Saturday, September 30, 2006

How about some “Authentic Works of Victorian Surrealism” from Jeffery Michael Harp’s collection Hippopotamouse:

In The Garden

Vacuous Adolescence

The Little Wasp Girl

In The Glare Of An Accustomed Flower

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thanks to Ophelia for turning me on to Semafore, and the work of Kent Oberheu:

The Running Dress

Elephant Bones

Erato's Lyre

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cool new 2-D work from German photographer Jan von Holleben, from a series called Dreams of Flying:

Click here for more.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I will tell you what truly sucks, what hurts my heart, what makes an otherwise bliss-filled Saturday in Columbus go moldy and sour:

I’ve just heard that Sven Nykvist died on Wednesday at the age of 83. For those who share my deep adoration and respect for him, you know that cinema has lost one of the finest directors of photography ever to live. For those of you who might not know his name, you most certainly know his work:

Nykvist lit many of Ingmar Bergman's films, including one of my all-time favorites, Persona. He also won 2 Academy Awards for best cinematography for other Bergman films, Cries and Whispers in 1973 and Fanny and Alexander in 1982.

Other primo examples of his artistic genius can be seen in Lasse Hallström’s What's Eating Gilbert Grape; A few memorable Woody Allen films including Crimes and Misdemeanors; Philip Kaufman’s adaptation of The Unbearable Lightness of Being; and Bob Fosse’s Star 80.

His influence on cinema simply can't be overstated. Personally, I don't think we would have visionary contemporary cinematographers like Emmanuel Lubezki or Darius Khondji without the significant contribution of their predecessor, Sven Nykvist, the Swedish forefather of light.

(12/3/1922 - 9/20/2006)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Steven Meisel is a legendary force in the field of fashion photography. He began his career at the age of twelve, is credited for "discovering" Linda Evangelista, was the protégé of Anna Wintour- miss queen bee of couture, and he also did that naughty little book for Madonna.

In this month's issue of Vogue Italia, Meisel calls our attention to the interplay between sex and violence, politics and fashion, in a provocative piece called "State Of Emergency."

Here are a few examples:

Click here for more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today, the surrealism of Colette Calascione:

Dream of the Hungry Ghost

Internal Landscape

Two Birds Sold for a Kiss

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My brother sent me a great link to some old school U.S. propaganda, which makes me even more embarrassed to be an American - a label I was born into, not one that I chose for myself. Here’s a historical sample of my birth-country’s stupidity:

First, a bit of the old U.S. fear-mongering; glad to see that our current administration is simply drawing on historical precedence to push the goal of silence and servitude. Remember, only un-patriotic evildoers speak without the permission of their masters.

Oh, here's a good one, which shows just how despicable and inhuman those Nazis were:

Wait a second. Is that supposed to be an anti-Nazi poster from 1942, or is it a picture of U.S. detention camps like Abu Grab circa 2004?

I'm sorry, it's just that I'm having a hard time figuring out who "the bad guys" are.

But maybe it's not about "bad guys" at all, but rather "bad girls"?

Yeah, that's it. God bless America. Let's blame women for STDs; everybody knows that men are the poor victims who suffer from the evils of dirty women.

And finally, let's take a moment as proud Americans to remember our important racist heritage, which, to clarify, is NOT the same as the Nazis racist hatred of Jews, because, of course, we are "the good guys":

Click here for more disgusting examples of Americana.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Wangechi Mutu is from Kenya, but she got her MFA from Yale. Last year, New York Magazine declared her one of ten "Artists on the Verge of a Breakthrough."

Many of her paintings are untitled:

Find out more about her work here, here, and here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Okla Elliott, my friend and fellow OSU comrade, has a chapbook coming out very soon from MSR press. Right now, before October begins, you can click here to preorder it for only $6.

Here’s a sample from Lucid Bodies:

Krakow Peasant, 1917

"Bogu swieczke i diablu ogarek."
--Polish Proverb

Her third child was stillborn but
the fields were rich in mustard plants,
and the yogurt had turned out
better than expected His ways
are mysterious The bruise on
the heel of her hand collapsed
into exquisite pain each time
and still she gathered mustard blooms
Smashing the wood crate Bones
gave way, disintegrated into the
swollen mush of her hand Mysterious?
Hell is all it is She lit two candles-
the one for god and one for the devil,
wrapped her hand tight in burlap and
scrubbed the brown-blooded sheets
against a wooden washboard.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I have an abundance of admiration for the philosophical theories of Slavoj Žižek. In short, he rocks socks and sweeps streets with thoughts. Take a gander at a couple of quotes from the notes I took while watching this fabulous new documentary.

Žižek says:

I’ve always been disgusted with this notion of “I love the world” or “Universal love.” I don’t like the world. I’m basically somewhere in between “I hate the world” or “I’m indifferent towards it.” But the whole of reality is just stupid. It is out there. I don’t care about it. Love, for me, is an extremely violent act…Love is evil.

I am not human. I’m a monster…I rather prefer myself as somebody who, not to offend others, pretend plays that he is human.

If I were not myself, I would arrest myself.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ben Woodward attended Rhode Island School of Design, and is one of the founding members of Space 1026, a Philadelphia-based artist collective. Here are a couple of his paintings on slabs of wood:

The Problem with Self Examination

Losing Your Face

At a Safe Place

Last night I watched Volume 4 of the Charles and Ray Eames collection. You know this married couple as the creators of the legendary "Powers of Ten" video for IBM. "Design Q&A," the first short film in this volume, is both hilarious and illuminating. Other cool things on this disc include "SX-70" an introduction to the polaroid camera that becomes a meditation on the nature of photography, "Goods" an excerpt from the Norton lectures in Poetry (and the only available version of an Eames 3-screen slide show), "Fiberglass Chairs," "Copernicus," and the "IBM Math Peep Shows."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Carrie Ann Baade was born in New Orleans and now lives in Philadelphia. She earned her MFA in Painting from the University of Delaware, but she also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and The Florence Academy of Art in Italy.

Cupid Complaining to Venus

The Severance of Creeping Charlotte

Our Lady Kali

In cinema news:

Patrick Süskind's elegant novel of olfactory obsession, Perfume, has been, for the last fifteen years, considered unfilmable. Kubrick wanted to make it, as did Scorsese, Tim Burton, and Ridley Scott, among others, but none could figure out how - until now.

Tom Tykwer, the director of Run Lola Run, just screened his finished version last week in Munich. I read Perfume a year ago and it instantly became one of my favorite books. I ran around trying to convince everyone I met to read it; so I’m quite curious to see how Tykwer was or wasn’t able to capture the magic of Süskind's prose. You can read more about the film here and here.

And lastly, in couture news, Mike Figgis just directed a few edgy short films for Agent Provacateur lingerie, featuring Kate Moss. Click here to check them out.

Friday, September 08, 2006

British guerilla artist Banksy doctored 500 copies of Paris Hilton’s debut album in 48 record shops across the UK.

Below are two examples, but click here to read the BBC News article about it, click here to watch a video of him doing the deed.

Although I usually try to avoid the art of politics, last week Keith Olbermann at MSNBC gave a brilliant - underline it, brilliant - commentary in response to Rumsfeld's recent "fascism" comments. Click here to watch the video and/or read the transcript, which begins, "The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack."

High five, Keith Olbermann.

Speaking of prophets or quacks, those folks at Steorn who claim to have developed a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy, have now moved into Phase One. Will it turn out to be the greatest scientific achievement since the invention of the wheel? Or will it turn out to be a hoax? Who knows?

But what I do know is that my friends over at the supercool literary pamphlet called The Cupboard are looking for submissions, specifically for biographies between 1 and 700 words of any individual you feel other people should know more about. Obscure musicians? Prominent geologists? The Cupboard knows none. Yet.

Go check it out, get on the mailing list, and print out the current pamphlet to distribute in your city!

Here’s a snippet from a piece in Vol.4 called “I Brought My Dead Grandma to the Prom”:

"We stood at Katie’s door, Grandma and me. I had a corsage in a plastic box. Grandma had a Tupperware of lutefisk. I smelled like Dad’s Drakkar Noir. Grandma still smelled like formaldehyde. Katie opened the door. She screamed. She had been to Grandma’s funeral.
Katie looked great. I smiled. I could feel the cold air from the AC."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Alice's Tea Party
(Tokyo 2006.07)

Nendo, the group responsible for what's above, is the brainchild of designer Oki Sato. Instead of trying to explain what they do, I thought I would share their cool mission statement:

Giving people a small « ! » moment.
There are so many small « ! » moments hidden in our everyday.

But we don’t recognize them.
and even when we do recognize them,we tend to unconsciously reset our
minds and forget what we’ve seen.

But we believe these small « ! » moments are what make our days so
interesting, so rich.

That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and
reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.

We’d like the people who’ve encountered nendo’s designs to feel these
small « ! » moments intuitively.

That’s nendo’s job.

Meanwhile, over at the always interesting Eyeball Hatred, I found a great link to:


If you click on that title you can pick up the book and you can also read excerpts from a few of the stories and poems in the collection. One good example comes from a paragraph in "A Nation behind Bars," by the Sudanese scribe Khalid Oways:

"A greeting at the door. A slap on the right cheek. I spat blood. His face is like a fried fish that just came out of the oil. His eyes are pools of pus and rotten blood. I stood opposite him."

And lastly, I wanted to mention this HBO documentary I watched called Slam Nation, which follows a group of poets to the National Poetry Slam. Whether you like slam poetry or not, this is worth renting just to see the superfantabulistic Saul Williams perform like a word magician. Plus, it was filmed back in the mid 90s, so it takes place before his movie Slam came out, and before he published his books and records.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Steven Natanson creates mazes.

Aside from the obvious quirkiness of such work, he also has a seemingly heartfelt reason for why he makes them and sells them (very inexpensively) at his site Heart to Heart Mazes. It has something to do with a custody battle he seems to be losing. In his sidebar bio he mentions missing his children and wanting to be reunited with them. Here's an example:

The selling point for me is that he puts two hearts in each maze, one at the start and one at the end and he says the point of the maze is to connect the two hearts. Rock and Roll!

Now how about something completely off topic, how about some cultural theory?

"Since the media always make you out to say the opposite of what you say, you should have the courage always to say the opposite of what you think."

- Jean Baudrillard

See, a passage like that makes me cheer outloud; but ultimately, I’m still up in the air over Cool Memories II. I could go either way. Apparently Baudrillard likes Glenn Gould but not deconstruction. (How's that for a poststructuralist?) He’s therefore halfway sympathetic to my interests, but in fairness to the scoreboard, he also takes a few swings at Psychoanalysis, which doesn’t sit well with me, being that I’m a firm believer in therapy and its endeavors. So maybe this book rubs sand in my eyes more often than not. I kinda enjoy sand in the eye every now and again. Difference of perspective is paramount. As Derrida might say, all we have are our differences, or rather, our différances.

ps - I don't know if Derrida would say that or not; I just thought it sounded good.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Recent work by Alex Kanevsky:

Bathroom with Movement

Interior with Meat

Today, thanks to that wondrous bookcave called Half Priced Books, I spent under $20 and got all of these:

Cool Memories II - Jean Baudrillard
Language and Thought - Noam Chomsky
Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means - William T. Vollmann
I Never Told Anybody: Teaching Poetry Writing in a Nursing Home - Kenneth Koch

Click here to listen to an interesting NPR discussion of Derrida, particularly concerning deconstruction.

And if you want to hear a crunk tribute to Radiohead, click here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

In preparation for the upcoming academic quarter, aside from burying my head in Derrida, Wittgenstein, and Chomsky, I watched a fascinating documentary series, part of which I plan to use in class, called How Art Made the World.

From the prehistoric cave drawings found in Altamira to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Africans, Mesopotamians, Australian Aborigines and beyond, it attempts to trace the history of art back to its antecedent, to uncover the origins and possible motives behind why such a thing was ever invented in the first place. Cambridge art historian and lecturer Dr. Nigel Spivey hosts, which brings me to my only real criticism, however minor it may be: he tries too hard to make his voice sound like David Attenborough's, and at times it becomes rather unnerving to listen to him speak. But aside from nitpicking, each episode is packed with juicy tidbits of knowledge.

"The essential premise of the show," says Dr. Spivey, "is that of all the defining characteristics of humanity as a species, none is more basic than the inclination to make art. Great apes will smear paint on canvas if they are given brushes and shown how, but they do not instinctively produce art any more than parrots produce conversation. We humans are alone in developing the capacity for symbolic imagery."