William Carroll @ Brooklyn Art Space

Last night Bill Carroll came out to Brooklyn Art Space to chat with us about Art.  He spoke well about his life in the art world - as a gallerist, curator, and artist of many accomplishments.  Carroll brings us his work directly from the hours long walking tours he takes within New York City. He finds those special shapes of the city and turns them into simple yet classic works of art.  Carroll spoke a lot of how he loves pairing things down - his talk seemed to be a reflection of that, it was not too long, had all the details you needed, with enough time after for Q & A.

After the talk Lindsay and I (we missed Jen!) had an important #BOBCollective meeting where we chatted about the state of the art world.  We've got ideas, now we've got to figure out how to put them in play! For, you know, fun's sake.  It was a fun night.   #ButtsOnButts4Ever


Opening Creatures

My mind has been a flutter of disparate thoughts this week, most of which revolve around the images I'm choosing to bring into this world, all are positive.  I'm pleasantly swimming through a few different discoveries, that have been propelled by larger notions and large helpings of ginger peppermint tea. Below are a few details of a project I'm working on. One project of about 3 or 4 that happen to be going on at the moment. 

I'm waiting for two new books in the mail: Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna & The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda.  That's where my mind is.  I'm afraid that I may be spent on art history and theory at the moment. More to come soon. 


Anderson Ranch with Dani Tull

Last Sunday I flew to Colorado to study a week long intensive about Unconventional Aesthetics with Dani Tull.   I had no idea what to expect other than I was going to have fun, relax, and make some new friends.  My experiences have far outweighed my expectations in every way.  So, here for you, is one giant Anderson Ranch mega post.

Snowmass was beautiful. The weather was mid 60's to 80's without a smidgen of humidity.  A great Summer temperature, which made it easy to enjoy the sunrise and set of each day.  The shared dorms had very comfortable beds, with a shared private bath.  Having all three meals a day prepared was excellent, the food was healthy and diverse, mostly just delicious.   It also created an excellent opportunity for all members of the Ranch to hang out and discuss what they were up to in their own classes.  I can't express how wonderful it was to be around a community where people were not afraid to be kind to each other. 

Our assignments were varied, challenging, and fun.  We learned  a lot. About art that Alien abductees made upon their return, as well as listened to believable accounts of Alien sightings.  Made work that embodied what an experience with an other being would be like.  Read a short handout by Terence McKenna & participated in a fun mystery game.  Learned about Shamanic ceremonial art of the Shipibo and Huichol. Made sigils that we forgot, so the symbols could fall into our subconscious.  Learned about the art of healer Emma Kunz & made pendulums to access the edges of our own consciousness.  We were exposed to the talented world of Prison art and made work with limited resources.  Studied the Source Family & Damanhur in Italy, which were both endlessly curious and dynamic.  Anderson Ranch had two lunchtime guest lecturers on Thursday and Friday, Hernan Bas & Bill Viola - both were interesting and thought provoking, though I can't help but favor Hernan's work. 

My favorite part of the week was the Holotropic Breathwork meditation ceremony that Dani led.  This simple and controlled breathing exercise was a beautiful and refreshing experience.  I regret that I had not participated in such an experience before.  I can't speak for everyone, but for me it was incredible to leave the tiny details that normally flood my brain with miscellaneous anxieties far behind.  It's something I'll never forget and with luck, will find an opportunity to do again in the future.  Once the ceremony was over, this tiny moth landed right into the candle wax.  

Some of the most memorable moments were after hours.  It was such a pleasure to meet and get to know everyone in our class.  Playing games with them, talking about art, learning about their goals and practices was so enlightening.  Dani was kind and thoughtful, courageously open to our thoughts and ideas.  It was an ideal environment to learn about art and ourselves.  Friday night before our departure on Saturday morning, we all hung out until very early in the morning watching art and music videos on youtube. Hernan Bas was kind enough to join in our fun & I wouldn't trade a night like that for anything. 

In a vast understatement, Anderson Ranch was exactly what I needed and more.  I loved the entire experience.  Feeling lighter from letting go of a lot and heavier in my heart for all the positive experiences had.   I'll be floating on this Rocky Mountain experience for as long as I can, and keep what I've learned close at hand. 


Glittering Images by Camille Paglia: Lord of the Sea

Glittering Images is the perfect art history book for readers who want to understand the motivations and significance of the most important art movements without committing to an extended and in depth reading list.  Camille Paglia provides an insight that was both informative and contemporary. 

In each chapter, Paglia gives equal attention to historical context and reading the work.  

Agnolo Bronzino, Portrait of Andrea Doria as Neptune. Ca. 1530. Oil on canvas.
In her chapter, Lord of the Sea, Paglia has chosen one painting by Agnolo Bronzino to describe the movement of Mannerism.   

"By the time Andrea was born, his family had lost political power but was still influential as bankers, landlords, and soldiers.  Orphaned in childhood, he joined the Papal Guard, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and worked as a naval mercenary.  He became wealthy from confiscated treasure on his bold expeditions against Muslim pirates of North Africa's Barbary Coast... In 1528, Doria restored his family to dominance when he freed Genoa from French control and became de facto dictator of the new republic.  For the next thirty years, he ruthlessly crushed opposition, particularly after the assassination of his nephew and heir, Giannettino Doria."

This description is useful in giving a personal and concise story of the man featured in the painting.  Knowing the personal history of the man gives specific insight into why certain artistic choices were made in the painting.  Doria was the kind of man who commanded power, who made wealth out of risky journeys and adventures, as well became politically significant to his community at large. Knowing this makes it easy to understand why he would have been portrayed as the God Neptune.  Paglia elaborates, 

"With his calm, implacable gaze, Doria demonstrates Neptune's lordly dominion over the sea.  His spray-whipped hair falls forward to mimic the tufted crop of Roman emperors.  The flowing gray tendrils of his beard resemble sea fronds or ship wakes.  He stands in a bleak raking light,  as if under a full moon.  Or the ship may be heading into the high wind of a thunderstorm, the gathering clouds of war.  Galleys were deft in amphibious assaults but notoriously unstable in rough seas.  Perhaps the sail has suddenly been struck as the galley, propelled by oar, plunges toward enemy vessels."

Paglia uses this paragraph to show how this painting induces the viewers imagination. She describes Doria's stance as one that exemplifies control in the face of oncoming dangers, such as the sea or war. Doria's hair befits the style of an emperor - another detail that alludes to his power.  These kind of details provide content to Bronzino's painting. 

Paglia's pattern of historical context and a reading of one particular work allow her to focus on these relevant details.  Throughout Glittering images she uses this pattern of describing one work of art in detail, in an attempt that it will be enough material to give the reader an idea of the entire movement. 

Paglia continues to dissect the painting, finding leadership in the placement of his index finger before concluding with this sentence, 

"Bronzino's painting evades these problems by treating Doria's entire body, from his planted thigh, veiny forearms, and brawny shoulders to his hard brow and pouched eyes, as a tumescent column of sheer willpower."

The last paragraph illustrates how Mannerism is a development of the Greek nude. Telling the reader how the nude was perceived at the time and how each detail of the painting acted harmoniously to create a figure of strength and power, Paglia can make clear that this strategy is a hallmark of Mannerism.  

Each chapter is precise in this way with a single work summarizing an entire movement.  This book feels like one of tastes and samples of larger meals.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I may share a couple more samples with you.  However I do wish she had included a bibliography, though based on the style of the book I can't really blame her for not doing so. 


The Penguin Head Mini Series

Penguin Head 1

Penguin Head 2

Penguin Head 3

Penguin Head 4
I made these little mixed media works and they turned up weird and fantastic.  It's watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil, graphite, and whoa permanent marker.  I'm glad I was able to make a few small works before heading off to Colorado on Sunday.  Now I've just got to get everything packed, I can't wait to take a little break from the city. 

Image by Peter Strangfeld
ALSO Fisk was on the Today Show this morning doing some promo for Turbo with Brewskeeball peeps.  You can see the video of the Turbo promo on their site!  Ryan Reynolds.  Matt Lauer is still a dick.