Category: Miscellany

Miscellany. 02.27.12.

He sure don’t: God Don’t Like Ugly, in New York. (Image by Becki Fuller.)

Miscellany. 02.13.12.

Things I deeply covet: Moby Dick as illustrated by Rockwell Kent. Double. Whoaaaa. The image above is from Vol. 1, Ch. 8: “Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.” (Image courtesy of SUNY Plattsburgh.)

Miscellany. 02.07.12.

Banana man, Lima. (Photo by El Celso.)

Miscellany. 01.30.12.

Ayre and Yok in Manhattan. (Photo by Luna Park.)

On Public Housing

A view of the Marcy Houses. (Photo by NYC-Metrocard.)

Michael Kimmelman has an interesting piece about large-scale housing developments in the New York Times. He takes a look at the fate of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe projects in St. Louis and draws a comparison to the Penn South buildings in New York’s Chelsea, which have been largely successful as a housing development. He discusses how economic and other urban development factors can affect the success or failure of architectural design. All around an interesting piece. But while I dig Kimmelman’s focus on publicly-minded design (a breath of fresh air after Ourossoff’s era of mega-projects), it seems like a bit of an oversight to pen a very long story about these types of constructions and not even mention places like the Marcy Houses in Bed-Stuy or Red Hook Houses in Red Hook — two places with a history that is infinitely less rosy than that of Penn South.


  • In an essay in Vanity Fair, Kurt Anderson says we are in a period of cultural stasis — relentlessly remixing everything that came before, but not necessarily adding anything new: “In our Been There Done That Mashup Age, nothing is obsolete, and nothing is really new; it’s all good. I feel as if the whole culture is stoned, listening to an LP that’s been skipping for decades, playing the same groove over and over. Nobody has the wit or gumption to stand up and lift the stylus.” Sure explains a lot of the art I see…
  • Holy Shit: Dude surfing a 90-foot wave.
  • Interesting essay in the Atlantic on how much information is too much for Google to have.
  • Bytebeats: music from the programming language C.
  • That point where Tony Curtis and Christopher Wool intersect.
  • A proposed turn-of-the-20th-century reconstruction of the Venus de Milo. Amazing and weird. (@giovannigf.)
  • The New York Observer profiles the life and times of artist and ArtNet editor Walter Robinson.
  • And the Wall Street Journal mag takes on Anne Pasternak, the director of Creative Time.
  • The Day in Art Merch: Private jets decorated with graffiti by RETNA.
  • Plus, speaking of airplane graffiti: The Boneyard Project. Making airplane hulls all pretty-like.
  • There’s nothing like a book review that revels in a little dismemberment: Heather Havrilesky on Caitlin Flanagan’s Girl Land. Yowza. (@embeedub)
  • “The main thing to remember is the sunlight, and the immense expanse of sky and earth that it illuminates: it sucks the color out of everything that it touches, takes the green out of leaves and the sap out of twigs, makes human beings seem small and of no importance.” — Mystery writer James Cain, on California in the 1930s.

Miscellany. 01.19.12.

Billboard by French street artist Ox, in San Bernardino. Part of a billboard project on I-15 last month. Image courtesy of the artist.)

Miscellany. 12.01.11.

2, a chicha poster collage by Celso. Part of the group show Text, Drugs & Rock ‘n Roll at Maxwell Collette Gallery in Chicago. Opens this Friday at 6pm. (Image courtesy of El Celso.)

  • How to write about Africa.
  • Information Doesn’t Necessarily Want to be Free. Or so argues Robert Levine in his new book Free Ride, a treatise on cultural parasitism — on how technology companies have used cultural content they don’t produce to make money. I’m not sure I agree with all the conclusions in the book review (not everything free is bad or evidence of a cultural wasteland), but I find some of the arguments quite compelling, especially since I’m one of those poor slobs who pays the bills by producing ever-more-poorly remunerated cultural “content.” Plus, the stuff on how Germany has preserved its independent booksellers (by outlawing aggressive discounting by chain bookstores) is pretty damn interesting.
  • From the Department of Hollywood Accounting: Philip K. Dick’s family experiencing some crazy movie-industry sci-fi. (@gregorg.)
  • Speaking of Hollywood: it desperately needs more ladies. And they need to be not-naked. Behind the camera.
  • The East L.A. accent.
  • Comparing Time Magazine’s covers in the U.S. and abroad. We are a culture with our head in the sand.
  • Applying the Amazon if-you-like-this-you’ll-like-that model to visual art. This should be hilarious. (John Perrault.)
  • Using image recognition software to decode graffiti. There seems to be an implication in this story that all graffiti is gang graffiti. C’mon dudes, don’t you know that graff has been co-opted by art school types?
  • Owning a dog in Tehran.
  • If you live in S.F., Carolee Schneeman is giving a talk at Eli Ridgway tonight at 8pm. Check it!
  • Plus: Find my New York recommends over at Gallerina.


Miscellany. 11.21.11.

The Shipwreck Irene, by R.L. Croft, in Rocky Mount, N.C. The piece, built in October, is located in Battle Park off of Falls Road near the Route 64 overpass. (Image courtesy of R.L. Croft.)

Miscellany. 10.24.11.

CES53 in the Netherlands. (Via Ekosystem.)

On Occupy Art Museums
There’s been a lively debate online about the whole Occupy Museums protest (starting with Karen Archey’s piece on ArtInfo, Will Brand’s rebuttal in Art Fag City and Hyperallergic‘s follow-up here). As is usually the case, I’m not in 100% agreement with anybody. But I did want to speak out about the blanket way in which the word “museums” seems to be identified with institutions such as MoMA and the Gugg. Those institutions are more the exception than the rule, cultural juggernauts connected to the super powerful. But there are countless other smaller, community-minded institutions — places like El Museo del Barrio, the Bronx Museum, the Queens Museum, teaching museums like the Vincent Price and the Fowler, places that show the kinds of artists that never get seen anywhere else. There’sa lot of grey in this debate. Personally, if there’s one area of the art world that I think needs occupation it’s the art fairs. I can’t think of an atmosphere that’s less amenable to art and ideas than those overpriced flea markets.

Random Linkage

  • “The wealth of resources we apply to entertainment serves only to shield us from the poverty of the product.” —Tony Judt, on austerity.
  • Britain’s draconian visa procedures for artists is making U.S. customs enforcement look warm and fuzzy. (Alec Soth wasn’t allowed to take pictures on his last visit.) Criticismism has a story about the arbitrary nature of the process.
  • The rise of the robot writer.
  • This story about the growing use of emoticons is fucking hilarious: “If anybody on Facebook sends me a message with a little smiley-frowny face or a little sunshine with glasses on them, I will de-friend them. I also de-friend for OMG and LOL. They get no second chance.” LOL.
  • “I attribute my salvation to books.” Reading American literature in Castro’s Cuba.
  • I love nothing more than a Shakespeare scholar on a tear. Though I will say that the bong joke is a low blow. #StonersArePeopleToo.
  • Love digging up old stories on the internetz, such as this 1993 New York Times article about “The Art World Bust.” The piece is entertaining all around (and strangely relevant). But my favorite bit has to be the quote from Julian Schnabel’s assistant, to Deborah Solomon of the Times, who was seeking an interview: “Julian says he doesn’t have the mind space to think about your questions. He’s busy with renovations.”
  • Bruce Davidson’s subway shots.
  • Infected needles. Chimpanzee-to-human scrotum transplants. And the Haitian secret police chief who was known as the “Vampire of the Caribbean.” An absolutely amazing story about how AIDS came to be.
  • The Art of Film Criticism: The New Yorker rounds up five classic Pauline Kael reviews.
  • Today’s Graff: Escif, in France.
  • Awwccupy Wall Street. Plus: Writer Caleb Crain, on why he signed the Occupy Wall Street petition.
  • Nice profile of Esther McCoy, the “mother” of Southern California architecture writing.
  • Speaking of which, I’m insanely jealous that Edward Lifson got to spend the day inside Rudolf Schindler’s Lovell Beach House in Newport Beach, Calif.
  • The Day in Art Merch: Guggenheim house paint. For serious.
  • The Art of Letterhead.