Mar 292024
 

Richard Serra passed away on Tuesday, 3/26/24. In the video above, as part of PBS News Hour, Serra takes an interviewer on a tour of his 2007 MoMA exhibition, Richard Serra: 40 Years.

The program also provides some background on his history and discusses a bit of his creative process. One technique was to use a list of verb actions. He would choose one from the list and apply that to different materials. He explains in the video how he used “to lift” for a rubber sculpture in the exhibition.

Richard Serra, “Verb List”, 1967 (image via MoMA)

If you are in Los Angeles, one of his most famous sculptures, Band (2006), is currently on view at LACMA. In NYC you can see Equal (2015), which consists of eight forged steel boxes stacked in pairs, at the Museum of Modern Art.

Jul 272023
 

Sinéad O’Connor- Feel So Different

Sad to hear of the passing of the brave, beautiful, and talented musician Sinéad O’Connor yesterday at 56 years old. A true artist with a phenomenal voice, she always stood firm in her convictions. The song above is from her second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got released in 1990.

To learn more about O’Connor, her memoir Rememberings was released in 2021 and there is also the 2022 documentary,  Nothing Compares.

Rest in Peace.

Jul 072023
 

Richard Linklater’s 1990 film Slacker, is a wonderful trip back in time to the pre-Internet days and a celebration of American eccentricity. If you haven’t seen it, the film follows various different Austin locals in brief scenes and conversations, all within a 24 hour period in 1989.

The film opens on a monologue from Linklater himself describing his dream to a taxi driver and then moves on to a man who hits his mother with a car. The scenes flow from one character or group to a new one almost seamlessly. Conspiracy theorists, coffee shop philosophers, a man who collects televisions and disaster footage, a group of housemates reading a story on postcards from a former housemate left behind, and on and on as the day turns to night and then back to day again.

Linklater wrote these interactions and many of them are based on stories or projects from the people seen in the film. In his director’s commentary he gives the background for many of the involved participants. He also explains how he directed them not to treat any of the people speaking as if they are strange or odd. It’s another aspect of the film that makes it special, and a reminder of the way we should try to treat people.

Sadly Teresa Taylor (pictured in the above two photos center), aka Teresa Nervosa, one time drummer for the Butthole Surfers, died last month. Her image was used for the movie poster and promotional materials. Her scene in Slacker is one of the most memorable as well. She tells a story of a highway suicide and then attempts to sell what she claims is singer Madonna’s pap smear.

 

 

May 262023
 

Tina Turner- A Fool in Love

Music icon Tina Turner sadly passed away on Wednesday. Luckily for the world she left behind a lot of incredible music. Her live performances were always energetic and full of life as well, as seen in the clip above and many others.

Rest in Peace.

Feb 272023
 

Storefront Church- “Us Against Us”

This song is from Storefront Church’s 2021 album, As We Pass. Storefront Church is LA musician Lukas Frank’s current project.

Recently Storefront Church covered band Low’s Words with Phoebe Bridgers as a tribute to Mimi Parker, Low’s drummer and vocalist, who passed away last year in November.

Storefront Church is playing at Zebulon in Los Angeles on Saturday 3/4/23.

Feb 132023
 

De La Soul- Eye Know

De La Soul’s David Jolicoeur, aka Trugoy the Dove, passed away yesterday at the age of 54.

This song is from the band’s groundbreaking debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising. The album, as well as the rest of the group’s catalogue, will finally be available to stream on March 3rd, after years of legal disputes over sample clearances.

Rest in Peace.

Jul 222022
 

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1999, part of The ARIA Fine Art collection in Las Vegas

Artist Claes Oldenburg passed away this week at the age of 93. He was most famous for his large scale sculptures of everyday objects, many of which were produced with his wife Coosje van Bruggen, who passed away in 2009.

While primarily working in sculpture, early in his career in the 1960s he also created “happenings”- theatrical art related performances and collaborations with other artists in his circle. In 1985 he returned to performance and along with van Bruggen, architect Frank Gehry, and writer Germano Celant presented Il Corso del Coltello (The Course of the Knife) in Venice, Italy. In 2021, Pace Gallery in NYC, as part of the two gallery exhibition Claus & Coosje, showed work from this performance, pictured below.

From Pace’s website about the performance-

This ambitious event involved the creation and embarkation of a sea-worthy sculpture in the shape of a giant Swiss army knife. With oars protruding from its red-enameled hull as if from a Viking longship, the image of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s Knife Ship sailing the Grand Canal has become iconic, while the massive kinetic sculpture was later shown in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and finally at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

 

With so much of Oldenburg’s work, the examination of the ordinary object engages the viewer with what they might previously taken for granted and gives them a chance to look again with new eyes. There is also something lighthearted and fun, as well as investigative, about his body of work.

(image via Whitney Museum’s website)

The Whitney Museum has a video showing the process of assembling his soft sculpture Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich) 1963, which involves putting the sandwich together piece by piece.

For more on Oldenburg, MoMA has a tribute that includes the words of people who knew him as well as his own. His 1961 artist statement is wonderful and worth reading in its entirety, here is the opening section-

I AM FOR

I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero.
I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap and still comes out on top.
I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary.
I am for all art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.

I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting signs or hallways.

The Guardian’s obituary is also worth a read for more information on the artist’s history.

Jun 282022
 

Crystal and Counter Light, 1994 at The Ringling

The Mississippi “Shake Rag”, 2020 at Pace

The Mississippi “Shake Rag”, 2020 (detail)

Abstract artist Sam Gilliam passed away last weekend at the age of 88. The innovative artist had an extensive body of work that encapsulated numerous styles and techniques. I was lucky enough to see his work at Pace gallery in NYC in 2020 and at The Ringling in Sarasota, Florida, in 2021.

The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. is currently showing his final solo exhibition, Sam Gilliam: Full Circle, until 9/21/22.

ARTNews has a good profile on Gilliam, as does The Washington Post, and under this Smithsonian tribute are numerous examples of his work from their collection.

Jul 182021
 

Biz Markie- Nobody Beats The Biz

Legendary hip hop artist, Marcel Theo Hall, aka Biz Markie, passed away on July 16th, from complications from Type 2 diabetes.

He is best known for his most successful single, Just A Friend (which reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990), but it was his use of comedy and humor in his music that made him such an influential figure in hip hop.

RIP.