Monday, December 19, 2011

another year heading away from me... and what a year-- marriage, baby, strong sales of my work, hawaii, the ocean, etc...

and so, the art world. the art world indeed... saatchi has called them out (irony is a soft, pliant mistress...). miami basel miami basel. the yachts moored in venetian slips...

this is so far removed from the art world i know and work in that it seems ridiculous to even bring up the point. in my rabid youth such atrocities and pretensions would have driven me to extremes of hyperbole and/or violence. now, well, now i just pay a little attention to what is going on and then get back to the work at hand- painting, drawing, training and caring for my daughter. life is short and now, as father, artist, teacher, what have you, i am so very aware of this...

it seems to me that at this stage in the journey battles are to be picked with a hungry, focused discrimination. warhol happened a long long time ago. johns before that... from there we get the ourslers and the finleys and koons and hirst.


theres a lot of shitty TV that pulls in the $$$$ and adds nothing to culture, save a punch-line. thats where we are with THAT art world.

stupid, vulgar people create and harbor stupid, vulgar creations.

this tawdry fact being what it is,
why should i concern myself?

isn't it more important
to just attempt the labor of good work?
maybe write a poem,
for no eyes save my own...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

yeah... not too late but late enough. an opening reception and then the after party at my place. drunk artists and drunk bulgarians make for a lethal combination. there is, in the eastern european soul, a thirst so heroic as to bring a man to his knees. i know this as fact and yet dance with the realities as often as possible. of course... of course.

so now, a beautiful meal in my belly, beleaguered not by life, but by, perhaps, it's omens-- my thoughts drift towards death. hitchens dead; havel dead; twombly dead; freud dead; the great hermann bachofner-- dead.

what is it that we leave behind? maybe some paintings, some scrawled words on bar napkins in east village dives so long ago it doesn't even seem like it could have been the early '90's...

yeah, the east village... this was my haunt before the glassy towers of $$$ and european architects, too many happy people and productivity.

this was the frontier-- still and, it seemed, forevermore... deli's were where you copped heroin. corners were where you looked out for the law. there was a steadfast democracy that held sway-- you made it or you didn't... fuck you.

maybe NYC life was harder all around in those days. it wasn't the '70's for sure, but there was the chance that for every beautiful story, there was a horror story. and i lived through that... my best friend-- maybe not...

i didn't mean to think about him just now... but sitting here, writing of east village times and great dead men- it happened...

i'm old enough now that i need reading glasses. an indignity of gnarly weight and gravity. my daughter sleeps with some ease in her closet of a room and i note that, indeed, i am happy. happy and sitting down to write a few words of art or meaning and in the end a lost companion of 18 or 19 years comes up. there are sad songs in life and i've lent my voice to many, far too often. now, as a father, i look for the clean, arid lyrics that could define a certain, odd, happiness...

he was younger and yet better, smarter-- a cultural soldier, strident and unyielding, as i staggered about insouciant...

his was an intelligence carved from self-reliance and weathered backbone.

a beacon in the fog of young men searching out futures and destinies.

a sublime warrior....

i didn't mean to write about him tonight.

but i did.

and the only relief i have from the pain of losing him is that i knew him for the time i did...

Monday, December 12, 2011

with three new pieces wrapped and ready for a saturday opening and exhibition, i've been pondering the meanings of what it is i've been doing of late. feeding my baby i notice how (at 5 months) certain things catch her eye and her focus. if the bathroom light is on for instance, she is wholly transfixed. what is it exactly that she sees? it's of interest in the larger scheme of things because there is no language or fixed definition for her at this point in her life. she experiences what comes her way in the purest conceivable way. no shit-- she's a baby... but it's fascinating in the same way it's fascinating to speculate on the thought process of pre-socratic philosophers-- where did their apparatus come from? what gave them the weight of their speculation? back in the days of good acid in the boondocks, it dawned on me that i was feeling what a baby felt day to day while in the midst of a trip-- everything was perceived anew, everything was vital and i crawled about as a virgin of sorts-- each movement a brave exploration into new territory, new sublimities...

don't we do this with painting? of late, dealing with a slightly new direction in my work, i've felt an odd joy and desperation in my efforts. pleasure? yes, to be sure-- but there is a detached sense of the path never before taken... it's my opinion that we should, as creators, work in this sort of innocence. if at all possible...

with the gestural mark-making going on in the studio, i've noticed 3 rather distinct qualities:
the circular, organic calligraphy; the more formal, "worked" line and a sort of instinctual shorthand, if you will... all 3 go on view this weekend.

and i'll have my baby with me.

she can lend her gaze to these objects
and in doing so, perhaps, give some depth of purpose to all of it,
the notions of art, collectors,
dealers, resumes,

MFA's and the like be damned...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

made it to chelsea... a half hour before closing time-- they just shut those lights out and the booze is pulled from the tables and the pretty girls are not working anymore.

gordon moore at betty cunningham gallery was purely thrilling. the guy does moves with paint and line that you might dream up stoned, but never work the nerve up to go for. a painters painter and a man so keenly invested in his practice that to say he kicks ass or, perhaps, serves as a beacon to what a painter might strive for, cuts it a bit short...

and i walked 25th street after the moore gig and was delighted to see more strong painting (and some candy, that looked like a bad "LA" painting show-- but thats neither here nor there...).

i'm not thinking, in any way, that we're turning a corner here.

painting has never died and it probably will not make any real comeback. but it's out there.

it takes getting on the street, walking the walk and maybe checking the websites, the shitty magazines and asking around, but there are painters showing true, strong painting.

and tomorrow morning i'll head to the brooklyn studio.

and feel pretty good...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

too late to be up, but the baby is doing her thing from time to time...

aah, deegan faith.

so, with the grace of grandparents in town, i made my way to the studio--

devoid of child.

i hit it hard-- the fine tuning and questioning of work set to be released to the world, nailed up, fastened to the gaze, etc... all of it, far too dramatic. far too dramatic...

there was a bottle of wine and work that was looking good so i did my thing and later went for my halogen light bulbs and tripe soup at the dominican place. rained on for the 3rd time of the day, but thats ok...the artist, deceus, visited for a short time and we shared stories of art and daughters, life and getting it on in spite of that new life around you, surrounding you... and i sipped the wine and did my thing, the work coming strong and easy. it's an amazing reality to be alone in the studio-- sometimes more amazing than you can imagine. and then i headed out and back to manhattan, to the grandparents and deegan faith and soothed her and poured a drink and grilled 2 ribeyes and made a vinaigrette of jalepeno, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and my own special "Zalsa..." stirred that shit up good and doused it over spinach. it was a fine meal. heroic in it's way, and needed...

2 steaks might come across as abusive.

or maybe cathartic...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

ok, saatchi said the art world is vulgar... fine. it is.

it must be understood that there is CULTURE and then there is the ARTWORLD. the ARTWORLD is a product-- something dreamed up and formulated. it's become a conceptual territory that has nothing to do with the creation and love of ART.... the ARTWORLD, as we know it (fairs, venice, hirst, koons, additions, warhol, warhol's bitches, the DEAD DE MENIL KID, polaroids, videos, politics, feminist identity, queer agenda, etc, etc....) is a pathetic social play that the rich push around on their plate and the poor try to snag a pea, filled with posers and cliche misfits.

the ARTWORLD is about $$$. period... and names. it's about those that know nothing about art laying down coin for art. and maybe, at times, it's good art-- or at least something that has some meaning. but when thats the case it's on the word of an art consultant.

on the flip side there is CULTURE. here we have the refined and intelligent, the sensitive, etc... here we find painters and ARTISTS, along with those that support them through understanding, $$$, compliance and awareness.

i dig it-- rich people need art just as poor people do. it's no different, regardless of what the socialists would say... and believe me, i want them buying my work as the paint dries (what color is your couch?)...

the point is that saatchi is calling out the ARTWORLD and people are getting pissed...

fuck them. he couldn't be more accurate--


and saatchi, himself falls right in there. who, in his right mind (aesthetically if nothing else), would lay down good british coin on anything by the likes of emin???

who? well, saatchi..

but here he is calling them out.

that takes balls.

or maybe it doesn't...

yeah, maybe it means nothing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

there is this sense, as an artist, that you deal with life in a rarefied plain, more emotionally, more subjectively, more objectively, more violently, more sanely. there are the late nights and early mornings of bad women you don't know and bad habits you know all too well. there are the old books falling apart-- brittle with age, the yellowed to brown pages crumbling with each turn of the inquisitive hand. there were nights where i never spoke a word of language other than the language of a brush or a scrawled pen in the dim light under my loft bed in the long island city studio as the street lights of 11th street blew out the glass brick windows of that concrete ground floor space.

the artist, robert kingston (at the time) was on the top floor and while walking his majestic dog, Reina, he would, at times stop to knock on the thick glass and he'd come in and look and we'd talk and think, for awhile, together, sometimes leaving the space to walk along the east river warehouses that, at that seemingly long ago time, lined the shoreline where the packs of wild city dogs crept out from the forgotten basements in the late of night.

at the time, long island city was part small town and part ghost town. part NYC and part??? there were young mexican families and old italians and if you saw someone more than once you at least nodded and said your hello. and it has changed... like so much of everything else in life-- it has changed. the old warehouses are long gone. the young mexican families gone or, if not gone, furtive, in hiding... the old italians? sadly, i'd say they've died off. and their children and grandchildren play at making a living off the new way of life on that side of the river.

but, clearly, i digress.

back to art... it is a singular game. there is little room for collaboration in the quest of a vision-- narcissus, the cruel master... it dawned on me yesterday, feeding my baby, that my wife and child have given me purpose. given my way and my life reason and a cause. i have been steadfast in my pursuits-- art, vice, poetry, violence, sport, what have you... but now... now there is a new speed and a newfound vigor to my practice of existence. and indeed, to the practice of my art

i owe this to them...

the poet, james dickey wrote,

"I begin to move with the moon
As it must have felt when it went
From the sea to dwell in the sky.

As we near the vast beginning,
The unborn stars of the wellhead,
The secret of the game."

yeah. that about sums it up...