Tag Archives: Art

Meow Wolf’s new Denver development is urban predation in sheep’s clothing.

Terra CottaDENVER, COLO- Alternatively, Santa Fe alt-art venue Meow Wolf is URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN CAT’S CLOTHING. Here’s the scam: Laud an arts collective of “creative types”. Let them pitch an arts space project to city planners for which you’ll supply the ownership investment. Let their non-profit creative-class cred prompt city leaders to provide otherwise unavailable land and the tax incentives and exclusions which come to cultural projects. Let them lead community fundraising to support art etc etc. You buy the land, you own the building, and you give them a 20-year lease. Their rent is subsidized by more community and city support. Cha-ching.

In the end, you’ve got another property, where you mightn’t been able lacking eminent domain. And you’ve roped in long-term tenants whose rent checks are backed by taxpayers. When your cronies lobby the city against that public support and their project is a bust, or when the lease expires, your sky is the limit! How can you lose?

Normally you pull this scam on locals, but art communities have their own MBA grads now. So how to subvert urban artists? Bring your own hicks.

In Denver, developers are using a New Mexico based band of bohemians called Meow Wolf as their shill intermediaries. Meow Wolf is a sort of Cirque du Soleil meets Halloween haunt house, in Santa Fe, who secured their own “permanent” leased space only last year with the backing of Game-of-Thrones creator George RR Martin. It’s the reverse of course, because Meow Wolf attracted the public subsidies for the pulp author turned property developer, who keeps the building.

Now someone has decided Meow Wolf can franchise their black-light immersive fun-houses everywhere that low-brow passes for art.

For 2018, Meow Wolf has rolled Denver for a new construction downtown. Except no, they and their public support get only a LEASE. Flush with praise for their success, the Meow Wolves admit they’re working on simultaneous metropolises across the west, even as they appear so fresh off the boat they hardly know what they’re doing!

They don’t, but their landlords do. Those crazy creatives!

George Seurat’s afternoon on an island


CHICAGO- What’s in a name? I expect its originator could explain. Do art collectors or curators have final edit over a famous painting’s title? I can understand the Art Institute of Chicago nicknaming its familiar La Grande Jatte, but the first paragraph of the painting’s gallery description has to explain that the iconic riverbank scene is named not for a tributary, but an island on the river Seine, because their slimmed translation of its full title now reads “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” à la Sunday in the Park with George. Gone are afternoon and island from Un dimanche après-midi sur l’Île de la Grande Jatte –you wonder why bother to keep “la”? I remember the original full English title from art history textbooks, whose color plates now seem like a greatest hits album of the Art Institute’s collection. Did Chicago corner the market on Impressionist masterpieces, or did their image licenses determine which we’re taught are representative? Reframing painting titles suggests to me there’s more likelihood of the latter. Does great art jump out at you intuitively? I doubt we even know what we like.

The above detail is not Seurat, but Gustave Caillebotte’s Rainy Day in Paris and illustrates the difference it makes to see a painting in a gallery. High Def. Hopper’s Night Hawks is just as stark in actual size, but Caillebotte’s wet Parisenne has a lace veil which you’d never have noticed on a print.

From our Colorado Springs antiwar art show: Have your cake, now eat it.


The Occupy Wall Street NO COMMENT art show reminded me of the antiwar gallery exhibit we featured at our own peace encampment in 2005. Among my favorite pieces was an interactive self-performance piece called HAVE YOUR CAKE, which featured a festive party table adorned with a sheet cake whose icing featured the likeness of a wounded Iraqi boy, into whom attendees had to cut to have a slice. Of course, no takers.

ACLU and Shepard Fairey drape Lady Liberty in nationalism & jingo-freedom

New ACLU promotional poster by Shepard Farley (sic) features Statue of LibertyIs “Freedom” the same thing as Liberty? Let’s see, ACFU? It has an unfriendly ring to it.
 
The American Civil Liberties Union commissioned this fundraising magnet from halftone-deaf one-note Obamartist Shepard Fairey, but somebody confused this for a Department Of Defense contract. “Leading Freedom Forward”? That’s USA’s imperialist catchphrase! Please note at the helm is Fairey’s first client: Obama.

Linguists have long lamented America’s abandonment of liberty for the nefariously vacuous “freedom.” Freedom is for Operations, Markets, CIA-funded Pro-Democracy [sic] ops, and O-wellian doublespeak. “The Price of Freedom” is the title of the Smithsonian’s military history exhibit. Now the ACLU jumps on the war-wagon? That’s the Statue of Liberty with a bullhorn, as a union organizer — you can tell by the clipboard, but they’ve draped her in a flag, literally. Can you imagine any national monument with less need to prove her patriotism? I would have preferred they had used blind Lady Justice in reference to nationalism, where her blindfolded could have been the Red, White and Blue. But that’s probably a too obvious fashion statement about fascism. Dear ACLU, where are you going with this?

Let me clarify my criticism of Shepard Fairey. He’s a brilliant artist. By “halftone-deaf one-note” I refer to the FANS of his Blue Period, circa 2008. My beef is that this work recalls Fairey’s iconic Obama poster, though obviously it wouldn’t be considered a “Shepard Fairey creation” if it hadn’t. But. Is it appropriate that the ACLU wants to promote itself and its vital uni-partisan cause, with a ubiquivisual trademark that screams Democratic Party? Thankfully ACLU’s legal team at least has not failed to recognize Obama’s DP as the current reigning champion of civil liberty oppression.

The future of photography is time

I know little about fine art photography, darkroom craft or print collecting, but I will foolishly assert this: the future of the two dimensional print is the time-dimensional print. It’s only with the evolution of high definition that I dare say it, video. THE FUTURE OF 2D IS NOT 3D IT’S 4D. (Actually 3-D is a tech injected myopia, by 4D I mean two dimensions plus time plus sound) I do know that photo technology for everyman has breached the fourth dimension, mounted paper prints are a throwback for older generations like mine, who think of the past in terms of stills. Before us it was black and white. Moving picture snap shots are no gimmick. Purists can mourn losing the split-second frozen in time, but who can argue that elapsed time does not add an infinity of fractions more? Yes color film lost the contrast of monochrome, just as paint left the shading of charcoal. Movies have long since eclipsed slide shows and now it’s time that single-frame photographers step up to digital video, same fixed shot, same composition, time exposure set to however long will hold the viewer’s gaze. Soon online videos will embed as smoothly as static images, and two dimension visuals will be lifeless.

And like its archival predecessors, devoid of the information we already want to glean from the past.

I offer two examples for this argument. If modern galleries can break the silence barrier, the visual arts would also benefit by retaining the dimension of sound too.

Michael Deppisch’s montage of the 2010 Nashville flood.

Hector Thunderstorm Project by Murray Fredericks

Hector Thunderstorm Project from Murray Fredericks on Vimeo.

Muddy wellies across white canvas

Oslo Opera Hus, i Norge
Norway prides itself on its ubiquitous and egalitarian middle class, making of its opera house a celebration of folkstheatre –and it’s no empty boast– Oslo newspapers address eight pages to culture versus one to sport. But I think the architects behind the glacier-slopped Oslo Opera House have struck with typical condescending Nordic sarcasm. Here is an in-edifice to high art on which the people can trod, on every last angle. Even if Scandinavian farmers are not inclined to attend opera performances, they can sight-see from the pretentious exterior. Idealists can assert this art reaches the Hoi Poloi, as it compels visitors to put it all underfoot. It’s form over substance, literally. The result presents aimless booted peasants looking like they wouldn’t know art if they stepped on it.

I can see the pretension to flatten the Sidney Opera House, crossed with Hong Kong harbor’s wreck of the Queen Mary II. The straight lines may have impressed on paper, but crawling over with masses, I see more a sinking white elephant.

Americans upset by viral Single Ladies video don’t know their ass from TandA

Screengrab from Yak Films World of Dance videoYou thought ours was an oversexed culture obsessed with youth, but the recent furor over a viral video shows Americans don’t know their ass from their T & A.
 
Obviously everyone is aghast about too-young dancers gyrating to Beyonce’s SINGLE LADIES, but I think it says something hilarious about our ineptitude with sexuality. Like the mess of clueless philistines weighing in, I too am inexpert at what titillates about 7-year-olds, and it’s not going to stop me either.

Can we agree the Beyonce hit is lewd? I’m guessing her video was unremarkable, I recall the SNL spoof was camp, but what are Beyonce’s lyrics except deliberately crass? You expect a performance of “Single Ladies” to transcend its theme? You’re going to be offended regardless who is lip-syncing it.

Putting aside whether your daughter belongs onstage participating, where have you been? This is dance. Call it Vulgar Nouveaux or Burlesque Outré, it dates to Madonna’s mother’s virginity. This is dance, all you Kansans, onstage and on screen. Flashdance had nothing on Broadway, American Gigolo hid the sex behind clothes. Beside the point. Young dancers aspiring to tomorrow’s auditions want to learn what their role models are teaching. Children today love Spongebob, but they’re watching South Park and Family Guy too. The only uncomfortable party in the room is you.

I recently attended an elementary school talent show that included some dance-schooled troopers. Some of their precocious moves were admittedly out of place and some even off-putting, but it didn’t stop parents from appreciating the talent and obvious dedicated effort. Our little tarts didn’t come close, by the way, to the spirited Single Ladies performance, clearly well choreographed, taught, and executed.

Was outraged America also so unsophisticated to notice that the now infamous video was a multiple camera production? This wasn’t a family recording leaked by an indignant relative. It was a World of Dance competition where no one watching showed any shock at the performance. While I confess I’m still offended by the Jon-Benet pageant aesthetic, these costumes and the next Britney backup dancers did not surprise.

What entertained me most were the comments threading from the now multiple postings of the video. The original post accumulated over two million views and had to be removed for reasons that are self-explanatory apparently. On account of poorly-spelled death threats, I imagine. Eventually you’ll find observations defending the performance, but for the overwhelming part, everyone wants to weigh their indignation against the next, accuse the dancers’ parents of child abuse and round up a posse to chase the pedophiles they’re sure are lurking.

What I find endearing about their best Sunday earnestness is that these commenters wouldn’t know a stripper’s pole from where they get their haircut. Even as internet porn is so pervasive, and we worry it has saturated our psyche, it turns out the prurient pretenders– as hypocritical we know, as Republican congressmen– know as much about erotica as a prudes.

Even more entertaining is a certain tenor to their comments, part of a trend I’m horrified to recognize has been overtaking blogdom. It began I suppose when the personal computer extended the internet outside the lab. Emails used to abide a scientist’s protocol, then with the world-wide-web came spam. Blogs began with people who had something to say, and when comments deregulated to chat rooms, in came the freaks.

There’s a common tone to compulsive opinion-givers, I recognize it too often as I offer my own. It pervades the blogosphere now almost to have rendered discussion threads unreadable. It’s a tone of tone-deafness, in vocabulary, grammar and attitude. Related to a person not knowing what they’re talking about, the tell-tale ingredient is that they don’t care about the subject either. It’s a characteristic recognized in forced conversations and poor sales pitches, not always obvious when we’re regurgitating differences of opinion or ideology.

If I didn’t always before recognize the ignorance in the insincerity, this Tea Party tinctured pile-on has given me the scent.

The too-cursory indignation Middle America is showing about these 7-year-old dancers strikes a feeble, unfunny note. It’s the puritanical call for women of all ages to reduce themselves behind burqas, coming from voices self-loathing and unworldly.

Gravity was everywhere back then

Nervous Films - Brent GreenNYC- Brent’s first feature film, Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then premiered at Manhattan’s IFC Center this weekend and runs until Thursday May 13. Catch screenings at 3:30 and 7:30 daily. Production artifacts are on view at concurrent gallery exhibits: the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Chelsea until June, and the Berkeley Art Museum, CA, until September. See the NYT review (!!!), read the production blog. Interview below:

Money laundering record set in fine art

Giacometti sculpture sets art auction recordCuriously, you and I can’t transfer $250.– without the requisite agencies being notified, but an oligarch can spend $104.3 Million on Alberto Giacometti’s Walking Man I and maintain anonymity. (For an iconic sculpture of a figure divested of possessions.) We can’t take shampoo into the airport, but foreign intelligence operatives can cross borders and assassinate it-doesn’t-matter-who without leaving a trace. Exactly whom is INTERPOL tracking or not tracking? For us there’s a no-fly list. For the 007s and 000,000,007s there’s a can-fly-with-impunity first class lounge.

Can art rehabilitate a parking meter?

Colorado Springs Parking MeterIt’s become another art medium in itself. Like oil, watercolor, and macaroni sprayed gold, we now have painted industrial objects. I’ve seen fiberglass cows, pigs, and elk cast to provide uniform canvases for ensemble-scale kitsch. Colorado Springs is probably not the first municipality to recycle obsolete parking meters as art pieces. The scheme is actually fairly clever: scatter beautified meters around retail areas to collect spare change “for the homeless,” to scoop the tug of panhandlers who may have less responsible designs on charitable donations.
 
My favorite is a meter painted like a Muslim imam, with the time-expired flag made to be a cry for help showing through his clear forehead.

Of course, I interpret this “help” to be a desperate cry from embattled Islam, a message in a bottle aimed at the English-speaking westerners whose soldiers have the Islamic world besieged. But the artist might just as well have meant to portray this Muslim’s spiritual lobe as less pellucid than vacuous. Imprisoned behind the soundproof uniformity of Sharia grooming and dress might echo a lonely S.O.S. seeking a secular salvation.

After the city’s counter-sidewalk-insurgency fund-raising is through, the painted meters will be auctioned for charity. But would you want one?

As upcycled sculptures go, I’m not big on commemorating parking meters. Of all industrial contraptions, it’s hard to imagine a function less popular. Meter maids must vie with dentists for trying a therapist’s sympathies. For most people, paying for parking is an investment in nothing. Isn’t it inherently objectionable when civil authorities charge tolls on already tax-funded thoroughfares? One of the liberating feelings you experience from taking mass-transportation is not worrying about a ticking parking meter. We most often approach parking meters with great anxiety and at a run, they take our coins like terrible vending machines, returning sometimes not even the incremental reprieve for which we paied, with no one to call for a refund. When we return to find a parking ticket, it’s the meter who ratted us out. What are we supposed to do with one of these at home, but beat it?

The analog charm of these retired meters cannot help but remind us what mercenaries their replacements have become. Newer models have all sorts of digital enhancements. They can tell when the previous vehicle leaves the parking space so as to reset the timer to zero. They can monitor whether you’ve overstayed the posted time limit, preventing you from feeding the meter, although without refunding the excess of your solicitous enticements. And when your permission to park has expired, they can send off a wireless signal to alert a parking enforcement officer posthaste. Can you imagine one day we will be playfully decorating these humorless machines?

A coworker of mine was retiring from the payroll department at around the same time the factory was updating its time clocks. He’d spent virtually his entire career tabulating punch cards collected multiple times a day from the various department clock-in areas. Actually it was our employer’s policy to take a sledgehammer to all obsolete equipment, sooner than risk the liability posed by an uncertain post-operational utility. I suggested we decorate one of the antiquated models like a big hunting trophy to present as a retirement gift. In none too many words my friend was able to articulate his lack of even curiosity for my proposal.

There might be a call for imbuing nostalgic utilitarian items with a creative after-life: toasters and typewriters for example, even drill presses and lathes. But granting immortal persistence to machines whose function it was to measure our labor, or tax our time? I don’t think so.

Public art to make you feel Lilliputian

Industrial sized public sculptureCOLORADO SPRINGS- I confess to being reminded regularly of a clip from Michael Moore’s movie Capitalism a Love Story. It’s the mock tourism video ad selling Cleveland: We’re not Detroit. The punch line accompanying this shot is “we think this is art.” Of course I’m reminded because our city too has a collection of these big little things dropped on lawns where you might expect a sculpture. Giant paperclips, marble engagement rings, are feats of logistic craftsmanship certainly, but where in the Parks & Rec shopping catalogs do they warrant a listing in the index under art?

I’m thinking these objects keep us company as we navigate between buildings and structures which dwarf human beings. Maybe they calm our sense of foreboding, or give us the false sense that the city’s oppressive scale is every bit as whimsical as everyday items removed of their functional context, rendered inanimate by being made giant.

But imagine the money to cast that much bronze, to lift that much steel, cement and resin, if it were spent on real works of creative impulse. We wouldn’t do it. For one, it would underwriting artists, not engineers, and two, uplift the spirits of people commuting to work and they’ll all go off truant.

Life, Love, Liberty and Lunch

I thought the advent of Youtube would finally lead me to the script for a TV special of the late 70s called Life, Love, Liberty and Lunch. I can find only scant trace of it online. And so I will post sans link.

L4 was a TV special which incorporated four scenes by leading playwrights Neil Simon, Tom Stoppard, Eric von Italie and one more. It might have been Peter Ustinov, and his is the only one I remember. The rest of the program played like Love American Style I think, or Short Cuts. I’m thinking the Liberty segment had to do with the 1976 bicentennial. But the last segment was like I’m Not Rappaport with a big smile.

In the last scene, two elderly gentlemen meet in Central Park, as they do every day, to play not chess, but a game of verbal oneupmanship. Today their contest is to paint the perfect lunch, and they describe every successive course with the zeal of famished itinerants actually pouncing on it. As dessert nears, each is determined to add the last touch. Peter Ustinov played one of the gentlemen and he asked his rival if after reaching cheese, dessert, sherry, and coffee, he could think of nothing else. No, said his opponent, already confident of triumph. Nothing else, baited Ustinov?

You forgot, said the great actor to his old friend…. A CIGAR! No truly great meal could go without, the other concedes, and the two walk of together, to part until the next time.

So many years later, mere mention of cigars still conjures that scene for me. It’s still hard for me to imagine that it could even be true, that cigars improve a post-meal glow, but I’ll take a distinguished elder’s word for it. LUNCH was about anticipating that others, especially others with seniority, can always have something up their sleeve to teach you.

Jason Zacharias

Jason Zacharias, 1975-2009“You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him. You cannot make both.”
–John Ruskin, 1853, The Stones of Venice
“Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions. If you will have that precision out of them, and make their fingers measure degrees like cog-wheels, and their arms strike curves like compasses, you must unhumanize them. All the energy of their spirits must be given to make cogs and compasses of themselves….On the other hand, if you will make a man of the working creature, you cannot make him a tool. Let him but begin to imagine, to think, to try to do anything worth doing; and the engine-turned precision is lost at once. Out come all his roughness, all his dulness, all his incapability; shame upon shame, failure upon failure, pause after pause: but out comes the whole majesty of him also; and we know the height of it only when we see the clouds settling upon him.”

Artist Stephen Morath eyes Second Base

Manitou artist Steve Morathe- Autumn by the Spanish Peaks, the Wahatoya of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
The painting drew our eyes as we ate in the Eastside Del Taco. Among many gaily colored prints by the same artist was this pop-ish depiction of what could only be the Spanish Peaks. Southwest-scapes are ubiquitous enough to seem completely generic, and Pikes Peak belongs to America the Beautiful, but the Wahatoya are our private purple majesties. Did a stranger conjure these breast-peaks to pair with another iconic fixation, the red pickup truck, or was this uncharacteristic fast-food outlet choosing to showcase a local talent? Neither.

The prints were signed “S. Morath” and sure enough, that’s Steve Morath of Manitou Springs, regular regional Opera chorus member, church music director, and beyond-the-scene fine-artist. He doesn’t exhibit locally, but the mild-mannered Morath doubles as an artist of national distinction. He’s represented by the Leslie Levy Fine Art Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona, and every internet art poster purveyor. There are even online sources for digital downloads if you want to do the reproduction yourself.

If you did not know that the Spanish Peaks of the Sangre de Cristos are called by the Native Americans the Wahatoya, or “Breasts of the Earth,” then my post title may have seemed cryptic. Otherwise, obviously Stephen Morath’s little red truck is going much further. If the connection was obvious, touching a girl’s breasts is getting to “Second Base,” I would have titled this Morath Has Eyes on Home.

Only a classic car buff is looking at the ’48 Ford/Chevy, and your eyes don’t linger long on R. Crumb’s Madonna Nature’s pointy brassiere. The focal point of this composition is the little curve in the road, lying at the intersection of the male and female.

I’ll embarrass myself further to reassure you that I am not lost in the anatomy of this topography, as I was oversimplifying again. The most sensuous curve of a reclining nude is the navel. That’s the apex of this scene, of course. Morath’s little red figure is perched, bending forward with comic virility, deja on the mons veneris, to be perfectly clinical.

Whether the equally soft-curved shiny hard-body is parked, idling, or teetering serendipitously onward, I believe Morath has captured the charm of physical romance with the lights on. His is a loving tribute to the fertile feminine, and a whimsical suggestion of the masculine, as an itinerant, man-made, self-armored, commuter-adventurer feeling his way into the gentle valleys of the she.

It may not be exactly the reason Del Taco chose to hang the piece, but I think a number of Morath’s paintings are similarly sexualized. Or not. I say that because it doesn’t matter really. They’re beautiful and they tell social stories, whichever way you chose to take them, with bold electric color.

And while I’m on a subject about which I know demonstrably little, I’ll say a brief something about Del Taco: the cleanest, brightest fast food restaurant I would ever recommend. The key to their ne-plus-ultra fish tacos may be the lime, or it may be that the fish is lightly deep fried. I hope you try it despite the fact that I will confess the predominant delight is their crisp raw cabbage. Marie and I now plan our eastward treks contingent upon a lunch break at Del Taco. But let’s applaud their patronage of the arts. I don’t know if Del Taco fare is Tex-Mex, or Cali-Mex, but the decor of their eateries in these parts is Old-Mex.

Evidently I predict that as a poster, Autumn by the Spanish Peaks will only grow in popularity. It may turn out that Morath will have defined Las Cumbres Espanolas in the lexicography of American pop images. How many mountains do non-MST-zone dwellers know by name, even by sight? And now with sensual affection?

Hummel volunteers were unfit for Nazis

The Volunteers -special Iraqi Freedom issueOne might think the Nazis embraced kitsch. But they didn’t like Hummels. Their Army Times equivalent, Der SA-Mann, derided Berta Hummel’s depictions of impoverished but happy German children. Her charcoals and porcelain figurines looked like “wasserköpfige und klumpfüßige Dreckspatzen.” That’s “hydrocephalic, club-footed goblins,” instead of the “hard as Krupp Steel” Aryans they wanted Nazi Youth to be.
 
You might be wondering about the American Flag shown on the right…

The Third Reich banned the sale of the light hearted Hummel statuettes in Germany, but allowed their export, to profit by the foreign exchange.

In 1937 as Germany geared up for war, Berta, now Sister Maria Innocentia working from a convent in Siessen, Wuerttemberg, countered by publishing an uncharacteristically sad drawing of two boys dressed as Brownshirts, called Die Freiwillige, or The Volunteers, under which she inscribed this plea: “Dear Fatherland, let there be peace!”

When the Hummel print archive was on display in New Braunfels, Texas, in 1999, museum docent Tom Ryan described Die Freiwillige:

“They wear short pants and long sleeved brown shirts resembling those of adult Nazi ‘S.A.’ thugs. The cowed boys goose step in unison from left to right. Their tiny combat boots have no strings. Their hair spills out from under their caps. Nearer to us, the first boy somberly beats cadence on a thin, gaily colored drum which resembles a castanet. On his right a less than happy marching partner rests his toy rifle upside down on his right shoulder.”

Hitler was reportedly furious. Paper supplies were denied to the convent and German galleries were forbidden to display Hummel’s art. Eventually SA soldiers were quartered in the Siessen convent and the sisters were put out. Sister Hummel was forced to live in a basement and died shortly after the war of tuberculosis.

But the story is not over.

Another fate awaited Sister Maria’s sad satiric pair, the two little boys who marched unhappily, accompanying Hummel’s personal call for peace. Instead of unwittingly beaconing adults to lead their drumbeat circle in the opposite direction, far away from war, the little pair was ultimately fashioned into a new Hummel. This time sans brown shirts, but with rifle held adroitly.

The two play soldiers were remade into infant patriots, taking up the drum and given the same name, this time in English: “The Volunteers.” Hummel figure 50/0 was made into a special collectible in 1990, for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

(Synopsis: Godmother Superior of kitsch, Maria Innocentia Hummel, intended her “Volunteers” to be a plea for peace. The forlorn would-be soldiers were an affront to Hitler, but a half century later, the United States would prove its imperviousness to satire and enlist Hummel’s little boys into the war against Iraq.)

Ask Palin to take her COS fans with her

Palin a frightening prospectMONDAY NOV. 3RD brings another chance to see Sarah Palin. Can we pray it please be the last? Palin will hold court to the Colorado Springs’ Holy War freaks in the same private airplane hanger she used before, so that her campaign can splice footage from the previous rally.
Jet Center Aviation,
1575 Aviation Way.
Event starts at 5:15pm,
doors open at 3:30pm.

(Meet outside earlier.) Let’s bid them ALL best success with their God/guns/greed elsewhere.

As we learned from the Palin Sky Sox rally, wear RED because that’s what Palin’s supporters are being urged to wear. They will be dressing to look like a team, and they’ll arrive feeling like they’ve unwittingly donned YOUR colors!

frightening-palinAt right is a black & white version you can print on red card-stock, as large as your printer can handle. Then use White-Out to brighten the eyes and teeth. Or visit A Frightening Prospect to download a PDF of the original color version.

Another depressing lesson from the previous rallies was how many supporters brought their kids. School day or not. From their cars, and in front of traffic cops, many held their tongue, attributing it to their children being present. Standing in line, with younger ones or without, the insults flew fast and furious.

I’m still unclear whether it’s cricket to mock Palin supporters in front of their children. What -they should save face in front of offspring who without our help will grow up as ignorant as their parents?

What do you say to parents trying to raise bigots?What do you say to parents who are going to raise bigots?

No seriously. Here are some ideas to target the Fundamentalist crowd which PRAYER FORCE ONE wll be busing to the rally. Let’s speak their language!

Wasnt Jesus a Socialist?

Or

Behold-the-pharisees

For the more well behaved, there’s this great election flier. On Monday, meet at NOON at TOONS for the plan.

Sarah Palin NOPE voters guide

Pope says, ‘Piss in the jar, Please.’

piss christNew scientific ‘advances’ are being made by God these days! The Pope has just ordered that all priest applicants must now pass psycho-illogical profiling tests! The BBC reports that wannabe Priests to face ‘sex drive tests’ What next? Peeing in the cup? Lie detector tests for archbishops of the Liberation Theology category?

If they take out all the pedophile, gay, and heterosexual masturbating men that apply (apparently there was no hair openly growing in the palms of these men’s hands making more intensive testing necessary), they will have to allow lesbian nuns into the priesthood, and that would certainly change the nature of the Catholic Church all for the better…. but still?

Plus, this move encourages the Marine Corps to start doing these tests on their ever so normal American youth recruits. Then we would only have nice young normal men torturing and shouting ‘KILL! KILL! KILL!’ This seriously shows the dangerous wave of communism that is moving like a tsunami towards our Atlantic Coast from Rome by way of Barack Obama. I am now more likely to vote for John McCain. Also to mention that I had a wet dream just last night about Sarah! She was whipping America!

By the way… That picture above is an art work that shows Jesus Christ crucified on a cross in a jar of urine, which I find very personally offending. See how bad these communist artists can get? John McCain is the type of leader than can bomb the beJezus out of these American communist art centers, and YES, even those abroad. He’s for real change! And I think that he could work quite well alongside The Pope to help make the universe a much safer place and help reunite the EpiscoPalin Church back with the Catholic.

Springs Culture Cast has party for Craig Richardson and Klayton Elliot Kendall of Springs Culture Cast

Craig Richardson spars with BabetteThe Smokebrush is feting the first anniversary of the Springs Culture Cast enterprise on Thursday night. I love the work Craig and Klayton are doing to illuminate our city’s culture scene. Every weekday the two assemble a four minute segment on local arts. I especially like when their delivery swerves into the theatrical, but I can’t laugh forever at their sledgehammer self-promotion.

Radio segway: “It’s time for the Springs Culture Cast:”

Underwriter credit: “Springs Culture Cast is brought to you by…”

Intro: “Welcome to the radio edition of Springs Culture Cast.”

Reporter: “Hi I’m Craig Richardson with Springs Culture Cast… ”

“…This segment of Springs Culture Cast was produced by Craig Richardson and Klayton Elliot Kendall.

“To explore our video archives, please visit us online at Springs Culture Cast dot com.

“For Springs Culture Cast, this is Craig Richardson.”

Ancient Costa Rica for sale

Denver-Art-Museum-LibeskindThe kids are still on Christmas break and are starting to show definite signs of cabin fever. To stave off a domestic implosion, we took a trip up to the Denver Art Museum yesterday. The DAM recently opened a spectacular addition designed by Daniel Libeskind, the architect chosen to rebuild the World Trade Center site. But I had an ulterior motive. I’d recently read about the DAMs 16,000-piece assemblage of pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial art, including one of the world’s largest collections of Costa Rican artifacts, nearly 2,000 items, donated to the museum by Denver businessman, Frederick Mayer, and his wife. I wanted to check it out.

We’re planning a trip to Costa Rica. Although not much is known about pre-Columbian Costa Rica in comparison to the high cultures of Mexico and South America, recent excavations have uncovered numerous artifacts, including jade carvings. Jade is green and pretty and shiny, perfect for an art lover of my caliber, so I wanted to see it for myself. Call it a bit of research before hitting the craft markets in Sarchi!

Sure enough, Eric and I lost ourselves in a huge room filled with thousands of artifacts. Stone, ceramic, textiles, gold and, oh yes, jade. After an hour or so, we’d barely made a dent in the pre-Columbian collection. Vowing a subsequent visit to the Spanish Colonial galleries, we left to collect the kids before their art experience became Night-mare at the Museum.

As always, looking at ancient artifacts leads me into lofty reverie of past worlds and bare-chested warriors. But this time I couldn’t help but wonder about Jan and Frederick Mayer as well. Certainly amazement and appreciation for their commitment to art and to philanthropy. But really, how on earth had one couple managed to collect this much art from a small Central American country? And why aren’t many of the beautiful pieces residing in Costa Rica, teaching and providing inspiration to Costa Ricans? Especially because Costa Rican pre-Columbian history is not nearly as well-documented as that of its neighbors.

Costa Rica has taken significant measures to protect their natural environment from exploitation. Nearly 20% of the land is set aside for preserves, parks or refuges of some sort. But after my trip to the Denver Art Museum, I’m thinking that perhaps Costa Rica should endeavor to protect other national treasures, especially art created by the hands of largely unknown ancestors, from passionate and well-meaning American oilmen.

Jade museum Costa RicaI will visit the museums in San Jose and let you know how they measure up against the breathtaking Denver Art Museum, with its encyclopedic collection of pre-Columbian Costa Rican artifacts–and hopefully return with a few shiny jade replicas of my own!

A couple Sundance programs, The Kitchen, and other fine things

I have a bunch of cool things in the works for the next couple of months- I’m excited about them and wanted to let you folks know:

On Jan. 11th I’ll be screening all of my films with live narrations and soundtracks at DiverseWorks in Houston. The band will be Jim Becker (Califone), Andy Coppinger and myself. It’ll be frenetic and beautiful. The show is to celebrate the opening of DiverseWorks’ animation show Flicker Fusion, which includes Hadacol Christmas.

Jan. 18th, 19th and 21st I’ll be screening all of my films with live narrations and improvised soundtracks by myself and Califone at Sundance. It’s part of their New Frontiers program. I love Califone. These shows will be unreal. The shows will be around an hour long with a little Q&A at the end- all of them at 6PM at the New Frontiers on Main MicroCinema building. It’s called “God Builds Like Frank Lloyd Wright: Califone and the animated films of Brent Green.”

“Carlin” is screening at Sundance, too! As part of their Documentary Spotlight program. There’s a film Isabella Rossilini made about the sex life of bugs screening in there, too. Sundance runs from Jan. 17th- Jan. 28th- the Documentary Spotlight runs five times in there somewhere.

On Feb. 8th, Tim Rutili (Califone) and I will be performing live soundtracks and narrations to all of my films and a couple of films Tim has cooked up recently at Montalvo Artspace in Califone- somewhere outside of San Francisco.

On Feb. 13th, The Kitchen will be hauling Jim Becker (Califone), Fred Lonberg-Holm (Valentine Trio, Lightbox Orchestra, cellist for Wilco, Califone, Freakwater, Ken Vandermark and all kinds of other folks) and Brendan Canty (Fugazi) to New York City. Cello, violin, musical saw, guitars, piano and drums- this is going to be a beautiful show.

My first solo museum show, at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland will be running through Jan. 5th, too. If you’re around Cleveland, that’s a pretty rad show- all of my film sets and hand-made wooden props. I also made a woodcut-print of Virginia Woolf for the Sculpture Center, which is available on their website somewhere, I think.

In defense of Ralph Routon

Ralf RoutonRalph Routon’s recent diatribe in the Indy about the impending departure of Michael DeMarsche was lame. But you have to understand. Having Ralph write about the arts is akin to having John Waters write about the Superbowl. You can only imagine how funny that would be. To us. But not to sports fans. You might as well call Jesus a homo or spit on an Indian before you sully such sacred land.

People. Look at the picture of Ralph. Then consider that no one chooses their worst picture to present to the world.  This is likely as good as it gets.  Which means that he is a beer-swilling bratwurst-gobbling sports-worshiping manly man.  He spits.  He scratches.  He has issues with dingleberries.  But he LOVES sports.  And by sports, I don’t mean fencing or horse racing or curling.  Sport involves a BALL of some sort.  And a distinctively American connection (which rules out rugby and soccer, although rugby is the ultimate masculine sport…even basketball doesn’t totally qualify for reasons I can’t quite figure out, but I think it’s because there are so few good white players).

One of the most memorable arguments that Dave and I ever had involved music.  We were in our late twenties; we lived in downtown Denver and we were cool.  He was a surgical resident at the U and I was a financial guru for a hip software company.  As such, we were invited to many events. When these invitations came in through medical channels everything was great.  Orthopedic surgeons are always jocks who were inspired to become surgeons while recovering from their own sports-related injuries.  But when the invitations came from my side of the channel, things were unpredictable.

We were invited to Josephina’s on Larimer, to drink wine and listen to some groovy jazz with fellow yuppies, a term Dave hated.  We got there.  We drank Coors Light while they drank "whine."  They listened to the "music."  In a very unfortunate turn of events, the girl that Dave took to junior prom, Alison, the fantastic skier, the one that paid only friendly attention to him due to family connections, walked in with her new husband, Clark.  Clark was an attorney who was, tragically, wearing a knee-length fur coat.  Dave was wearing Levis, tennis shoes and a yellow t-shirt (with red letters, like a hot dog) that said "NO LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY FIELD!" (which is now framed in the basement, I kid you not).  Things went rapidly downhill from there.  ‘When’s the music gonna start?  I could probably fix that pinkie for a fee.  Let’s go to the sym-PHONY next week."

Dave is the guy who slept through the birth of most of his children.  Our 10-year-old had the lead role in Oliver! at the FAC and I had to beg Dave to watch a single performance.  Brendan was in Colorado Christmas at the Broadmoor, performing for 1,000 people every night and Dave came to watch only once and rolled his eyes at all the "religious" bullshit (he doesn’t know any Christmas carols).  Brendan was hand-picked by Debbie Allen to be in Pepito’s Story at the Pikes Peak Center and Dave was sort of embarrassed and wondered if Brendan might be gay.

This same guy sobbed like an 8-year-old girl when Brent Musburger retired from sportscasting.  I’ve been to two Broncos Superbowls, Northwestern’s first Rose Bowl in 80 years, several Olympic games, the Citrus Bowl when Peyton Manning was senior quarterback and headed for greatness.  Weeping and gnashing of teeth all around.  My children paint, and play music, and sing, and dance.  None of it matters.  But Dave is elated for days if 6-year-old Devon, the only girl on the team, makes a double play to win the game.  Booyah!  Fuck yeah!

My point in all this is that Ralph Routon DOES NOT and CAN NOT care about the arts.  We will have to leave it to the psychiatrists to figure out why. Ralph Routon does not care who or what is playing at the Black Sheep, Theaterworks, the BAC.  He won’t attend Pridefest, nor the Diversity Fair.  Not even Springspree.  But he will agonize over the legal troubles of Michael Vick and any injury sustained by LaDanian Tomlinson.  He did, after all, draft them to his fantasy football team and he’s got 50 bucks hanging in the balance.

John Weiss, not exactly a manly man and therefore less than qualified to diagnose the problem, better figure it out soon and bring in some new blood.  Or the Indy will become the Indy 500 and he’ll have to find a whole new group of advertisers and readers.  Of course I’m kidding.  Car racing is most definitely not a SPORT.  Duh.

No hope

Jason Godeke illustrates George Saunders
This painting is called Me and Dad with captives. No explanation proffered. It’s by New Mexico artist Jason Godeke as part of a series about inhumanity.

The scene recreated here haunts me every time I look upon it, and reminds me of the George Saunders novella Bounty. From his collection CivilWarLand in bad decline written in 1996, Bounty describes a timeless America where slavery divides Normals and Flaweds. The story offers the reader a point of view with which he can identify, as any average imperfect person, facing a world were all laws, comforts and sympathies are against him. Escape leads only to the next captor’s depravity, (Normals being just as vulnerable to human frailty as the random genetically Flawed). For the unfortunates, damned by birth, there is no landscape or impending social reform to offer hope of reprieve.

Godeke’s farm scene suggests an identical terror. Two people, indistinguishable from any other, are bound and at the mercy of two others. One looks despondent, the other is reacting to a mistreatment. The two tormentors act with fresh enthusiasm for the power they wield over their captives, recording, as the painting’s title suggests, this snapshot for posterity. Not “our captives,” not “the captives,” but simply that opportunity’s “captives.” The field extends further than the victims’ voices can carry, there is no sanctuary on the horizon and time stands still.