Archive for April, 2008

Photograph #8

April 30, 2008

Untitled, Great Neck, NY, 2008

To request the above photograph:

Send an email (subject: photograph #8) to horses [at] with your name and address.

If you are the eighth person to respond after the posting, you will receive the photograph in the mail.

* This photograph is no longer available.

Tomma Abts

April 29, 2008

Meko, 2006 by Tomma Abts

I develop something without any preconceptions of what it is going to look like, so, to give it a meaning and sense of self-evidence, I try to define the forms precisely. They become, through the shadows, texture, etc., quite physical and therefore “real” and not an image of something else. The forms don’t stand for anything else, they don’t symbolize anything or describe anything outside of painting. They represent themselves.

-Tomma Abts in conversation with Peter Doig from 2004

The Tomma Abts exhibition currently on view at the New Museum is a revelation.

Tomma Abts is a German artist who was awarded the 2006 Turner Prize. She currently lives and works in London.

My friend Chris Jahnke (a great painter in his own right) introduced me to her work about a month ago and I was thrilled to discover that she was having a solo exhibition at the New Museum. Although she is now represented by David Zwirner, her work has been rarely seen in New York City.

The New Museum exhibition consists of 14 paintings in one room (actually an entire floor) and really shows off the museum’s new gallery space. All the paintings are the same size (18 7/8 x 15 inches, rather small for contemporary painting) and equally spaced on the wall. I often have a hard time digesting abstract paintings being made today, but there’s just something metaphysical and mesmerizing about this work. It’s hard to even put it in words as the paintings resist comparison or reference to the physical world. They are completely abstract and don’t have any subject matter that one can speak of. They need to be seen in person to truly be felt and experienced. They have a fetishistic quality about them which is probably due to the length of time Abts devotes to each one.

Eppe, 2006 by Tomma Abts

Each piece is painstakingly painted through the accumulation of layer after layer of paint. The color palette is mostly dull yet surprisingly beautiful. Optical illusions abound at every corner. One painting (shown at top) in specific is made up of many lines and edges that converge in the upper right corner but the overall effect is of shattered glass, it’s a completely mind blowing and psychedelic experience.

If you’re in New York, see it now. If you live on the west coast, the show travels to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles at the end of July.

Read more about Tomma Abts in this article and watch a video here.

Unclaimed Funds & Rebates

April 27, 2008

A while ago I received an email from someone telling me about a website where you can type in your name and find out if you are owed rebate money. I didn’t take it too seriously as I get a ton of junk mail that is sometimes very hard to believe.

Apparently though if a company tries to send you a rebate check that is owed to you and it’s never received nor cashed, they send it to the State of New York Comptroller Office (that is if you live in New York). The money basically sits there until you make a claim. The office supposedly holds billions of dollars in unclaimed funds.

I completely ignored this first email. About a month ago I received something in the mail from my mother telling me about the same thing. She had actually checked my name on the website and found that Epson America owed me some money.

I went to the website, typed in my name and found that Epson really did owe me $100. I guess it’s from a printer I bought a few years ago, probably my R2400. I filled out the form, had it notarized and dropped it in the mail.

The check came in the mail the other day and I was really surprised at how fast it all happened. Granted $100 isn’t a boat load of cash but it’s still worth claiming and you never know as you might be owed more.

So my advice is for you to check this website and claim your money. If you don’t live in New York I’m sure your state has a system in place for the same kind of thing, it’s definitely worth finding out.

Kiss Me Deadly – Robert Aldrich

April 26, 2008

still from Kiss Me Deadly, 1955 by Robert Aldrich

Robert Aldrich’s paranoid film noir classic Kiss Me Deadly is screening at Film Forum today.

The film is as topical and pertinent to our world today as it was when it was made back in 1955. If you’ve never seen it and have nothing planned for the day, you really should head over and catch it.

The Fall – Tarsem Singh

April 25, 2008

I have repeatedly passed by this group of posters on my block advertising a new film called The Fall, by someone named Tarsem. What really kept catching my eye were the two names “presenting” the film: David Fincher and Spike Jonze.

My curiosity finally got the better of me last night when I looked this thing up. So Tarsem Singh (that’s his full name) is a big commercial director and he previously made a movie called The Cell, which I never saw and most people hated. Tarsem supposedly funded this two year project all by himself and shot it using real locations in over 24 different countries.

Here is a synopsis:

Los Angeles, circa 1920’s, a little immigrant girl (Catinca Untaru) finds herself in a hospital recovering from a fall. She strikes up a friendship with a bedridden man (Lee Pace) who captivates her with a whimsical story that removes her far from the hospital doldrums into the exotic landscapes of her imagination. Making sure he keeps the girl interested in the story he interweaves her family and people she likes from the hospital into his tale.

Based on the trailer and the images I’ve seen, it looks to be pretty slick but at the same time quite beautiful. I’ve also read that the acting is quite phenomenal.

I will definitely try to see it when it finally comes out on May 9th.

Sleeping By The Mississippi – Third Edition

April 25, 2008

Yeah, I was one of those schmucks who held Alec Soth’s first edition of Sleeping By The Mississippi and considered buying it but never did.

Once the second edition came around, I was disappointed in the new packaging and didn’t want it anymore.

Well it looks like the third time’s a charm as Soth and the folks at Steidl are preparing a third edition in yet another incarnation.

Not sure I like it as much as the first edition’s wallpaper pattern but I think it’s more interesting than the second. This time I’ll probably get one.

You can pre-order a copy here.

Martin Parr

April 25, 2008

New Brighton, United Kingdom, 1985 by Martin Parr

Whether you are a Martin Parr fan or not, there is another good article about him at the UK Times Online. I’m definitely a fan although I prefer his earlier and what I consider his more subtle work.

A few memorable quotes:

“Ordinary people and ordinary things, like the local supermarket, inspire me with the same passion that leads other photographers to go to war zones, or famines, or take pictures of Aids victims.”

“We are surrounded by pictures of propaganda of one sort or another, which even quite intelligent people don’t seem to realise. Even a family snapshot album is carefully edited so that any dysfunctionality is not shown, not allowed. I am only ever interested in showing the world as it is.”

“I am very promiscuous. I do anything and everything. I like the fact that photography is high and low culture all in one. You can take an advertising shot and sell it as art, and vice versa. Part of my agenda as a photographer is to exploit my work in every possible way. Documentary, fashion, art are all so interconnected now, you can hardly tell them apart.”

Read the story here.

Sarah Anne Johnson Wins Grange Prize

April 25, 2008

Morning Meeting by Sarah Anne Johnson
Morning Meeting by Sarah Anne Johnson

Sarah Anne Johnson is the inaugural winner of the Grange Prize for Contemporary Photography. People voted and gave Johnson 53% of the votes.

Johnson will receive $50,000 with which she plans to buy a cabin in the woods near Lake Winnipeg. She plans to use the space as a studio in the summer. Sounds like fun, congrats!

Read more of the details here.

Beth Block, 1968-2008

April 22, 2008

Smoking Break, from Strange Intimacies, by Beth Block

I was really shocked to hear about the accidental and tragic death of Beth Block, a friend and photographer who I studied with at SVA in New York City.

Beth was a talented and extremely passionate photographer who worked in an artistic and documentary tradition that spoke back to people like Helen Levitt and William Eggleston.

Looking at her work again I am startled at the religious and spiritual current that runs throughout her many projects.

Here are a few photographic standouts from a career cut way too short and you can see more of Beth’s work online at her website.

Beth’s untimely death is another terrible reminder of the fragility of life and the unexpected turns it can take, may she rest in peace.

God is Love, from Worship in Brooklyn, by Beth Block
God is Love, from Worship in Brooklyn, by Beth Block

Good Friday, from From There to Here, by Beth Block
Good Friday, from From There to Here, by Beth Block

Blue Road, from Somewhere, by Beth Block
Blue Road, from Somewhere, by Beth Block

Charlie Rose Talks To Himself

April 22, 2008

Charlie Rose gives some of the best interviews on television but sometimes he does seem like he’d rather be talking to himself and answering his own questions.

So here you go, a video by Andrew Fillipone Jr. called Charlie Rose by Samuel Beckett.

If you find it hard to watch the whole piece (which you should do) I advise at least watching until the 2:30 mark.