Sunday, August 31, 2008

Book report 2

Grace and beauty. There is really nothing more I can add. Roni Horn's Bird. In case you missed Jeff Ladd's review.

"Bird is hardcover, approximately the size of an LP record and contains 20 photos. The design is elegant and simple, allowing the square photos to be reproduced at a large scale. Bird includes an essay by Philip Larratt-Smith called Hornithology: Nature's Question Mark which is a wonderful mix of fact and metaphor that has a similar flavor to Horn's text that accompanies the work in Another Water. Bird is co-published with the Hauser & Worth gallery and Steidl."

By the way 5B4 is having a print sale to support his smart, thoughtful, addiction feeding book reviews.

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it." Samuel Johnson (1708 - 1784) quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson

Friday, August 29, 2008

Writing a ticket

Is it just me or does this graphic from the McCain web site (honestly!) have a strong Saturday Night Live aesthetic? I'm sure of one thing, the writers at SNL broke open the champagne. I mean this is just too easy, a Tina Fey lookalike? Really? TTFA?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Michael Macfeat

If you're thinking I am thrilled, you would be right. I also discover that beyond being gracious (for contacting me) and generous (for sending me 6 cards from the Trading Card Series) Michael Macfeat has joined the babble conversation with History Will Absolve Mike.

"A random compendium of weirdness, shiny objects and personal perversions. "

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Asking the musical question...

Brian posted today asking what band/music had a profound influence on your politics and art during your formative years. This video was made in 1968 on an episode of the Smothers Brothers. The summer of 1968 had a profound influence on all politics when the Democratic Convention turned into a street riot as protesters were beaten and arrested. We were all glued to the television coverage of those events. That year Humphrey lost, Nixon won and it took 6 more years and how many lives to get out of Viet Nam. I am happy to post this video for those of you not familiar with it. I am hopeful that the election of 2008 will not bring about a President and Congress who say (whether in Iraq, fossil fuels, health care, etc.) to push on. I wish the Obama/Biden campaign would adopt this as their anthem.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Nothing says summer here in the North like Mini Golf. I was doing fine until I quadruple bogied the 13th hole.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Book report

"From 1995 to 1998 I worked on a series of photographs of isolated houses in the desert at the east-end of the Morongo Valley in Southern California. As I meandered through the desert, a dog would occasionally chase my car. Sometime in 1996 I began to bring along a 35mm camera equipped with a motor drive and loaded with a fast and grainy black-and-white film. The process was simple; when I saw a dog coming toward the car I would pre-focus the camera and set the exposure. With one hand on the steering wheel, I would hold the camera out the window and expose anywhere from a few frames to a complete roll of film. I'll admit that I was not above turning around and taking a second pass in front of a house with an enthusiastic dog. Contemplating a dog chasing a car invites any number of metaphors and juxtapositions: culture and nature, the domestic and the wild, love and hate, joy and fear, the heroic and the idiotic. It could be viewed as a visceral and kinetic dance. Here we have two vectors and velocities, that of a dog and that of a car and, seeing that a camera will never capture reality and that a dog will never catch a car, evidence of devotion to a hopeless enterprise." John Divola, 2004

Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert arrived last week and I have opened it, studied it and experienced it every day since.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Technorati alerted me I was flamed (all right not flamed, but gently roasted) over this post, by this site. I haven't been called a brat in 40 years! You'll notice I do not name the site since I have no interest in taking on this opinion battle as a hobby and my guess is the proprietor receives alerts for his domain name also. So henceforth I will be referring to Orthodox members of the One True Church of Apple as "those who enjoy an artificially flavored, artificially colored, sugary beverage".
By the way, I rest my case.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

William Lamson

Still from Emerge, William Lamson

I have admired William Lamson's work since I discovered Me In America several years ago and was thrilled to be in time for one of the two 20X200 (sadly not both) offerings of his work a few weeks ago . I have just now come across his videos. His subversion of the expected, of the formal grown-up rules is delightful. Emerge would make a young child laugh over and over again. It brought a smile to my face for 2 minutes 10 seconds.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Out of the mouths

of graffiti artists. I discovered these tags, about 10 feet apart, on a wall adjacent to a path along the Milwaukee River.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to school shopping

Baby Leopard Boombox Surgery

A friend of mine let me know about Nonsek. Madison, Wisconsin (birthplace of the Onion) is a petri dish for this kind of wit. Perhaps you too want to wear your irony on your chest, not just your sleeve?

As an addendum, this post by surgeon Precarious seemed entirely appropriate.

Hacker Valley Alexandre d'Audiffret

Friday, August 15, 2008

Intimate China

Intimate China from Boris Austin on Vimeo.

There is always more to the story than what is being covered by the television networks during the Olympics. Boris Austin wrote asking if I would be willing to post on his work along with others working in collaboration with the Bolton University UK program in photo journalism and documentary photography. Solidified Memories is a project documenting a neighborhood in transition in the city of Dalian, China. What I find remarkable is, of course, not the differences but the similarities.

Mr. Austin writes,

"Recently my website and projects were censored in China which was unfortunate since im passonate about showing that there is a lot more happening here than than the well known realities of economic development and the Olympics."

Happy to oblige.

Update: David Burnett is posting on his experience at the Olympics and confirms internet "difficulties".

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Look away from the monitor!

An excellent set of color perception tests from the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. This is why your prints are off!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hat Trick

After posting yesterday, this post from Zoe Strauss came up in my reader. Hat trick for mirrors! Following the link to Philadelphia artist Mike Macfeat's Flickr stream took me to this project, Trading Card Series. I highly recommend you take the time to look through this grouping, each one a gem. I would like to have the one below to carry in my wallet, similar to the small religious cards carried by some, as an amulet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Tilt 2008 Isaac Layman

Following yesterday's post I came upon Isaac Layman's work through MAN. I'm fascinated with several of the pieces, particularly the one above. It has the frisson of the completely unexpected; as object, as well as subject.

A review of the Seattle exhibit "Photographs From Inside a Whale" can be read here.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I posted this back in February, here's another delightful example of Improv Everywhere creating a scene.

Friday, August 8, 2008


A few weeks ago as I was wandering through links late one night (and I honestly don't recall where I came across the link, such is the through the looking glass nature of blogs) I stumbled upon for better or for worse, I'm Melanie Flood. The author, Brooklyn based artist/curator Melanie Flood, was offering a print to the first person to respond to the post. I don't know if it was a deprived childhood, never sitting in the right seat (baseball, basketball, wedding showers) for the giveaways, never winning raffles, or what, but I am an absolute sucker for such offers. The fact that I have received amazing pieces from Jason Polan (who has sadly finished his "A Drawing a Day" project), Blake Andrews (a quiz, but hey I knew the correct answer) and now Ms Flood, has only served to reinforce this behavior. I promptly responded and through a small series of emails back and forth discovered that I was to be the lucky recipient of said print. Today Use Me arrived in the mail and I am smitten (as I am with the rest of the series on her site).

It appears this is going to be an ongoing project through her blog. If I were you I'd add it to my subscription list, perhaps you'll get lucky too.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Square America the book!

The always outstanding Square America has produced "Who We Were", a book available to pre-order here (as an added incentive they are including a DVD of vintage home movie clips if you order before 12:01AM August 9). If the excellent collections they have curated for the site are any indication, this will be a book that can live comfortably with most anything on your shelf.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

Eyeteeth has posted on the My Yard Our Message project as part of the Walker Center's UnConvention to welcome the Republicans to the Twin Cities. The winners are in and you can print your own or order from them for the real deal. Props to the Walker for engaging the community in the political process, and thanks to Paul for letting the rest of us know about it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Van Cliburn this isn't, but since my iPhone is playing me (8 hours of tech support) I get small satisfaction from seeing someone play the phone.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cautionary notes

I am sidling closer to putting up a web site..... maybe..... if I have to..... I guess. Web Without Sense gives one cautionary notes and critiques on web design and layout in a way that only the British can (I would love to find a way to use the term "tosser" without sounding like an affected idiot).

via It's Nice That

Friday, August 1, 2008

Street walkers

The street I live on runs along a river and after a long block dead ends at a trail that goes about a mile further down the river. People walk up and down for exercise, or nature viewing, or to walk the dog or the stroller. I have had in the back of my mind to do a project I would call "Street Walkers" and that's pretty much where it has stayed. About two weeks ago I was sitting at dinner and noticed out the window a shirtless man with a pot belly walking down the street followed about 10 feet behind by a bulldog (no leash, just following); just as I was thinking they would have made good candidates for the project I see a third member of the party, a raccoon (also loose), bringing up the rear. I didn't have a camera handy and, of course, then they were gone and I consigned the image to my personal version of "The Photographs Not Taken".

This afternoon they came walking again. Again, I was not prepared since my camera is at the studio but at least grabbed my point and shoot. As a result I have some Flickr worthy shots, that perhaps belong in a group of "The Photographs That Should Not Have Been Taken". The raccoon is a rescue, after the mother and rest of the litter were killed. He, for the time being is happy to follow the dog as a substitute mother. I didn't think it fair to ask the threesome to pose for a group portrait with such a crummy (slow, dogs and 'coons need fast response and shutter speeds) camera at hand but we had a nice chat there on my street.