untitled (Flatfix) 2015

This is an image of a streetscape I found on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick this beautiful afternoon, on a walk between Los Ojos and Interstate Projects.

If I'm going to restart this blog, maybe I should be carrying around a camera other than my old iPhone. I like this image, but I can't help thinking Mr. NIKON could have done it better.

untitled (snow) 2015

Barry looked through the window onto our snow-covered roof garden this morning and announced, "you can see the snowflakes!" Since he was a few feet away from them, I was a bit skeptical, . . . until I got up and looked for myself, and there they were.

I hadn't re-set the ASA or the image quality before I took a few shots from one foot above the blanket lying right outside the breakfast room with my little Nikon, so the picture above, while it does show some snowflake shapes, became less a meteorological document than an art abstraction. Other than darkening it, in order to make out the shapes even better, I played very little with the image.

I see stars, galaxies maybe.


Some of Kristen Jensen's sculpture is currently part of an interesting group show, 'The Curve', at Wallspace Gallery in Chelsea. The works are shown above, almost certainly in the artist's own elegant arrangement. They are made of porcelain or stoneware, with the exception of the piece on the left, whose materials are described as campfire ashes and brass. They are titled, clockwise from the left, 'Portable Black Hole', 'Steady, Steady Man', 'Dad Nose', 'Shim', and 'Bell'.

The other artists in the show, which closes January 14, are Jan Groover, Zachary Leener, Rebecca Morris, Monique Mouton, and Matt Paweski.

untitled (golden light) 2015

I continue to be amazed with what phone cameras can do, so thank you Steve.

But, no, this image isn't a photo-edited collage, but the effect produced by at least three pieces of a broken mirror reflecting some other debris and surrounding building facades. There's also a bit of a plastic bag of trash, and some sidewalk elements at the top and the bottom, I think, but even I no longer can be sure, and I was there.

Whatever. But it made for a fun kaleidoscope as dusk approached West Chelsea this afternoon.

untitled (afghan) 2015

I was changing a setting on my camera while standing over the bed when something close to this image appeared on the screen. It thrilled me, so I captured its like.

the first page of Stockhausen's piano score for 'Kontakte', seen seconds before 'Originale' began

I've uploaded 347 iphone images I had captured - with the enthusiastic encouragement of the curator, Nick Hallet - during the performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Originale" on November 7 at The Kitchen. They are of varying quality, but I show virtually every picture I shot, including a few blanks, or near-blanks, because the bricolage suggests the beautiful energy of the evening, along with its [suggestion of] mayhem.

I virtually grew up listening to Stockhausen. His music was broadcast by Westdeutscher Rundfunk [WDR] in the 1950s, and that station's avant garde music programs (which included the music of Hans Werner Henze, among other composers considered late-20th-century giants today) were carried by the CBC, to which I listened in Detroit, via their Windsor, Ontario outlet across the river.

While I missed the first performance of this piece, Stockhausen's first venture into theater, in Köln, in 1962, and was living in Germany when "Originale" was produced at Judson Church. I wouldn't have missed this one for the world, and I felt deeply honored to be at The Kitchen on Friday, where I rewarded far beyond all my expectations. I was in heaven, and when it was over, I didn't want to leave.

It was a very funny, and a very happy evening. Because of that I think I have a much better understanding - and even more love - for the composer's cycle of seven operas, "Licht", than I had before being immersed within this fantastic musical theater piece, and I already loved those operas dearly.

Unfortunately I'm unable to credit everyone, but this is a list, in order of their appearance, of the performers who appear in the album, together with the official description of their roles:

Rachel Mason (Action Musician)
Stephen Drury (Pianist)
Stuart W. Gerber (Percussionist)
Raul de Nieves (Child)
Nao Bustamente (Performer I)
Justin Vivian Bond (Model)
Nick Hallett (Singer)
Alexandro Segade (Performer IV)
Ishmael Houston-Jones (Performer II)
Lucy Sexton (Performer V)
Niv Acosta (Performer III)
Zach Layton (Conductor)
Saori Tsukada (Newspaper Seller)
Narcissiter (Animal Handler)
[unidentified photographer as one of two disco balls]
Joan Jonas (Action Painter)
Eileen Myles (Poet)

Loren MacIver Fishers Island ca. 1952 oil on masonite 44.125" x 57"

The Loren MacIver painting above jumped out at me while I was lazily scrolling through the Brooklyn Museum Bot (@BklynMuseumBot) this morning while still lying in bed. I thought it was very beautiful. Once awake and at the table with my laptop, I looked for more about the artist and her work. Very interesting, both.

Shortly after I began browsing, I thought of another modern seascape. Marsden Hartley's "Evening Storm, Schoodic, Maine No. 2". That painting became a favorite of mine the moment I first saw it somewhere else on line. Some time after that I actually saw the Hartley in real space, at the Brooklyn Museum, which also happens to shelter the MacIver painting. The latter however is not currently on public display, except in an online image.

Marsden Hartley Evening Storm, Schoodic, Maine No. 2 1942 oil on fabricated board 30" x 40.5"

untitled (Fishkill) 2014

The image, taken from inside a window of The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, is of the rapids below, on a perfect autumn day, when the trees were at peak color in Duchess County, and the waters of Fishkill Creek seemed to be celebrating.

Vilaykorn Sayaphet Ninety-One 2014 oil on board 18" x 18"

Vilaykorn Sayaphet's show of new paintings, "Latmanikham & Thongsy", at English Kills Art Gallery is a treasure. These are 'pictures' in both the most elemental and the most profound workings of a totally inadequate word. The three images I happen to have taken while at the gallery are probably of paintings more abstract than some of the others, but they all suggest representation, and yet largely elude interpretation.

I think they are all described as oil on board, but most of the works incorporate collaged elements, and in some cases they display physical interruptions/mutilations of the (mostly found) panels themselves, as is the case with "18 Hours Straight", below. Sometimes they move a bit beyond the panels' perimeters, and occasionally they directly engage the artist's rough framing.

Vilaykorn Sayaphet 18 Hours Straight 2014 oil on board 20" x 18"

They're all very beautiful, and I'm pretty sure unlike anything I've seen before.

Barry and I had intended to be at the opening reception late last month, but major travel plans, later aborted, kept us away. We weren't able to see it until this past weekend, and now it appears we're not the only ones excited about Sayaphet's Bushwick show. I expect his work will inspire another opening before very long, and we're not gong to want miss it.

Ben La Rocco has written a review for Hyperallergic which I discovered after I had decided to write this post; it's so good that I won't try to add to it, other than to suggest that people find their way to the gallery before "Latmanikham & Thongsy" closes on Sunday.

Vilaykorn Sayaphet Van Gogh's Blue oil on board 14" x 14"

It was conceived as an important visual document, accessible to the public and to institutions, which would describe the faces of a community and a moment whose memory is already fading from our consciousness.

The Kickstarter for the project needs a real boost as it winds down now, with less than three days to go. If the book doesn't get published, I think it will be a genuine loss for activism today.

Of course if it does get published, it won't mean a cure for AIDS. Also, to be sure, "The AIDS activist project: A new book of portraits of AIDS activists from around the globe" is not a vanity project for the artist, Bill Bytsura, or for those members of the historical ACT UP whose beautiful portraits will be a part of it.

Its importance is greater than the authors of the project or the subjects included in the book.

Pictures are important for understanding a past and inspiring a future, but pictures assembled in a context are still more important, and take on a life of their own. ACT UP was a movement which exploded in the late 80s, and burgeoned through half of the next decade, responding creatively, and often heroically, to a life and death crisis which was being ignored by an establishment which appeared to be unmovable.

Its people and the community they formed, along with the AIDS crisis which galvanized them, may be ancient history to a generation struggling today worldwide with an indifference among the powerful arguably even broader in scale - if, perhaps, less deadly. There is much to be gained today from looking at the devices employed, their successes - along with their failures, by a movement which flourished twenty and more years back. There's also the courage and nobility of so many of its members, and the anger and the love which was always a part of the movement.

Bytsura's book would give a face to an entire generation of activists (although in fact people of all ages were included in its membership), and it could serve an entire new generation as both muster to resistance, and powerful inspiration for effective resistance. Please help to breathe life into it, and consider contributing to its publication.

Full disclosure: Billy has been a friend since the days of ACT UP at it peak, and Barry and I have several of his beautiful non-activist photographs in our collection. There is also this portrait of a very young me, at 50, in 1990.