12/21/12 – Renewal or Doom?

12/21/12 marks the winter solstice, a comforting reminder of the predictable patterns that prevail upon the Earth, along with the twice-daily crescendos of the Earth’s waters, the once-daily rotations of the planet, the cosmic source of sunrises and sunsets, the omnipresent authority of gravity. It is the time of year when day time and night time are poised in symmetrical balance. This pause in the annual progressions of time has traditionally been celebrated as an occasion for joyful renewal.

 
12/21/12 marks Doomsday, as foretold on a calendar produced by the ancient Maya, a civilization that flourished in the rainforests of central America until its mysterious collapse around AD 900.

We ARE So Lucky, James Panero

Let us imagine the mounting of an exhibition that might celebrate the 100th anniversary of the renowned ARMORY SHOW, the international exhibition of modern art that rocked the world in 1913. James Panero recently introduced this topic in the pages of The New Criterion, commenting that the exhibition served as “the moment that separates the reactionary past from the more enlightened present.”

Panero quotes Alfred Stieglitz who stated that the Armory successfully cast aside “the dry bones of a dead art.” He then comments, “We should be so lucky if today’s academic thinkers similarly become the footnotes of history, and resurgence in art once again captures the vital spirit of the times.”

Indeed, Mr. Panerno, we ARE so lucky.

Opossum: No Trespassing? Visitors Welcome?

A 16” tubular form jutting out of the chickens’ egg-laying chamber was the first sign that this evening was going to contain some unwelcome excitement. Animal intruders have an uncanny sense of opportunity, appearing only when I am particularly pressured for time and alone on the homestead.

Cautiously, I approached the trespasser who must have visited frequently since the chickens were calmly roosting in their places, indicating there was nothing unusual about this evening except for the fact that the offender was caught gorging on the day’s entire production of eggs.

The tail in this tale belonged to an opossum. All I could see was its butt which revealed that this critter was more than just plump. It bordered on obese.

 

                            opossum-1

Beehive: Pen Power

A magnifying glass and intense scrutiny are required to appreciate the minute, interlaced detailing that is lavished upon every millimeter of the Beehive Collective’s “True Cost of Coal” mural. I had the opportunity to both magnify and linger before the mural-scaled version of this extraordinary visual narrative last week when Tyler Bee and Ug conducted a workshop at Parson’s School of Design in Manhattan.

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Schneemann comments: "Practice" vs "Produce"

In 1967, Art in America asked a number of well-known arists to answer a questionnaire exploring the sensibility of the 1960s. Cathy Lebowitz reports in the current issue that this project has been repeated, but this time artists were asked to characterize the turn of the 21st century. Art in America article

Carolee Schneemann was among the artists querried. Her response contrasting “practice” from “process” provides compelling evidence that she remains inspired by the pursuit of the raw, unprocessed, essential components of lived experience. They comprise her guiding principles to this day.

Current ideological language uses “practice” to define art concepts at the expense of process.

Practice implies perfectibility, strategy, products: dentists have a practice, violinists practice, yoga is a practice, elephants practice for the circus.

Process invites risk, uncertainty, vision, unpredictability, concentration and blind devotion.

The Plasticene Era

Where is ‘kingdom come’?

From the Ice Age to the Space Age, people have tended to locate the realm of eternity and immortality in heaven

This age-old assumption has become obsolete. Everlasting conditions are occurring here on Earth.

We are living in the Plasticene Age.

"WELL IF": Ballengee Grieves and Rejoices –

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Brandon Ballengee‘s singular commitment to the well-being of all Earthly species embraces dual strategies. His career might be titled “Well If” – as if to say, “Well if rejoicing in diversity doesn’t suffice, grieving its diminishment might.”

 

By presenting emotionally-charged commengtary that is grounded in neutered scientific documentation, Ballengee straddles opposite sides of the biological, attitudinal, and methodological divides simultaneously. 

Ballengee at FeldmanBallengee-at-Feldman

Biological Architecture –

Hundertwasser-Waldspirale

Hundertwasser – Waldspirale

 

Fruto-Vivas.

Fruto Vivas – Venezuelan Pavilion

 

Friedensreich Hundertwasser is renowned for designing buildings that resembled vegetative growth in their appearance and their functioning.  The Waldspirale, a residential building complex in Darmstadt, Germany that was built in the 1990s, for example, seems to have sprouted into existence without human intervention and capable of yielding to a passing breeze. This biological resemblance is not merely aesthetic or metaphorical. Hundertwasser’s buildings actually  ‘breathe’ by absorbing streams of energy, ‘digest’ by cycling sewage and water,  and ‘grow’ by  incorporating photosynthetic processes.

Now, ‘propagation’ might be added to Hundertwasser’s list of architectural principles that mimic biology. This is because his goal of incorporating livingness into the built environment is being extended into remarkable new spheres of architectural exploration.

 

Raze the Barricades. Raise the Stakes.

Porous borders are essential for maintaining life. The structure of trees, amphibians, algae, zebras, humans, and dandelions all include numerous small pores and/or a few large portals. Pores and portals function as entry ways for life-sustaining elements and exits for life-endangering wastes. 

Nonetheless, humans tend to ignore the intermingling principle that accounts for 700 million years of life on Earth in favor of barricades. Barricades involve the willful construction of dividers. They are designed to disrupt unity by blocking access, interaction, exchange, and communication. Barricades exist for protection, fortification, defense, possessiveness. They influence, control and direct the flow-and-stoppage of materials, life forms, energy, resources and thought.

But barricades can be costly, unnecessary, damaging, wasteful, and/or grievous. Many eco artists are designing strategies for dismantling these obstructions and replacing them with opportunities for mutual exchange.

Anaesthetized Pop (Warhol) / Revitalized Pop (Zurkow)

Has the significance of Andy Warhol evolved in the ensuing decades since his death in 1987?

One certainty is that the works appear as soulless and uncritical today as when they were produced.

Another certainty is that Warhol has increasingly praised by critics and coveted by collectors.

Jed Perl, the art critic at The New Republic (November 15, 2012) provided examples of Warhol’s crescendoing acclaim, raising disquieting evidence of Pop’s enduring appeal.