Olaf Breuning‘s recent solo exhibition at Metro Pictures were a step away from magnificent. I walked through the show on the last day, glad to have caught it before it was over and left feeling a few pounds lighter in the mind. Drawings and sketches were transferred and transformed to wall installations and wooden sculptures, all uniform in the ever ubiquitous black, allowing for a contemplative reflection that is part depressing part humorous, playful and non-serious. One-liner questions about the meaning of life are tainted with an ominous pessimism that if approached by any other artist, or individual, would risk a phone call to your nearby therapist. A philosophical ruse carelessly and unsuccessfully hides beneath these cartooned concoctions and their execution of paint direct on wall and small wooden blocks layered to form moved me with carefree ease. It made me envy the artist, his seeming effortlessness to not take life’s qualms too seriously, to take what you get and absorb what you see in the everyday and make fun of it, make fun out of it. Let’s mock pop culture and consume the overwhelming load of information we face everyday perusing the internet and living in this city and take a quiet moment to comically reflect what we’ve digested and how it plays within our deepest and darkest of souls. I responded this way to the show because it released my own wish to grapple with life’s quandaries by creating my own sanctuary of sorts. One that relishes in imagination and creativity, playfulness and presentness, all without losing grasp of what’s out there and leaving room for the distractions of the everyday to peek in and pester us with its unignorable presence. It’s a dreamy world, the one Breuning depicts, but not without its antagonist, the “what if” anxiety-stimulating monster that can coat our vision in black, it’s ability to oversimplify and upturn any aphorism with mocking and critical irony.
Monthly Archives: December 2009
Shortly before Christmas Brooklyn Lyceum hosted a holiday craft market and I attended on Sunday (Saturday having been the day of the one and only Greenpoint Food Market). There were a few nifty things and I was happy to see some vendors I saw and bought from last year. A photo recap of a few covetous items ensue:
Anarchy in Jar stirs my heart with their plum and strawberry jam, neither of which they had so I settled for the blueberry which actually grew on me as the days progressed and I slathered gratuitously onto my deliciously baked scone.
Sugarbuilt was at GFM the day before and here she was again kicking ass with these amazingly decorated and gigantic snowflakes.
Get lick’d makes awesome organic doggy treats. I was very tempted to stick a sample in my mouth.
Kristiana Parn‘s bunnies hanging off tress and foxes contemplating under the moon are homey, comforting, unobtrusive, and sweet.
Michelle Han’s woodcut prints were beautiful in their layering rich colors of brown, gold, red, blues. Images of birds and trees billowing in peace were a step away from the chaoticism that is our everyday. I enjoyed these very much.
I see these little creature pots from the Plane Jane Project in many of the craft markets that happen here. Their creepy but benign, sad but friendly.
I have a card from Fisk & Fern that’s been up on my wall since last year, I love the wispy line, the shiny and luscious colors of sea and plant creatures printed on notebooks and cards. She also had really cute aprons.
I didn’t note who this vendor was but I love this card, and any image that incorporates food.
This is what my doodles look like, in jewelry form. I love these necklaces by Victoria Strevens, especially the one all the way to the right, it’s EXACTLY how I doodle. Love it.
These tinysaurs were very, tiny.
I LOVE these prints. Absurd, surreal, creepy, crisp, and I especially fell for the images that were (of course) food driven.
Love these fruity shirts from Squidfire.
I was moved by Karen Lederer‘s combination of familiar imagery and the various sources that were tapped into in making these cards and bags. Her website has even more impressive works.
The larger bowls by Yasha Butler reminded me of toilets from Korea. These bring fonder reactions, simple yet emphatic in shape and curvature.
These cases by Aster + Sage are sure cute in their geometric, robotic, futuristic design.
These diagrammatic images by girls can tell are amazing in its handcraftedness and detailed precision.
The vendors at Rubina Design told me the chuck taylor love affair were the most popular. I don’t blame them.
These magnetic spice jars by Gneiss Spice create pretty neat patterns and would accentuate quite nicely on the side of a bland and ugly refridgerator, and save space!
More pics on the flickr page.
I’m a bit appalled at how fast time has decided to run past. The last post was a dinky poem I wrote in 5 minutes at work about digestion and that was already two and a half weeks ago. And, it’s Christmas Eve. What the fuck?? I am ill prepared for this holiday; no cookies, no cards, no presents, for ANYONE. The last few weeks and couple months have been slightly tumultuous between useless boy drama, a computer drowned in matzo soup depriving me of its presence for a WEEK, attempting to Betty Page my bangs only to come off irreparably lopsided and just plain nasty, hating the unbreakable compulsive eating habits that only lead to having repulsed thoughts about my own body, and just being plain wiped out from everything. EVERYTHING.
I’ve been bombarded with some pretty amazing opportunities this entire year meeting a cascade of world-changing, community-building individuals, and partaking in projects that have nourished and expanded the multi-facets of my being. It’s been exponentially gratifying to be able to bring the magical realms of art and food together to build a mini-utopia of life, whether in the form of an art exhibition, a food market, a dinner party, or as I’ve regrettably been neglecting, this blog. I started writing here last September or so and it’s been a whirlwind of activity ever since and it’s this blog that started it all, opened all those doors between food and writing and art and doing all I love to do for Greenpoint, and meeting some amazing people along the way.
But I’ve definitely gone a bit overboard and have wiped myself out. I attempted to “freelance” as a writer for a couple months and that failed miserably so much so that I had to take on a full time job, albeit an amazing one I can’t complain about, and now am running behind everything from writing about that pickle festival months back to an amazing show at Metro Pictures, from the jambalaya I cooked the other day to the holiday food market I put together last week.
I am beyond grateful to have the next 11 days completely, wholly to myself, no schlepping around like a homeless bag lady from Greenpoint to Chelsea with laptop, dog, lunch, and book in tow till the new year. I’ll be taking the next few days to revamp and revitalize, reassess and rejuvenate, reflect and refresh. Sorry, too many re’s there.
I plan to budget my expenses, be more mindful and conscious about what I consume, practice yoga again, spend a lot more time reading and writing at home, and rather than stretching myself out too thin to support myself, bring it all back in, minimalizing the outsourcing, harvesting my inner sanctity, sanity, sanitary. I want to pay more attention to my immediate surrounding, the wonders of the everyday, collecting, documenting and recording the unstupendous and uneventful, realizing it for its unsung beauty and peace giving harmony. That all sounds a bit hippie-dom but it’s inspired by Keri Smith’s How to Be an Explorer of the World and I’m determined to not be overwhelmed by my trying to consuming everything all at once, taking it rather one by one, day by day, moment by moment, experiencing it in full as it happens, writing about it, sharing my thoughts and what not as it happens, rather than piling up all these thoughts and emotions in hope to release later, only to leave it rising and pent up to inevitably explode into uselessness.
So that’s the rambling part. I’m taking the next 11 days to prepare fora new beginning, a fresh new start. Hopefully I can share as many of these moments on this blog, and hopefully you’ll like me better for it.
Now for the scones.
These are giant scones. So giant the recipe is called GIANT apricot-walnut scones. I usually gear away from scones for their tendency to be dry and hard, crusty and tasteless. I usually go for croissants and usually get disappointed for their lack of moist chewy centers and airy flaky exteriors. I’m afraid my morning pastry conundrums will never be appeased. But, there are these scones that are apparently surprisingly super easy to make, shape and bake. I’m not quite sure why I decided to try this recipe, it was a compulsive decision. And I have no regrets about it. The end result is a super soft and moist baked delight with apricots and raisins providing a sweet chew and walnuts a savory crunch. Toast with butter and some Anarchy in a Jar and you are SO good to go. Did I mention hot easy and minimal in process and ingredients it is?? I’m sold.
GIANT Apricot-Walnut Scones
2 cups all purpose-flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/3 cups heaving whipping cream
– Preheat oven to 400F. Whisk first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in walnuts, apricots, and raisins. Add cream; stir with fork just to blend. Transfer dough to work surface sprinkled with powdered sugar. Knead dough until smooth, about 10 turns. Form dough into 1 inch thick round. Cut into 6 wedges. Sift powdered sugar over. Transfer to baking sheet.
– Bake scones until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp.
encompass all in one
filled to the brim
hindered by scale
a scope not big enough
gorging on the chance
if ever it were to rise
yearning for the filling
that will never be topped
too much pondering
leaves for a decrepit soul.
Yesterday I attended Jamie Hook’s Open City Dialogue event at Pete’s Candy Store. The bar hosts this bi-weekly lecture series moderated by Mr. Hook inviting speakers of all realms sharing their obsessive stories and experiences. Last night I had the honor of sharing the same space as the one and only David Byrne. It was a clusterfucked madhouse, I was kicked out of the stage area and moped starring wide eyed at a screen by the bar, neck strained and photographs crooked.
All was silence when Mr. Byrne began his spastic and hurried rant on music and its origins, arguing specifically about space as a primary source of inspiration when creating music. I have a few bones to pick about this declaration, as he dismisses romantic and personal expression as the starting point in concocting a piece whether music or art in general. He supports this with images and sound bites beginning from Wagner and Mozart and how their position as resident composers within cathedrals and palace rooms determined the various sound components within each composition. He worked his way up to jazz, country, disco, hip hop and pop and how musical and cultural evolution progressed to focus less on nuance and more on dance and space, making beats and sounds that cater to get your feet tappin’ and heads bobbin’.
There were sporadic spits of awkward humor that caused both a snicker and question marks from my end. I most certainly can’t deny that space is considered when writing music to be performed in. Rhythm, percussion, melody, and its consequent reverberations are all affected by its host space but I find it a bit absurd to declare that if not all, many artists create pieces with key consideration to space. I mean, when you are unknown, undiscovered and unsung with no opportunity to show or perform and you just happened to be a genius, will you not make work despite not having a home to place/play your work? This is no new idea and my questioning is nothing profound but I couldn’t help stomp my foot down and shout a fat “no way!” when he went on describing fine artists, especially painters and how they must consider the galleries and museum their surrounded by, especially all those spaces in Chelsea when they’re making their work. I found it condescending to hear him say something along the lines of “Paintings are flat, on canvas, and go on walls. So naturally they are thinking about galleries when they make their work.” What??
By all means between being employed by both established artists and galleries, space is an important contributor to the creative process, but to be so dismissive of ideas, concepts, expressions, personal or institutional, or cultural or political, is just wrong. His argument works for site specific installations and works dealing with institutional critique, maybe, but to relay the multifarious elements that go to create an artwork and honing it down to the importance of size and scale seems plain absurdity.
Mr. Byrne created an amazing piece in collaboration with Creative Time at the Battery Maritime Building called Playing the Building and his argument works with precision here. Tubes are attached from an organ to various columns, tubes, entrances, and windows in this vast vacant space. Prick your fingers along the instrument and you’ve written a symphony of noise echoing within and through the space. Space and sound are interconnected and it is a perfect example of what he is stating. But it is not a universal form of creation.
I’ll just start repeating and contradicting myself if I go any further. I do however want to note an article I read this morning in ArtForum by Anthony Huberman who talks about Fluxus arist and poet Robert Filliou and his small and short-lived art space in France called The Smiling Cedilla. It was run with a mission to share and emphasize activities based on humor and play, and its functions were inspired by the utopian-socialist philosopher Charles Fourier who imagined a system based in passionate attraction that went beyond rationale and self-consciousness, analysis and equations. This artist run space was unmoved by money, expertise and careerism and encouraged intuition, improvisation, clumsiness, and imperfection. It shared a motto that “art is what makes life more interesting than art”, and this is reflected in the multiple one night exhibitions, apartment shows, and random happenings that have sprouted as a result of a decaying art market today. Artists, as broke as they may be, are taking it in their own hands once again and making shit happen within this community to share and interact with each other. This is most notably happening way outside Chelsea, which Byrne seems to epitomize as a space for inspiration and creation. I’m certainly not trying to demonize what the “lecture” premised. I’m just saying galleries and museums, arenas and opera halls, theaters and stadiums are not in my community’s vocabulary when it comes to creative production and that’s perfectly ok, we are getting by just fine.