Tuesday, September 30, 2008

more on truthiness

above is a favorite altered photo scandal of mine...can you see the use of photoshop's 'diversity tool' above?


Top 15 Most Manipulated Photos:


supply, demand, soup

Goodbye $1 Billion Salary, Hello Campbell Soup
Posted Sep 30, 2008 01:42pm EDT by Henry Blodget in Investing, Newsmakers, Recession, Banking
Related: ^dji, ^gspc, ^ixic, cpb

Campbell Soup Co. was the only stock in the S&P 500 that escaped yesterday's historic sell-off. That’s right: 499 fell, and just one rose.

Could there be a clearer metaphor for Americans refocusing on the basics after a decade of greed and excess?

related news and lifted from the blog of brad troemel (http://bradtroemel.blogspot.com)

Collecting Contemporary by Adam Lindemann - Marc Glimcher
Marc Glimcher
is the president of PaceWildenstein Gallery, which was founded in 1960 by his father Arne Glimcher. The gallery is recognized as one of the oldest and most established in the city because of its longevity, and its representation of several major estates like those of Donald Judd, Jean Debuffet, and Louise Nevelson, as well as Alexander Calder and Agnes Martin. The gallery is also associated with several artists of monumental stature including Robert Rauschenberg, Chuck Close, Robert Ryman, Claes Oldenburg, John Chamberlain and Lucas Samaras. Marc had studied bio-chemistry before dedicating the past twenty years to being an art dealer. His responsibilities include managing three gallery spaces in Manhattan as well as creating a program of younger artists like Tara Donovan, Tim Eitel and James Siena who will help keep the Pace program relevant and dynamic.

..on market characteristics

"Actually the art market is not really a market; it's too small to qualify as one. Furthermore, if it is a market, it's a market of uniques. Therefore, there is no true comparability between prices. Finally, it's a market of Geffen goods which is what gives it some strange characteristics. Geffen was a 19th century economist who said there are certain goods that will disobey the basic law of supply and demand, that when the price drops to a certain level, instead of demand rising, demand will suddenly begin to drop. As the price drops, demand will drop further, so there is a cliff in the supply and demand curve at some critical price level.
Interestingly, if you have a very small market of unique objects that have this characteristic, you would expect that market to be incredibly erratic and volatile, and yet it isn't, it's very predictable. The art market does very well, then levels off, goes a little down then continues to go up with some small dips and plateaus. Many economists try to get into the nitty-gritty of pricing auctions when, in reality, any good economist will tell you that this market is driven by basic economic prosperity. It can only be significantly influenced by extrinsic factors ... Don't tell anyone this, it's a big secret - when is the art market going to crash? When the stock market crashes, when the real estate market crashes, that's when the art market is going to crash.
Art is less a market than it is a basic by product of human consciousness; it's linked to the general prosperity of the community or society or civilization as a whole."

...on the value of art

"Art is an object with no utility, as economists would say. The utility of a painting is zero. It has spiritual value, but no utility, like an orange, for instance, which gives you calories. So when you buy a painting, you are saying, "I am going to trade my hard work and the sweat off my brow for something that is completely ephemeral and has no physical value at all." Now when we trade each other, we're assuming that we, as a group, can determine the value of something that has no value - it is purely an agreement between conscious entities. That has to be the highest expression of human economics, in a sense, and therefore it makes sense that art is the most expensive thing in the world. If we can come to some agreement that these things have a certain value, then that object deserves to be of higher value than anything because it has escaped the bonds of the physical world. It's a way to touch something beyond us."

...How do you feel about clients buying work from you and selling them at auction?

"I feel sorry for them if they ever plan on buying anything else from me ... but seriously, when they buy a work from me they're buying a work from the artist. And if they then take piece of art from the artist and stick it in the auction house, that is an abuse of the relationship created through the purchase ... the artist-collector relationship, which, by the way, is the central relationship in the history of art.
Someone bought a painting from Tim Eitel two years ago for $2000, it's nine inches square. They sold it at auction - those paintings are not $2000 anymore they're $9000 - they sold it for $120000. That's vile. That's not art collecting. If you bought it two years ago, what happened? Are you broke now? No, that person is not starving. Did they turn to the artist's gallery and say: "would you like a chance to place this in the right collection (because mine is obviously not)" or whatever? What happens is you breed a class of people like Charles Saatchi whose only interest, in my estimation, is to raise himself above the artists and take pleasure from destroying their lives. They attempt to corner the market by buying dozens or hundreds of works and then, when the moment is right, dump them in auction; they capture the upside and then the market falls away. The first artist Saatchi famously did this to was Sandro Chia, whose market never recovered. For what pleasure did he do this? To destroy Sandro Chia's life? What happened to his insistence that his devotion to the artists was the reason the dealer should sell him work after work? What about his friend Damien Hirst whom he exhorted millions out of by threatening to dump a dozen major works at auction? The booming market and the auction system breeds this parasitic behavior which to me is a little reminiscent of the Romans entertaining themselves by throwing the Christians to the lions. So I guess you might say, I'm not a big fan."

the great schlep (4 min)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

vienna stuff

sorting through all the stuff from this summer. here are some scans i recently made...

Austrian landscape studies (just the mountains)
found postcards, spraypaint

click on image for nice enlargement

GBS (1856-1950)

"I would exchange every painting of Christ for one snapshot" -George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

for the benefit of the kids!

i am speaking tomorrow at whitney bradshaw's and gen gest's 'contemporary thought' class at columbia college. i though i'd make a nice post of things that influence me, blog it, and switch between showing images and the blog post of influences. here goes:

check out:

gerhard richter - above and below

maurizio cattelan - above

Damien Hirst
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living
Tiger shark, glass, steel, 5% formaldehyde solution
213 x 518 x 213 cm
Charles Saatchi

Edward Ruscha envisions the destruction of a prominent museum in his fatalistic painting The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire. On the occasion of this painting's first exhibition, at the Irving Blum Gallery in Los Angeles in 1968, Ruscha announced via telegram that the fire marshal would be on hand to see "the most controversial painting to be shown in Los Angeles in our time." The painting was exhibited behind a velvet rope, as if to hold back an angry crowd. Perhaps a response to the unpopular and unfriendly building designed in 1964 by William Pereira, the painting also spoke to an uproarious period in which artists felt increasingly alienated from cultural institutions.

ed ruscha below

new work (i think)

so i have recently scanned a lot of the pictures that i made in vienna and i am simultaneously happy and disappointed. disappointed because you always think you'll have an excursion and come back with a brand new body of work, but this for me is a foolish thought. on the other hand, some big ideas happened out there that i am working on here, and some of the photographs i made i do like a lot...the above is a the shadow of a self portrait i made sitting in a chair...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

looking into Ruscha

"(Ruscha's pictures) are not statements about the world through art, they are statements about art through the world" --John Schott

Saturday, September 20, 2008

one helluva graphic

Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama
By RON FOURNIER and TREVOR TOMPSON, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

photographic 'truthiness'

i want to put together a fun, conversational list of ways that the (traditional camera/analog film combo) camera 'lies' vs the way the camera tells the 'truth' for a documentary section of my intro to the photographic image class. here's what i've got so far:

ways the camera lies:
the frame
the lens, especially as you get farther away from the standard 50mm lens of 35mm photo-making
depth of field (we never see everything at once) or sometimes we never see as little focus as the camera is showing us
color, although you can make a realistic looking picture, we are always interpreting our negative
shutter speed creates effects we can't see
vantage point changing the relationship of things to each other
titles can lie
photo sequences can lie
b/w is a distortion
the problems of collapsing a 3d world to a 2d image (something may behind something else and we would never know due to this collapse)

ways the camera tells the truth:
something was indeed in front of the camera (mostly)...the 'trace'
a single point perspective that references the way we also see with (assuming single exposure)
we want to believe in things we see
lack of viewer visual literacy/criticalness

have something to add??????? i welcome any responses! then, copy/paste for your own class conversation starter...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


i read the tome 'infinite jest' in my last year of undegrad at depaul when i was hit by a car and had to recuperate for 2 months...david foster wallace was with me pretty much the whole time...

David Foster Wallace in 2006. He was found dead in his home on Friday, after apparently committing suicide.

David Foster Wallace used his prodigious gifts as a writer — his manic, exuberant prose, his ferocious powers of observation, his ability to fuse avant-garde techniques with old-fashioned moral seriousness — to create a series of strobe-lit portraits of a millennial America overdosing on the drugs of entertainment and self-gratification, and to capture, in the words of the musician Robert Plant, the myriad “deep and meaningless” facets of contemporary life.

A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing — in his fiction and nonfiction — about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve. At his best he could write funny, write sad, write sardonic and write serious. He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane. He could conjure up an absurd future — an America in which herds of feral hamsters roam the land — while conveying the inroads the absurd has already made in a country where old television shows are a national touchstone and asinine advertisements wallpaper our lives. He could make the reader see state-fair pigs that are so fat they resemble small Volkswagens; communicate the weirdness of growing up in Tornado Alley, in the mathematically flat Midwest; capture the mood of Senator John McCain’s old ”straight talk” campaign of 2000.

Mr. Wallace, who died Friday night at his home in Claremont, Calif., at 46, an apparent suicide, belonged to a generation of writers who grew up on the work of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo and Robert Coover, a generation that came of age in the ’60s and ’70s and took discontinuity for granted. But while his own fiction often showcased his mastery of postmodern pyrotechnics — a cold but glittering arsenal of irony, self-consciousness and clever narrative high jinks — he was also capable of creating profoundly human flesh-and-blood characters with three-dimensional emotional lives. In a kind of aesthetic manifesto, he once wrote that irony and ridicule had become “agents of a great despair and stasis in U.S. culture” and mourned the loss of engagement with deep moral issues that animated the work of the great 19th-century novelists.

For that matter, much of Mr. Wallace’s work, from his gargantuan 1996 novel “Infinite Jest” to his excursions into journalism, felt like outtakes from a continuing debate inside his head about the state of the world and the role of the writer in it, and the chasm between idealism and cynicism, aspirations and reality. The reader could not help but feel that Mr. Wallace had inhaled the muchness of contemporary America — a place besieged by too much data, too many video images, too many high-decibel sales pitches and disingenuous political ads — and had so many contradictory thoughts about it that he could only expel them in fat, prolix narratives filled with Möbius strip-like digressions, copious footnotes and looping philosophical asides. If this led to self-indulgent books badly in need of editing — “Infinite Jest” clocked in at an unnecessarily long 1,079 pages — it also resulted in some wonderfully powerful writing.

He could riff ingeniously about jailhouse tattoos, videophonic stress and men’s movement meetings. A review of a memoir by the tennis player Tracy Austin became a meditation on art and athletics and the mastery of one’s craft. A review of a John Updike novel became an essay on how the “brave new individualism and sexual freedom” of the 1960s had devolved into “the joyless and anomic self-indulgence of the Me Generation.”

Although his books can be uproariously, laugh-out-loud funny, a dark threnody of sadness and despair also runs through Mr. Wallace’s work. He said in one interview that he set out with “Infinite Jest” “to do something sad,” and that novel not only paints a blackly comic portrait of an America run amok, but also features a tormented hero, who is reeling from his discovery of his father’s bloody suicide — his head found splattered inside a microwave oven. Other books too depict characters grappling with depression, free-floating anxiety and plain old unhappiness. One of the stories in “Oblivion” revolved around a cable TV startup called “the Suffering Channel,” which presented “still and moving images of the most intense available moments of human anguish.”

Like Mr. DeLillo and Salman Rushdie, and like Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith and other younger authors, Mr. Wallace transcended Philip Rahv’s famous division of writers into “palefaces” (like Henry James and T. S. Eliot, who specialized in heady, cultivated works rich in symbolism and allegory) and “redskins” (like Whitman and Dreiser, who embraced an earthier, more emotional naturalism). He also transcended Cyril Connolly’s division of writers into “mandarins” (like Proust, who favored ornate, even byzantine prose) and “vernacular” stylists (like Hemingway, who leaned toward more conversational tropes). An ardent magpie, Mr. Wallace tossed together the literary and the colloquial with hyperventilated glee, using an encyclopedia of styles and techniques to try to capture the cacophony of contemporary America. As a result his writing could be both brainy and visceral, fecund with ideas and rich with zeitgeisty buzz.

Over the years he threw off the heavy influence of Mr. Pynchon that was all too apparent in “The Broom of the System” (1987) — which, like “The Crying of Lot 49,” used Joycean word games and literary parody to recount the story of a woman’s quest for knowledge and identity — to find a more elastic voice of his own in “Infinite Jest.” That novel used three story lines — involving a tortured tennis prodigy, a former Demerol addict and Canadian terrorists who want to get their hands on a movie reputed to be so entertaining it causes anyone who sees it to die of pleasure — to depict a depressing, toxic and completely commercialized America. Although that novel suffered from a lack of discipline and a willful repudiation of closure, it showcased Mr. Wallace’s virtuosity and announced his arrival as one of his generation’s pre-eminent talents.

Two later collections of stories — “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men” (1999) and “Oblivion” (2004), which both featured whiny, narcissistic characters — suggested a falling off of ambition and a claustrophobic solipsism of the sort Mr. Wallace himself once decried. But his ventures into nonfiction, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” (1997) and “Consider the Lobster” (2005), grounded his proclivity for meandering, stream-of-consciousness musings in sharp magazine assignments and reportorial subjects, and they evinced the same sort of weird telling details and philosophical depth of field as his most powerful fiction. They reminded the reader of Mr. Wallace’s copious gifts as a writer and his keen sense of the metastasizing absurdities of life in America at a precarious hinge moment in time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

walter reed indeed

it just occurred to me today to re-find this story i read about a few days ago...i want to bring it up in my intro to the photographic image class...i found it on caterwauled.blogspot.com. it's a great insight to cut and paste presentation culture in an era where every image is tagged with multiple labels, and of course, used for political purposes {propoganda}

Someone running the RNC slide show apparently goofed, as TPM has pointed out today, mistakenly showing Walter Reed Junior High in Los Angeles (above), when they meant to show Walter Reed Hospital (below

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

the above are installations my students did on the first day of our structure, sequence, series class at the art institute. after quick introductions, i gave them 3 hours to grab found image-based materials and do an adhoc installation. there were 2 groups...when we met up again, each group had to 'read' the other's installation. we were able to have a nice conversation about intention, meaning, subjectivity, form, hierarchy of signifiers, etc...

Friday, September 05, 2008

keep this in the back of your head for Nov

so i want to get a ballot from the presidential election coming up in november. a few years ago when i was voting, i was accidentally given an extra ballot, which i simply returned when submitting my filled out ballot card. if you should happen to accidentally be given an extra ballot, i would love to have it. i will give you a photo if you like as a thanks, or lunch, or, well, you just let me know, ok???

being back in chicago feels so great, and i have been getting to know the great photo community at the school of the art institute, where i officially start teaching tomorrow.

btw, i saw john opera's show at bucket rider, which opens tomorrow night, and i really like it...his work is a meditation on nature and phenomena, with a poetically architectural sensibility. he also takes photography to task a bit as well...he has a few abstractions in the show which are really distinctive and singular to him.