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November 30, 2005

Everything Louder Than Everything Else

Posting may pick up around here soon. Then again, it may not. 'Tis the season to be driven to distraction, after all.

If I do manage to get around to it, though, (and no promises) I may choose to finally revisit a few unfinished posts from this past fall and summer, one of which might spring off nicely from a little rock-n-roll action I partook of last night at the Metro: a little game of "count the amps," as Mascis, Lou and Murph cleared out the earwax once and for all.

It was bit cooler out last night than the last time I saw these guys, but the music pretty much scorched on its own. And, while they're one notoriously loud act for a fairly cozy venue, the sound was great (and the levels would've probably been totally bearable if it weren't for an absolutely brutal snare that just pierced, pierced, pierced).

They play again tonight, with the Ponys and the Magik Markers opening. It's 18 and over, though I can't imagine that's much of a problem for anyone—last night's crowd skewed decidedly toward the mature-ish.

Update 12/1: We noticed some studio mikes and handheld DV's in effect at the show Tuesday night. Well, this would seem to explain that (via FlowFeel):

Veteran alt-rock trio Dinosaur Jr., which mounted a reunion tour earlier this year, has lined up four November concerts, including a two-night stand in New York City that will be filmed for a live DVD.

The group will warm up for the film shoot with a pair of shows at Chicago's Metro on Nov. 29-30, and will roll cameras at New York City's Irving Plaza on Dec. 2-3.

So you New Yorkers still have a day or two to prepare to get your rock on and mug for the cameras.

"Everything Louder Than Everything Else"
Posted by Dan at 07:19 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

Blatant Local Chauvinism

For all of the poor suckers who'll be stuck in the torrid heat of sweltering Miami Beach this coming weekend while I kick back in comfort in balmy Chicago, IL... a list of Chicago and vicinity exhibitors at this year's big shows:

At ABMB...
Valerie Carberry (booth G9)
Rhona Hoffman (booth F4)
Donald Young (booth C8)

At Aqua...
Bodybuilder & Sportsman
Lisa Boyle
Bucket Rider

At NADA...
Shane Campbell
General Store (Milwaukee)
Kavi Gupta (NADA member)
Imperfect Articles (publications)

monique meloche (PULSE invitational)

At ~scopeMiami...
Wendy Cooper
Carl Hammer
Kasia Kay
Karen Lennox

At Frisbee...
(plus... current Brooklynite and ex-Chicagoan Siebren Versteeg as one half of the Spirit Tours 2005 team)

* * *

So, though a number are participating, Chicago's galleries aren't exactly showing up in force in the sunshine spotlight of Miami Beach.

And, while I couldn't say how many applied to and were rejected by the various blossoming fairs (or, for that matter, how many opted out altogether), I think I'm beginning to appreciate Art Expo/Art Chicago's erstwhile value to the local art community as, at the very least, a foot in the door for worthy local spaces that might not otherwise light up the international radar.

But, what the hell: here's to the Sunshine State anyways. And here's to all that gorgeous scratch in FLA.

"Blatant Local Chauvinism"
Posted by Dan at 05:54 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

November 28, 2005

Three's Company, Too

I'm not the first to mention it today, but Kriston Capps of Grammar.police and Begging to Differ has got himself yet another bloggy home at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's spanking new Eye Level.

What a nerd.

(Update: A nerd on contract is still a nerd.)

"Three's Company, Too"
Posted by Dan at 11:39 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

November 24, 2005

'Those things are becoming kind of valuable'

I guess this auction market/deaccessioning thing is pretty hot, huh?

Even my old high school is now cashing in, putting a little Stuart Davis piece up on the block at Christie's (est: $2–3 million). [Update: The painting sold for $2.8 million before buyer's premium]:

For years, New Trier High School students breezed by the colorful painting with barely a second glance.

Teachers carted the abstract painting from a 4th-floor hall into classrooms, where it was presented as an example of American modernist art. But the piece later was put into storage for decades.

No one imagined that the Stuart Davis painting purchased in 1948 by Frank Holland, then chairman of the school's Art Department, for $62.50 would be worth an estimated $2 million to $3 million today.

Administrators at the North Shore school district plan to use the proceeds from the sale at Christie's auction house in New York Dec. 1 to add to their already impressive campuses in Winnetka and Northfield.


As Davis' work goes up for sale, art enthusiasts are just as excited about the painting's rich history and lessons on the Cold War era. The painting, "Still Life with Flowers," was purchased by the State Department and traveled worldwide in a 1946-47 exhibition called "Advancing American Art," according to Christie's. But after some members of Congress targeted Davis and other left-leaning intellectuals as communist sympathizers, the State Department sold the painting for next to nothing, officials said.

"Still Life with Flowers," at 40 inches by 32 inches, is among the artist's largest works, according to Christie's.

Holland was notified about the State Department's sale through his work at New Trier. With the school's permission, he purchased the Davis painting and another, called "Driftwood," by surrealist Julien Levy for a total of $125. No one knows what happened to the Levy work, Bangser said.

The school lent the Davis painting to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993, where it was displayed until earlier this year, he said. The painting had been in storage at the school since the 1960s.

In the early 1990s, appraisers valued the Davis painting at a few hundred thousand dollars, officials said.

Since then, interest in Davis' work has escalated, but even school officials were shocked by just how much more the painting was worth after they approached Christie's and other auction houses within the last year.

"Someone said, `Those things are becoming kind of valuable,'" said James Koch, president of New Trier's board of trustees.


It was one of his first oil paintings that "pulls together all of the modern ideas of his career," Widing said.

By the late 1940s, Davis' work had received favorable attention while touring with the U.S. exhibition through Europe. The climate back home, however, turned to fear and suspicion of communist sympathizers.

Like other teachers in public schools at the time, Marran recalled having to take a loyalty oath when he went to work at New Trier in 1955.

"The oath was that we would uphold the Constitution of the United States and that we were not members of the Communist Party," he said.

He used to eat lunch with Holland, and admired the depth of his knowledge about art and the circles in which he traveled.

"He knew everything about art, about architecture," Marran said. "He knew Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, all of those guys."

Marran is not so sure he enjoys the style of the Davis painting, but he figures Holland knew it could be a gem some day.

School officials have set up a separate fund for proceeds from the sale, which will be used for a project such as a photo laboratory or an artist-in-residence program, Koch said. A committee will help recommend how to use the money, assuming the painting sells, he said.

"'Those things are becoming kind of valuable'"
Posted by Dan at 12:11 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

November 15, 2005

A Hot Weekend Supplement?

I realize we Blue Staters are renowned for our decadent lifestyles, but I was nevertheless rather amused that the Tribune's online editors filed today's AP article on the investigation into the FDA's rejection of over-the-counter emergency contraception sales under "Leisure" of all things.

Does this signal a new direction for James Warren's Features page?

I, for one, can't wait for the Metromix year-end reviews of what's hot in 2005 IUDs, or the upcoming Q spotlight on the latest trends in celebrity tubal ligation.

In all seriousness, though, and on to the article itself, it's just about time we put an end to this ideological, anti-science bullshit from the Religious Right:

WASHINGTON—Lawmakers are again accusing the Food and Drug Administration of putting politics over science in the long-running saga over whether the morning-after pill should sell without a prescription.
A congressional audit released Monday cited "unusual" steps in the FDA's initial rejection of over-the-counter emergency contraception, including conflicting accounts of whether top officials made the decision even before scientists finished reviewing the evidence.
The FDA is reconsidering the decision on the pill, sold under the brand Plan B. While the report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, doesn't say that FDA made the wrong decision, it does raise the most serious questions to date about agency credibility—and increases pressure to settle the issue.
"Regardless of how you feel about whether Plan B should be available in the community, the fact is the FDA decision should be based on science, not cultural controversy," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
A high dose of regular birth control, the morning-after pill can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The sooner it's taken, the better it works, but it can be difficult for women to get a prescription in time.
In December 2003, FDA's scientific advisers overwhelmingly backed over-the-counter sales of the Plan B brand for all ages. They cited assessments that easier access could halve the nation's 3 million annual unintended pregnancies.
Conservatives who consider the pill tantamount to abortion intensely lobbied the Bush administration to reject nonprescription sales, saying it would increase teen sex.
In May 2004, FDA leaders rejected the nonprescription switch, saying there was no data proving anyone under 16 could safely use the pills without a doctor's guidance.
Maker Barr Laboratories reapplied, seeking to sell Plan B with age limits similar to those required for cigarettes: Females 16 or older could buy it without a prescription but younger teens would continue to need a doctor's note. In August, FDA leaders postponed a decision indefinitely, saying it wasn't clear how to enforce an age limit.
The result was unprecedented public discord from the normally secretive agency: Top-ranking FDA officials have acknowledged they overruled their own scientists' decision that nonprescription sales would be safe, and the women's health chief resigned in protest.

This guy is right. There are bigger fish to fry than Target when it comes to the availability of Plan B.

It's just another front in that Republican War on Science we've all come to love.

"A Hot Weekend Supplement?"
Posted by Dan at 05:11 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

Simply Criminal

Well, it's official: Albie Pujols has beaten out the better man for the 2005 National League MVP crown.

Set aside, though, for a moment the fact that Derrek Lee was the demonstrably better player this season on both offense and defense, and that he has already been recognized as such (being awarded this year's Silver Slugger and Gold Glove, respectively, over Pujols). Even if Derrek bested Albert in virtually every category besides walks and strike outs, their stats are undeniably similar. So Pujols winning out is at least reasonable, if not right.

What really irks is that Lee finished third in the voting to Andruw flipping Jones (who shouldn't even rank with the other two):

Pujols received 18 of the 32 first-place votes and 14 second-place votes for 378 points. Atlanta's Andruw Jones picked up 13 first-place votes, 17 seconds and two thirds for 351 points, while Derrek Lee finished third with one first-place vote, one second and 30 thirds for 263 points.

That's a mere 2 out of the 32 ballots cast (would those be the two votes from Chicago?) that ranked Lee ahead of Jones. On what, the strength of an extra 5 homers? Dig that long ball.

Further proof, if it was needed, that these Baseball Writers are a profoundly ridiculous lot.

"Simply Criminal"
Posted by Dan at 03:12 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (2)

November 12, 2005

George Bush, Art Lover (Veterans Day Weekend Edition)

Having already revisited this old post, I thought I'd go ahead and front the following images by Tom Lea, the President's most favoritest artist ever (besides Jesus, of course).

From Lea's WWII combat illustrations:

Tom Lea: The Price
The Price
Lying in terror looking longingly up the slope to better cover, I saw a wounded man near me, staggering in the direction of the LVTs. His face was half bloody pulp and the mangled shreds of what was left of an arm hung down like a stick, as he bent over in the stumbling, shock-crazy walk. The half of his face that was still human had the most terrifying look of abject patiences I have ever seen. He fell behind me, in a red puddle on the white sand.
Tom Lea: Sundown at Peleliu
Sundown at Peleliu: Sick Bay in a Shellhole. The Padre Read, 'I am the resurrection and the Light'
The padre stood by with two canteens and a Bible, helping. He was deeply moved by the patient suffering and death. He looked very lonely, very close to God, as he bent over the shattered men so far from home. Corpsmen put a poncho, a shirt, a rag, anything handy, over the grey faces of the dead and carried them to a line on the beach to await the digging of graves.
Tom Lea: 2000 Yard Stare
2000 Yard Stare: Down from Bloody Ridge Too Late. He's Finished—Washed Up—Gone
As we passed sick bay, still in the shell hole, it was crowded with wounded, and somehow hushed in the evening light. I noticed a tattered Marine standing quietly by a corpsman, staring stiffly at nothing. His mind had crumbled in battle, his jaw hung, and his eyes were like two black empty holes in his head. Down by the beach again, we walked silently as we passed the long line of dead Marines under the tarpaulins.

Update 11/14: Added Lea's image inscriptions as found here.

"George Bush, Art Lover (Veterans Day Weekend Edition)"
Posted by Dan at 05:04 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (4)

All-Time National Medal of Arts Awardees

Picking up where Tyler left off (and picking up a couple he seems to have missed), a complete accounting of visual artists awarded with our National Medal of Arts (per the official list)...

2004: Frederick Hart (sculptor), John Ruthven (wildlife artist)

2002: Al Hirschfeld (artist, illustrator)

2001: Helen Frankenthaler (painter)

2000: Chuck Close (painter), Claes Oldenburg (sculptor)

1999: George Segal (sculptor)

1998: Agnes Martin (visual artist)

1995: Roy Lichtenstein (painter, sculptor)

1994: Wayne Thiebaud (artist, teacher)

1993: Robert Rauschenberg (artist)

1992: Allan Houser (sculptor)

1991: Richard Diebenkorn (painter)

1990: Jasper Johns (painter, sculptor), Jacob Lawrence (painter)

1989: Alfred Eisenstaedt (photographer), Walker Kirtland Hancock (sculptor), Robert Motherwell (painter)

1987: Romare Bearden (painter), Isamu Noguchi (sculptor)

1986: Willem de Kooning (painter)

1985: Louise Nevelson (sculptress), Georgia O'Keeffe (painter)

(Frank Stella was among a number of artists honored and presented with medals by Ronald Reagan in 1983, before the official establishment of the medal.)


Quelle différence...

"The President gets to put pictures on the wall, paintings they call them—pictures in Crawford, paintings in Washington. (Laughter.)"...

Plus, fresh out the kitchen (it's the remix edition): George's most favoritest artist ever...

...Update: Edward Winkleman on 1997 medal awardee the MacDowal Colony, now at risk of losing its local tax exemption...

"All-Time National Medal of Arts Awardees"
Posted by Dan at 03:33 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

November 7, 2005

Monday Morning Drive-By Snark

Via this post at The View from the Edge of the Universe we see that Artnet has a list up of Ten Tips for art collectors, a collector's "treatise" of sorts shared by NYC collector Eileen Cohen at an ADAA Collector's Forum a month back.

Now, I wouldn't know Cohen from Eve, and most of her tips do sound quite reasonable. A couple really rubbed me the wrong way, though, beginning with:

4. Don't be fooled by an artist's charm—these days, artists learn how to sell themselves in art school. The best artists don't try to sell their work.

If I didn't know better, I'd guess she was a dealer defending her 50%. After all, isn't bullshiting potential buyers their job? (No, really, I kid.) And, ultimately, what do artists know about art anyways?

6. To learn about new art, set up a network of art informers, from writers and curators to art dealers. Don't be afraid to ask foolish questions! Artists are always great to talk to, but they aren't always great judges of art (they tend to like art that is similar to their own, or the art of their friends).

I'll be charitable for a moment and assume she means that artists aren't necessarily good market speculators. Because, in all honesty, they do tend to be some of the better judges of art as such that you're likely to find. Let's not cut them out of the loop just yet.

"Monday Morning Drive-By Snark"
Posted by Dan at 11:38 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (6)

November 1, 2005

More Than Meets the Eye?

The commercial breaks during last night's Colbert Report saw a couple somewhat peculiar ads, both bearing the mark of "Optimus" (which I'm thinking might just be these folks, though I certainly wouldn't swear by it).

The first was an animated agitprop number featuring sullen, wind-up business drones going about their morning commute, ending with the motto: "Beware the trappings of leisure."

The second, a tad less strident, offered nothing but a lone banjo player picking on an urban rooftop.

Both had the feel of either short-form art (if only by virtue of having little immediately discernible raison d'être from a strict marketing perspective) or MTV-style branding exercises.

Perhaps these are just the mysterious first shots in some sort of slow-reveal, buzz-marketing campaign but, whatever their agenda, they did get me thinking about the potential of media art and television as a public space—particularly in terms of the pay-to-play 30-second world of television advertising.

So, a question... I'm aware that a slew of artists have tackled the very public medium of the billboard (both with licit support and without). And I know that our good buddy Chris Burden logged some NYC broadcast airtime of his own back in 1976, on his own buck. But, is anyone aware of any public art groups that have done serious TV ad buys for art's sake?

I mean, it's one hell of a public forum, and one that's ripe for exploration/exploitation (though no doubt soon to be on the wane)... if someone's got the bankroll to foot the bill.

Update 11/2, 3:15 pm: A "hi" and a "howdy" to the horde over at Optimus... I see you (seeing me).

"More Than Meets the Eye?"
Posted by Dan at 11:57 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (2)