Monday, December 14, 2015

I am a Lie and I'm Gold at Yossi Milo Gallery

   I'm really glad that My needlepoint piece which I wrote about in my last posting here is included in this group show which opened on Friday December 11. The title of the show "I Am a Lie and I'm Gold" is a line from Amanda Lear's song " I Am a Photograph" and the video for that pretty entertaining and rather smart for a pop song.....which explains why it was never a hit in the U.S. ......

I am a Lie and I am Gold Curated by Marco Breuer
December 11, 2015 - January 23, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, December 11, 5:00-8:00pm 
Yossi Milo Gallery
245 Tenth Avenue

I am a Lie and I am Gold is an exhibition about photography without the inclusion of a single photograph. Curated by artist Marco Breuer, the exhibition features works on paper, paintings, sculptures, textiles, and installations by 27 artists whose diverse practices engage with the idea that photography is a principle, not a product.


I am a photograph

   This piece began as a photograph of the song of the same name by Amanda Lear. I set my camera on a tripod and focused it on the spot between 2 speakers where the sound was optimal and opened the shutter as the song began to play and left it open for the duration of the song, in this case four minutes and twenty five seconds.

   As a synesthete I have a tendency to  see music, so I wondered what would happen if I were to use a camera to record music. It seems most people pull out their cameras, point and snap not to record the way something looks, what they want is to record the way they feel. I do that too…when I hear music, it makes me see, feel and smell things. It’s always a very powerful experience. I translate these sensory experiences into the labor intensive medium of needlepoint as a way of showing my conviction. So much happens to me while listening and I can meditate on that while translating the photo into needlepoint.

   I first became aware of Amanda Lear as the cover model on my Favorite band’s 2nd album, “For Your Pleasure” by Roxy Music. I had made a lot of artwork based on the music on that album so when I was asked to participate in an exhibition called “Not A Lear” in Belgium in 2001 I was thrilled and I had a lot of work that fit. The show closed in Belgium then traveled to NYC and was scheduled to open at Gracie Mansion gallery on September 11. My piece got broken in transit so the curators picked out something else for the new york iteration and asked me to bring it by the day of the opening.

   I got a call from the gallery around 2 pm the afternoon of September 11, 2001 asking if I was going to bring the piece by soon…..I was a little dumfounded but the show must go on they said and Amanda was in town for the opening so i got on my bike and rode it over to the gallery, They asked me to stay for the opening and I said I’d stop by later….I couldn’t get there till 7:30, by which time Amanda had already left. I didn’t get to meet here but of course I’ll always associate her with that date, so when the 10th anniversary of 9-11 came around I spent the day photographing her song “I am a photograph” Ive got 13 images in that series and this is the first one Ive turned into a needlepoint. 

   Much as I’m driven to make something visual based on a sound, I like to make different versions of the image in different mediums, One of the reasons needlepoint appeals to me is that it looks handmade and pixillated at the same time. The repetition and tediousness invite contemplation and allow me to process the information that led to it’s making.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hunky Dory......

   In my  first NYC solo show at ESSO gallery "Re-recordings and renderings' 1997 I showed a wall of photos I made of the music of David's a needlepoint version I made of Hunky Dory

Hunky Dory 1998 Cotton on Canvas 5.25 x 5.25 inches

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Never Mind The Bollocks, here's the Sex Pistols........

In 2001 I photographed each of the songs on The Sex pistol's album "Never Mind The Bollocks" and I printed them in the size that related to the length of time of each song. The first song "Holidays In The Sun" clocks in at 3:22 so I printed the photo at 3 3/8 inches and so on......

Later that year I translated the photos to needlepoint and showed the two versions together framed in separate 30 x 24 inch frames

My dealer at the time, Derek Eller, told me that Jack Handy of SNL's "Deep Thoughts" fame enjoyed multiple visits with these works.........

6 Versions of Elige

   In 1998 I was comissioned by Mary Kay cosmetics to create an artwork based on their new scent called Elige. I photographed the scent by pointing my camera at the spot just above the opened bottle and recording the scent visually....... this is what it looked like..

Elige 1999 Silver gelatin print 5 x 4 inches

  I had been making Needlepoint versions of these photos of scent and music for a couple of years...

Elige Needlepoint 2001 Cotton 6 x 4.5 inches

   In 2001 I was asked to be in a show called "Tipping point" curated by Lauren Ross at White Columns and I decided to make some other versions of this photo in different media.....

Elige  2001 watercolor  7 x 5 inches

Elige 2001 Graphite on Vellum 5 x 4 inches

Elige 2001 Abraded Sandpaper 8 3/4 x 6 1/2 inches

Elige 2001 Sculpey over wire armature, enamel paint 18 x 12  x 9 inches

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hunky Dory at Nurtureart Benefit

 This beautiful Watercolor from 2000 can be yours for just $300 by attending the Nurtureart Benefit. You get a great artwork and support a great cause!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Absolute Beginners

   After years of feeling that my dad and I had nothing in common I came across a box of cassette tapes he made for me of the music that he called his own when he was a teen, The swing music which shocked his parents and allowed him to forge his own identity…

 He was playing this music up until my last visit with him shortly before he died in 1997.

    I've been making flowering branch pieces as a way of meditating on music for number of years. I make each flower for the duration of a song, so each is a record of my listening and each branch contains 6 -12 flowers, usually based on an album. In the last couple of months I started making them out of porcelain .
   I’d like to make a roomful of these branches based on cassette tapes that  my dad gave me, of the music of his youth. I envision 24 flowering branches in different colors installed on all four walls of a room. 

   I love the way that what was once shocking and new becomes comfortable and quaint over time…Impressionism, jazz, swing, rock’n’roll, punk rock...

   Much has been written about the importance of each generation’s pop music informing an identity apart from what came before. 

 ….Why is punk rock still fashionable almost 40 years after its birth whereas 40 years after the birth of swing, coincidentally 1977, it was horribly dated, Is punk rock actually out of fashion? Do I just want to think it is because it's the music of my youth....
   I’ve been trying to find some commonality with my dad in order to let go of the resentments I’ve been harboring towards him.  I realize now that one of the few places we were able to connect was over music and more specifically  the pop music of our youth. I went to visit him shortly before he passed away in 1997 and we did the usual arguing… him unhappy with my career choice being an artist and letting me know how much he didn't approve of everything about me.The one thing we were able to bond over was music. He was playing a lot of the music of his adolescence ….swing music which I never paid much attention to and he was really enjoying it and I started to realize that for him this was a big part of his identity. For a lot of us adolesence is the first time we are able to be our own person and get out from under our parent’s shadow so to him this music meant a lot ….the fact that his parents didn't like it was  perfect. Just like the music of my adolescence, Punk Rock, this was intended to piss off his parents.

   Through my dad I realize the music of his generation played a large role in shaping his identity.  I had the same thing happen to me with punk rock. I loved it because it was my own thing. My older brother and sister didn't get into it and that was great because I finally found an area of pop culture that was my own.

   After my last visit with my dad we talked in the phone and I said I liked the music he was playing he said “ I can make you some cassettes” so he put together a  box of cassettes with handwritten notes and put and sent them to me…. I was carrying around so much resentment towards my dad that I never really wanted to play the tapes, then my dad passed away and the box sat there unexplored for 15 years.

    I never really played them till it dawned on me this might be the basis of a really good piece that I could make and that it might be a good way for me to make peace with my dad's memory,  to forgive him for his ridiculing my sexuality and career choice.

     I recently made some work based on the pulsar graphs on the cover of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” a formative album from my youth, and in the course in my research I learned that the actual graphs that the record cover designer, Peter Saville used were printed by CalComp plotters.  CalComp was the company that my dad was working for when I was a kid in the 60s and we had all kinds of computer graphics framed and hanging on the walls of the house I grew up in.
In the course of making these recent pieces and it caused me to realize some of the good things that I learned from my dad he's incredible computer graphics around the house as a kid and so is a way of continuing this kind of cathartic process I thought the piece about my dad's music would be a good next step.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making Records

From the very beginning a lot of my work has been about recording ethereal experiences. one experience I've returned to again and again is the experience of listening to music,  for my first shows I drew spirals while listening to music.

then I dripped plaster making stalactites (side 1)  and stalagmites (side 2) for the duration of an album. 

Red Hankie - Colaboration with AA Bronson

In the spring of 2003 my friend AA Bronson suggested we collaborate on a piece. AA was envisioning a red hankie and I suggested painting one while thinking of the different ways AA had affected my life. The resulting piece was in AA's solo show that year at John Connolly and now lives with some collectors out in Long island....

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Four Albums by Sparks

#1 in Heaven


Terminal jive

Kimono My House

In 2005 these were in a show at MoMA/PS1

Curious Crystal of Unusual Purity

Curated by Bob Nickas and Steve Lafreniere.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left

Pencil on Vellum 1997 14 x 11 inches

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols

Needlepoint 1999 24 x 20 inches

David Bowie - Aladdin Sane 1999

The roof is side one, the floor is side two and I dripped plaster while each song played.......This was from my first solo show at DEREK ELLER in 1999....

David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust 1997

 This is from my first solo show at ESSO gallery 1997. I played a CD of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust in a dark room and pointed my camera at the spot between the 2 speakers where the sound was optimum. As the Cd began I opened the shutter and left it open for the duration of the album....
Silver Gelatin print Mounted on Aluminum in Artist's Frame 10 x 10 x 1  ed 1/3