Thursday, February 23, 2012

barney rosset has passed at 89.

and it came to me that at 45, i don't know what wisdom truly is, but i know that you probably get closer if you live your years and stay open minded and somewhat clear as to the fact that you want to live an interesting and engaged life. art can figure into this. cooking can figure into this...
travel, love, spreading some positive vibes, etc, etc...

in the last writing i mentioned my focus in the studio of late. i can say that about life now...
at 45 it became clearer to me what i've always heard-
what everyone always hears: life is short-- the time goes so quickly.
yeah, i've lost a lot of time and freedom for the studio practice
of making paintings and dreaming.
fine. i didn't go into fatherhood thinking it would afford me anything
approaching time.
but if i accept that, then it's on me to make sure
that when i get in there i am working like a beast
being totally honest with myself of what i want to paint
and how i want to do it...
an artist can get lost looking over his shoulder
at galleries and sales and collectors and critics
and other artists and what he saw last week
that he wishes he had done so long ago...

don't get lost.

be honest in the studio putting that shit down.
paint what you need to, write what you need to
and don't take on the bullshit
that anyone else might want you to take on.

don't waste your time. get up early and work out.
get home and put the coffee on and make it strong
and do whatever it is that needs doing.
eat good cuts of meat and eat as clean as you can
while still enjoying the process and sipping your vodka
or wine or cold fuckin lager. take care of family and friends--
they need you or they wouldn't be there to begin with.
read good literature. or if not good literature
read what is interesting to you regarding this voyage we are on--
don't waste the awesome power of your eyes on garbage... draw. often.
don't waste too much of your precious energy on politics--
everything is pre-decided, it's a dead circle and really--
it spins with or without you...
travel when you can. get out there... somehow.

this is probably not wisdom that came to me
having lived the life i've lived...

these are just my thoughts
coming out while my baby sleeps- hence the fevered expression.

my dear friend, paul chambers, used to stand in front of the mirror
in the locker room of the club where we taught tennis,
looking at himself, having stepped out from the shower-
convinced of his beauty.
he spent a lot of time in front of that mirror...
when we'd meet some dude in a SoHo bar
(and we always met people- women for sure,
but, being an aussie, paul would start talking to anyone),
he'd introduce himself thusly:
"i'm paul, i play tennis and fuck models..."
i kid you not.
and then he'd buy the drinks for everyone.
once, when he picked me up from my stanton street sublet
in his 930 turbo, he took the time to drive 12 or 13 kids from the projects
1 at a time around the neighborhood...
it took him well over an hour. he loved that shit.

he always said if he died the next morning he'd be happy--
he'd led the greatest life he could: he drove fast and drank hard,
charged waves and hit tennis balls like a madman.
and he fucked those models...

and when i got the word that the cancer
that took over his body killed him.
i tried to remember that.

it's taken me my life up to this point
to understand how beautiful everything is.
(i was once so young that it almost killed me.)

don't waste any time.
it's all we've got...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

* so, first off, i need to go off into the world of MMA for a bit...


great fight. what a confusing pile of shit we have left now.
watching the fight, i don't know, i saw diaz doing his shit and walking condit down- maybe taking some shots, but who doesn't? and then joe rogan mentions something about condit taking it- diaz being down going into the 5th round... shit.

and yeah, condit takes a unanimous decision.

i don't know. i don't know...

i've had guys dance around me and hit me with kicks that meant nothing and when i got inside they just made sure they got out. part of the game...

bas rutten made a great point- condit has generally ended fights. he is a game motherfucker. and (the train of thought goes) he came in with a game plan that he did not tilt off for a second. he road that razors edge for 25 minutes and came out with a belt and his paw prints all over the face of diaz. ok. fair enough...

i've been pondering the merits of "ring generalship" and "aggression" as if, at this point, it mattered... diaz stalked his man and landed some great shots, but it did not fall his way. he didn't end the fight. condit didn't either. but condit walked away with the win...
then diaz tests positive for weed and faces a year suspension. after already saying he's retiring... this could surely be the last we see of the prodigal fighter. it's sad.

it's literary...
and i'm sitting here wondering about all of it...

* i've avoided MOMA because of the cindy sherman retrospective...
i can't take it. can't take the oxygen. can't take the bullshit. can't take the art school kids who fall in love with everything that rings false and insincere and pathetic.

can't take it...

and to think they just packed up the de koonings...

* good painting in chelsea, i'm just not the guy to be able to get out there to see it.
i'm a man tethered to a baby and i have my few hours of karate in the morning and when the kid sleeps in the afternoon i push the weights and the studio time and maybe other training at night and thats what i get...

the leisure of strolling the western avenues is a leisure of another time and another place.
kinda sad, but a lot of things are sad.
she's crawling now- all over the fuckin place.
she knows her name and she kisses her daddy and says "da da..."
thats better than going gallery to gallery and dealing with the crap.

regardless of how much good is missed, or lost...

* on that note: tadaaki kuwayama at gary snyder gallery is amazing... i made the opening with wife and baby in tow and while the art crowd lost it over my deegan, i lost it over the feverish stoicism of the work.

the color.

the intent.

i mentioned to snyder that i never thought of the artist as "lyrical."
my mistake...

* which brings us in a round about way to gesture. i'm not sure how i've been so productive of late in the studio. increased focus? sure.
but that just seems a fall back response to the question.

i'm invigorated by the new program- the (perhaps) baroque quality of the physical gesture laid on canvas. so fired up to just get in there and put down paint...

so totally IN EACH MOMENT...

i'm a lucky man.

i think many men could say that if they looked with any honesty on their lives.
perhaps they don't want to see that luck.
perhaps they want to feel they have, in some way,
powered their way to whatever grace
it is in their lives they are dealing with.


i'm a lucky motherfucker...

and i got no problem writing that shit down.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

* so, kelley "despised" minimalism "as elitist".
ok... whats wrong with elitism??
art as democratic program is such a sad sad song.

rap is democratic. rip-off, commercial country and western, fresh out of LA is democratic. television is democratic. shitty food, shitty attitudes-- homophobia, racism, ignorance-- is democratic... it comes down to mob rules.

and i don't run with the crowd...

it's painfully hard to make good art. a kick-ass painting takes time and romance and sincerity. that shit is hard to come by. write a great poem? forget it... a novel? shit...

word is, kelley had wanted to go into literature, but found it "too hard..."
I could leave it at that.

to write something that is real and powerful and true is difficult, if not (near) impossible in this day and age. yeah, it's hard... but to go against it and proclaim yourself an artist is easy. shoot your video, mimic your commercial, your cartoon, your fashion model bullshit, put your politics up there and never get your hands too dirty...
and if they get dirty, make sure it's during a "performance"
in front of 7 of your friends...

it's easy to be the art rebel.
ask the dash de menial kid that overdosed in the bathtub.
what a stupid game.

* and to continue with the dead artist theme, now tapies is gone... sad to say, but i don't think i got into him enough... bold bold heavy work.
painting that takes "painting" out of what we know of the cannon and into other (perhaps more earthly) modes... so little has been seen in the states. or so it seems.
perhaps thats just my excuse.
but maybe not.

* chelsea? yeah, it's there... kicking and screaming as the new 7 line is dug up and laid out.
tottering on high heels and $$$ and loving itself as the whore she is.

i remember when the galleries began the steady crawl up from SoHo to those vacant plots between 10th and 11th avenues. all the art world bitching and moaning about the distance and the cold and the wind and the on and on and on...

does anyone remember holly solomon?
i wonder...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

mike kelley dead... a new member of the joyless suicide club. he lays himself out in good company: gorky, plath, roethke, crane, rothko, mayakovsky, wallace, hemingway (did jackson off himself? that car-dive into the woods...?)...

did his body of work stack up to any of them? I'll be the asshole and say NO.

punk rock and "youth culture" does not make powerful art. sorry...

...and then i hear of the passing of dorothea tanning. at 101...

tanning was (or is) one of the female artists nobody knows but should know. a lot of her work comes off a bit spotty to my eyes-- and much comes off as horribly dated. but she was there, working her paint, digging down deep into her own reality. and yes, as a woman, who knows the peripheral bullshit she had to deal with?

the surrealists were a dicey lot. effete, cafe society europeans- laying low in nyc while the nazis did what they did.

breton? please... a bad poet does not a leader make.

but, as a whole, the surrealists took us all to another place-- looking at and making art.

tanning, in her very existence as a woman putting down paint and living the life she led is a beacon for BEING AN ARTIST and LEADING A full CREATIVE LIFE...

all that and she nailed down a multi-decade marriage to an artist.
god knows that can't be easy.

kelley? well, yeah...

at least we still have hirst.