Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Among the great examples of photographs on display were those that included “straight” photography (not manipulated through darkroom techniques or otherwise altered), odd subjects of Diane Arbus (bizarre aspects of everyday life) and unusual sides of fashion photography by Richard Avedon (a photograph where Andy Warhol displays his scarred, post-operative torso).
We could not resist the urge to take pictures of the pictures. For more on the exhibition, please see here.
John Coplans, 'Self Portrait', 1988, Gelatin silver print
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Article on painter RB Kitaj who died last Sunday.
A view on libertarianism from outlookIndia.
Open Letter to Roaches from Craigslist.
Some cartographic work and other paintings by Christa Dichgans.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
August 29, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. The above picture was taken a week after. Description: Mother tucks in children for the night at the Superdome stadium in New Orleans while the sounds of police preventing rioting for food and space were heard outside. (ripped from online e-zine)
The cast of actors in this Kabuki play involves:
- Serbia: The ruling political party do not want to let go of Kosovo as they feel that this will give the opposition parties more fuel in their fight for power (there is some kind of an obscure legend that Kosovo has the mythic status as the cradle of Serbian Orthodox Christian history)
- Russia: Who support Serbia position (Well, Russia has few allies in the region and Serbia is one of them. For a wannabe superpower, any flotsam is fine for now).
- America: We support the independence but can do little to affect the outcome as we are mired within the Middle East in a war with no end.
- UN: They support the independence and is the entity with the most leverage to affect the outcome, but is confused by the lobbying employed by powers like EU and Russia and is really flying by the seat of their pants.
It is definitely going to be very interesting come December 10th - the date for the formal announcement of independence by Kosovo. I for one, pray for little bloodshed and for independence - the people here have suffered enough firstly under the bloody genocides perpetrated by Serbian leaders and additionally by the cultural subjugation historically endured by the Albanian majority who reside in Kosovo. They have always reminded me of second class citizens that live in the nether fringes of society little cared for or understood but exist - sort of like the Shrek’s of our world - people take little time in understand them deeper and judge them only by word of mouth and by cursory looks...
An brilliant essay by William Finnegan "Letter from Kosovo - The Countdown" in the Oct 15th issue of New Yorker makes this abundantly clear. Unfortunately I cannot seem to get the link to the full version online.
A better understating surrounding the cultural underpinnings that haunt the denizens of this region may be obtained by reading an essay by Vladimir Arsenijevic titled "Our negroes, our enemies" on signandsight.
It is definitely worth a close read – brings to mind conflicts currently on in Sri Lanka and Iraq – just to name a couple. It also brings to my mind issues faced by untouchables in India.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Some photos I took of the show are below.
Jenny Holzer 'LUSTMORD TABLE', 1994, 149 bones, 17 with engraved silver bands, 50 teeth, drop leaf wooden table ca. 1800, 34" x 70" x 44"
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Today, when a bank makes a home loan, it doesn't hold on to it. Instead, it quickly sells the mortgage off to financial engineers, who chop up, repackage and resell home loans pretty much the way supermarkets chop up, repackage and resell meat.
Brings to my mind the recent debacle over at Topps.
It's a business model that depends on trust. You don't know anything about the cows that contributed body parts to your package of ground beef, so you have to trust the supermarket when it assures you that the beef is U.S.D.A. prime. You don't know anything about the sub-prime mortgage loans that were sliced, diced and pureed to produce that mortgage-backed security, so you have to trust the seller — and the rating agency — when it assures you that it's a AAA investment.
So, why isn’t anybody punishing the rating agencies who rate junk investments as triple AAA misleading everybody? Apparently there is a plan afoot to deliver legislation that will curb the irrationality inherent with rating agencies (the rating agencies are hired and paid by the issuers of the very securities they rate - something like students paying the professor for grading their work) and give aggrieved consumers the right to seek legal retribution from mortgage companies that deceived them – but – a huge BUT here, I am sure that K street will not allow that legislation to go anywhere...
Supposedly safe investments suddenly turned into junk bonds when the housing bubble burst. High profits reported by hedge funds — profits that were reflected in huge payments to the fund managers — turn out to have been based on wishful thinking.
Right now the bleeding edge of the crisis in confidence involves worries that there may be large losses hidden inside so-called "structured investment vehicles" — basically hedge funds that borrow from the public and invest the proceeds in mortgage-backed securities.
An article by Alan Blinder, an economics professor at Princeton titled ‘Six Fingers of Blame in the Mortgage Mess’ is a useful read that might help us avoid such debacles in the future – but then who listens amidst irrational exuberance…
Of course, even the superfund being developed to safeguard the high flyers who bilked homeowners seem to be running into a bit of flak. It is being compared to using more smoke and mirrors to cover up existing skullduggery - according to the former Federal Reserve sage Alan Greenspan (read full report here)
He also had the following chilling words: “There will be a crash in China, I just don’t know when”...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Near a rotted old stump
Which the spring water washes
An old helmet rusts, gaunt,
And upon it, audacious,
Like a bold mountaineer
Climbs a wormlet.
Nearby A small bird for a nest
Scans the beach with its eye.
The last ice-splinters melt
And are turned into springs.
But what flower in the grass
To the old helmet clings?
From beneath its steel rim
Peers a frail dandelion.
Stroke its head with your hand –
It’s alive – undying...
Dr Watson of the Watson and Crick model posited a new model to looking at economic development and social equality when he told a leading newspaper that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really". He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".
Of course, we could just excuse a great scientist like him with rambling things like this every once in a while – with the dismissal that figuring out the structure of those helices were a mind-twisting thing – I am sure, but I had not expected the great eminence's grey cells to be this far twisted. Maybe he is just off his rockers or he is a conceited, Klan(ny) bigot. Not too sure, but the pattern points to the latter.
Some of his other pronouncements that have made the hall of shame previously.
- In 1997, he announced that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual.
- He has also suggested a link between skin color and sex drive, proposing that black people have higher libidos, and argued in favor of genetic screening and engineering on the basis that "stupidity" could one day be cured.
- He has also claimed that beauty could be genetically manufactured, saying: "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would great."
…Has anyone ever been intelligent? Alberto Savinio said that complete, balanced intelligence has always been a special case. And he added: ‘The effort made by man to climb the steps of intelligence is so painful, so desparate… The damages resulting from an incomplete intelligence are so much greater than those arising from frank and submissive stupidity.
’We would doubt the usefulness and real value of such prized intelligence, prized intelligence because it doesn’t actually exist. The very fact that some of us—not all of us—search after intelligence simply goes to show that it isn’t natural, it isn’t human, it isn’t of this world. […] ‘Intelligence,’ says Savinio, ‘is the holy Grail, but stupidity, that Cinderella, poor, modest, despised, vilified stupidity, is what the true, spontaneous, lasting love of man in the end returns to.’ Savinio thinks that man, even in metaphysics, divides his affection between intelligence (the lover, the holy Grail) and supidity (the wife or consort). After all the deceptions of intelligence, it is she, good, magnanimous stupidity, who consoles us deeply.Stupidity is loyal and constant, we have known her from time immemorial, she awaits us in the sweet home to share with us, with imposing resignation, the colossal misfortune not to be intelligent. --- Alberto Savinio
An interesting viewpoint addressed here seems to say that the hounding associated with this controversy was a bit much for an old eccentric kook. I do not agree.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
A quick scan of the results of typing in the words ‘gap rich poor America’ into any search engine will make it easy to understand how deep a problem we face with respect to the growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Many studies are now coming out with even more dire results that state that this gap is only set to widen with the fallout being that definitions of ‘middle class’ will become ever more murkier.
From a study by economists Arthur Kennickell and R. Louise Woodburn: “The richest ten percent of the US population - about ten million households - owned eighty-four percent of the stock and ninety percent of the bonds held by individuals. The bottom eighty percent only three percent.”
Sometime back, I had written a bit about the sub prime mess that we are living with right now… and for some reason I thought that in all of their pristine wisdom, we would see some kind of legislation come out from the lawmakers that could potentially help forestall devastating home foreclosures that are leaving families out on the streets because they are unable to pay devious mortgage payment schemes dreamed up by our ever inventive mortgage companies.
Terms like adjustable rate mortgages are but one example of an egregious trend of hoodwinking the ordinary citizen into believing that s(he) can dream to be a homeowner at a affordable rate of interest on the loan when in reality the rate would adjust itself in response to prevailing market indicators after a set period of time. Of course, a little transparency would have worked, but in a rush to close deals and ensure market capture, transparency and understanding the fine print were left as discretionary options resting on the shoulders of the confused homeowner (when in reality it should have been the responsibility of the mortgage company to come clean and spell it out).
In this troubled scenario of the citizenry, I was hopeful that the lawmakers would come to help the aggrieved, but was in for a rude shock yesterday when just the opposite happened. The lawmakers had acted, but clearly in favor of protecting the super-rich… I noticed that none other than the Treasury Department stewarded a deal in which various well off banks get together and create a ‘super fund’ of sorts that can in theory raise up to 200 billion in what can be called a ‘veiled bailout’ of the debt markets. Of course, nobody is going to call it a bailout, but the fact remains clear.
A report in the New York Times makes the case abundantly clear, but a few paraphrased words from the article will help us understand how the rich manage to take care of its brethren.
1. The biggest banks in the US, with active encouragement from the Treasury Department, unveiled a plan to keep the housing-related debt crisis from worsening.
2. The new entity, called a Master Liquidity Enhancement Conduit, or M-LEC, could raise as much as $200 billion or more through the issuance of its own securities
3. The banks hope to take minimal risk and avoid actually investing any of their own money
4. If the banks’ initiative works as planned, many investors that helped to finance risky loans will be spared distress
Here, it is clear from #3 that the wealthy investors/owners behind banks take minimal risk and avoid losing any of their money – while still protecting their bottom-line (of course, they always bring up the fact that they are doing all of this to stave off recession).
It is also clear from #4 that the wealthy investors who knowingly financed risky loans (the loans were risky because they depended on manipulating the goodwill of the poor hapless individual who buys homes using fancy mortgage vehicles like adjustable rate mortgages) will be spared distress and ensure return of their monies with the appropriate returns that were originally guaranteed to them.
Of course, the Treasury has repeatedly said that it was only a facilitator and no government money was involved. “I don’t see this as a bailout,” said James Paulsen, chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management. “There is no public money involved in this. The government’s role here is facilitating discussion among private players to take care of this them. If the private players can find a way to help alleviate this, then why shouldn’t they?”
OK, a silent question that remained unanswered amid the clamor and din at the end of the day was this: When is facilitation of the same kind going to be extended to the growing ranks of homeowners who are going to be homeless due to the financial machinations egregiously played by the Street?
Update (October 18, 2007): The treasury secretary outlined the plans behind helping people in distress yesterday: From the yesterday's NYT: Mr. Paulson predicted that foreclosure proceedings would begin on one million homes this year. But his main proposal was a voluntary alliance of mortgage-servicing companies that would try to reach out to homeowners before they fell behind on payments. He tiptoed around the issue that many analysts have argued is a central conflict of interest for rating agencies: that they earn their fees for evaluating a new security offering only after the offering has been sold to investors.
C'mon, when you knowingly admit that 1 million homes are going to be foreclosed over the next year, one would be expected to take stronger proposals than thinking about the creation of voluntary alliances to help consumers...
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
It is not until a bit later that we noticed to the middle right section, hidden among the greenery, was a turquoise-blue, sap-green cobra uncoiling itself out of ornamental grasses and bamboo leaves with its hood stretched and spread out - this could mean only one thing - ready for a killing strike. (For a closer view, please click on the image - a larger, high-resolution image should open in the browser). The significance of the picture suddenly dawned on us and the effects were akin to a bulb popping in your mind at that serendipitous moment accompanying the release of one from ignorance. Here, it seems that the man in the kimono was apparently invoking the powers of a samurai - probably himself or invoking an allusion to powers invested in his warriors, against the attacking snake in order to defend himself or whatever he stands loyal for. The cobra could be read either as a direct physical threat that the man faces right there and then or may even be construed as a larger threat against the man or what he represents (his kingdom possibly?)… He is seen to invoke the power vested in him (possibly armies at his command) helping him allay any misadventures that the snake (marauders?) might harbor... We do not know, - this is all just theory. At this point, I have managed to ask a friend who is adept at deciphering period Japanese translations in an effort to see if the writing on the print may serve as clues to any one of the allusion-laced stories set above. As soon as we have the answers, I will post here. Whatever the outcome, we are happy to have this with us.
Process: Woodcut prints were a cheaper way to create multiple copies of a picture or a painting. They involve several steps: First, a ‘designer’ traces the lines of the original picture into several sheets of thin paper. Then, the designer applies suitable colors one after another using different sheets for each color. A ‘carver’ then comes along and places the thin paper on blocks made from cherry wood and engraves the blocks in consecutive order. This forms the wood cut master. A ‘paster’ comes along who then makes prints from a ‘set’ of these masters by consecutively matching the right color to the appropriate wood cut and transferring their likeness on rice paper in a predetermined order.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Original intents included clarifying thoughts about society, art and neurology (yes, it is a strange combination – but I seemed to like it). Of course, catching up with neurology fell by the wayside as I found out I could not devote time to both art and neurology and have normal sleep cycles. Halfway through the blogging endeavor (about six months back), I decided to concentrate more on art, its effects on society and my paintings. Seems like focusing was the right thing to do...
Some months when the id is particularly strong, I manage to get a larger number of posts than usual. Sometimes, comments are good indicators of readers who are interested - of course, I do not have much of a following that way if comments were the only judge - they seem few and far between, but if unique visits (readers who lurk around the blogosphere) register as a measurement on the interest barometer, then an average of about 1250 visits every month is a good reason to keep publishing. I hope to continue more in the same vein. Thanks for coming back and checking on this blog every once in a while. The occasional comments are a great heart warmer.
In a 1938 lithograph titled "The Transients," she shows a young Depression-era couple on the side of a road. With a furrowed forehead, the man stands with his thumb in the air, hoping to get a ride for his family; his wife sits on their suitcase looking solemnly at their baby, a knapsack of their items beside them.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The show entitled 'Our beloved daughters' showcases two themes concerning the effects of societal mores on Indian women and their corresponding after-effects on society;
The first theme is Moksha. It focuses on an obnoxious five hundred year old practice played out in the holy city of Vrindavan in northern India. Vrindavan is a magnet for India’s dispossessed widows who are cast out by their families and condemned by strict marital laws, denying them legal, economic, and in some extreme cases their human rights. Due to circumstances that they could not control (like the death of their husbands), they now have to eke out their lives by the banks of the river, worshipping the god Krishna, helping them to cast off memories from their past life and prepare for a new and better life to come. Their ultimate dream is to reach moksha (salvation in heaven) where they will find freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth and live surrounded by their gods forever (apparently).
The second theme is Ladli (young girl), where he explores the devastating effects of enduring prejudices against girls and women in the Indian society. For all of the progress made by India, portrayals like Ladli reveal the hidden aspects of caste system, dowry, female infanticide and in some cases Sati. Longstanding custom in certain families/sects makes for girl brides being a drain on the family fortunes at the time of their marriage (the bride’s family would have to pay a dowry to the bridegroom’s family in return for ‘taking/accepting’ their daughters hand). Once married off, the same woman is further ridiculed in the event of their offspring being a girl - for the same reasons stated above, It is a vicious cycle that a lot of these women live in - in the fringes of their households in constant fear of their husbands - males who completely dominate the household ensuring that even a sliver of protest will be beaten back to the corner with ruthless force.
Fazal Sheikh’s photographs capture the city and his portraits of the women convey their sense of acceptance of life in a way that defines common sense and logic. He has spent time with his subjects, listening to their stories, which reveal the suffering caused by the traditions that still govern Indian society.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Employing iconic black-paper silhouettes, Kara Walker — who was named one of Time's "100 Most Influential People" earlier this year — sparks a tense dialogue between artist and viewer with her installations and animated films. Her scathing retelling of American history through images of sexual violence, racial stereotypes, and antebellum mores finally receives the retrospective treatment.
In her installations she uses highly crafted Victorian paper cutout silhouettes to create a dense narrative. But these seemingly bucolic landscape scenes are repeatedly disrupted by images of dismemberment and perverse, abusive and humorous sexual liaisons. In one example, in "Look Away!...," an old man with his pants down is on his hands and knees. He is tempting a child while a dog licks his ass and a woman, with her back turned to them, smokes a pipe and grooms her dog.
A review of her art in NY times from last year. If you can get your hands on the October 8th, '07 issue of the New Yorker, you do not need any other review to understand her brand of art. Unfortunately, I could not locate an online version for linkage here. An interesting bit from the article refers to a talk Kara gave at the Des Moines Art Center where at the end of her talk a white male approached her and asked how long she intended to make the type of work she did. "Oh, probably as long as I'm black and a woman" was the quick answer from Ms. Walker.
Link to images of her art on the New Yorker site.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Something that I tried to do different from regular exhibits was to have a little bit of blurb next to each painting that highlighted the motive and the social circumstance that I wanted to highlight using the face painting as a vehicle. Although gallery purists would shudder at the thought of any implied explanation, blurb or social context for a painting, it definitely worked well in this instance where the process of reading the blurb clarified the intent and social commentary that I have in mind during the creation of the painting.
The show runs for three weeks from now and closes on the last Sunday of October.
I heard the following quirky conversation snippet in connection with my painting 'Belgephor' as I was going around talking to the people during reception night...
Man to a lady next to him: You know: If you wanted to classify the seven vices, I would cull them into two groups of three each with one vice straddling the wall between.
Lady: Really? - I thought they were all bad - otherwise why call them the vices?
Man: Well, you see pride straddles the wall. It can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Pride being perceived as good or bad depends upon circumstance, perspective, and the dosage. Copious amounts can definitely bring downfall.
Lady: Hmmm, that is quite interesting. Well, knowing you, I am sure 'gluttony' is on your 'nice' vice list
Man: Yep, you got it Hon - I count gluttony, lust and sloth making the list of good vices. Who does not love to eat, enjoy the pleasures of the flesh and do nothing better but laze all day? They definitely are the good vices...
Lady: OK, OK, let’s not get into any details...
My father checking out the blurb
Sunday, October 07, 2007
on back roads,
slow and winding
with Kerouac on my mind.
he had not said,
that everybody was trying
to get into the act,
but that everybody were in it.
fall classes had begun,
my son chases after the squirrel,
is dismayed that it nimbly climbs the tree
while he cannot.
the ivy is green on the moss,
the walls hold promises,
optimism is fresh
as the students chase after.
we saw washed out widows
who go off to die,
an alumni had captured them
on film at the museum.
the squirrel, my son
the moss, widows
the road home.
Yes, Kerouac was right,
everybody was not trying
to get into the act,
everybody is in it.
'Gnarled', Sunil, Digital Photograph
Friday, October 05, 2007
The author mentions all of the patterns...
- Just about anybody thinks that they are an art dealer. I walked into a Chelsea gallery the other day and remember the owner talking about someone named Polack and he kept referring to the artist in his gallery as having a style very close to Polack. It was only later in the conversation that I understood that he was referring to Jackson Pollock... And the work did NOT resemble the 1950’s master… Maybe there is easy money to be found and that could be the reason for the average Joe with cash to create a hipster gallery in Chelsea (who does not even try to pronounce the name Pollock right).
- The phenomenon of creative director/curators who think it is the power invested in their newly invested titles to band together works of artist’s that have no relevance whatsoever to each other and then theme the works under a heading that makes even less sense. Sometimes the connections are so vague that one stands there flummoxed until one begins to think 'maybe I am too stupid to get this thing’. The real truth of the matter seems to be that the director who swept up the disparate works into a poorly curated show sees little meaning or reason but manages to invent one up from a 'poetry by random words' kind of theme that seem to fit allude only tangentially to the works and that tenuous connection seems to falls apart at even the slightest analysis. Of course, according to the 'infinite monkey theorem', if you give a typewriter and an ample supply of bananas to a monkey that can live long enough, a novel might be published in about million years... Yes!, apparently random associations of disjoint words might work for group based themed art shows – hey, it is a heated art market where anything goes…
- New art phenomenon like inkjet printing on canvas and selling the works as art - this is the one thing that gets me riled up - creative freedom is one thing, but abusing it so much to make the viewer feel like it is highbrow art to have a lamp-post inserted up ones backside is a little too much. The other day I remember running into a gallery in Chelsea where I saw the works of an un-named artist who had scribbled in a three year’s old handwriting (a la Cy Twombly) on canvas that could have seen better times. I checked out the press release and noticed that it talked about associations between the scribbles on canvas and ancient hieroglyphs of the Sumerians - how this connection was arrived at is a mystery to me… On thinking about it a little deeper I surmised that the art must have been as indecipherable to the writer of the press release as the prospect of an uninitiated observer who looks to hieroglyphs for meaning. This same connection would have driven the writer of the press release to sense that it is a better bet to marry the muddied scrawl on the canvas to something equally less understood as hieroglyphics than to think hard and invent other made up reasons. Of course, what better sales pitch than to burnish the artists work by association to cuneiform and ride the wagon to more money...
Well, read the blog for a super rant and a rant well worth it.
I liked the parting shot:
"BUYER BEWARE! did that $5K painting you just bought come from someone with any kind of rep or sustainability or original talent whatsoever? or does it just go well with your sofa?"
Thursday, October 04, 2007
50 years ago today the Soviets launched the space race with a little orb that went 'beep', 'beep' in a shot that rang 'cross the world.
The Pravda reported thus:
As a result of very intensive work by scientific research institutes and design bureaus the first artificial satellite in the world has been created. On October 4, 1957, this first satellite was successfully launched in the USSR. According to preliminary data, the carrier rocket has imparted to the satellite the required orbital velocity of about 8,000 meters per second. At the present time the satellite is describing elliptical trajectories around the Earth, and its flight can be observed in the rays of the rising and setting Sun with the aid of very simple optical instruments (binoculars, telescopes, etc.).
The United States was probably the nation most affected by this satellite. Many were hysterical with fear because very few understood what a satellite really was. Some thought it was a kind of weapon, something that the Soviets could use to target American cities in an attempt to aim atomic bombs. People surmised that the government's dismissal of the Soviet's success as a sign that we were not prepared to protect people from commie threats.
G. Mennen Williams, the governor of Michigan, wrote a poem to express his discontent:
Oh little Sputnik, flying high
With made-in-Moscow beep,
You tell the world it's a Commie sky
and Uncle Sam's asleep.
You say on fairway and on rough
The Kremlin knows it all,
We hope our golfer knows enough
To get us on the ball.
Of course, Sputnik was followed up by an equally successful launch of the muttnik - the first dog in space - Laika. After undergoing training with two other dogs, Laika was launched into space on 3rd November, 1957 on the spacecraft Sputnik 2 also by the Soviet Union.
Probably the greatest events related to the space race began in 1961 when President Kennedy officially challenged the Russians to get to the Moon before us. A series of lunar picnik's heralded first by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin followed from 1969 that catapulted America as a superpower to reckon with. The rest they say is history, end of the cold war, fall of the Berlin Wall, rise of a new Europe and now, a coming world order of the BRICs...
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I am sure the new exhibit at PaceWildenstein is equally quirky. British artist Keith Tyson has managed to fill the cavernous gallery and its walls with sculptures in an exhibition that goes by the name ‘Large Field Array’. A grid like installation of more than 230 sculptures, each measuring two square feet placed at roughly four-foot intervals in a roughly cubic array on the floor and walls of the gallery. The important fact here seems to be that each sculpture is completely different from its immediate neighbors. The words bizarre, quirky, whimsical and hilarious competed for attention in my brain.
The title used by the artist to describe the exhibition "Large Field Array" actually refers to the 'Very Large Array'; a multi-purpose radio astronomy observatory located in New Mexico, USA designed to allow investigations of many astronomical topics that include radio galaxies, quasars, pulsars, supernova remnants, gamma ray bursts...
I did not get the astronomical connection between the telescope and the random sampling of he sculptures on display, but maybe PaceWildenstein has decided to look outward and upward - towards the stars. I could not come to any other conclusion after running into these two exhibitions held one after another...
By the way, the artist on being confronted with the question of astronomical implications had the following wise words... "Each one of the pieces is the sum of all possible forces acting upon it. Each sculpture is basically the result from the things around it"... Which seems to tell you a lot and exactly nothing...
Also, PaceWildenstein is one of those galleries that do not allow you to photograph the works inside - a fetching lady at the front desk (she had an ‘I would rather be with Donatella’ look) demurely gave me a card with the name of the gallery’s public relations executive and told me to give them a tinkle... I did not try and sneak any pictures in as "Capla Kesting throws blogger out of gallery" stories filled my mind...
I ran out into the welcoming arms of W. 22nd street outside… Confronted with non photographic prospects, you do the next best thing possible - rip a couple of images from their website.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Well, a new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (downtown Manhattan) soundly proves that this was the case hundreds of years back...
Everyday objects of the indigenous peoples like clothing, tools, musical instruments, pottery and utensils were all elevated to an art form.
It was almost like stepping into a world far removed from the chicanery of Wall Street (the link to the 1970 article on repaving Wall Street seems to echo even today) when I happened to visit this museum...
The exhibition aptly named 'beauty surrounds us' could not be more perfect. In this we see the American Indians of the North Pacific Coast weaving elements of art into everything that they used on a daily basis so much so that life and art and the nature that inspired most (if not all) of the art represented here seemed to unify into some kind of a transcendental trinity. I took some pictures of the show here and if ever if you are in the area, do not forget to check this place out - and an added bonus - admission is free.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I might aver to say that the second of the two movies (Outsourced) might be more worth watching if you are into globalism, its effects and implications for the society at large.
Of course, if you are into quirky, enigmatic stuff (Trainspotting, The Big Lebowski, The Life Aquatic with… etc.) that you could lounge with in the company of friends with copious quantities of wine and the occasional experimental smoke - then the Darjeeling Limited might not be such a bore.
Some quick snippets about the movies:
The Darjeeling Limited
This shaggy-dog road trip, in which three semi-estranged brothers travel by rail across India, is unstintingly fussy, vain and self-regarding. The fraternal trio in “The Darjeeling Limited” — Francis, Jack and Peter Whitman — express, and perhaps construct, their personalities largely through their attachment to things. Francis has an expensive leather belt, which he tentatively offers as a gift to Peter, who cherishes a pair of sunglasses that once belonged to their father. The third brother, Jack, is a bit less of a commodity fetishist, though he does have a thing for the savory snacks served on Indian trains (and for the women who serve them).
At first it threatens to be just another fish-out-of-water story. Todd (the protagonist), being American, has no sense of himself as an American. He has an allergic reaction to Indian culture (embodied by the intestinal distress he suffers after eating local food). He is also taken aback by Indians’ emphasis on family ties and social obligations, and they in turn are politely aghast at Todd’s disconnection from his own relatives.
The film shows that individuals in every nation are nearly powerless before the global economy, a force that shatters tradition and compels people to think of themselves as self-interested free agents. This pragmatic point of view is articulated by Asha, who rhetorically asks Todd why it’s necessary for Indian call-center workers to pose as Americans while selling cheap junk made in China.
The last paragraph is just a classic. Both of the reviews are from the Times.