Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If I had the "Tweetee"


There is bullshit, damn bullshit and this:

Press Release:
Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to announce the opening, on Sunday, September 7th, of Jean-Luc Moulène’s Torture Concrete, the artist’s first one-person exhibition at the gallery and in New York City.
On view both at 88 Eldridge Street and 36 Orchard Street, the show is comprised of a variety of ‘objects’ from Opus, a body of work in development since 1995, along with two drawings and four photographs. While the constellation of tabletop, floor-bound, and hanging works take three-dimensional materials and photography as their particular support, they are expressly not sculptures, nor photographs. “I consider my images and objects as tools, articles of use: practical above all else,” says Moulène, a self-described technicien libertaire. He points to the rudimentary idea of a tool: the relaying of tensions implicit to materials by both acting and being acted upon, and thus emphasizes the importance of the manipulable in his practice.
The various works in the exhibition, be they bronze or glass knots, cement sculptures of heads, or photographs, are unified by what Moulène calls his underlying protocols, his working paradigm of topology and dynamic systems. This unique modus operandi enables a non-monotonic entanglement between the producer, the production, and the product, that is between the artist, his imagination encountering the volition of materials, and the artwork. Following a protocol, or certain autonomous directives, implies acting in accordance with the ramifying transits between thought and matter. As Reza Negarestani writes in an essay accompanying the show, Moulène proceeds in “search for integrity in variation,” looking “for opportunities to partake in variations on the basis of their underlying invariances.”
When he employs the physico-mathematical entity of a knot as a protocol of construction, for instance, Moulène transcends the conventional view of art as a transitive between the artist and the world. He rediscovers the task of art in its power to rearrange and destabilize the configurational relations between understanding, imagination, and embodiment, which opens up an amplified field of ambiguity. This space of controlled ambiguity is generative, however, inasmuch as it demands new strategies and produces possibilities for the orientation of thought. Thus Moulène reactivates abstraction as “the art of rendering intelligible the mutual perturbations of thought and matter,” Negarestani continues, “by organizing the space through which their respective forces are expressed.” Here the artist sets out to exercise the emancipatory procedure of liberating thought from the grip of any external cause that might determine it. “The task of abstraction in this scenario,” Negarestani explains, “is to liberate the virtual subject – the designated force of thought.”
Bronze Noeuds installed alongside glass Blown Knots in one room produce the effect of breathing through contracted and dilated space – the knots imploded by pulling a rope, or exploded by blowing into glass. The concrete sculptures made by filling inverted latex Halloween masks with cement are another variation of the knot in its most condensed, simplest form of a single loop surface. With this series, further, Moulène destabilizes and plays with the age-old artistic genres of portraiture and monuments by purchasing pop-culture caricatures and neutralizing their representations, as the two active materials find a kind of uneasy equilibrium. In this sense, he constantly annihilates the sterile dualities of the inside and the outside, the negative and the positive space, as well as of the abstract and the concrete. And the traditional bronze material of statues is now used to make monochrome, standard size two-dimensional pictures installed on the walls, facing the concrete monstrous heads placed on shipping blankets on the floor.



    And I like the artwork Jean-Luc Moulène at Miguel Abreu



    Saturday, October 4, 2014

    l'chaim















    Happy New Year...



    Sunday, September 21, 2014

    Shifting Plates II

    Two years ago, a great area printmaker, and truly one of the nicest people I have ever met called Steven Chapp invited me and several other printmakers to participate in a print exchange called Shifting Plates.  He once described the act of coordinating a print exchange as akin to herding cats.  This year he must have been bored because he again invited 15 cats to be herded.   The result has been a wonderful portfolio and a series of upcoming shows organized by Steven, the schedule of which I include below, together with pictures from a gathering in which we received our portfolios of sixteen beautiful prints.  These exchanges are such a great way to acquire original art work!  Go see the shows in order to view the work.

    Exhibits Schedule for printmaking exhibition- Shifting Plates II

    1. Upstairs Artspace, Tryon, NC Oct. 11 – Nov. 21 2014
    2. USC Upstate- Spartanburg, SC Jan. 16- Feb 20 2014
    3. Aiken Center for the Arts Aiken, SC April 13- May 9, 2015
    4. Pickens Art Museum, Pickens, SC  Sept. 15 – Nov. 12 2015


    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Us and the Other

    Funny, yesterday I wrote about us wanting to see ourselves in the other; and today, speaking of the same "us" and "other" Richard Fernandez opines that the other is trying to make us be like them.

    This is gonna be a long century... if we get that far.


    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    I Am Gaza-ed Out


    Today (7/15/14) I wrote the following letter to National Public Radio.  NPR a big window into the news for me since I listen to it in the studio; but sometimes they just piss me off:

    I have put “Morning Edition” on my “contact a show” box, but the fact is that I have a rhetorical question that applies to all your news programs.  Why is it that when you report on the number of deaths in Palestine, you always characterize them as being “civilian deaths” without explaining (and it should be every time you report on it) that these deaths are civilian precisely because the Gaza launch sites are embedded among the civilian population, the women and children you always talk about?  The launch sites are planted among the homes and institutions of daily life in the densely urbanized Gaza strip; and no matter how targeted the Israeli attacks are, they will hit civilians in order to try to curb the Palestinian attacks against its own people.  In failing to report this, and to reiterate it, your reporting is incomplete and biased.  I understand the nature of this bias; Israel is a rich and powerful country (though it certainly did not get there through entitlement, even though the world likes to forget why Israel was created in the first place and how it made itself into what it is, so unlike all its neighbors) and the tendency in civilized nations is to root for the underdog; and the Palestinians look like the underdog; but that’s not good reporting or analysis. 

    I don't think Israel is right in all its actions; but your news always makes it sound like they are always wrong.  I think I am finally truly done giving to my local NPR station; I’ll just freeload.

    I am seriously sick and tired of listening to one-sided reports about Israeli action every time “those people over there” get into skirmishes.  And, sad and horrible deaths or not, that’s what this latest Hamas offensive is “one more again”.  It's their usual MO of lobbing rockets at Israel and getting a bunch of their own people killed to get back under the limelight of the press in order to get more monetary and political support from the people who back them up.  And on and on it goes.  It’s all very sad for everybody; and, no Mr. Kerry, there will never be peace in the Middle East. 

    This being said (as well as, sad), I was thinking about my letter and asked myself why precisely it is that we feel compelled to root for the underdog?   I concluded that we do so because we can’t see past ourselves.  In the end we assume (or want) “the other” to be just like us; just a disadvantaged self.   We want to help them because we assume that their wants and needs are just like ours; and being empathetic, we feel a need to equalize the playing field, however we might do that.  This urge of ours is commendable but often leads to mistaken actions.  This particular other does not want the same things we want; and that’s the root cause of a  whole lot of wishful thinking that never gets fulfilled.

    My final, and repetitive, thoughts, on this here day of “no cease fire”, have to do with the fact that no matter how badly Jews are treated, and no matter how much of a minority they ALWAYS are, in terms of numbers anyway, they are never seen as the underdog.  That might have something to do with the fact that no matter how many pogroms there have been in attempts to stomp them down and out, they seem to, not only survive, but also to thrive.  It might have something to do with the fact that instead of vying for handouts, they go out and build things; and it might have something to do with the line of thinking elaborated upon here by Richard Fernandez.  Whatever it is, on bad days, I find it unfair.


    Once upon a time, Israel was a piece of land carved by the Brits and given to a bunch of bedraggled Jews after a war that had eliminated half of their world population (in the millions, not hundreds).  A place voluntarily settled by some crazy (yes, crazy, for who else would want to go there of their own accord?) Jews wanting to go back to the second temple and make a new home for themselves, plus a lot of others in boatloads turned away from “bastions of humanism” like England and America.  Boatloads of refugees turned away to fend for themselves among enemies.  I bet the Brits and whoever came up with that cockamamie plan didn't even count on their survival, as a nation, or anything else.  Carving up “an Israel” in the middle of "nowhere" was expedient .  It got rid of the pesky problem of assimilating millions of sick and starving refugees from the unthinkable conditions of the German Camps; a Jewish population that nobody wanted, in a world torn by war.  Setting them free, out there in the desert, sounded like the easy solution.  And not even then were we (yeah, we, for my name is Cohen and I can’t hide) thought of as the underdog. 

    Well, those bedraggled Jews, they survived.  And they made that god-forsaken desert grow; not through entitlements, not through handouts, and not by lobbing rockets at their enemies from within their settlements, but by working at it.  

    When it comes to the Middle East, I mostly keep a level head and an altruistic attitude, I even often root for the "greater in numbers underdog" and thus excuse too many wrongs; but today I am just pissed off,  I've had it: I’m Gaza-ed out.


    Saturday, July 5, 2014

    what up?

    Soccer's back on Google home page!

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Google's home page: implications




    Got on the computer this morning to do a Google search, and something was different. Gone were the cute graphics cum link having to do with soccer (futebol as I know it) that when clicked upon would send the user to updated information about the World Cup games throughout the day.  What changed from yesterday to today?  Oh yeah, the US lost to Belgium.   What are the implications here?  It could be that the designer/programmer that puts together the home page is out today…  But what if they stopped putting up the cute graphics and stats because of some jingoistic and tribal reasoning about Americans not caring now that their team is no longer in the running.  And what, then, are the implications of that?  To me, if losing a game makes us lose interest in the championship; I think we should never again intone the words “peace in the middle east”.  I know, sounds convoluted, but think about it.  

    ...Hell, could be the guy/gal (designer) is just sick...