Category Archives: art

This and that No. 7

Louise Bourgeois, Femme maison

Louise Bourgeois, Femme maison, 1994.
Photo by Christopher Burke via The Guardian.

Manhattan-20120703-01802

My morning today.

I was almost heartened — or whatever its shadow word is, the word for noticing that someone else has been undermined by the same enervators — to see, while poking around in Dawn Powell’s unedited diaries, that in 1956 she wrote: “Domesticity can deaden the creative nature as much as alcohol or poverty – indeed more.”

This and that No. 6 is here.

Lunar Camel Co. field guide to trees, ch. 4: other people’s trees

YEARS Schmiede Hallein 2011

Years, Schmiede Hallein, Austria, 2011.

Bartholonäus Traubeck, Years. A turntable plays trees by analysing “their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture).” Via Need Supply.

*****

Axel Erlandson’s tree circus in the Santa Cruz mountains, via Creatures of Comfort. Erlandson died in 1964 and the trees were then cared for by a tree-loving architect. In 1985 they were moved to a theme park in Gilroy, where they live today. Tree circus scholars can learn more from the Tree Circus Collection at Santa Cruz’s Museum of Art & History.

tree circus double knots

tree circus cube

A.E. at his tree circus

tree circus sycamore phone booth

sycamore phone booth by Mark Primack

tree circus box

the tree circus is coming to town

the tree circus comes to town by Mark Primack

Cf. Arborsmith Studios; Pooktre tree shapers; the German master of treedome shaping; unrelated German tree fence from the 1930s; Indian tree bridges; Plantware.

*****

Italian tree tea from Buon Italia.

Erbe e Spezie tea packet

Erbe e Spezie tea  ingredients

Ingredients: coriander seeds, juniper berries, cloves, orange rinds, cinnamon bark, ginger rootstocks, mountain pine needles.

“Un sorso di salute, nel rispetto dell’ambiente” = “A sip of health, while respecting the environment.” I bought it more for making ice cream with than for drinking, but it’s nice for drinking. I was expecting it to taste strongly of pine trees the way Italian pine honey does — eating pine honey, in my experience, is like being bonked on the head with a pine branch — but actually it’s rather gentle and balanced, with no one flavor dominating. Just the thing for a hiker’s mug.

*****

In Suffolk there’s a beech so ugly that it terrifies children and pensioners, says the Daily Mail. I admit I did not read the article closely but it’s probably a benefits scrounger, too.

the ugliest tree

ugly tree by David Garnham

*****

Blog-friend a wild slim alien — who is in fact a tree — pointed me in the direction of Five Dials, a monthly literary mag from Hamish Hamilton. Number 22 (Why Willows Weep and Other Tales From The Forest Floor) consists of fables about nineteen varieties of trees native to the U.K. and may be read here. Five Dials is a PDF mag but you can buy a special dead tree copy of this one issue to support the Woodland Trust here. They’ll plant five trees if you do.

Five Dials Number 22

*****


how to get a tree to speak

EOS magazine’s talking tree has been telling the world about its life in Brussels for a year or so now. There doesn’t seem to be any sound coming through on its YouTube channel but you can listen to the tree on SoundCloud.

*****

Chapter 3 of my field guide to trees is here.

Are you sick of tedious rendevous instead of hot bang?

spring break in the east village

are those yr boobs I saw on an east village mailbox?

Just this once let’s get Wednesday off to a slightly sleazy start, as if this were a meeting of the Slightly Sleazy Wednesday Morning Club. The inspiration for / title of this post comes from an email I received from Ms. Kitty Geyser. Also from a neighbor in my ex-boyfriend’s building, where I lived for many years. He’s a beardo we call Cameras on account of the unfriendly, searching looks he gives us. He says hello to my ex-boyfriend but he’s never spoken a word to me. Our friend Christine said we are his Berlin-in-the-20s. I admit to having slithered in or out of the building looking Anita Berber-ish on a few occasions over the years, but the latest thing that set his eye- and beard-cameras on fire was a basket on my ex’s bike. He got a wicker basket for it, which is apparently one of the fruitiest fruity things a guy can do. He came out of the apartment with it and ran into Cameras and his roommates, and reported that their eyes were glued to it like hot burning lasers all the way down the stairs.

Anyhow, our meeting, yeah. It’s totally fine if you’re still wearing your outfit from last night, I don’t mind at all.

mermaid and friends

photo from a 1980 sci-fi convention here

While you’re washing your face the rest of us will have a look at this poster I found for an interesting-sounding movie from the 70s, Orgies au Camping. Poster from Etsy here.

Orgies au Camping

Here’s a lurid little painting by Reggie Kray, Ron and Reg in Top Hat and Tails, via The Guardian.

Reggie Kray Ron and Reg in Top Hat and Tails

And here’s a flier I found at an art opening at Family Business gallery a couple weeks ago. My friend Jim had a piece in this show. I like what they did; it’s a tiny gallery and they crammed it full, with art all the way up the walls and hanging from the ceiling too. There were lots of these fliers thrown out to the crowd, all different.

morir o casarse

Ann Sorel, “Amour à Plusieurs,” via Vinyle Archéologie on YouTube. I tried to translate the lyrics to this because it sounded intriguing. I wish I hadn’t because it’s actually kind of a downer: “Love to many it is not good for your heart.” Shit no, it sure isn’t.

Here’s a Yayoi Kusama orgy / happening in Amsterdam, 1969, via the Looniverse. I don’t know whether they did have an orgy that day or was she just selling copies of her orgy newspaper. The woman in the blue suit appears to be afraid someone will grope her eyeballs, but everyone’s got plenty of clothes on. Maybe it was called off on account of shivery weather.

Yayoi Kusama orgy 1

Yayoi Kusama orgy 2

Yayoi Kusama orgy 3

Bettie Page photo via Olympia le Tan’s blog, which has a nice mixture of things I like to look at: loads more photos of Bettie and Bettie look-alikes, loads of photos of Morrissey, plus some shoes, plus the book-shaped handbags she makes.

Bettie Page via OLT 04-15-2012

Bettie via Olympia Le Tan’s blog

OLT Junkie bag
Olympia le Tan Marihuana Problems bag

Olympia Le Tan bags via Hint

If we’re going to meet mornings this way semi-regularly you’re going to need to get your own coffee pipe. I don’t mean to be bossy, I just want to get everyone on the same page here. You can order one from Zang! (via Dangerous Minds). I think you should fill yours up with my current favorite Brazilian espresso and some super silver haze, which I’ve heard from a friend is a champagne among herbs. Some things just go together. I think this could be the next coffee Thing, now that everyone’s experimented with pour-over-brewing fair trade single-origin coffees crapped out by greasy jungle cats, finding the right boutique weed to complement and enhance your coffee.

Zang! pipe mug

Dangerous Minds pipe mug

If you titrate yourself correctly maybe you’ll see an apple in your cappuccino.

apple in my cappuccino

Don’t get too messy with all this stuff. Here are some informational AA comics if you’re the type we should be worried about.

sad drunk Alice

“It Happened to Alice” via coisas do arco da velha

writing assignment

As in, I am soliciting one. Or many. It depends. This morning I was reading Der Spiegel’s interview with art forger and “hippie-like desperado” Wolfgang Beltracchi and I think his idea — somewhat problematic in execution, though strictly speaking it’s his €34 million in ill-gotten gains that are problematic — was a good one:

Beltracchi’s principle was not to copy the paintings of the Expressionists, but, as he says, to fill the gaps in their bodies of work. Either he invented new paintings and motifs, tying in to specific creative phases in the artists’ lives, or he created paintings whose titles appear in lists of the respective painters’ works but which were believed to have been lost — and of which no images existed.

I am going to spend the rest of the day browsing this list of lost works. An immediately tempting assignment-to-self: “Several pages of the original screenplay for Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes were reportedly thrown out of the window of a bus after one of his football team-mates threw up on them.” There are also some Mayan codices no one has seen since 1562, an Elizabethan-era play called “Hot Anger Soon Cold,” and the journal of an ambassador’s wife “burnt by her daughter on the grounds that it contained much scandal and satire.” If any of you keep a mental list of writers’ works believed to have been lost, you are very welcome to suggest something.

The Wondrous Mushroom

a mysterious book looking back at you:
it’s The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica via BeatBooks

your moist little brain

Birgit Jürgenssen little fur

Photo (untitled self-portrait?) by Birgit Jürgenssen.

From Emma Markiewicz’s “Matters of the Head” in Cabinet issue 40, which is still laying around my apartment:

In the eighteenth century, hair was conceived of not only as an external indicator of a person’s well-being but also as a part of the body that could itself be affected by ill health. In either case, hair in the medical literature was rarely seen as a separate entity and was commonly discussed in conjunction with other body parts and physical conditions. Some considered it a primary marker for the humoral condition of the head, the intellectual seat of the human body. For instance, Aristotle’s New Book of Problems, Set Forth by Question and Answer, a 1725 volume . . . attempted to answer the question ‘Why does hair grow on the head more than any other body part?’ by asserting that hair is ‘an excrement’ that grows primarily on the head because of the moistness of the brain, and is therefore more likely to grow longer in women whose brains are more moist than men’s.

Birgit Jürgenssen ohne titel / untitled

Ohne titel / untitled by Birgit Jürgenssen.

Friday afternoon video art show : Alyce Obvious

I can’t recall how I stumbled across Alyce Obvious’s work because it was several years ago now. Every so often I remember to look at her website and inevitably I find something thoughtful, inventive, heartening, and fun to look at. She makes all sorts of works, much of them concerning sound, music and sustainability — e.g., she’s been working with sonic fabric woven from cassette tapes for over ten years — but the easiest kind of art to share in a blog post art show is video art.


This is a listening pillow she made for an art pillow show. The YouTube description says it was “inspired by a patent filed in 1964 for a ‘listening pillow’ . . . designed to facilitate listening to music in stereo while lying on one’s side.” Alyce “updated [this apparatus] considerably to appeal to modern, nature-deprived audiences. The pillow is worn as a headpiece, with the tuft of copper wool serving as a conductor between the ear of the wearer and natural objects.”

This is called “WAVES become MATTER: improvisation for flute and ruben’s tube.” The tube “makes visible the effect of sonic vibration on compressed gas.” I told my friend who plays the drums that she needs one of these but I take it back, I think she’d burn down her rehearsal space.


I love this, this is the sonic fabric factory in action. The fabric is made on an antique loom in a New England textile mill.


This is her latest video. It’s called southern pacific suite: music for train horns: part 4: longing trains. It’s from “projects for prepared ear” and it’s a flute and guitar reconstruction of the two most commonly-heard Amtrak horn chords in Marfa and Alpine, Texas.

If you are excited by the sonic fabric today is your lucky Friday, because right this very moment Alyce has a project you can support at USA Projects. Cough up a bit of cheddar and you can get a swatch of sonic fabric ($10), a flag ($100), a whole yard of the stuff to make what you will or a necktie ($200), and / or assorted other sonic goodies. Don’t dawdle if you’re interested because the deadline for the project is September 8th and that’s SOON.

at the Boggsville Boatel

I was so moved by those amasan photos I found that I decided to get my sea legs ASAP at the Boggsville Boatel, a hospitality experience / art experience happening at Marina 59 in Far Rockaway, Queens this summer.

BOATEL

Actually no, this wasn’t a spontaneous thing — it was kind of difficult to get a reservation after the NY Times article came out, and I was ridiculously excited when my time on the waiting list finally paid off with a night aboard The Crumb. It did not disappoint! We had a genuine seafaring adventure and the very next day we became big in Japan as a result.

aboard The Crumb

It was raining when we arrived at the Boatel so there would be no movie or lecture at the boat-in theater that evening, but we had a terrific time hanging out in our boat.

our bell aboard The Crumb

It has a very cozy cabin (entered via a sweet little curtained door), a giraffe mascot, and some inspiring art.

The Crumb

inside The Crumb

inspirational art in The Crumb

(We’re pretty sure those tuff ladies were part of a sea-going rival gang to the Van Dykes).

where we slept in The Crumb

We slept in that sleep-space there, in the bow. It’s dark, I know. There’s no electricity in these boats. We brought a lantern and a flashlight but didn’t use them — there were plenty of candles in our cabin, along with a battery-operated boombox and a handwritten note explaining that drunk guests would be sent to bed rather than fished out of the spaces between the boats. We had plenty of sheets and pillows and, most importantly, no leaks. It rained all night but the atmosphere at the Boatel was charming, lit with just the blue of the neon sign and the orange glow of candlelight in everyone’s cabins. We drank prosecco and my friend iPhone-DJed Northern Soul, and I took a terrible photo with my Blackberry.

nighttime at the Boatel

At some point there was a liquor run with other guests. The neighborhood is what one might call seaside scuzzy — there are housing projects next to the marina on one side and a school bus parking lot on the other, or possibly a labor camp for kids who were really bad on the bus — but we went out in a group and nothing bad happened. To give you a feel for the surrounding environs, my friend and I wandered over to a pizza place we’d noticed on our way to the liquor store the following afternoon, and the pizza didn’t look so good so we stood by the window for a moment, wondering whether we ought to try the Chinese place across the street instead. We hadn’t been looking out the window for more than a few seconds before another pizza customer asked “what’s wrong, the police out there?”

It really is pretty amazing that there’s an incredibly cool marina with all sorts of fascinating arty stuff going on one block from the A train. It makes me very happy to live within a subway ride of this place. (A long ride, but still). It’s exciting in a way that very few parts of NYC are anymore, and Rockaway Beach is just a block away from the train in the opposite direction.

The next morning we awoke to a sky still peachy around the edges and promptly went out to sea in a rowboat.

morning at the Boatel

The Princess Ladyboat

rowboat

heading out to sea

No, no, it’s dumb to go to sea in a rowboat. We just went to have a look at a rusty old abandoned tugboat.

abandoned tugboat

And to look at nature. Those are mussels there, and a crab way in the back. We didn’t get crabs in Queens because we’re entirely / mostly vegetarian, but we saw people getting crabs all day long. Note the oars for the boat are made from police barricades — an excellent use for them.

mussels

It’s Queens so the wildlife is all mixed up. In addition to mussels and crabs we saw beautiful shorebirds in the marina and at the beach, one big fat rat (which is sometimes reassuring to New Yorkers, being a reliable indicator one has not strayed far from home), one pet iguana on a leash (sunbathing atop a parked car near the beach), and, living in the marina, a family of goats. The baby one there was born at the marina in May and is already really good at doing goat stuff (i.e. eating trash). There’s a dad goat too; later on we walked past the goat family again and he ran over to stand next to the baby.

marina goats

I’m leaving out an important part of our day here, which is that before we went out in the rowboat, Connie — artist Connie Hockaday, creator of the Boatel — told us a Japanese teevee crew would be coming by that afternoon to do a live broadcast, and we should stick around and meet them. OK yes!

In the meantime we went to Rockaway beach.

Rockaway Beach

vinyl forever

YES.

fat little beach bird

On our way back from the beach, after not getting in trouble with the law at the pizza place, we bought some sugarcane juice from this guy at a hefty white people-mark-up. I think. My friend is part Mexican but doesn’t look it and she thought this was a terrible injustice but I wanted some juice, and sort of didn’t mind contributing to the local economy.

sugarcane juice guy

Have you been wondering where did we go pee in this crazy place, this place WNYC referred to as a “floating flophouse”? Jesus. We weren’t roughing it that rough. Marina 59 has a really nice little building with very clean, very new-looking bathrooms and a shower. No fish-scaling allowed!

absolutely no fish scaling in here

When we returned from the beach the teevee crew had arrived and were starting to set up for their broadcast. They were from NHK, which is the PBS of Japan. They were all really nice people. I think you have to be pretty good-natured to work in or on live television because all sorts of strange shit could go so wrong. We made like teevee starlets and retired to our trailer (CRUMB) to practice our lines and drink beers.

the Japanese TV crew setting up

There’s the NHK presenter practicing her lines aboard the deck of the Ms. Nancy Boggs while we do the same in The Crumb.

NHK TV host

We explored our boat a bit more thoroughly in the daylight. We think it’s probably from the 1970s because the sleeping area has what appears to be an authentic vintage 1970s sex strap. I’m not quite sure how it works but I bet one of you people will know. Is there an attachment?

in our boat

We also found a bottle of Entertainer’s Secret, so we had everything we needed to become famous.

found in our boat

We toured the other boats too. Ours was our favorite but the Ms. Nancy Boggs is a close second. It’s got a cozy seating area, a spacious sleep area, and a sympathetic gazelle.

inside the Ms. Nancy Boggs

inside the Ms. Nancy Boggs

We did a couple of run-throughs with the NHK crew before the broadcast. It was an action-packed set-up: it would begin with the presenter sitting on the deck of the Ms. Nancy Boggs, follow her to an interview with Connie on the Zenobia, and end at the boat-in theater, where I was having an infinite BBQ. There the presenter would ask me how I liked the Boatel, and naturally I would say it is lovely, transporting, etc. My friend sat next to me having infinite beers as I piled BBQ goodies onto her plate. On my other side was Ari the marina owner and Milly the marina dog, who was exceptionally good about not snatching anything off the grill. Behind us a couple of kids from the neighborhood did infinite somersaults into the water, and on the other side there were some people doing an infinite rowboat tour.

NHK TV crew

I’ll update this post with a link to the NHK clip as soon as I can find one. Apparently it was seen by millions and millions of viewers! It’s got to turn up on the internet sooner or later.

If you have an interest in happenings on boats, you really ought to read Log of the S.S. The Mrs Unguentine by Stanley Crawford. It’s one of my favorite books and I thought of it often while at the Boatel. It’s about a couple who spend forty years on a gigantic, impossible, heavily-customized barge, never once going ashore. They plant a garden on board their ship, build an enormous greenhouse around it, and, if my memory is correct, eventually replace all of the leaves on all of the plants with handmade glass ones, for some compelling reason or other. And so forth. It’s relentlessly inventive and beautifully written, and it also happens to be an accurate depiction, somehow, of what it’s like to be very close to someone — at sea with them and them alone — and not have any idea What Is Going On With Us / What Is Going On With You.

Log of the S.S. The Mrs Unguentine

The Boatel is all booked up for the rest of the season but you don’t have to be an overnight guest to attend the boat-in theater, and there are tons of other interesting things happening at Marina 59 and elsewhere on the water this summer. Go!

mid-week stationary field trip

First, we will spend three and a half minutes inside one of those Yayoi Kusama mirror rooms. (Gleaming Lights of the Souls, Liverpool Biennial, 2008).

Then a commercial break (Afri-Cola 1968)!

Then a music video (Kleenex, “Hedi’s Head,” 1978).

I’ve just noticed Rough Trade is reissuing Kleenex’s debut single on 7″ in July. Or you can watch them on Swiss teevee in 1979 right now here. Kleenex eventually became LiliPUT.

If you are taking the deluxe field trip, there is also a thirty-minute tour of Henry Miller’s bathroom. This is part 1 of 3.

free tour departing now

If you have approximately 35 minutes to spare, Jean Cocteau would like to give you a tour of his friend’s villa in Cap Ferrat. The tour is in French but mostly you’ll be looking at artwork, and it’s still perfectly lovely and transporting without subtitles. There is no slush there; instead there is greenery and good-natured camera tricks, filmed in Kodachrome.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "“La Villa Santo Sospir”", posted with vodpod

“La Villa Santo Sospir” (1952) via UbuWeb here. (If you’re having trouble watching the embedded video above, try watching there).