September 9, 2009

The Politics of Kahlo

The LA Times art critic Christopher Knight's article titled Fighting over Frida Kahlo is the best summary I've read yet on the controversy raging around the book Finding Frida Kahlo which documents a purported cache of Kahlo ephemera. As always Kahlo is a polarizing figure and if anything the article understates the ferocity of the politics around find. The debate is curious to me as cache is broad enough that serious scholarship should be able to provide definitive answers. Many of the items documented are simply knickknacks—the type of thing an obsessive collector has a hard time throwing away, only valuable because they belonged to an icon, but the letters and drawings should be placeable within the known canon if they are legit. Full disclosure, while we haven't seen them in many years, Carlos Noyola and his wife, Leticia, the art dealers who found the cache, are family friends. The Noyolas are art obsessed, a couple who live a life almost absurdly chock full of art, and who have intimate knowledge of each of the thousands of pieces in their homes

I tend to be wary of found caches of art and found diaries, especially when they are purported to be from famous figures (most especially when the found work contains salacious material that confirms things we already believe about those figures). Double scrutiny is reserved when the origins of the artwork are shady, but then again then again the Mexican art world is small, clubby, and strange and it's easy for wonderful things to sit in boxes or hang on walls for years without a paper trail. Frida's life was not ordinary and it's certainly plausible that she would hide boxes of drawings and papers away. The Noyola's involvement has only heightened my interest as they would be the first people to be be skeptical of something that seems too good to be true. I concur with Knight, only serious scholarship will tell the tale and I look forward to seeing how this one plays out...

More on the controversy: The Guardian, New York Times, The Art Newspaper

Sidenote: For years I've heard that there is a Diego Rivera mural under several layers flat colored paint on the wall of a dining room 79th and Park Avenue. No idea if the story is true, but it would be fun to investigate someday.

Update: NY Times Article

September 11, 2009

Things Lost

Related: September 11, 2006, September 11, 2005

September 12, 2009

Charlie Roberts


Someone asked me today if there's anything I miss about LA. After my wife's kitchen garden, morning swims in my own pool, and the good eats, my final answer was stopping by the Richard Heller gallery. While it's been a few years since I've been back to LA, at I can at least visit the gallery online for inspiration. Their artist lineup is top notch... hard to choose a gallery favorite, but if you forced me, it might be Norway based American painter/sculptor Charlie Roberts. I've wanted to own one of his paintings for years.

You can find a good interview of Roberts at Beautiful Decay. A radio interview can be found on KUHF.

More of Robert's work can be found at Kravets |Wehby (click on images for bigger sizes) and Vous Etes Ici,

Not Related: There's another artist named Charlie Roberts who makes videos of himself covered in peanut butter. Worth watching for the sheer horror.

September 16, 2009

Tia Olivia's Quinceañera

Tia Olivia's Quinceañera from raul gutierrez on Vimeo.

I've been digitizing family home movies. This is the earliest I've found. It's my Tia Olivia's 15th birthday. The year should be 1958/59 if my calculations are correct. There is no sound although I've been thinking I should add some period music... Love the bit around 3:10 of all the men sitting on the porch. That's how I remember parties from my childhood in the 70's. Same porch, same cowboy hats. It would be different now. Most of the adults in this video of my grandparent's generation are gone. I miss that world so much and this little movie—more than any movie I have of my own childhood— brings the world of my grandparents all back to me.

September 18, 2009

1979 My First Movie

1979 My First Movie on Vimeo.

So it was 1979. I had been taking pictures with my dad's Pentax for a few years and had a serious camera bug. I had always asked to shoot with the super 8 (a Canon 814 Autozoom), but wasn't allowed. The movie camera was off strictly limits and of course the forbidden status gave it a special pull (I even loved the smell of the case). One summer my parents went on vacation leaving us with our grandparents. I had recently learned about stop motion and was desperate to experiment. This was my chance. I secretly brought the camera to my room and shot a stop motion test. The next day my brothers were recruited for a guerilla shoot. I didn't have a story, I just wanted to experiment and see what happened. The movie above is the result. I was actually so scared of getting in trouble that I left the exposed film in the camera bag. The film wasn't developed for months, and when it was it became part of our family lore...That little crude shoot gave me a passion for movies that has lasted a lifetime.

Sidenote: I've always thought it would be fun to add sound to this. I'll probably take a stab at it. I'd love for someone else to give it a try. The source is downloadable for a week on vimeo.

Scene list:

Stop Motion
Ed makes magic
Ed jumps
Use dove soap 21 secs
Sideways guy
Ed wake up
Ed jumps off of Mr. Dixon's Winnebago 1min 26secs
Can't shut the camera off
Mr. Dixon
My trophies
Christopher turns into an old lady
Ed Falls backwards
Razor ad w/ Christopher
Ed lays down a long skid on his bike 2min 35secs
I catch Ed and Christopher fighting (my Grandfather intervenes)
Very bad baseball special effect
Ed jumps off the roof. 3 min 05secs
More stop motion
Crest Commercial
Stop motion shoes
Upsidedown jumping
A brief appearance by me (Tigers shirt) 3min 52secs
Football special effects
Bozo the neighborhood dog
Stop motion tree climbing
Ed as Chaplin 4min 19secs
Christopher as a mariachi
My grandmother 4min 37secs
More stop motion
A watermelon we were growing
Bad pine cone special effect
More zapping
Falling down
More roof jumping
Practical joke on Mr. Sullivan 5min 18sec
Replay of the practical joke, but "funnier"
Delayed football reaction special effect

More Super 8 Home movies I've uploaded recently:

1970 - At the Park
1968 - Tia Olivia's Wedding
1966 - My Parent's Wedding

more on the way...

September 18, 2009

More Adventures in Stop Motion

1980 Adventures in stop motion) on Vimeo.

I think this was my 2nd or 3rd super 8 flick and the last one I'll force upon my readers here (more flix will be posted on vimeo. The stories I think are self explanatory. I'm the super dorky kid in the purple who shows up near the end of the film at about 2:36.

September 28, 2009

Langdon Lane

langdonlane1969.jpgLangdon Lane in 1969
langdonlanetoday.jpgSame house via Google maps
We lived there for 3 years. It was a little house—we always called it the little house, even back then—but it was the first house I remember, so in my memory it is vast. The front yard is an endless stretch of the greenest grass. The sky is always blue. My room is chock full of books and toys, and monsters live under all the beds.

Traveling back via Google Maps is probably just as ill advised as driving back when passing through Houston and standing in the yard, but I visit from time to time.


Here in Brooklyn we live only 4 blocks away from the place we lived for the first two and half years of my 4 year old's life. We walk by on the way to his preschool, and sometimes he asks to sit on the steps. He knows he can't go inside anymore, but sitting gives him comfort. Normally we don't talk, and after a bit he'll simply get up and continue on. Do I tell him he'll always want to sit on those steps, and that over time they will grower smaller even as they grow larger?

September 28, 2009

Patrick Romero's Earthquake Weather

The longer you live in a big city, the more the city becomes your own, specific to the people in your circle and the paths you frequent. One of the pleasures of living in a large city is discovering the work of artists who experienced different versions of your city. Good work— whether it contradicts what you know or fits neatly into your schema— always forces you to look at the city with new eyes. I've found this phenomenon to be especially true in Los Angeles which in it's vastness seems to only be comprehensible in small bites. I was there for 10 years and never got a handle on the place. I think you'll enjoy visiting Patrick Romero's LA and I love the evocative title of his project Earthquake Weather..or Stranded in Los Angeles.

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