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Post #1416 • November 11, 2009, 9:26 AM • 17 Comments

I had planned for this morning to post some drawings from the most recent Dr. Sketchy's in Boston. Instead I spent the early hours wresting $75 in fees from the ravenous maw of a financial institution which I, as a taxpayer, spent billions of dollars bailing out. So instead of pictures of scantily clad genderqueers, you get this link to a page of Balthus quotes. Consider this an open thread on, well, anything.



$in the Mattress

November 11, 2009, 10:52 AM

The banks in the US have set us up. There are hidden fees, Debit Cards do not deny you, if there are no funds in the bank (As they Should), only to charge you an overdraft fee! ARGHHHH.



November 11, 2009, 1:16 PM

Forget getting screwed by the bank. Try this:


Be sure to click on the image once it comes up to get a bigger, sharper image.

It's a Meiji-era shunga print of unusually fine quality, inspired by the shunga work of Utamaro.



November 11, 2009, 3:47 PM

I just opened my copy of Piri Halasz's book, hardcover version. Have not read it yet, of course, but can affirm that it is a well made book, very solid in construction and design.

Check out the table of contents at her site, From The Mayor's Doorstep. Even if you don't want the book, there is a lot of interesting reading free for the taking scattered about the site, including some of her responses to the recent ECAS show in Edmonton in the October 09 entry.



November 11, 2009, 4:21 PM

I love this pot:

Koito 1
Koito 2
Koito 3



November 11, 2009, 4:56 PM

that is a very nice pot.



November 11, 2009, 4:59 PM

I know. It's like some weird sea creature.


Chris Rywalt

November 11, 2009, 6:27 PM

Jack sez:
Forget getting screwed by the bank...

Yes, instead imagine getting screwed by a Japanese contortionist hung like a horse! I think maybe that guy beat that pot with his manhood before firing it.

I find shunga interesting but at times the tangles of limbs seem distinctly...unlikely. And to think Westerners say Jules Verne invented science fiction!



November 11, 2009, 7:51 PM

Chris, I can't help it if you have a one-track mind. You should appreciate this print for its formal qualities, which are considerable. The draftsmanship, the design, the coloring, the printing quality, etc. Instead, you're focusing on size and position issues and whether or not it's realistic. Who cares? The subject matter is not the point; what counts is what's done with it and how well it's handled. I think it's beautiful work.


Chris Rywalt

November 11, 2009, 8:03 PM

There's no reason why it can't possess many fine formal attributes and also be anatomically possible. I understand why traditional shunga involves exaggerated male parts: I forget where I read it, but a Japanese artist once told his apprentice, if it was drawn actual size, it'd be completely inconsequential. Okay, I can buy that. But that doesn't explain why I can't figure out which legs are whose.



November 11, 2009, 8:16 PM

Chris, there's no problem with the legs. The woman is on all fours and the man is seated with his legs folded under him. I wouldn't recommend looking at classical Hindu sculpture, what with all those extra limbs and all.



November 16, 2009, 5:28 PM

John, many thanks for your kind words about my book. I await future developments with interest.



November 16, 2009, 6:26 PM

Piri, I'm now 40 pages into your book and love it. I found your early liking of E. M. W. Tillyard and his chain of being world view interesting. Myself, I went to great effort to attack his work on Milton in a paper for a 17th century lit class and received the ultimate compliment from the prof - that I ought to "attempt publication" after "toning down" some of my remarks. Of course I knew no one would publish it, toned down or otherwise, and promptly dropped the project. Despite different takes, we were both reading the rather obscure scholar Tillyard, which is just one instance of intersecting interests at a time when the distance between NYC and OKC meant something.

Your account of the inner workings of Time are fascinating. Until reading your book it did not occur to me that Time was much more rigid than Newsweek. I suppose there is no better demonstration of this than Time running a pix of the cloddish LBJ on the cover when Kennedy was killed and Newsweek hitting the same story with a cover depicting the regal JFK himself. Time stuck with its habit of always pointing to the future while Newsweek responded directly to the beat of the nation's pulse.

Well, I'm still waiting to get to the part where you put Tony Smith looking up through his Smoke on the cover. I was really struck by that cover the day it appeared some 40 years ago and thought it significant that one of his tetrahedron based pieces was selected instead of the more pure cube based, such as Die.

Your way of weaving your love life into all this is surprising - very natural without being sensational. Dr. G's expensive advice about conducting relations with the opposite sex is funny. He seems pretty rigid for a Freudian. I wonder what he told his male clients.

And most amazing of all, these many disparate phenomena do seem to bear on the uni versus multi referential thing that the book is about.

I read from it every day.



November 17, 2009, 11:08 AM

God bkess you, John



November 17, 2009, 11:18 AM

God bless you, John. I had nothing to do with the Smith cover photo -- it was chosen by the people in Production, but I would assume that Smoke was chosen because it was one of the "news pegs" for the story --- the event that justified runninng the Smith story in that particular week --- the fact that Smith's work was being shown at the Corcoran, and moreover the fact that it was so huge that it pretty well filled the Corcoran's entry hall. The other news peg was the big outdoor sculpture show in NYC at the same time, which was illustrated by several pages of color photography inside the magazine, and the cover slash, tieing the cover picture and that color spread together, was "art outgrows the museum" (or words to that effect)



November 17, 2009, 1:10 PM

Well then, the perfect piece got selected for a less than perfect reason, though it was more a "news shot" than an "art shot" in the first place, with Smith peering up through it and all the architecture of the Corcoran intruding from the edges. Free Ride or Die were more consistent with the "purity" of minimalist theory that had become associated with him, but would not have had the effect that Smoke had on my desperate need to see something more fertile than classical clay nudes - which I was damn good at, BTW.

Tony made quite a reputation for himself during a week long visit to Norman in 68 (or was it 67?) by consuming a whole bottle of Jack Daniels every day he was with us, remaining not just coherent but illuminating throughout the entire day. It would not be until he left Bavinger House at night that he would fall apart. All this drinking and partying even though it was obvious that his health was not good. He could not stand for long and so everyone scrambled to provide him with a chair where ever he went.

I talked with him for an hour or two and quickly sensed that he was important to the vitality of the art scene, unlike several of the other visitors to our little band of mixed-up Norman artists. His paintings were pretty bad, but his sculpture connected the emerging pluralism with roots that embodied substance. He clearly contributed a lot to the "buzz" that helped NYC be the right cave to be in during the 50s and 60s as well. While he did not have the intellect of Clem Greenberg, his studio observations and comments were very much a part of the steam that kept things plenty hot. Interestingly, his only public talk was about the necessity for talent if the newly expanded permissions for art were to develop real legs. This was swimming upstream against the "advanced thinking" of the time, and he just nailed it.



November 17, 2009, 1:29 PM

For anyone interested, here is a video of Bavinger House that features his son Bob.



November 17, 2009, 11:28 PM

the Bavenger House is pretty wild. Not sure I'd want to live in it, but would be worth a visit if I were in Oklahoma.....interesting memoirs of Tony S., Yes he sure could drink, and it did make him effervescent on occasion. While the cover story was in preparation, I and my senior editor & the assistant managing editor took him out to a very fancy restaurant for an expense-account lunch. Ere long, Tony was declaiming from Finnegan's Wake at the top of his lungs, other restaurant guests staring at him in well-bred surprise...but I think you guys probably got more out of him than we did...



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