Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, 1994

My mother when she was a teenager.

She died on May 30th...16 years ago. I still miss her.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Leon Golub

Mercenaries IV, 1980

I studied with Leon Golub in the mid-80s. He was a mystery before I met him...I only "knew" him through his work...very large paintings with a dark perspective.
In reality, he was very thoughtful, generous, gentle, and funny. He pushed young artists to read art criticism and write about their work and the cultural/political become aware of the assumptions and speculation that surrounds artmaking, and the art become familiar with the players, other than the artists, that actually shape, promote and often misdirect the life of an art object.

Leon was from Chicago, it was subtle, but growing up with a family from Milwaukee, I always felt there was something familiar in his physical gestures and speech; a "son of an immigrant" toughness that existed in the upper mid-west, a crucible for labor unions and social activism.

The clips below were lifted from Golub/Spero, a documentary produced by Kartemquin Films.

Later, his work did change from the iconic canvasses of the 70s and 80s. In 2001 he described his new work:
"my work these days is sort of political, sort of metaphysical, and sort of smart-ass."

He was a funny guy who consistently worked just beyond the art world's approval.

Stop Rushing Me!, 2003

American art museums are still slow to embrace Golub's overtly political work...given this decade's revelations of government sanctioned torture and covert operations...why does this body of work remain "controversial?"


Friday, May 14, 2010

For Ramiro

My solitary blog follower...

...oh, and fuck Arizona.

We can only hope that all this christo-fascist, regressive, racist, teabagging bullshit is a sign that the fever induced delirium of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush era is about to break.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

John Carter of Mars

In 1972 I escaped the fear, confusion and banality of puberty by spending hours on end reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series.

I am reminded of this by the passing of Frank Frazetta. My only break from marathon reading sessions was to copy the Frazetta's illustrations on the ERB book covers. I doubt my copies were very good, but drawing them, at 14, did give me the opportunity to obsess over things that I desired, but absolutely didn't have; physical strength and half naked girls.
I also recall being fascinated by Burroughs' use of post-death and astral projection to get John Carter from planet Earth to Mars. Neat trick.

TWELVE years had passed since I had laid the body of my great-uncle, Captain John Carter, of Virginia, away from the sight of men in that strange mausoleum in the old cemetery at Richmond.

Often had I pondered on the odd instructions he had left me governing the construction of his mighty tomb, and especially those parts which directed that he be laid in an open casket and that the ponderous mechanism which controlled the bolts of the vault's huge door be accessible only from the inside.

Friday, May 07, 2010

"No one could have predicted..."

I don't think Democrats quite grasp (Republicans are indifferent or actually believe their own free-market bullshit) that many more people now see the connection between the financial industry/corporate money that goes to politicians and the steady destruction of the middle class.
Obviously many factors at work...manufacturing moving overseas (massive generational job losses)...corporate globalization (they no longer depend on American consumption for profit)...

The middle class was created to generate wealth for the top 5%...not needed anymore...bye, bye.

Slimy grifters.

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