The 2004 Whitney Biennial was a really formative experience as far as developing my taste and proclivity for contemporary art goes. I was a high school student visiting New York for my sister's college graduation. To this day I remember exactly so many of the pieces and artists I saw there. I felt like I was discovering something, and for me, I was. The artists were already known by many, but I was seeing so many new ideas, mediums, images and scales. I remember being floored, just totally in awe of it all.
I didn't realize until just now, reflecting on the show and my experience, but in looking at the list of artists again, the artists and pieces I remember as being particularly affecting and inspirational, continue to provide intellectual and aesthetic fodder to me today: Marina Abramovic, Miranda July, Elizabeth Peyton, Maurizio Cattelan, Mel Bochner, Raymond Pettibon, David Altmejd, Ernesto Caivano, Yayoi Kusama, and finally, Catherine Opie, whose photo this is. Her portraits of surfers were the pieces on view at the Biennial eight years ago and to this day, when I think of the ocean and surfing, these come to mind.
Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo come to mind in these beautiful photocroms of Norway between about 1890 - 1900. I think it's in the effect of the coloring process, the way it creates a flat gradient in the water and skies. That and the perspective, which he of course learned from imported European examples, so... let's not get into that discussion right now. Also - I found these on the Radiolab blog, but they are originally from the Library of Congress, so if you're bored, go get lost in that rabbit hole!
BIG CHANGES, people. I am moving to Colorado and it's making me HELLA nostalgic for New York, where I am actually currently still living. You can be nostalgic for something even if you still have it, right? I know I can, and so I'm starting a New York series, much like "Vice Quotes" and "Cats." Get ready for some skylines, dramatic words, maps, feelings, and other stuff.
from top to bottom: Eve Hewson, Holliday Grainger, Eleanor Tomlinson
These beautiful ladies are all up-and-coming British actresses. They were handsomely photographed by Anton Corbijn for the New York Times Magazine and are wearing every manner of glittering gem that a girl could even dream of. I am so drawn to cool tonality of each photo, so calming and regal. Other favorite? Unconventionality: brooch as earring, earrings as brooches, hoops as cuffs.
Sasha Frere-Jones posted this song "Disorder (Live)" from Les Bains Douches on his blog, Songs You Taught Me, a long time ago.
Since I'm basically too young to have listened to Joy Division unironically, it was great to hear this really raw version of the music, and get some insight, thanks to Mr. Frere-Jones, on the band as viewed by pop culture, then and now. It's also one of those songs that for whatever reason I can listen to OVER and OVER again. Literally, right in a row. More than four times even! Which is relevant because my dad once told me this story about how when he was a hippie he would listen to "Suffragette City" by David Bowie really loud as many times in a row as he could, and I think he said that he hit his maximum at four times. Dad, any comment?
Also, David Bowie is another example of someone who I should have been too young to have listened to unironically, but since my parents introduced me to their music at a young age, I was lucky that Bowie made the cut. Joy Division, not so much. This reminds me that I should probably do a post about all the music my parents made me listen to when I was young. Like Prince! I can always picture looking at the album cover for the Purple Rain record in our living room, sitting in front of the record player. It was so misty, and I loved the flowers on the side!
To get back on track, which is back to Joy Division, as evidence that I wasn't cool enough to like Joy Division before I knew that I should, I knew this above artwork before I connected that it was from one of their album covers. If you want to know a LOT about this very famous album artwork, check out this thorough history of Peter Saville's artwork that was originally for the January 1971 issue of Scientific American and is actually credited to Jerry Ostriker, and is a representation of the successive pulses from the first discovered pulsar. What is a pulsar? Wikipedia tells me that it is a "highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation."
Now I have successfully turned this post about Joy Division into a post about David Bowie into a post about my parents' music taste in general into a post about album artwork into a post about astronomy! I almost added a part about how Sasha Frere-Jones wrote a really awesome review about Sleigh Bells a while ago and it is so quotable. But I'm saving it for another day. And they say the internet isn't ruining my ability to focus. You're welcome!
The seasons are marching by here in New York. It is spring. It feels like summer. Pina Bausch's seasons march dance, as seen in Wim Wender's splendid (no really, go see it right now) film, Pina, would be at home in the trees in Central Park, along the West Side Highway, through the streets of Chinatown. Can you hear the music right now? Louis Armstrong is playing the West End Blues.
This is from "Wild Animal (The Simple Dog Goes for a Joy Ride)" which is an online cartoon by Allie who posts super funny comics on Hyperbole and a Half. If you would perchance like to laugh today, I suggest checking out the joy ride that this simple dog had. I couldn't stop laughing, and then I couldn't stop reading her other comics, and then I looked up and it was 3:15 pm. In other words, words that Allie herself would approve of (because they are hers): Internet! Forever....
P.S. I found Allie thanks to Lynda Barry's Tumblr The Near-Sighted Monkey. Man, I wish I was taking her "What It Is" class!
"Do you get the feeling we’re on the cusp of something great? Rap and punk and metal haven’t done shit for us lately and electronica’s offshoots all died in the water, but everyone seems to be at that exact zenith of not giving a shit where greatness has no choice but to explode."