Monday, February 12, 2018

Lee Lozano

I’m in a Reading Group and for the next meeting we are reading Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer (Afterall Books). Everyone in art, and I guess possibly living life, should read this short tome (about 60ish pages). It’s out of print but if you are good at the internet you can download a PDF of it.

Lozano was a misfit, perhaps out of her mind in some ways, but her way of living life and her maniacal drive for rejection is impressive. Her most famous or, perhaps the most cumulatively famous works/pieces/actions, was her Dropout Piece, wherein she ‘dropped out’ of the art scene/art world/art-everything that she was deeply enmeshed in in 1960s NYC.

Anyone who is involved in the art world understands that desire. To bow out, jump ship, ghost or fade away from the grueling thing that is the ‘scene.’

The other night I went to a fashion show. It was cute, not my thing in some ways but I totally knew it was cool. Art people, fashion people, music people, the gang was all there. There is something silly about it all but you get why that type of event works. Glamour with detachment is always hip.

Anyways, as I was sitting there I felt this feeling I get when I’m in settings like this. This spectacle, this brand of life one lives is such farce but then I guess that’s better then nothing? Maybe? I’m not sure. It was all fine and quicker then a movie trailer but ya, being ‘scene-y’ feels somehow depleting.

The art world is perhaps not as bad as fashion. I hate art/fashion mixy-matchy, but it still is a drag as well.

But we need it.. Don’t we? Without this sense of ‘community’ what are we all doing all this for? All this is rhetorical, and I’m not sure how much I even care about the question, but alas, here we are. 2018. Still in the mire that is this hype beast of an art world.

Lozano’s pure ‘fuck it, bye’ attitude is nervy and sad at the same time. I will leave you now with the NY Times obit that gives a quick glance at this ravaging life. Smith is a bit revealing of her leanings regarding Lozano, but ya, take it as you will.

Read the book. Think about what it means to be a part of anything and ask ourselves; is that what we really want it to be like, feel like, look like and how/if we should participate in it.

Lee Lozano, 68, Conceptual Artist Who Boycotted Women for Years

Lee Lozano, an eccentric artist who pursued Conceptual Art and painting in the 1960's and then left the New York art world for self-imposed exile that included an embargo on contact with other women, died on Oct. 2 in the Dallas Health and Rehabilitation Center in Texas. She was 68 and lived in Dallas.
The cause was cervical cancer, said Mark Kramer, the artist's cousin.
Ms. Lozano was a quixotic, confounding rebel whose decadelong New York career seemed always to involve pushing one limit or another. Her early paintings, executed in an Expressionistic cartoon style, confronted issues of sexual and painterly decorum. They featured a robust messiness, distorted close-ups of the body, intimations of violence and suggestively exaggerated images of tools.
By 1967 she had taken the systemic approach of Minimalism, making nearly monochromatic ''Wave'' paintings based on wavelengths that pushed the limits of visual perception. In the mid-1960's she also began to execute a series of life-related actions (she didn't like the word performance) that tested, among other things, her stamina, her friends' patience and the conduct of everyday life. These works reflected her friendship with Conceptually inclined artists like Sol LeWitt, Hollis Frampton, Dan Graham and Carl Andre. They also reflected an increasing disenchantment with the art world that bordered on hostility.
Many of these pieces were proposed or recorded in written works that she considered drawings. Sometimes she designated everyday activities like thought, conversation or marijuana smoking as art, attracted by the idea that they were unsaleable and democratic. Her ''Throw-Up Piece'' proposed throwing the 10 most recent issues of Artforum, the leading magazine of contemporary art, in the air and letting them fall where they may. In ''Transistor Radio Piece'' she listened to a radio while attending a panel discussion on art.
In 1969 and 1970 Ms. Lozano began a steady withdrawal from the art world in works that she titled ''General Strike Piece'' and ''Dropout Piece.'' She decided to boycott women for a month or two as a means of improving communication with them. For unexplained reasons, she continued this piece to the end of her life, despite the great inconvenience and, one supposes, even greater rudeness.
Ms. Lozano was born Lee Knastner in Newark in 1930. She received a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1951 and studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. A brief marriage in the late 1950's to an architect, Adrian Lozano, ended in divorce. She leaves no survivors.
Ms. Lozano had her first exhibition at the Bianchini Gallery in New York in 1966 and was then associated with the Green Gallery. In 1998 her work, long absent from the New York scene, returned when three SoHo galleries, Mitchell Algus, Rosen & Van Liere and Margarete Roeder, each showed a different phase of her painting. At the same time the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford exhibited her ''Wave'' paintings and notebooks. All the dealers and curators involved with these exhibitions were men.

Monday, February 5, 2018

8 Years and 365 Posts Later

Wow. Today marks going into year eight of this blog. Eight years! Well seven full years but damn. This will be post 366. Crazy. I think very soon I can say that I’m truly the last blogger alive. As you know, every Monday (with a few Tuesdays because I was travelling or too hung over/forgot) I bang on the keys and post it with little thought that it might actually be read. I’ve never had a comments section. I don’t want a dialogue. What I want is a place where I can be wholly maniacal in my brain splats and unpopular opinions.

Why do I keep doing it?! I really grumble and ask this of myself quite often, but then I think it is a fair question to ask: Why?

For people who know me IRL, I’m a quick person. I’m one of those people that don’t have any unread emails or messages or any red dots on any to do list. Hyper-productivity is the conditioning state that I thrive best in within this Capitalist structure that we are all looping in.

Labor. We are all producing or consuming labor at all times. I guess, in some bizarro-land way, my attitude is that because this is the state of things (unless you’re off the grid and you are not even reading this) and because there are really very few options within this system, the little that you can control, you should, you must. One of my ways of doing this is by being hyper productive.

I feel if I give more energy/labor/time/all of it out then perhaps there is some balancing out of all that I take in and consume from others/by others. This is daft in the big idea way but perhaps not. I actually never thought about it that much until today but ya, trying to figure out why I’m compelled to write each week and do the variety of other things I do is something to analyze I guess.

The reason why I started this thing was because my brain hurts when I have an idea and I can’t get it out. I’m not an artist but that doesn’t mean I don’t have crazy ideas that spin and connect in abstractions and then into form. In 2011 I felt like I didn’t have access or privilege or power to any apparatus that would actually validate let alone PAY me for excavating my brain into words. I still lack those things but the motivation is different now.

Now, this blog thing has become a creature of its own making. It has to be fed. Every week, I chop chop chop at the keys to make a word salad. It’s a form of something and until blogger goes defunct, I’ll keep chugging along, one of the useless in the meaningless void of meandering thoughts.

Another reason why I still do this is because I truly don’t care. I don’t care about the formality, the punctuation, even the spelling, (obvi if you read this at all). I don’t care about being polite although I’m not a caustic bitch because that’s just not my style.

My lack of caring is because I do care. I care about words, ideas, ART! And thinking about it and writing about it to understand it even just for myself feels like a survival instinct.

This is my bag, this is my thing that I have done/do but I really think other people should do things in similar ways. Not the same way, you find your own form and intention etc. but the idea of doing something sort of sloppy, messy, uncool, dumb even and exposing that is interesting/challenging/fun. There is so much restraint, control and manicuring of self-image and thoughts that it’s really a boring shame.

Art is supposed to be messy and full of failures. Writing in the most democratic of forms. Essentially free and with so much power in so many ways that it will never fully submit to forms of mastery or ownership.

Whatever it is that allows you to be more yourself/less yourself, do it. Do it and don’t care what it all means. It means nothing, everything means nothing, but it’s there and it means something to you and maybe if you’re lucky a few others.

I’m rambling at this point and getting all inspirational vibes but ya… I was appalled then happy to realize I have been doing this damn thing for so long and for those that read it, any of it at all, Thank You.

I don’t care what you think about it but I care about you.

If I’m still doing this after 20 years I’m going to throw a big party! (maybe)