Monday, January 31, 2005

The Business of Telling The Business of Art

I read an article this evening in concerning an exhibition happening at The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center through March 26. What business are you in expores the relationship between artists and entrepeneur in ways they claim take a more amibuous approach to the usual us vs them dynamic.
Unlike earlier conceptual artists, whose tactics developed in tandem with - and were often absorbed by - the mass media, many of these artists are not strictly oppositional. Instead, by highlighting the co-dependence of individuals and organizations they explore the moral ambiguities of our ideologically impure times.

I was happy to see that Alex Bag was one of the artists in question and hurried into the online gallery to have a look at an image from recent work. sadly, it is an oldie but a (pretty) goodie (1995).

I learned something quite interesting, however, looking into this show. While has the look of an online magazine, the is fact that the "article" in question is a direct paste from the gallery website. Alas, on further inspection, the same is true of the Jake+Dinos Chapman article in the same "issue" (albeit, in English). What I have been mistaking for an art journal is nothing more than an aggregator. I feel that I have been bamboozled. No wonder they were so complimentary of the shows!

"The First Art Newspaper on the Net"


Sunday, January 30, 2005

Modern Kids Need Modern Things

The MoMA gallery shop is selling a collection of accessories called Modern Kids. They claim that your child will be the envy of the lunchroom with the above little number. And, as an added feature, you can swap the pic in front for the latest show's postcard! Sweet!

Cyborg Addon

I saw these browsing through a magazine the other day. Not as good as an implant, but it's a start. I really like the advertising for the product too.
If having your eyes glued to your camcorder so you won't "miss" anything isn't your idea of fun, finally, there's a recording device that gives you the freedom to participate in the fun.

* Wearable 'hands-free' digital video- be part of the action.

* You're never unprepared for those special moments.

*No more bags- No more guilt- "I missed that one." Comfortable, easy to use event based digital video.

*With the Camwear Model 100 and its patented “after-the-fact” recording you'll NEVER miss that special moment.

I was there and yet, I missed it. I am riddled with guilt. I want to be a camera.

Miss You

miss you 2

Miss You, 2005, Anne Walk

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Imagine my surprise. The Do It website is still active.

Do It is a manual project in which various artists provide instructions for fluxus projects to be realized by the viewer/participant.

I first heard about this project when I attended a talk given by Hans Ulrich Obrist at The Power Plant way back in 1998 (or was it '97?) Anyway, I thought he was fabulous. He talked about his unconventional curatorial projects in his abrupt, patriarchal way, and I was hooked.

That year, I had to do a presentation on a contemporary artist that I thought was making an impact on the art scene and I chose Obrist. You may discover, as I did then, that, if you click on his name on the Do It website, his email comes up. So, I sent him an email, telling him of my ingenious decision to use him - a curator - in a presentation concerning artists.

Obrist was delighted. We sent several emails back and forth and filled me in on little known details and was generally enjoying my barely contained adulation. I felt almost famous.

A friend of mine was working at the Power Plant as an intern and she filled me in on a tidbit that Hans forgot to mention. It seems that, while he was at the gallery, he placed several long and expensive phonecalls to Europe which weren't discovered until later. My friend recalls hearing an irritated Philip Monk exclaiming "Obrist!", quite heatedly, when he received the bill.

But I digress.

Do It is a fantastic printer project! Bring some international art to your home today!

Cyber Art Learning

Wanna learn how to paint from the comfort of your own home? Try

Watch the wonderful flash presentation. I was mesmerized and I'm sure you will be too. I love this little movie. I felt like it would only be a short time before I, too, could paint convincing mountains fading off into the distance.

Visible Man

More on Mike Hoolboom's show at York U:

Detail of still from Imitations of Life, 2003
Works distributed by Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre and Vtape, Toronto.

I've been watching his online presentation of imitations of life. I'm glad that the site includes the text from the video so that I can go over it and over it.
We come to the end
Of the picture world
A world
Where we are also pictures

Do you suppose that (sooner) all computers will come equipped with built in webcams? Or that (later) homes will be terminals continually hooked up to the web, each home a hyperlink?

I believe that the sitcom is communal. That tv is communal. We are not connected in the way that movie theatre patrons are connected: bodily, by interlocking seats in a darkened room, breathing each other's exhalations. We are connected by the TV Guide. We are a cult following, a fan fic, a tshirt.

My friend and I like to watch television together, on the phone. We comment on the plots, the jokes, the outfits and haircuts. We are re-runs of Friends.

i love you

i love you, timsperez

Originally uploaded by timsperez.

If You Like This, You'll Love that!

Below is a re-reblog of an entire entry on Eyebeam reBlog:
Smart search lets art fans browse

BT develops a new search system for Tate's galleries that will help art lovers track down works they like.


Rather than search by the name of an artist or painting, users are shown a selection of pictures.

Clicking on their favourite will change the gallery in front of them to a selection of similar works.

It's interesting that the Tate is playing with an idea that until now has mostly been used by Amazon and friends to goad you into buying just one more book to get that free shipping... --dr

Originally from BBC News | Technology | UK Edition, ReBlogged by drepetto on Jan 28, 2005 at 11:27 AM

I thought this was very curious. What would the criteria be for decisions based on similarity? Will it be by artist? Period? Genre? Materials? Price range? Will they be ordered chronologically? Will they be grouped according to size?

Amazon indeed. Wouldn't it be great if, like Amazon, you could rate the works and offer your own feedback? Create lists of favorites according to your own ordering system? You could view works based on fuzzybear13's list of Tate favs. Now that might be something!

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Invisible Man

I took simpleposie's suggestion and visited the Art Gallery York University blog where I found a conversation between Mike Hoolboom and Philip Monk:

Many who see my work are committed, like me, to forgetting. My work is necessary, as part of an alternative axis of forgetting. Some are committed to this project of collective amnesia via keen attention to reality television, sports or sitcoms. Others prefer artist’s films and videos which offer them a different kind of solitary. The difference between the two is subtle but distinctive. Television produces forgetting based on a cruel and violent loneliness. Artist’s work produces forgetting based on a communal loneliness.(Hoolboom)
I don't know if I buy that. What do you think?

Hoolboom is currently showing The Invisible Man at the AGYU (until Sunday).
See a video of his Imitations of Life, 2003 here.

Printer Art that Works

Those of you who have been following my blog will know that I am on the lookout for artworks that can be downloaded and printed. Today, I have found such a collection. I am printing now.

You can too.


I like it. Check it out.

Brought to You by....

The Whitney is expanding! This move puts it in line with all of the other major galleries' expansions, although, The Whitney plan is modest:
The expansion would be small compared to that of other museums. New York's Museum of Modern Art, for example, increased its gallery space by 40,000 square feet. The Whitney would add only about 8,000 square feet, but it would provide the museum new gallery space, a new auditorium, a dedicated restaurant space, and a new library and research facility.

The story comes on the heels of the Tate Modern's announcement as well as the recent additions and upgrades from major galleries such as the Art Gallery of Ontario,the SFMoMA and the iMOCA:
As you probably already know, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is closing Sunday to complete the final stages of its $74-million expansion project. But it will reopen in May with a three-day celebration of the new facilities -- which include a new three-story museum pavilion with a restaurant and cafe run by Wolfgang Puck, a special-events pavilion and a glass-enclosed entry pavilion, as well as an underground parking garage and newly landscaped grounds. Expect a full-scale promotional campaign for the May reopening, aimed at broadening the public reach of what's being billed as "the new IMA." (S.L. Berry,

So, where are we headed with this seemingly growing art appreciation? Are governing bodies becoming more aware of the social benefits of a vital art community?

Nah. Enter the blockbuster.

In 1998, the PBS offered a forum asking these questions:
Is corporate sponsorship and the arts a problematic partnership? Can corporate sponsorship affect the content of an exhibit? Will corporate sponsorship produce a wealth of "blockbuster" exhibits and leave smaller, experimental works out in the cold?
A major producer of the blockbuster phenomenon is Clear Channel:
As Clear Channel chairman and CEO Brian Becker said back in a December 2001 news release: "The acquisition of BBH Exhibits represents our commitment to capturing a substantial share of the family entertainment market, including exhibitions, large-scale events and other family-oriented, education-based experiences."

Its Web pages echo and expand on this statement, trumpeting Clear Channel Exhibitions as "the world leader in providing blockbuster educational and entertaining family traveling exhibits, and a developer of large-scale, educational touring mega-events." (Robert L. Pincus San Diego Union-Tribune)
With the recent corporatization of the Canada Council, witnessed in their latest proposals for the dispersal of government funding to artists and arts organizations, we can see the corporate model at work in all levels of the arts. Artists, under the new proposal, must have their projects sponsored by recognized art show production companies (galleries) in order to receive funding. (I'd love to provide a link to this info from CC's site, but, unfortunately, those pages seem to have been removed. Here's one from Fuse.)

Then again, maybe I'm just experiencing sour grapes. The tiered funding scheme that the CC is heralding, with the top tier receiving the wheat and the lower (read, me) receiving the chaff has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Let's All Apply

The View from the Edge of the Universe claims that the Whitney is now accepting submissions for the 2006 Biennial. I've looked all over the Whitney site and can't find the spot where this gem comes from but I somehow feel empowered now. No mention of the deadline. hmmm.


All submissions to be considered for exhibition in the Biennial should include the artist's biography or resume, a brief description of the proposed work, and between six and eight images. Recommended formats for images include slides, computer printouts, digital images on a CD_ROM, audio CDs, or VHS videotapes. We do not accept original artworks in the submission package.

Submissions may be sent to:

Biennial Coordinator
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Some Earthly Delights!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Missing You

I Miss You Already

I Miss You Already, 2005, Anne Walk

A Year or a Lifetime

I took the advice of see art/make art and checked out MTAA's 1 year performance video.

I love the concept. Riffing off of ideas investigated in process/time based works, MTAA takes Sam Hsieh's One Year Performance 1978-1979 (aka Cage Piece) and turns the premise around. The responsibilty for the success (failure) of the piece is left with the viewer. The time restriction of the piece (one year) is relative, not to the artist but to the viewer. Genius.
...we've transferred the onus of a 1 year commitment to the work from the artist to the viewer. The piece will be realized fully only when a viewer runs it for one year. As M.River put it:

"In the work, we mimic endurance without doing the labor. We also know the audience can just close the browser and walk away. No one needs to suffer on this one. The failure is built-in at the front end."

Will a viewer ever complete the work? It's doubtful.
The performance begins today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

When I Think About You...

Checked out the Stux Gallery website today. The sound track is proof positive that art is masturbation. Take a listen.

Critical Self-Esteem Test

While surfing blogs, I got the heads up from simpleposie and decided that I, too, would take the the Critical Self-Esteem Test, offered by The results have left me reeling:

Your score is: 62%

Your prospects are: Fair

You really think you’re something, but don’t be surprised when you find out that nobody else does except your cat, and even she has her doubts after you’ve been away from the house for a couple of hours. Oh, you talk a big game, all right, but better-looking, and hence more self-confident people see right through your bluster, all the way down to the quaking core of insecurity at the center of your being. You may have a shot at medium-tier success, though, if you can surround yourself with equally windy artists and form a little whining coterie to substitute for the inner circle of successful art-world networkers with good haircuts that will perpetually deny you admission.

Sigh. If only I had a cat, perhaps it wouldn't hurt so much.
Go on. Give it a go yourself. Tip: have your tequila handy.

Cam Couple

cam couple2
Originally uploaded by no practice.

Cam Couple, 2005, Anne Walk

My mind has been scattered in various directions lately. I have three discreet projects underway and I've been spending much of my time in research.

That's not to say that I haven't had some time for personal reflection (see pic above)


I have to learn to think of one thing at a time. To work on one project at a time and, importantly, to finish them.

That said, I'm currently working on a three projects. A painting project (I am not a painter), an online project (I am not a techie) and a photography project (I am not a photographer). Should prove interesting.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Found Sculpture

I went for a walk in the woods today and came upon this wonderful object.

found sculpture2

Tomorrow, I will be back on schedule with the blog.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Downtown Penticton, detail of a walk

red door
Originally uploaded by no practice.

Red Door, 2005, Anne Walk

I have been occupied of late. I have company of the Capricorn variety (see horoscope, January Archives) and, as a consequence, have been to busy to blog. I have, however, been thinking of you and took this picture to prove it.

P.S. The latest art news in this fair town is that "the statue" is on guard 24/7. Popped by and saw no guard. Was very disappointed.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Begging Crew

The begging crew
Originally uploaded by no practice.

The Begging Crew, Anne Walk, 2005

I Heart Art

In an article from the UK's Telegraph concerning the current penchant of the wealthy for contemporary art, Anna Somers-Cocks is quoted as saying,"In order to spend lots of money on art, you've got to be able to feel you can renew your source of wealth."

In all of the talk in the art blogs lately about making art affordable and democratic, etc., I couldn't help thinking about why I don't buy art.

I often fantasize about having an enviable collection of art treasures. Oddly enough, I don't fantasize about acquiring works that I could actually acquire.

Why do you suppose people who "can't afford art" are able to rack up their visa bills on a fabulous jacket or a kickass sound system?

I think that art is still very much about the artist/genious and, of course, about money.

Which would you rather have? A terrific, inexpensive piece from an emerging unknown or a costly one from your art idol (you know you have one)?

I wonder if the rich art collectors from the Telegraph article would "love" what they bought if it was inexpensive and readily available.

I think that art can be many things to many people, but at the sale, it is and always was, a status symbol.

Art is Not Terrorism

Many of you will remember artist Steve Kurtz of the Critical Art Ensemble and his arrest in the spring of 2004 for the possession of biological agents. It seems, reports of the overblown status of the charges and the innocuous nature of these agents (used in Kurtz's artwork) has not stopped the federal investigators from persuing charges. A hearing of the charges is set for February of this year. (Critical Art Ensemble Defense Fund)

Ed Cardoni of Counterpunch theorizes about the bust and subsequent federal actions:

...the motivation behind the seemingly pointless pursuit of this investigation is that the feds (FBI, Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force, U.S. Attorney's office) are opportunistically exploiting the convenient hook of suspicious biological material (in the context of post-9/11 anthrax incidents, both real and hoaxed) to go after an intellectual for his IDEAS.

A fundraiser will be held for Kurtz's defense tonight (January 20th) at 8pm at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

If you would like to support Steve Kurtz and the Critical Art Ensemble, CAE has a few suggestions here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Reproduction and the Downloadable Original

Well, it seems that Ivan Pope's Absent Without Leave art blog has been talking about me. And a commentator has asked me a direct question. You can see it, and my response, here.

Btw, the entry they are refering to is in the January archives.

Prisoner Inventions

Temporary Services has been doing a project with inmates that investigates inventive strategies for coping with captivity.

Working with an inmate who goes only by Angelo, this project has exhibited since March of 2003 and, this February, will be shown at the Transmediale Festival, Berlin, Germany.

In a 2003 interview with Craig Buckley, Temporary Services discribes the difficulties and limitations inherent in this project.

Prisoners’ Inventions is, in essence, about how inmates make things they are not allowed to have so it would be hard to believe that any prison’s administration would let us visit and work with the inmates on this project. This rules out the possibility of taking photos, doing video, or getting the actual objects directly from prisoners. Angelo could not even receive a newspaper article on this project because it included one of his own drawings showing how to make an electrical cigarette lighter! Likewise, neither Angelo nor his cellmate Paul have been able to receive copies of the Prisoners’ Inventions book. Angelo has, quite literally, written a book that he is not allowed to have. It is our understanding that prisoners cannot correspond with inmates in other institutions so Angelo is also distanced from some of the former cellmates whose inventions he describes. Jerry, who is frequently mentioned in the book, was transferred to another prison. He has no awareness of the book because Angelo can’t write to him (We will try to send him a copy).

Read Angelo's artist statement

A painting

a painting
a painting
Originally uploaded by no practice.

Another sleepless night. Spent some time working on a painting code named make money/be happy.

Round Two?

Stu Smailes died in 2002 leaving one million dollars to the city of Seattle for the erection of a public fountain featuring one or more male nudes.

According to court documents, the bequest is to be used exclusively for "designing, constructing and maintaining a fountain or fountains located within the city of Seattle. The fountain(s) shall include one or more unclothed, life-size male figure(s) designed in the classical style, i.e.: realistic... (Seattle Times)

In today's puritanical environment, this is big news. Because I am not a puritan, this is not big news. What is noteworthy is the city's choice of artist.

Louise Bourgeois, has been selected to make the fountain/statue, due to be finished in 2006 for the opening of the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park, currently under construction. Bourgeois is an internationally acclaimed artist with a long and prolific career. It is rather curious that she would choose this project as it is not her usual fare. It will certainly be interesting to see how she fulfills the requirements. According to reports:

Her initial design features a father and son facing each other. Water plays over the surface of one body and then the other. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Is it just me or do you see another "bone of contention" for an overly sensitive public in that description? Seattle, take care. The contracts aren't signed yet and the locals just got the heads up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A Mouse

A Mouse
Originally uploaded by no practice.

Following my excursion to the traffic circle, I popped into the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan. This piece, A Mouse, by Jolene, Grade 2, was the most interesting thing I saw there.

The Offending Member

The Offending Member
Originally uploaded by no practice.

David Kilmartin, in his Penticton Western News article, Explore the merits of "non-beautiful" art (January 16, 2005 edition) begins his discussion concerning the furor over the Baggage Handler's naughty bits with this gem:

All interesting art has been controversial.

Kilmartin fails to add the observation: it does not follow, that all controversial art is interesting.

But I digress.

Kilmartin goes on to blast the offended parties as "conservative provincials" and that may be (It does seem ridiculous to even be having this conversation anymore). What I really enjoyed, however were the bible analogies he raised to argue his point and his inability to type "vagina".

The body, as part of God's creation, as dipicted in the Christian bible was to be celebrated. "God created Man and it was Good" - I assume that includes the epiglottis, ear lobes, the eyebrow and of course the penis and female reproductive organs.


The Baggage Handler

The Baggage Handler
Originally uploaded by no practice.

Well, I finally made my way down to the traffic circle in Penticton and took a look at the statue that has been shocking the locals and embarrassing the mayor. The metal plate that was installed has been removed and he's standing there in all his glory.

According to the release document from The Art Gallery of the South Okanagan, the installation by Michael Hermesh will change in the spring when the luggage is opened up and flowers are planted in them.

Also, according to the AGSO, this is termed "experimental art".

Complete Studio

Originally uploaded by no practice.

My deplorable Working Conditions. Please send grant money at once.

Monday, January 17, 2005

...And Speaking of Copyright...

The Globe and Mail published an article today on the stranglehold of copyright over documentaries. From How copyright could be killing culture, by Guy Dixon.

Some are calling this the new “clearance culture,” in which access to copyrights affects the creation of new art as much as, if not more than, actual artistic and journalistic decisions. It also means that access to copyrighted footage is only open to those filmmakers with the deepest pockets (or many lawyers on their side).

With documentary filmmakers dependent on copywritten material that must be renewed every ten years or so, these creators are, in effect, leasing their own work.


As the award-winning filmmaker Katy Chevigny says in the American University report: “The only film you can make for cheap and not have to worry about rights clearance is about your grandma, yourself or your dog.”

The personal as political or as the only alternative?

No Pictures, Please!

Originally uploaded by no practice.

The above picture of Adolf Loos Villa Moller was taken by James Christopher Stamp. Warning. You are looking at stolen goods. From Stamp's blog Life Without Buildings:

See that little guard booth on the right? The sole purpose of that lone protector is to prevent people from taking photos of the house.

Has copyright gone too far? What legal recourse does the guard have if he catches you snapping away?


Cancelled Text.jpg
Originally uploaded by no practice.

"Cancelled Text",2004 Kevin Hampson

Kevin is a friend of mine living in Toronto (lucky bastard). He tells me that this image was based on writing taken off of the side of a moving box he found. It seems, the people who once owned it were constantly on the move. Or maybe they had to move alot of stuff and had only the one box. Either way, this piece fills me with empathy.

I Could Use a Good Ride...

I read my Art Horoscope (Libra) this morning. I don't think it'll be much help though. Question: Does the black hat reference include tuques? Apparently, this is all the direction I get until spring. I will have to read between the lines.

A true gesture in the direction of kindness will work far better then the sharp sword of war. Your white horse will be a Capricorn so go for a good ride. Investigate the present day activities of Monrian in order to resurrect a sensibility long forgotten. You must bolster your art production and art collecting. Go to the opening of an artist that you have never heard of before. Try to mobilize your energy into veins of production and consumption. Beware of an eclectic person with a black hat.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Leo and I

Reading the New York Times article about the (maybe) discovery of a Da Vinci workshop is like reading a thriller. Or like watching Geraldo break into a hidden vault.

It astounds me that there are buildings in use that are so old they are capable of housing such mysteries.

Once, my parents peeled back the wallpaper of our turn of the century house and found wallpaper that was circa 1950.

I love history. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a history buff. I don't read massive tomes on the subject, but I do like finding out little snippets - bits of minutia that endear historical figures to me through our similarities.

Take this from page two:

Leonardo is said to have worked late and slept late, and to have always worked near his bedroom.

I must be some kind of genius.


Another sleepless night so I googled my name as, I'm sure, we've all done at some time or another. Finding myself amid the hubris is re-assuring, but I also enjoy the odd things that come up. Tonight, this was my favorite:

The Zapping Chair... Evie: Why?! Do you really want to know the reasons?! Anne: We will give you the
reasons. (Anne walk around the chair and start bucking GB to the chair.). ... - 19k - Cached - Similar pages

In Ten Easy Payments

Now here's an idea that has been a long time coming!

Galleries in the UK are offering payment plans to their buyers to boost sales and Britain's Arts Council has launched a new program called Art Own, which provides interest free loans to those wishing to purchase art. Loans are available in sizes ranging from £100 to £2,000 pounds payable in ten equal payments. Canada Council, take heed. This could work out better than Art Bank!

What happens when you can't make the payments? Art goons? "Pay up or you'll be deconstructed!"

Don't know anything about contemporary art or need help picking out your purchases? Consultation services titled (somewhat bizarrely) "On the Couch: Collecting Confidence" is just the ticket. One on one hand patting sessions with an "art expert".

If you're interested in collecting Contemporary art where do you start? What's more important, your instinctive response or a work's investment potential? On The Couch: Collecting Confidence will give you an insight into collecting Contemporary art via the Whitechapel Art Gallery's programme of one-to-one conversations with curators, gallerists and collectors. Sessions are free but we ask you reserve your place in advance.

Yummy! For a small sum, they may even throw in a hot stone massage.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Leader

the leader
Originally uploaded by .lou.

Originally uploaded by .lou in Flickr. Now. Must stop browsing and get down to work.

In the Loop?

Well. I finally submitted an art project. And I didn't have to leave my house to do it. Perhaps, I will one day have a thriving career without leaving my bedroom.

I have an online project in the works as well. I can't tell you what it is. You'll just have to wait (and wait and wait?) and see. I'm working on it right now. No blogging tonight.

Kill Bunnies, Eat People

In my quest to find moderately interesting diversions on the web to amuse myself and avoid making work, I have taken to hitting the "next blog" button at the top of my page and rolling along. Blog rolling is like a box of chocolates......leftover from last Christmas and you really should have thrown them out by now but don't because there just might be something good in the middle. Yeah. Just like that.

This morning's roll has ferreted out another precious battle in the Carnivores vs. Herbivores wars. My favorite argument:

Question: Do you eat people? Why not? Don't you know that people are killed by the power plants that generate the electricity you use?

You really should start eating people.

If you're looking to avoid art, peruse this gem.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Tyrell in a Dress

tyrell in a dress
Originally uploaded by trufflepig.

From the Creative Commons database of pictures at Flickr. Originally uploaded by trufflepig. Lovely.

Webcam Pics

Originally uploaded by no practice.

"Dirty Feet", webcam jpg, Anne Walk, 2005

I love the low resolution of a cheap webcam. Painterly without the expense, the mess or the skill necessary in painting.

11 out of 12 believe...

Back when I was a kid, I had a tin foil pyramid hat. I had read my father's book on paranormal activity (didn't every home have at least one of these in the seventies?) and learned that the mind could be activated by the use of pyramids. Tin foil was a useful conduit (one side to invite, the other to repel).

I also spent long hours attempting to move a penny with my thoughts. The idea was to attain a suspension of disbelief because, as everyone knows, we can't move things with our minds when we think that we can't. I never did move that penny and have considered it a blot on my character ever since.

It was with this questionable history that I approached the online project "Stories" by Nate Larson, currently showing at samplesize.

Larson uses a series of text stories laid over b&w images to provide questionable proof of paranormal events.

"Stories..-..“Psychokinesis” 2003
After reading about psychokinesis experiment at the university of california at los angeles, i began to attempt to use my mind to affect the spin of a silver dollar to make it land on heads.

It landed heads 11 out of 12 spins."

The suit, the b&w photographs, the typewriter-styled font, point to an idea rooted in nostalgia, as if the suspension of disbelief was a goal unobtainable in the cynical present.

That may be true in the artworld, where the viewer, fearful of being taken in by irony, believes nothing, rendering this project a pointed joke on the gullability of "the masses". But, I think there's more.

Revival meetings are on the rise. M Night Shalaman is a hit. Bush is re-elected. The Passion of the Christ is voted People's Choice for Movie of the Year. Apple's latest talisman is flying off of the shelves.

I found myself watching a television show the other day concerning possession and haunted houses. And, yes, I felt the cold prickles on the nape of my neck. Tomorrow, I shop for tin foil.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Mummy Mummy

"Mummy, Mummy", Anne Walk, 2005

A child could do it!

Oh, to be four again. To dip my stiff brush in a baby food jar of tempera paint and splash it onto my rippled Manila sheet without a care in the world. Where were the dealers and critics when I was making my wild masterpieces? I could've used the cash.

Little four year old Marla Olmstead is making a splash of her own in the commercial artworld at up to fifteen thousand a shot. The New York blond is a hot commodity as the youngest abstract expressionist on the block.

Her story reminds me of the kind of genius attributed to art-making animals such as the prolific Surapa, the painting elephant at the Buffalo Zoo. Surapa's paintings fetch $25 at the zoo gift shop, certificate of authenticity included. (Other elephants have earned significantly more)

Surapa's handlers ensure that her paintings are colourful by dipping her brushes in selected colours. This ensures the canvas has the right amount of saleability.

Marla also has a handler, her "assistant" father and amateur painter, Mark.
"I'm her assistant, I hand her the brushes. She doesn't appreciate that most artists have to wait longer to have an assistant," he joked...Despite prompting from her father, a giggling Marla refused to speak about her work to BBC News Online.

My question is, if these paintings were done by Mark Olmstead, would they be rushing into collections? Am I merely jealous of an elephant and a four year old? Can I make that kind of cash? What's my hook?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Reflecting Pool

the reflecting pool
Originally uploaded by no practice.

Artocracy's idea of printer art

I must say, I was disappointed after reading the article in Tuesday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer concerning the launching of an online gallery which sells downloads to print.

Artocracy.og founder, Megan Murphy, claims to have chosen artists who have "thought about the digital delivery" but, looking through the works on offer, I'm inclined to disagree.

Most of the works shown are images "of" art objects rather than the objects themselves. Whether these images are of actual painting or imitations of paintings by some clever program is immaterial. The buyer will be purchasing a print that they have to make and tile themselves. If the buyer wishes to have a print, they are free to go to any department store and pick one up, complete with frame in some cases, at similar cost.

This is not to say printer art has no place. I feel it has a very important place in the realm of the artist's multiple. Art as product, mass produced, logo laden, socially relevant, is hot and highly collectible. I'll be on the lookout for downloads that make sense. Email me if you find some.

Getting down to it...

I thought that setting up elaborate structures (or simple ones) would propel me into creative action. Instead, I need new stuff. I need more research. I need to think more and collect more. Then, when I have everything and know everything, I'll be ready.

Instead of doing, I learn that "Praxis is a complex activity by which individuals create culture and society, and become critically conscious human beings. Praxis comprises a cycle of action-reflection-action which is central to liberatory education. Characteristics of praxis include self-determination (as opposed to coercion), intentionality (as opposed to reaction), creativity (as opposed to homogeneity), and rationality (as opposed to chance)". (quote from a now defunct address:

I can't seem to get past my own reflection.