I’ve been hiding from the rain by hunkering down in my studio all morning, listening to Putumayo Radio, which may actually have just crossed the line and become a little too crunchy for even my tastes. I swear the host just said: Coming up next on our playlist, a song about the Costa Rican coral reefs…, leading me to think it might be time to switch to a different channel.
Anyway. Yesterday I managed to make off with about a hundred postcards from one of those kiosks (you know, the kind like at the entrance to the Barnes and Noble bathroom on 6th ave) that popped up like mushrooms all over the city a few years ago. I’ve found that if you gesso and then put an absorbent ground on them, they are a terrific surface on which to paint/draw. They’re very durable, they don’t warp, and they handle the paint extremely well. And I love the idea of having a hundred or so new drawings. And they’re the perfect size to make a little book based on them.
So I’m prepping a bunch of them today. And, also, finishing some that I started a few days ago. Here’s the first:
Back to prepping…
I had a few people from Kitsch class ask me for my del.icio.us page, since I referred to it a few times in class. It’s funny to have a page that I’ve compiled full of things that I’m interested in, but that I’ve put it together not really thinking that anyone would want to look at it. What I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that it’s strangely personal – not hugely so, but I can’t help but notice the vegan/gardening/music links mixed in with some that I specifically saved for school. Del.icio.us is kinda like a curatorial project – you can’t actually share exactly what’s on your mind in a very specific sort of way (because to do so, you’d really have to make your own art), but you start with a pre-existing group of things and pick out what interests you and then show them to everyone else, hoping there will be some sort of connection there.
The other thing I’m getting at in a roundabout way is how del.icio.us forces its users in a really weird way to take a stand. Flat out: Do you like a particular website or not? There’s no irony, no speaking with quotes around things; it’s just a simple and straightforward decision: Do you like a site and do you like it enough to go on record as having that opinion? As soon as the kids from my Kitsch class started asking for the link, I rushed over to the page to see if there was anything embaressing posted there. A link to a corny band, pics of ugly shoes, anything? And while there are a few things that I could see the argument for pulling off the list, I’m actually going to leave it because I think it’s a nice record of how I was feeling at, say, 2am on a certain Tuesday.
Anyway. Point is, I don’t want it to be a permalink forever and ever, but if you want to see it, here it is in all its geeky glory:
It’s rambling and horribly disorganized, just like me.
And that was just a lovely timewaster during which I probably didn’t say anything that hasn’t been said before about del.icio.us. I need to get back to grading papers. Sigh. I miss Kitsch class already.
Collage with felt, fabric, thread, many kinds of paper, etc…
I can’t help but think that the blog I Can Has Cheezburger?somehow sounds the death knell of all of Western Civilization with every new uploaded picture of a cute animal with a text-speak caption. And yet, somehow, it has inspired my final lecture for kitsch class tomorrow, and for that I am grateful. And plus, I will admit that it has made me spit tea through my nose on several occasions and I only discovered it a few days ago.
One more kitsch class to go, and then one more drawing class. I can’t believe the semester’s almost over.
UPDATED (May 2nd):
One of the things I’ve been thinking and writing about constantly (not publicly doing either, but for my own sake I mean) is this whole idea of whether or not freedom of expression, protest, etc., can exist in cyberspace at all… which is of course an old idea to ruminate about, but made slightly more interesting with all this web 2.0 crap which supposedly lets *you* decide what you want your content to be – as long as it gels ok with whatever corporation you’re having to collaborate with just to get access to the technology. So one of the things I’ve been thinking about is how new forms of protest are going to have to emerge in order to meet this new challenge, but that so far I have had no idea as to what that new form would look like.
And then, this morning, I saw this:
(Read the comments if you don’t get it right away – I know I sure as hell didn’t.)
Holy shit. That’s it. The site that offers silly pictures of cats with sillier sayings underneath articulated something incredibly subversive – possibly the most subversive thing I’ve seen on the web in a really long time.
I’m doing an informal presentation at the National Coalition Against Censorship about censorshop issues and the web, and I think I know what image I’m closing with. I look at this little picture of the cat behind a railing and to me, it looks an awful lot like what protest is going to look like in the future (or, I hope). For the first time in quite a while, I feel optimistic about our brave new world.
I love you, icanhascheezburger!
We’re pushing the art tour back a few months. Alison and I are both… tired. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. We just can’t do it right now. We need some more time in order to put together a killer, amazing show. But stay tuned. More info soon…
A very, very, very first draft of the press release for our first stop in Philly. Totally subject to change as I hear back from Alison:
For immediate release
We are excited to announce:
The Monsters of Art Tour
Coyotes As Pets
The Radical Reading Room
Saturday, May 12th, 7pm – 9pm
An evening of performance, art, and music!
Open to the public
Free if you bring a food dish to share
$4 voluntary contribution otherwise
May 12th marks the first stop of the Monsters of Art Tour, featuring a performance by Coyotes As Pets (artists Alison Vuocolo and Amy Wilson) and a temporary installation of the Radical Reading Room, a collection of some of the latest independently published artists’ multiples, books, and ephemera. Somewhere between a gallery exhibition, a Tupperware party and a potlatch lies the Monsters of Art Tour; their stop in Philadelphia will mark the beginning of a nationwide tour which will culminate in December 07 in Miami Beach, to coincide with the Art Miami Basel fair.
Coyotes as Pets will present an elaborate performance involving shadow puppets and music, dedicated to the life and work of artist Sol LeWitt, drawing strange and fascinating connections between his life’s work and our current political situation. At the conclusion of the show, they will lead the audience in an interactive performance involving homemade musical instruments and audience participation in an attempt to create a new and connected community within the performance space.
The Radical Reading Room is a temporary installation of artist-made and editioned objects. Embracing a populist philosophy of making, displaying, and circulating artwork, the RRR will offer works of art that can be touched, engaged, read, and interacted with. A number of the works will be available to be taken home free of charge; others will cost a nominal amount to purchase.
Owing an enormous debt to the work of the Fluxus artists, Joseph Beuys, and other historical figures, the Monsters of Art Tour seeks to liberate art from the stuffy confines of the gallery/museum space. We want to revive the radical, absurd, intellectual, sensitive, emotional, and spiritual aspects of art, wresting it away from commercial and market-driven forces. We hope you will join us.
One of the cool things about WordPress is that you can track (to a certain extent) who is looking at your blog and how they got here. Well, not really – it would never tell me that, for instance, Jeff was looking at my blog from work, but it does let me know that two people clicked over from my website to here, which is interesting enough to keep me constantly checking the stats but uninformative enough to really tell me anything.
But my favorite thing: it tells you what search terms led someone to your blog. So I get to see that three people who searched for Amy Wilson wound up here. (Again, this tells me nothing, but it fascinates me to no end.) My neurotic and self-loathing side always pipes in and tells me that those searchers were probably looking for one of the many other Amy Wilsons out there and wound up here by mistake, so I’m especially thrilled when search terms like Amy Wilson Bellwether or Amy Wilson kitsch class or Amy Wilson drawing come up. I can officially take those as some sort of sign that the universe loves me and everything is okay.
But then, every once in a while, there are truly bizarre search terms which I think I love most of all. This morning, it was: music dressed like monkey. That’s fantastic. I have no idea what it means. But for now and forever, I want all of the googlers out there who are searching for music dressed like monkey to be led directly to this blog, period.
And so, for all that is good and googlerific in the world:
Music dressed like monkey!
Music dressed like monkey!
Music dressed like monkey!
Page hits on this thing are gonna go through the roof, I promise you.
More art later today. Just as soon as I can stop thinking of music dressed like monkey.
Strange how on the day it’s 70+ degrees outside and gorgeous, that I nap half the day away and goof off and go looking for turtles with Jeff (really: there are turtles that live in the pond in Lincoln Park in JC; looking for them is a local obsession), I actually get stuff done. It helps that I have a bunch of things half-started, half-finished, and today I woke up feeling like finishing some of them.
And so, we have this. It’s not the only thing I did today, but I have learned the lesson of the fickle Blog Gods: When you post something new, you can get about a hundred or so hits on this thing. When a few days go by and you don’t, relatively few people come by (makes sense). Therefore Amy: Save some of your new work to release on a day that you don’t have anything else to post, or else people will stop coming to look at your blog and it will make you (me) sad. Yes. The wisdom of the Blog Gods. So for now, there’s this:
One of the first things I’m going to do after break starts is update my “real” website so that it has larger, readable versions of all the things I’ve been babbling about here. So soon, hopefully, you’ll be able to read the drawings if you’re so inclined.
Confession: I need to go draw. Desperately. It’s killing me not to. But I am so exhausted from a variety of school/life stuff, that I just can’t get it together to actually make something. I keep promising myself, “This weekend… this weekend…” I never have a problem with drive or desire or not having enough ideas. In this case, it’s purely energy that’s holding me back.
Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready to teach my Kitsch class, I got an email from the department chair asking me to fill in for her in one of her classes, and to do a section for the class on Second Life. As tired as I was, I made it work and before i knew it, her students and I had spent three hours in SL. By the end of the class, she invited me to propose a Second Life class for her and this morning I spent some time working on that proposal a bit. I’ll post it here as soon as I’ve had a bit of time to think about it.
Usually, as a teacher, you get excited about what the class gets excited about. There’s an artist somewhere that you mention to a student; next thing you know they’re raving about it to their classmates and suddenly you see things in the work you never saw before. They get excited and you get excited – and you see the world through their excited eyes. My experience yesterday with the class in SL was a little different.
I could characterize the students’ reaction to SL (and it was the first time most of them had ever seen it) as “fascinated but repulsed” – probably the best reaction I could have hoped for, although I hadn’t realized it before. I tried to be as cheerful and bubbly as possible, showing them a variety of sites in world; they reacted with a mix of disgust and horror. Almost immediately, they started questioning the ownership of the space, bringing up questions of censorship and the intrusion of branding, wondering aloud about morality, responsibility, scarcity and the inherent conservatism of the space. It was amazing. And the more they looked at me with total and complete horror and fear in their eyes from seeing this “new world” unfold in front of me, the more I wanted to show them.
They represent exactly what SL has been missing – they are, individually and as a group, a critical voice. SVA students are wonderfully anti-corporate and distrusting of (and very savvy about) marketing campaigns. They’re artists; they know all how images can be manipulated. So their very anti-SL reaction is what has now convinced me that SVA really does need a presence there. If this really is the future of entertainment, advertising, etc., then I want a group of smart naysayers in there, questioning everything and raising hell. And, of course, I would be thrilled to help lead them there.
So, keep your fingers crossed. I really have to see how my schedule shakes out over the next couple of semesters, but I would like to do this.
And on that note: in lieu of showing a brand-new drawing, here is one of my SL drawings. This one is of a nude beach… at which most of the avatars were wearing clothes (go figure):
Good lord. I’ve been off of this blog for a week, but it feels like a year.
First things first: I have a new drawing. It’s the biggest drawing I’ve done in ages, coming in around 22 x 30. (Yes, I know – that’s not that big. But for me? It’s HUGE!) It’s watercolor, pencil and collage… a lot of collage:
As always, I’d love to hear your feedback. I’ll try and post some better pics in a day or two, which might help things.
I was away for a couple of days, primarily at the University of Delaware, although I managed to squeeze a quick trip to Philly in there somehow. My friend Tiffany teaches at UofD and invited me there to speak to the students. It’s a grueling trip to make from NJ, even for a one-time visit – how she manages to do it twice a week I will never know.
Almost immediately after walking in the door from my trip, I somehow came across a job listing for a position at a graduate school in Philadelphia. This was really strange indeed, as I had just been sitting on the train, thinking, “Ok, see – I could do the trip from Philly to NJ every week, no problem. But NJ to DE? No fucking way.” I had also just spent most of the day musing on how nice Philly is and how I’d really like to spend more time there.
The position would allow me to continue at SVA while still checking out a new city and seeing what’s going on at another school (with a different philosophy, outlook, etc) – all really exciting things. It only requires that faculty members go down there a few times a semester, which is totally doable. I got Tom and Suzanne’s blessing to apply for it and this evening, I did. Keep your fingers crossed. I really hope I get it.
Tomorrow… more about the art tour! And the Second Life book! Stay tuned!! I’m back!!! 🙂
Oh my god:
As I’m writing this, Jeff is watching a documentary about Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a movie – I have to admit – that has never really interested me in the least. It’s been quoted by so many artists so many times, it’s basically a cliche at this point.
But. There was just this interesting factoid on the documentary that I overheard as I was clicking away and answering emails: The aliens in the movie were all played by little girls, because Spielberg noticed how differently little girls moved vs how little boys moved.
Thinking about the latest “little girl” drawings I’ve done, this totally blew me away. It made me realize that there’s a whole level I’m sort of touching on, but not really embracing: figures in motion, rather than frozen. I’m kind of hugely into this idea right now. Why do little girls and little boys move differently, if we accept that they do?
Anyway. Just wanted to jot that down so I’d remember to come back to it this weekend. And I absolutely love this picture from the movie, probably more than I would ever love the movie itself.