Archive for June, 2009

Photographic: 12-09

June 30, 2009


To request the above photograph:

Send an email (subject: Photographic: 12-09) to horses [at] with your name and mailing address.

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

*This photograph is no longer available.

(Thanks Peggy)

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

June 30, 2009


I was first introduced to the music of the Dirty Projectors a while ago but in all honesty the music didn’t really stick until I saw them perform earlier this year when they opened up for Dan Deacon at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.

As they performed I found myself intrigued but mostly confused. This wasn’t easy music to like but at the same time there were wonderful elements to be found including complex layers of vocal sounds as well as beautiful rhythms and harmonies.

A few months ago they released a collaborative song with David Byrne called Knotty Pine which was part of the Dark Was The Night compilation. With that song I became slowly but surely obsessed with their surprising yet very engaging brand of indie and experimental rock music.

Now comes their latest effort, Bitte Orca, which is even better than I expected and is definitely a good point of entry into their varied and unique output. It’s a great album from start to finish and I also love the album art shown above, it’s very simple yet eye-catching and memorable.

I will warn you that this isn’t an easy listen, the music is challenging at many points and takes time to grow on you. Listen to the album a few times on many occasions before putting it aside and deciding that it isn’t for you.

Two of my favorite tracks on the new album are Stillness is the Move and Two Doves which comes right after. Two Doves is probably the most straightforward song on the album but also the most beautiful and haunting. It features just one female voice with a simple guitar and some mellow string arrangements. I’ve been listening to it on repeat quite a bit and haven’t tired of it yet.

To get an idea of their sound, go to the Dirty Projectors’ MySpace page which includes a few tracks from various albums as well as the David Byrne collaboration, Knotty Pine.

If you are in New York, Dirty Projectors will be playing a free show at the Williamsburg Waterfront on July 19th.

Art Criticism is Not a Democracy

June 28, 2009

“The reason so much average or absolutely awful art gets promoted is that no one seems to understand what criticism is; if nothing is properly criticised, mediocrity triumphs. A critic is basically an arrogant bastard who says “this is good, this is bad” without necessarily being able to explain why. At least, not instantly. The truth is, we feel this stuff in our bones. And we’re innately convinced we’re right.”

-Jonathan Jones writing in the Guardian Art Blog

Photographic: 11-09

June 27, 2009


To request the above photograph:

Send an email (subject: Photographic: 11-09) to horses [at] with your name and mailing address.

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

*This photograph is no longer available.

French Photo Hoax

June 26, 2009

04I have been in conflict with my family since I was 16. Even if I don’t have a scholarship nor parental assistance, I have always fended for myself.
Armin, 23, Master of Sociology.

Paris-Match awarded their annual Grand Prix du Photoreportage Etudiant this week to two French students who submitted a photographic story that apparently presented images documenting the precarious lives of students today and the things they must do to survive.

When the two winners, Guillaume Chauvin and Remi Hubert, both art students at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Strasbourg, stood up at the Sorbonne to claim their trophy and prize money, they announced the true nature of their work. The images were not photojournalism but staged images featuring many of their peers.

The winners claimed that the idea was hatched a year ago when they looked at all the work students were competing with for the 2008 prize. They realized that the “world view of this work was limited and seemed more like vacation photographs as opposed to photojournalism. The photographs depicted small children with big wet eyes in order to illustrate the misery abroad.”

Speaking to Le Figaro, Guillaume Chauvin confided that they “wanted to enter the contest in order to show the codes used too often in photojournalism and to prove that something real could be translated into something staged.”

Unfortunately, I could only find this on Le Figaro’s French website and had to use some of my own as well as some automatic translation to get the full gist of the story. If you read French, you can go to Le Figaro to read the rest.

To see the full set of staged photos, go here.


The British Journal of Photography just posted a brief write up about the story.

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

June 25, 2009


Truly hard to believe and extremely heart breaking news.


Virtual Collection #1

June 23, 2009

hiroh_kikai_rabbitA woman living by herself and her pet, 1974 by Hiroh Kikai

I’m starting my own art collection, albeit a virtual one. I will virtually purchase art that I would really want to own if I had the money.

The above photograph by Hiroh Kikai is a real standout from the current exhibition he has up in New York right now and although it’s not typical of his other portrait work, I still can’t help but want to have it. In this instance I would probably splurge for one of his more traditional portraits as well.

The photograph is first and foremost a strange and somewhat mysterious portrait of woman and her pet rabbit. It’s gorgeously printed and the tonal range is just magical in the way that it gives an otherworldly feeling to the image.

Another reason I would take this photograph home is that I already have a mini collection of rabbit photographs and this would certainly make a nice addition.

Where Is This Place

June 20, 2009


Jerry Saltz on Women Artists in MoMA

June 20, 2009

“I know you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand MoMA should exhibit its masterpieces. On the other it lacks the necessary space to install ‘other work’ without removing many of the works that are crucial to the Modern. In this economic climate, waiting for the new building to be completed is not an answer. I’m sure you’re as eager as anyone to see more work by women on view on the 4th and 5th floors and are aware that this has nothing to do with “quotas” or “fairness,” but rather honesty, openness, and experimentation. I hate harping on this point all the time. I love MoMA. As I’ve written, “It’s the garden we all come from and must return to in order to commune with the ancestors.”

-Jerry Saltz in a letter to Ann Temkin, Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, posted on his Facebook page.


Read Saltz’s write-up of his meeting with Ann Temkin.



June 19, 2009


If I had some extra cash lying around I would probably take a quick weekend trip up to Vancouver just to see all the crazy stuff going on at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

I guess it’s not enough to have exhibitions of Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art, Anthony Hernandez and Stan Douglas: Klatsassin, but they also have the must see Andreas Gursky: Werke/Works 80-08.

I almost saw this Gursky exhibition last November at the Kunstmuseen in Krefeld, Germany but decided it was too off the beaten path to make any sense. I completely regret not going as it seems to be a very unique way of seeing Gursky’s photographs.

The main idea behind the exhibition was to show as much of Gursky’s photographs as possible in one place at one time. The only way to physically accomplish this was to scale down the photographs to a more manageable size. Gursky himself decided to make new small prints of over 130 of his photographs, including some that have never been seen before from his early days.

A catalogue was published to coincide with the exhibition and now that I have it, I can honestly say that it’s the best and only Gursky book I need on my shelf.

Who ever said that just because the objects on the wall or in the gallery are over-sized that the book needed to be over-sized as well? I don’t see Richard Serra making gigantic books.

I’m getting kind of tired of the inflated book size that you can’t even pick up let alone carry around. That Richard Misrach On the Beach book that I got all excited about, it’s been sitting above my wardrobe cabinet in the same cardboard box it arrived in for pretty much the entire time I’ve had it.

I now plan to sell my Gursky MoMA catalogue as it’s just taking up too much room on my shelf and I never really liked it that much anyway.

The Werke/Works 80-08 book is organized chronlogically beginning with Gas Cooker from 1980 and ending with Dubai World III from 2008. In between we get all the photographs that Gursky made his reputation on as well as many photographs most people have never seen before. Being able to see the entire evolution of Gursky’s vision up until now is an eye opening experience to say the least. One can really see Gursky wearing his influences and education on his sleeves while at the same time beginning to move the medium along in his own unique way. We see the successes but we also see the sidetracks and failures. The book even includes the completely fabricated and totally insane Hauptversammlung, Diptychon completed in 2001 just in time for Gursky’s retrospective at MoMA.

All the photographs are printed small as the book is oriented vertically and is only about 8 x 10 inches. What the book makes me appreciate even more is the greatness of the photography behind the large scale prints. Sometimes looking at enormous photographs hanging on a wall can be a total distraction whereby I get carried away by the scale and lose focus on the image. Here in this size (and I assume in the exhibition) the photographs are all about the image and not about the scale. Something about the size of the images makes me want to look more, not less. As if I have to search out the tiny details to understand what it is that I am seeing.

It would be wonderful if this exhibition could get an American venue but there doesn’t seem to be anything planned. Part of me hopes that the experience of making smaller scaled prints has re-awakened something inside Gursky and will possibly bring him to a new place with his future work. We’ll have to wait and see but until then I’ll continue to enjoy the small scale images in this wonderful book.

As a side note, I’m not surprised that while the exhibition traveled to Stockholm, Gurksy selected Blade Runner for a public screening.

Further Reading:

DLK Collection
Syndrome Stockholm