Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pere Ubu

When I was at art school I was Pere Ubu. This meant I got to utter those immortal opening words infront of all my teachers—a delightful moment for a twenty year old. I have a nice copy of the play as published by New Directions, (by the way major supporters of Kenneth Patchen) so here, with no further ado, I present...

Monday, January 26, 2009

BODY PARTS-Chapter 1

The Skeleton Crew

You’ve all heard of the solar plexus no doubt, a nerve plexus in the abdomen that is situated behind the stomach and in front of the aorta and the crura of the diaphragm and containing several ganglia distributing nerve fibers to the viscera? How about the ethmoid? Have you heard of the ethmoid?

I’d been hugging a cup of coffee to keep myself occupied for some twenty minutes when along came this guy, this tall…akin to a …and twice as…ugly isn’t the word and I’m not being nice. It really isn’t the right word. Unusual’ll have to do. I try to be open and try not to shutter any of my instincts. Just then they told me to reach out, shake the guy’s…, and ask him if he’d care to join me for a drink.

When the waitress came over she eyed my new friend warily.
“Orbital lobe,” he said looking up at her warmly. She was clearly immediately charmed.
“What if I tell you he’s from Venus,” I said mischievously.
Shutting me out she addressed my new eating companion. I didn’t mind. I’d been there a while without ordering food and perhaps now was the moment to do so. I sensed today would be a special day.
“We do have a special drink,” she said, “for special customers.” She looked him (her?) over with an appraising eye.
“Scapula. Pre-frontal cortex,” he/she/it mumbled more in the direction of my coffee than at anyone in particular.
Having fully determined it was a he I was now intrigued by his thoughtful demeanor.
“Zygomatic Arch. Lacrimal Gland. Tooth.”
So that was it. From the moment our eyes had become entangled (met doesn’t do it justice) my mind had been racing and not of my own accord. That way he said: Tooth. Huh.

I wasn’t there when the waitress returned. She told me so later.
“You were just sort of all misty. Hard to explain exactly.”
“And the…visitor?”
“She was quite alert!”
“She! She is definitely a she.”
We agreed to disagree.
“Alert you say. Friendly?”
The waitress thought about it.
“Yes, definitely. Not a mean bone in her…its body…yeh. Body.”
“That’s it!” I yelled. “Tooth.” Tooth was bone wasn’t it? Or was it ivory? Was ivory bone? I seemed to recall people calling their teeth ivories.
“Do you find marrow in teeth, or tusks?”
The waitress squinted.
“I’ve got work to do.”
I knew I was onto something. I just didn’t know what.

The good thing was my day had gone remarkably well. I hadn’t been required to fill my time with absurdly long thank you letters to people I’d met once who weren’t going to employ me anyway. You can always tell.
Being in a trance was a great space filler.
I wanted to be in a trance again.
The waitress returned.
“What do I owe you?”
“You don’t owe me anything.” The waitress came over all-gooey as she said this.
“The visitor paid for my coffee?”
“Yup!” She said this with the largest smile on her face. Why did I all of a sudden feel jealous?

I decided to return again the next day.

“Sphenoidal Sinus.”
I was surprised to find myself surprised.
“Good morning!” I said. I was once again trying to make the day go away by filling it with coffee hugging and an artificial day dreaming I’d concocted for the first time that morning-the kind where your mind goes nowhere and not in a productive way.
“You’re back,” I said, stupidly.
The waitress was already beside us eager and ready to take our order.
“Eggs,” I said. “You? Care for breakfast?”
The visitor looked up, then up, then up again. He was staring at the ceiling, boring a hole through it. Bits of plasterboard began to drift down onto our table and into my mug. I found myself actually, and rather surprisingly annoyed.
“Would you stop that?”
For the first time I saw the visitor blush. I assumed it was blushing because the place where cheeks would usually be …tarnished.
“Palatum Osseum…” he stuttered. “Oxyntic Cell.”
I had no idea what he was on about but have to say I was heartily inclined to agree. I was also distressed. I was irritable and, even worse, bored. I seriously needed a new occupation. Coffee hugging didn’t cut it, and niether did sitting with a visitor from God knew where. Random hook ups just weren’t doing it-not as I’d experienced them.
“Vomer? Manubrium Sterni? Humerus?”
There was definitely a question in there.

“Get out!”
I woke suddenly to find the waitress, redfaced, glaring at me.
“You’re really distressing our customers.”
I looked at the other tables. Nobody looked at me.
“Do that again and I won’t serve you.”
The contents of the diner were visibly and audibly agitated, everyone talking at once.
“Proximal and Distal End!”
Boy, were they mad.
I’d no idea what I’d done but I sensed now was not the time to ask what had happened. Needless to say the visitor—he/she/it—was no longer there.
I pulled out a dollar bill with some loose change and left it on the table.

As I walked down 31st a deep roaring sound erupted behind me. I looked back to see that beautiful, shiny, slip-streamed, 50’s style diner hovering in the air above me, way above me, above the tallest skyscraper. Then it was gone leaving behind only its steaming, electric sputtering footprint, a marrow of mangled aluminum.

Line-o-Scribe Machine (Letterpress)

I found this Photo (by Arwen O'Reilly) and this article (by Natalie Zee Drieu) on
"We just got this great letterpress from the folks over at the LoBot Gallery in West Oakland. They were trying to clear out some space in their warehouse, and of course we just love cluttering ours up! We're picking up the press itself tomorrow, but brought the type cabinet back with us and laid out the trays on the table saw, as you can see in the photos. The press came with a mixed bunch of wooden and metal type blocks; beautiful objects themselves, but I can't wait to start using the press, too! We found a type block that says "famous maker"--how cool is that? The press is a Line-O-Scribe Sign Machine made by the Morgan Sign Machine Co., from Chicago, back in the 50s. There's are a bunch of pre-made type blocks saying things like "all prices as marked," so I think it was largely used commercially for printing up fliers and signs for stores. It's amazing to think that this was once a really useful machine!"

I recently encountered the above mentioned machine, also with an assorted bunch of letter blocks, tucked away in a closet at a local community center in Maplewood, NJ. It has not been used for some years. I'm beginning to formulate a local art project which might put it to use.

I found this on a posting from
Type in Line-o-Scribe for the further discussion:
"I think that you are referring to a Line-O-Scribe show card press. The term “writer” does not make sense to me, but there were a plethora of Line-O-Scribe proof presses in different sizzes and configurations manufactured well into the 1960’s and possibly later. I did have a catalog for these at home and searched for it last night to no avail. I then realized that I had given it, along with a Line-O-Scribe press to a historical museum. If it is indeed any one of a number of Line-O-Scribe presses, they are basically very simple machines and it should not be too hard to determine if it is complete. They did generally come with a plate that could be inserted into the bed if type is set-up and locked directly into the press. This plate could be removed it the type to be printed was already in a galley. The plate compensated for the thickness of the bottom of a galley."

Big History

Big History examines history on a large scale across long time frames through a multi-disciplinary approach.[1] Big History gives a focus on the alteration and adaptations in the human experience.[2] Big History is a discrete field of historical study that arose in the late 1980s. It is related to, but distinct from, world history[2], as the field examines history from the beginning of time to the present day. In some respects, the field is thus similar to the older universal history.

Big History looks at the past on all time scales, from the Big Bang to modernity, seeking out common themes and patterns. It uses a multi-disciplinary approach from the latest findings, such as biology, astronomy, geology, climatology, prehistory, archeology, anthropology, cosmology, natural history, and population and environmental studies. Big History arose from a desire to go beyond the specialized and self-contained fields that emerged in the 20th century and grasp history as a whole, looking for common themes across the entire time scale of history.[3][4] Conventionally, the study of history is typically limited to the written word and the systematic narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; yet this only encompasses the past 5,000 years or so and leaves out the vast majority of history and all events in time, in relation to humanity.
The first courses in Big History were experimental ones taught in the late 1980s by John Mears at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas) and by David Christian at Macquarie University (Australia), and more recently at San Diego State University.[5][6] Since then, a number of other universities have offered similar courses. An important book in Big History was published in 1996 by Fred Spier entitled, The Structure of Big History: From the Big Bang until Today, which offers an ambitious defense of the project and constructs a unified account of history across all time scales. One notable text in Big History is David Christian's Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History, which explores history from the first micro-seconds of the Big Bang, to the creation of the solar system, to the origins of life on earth, the evolution of humans, the agricultural revolution, modernity, and the 20th century. Christian examines large-scale patterns and themes, and provides perspective of time scales. Currently in the process is a text book on Big History for McGraw Hill by David Christian, Cynthia Brown and Craig Benjamin. Craig Benjamin teaches a course, Big History, at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan

Maps of Time, an introduction to Big History

My brother has written an awesome tome which was given a plug by Bill Gates on Charlie Rose. Cannot resist sharing this. Hearing Bill Gates discussing his philanthropic initiatives is also pretty inspiring.
Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History (California World History Library) (Paperback)
by David Christian (Author), William H. McNeill (Preface). Click link below for interview.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 Set for the Oscars

The 2009 set for the Oscars will reflect the current state of the economy. Recognizing the shameful extravagance of the past decade, Hollywood, as always sensitive to the moment, will provide only wooden benches for the audience. The makeshift stage will be big enough for only two performers at a time. They will be required to share a microphone. The envelopes will be opened as each award announcement is made and then pocketed for reuse later in the program. The Oscar statues will be hand carved by Sri Lankan craftsmen, and therefore quite affordable. Wearing of anything but paste jewelry/thrift store dresses will be strongly discouraged. Good makeup however is strongly recommended as the lighting will be poor. The orchestra will be minimal and will comprise of a local High School Band that has yet to be selected by lottery. Street performers shall provide the entertainment, and, as street performers, shall be paid accordingly. Despite these cutbacks, necessary cutbacks we are sure you will all see as only fitting in such dire times, we are confident that this Oscar celebration will be the greatest Oscar celebration ever. Please be sure all prospective recipients receive this missive.

Oscar Director of Operations

Friday, January 23, 2009

Red Painting

The Arts- A Soap. EPISODES 3 and 4


“Welcome home, dad,” said Terry, a new look of admiration in his eyes. “Wow! A jailbird for a dad!”
George proudly presented his son with a scrap of paper on which he’d drawn two vertical lines.

George wended his way to the After School to pick up his daughter. Wending was crucial because he was plotting his route. He’d exhibit it later as a drawing.

Silly looked up lovingly as he entered. “You’re back!” she said as she filmed his grand entrance.

“Terry says he’s going to make huge watercolors- just like Walton Ford!” George beamed. He loved watercolors.

They returned home to a strange smell in the kitchen.
“I’m cooking the books-literally!” said Martha triumphantly.

That evening the whole family collapsed in front of the TV.
Terry shuffled about uncomfortably. “Seeing as it doesn’t work why don’t we turn it into an artwork?”
“Don’t you have homework to do?” said Martha perhaps a little too sternly.

“You put me to bed tonight, daddy and you must do it without using the letter A.” George rolled his eyes but knew he’d give it his best shot.

Silly could barely put the cereal in her bowl.
“Then I said just one more book, PLEASE! And he said OK without the you know what and I said read me A is for Apple which has loads of As in it and he said OK, hmmmph is for mmmpple and we both fell out of bed we were laughing so much!”

“I’m de-installing today, dad. Can you pick me up?”
“No, Terry. I’ve got work to do. How about another day?”
“Well the eight manikins are kind of freaking out the principal. Still I guess it can wait.”

Martha headed over to the studio she rented from the local airfield. Both the boom and her rolling ladder needed fixing. So, unfortunately, did her torch.

“Morning, Mr. Flyer. Could I possibly borrow your welding equipment this morning?”
“Certainly, Mrs. Art! I like your latest piece but how are you going to get it out of the hangar doors?”

Silly took out her lunchbox and sat down with her best friend, Erin.
“Did you bring white bread, Erin? That is definitely the best for making things.”

George arrived in the city, not a thought in his mind on work. His latest drawing had none of the energy of his sketchbooks.
“You should draw with house brushes or long twigs.” Though a finance guy Eric was also George’s commuting buddy.

Terry stared glumly into the cafeteria. Someone had smeared pizza all over his one working Les Paul. As to the manikins he could only shake his head.


“We need a crisis meeting,” said Martha, that evening as she surveyed her assembled family.
“We may not all have the same artistic goals but we need to support each other none-the-less!”

That night Silly cried herself to sleep.
Terry’s stupid manikins,
Daddy’s stupid drawings,
Mummy’s ridiculous skyscraper! None of them had asked her about her Lunchtime Bread Sculpture project!

Terry sat in the bar with his friends. He was too young to drink and hated the taste of alcohol. But did that stop Rimbaud? No!

George leaned over and gave Martha a peck on the cheek.
“No, George. What you said tonight was really mean. I must have a larger studio space and I don’t care what you say!”

“It reminds me of one of those old Currier and Ives prints,” said Joey surveying a large new watercolor.
Terry winced. Joey was a jock so what did he know about Art?

Silly went careering into the kitchen barely missing a stack of Martha’s burnt books.
“Terry’s stupid watercolor is so big it takes up the whole basement!”

The doorbell rang.
“Hello, Phil. Want to come in for a glass of wine? I’m having a private opening.”

Silly Arts! For the last time stop playing with your food and eat!”
Mrs. Edgepale simply didn’t understand. Erin nodded empathically.

It was Phil again. “Martha! I forgot to ask if you had any cardammon?”
Entering the kitchen George gave him a withering look.

The family had never eaten at their neighbors before and he was a damn fine chef.
“I work for Human Rights Watch,” said Phil, nonchalantly poking at his chicken masala.

The animal tracks formed a perfect symmetry on the snowed over pond. “If you can frame a shot of just the tracks that would be perfect.”
Anxiously George looked up at Terry in the overlook. The light could be so ephemeral.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Doing Lines

I liked the idea of doing lines with Henri Michaux. He did his lines under the influence of mescalin. I was quite content to do mine under the influence of him, him and many other scribblers and pencil walkers. There were loads of teachers out there with whom I could start over again and again on my pre-lined paper, or in my lettering books. A book of the same title is on its way. Yet to decide from where.

Pierre Alechinsky

Pierre Alechinsky
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pierre Alechinsky (October 19, 1927) is a Belgian artist. Lives and works in France from 1951
He was born in Brussels. In 1944 he attended the l'Ecole nationale supérieure d'Architecture et des Arts décoratifs de La Cambre, Brussels where he studied illustration techniques, printing and photography. In 1945 he discovered the work of Henri Michaux, Jean Dubuffet and developed a friendship with the art critic Jacques Putman. In 1949 he joined Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel and Asger Jorn to form the art group Cobra. He participated both with the Cobra exhibitions and went to Paris to study engraving at Atelier 17 under the guidance of a master, Stanley William Hayter in 1951. In 1954 he had his first exhibition in Paris and started to become interested in oriental calligraphy. During the early 1950s he became the Paris correspondent for the Japanese journal Bokubi (the joy of ink), then in 1955, encouraged by Henri Storck and Luc de Heusch, he left for Japan with Micky, his wife. He exhibited Night, 1952 (Ohara Museum, Kurashiki) and made a film: Japanese Calligraphy – Christian Dotremont would write the commentary with music by André Souris. His paintings are related to Tachisme, Abstract expressionism, and Lyrical Abstraction.
In the Porte Saint-Martin district, in a room so tiny he was unable to stand back from his work, he started his first large painting: TAlice Grows Up, 1961, oil on canvas, 205 x 245 cm, private collection © ADAGPhe Anthill, 1955 (Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York). Then, from 1958 under the protective wing of the Galerie de France, the large format pictures came easily; such as The Great Transparencies, 1959 (reference to André Breton) and Alice Grows Up, 1961 (reference to Lewis Carroll). Passing from abstraction, a moment explored, to a more freely descriptive image that moves from the face to the monster. The connection to James Ensor becomes apparent (Homage to James Ensor 1956), The Parable of the Blind Men 1958, Cloud in Trousers 1957 (SMAK, Ghent): the themes of propagation, swarming and finally that of opening.
By 1960 he had exhibited in London, Berne and at the Venice Biennial, and then in Pittsburgh, New York, Amsterdam and Silkeborg as his international reputation grew.
From 1961, he took frequent trips to New York where the Chinese painter Wallace Ting, whom he had met in Paris in the fifties, would introduce him to the possibilities of acrylic paint. Alechinsky was 37 in 1965 and it was crucial year: Central Park, the first acrylic painting with a central subject surrounded by “remarks in the margins”. Multiple consequences. The boundaries and borders theme. Indeed, Margin and Center, was the theme of a large one man show at the Guggenheim, New York in 1987. Progressively abandoning oil paint – which he explains in Lettre suit, Gallimard 1992 – for the versatility of his new medium, with which he no longer worked vertically but “in the Chinese style”, upon the floor.
He worked with Walasse Ting and continued to be close to Christian Dotremont. He also developed links with André Breton.
From 65 paper laid down on canvas became the tried and tested support for all the artist’s acrylic paintings. However, whilst looking for beautiful blank sheets of 17th, 18th and 19th century paper he would discover a large quantity of books covered in writings: which led to the inks and watercolours on these pages strewn with “pen strokes, numbers and letters”: school exercise books, letters, out of date invoices, worthless share certificates and geographical maps, military or aerial. A perfect background for the imagination of a “paintbrush explorer”. The brush, for example, that discovered by chance the signature of a Gille de Binche whose helmet of white feathers becomes a volcanic eruption, an ejaculation or cloud in the form of an exclamation mark. Imagery that results as much from deciphering as from the “black pupil” of the inkpot.
During the eighties, the disc, circle and concentric circles – reminiscent of Guillaume Apollinaire’s words astres and désastres [stars and disasters] – would become an obsession during strolls through the streets of New York, Arles, Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, Brussels or Salzburg… With Indian ink Alechinsky appropriates prints from “pieces of urban furniture”: these metal grates covered with the anonymous imagery of the plate casters, “apertures and grids”, constitute a popular art that we pass by without really taking the time to appreciate its beauty.
His international career continued throughout the seventies and by 1983 he became Professor of painting at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Free University of Brussels, and in 1995 one of his designs was used on a Belgian stamp.
Volcanoes and Terrils: the hill or mound theme for which Alechinsky found a variety of expressions. Through this shape and its mutations, Alechinsky delivers a conception of form that is bound to gesture. During a trip to Tenerife, he united the volcano or rather the flow of molten lava with the emblematic symbol of the serpent. The relationship between form and gesture fused and made each shape the result of a sudden eruption. Through this theme – omnipresent in his work since the sixties – Alechinsky’s oeuvre describes a reality whose central preoccupation is man’s relationship with the world!
His works are held in the collections of the Tate,[1] the Museum of Modern Art[2] and the Walker Art Center.[3]
Contents [hide]
1 External links
2 Biography
3 Bibliography
4 References
[edit]External links

Galerie Lelong, Paris

1944-1948: studies typography and book illustration at La Cambre, the national school of architecture and decorative arts, Brussels; he begins to paint on the side
1947: first individual exhibition, Galerie Lou Cosyn, Brussels
1949: participates in the CoBrA (Copenhagen-Brussels-Amsterdam) movement with Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille, Christian Dotremont, Asger Jorn ...; creates a center for research for CoBrA in the Ateliers du Marais : the common house in Brussels where Alechinsky, Olyff, Strebelle, de Heusch, Reinhoud ... work
1951: Dotremont and Jorn, hospitalized in Denmark, charge him with organizing the Second (and last) International Exhibition of Experimental Art of CoBrA at the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Liège. After this, he leaves Brussels and moves to Paris
1952: improves his engraving technique at the Atelier 17 beside Stanley William Hayter 1954: first individual exhibition in Paris, Galerie Nina Dausset
1955: leaves from Marseille for Yokohama, directs a film in Kyoto : Calligraphie japonaise
1958: collaborates on Daily-Bûl, La Louvière; joins the committee of directors of the Salon de Mai in Paris
1961: room of honor at Carnegie International of 1961 in Pittsburgh; first trip to New York, staying at the Chelsea Hotel, and then at the home of Walasse Ting, whom Alechinsky knew in the 50s in Paris
1962: until 1986, 18 shows at the Lefebre Gallery, New York
1964: installs his studio in Bougival (Yvelines)
1965: Central Park, his first painting "with noticeable margins," a method that he would develop; he imposes a drawing around a central subject; he gradually abandons oil painting for acrylic on paper on canvas
1966: André Breton chooses Central Park for L’Écart absolu, Eleventh [and final] International Exhibition of Surrealism, Paris
1968: Wins the Grand Prix Marzotto-Europe for painting, Valdagno
1969: retrospective at the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Brussels, which traveled to Denmark and Germany
1975: shows a decade´s worth of acrylic paintings at the Boymans-van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam and at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
1976: Sept écritures, with Christian Dotremont, a mural decoration in a metro station in Brussels
1977: Andrew W. Mellon Prize for the whole of his work, arranged in a retrospective at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.
1979: joins the Galerie Maeght in Paris, which would become Galerie Lelong
1980: retrospective at the Kestner Society, Hannover
1981: ‘A Print Retrospective' at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
1984: Professor at the French National School of Fine Arts, Paris – until 1987; Grand Prix National des Arts et Lettres, Paris
1985: decorates the waiting room of the Ministry of Culture, Paris
1986: Margin and Center, retrospective of paintings "with noticeable margins," The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
1987: installs a studio in Provence
1989: Fluctuations, allegorical painting for the Ministry of Finances, Paris
1992: decorates the entrance to Ministry of National Education, Paris; publishes Lettre suit (Gallimard)
1993: The Fragile Garden, a mural painting in the small rotunda that connects the Hôtel de Lassay with the Palais Bourbon; retrospective at Saarland Museum, Saarbrücken.
1994: Honorary doctorate from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
1995: Zoek de Zeven, with Hugo Claus, decoration with enamel wash at RUCA, Antwerp
1998: retrospective at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris; retrospective at the Printroom of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva.
1999: Brush Thought in homage to Asger Jorn, mural with enamel wash at the Silkeborg Kunstmuseum (Denmark)
2000: Alechinsky, divers faits, Musée Jenisch, Vevey. Alechinsky, 50 ans d´imprimerie, Center for Engraving, La Louvière
2002: Alechinsky, The Complete Books (Ceuleers & Van de Velde, Antwerp
2004: Dessins de cinq décennies, retrospective at the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. Prix André Malraux for Des deux mains (Mercure de France) and Carnet en deux temps (Buchet-Castel)
2005: Les Impressions de Pierre Alechinsky, Bibliothèque nationale de France; individual exhibition at the Kunsthalle in Emden
2006: Alechinsky, sources et resurgences by Daniel Abadie (Hazan) with an exhibition at the Maison René Char in L´Isle-sur-la-Sorgue ; Peter et Pierre, forty years of lithographies with Peter Bramsen (Buchet-Chastel)
2007: Les Affiches, catalogue raisonné (Ides et Calendes), Alechinsky from A to Y by Michel Draguet (Gallimard and Lannoo) for the present retrospective in Brussels at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

Mueller-Yao, Marguerite: Der Einfluss der Kunst der chinesischen Kalligraphie auf die westliche informelle Malerei, Diss Bonn, Koeln Koenig 1985 , ISBN 3-88375-051-4 (pbk)


Another Wall

Tho Old Goat Show

Sadly the Goat is now no more but I had an enjoyable show there in 2005

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reflections on a Picture Writing Thesis

Picture Writing was the name of my art school thesis many years back. In the thesis I struggled to express my fascination with everything from Andy Capp to Krazy Kat, and cuneiform to airplane safety instructions. I quickly was overwhelmed not only by the plethora of examples that fit an admittedly broad topic, but also my own visceral reactions to samples that crossed my path. Where words and pictures were required to unfold together I was often irritated. Rarely do the two jive. I'd love the images but would find the writing unsatisfactory. When the two do come together, as they do in George Herriman's Krazy Kat (and I have yet to meet anyone who would disagree with this 'certainty') the results are magical. For further examples of where the low of comics and the high of art are erased, check out the exhibiton catalogue, High and Low, from the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The show featured (amongst others) Philip Guston, Robert Crumb, and (if memory serves) artists from Raw, the breath of fresh air that broke into the comics scene at the end of the 1970s, compiled and edited by Art Spiegleman and François Mouly.

Soon to come: Essays, stolen (with thanks), from the WWW on Frans Masareel, Henri Michaux, Pierre Alechinsky and many, many more artists who fit into my ever widening, ever elusive definition of the pictographic realm.

Manteca, circa 1950

This painting is Smith's transcription of a tune by Dizzy Gillespie.
Each paint stroke represents a musical note.

Mandala by Carl Jung

During a difficult period in his life in which he withdrew from his teaching position and devoted much of his time investigating the nature of the unconscious, Jung frequently painted or drew mandalas, but only learned to understand the mandala symbology many years after he had begun creating the images. For more on Jung and his interest in mandalas:

Untitled, circa 1978, pastel on paper approximately 12 x 12 in.Art by Harry Smith

For more on the polymath, Harry Smith go to:
The Harry Smith Archives


Phonograph \Pho"no*graph\, n. [Phono- + -graph.]
1. A character or symbol used to represent a sound, esp. one
used in phonography. [archaic]
[1913 Webster]
For example a beetle in Native American picture writing might represent the sound it makes and not the beetle itself.
From Wikipedia:
The famous phonograph was the fourth device for recording and replaying sound. The term phonograph ("sound writer") is derived from the Greek words φωνή (meaning "sound" or "voice" and transliterated as phoné) and γραφή (meaning "writing" and transliterated as graphé). Similar related terms gramophone and graphophone have similar root meanings. The coinage, particularly the use of the -graph root, may have been influenced by the then-existing words phonographic and phonography, which referred to a system of phonetic shorthand; in 1852 The New York Times carried an advertisement for "Professor Webster's phonographic class", and in 1859 the New York State Teachers' Association tabled a motion to "employ a phonographic recorder" to record its meetings.


NOUN (1)

1. a graphic character that indicates the meaning of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it;
- Example: "Chinese characters are ideograms"
[syn: ideogram, ideograph]


re re re re (more from the Image Association Global Network)

is an Email game (Exquisite corpse) played by Artists Chris Kenny and Andrew Spira. The game is played out through associations between images. The rules of association are made as the game is played. This sample represents those images between 1100 & 1200. All images are sourced from internet searches. We respect the copyright of all images and make no gain from their use. It is a game that is in wonder of the plethora of visual information on the net. We will upload the entire sequence of this visual conversation at a later date. ENJOY.
I am currently working on similar with Hugh Hamshaw-Thomas. See his collaboration with Chris Kenny in previous post:
Falling Overboard

Green Man

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Arts- A Soap EPISODES 1 and 2

(will pitch to HBO)


As he descended into the basement for the umpteenth time George asked himself the perennial question: What is Art?

Satisfied he once again had a firm grasp of the answer he got down to the business at hand.

After he had placed the coffin in the hole he applied paint to the cheap pine box, lovingly brushing against the grain.

His wife would be home soon and glad to know he’d successfully resolved his current crop of issues.

She had a sculpture to finish-bit of a chore really but she wasn’t going to let down her latest client.

George, moving on to other things, had carefully screwed hardware onto an old toilet seat. It was a perfect ready-made caricature.

Martha gave a final buff to the platinum finish, put down her goggles, and headed down to make the family dinner. The kids could skip bath-time tonight.

Terry, though only fourteen, already had a firm grasp of what sold and what didn’t. He knew his “Ball and Chain” would be a sure fire hit.

The neighbor knocked on the door. He was always popping over to borrow some spice or other. George shouted at him through the windowpane: “Are you here to buy Art? I thought not. Now go away!”

Hauling his latest piece through the snow on a sled, Terry thought he’d best give his parents a call. They had, after all, funded his last installation.

“Silly?” Martha put down her spatula and headed up to her youngest daughter’s room. Knowing her she was probably off perpetrating an action some place or other.

Careful to turn on the video, Martha situated herself on the bed, put her head in her hands and sighed. Getting the family to eat together was a losing battle, let alone getting them to eat their greens.

George entered making Scwitters like utterances.
“Ah! Sausages!” he said.

“Eat up! Alfie is coming over to help us with our taxes.” Alfie was the world class darts champion who lived next door. “I’ll wear my latest creation!” said Martha defiantly.


Terry walked in to the living room and then promptly walked out again. His parents could be so embarrassing. Watercolors? What were they thinking? They’d probably had a fight the night before.

Then Silly walked in. George took out his wallet and handed her the $200 she’d asked for.
“It has to be linen and it has to be triple oil primed,” she said pompously.

Martha beamed as Silly stretched her latest canvas. “Is it going to be a comment on the financial crisis?” she said, lovingly. Silly pretended she was too busy to hear.

She could hear her father swearing downstairs.
“I told you I needed three Les Pauls, dad. One of them gets destroyed during the performance.” She imagined her dad looking at Terry meaningfully as he handed him a wad of bills. He was such a soft touch.

The local gallery owner gazed in wonder at Terry’s little marvel. “You are a Wunderkind! Your show is bound to be a sell out!”

“I’m pregnant!” said Silly as she stood in the doorway to her parent’s bedroom. She watched her parent’s jaws drop.
“No! With ideas you stupids! Ideas!”

Reaching for a can of spray paint George had to ask himself why it had taken him so long to get to this place.

“But its my gate!” said George defiantly as the policeman cuffed his hands.

At the police station Martha lined up all the cops and took pictures of them as if they were in a line up. “I’ll send you all copies,” she said as they thanked her.

Desperately he grabbed her collar.
“Just tell them I need chalk, Martha. It’ll be a comment on incarceration.”

Big Head

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Falling Overboard

is an Email game (Exquisite corpse) played by Artists Chris Kenny & Hugh Hamshaw-Thomas. The game is played out through associations between images. The rules of association are made as the game is played. This sample represents those images between 1100 & 1200. All images are sourced from internet searches. We respect the copyright of all images and make no gain from their use. It is a game that is in wonder of the plethora of visual information on the net. We will upload the entire sequence of this visual conversation at a later date. ENJOY.
Currently working on one with Hugh myself...slowly!

Labels the New York Times (1) (24) 11 x 14 acrylics on paper (22) 1978 Maplewood Arts Center (5) 9 Beach Films (1) 9/11 (4) A Bruxist Tale (2) A short story (13) Abraham Lincoln (1) absurdist lit (10) acrylic (1) Acrylic and crayon on paper (3) acrylic on canvas (11) Acrylic on paper (57) acrylic on wood (2) acting (37) action painting (2) actor (3) actors (60) Adobe (1) Aftermath (2) Ai Weiwei (2) Albert Pinkham Ryder (1) Alfred Jarry (2) Allan Kaprow (1) Alphabet (1) American Illustration (1) Amsterdam (1) analysis (1) angel (2) animals (1) Animation (4) Ann Weber (1) Another Ledger Book painting done with particularly bad brushes and mucky housepaint (1) Another tale about finance (1) Antonin Artaud (3) ape (1) apelike (1) apple (1) apps (1) Art (3) Art Alphabet (27) Art and the Bouncy Banker (10) Art and the Financial Crisis (7) Art Barter (1) Art Basel Miami 2012 (1) Art Basel/Miami 2011 (4) art brut (1) Art By The Yard (2) art competition (1) Art critic (1) Art for Art (3) art for services (1) art handler (1) art handlers (1) art in prison (1) Art Institute of Chicago (1) Art Matters (1) Art O'Connor (59) Art O'Connorrray (1) Art Opening (4) art pottery (1) art projects (1) Art review (4) art school (9) art student (1) art teaching (4) art therapy (6) art with kids (3) Art's Memories (2) artist talk (2) asemic (1) asemic writing (33) Asger Jorn (1) Atlas (1) ATMs (5) Aubrey Beardsley (1) audio art (1) baboons (1) back pain (1) bad photos (4) balloon man (1) bamboo (1) bandages (1) bank runs (1) banks (14) Banksy (1) Barbican Art Gallery (1) Barnett Newman (1) barter economy (1) Barternet (1) Bas Jan Ader (1) BBC (2) beats (1) Beckettish (1) bees (1) Ben Shahn (1) Bernard Williams (1) BFA (1) big head (1) Big History (2) Bikini-Atoll (1) Bill Gates (1) Bill Traylor (1) bills (1) Bing Lee (1) birds (1) block printing (1) blog layout (2) blog traffic (1) blogging (2) blogs (1) boats (1) bodies (1) Body Parts (8) body prints (1) Boesky (1) bonefolder (1) book project (1) books (2) books of drawings (8) boot camp (1) booths (1) bouncy bankers (1) Bower Ashton (3) boxer (1) Bram Van Velde (1) Brandt Brauer Frick (1) breadboards (2) Brian Eno (2) Brian Lehrer (2) Bristol (3) British Museum (1) bronze elephant (1) bronze relief (1) Brooklyn (6) Bruce Lacey (1) brush and ink (1) bruxist collective (7) bruxists (2) Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery (1) Bullrider (1) Burma (2) Burn marks in wood (5) busts (1) butcher block paper (1) button polish (1) C. M. Seyppel (2) Calvin Tompkins (1) camouflage (1) cardboard (4) cardboard planes (1) cardboard sculpture (30) cardboard signs (1) cartoon (1) Cassio (1) Catherine Stratton (1) Celebes (1) cell phone photos (2) cement mixer (1) ceramics (2) cereal boxes (3) Chapman brothers (1) character design (1) charcoal (1) charcoal and Oil on Canvas (3) Charles Mingus (1) Charlie Rose (2) cheap art (1) chewing gum graphitti (1) chicken (1) China (1) Chris Kenny (5) civilian (1) CK (1) Claes Oldenburg (2) Clark Art Institute (1) Classics Illustrated (1) Cobra (6) Cobraesque (5) coffee (2) coffin (1) cognitive science (1) collage (1) collages (3) collective (1) comics (10) commuter pics (1) conceptual art (1) concrete poetry (1) confession (1) Constant (1) Constant Permeke (1) contestant (1) Cover for small self published book. Interiors to come... (1) crayon (2) crayon and pencil (12) crayons (10) Create with house paint and housepainters' brushes on drop cloth (1) CREATIVE TIME (1) creativity (1) crowds (4) crucifixion (1) cupid (1) Curious Matter (1) curling (1) currently on show (2) Cursive (1) Cutout figure (3) Cy Twombly (1) DADA (1) Daichi (1) Daini (1) Dan Fenelon (1) dance (5) dancer (5) Dario Fo (1) DART (1) David Christian (2) David Hammons (2) David Jones (1) David Mazuchelli (1) deep sea (1) Deitch Projects (1) delete all debt mugs (1) Denis Johnson (1) Desdemona (1) design (1) Did a series of these in 2001 (1) Digital Cowboy (2) Diptych (1) disbelief (3) doodles (4) doodles... (2) doubt (1) Dr.Seuss (1) dramatics (1) drawing (2) drawing board (2) drawing for sculpture (3) Drawing from Atlantic Highlands sketchbook (1) drawing games (3) drawings (72) drawings from memory (1) drones (1) Dubuffet (2) dyslexic (1) Edward Lear (1) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (1) Egon Schiele (1) elephants (1) Elizabeth Street Fine Arts (1) embedded tweet (1) Emil Nolde (1) empowerment (1) English Nature (1) escapee (1) essay (1) etching (1) etching ink (1) Ethan Cohen Fine Arts (1) Ethiopian coptic scrolls (1) Eugene Ionesco (1) Exit Art (11) expressionism (2) expressionist (1) exquisite corpse (2) Eye Magazine (1) fame (1) fast paintings (12) faux print (1) fictional artists (1) fish (1) flight (1) flood (1) folk art (1) found canvas (1) found oil enamels on canvas (5) found paper (7) Framing Mill (1) french breadboards (1) Frits van den Berghe (1) From the Absurdist Manifest (2) From the lost sketchbook... (1) From Wikipedia with thanks (4) froschportmann (1) Fukushima (1) Gallerie St. Etienne (1) gas mask (1) Gaudier Brzeska (1) George Grosz (1) George Herriman (1) Georges Hugnet (1) Georgia O'Keefe (1) German Expressionism (1) Get it Down (1) giraffe (1) glass (1) glue guns (1) glyphic postcards (1) glyphs (1) goat (1) Gogol (1) golf (1) golf club (1) google images (2) gouache (1) Gouache and watercolor on card (1) Gouache and watercolor on paper (9) graphic memoir (1) graphic novels (1) graphic radicals (2) graphics (3) graphitti (5) grip staplers (1) grumpy (1) Guardian (1) guide (1) guns (1) Gustave De Smet (1) Guten Parts and Service (1) Guy Delisle (1) H. Van Haaren (1) hackers (1) Hamlet (1) hand lettering (1) Happenings (2) harmonica (1) Harold Pinter (2) Harry Smith (1) HBO (2) heads (2) Hector Guimard (1) Henri Michaux (1) Henry Mercer (1) Henry Miller (1) Hermann Nietsche (1) heros (1) HHt (1) hieroglyphic (1) homemade frames (1) hospital (1) housepaint (2) Housepaint on board (3) Housepaint on canvas (2) housepaint on cardboard (2) housepaint on paper (26) houses (1) Howard Hodgkin (1) (1) hug (1) I go to paint in my studio and instead reorganize my life (1) I know there's a children's book here... (1) I now see Blogging's bias toward word over image (1) I'm always turning my back... (1) Iago (1) iconic (3) ideas for paintings (2) If you disagree please tell me why (1) Illustration (2) illustrator (2) Image Association Global Network (1) Images from Ellis Island (1) immigrants (1) immigration (1) in memory (1) In New York City (2) Information you need to know (1) ink (11) ink and emulsion (6) ink and wash (5) ink blot (9) ink drawing (22) ink drawings (18) ink on newsprint (2) installation (7) institutions (1) internet age (1) Invest in renewable energy (1) iPad (1) Ira Platow (1) Ivon Hitchens (1) Jackson Pollock (2) Jake and Dinos Chapman (1) James Arthur O'Connor (1) James Cameron (1) James Ensor (1) jazz (1) Jeanette Ingberman (1) Joaquín Torres Garcia (1) John Cage (2) John Constable (1) John McCosker (1) John Zorn (1) Jonathan Rosen (2) Joost Swarte (1) Jorn (1) Jose Clemente Orozco (1) Julie and Julia (1) Jung (2) Junior Fritz Jacquet (1) Justin Vernon (2) Kabuki (2) Kara Walker (2) Kathleen Hale (1) Kenneth Patchen (5) Kerry Schuss (1) King Street Gallery Bristol (2) knit graphitti (1) knot theory (1) Krazy Kat (1) Kristian (2) Kristian's Progress (1) Labyrinth Wall (7) Lambiek (1) lampshades (1) landscape (1) Large Drawing on paper (3) Large painting on paper (3) Large scale drawing (1) latex (4) latex paint (9) ledger book drawings (4) lemon (1) letter (1) letterpress (1) Letters to the Bouncy Banker (1) Lettrists (1) life jacket (1) limericks (1) Linda Beard (1) Line-o-Scribe machine (1) lines (3) linoleum print (2) linseed oil (4) Little Theatre Bristol UK (1) live art (1) Long Island (1) Longhouse Gardens (1) Lonni Sue Johnson (1) Lost book page (1) lost paintings (3) Lou Beach (1) Luis Bunuel (1) Lyonel Feininger (1) machines (1) Mad Museum (1) mail art (1) makers (1) mandala (2) manifesto (1) Manuel Ocampo (1) Maplewood NJ (1) Maplewood Patch (1) maps (1) maquettes (1) Marc Chagall (1) Marcel Duchamp (1) Margaret Cho (1) Marie Glynn (1) Mark Rothko (1) masonite (1) Mathew Picton (1) Max Beckmann (2) Max Ernst (1) maybe not so absurd (2) mental defficiency (1) Merz (1) Micha Hamilton (1) Michael Bartalos (1) Michael Graves (1) Michael Ray Charles (1) microscopic organisms (1) Mikel Frank (1) Milken (1) miner (1) Minor Injury (6) Miquel Barcelo (1) mixed media (1) mixing paint (1) MLK (1) MOMA (4) monologues (7) monoprints (1) monumental drawing (1) More asemica (new fancy word I've learned for some of what I do) (3) More COBRAesque picture writings (2) More rows (6) More white on black... (1) mosaic (2) movie (1) MTA Art in Transit (1) mural (9) music (2) Nasau County Museum (1) Nat Tate (1) New Directions (1) New Orleans (1) New Puritans (2) New Year Card (1) New Year Planes (1) New York Press (1) New Yorker (4) Nicholas Blechman (2) Nicholas Nixon (1) night letters (1) NJT (1) Norman Rockwell (1) North Korea (1) nosebag (1) note (2) Nozone (3) nuclear (3) Numchuk Dance (1) Numchuks (1) NY (1) Occasionally get to do an illustration that allows me to follow my compulsion to create rows of figures... (1) octopus (1) offers advice for those interested in creating art in the public realm. (1) oil (1) oil on canvas (4) oil spill (1) Old acrylic on paper done at same time as word paintings. (1) old drawings (14) old paintings (4) Olowe of Ise (1) One day this will all make sense (1) One of many imaginary portraits-Acrylic on paper (1) Only Superficially relevant (1) opah fish (1) opening (1) operas (1) or hieroglyphs (1) Or/and not so unconscious... (1) Orleans (1) orphaned graphics (1) Othello (1) Otto Dix (1) outsider art (1) paint (2) paint on wood (1) painted cardboard (7) painted pianos (1) painted theater (7) painted wood (1) painter (2) painting (2) paintings (2) paintings on board (1) Paolo Uccello (1) paper mache (6) Paris Review (1) Part of a Wallpaper bestiary (1) pastels (1) Pataphysics (2) patient (1) Paul Nash (1) Paula Scher (1) PB (1) pea shooter (1) pen (2) pencil drawing (23) pencil drawings (19) performance art (17) performer (1) Pete Hamill (1) Peter Blum (1) Peter Kuper (1) Peter Lanyon (1) Philip Guston (2) phonograms (1) photo sequence (2) photobooth (2) photoshop (24) piano (1) Picasso (1) pictograms (2) pictographs (7) picture poems (4) Picture writing (17) Pierre Alechinsky (1) Pierro Gallery (3) Pink Man and Performer (1) pink slip (1) pinned to wall (1) Pissarro (1) Plains Indians (1) plays (4) pods (2) poet (1) Portrait of Pandora and portrait of a spent shell (1) portraits (3) poster (5) posterity (1) presidential debate (1) prisoner (1) promo piece (1) pronouncements on Art (2) proposal (1) props (1) protest (3) protests (4) Pschopomp (1) public art (1) pugilist (1) pyrography (3) pyschoanalysis (1) Qu Ding (1) quarternity (1) questions for the internet age (1) Quick paintings (1) quote (1) quotes (1) race (2) racism (1) radical politics (1) radio operator (1) Raw (1) reactions (3) read (1) recession (1) recreations (1) recycled canvas (1) recycled cardboard (1) reDash Snow (1) Redon (1) refugees (2) rejection of (1) repeat post (1) repetition (2) Richard Deacon (1) Rick Parker (2) Robert Breer (1) Robert Hite (1) Robert Wilson (1) rock art (3) rocket (1) Roger Hilton (1) Roman Vishniac (1) Ron Barrett (1) roosrer (1) Rorschach test (18) rows (9) Royal Academy (1) Roycroft (1) Rupert Ravens Fine Arts (1) Russell Christian (12) Samuel Beckett (2) Samuel Palmer (1) Santiago Cohen (1) satyr (1) Savings and Loan (5) science friday (3) SCOPE (1) scratchboard (1) screen printed book covers (2) scribbles (1) sculpture park (1) scupture (1) Security (1) self taught (1) sepia (1) sepia wash (2) sequential art (1) Seton Hall (1) Shakespeare (2) sharpee (2) sharpie (1) Sharpwriter (1) sheep (1) Shredded Money Show (6) signs (1) simian (1) Sitting Bull (1) Sketchbook pages (5) slideshow (2) sloppy paint (1) Small dark oil painting-my little Albert Pinkham Ryder... (1) Small gouache (3) smokestack (1) soap opera. absurdist play (2) soapstone (1) social commentary (1) SOPAC (1) sound collages (1) sound symbols (1) South Orange (2) South Orange NJ (4) South Orange Performing Arts Center (1) spark plugs (1) speculators (10) spoof (1) spray paint (2) Stanley Spencer (1) staple guns (1) Starbucks (1) Stephen Marcus (1) Steve Greene (2) Steve Jobs (1) stocks (2) stomp (1) stone carving (1) storm damage (1) strafed (1) Stream of consciousness (1) street art (1) Stress Positions (91) string games (2) strong women (1) studio tour (2) suicide bomber (1) superfund (1) surealism (1) surealists (1) surrealism (1) Susan C. Harris (1) Sylvia Earle (1) symmetry (8) table top (1) Tachiste (1) tai chi (1) Takeshi Tadatsu (2) taking a line for a walk (1) Tate (1) Tate Britain (1) Tau (1) Terry Winters (1) The act of changing course by less than 90°—I do it all the time (1) the Bowery (1) The Critic Zart (1) The Depression Show (1) The Foundry Painter (1) The Residents (1) the sessions (3) The Walters Museum (1) The Yard (2) Theodor Seuss Geisel (1) therapy (6) They Might Be Giants (1) thinkblot (18) This is what may happen if you grind your teeth at night... (1) Tiers (1) Tile design (1) Tiles (3) tiny drawings (1) Tiny oils (1) tiny sketchbooks (1) Toby Horricks (1) Tokyo (2) Tom Fairs (1) Tom Otterness (1) Tom Stoppard (1) Tony Smith (2) toothy (1) Torn catalogues (2) toys of the Avante Garde (1) train drawings (1) Tremble Scout (2) Tryptych (1) Turpitudes Sociales (1) TV treatment (2) type art (2) U.R.G. (1) Ubu (2) Ubu Gallery (1) Underemployed Runners Guild (2) understanding art (3) underwater. (1) Victor Brauner (2) video (6) vintage photography (1) violinist (1) VIPs (2) viral sculpture (1) virals (4) visual poetry (1) voter (1) VS Ramachandran (1) wall paste (1) wall sculpture (1) Wall Street (1) wallpaper (1) walls (1) water diviner (1) water supply (1) watercolor (1) watercolors on found book pages (1) wax crayons (3) wax resist drawings (7) We'll leave it at that for now... (1) wearable art (2) web comic (1) Weimar (1) welder (1) welding mask (1) What is Art? (1) white out (1) white rabbit (1) Whitney (1) Who is Art? (1) Will Oldham (1) William Blake (1) William Boyd (1) William Kentridge (4) William Morris (1) William Turner (1) Williamsburg (6) Wim Van Egmond (1) wings (2) WNYC culture (1) Wols (1) wood burning (2) wood scraps and paint (1) wooden toys (2) Woolf (1) Word art (10) wordless comics (3) World in Disan Disarray (1) World In Disarray (7) World War 3 Illustrated (4) wounded (1) wounds (1) Woyzeck (2) writhings and wretchings (2) written hoax (1) X-Acto (1) Yoko Ono (1) You Tube (1) Youtube (2) Zhang Yimou (1)

Doing Lines

Asemic writing