Hundreds of people made a pilgrimage to Bernal Hill in San Francisco a few nights ago to witness the lunar eclipse. I have been flying my kite there for the past three years on the Harvest Moon, which is the first full moon after the autumn equinox. It was inspiring to see so many people gathering outside to pay attention to the physical world.
This weekend I took a friend for a foggy hike in Marin and showed him the hidden cement tablet I embedded in the ground there last year as part of the sightlines project. I love seeing the vegetation overtaking this man-made inscription into the landscape.
In 2006 I experienced an animated fractal by Johnathon Wolfe of the Fractal Foundation projected on the dome of the planetarium in Albuquerque. For the next six months I worked in my studio in West Oakland on a painting inspired by a video still of his animation. I envisioned it made of different-sized panels connected by bolts, so that it could be dismantled and reconfigured. This painting, along with a stop-motion animation of its creation displayed on an ipod embedded in the gallery wall, was in my first two-person exhibition in 2008 with Evan Holm, curated by Adam Hatch at Ego Park, which turned into Hatch Gallery, (which is no longer). The painting was featured in my first-ever review by DeWitt Cheng for the East Bay Express.
Over the course of several years, the painting was relocated with the help of many friends (it was hulking and heavy), to the lunchroom in my former workplace at Kw Engineering, to a hallway in a condemned studio at the UC Berkeley Richmond Field Station, and then to an old latrine at the Headlands Center for the Arts. In 2012, in the home of art patron Gary Schefsky, my friend Ruth Goldstein and I created a feedback video using a digital projector looping the Ego Park animation superimposed on top of an analogue slide (used originally for my grad school application) while playing the song Brahminy Kite by Caribou.
This feedback video is the projection within which I perform the final decommissioning of the fractal painting - Infinite Regress, 2007 - in my basement/garage/studio in West Berkeley. From its remains were created the Hex Coasters, 2015, on sale TOMORROW NIGHT at Incline Gallery in San Francisco.
I'm going to have work for sale Thursday February 19th 5-9pm at Incline Gallery, 766 Valencia Street in San Francisco. All proceeds benefit the artists. The show is organized by Matt Gonzalez, Andres Guerrero, Peter Kirkeby, and Incline Gallery. I'll be selling sets of coasters made from cutting up a 2007 painting of a fractal.
I've been asked by the Headlands Center for the Arts to lead a silent hike as part of their public programming on Sunday March 8th, at noon leaving from the Mess Hall. More details and registration soon...
I'm excited to be included in an exhibition in Mexico City put on by Ampersand and Incline Gallery next week during the art fairs. I'll be showing some of my newest work (not on the website yet). If you are around please stop by!
Featuring work by San Francisco based artists Miguel Arzabe, Amos Goldbaum, Erik Otto, Jessica Skloven, and Andy Vogt, and Mexico City based artists Ricardo Alzati, Katya Brailovsky, Ray Ortiz, Alvaro Verduzco, and Pilar Villela.
WEDNESDAY, FEBURARY 4th: 4PM-7PM and THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5th: 12PM-6P
The Gallery @ The Red Tree House
Culiacan 8, Colonia Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, 06100 Cuidad de Mexico, D.F.
The winter solstice was a perfect moment to experience this unforgettable performance at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, a confluence of the artistic vision of Douglas Gordon, the outstanding chops of pianist Héléne Grimaud, and the superb lighting design by Brian Scott. I made a quick little comic to relate the magic of that night to my sister's kids.
I took my paper cutting gear on the road while I'm visiting friends and family this holiday season in the American West. My friend Eva Struble invited me to her studio in San Diego and while she worked on her new paintings I began this new weaving, using the pages of the same auction catalog mentioned in the previous post. Featured pieces are clockwise from left: Blue Balls VII, 1962, by Sam Francis (sold for $442,500); Ocean Park No. 85, 1975 by Richard Diebenkorn (sold for $992,500); Bigard, 1961, by Franz Kline (sold for $937,500); and Self Portrait, 1986 by Andy Warhol (sold for $387,500).
Combined 1997 auction price for the four pieces was $2,760,000.00, which when adjusted for inflation would be $4,055,581.59 today. According to the United States Census 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates the Median Household Income is $ 53,046. It would take 77 families pooling together their entire yearly income to purchase these 4 works.
We had three days of preparation for the big Thanksgiving feast. In between the various cooking sessions, I managed to make a new weaving from reproductions of Jennifer Bartlett's 27 Howard Street; Day and Night (1978) and Joan Mitchell's Summer Slide (1961). The images were taken from a Sotheby's 1997 auction catalog, list prices starting at $60,000 and $250,000, respectively. The catalog was purchased at a used book store for $2.50.
Tonight I attended a talk by Fred Turner, author and Stanford professor, that was hosted by the Berkeley Center for New Media. Turner gave a synopsis of the narrative of ideas set forth in his new book, The Democratic Surround. In it he tells the story of how the fear of fascism in the 40's compelled the US government to adopt Bauhaus design theory to develop propaganda techniques that would ostensibly impart a certain idea of democracy to the viewers. In contrast to the fascist mode of media in which a singular message is imparted to the viewer, the novel democratic media techniques involved creating an immersive, non-hierarchical approach that would insist the viewer to make a choice as to where to place attention. In addition, artistic developments (such as the Happenings) spurred on by John Cage and others at the Black Mountain College helped to advance the notion that the subjective experience of the viewer and chance upheld progressive ideals and opposed authorial control. He cites the MOMA exhibition The Family of Man and the American National Exhibition in Moscow, among others, as examples of exhibitions that used these all-encompassing, everything-at-once media techniques to shore-up American political power in the world. Turner argues that this is the era is when we begin to see the beginnings of the democratic rhetoric of the corporately-controlled, screen-dominated digital landscape we inhabit today.
It was a fascinating talk and many interesting questions were raised. Is it possible to have democracy without capitalism? Why has the ubiquity of social media failed to deliver a truly democratic and civically engaged polity? What are our hopes for addressing the terms of our conversation now that we are both the producers and consumers of media that is controlled by a few?
Coincidentally, I found out about the talk shortly after reading an essay by Turner in the catalog for the German exhibition The Whole Earth: California and the Disappearance of the Outside, which also includes beautiful visual essays and engaging writing by many others.
A few days ago I made another small weaving, this time merging a reproduction of a Hans Hoffman with a Clifford Still. These typically take a full day to complete.
In 2002 I started arthike.com in order to share photos and drawings with friends and family. Thanks to all those who have given me support and encouragement to stay curious.