November 26, 2006
If hell exists, I expect it looks something like the King of Prussia Mall, the day after Thanksgiving. I get the sense my son agrees.
related: The Costco Reaction
If hell exists, I expect it looks something like the King of Prussia Mall, the day after Thanksgiving. I get the sense my son agrees.
related: The Costco Reaction
The Metropolitan Museum is displaying a must see exhibition of portraits from the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement. The show is titled 'Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s' and runs through February. The New York Times ran a nice review of the exhibition this weekend rightfully highlighting the Otto Dix portrait above titled "Lady With Mink and Veil". The review speculates "the image may depict one of the many war widows who turned to prostitution to keep afloat."
A book of the exhibition is available from the Yale University Press.
The artistic culture of Weimar Germany always fascinates and looking at the images one always wonders what happened to this rowdy saturated world; what were the stories of the sitters in the years that followed? Many reviewers then and now, call these portraits grotesque, but I wonder if the artists artists saw them that way or if they were celebrating the extreme in the manner of Almodovar or Diane Arbus, only in a more extreme political climate...
I just discovered this video of photographer Ed Burtynsky discussing his 'manufactured landscapes' as part of last years TEDTalks conference. If you haven't discovered it yet, TEDTalks has a fantastic video archive of lectures of world class artists and innovators. You can also grab these via their blog or itunes (search for TedTalks in the store). The itunes versions are higher quality.
For the first time since we started dating Jenn won't be making Thanksgiving dinner. We'll be with Korean relatives in Philadelphia enjoying a Turkey dinner preceded by banchan and served with kimchee on the side. This is not unlike the way I grew up where we often had Turkey with a side of salsa. Tortillas were always an option and turkey tacos were the favored way of prepping leftovers. We had Indian neighbors who would serve Turkey and samosas. Russians who would serve borscht. Some my friends in East Texas would always have deep fried turkey, or better yet, deep fried turduckin. In LA I knew vegetarians who would craft a tofurky. However you celebrate it, enjoy the holiday. Eat well. Enjoy your family and friends. Travel safe.
Opening of a letter written by my younger brother to my parents. We were both at camp near Burnet Texas:
"June 1, 1980
Dear Mom and Dad,
Raul lost his glasses in the lake. He's gotten a lot of D Merits (which is not good). He really isn't trying. Please send him a pair of glasses."
George Packer's The Megacity: Decoding the chaos of Lagos' in the In the November 13th New Yorker is as fascinating as it is depressing (and not incidentally a searing indictment of architectural intellectuals like Rem Koolhaas who are so lost in theory that they seem unable to comprehend the palpable misery they are witnessing). The article is not online, but seek it out, it deserves to be read.
The story is illustrated with 2 powerful images from Samantha Appleton, an incredible photographer (and former assistant to James Nachtwey), who works in most difficult corners of the world.
update: if you have a library card, you can read the full article on this library site.
One small goal of mine (which will now never be reached) was to make portraits with one of the famous 20x24 polaroid cameras. A few months ago I was hanging out in a print studio with Jenn Trausch, a 20x24 camera operator (and a photographer in her own right), when she mentioned that Polaroid would stop making 20x24 film effectively retiring the camera forever. But before the camera was to be mothballed, she convinced Polaroid to let her go on one last photographic adventure. Images of Jenn (and the camera) in action out on the road can be found here and here.
The NY Art Book Fair.
November 17-19, 2006
548 West 22nd Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Saturday night will be the peak of this year's Leonid's meteor shower. If it's a clear night find a roof. I know I'll be up there.
related: Comet Hyakutake
One of my favorite recent photography discoveries is of the work of Seth Thompson who happens to be represented by my gallery. Seth's work includes scores lush interiors of homes in rural Mexico and Cuba shot with medium format cameras. The work recalls Eliot Porter's Mexican Churches series which came out of an extended trip to Mexico in 1956. Seth recently added many images to his website which he groups under the project name Poco Luz. Poco Luz which means 'little light' (almost all his images are long exposures shot in dim natural light). Perhaps it's something about those long thirty second to several minute exposures that saturate the silver because his images are drenched in almost unbearably beautiful color. The bedrooms, kitchens, churches in these pictures leave me with a visceral sense of lives lived simply, but well and with passion. If you like what you see on the web, you'll be floored by his big, finely made prints which you can view by appointment at the Nelson Hancock Gallery.
I'm happy to report that our search for a great Korean restaurant in this part of Brooklyn is over.
To my knowledge, excluding Williamsburg, there are exactly 3 Korean places in Brooklyn, 5 if you are being really broad in your characterization:
Kim Chee is a solid family run place, but it's in Bay Ridge on the other side of Brooklyn.
9324 3rd Ave 718.567.5741
Noona recently opened on the corner Vanderbilt Avenue and Pacific in Prospect Heights. Noona is an upscale Korean restaurant with small but tasty portions. While the menu looks fully authentic the dishes appear to be geared towards non-Koreans and many of the dishes tasted somehow muted. Jenn deemed the bibimbop good enough and at $10 it would be a perfect lunch if they were open for lunch, but other entrees were a bit too pricey for this restaurant to be on the regular rotation. The restaurant has potential, but they haven't settled into their groove yet.
565 Vanderbilt Avenue 718.398.6662
Henry's Express is a small stand-and-eat hamburger stand on Henry just past Atlantic Avenue. It's Korean run and on Thursday's and Friday's they serve greasy but edible bulgolgi. It's only worth mentioning because it's a stone's throw away.
331 Henry St. 718.222.0708
The Good Fork is an upscale "Korean inspired" diner Red Hook. This is the type of restaurant that makes eating exciting. The food is totally delicious, but it's not exactly authentic Korean comfort food.
718.643.6636 Location: 391 Van Brunt Street
But our search has now ended with the discovery of Sushi Okdol a Japanese/Korean restaurant above a deli in Fort Green run by a Korean family. Sushi Okdol is a dive decorated with pictures of fish torn from magazines, and a sushi clock, but you won't notice the decor once you dive into your meal. Everything from the panchan to the madoo, karbi, to the bibimbop was hit-the-spot delicious and cheap to boot. The menu is small, but all the standard dishes are there. We'll be back and soon.(pdf of the menu)
497 Myrtle Ave. at Hall Street, 718.789.1373
And since I'm on the topic of Korean food I might as well throw in some of our favorite LA Korean Restaurants, each of which I miss:
Tahoe Galbi - Real open fire, meat in the flames, BBQ. So good.
3986 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, (213) 365-9000
Korean Kitchen - I dream about this place. Everything even the vinegar they used in salad dressing was special. Best panchan in LA for my money.
135 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Soot Bull Jeep - the quintessential smokey Korean BBQ place.
3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005
There was also super family run restaurant in Glendale way down Glendale Avenue near Eagle Rock, but I can't find it on google.
And btw if you ever find yourself in LA and need eating suggestions, it's almost required that you read Jonathan Gold's Where to Eat in the Real LA. Through the book and his LAWeekly columns Mr. Gold has single handedly been responsible for more of my memorable meals than anyone except for my wife, my mom and my grandmother.
Update: Noona is now apparently open for lunch.
Several of you have asked for an update on my journal project.
I ended up with around 150 names and addresses and three journals went out into the world at the end of May.
One was lost immediately. I got reports of the other 2 meandering through several continents before also being lost. I understand the second one changed hands about 12 times. Then it stalled in Seattle for almost a month before heading to China in someone's backpack. There it was lost in a youth hostel in Yangshou. The 3rd journal crisscrossed Europe and was eventually loaned to "a friend of a friend" of blog reader Frida in the Swedish city of Hudiksvall... you know how that goes.
I still have some small hope that two of the journals will unstall, but I've had no word of either of them in almost a month. If they are lost I'm sad I never got to see them. If you worked on any of journals, and especially if you have scans, I'd love to hear/see more.
But I am undeterred! Soon 3 new journals will go out into the world! I think one of the problems with the first incarnation of the project was methodology. I had printed all the addresses inside the journal and had covered them all with individual lightly glued brown strips of paper. The idea was that when you got the journal you would work on your pages, remove a strip at random and send the book on. But this didn't account for the vagaries of life, procrastination, etc. So this time the idea will be that each time the journal is to be sent on, the next name on the list will come from me. This will allow me to track the journals, to report on them as they travel around and so on. I'll also ask for a snapshot of the book in your location so at the very least we'll be able to see where it has been... I'm sure a few of the of the people on the original list won't be contact-able, and some of the people who worked on the original journals might not want to work on a second one, so if you're not on the list and would like to be email your address to email@example.com.
The new rules.
1. You will receive an email asking if you are ready to accept a journal and verifying your address.
2. The journal will arrive in the mail. You will have about a week to work on it. After one week you will gently be reminded that your time is up and it is time to send the journal on to the next address which will be provided.
3. Once you get the address you should send it off as soon as you are able and email when it is actually on it's way.
These days photographers whose work focuses on the landscape of suburban dystopia are a dime a dozen. Strip malls, gas stations, chain stores, and so on. But few of the photographers inhabiting this milieu can compare to Robert Adams who was out there in the 60's and 70's. I found a signed copy of The New West, his minimalist masterpiece at my favorite used bookstore this morning for $16. Looking through the book I was struck by how Adams' photography works on me like Antononi's early films (La Notte, Aventura) in which each frame is so subtle and formally perfect that they need to be digested and relished slowly. The bookstore owner was happy to get rid of the book, "Who wants to look at pictures in black and white anymore?" he asked as I paid.
related: found at the same bookstore
The mark of a good document/publishing format is good built in import and export. Import/Export keeps you from being tied to a single system and is a hedge against future technology changes. It also allows you do things like download your data to your computer or an ipod or some other system... it give you options. Right now only Movable Type has strong built in export (it's import functions are anemic). Other popular systems allow you to import, but neglect to include a good built-in export function. Anyway I've had to convert a few blogs in the past few days and had to dig around quite a bit to figure out how to move blog content from one system to another. Here are some simplified instructions for future googlers with the same issues.
How to import to Wordpress from Blogger
This is with Wordpress 2.05 and the non-beta version of blogger available as of 11/2006. The instructions don't work with the blogger beta.
1. If you are publishing to your own domain/ftp change, change the publishing settings in blogger and to publish to a temporary blogspot blog... make sure to copy down your old settings for later (also copy the archive publishing settings). You can republish to the temporary blogspot address if you wish to see if it works, but this is not required. If you are using blogspot already then just skip to #2.
2. In Wordpress go to import and select Blogger and follow the instructions.
3. If you were publishing in blogger to your own domain, remember to change the publishing and archive settings back to their original settings.
How to export Wordpress to Moveable Type
Eric Pierce has written an export Wordpress plugin called WPexport. It was posted a few years ago and has gotten a bit crufty over time, but people on the web have continued to post code fixes in his comments. Here is a patched version that worked for me with Wordpress 2.05 and MT 3.3. You can find the original broken plugin with all the specific fixes in the comments on Eric's seeming defunct website. Perhaps he's graduated. I couldn't find a working email address.
1. So install the plugin.
2. Activate it and go to options.
3. If you have a large blog you will see a blank text box. After some time (minutes in my case) a long text file containing your blog posts the MT import format will show up.
4. Copy all the text and paste it into a word processor that can save things as simple text files.
5. Save your file calling it "import".
6. Upload that file to the import folder in the base folder of your MT installation (if there isn't an import folder, create one).
7. Within MT follow the import instructions.
I've always had a morbid fascination with China's Cultural Revolution but I've only seen pictures of that period from within China proper. This Chinese language blog by Zhao Wang has a few Cultural Revolution images taken within Tibet showing the destruction of the Jokhang monastary. Can anyone do a translation summary of the text? And it should be noted the Jokhang monastery is located in Lhasa and has been restored.
The only named Chinese photographer I know from that period is Li Zhensheng... I'm always looking for new links to others.
Thank you for your letter.
Getting a real letter from anywhere is a good thing, but one from Derry, Ireland is an especially good thing.
As requested these are the answers to your questions:
1. Under a tree somewhere in Texas.
2. Paul Klee once wrote, "I comfort myself with the thought that my words do not address themselves to you in isolation but will complement and bring into focus the impressions, perhaps still a little hazy, which you have already received from my pictures."
4. Is there anything finer than a naked woman in your bed in the morning?
5. Once again I must produce a quote, this time from Fitzgerald (Tender is the Night):
I want to give a really bad party. I mean it.
I want to give a party where there's a brawl and
seductions and people going home with their
feelings hurt and women passed out in the
cabinet de toilette.
7. The Sleestacks.
8. No preference as I would be quite dead.
9. The best secrets are the ones never told.
10. Someday. For sure.
A few weeks ago at PhotoNY I stopped by the booth of AM Richards Fine Art where the gallery was exhibiting the street photography of Andrew Garn taken in Times Square during the 80's. Looking at the prints today you can't help wonder what happened to all the people in that darker, grittier New York which has been all but erased. Garn's website doesn't do justice to the images the gallery has selected, so if you happen to be in Brooklyn, check them out in person.
328 Berry Street (Williamsburg)
Brooklyn NY 11211
tel: 917 570 1476
Today, like so many days with a spent with a young child, sort of drifted away. We played cars. We ran in the park. We went to a birthday party. We read books. He saw the moon for the first time though (not seeing the moon until you are almost 2 is a hazard for the early to bed). That was something. He was impressed. I was too.
related: mira la luna
Livia Corona produces a wide range of work from commercial illustrative images to art photography. If you're someone who grew up going to bullfights in Mexico you'll understand the appeal of her Enanitos Toreros series... to me it feels distinctly Mexican...
Greetings from Washington DC... more in a bit.
Our contemplative skunk cheered up once the candy started flowing but of course we have no pictures of that...
Say no, not because you mean it, but because it's funny.
Repeat: Noooo. Noohhhhh. No.
Be delighted by small things.
Spontaneously kiss the ones you love.
Refuse to look at those who disappoint.
Be wary of the wind.
Hide. Be found. Hide again.
Walk bottomless throughout the house.
Practice closing your eyes remembering to squeeze them tight.
Giggle until you roll over.
Read books about alligators or cars or better, alligators AND cars.
Live for today.
Run. Whenever possible, run.
For some reason a few of my friends have a hard time believing I went canoeing in the Gowanas canal last week. Here's photographic evidence.
This evening I heard photographer Holly Lynton speak about her current show Solid Ground. We happen to work with the same printer (Ben Diep at ColorSpace Imaging on 20th Street) so I had seen some of her images a few months ago around the print studio before I knew anything about the show. They are luminous prints, each one exotic and yet familiar. Taken together they put the viewer in a distinctly feminine and mysterious dreamworld full of blossoming life but also full of hidden dangers and even death. Looking at the images and having heard they had all been taken in the artist’s backyard, I formulated what I thought was a strong theory about the motivation behind the work. I was certain that the artist was trying to show us a child’s perspective where the back yard is indeed the entire world. The low angles, tight crops, short focus and subject matter all seemed to confirm my theory.
For me the work recalled the deep forest I remember behind an apartment that was our home for about a year in the 70’s. I was 5 then and would go exploring with my 3 year old brother. Each journey like all good adventures was fraught with giddy joy and perceived danger. Would there be trees to climb, wild blackberries, or kidnappers and snakes? The trips often ended with us running full tilt, simultaneously laughing and yelling at the top of our lungs, back home.
A few years ago I returned looking for the forest and was puzzled to find only a grouping of tightly bunched thin trees. Convinced the forest must have been leveled I looked back at old photographs to find the scene virtually unchanged, a small stand of trees behind a parking lot ... and yet even with irrefutable proof, it is hard to resolve the memory of the deep dark forest dimly illuminated by occasional shafts of light.... endless.
All this is a roundabout way of saying I had convinced myself I knew what the artist had intended... and of course I was totally wrong. In her talk this evening she said the series had been inspired by a trip to Tanzania shortly after September 11th. In Africa she found death and beauty lurking all around in a real and visceral way. The unresolved feelings the trip inspired, as well as returning during a time when imagined boogiemen were being touted daily led her into her backyard searching for the kind of beauty and danger she experienced in Africa... and to this project...
And yet like that stand of trees, even knowing the truth, it is hard to resolve my original conception of the project. Both narratives remain in my head and both seem equally true.
At least 3 or 4 nights a week at around one in the morning the black car pictured above will stop in the middle of Syndey Place, with it's lights on. The drivers of the car are always men with mustaches and they usually growl in animated bursts into a cellphone in what I'm guessing is a Slavic language. Assuming these were car service drivers cooling their heels, I tried to flag the car and was turned away with a brusk bark, "Get away from car." Sometimes a cop will walk by and the car will circle the block to return to exactly the same spot a few minutes later. Once a second man in a mustache sat in the passengers seat arguing loudly with the driver. Once a fancy looking lady sat in the back, lips pursed without saying a word. Usually by 3am the car is gone leaving behind only cigarette butts thrown from the window.
also on Sydney Place:3:14am
Rineke Dijkstra is photographer whose work always makes me stop in my tracks. I was reminded to look up her work from this post on MAO. Her portraits of bullfighters who have just left the ring are new to me. I don't think this show ever made it to New York.
also: her foreign legion series
My brother-in-law Paul carries his dad's face. But his dad died when he was three and Paul has almost no memory of him. My wife who is six years older than her brother remember Paul chasing other toddlers around the coffin and laughing at the funeral in the happy unawares of childhood.
I used to look at Paul wonder what it feels like to carry your dad's face when you didn't know him, but now that I am a father myself I think of it from the dad's perspective. Did he know his son would look like him, have his personality, his laugh? How sad that he never knew Paul, especially when Paul turned out to be such a good guy. Mr. Yun would have been proud.