Entries in conrad freiburg (6)
On sleeping in proximity to art in the room.
In the valley of Los Angeles I slept in a cot by the Bob Hope Airport in a vast studio without a shower. It was lit like a kunsthalle or not at all. The art of my hosts was my friend in the night. In the company of their inanimate forms I saw the welcome angular explorations and mid-phase prototyping in color and surface and shadow. Dreaming on the cot, I caught glimpses of four-inch bar steel diving from swimming pool starting blocks into concrete water. These little dreams of industrial materials used for the purpose of superfluous beauty dart across the screen of my sleeping mind. On this accumulated moment rests a pile of blanks, sanded and ready to be marked upon. They float in large cardboard box forests on cushions of scrap fabric, torn from shirts and pants and packaging scraps. Gessoed panels rest in the boxes and are shaped from off-cuts of constructed Amish pole barns. Trailing statements dangle from the branches of trees which are not even there. On the ground are birds sitting like anvils.
It is easy to get lost when you are by yourself all the time. In fact, you are lost all the time if you don't have friends. And being lost to some extent or another is common to the beautiful. Uncertainty is all right, the kids are all right, and so are the old shufflers taking all day to do the shopping, not because they need stuff, but because they need contact with the world before finally settling into that black lacquered maple box or before being turned into a pile of ash. If there is a point, it is best if it is nearly missed. It is the tiny and important divide between truth and less falseness which closely describes the divide between the meaning of art and the joy of experiencing art.
I have known only one man who has died so many times. He is like the wind coming from at least 5 directions. His own experiences of death count more than his actual deaths.
Jerome Baez was born once on the frozen asphalted prarie of the Northern Forest Preserve District of Cook County. This drew him much scorn from his southern neighbors when he ran for Spring Show President instead of student council treasurer. There is still only one instance at Sugar Ray High of a person running for President of a Spring Show that didn't exist and still does not exist.
Jerome Baez committed suicide when no committee whatsoever acknowledged his audition which took place under the portico in a hail storm. This audition was attended by one wretched soul who was holding a flute case like she was ready to jam.
His second death was reported in GlitchGulch, a trade quarterly, as a series of ever elaborate feedback loops that eventually crashed his cpu and fabanfed (pron. fuh-banft) his Public Address speakers. His waves were too square.
His third death is usually overlooked for its unusually boring qualities. He just sort of forgot what he walked in to the room for.
And now finally we are saddened to the trembling tips of our chins once again for there have been reports of an absent man where there was formerly one who made the most scrumptious beat drop soup. We were always amazed at his ability to drift into an involuntary deep sleep from the most precarious of positions. His pile of a director's chair remains unfixed from his latest collapsed sigh. Here is to hoping that the man of more than five winds has not passed his last. Jereome Baez, you will be missed.
I'm gonna tell you what I did for 8 hours this week. Expecting to battle a wizard, I went up to Game Empire in Pasadena where the bleachers are all set up for the Rose Parade, and there are banners with roses and its warm outside, which I'm not used to for Winter. Driving through tunnels toward the mountains with Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" got me pumped for my wizard battle. Inside the Game Empire is carpeted gray floor with shelves of Warhammer miniatures, scale modelling materials, chess sets, every imaginable board game, and a group of card tables on a stage in the middle. This group of tables was filled with men there for the weekly convention of strategy gaming. I was afraid to ask what they were playing. Never wake a sleeping dragon. I can't say I felt entirely comfortable being in a place with so many bald top pony tails and strange mustaches. I was looking for one specific thing. A large red 12-sided die.
A bespectacled red polo shirt sales guy turned to me and asked "Can I help you with Something?" He's a sweet guy, friendly fellow, loves his job, has red hair. I said "Don't give me any of your Shit! I need a 12 sided die s.t.a.t." He didn't bat an eyelash and led me directly to what I needed. I kept my distance though, his stonewall reaction led me to wonder if he's used to being treated like that or got the joke, or was filing it away for when he goes postal and casts an expanding foam spell on the the entire store.
You see, I was invited to make predictions for Astro Space Party, an accumulation of strange videos from artists and musicians with astrology as a starting point. I wasn't sure what to do for my prediction considering there is no causal link between what the celestial bodies do and the individual personalities of us humans.
The first premise of astrology is "As above, so below." What above is affecting what below? Cosmic planets seen on the horizon at birth affect my mood this week? Oh boy. I'm not sure I can get behind the reasoning, so I made a set of predictions stemming from Logical Fallacies (the SGU has a terrific list of these), and then rolled a red 12-sided die to choose the order of those predictions. Furthermore I used that same die to make a musical arrangement as the soundtrack for this effort. I make no claims to the validity of this video's predictions, but I sure do make claims as to the art of it. I hope you find it sufficiently Odd and slightly beautiful, or at the very least, quiet from the holiday storm.
Upon entering New Mexico from west Texas on Highway 10 there is a billboard that reads "welcome to the land of Enchantment." I was somewhat trepidatious about that claim until I got hit in the face with a rainbow peeking through the clouds over mountains of red and white stone as my noble steed, B.S. Tumbleweed, hurries into to the dry expanse of strange insects and sharp plants thirsty for that mountain storm.
This rainbow event happened on my way to Albuquerque from Marfa. It is certainly uncontroversial at this point to say that Marfa is worth a visit. We get to see an artist's idealist vision set against all the world's entropy. Judd's chairs sure do look like chairs, but go fuck yourself if you think you could sit in them for more than the time it takes to snap a picture of your uncomfortable ass on idealist furniture. His benches have taken on a certain curly-cue tilt in the dry mountain heat. I like this about them. They are not ideals now that they exist.
The moment the idea becomes object is the most exciting. This is the moment of most potential, and occurs right before the pracitcalities of existence twist it all up. Judd's objects always hover there as THE line between the artist's ideal and the actual. They hover there exactly like a brick doesn't (to borrow a turn from Douglas Adams).
There is no escape from gravity and weather.
I always wondered why, if Judd's art is as direct as he claims, it requires so many dissertations to explain. That could be the wrong question to ask. Judd's work inspires dissertations because in its natural context, it is never resolved. The bench warps. The 100 aluminum boxes expand and contract daily with the 40 degree temperature shifts causing the pristine alignment to skew. A centipede scuttles under the milled aluminum box.
Our group tour is informed by a docent that for Judd, the total work was the Art, Architecture, and Landscape. Judd had a Deaf spot in his formula. The environments he created are acoustically striking. His works point not just visually to what surrounds them, but sonically to the shutting door, the footsteps, and whispers hissing their echoes slowly around the space. The hard surface armory hut cathedral of 100 Aluminum Boxes yields a sibilant cave sound. Humans look better standing next to these boxes, as the sounds they step out fill the dry midday air.
No one in Marfa makes sense in relation to everyone else. There are a bunch of art weirdos and locals and Germans and no one else. This could be the highest art educated population per capita in the world. These small towners and art travellers are my people, and I can't help but think that this accumulation of art folks in the middle of nowhere border town is up there with the biggest acheivements of the Marfa takeover. When Cormac Mccarthy describes the evening redness in the west, this is the territory of that genocide. This is where the Judge's sillouette was so charged with meaning that his form was dimmed, and this little art-centered outpost lays claim to the heady sparse west. Astronomers take view of dark nights without street lights. Mustachioed fence menders run bars, and the big art money from the cities of the east and west funds all the shrubbery removal, concrete cleaning, and administrative upkeep of foundations and residencies. That this place exists at all is encouraging for humanity.
Tune in later for the Lost Horse Saloon, Empty Set Albuquerque, the Dan Flavin experience, Drywall Residency LA, and the Odd Geometry Tour west coast. Thanks for reading and if you like it, I encourage you to join my subscription service. It helps me eat and you get two art multiples annually. That's called a win win. Just click the paypal Subscribe link to the left.
Kansas City is a fine city. Everything seems big here, and its got that great sordid history many great Midwestern river towns posses and can't quite scrub away. It's just dirty enough to make a travelling fella feel like he can walk around and not worry about disturbing the peace. There is a great art piece installed near the Federal Reserve Building and impressive monument to the veterans of the Great War. It consists of stacked shipping containers made by John Salvest and it says "IOU" on one side and "USA" on the other. It's funny and looks appropriately expensive to assemble. It was a wholesome experience to get to know some of the occupyers and to hear their tales of cultural and societal woe. They seem a peaceful bunch and I support them like I do all the engaged citizens actively trying to make the world a better place with thier bodies and minds.
Speaking of bodies... Rodin sure did explore the form and proportion and contortion of the human figure. It took 6 hours at the Nelson Atkins to re-acquaint myself with the pleasures of their great collection of figurative work. they currently have a show of George Copeland Ault, Andrew Wyeth and others as part of their "To Make a World" Exhibit. If that high and tight white guy painting makes one a little leary, there is also a Romare Beardon prints selection which I am saving for tomorrow. There is a black Rothko which changes your eyes a bit, and of course the Shuttlecocks of Oldenburg have held up well and still serve to de-formalize all that classical pomp. As an art student back in the early 90's I was there right after they were installed on the grounds, and it is still fun to imagine what they must look like from one of those police helicopters.
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