Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Show at Gallery Joe

I just dropped off the work for my show at Gallery Joe, which, in case you're local, opens this Friday from 6:30 to 8:30. The show looks nice, thanks to Becky Kerlin's fabulous eye. She swooped back and forth across the gallery moving things around and making great decisions while making sure that I was happy with how things looked. What a swell gallerist she is. She also sold one of the pieces in the show already: a collector from the west coast bought March!

I also met the other artist in the show- Rachel Perry Welty, who was sitting on the floor slicing up fruit labels and sticking them on to the wall in a truly beautiful way. It's hard to get a read on those fruit label pieces on the internet- I didn't see a finished piece, but I saw enough to think it will look great in person once it's done.

Lots of my recent work is in the show: Suspense, March, Placate, Suspension of Disbelief, Efficacy, and an older piece that I really like, New Romance. There are also some new pieces in her drawers: I've been making some small drawings.

All I Have

Go To Sea

This piece refers to my favorite sentence in Moby Dick, which reads,

. . . whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

The internet provides this definition of hypos:

hypo: (Inflected form: hypos) hypochondria, extreme depression of mind or spirits often [but not always] centered on imaginary physical ailments.


This piece is called Megalomania, or Holland Carter Said in the NY Times that this year's Whitney Bienial was one of "low expectations"

The caterpillar in the image is a tomato hornworm. I love those ugly bugs- they have little eyes in their markings, and the eyes always seem to have really malignant expressions. If you've got the stomach to look at a big image of one, click here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mounds and mounds Of GENIUS

I just went to see the Trenton Doyle Hancock exhibit at the Philly ICA. The exhibit is called "Wow That's Mean and Other Vegan Cuisine." It was organized by the fabulous Elyse Gonzales, who gets a giant gold star from me for bringing Hancock to Philadelphia. I am thrilled that I got to see the show and meet the artist in person. He's been one of my heroes for a long time.

Why is he my hero? Well, check this out.

Or better yet, this! The man's a genius.

He's swimming in his own personal mythology, which is a vastly populated world of comic book heroes and villans that he uses to translate his artistic impulses and personal experiences into archetypical forms. There's a whole cast of characters- Torpedo Boy, the Vegans, an ape family and these guys: the Mounds.

You can read more about him and the exhibit here but if you get a chance to go see it, do- he made 3D wallpaper for the ramp that's really amazing. If you want to know more about him, his segment on art21, is a great start. The art 21 website has lots of great info, but the video is better. I show it to my students every semester. They think he's nuts. I think he's nuts like a fox.

There were other Philadelphia artists & bloggers at the walkthrough, and I expect they'll write about the exhibit too. The indomitable Libby Rosoff and Roberta Fallon of artblog were at the show as was Rob Matthews, whose faboo blog is called Matthews the Younger.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

When Aesop tells you to do something, don't do it...

From Laura Gibbs again:

There was a hooligan who struck Aesop with a stone. Aesop said, 'Well done!' and he even gave the boy a coin. Then he added, 'Confound it, that's all the cash I've got, but I'll show you more where that came from. Look, the man coming this way is a wealthy and important person; if you can hit him with a stone the same way you hit me, you'll get the reward you deserve.' The hooligan was convinced and did as Aesop told him, but his hope for a reward brought his reckless daring to ruin: he was arrested and paid the price for his crime on the cross.

Just read that last word again, if you missed it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

If a beetle asks you to do something, just do it, okay?

I looked up a fable from Aesop that I hadn't heard of when I found this image online at the NYPL.

The image is an illustration of the fable of the eagle and the dung beetle, and the manuscript that I was looking at online has been translated by one Laura Gibbs, from whom comes this explanation of the image:

As he was being chased by an eagle, the hare ran to the dung beetle, begging the beetle to save him. The beetle implored the eagle to respect the hare's asylum, solemnly compelling him by the sacred name of Zeus and pleading with the eagle not to disregard him simply because of his small size. But the eagle brushed the beetle aside with a flick of his wing and grabbed the hare, tearing him to pieces and devouring him. The beetle was enraged and flew off together with the eagle to find the nest in which the eagle kept his eggs. After the eagle was gone, the beetle smashed all the eggs. When the eagle came back, he was dreadfully upset and looked for the creature who had smashed the eggs, intending to tear him to pieces. When it was time for the eagle to nest again, he put his eggs in an even higher place, but the beetle flew all the way up to the nest, smashed the eggs, and went away. The eagle grieved for his little ones and said that this must be the result of some angry plot of Zeus to exterminate the eagle race. When the next season came, the eagle did not feel secure keeping the eggs in his nest and instead went up to Olympus and placed the eggs in Zeus's lap. The eagle said to Zeus, 'Twice my eggs have been destroyed; this time, I am leaving them here under your protection.' When the beetle found out what the eagle had done, he stuffed himself with dung and went straight up to Zeus and flew right into his face. At the sight of this filthy creature, Zeus was startled and leaped to his feet, forgetting that he held the eagle's eggs inside his lap. As a result, the eggs were broken once again. Zeus then learned of the wrong that had been done to the beetle, and when the eagle returned, Zeus said to him, 'It is only right that you have lost your little ones, since you mistreated the beetle!' The beetle said, 'The eagle treated me badly, but he also acted very impiously towards you, O Zeus! The eagle did not fear to violate your sacred name, and he killed the one who had taken refuge with me. I will not cease until I have punished the eagle completely!' Zeus did not want the race of eagles to be wiped out, so he urged the beetle to relent. When his efforts to persuade the beetle failed, Zeus changed the breeding season of the eagles, so that it would take place at a time when the beetles were not found above ground.

(Note from Laura Gibbs: The fable of the dung beetle and the eagle is alluded to on three occasions by Aristophanes: Wasps 1448, Lysistrata 695 and Peace 127-34. In Caxton (6.2), the dung beetle is replaced by a weasel!)

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.

You can read more fabulous translations of fables and buy the book here and you can see more images from the book here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Film crew released!

Phew! Read all about it here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


A friend of my friend, Wes Kim, has been illegally detained in Nigeria! Here's the email Wes sent:

Hey, everyone,

I wanted to let you know that Sean Porter of Swingset Film & Audio, someone who helped a great deal with the production of COOKIES FOR SALE, is part of a film crew that's been detained in Nigeria while they were trying to film a documentary. You can follow the latest developments at Northwest Film Forum's blog, but I'm sure an email to Sen. Maria Cantwell thanking her for her support in finding a quick resolution to this mess would be appreciated by the filmmakers and their friends and family. - link to NWFF's blog with background information about the detainment and suggested text for a thank-you message to Sen. Maria Cantwell

Wes Kim

Please write a note!

Friday, April 11, 2008


A new piece, Mirrors, is finished and on my website.

You can see it larger, and take a look at some details, here.

I've been buzzing like a bee, getting ready for my show at Gallery Joe in May. This is the last large piece that I'm making for a while- from now until the opening I'm going to be sitting in parks all over Philadelphia, looking at daffodils and making small pieces for the file drawers.

The show will have my recent drawings and some fabulous sounding work by Rachel Perry Welty in the front. In the vault, which is the smaller space in the back, there will be a show about space, line and time that I'm looking forward to seeing. Sounds like it'll be good! The opening is on Friday, May 2nd, from 6:30-8:30. Come!