoice Still Life Photography Show at College Street Gallery thru Feb 3
• Jose Bello at El Museo thru Feb 29
• Alida Fish, Jeannie Pierce, Stuart Rome at Nina Freudenhem through Jan 25 Buffalo News
• Jackie Felix, Dorothy Fitzgerald, Catherine Koenig, Adrienne Lynch, Nathan Naetzker, Brian Porter at Insite thru Feb 11
• Philip Hendrickson, Stephen Houseknecht, Amanda Wachob at Buffalo Arts Studio thru Feb 22
• Barbara Baird, Beth Munro, Leslie Zemsky at the Kenan Center thru Feb 3
• The Panza Collection at the Albright thru Feb 24 Buffalo News Cynnie Gaasch
• AJ Fries, Jay Carrier, Kurt Von Voetsch at the Castellani thru Feb 17
• Jeff Sherven at Betty's thru March 2
• Tim Wetherbbee at Studio Hart thru Feb 9
• Bruce Jackson at CDS/Duke University thru April 6
• John Opera at Shane Campbell Gallery thru Feb 9
• Nina Leo at Redhead Gallery, Toronto thro Jan 26
• Jason Yungbluth at Rust Belt Books thru Jan 31
• Diane Baker at The Mansion on Delaware (indefinitely)
(some blogger I am....I wrote the following Craptastic piece a while back and completely forgot to post, so apologies for the staledatedness....)
It's Craptastic! Not that there's anything wrong with that....
I'm from that nefarious post Baby Boom generation known as X. Meaning I was never a member of the folk-enamored youth of the early 60s who charmingly presumed that an earnestly-performed song might, ahem, change the world. Yeah, yeah, I know: You had to be there, man. Don't get me wrong, I love folk music. I love Phil Ochs. I love Richard and Mimi Fariña. I love Fred Neil and Tom Rush. I love Tom Paxton and Joan Baez. And there's no doubt that the early 60s folk scene provided a kumbaya-full of toe-tappin' finger pointing ditties to scold The Man and assuage elitist liberal guilt by providing a morally-viable position to occupy, in between scoring dope and getting laid and staying in college and out of Vietnam.
All of which is to say that Bob Dylan never betrayed me. I always found that mid-60s "Dylan goes electric at Newport" incident (and the electric European tour that followed) to be a hilarious psychodrama in which well-meaning but misguided folkies were emphatically bitch-slapped by their own pompous (however sincere) presumptions. Poor little babies didn't get the bottle they wanted and they booed him. It's still an astonishingly ridiculous tale because there haven't been too many times since where fans have turned on a popular singer. If you see the film footage, two things are worth noting.
One, Dylan and his backup band were smoking hot. Tight and spectacular. As he would continue to be throughout his nefarious 1966 tour of Europe with The Hawks. All those recordings completely back up Dylan's own instinct to push the envelope. They still sound great. Two, the first song Dylan played when he "went electric" was Maggie's Farm, which is an acutely pointed song about refusing to conform. "I ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more..." I always loved the fact that Dylan basically said, hey, I'm not your pet poodle, get used to it.
But let's not forget that I may be full of shit too and not beyond a little Dylan-mythologizing myself, so I'm going to direct you a little closer to real skinny re: Newport in this posting by Bruce Jackson, Deaccession Knight Gallant and one of the directors of the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
See, what's fun about all this, before we even get to Haynes film, is that I've already misspoken about the Newport booing, which is why I needed to include Bruce's posting. That said, audiences post-Newport definitely did boo Dylan, for all sorts of reasons, one of which absolutely had to do with the artist daring to be an artist and try to find some breathing space outside his assigned pigeonhole. Had he not aspired to something else, had he relented to becoming Pete Seeger Jr. and "carrying the torch" for a new generation and all that bullshit....well, it would have been a sad chapter in the history of popular music.
In denying those expectations, we got Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde. As Hockey News editor Steve Dryden once said about Bobby Orr, "He didn't raise the bar. He replaced it..." If you don't know these albums, you should get intimate with them as soon as possible. More than thirty years later, they have not aged an ounce, and I'm definitely not mythologizing about this: they remain utterly sublime.
Even more incredible, note the release dates for those three albums:
Bringing It All Back Home • March 22, 1965
Highway 61 Revisited • August 30, 1965
Blonde On Blonde • May 16, 1966
Three stone cold classics in 14 months. That's almost beyond ridiculous. Three great album titles, three great album covers, and across eight sides of vinyl, not one boner track. It's sublime and it's ridiculous. Had these been his only three albums, he would have merited eternal lionization. Can you imagine a visual artist knocking it out of the park with three paradigm-rattling exhibitions in just over a year? Of course not, it's absurd. I really shouldn't get into it. I could write a 2,000 word post just on the song Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. Myyyyy waaarehouse eyes / Myyy Araaaabian drums...
Wait, where were we....? Right, Dylan consciously denying the irrational expectations that he would be some kind of pop prophet to brighten those dark, dark times. Another brilliant Dylan "fuck you" was in evidence during the 1966 European tour, a time when some people were not only hostile about Dylan going electric but general anti-American sentiment from the war in Southeast Asia was starting to come to a boil. In this context, Dylan made someone go out and find the BIGGEST American flag they could, which you can see at the beginning of this video clip. I always thought that was a brilliant badass gesture.
Another detail that rarely gets mentioned is that the April/May 66 tour of Europe was called the Something's Happening Here World Tour...
I came to Dylan well after all that, when I was a teenager in the mid-Seventies, first by reading about him, then acquiring, one by one, all the salient records. By the time I arrived, that early portion of Dylan's career was long part of the historical pop music record. To me, it was always eminently clear that Dylan always did what the fuck he wanted and did it without apology (which endeared him to me forever) and I invariably found it ALL interesting. Beside the obvious "classics" (there are many and they are all stratospheric in their greatness) I'm also hugely enamored by what some might consider Bob's "minor" works: Street Legal, Shot of Love, Knocked Out Loaded (which is one of my favorite albums covers of all time because...well, in uncertain times, you need to know that your woman is willing to save you from banditos with a hefty piece of ceramics, fighting thug with jug)...I even adore Live at Budokan.
I always understood Dylan to be an entity in perpetual flux. As every great artist should be. I've never expected sameness from him and I've never been disappointed. So, my reaction to the new Haynes film was a little ho-hum because it told me absolutely nothing I didn't already know.
What's the worst thing about I'm Not There?
No contest—casting David Cross as Alan Ginsberg. The moment I saw him, I thought we had slipped through a tear in the space-comedy continuum and had segued into a rerun of Mr. Show and this is not a film that requires additional, incidental distractions. Seeing Cross in that role almost created a sensation I might call deja-parody, the expectation that we are on the cusp of the farcical. Which actually isn't so awful, and if that's the worst, how bad can the rest be?
What's the second-worst thing about the film?
The use of Dylan's music. It's almost a given that Dylan's music be inserted, but dicing up the songs for their practical use as background score does them zero justice and doesn't necessarily help the film. The inherent strength of the songs is lessened and, for the most part, their impact in the film is negligible. It was far more compelling to have some of the actors (I presume it was them, though it almost looked as though some lip-syncing was going on) singing the songs in character. That was pretty intriguing and should have perhaps been the modus operandi throughout.
What's the third worst thing about the film?
Well, the final shot sucked. A tight close-up of the real Dylan blowing on his harp. As what—a reminder that the film was about a real person? For a film that was otherwise so willing to be exploratory and ambiguous, an extremely perfunctory way to end it all. Booooooooo.
Alright, what was great about the film?
Haynes sure can frame a shot and there were many, many, MANY moments of pure delirious cinema. And I mean many. Superb shots, rich emotive colors, and utterly gorgeous black and white sequences. The film's visual appeal is by far its best element and almost worth it on its own. We are talking about film, so that surplus of visual splendor is a sufficiently valid praise. I could have taken another half hour of Haynes' visuals had he used more music and just gone hogwild with it.
What was the greatest thing about the film?
You know already: Cate Blanchett. She owns the role, she owns the screen and while I don't give a rat's cancerous pimply ass about awards, just give her both Oscars now—Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress. (By the way, I held an actual Oscar once—they're smaller than they look and heavier than you think.)
If it sounds like I'm describing a beautiful mess of a film, I am. It's actually kind of interesting that you could have such inspired casting (Blanchett) existing in the same film as such insipid casting (Cross). And, in a way, Haynes has made a film that's almost inoculated against criticism. Is it full of contradictory elements? Parts that don't always fit? Clumsy moments? Yes, but these are part of the conceit of the film and its narrative structure so it's not like it's a failure. But then again it is. Kind of....let's say that yes, it contradicts itself but let's also say that it is vast and contains multitudes. It reaches, it fails, it picks itself up and stumbles forth, looking spectacular all along the way.
What was the missing visual link in the film?
Actually, I'm stunned Haynes didn't make use of this image....in the mid 1970s, Dytlan toured with a phenomenal posse of musicians under the hotly-topical rubric of The Rolling Thunder Review—Rolling Thunder being the name of a US bombing campaign undertaken during the Vietnam War. During this tour, Dylan often performed in whiteface, which Haynes does make a passing allusion to, but the far, far more compelling Dylan image from that tour is evident in the first few minutes of Dylan's own film about the tour, Renaldo and Clara.
At a few Rolling Thunder concerts, Dylan would come out and perform with a clear, acrylic mask on. In the interior distance of a concert hall, audience members couldn't tell what the hell was going on and why Dylan looked so disfigured and disturbing. some people thought he might have been in an accident. Even at a relatively close distance, it's hellishly hard to see the face under the mask. A simple trick but a very good one. Not to mention the loaded metaphor of a mask that conceals and reveals simultaneously. I'm really surprised that Haynes didn't make use of this image.
If you want a film that explores notions of Dylan the chameleon; the relationship between artist and audience; the question of authenticity vs. opportunism; the fine line between expectations and intent; issues of persona and celebrity...ALL of these issues are far more smartly discussed and acutely explored in Martin Scorcese's Dylan documentary No Direction Home, one of the greatest documentaries ever made about artistic process.
We Should All Be Hot for Words
"It was the usual narcoleptic morning weather show. Then came the nuclear blast."
NY Times Michael Kimmelman
"After his triumph against Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland, he all but abandoned chess, and seemed to replace the idea of a seated challenger pushing pieces on a 64-square board, with that of a demonic Jewish world conspiracy that was (as he said in radio broadcasts from the Philippines) perpetrated by a “filthy, lying bastard people” who kill Christian children (“their blood is used for black-magic ceremonies”) while exploiting that “money-making invention,” the Holocaust."
NY Times Edward Rothstein
Suzanne Pleshette 1938—2008
Maila Nurmi 1921—2008
Call for Works: BodyCount—A Night of Shorts
The Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender invites recent, original work from current and former Western NY women filmmakers on the theme of the female body/politic. Whether it's your body, Hillary's body, the body politic or a fe/male body--we want to see your work! Deadline for completed work: February 22nd, 2008
Theme: Female body politic
Format: MiniDV (preferred)
Event Date: March 6th, 2008
Venue: Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre 639 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.
Duration of Works: 3-10 mins
****All work must have been produced no earlier than 2007 and should also not have been exhibited extensively in Western New York**** About the event: For the third year in a row, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender presents a collection of recent original work by Western New York's best women filmmakers. Taking as its theme the female body and the body politic, this year's films will follow in the tradition of challenging narrow, mainstream perceptions of women's cinema to excite provoke and challenge.
The title of this year's show 'Body Counts' alludes to the complex and multidimensional ways that women across the world make themselves count, everyday. It also alludes to the continual rigid compartmentalization of female bodies that this year's filmmakers' challenge and break down in their films. As usual, by bringing together Western New York's finest feminist filmmakers, the Gender Institute pushes the boundaries of the discourse surrounding women's lives and experiences – making the female Body Count.
Please send email with proposal or description of work, including exhibition history (if applicable) to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Something I listened to this week...and you can too!
Coop is an unapologetic pop artist who has often rendered Satan as his anti-hero and blasphemously sexy nuns as objects of desire. You know, for the kids. Coop has a blog called Positive Ape Index, on which he recently made available a music mix called Wunderbar! I am a huge fan of mix tapes—love making em and love getting em from others. I highly recommend this fantastic mix. Would sound great for a dinner party, a night of drunken debauchery, or when you have that special someone over and the lights down low....or maybe all of the above. Free to download as a zip file. You need it, so get it.
1. Livin' In The Sunlight, Lovin' In The Moonlight / Tiny Tim
2. What Is Hip / Tower Of Power
3. Peaches / The Stranglers
4. Natural’s Not In It / Gang Of Four
5. Polly Put The Kettle On / Sonny Boy Williamson
6. How High The Moon / Slim Gaillard
7. Red Right Hand / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
8. A Shot In The Dark / Shirley Scott
9. Police And Thieves / Junior Murvin
10. I'm So Free / Lou Reed
11. Witch's Egg / Susan Tyrell & The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo
12. Do I Make Myself Clear / Sugar Pie DeSanto & Etta James
13. Wunderbar / Tenpole Tudor
14. Une Fille Comme Ca / The Masking Sound
15. Picking Up Troubles / Los Shakers
16. Hello Little Girl / The Stool Pigeons
17. Iron Leg / Mickey & The Soul Generation
18. Sitar Beat / Klaus Doldinger
19. Freestyle / Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five
20. She's Crafty / Beastie Boys
21. Whole Lotta Love / Ike & Tina Turner
22. Communication Breakdown / The Dickies
How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people call you an asshole?
— Jacques Plante