Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mixed Nuts

The following paragraphs don't relate to each other too well. Many apologies.

I don't normally like to discuss my personal life here, except to the extent that it enters into the world of art. Likewise, I realize that it's painfully cliche to apologize for not updating your blog more often. I'd hate to do that. But I do want to say that I've been suffering from chronic insomnia, which makes it difficult to to write, think, experience art or to do much of anything else. If anybody has any unworkable folk remedies, by all means let me know. The more colorful (and ridculous), the better.

On a slightly less self indulgent note, if I'm not feeling too lousy, I'd like to follow-through on my long simmering plans to visit Boston later to this week. Among other things, I'd like to see (and write about) some art. Things that seem of particular interest include the Decordova Annual and Linda Price-Sneddon's "The Trees Have No Tongues", currently up at the Hallspace gallery. I like Linda's kind of work and don't get to see any around here. Wandering around the MFA would be nice, for old times sake. Saturday, Mobius is organizing a day of performance art and other oddities in front of city hall. Finally, Eva Hesse in NYC, if I can make it there. She's neat. If anybody has any tips, let me know.

I spent a few hours this afternoon at the Johnson, most of them with Willie Cole's travelling "Afterburn", which features work made in the past decade. (The title is a joking reference to his signature motif, the iron.) You might have read about it in the last Art in America. I took notes and will write substantially about it, although probably not in the next few days. I'll give you some idea of what I'm thinking. I want to discuss the work throught the filter of two concepts: primitivism and pastiche. I touched on the former in my last post, conveying my dissatisfaction with work which (naively, I think), attempts to recreate an idealized "primitive" condition within the modern world. Cole's work escapes this trap. My working hypothesis is that it does so by being contemporary (in its references and materials) while maintaining an anthropomorphic, animistic quality which links it to the past. As for the latter, it is difficult to write about his work without citing his numerous quotations from modern and contemporary art. And while recognzing these is part of the pleasure of his work, its important to go beyond simple name-dropping. Anyway, all of this is less tediously academic than it sounds, so of course I'll discuss individual pieces. The show is a lot of fun!

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Anonymous Matthew Nash said...

Hi Arthur
It may not be 'unworkable' but my cure for insomnia involves puttin some Jim Beam in a glass, with ice if you prefer, and drinking it. Repeat until sleepy or arrested.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous J@simpleposie said...

I'll offer something similar... steamed milk with baileys or (insert boozy elixir of choice) never failed me yet.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize that its painfully cliche to apologize for not updating your blog more often

And yet, so hard to resist.

I saw the Cole show when it was out this way (not-quite full disclosure: I performed a tiny amount of insignificant work related to it.) I liked it as well, though I didn't have much to say about it. I thought the chessboard was great, though.

10:49 AM  
Blogger arthur said...

So, so predicable... I may give something like that a try anyway, although I doubt I'd feel much better in the morning.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hayes said...

Hi Arthur,

If you happen to be in Boston through next friday night (June 2), try to get to the First Friday event at 450 Harrison Ave, from 5-9pm. 15 galleries in the building(including some of major local ones) have openings during these events, and approximately 50 artists also open their studios, myself included. It's a good way to see work ranging from traditional portaiture to installations all under one roof.


8:19 PM  
Anonymous Steve Poleskie said...

Hang in there! You're doing a good job, and filling a need in the Ithaca art scene. Thanks for the link, I have linked to your site. Also check out my new "literary" blog, OE at http://journals.aol.com/onagereditions/OE/
Best wishes,
Steve Poleskie

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Steve Poleskie said...

Hi Arthur!
I am sorry, on my previous posting I called you Alan, which was a slip as I must have been thinking about someone I knew years ago. I am looking forward to your next review.
Best wishes,
Steve Poleskie

5:21 PM  
Blogger arthur said...


Thanks for the link and for your kind words. I've been in Boston, so I'm going to write that up first before getting up to date on local shows and events. Doing so should help me cut through some of this brain fog.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Insomnia sure-fire cure: exercise. Balls-to-the-wall, out-of-breath, oh-my-God-I-think-I'm-going-to-die exercise. Just not too close to bedtime. Feel better. Congrats on the BRS piece.

4:41 PM  

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