Monday, September 1, 2014

#265 Day at the Beach

32x40 Acrylic on canvas

Stone Troll #2

Illustration for children's book. Stone troll that comes to life. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#264


264 24x27 Acrylic on composition board

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hilton Kramer and the New Criterion (from 1982)


From a journal entry, July 19, 1982
            Hilton Kramer has resigned as art critic for the NYT and announced the appearance of a new review: The "New Criterion."  In reading the publishers introduction, I detected a familiar tone. When I came to names from "Commentary" and the "National Review", the source was plain.
            There have been several articles and review on music in "Commentary" recently. They have taken a critical tack I've found odd and unsettling. Not criticism of individual works, but generic criticism. Attacks on jazz, on popular music, on the dilution of the teaching of "serious" (European concert) music in the curricula of American conservatories and schools of music. This seems to be a posse of writers and intellectuals, politically right wing, with an active agenda to correct modern culture, which they are sure has gone miserably astray. They are anti's: anticommunist, an­ti-populist, antidemocratic, anti-soviet, anti-liberal (who, by design or unconsciously, are the handmaidens of Marxism). They are authoritarian elitists.          
            The new thing here is this emphasis on controlling culture. The arts, literature, music, theater; all are seen through a kind of backwards Marxist lens, busily purveying hidden social programs. The real purpose of criticism, it seems, is to expose the hidden social agenda a which is the matrix and context of the work, then to demonstrate the political/economic wrong-headedness of that context. The work itself is but a means or foil for the serious business of promoting political and social orthodoxy. Art is taken seriously, the way Marxist criticism takes it seriously. Not for its own sake (whatever that may mean), not for the meaning or importance inherent in any particular work, but for the place a work occupies in the social-political matrix of which it is both example and creator-advocate. This new-conservative, neo-clas­sical-authoritarian criticism begins with its own dogmatic or­thodoxy, but an orthodoxy that is clear and formally articulated only on the political-social level. In other words, it's not about art, it's about politics. Art held up to political ideology.
            Their problem is, they can't deal with art. It's too slip­pery. Like a guerrilla army in the hills. So the New  Authoritarian eliminates the enemy by a master stroke; it transforms by magic thinking art, artists, and all their sup­porters, into pure ideological terms. For ideological battles the Authoritarian's rhetorical weapons are well honed.
            It's characteristic of the these guy to be more eager to attack the supporters of the arts than the artists or their work. They're realists. They know where the money is. And in the White House, having not the slightest idea what any of this is about, they  have no mere sympathizer, but a crusading general.

8/20/82
            An article in the Inquirer this week on the New Criterion. The Village Voice a critical piece. They're (NC) funded by some right wing founda­tion.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Artists, Break Free from the Capitalist Market!

keep throwing these messages in a bottle out into the wake...I mean, how we artists need to free ourselves from the capitalist trap. I would think supposidly creative people would be more hyperattuned to this.. and dig the challenge... but most, even those who pretend to radical messages... just roll over and hope to be fucked by the gallery comodification investment model... like maybe they'll get knocked up and give birth to a zillion dollars. Kinda disgusting.

Compartmentalization... but what fucking kind of 'creativity' is that, that can't deal with the real world and how it uses our art?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Human Heart Revealed #262

Ghost Flowers #261


16x12 Acrylic on canvas board

Hiroshima



Those of us who were born before 1945 or soon after, who were children in the late 40's, teens in the 50's... grew up deluged with images of nuclear bombs, the endless photos of hydrogen bomb tests in the pacific; we passed Nike anti-aircraft missiles on the Lake front in Chicago, we knew people who built shelters in their basements... all this, culminating in the most terrifying two weeks since humans came down from the trees--October, 1962.through those years, have no idea.

The nuclear arsenals are still there. The missile silos are still there. England, the U.S, Israel, Pakastan, France, China, Russia...North Korea... all armed with with the capacity to initiate a conflict that would be the end human life on the planet--or make it so terrible, that extinction and death would be a blessing.
Those years were a watershed in human consciousness--if you did not learn to disassociate, to build your life in the delusional shelter of the Great Hologram... as most people did, you became an alien in the world forever, an exile in a world run by madmen, you learned, over the years--for such knowledge is too much to absorb all at once--you understand that there is no longer any place in this world to call "home." After Hiroshima, it is always and forever, 3 minutes to midnight

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This is the End, my friend... and maybe the beginning


I think there's reason to expect that these weeks of slaughter and destruction in Gaza--made visible for those who choose to see it through social media, is going to have broad ranging consequences in the future, its corrosive effect on the impenatrable solidarity of American Jews with Israel, just for starters. Which means a less certain stream of money to AIPAC, and, one can only hope, a loosening of Israel's stranglehold on U.S. representative and senators. But I'm thinking more along the lines of how watching the aftermath of the Iranian stolen elections--following if for week on Twitter--and then came the Arab Spring!  -- how this was yeast to the brew of social and political discontent essential to the Occupy movement. I don't see how it's going to be possible--not for those of us who have stayed close to the news coming out of Gaza outside the major media, who have followed the livefeeds, have obsessively shared photos and stories by Twitter and Alternet and FB--how it will be possilbe to return to 'life as usual' without being alert in every nerve and cell, waiting and searching for the time to come together that make is feel like we are addressing the horror we've witness, in ways that feel in some small degree proportionate to the provocation.

If people came to the Occupy encampments out of disillusion and rejection of the electoral political process and its institutions, this promises to have blasted a larger crater in any possibility of believing or living in the greater Machinery of world power. We see China and India, the rest of the Arab leaders, not simply indifferent, but complicit--realizing that what Israel is doing, they are fully prepared to do with their own troublemakers. No wonder Bashar al-Assad is still in power--after waging a years long war against his own peoples! That's how it works! That's how this whole fucking bloody machinry of power works! Held together by money and its institutions and the on-going privitazatiion of everything. What Israel is doing, what Assad is doing--that's what's in store for anyone who resists the Machine, who seeks to build more humane relationships on the other side of Nationalism and Capitalism and it's tools of patriarchy and racism and enforced inequality and the propagation of ignorance and the raising of servility and complicty with tyrany to the supreme virture!

This is the end, my friend... the beginning of the end. Oh, let it be so. Let it be so.

Friday, August 1, 2014

July 30, 2014



On this day we observe
how he both ambled on and back
in time, & stood there in summer heat
brick rubble at his feet, the house
razed that very morning—four days
it took (week four of the destruction of Gaza)
the sound of the chain saw, the mechanical
grunt and grind scoop &
scrape four days till this morning … tiles
on a wall left pressed against the
adjacent house where the bath had been--
rubber hose & shower-head
hung
limp as a dead man’s penis

--caught
his eye and swept him back
alone, a child on a wooded path
he was afraid of falling trees
(so many strewn among the leaves
moss covered trunks
stripped by years of branch and bark
no sense of time’s lightning
storms or wind, contingency not cause, the smell
of braken & blueberries—
the lake
beyond the hill




Who lived here first? Before these great bodied
trees had stretched and swayed
made sounds on windy nights as though the sea
itself … not a question he would find to ask
for years—how we are all like that, late comers
to a shore we no longer
see through eyes of ghosts
made over into mascots, Halloween warriors,
while on this morning, or late that night
by what little was left
of a house where once
men, children, women cooked and washed good herbs
hung to dry with skins and polished fragrant bark
 – in this house—they showered hanging
naked in mid-air (he saw them)
no floor to hold them, & children
playing on the steps long past dark
by light of flares, the burst of flame
the blast that rips free a child’s arm mid-air
burned clean of skin the smell of roasted human
flesh—here too, he thought
before this house was built, before Penn’s
sons’ deceitful race— where on the sands of Gaza’s shore
Israel’s tanks do shine so bright
the memory erased
of stars as other eyes had seen them
on nights like this, thick
with fireflies

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our disparate paths to truth...

I have to consider, that of those individuals who were most influential, most helped me to define the coures of my life, If I were to name them, among them, there would some who had a profound religious orientation (I say, orientation... not 'belief)'. This does not incline me to to adopt what they believed about their religion, but it leaves me open to an understanding... not of the content of their beliefs, but how, in some, those beliefs are so much a part of who they are--and that this has contributed to their being, for me... images of what it means to be human...in the best way.

No, I don't see their beliefs (or any such supernatural stuff) as necesary to being that kind of person--I've know those who are as materialist and alergic to supernatural explanations as I am--who are there with them... as examples of how to be human... or I should say, more than 'just' human.

But when you find such persons... I feel it important to accept all of what has contributed to their character... it being so rare, that I think, we would do well to be humble in our sense of intellectual superiority. Those few compassionate, fierce souls, the shape of whose lives have been carved in the struggle for justice, the creating of beauty--we need only accept them as comrades... as they would for us. No need to measure one another by our disparate pathes to truth.

Selfie

pencil scribble..

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gaza

I went to the protest in front of the Israeli counselate to day in Philly. I was happy to see so many protests world wide, but they aren't going to change anything. Israel has no conscience to appeal to . Those Israeli's who do, are effectively silenced. American Jews, who could make a difference, are hiding from the reality, unwilling to acknowledge the horrors that Israel has committed, and afraid to take a public stand. 70 years after the holocaust, nothing has been learned. Not even by those who have most reason to have learned.
Please read the comments, and add your own.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Generative Engine of art is always hidden

Riffing off Levi Bryant "Deleuze's cinema books are only ostensibly about cinema. More profoundly they develop a materialist ontology (only visible if read with the first chapter of Matter and Memory). Those two volumes are where to look to find how art and philosophy can transversally resonate as described in What is Philosophy. When philosophy engages art it does not represent it, just as art that engages philosophy doesn't merely exemplify a philosophical thesis." And just as art doesn't "represent"... whatever its ostensible subject is. I like your idea of distinguishing between what is manifest, and the being of the object/machine... as a work of art is way more like a machine than a static object! The representation-- is its manifest reality, contingent on viewer, historical setting, cultural history etc. But the generative power is never exhausted in it's interpretations... in any of its manifest presentations. Those who would use art--turn it to propaganda, are keen to impose limits on that generative power and confine the work to --not necessarily a particular interpretation--it can be sufficient to assign it a place in an historical continuum, and from there, reduce ii to this or that political or ideological end. The criticism of the New Criterion is an example of this--at least in their treatment of American novels. One of the great things about 'outsider art'... and to the High Critics.. SciFi and fantasy are outsiders... that writers in these low brow modes can escape the Gatekeepers that have turned Establishment Literary Fiction into a wasteland.... perfectly comparable to the visual art of the 19c academies at the dawn of the Impressionists.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

#253 Independence Day, the Ship of State

27x38 cardboard, roofing paper, scrap metal, acrylic on Masonite

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On Being Authentic

How is it possible to be 'authentic?', like, you know... 'honest,' like it's all out there. It's never all out there for me. No matter how I try... or let go and don't try, you know... be there. There's always something left over, left out. Some feeling, some thought not included in whatever I've said or done. Comes back at me. Ah HA! Gotcha! You're not REAL! You're not HONEST! Look at all this shit left in the closet, the garbage bin... hiding...you are A FAKE!

That's what I am. I make it all up. I invent myself. Sometimes, what I want to be. Sometimes, what I want you to think I am. Sometimes, I don't have a clue. I just know, that I'm not real. And it wakes me up at night--stuff I've done that I'm ashamed of, or that is so powerfully stupid... I mean stuff I did 50 years ago! Comes back, says--if you did that shit, no WAY you can be anything but FAKE!

But there are people I love. I mean really. I would happily die for... and even if that's a little bit fake, and it probably is, I know I would act on it. And that wouldn't be fake. I would take their part. Stand by them.

That's how love heals. From the other side. Knowing that you can love. Are capable of love... even if you're a big fucking fake. Cause we're all fake... but love is real. Love is real... we immerse ourself, if only that we immerse ourselves... the waters rise around us, the measure of our mass. Of our elusive reality... never untainted, never without some remnant left out... but maybe that's how we go on? That part of us that refuses to join us... maybe that's ... our future self? What we are to become? That the only moment we will ever be wholly present, entirely real... is the moment at the end. When all is finished. The moment of our death?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Out of This, Comes my Art...

I have no temples. I have no gods or goddesses. No leaders. The moon is a magnificent rock torn from the earth when the earth itself was a molten rock.. and little by little drifting away into space--which will change the length of our days, making the revolutions of the earth shorter and shorter, our days, shorter and shorter.

The alignment of the planets, while wonderful fun and poetically generative.. don't mean shit for our lives. Whether Mercury is perceived (and it's an optical illusion), as 'retrograde,' or not, has no influence on our physical reality whatsoever.

The wonder of the real world needs no made up shit to leave us in awe.. and rather, pulls a cheap magician's cloak over the magnificence of the universe as it is, preferring a false sense of control to our utterly helplessness before it--other than our accumulating knowledge... our only power. I say this, and this is my... not 'belief,' but understanding, and I light the candles of my Faerie alter, and the unknowalbe refusal of my brain to acceded altogether to this so called real world. Out of that, comes my art.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Annoying Submission Requirements

Dear Publisher

Why, with an electronic submission, do you ask for a limited number of pages? If you want to stop reading at 20 or 25 or 30 pages, good. Don't read any more. But if you do--it's right there. No need to ask for a second submission. And if, as in the case with my two novels, there are chapters that read as stand alone narrative short stories, chapters in modified screen play format, chapters, for lack of a better description--which are highly 'experimental.' How am I supposed to select anything close to representing the work?

The other annoying request--a synopsis. Fine, if you write a plot driven narrative novel. That's how a synopsis works--they're boiled down plot summaries, with some added comments. Like Cliff Notes. With a book radically UNlike establishment realist fiction, a synopsis is next to impossible. Thank you, but I spent 8 years writing the damn novel--I'm not going to do critical theory on the fucker. You want to know what I wrote--read it.

And if on top of that you want me to pay you to do your job as editor and publisher, 'reading fees' or whatever. Fuck off. I'm not interested, and you probably aren't either. Save us both the trouble.

#253

20x16 acrylic on canvas board