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images from space

Post #467 • February 1, 2005, 11:35 AM • 186 Comments

Images from Space, the recent show organized by Jordan Massengale in Wynwood. As I opined for an upcoming article, I think the ease with which one can put up these temporary, informal, fun shows is one of the best things about the Miami art world.

Harumi Abe.

Rene Barge.

Paula Celman.

Yours truly.

Mary Malm.

Jordan Massengale.

John Sanchez.



Chad Harris

February 1, 2005, 8:25 PM

You didn't put up Ross Harris' paintings. For shame. Also didn't mention the searing MSG NEWNESS PARTY EXPRESS BAND. Paula Celman's work was outstanding. Looked like bathroom mold or starbursts. It really tried to seduce. The most sensitive work there, besides Ross'.



February 1, 2005, 9:04 PM

Jordan Massengale organized this one, eh? It is rather unbecoming to include one's own work...undermines credibility for the rest of the show. It would help a lot if the picture were not so overloaded with "meaning" that its meaning cannot be grasped. Might help if the reproduction were larger, too. "Just my take", the kinder gentler Flatboy says. "Excuses, excuses", the real Flatboy says.

I could be cute and say I like the inflated crab, but I have no feeling for it. No doubt there are some "oo"s and "ah"s over it. Massengale did a good job of rendering the thing, in any case.



February 1, 2005, 9:10 PM

Rene Barge and Paula Celman display a certain courage...exploring the black hole that swallowed Modernism so many decades ago. They show that talent is not enough to overcome the fact of when a movement has croaked.


Chad Harris

February 1, 2005, 9:26 PM

Barges's paintings and Celman's are quite different. The action paintingish style of Barge's makes me feel like I missed the best part, the making of the painting. However, Celman's don't strike me as overly Modern - filled with concern for truth or experimentation. Her's are just personal, expressive pieces that probably won't look at all outdated in 30 years. Anyway, referencing an antiqued style like Moderism is Postmodern .. maybe?



February 1, 2005, 9:39 PM

Of all the images above, the Celman is the worst reproduction. It came out blurry and dingy compared to the original, which was one of the best things in the show despite its small size (12" x 12"). There's a better image of it at her website ( We all see differently, evidently, but I didn't think there was anything "moldy" about it. The starburst analogy seems more apt, although it also has biomorphic qualities (which might explain the mold analogy).

There should be more shows like this one and the one Jordan put together during Basel week. They may be uneven, mixed-bag affairs, which is probably inevitable, but they're fresher, less predictable and potentially more interesting than the usual suspects at the name-brand venues. I love an unexpected discovery or a pleasant surprise, and this is the sort of show to make one (and one is enough, if it's sufficiently good). People who stick to the officially prescribed route will always miss out. There's more good work out there than one might think, but all too often one has to go out and find it on one's own, because the galleries and other art institutions are definitely not all-seeing or all-knowing.


Chad Harris

February 1, 2005, 9:53 PM

Thanks for the link Jack. She needs a white background for her site, the current is very distracting. The painting "A Little Blue" is lovely. You're right flatboy, now that I see more, these are super Modern.



February 1, 2005, 10:05 PM

I more or less agree with Jack, as I often do.

Damn it, Flatboy, when are you going to get yourself out of this "dead movement" idea? You are way too smart for that. A painting is a painting and it is a good one or not right there on the spot when you look at it. if you look at a picture and all you see is "dead movement" you are not looking at a picture you are looking at a fashion statement. And if the pictures which personify the "dead movement" are better than the other pictures, as is the case here, then maybe the movement ain't so dead. The Barge and Celman picturtres may be "modernist" but look how full of life they are! Geez!

Jordan sure knows how to paint. He is a mightily talented person trying to play the srupid kid games we see everywhere ad nauseum. Maybe he is thinking about dead movements too. If so he should try to imagine how silly all this pomo stuff will look, when comes the revolution.

Franklin could have put in something a little more emphatic. i can hardly tell what this is, even.

That Laura Owens - Luc Tuymans insipid-surface bland-face thing is really infectious, if Malm's and Abe's pix are any evidence. That mannerism is like wildfire.


Chad Harris

February 1, 2005, 10:25 PM

Did you see this show, oldpro? If you didn't, then I can't imagine a PAINTER talking about work on a computer screen. You should probably take those JPEGS you are looking at oldpro and resize them in Photoshop for the full aesthetic experience. If you did see it, I apologize.

Owen's and Tuymans and Malm's and Abe's painting are all quite different, smooshing them into one category is unfair and provides evidence that your eyes, not flatboys, seem to be the most guilty of adhearing to fashion, albeit an ancient one.

Jordan's painting is not at all like what kids are doing nowadays. Show me a good example.

Regardless, I sort of agree with you on the Modernist thing. Who cares, really?



February 1, 2005, 10:34 PM

I wasn't going to comment on this, but others have, so I'll chime in. I was disappointed by Jordan's piece, for reasons similar to Oldpro's. I think this is not the real Jordan, or certainly not the best Jordan. This strikes me as Jordan slumming, or fooling around, or being "contemporary" in a way that, in effect, trivializes his talent. This sort of thing is all right for a Kenny Scharf, because that's all he can do, but when Jordan does it, my response is: Why are you wasting yourself like this? Why are you going on this sort of dead-end tangent? I had the exact same response to a piece at Dorsch of an obese nude woman squatting into a living room. It had an initial gross-out joke sort of impact, but it quickly seemed merely pointless, or at best a one-trick pony. Normally I'd simply ignore that and move on, but not when I know the artist can do much better, and Jordan can.


Chad Harris

February 1, 2005, 10:36 PM

Also, that Sanchez painting is a lot more Tuymans than those other two.



February 1, 2005, 10:41 PM

O.K. -here's how it went - Chris Meesey helped Alisa Pitchenik and I do FRENZY. A former student named Nathan Lieberman led me to David Lombardi. David Lombardi saw a my 'Unpulpular' show at Dorsch's years ago and decided to let me do FRENZY.
Recently CHRIS MEESEY called David - then he called me - then I called some artists - then they made some stuff or culled up some old stuff (as I did) to stick up on the wall or spread across the floor. WE came up with a loose theme (which was origionally ment to be a figurative painting show - all serious and such) and could'nt decide on the artist line-up. Then I thought that the title SPACE was both and advertisement theme for Lombardi and an open ended show title that would include more artists with different approaches. Chris then designed a sweet card which was passed around to the public a few days prior to the show. Some people came, were entertained, and left - that's all.

MSG jammed and the members of this group each make sincere qualitative work. It was nice to finally see more of Ross Haris's work in person and I don't think there was enough appreciation of his delecate pictures.

More artists could have been included if there was more SPACE. I do not help make these shows to promote my own work. There are many new artists and recent graduates in this city and as an art instructor I try to provide reason for them to stay and work in Miami. Arts and Entertainment like. Competition? Collectors? Russian Constructivism? I like helping a group of REAL creative people organize and exhibit.

I think that Franklin should have posted Chris's instead of my crap - I saw his painting come together over a long steady process of sharp decision making and deliberate economy. Best piece in show - the anoying talking dinosaur head - got to love it!

Flat boy could perhapes put the next show together and exclude me - no matter I'll exhibit in the back of a U-haul truck !



February 1, 2005, 10:46 PM

I didn't realize until after I posted it how bad the Celman image came out. Apologies.

My piece is an ink drawing on paper about five feet wide entitled "Which Weed Am I (Homage to Paul Reps)."

I find myself have the same reaction to Jordan's painting, more or less, as Jack, but I find myself unable to dismiss it. Soemthing about Jordan's work holds together no matter how goofy it gets. I find that ability to compose, well, enviable.

I think Chad's right about the reproduction - the images are coming off Owensish or Tuymansish because the reproduction is really flattening them out. We didn't have a hell of a lot of light in this space to begin with and their transition to 400px jpgs was tough on them. Gives you an idea, though.


Chad Harris

February 1, 2005, 10:52 PM

Right on Jordan. I was waiting for you to swoop in and fight off these Jpeg enthusiasts.



February 1, 2005, 11:08 PM

I want to add to Flatboy that I think it's fine to put your work into a show you're getting together as long as you refer to yourself as the organizer and not the curator.

I have to say that Ross Harris's work didn't grab me. I could see that they were competent but they came off a bit slight.


Ross Harris

February 1, 2005, 11:21 PM

Cheers to Jordan for the show! It was great fun and some of the work was pretty interesting. The more of these casual art shows the better. The music was like guitar meets Indian Classical meets audience participation meets total nonsense. Lets hear it for MSG party Express Band!

Franklin- I'm sorry to hear you thought the work I had up was slight. Glad to know it was "competent," however, since I believe that is better than "incompetent." (While we're at it, lets hear it for competency!)



February 1, 2005, 11:25 PM

Take it easy, Jordan. You are not going to be burnt at the stake. It looks like a very interesting show.

I agree about Jordan's pictures, Franklin. He always makes a picture work one way or the other. But on the other hand something always gets in the way and keeps them from being all out. As for yours, well, a very thin wide picture in paper in painterly shades of greywill look about as bad as anything can in reproduction. I could hardly make it out.

I don't think the light & reproduction is altering the character of the pictures. I took some of them off & ran them through Auto Levels and that helped the color & contrast but didn't really change the character.

I did this with all the pictures, Chad; it is the only way to try to be at all fair to them when you are seeing them in reproduction. I won't disagree that one should see the pix in person, but I don't think there is any possibility that I would be very surprised by any of them except for maybe Franklins, which is really impossible to see in reproduction. Of course the pictures are "quite different" in the sense that they are distinguishable, but they are not that different, and it is not at all difficult to see the stylistic similarities, especially when the style is so widespread. Fingerp[rints are all different too, you know, but they sure do look like fingerproints. And if you want to include the Sanchez pic, fine.

I know this is a compromise, and I hate to propose it, but if we get into "if you did not see it person you can't talk about it" every time anything is posted we will not say much. The fact is that there are things you can say about a picture of a picture and there are things you should be careful about saying, and you have to know the difference.



February 1, 2005, 11:48 PM

Oldpro: Damn it, Flatboy, when are you going to get yourself out of this "dead movement" idea? You are way too smart for that.

Funny thing, Oldpro seems way too smart to let talent waste itself on a dead end. What if someone does a "smashing" Baroque painting? What does that resurrect? I kind of agree that you judge art on the spot, but the furies have conspired and have written a hard core law that artists just can't raise the dead. (Many of us have egos that will try anyway, notwithstanding.) Everytime they try, it goes sort of flat. Comes close, looks compelling after a fashion - if it is good enough - but is not the real McCoy because the time for the real McCoy has gone. Time passes slowly, but surely, and it is unmerciful.

As Oldpro suggests, you can figure out some of this by looking at JPEGs. I figured out that Celman and Barge have talent, didn't I? It is almost axiomatic that it takes courage to walk into a black hole, whether it be Modernism or Baroquism. That they have this kind of courage is pretty obvious in the JPEGs too.

It was nice of all these artists to let Franklin post their images so we can comment on them.


tommy nolan

February 1, 2005, 11:51 PM

If I had to give honors to best in show it would go like this
A tie for best in show

Best in show(tie) = Jordan & Chris, for collaborating, getting the space, and bringing us all together.

Best in show(tie) = "The MSG newness party freak fest band" with special guest Dirty D and Pimpin Pip, & with suprise musical guest Rene B. Collaboration is hard to come buy when there are so many people triing to be the best!

Almost best in show = Robbins piece, the one that looked like fried chi-cha-rrrrron with a tittie.
I like titties and I like pork, pretty simple pick

Good = Johns painting NOT the one with the planes, the other one, it has a great use of the raw canvas, good marks.

I'll buy every body else a drink when I see you out some time.



February 2, 2005, 12:02 AM

Franklin: I want to add to Flatboy that I think it's fine to put your work into a show you're getting together as long as you refer to yourself as the organizer and not the curator.

OK. Might be better to avoid a title like "Images from Space", because that suggests a theme against which someone measured / curated / judged the work. "Salon of the Refused" was a title that refered to the factual status of the pictures, not a judgment. But what the heck, sounds like a lot of people liked it.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 12:09 AM

Ah, it's a depressing thought, that a painting or artwork could be reduced to 400 px worth of digital information. It seems like a good way to look at art for someone who already knows exactly what they want to see. ..and yes it is relevant that this work is seen in person, if it can be, oldpro and flatboy.

I agree with Tommy completely, although it's hard not to.

The reason you can't make baroque paintings is the same reason you can't wear those crazy permed wigs, 100 pounds of clothes and stockings. Because it's over. You can't act like a cowboy or caveman either. Although if you did you'd sure as hell earn my respect.

Ok, it's like when you watch TV no one is doing live commericals anymore, batting off the list of positive ingredients in products. No one wears hats. You can do all this but it doesn't mean the same thing anymore.

Moderism is kitsch.


mr strauss

February 2, 2005, 12:25 AM

Unseemly or not, my feeling is that Massengale's is clearly the best of the group.

mr strauss
pop goes lethal



February 2, 2005, 12:27 AM

Flatboy: You are stating clearly that there are specifiable methods that cannot be used to make good art. If you agree to this, then we have another kind of discussion. if you do not agree to this, then you are disagreeing with your own point of view.

150 years ago Manet was faced with the same problem. We all know the story: colorful, rich, painterly painting was as dead as a doornail. Everyone who was anyone painted large, tightly realistic pictures of grand subjects in dull browns and greys. If we were blogging in 1865 I suspect that you would hand him the same line you are handing me now.

"Give it up, Edouard; it's all over for that kind of art. Look around. Can't you see?"

But you would have been dead wrong. Manet was not falling into a black hole, he was crawling out of one.

Furthermore, as for your example, if someone were to paint a "smashing Baroque painting" right now i suspect it would be enthusiastically received as the latest thing in inspired postmodernist appropriation. One thing I will say about pomo, it will swallow just about anything. Anything but rich colorful painterly abstract painting,that is.

Chad, Wigs and live TV ads and art are different. And saying Modernism is kitch is just foolish. C'mon!



February 2, 2005, 12:32 AM

Chad Harris: Moderism is kitsch.

Chad, I like the insulting tone of your statement because I like insults. But really "kitsch" refers to serious art that has been bastardized, cloned, and mass produced for vulgarian consumption. Modernism, whether in its halcyon days or in its current attempt to regain its old life, just doesn't seem like kitsch. Nor does saying so make it so.

But it was a nice try.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 12:38 AM

I guess I was trying to start a fight with that comment. Would make a good obnoxious book title maybe.


Tommy Nolan

February 2, 2005, 12:38 AM

Old pro - what is art anyway????

I don't think Manet or any serious artist really cares whether good art is modernist or a tv commercial. Only kids who didn't get enough attention from there parents, jr high, or high school care about what stuff is and isn't.
Serious artists do.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 12:40 AM

All right, then it will be kitsch in a few years. haha.



February 2, 2005, 12:47 AM

Oldpro: You have succeeded in making me nervous. Maybe I've got it wrong. But it has been 50 years since modernism has produced anything that is more than slightly visible. Maybe 45 years. A long long time, in any case. Everything dies. Otherwise why not resurrect Baroque? Look what happened to the Romans when they "appropriated" from the Greeks. I can do pomo-speak but do not faintly imagine I could go for appropriated Baroque or Classical art anymore than modernism resurrected.

So who is today's young Manet crawling out of a black hole?


natural spring water from france

February 2, 2005, 1:10 AM

JPEG complains: art work is not same when you see on computer. but it is one way to see the feeling of it.

malm, abe, and sanchez's painting have similarity, but not anything like Laura Owens - Luc Tuymans. harris' work looks more like them. unfortunately you couldn't see from this site.

I heard some negative comment of this show like "he should have show more professor that they can help his career"(bs), but I think it is great some one decide to get together and include their students and others to have exhibition. Does any other school teacher do that??? I mean he is trying to have a show with other artist who is working hard and making good stuff. It's not like some other person who curated a show and put their art work in front of everybody else.
I conglatulate Chris Meesey and Jordan for doing this.



February 2, 2005, 1:17 AM

Nothing since 1955? I am not sure i want to get into that. i think great modernist art was made in quantity at least through the 70s and 80s, but not so much by young Manets crawling out of holes. A friend of mine said to me that he thinks no really really good new artist has emerged since 1970, and I can't say that he is wrong. There are excellent younger artists painting in the Monderist way all over the place - I think George Bethea, here in Miami, is a good example - but they certainly are not getting anywhere professionally, if that is what you mean by "visible".

My primary point is that we really must take art by the work, case by case, not by the "movement" or any other such "larger issue". We have to allow ourselves to be surprised, to have our assumptions upset. Believe me, if I see some piece of pomo work that does it for me I will be overjoyed. And you should do the same for "modernist", Otherwise we are thinking in categories and prejudging. Which is OK by me, but it takes all the pleasure out if it.


spring water or harumi

February 2, 2005, 1:21 AM

tommy called me and said my English is too horrible so he can tell who I am even with fake name.
so I just wanted to say my english suchs. but excuse me!



February 2, 2005, 1:32 AM

That's OK, Spring - keep at it.



February 2, 2005, 1:47 AM

Oldpro: Well, if I see Baroque I give it a chance, of course, but I know in advance that the chance is small. Same with Modernism. But I was nervous enough from your points that I gave Modernism a farily large chance for a few moments. I was looking for an "ah-ha" crawling out of what does seem at times to be a hole of its own - art since 1955 (make that 56, the year Pollock make ithat 52, the last year Pollock painted anything really good, or was it 53?) None forthcoming. Not surprised. Maybe some year. Maybe some decade. Probably not, though.

Thanks for trying.



February 2, 2005, 2:13 AM

The person who said "conglatulate" was Harumi?! That's too funny...

あなたの英国は私の日本人よりよい, Harumi-san. Come by any time.



February 2, 2005, 2:13 AM

Well, Flatboy, if you have any kind of discrimination (and I suspect you do) you have to give everything a chance and you always know that the chance is small.

You can certainly say, if you feel like it, that there was nothing good after Pollock's last gasp, but that tosses out not only everything that grew out of AE in the next generation but also a few of the AE painters that kept on getting better, as well as a lot else.

I would say that is an indefensible position, but maybe it is better not to get into a pissing match about it.



February 2, 2005, 2:23 AM

Flatboy, are you implying that Renaissance artists should have ignored the art of classical antiquity because it was "dated" and/or "dead"? Are you saying Michelangelo should have just said no to all those old marble torsos and mythological statuary because the old myths were no longer "relevant" and the Greeks had done plenty of heroic nudes already? Are you saying great art, of whatever vintage, should have an expiration date on it, beyond which it can no longer instruct and inspire?

The issue is not how visible or popular something is, but what an artist can do with it if s/he's smart enough and good enough to use it optimally. Yes, there is such a thing as lifeless imitation or shameless pastiche, just as there can be "new and different" CRAP. I'd really hate to think that, if someone had the ability to be a new Velasquez, s/he'd repress that as just too "traditional" and opt to ape Lisa Yuskavage instead.



February 2, 2005, 2:36 AM

Ross, amen competency. You're on to something - keep at it.

Is there any relationship between Ross Harris and Chad Harris?

Chad - modernism isn't kitsch, but one might be able to make a case for pure abstraction as a genre style.



February 2, 2005, 2:40 AM

Of course, Jack, with sufficient talent this latter-day Velasquez could ape Lise Yuskavage and some up with something much better. This is what talent has always done. The thing that puzzles me is, where is that talent right now?



February 2, 2005, 2:47 AM

ross and chad are twins



February 2, 2005, 2:54 AM

Oldpro: No piss coming from my ____. I didn't say there was nothing good after Pollock, but I was using him to set a date. After him comes Warhol, and Johns, and so on. The BIG CHANGE. Sometimes I view that change and its work with a sneaking sadness, wish it were a little better, and all that. But it is a marker for what replaced big time modernism. I'm not that well versed on art history, but my interpretation is the one held by most of the experts. Yes there are Louis and Noland and Noland is still alive. But they are not markers, plain and simple. This does not deny they had their moments too.

Jack: I haven't had that many thoughts about Renaissance artists in several months. I'm thinking about how art emerges, it needs a living milieux to fire it up. After it is established, it does not expire if it is good enough. But the history of art tells me that indeed the time in which this or that "type" of art can become "good enough" does pass. This process shows no mercy that I can detect, "appropriation" theory to the contrary.

BTW, the new Velasquez will not make pictures that look like those of the old Velasquez. Maybe the new guy would not do politics, for instance. Whatever, it would be different.

Assuming there is a process that repeats itself, as you both seem to agree, a key ingredient is that those "old" artists that inspire the "next" (here I deliberately avoid the word "new" but use it if you like) artists, these "oldies" gotta be visible to "somebody" who does "something" with them. I can get a handle on who the "oldies" might be, but the "somebodies" and "something" are hardly obvious.



February 2, 2005, 2:55 AM

Franklin: A genre has to have some distinctive style, form, or content. We have been using the term casually here to refer to painterly AE-type abstract painting but that is not correct.

Modernism is a working attitude, not a type of art. It goes back at least to Manet and its products are too varied to constitute a genre.



February 2, 2005, 2:56 AM

Oldpro said: The thing that puzzles me is, where is that talent right now?

I don't think we are disagreeing, much less having a pissing contest.



February 2, 2005, 2:58 AM

Franklin - I wish you'd mentioned the dimensions of your work before (if not of them all). Marks are different animals when they're two feet tall. I like the motion, esp in the second and fourth figures.

P.S. I wouldn't put Abe and Sanchez in the "school of Tuymans" either. Abe's flowers are too vivid and lively. Maybe Tuymans's name comes up because the vase and chair have less depth and brilliance than the flowers (perhaps from trying to imitate a flashlit overexposure). Sanchez's shimmering pinpoints of light are not at all like Tuymans's washed-out, homogenous industrial plastic Cuckoo's Nest surfaces. Sanchez also uses the dramatic eye of the photographer, unlike Tuymans's dispassionate news journalist's or documentarian's eye.



February 2, 2005, 3:26 AM

Flatboy: When I invoke artists of high worth who came after Pollock or "inherited the mantle" of modernism I certainly am not referring to Warhol and Johns. The pop artists more or less added "low" illustration to digested AE methods and tickled everyone pink by allowing then to like Mickey Mouse and say everything is OK. Not a BIG CHANGE, not in art, at least. Not at all. Only in the market. They, and the pomos that followed, are our version of the Salon.



February 2, 2005, 3:34 AM

I guess nobody agrees with me about the Owens/Tuymens influence. I think the reason is that it is so pervasive that people are picking out the differences behind the obvious similarities. It may not even be "influence" but just something that is "in the air", like a flu virus. Anyway, I don't think it can be demonstrated very easily. I see it; you guys don't. Let's leave it at that.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 4:11 AM

Oldpro: A hypothetical. Ok, lets say I want to paint from a photograph - more specifically a straight on snapshot of my grandma at her porch on a cloudy day. I want to use muted colors, as in the picture and I want it to be realistic, but painterly. Most importantly, I DON'T want to belong to your school of Tuymans. What am I to do? Make it drippy? Use a lot of paint? I want to know.



February 2, 2005, 4:14 AM

If you want an example go to the library and look at a lot of art books and i am sure you will find several hundred figure paintings right off the bat that look nothing like Tuymans.



February 2, 2005, 4:16 AM

Go to the library or the web and I am sure you will easily find several hundred examples right off the bat of figure painting that looks nothing like Tuymans.



February 2, 2005, 4:17 AM

Im sorry my conputer was doing weird flipflops and I rewrote that because i did not think it got on.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 4:19 AM

I already have an example, these two paintings. I asked how to go about it. Sometimes I feel like these whole arguments can be solved with a couple of tubes of bright paint.



February 2, 2005, 4:23 AM

Flatboy, even if your interpretation, or any interpretation, is currently held by most of the "experts," I trust you realize that does not necessarily make it right--especially in something as subjective as art. And this may be rude, but if you're not well versed in art history, you certainly should be, as should any serious artist. Frankly, I find it both foolish and presumptuous for an artist not to be, assuming it's a deliberate and conscious choice. It simply makes no sense to me for an artist to ignore such riches, though what use they're put to is up to the individual.

No, art never expires if it is good enough, nor does its capacity to serve artists that come after it--if they are humble and smart enough to take what they can use from it. Not all art is useful to every artist, but that is not a function of when it was made, but rather of its character and that of the artist in question. You say that the time in which this or that "type" of art can become "good enough" does pass, which is contradicted by my example of the heroic classical nude which Michelangelo responded to, identified with and made his own centuries after classical Greece. Of course his nudes were different, just as the work of a new Velasquez would be different from the 17th century one, but my point stands.

What commonly goes by "appropriation" now is not what I'm talking about. Much of that is just mechanical, hackneyed, or contrived borrowing-quoting-sampling. There's no real inspiration or conviction in it, just expediency, trendiness, and not a little laziness. It tends to be a crutch, cover or substitute for the real thing. It's too opportunistic, superficial, and ultimately dishonest. In other words, I don't recommend John Currin as a role model to anyone. I don't buy such cunning shtick; it repels me.

Finally, I refer you to the second part of comment 29 above. I think it merits your careful consideration.


John Sanchez

February 2, 2005, 4:24 AM

Thank you Hovig and Tommy for talking about the art in this show and not who or what movement I was thinking about when I painted those works. I certainly somewhat appreciate the knowledge that gets thrown around in here. You guys must read some good books. You impress and intimidate me-big time! Makes me insecure about even thinking about picking up a (gasp) paintbrush! Whatever happened to just contemplating a piece of art? Who the hell really cares about if the marks on a painting looks like Tuymans or Manet? Why must this be the criteria upon looking at another human being's effort in the arts? Yeah Tommy I like the NOT airplanes one a little better too!


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 4:25 AM

If anything the similarities you see could have something to do with the whole pensive, melancholic, reflective qualities of these two paintings. Maybe? I'm trying.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 4:31 AM

Yay Jorge. I agree with you, however, art does need a history and a context. On the other side, all this artspeak is probably part of why most people are so alienated from the visual arts, but will watch arty movies and listen to arty music.



February 2, 2005, 4:38 AM

Chad: the reason I wanted to drop the subject is that, as you imply, it can only be settle by sitting down with examples, because, as its typical of art, "the picure is worth a thousand words", only if you are trying to convey anything tangible, more like ten million words. It just can't be done.

The attiude of the fugures, which you describe pretty well, is part of it. So is the anemic paint application, the deliberately hesitant modeling, the scruffy surfaces (as if they may have been sanded some), the dontgiveadamn feeling, the general demeanor of lassitude and torpor of the paint and the figures both, the prevailing feeling of irresolution, the lack of the brush mark and the hesitant, thin brushing - i could go on and on and all I would do is give you something to point to where I have been innaccurate in some way.

Yes, I think a couple of tubes of bright paint would be a great way to start.



February 2, 2005, 4:41 AM

Hey Jack,

I think Currin is a wonderful painter and has a sense of humor to boot. What's wrong with referencing, sampling, appropriating, etc? He's not ripping anyone off.



February 2, 2005, 4:42 AM

Jack said, Of course his nudes were different, just as the work of a new Velasquez would be different from the 17th century one, but my point stands.

Sorry Jack, your point fell by the time you got to your first comma.

How "versed" in art history do you think the French cave painters were? Your comment wasn't rude at all, just not as thoughtful as it could have been. I do stuff like that all the time.



February 2, 2005, 4:46 AM

KT: Currin's style reminds me a lot of Norman Rockwell's, and I think Rockwell was a far better painter.

Another case where comparisons would be the only way to make the point.



February 2, 2005, 4:47 AM

Franklin, what you wrote in Japanese translates, "Your Great Britain (England) is better than my Japanese (person)."



February 2, 2005, 4:51 AM

I re-read Jack's comment and realized I didn't read it thoroughly enough. However, I don't agree with his statement that references are ill used in Currin's work. Jacks statement reads: "Much of that is just mechanical, hackneyed, or contrived borrowing-quoting-sampling. There's no real inspiration or conviction in it, just expediency, trendiness, and not a little laziness. It tends to be a crutch, cover or substitute for the real thing." I don't know how to use the italics, so I hope this is not confusing.



February 2, 2005, 4:55 AM

There you go again, Flatboy. "how versed in art history" were the cave painters? That is one of the art history questions I would most like to know the answer to.

Most cave paintings are circles and stick figures but those people in Lascaux and Altimira and a few other places made these absolutely gorgeous, sophisticated pictures that look sort of like Chinese or Japanese animal painting a zillion years later. I just cannot believe that they just stood there with charcoal and red & yellow ochre and said "well, what the hell, let's do a bison". There just had to be some kind of caveman art school, and if there was a caveman art school there had to be caveman art history.

Don't bother laughing; this idea has been laughed at by the best of them.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 4:59 AM

You seem to be saying bright colors are always good, which strikes me as a sophmoric concept. Shouldn't the painting define the palate and the brush work? Wouldn't a moody, brooding picture become more so with muted colors and self-conscious strokes?

My grandmother painted her entire kitchen blood red a couple of years ago. Some Trading Spaces idea gone wrong. You should see it, would knock your socks off.



February 2, 2005, 5:00 AM

I don't know that I think the work of Currin and Rockwell are comparable in their painting of the paintings.



February 2, 2005, 5:26 AM

Saying bright colors are always good would be more than sophomomoric, Chad, it would be silly and wrong. I think I was trying to answer you original question about how not to paint like Tuymans, but maybe I lost the thread of the conversation.



February 2, 2005, 5:30 AM

Is your grandma on the porch because she can't stand her kitchen, Chad? I hope she doesn't live in FLA. A red kitchen full of hot pots is not my idea of a place to be on a warm, muggy day.


Pippy Coletrain

February 2, 2005, 5:37 AM

Sophmoric like a fox I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We
take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the
week. Are you suggesting coconuts migrate? It's a
simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not
carry a 1 pound coconut.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 5:45 AM

Wow Pippy pretty good conversation stopper. Very avant-garde of you. Are you someone I know?


Chris Meesey

February 2, 2005, 5:54 AM

This thread is entertaining. A good portion of the discussion being held by some who did not physically attend. Relevant on account of half of the work is not pictorially represented at the top of the page. Excluding my own, Robin Griffiths, Tom Nolan, John S's other painting, any of Ross' beautiful( Slightly?) pieces, Provisero's, all strong work.
This was an awesomely collaboratively assembled show. Poor grammar aside, It's affirming to see/experience an Artist driven exhibition. Even if to some it yields only one highlight, That is absolutely worth it.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 6:03 AM

It was awesomely awesome Chris. A big, serious thanks.

Yeah, a lot of the posters here think that seeing art is unimportant. Bizarre.


Hi Aleeha

February 2, 2005, 6:14 AM

I love art, I didn't see the show but I love that splochy one. I tweeked the colors on my photoshop and it felt like I was there.


kenneth cohen

February 2, 2005, 7:10 AM

Again thanx to Chris and Jordan for their effort in putting together this show. Hopefully more local artist will decide to collaborate on more independent shows.



February 2, 2005, 7:18 AM

Sometimes I feel like these whole arguments can be solved with a couple of tubes of bright paint. This statement is just awesome. I may put it up in my studio.

John, the airplanes had a presence that I think the non-airplanes one needs, even though the latter has a good shopping list, as it were - composition, value range, all that. Both are keepers. Good work.

KT - allow me to quote myself regarding Currin.

Momoko - I'm not surprised. That's what the translator on spit back when I entered "Your Japanese is better than my English." I guess we still have a ways to go in that partiuclar realm of computer science. Anyway, Harumi's Japanese is still better than my English and she's always welcome here.

Pippy - that is a good example of the kind of post I will eliminate for not making sense, but I'm leaving it up so people get an idea of what I'm talking about. Please read the guidelines.

Chris - you and Jordan definitely deserve a hearty thank-you.



February 2, 2005, 7:22 AM

Ugh. No. That should be "Harumi's English is better than my Japanese." Franklin should be in bed.


L8 2 d game

February 2, 2005, 7:23 AM

Thoughts on the show:

Harumi, Rene, and Mary Malm's paintings look pretty good in reproduction. Jordan and John's loose everything that made them great in person. Whoever said that you can get an idea of the emotion of a piece in reproduction is EXACTLY wrong. You can get an idea of the composition. That's it. Neither Oldpro nor anyone else is qualified to judge a painting up or down from these pictures. The Sanchez looks much better in person, the Barge looks better in the reproduction. Hovig is spot on that some clue as to size (exact dimensions seem difficult to provide) would be vastly helpful.

Thoughts on the conversation:

Not much . . . warmed over rehash of stuff that's been covered repetedly here. A red wall or four can be pretty great. Franklin proves his point with bad Japanese - in more ways then one!

Oldpro/Chad ~ the thing about loading the image into photoshop and doing something it is exactly wrong, whether resize OR (god forbid?!?!?) autocolor. Please tell me you were joking.

I find myself in rare agreement with Jack in #50, though I like John Currin. Would you ever recommend a single artist as a "role model" to anyone? Who would that be, Picasso or something?!



February 2, 2005, 7:58 AM

Franklin: don't be so hard on Pippin. It was nice nonsense, and Chad's response was absolutely perfect and funny.

L8: I though your post was a bit smug & righteous. If we are going to talk about pictures here and necessarily see many in the web alone we have to make adjustments, be careful about what we think we can see or not see and just be careful. 95% of the characteristics are there. It is a little fanatic to pronounce that nothing can be said about what you are looking at. Judgement can be reserved.

Chad was just pulling my leg when he talked about resizing but in fact I do download most pix that interest me and adjust the color. I have been doing it for years and i am pretty good at it.



February 2, 2005, 7:59 AM

I find Jordan Massengale work to be borderline illustrative.
Looks like an ad 4 the cartoon network!



February 2, 2005, 8:03 AM

And Chad, for crying out loud, nobody here ever said it was not important to see the art. This particuar subject is getting a little tired at this point.



February 2, 2005, 8:07 AM

Here's where I stand: I believe Brice Marden is a better artist than Pollock. Not because someone told me so!

I also don't think any of the artists' after the AB-EXer's (Post-Painterly...)come close to the power of a Chardin or Corot. You know the ones: Louis, Noland, Newman,Reinhardt, Olitski etc. etc. so on and so forth.
The middle 3 above especially.



February 2, 2005, 9:42 AM

Oldpro in no. 60: Don't bother laughing; this idea has been laughed at by the best of them.

I wish I could.



February 2, 2005, 12:36 PM

I stumbled upon this very interesting site whilst web searching the word 'blankism'. Like the format, design and comments and will check back soon. Meanwhile this our studio of artists here in Nottingham UK. All best Trailerstar :-)



February 2, 2005, 12:39 PM

I messed up the url for my site apologies should appear correctly now



February 2, 2005, 3:04 PM

" really good new artist has emerged since 1970. And I can't say that he is wrong. There are excellent younger artists painting in the Modernist way all over the place." Quote from #29 by Oldpro.

Is this not a bit of a contradiction?



February 2, 2005, 3:44 PM

oldpro~ Let me get this straight. You download a digital photo of a painting you've never seen in person and adjust the color to make it closer to the original painting? This is one of the most ass-backwards things I've ever heard. You'd be about as lucky learning Russian without access to any textbooks or any Russian-speaking people!

Color correction is a delicate science which involves getting an image to look like the original scene. With no idea what the original looked like, it's impossible to even start color correction. (Doing 'auto-color' on an image might make it look "better", but it will almost always make it look less like the original painting.)

Let me give you just one example. The halos around the lights in John Sanchez' painting of the jet. In the original these are a smooth radial gradient. In the computer reproduction (because I suppose of color gamut of the camera working under poor lighting conditions) they come out all posteriorized, and look much more like a couple of concentric cricles. Unless you just think jet fighters are cool, that picture is all about MOOD, and the mood of the patining is about 90% absent from the reproduction.

The reproduction of Mary Malm's wonderful painting is probably most representative of the original of the bunch. I think it's because the work is small, and exhibits very little sign of brushstrokes. I find that visible brush strokes on the surface of a painting (or lack thereof) are one of the key things that make looking at painting enjoyable, because they hold clues about how the artist works. Of course any reproduction makes it difficult to see brushstrokes, and digital files almost impossible. Aren't you a painter?

You can comment all you want on pictures you haven't seen, but I think it reduces your credibility. Seems like most of the comments above were by folks who saw the show, or on a completely different topic.



February 2, 2005, 4:41 PM

For anyone who might wonder, my painting is 12" x 12". Painting figuratively and working in a small format is something I've been exploring for about 2 years.



February 2, 2005, 5:03 PM

Alesh, et al:

When Franklin puts up pictures of paintings, those who have not seen the actual paintings have 3 choices.

1. Do not comment
2. Comment with reservations, withholding final judgement
3. Go all out as if the pictures have been seen

I have chosen the second, and that is what I will continue to do so.

Just as it is presumptious and wrong to think that one can make a final esthetic (some here have called it "emotional") judgement on any work without seeing it It is ludricrous and overbearing to insist that nothing can be said about a work when one is looking at a pretty good picture of it. I have been looking hard at art for many years and I am very sensitive to the limitations, down to the point of being acutely aware even of the types of characteristics which are harder to see correctly, and the critical importance of size, and much else. I will comment only on charqacteristics which are evident and nothing else, which I think is the obligation orf anyone in this position.

It is simply not true that color correction, specifically auto levels, "will almost always make it look less like the original painting". Auto levels, and other correcting techniques, almost always make the picture look less like the original reproduction and more like the original painting. I am pretty good at this, and I have done it hundreds if not thousands of times with my own paintings and with others that I have been able to compare. I am extremely aware of the deficiencies of these mechanisms and do my best to carry this awareness into my comments. Please give me and others the benefit of the doubt here, and let's allow people to make reasonable, nonconclusive comments about posted pictures without getting on such a high horse.



February 2, 2005, 5:19 PM

I am super art man! With my x-ray art vision I will decipher anything through my macintosh computer screen.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 6:30 PM

Howdy Mary Malim. You got a website?



February 2, 2005, 6:32 PM


A bit of a contradiction, yes. I was aiming at Flatboys concept BIG THING idea, indicating a lot of heavy-duty artists working in a way that compels acceptance as an important art movement, one that gets a name, like Cubism or Abstract Expressionism.

Although I disagree with the blind extremeness of his "black hole" concept there is much to what he says; it merely has to be stretched out and clarified in discussion. I meant to agree with him on the one hand - that there was nothing like that happening - while at the same time insisting that there are excellent artists working in an apparently "modernist" manner.

I think some version of the modernist attitude toward art-making has a real future because it was supressed in its infancy by Pop, Minimal, Pomo and the various academic "think-art" movements which have plagued us for a generation or so, and the inventions which rose from modernism 50 years ago have therefore not been well worked out at all. It will be necessary for current attitudes to die down before modernist-type invention can come into play on a BIG THING scale. I believe this is already happening. Flatboy thinks this is nonsense, apparently, and of course I disagree with him.



February 2, 2005, 6:46 PM

Any work looked at through a computer screen, is illuminated, much like a slide. None of the actual paintings are illuminated from behind. You can pretty much get the gist of the work in this way, but it's nothing like the real thing. Whether it is an improvement or not is impossible to tell without seeing both.

It seems like people on this blog are looking at all of the work through the lenses of different movements and aren't giving the work a look without the contexts ascribed. Context changes and the work doesn't.

P.S. I still like Currin, no matter what you say.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 6:48 PM

Ok, oldpro, you talk about this a lot.. but, do you REALLY think that Modernism, of all things, is going to make a comeback? How? The hats and commericals example I gave earlier was relevant, because people thought differently in the middle of the last Century. This way of thinking most certainly extends into art. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum. What you are proposing is that we continue to think and act the way we do and still have the art market of our grandfathers??

.. and if it does come back it will only be an adorable absorbed distraction for the market.

You say it's happening already? Show me where.



February 2, 2005, 6:51 PM

Hi Chad,
Sorry I don't have a website. I'm afraid I'm analog in a digital world. By the way, my last name is spelled Malm.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 7:01 PM

MM: Oops. Good artist name, Mary Malm. You need to get right away. I checked, it's not taken.

Oldpro: Continuously talking about Pop art and other historic movements as if they were responsible for your market disenfranchisement makes your argument seem antiquated. We'll never bring Pop art back the same way either, it's just as dead to the market as Modernist painting. You know, you can still paint AE. There's no law against it. Right?



February 2, 2005, 7:05 PM

L82.... I agree my painting looks better in website. I think it needed a light shine to my work. and you must be a graphic designer since you think jordan's painting is advatising.
momoko-san thank you for the translate. it was funny. dictionary does things like that.



February 2, 2005, 7:09 PM


Saying it is "nothing like the real thing" is an unsupportable exaggeration. Obviously it is 95% like the real thing. Why do we have to belabor the obvious? I have said as much as I want to on this topic, unless someone has something new to add.


Modernism is an attitude toward making art. Modernist art has taken many forms, from Manet to Pollock. You seem to think I am saying that we will start making "grandfather" art that looks like Manet or Pollock, or some such. I am not saying that, any more than I am saying we will go back to driving Model Ts or wearing fedoras.

What I am saying is that the modernist attitude toward making art, or something very similar, will take over from what I consider to have been attitudes which have produced very little of esthetic value for a generation. What precisely it will produce is anybody's guess.

I do not want to say "where it is happening". Forgive me for copping out, but I cannot take the time to lay this out any more than I can take the time to answer the relentless exceptions which will surely follow. Perhaps I shouldn't have brought it up.

And please do not ask what the "modernist attitude is; it has been described in the literature for half a century.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 7:21 PM

Solid Gold Cop-out Mr.Oldpro. I sure as hell don't agree with a lot pomo attitudes, but I'd rather have it than rehash-modernism. Yikes.



February 2, 2005, 7:40 PM

I am not encouraging a 'rehash" Chad. This discussion is getting nowhere.


doing more

February 2, 2005, 7:54 PM

dont worry oldpro, the show is going to have another (closing) date and you can stick it to all these poseurs who are not validating your digital input by attending THAT show. also, there were some sculptures and video installations that you can give some more digital input on, seeing how qualified you are for this sort of thing.

in any case the most commendable thing about this show is that it happened/happens more. i know it's been said before but there is a great need for varied/alternative showings that set foundations for good discussions on process, movements, and relevance to name a few discernable aspects of the forum it could dissect.

franklin: thanks for being a painting elitist, it helps narrow the discussion....(a good book for all you painters, starved for new media info is illuminating video; open it up, it's stuff that'll be new for y'all. i'm sure!
JUST IN CASE: this is a direct reaction to the limited representaions of the show, the approach was selective but not fair. maybe it was just too difficult to photograph something besides a painting....though i seriously doubt it.



February 2, 2005, 7:58 PM

I hate belaboring the issue, but I meant that seeing the work on the screen is nothing like seeing it in person. I specifically meant that the experience is nothing like it, not the image. Most work benefits from the illumination and much of it looks better in the smaller scale. Not ALL, by any means. I'm just throwing in my 2 cents and am not disputing what has been said. Illuminating, maybe?



February 2, 2005, 8:02 PM

By the way, do we have a second opening or closing scheduled yet?


kenneth cohen

February 2, 2005, 8:14 PM

I saw the Almodovar film Bad Education this past weekend. I left the theatre feeling dry. Not one of his most sticks it to you in the gut productions to date, despite the seemingly tragic script.. None the less worth seeing. Any one else see it.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 8:16 PM

Howdy doing more, we miss you terribly. My feeling is that since this is Franklin's blog, Franklin puts up what he likes. If you or I had control over the matter, I'm sure it would be quite different, however, we don't. Ah well.

What if Franklin let other people put up posts? Wouldn't that be really, really cool Franklin? Wow, if only...


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 8:19 PM

Almodovar has enough representation. We should talk about these fine artists from Space. Nobody knows the closing date?


kenneth cohen

February 2, 2005, 8:36 PM

I of course will post what I like,,, and if Franklin does not like it he can take it off. Has anyone seen the latest Hardes ad.



February 2, 2005, 8:43 PM

Closing will be this Saturday, Jan 5th .
I just received confirmation from Lombardi, who was cool enough to give us the Space for the initial night. He liked it enough to extend it to this Saturday. (New tenants are to move into the place on Monday)
Cheers and thanks to everyone participating.



February 2, 2005, 8:49 PM

Flatboy, I don't follow you in #56. I read it as saying that because Michelangelo's work was not exactly the same as that of classical Greece, but rather inspired by it, derived from it and following in its footsteps (and in a way a rebirth of it), that my point "falls"--but that IS my point, that he found something he could get behind and use in ancient art, that he made it work for him, and that his own version of it, individual though it was, was all the better for it. I never said or espoused that any artist should be a mechanical, mindless carbon copy of anything preceding him.

As for the prehistoric cave painters, I expect they were well versed in what their forebears had done and passed on to them through tradition and example, so again, I don't see what you're getting at with that reference. Obviously, the very first people who ever painted could know no art history because there was none to be known, but that does not invalidate what I'm talking about. My point is that art is an evolving process (I don't like the concept of "progress" in art, because that implies that the new is necessarily better, when it is just different, or possibly better in some ways and worse in others). Art had to start somewhere, somehow, and nobody knows how that came about, but once it got going, there was a continuum.

Any point on that continuum can be used the way Michelangelo used Greco-Roman classical sculpture, which means such old art was not "dead" or a "black hole" to be looked at mournfully, as in "Yes, that was good and relevant once, but it's of no use now, and never can be again." That's why, when the ancient Laocoon group of the Trojan priest and his sons crushed by snakes was dug up in Rome in 1506, Michelangelo rushed to see it as soon as he heard the news, and you can bet it wasn't just idle curiosity about some quaint old has-been statues. He was probably excited as hell, and it was fuel for his furnace.

When I indelicately said you should know more art history, I was responding to your statement that you are not that well versed in it, though I may have read more into that than I should have. Your statement put me in mind of artists I've come across who evidently know no more art history than non-artists, and I find that very troubling. Finally, when you say "I do stuff like that all the time," what specifically are you referring to? It was not clear to me, though perhaps you meant looking at older work for inspiration or ideas, in which case I'm all for it.



February 2, 2005, 9:01 PM

Doing more: address the writing, not the writer. Guidelines.

I thought your video was inferior to your photographs, even only having see the latter on your site. Big arrays of photos tend to bother me - Jay Orr seems to be the local exception - and Alesh's also had a sound component that was rather obliterated, along with yours, by the MSG Newness Party Express Band. You'll be relieved to know that I am aware that new media exists and will represent it here as it interests me to do so.

What if Franklin let other people put up posts? Wouldn't that be really, really cool Franklin? Wow, if only... Probably isn't going to happen, I'm afraid - the logistics are a bit nasty. Easy enough to start your own blog, though...


doing more

February 2, 2005, 9:15 PM

please elaborate on the inferiority of the video. i'm sure you have a leg to stand on concerning new media but haven't really seen what you've got to say about this topic. and i'm not addressing you (the writer), i'm addressing your approach to posting; that's fair game isn't it? sorry, you're probably no elitist anyway.

the video shown is a work in progress and any input is valuable, please help. also i'm composing a mailing list for upcoming art events and would like to include this group, please e-mail me and we'll keep the ball rolling.
thank you all for every bit of discussion!



February 2, 2005, 9:27 PM

I visited this blog for the first time today. I know many people who are artists but have yet to label themselves as such, now I think I know why. I guess by the time one is officially an artist one is confident, critical, cynical, and a little arrogant. I sort of love the fact that my eyes arent jaded; that open mindedness allows me to appreciate art and the artist, sometimes even if just for their sense of humor, their insanity, or just for putting themselves out there (whether or not Im crazy about the art). Its great to let art enrapture me, to leave my expectations at the door and just accept it unconditionally (disliking is different from rejecting). Its cool that you are all so opinionated; Im just surprised that it almost seems hostile at times. Fortunately every few posts someone will lighten things up and say something positive. I was hesitant to write, and perhaps it isnt welcome, but from outside the box, the art scene seems serene and profound, almost like the rest of us have the wrong idea, you know, like we dont have the balls, or the talent to go out there and BE artists, to call ourselves artists, to make a contribution. Im surprised at the ease with which some just bash and downright dismiss art, how does it become so easy to be so judgmental, why arent you open?



February 2, 2005, 9:31 PM

franklin: This your blog. It is well managed and does well. Please do not open up the posting to all comers. (!) If necessary they can suggest by email.



February 2, 2005, 9:43 PM

Being judgemental does not preclude being open, Dante.

And some of us think it is interesting and fun to have vigorous discussion.



February 2, 2005, 9:46 PM

L8 2 d game:

It's neither my place nor my intention to recommend any artist, let alone a single one, as a model for any other artist. That is a personal, individual matter. It must be, otherwise it will do no good.

Picasso, by the way, is not my god. I don't believe in having an "art god," but rather in taking from each artist whatever is worthwhile in his or her work, as well as in acknowledging each artist's shortcomings.


If you like Currin, you're welcome to do so. I do not, and it's not because he's ripping anybody off. I think he's a glorified old-style magazine illustrator with an excruciatingly calculated "subversive" or snidely knowing spin. It may be clever, and it's certainly paid off commercially, but I neither respect his work nor take it seriously. It's rather contrived caricature, in my opinion, very mannered in a cheap, sickly way. I find it decadent, and I'm not talking about moral issues. My taste, of course, need have no bearing on yours.


that guy in the second to last row

February 2, 2005, 10:18 PM

Curin is the WASP version of Botero. Maybe they should collaborate to get something anatomically and politically correct. The result might just be our modern day Velasquez that we’ve been looking for. Somehow I doubt it.



February 2, 2005, 10:18 PM

Doing More: let me address the superiority of the photos instead. They depict children in a way that seems sincere, not saccharine at all, and are nicely lit. The video doesn't accomplish any of this - it just looks like altered video of kids doing whatever. It doesn't dignify them the way that the photos do. How you would change it would depend largely on what you're trying to do with it, but the photos suggest slow motion, low light and smooth edits rather than daylight and choppy motion.

Dante - this approach isn't for everyone, but I think once you start making art professionally, the stakes rise. Most artists I know have strong opinions about their topic. Maybe certain magnaminous artists like nearly everything, but I haven't run across them. I think they might be rare because by the time you refine what you're doing to a fairly high level, you've decided against quite a bit as well as for whatever you're working on.


Chad Harris

February 2, 2005, 10:38 PM

Well Dante, this is a public site, it's content is dictated by it's commentators. In other words, you and a half dozen of your friends can change it into a positive back-patting rap session. It will make me meaner, probably, because I like the arguments.

Oh, I'm not starting no blog Franklin. This one is more than enough.

Yeah, that Party Express band screwed up everything, damn them with their infectious sounds. Doing more's video is very audio intensive - without it, the images become overly melancholic somehow. The sound is a lot of rambling thoughts, narration, as well as music played from another room. Lovely. There is also a kind of theatre or drama in the pictures that is not so much in the video, which you could be attracted to, Franklin.



February 2, 2005, 11:16 PM

I am going to throw out this challenge:

Please someone curate an exhibiton, which truly reflect your ideas on art. Take your time. Don't just call 5 or 6 artist-friends of yours a month before. But treat the exhibition as an intellectual work.

This is not a complaint Jordan.



February 2, 2005, 11:17 PM

I commned the attention Franklin gives to shows in Miami, and I'm under no illusions that he has to necessarily be fair in any aspect of his coverage. This is his site and he posts about that which interests him.

In addition to posting about shows, I think that Franklin tries very hard to posit some new and thoughtful ideas based on that which he values in art. Unfortunately, what seems to happen is that the comment discussion moves away from Franklin's lead and turns toward the same set of ideas repeatedly. Very generally, the constant comment dialog is this: Postmodernism is bad, Modernism is good, painting is usually good, most other art is usually bad. It sounds absurd at such a simplified level, but I think it is an accurate assesment.

What the comment discussion tends not to be is constructive. Sure, it's very fun to let the fur fly and challenge/attack, but I find it to be the same challenge and attack over and over again. I'm speaking for myself, of course, but I'm finding it to be tedious around here. I don't feel that we, as readers and participants, are going anywhere (with the exception of last week's "race to the bottom", which certainly wasn't going anywhere good). I am coming to think of Artblog as a stationary bicycle, which I'm sure is not Franklin's intent.

Of course Franklin should not open up his site to others' posts; it's very nice that the readership feels a sense of ownership (and authorship) concerning Artblog, but the fact that the tone of the comments are already beginning to outweigh Franklin's own voice (and they do, for me) implies that Franklin's good hospitality is being taken advantage of. It is not just a matter of civility or the decency to not attack another commentor or commentor's relations, but the duty I feel that is required of us as readers to treat our participation as a privilege. This is something that the guidelines could have a difficult time addressing. Perhaps: Be Good Guests! [Bring a host/ess gift (positive comments) as a thank you for the invitation; don't criticize the decor, the kids, or the pet; don't put your host in the ungracious postition of having to ask you to leave]

It is indeed VERY easy to start a blog. One can even do so and retain anonymity. I encourage anyone who has been commenting more than three times a day to investigate the possibility (you would already have one post with the time devoted to three comments). I'm not suggesting that anyone needs to be silenced--rather, I think it would be lovely if Artblog inspired more sites similar to it. Nor am I saying that we shouldn't have conflicting views in the comments. I just think that if more of us were both blogging AND commenting, we would have a lot more to talk about. Constructive discourse would be enhanced.

I'm working on putting my money where my mouth is . . . .



February 2, 2005, 11:20 PM

I am not criticizing your approach or discussions, just curious as to how it gets to be so practical. Franklin seems to have answered eloquently carry on; I apologize for disrupting the vibe.

Chad Harris: I appreciate your meanness, I quite enjoy it actually. It isnt a question of optimism/pessimism. Because I dont like something I see does not make it invalid is all Im saying.



February 2, 2005, 11:37 PM

That's quite a long complaint about how the discussion is carried on here, Kathleen.

I was under the impression that we were carrying on a dialogue here that is quite unique because it is not being aired at all in the art media, that it was free, open and often intelligent, and a valuable contribution to art talk at large.

We have periodoc complaints (like yours, and Dante's above) that we are not "open" and that we hassle too much, but that seems to bethe kind of blog it is. It is vigorous and interesting and fun. That's enough for me, and seems to be enough for the others who contribute. And Franklin seems quite happy with it as long as we don't violate the perfectly sensible rules he recently posted. As he should be.

Can you possibly give us an idea of what "getting somewhere" might be, and how it would be different, and why we should worry about it in the first place?



February 3, 2005, 12:04 AM

Yea Kathleen! Well, two cheers. Your characterization is simplistic but is not without truth.

For what it's worth, my Reconstructionism post was my way of putting the Modernism-Pomo dialectic to bed for a well-deserved nap. I'm starting to find it more useful and interesting to think about individual works of art and single artists - something that tells me that not going to grad school was a good idea - and to deal with philosophical ideas based on their clarity and elegance rather than their taxonomy. Once you understand the taxonomy, you start seeing that all of its elements are both examples and exceptions to some extent. When you get down to it, the real world just doesn't organize very well. I'm starting to realize too that my main strength in critiquing art lies with my experience in trying to make it, and nothing could be more fickle and theory-busting than studio practice. And yet somehow a theme forms. After the Recon post I felt content to let the future take care of itself - as if it were going to respond to my trying to shove it around, anyway.

I've been recommending that people start blogs down here for as long as I've been doing mine. I can remember trying to persuade Kathleen to write for the Miami Art Exchange not too long after she sent in an e-mail excoriating me, and I'm glad to hear that she's considering a blog. Kathleen, let me know when it goes up and I'll announce it on


that guy in the second to last row

February 3, 2005, 12:14 AM

"nothing could be more fickle and theory-busting than studio practice. " amen to that Franklin. Of course if an artist isn't being honest with himself in the studio, I bet he's leaning pretty hard on the theory. Like jamming puzzle pieces together that don't quite fit.



February 3, 2005, 1:52 AM

kathleen, there is sooo much bad painting and drawing out there, i wonder how will you keep your blog going under such misguided presumptions? did you see this show? i mean there was a lot of good examples of bad painting. what's with that stupid crab painting? and the airplane? and well what the hell are those drawings franklin pinned to the wall? and barge's abstract crap? i mean were you even there? either way, keep the optimism, painting can't die just yet...right?



February 3, 2005, 2:03 AM

They were four self-portraits in ink on shuji gami paper. And they were actually hanging from clips, not pinned... wait... I think this is one of those rhetorical questions I keep hearing about.

Actually, Blah, I think you have misread Kathleen's stance regarding painting, but maybe it's just me.


keneth cohen

February 3, 2005, 2:59 AM

without people reading and commenting on this blog, there would be no blog,,, in other words it is everyones privilege including Franklin.



February 3, 2005, 3:04 AM

Not quite, Kenneth - although I'm grateful for everyone's participation, I'd be ranting into the digital aether even without the commenters. Wouldn't be quite the same though, definitely.

The really heavily trafficked art blogs tend not to have comments at all, Tyler Green's Modern Art Notes being the notable example.


mirna mass

February 3, 2005, 3:33 AM


jordan, john, rene, are the BEST FUCKEN PAINTERS in the city. YOU must not know crap about painting. Oh, by the way, on what wall was your shit hung on? thought so . AT HOME.



February 3, 2005, 3:43 AM

Franklin, your link to Tyler Green's Modern Art Notes does not work.

appears to be the one that does. has been having some special problems lately, and there are many commenters who post light weight stuff, and the discussions can be labeled circular, and, and, and. But when I read Tyler Green I thought, how academic. I mean, he relates how the National Gallery replaced their Matisse cut outs with 5 Stellas and 3 Lichtensteins - with hardly a peep. He is all about keeping up with the crowd, like any good avant-garde academic.

Then I read his "about" statement and he says he seeks to deny academicism.

This strange group of people who have gathered around your campfire, with all their problems, make for a more interesting read.


Jerome du Bois

February 3, 2005, 3:55 AM


So sorry, my man, because I really admire you, and we plan to come to Miami this year and shake the hands of a couple of mensches (Val Prieto and you) --but your guidelines are from hunger if nobody follows them. [blahblah and mirna mass, e.g.] Just look at this meandering thread! It isn't you; you're clear as a bell, mostly. It's them.

Anyway, we're glad to say goodbye to all this irrelevant talk, and sophomoric art; and again so sorry, but we'll be delinking you, and we wouldn't be offended if you delinked us, though I, just Jerome, will be blogging about all kinds of things. Just not art. Nevermore. We have to cut it all out. Contemporary art is too cruel for the overly-sensitive, the post-traumatic, or the broken-hearted. So it can kiss my ass.

I've quoted it before ---it's worth repeating; Arthur Tress, photographer, probably thirty years ago, being interviewed about his art's progress . . . well, after some perfunctory bows in the direction of technical advances, he pleaded:

But where are the photographs we can pray to, that will scare the hell out of us, that will save our souls?

Anybody see any of that in the images above?

. . . I thought not. That's why we're gone.

Sincerely, fare thee well,

Jerome du Bois



February 3, 2005, 4:03 AM

Tyler Green's blog, which is very advantageously placed in terms of its host, may get heavy traffic, but I'm not part of it. I did visit for a brief while, but I lost interest. It is, after all, one person's platform, and I find the "just read my take on things and keep your thoughts to yourself" format less than enticing. No format is perfect, but I prefer Artblog's.

As to people starting their own blogs, it's no secret anyone can do it, and those so inclined can and will figure out what's involved on their own initiative readily enough. Those who, for whatever reasons, are not so inclined, are hardly likely to heed suggestions that they start one.



February 3, 2005, 4:04 AM

Mirna - I'm with you, but please, I'm trying to chill things out around here.

Oh, and Blah? Read the guidelines.

Catfish, thank you, though I'm a daily reader of Tyler's and he usually has the juicy news first.

Jerome - yeah, I saw you talking about it on your blog. The art world is poorer for it. Godspeed, and see you when you get down here.



February 3, 2005, 4:18 AM

I have had some entertaining exchanges with Old Jerome, but he, Jerome, is telling you that your blog meanders? And makes that great grand pronouncement about delinking?

I am underwhelmed.



February 3, 2005, 4:21 AM

Let's be serious . . . the show was a mixed bag. There were some outstanding pieces (nobody's even mentioned Tommy Nolan's great little painting/sculpture), and some pretty lukewarm stuff by artists who've done much better elsewhere.

(doing more: A book about video art? Sounds like dancing about architecture to me...)

I think Artblog is a great thing, and I agree that Franklin has every right to remain sole proprietor. The problem with anyone else starting a blog is two-fold... it's pretty damned hard to come up with something interesting to say every single day, and it would be pretty difficult to compete with Artblog! I don't know about anyone else, but keeping up with the posts on Artblog take up as much time as I care to devote to Miami art blogging . . . (with occasional forays into some of the other local blogs . . . ). If another interesting blog were to come along, time would have to be re-allocated.

What I think we need is a blog with 4-8 regular contributors, who have equal ownership and posting rights. Takes the pressure off each one to write good shit daily, and (assuming the people involved are intellignet and at least a few have preexisting respect) makes success likely. Anyone know of anyone who might be up for participating in something like that?


Chad Harris

February 3, 2005, 4:24 AM

Jerome: Arthur Tress makes funny outsider-style arty stock photography. Hahaha. Are we supposed to take his quote seriously? There's some photos from his "Shadow" series on that I'm putting in my big folder of wacky, campy internet images.

I've been collecting family photographs for years and I have a small box of really hard to believe, beautiful images. There are a lot of artists and a lot of worthwhile art out there.


Chad Harris

February 3, 2005, 4:33 AM

Alesh is right as usual. Wait wait wait. This is the comedy hit of the year. Amazing. Could we all just stop talking about blogs and make fun of this for hours? Arty pictures of arty people being arty. Wow. There is a series called "Theater of the Mind" and there is this man who's both a bride and groom - like half and half. GET IT? Hahahahaha. Or how about the meanest picture ever of him taking advantage of his dying dad. Doing more, Kenneth Cohen and Alesh for sure need to check this out:


Chad Harris

February 3, 2005, 4:36 AM

.. and he's really famous - it's so strange what people respect.

Ok, this is the last comment. Hahaha.


Chad Harris

February 3, 2005, 4:47 AM

Ok, I have to run with this. The thing about photography is that it is something that people are SO accustomed to seeing, that it becomes disposable. Everybody sees hundreds of images a day. That being said, most "art" photography that people like has to be special *ie: black and white, swirly, clever-ized pictures of gimps or harlequins or something. It's not so much a photograph as a photographic depiction of somebody's idea of what a good photograph is. Get it?

It is no longer about looking at something for the first time, with fresh eyes, it is more about trying to find visual clues on to what kind of picture you're looking at. This idea, for sure, can be applied to painting.

Four comments in a row, how tacky.



February 3, 2005, 4:52 AM

Chad - you sure look like blogger material to me.

The visual cues idea is interesting.


that guy in the second to last row

February 3, 2005, 4:59 AM

You are right Chad, it boils down to art that isn't even worth criticism. funny yes, worth artblogs time, not really. I'm glad Jerome isn't coming back, didn't he threaten never to come back last summer? By the way, I'm glad the comments section hasn't changed and my mailbox is full of rants rages and the occasional tidbits of wisdom.

And now for something completely different from the back rows: sorry for comment 24 on 'research' (not for the rest of what I said, that stands) (I posted this here so as not to rejuvenate that thred) it came about after a little chitchat with a friend. When people tell me to 'fuck off and die' I get a little aggressive. Carlos, I mean you and your wife absolutely no harm and it was in poor taste and I hope you can accept this apology.



February 3, 2005, 5:02 AM

Bravo, Guy.



February 3, 2005, 5:04 AM

Chad says

"This idea, for sure, can be applied to painting."

I'll say.



February 3, 2005, 5:57 AM

Guy, what a precious apology that is!


Jerome du Bois

February 3, 2005, 7:38 AM

Okay, couldn't leave without a parting shot to some of your commenters, Franklin. I mean, really:

Chad Harris: Okay, let's forget names and reproduce the quote:

Where are the photographs [paintings, sculptures, and so on] we can pray to, that will scare the hell out of us, that will save our souls?

Forget Arthur Tress --that was a cheap dodge-- forget me, forget you. Let's say these words were uttered by, oh, I don't know, how about Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker? Okay. Now. Look at the words; try to understand them. Try to answer the questions. Where are they? Where is the undeniably strong work? Work that stops you in your tracks? Luc Tuymans? Laura Owens? Jesus weeps, people.

People hardly ever on this blog point to a specific work of art that addresses those questions. You're all piddling about jpegs and photoshopping reproductions of original artwork.

Actually, maybe I'm finally twigging it: you people don't want anything that deep. Fine. You just keep standing in the river of shit, murmuring "don't make waves, don't make waves." I'm down the road. Except:

the guy in the second to last row: (don't you tiddlywinks get tired of these stupid pseudonyms?): I can come and go as I please, as long as Franklin keeps the gate open [watch those guidelines, Zendog my friend!] ; it's called freedom. I may be back, maybe not.

Damn, this is good Scotch: The Dalmore, Cigar Malt.


Jerome du Bois



February 3, 2005, 7:53 AM

You promised, Jerome.


Jerome du Bois

February 3, 2005, 8:00 AM

oldpro delivers his best serve, I suppose; think it was an ace?

Think I want to get into it with a lowercase superannuated painter who dodges the serious questions?





February 3, 2005, 8:20 AM

Ok Jerome, we're all petty. Whatever you say.

I think what Chad was TRYING to say is that if Arthur Tress's work is your answer to those questions, then I don't think any of us are going to be too bothered by your contempt. Sure, we could all trot out our favorite artists, and talk about that. But there are those pesky Guidelines, eh?

Seriously, though, on a recent thread (re Palm Beach 3) I posted the names of three artists who blew me away, two contemporary one not. Chad, also, recently threw out a bunch of interesting stuff.

So nobody in the art world today makes work up to your standards? Great, have fun with your scotch and cigars.

By the way, I think I visited your blog once . . . refresh my memory, was it the one mostly full of photoshoped pictures of flower arrangements?

Sure, stop by any time you want to inform us of your disapproval. But I hope you understand that with arguments like these, you're wearing away at your (once considerable) reputation.



February 3, 2005, 8:22 AM

oh, that's right - you're also the guy who's so proud of hating Islam he's got a whole section of his site devoted to it.

Words fail me, dude.



February 3, 2005, 9:06 AM

Jerome's point of view is self anointed, pious, full of itself like some extreme revelation, and quite rigid, with exception of his promises to never visit this blog again. Once I accepted that as reality or close enough to it, I became glad he cannot succeed in keeping those promises. His views are very far out, don't fit in with any crowd, and probably he does not really know if he is right or wrong about any of his vast array of opinions, though the appearances, as written, are quite to the contrary.

In a world that has become a battle ground between theocracies, his views have a legitimate relevance.

He makes an interesting character. I hope he comes back and back and back. There is no one else on earth who can provide what he provides. His contributions embody what the word "unique" is supposed to mean.


Jerome du Bois

February 3, 2005, 9:28 AM

You see how they jump, Franklin?

What else they got to talk about? Laura Owens? Quick, somebody name me Laura Owens's greatest painting. Describe it in loving detail. Or Luc Tuymans, those luscious pale greens. Name one that really means something.

alesh: you're supposed be an artist or photographer, right? My wife's flower photographs are point and click, with a Canon Rebel, no photoshop, no manipulation whatsoever. She arranges the flowers, then she takes the picture. What, are you blind? You can't tell the difference? What kind of training have you had? It's point and click. That's the whole damn point of her photography, alesh. You might want to read the words that go with the photos sometimes --if your lips don't get tired, that is. (Guidelines! Sorry!)

And yes, alesh, I object to the complete subjugation of women which Islam --which Muslim men-- demands as a basic premise of its existence. If you defend it, I pity the women in your life. Words should fail you, dude. Or, actually, they shouldn't. You should stand up for the half of the human race that's always got the short end. Go on, ask the closest Muslim man in your circle if he thinks women are completely, totally, politically and religiously, equal to him. I would love to hear an honest answer from these dingleberries.

Sorry, catfish, your ad hominem don't wash. I stand for clarity and human dignity. I'm not pious, I'm broken-hearted. I know exactly where I stand with my opinions; I've yet to see you challenge one rationally. You're just rattling on.

See what I started, Franklin? What were you people talking about before? This is called, in cuisine, umami. Let it cook!





February 3, 2005, 9:45 AM

whoa. . . sorry to offend you dude. So your camera is cranking that saturation and contrast to 11 for you, not photoshop. My bad.

I find your attitude to Islam disturbing. You're condeming people (one fifth of the world's population, actually) whom you have a problem with as being evil.

I recently read "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families," a book about the genocide in Rwanda. 800,000 people of one group were killed by members of another group. Then the survivors got the upper hand (mostly by those who'd been previously exhiled returning) and had to live with those who's persecuted them. How do you live in a situation like that?

The answer is complicated. But one thing's for sure: you ain't got it.



February 3, 2005, 9:51 AM

Here's a clue: For 99% of their history, just about every single culture on the planet involved the subjugation of women by men (plenty of other injustices, too). The human RACE is not a pretty picture.


Jerome du Bois

February 3, 2005, 10:23 AM


I don't need you to tell me the human race is ugly. That's why we're supposed to make progress, not wallow in the stupidities of the past. And, thanks for standing up for women the way most modern Western men do --that is, not at all. Still no answer: are women equal to men in Islam? No. Anybody who stands on the side of Islam --even if they're one fifth of the population of the planet-- therefore, is a misogynist. Am I missing something?




February 3, 2005, 3:05 PM

All we are saying... is give the guidelines a chance.



February 3, 2005, 4:15 PM

Yes, give the guidelines a chance. They are simple and straightforward and do not restrict any kind of reasonable expression.

Other than that anyone is free to sound like a jerk. This may be resisted, but it is tolerated, as we can see here.



February 3, 2005, 5:15 PM

Jerome: Welcome back. As far as my "ad hominem" goes, you should read my words carefully. I said "Jerome's point of view is self anointed, pious, full of itself like some extreme revelation, and quite rigid ...His views are very far out, don't fit in with any crowd ... In a world that has become a battle ground between theocracies, his views have a legitimate relevance ... His contributions embody what the word 'unique' is supposed to mean". Them is words about what you typically write on this blog, and had written during your recent return. I sought not to refute you but to present descriptions in the hope that others would see the value of your "coming back" (as you promised not to do, but of course, did) is the isolated nature of what you write. This uniqueness is part of what gives its strong, distinctive flavor. That you would take it as an ad hominem is a "mistake", but a mistake that adds pepper to what you write. Again, welcome back.

Franklin: When Jerome says things like 1),"Think I want to get into it with a lowercase superannuated painter who dodges the serious questions?"; and 2), "don't you tiddlywinks get tired of these stupid pseudonyms?"; and 3), "You just keep standing in the river of shit, murmuring 'don't make waves, don't make waves.' ", he seems (to me) to be talking about the impression left by what people write here, not their "real selves". Frankly, he does not appear to know much about anyone except their trails of words that drift across these computer monitors, so what do his "attacks" really mean? Not much. But technically, if we must get technical, Jerome is the one who comes closest (lately) to writing like the highlighted non-guideline writing in your guidelines under Address the writing, not the writer.

But consider that it really is impossible for most people to respond to writing they detest without sounding like they don't like the writer. Jerome does not appear to be an exception to this tendency, yet the uniqueness of what he does write seems dependent upon if not directly correlated to the intensity of its intolerance for opinions that differ from his own. That spills over naturally into expressions that are insulting at some level or another. It would not be Jerome's writing if it were different.

His contribution really is a treasure that ought to nourished, not forbidden. He offers his best stuff when he includes a slash or two at "the writers".

Now, of course you own this blog and you can have it any way you want. If you want people to be warm towards each other or always express "community", you could require that and expect to get it back ... or nothing. Many of your most interesting commenters could fall into the "nothing" category. If that happened, I think your blog would lose a big part of its character. But you can make it happen. Just tell us we must be nice. I promise I won't post anything but nice things if that becomes your rule.

Alternatively, you could forbid explicit threats, saying that is when the line of expressing dislike for what is written and/or the writer has been crossed.

Or you can leave it like it is and we can try to live with the fact that ad hominems, feeling offended, and responding from the "I'm offended" position are difficult to separate.



February 3, 2005, 6:07 PM


Your encomium about Jerome leaves me a little baffled. It feels forced, as if you are overreacting his lively, "flavorful" and often entertaining (and often overcute and arch) manner and missing the fact that it is pretty much a one-note message and adds very little to the discourse which is the reason for the blog.

He also seems to have no capacity for reflection (look how he reacted to your post!) and is far more interested in looking hip - luducrously so, sometimes, especially with those little descents into Franklin-stroking he regularly resorts to - or for making real responses or getting into the meat of any discussion. There is plenty to be irritated at but not much to react to. "Look how they jump, Franklin!" he says. Not very contributory, I'd say.

This is fine with me. He is not obliged. Jerome should contribute regularly any way he wants to, notwithwstanding my sarcastic "you promised" above. He can call me "supeerannuated" all he wants to; he called me a lot worse last summer. But I certainly don't think he should be put forth as a paragon.



February 3, 2005, 6:17 PM

"Address the writing, not the writer" is an attempt, along with the other guidelines, to make sure we're talking about something besides each other. "Assume community" is a reminder to soften tone - not all the way to preschool, just to take it down a notch where possible. I'd like to point out in the late night portion of this thread and the part that has followed, has anyone - Oldpro, Catfish, Jerome, or Alesh, or lurkers - changed their mind about anything? Everyone can state their opinions without anyone changing their mind, but I think that's what creates the "going nowhere" phenomenon that Kathleen describes above. Just something to consider.


Chad Harris

February 3, 2005, 6:25 PM

Jerome: When you asked me about work that sends me soaring through the clouds of mankind's inner piece or whatever, I told you about family photographs that I love, so I totally answered your question. Jeez. Also, it is very important to know who said something. Also, lets not mention Tuymans and Owens as if they are the only artists out there. They are just in the MAINSTREAM, people. Get over 'em.

Where are the photographs [paintings, sculptures, and so on] we can pray to, that will scare the hell out of us, that will save our souls?

Either way, I believe his quote is misguided idolatry. Art is wonderful as a whole species of exsistence, not as a series of individual statements. Also, I find comfort in the fact that art is not universal, and that there are no singular objects that will save the soul of everyone on earth. It's a scary thought, somehow genocidal! Meanwhile, I love art and will continue to for the rest of my life and there is plenty for you and I to cry over. Yes.



February 3, 2005, 6:39 PM

Hey oldpro, the Wyfe of Bath was one of Chaucer's most interesting characters, but she needed others like the Miller to bounce off of. Both characters are treasures. Jerome reads like the Miller and as such, helps this blog a lot.

The things you point out about his postings are each components of its incredibly isolated character. I marvel at the way his comments stand there all alone, making their peculiarness into a "self-evident" virtue, and don't let irrelevance stop them. To paraphrase someone I can't remember, if Jerome didn't exist there would be good reason to invent him. Chaucer invented the Miller.

PS. The "you promised" comment was one of the wittiest you have posted.


Semi-lurker that often doesn't agree with catfish

February 3, 2005, 6:51 PM

I can't believe I am actually posting this, but I actually find myself agreeing with catfish, for once. And not with any particular ill feeling towards Jerome, either. I don't agree with many of his views, but there's something to be said about putting yourself out there like that. He's a character, in a good way, sort of. And I'm not being sarcastic or ironic.



February 3, 2005, 6:52 PM

Franklin: To continue the Chaucer comparison, the Canterbury Tales could serve as a measure of the success of this blog. (Let's assume they are successful as literature.)

They are fragmented. There may have been more of them but what we have is fragmented. This blog is fragmented.

The pilgrims do not appear to know whether they are going to Canterbury or coming from Canterbury, and if they did, it would still be about going in a circle. This blog is that way too.

The pilgrims love being nasty to each other. The "pilgrims" here ...

The pilgrims represent a broad group of possiblities, character wise. This blog ...

People are making accurate observations about this blog when they say it seems to go nowhere, that we hassle each other too much, and that no one changes their positions much, if at all (lurkers may be different). That is just saying this blog is a lot like the Canterbury Tales, if you ask me. And I think you kind of did.



February 3, 2005, 7:01 PM

One more thought, it is not a criticism of the Canterbury Tales to say they lack the order and purpose of The Divine Comedy. It is the truth, though.



February 3, 2005, 7:02 PM

Well, when you put it that way, it sounds almost literary around here.

I have to confess to never having read Chaucer. One day I will remedy this.



February 3, 2005, 7:03 PM


I half agree with you, the half that relishes the spiciness that Jerome offers. And I agree that helps the blog. But I put no premium on isolation and "uniqueness". There are plenty of wackos out there (I do not mean to include Jerome in this) who would look unique as all get-out here, until they got tiresome. I would be much more positive toward Jerome if all that flavorful eccentricity got a little more into gear with the things we talk about here.


I also don't put a great premium on mind-changing. In fact, the very thought gives me a the creeps. A blog is not supposed to be (or will not be interesting as) a groupthink session. Blogs are there for community venting.

Futhermore, minds do get changed. I have seen it in the changed nature of the responses. People are not prone to owning up to it, that's all.


I have to agree with what I read as your modification of the "where are the works that blow us to bits" thought expressed earlier. That kind of thinking is a misreading of the nature of art and leads to a lot of bad art and misguided expectations for it.



February 3, 2005, 7:07 PM


However I certainly like & agree with the thought in your analogy, just above. Puts the whole thing in a nutshell.


Chad Harris

February 3, 2005, 7:09 PM

I agree with oldpro. Mind-changing sounds too much like body-snatching to me. Yikes. Plus, I'm sure that some commentors have learned things from this site and possibly questioned some of their assumptions. It all works.



February 3, 2005, 7:14 PM

Franklin, there's a difference between "going nowhere" and "not going where or how I'd want things to go." Whoever is coming from the latter stance can act accordingly, but no one else is obliged to concur or follow suit.



February 4, 2005, 2:35 AM

What is art? REALLY ?!!! Like beauty or truth it is in the eye of the beholder... the person willing to open their mind and heart as well as their eyes and see and FEEL. We all seem to get wound up in own standpoint as observers or posers, we can't just let anything be... I guess I am too old to not realize Art a verb, breathing, living art.. as a vision, as emotion, as a song or a creatively executed turd...How much of what is said really changes that?



February 4, 2005, 3:50 AM

Sometimes what is said can lead to or point to art, Viv, or help make it more familar and approachable.

Truth is an object concept, Postmodernism notwithstanding.



February 4, 2005, 3:50 AM

I meant "objective" concept, of course. Sorry.



February 4, 2005, 4:11 AM

MC Escher was my favorite artist when I was 12 (not really, but let's say he was). Then sometime in my early teens Van Gogh became my favorite artist. In college I went through a Helen Frankenthaller phase. More recently I developed an appreciation for the conceptual underpinnings of the work of Damien Hirst. As one goes through life, one develops an increasingly deep appreciation for art. True for everyone, but true ten-fold for artists and for non-artists who are profoundly interested in art. It happens because by looking at art, your eye becomes more refined, causing your taste to change. This process does not lead everyone in the same direction; still, those who are not very far along the path may have a hard time understanding those who do have the well developed eye.

(Nothing wrong with an adult collector of Escher prints. But) when I hear things like:

I sort of love the fact that my eyes aren�t jaded; that open mindedness allows me to appreciate art and the artist, sometimes even if just for their sense of humor, their insanity, or just for putting themselves out there (whether or not I�m crazy about the art). (#107, above)


What is art? REALLY ?!!! Like beauty or truth it is in the eye of the beholder... the person willing to open their mind and heart as well as their eyes and see and FEEL. (#165)

I'm not sure how to react. Part of my is jealous of that sort of openness. But is it, ultimately, naïveté?



February 4, 2005, 4:27 AM

I dunno, Alesh. Seems to me, by your description, lthat your art appreciation was more or less arrested in college. But don;t worry, no one else will agree with that.

" But is it, ultimately, naïveté?"

You got me there.



February 4, 2005, 4:34 AM

Don't worry, OP, i still dig Frankenthaller. And the story doesn't follow my thought through the present day; i was just trying to illustrate a point.



February 4, 2005, 4:36 AM

but what about naïveté?



February 4, 2005, 4:41 AM

by the way, when I was 12 ny favorite painter was Alberto Vargas.



February 4, 2005, 4:50 AM

naivete is what you loose gradually. the folks behind the posts I cite above come from a pretty different place from the rest of us. I was trying to wonder how to bring them into the conversation. Both the above posts were sort of ignored. Maybe that's fine.

Vargas seems pretty cool. Did he paint on airplanes? I don't actually remember who my favorite artist at 12 was . . . I liked Escher a lot at some point but probably it was earlier. I have a poor sense of personal history.



February 4, 2005, 4:52 AM

My feeling for art, whether it is a meticulious rendering or a messy fingerpainting returns me in some way to the artist's shoes-what were they feeling, wanting to examine why the art was created in the first place. I would rather see exultant fingerpainting than see a painting where it seems the artist was tired or going through the motions. These days maybe instead of asking" What is art?" I should be asking Where is the artist in me? My art is not as colorful as it once was-less youthful and joyous, more coldly refined. "Space" was both exurberant and coldly refined and funny and melancoly. And as Tommy said, I too liked the large titty chicarone! and I can always smile at a comment like that.


John Sanchez

February 4, 2005, 5:00 AM

Hey Alesh I agree with your post on attaining a progressively deeper understanding of art, but it seems like a fine line between bringing all this "learned, read, intellectual" ideas and being free to just enjoying a work of art no matter "who" it looks like. This line is always very hard to decipher when in conversations like these. My gripe has been that there seems to be an overintellectualizing here. Not always, but enough that I just feel like I am reading :blah blah blah postblah abstractblah. Its not that I want to stay in the dark with what goes on here but maybe this "artspeak" can be easier to understand when it is about the posted topic not a continuation of previous posts or personal conversations with each other. I am certainly willing to develop a deeper understanding



February 4, 2005, 5:09 AM

I used to have the hardest time deciding when a painting was finshed, when it was enough. sometimes I would overpaint the "life' out of something. I see artist's today more secure in their works completion. Maybe realizing you are not naive allows you to be "done" . maybe it is the disposability of most everything in our culture. 25 years ago in art school we worried about the ability of our art to survive. Now I see artist's more concerned with the moment not as concerned about the future.
Art for art's sake. maybe this is a more freeing attitude.



February 4, 2005, 5:13 AM

John, we don;t do "artspeak" here. We do a lot of blahblahblah, for sure, but most of it is in very plain English.

If you want "artspeak" go to the Artforum blog.

There is moire than a "fine line" between all this talk and just enjoying art. There is a vast gulf. I enjoy both.



February 4, 2005, 5:16 AM

Viv writes:

"I used to have the hardest time deciding when a painting was finshed, when it was enough. sometimes I would overpaint the "life' out of something."

I bet I've been painting a lot longer than you have, and it is still a problem for me.


John Sanchez

February 4, 2005, 5:40 AM

Maybe I am too green yet to know the difference between what goes on here and Artforum. Vividt you have reminded me of what it is I am trying to paint everday and a good friend has given me another perspective on what you call art for art's sake. This concept has really stuck on and I can't help to shake it when I look at my or otherswork now. Say for example a painting seems perfectly finished like that of a Neoclassicst or those beutiful Dutch still life(s) but it was done now in our extremely fast techie society they immediately feel unrelated to my life. They scream "I have time to paint every single detail I want in my work" which makes me think that the painter might probably be someone who is well off enough to have this time-again unrelated to my life. Its not that I can not appreciate the work its just feels unrelated to me and to our fast have it now cell phone blogging culture. So art for art's sake seems to fit in our culture perfectly well. Or maybe that is what my aim may be when I am painting-either I do it all now while the paint is wet and the fleeting image is still fresh in my mind or I answer that cell phone, and read the blog at the same time. Art for Art sake just seems to fit in between work, school, tirechange, laundry, flirting etc...



February 4, 2005, 6:16 AM

I don't think he painted on airplanes, Alesh, no. He was the girlie painter for Esquire, which was the Playboy before Playboy. I had one of his calendars up in my room, much to my parents dismay. I guess I could have told them it was "art", but I didn't know any better, and I doubt if they would have believed it.



February 4, 2005, 6:38 AM

John, I can't seem to over-analyze art as some do, to me it is more a "just do it-" and let it be what it is. I think most artists have a sort of slightly selfish/ego image that spurs them on. I may be criticized for my views but I would rather not be compared to another artist as I feel the work is all unique, even if I don't exactly understand why I created itor why someone else did. I see art in accidents of nature and old wood. I am also aware of how little I know of ART and it is easier for me to accept it without conditions or comparisons. I belong to the "Live and Let Live Club" and this also includes for me art and music.



February 4, 2005, 8:29 AM

I think a well-trained eye can alternate at will between thought-out analysis and felt appreciation, neither becoming trapped in wordmongering or deliberate ignorance.


John Sanchez

February 4, 2005, 9:47 AM

vividt of course its a selfish/ego thing-it was Ayn Rand's birthday yesterday!



February 4, 2005, 5:59 PM

I love this blog! Sure there are probably too many egomaniacs in one place (and I mean this in the nicest way :), but its great, and after lurking a little longer Ive learned to appreciate the banter. I appreciate that you are all well read, educated artists, at first though, it seems a little elitist. I think one of the toughest things for an artist is probably gaining confidence. I think that an artist, at some level wants to be understood (Im sure some are above wanting to be understood), and its important for people like viv and I to see their art, because we allow the artist to get in w/out any preconceived notions even if our opinion doesnt mean anything to the artists b/c our eye isnt refined. Dont misunderstand, there is a lot out there that doesnt do anything for me, but I give it a chance, and accept that it is subjective, I dont dismiss it completely. I assume youre all as hard on yourselves as you are with other artists, but Im sure there are things about certain pieces that mean nothing without attempting to understand what the hell the artist was thinking; take Franklins Which Weed am I, I was able to see it differently once he stated the name and inspiration, and I have to appreciate Jordans sense of humor (or insanity) w/the crab, all of this before focusing on the defects, weaknesses and technicalities. The beauty of artists is that they have an ability to put themselves out there, be it their emotions, anger, happiness, perversion, madness, etc. and sometimes that is enough for me.



February 4, 2005, 7:07 PM

Nicely put, Dante, but be demanding. It's more fun and more rewarding that way.



February 4, 2005, 7:11 PM

Dante - thanks! I think you're right in giving everything a shot. I would just add that if you find that some things aren't worth much more than a shot, you're under no obligation to give them any more attention.



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