~ be what we do ~

September 12, 2013

The New Yorker, March 3, 1973. Arthur Getz.

The New Yorker, March 3, 1973. Arthur Getz.

Let the beauty we love
be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.
~ Rumi

This Is New York

September 11, 2013

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And I sometimes forget
not everyone heard the sound of engines rumbling low to the ground
and then the sound of police sirens and fire engines racing down the street.

Emergency,
except this is New York,
and it always is.

And I sometimes forget
I didn’t hear it once, I heard it twice,
those engines rumbling low over my head.
And then the sound,
an impact I had never heard until I heard it again,
but I am inside and I am at my desk
and I am answering emails and no one is in the office yet.

And I sometimes forget
not everyone was there when it happened.
That they didn’t smell it for months coming out of the ground,
throughout September and October wondering if it will ever stop
because it feels like it is in your hair and in your skin
and its not like anything you can describe
because it doesn’t smell like anything you want to relive.

And the smell lingers outside the house and outside the office
and it’s much too close but it’s far away enough that I don’t have to breathe it in
except when I can see those clouds that come out of the manholes.
And then I hold my breath like a little kid
sitting in a car that is driving by the cemetery.
It is a long minute.

And though it has been twelve years
I cannot go because it’s just too strange to act like it’s business as usual
because there are some things that I don’t want to remember
and some things I don’t want to forget.

We did a book right after and raised money
because it was the only thing we knew how to do and that felt like something,
because you wanted to contribute.
But I had to release myself so I gave away the book
because I will not look at violence like it is art.

Only now it is odd.
Because I peruse blogs for photos
and I find these images of planes upon impact
and buildings ablaze
and people jumping
and it has become an aesthetic to be consumed.

It is but a photograph
littered in between hundreds and thousands of photographs
of teen angst and lust and drama and dreams.

And so it has become a photograph.
And this makes me think.
About what it is when reality becomes but
a memory,
a memento,
a token of life lived
compressed into two-dimensions.
An image.
A decorative thing.

I wonder what happens when something is both sacred and profane,
and its meaning changes as it intersects with those
who will never know it in any other way.

Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

A pioneer of the Post-Minimalist and Conceptual art movements, Mel Bochner became deeply involved with photography during the mid-to-late 1960s. He describes photography as, “A happy expedient,” that helped resolve his questions around the order and organization of the sculptural form. He notes that photography was, “An easy way of producing images, differently from the look of the handmade, and having unique visual characteristics unexpected in a painting context.

“One result of a method such as seriality tends to be a certain visual complexity uncommon to primary, or single-image art.” Working in photography transformed Bochner’s understanding of other media, and inspired him to give closer consideration to the form of photography itself. He notes that, “In 1967 there was o place for photography in a contemporary art gallery…. Photography was seen as the enemy of all the values of late modernism… and, as things turned out, it was.”

Of this enmity, a new project was born in 1970, titled “Misunderstandings (A Theory of Photography)”, which became a comment on the literature of photography itself. In search of mis/understanding, Bochner began a random collection of quotations written in block letters in black ink on a white lined index cards. The quotes come from sources including Marcel Proust, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Mao Tse-Tung, and Emile Zola, among others, and espouse worldviews that are definitive in the way that only language can be; they are mere hypotheses ready to be taken at face value or questioned critically.

“I would like to see photography make people despise painting until something else will make photography unbearable,” is the quote from Marcel Duchamp, while the Encyclopedia Britannica purports, “Photography cannot record abstract ideas.”

As Bochner explains in an essay written in 2000, and published in Photographs and Not Photographs (Fraenkel Gallery), which contains this series, amongst other work, he decided to create these facsimiles for the 1970 publication of Artists and Photographs, which was produced Multiples Gallery. “I decided that my contribution would be a selection of quotations which taken together might (or night not) suggest the impossibility of a ‘theory’ on photography. I chose six quotations from the earlier group, to which I added three fake quotes, which I invented (and have never revealed which are which). The intention of this act of forgery was to undermine any possibility of belief fin the text, and to raise doubt from a subjective to an objective principle. The ‘groundlessness’ of the quotations became the equivalents to the ‘groundlessness’ of photography itself, focusing attention on the artificiality of any framing device.”

The result is effective in making us aware of how the construction of language easily eludes our consciousness. When attributions are given, and we recognize them, we judge the message by the messenger more times than not. Yet to consider that three quotes are fake allows us to step away from the very idea of a theory of photography itself. We consider that the ideas of others, as well as of our own, are not finished products but works in progress of a sort. They exist to inspire, to outrage, to incite; these insights are mirrors in which we reflect our very own ideas and consider where we stand, and where we may wish to go next. Consider the Zola, which purports, “In my opinion, you cannot say you have thoroughly seen anything until you have a photograph of it.”

No longer taken at face value, we now consider this as both a possibility and an impossibility at the same time. We can certainly know something without the photograph, but were we to include the photograph in our knowing, could we say we see it in a new and more detailed light? It is impossible to say, no one ever having seen that many photographs so as to ever comprehend the visibility of life through the representation of it, rather than its original form.

It is in this way that Bochner’s work provokes us out of our comfort zone, out of our knowingness of the experience of art and photography and the theories that abound. Taken in context with the larger oeuvre within this book, we see the mind of one artist as he asks questions without answers in all media to which he is connected. We enjoy the aesthetic and the intellect at the same time, the two forces touch, aligning, and sometimes colliding when they question each other in ways that are no immediately obvious. For in the work of Bochner the photograph exists as more than just an object or an art; it is a concept unto itself, a concept that does not hold to a theory—or maybe that is actually a theory itself…

 

(disappear here)

September 10, 2013

Rene Gruau

melt you do melt as tho you were and tho you are
and back to where you came is where you remain forever more.

fade you do fade as tho you never were not
to me, not anything, not even the shadow of distant memory.

erase i do erase as tho i never did
tho i did, and i am, and because of you i never will again.

the sweet smell of success

September 10, 2013

Sophie Adde

Sophie Adde

Biba fashion in The Daily Telegraph Magazine, September 1973.

Biba fashion in The Daily Telegraph Magazine, September 1973.

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In brief, from now on, the best of everything is good enough for me.
—Sidney Falco, The Sweet Smell of Success
Book & Screenplay by Ernest Lehman

dealing with demons

September 9, 2013

Saint Margaret, 1469, Lieven van Lathem, MS. 37, FOL. 49V. J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Margaret, 1469, Lieven van Lathem, MS. 37, FOL. 49V. J. Paul Getty Museum

Saint Margaret
When swallowed by a fire-breathing dragon,
Saint Margaret made a cross with her fingers,
causing the beast’s belly to burst open.

Life Lesson
Keep calm and carry on.

learn the words of eternity

September 9, 2013

The-Oracle-of-Delphi-Apollo-Talks-2
Let yourself becoming living poetry.
~Rumi

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Two tears in a bucket. Motherfuck it.
~The Lady Chablis

down tha hatch

September 7, 2013

Scholar of Natural Sciences (c.1875–80). Carl Spitzweg (German, 1808–1885). Oil on paper mounted on canvas. Milwakee Art Museum.

Scholar of Natural Sciences (c.1875–80). Carl Spitzweg (German, 1808–1885). Oil on paper mounted on canvas. Milwakee Art Museum.

The Pointer Sisters

The Pointer Sisters

Glen Orbik

Glen Orbik

Janette Beckman

Janette Beckman

Sam Flores

Sam Flores

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

Nina Mae McKinney

Nina Mae McKinney

Fly, Caterpillar, Pear, and Centipede,1561-1562, Joris Hoefnagel, Illuminator; Georg Bocskay, scribe. J. Paul Getty Museum.

Fly, Caterpillar, Pear, and Centipede,1561-1562, Joris Hoefnagel, Illuminator; Georg Bocskay, scribe. J. Paul Getty Museum.

     Balloon Ride, Myanmar - Dima Chatrov


Balloon Ride, Myanmar – Dima Chatrov

Malick Sidibé, Chemises, Editions Steidl et Gwinzegal, 2007

Malick Sidibé, Chemises, Editions Steidl et Gwinzegal, 2007

All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.
~Lemony Snicket

wonderland

September 6, 2013

Steven Brasch. 1910/1912

Steven Brasch. 1910/1912

per chance to dream the dream, this is all i eva wish
to me he reads the words i heard with cummings on his breath
and his lips drip with words i heard before whispered on my flesh
and nothing but nothing then or since has eva felt like this

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Shadowscapes

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Shadowscapes

Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.

Center your country in the Tao
and evil will have no power.
Not that it isn’t there,
but you’ll be able to step out of its way.

Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.

—Tao Te Ching, chapter 60

:: 5774 ::

September 4, 2013

Pattern Box | Helen Dealtry

Pattern Box | Helen Dealtry

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Knowingness is an illusion unto itself. But it’s one that exists as part of the brain’s design. And it is quite a design, a masterpiece of sanity and madness and all that lies between. Thas what it seems we discuss, in many ways, facets of a diamond, diamonds being carbon, being former vestiges of life, of matter compressed by pressure and time, until final ashes to ashes becomes the hardest substance on the planet.

And the one that we kill, rape, and pillage to behold, we barter our souls for the vestiges of death. I love it. It’s a poem. Could keep doing on fossil fuels, but I wont since its neither here nor there, as this all is. To know, or not to know, that is the question.

How do we know we know truth and false ? I don’t buy into conventional wisdom because I am a fool. because i operate by folly. I walk along the edge of a cliff, forever looking at the sky and not at where my feet are heading. Thas my truth, until it’s false, and then ? Maybe I wont write poems. I wont write at all. I’ll be reborn in another being and answer a different call.

But while I am here, in this form, Ima say, I never knew God til we met three years ago. and it was. And it is. It’s tha best. Really. I am so grateful. I have no doubts. Because I have no baggage. No religious hang ups. No spiritual swishh. Like, word, tonite is New Year. Cheers ~*~ I celebrate New Years on three calendars. I wanna have it all. And God allows this, thas why I’m cool with any level of faith and doubt, just like truth and false. I tell myself I am here to do God’s work. I come up hard. I fall short. But still, each and every day I am blessed to be in God’s grace.

This is the Year of the Snake, because revolution happens when the circle spins round and I believe in the ouroburo, thas the snake eating it’s tail, thas my reptile spirit, annd Ima testify it’s real. And maybe or maybe not, me finding God is part of this, but I’m glad I’m where I’m at because I know things, and I dont know things, and thas the way it is ~*~

what dreams may come

September 4, 2013

Dmitri Kessel. View from the Plaza Hotel, 1946

“i write from inside me.
you read from inside me.
you can not have a more intimate relationship
with a
stranger
than
this.”

lovers, nayyirah waheed

(the space between us)

September 3, 2013

Cecilia Paredes

Cecilia Paredes

I meet Truth with a cold bottle of rose
and pour myself a glass and drink it fast
like it’s water from an oasis because…
it is.

I pour myself a second glass
and drink it less fast but not at all slow
and still I feel nothing or, rather,
I don’t feel nothing yet. I am waiting for the click,
the click of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
and I’m holdinn on Brick, but it’s just no use.

I slide down down down I slide
and I like the way it feels
because I feel nothing
and nothing is my everything yes.

Because that’s a lie.
I know the Truth
in a way that I haven’t ever let myself be honest.

I’m looking at my phone
and I’m walking down the street
and the flagstones are wide
and dry and the air is damp and sweet.
And I’m saying,
I’m saying I already knew I was lying
and that I was never swept away
because there was no one sweeping up nothing
except me—

How strange this pain that’s in my heart
for it is soft and warm and vibrating quietly
as it fades with each word that I type.

It is a pain of pleasure
and the pleasure of pain
and it is my First Love,
and it will always be
and it is not at all sane.

Hayy.

Wet eyes that are dry
and a smile that slides back into the ether
and what is seeking me I can never know.
How strange to imagine being sought
as though such a desire could be manifest by anyone else.

And yet, the space between us is. Is.
It’s pieces of the puzzle and I don’t know what to do
because I want to Do rather than to Be
because being confuses with its darkness and mysteries.
Inspiration is a mystery and for me
mystery is most enthralling with possibility.
No boundaries.
Nothing but my dreams to live
or simply to dream because…

It is all within me and I look without
because I love that pain in my heart like I hate myself.
And I could know this without ever knowing a thing
and I only feel what is real
only what is real isn’t Truth,
it is just me being…

Laurette in Green in a Pink Chair

Laurette in Green in a Pink Chair

We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness
with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought,
because we too are linked to the entire universe.

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Pasiphae, 1944

Drawing is like making an expressive gesture
with the advantage of permanence.

Henri Matisse Exposition Retrospective,  Muse National D’Art Moderne Paris Publication Date: 1956

Henri Matisse Exposition Retrospective, Muse National D’Art Moderne Paris. 1956

I wouldn’t mind turning into a vermilion goldfish.

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An artist should never be a prisoner of himself,
prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc.

Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, 1922, Henri Matisse

Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, 1922, Henri Matisse

Why have I never been bored?
For more than fifty years I have never ceased to work.

~*~

Art & Quotes by Henri Matisse

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