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dust to dust

Post #609 • August 24, 2005, 1:21 PM • 38 Comments

Scene: home, on the computers.

DL: Dust?

Me: Dust.

DL: You're kidding.

Me: I wish I was.

DL: That's crazy.

Me: Welcome to my working environment.

DL: Why is this in a museum?

Me: You have to make work like that in order to get taken seriously by certain people in the art world.

DL: (looking at website) Apparently she finds dust beautiful.

Me: Really?

DL: She should come over to my house. It's full of beauty. I should charge admission like the museum. People pay to see dust?

Me: You could even throw in some dog hair for free.

DL: I should take photographs of the back of peoples' pants after they get up off my couch. That would be really advanced.

Me: Good idea.

DL: You should make art out of what's on your bathroom floor.

Me: I would probably have a more viable career.

DL: Are you going to review this?

Me: I don't know. Sal was an important teacher down here to a lot of people who went through Dade North. I met him once - he's a sweet guy. Frances's work is pretty good. She just had a show at Tachmes of these little handworked party decorations that she does and we were all wondering how she was going to fill any kind of significant space at MoCA. It sounds like she didn't. Kathleen's review weirded me out - she knew the work didn't fill the space, but she talked herself out of it. She "took a few steps outside her ego" and the work coalesced.

DL: What?

Me: I know longtime Buddhist practitioners who wouldn't claim to be able to do that. It really seemed like a stretch. She and Frances are friends.

DL: You're not going to pile on Kathleen again, are you?

Me: Nah. Kathleen fills a need. She's better adapted to the environment down here than I am. I'm... I dunno, what's an anachronism, but in place rather than time?

DL: What did she think of the dust people?

Me: She liked them. That's her kind of thing.

DL: One of the dust people is from Anchorage. That explains it. They don't have anything else to do besides look at dust.

Me: I guess ice fishing gets old. My cousin used to live in Anchorage. One day she called and said it was minus-70 degrees outside. That's gotta have an impact on you.

DL: Is the idea that if they do something controversial enough, people will talk about them after they're dead?

Me: It doesn't work when you're the millionth one. I don't know. You'd figure that they believe in what they're doing like I believe in what I'm doing, but then the dust people come along and I have to wonder.

DL: You're not going to post about this, are you? Someone might steal my idea of dog-hair-on-clothes photos. I think I can get a grant for it.




August 24, 2005, 1:57 PM

That's good, Franklin. I don't know how else one would dealwith such a thing. You cna't review it seriously without looking equally ridiculous, as winess.... Oh, well.

Who is DL, the Dalai Lama?



August 24, 2005, 5:10 PM

yeah well time to dust off our old batteries and melted candles since hurricane katrina appears to be heading our way. i am in broward with all the soccer moms, hence the hysteria. as i sneeze and my daughter mimics me "kaCHOOOO" i'll think about the missed opportunity that dustball could have had...

and anyways since i generally play on kathleen's team, i think it's best to see the show first before remarking, and be respectful. how about a critique of the curatorial aspect, which is my pet peeve in general down here.



August 24, 2005, 6:02 PM

Franklin, an anachronism in place would be a misfit.

Soon, I'll be ranking up there with the dreaded D duo as a subject of your posts.



August 24, 2005, 6:13 PM

A ten dollar word for it might be "inapposite".

Or, using the Greek roots, make one up, like "Antilocism"



August 24, 2005, 6:57 PM

Really, Franklin, you're not handling this properly. Just call up Triff and have him give you the philosophical and/or theoretical justification. Better yet, call up Bonnie; she'll make it all clear as water for you.



August 24, 2005, 7:55 PM

Better yet, Franklin, go see for youself. Just start
from the rear & work your way back out to the front....



August 24, 2005, 9:08 PM

OK, Franklin, here's what you do: Given your disabling level of ennui with dust and assorted bits of detritus, write a post on Salvator Rosa--not the painter in this show, but the Salvator Rosa (preferably with some images or links). I expect many have not heard of him, since his fortunes have fallen somewhat, but he was a fascinating person whose artistic influence was considerable for nearly two centuries after his death in 1673. You may do some people a service.



August 24, 2005, 9:45 PM

oh you guys are so behind the dust-as-art trend. we had this in boston years ago, at our own version of MOCA, the ICA (institute of contemporary art) in 2003.

you can see images of the work by clicking on a link at the end of this article from the boston herald. here's a snippet:

"In boiler rooms and storage sheds, basements and even galleries, Douglas Weathersby turns light and shadow and dust into mesmerizing works of art. The 31-year-old Malden resident, who ventured into caves in Alabama as a Boy Scout, now finds his most fascinating explorations inspired by the detritus of daily life."

 "As the winner of the Institute of Contemporary Art's 2003 Artist Prize, Weathersby spent a large part of the summer rummaging around the museum's quirky Boylston Street building, searching for places to create his ephemeral installations. Part cleaning project and part installation art, these subtle interventions are now sprinkled about the building, where they are on view until Jan. 4."

``Dust and shadow are things we don't necessarily pay that much attention to,'' Weathersby said one afternoon at the ICA. ``But they are some of the basic elements of how we perceive the world.''

also. i googled "dust art" and found 5,590,000 entries. had a great time looking at a few, including, where a croatian artist also known as "picky" shows her work, (though not made with dust) an site where they had "illustrations using carbon dust technique" displayed, and also an site where i found this quote, allegedly from picasso: "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."

oops, goota run. i feel the need to clean my apartment.



August 24, 2005, 9:46 PM

oops. forgot the link:



August 24, 2005, 10:14 PM

Necee, you have covered the subject.



August 24, 2005, 10:56 PM

Stanley Boxer is making some damn good paintings.



August 24, 2005, 11:00 PM

Dust meditations...

What do all these artists do at the end of the day?
Dusty reads his dusty comics
Some just go out and get dusted
The hotshots go Star Dust Bowling
All the while listening to dust


that guy

August 24, 2005, 11:18 PM

I've been taking it easy on the blog lately but something always comes up here that jerks my chain.

"The installation speaks of obsession, and echoes the familiar image of the artist as collector who nabs any piece of junk out of the trash with an eye to make art out of it in the future. Dust, leaves, strips of text, an old typewriter—these materials are not precious; they are cast-off materials, detritus, the ephemeral debris of life’s processes."

that nonsense is profound.

MOCA: always bringing the brightest minds to the dullest art



August 24, 2005, 11:22 PM

And Elmore James sings "Dust my Broom", and Woody Guthrie sings "Dust Bowl refugee"



August 24, 2005, 11:25 PM

And Hoagy Carmichael sings "Stardust"



August 24, 2005, 11:43 PM

and Woody finishes up with

"ashes to ashes
dust to dust...
if the whiskey don't get you,
then the women must,
an' it looks like
i'm never gonna cease my wanderin'."



August 25, 2005, 2:53 AM

The precious paper that most of the purist artists on this site use to make thier ultra - valid art from is made from a form of dust.
Iron oxide which to some may as well be dirt, is also used to make pigment.
It's all just piling up forms of dust and dirt and when you look at it like that you may enjoy it much more.



August 25, 2005, 6:23 AM

Paper has nothing to do with dust. Iron oxide more closely resembles rust than dirt, although I like to think of it has a relative of hemoglobin. Yellow ochre - now that's dirt any way you slice it. In any case, I'm glad to know that my work is "ultra-valid." Thanks! I'm still not in a big hurry to see this show, although I probably will before it closes. I have friends who caught the opening who said that I did right by staying home and relaxing that night.

The above expressly states that it is not a review. It's a rendering of a conversation about art with a non-artist in which I have nothing at stake and she's trying to get her head around what's going on.



August 25, 2005, 7:15 AM

Paper is not made from dust, lintball.



August 25, 2005, 10:24 AM

this bit about the artist being one with his/her materials and environment has been re-hashed enough times in my opinion. many many works come to mind, the earthworks movement in particular. i recall a class i took with lucio pozzi who made his students do this ritual before each drawing class. we had to sit and meditate and then with eyes closed he guided us through this process where we ripped a piece of our arches or whatever an art student had a hold of, tear a piece off and eat it, to become "one " with our materials and have a greater connection to our work. needless to say i had one eye open and watched everyone else tear a corner off and eat it, including pozzi.

franklin's dust to dust heading has many implications & toys with banality vs the cycle of life. my main criticism of the show and shows i have seen in the area in the past five years is, what are these artists really saying here? the group shows in particular seem very contrived and are trying to fit in with a so called theme instead of proper curatorial effort. this really bums me out as there seems to be a big talent pool here without viable press, promotion, or proper exposure. that is just my opinion.



August 25, 2005, 10:29 AM

Again, your purism is showing.

OP: Paper is a "form" of dust, and I have made paper from it before.

Franklin: Iron oxide is the reddish by product of Iron. The earths core is made of molten Iron. You can't get much closer to dirt than that.



August 25, 2005, 10:39 AM

I made a sculpture out of atoms once.



August 25, 2005, 11:35 AM

What the hell are you talking about, Lintball? Paper is a "form of dust"? I am a purist because I maintain that paper is "not a form of dust"? You nuts or something?

Your iron logic is a little breezy too, kiddo. "Iron oxide is a byproduct of iron" (well, not really, but anyway) and the "center of the earth is molden iron" and you "cant get much closer to dirt than that"? Ouch!

In fact, you can get a lot closer. It is easy. Go outside and put a shovel in the ground (in the ground, not in that pile of bullshit). That's dirt. That's not molten iron, Molten iron is molten iron. Dirt is dirt.

Sorry to be such a purist but I find making obvious distinctions helps me get along in life. I would hate to come across molten iron and dirt at the same time and not know the difference.



August 25, 2005, 11:37 AM

Now, if you want to claim that lkintballs are made from dust, I won't argue with you.



August 25, 2005, 11:52 AM

Franklin: I'm a little surprised at your reaction to this show. Of course, I've only seen the images on-line (and it sure doesn't look like much), but didn't you recently talk about experiencing beauty in the colours and patterns water had made on your counter top? I remember you saying the difficulty was in communicating this epiphanal(sp?) moment to an audience through your art. Allusions, art history and politics aside, isn't it possible that the artists in this show are attempting to communicate a similar experience with dust? Again, I haven't seen the show in person, so maybe this little comment is kinda irrelevant, but i had to ask.



August 25, 2005, 12:48 PM

I think that craigfrancis has made a valid point.

I also think it's as useless to prejudge a work because it uses dust as it would be to prejudge a work because it uses paper, regardless of whether or not the "paper" (fiber is a better term for this moment) is made of trees, cotton, doghair or dust.

Iron oxide is an oxide of iron. It is not iron. It is rust.

The earth's core is iron in liquid form. Certain minerals crystallize only at heat/pressures closer to the earth's core, generally, the darker the minerals are, the deeper they were formed. At the level of the crust, the sedimentary process dominates, and the darker minerals are more rare. Limestones, for example, which are sedimentary, contain not only calcium carbonate from other stones, but may also contain the microscopic skeletons of foraminiferae and the larger skeletons of corals . Household dust contains mostly dead skin and microscopic bugs, and will eventually become part of what we consider to be the earth through the sedimentary process. Who knows what else museum dust contains.

However, dust and dirt are mainly the result of organic processes.

I am a big fan of sculptures made of atoms!



August 25, 2005, 12:55 PM

Mek; 20....pozzi is a potz!
never in all my years, having studied with the best, did one of them say eat it and be one!! I guess he didnt have to try to hard to make students into lemmings that day...says alot that you didnt do it too.



August 25, 2005, 1:42 PM

Implementation means everything, CF. Keep in mind that I'm not reacting to this show - I'm reacting to what other people have written about it and some images, none of which are all that compelling, and they evoke a bookish kind of art that I usually don't find very inspiring.

Kathleen, go watch that Homestar Runner cartoon and see if you can apply I also think it's as useless to prejudge a work (etc.) to the coasters made from old Sega tapes. Then come back and we'll discuss it.



August 25, 2005, 1:48 PM

Kathleen: Thank you for explaining that in laymansterms.



August 25, 2005, 2:10 PM

Franklin was reacting to an esthetic experience which arose spontaneously from a common, everyday circumstance.

He did not pick it up, take it to a museum and say "show this".



August 25, 2005, 2:39 PM

Erg. Franklin?

I watched that homestar runner thing. I have no idea what you are driving at by pointing me there. Sega cartirdges as coasters--how does that relate to prejudging a work based on a material?

I've seen plenty of coasters made out of the inner portions of LP's. I use my journal as a coaster sometimes. Bum CD roms too. I'd use a gold ingot as a coaster if I had one. Or a sheet of zinc. Or a limestone slab.

S.O.S. I cannot identify your point.

I did like that dude was using an old BBS style terminal interface. Hm. Was time travel involved? Were old Sega cartidges not junk? Perhaps he had a Sega emulator on his funky terminal. OH. Was he a collector of old tech?

Well, we have an old HP 85, and I use it as a coaster sometimes.



August 25, 2005, 3:39 PM

Kathleen, all those surfaces would coast your drink equally well, so let's say that if you were going to select a coaster at Coaster Mart, you would do so for aesthetic reasons. Let's say further that at Coaster Mart you have a choice between these babies and some bisected Sega tapes for the same price. I would say that the various methods available to commercial printing would almost always make for a more interesting set of coasters than bisected Sega tapes, making commercial printing a more viable medium.

In theory, because quality has no qualities, all media and subject matter ought to have equal viability in art. In practice, that doesn't happen - art tends to favor stuff that can create a great range of results. The following actually sounds like a bad idea: "Brown collected and catalogued debris from the corners, floors, and air-conditioning ducts of the MoCA building itself, as well as elsewhere, some of which she compiled months before moving into the gallery. After arriving in Miami last month, Brown began sewing the dust, hair, and other detritus together, leaving the finished products for Cañas to photograph." I mean, how sad. Did she not have toys as a child? As the stuff of art this doesn't sound promising, but as the stuff of comedy it has huge potential. I continue to hold out hope for the photographs, as the medium possesses enormous powers of transformation, but don't have my hopes up for the sewn trash bits. Call it prejudice if you like; I'll call it common sense based on long experience of looking at art.



August 25, 2005, 3:45 PM

Oh - Strong Bad has a DOS terminal because he can't really deal with GUI OS's. The Cheat - the little yellow guy who gets kicked off screen right in the cartoon - has a tangerine G3 IMac that SB tried to use once.

And Lintball - if that's what you were trying to say, then you need practice saying things.



August 25, 2005, 4:03 PM

I think I see what you are getting at, and I've figured out my problem!

I don't buy coasters. I just appreciate them.

And make my own.




August 25, 2005, 4:09 PM

actually elizabeth #28, lucio pozzi is a wonderful and charming italian man, (painter) (i think probably mr oldpro knows him actually), and really he is just the sweetest human being, but maybe a bit too sincerely involved with his process?? and yes i am forever the cynic so i don't fall for stuff like that. i am however at fault for having assorted dustballs of useless information tucked away, and momentarily sweep them out onto the artblog foyer, on their way out the door.



August 25, 2005, 4:44 PM

Mek, no that as it may, and Im sure if you say hes just got the reaction when I read it of : whatthefk?? and then Im thinking he might want to inspire you more lets all eat some paint !!
anyway, its all good if you say he taught well.....
Franklin; my friend Tom, a pro. photograher in New York for over 4 decades just laughed when I told him about the dust pics....he said its just a sad case of photgrahers looking for something, anything to take pictures of because they want to be different or new and its all been done.
That seems to be a reaccurring theme in art...looking for that 'new new' hehehe....
kewl coasters btw, I love retro pics.



August 25, 2005, 11:07 PM

All we are is dust in the wind.

sorry. Someone had to say it.



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