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Showing posts from October, 2011

One year ago ...

I can't believe that it's exactly one year since the conclusion and opening event of the Mount Carroll Community Memoir and Public Art Project -- the unveiling of four giant luminaries, imprinted with photos and phrases from community participants: There were four luminaries, constructed out of wood from a sustainable tree farm, put together by a local furniture maker. They are currently being displayed indoors at four locations around Carroll County in northwestern Illinois. Looking at the pictures again, I remind myself that too often I rush on to another project as soon I've finished something, too quickly, sometimes. In 2012, I intend to make a better effort to bring the luminaries together again to find a permanent display site for them.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Interview with me on Patricia Ann McNair's blog

My wife and stellar fiction writer Patricia Ann McNair interviewed me for her writing blog. It's a good piece, in which we talk about the relation between text and image in my work, and the process of cross-discipline art in general. Linky-poo here: Do follow the link if you get the time, and don't forget to leave a comment (sorry it didn't work for you, Carol!).   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

6 reasons artists should use social media

When I started this blog, twenty months and 760 posts ago, I didn’t imagine that it would take so much of my time, nor that it would drag me even further into using other social media, such as Twitter. Nearly 100 people have subscribed to this blog in one way or another, so by definition if you are reading this, you are using social media even if this is the only thing you do. Perhaps you use Facebook, and nothing else. Perhaps you use Facebook and Twitter, and you’ve decided that anything else would be too much. Perhaps you read and send messages via these things, but wish you didn’t, and you plan to go ahead with that thing you’ve wanted to do for a long time: stop using them altogether. If you’re an artist, you’ve probably said: This is really wasting my time, and I need to get back to my studio. If you’ve had any of these thoughts, you might roll your eyes at what I’m going to say next. Not only are there very good reasons why you should use social media – there are goo

Meditation on Andy Warhol

Number 86 in the series is on a painting/screenprint from the early sixties by the great man.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Hartigan @ Hyperallergic

I've been visiting shows and events in Chicago the past few weeks, and writing about them on a trial basis for "Hyperallergic", a great art blog based in Brooklyn. I've been reading the blog regularly since about the beginning of 2010, so I'm very pleased to announce that my first piece was posted on the "Hyperallergic" blog yesterday. Here is the link . The main reason that this came about is because of this blog, and the fact that I've been sticking with it for 20 months and trying to write something every day. This new avenue makes me feel that the effort was worthwhile.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Katey Schultz on film

The photo shows writer Katey Schultz, whom I interviewed back in July, working with a film crew from a local PBS affiliate in Virginia, relating to a book about mountain footbridges that she worked on with a photographer a few years ago. The full story is here: The Writing Life: Lost Crossings Shoot: Day 1 : Congratulations to Katey. Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Grayson Perry says ...

...that the art world is disconnected from the real world, as reported in the excellent Brooklyn-based art blog, Hyperallergic: As Hrag Vartanian writes, if you've ever seen photos of Perry, you might think it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Is Jenny Saville any good?

Jenny Saville is a British artist who paints chunky, bruised looking nudes in a manner reminiscent of Lucien Freud, or so say many people: She sometimes uses colour harmonies, and the visceral potential of oil paint, to make images that seem to play with suggestions of violence: Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian newspaper in the UK, wrote something on his blog last week asking a form of the question that I asked above - what to make of Saville's work? It sparked an interesting discussion on Alan Sundberg's G+ and Facebook page amongst different artists ( link here) . Most people in the discussion so far come down on Saville's side. I'm on the contra side, mainly because I think she uses her great skill in the service of quick effects. As I write this, I think that traces her line of descent not only from Freud, but also from Euan Uglow, another twentieth century British painter: In each case, both Freud and Uglow have much more patience with

The Lucerne Project: Special Event

Here are some pictures from the special event for The Lucerne Project last night. A nice number of people came along to: write a message on a postcard printed especially for the event; affix an address label to the card, chosen from a list of names from the Lucerne phone book; 'mail' the card into a box installed in the studio. Many thanks to everyone who attended and who participated.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Meditation on work by P E Sharpe

Meditation number 85 discusses the work of P E Sharpe , an artist who I encountered on Google +. Click her name to go to her website. She also has a Vimeo channel .   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

My Swiss Mailbox

The box wot I made for the Lucerne Project: Special Event on Friday night. When people have finished writing their card and affixing a Lucerne address to it, they can pop it into this box, and the card will later magically be sent on its way to Switzerland. Materials: cardboard, tape, ppost paper, glue. Thomas Hirschhorn, eat your heart out. And here is the card that I had printed (front and back):     Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Review of "The Lucerne Project"

"New City", the Chicago newspaper, has a decent review of "The Lucerne Project". It's somewhat more rebarbative than the article in "The Columbia Chronicle", and the reviewer slightly misunderstood the piece of writing that he refers to. But it's under the heading "RECOMMENDED", and he describes the prints in an interesting way.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Article about The Lucerne Project

The Columbia Chronicle is the campus newspaper for Columbia College Chicago, where I teach part-time and where Patty is Associate Professor in Fiction Writing (and currently Acting Chair of the Fiction Writing Department). They interviewed me last week about The Lucerne Project, and the result was a very fine article about the show and my work that came out yesterday. I was especially grateful for the nice things said about me by the other people quoted -- thanks, Julia Borcherts and Deborah Doering . Click on the images to display them at a larger, more legible size:   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Magic Michigan

Ten days ago, Patty and I drove to northwest Michigan for the weekend. Things were so busy last week that I didn't really get time to write about it, and I wanted to write more than just a few words. Patty was invited by the Michigan Writers Association, based in Traverse City, to do a reading and a workshop. It was also an opportunity for us to visit dear friends who live near the Sleeping Bear Dunes. They teach at Interlochen Arts Academy, and were responsible for getting us the opportunity to teach summer classes there. We stayed with Anne-Marie and David for one night at the house in the woods, that they built themselves fifteen years ago: Even though it was nearly the middle of October, it was hot during the day, and stayed warm long into the night. After dinner, we went walking through the woods and out onto the lane that leads back to the main road, the only light coming from the brilliant moon that made everything visible and yet occluded at the same time. I held my

Meditation on Joseph Cornell

Number 84 in the series. This time, I recorded the audio speaking impromptu into the recording device. It's a little longer than normal, more informal, but hopefully not too awful to listen to.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

How did that happen?

Whoa! It's been about a week since I checked the stats for the YouTube channel that houses all the Meditations on Art. When I looked today, the one I did on Bill Viola has suddenly shot up to more than 3,000 views, with others in the series seeing a big rise, too. Again, compared to a great video making the rounds of a baby monkey being bathed under a tap, these numbers are insignificant. But in my own little world, I was gratified to see this sudden change.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Photos from The Lucerne Project opening night

Thank you to everyone who attended the opening night of The Lucerne Project last night. Special thanks to Glen and Deborah Doering, the gallery directors. And further thanks to the newspaper reviewer, with whom I had a stimulating conversation, and the museum gallery director, who may provide another venue to display this project.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

The Lucerne Project opening tonight

If you're reading this and you're in Chicago, and you have a spare hour tonight, consider joining me for the official artist's preview of my exhibition "The Lucerne Project: People I've Never Met, in a Place I've Never Been." It's from 5pm till 9 pm at Finestra Art Space, on the 5th floor of the Fine Arts Building, 410 S Michigan Avenue. Get a ride in the gilded brass and glass, polished wood, human-tended art deco elevators. Drink some free wine. Get a close look at the 100-page accordion book: Read excerpts from the imaginary Lucerne travel diary (or listen to me reading them via your smartphone): from an imaginary Lucerne travel diary We were halfway up the mountain, hanging almost vertically off its side in the old cog railway, when the person sitting next to me in the train said: “I’m going to be sick.” I wasn’t feeling too well either. The ascent had been fun at first, with a great wide view of the town below the mountain gradually e

Pandora's Box

"Cockatoo", Joseph Cornell I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon to see an exhibition that displayed Joseph Cornell's box constructions alongside works from the MCA archives that are (supposedly)  inspired or in sympathy with them. The main pleasure was seeing some good pieces, like the above by Cornell, and some things that aren't always on show, such as this classic Rauschenberg: P.S. Thank you to the new people who subscribed to this blog recently.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Dianne Bowen: Dismember the Night

Following up on my interview yesterday with artist Dianne Bowen, here is the link to a book of her writing, with accompanying photographs, that just came out via   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Artist-Writer-Artist: Dianne Bowen

"Deep Sound", oil, pigment stick, pigments, wax pencils on canvas Accompanying poem: pacing downtown loft, bare window views, burial ground reconstruction, listening for signs, her own music she pins to the wall, catalogs blood lines, New York Abstraction sewn to her feet, two generations across the wall, floor to ceiling, pigment pencil, we have killed ourselves with concoctions, surrendered gladly to our possession, time tick tocking another dimension Dianne Bowen is a New York artist who uses paintings, drawings, words, installations, videos, to create a set of complex visual responses to internal and external space. At a conceptual level, her work originates in a fascination with systems, of communication and miscommunication. At a visual level, her work in all media is  just incredibly satisfying to look at. I was delighted to discover that her use of words is as skilful as her manipulation of the material processes of art. In this interview, she answers some

My work on the Google Plus Art Walk

An artist on Google Plus called Samantah Villenave is doing great work making contact with artists, via writing and video. She's also started something she calls the G+ First Friday Art Walk. I am honoured to have been included in the latest one, along with three other very fine artists. Link here .   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

In the Studio: Day 67

Still trying to put book cloth on the trays for the clamshell box, which will contain the 100 page accordion book for The Lucerne Project.   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Interlochen 2011: Revisited

This coming weekend, we're going back to northern Michigan because Patty is giving a reading there, and because our friend Ann-Marie Oomen, who teaches at Interlochen Arts Academy, is having a Significant Birthday. And last night (Wednesday) I read from "The Lucerne Project" imaginary travel diary at Reading Under the Influence, a monthly Chicago literary event. Coincidentally to all this, my friend Viki, who was at the Interlochen Writers' Conference in June, sent me some of the photos she took at the reading there. Here are a couple (which I'm posting despite the fact that I look about 83 years old):   Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader