Sunday, March 29, 2009

Burst Transmission

Art Fair Weekend - March 6th

I took off work, on Friday, March the 6th, and drove up to New York to see as much art as I could in one day. I made it to the Met for a Pierre Bonnard exhibit, then to the Armory Show, then to Pulse, and finally to the Strand Bookstore.
At the Met: The Bonnard show was fantastic. He is my favorite colorist. I was really excited to get my hands on the catalog, so I could own some good reproductions of the paintings. Alas, the catalog's reproductions were terrible. The colors were way off. I don't know if this has to do with the gamut of the CMYK inks, or a misguided designer was "correcting" the color levels. Fortunately, there were catalogs on display beside the paintings themselves, so a comparison could be made.
I hadn't really seen Bonnard's drawings before; They are small and notational in nature. As explained by the text-on-the-wall, the drawings were his primary source material while painting, as a cue to his memory. This means that his paintings are a reconstruction of certain idealized memories. At some point, I think everyone has wished they could be transported to a happier time of which they held an image in their mind. So, yes, Bonnard's art is sentimental, but it is also great.
At the Armory Show: There were not as many people as last year, but just as much art to see. I got the fair at 2pm. Having woken up at 4:15am and already spent three-and-a-half hours in the Met, I was feeling a little ragged. Once I got in among the booths I was completely energized. My favorite thing I saw was a work by Ikeda Manabu (pictured below). He's a great example of an artist who fills their brain until the pressure creates a jewel. His work reminds me of David Macaulay and Geoff Darrow. Link to Ikeda Manabu's Tokyo gallery.

At Pulse: Pulse had a more relaxed, less commercial atmosphere. It also had more daring and youthful work.
At the Strand: I expected the Strand to be larger than Powell's in Portland, but it was less than one-half the size. This was made up for by their fantastic art book section. I picked up a Stuart Davis monograph and headed to the basement to find their computer graphics section. In the back corner of a twisting dead-end aisle I found a great book from 1967 about cross-pollination of ideas between science and art. (One chapter is entitled "The Computer Apprentice".) I haven't had a chance to read it, yet, but if the rest of the book is like the first two chapters, it will be quite the source of inspiration. The book is "The Science of Art: The Cybernetics of Creative Communication" by Robert E. Mueller.

Free stuff

The Swirlies are very generously offering their back-catalog as free MP3 downloads. I recommend their 1996 album, "They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days...", it is an uncannily beautiful rock record that compares favorably to other Boston acts like The Pixies and Mission of Burma. Link. (Broken link repaired 05-14-09 --ed.)

The Internet Archive has "A Boy and His Dog" posted for download. I've mentioned it before. It is slow moving and low budget, but is saved from this by Harlan Ellison's writing. As a post-apocalyptic piece, it has more in common with Samuel Beckett than with Mad Max. It has a great "Repo Man" style, "What about our relationship" ending that you have to see. Link.

Passage is an 8-bit poem by Jason Rohrer. Link.

I love me a scribble-machine, and this is a nice one.
Link to Golan Levin's other pieces.

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