Tuesday, November 30, 2010

dragon mask

art porn

Artsucker Blues, the home movie. Or amateur art porn.
Also on YouTube.

art porn

Artsucker Blues, the home movie. Or amateur art
porn. http://newcleanblog.blogspot.com/
Also on YouTube.

"Its not Romper Room." Lori Ellison

artsucker blues

Bird Man of Williamsburg

The past few weeks I was preoccupied with doing a performance, a bit of
theater, about making a painting and hanging it in a show. The
performance was inspired by "reality" so-called television, and the
idea was that on the internet we all can make our own TV shows about
ourselves, an idea that Warhol, of course, championed back in the
Middle Ages. I also wanted to undermine the practice that many, or
most, or all, NY artists have of hoping to get some art critic's
attention, thereby attaining some recognition. I think artists should
practice being their own critics, and publish criticism of their own
work, so that they might one day achieve self-recognition. I wanted to
make an art work that I liked, but halfway through the show I realized
I had painted a prop for Art Bum Theater. I played 2 or 3 roles in this
piece. I was the Art Worker, I was the Bird Man, and I was, maybe,
myself. The Bird Man, a possible descendant of Thoth, and a medicine
man wannabe, swooped into Outpost Saturday and raptured the painting

I have no idea if the performance was a success even on my own terms,
but its not over, anyway.

I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in #TheSocialGraph. I am
especially pleased to have made the acquaintance of Nate Hill and Man
Bartlett and their work. I am sorry I missed the chance to punch Nate's
panda, but I liked his kind of art delivery service idea. By the end of
the show I felt that Bartlett's piece was the centerpiece of the whole
thing. He used the social media in a very intriguing way that has given
me much to think about.

Thank you, Hrag, for curating this project.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

birdman of Williamsburg

I am going to theSocialGraph at Outpost to roll up my painting and put
it in

Back to the Caves, real and allegorical. In addition to the metaphysical allegory of Plato's Cave, there are political, ideological, versions in which the prisoners are brainwashed by their masters into believing the oppressive social structure they live in is the natural order of things. But even our attempts to understand the "art" of prehistory, in Lascaux, for instance, can only be speculative, and perhaps projections of our own ideologies.

Pieces of a possible comic strip

Thothic artifact

transform trance form

Thursday, November 25, 2010

bird mask

second mask -- coyote

Monday, November 22, 2010

Persona Construction

Indecent Proposal

My wife went to a drive-in movie with John Baldesarri some years ago.
This is true, you can ask her. They saw Indecent Proposal.
She and I went to the Baldesarri show at the Met yesterday and I
wondered if he thought having this show at the Met secured his work's
place in Art History.
Does a museum show legitimize or delegitimize his work?
Was Conceptual Art ever seriously counter-institutional?
Or free from the marketplace?
Is such freedom even possible?
What is your net worth?

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Friday, November 19, 2010

Last Train to Patmos

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pseudo-Kalm and Real Kalm

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Kalm "retrospective" at Outpost was cool. The moonshine helped, probably. Austin Thomas selected some of Loren's videos to look at and talk about. I think his work (painting, writing, video) will become increasingly interesting as time goes on as a document of a particular time and community. Loren said one of his rules is to not show his own paintings in the videos, and he made fun of people who do videos of themselves painting and showing sketches, etc. Pretty much what I've been doing here for the last few weeks. I wish I got those remarks on video. Hrag regards Loren's various activities as social media, I guess, or as having to do with a social network. My stuff is more like introvoyeurism, a kind of colonoscopy. I don't know if I shot anything usable last night, or at the opening, even by my standards. I think that when the show is over I'll roll up the canvas and stash it for a year or so before I look at it again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I took the canvas to Outpost Wednesday night and tried out various places to hang it. We finally settled on a corner near the entrance, where it looks a little like drapery, and where it seems like you're entering the space through ruined art work. As far as I know its still there.

Mel Bochner

I came upon a link to Mel Bochner's website: http://www.melbochner.net/
. I'd been wanting to look at his work some more. A few months ago I
read a piece he wrote about Godard's Alphaville, one of my favorite
movies, and I was interested in his work that related to geometry. I
was interested in doing something about the Pythagorean Theorum, but
he's already done it. He also does painted texts. Fortunately, he
hasn't done word squares, as far as I know.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

shadow show


What remains of painting?

What remains of twentieth century painting in the twenty-first century?

What remains of me as a painter?

Twentieth century painting, as I imagine it, drew from sources beyond
the European tradition -- prehistoric sources, non-Western "primitive"
sources, the art of the mentally ill (and other outsiders), and the
art of children, and anywhere images are found, or anywhere images
found us, in daily life -- advertisements, technical illustrations, etc.
We expect the digital revolution to bring about serious changes in the
way we think about art and the way we make art, and maybe do away with
the category "art" altogether, but we can't know much about these
possible changes because we are twentieth century analog people
stepping into the twenty-first century digital world. We are a remnant
of the old era.

I am a painter, and I studied painting and got a degree in painting
and I continue painting, although I have rarely exhibited my
paintings, and have even more rarely sold my paintings. I also am
involved in writing, self publishing, spoken word performance, etc.
But I keep painting and I keep looking at paintings and studying
painting. Painting remains, and I remain a painter.

The idea for my project was to do a reality show, to show my reality,
or mediate my reality using digital media and social media. I claim
that anyone using social media, or a blog, or YouTube, or Twitter, to
present their artworks and their artworking, are producing a show of
reality situated outside of the old, twentieth century art world
institutions. I thought it would be funny, and maybe enlightening if
someone produced a low budget reality show that followed a group of
artists as they prepared for an exhibition. The production would be
something like the guerrilla video journalism of James Kalm, but
taking up the sort of institutional criticism concerns addressed by
Powhida and Dalton, and would culminate in a show where the work would
be shown and offered for sale. Hrag thought this idea could be
modified so that it would fit into a show he was planning about
artists who use social media. My original idea, which involved someone
with a camera (maybe Kalm) following a group of artists (not including
me) became a project in which I would follow myself with a camera and
blog about my studio practice and attempt to make a piece for
#TheSocialGraph. My main concern was that I would make an art object
that I was happy with and that would "stand on its own" as an art work.

This year I have been making small pieces I call three dimensional
drawings and I figured that whatever I made for Hrag's show would be
related to those in size and conception, but when I saw the exhibition
space and talked to Man Bartlett and Nate Hill my feeling changed and
I imagined a big canvas banner with a painted text constructed out of
my word games. I was going to buy two or three yards of canvas, but I
found a ten foot remnant of canvas and decided to use that to make a
vertical scroll. I changed my mind again and thought it would be more
interesting to work with the ragged L shape of the remnant. As I was
painting the series of word games that would be the text, something
happened that I was barely aware of. I became interested in the
formal problems of the canvas and the painted text began to turn into
a painting.

After the formal announcement of the show came out and I saw who else
was participating, I got the jitters. The Devil, they say, never lies
in a ditch, and he put doubts in my head. Some of these people are
pretty well known and respected painters. I imagined these respectable
artists looking at the big strange thing I was making and telling Hrag
it was an abomination, an embarrassment. I thought my painting would
be rejected, and excluded from the show. When Hrag said he wanted to
come over and look at "the projected work" for the space, I thought he
might veto it and I'd have to do something else. This would be an
interesting plot development in the narrative of my own reality show,
but would really bum me out, because I like my painting and I want to
show it to people. So, tonight I'm taking the canvas, as is, to
Outpost, and I'll either hang it or leave it rolled up and leaning
against a wall. I will continue to blog about it, and share on
Facebook, and hope people will continue sending their comments, pro
and con, to me. I might continue to work on the painting when it is at
Outpost, and the 9 options I listed are still under consideration, as
well as other possibilities.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Monday, November 08, 2010

Thank you for the comments

Scott W. offered this advice:
"I think integrating the alternating pattern at bottom into the text would  help the whole thing feel like a singular piece - also might make those (damn) words seem less insistently wordy."

What do you think I should do?
What do you think I already did?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I am considering various options for how to proceed with this painting and I would like to hear some suggestions.

1. Paint out all the word squares and make it entirely abstract.
2. Paint the whole thing white and start over.
3. Paint the whole thing black and start over.
4. Cut it up in small pieces and give them away.
5. Roll it up and look at it a year from now and decide what to do. Or two years. Or ten.
6. Throw it away.
7. Let someone else finish it (You).
8. Never finish it. Never stop working on it.
9. Other.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

worker of art

video of this visit will be available later


Lawrence. I'm standing outside but your number doesn't work. Hrag

On Nov 6, 2010, at 9:58, Lawrence Swan <lwswan2@mac.com> wrote:

> of course
> On Nov 6, 2010, at 9:57 AM, Hrag Vartanian wrote:
>> Opps. Just got this. Can we do 10:40-ish?
>> On Nov 6, 2010, at 9:21 AM, Lawrence Swan <lwswan2@mac.com> wrote:
>>> 10 this morning would be fine. I am at 315 Berry, between South 3rd
>>> and South 4th, on the East side of the street. There is no door bell
>>> so you'll have to call 917 503 4641 and I'll meet you at the door.
>>> On Nov 6, 2010, at 7:50 AM, Hrag Vartanian wrote:
>>>> Today at 10am? Or tomorrow (Sunday)? If that works let me know.
>>>> Where are you located?
>>>> On Nov 5, 2010, at 6:42 PM, LAWRENCE SWAN <lwswan2@mac.com> wrote:
>>>>> Yes, when? Tomorrow morning? Afternoon? Noon? Let me know.
>>>>> On Nov 5, 2010, at 4:50 PM, Hrag Vartanian wrote:
>>>>>> When can I stop by?

Friday, November 05, 2010

A few square inches of the painting I'm working on. A fairly recent word square.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Monday, November 01, 2010

People ask me what this show is about (its about social media) and what
I'm doing in it. I am making something for a show called #The Social
Graph, which opens Nov. 12 at Outpost (1665 Norman Street). Aside from
the piece I am making, my contribution to the show includes this blog
and my Facebook page. On both of these social media I am posting
photos, notes, sketches, and an occasional video to show something
about the process, such as it is.

Found canvas, with and without foot.

order and error

I found a ten foot L-shaped remnant of canvas. I cut off the foot of it
and planned to use it to patch up and even it out to make a vertical
scroll. After I cut it, I decided it was better as it was, so I'm going
to reattach the foot. I liked it as a found shape. The word squares and
other word games I use are found texts. I was thinking of using the
ORDERROR ERRORDER text, so my error in cutting was suitable.