Sunday, June 25, 2017

"(nothing more nothing less)"

The Mainlander's Andrew Witt (or Andrew Witt, writing in The Mainlander,) contributes yet another article on Vancouver and photography. Is it worth reading? Of course!

But Andrew -- this:

The common refrain heard over and over again when looking at Herzog’s photographs is often the following: “I remember that building…” or “That’s the back of my house!” (nothing more nothing less) — a position that sounds something like “Once upon a time ….” Regretfully, the photograph is approached not formally or socially, but is read through the hazy filters of personal (not collective) memory. Encouraged by this tendency, the spectator is emboldened to feel wistfully nostalgic towards the city and its past, rather than advancing an interpretive or critical position towards the image and its complicated history.

How is it that a news service that positions itself as a voice of the people can reduce people to their personal remembrances "(nothing more nothing less)." As someone who has written on Herzog's work (I am a co-author of the 2007 Herzog book that Andrew Witt attributes only to VAG curator Grant Arnold), I have discussed "formal and social" aspects of Herzog's work in relation to the emergent market city. What's more, the overwhelming public response to the VAG's 2007 Herzog exhibition marks a turning point in a city that for the longest time saw History as something that got in the way of making money. This shift is measured not only in an acceleration of interest in the city and its histories, but, as a result of this interest, a revival of a COPE party by those too young to remember Herzog's city of the 50s, 60s and 70s, but who see in it something worth fighting for.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Claude Breeze

What to make of Claude Breeze's Sunday Afternoon: From an Old American Photograph (1964-1965) after Dana Schutz's Open Casket (2016)?

Thursday, June 22, 2017


For a second I thought this Harper's article was subtitled "Who owns black paint?" and was about Anish Kapoor's struggle to secure the exclusive rights to Vantablack.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Hand of the Landlord

An artist's version of negative billing: graffiti that requires a similar action from the landlord, provided the landlord is against such actions.

Another Bill worth posting:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

80s Poem Revis(it)ed

Shared House
 for Cornelia Wyngaarden

northdown kickass princess kid all bossy with fear arrives is
indifference as’m goddess thick with instance is’m
dandered at the lack of patricular resistance as in said gesture
mattered not on consensus chorewheel clacking done-thats
but on toilet seats with hinges

a wall away tucked into the den’s red deco chair inez stares as
nothing’s unplugged television reflects the hall behind her
bicep vein-twitch eyed by passing royalty
a tremor sent and registered as inez counts back from ten
awaiting her return

still new to her room as if breathing it in for the first time then out 
some unseen hole her highness draws the blinds
dumps her bag on the futon before more forward steps back
down the hall to claim the wall opposite inez
as if to say

it’s sisters sure but my star beats yers 

tamsin is screamed because the house is in her name and it’s royalty
who refuses to be told it’s her turn to do anything inez says
it’s yers cause if it isn’t then it’s powerflex so no more
ponytalk it’s tamsin’s to decide because it’s her alamo
and it’s inez who was first within’t 

what started as a painting was cut up to decide itself
left to map performance’s haptic handstand whorls
lifted from the floor and entered into trauma’s grid
a match because it’s grandma’s trapline 
left to rest at the foot of the bed

what’s this inez says unasking knowing that it’s excellent
what’s this but a three-point teaching moment turned on her
when she was royalty’s age just loud enough that enough come running
inez’s critique powered by what little she knows
but enough to fill those lower lids

of royalty’s left to explain her art as if first met by those come running
the melt felt from fresh eyes feeding fires behind familiar faces
the stink of rethink as royalty is reduced to the sum
of her defenses on the morning of an interview
for a job that is beneath her

Monday, June 19, 2017


At 5:05PM Saturday I left the house near Kingsway and Knight and walked to 5th and Burrard for the 6:30PM screening of My Cousin Rachel (2017).

The walk itself took just under and hour, with a ten minute break outside the Cancer Control Agency, where I bumped into Lisa Prentice, and a 30 second break two blocks west, where I stopped to take a picture of VHG/UBC poster boy George Bowering.

The link for George is to a Western Front reading he did in 1974. The book he reads from is one of my favourites -- Curious (1973) -- "a book of meditations," he says, or a "picture book" and/or a "portrait book," as Ed Dorn told him.

One of George's literary heroes is Gertrude Stein, who wrote portraits of her fellow artists (Matisse, Picasso). Like Stein's portraits, George's are not only affirmative complimentary, but also critical complimentary and entertainingly ambiguous.

More recently Andrew Berardini has taken up portrait writing.

I have nothing positive to say about the current film adaption of Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel, where we are encouraged to feel aghast at "Philip"'s immaturity, while "Rachel"'s complexity is left flapping.