Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Short random notes: September 24, 2015.

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

James Mee has his job back.

I feel sure I’ve written about this before, but I can’t find the post now. Mr. Mee was a deputy with the LA County Sheriff’s Office. He was fired because of his alleged involvement in a police chase that ended when the vehicle he was supposedly chasing crashed into a gas station.

At least, that was the claim. So why was he really fired? Well, Mr. Mee was also one of the officers who arrested Mel Gibson back in 2006.

Mee’s lawyers argued that sheriff’s managers falsely blamed Mee for leaking details of Gibson’s 2006 arrest and the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade to celebrity news site Mee, his attorneys alleged, was repeatedly subjected to harassment and unfair discipline in the years that followed, culminating in his firing over the 2011 crash.

This one’s for Lawrence: Frank Gehry is working on a project to rehabilitate the Los Angeles River. This has some people upset.

(Obligatory. Plus, the video I’ve linked to before has been taken down, so call this a bookmark.)

Random notes: July 15, 2015.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The Shep turned himself in to the Detroit PD. (Previously.)

Correction: July 13, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated Modern Farmer’s new “it” grain. It is sorghum, not quinoa.

Art, damn it, art! watch (#48 in a series)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Apparently, the Detroit PD doesn’t want Shepard Fairey extradited from California to face vandalism charges there. (Previously.)

This comes by way of a LAT think piece:

Fairey’s arrest, and his release, provides a window into the evolution of street art, its growing acceptance in American culture and the extent to which an old question, “Is it art or is it vandalism?” now gets answered through new eyes. The social media and press attention that the Detroit incident received speaks to the artist’s fame, which is itself a marker of how street art has become part of the zeitgeist, public art expert Ed Fuentes said.

Perhaps I am naive. Perhaps I shouldn’t try to be an art critic. But it seems to me that there’s a very simple answer to the “art or vandalism” question: if you have permission from the property owner, it is art. If you don’t, it is vandalism.

Speaking of art being above the law, Joe Gibbons was sentenced yesterday.

Mr. Gibbons, a former lecturer in art at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was sentenced on Monday to one year in prison after he pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to third-degree felony robbery for entering a Capital One Bank in Chinatown this past New Year’s Eve, stealing $1,002 and filming it all on a pocket-size pink and silver video camera. He claimed it was an act of performance art coupled with dire financial straits.

While acknowledging that Mr. Gibbons had dubious legal standing, Ann Pellegrini, a professor of performance studies at New York University, called the case a classic example of “performance becoming performative,” an act that questions “the relationship between actor, audience and enactment.”

After action report: Spokane, WA.

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

The Smith and Wesson Collector’s Association annual symposium was in Spokane this year.


…it’s the hole.

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

From the NYT, a short documentary about Chris Burden and “Shoot”.

(Subject line hattip.)

Obit watch: May 11, 2015.

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Conceptual artist Chris Burden.

(Edited to add 5/12: NYT.)

I’ve touched on Mr. Burden and his work before, particularly the notorious “Shoot”. This is one work I was not aware of:

For his master’s thesis, he executed “Five Day Locker Piece,” a durational performance in which he locked himself inside an ordinary school locker measuring just two feet high, two feet wide and three feet deep. The locker directly above contained five gallons of bottled water, and the locker directly below held an empty five-gallon bottle.

Art, damn it, art! watch. (#47 in a series)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015


Dead Drops: what to do if you see a USB stick sticking out of a wall

Stop! Don’t touch! Tell an adult!

But I digress.

But in 2010, Berlin-based artist Aram Bartholl decided to adapt the idea for public use. His Dead Drops involve people hiding USB flash drives in cities around the world and embedding them into walls, fences and kerbs. The idea is that you look up their location, access the drive, and do what you see fit with the files – add your own, remove or copy them over.

I’m not going to say this is the dumbest idea I’ve heard recently. But it is in the top 100.

(Per the database, there are six of these within 100 km of Austin. Five are marked as broken or missing. The sixth is actually in Bastrop. While it is marked as working, the status hasn’t been updated since 2011.)

After action report: Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Monday, November 17th, 2014

I’ve sort of hinted at this, but now the full story can be told.

Mike the Musicologist and I went on a road trip to Oklahoma the weekend of November 8th.


Gehry watch.

Friday, October 17th, 2014

The LAT reviews the Gehry designed Louis Vuitton Foundation museum.

The Eisenhower Memorial design has been approved with revisions. (Previously.)

The revised design replaces the memorial’s east and west steel tapestries — depicting the Kansas plains where Eisenhower spent his boyhood — with single columns that mark the north corners of the site, preparing visitors for the entrance. The south columns and tapestry aim to define the memorial’s space and frame the views of the Capitol.

Random notes: October 3, 2014.

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Good coffee is important.

I’m a big fan of both Jimmy Stewart and Carol Burnett, so this makes me very happy. (I have family in the area around Indiana, Pennsylvania, but I’ve never had the chance to visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Perhaps I will remedy this on a future visit.)

Five rules for viewing art, damn it, art! There’s much here that I agree with; seek silence, take your time, do some research. On the other hand, I don’t see anything wrong with purchasing postcards or posters at the gift shop. I do think the rubber van Gogh ear is a bit over the top.

Some practical advice: If you feel better about yourself when you leave a museum, you’re probably doing it all wrong.

This bothers me as well, but I’m not sure I can articulate why. I need to think on it some more.

TMQ Watch: August 12, 2014.

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

And so is TMQ. And so is TMQ Watch. The first column of the NFL season is always kind of strange; there’s a lot of short items, basketball coverage, and other things that throw us for a loop. We’re probably not going to hit every one of TMQ’s throwaway quips. And yes, we’re aware that TMQ did a couple of draft columns; we looked at those and frankly didn’t find anything noteworthy in them. One was his usual silly mock draft, the other was his draft analysis, and both contained the recommended US daily allowance of TMQ tropes.

Anyway, back to this week’s TMQ, after the jump…


Art, damn it, art! watch. (#46 in a series)

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

This one’s for Lawrence.

The House Committee on Natural Resources has called the proposed Eisenhower Memorial “a five-star folly”. That’s actually the title of their report, which is subtitled (just in case you didn’t get the point), “An Investigation into the Cost Increases, Construction Delays, and Design Problems That Have Been a Disservice to the Effort to Memorialize Dwight D. Eisenhower”.

This has been going on since 1999. So far, according to the report, “Approximately $41 million has been spent or obligated so far, including almost $16.4 million for the designer and more than $13.3 million to the multiple parties responsible for managing the design process and providing administrative support.” And there’s basically nothing to show for it.

Except for the design itself, which lots of people don’t like. Including the Eisenhower family.

Congress subsequently withheld construction funds for the memorial two years in a row, and this month, the House released a draft budget that also zeros out operating funds and calls for a new design competition. In April, the National Capital Planning Commission voted 7 to 3 to oppose the design. The House committees on oversight and appropriations are also investigating the memorial.

The designer? Lawrence’s favorite living architect, Frank Gehry. To be fair to Mr. Gehry (who I actually kind of like), this wouldn’t be the first time a controversial memorial design in DC has turned out okay. And I’m not clear on what exactly the objections are:

Mr. Gehry’s original concept to honor the World War II military leader and 34th president called for a four-acre site partly enclosed by transparent woven metal tapestries displaying images of the Kansas plains, where Eisenhower grew up. The most contentious element initially was a statue of the young Eisenhower sitting on a low stone wall, a characterization inspired by a photograph of him at that age and by a homecoming speech he made after the war in which he recalled his days as a “barefoot boy.”

That doesn’t sound too awful or disrespectful to me.

In response to objections that this was insufficiently respectful, Mr. Gehry replaced the child with Eisenhower as a 20-year-old West Point cadet and changed his depictions of two famous photographs into statues instead of bas-reliefs. But family members still expressed concerns that the design was costly, undignified and would require too much maintenance.

Yeah, I don’t get the “undignified” thing, either. But I haven’t seen anything other than the photo in the NYT. I do find it interesting that, according to the congressional report, the initial jury thought all of the submitted designs were “mediocre” and wanted a second round of submissions. Whoever was in charge overruled the jury and picked Gehry’s design.

And there’s other boondoggles, too. Sole source contracts, paying $1.4 million to fundraising firms (which have managed to raise about $500,000), questions about ongoing maintenance costs, etc. etc. etc.

I like Ike. But I have serious questions about our need for an Eisenhower Memorial outside of the Eisenhower Presidential Center and about the design process for this one.