Image

Latin Quarter – Paris 1995

Latin Quarter - Paris 1995

When I was in Paris in 1995, I walked around the city. I shot each day for a week. I came upon this window and inside the store were these elements: Mirror, antique statue, bedpost, etc. and behind me was a building and a bike on the street. It spoke of the medium given my being upside down in the mirror. The black and white spoke of timelessness. The age and articulation of Europe as the origins of my soul, that I could apprehend catharsis itself in an image meant that I could stop. I have never shot a better image than this. It represents me, my eye, and aesthetic capacity. I hope to continue this journey when I eventually get to London, another city with windows in an urban environment.

Untitled

University of Hawaii Photography Instructor Stan Tomita once told us in a photo tech class that art was the eloquence of an idea. Art seems to be abounding with ideas, some are better than others, and sometimes we leave the eloquence out. As someone interested in language, I am usually concerned most with the idea and how, as art should, it relates to the world at large and what is happening or is going to happen in it. And so, perhaps I diminish unfairly the role eloquence plays in the creation of art itself.

Too often I believe that because many do not have a grasp of language, they cannot adequately criticize the ideas that are floating around or make connections, as with people, who seem to vote against their best interests, See: What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank.

Even some critics of art may not have a grasp of the world at large, which is what great artists possess, and such critics may be eloquently versed. But, when you deconstruct what they are saying, some of their ideas are flimsy, tawdry examples of a focus on the eloquence of art and not on its substance, which is always to tell the truth.

What is the truth you may ask? Well, an example is the proposal of placing a statue of a naked Huck and Jim before the Museum of Modern Art in New York[1], indicating as DeWitt Cheng has said[2] would infer that all the works in the museum were contextualized by race, which in fact is where and what America has been since its inception. I think America isa contradiction of “All men are created equal” and the actual condition of relationships among Americans.

Race is the visual manifestation of that contradiction and it has been with us for more than 200 years. Unless we solve it, we should “Add a racial subtext to every artwork within MOMA’s [‘]hallowed walls[‘].”[2] and therefore put before it, in public view this statute of Huck and Jim, where it’s “A constant cry against an old order.”[1]

1- See: http://www.vulture.com/2015/11/whitney-rejected-this-masterpiece-sculpture.html
2- See: http://visualartsource.com/index.php?page=editorial&com=news&pcID=22&aID=3120

Commentary on “When Nothing is Cool”

http://thepointmag.com/2015/criticism/when-nothing-is-cool

My initial response is that critics are no different than writers. They aren’t necessarily Kantian, which implies testing and experimentation, but rather as I assume critiques of English literature are, they deal with impressions of society and what feels right about what is going on. They try to articulate something that is abstract, hard to find the right words, creating a story about story or poems, where just as society is influenced by the latest theories, deconstruction, for one, or how the Republican party spins the truth so that even the truth is a lie, critics live in this world, speak in its terms, are a part of the problem, this “deadness and meanness,” as you say. I believe as writers, we are like actors. We clothe ourselves in the accoutrements of the times, we fashion the undergarments of what we think is the soul, and as critics, at least for me, I must break it all down to see what is being said because it is often too much for my mind to take in, before I put it back together and comment on it. (Here I have not taken the time.)

I think when she talks about pedophilia, while I don’t subscribe to it, I feel it is the next issue, like gay marriage was, where writers tend to go where injustice may reside, certainly not for the abused, but about those so inclined to have such proclivities and how that must make them feel against the inevitable whole condemnation. Writers deal with that issue and think about it, perhaps, if they are bold enough, they may even write about it.

Writers are like artists, who often have to be original.

I think the point is criticism has become human-hating because artists and writers are irrelevant in a world that lies. It has lied to itself so often that it doesn’t know what the truth is anymore. We’ve accepted perpetual war because the blood on our hands is invisible, we don’t see pictures of the carnage up close. We see cool computer simulations, as all of life is a computer game. We have proxies. We work for corporations that tell us to leave our emotions at home or else we will loose our jobs.

But, as writers, we know we cannot ignore our distortions, if we are courageous and I think as critics, we take that anger and loathing out not necessarily on good writing, but on all writing. We kick the dog. We are moving through the morass of ourselves with an understanding of ourselves and our irrelevance in a world that hates the truth and we are making small noises and readying for the demise of art all together, because the bankers are going to pull the carpet from under us.

Just ask the Syrians or the Iraqis. It is called shock and awe. Take all the resources away and the people will let you rewrite their constitution just as long as you feed them.

Critics are a victim of the law of abused abuse and might makes right. For now, the truth is the underdog.

“THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE” (Short Version)


I would appeal to you fair brethren of this great country, the benefits of which are the inalienable rights as so dictated in our earliest document, this country’s Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America (Declaration of Independence), which was “Influenced by” the Oath of Abjuration or Plakkaat van Verlatinghe of July 26, 1581, according to Wikipedia, wherein it states: “The Staten-Generaal (the General Estates, a sort of federal parliament) assert that a king is a servant of his people and should respect their laws and traditions. When he no longer does this, the people have the right to choose another ruler.” While marriage, war or sale allowed control by Charles V and Philip II of, the general region of Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France (Artois, Nord) and a small part of the West of Germany, there was revolt against this control by William I of Orange, who didn’t want modernization nor centralization of the decentralized medieval governmental structures, which implied “High taxes, and persecution of Protestants by the Catholic church.”

The Declaration also has as its influences: “Republic spirit (Liberty and rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, rejects aristocracy and inherited political power, expects citizens to be independent and calls on them to perform civic duties, and is strongly opposed to corruption); Enlightenment philosophy (empiricism, reason, science or rationality), whereby the world would progress from a long period of doubtful tradition, irrationality, superstition, and tyranny which they imputed to the Middle Ages, though not from religious belief; natural law, which means Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical universe, material world or material universe; self-determination/moral and legal right, is that every nation is entitled to a sovereign territorial state, and that every specifically identifiable population should choose which state it belongs to (for instance by plebiscite). It implies that all nations – usually meaning an ethnic group that self-identifies as a nation – have an equal entitlement to a sovereign state. It also implies that no other form of state is morally legitimate – certainly not if it includes an ethnic group who do not wish to be included in it, such that there are universal rights of individuals (political freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of speech); Deism — religious beliefs must be founded on human reason and observed features of the natural world, and that these sources reveal the existence of one God or supreme being; John Locke said a government could only be legitimate if it received the consent of the governed through a social contract and protected the natural rights of life, liberty, and property. If such consent was not given, argued Locke, citizens had a right of rebellion; Thomas Paine said in his pamphlet Common Sense that the preamble of the Declaration is influenced by the spirit of republicanism, which was used as the basic framework for liberty. In addition, it reflects Enlightenment philosophy, including the concepts of natural law, self-determination, and Deism. Ideas and even some of the phrasing were taken directly from the writings of English philosopher John Locke. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense had been widely read and provided a simple, clear case for independence that many found compelling. According to Jefferson, the purpose of the Declaration was “Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of . . . but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.”

Motivations for the declaration were simply to announce a severance from Great Britain’s rule.

At this time, another King George it appears is not interested in the preservation of our rights for whom our government’s purpose is to serve us and not the coffers of a taxing and a non-representative body, who would use our people to perpetuate the power of those corporate heads through acquisition of another country’s resources (take, for example, Iraq/Afghanistan).

According to a Washington Post report, “Iraq Blames Sanctions for [the] Deaths [of 350,000 Children-under-5],” December 18, 1991) with intent to enslave them to our privatization of what rightly belongs to them.

What I have seen and read in our declaration speaks of a time-past that now reflects time-present, wherein for example, “Future ages will scarcely believe that the hardiness of one man adventured, within the short compass of [six] years only, to lay a foundation so broad and so undisguised for tyranny over a people fostered and fixed in principles of freedom.”

I have also read in this document these words: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death… This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of [America]. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one person, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.

“He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation.” (See: The Nuremberg Principles, wherein it states: “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and [is] liable to punishment.” Such crimes according to Nuremberg law include: (a) Crimes against peace: (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i); (b) War crimes: Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill treatment or deportation to slave-labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of, or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity. (c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of, or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

Do we not also agree that as Thomas Jefferson outlined our rights and as our government should be so run and our military to be so confined as to be beholden to the people who it has been reported that: “All men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness…. When a long train of abuses and usurpations, begun at a distinguished period and pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their security.”

Let these be among the discretions of our current king and his henchpersons and let these violations of our and international law serve to pass judgment on him as war criminal and as anti-American, who, in effect, acts as a traitor to our forefathers’ intentions.

 

Lying and exposing CIA operatives.

On Jan 31 2007, Jason Leopold and Marc Ash reporters for Truthout.org said that “Copies of handwritten notes by Vice President Dick Cheney, introduced at trial by attorneys prosecuting former White House staffer I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, would appear to implicate George W. Bush in the Plame CIA Leak case.”

According to the article “Cheney’s Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair,” it states that Cheney’s notes reveals that he was “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.”

 

Governmental malfeasance and torture.

On August 24, 2005, Marjorie Cohn said that the Army Reserve Brigadier General Janis Karpinski [who] was in charge of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq when the now famous torture photographs were taken in fall of 2003, said that “Anybody who confronts this Administration or Rumsfeld or the Pentagon with a true assessment, they find themselves either out of a job, out of their positions, fired, relieved or chastised. Their career comes to an end.” (See: “Abu Ghraib General Lambastes Bush Administration” ).

 

Domestic Spying before 9/11.

On January 12, 2006, Truthout.org reporter Jason Leopold said that “The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.”

In the article, “Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11,” Leopold said, “These activities were begun shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and contradict his assertion that 9/11 attacks prompted his taking the step of signing the secret executive order authorizing NSA to monitor selected Americans thought to have terrorist ties.”

 

Bush’s psychological state and ties to poor decision-making.

On January 18, 2007, John P. Briggs, MD, and J.P. Briggs II, PhD wrote that “Because of a psychological dynamic swirling around deeply hidden feelings of inadequacy, the president has been driven to make increasingly incompetent and risky decisions,” in the article “Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decisions.”

 

Presidential abuse of power.

The New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh said that “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11, and we should be arresting these people rather than looking the other way…”

Hersh mentioned the presidential abuse of power in an interview with a CNN interviewer on February 25, 2007 as explained on ThinkProgress.com, in an article “Hersh: Bush Funneling Money to al Qaeda-Related Groups.”

 

Violating International law and the US Constitution.

Free-lance writer Sherwood Ross said “The Bush administration is spending more money (in inflation-adjusted dollars) to develop illegal, offensive germ warfare than the $2 billion spent in World War II on the Manhattan Project to make the atomic bomb.”

Ross, in a December 20, 2006 article entitled “Bush ‘Developing Illegal Bioterror Weapons’ for Offensive Use” said that “Francis Boyle, the professor of international law who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 enacted by Congress [said] the Pentagon ‘is now gearing up to fight and “win” biological warfare’ pursuant to two Bush national strategy directives adopted ‘without public knowledge and review’ in 2002.

Bush’s policy likeness to Hitler’s.

A reader (SL) from Wisconsin submitted content for the article “The Bush Hitler Thing.” He saw parallels with Bush’s policies and behavior with that of Hitler. – 09 January 2004.

 On Bush’s smoke screen over the Effects of Global Warming.

Truthout.org UK correspondent Chris Floyd said “The good folks at AEI – whose members were instrumental in bringing us the ‘splendid little war’ in Iraq and are now agitating for an even more glorious bloodletting in Iran – are offering scientists and economists $10,000 each (plus extras) to tear down the IPCC report and snow job the hoi polloi into believing that the crack pipe of the Carbon Era will never be empty.”

Floyd’s statement comes from the article “Bush Backers Offer Payoffs to Undercut Global Warming.”

 

Bush’s selling out of the social security system to his stock market brethren.

Allan Sloan said “Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.”

In “Bush’s Social Security Sleight of Hand,” Sloan writes “His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010 and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for them over the first seven years.”

 

Constitutional Role of the President, war in Iraq, manipulation of intelligence, torture, and retaliation for criticism.

John Nichols on December 9, 2006 said that Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney accused the president of failing “To preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people.”

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s rationale, according to Nichols in an article entitled “A Closing Call for Impeachment” in the Nation magazine was that President George W. Bush “Disregarded the rule of law and his Constitutionally-defined responsibilities.”

 

Bush’s Actions and Blowback.

Chalmers Johnson wrote that as “A domestic democracy and a foreign imperialist,” America has involved itself in does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to, and in, foreign countries. It refers specifically to retaliation for illegal operations carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public.”

Johnson, in his article Empire v. Democracy: Why Nemesis Is at Our Door, said that “Operations have included the clandestine overthrow of governments various administrations did not like, the training of foreign militaries in the techniques of state terrorism, the rigging of elections in foreign countries, interference with the economic viability of countries that seemed to threaten the interests of influential American corporations, as well as the torture or assassination of selected foreigners. The fact that these actions were, at least originally, secret meant that when retaliation does come – as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001 – the American public is incapable of putting the events in context.”

 

Bush’s Policies in Iraq and how it has advanced Terrorism Worldwide.

Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank said that the effect of Iraq is that “War Has Increased Terrorism Sevenfold Worldwide.”

In the article of the same name: “The Iraq Effect: War Has Increased Terrorism Sevenfold Worldwide,” Bergen and Cruickshank said “The president’s argument [that terrorists would be drawn to Iraq, where they would perish] conveyed two important assumptions: First, that the threat of jihadist terrorism to U.S. interests would have been greater without the war in Iraq, and second, that the war is reducing the overall global pool of terrorists.”

 

Bush as King and our military installations in Iraq.

According to Karen Kwiatkowski, “We are in Iraq, we have the finest military installations in the world, the newest military installations in the world, and we’re not leaving them. We’re not turning them over to a Shiite government, we’re not turning them over to a Sunni government, and we’re not turning them over to a Kurdish government. We’re not doing that. They are American bases. We’ve got our flag there. And this is kind of the way they used to do things, I guess back in the Middle Ages. Maybe the Dark Ages. A king decided he wanted to go do something, he went and did it. And this is George Bush. We call him an elected president. I mean, he’s operating much as kings have operated in the past.”

 

Bush and the effect of his economic policies on the poor.

“The number of Americans living in deep or severe poverty has reached nearly 16 million. A new analysis by the McClatchy Newspapers found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent since 2000. During this time period, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries.”

 

Bush and his admittance of guilt as to Geneva Convention Violations.

In an article entitled “Bush admits to CIA secret prisons” relays that “President Bush has acknowledged the existence of secret CIA prisons and said 14 key terrorist suspects have now been sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

On 7 September 2006, the BBC announced that “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Alleged mastermind of 9/11; believed to be the Number 3 al-Qaeda leader before he was captured in Pakistan in 2003; Abu Zubaydah: Alleged link between Osama Bin Laden and many al-Qaeda cells before his capture in Pakistan in 2002; Ramzi Binalshibh: One of the alleged masterminds of 9/11; Hambali (Riduan Isamuddin): Alleged senior leader in Jemaah Islamiah (JI); wanted by Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines in connection with blasts” were incarcerated at Guantanamo.

 

Bush and the will of the people (free and open elections; free speech; and rule of law).

Edward M. Kennedy in his article “Demeaning Democracy,” Sunday 13 August 2006, said that Cheney had gone too far when he said that the Connecticut Democratic primary might encourage the al-Qaida types who want to “Break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.”

The implication of Cheney’s words, according to Kennedy was to “Insinuate that anyone who votes against them is giving aid and comfort to the terrorists.”

 

Bush and Blaming Immigrants for Job Loss to U.S. Citizens.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tyche Hendricks, Tuesday, February 27, 2007 said that Californian immigrants do not hurt wages for U.S. workers. U.S.-born workers and immigrants do not compete for the same jobs, Hendricks said, nor do they depress the wages of the U.S.-born, according to a new study by the Public Policy Institute of California.

 

Bush and problems with the elections.

What is at stake for me is that we ensure that all get to vote and that votes cast are not manipulated in any way. There is no representation if this basic right is removed.

The thought that the Republicans would stoop so low as to deny a vote cast or to change it is to subvert the possibility for truth.

Whatever the outcome of a free and fair election it allows for all to participate. The milieu of a place where all have said their peace with that small all-important means is to ensure that our society is operating with all its capillaries and veins and that from every part of the body politic a sense of the health and welfare of the state is attended to. The aorta carries blood from the heart to all the organs and structures of the body. The vote is the blood coming back to the heart for an oxygenation of the needs and wants of a people. To deny that return is to stop the flow and a part of the heart dies. And no heart can run for long or with much vigor without all of its major systems and byways acting in full concert.

All of our voices, whether Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, Constitution, Alaskan Independence Party, Aloha Aina Party, and the list goes on, almost as diverse as our individual representation of selves need to be heard. No one must go without a voice or access to the heart for its oxygenation, for its bestowal of life-sustaining information as to the health of the entire body.

And for this reason, the means to justify an end to our voting rights, as with the implementation of electronic voting machines that can be infiltrated digitally or by registering people to be Republican when they wanted to be Democrats , or any other means to a single party’s end, let that not be the end we seek. But let us allow for every man or woman citizen his/her voice, which is his/her vote.

1. Jeremy Wallace said that the loss of some $18,000 votes in Sarasota, Florida, where touch screen voting took place, is an impetus for lawmakers, such as Senator Diane Feinstein, who as chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal election regulations will “Re-introduce legislation in the new year to require all voting systems to have verifiable paper trails.”

2. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said “Congress, always ready with funds for needy industries, swiftly authorized $3.9 billion to upgrade the nation’s election systems – with much of the money devoted to installing electronic voting machines in each of America’s 180,000 precincts. But as midterm elections approach this November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better.”

3. In a November 1, 2006 report by Michael Janofsky entitled “Diebold Demands HBO Cancel Documentary on Voting Machines,” reveals the absurdity of Diebold’s demands in that they call the HBO film “unfair and inaccurate,” and yet the film proposes that “Diebold voting machines aren’t tamper-proof and can be manipulated to change voting results.”

4. Dan Balz and Zachary A. Goldfard said that during the Nov. 7th election, more than 80 percent of voters used electronic voting machines. They said, “Human blunders and technological glitches (in Maryland) caused long lines and delays in vote-counting.” This followed ones earlier this year in Ohio, Illinois and several other states, have contributed to doubts among some experts about whether the new systems are reliable and whether election officials are adequately prepared to use them, according to Balz and Goldfarb’s article “Major Problems at Polls Feared,” Washington Post, 17 September 2006.

5. Rob Hall said Ohio Voting Rights Activist and Attorney Bob Fitrakis believed that “Massive voter purges in Democratic precincts may have already won Ohio elections.” That was in October. As it turned out, Ted Strickland beat J. Kenneth Blackwell by approximately 24%, but only 4 million out of the 11 million inhabitants of Ohio voted.

6. Patrick Walters said that “Voter advocates filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to stop Pennsylvania counties from using ‘paperless’ electronic voting machines, saying that such systems leave no paper record that could be used in the event of a recount, audit or other problem.” Walters also said in the article titled “Pennsylvania Sued over Electronic Voting Machines” that “The lawsuit alleges that certifying paperless electronic voting machines violates the state’s election code and constitution.”

7. David Dill, Doug Jones and Barbara Simons said “Computer security expert Harri Hursti revealed serious security vulnerabilities in Diebold’s software. Computer Scientist and Voting System Examiner Michael Shamos in Pennsylvania said, “‘It’s the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system.'” Dill, Jones and Simons said that “Basically, Diebold included a ‘back door’ in its software, according to, allowing anyone to change or modify the software.

 

Bush and upsetting the balance of power in the region given Iraqi Intervention.

Associated Press reported on Wednesday, December 13, 2006, that “Saudi Arabia has expressed concern that once U.S. troops leave Iraq that the controlling Shiite majority could massacre the Sunni minority, believed to comprise a large faction of the deadly insurgency that has claimed thousands of Iraqi civilian and U.S. military lives.”

The report also revealed that the Saudis are not happy with proposed talks between the US and Iran. — Mario Savioni, June 20, 2007.

Standing and Hanging

On Thursday, October 1, 2015, I visited Altman Siegel Gallery and responded to three of five pieces in the show Standing and Hanging, which housed pieces by artists El Anatsui, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Gianni Piacentino, and Jiro Takamatsu, an exhibition organized in collaboration with Adrian Rosenfeld, September 17 – October 31, 2015, 49 Geary, Suite 416, San Francisco, CA, 94108, Tel. 415.576.9300, www.altmansiegel.com.

While the exhibition is based on “How an object sits in space…the sculptures are attuned to the body…between viewer and artwork, as a…mediation on the words ‘above’ and ‘below,'” I came to the following conclusions:

1. Of El Anatsui’s Uwa, 2012, Found aluminum and copper wire, 172 x 77 inches, diameter in sphere is 30 inches (dimensions variable), (M-S12-04), I don’t get that as a waiter, the collection of beer taps or wine menus, a litter of temporary satisfactions strung together like bowels, the litter of a world drunk on itself. Swirls of organs at play as a gushing. Earrings, broaches, necklaces, stamped, crushed or spilling on cement. Somehow it speaks to me, like groups of people connected to products, men standing outside a pub in the summer in England. They discuss their jobs, their female co-workers. It is just a metallic waste at the end of the day and it repeats, like dinner, unsatisfied, glittery, and bad for one’s health.

2. Of Louise Bourgeois’s FEMME, 2005, Bronze, silver nitrate patina, 33 x 41.9 x 19.7 cm, 13 x 16 1/2 x 7 3/4 in, 1/6 (M-S05-03), the suspended obesity of pregnancy is limbless on a wire waiting to hit the floor. Every section of flesh pulled upwards by its falling. Mid-scream, heavy, metallic in the mouth, breakable, and intelligent.

3. Of Gianni Piacentino, Matt Metal Gray-Blue Record Vehicle, 1988-2003, Water based enamel (2k acrylic matt finish) on wood and resin, polished aluminum, (anticorodal), aluminum, 36.2 x 379.7 x 19.7 cm, 14. 1/4 x 149 1/2 x 7 3/4 in, (M-S88-01), Life is this razor-like form, the cleanest shape through the narrowest of spaces, tranquility in a knife, tranquility in an invention, no place for oneself, just the lift and separation, each end aerodynamic but vulnerable to the horizontal forces. Unable to predict what type of earthquake will come, standing one minute and fallen the next. Always in love with form and emptiness, wanting to be clean and young.

Ghosts in her Voice

There are ghosts in her voice,
The flutter of energy passes through her vocal chords.
On a dark night, three voices
Flow through the spaces of our minds and ears.
Singing to each other
Under a white light.
In unison.
The poet reads,
Trying to catch up.

You can barely hear him,
But his words carry weight and tears,
A narration for the ghost,
The whining Banshees of Fado.

Ara mateix – Miquel Martí i Pol amb Lluís Llach, Sílvia Pérez Cruz i Pep Guardiola

Virgins in an Orchestra

Plucking, like Chinese virgins in an orchestra.

Angry witch with pasty skin.

The movement of Espana.

Each shape of the instruments

Represent the bodies of women.

Almost an atonal orchestra.

For some reason, I see dogs in the streets

Tired and hungry, and

A woman singing to them.

Why aren’t animals invited?

Such orchestration.

Everything so refined.

Two people move in space

Dancing invisibly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8As_7O3ZsU

Vindication for Steve Jobs

"Why the hatred? Because Flash has been found to hurt battery life and computing performance, and security researchers often find vulnerabilities and flaws in Flash that can compromise a user's computer." (From:
"Even Adobe wants everyone to quit using Flash"
Published 11:01 am, Tuesday, December 1, 2015
http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Even-Adobe-wants-everyone-to-quit-using-Flash-6668248.php

A Response to: “Huck & Jim’s Dubious Moral Authority”

A Response to:

Huck & Jim’s Dubious Moral Authority

Editors’ Roundtable

Column by DeWitt Cheng

– See more at: http://www.visualartsource.com/index.php?page=editorial&aID=3101#sthash.4BdleqxM.dpuf

http://www.visualartsource.com/index.php?page=editorial&aID=3101

On closer reading, if Saltz is correct, that Charles Ray’s sculpture (“Huck and Jim,” 2014, fiberglass, 9′ tall) is a possible denunciation of American racism, having no pain relief or alleviation of the underlying cause, that it is just the facts: A sculpted symbol of the complexities of reality, set in eternal present and is nonfiction, it could have served as the museum’s public symbol, wherein one passing would assume a racial subtext to all of MOMA’s works, if they made it that far past the provocation, I might disagree with Cheng, who says he does not accept that the sculpture is great and that the Museum’s decision is wrong.

Cheng argues that “Art improving moral lessons is a discredited theory.” He also argues that “Art’s improvement is back but refracted through a cultural critique, not clenched fists of Social Realism.” He gives examples: Powers’ “The Greek Slave,” where the figure is calm and sensual, having a “Straight nose and broad brow creating a single plane.” The “Wealthy…were not interested in stoicism and perseverance in the face of adversity…” So, art, for Cheng, in this case is a classical profile, radiance and sensuality. It has no moral or political weight.

Cheng also provides two other examples. He says Segal’s “The Holocaust,” at Legion of Honor, says the work fails because it is located overlooking one of the most scenic views, surrounded by pedestrians leaving it unharrowed or emotional. Cheng also condemns DiSuvero’s ‘toppled tripod’ because they refused to place Richard Serra’s work where it resides and argues that Serra is from San Francisco!

So, art, according to Cheng follows the DuChamp model. Once in a museum, it becomes a work of art or that it follows classical lines. From what I can see Ray’s work does this, and isn’t being outside of a museum close enough? How far was Segal’s from the Legion of Honor?

I made this mistake with Segal in ’92. I said, “The decision to spend half a million dollars has left Hawaii with George Segal’s “Chance Meeting,” a cast bronze sculpture of people stopped on a New York sidewalk wearing trench coats” in front of the William S. Richardson School of Law, which is in Honolulu at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The argument then was that “Segal’s representation of urban life in a large metropolis like New York City is appropriate because of the ‘Frequent Manoa mist…and signs indicating ‘Koko Head’ and ‘Mauka,’ make the piece specific to the university.” I saw the sculpture as misplaced and that it indicated Western dominance, and so on. But, as I followed my argument, I also realized that this was what made the sculpture brilliant. It was a ‘Chance Meeting’ that embodied the debate between Haole and Hawaiian: “How else could we explain the white patriarch’s untimely yet ongoing sermonizing of indigenous people…?”

You have to be careful with context. “Piled bodies in the ground overlooking one of the most scenic views, surrounded by pedestrians, bicyclists,” etc. cannot not be harrowing or emotional. The fact of the matter is that they probably wanted the sculpture close to the museum since they owned the land, it was a part of the collection and in line with the DuChamp school, perhaps it was granted glory being there. I just think some rich patron wanted it to be associated with the Museum, in a safe place, so they didn’t have to wander too far from the hallowed halls and that the scenic view assured its oft passersby a reminder. In this case, I might agree with Cheng about the moral lesson as a discredited theory when it comes to art, because art is never so pushy unless pushiness is its point.

Beyond this, since Cheng argues art’s bland classical profile, sensuality, and location as definitive characteristics of art and dismisses morality and politics, I beg to differ.

For me, art is Heidegger’s definition of truth, which is the “correctness of propositions” and the “unhiddeness of beings.” I would be inclined to believe that Ray’s Greco-Roman white painted fiberglass oversized figures of a black man and white boy say a lot about American art. It is not necessarily a denunciation of American racism, it does not relieve the problem nor deal with the underlying cause. It simply states the complexities of an eternally present reality and is nonfiction, which to me is art. There is a racial subtext to American art. Until we deal with racism and solve it as a problem, we will just be making radiantly sensual pieces that reflect the true preoccupations of privileged white males. After all, isn’t this what remains hidden? – Mario Savioni, Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Alex Kanevsky 2014 – Unstable Equilibrium

Alex Kanevsky 2014

Unstable Equilibrium

Exhibition in Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco. October 1-31, 2015

Kanevsky said in his talk on Thursday, October 1, 2015 that you put an orange in a salad bowl and it goes right to the bottom and sits there. You flip the bowl upside down and the orange is less stable.

The images in the composition imply a story, but he is not interested in this narrative, but rather that the compositions are like Rorschach Ink Blots that act as one pushes their story into the painting, which acts as provocation. He wants us to find something that he did not put in it. Such paintings are the things that worry his parents. In the paintings, we see together, he said. Starting point in tradition, paintings such as these are centered in an environment, cause conversation; things were alive. This is a form of conversation, and he wants it to be intense, psychological, a mirror onto oneself. He seeks to contrast several interiors, provide something without words using a visual language lacking grammar and no clear structure. It should not be cerebral, but moves with feelings and in a language that does not know but is understood. Such paintings remain exciting and interesting over a lifetime. Alone by yourself, you reflect, and don’t change your perception of the world. You get a clear idea, commence a serial monogamy with each piece. It becomes a commitment to something.

Kanevsky said that he knows what he wants but also understands that it is not going to happen; paintings make their own demands. He said we never know we are in love until afterwards, and he likes that which is less than perfect, which allows the viewer to fill it in. He said of a particular problem in one or a number of paintings that he should have stopped after a certain point, but that he loves painting. He viewed chinese scrolls as a method of construction and followed the format of a comic book. He painted a long scroll as a document of someone’s life, followed them upon waking, fighting with the alarm, using the bathroom, and he photographed them the entire day and it turned out to be a dismal failure, but he was addicted. He exemplifies this course of time in the work “Two days and Two Nights on the Farm,” 12′ x 71″, oil on wood, which takes place in New Jersey.

Kavevsky doesn’t know where we are in terms of Post Modern art, he just knows what he wants to do. He said abstract painting said exactly how he felt, but he wanted a middleman and therefore his works include figures.

The following are my responses to a few of his paintings. Theses are ekphrastic or descriptions of his work, imaginary, rhetorical exercises, graphical, and sometimes dramatic. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekphrasis)

You can find images of paintings I am responding to at: http://www.somepaintings.net/2015A/nowalex.html.

J.W.I. Reflected
36′ x 36″, oil on wood

Fractionalization, web of intrigue, tidbits of a thousand particulants of repressed memory. I see a koi pond of beet juice and stone fruit, the sagging breasts of an older woman in a young girl’s face, the satiny, gelatinous skin of real women, imperfections notwithstanding, reflecting pool in a white light.

The pause in her lips and face, a miracle of desire and impotence, the fatigue of the physical in dreams. She rests against an artist’s wall, the Asian influence: Brooding, puckered, passive, eloquent, and exhausted: She is over it all – this Western gaze, this objectification of beauty, the contemplative heroes, who have done nothing but stare.

Into the weathered exterior of time, she lies, slumping into a liquified state, confetti, water, ornaments, and flowers. I do not have names. I see sky in the nomenclature, atoms commingling with sainthood, the pantheon of a singular eye of another life, a hard life, a rest for one second and thinking about stillness, this transference to another medium.

Two days and Two Nights on the Farm
12′ x 71″, oil on wood

I see it, oil in the landscape, Geisha robe, the small outhouse, the posed female barely clothed. Blue sky darkened and then lit, bowing and then hit. The rain, the streamers, splotches in angularity, every decision stroked on in madness, scraped then pressed, lake and cesspool, land-locked oasis, dirtily rendered, not the Japan we picture in our minds, and perhaps not Japan either. Kanevsky says it is two days in one, New Jersey. The panoramic moment, the scratching and sniffing of settlement, lying about, standing, sitting, and bowing.

Night
18′ x 18″, oil on wood

From the top of the sky, night fall. The slender rifts of cascading rain, thunder and lightening, light in darkness, explosions, palms, fence posts, the signal of red roses, an entire reclining figure bent on persuasion, no secrets, just the pendulum of a panorama of unclothed slopes and crevices. I sense the tropics or maybe this land, that place everyone goes for anonymous sex.

Her fingers are tapping some Morse code, giving directions, perhaps for the artist, perhaps even now, so long ago, so circumstantial, for me, like a horoscope that apparently applies to all cancers, tumor of the brain. What is it about Blue, this painting for boys? The trickery of being alone. It speaks of far away Apocalypse Now.

Lettuce and Fur
20 ‘ x 20″, oil on wood

This one, slouching bodies in red, a model covered over by leaves, dabs of paint, the contemplation of one woman, who looks down. The other, perhaps, is dead. Perhaps, she is sleeping, but her leg is up. There is something in the way the model is looking tired and so on.