Monday, May 15, 2017

Highly Recommend

Maureen Gallace

So, as this blog attests the last few months have been savagely shitty and instead of wallowing in it further, I’m going to be positive for a change. I tend to not like being overly positive because, hello, shit is too real out there, but sometimes you just have to embrace things with a squeezy hug versus white fists. Also, it’s May ya’ll and the weather is getting warmer and flowers are blooming and even this cement city we call home seems full of life.

Below are some recommendations that made me smile the past week or so. I hope you are smiling a bit more and if not, fake it till you make it babies.

Maureen Gallace at PS1 MoMA

Went to see Ian Cheng’s show at PS1 and although I liked that show, I was really surprised and happy to see Maureen Gallace’s show of paintings. They are discreet oils of houses; beaches; flowers and they feel like an antidote to all the heavy dystopian over-the-topness in art of late. Light, shadows, speckling of sky are masterfully, I mean truly masterfully done and although the subject matter might feel pedestrian, these paintings are anything but. They are quiet but haunted, beautiful but complicated, they are so clear yet have this enigmatic quality that makes you aware of what the word impressive means. This show is formal and feels classic but wow, does it feel like a breath of fresh air. So much of art today is overly cryptic and sophomorically dense. In contrast, this show is transparent and light which makes it risky and bold.

Sam McKinniss’ Consumer Report on ArtNews

Want to laugh out loud at your screen while at work? Then read Sam’s Consumer Report on Artnews. This is a little thing that the mag does wherein they ask an artist to archive/live-stream their lives for the past 24-48 hours or so. These are all sort of funny but Sam’s is even funnier, and even if you don’t know Sam, it’s still very fucking funny because Sam is brilliant with words and his timing in all things is genius. It also makes you see the ‘art world’ scene in a true-blue way. One that is full of everyday glamour, friends, humor and booze.

Adriana Ramic at Kimberly Klark

So I’m biased, I know and like both Adriana and KK gallery but kids, you just have to make it out to Ridgewood to see this show. This is a small space that is packed with wonderfulness. Dirt, moss, and flowers cover the floor and Ramic’s coded language, conceptual puzzles are like a Mensa child’s dream wallpaper. It is smart and charming and it has chops all around. Also, why isn’t there more art work with dirt? All those guys from back then are dead now, let’s make dirt alive again! Really, a very charming show which has gotten the critical kudos it deserves. Trek out if it is far away from you and then enjoy a pint and pretzel at Gottscheer nearby and contemplate the lexiconic fairies you just witnessed. 


Duh. It’s the best thing ever and you can have You time and also look and be smart. Fab. Fab. Fab. Maybe I’ll put together a summer rec books list from some friends and share in a few weeks but for now in no particular order or reason here are some I recommend for this month. Octavia Butler – Wild Seed; Kool AD – OK; Dostoyevsky – Idiot; Joan Didion – Play it as it Lays; Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep; Jean Rhys – Quartet (always!); Andy Warhol – From A and B and Back Again; Calvin Tompkins – Living Well is the Best Revenge.

Getting A Hair Cut

Getting a hair cut is a form of catharsis, or it can be, and I think it should be. As the season changes I think it’s the best of times to re-vamp your look and to get rid of all that dead debris that is your hair. I chopped off over 7 inches last week and let me tell you, I feel so much lighter in all ways. It’s a personal thing and can be radical or just a hint but I think care and re-invention of self is a must do at least once a year. If you don’t have hair enough to cut then do something else but I encourage anyone who is sick of their look or wants to kick start the new you, cut it. Just cut it all off.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Burdens of Oversharing

There are times in life when the last thing you want to do is share or reveal anything about yourself. Possibly there are a few true-blue egoists out there who may never feel this way but I think most of us know this feeling and make it a point to retract ourselves in one way or another. As this blog attests, I am one type of self-inflicted over sharer and even though I don't really reveal a lot about myself (my true self), it’s still a lot, like way too much.  It’s like holding a mirror to refract light trying to distract people but you are still acting the fool by holding a mirror up at all.

Regardless, it’s tiring and a bit cringe when dissected. I have been thinking about this more because I have started new projects that do even more oversharing and when I sat to write this thing today I couldn’t help but think, ‘who the fuck cares,’ and ‘I’m tired of me, everyone else must be tired of me.’ This impulse to share is a strange but seemingly unavoidable thing about our social condition. We are all so tired of presenting ourselves but yet we keep doing it. It’s as if we need to, and perhaps in some ways we do.

So everyone probably reading this has some sort of social media account. Multiple probably. On one or the other platform there is a tone and presentation of self that one ‘gives’ or ‘allows’ others to see. The concept of the edit in structuring one’s projected self is just wild these days in its control and impact. The idea of being seen and perceived is as old as time though, possibly innate to being a human. We dress a certain way, walk and talk certain way, in order to cue who we are in the world or who we want to be seen as.

All this reflects one’s history, curiosities, fascinations and comforts but it is also essentially about the audience. We want to be both lauded and accepted and to be ‘recognized’ for the self we think we are and/or want to be. Life is certainly a stage but now this audience is virtually expanded via the Internet and social sharing platforms. Words and images are the cache of signifying who/what/where/how you are who you are and how we want others to perceive the story of ourselves. We want whatever life we live, or wish to live to be witnessed, confirmed and thus made real somehow.

But how really real is it all? How much time goes, consciously or unconsciously, into performing or acting out this person you want others to perceive? If there isn’t a pic, did it not happen? If you don’t get likes or reactions to it, did it matter? Are you sitting there taking selfie after selfie trying to look casual or spontaneous when it is anything but?

There are extremes of every behavior and to be able to balance reality vs. fictive reality can co-exist but regardless, if you do share your ‘life’ to the world, there is always this edit. The act of editing acts to protect oneself but also to control the gaze and the spectator. This is all so obvious but I’ve been thinking about how this has become so ubiquitous that it’s normative and that’s what makes may hair stand on end. Normality of this type of impulse and way of connecting with each other feels like some sort of edge of a cliff.

Let’s not all be lemmings and let’s all take a step back and realize that through all this sharing, are we negotiating other things that really matter. The way people talk to each other, hangout, have sex, build friendships, develop relationships long and short are all caught up in this now normalized impulse to share, edit, and present in this way.

It is not all bad of course. The internet is an amazing thing. But doesn’t it feel like sometimes it’s all just too much? That there is just too much of everything, even yourself? I’m not a luddite and I’m not one to ‘take a break’ from anything but yeah, too much is just too much sometimes.

But maybe it’s not the oversharing that gets me down but how most of what is being shared is so edited, so truncated, so manicured. I’d rather get a pile of realness then the slivers of someone’s edited presentation of self. I get it, it's a form of advertising, our exchange of our selves is literally the money in our pockets at times, but is it really worth it? As usual I'm being wishy-washy about this whole idea. I know I can’t have it both ways, but yeah, I know I’m a part of the problem too so here’s to hoping I either go all in and be for real-real or just fade the fuck away. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Spring Poems

It’s May. The first of May is commonly referred to as ‘May Day’ which can be connoted to International Worker’s Day, which is associated with socialists and communists and their politically aligned, and it is also the day to celebrate spring.

The Maypole with its ribbons and dancing circle, the Roman’s and their celebration of Flora, the goddess of flowers, and varieties of fetes welcoming spring with ‘pagan’ origins that are still somehow remembered.

Spring is truly here in New York and it feels like a time for new possibilities or at least the wish that this will come.

With this clinging optimism I will leave you with some poems that reflect spring.

The Wild Flower's Song - William Blake

As I wander'd the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a wild flower
Singing a song.

I slept in the Earth
In the silent night,
I murmur'd my fears
And I felt delight.

In the morning I went
As rosy as morn,
To seek for new joy;
But O! met with scorn.

A Light Exists in Spring - Emily Dickenson

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament. 

First Day Of Spring - Matsuo Basho
First day of spring--
I keep thinking about
the end of autumn.

I So Liked Spring - Charlotte Mary Mew
I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here;-
The thrushes too-
Because it was these you so liked to hear-
I so liked you.

This year's a different thing,-
I'll not think of you.
But I'll like the Spring because it is simply spring
As the thrushes do. 

In The Spring Twilight - Sappho
In the spring twilight 
the full moon is shining: 
Girls take their places 
as though around an altar 

 A Little Flower - Dmitriy Kokarev
A flower grew out of the ground
A tiny flower from the dirt
A tiny living soul from underground
A baby crawling from the dirt
A little innocence of wild color
A tiny spark of hope
A tiny pleasure free of charge
A flower that i called my own
A little baby ran towards it
A tiny flower crushed beneath the feet
A little human innocence
A little bliss destroyed by ignorance
A little flower dead on the ground
A little baby jumping up and down
And only me from my own window, witnessed the death of my own flower beneath the feet of blissful child without idea of his first crime...