During the first week of March, in the yard outside my apartment complex, the naked branches of a tree grabbed hold of a drifting piece of plastic. For some odd reason, it fascinated me to glance daily through the sliding glass doors in my kitchen for an entire month as wind, rain, and sleet shredded and twisted it into a somewhat ethereal sculpture. The groundskeepers finally removed it this morning (fortunately, I snapped a pic on Sunday). Normal, sane people probably saw it as an eyesore, but I’m not…either.
Recently in Artwork Category
They have been sitting in various boxes in various closets for close to a decade—a collection of twenty-two postcards that I bought in a makeshift post exchange near the Sarajevo airport while I was serving as part of IFOR (the NATO-commanded Dayton Peace Accords implementation forces).
Created and printed under wartime conditions by a group of artists who called themselves TRIO Sarajevo, these postcards re-imagined images from advertisements and Western pop-culture with the goal of raising awareness of the plight of besieged Sarajevans.
I regret that I do not have the entire series; there are at least thirty-six of them. The ones I do have, though, are quite visually striking. I have been wanting to mount them for some time, and finally summoned the motivation a few weeks ago. It cost me about $200 worth of supplies and about eight hours to arrange (and rearrange) the irregularly-sized cards. The custom-sized frame, glass, and gray matte are from Michaels Arts and Crafts.
I did not originally intend for this to be a double matte, but my initial dimensional calculations were a bit off. Of course, there are no mistakes in art—the universe just takes art in unexpected directions every so often. I bevel-cut a white matte to size this evening and placed it under the gray one, and I quite like the way it looks now.
Update: I added a gallery of sixteen more photos of The Gates from this past Saturday.
The Gates in Central Park by Christo and Jeanne-Claude will soon be a memory. Disassembly of this massively-scaled work begins later today. Although mere photographs do not come close to doing this project justice, those (and video footage) will be all that we have to remember it by.
This is not a work that an artist can display in a museum because the components of the work, themselves, are rather mundane—a woven saffron canvas suspended from a minimalist saffron three-sided vinyl frame, weighed down by two black steel footings. However, repeating this mundane element over 23 miles of walkways, allowing it to become one with both the beautiful natural environment of Central Park and the vast community of roaming visitors created a spectacular and memorable visual experience.
The freshly-fallen snow made the walkways a bit icy and slushy in places, but the snow allowed these gates to stand out from their environment even more, which made for a great photo op.
If one was lucky enough to spot one of the uniformed monitors, identified by their “The Gates” vests and their tennis-ball-adorned staffs, one could request a free 2.75-inch-square saffron-hued fabric swatch—a simple, but pleasing memento.
This evening I attended the first installment of a promising lecture series skillfully organized by my friend and cubicle neighbor. The cross-disciplinary series “aims to explore interrelations of new media, technology, and traditional forms and practices of arts and humanities.”
The featured speakers were Brooklyn-based mixed-media artists, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. In one of their pieces that they demonstrated for the intrigued audience, the McCoys had re-shot the famous kiss between William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in Body Heat, then built a self-contained, projection-ready, suitcase-housed computer “appliance” that restructured a database of the shot frames with a custom algorithm, altering the display of the narrative by suspending, reversing, stuttering, and repeating the frames in a perpetual loop.
I have to admit that I was jealous—not as much by their work (which was captivating)—but by the collaborative aspect of their marriage. They have been creating conceptual art together for more than a decade, each adding his or her respective strengths to the mix.
Plus, admiring his wife (respectfully, bien sûr), I was totally envious of Kevin McCoy—an articulate “girl geek” with an artistic bent is incredibly sexy; now where can I find myself one of those?
Well, I finally got around to posting the gallery of photos that I took during a visit to the Princeton Writers Block Garden on October 31, whittling it down to 47 photos.
I was going to provide more detailed captions, but figured that it was senseless to reproduce the information that one can find at the main Princeton Writers Block Garden site. Be sure to check out the Auction Results page for descriptions of the follies and the price that they went for at auction (links removed).
I have devoted three posts to this exhibition because it is my way of applauding the significant achievement of these visionary artists. They temporarily turned a vacant lot, which will now become residential housing, into an inspirational public space that not only brought together the university and community (“town and gown”), but also facilitated collaboration among representatives from a broad swath of academic disciplines, including creative writing, architecture, visual arts, history, and even physics. Brilliant.
Update 5/4/06: I removed the links to the PWBG site because it went away. It’s always a shame when another website just disappears like snow in spring.
Putting together a photo gallery from my visit to the Princeton Writers Block Garden is taking longer than anticipated because one of the organizers had asked me for a CD burned with all of my shots, so I have been color-correcting and cropping over six dozen photos.
Here are three more of my favorite pics as a teaser.
For my bedroom remodeling project, I had some prints made of three photographs that I shot while at a conference in Vancouver this past June. The photoshop used a Chromira continuous tone printer and Fuji Crystal Archive Paper, and the results were stunning. I bought three identical frames and mounted them as a triptic. Screen res versions are linked below; click on the thumbnails to view the larger images.
Near the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus is a clothing optional beach. During some conference mixer, I snuck away and made my way over to said beach, camera in hand (get your mind out of the gutter). Beach access is very limited at that particular part of the UBC campus thanks to precarious cliffs and a safety fence. I walked along the fence until I came to a steep, rough-hewn wooden staircase that wound down the cliff. Not noticing the signs which declared my destination to be the “Clothing Optional Beach,” I made my descent.