Fresh Paint
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Blogger Meetup With MoveOn
Yes, I did go this afternoon, but where were you all (you bloggers, I mean)?

Very pleasant meeting with Adam Green of MoveOn.org to talk about how to help bloggers communicate the message and get feedback on the message in return, etc. He said this little meet in Chicago was the very first they tried (only about 80 bloggers in the area contacted about it) -- he's out of Washington, so I feel somewhat honored to have been unemployed and at-loose-ends enough to head down there and represent.

Since I was (IMHO) the only "classic" blogger there, small (er, perhaps "elite" or "cherse" -- as my grandma would have said (now embedding another layer of parentheses)) readership, on not just politics but also knee warmers and art, am not sure I was coherent enough in the POV of the little guy. I'm surely not being coherent here.

I have no great ambitions to make money (like one of the people there) off this blog. I don't have a huge email list that gets a daily newsletter (like another one), or work in the business for a politico.

And I'm not real coherent when I talk to an actual human in person either. So, Adam, the word I was looking for at one point was "viral" -- it would be nice to find ways to infect the world at large with instant understanding of such issues as "net neutrality" (== good, "they" are trying to take it away and give it to Big Business -- is about all most people can comprehend or care to about this topic).

Another good thing -- had a chance to vent about the hideous uselessness of their "Action Forum" -- I have promised to forward a detailed critique of it, but don't know that there's enough time in the universe to write one. So anyone out there who has been as frustrated and feels as hateful as I do toward that single tool for feedback they have, please let me know and I'll send the comment along.

One idea he floated was simply to have a bloggers' blog or resource center that would be linkable, with useful action items like "campaign in a box" with talking points, scripts, flyers to download, etc., some or all of which could be useful. Maybe a page where members could post links to their blogs, too, and meet each other. Or a monthly conference call with some star bloggers or politicos.

I have no idea what he's going to take away from the meeting (except one person's resume, for sure). It was a very bad time of day for most people.

But what a nice guy, very sharp, and seemingly able to cut thru our ramblings and dig out some meat.

Holy Shit
From a NYT Editorial:
Florida recently reached a new low when it actually bullied the League of Women Voters into stopping its voter registration efforts in the state. The Legislature did this by adopting a law that seems intended to scare away anyone who wants to run a voter registration drive. Since registration drives are particularly important for bringing poor people, minority groups and less educated voters into the process, the law appears to be designed to keep such people from voting.

It imposes fines of $250 for every voter registration form that a group files more than 10 days after it is collected, and $5,000 for every form that is not submitted — even if it is because of events beyond anyone's control, like a hurricane. The Florida League of Women Voters, which is suing to block the new rules, has decided it cannot afford to keep registering new voters in the state as it has done for 67 years. If a volunteer lost just 16 forms in a flood, or handed in a stack of forms a day late, the group's entire annual budget could be put at risk.
The first thing I thought when I heard the Republican-controlled Senate voted to ban the Spanish language (sorry) was that it had to do with voting. If you can't read the voter form, you can't register to vote, or you can be misled into voting for whoever translates it for you. They will try anything, won't they.

Let's all give to the League right now to offset their legal fees. Talk about having to buy an election...

Monday, May 29, 2006
Me, that is.

Just recovered from a lengthy power outage, right after I'd gone shopping and bought all kinds of pre-botulist picnic eatings on sale -- you could practically see the microorganisms squirming to get at the food even before I put it in the fridge.

So, to be on the safe side, have consumed far too much potato salad and greasy chicken, etc., and the remains of a gallon of ice cream. Good thing the store was completely out of guacamole.

So feel a bit queasy now that the power has come back (tho it dipped again a minute ago) -- storms and wind and lightning scaring us all, too.

Hope you've been having a good weekend. Maybe I'll get back on track with the program soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Republicans: Gifts that Keep on Giving
Perhaps I should have said "bribes":

Yes, it's true: Denny is going down (thanks again, Atrios and others, our own personalized Associated Press):

House Speaker Hastert under investigation: ABC
ABC, citing high level Justice Department sources, said information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with those of other tribes.
What does this have to do with representing the interests of Illinois, I ask?

Time for a change:

John Laesch is a Democrat running in the Illinois 14th CD. Elect him and get rid of this bum, and all his cronies.

And now back to the TV.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Do things to Georgie we don't really want to talk about in public -- use your mouse when he gets stuck to slide him around:

Bubble Boy

Thanks, E! I could play for hours, but I'm too busy running wine and tobacco contraband between Port Royale and Belize.

Yes, we painted today. Is in the car, but will get a pic later. Tried to work on the car shapes again and the color of light. Gulp.

Monday, May 22, 2006
Not Grandma's Landscapes
Dan covered most of the good stuff at NOVA while the news was still fresh. I just wanted to add a few items I noticed.

I think my favorite piece in the whole show was by Kathleen Vance, part of her series of "traveling landscapes." It was so very appropriate for the grim little hotel rooms at the show (they really, really need serious redecorating).

But you can put up with anything if you can bring a landscape with you, and put it on your night stand next to the bed:

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I can't remember the gallery she's with, but you can google it, I'm sure.

Also appropriate for the walls of a city hotel was "Robotic Grass" (I think is the name) by Ryan Wolfe, possibly at the same gallery. If you have no view of a lovely field of waving greenery, just plant your grass seeds in containers on the wall and make them move yourself. (My pic is bad, since, of course, the grass was moving).

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Speaking of "country" (bad segue, but so what) -- Listening to the new Dixie Chicks album streaming for free on MSN today (thanks, Atrios, for the heads up). Is quite good. A mix of angry tunes, only vaguely political (despite the hype), and Chick-like ballads and somewhat generic rockers, very radio-friendly, tho somewhat over-arranged on some tracks, with soaring "strings" etc. They will make a bundle off this.

Thinking of soundscape (I know you weren't, but anyway), if you sat in the stairwell at NOVA you could listen to a wonderful piece by Mark Booth (who I last saw at Bodybuilder and Sportsman) that was digitally triggered by the feeble light coming thru the skylight. He read deadpan pieces, most quite absurd, keyed to the theme "today and tomorrow", reminiscent of Tony Oursler's talking video heads. Booth does wonderful drawings, largely text, that are strange and often hilarious, so it was a treat to experience this piece. I hope it's repeated somewhere.

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Finally, what would a country landscape be without a horse walking thru the gallery:

Here he is:

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There he goes:

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Am thinking about landscapes again because summer is nearly here and I like to paint outdoors in the summer. And so once again am trying to figure out what new I can bring to the genre, other than an ego that says, "Well, if I do it, it's new and good, so there."

Until I do, guess I'll just have to keep plugging along. Planning to go out with a group tomorrow, rain or shine.

And yes, will be bringing some new work down to Sacred Art (on Roscoe just west of Damen) soon, thank you for asking. The squares are still up at John Galt (on Clark, just north of Belmont), so check them out. No web sites for either of these places yet, unfortunately, tho they are promised for Real Soon Now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Berlin Wall to be Rebuilt and Extended
... between US and Mexico.

Operation "Let's Forget About the Iraq War, Oil Prices, Global Warming, NSA Abuses, Ongoing Torture and Rendition Scandals, Bribery, Incompetence, etc., etc., and Go After the Powerless" now underway:

Senate Votes to Extend Fence Along Border
The Senate measure calls for triple-layered fencing but does not specify a location.

No Republican voted against the fence measure, which attracted wide support from Democrats. The 15 Democrats who voted against it (as did the independent James Jeffords of Vermont) were Daniel Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye, both of Hawaii; Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico; Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both of Washington; Christopher Dodd and Joseph I. Lieberman, both of Connecticut; Richard J. Durbin and Barack Obama, both of Illinois [ed. thank you, my friends]; Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin; Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts; Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both of New Jersey; Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland.
Shame on you, Hillary.

Good afternoon, friends. Painted at the lake this am (more boats, I'm afraid) until a storm came up and swept us all away. Oh. Sorry. That's my new Tradewinds 2 game. I am now a pirate. George and I can be twins! Only he doesn't bother with the eye patch and parrot these days.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Bad News Gallery Update
The show I was to have had at Carlyn in Michigan has been indefinitely postponed (ie, cancelled). Sorry. Just now informed. Apparently the building has been sold from underneath the owner and she doesn't want to have to deal with taking on a new artist and figuring out where to move all at the same time. Am very very bummed.

On the bright side, there's always chocolate.

On the other bright side, all you who were clamoring for my work now have a glut to choose from.

On one more bright side of this dodecehedron, I'll get to go to the opening of both the Al Gore movie and the Evanston and Vicinity Biennial (lots of familiar names accepted this year).

Chocolate looking pretty good right now, tho. Too bummed to insert hyperlinks to these events. Or for finding other bright sides.

Monday, May 15, 2006
Freeking Stupid, Part xxxiii(vi.1a, b, c)
How can anyone think militarizing a peaceful border is a good thing?

This is an interesting take on the situation from the Mexican perspective:

Mexicans react to Bush's border plan | Chicago Tribune
Some were offended at a "militarization" they thought more appropriate for the border between openly hostile countries and feared that troops could become a permanent presence redefining the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

"It's worrying," said Arturo Solis, an immigrant rights activist in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. "The bad thing is that the American government is insisting on confusing immigration with a criminal problem."

The move reminded some historians of 1913, when President William Taft sent troops to the Texas border. Mexico was in the midst of a chaotic revolution, and Taft was warning Mexican generals and rebels not to harm U.S. interests south of the border.

At the time, there was no real threat to American soil, but the U.S. public was clamoring for action, said Lorenzo Meyer, a prominent historian at the Colegio de Mexico.

"It sounds very familiar," Meyer said. "Taft said, 'No, no, no, this is not an unfriendly move. We just want to make sure that nothing happens at the border.' But it sent a signal that a peaceful border was being regarded as dangerous."
I guess it means we're going to start building palaces down there, too, just like in Iraq. Shortly Bush will dress up in a sombrero and ride up on his horsey to pose for the cameras.

And what is Vincente Fox saying about all this? Bush's ole buddy Foxy?

God, this makes me sick.

Good evening folks. And now back to art. Something using this image, perhaps:

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Thursday, May 11, 2006
Can You Hear Me Now?

Bush defends spying after database report - U.S. Security - MSNBC.com
WASHINGTON - Following a report that the U.S. agency in charge of a domestic spying program is building a database of every phone call made within the country, President Bush told the nation from the White House that all anti-terrorism efforts are within the law.

Facing new concerns in Congress, President Bush referred to the report but did not confirm or deny it, and instead sought to assure Americans that their privacy is being “fiercely protected.”

“We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans,” Bush said. “Our efforts are focused on links to al-Qaida and their known affiliates."
Then WTF are they collecting it for?

I can think of several things off-hand:

1) Blackmailing people calling porn lines into contributing to the Republican Party

2) Harassing anyone who calls any number deemed objectionable by Bush (ie. Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood, yr mom, etc.)

This is so outrageous I can hardly speak. Anyone have the definitive list of the Evil Doers? The only company they talk about refusing to provide records to the govt is Quest. What about Sprint? What about T-Mobile?

So if you call your rep to complain abou this, the fact is likely to be noted in the deep memory of the govt.

Good afternoon, friends. I haven't been online much since NOVA (and still have some prime pix to upload for you) because I've actually been working on some art for a change, preparing for a solo print show up in Michigan.

So I checked the news for first time in a few days and discover THIS CRAP.

And on top of it all, Chris was thrown out on American Idol. (Isn't this about the time Constantine was thrown out last year?)

(Sorry to trivialize for a moment).

If a single Republican is elected this fall, we as a nation are doomed. There are links on the side. Please use them.

Thursday, May 04, 2006
Art Exhaustion, Part 6:The Knitters
Dan at Iconoduel has documented the guys at Western Exhibitions, but there was plenty of knitting and other fiber arts at NOVA.

Two had a military theme:

Grenade cosies:

This is rather like the Western Exhibition performance, only with participation. I sat down and did a few rows with them (the kids from Columbia College):

More info:
Mei and I have started our "NetWorking" project and we are looking for all the red yarn we can get our hands on. If you have any kind of red yarn you are willing to donate to this project, you can drop it off at the A+D Gallery before May 12, where we have a donation box. Please find the gallery info listed below.

Also if you are a Knitter, or would like to learn, to help us knit, you can do so at Manifest. We will be knitting at the TICTOC Kick-Off (33 E. Congress, Suite 530) from 9.30am to 11am on May 12th - and from 12-3pm somewhere around the south loop - just look for the red yarn.... We would be happy to knit with you.

Thank you in advance - we hope to see you! Please forward this to your friends!
Anni & Mei

A+D Gallery
619 S. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Gallery Hours:
11am-5pm (Tuesday-Saturday)

I'm sorry I don't have the gallery or artist names for the other two. (I may find them later, and if so will update the blog).

It's not knitting, but it's a cool piece of art nonetheless -- a re-hooked rug from a gescheidle artist (Whitney Lee, I think):

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
A Revelation
If you don't put stuff into your notebooks, you can't get stuff out again to use in artwork.

Good morning, friends. I'll continue my art journey through NOVA later on. It's supposed to be nearly 80 degrees today, the world still has the pink and white Barbie colors of glorious Spring, so I'm done talking to you for the moment. Thunderstorms are due this pm, so we'll see.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006
A Little More Politics
You can thank Stephen Colbert for his brilliant roast of the White House Press Corpse and the still-sinking-in-the-polls, unpopular president Bush here.

You Tube has good quality videos of the roast (links on the page).

UPDATE: You Tube was forced to remove the videos. Google has them here, including the full hour and a half program -- lots of catty stuff, the exceedingly strange 2 Bushes video, and the full Colbert thing. Must see TV, for sure.

That's all. Yeah, yeah. I know it's late.

Monday, May 01, 2006
Political Interruption: Your Tired, Your Poor...
...Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free marched today.

Immigrant rights demonstration (Trib)
4:39 p.m.: Cardinal Francis George, speaking at the rally's interfaith prayer service, says the issue is one of respect for human rights.

"Respect is the reason we are together this afternoon," George says. "Families should not be divided. Husbands should not be separated from their wives, or mothers from their children."

"People who have been part of this country's social and economic fabric for years should not now be treated as if they do not count, as if their contribution can simply be dismissed and they, sent away," the cardinal adds.

George calls on the U.S. to "clean up the inhuman situation that marks our borders and shames us all," and on Congress "to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation."

Other scheduled speakers include U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago).
Barack Obama (D-Ill) also spoke, I understand. Note all the "D's".

Trib, Sun-Times estimate we had 400,000 people. Being republican papers, means we probably had more.

I fear I am an anarchist, a socialist, a Doctors Without Borders type. I loathe nationalism. If I could wave a wand and get rid of country borders, I would. We are humans, of all kinds, all languages. "The only things different are the dinners," a child reportedly said once. We are citizens of the universe. And of its parallel universe(s).

Didn't get out to the rally, since I was too busy reporting on useless art and suffering the post-fair letdown, but unlike so many others, breathing freely.

Will suck it up and keep on going. Vote Democrat.

NOTE: Indiana Primary is tomorrow. If you're in Indiana, you must have a photo id to vote. Yes, this means you.
The new state law requires voters to present either state or federal government issued photo ID at Tuesday's Primary. Voters without photo ID may request a provisionary ballot Tuesday with the agreement to present a photo ID at their Board of Elections within two weeks of the election.
Make good choices. It's really really important.

Art Exhaustion, Part 5: Finally, Meat
Margaux Williamson at Katharine Mulherin (Toronto). Period. End of blogging. You can go home now.

Not really, but her combination of specificity and attitude blew me away. Check the link for images far better than my camera produced. Lady Justice, in particular:

Paul Becker at Rosy Wilde Gallery (London). I couldn't find a good link (site under construction), so must show you my bad snaps instead:

Also tiny works by Annabel Dover (for some reason I don't have pix of).

At Miller Block Gallery (Boston) I fell in love with work by Jennifer Reeves (gouache on paper) and Michael Oatman (collaged paintings?)

An Oatman:

A Reeves (caption says "I'll do it", and it's supposed to be a rectangle and not have my camera's reflection in it either, but there you go):

Over on the ex-Stray Show aisle, my eye was drawn immediately to paintings by Nathan Redwood at ,40000 Gallery (Chicago -- is there really supposed to be a comma in the name?), since I'd raved about his work at last year's BFA show. He's moved to LA, apparently, and is painting up a storm.

Liked the other Chicago galleries, too, such as TrackHouse (with the world's most irritating web site I will not attempt to link to, unfortunately). Dan has already shown the Western Exhibition guys knitting. You may remember them knitting from 2 years ago (another group was knitting at NOVA this year, but that's for later).

And Tai-Shan Schierenberg's painting "Fritz" (no snap, unfortunately), a large 68 by 58 painting with wonderful juicy wide brushes, strokes carefully laid down, was at Flowers (London). Check the site for plenty of images.

Finally, though I liked Karen Kitchel's series of paintings called "Parking Lot Weeds" at Morgan Lehman (New York and Connecticut), I gasped at the price of each approx. 12 inch square (3400 bucks). I'm living in the wrong place, I guess.

Art Exhaustion, Part 4: How Spooky Is This?

This painting of the Merchandise Mart by Enrique Santana was the Art Chicago in the Park (aka "DOA") catalog image for Ann Nathan.

Have a feeling I'll be posting my thoughts in pieces throughout the day (and week, perhaps) as I keep finding stuff in the purse. And I missed another complete fair that was going on at the same time, Version 06, down in Bridgeport. Dan at Iconoduel (whom I met for the first time) was planning to catch it, but I decided to head to Ann Sather for the first nosh of the day instead and stare at the ceiling.

Ceiling at Ann Sather

Art Exhaustion, Part 3: Fair-thee-well

Time to take the sign off the bus.

After lugging around twenty pounds of handouts, magazines, postcards, catalogs, cameras, notebooks, water bottle, and a lunch in my old give-away canvas Saks bag that's at least as old as the late Art Chicago fair, I realize I have no idea how to start talking about the weekend.

Oddly enough, I liked more at this year's Art Chicago than I have in other years, and the shared chaos seemed to breed a less stick-up-the-bum attitude than seemed the case in the fair's heyday. I disliked the "Korean Pavilion" concept a great deal. I wondered why the old "Stray Show" newcomer galleries were still isolated and apparently not yet considered "real" galleries. This is something I'm sure we could debate endlessly. I sincerely hope the fair doesn't get folded into the Antique Fair, since the crowds seemed distinctly different (tho one of the antique dealers had some great Burchfields and a few other modernists -- Art Chicago used to have a number of dealers who showed non-contemporary art. Wonder what happened to them?)

It's one in the morning and all this stuff is still in my head and I can't sleep but am not making much sense either.

Spent today at the NOVA fair, which I liked. Not as odd and funky as last year -- and some of last year's NOVA-ites promoted themselves to Art Chicago. Ashley Gallery (from Philadelphia) told me that's exactly what they did, since they applied and were accepted this year, but hadn't been in other years.

So am sensing a delicious little topic for discussion at art parties. Are you supposed to side with one group rather than another? Is it all art politics or cost or "didn't get in" or what?

Something to talk about when we're not talking about Paul Klein's dream of a Chicago Artist's Museum, that is....

But more on all this later.

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