Archive for January, 2010

Ooga Booga Reading Lounge

January 24, 2010

I haven’t been there yet but this looks like a nice place to browse some books.

Ooga Booga is a concept shop vital to the creative life-blood of LA. It gathers an eclectic range of products. Spearheaded by Wendy Yao, Ooga Booga fosters a vibrant community of independent producers. For Swiss Institute, Yao installs a lounge in which one may read over 300 titles- from self to professionally published.

On view until February 13, 2010:

Swiss Institute
495 Broadway 3rd Floor
New York NY 10012
Tel 212.925.2035

aka Roni Horn

January 23, 2010

Roni Horn, You are the Weather, 1994-95

Last chance to see Roni Horn aka Roni Horn at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The exhibition closes tomorrow January 24, 2009.

Owen Pallett – Heartland

January 22, 2010

Owen Pallett’s (aka Final Fantasy) Heartland is simply exquisite.

Heartland is definitely the first great pop record of 2010. The album deftly combines Pallett’s haunting voice with dense orchestral arrangements, violin, electronic keyboards, electronic bass and drums.

Grand and ambitious from start to finish, Heartland is probably Pallett’s most accessible album to date. If you’ve heard the earlier albums, Has a Good Home or He Poos Clouds, then you know what I’m talking about.

I don’t want to waste time trying to describe what this album really sounds like but if you are a fan of The Beach Boys, Björk, Joanna Newsom, The Divine Comedy or Andrew Bird, you should (theoretically) like Owen Pallett.

You can listen to a few songs on his myspace page and catch him on tour if you get a chance, as he really is a one man music machine. Pallett played a great set earlier this week at Bowery Ballroom and it’s hard not to be impressed with the musical layers and density of sound one man can produce.

Frederick Wiseman

January 21, 2010

still from Basic Training directed by Frederick Wiseman

“All aspects of documentary filmmaking involve choice and are therefore manipulative. But the ethical … aspect of it is that you have to … try to make [a film that] is true to the spirit of your sense of what was going on. … My view is that these films are biased, prejudiced, condensed, compressed but fair. I think what I do is make movies that are not accurate in any objective sense, but accurate in the sense that I think they’re a fair account of the experience I’ve had in making the movie.”
– Frederick Wiseman

During 2010, MoMA is presenting a comprehensive retrospective of the great documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. MoMA will screen four different films each month with at least two screenings per film.

The festivities got off to a great start with Basic Training from 1971, a film I had never seen but only heard about. It certainly lives up to it’s reputation and gives a very realistic depiction of what army training was and probably is still like. There is also the connection that Basic Training has to Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket from 1987. According to Wiseman, someone from Kubrick’s office called and requested a print of the film and it’s obvious that Kubrick watched it with great interest.

I’m looking forward to seeing as many of these films as possible as they are rarely screened, let alone all together like this. If you don’t know the work and are interested in the so-called “documentary” tradition of photography or cinema, you owe it to yourself to seek these films out. You will not be disappointed.

You can get a sense of Wiseman’s filmmaking and editing process here. You can also take a look at what he has to say about some Dorothea Lange photographs here.

Lastly, this retrospective would be a great excuse to get yourself a $25 MoMA artist’s pass which would give you unlimited free entrance to the museum as well as to the movies.

Miriam's Last Cigarette

January 20, 2010

Written by Jason Polan

I like the idea of making up stories to accompany found photographs.

Jason does this particularly well.

Some Choice Quotes from Richard Prince

January 19, 2010

I’m reading The Velvet Grind by David Robbins and there is a great conversation with Richard Prince from 1985.

Some choice quotes below:

“I like to take an unbelievable picture and present it as normally as possible. I like to present it with a sensation of normalcy. I like to think of normality as the next special effect.”

“I started to think of the camera as a pair of electronic scissors. The public images I would take didn’t need to be silkscreened or painted on or collaged. The photograph that I presented had to resemble , as much as possible, the photograph that had initially attracted me. It was a matter of being as presumptuous as the original picture. I was interested in the camera as a technological device rather than as a mechanical one. I’m interested in sitting at my desk with my hands folded neatly in my lap.”

“My notion of rephotography came about because I didn’t want to aestheticize the picture and I didn’t want to deal with collage. I didn’t want to deal with a seam because, in fact, I wanted my pictures to be believed by the audience.”

“When I first started exhibiting these photographs, the reaction was not very … welcoming. Very few people liked them. But it’s funny if I think about it now. People would say, “What do you mean it’s a photograph of a photograph? What are you talking about?” What gave them a problem, I think, was that they couldn’t understand what the actual object was. It wasn’t like a collage. The literalness of the actual, physical object was disorienting. And the thing was, it looked like a photograph because it was a photograph.”

“Also, what I was rephotographing was a disaster. Four men looking in the same direction. Advertisements, models, accessories, pens, watches, cigarettes. Not very accommodating images. It was hard to locate where the author was.”

“I like to think that I make “hit” pictures. I try to put “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” in my pictures.”

“I’d like to be remembered in a movie. I know that sounds preposterous. But having someone else play me is pretty much what I think I’m already doing.”

JJ – JJ N° 2

January 11, 2010

JJ are another electronic, pop and dance group from Sweden. Yes another one, and their 2009 album jj N° 2 has been on constant repeat since last week or so. There must be something in the water over there as every other musical act I’m listening to seems to be Swedish.

JJ add a world music sort of vibe to the mix with some African percussive sounding beats, mixed with some 80’s synth sounds and lots of other varying sound textures ranging from sitars to violins. Although I imagine that most of the sounds are electronically created. The voices are lovely and the overall mood very optimistic and inspiring. jj N° 2 is a short but sweet album, pretty easy to listen to and even easier to get addicted to.

JJ will release their next album, jj nº 3 sometime this year on Secretly Canadian and will be touring in March and April with the XX, another much hyped about band that’s still worth listening to.

Listen to a bunch of tracks here, here and here and then grab an mp3 of Ecstasy, their almost R&Bish cover of Lil’ Wayne’s Lollipop.

Éric Rohmer, 1920-2010

January 11, 2010

still from Éric Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach

French New Wave director Éric Rohmer died on Monday. He will be remembered for his subtly romantic, wonderfully written, leisurely paced and or course beautiful films.

I especially love his collaborations with cinematographer, Néstor Almendros: My Night at Maude’s from 1969, Claire’s Knee from 1970, Chloe in the Afternoon from 1972 and Pauline at the Beach from 1983.

A full obituary can be read at the NYT.

Miranda July + Roe Ethridge =

January 7, 2010

This is old news but I’m just seeing it now and it’s kind of fun. The recreations from The Godfather, The Outsiders and Dog Day Afternoon are my favorites.


Stezaker's Influence

January 5, 2010

I never heard of Joakim Bouaziz before this morning but I couldn’t help but think of John Stezaker when I saw the above cover art for his new album.

According to this interview (which is in German) Joakim was certainly referencing Stezaker’s work:

“The cover was inspired by the works of John Stezaker. I find his work very compelling, his images speak to the subconscious, are like dreams.” (translation by google)

I wonder if they asked Stezaker to contribute a collage for the cover before they went ahead and copied it.