2013 Notes
05/23/2013

Last month, the Concordia Chamber Players had a unique concert offering.  Bracketed by the familiar comforts of Brahms and Mozart was something quite novel for classical chamber music— a piece written for Theremin.  The Theremin is an electric instrument played without any physical contact but by interfering with the frequencies emitting from two antennae.  While the novelty of the Theremin has made it the darling of eclectic hipster bands and Sci Fi soundtracks—the Theremin had originally been created with the intention of being incorporated into the classical setting.   Read more…

12/10/2013

Photo: Drawing by Michael McJilton

Look in the margins of school notebooks or on pads beside telephones and you will find constellations of mark making.  These obsessively scrawled images, fussed and exaggerated, seem to have organically sprung up alongside conscientious note-taking like mold upon cheese.  In the household of my youth, the telephone notepad often had collaborative scribbles where one person would continue the design begun by someone else.  I was fascinated by my mothers’ lacy motifs and the names and numbers reverently traced again and again.  Whether they seem to subtract from or amplify the task at hand, doodles betray the workings of the mind as steam to a kettle. Read more…

09/13/2013

Photo: The barn doors at Kings Oaks Art
In his recent musing on The Death of the Gallery, critic Jerry Saltz described the bewildering fizzle of the gallery culture in New York as market powers and tastes are pulling the carpet from under the cultural institution. The forum in which he once reveled was a gallery scene that promoted conversation about art with a certain historic continuity and certain consequences for artistic merit—and that is fading away, he decries. But he finds an optimistic coda by stating that the dethroning of the gallery might serve to unveil the reality of multiple art worlds and bring a certain democracy to audiences and artists. Read more…

08/13/2013

Photo: Andy Warhol’s Campell soup can available for sale on Amazon.com

Amazon.com has just grown the reach of their e-commerce empire a bit further.  One is now able to buy original artwork with the click of a button.  Where in the past Amazon has sidestepped and starved small business to compete for sales, in this venture they are actually working with galleries to supply the merchandise—at least for the time being.  One hundred and fifty galleries are participating in this experiment to begin with. The partnership theoretically benefits both parties by giving Amazon some credibility and direction in the vast murky waters of the art market, and giving galleries access to Amazon’s vast murky waters of clientele. Read more…

11/18/2013

Photo: Ink drawing from the Mitsou series by Balthus

But what attitudes do cats adopt? Cats are just that: cats. And their world is utterly, through and through, a cat’s world. You think they look at us? Has anyone ever truly known whether or not they deign to register for one instant on the sunken surface of their retina our trifling forms?

-R.M Rilke from the introduction of Mitsou; 40 drawings by Balthus. Read more…

01/08/2013

Comedian Ricky Gervais has, in the past two years, produced a TV show calledAn Idiot Abroad, featuring his colleague Karl Pilkington as a reluctant traveler.  Defying the convention of the wise dauntless traveler who narrates his or her experience from a perspective of professorial awe, An Idiot abroad tells its story through a traveler who is very much uncomfortable with foreign custom and dubious of the world’s spectacles.  Karl is framed as the village idiot who cannot see things the way society deems normal, and is entertaining by way of his earnest grumbles. He finds the Great Wall of China repetitive, for instance.  Read more…

02/14/2013

I wanted to get a couch last year.  Or perhaps the desire for a new couch began earlier, years earlier, but only presented itself as a decision last year.  The couch that I am replacing belonged to my grandparents.  Like much of their wardrobe, it is bright red, or was bright red, now faded to bright pink.  It rides low and stretches long, big enough for someone to sleep outstretched with a medium sized dog at their feet.  My apartment is dark.  The pine board walls and ceiling cured overtime into a rich caffeinated brown and the carpet is a deep, jungle-night green.  Read more…

04/15/2013

In 1970 the New York Time’s critic, Hilton Kramer spoke of artist Philip Guston, after his debut of new paintings as, “A Mandarin Pretending to be a Stumblebum.”  Kramer was not alone in his harsh assessment of the painter’s apparent abandonment of abstract expressionism for a return to figuration.  Guston’s work as one of the seminal abstract expressionists was poetic and painterly with soulful investigations of the painting surface.  The new work that he was creating after moving from New York to Woodstock was still quite painterly, but now was filled with iconic, cartoonish imagery. Read more…

07/06/2013

Photo: Stanley Baker and Michael Caine in the 1964 film Zulu

In concept, a Classic Film has, by merit, endured through the ages unshaken by the winds of fashion.  Classic Films bubble to the surface and only improve with additional viewings, continually adding to modern conversations.  This is why I was so disturbed when recently I tried to watch the classic film Zulu on my father’s new television set and found it corrupted by technology. Read more…