I don't believe that painting is dead. I do believe that every substantial painting has to acknowledge–visually–the pathogens threatening it: Its painfully close ties to the .01%; its long-time ownership by guys wielding big hairy sticks; a vast, overshadowing history of past excellence; a vast, overshadowing present of gross mediocrity (the worst mall art is almost all painted). The second I saw Monique Mouton's picture called “Rose", now in a group show at Wallspace in New York, it struck me as wearing its symptoms with pride. A classic, Greenbergian shaped canvas, ultimate symbol of painting-for-painting's-sake, becomes the bearer of clutching, bloody hand prints, as though the medium has been shot and is trying to keep from bleeding out.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
Hard to believe that bluegrass was once the punk rock of its day. The only thing that distinguished it from whatever else was on offer at the Grand Ole Opry was the speed of its delivery, which is to say fast.
As to bluegrass's cross-cultural appeal, check out Robert Altman's Nashville (1975), the scene where country singer Tommy Brown, his wife and friends, do their best to sit through a bluegrass song.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Every day at dusk crows travel southeast across the city to somewhere deep in Burnaby. Usually their flight pattern follows the railway line that begins (or ends) at Main and Terminal, but on this day they converged a little north of there.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
This morning, while waking up to the radio, I heard a traffic report that had Commercial Drive closed to motor vehicles between Charles and Kitchener Streets due to fire.
Because I was in need of groceries, and because I sit on the board of the People's Co-op Bookstore (located between Charles and Kitchener), I decided to pick up my produce on Commercial, and make sure our bookstore was okay.
As it turns out, the bookstore was fine, but Beckwoman's across the street is not. No damage to the businesses on either side of Beckwoman's, nor to Ms. Beck(wo)man (who was standing outside the shop consoling patrons), only to Beckwoman's.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Thursday, January 22, 2015
In Margaret Atwood's poem "They Are Hostile Nations" (from her 1971 collection Power Politics) gender relations are likened to warring countries.
Re-reading the poem today, all sorts of things come to mind. When Atwood writes "Put down the target of me/ you guard inside your binoculars," I am reminded of surveillance videos like the one above, but also of the red dot "(your vulnerable/ sections marked in red)" [0:35-0:41] that certain commercial gallerists place beside a work sold during the course of an exhibition.
THEY ARE HOSTILE NATIONS
the proliferation of sewers and fears
the sea clogging, the air
take warning, we should forgive each other
touch as though attacking,
even in good faith maybe
warp in our hands to
implements, to manoeuvres
you guard inside your binoculars,
in turn I will surrender
sections marked in red)
I have found so useful
the dormant field, the snow
that cannot be eaten or captured
here there is no money
breathing, warmth, surviving
is the only war
we can afford, stay
time / if we can only
make it as far as