Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sopo Bicycle Frame Show at Radial Cafe

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Castleberry Hill Art Stroll

(Updated! See below.)

I stopped by Allison Rentz' performance Friday because I'd looked through a few still photographs of her hanging installations and thought they had a lot of potential. The installations are preoccupied with fairly powerful themes - weight, entanglement, birth, and, less directly, music/speech/sound. Unfortunately, Rentz' live performance was basically incomprehensible - but not incomprehensible in a good way, where the piece suggests a basic unity that the viewer's just not able to grasp.

(Jeremy's posting a longer review on his blog sometime towards the end of the week)

Emil Alzomora, Krause Gallery.

Put me in a room with a few of these things, and I'll be happy to just spend an hour staring.

Abby Banks at Get This! Gallery, from "If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now"

Does this fit that "hipjaculate" definition? Maybe. Definitely a bit more gracefully than the usual "gallery full of skateboards decorated by local graffiti artists."

I guess, having looked through Banks' Punk House: Interiors in Anarchy a few days before seeing the show, I was prepared to assess her work as intentionally closer to anthropology than art.

I sort of rushed through this one, which is unfortunate. Anyone out there writing about it?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Slow Day

From a 1 star Amazon review of Alice In Wonderland:

"I think the book Alice in Wonderland is a very good book. While it can be confusing at times, it makes you wonder. For example, when they were talking to the turtle, it didn't make very much sense. Also, the trial over the pastries, it was very idiotic, and if that trial happened today it would get thrown out. Lastly, at the hare and mad hatter's on going tea party, it was very senseless. The author's use of language was very unlike our language today. For example, when she said so many times the words, "shot up", it sounds English or something. The book has this tone a lot throughout it. Maybe the author has English back round. But it was in very easy to understand language, accept for the times people were talking non-sense. The main character is Alice. At sometimes she can seem clueless, and go on rambling like while talking with the turtle. She even pointed it out her-self. A lot of her decisions during the book make no sense. Like to just walk off with that little pig at the Duchess' house. And why would she follow the rabbit to an unknown land to begin with. There was many times where she confused me sometimes. Like when she talked with the caterpillar and said she wasn't the person she started as at the beginning of the day. One thing of the book I did not understand was the theme. In fact I did not see a theme. The only thing close to a theme was a girl trapped in an unusual world, with no way out. One other thing I didn't see in the book was a plot. The entire book was was a girl going with the flow and seeing where the adventure took her. The cat that kept disappearing and appearing even asked her why did she need directions to somewhere, if she didn't know where she was going. In my opinion this book had no effectiveness. It also had no meaning. It had no moral, and nothing to learn from it. So I think the book was very pointless, and just something to read for fun.'"

A different reviewer, on Borges' Labyrinths: Selected Stories:

"This book is filled with short stories of bad boring science fiction. References, complete with page numbers, to non existent books only add to the tedium"

Nabokov's Ada:

"This is a masturbatory fantasy. Nabokov has created his dream world: The United States and Russia are one country and everybody who's anybody speaks French, too; World War I never happened, let alone World War II; and Van Veen has a lifelong love affair with his cousin Ada (actually his sister), full of passion, yearning, intellectual stimulation, and the thrill of the forbidden, plus a soupcon of jealousy provided by Ada's full sister Lucette, who wants Van to love her, too, and finally kills herself for want of him, spicing Van's life with a touch of sweet remorse. Oh - I forgot to mention the voyeuristic lesbianism when Lucette describes her own affair with Ada, and their threesome.
If this isn't the stuff of your dreams, you may find Nabokov's mandarin literary style a little heavy for the subject matter, like a g-string made of real cloth of gold."


"All this hoopla about Lolita made me curious enough to read it. Don't tell me this is about love. This pedophile clearly stalks young girls. Maybe his first true love could never blossom, but to carry that feeling throughout his life screams psychological problems, not love."

Crying of Lot 49

"Lot 49 was introduced to me by an English professor at the university I attend. I can tell anyone that it is the worst novel (fiction for that matter!) that I have ever read. I enjoy reading fiction and I cannot believe that this novel could ever be popular. P's sentences ramble on and on as if he was in a state of mass hysteria or a drug induced coma when he was writing. Not only does this novel not make sense, I have to agree with another reader that it is not in the least bit interesting. I WILL BE FORTUNATE IF I NEVER HAVE TO READ ANOTHER BOOK BY PYNCHON AGAIN IN MY LIFE!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Michi posted an artist statement for his Eyedrum gallery exhibit, Comfort Kills Pursuit: FIGHT!, on Tuesday. As always, I'm not sure how much of Michi's work I understand. This statement is especially puzzling. The narrative voice shifts in some unexpected ways, and I get the idea that each sentence was composed days or hours after the sentence which proceeds it.

A few of my favorite passages:

"I hear my colleagues question their creative environment and its lack of community. Has Atlanta become too comfortable in its pursuit or fight of defining and establishing a contemporary arts society?"

"In creative thought, The Great White Hope is the gallery. It is the stage set by its four white corners mimicking the boxing ring. It is an opponent that has eluded many of fighters or artists. We all believe in its mythical power and its collectors’ ringside seats to elevate and hype our careers to the next level just by hanging there."

"The artist is up nights jumping rope, hitting the bags, sketching, reading, questioning, truly searching and becoming serial killer obsessed and focused on an idea."

"There are many things in our lives that we are fighting to free from our minds."

"I am fighting for liberation from a history of images that portray black males as strange fruit, machinery, and property... Some events occurred in my father's life time, such as bouts with the Klan that have been woven into the fabric of my family’s stories. How have these images affected the thought process and the image of self? How have they shaped the spirit?"

I remember meeting Michi a few months ago at MJQ's circus themed art show. He was at the bar talking with my friend Jeremy, we were all either drinking or trying to order whiskeys, and he was finishing an explanation of his most recent work, "...basically I just got my kid to make a lot of shapes in construction paper."

I've kept the most initial segments of that initial meeting in mind when I've seen Michi's work since that night. To me, he'll always be a family man who's never seen with his family, and, even though Comfort Kills Pursuit: FIGHT! is far from an exploration of family, I envision Michi's family as a counterweight to a few of the troubling questions he raises in this exhibit.

I suppose that's my own way of avoiding the fight.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Grand Prize Winners From Last Year

Horrible name, great band. I accidentally saw these guys playing at Lenny's Monday night (did any of you get a chance to see the Coathangers/Selmanairs show this Friday?), and was fairly blown away. I wrote a more detailed post about them, but it's back home on some scrap paper Atlanta, and I'm here in Chicago visiting family.

GPWFLY are playing Apache Cafe Sunday night, and at least two other Atlanta shows over the next week. See them - they're one of the best local bands I've seen in the last month or so.

Check their myspace for more info.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Apartment Suggestions

I'm trying to prove to my friend that it's possible to rent an inexpensive place in metro Atlanta.

He's looking for an apartment to share with his fiancee, preferably for a three month or month-by-month lease. They need a place that's inexpensive, and within a mile of an "intown" MARTA station (no further out than 4 stops from Five Points Station).

Is this possible, or am I crazy?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Art Papers Live Hosts Daniel Canogar

I generally assume a piece of art is good if pictures of it provoke gasps from audiences. Canogar's presentation had at least two or three mass-audience-gasps.

Otras Geologias 5, Daniel Canogar

A slightly more complete summary of my thoughts, about an hour and a half after Canoger's talk:

1) He's brilliant.

2) His artistic vision seems to have evolved in interesting ways over the last few years.

3) His overall philosophy tends towards extremes of both control and randomness (randamnity?), which makes me wonder to what degree his philosophy is a reflection of similarities between artists who do most of their work with large-scale installations. There are probably a few other ways to explain the emphasis he places on control and [the opposite of control].

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sanctify at Opal Gallery

I stopped by Opal Gallery last Thursday, expecting to spend a few spare minutes checking out the Colorfields exhibit. It turns out I'm incredibly behind the times - Colorfields closed April 3, and was replaced by David Knox's Sanctify.

All Knox's photographs (organized as diptychs and triptychs) have this quality which doesn't convey well to second-hand observation. For one, they're set in beautiful stained maple frames, and it's almost impossible to convey the tones of the wood through photograph. More importantly, his photographs eschew the glossy, sharp, "high quality" tendency I've been seeing in a lot of recent photography.

(The type of photography where, no matter what type of camera the photographer uses, even when the final shot's deliberately over/underexposed, at an angle that's not quite right, and some object's been mysteriously planted in the foreground of the shot, obscuring the photograph's focal point - you can still tell that the photographer had a very clear image of their final photograph throughout the process of creating the shot.)

Knox creates his images using "liquid emulsion on metal plates in a printing method very similar to the 19th Century tintype process." Gibberish to me, but the end result is a warm, mottled print, almost pooled within the walls of diptych and triptych frames. The photographs suggests a vision more complicated than the simple decision to use an antiquated printing technique, a sensation of searching for a quality, lost in time or space, which will perfectly communicate some perfect form of the photographer's self to the spectators crowded around his work.

A postscript: though Knox cites Flannery O'Conner's short stories as his primary influence, I'm also reminded of William Faulkner's landscape descriptions, especially a passage from the beginning of Faulkner's Light in August:

"Though the mules plod in a steady and unflagging hypnosis, the vehicle does not seem to progress. It seems to hang suspended in the middle distance forever and forever, so infinitesimal is its progress, like a shabby bead upon the mild red string of road. So much so is this that in the watching of it the eye loses it as sight and sense drowsily merge and blend, like the road itself, with all the peaceful and monotonous changes between darkness and day, like already measured thread being rewound onto a spool."

"Sight and sense drowsily merge and blend." How perfect is that?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sunset Scavenger at Get This! Gallery

This review was originally written for False Magazine. It was created as part of about a dozen "short short" reviews. I misheard the review requirements when I began the piece, and ended up writing twice the hundred-word limit. The much shorter version of this review will appear in False Magazine's Summer issue.

In a recent Creative Loafing interview, Bill Daniel presented his newest project, Sunset Scavenger, as an exploration of “life on an angry planet.” The photography and found signage which cluttered Get This! Gallery’s small spaces on Friday, March 28 certainly reflected this worldview. Sun-bleached black and whites were prevalent even in Daniel’s houseboat and post-Katrina New Orleans photographs, giving these images a sense of being collectively set upon a massive shared desert. In Daniel’s study of voluntary and involuntary wanderers, habitats normally associated with humanity are displayed stripped entirely bare.

Daniel’s focus on emptiness plays interestingly with the signs scattered throughout the gallery. Some signs are handwritten, some are typed; some fight to protect homeless rights (“Don’t Kick Car Campers to the Curb!”), while others are placed to dissuade trespassers and vagrants. Though the signs are empty of any human faces, they represent a drive which is absent in Daniel’s stark houseboat, home, and train photographs.

Within Sunset Scavenger’s world, photographs and signs seem to mark a competition. Each type of abandoned signifier represents a positive or negative interpretation of absence, and Daniel’s most impressive accomplishment is leaving the outcome of this argument entirely undecided.

The Men From N.O.W.H.E.R.E.

Doom Patrol #36, Grant Morrison, Kelley Jones, and Mark McKenna

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More Famous Every Day

If you search for proclaim it lost on Google, my blog is the third result! I'm still being beat out by a story about American health clubs, but I'm confident we can win this thing.

T-shirt stall, Underground Atlanta, Sunday

Friday, April 4, 2008

First Writing Piece Printed!

The review (as well as a review of Micah Dalton's album, and some news pieces) is out in Performer Magazine's April issue. You can read it online here.

I finally got to see Hope For Agoldensummer play live at Wordsmith Books' old location a few weeks after writing my review. Ariadne Thread uses a lot of interesting studio tricks, and I was worried that their live set wouldn't carry the layered, almost old, quality I heard in my favorite songs from the album.

For their show, Hope For Agoldensummer avoided trying to duplicate their studio sound, skipping the most "produced" tracks from their album ("Last Summer's Beach Trip" and "Old Questions"). They opened with "Hold Me Close In the Hallway," the first track from Ariadne Thread, replacing the album's cicada chirps with rhythmic foot shuffling. Most of their other pieces followed this same formula, replacing multilayered audio-collage with simple devices (foot shuffling, bells wrapped around an ankle) used more as a reminder of the sound used in the album.

It all worked out very well, and I've just spent my lunch break trying to imagine how Hope for Agoldensummer would sound in a larger venue, like Atlanta's Variety Playhouse.