September 2005 Archives

September 30, 2005

George Bush Defends Kate Moss

Rang dang diggity dang-de-dang...

Just when you think this remix of George W. Bush covering "White Lines" couldn't get any better, comes this line about two minutes in:

Some a**hole took a picture
of Kate Moss doing lines,
And now she's being victimized
for imaginary crimes
White Lines, sung by a guy who knows [thepartyparty via waxy]

Absolutely brilliant.

"Meet Jack Torrance. He's a writer looking for inspiration.
Meet Danny. He's a kid, looking for a dad."

Shining: the remixed trailer [via waxy, who's mirroring it.]

September 29, 2005

Cinema Paramilitaristo


Despite the ravages of war and the censorship imposed by local religious authorities, a lovable young scamp in a rubble-strewn town finds solace, even hope, in the movies.

If only there was a kindly old projectionist to take the place of the boy's father, who'd been disappeared at Abu Ghraib...

Defying Terror, Filmgoers Attend a Festival in Baghdad [nyt]

While half of me says, "Congratulations, Karen Hughes," the other half wonders what the story is in the two movie theaters still operating in Baghdad.


Noah Baumbach's latest film, The Squid And The Whale, gets the full court press this week in the Voice, not surprising since it's full of auteur-y Voice-y hooks (like Baumbach's mother Georgina Brown was a longtime film critic for the paper). Anyway, the film, as you know, is basically about Baumbach's parents' divorce in the mid-80's:

"I did make sure I kept an emotional connectionóthat's why Jeff [Daniels] is wearing my dad's clothes and I used my mom's real books," Baumbach says. "It's all blurred; I don't know anymore what's real and what's not. You can fictionalize something and make it more emotionally real than the actual true thing would be."
Arrested Development: Noah Baumbach revisits the fallout of a boho Brooklyn divorce [vv, jessica winter]
Appreciating 'Squid' Director's Film-Critic Mom [vv, rob nelson]
Killer Whale: Noah Baumbach's Ink-Stained Memoir [vv, j. hoberman]

Related: "Clash Of The Titans" diorama at the AMNH: "No one has ever seen a giant squid alive in its natural habitat..." []
Until this week, of course [nat geo]

September 28, 2005

Guggenheim? Good Luck With That

Tyler goes all Observer on Thomas Krens' butt, while giving new Guggenheim director Lisa Dennison a chance to share her vision for the credibility-starved museum: "I would like the person on the street at Pastis to be able to name our top five curators."

Personally, after seeing Dennison threaten to deaccession the work of an artist who criticised the the way she installed it, ["Well, if he doesn't want to be in the museum's collection, then..."] I'm sure we'll be brunching over the Guggenheim for years to come.

Krens Relinquishes The Ramps!
Ms. Dennison To Feed Starved Gugg

Dateline, Paris [of course]:

In Hollywood, meanwhile, the jockeying for credit on March of the Penguins was taking place. Last month, Jordan Roberts, a film director turned writer, claimed credit in a Los Angeles Times article for essentially "re-envisioning" the film by writing the narration and substituting a new soundtrack.

Mr. Jacquet scoffs at that view. "There are millions of people around the planet who like the French version, my version," he said with a laugh. And like the penguin stars of the movie, Mr. Jacquet has never met Mr. Roberts.

Of course, the ones that saw Roberts' reworking of your treacly Look Who's Talking! version have been stuffing $71 million down your gullet, Mr. Jacquet.

Compared With Their Filmmakers, the Penguins Have It Easy [nyt]

AB: Were you always going to adapt it [Thumbsucker]?

MM: No, not at the beginning because I hadn't done it before but quite quickly on I thought, "Wait a second I can't imagine directing something I didn't write. Let me at least try." I made a deal with Bob: "Let me try the first thirty pages." And in that first time of adapting it, it really became clear how much cathartic mileage I was getting out of this and how I related to Justin and how much having him as a character was allowing me to say things that I wanted to say, that I needed to say. It's like you know when you make a part of yourself that's kinda weak into one of the characters, it emboldens you. You can be strong with it or you can fall down with it and still survive. The facts are very different and most of the details are very different but the emotional underpinnings are very similar between him and his mother and me and my mother. Then the estrangement he had with his dad is totally different, my dad is completely different but the estrangement is very familiar to me. So it became very personal, very quick.

Artworker of the week #51: Mike Mills []

September 28, 2005

Paul Ford, Rock Star

Paul smashes his guitar of truth into the speaker tower of fiction, finally revealing to the world that he is Gary Benchley, Rock Star with a book deal--and a reading next Thursday in [where else?] Williamsburg:

As the serial progressed I stopped laughing at the people who wrote in to Gary to share a few details from their lives and began to feel a kinship with them. Like them, I had come to believe in Gary Benchley, in his struggle to get a band together and make a life for himself in New York City. I began to see the people who wrote to him as co-conspirators in the prank rather than its victims.
I Am Gary Benchley []

September 28, 2005

Hallowed-er Than Thou

Map of discovered remains from the WTC site, prepared by the FDNY and the NYTimesPartly because an International Freedom Center founded by George Bush's old friend and business partner wasn't a reassuringly hagiographic enough puppet, but mostly because it was personally expedient for them to do so, George Pataki and a dogpile of other sanctimonious politicians suddenly decided to defend the "hallowed ground" of the WTC site's "memorial quadrant" by banning the IFC altogether.

"Memorial quadrant"?? If only the limits of this farce were as clearly delineated. How is that quadrant any more "hallowed" than the other eight-plus acres of the site? It seems like only yesterday that the "footprints" were the sacred squares that had to be defended at all costs.

How and by whom was this quadrant defined? By the MTA, who cordoned it off in an effort to keep its sacred revenue stream as more than just a memory. And to whom are the MTA and its proxy, the LMDC, beholden? To the governor who just undid their three year's work on the IFC and the master plan "in a stroke."

Are we done, then? Is this enough hallow now? The last three years' of machinations around the WTC site have reduced hallowedness to a negotiable, political commodity, apparently measured in square feet. Everyone involved in this process, from Pataki to Burlingame to Clinton to the slew of unions, has dishonored and demeaned the memories of the people attacked--and the people killed--on September 11th.

Pataki Bars Museum From World Trade Center Memorial Site [nyt]

[update: now that THAT's out of the way, the Port Authority has announced it will develop the first 500,000 square feet of retail on the completely unhallowed sections of the WTC site. This section, called the "Mall Quadrant," is across the to-be-extended (and equally unhallowed) Greenwich St. from the "Memorial Quadrant."]

Officials Reveal Retail Plan for World Trade Center Site [nyt]

Although the pictures are nice, too.

Turn-ons: urbanism, Meier's third condo tower, Gluckman Mayner's One Kenmare, long walks on sensitively adapted elevated railroad track parks, Gordon Matta-Clark exhibitions.

Turn-offs: Freedom Center squabbles, deceptively meaningless master plans, Gwathmey's Sculpture for Living.

September 27, 2005

The Gleaners And LA

One of my favorite documentaries--and one that suckered me into making films myself--is Agnes Varda's 2000 masterpiece, The Gleaners And I. [it's $27 at amazon.]

It turns out that there's an obscure gleaning law on the books in Los Angeles, and harvesting fruit that hangs over public property--like streets and sidewalks--is perfectly legal. There's a website called Fallen Fruit that puts together neighborhood maps for anyone who wants to get to picking. [via boingboing]

He can orchestrate his star to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier--at magic hour--while never letting San Diego in the shot, even though it was just off the port bow.

He can dispatch a barebones crew with a DV cam at a moment's notice when Barney the dog makes a break for it across the snow-covered White House lawn.

He can light up Jackson Square--and the road to it--bright as morning while the rest of New Orleans sits in darkness.

But for some reason, he can't make sunny San Antonio look enough like a hurricane zone to get George Bush a walk-on on The Weather Channel, much less the lead story on the network news:

When Mr. McClellan announced that the president had scrapped his trip, he said that with the search-and-rescue team preparing to move with the storm, "we didn't want to slow that down."

Another White House official involved in preparing Mr. Bush's way noted that with the sun shining so brightly in San Antonio, the images of Mr. Bush from here might not have made it clear to viewers that he was dealing with an approaching storm.

Bush's Crisis Itinerary at Mercy of Weather, Even Nice Weather [nyt]

I recall being seized by a pressing need not to let anyone at The Los Angeles Times learn what had happened by reading it in The New York Times. I called our closest friend at The Los Angeles Times. I have no memory of what Lynn and I did then. I remember her saying that she would stay the night, but I said no, I would be fine alone.

And I was.

Until the morning. When, only half awake, I tried to think why I was alone in the bed.

After Life, by Joan Didion, excerpted from her upcoming memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking [nytmag]

September 24, 2005

Water, Gate

"So when Bob Henry, captain of the Rachel Marie, who is in charge of towing Smithson's island, looked out across the East River Thursday afternoon and saw another piece of conceptual art gaining on him, he did not view the development kindly."

A Miniature Gate in Hot Pursuit of a Miniature Central Park

I guess there's some...irony? justice? synchronicity? between Robert Smithson's non-site works--pieces of far-off locations displaced into a gallery--and twiddling your thumbs at a boring* Smithson symposium in a college auditorium while the last 36 hours of the artist's Floating Island tick by in gorgeous, sunny, autumnal splendor.

Net net: forget the next three sessions of the symposium (maybe they'll be podcast), and get your butt to the river to watch the barges go by.

[*although one potential bombshell was dropped, it went seemingly unnoticed. In answer to the moderator's question about ever rebuilding the Spiral Jetty by allowing new rocks to be piled onto it, the artist's widow and executor Nancy Holt didn't reject the idea.

There's precedent, she said, because Smithson sometimes instructed Holt or other friends go get rocks for his pieces. He didn't privilege the hand of the artist, she said. True, perhaps, but only partly relevant; more to the point is Smithson's own intentions for the effects of entropy on the Jetty, not whether he had to be present to dump the rocks. The other factor is how to deal with increasing touristification of the site, which now gets tour buses and up to 100 visitors/day.]

greg.moma reporting: The Modern has reinstalled the contemporary galleries on the second floor, and it's an invigorating pleasure and a huge improvement. Seeing it again yesterday with my mother, I found myself paying less attention to the show's conceptual and art historical underpinnings [Kelley's and Ray's juxtaposition with the Viennese Actionist photos of a doused bride, for example] and more to its sensory pleasures [or, in the case of Nauman's cacophanous drum/rat maze piece, its assaults].

You don't need to write for October to appreciate the nods to respective senses: the visual saturation of Yinka Shonibare's batik costumes in front of Dana Schutz's giant painting; the aural power of Janet Cardiff's 40-Part Motet*; the threatening touch of a dense carpet of pins (which echoes nicely the greyscaled image on Felix Gonzalez-Torres' billboard); or the leaching of sensory inputs as you move through a gallery of black/white works (including Yayoi Kusama's photocollage of dot paintings, a Richter-scale masterpiece, if you ask me) into James Turrell's inky darkness [where you're immersed in red light, of course.]

While it's nice to see MoMA has important works like Marina Abramovic's early video and Charles Ray's prop pieces, it's even better to see them exhibited in coherent, engaging way that signals the museum isn't tone deaf when it comes to contemporary art.

* Cardiff's choral piece was last shown in NYC at PS1 in October 2001. It was an overwhelming, mournful piece then when the city was still in shock; yesterday, I found myself choking up repeatedly and involuntarily as I walked around it. Cardiff didn't set out to create a memorial to September 11th, but for some of us, her work seems destined to remain inextricably linked to the immediate aftermath of September 11th. [here's what I wrote about that first installation.]

New York Is Smithson Country this week, what with the Floating Island and the Whitney retrospective and the Smithson Symposium all day Saturday. What symposium, you say? Actually, that's what I said. I had no idea.

Anyway, over four sessions, artists, curators and historians will discuss the Spiral Jetty, Smithson's writings, films, travels, and influence [HUGE, in case you can't make it]. Me, I'm going to hear Nancy Holt and folks talk about the construction and evolution of the Jetty; and Chrissie Iles and Joan Jonas talk about road trips and film.

Schedule and reservation info is in the sidebar at []
Smithson on [or on Smithson, actually]
Bonus Smithson: Tyler Green reports from the launch of Floating Island for the LAT

Catherine Deneuve cares less about makenice the longer she's around (and I do wish her a long, happy, healthy, sexy, regal life, understand). Here's an excerpt from Close Up And Personal about the production of Lars von Trier's Dancer In The Dark:

Read-through with Bj–rk, who arrives wrapped up warm, in striped tights and clogs, a bit wild and shy, but fairly relaxed. Lars seems more or less happy. Nothing on the costumes, and me sick with flu. No reason to stay, so I leave, a little anxious, unsure of the solidity of all this. Have I already signed?

Return to Copenhagen to rehearse the musical scene in the factory. Things are pretty disordered. It'll take me a while to realise this is Lars's way of doing things. The project is unwieldy; preparations are running late, and he has this enormous need to discover and retain "freshness" for the shoot.

Clash of The Titans [guardian]
Buy Close Up And Personal by Catherine Deneuve at Amazon UK

I've been invited to speak Tuesday evening (tonight) at A.I.R. on the subject of women's art and the marketplace. A.I.R. is the oldest artist-run gallery for female artists in the city, and it was established for the purpose of fostering an audience and environment for showing and making art without the overriding commercial motivations that usually accompany gallery-based work.

It's an interesting venue to discuss these subjects, which I wrote about last spring in the NYT, especially in light of the current, superheated art world/market where quality is often equated with marketability and desirability. Jerry Saltz just wrote (again) about the need for an antidote, when most people don't even acknowledge that there's a disease right now, at least in public. I may end up just reading Jerry's piece and opening it for questions [kidding].

If you're around 511 W 25th st, suite 301 this evening at 6:30-8:00, stop by, listen, and throw in your two bits.

Night A.I.R. Series, organized by A.I.R. Fellow Sarah Blackwelder

This is apparently going down tonight, 9/18. I hope someone called craft services. Remember, you heard it here third:

The Los Angeles Lunar Society advocates the secession of Venice from the city of Los Angeles, and does not preclude the use of revolution to achieve this end. However, many Lunar Society members are involved in work of one kind or another for the Hollywood dream factory and we were therefore forced during August's full moon meeting to recognize that a Venice revolution might interrupt some production schedules.
-An Army Of None []

September 18, 2005

So Long, Farewell

UCLA Medical Center is the epicenter of the Los Angeles basin or something. Robert Wise died there this week at 91.

In between editing Citizen Kane and flacking for Scorsese's Gangs of New York [Scorsese was a big fan, so I'm sure it's fine], Wise also directed The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

Not a super-auteur-y guy, but in a good way. The Hindenburg,he directed The Hindenburg....

NYT Obit / imdb / previous fawning


[images: reuters/larry downing via yahoo;]

Scott Sforza: I'm gonna put these giant spotlights here in New Orleans, just like I did with the Statue of Liberty on 9/11/02, and if you think the next three years won't be a half-trillion dollar sinkhole of devastatingly corrupt cronyism, too, it's your own fault.

[update via TPM: In other lighting news, Brian Williams reports the lights came on for the first time last night in the Warehouse District --from about 30 minutes before the Bush motorcade passed by until about an hour after it left.]

[update, Wonkette has Elizabeth Bumiller's tour of the set for the pool report:

"Bobby DeServi and Scott Sforza were on hand as we drove up about 8 p.m. or so EDT handling last-minute details of the stagecraft," Bumiller wrote. DeServi is the White House's chief lighting designer; Sforza is in charge of visuals.

"Bush will be lit with warm tungsten lighting, but the statue [of Andrew Jackson] and cathedral will be illuminated with much brighter, brighter lights . . . like the candlepower that DeServi and Sforza used on Sept. 11, 2002, to light up the Statue of Liberty for Bush's speech in New York Harbor," she wrote.

"Here's a quote from DeServi on the lit-up cathedral: 'Oh, it's heated up. It's going to print loud.' "]

I shouldn't be surprised that I'm getting this question a lot these days. Here's what Ang Lee told the NYT's Karen Durbin:

"When I first read the story, it gripped me. It's a great American love story, told in a way that felt as if it had never been done before. I had tears in my eyes at the end. You remember? You see the shirts put away in the closet side by side."

Who could forget? When Annie Proulx's short story about two cowboys in love appeared in The New Yorker nearly eight years ago, it was so startling and powerful that for many people, the experience of reading it remains a vivid, almost physical memory.
The movie just won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and had its North American debut at the Toronto Festival last week. The theatrical release is expected in December, which gives you enough time to track down a copy of Brokeback Mountain yourself.

brokeback_mountain.jpg heathnjake_bbm.jpg
Here's where it is:
  • in the October 13, 1997 edition of The New Yorker [back issues? good luck with that. Try The Complete New Yorker 8 DVD-ROM set and companion book, which comes out Sept. 20th (?!)]
  • in Close Range, Proulx's first collection of short stories, published in 1999.
  • in an expanded novella version [the pre-movie edition was pulled and is only available sporadically or used. The movie tie-in reissue is due Nov. 15 in both tasteful hardback (left)and oohheathnjakersohot paperback (right)].

    Here's where it isn't: online. on The New Yorker's website.

    A slightly bowdlerized version of the text was posted last summer on a message board at, but has since been taken down. If you try Googling a distinctive phrase [like, say, "They shook hands in the choky little trailer office,"] you might find it, though. [unbelievable-but-true update via towleroad: Amazon published the complete story as an excerpt for an out-of-print audio version of Close Range.]

    And just like that, his dream of amassing a mountain of quarters from Amazon commissions burns off like morning dew on the alfalfa field.

    Ang Lee: Master of Social Mores [nyt via iht]
    Official filmsite:

  • September 16, 2005

    Tote That Barge

    smithson_barge_nyt.jpgRandy Kennedy has an article on the making of Robert Smithson's Floating Island, a tree-filled barge which will chug around lower Manhattan for a week or so:

    Smithson's project is just as intimately connected to Central Park, which he regarded, in all its artificial pastorality, as a conceptual artwork of its own. (He revered Frederick Law Olmsted and said that he found him more interesting than Duchamp.) While not nearly as monumental as Smithson's most famous work, "Spiral Jetty," a 1,500-foot-long curlicue of basalt jutting into the Great Salt Lake in Utah, the island - which resembles a rectangular chunk of Central Park, neatly cookie-cuttered out - is a further twist on Smithson's career-long fascination with displacement. This generally meant taking art outdoors and bringing pieces of the land back indoors, into galleries. In the case of "Floating Island," the displacement is all outdoors, an exploration of land and water, urban and rural, real and recreated, center and periphery. As a paean to Central Park, it can be seen as a kind of artificial model of an artificial model of nature.
    It's Not Easy Making Art That Floats [nyt]

    Even cooler, though, at, Times makes a raft of its Smithson coverage, dating back to 1982, available (for who knows how long). [ coverage of Smithson, alas, only goes back a couple of years.]

    Garrison Keillor is going after Rex for his "A Prairie Ho Companion" t-shirts. As if Keillor wasn't unfunny and annoying enough already.

    A Prairie Homeboy Companion [mnspeak, via fimoculous: "oh yeah, I got cease and desisted."]

    September 14, 2005

    Let Free Some Rain!

    September 11, 2005

    Technically, It Has Been Worse

    My daughter became very sad this morning as she tried to coax her day-old balloon up off the floor.

    It was heartbreaking to watch, and we tried to console her, but then I realized that on some September 11th to come, I'll have to try to explain far worse things to her about this date.

    September 11, 2005

    As Ronald Reagan Once Said,

    Are you better of than you were four years ago?

    Indeed, what's most shocking is not any particular mistake that was made but how often federal officials were left to brainstorm or hash out on-the-fly just what the federal government's responsibilities were, how to coordinate federal, state and local relief efforts, or even simply who was in charge.

    Reading those passages of the article, there's one conclusion I think any fair-minded person would have to come to. And that is that in the four years to the day since 9/11, the administration appears to have done little if any effective planning for how to mobilize a national response to a catastrophic event on American soil.

    And given all the history that has passed before us over these last four years, that verdict is devastating.

    Josh Marshall on the NYT's report of the government responses to Katrina.

    I'm not the only one with a thing for the editing. Donald Sutherland tells the Guardian about what made that sex scene in Don't Look Now so, well, sexy. Hint: it wasn't Julie Christie. OK, it wasn't JUST Julia Christie:

    "About Don't Look Now, we shot that love scene in a room in the Bauer Grunwald early one morning with Nick Roeg and Tony Richmond operating two un-blimped Arriflex cameras and a bunch of wires going to the technicians on the other side of the closed door. An un-blimped Arri makes a noise like a huge sewing machine. Two of them operating together are deafening. Julie and I lay side by side on the bed, Nick yelled instructions. 'ZZZZZZZ Donald, kiss Julie's breast, ZZZZZZZZZZZ Julie, tilt your head back ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Julie, come ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. That's how it was for about three hours. What made the scene wonderful to people was the editing.
    He goes on to tell why, and he's right. But now I wonder when the sound editor gets his due.

    Total Recall [, all the way down]

    I find that I remake a movie at least three times: when I write it, when I shoot it, and again when I edit it. The one I didn't realize--and that still seems wildly underappreciated to me--is editing.

    Well, here's hoping that has a long, successful run at Two Boots Theater and beyond. From A.O. Scott's review, this documentary about the history, theory, practice, art, and science of film editing sounds awesome.

    Inside the Editing Room, Where Movies Are Built
    [nyt] [the name is the url!]
    related: start with anything about Murch or Schoonmaker

    Turning from the descent of our country into unaccountable, repressive totalitarianism for a moment...

    A reader emailed a question that I thought would be interesting to open up to other readers, too. He's preparing to make a documentary on a band:

    So now as I approach this project, which I intend to direct and shoot primarily myself, I am having trouble organizing my thoughts into the right style treatment for something of this nature. I am aiming for a "one sheet" that gets the point across and will be easy for the band/record company to read and comprehend. Do you have an example of something like this or know where I could go to find one? I would just love to get some ideas on how to format this thing.
    Examples, not advice, necessarily, although I'm sure good advice/experiences would not be unhelpful. Send them in or point to them, and I'll post the results here.

    I've heard from TV show-pitching friends that people now want to see pilots and trailers more than treatments, little DV sketches of what a show'd actually look like. It reminds me of the pitch for Team America World Police, which consisted of a Thunderbirds episode overdubbed by Matt Parker and Trey Stone; it got the point across and conveyed the essence of what the film would be [or, in this case, should've been].

    Still, it'll be easier to get a record exec to skim a one-page treatment than to pop in a dvd, so so far, my advice is netting zero.

    As with any big feature production, studio publicists are compelled by a primal instinct for the preservation of their own power to attempt to control any and all information coming from the set

    At first the evidence was scattered and anecdotal. But now it's pretty clear that a key aim of the Bush administration's takeover of the NOLA situation is to cut off press access to report the story.
    - Talking Points Memo

    On the other hand, they do put out carefully crafted selections of promotional stills to keep the protests down. Looks like Gregory Crewdson has a fan at FEMA. [, via robotwisdom]

    They came up with t-shirt slogans that would've sold like hotcakes at the time.

    While some, like "Itís not whoring if you do it for free." and "At least my publicist loves me." are timeless, most remind me of a dentist's stack of Us Weekly's.

    And "My agent won't return my calls" holds its own against "Ask me about my hair transplant!" in the "shirts no one'd ever buy for themselves, ever" category. Then again, they would make deliciously evil, anonymous gifts... Once again, ladies and gentlemen, Nick's genius shines through.

    Vote to see your favorite Gawker stories in t-shirt form

    GWB: 'Only you Republicans get to see
    these here 6-day-old maps.'

    Wes Anderson did it with Bottle Rocket, and it's since become a classic indie scenario: you shoot the short in order to get funding for the feature. Turns out White House producer Scott Sforza's latest short was Friday's George W. Bush Does Too Like Black People, See?. German television crews reported that Potemkin food & aid distribution centers Bush visited were dismantled and abandoned soon after the mediapack following Bush moved on. And LA Senator Landrieu reported that Friday's hive of emergency repair activity at the 17th St. levee was gone the next day.

    But it tested well, and with the studio in desperate need of a hit, Sforza got the greenlight to make the feature--it's more accurate to call it a mini-series, since it goes on all week, beginning yesterday. The cast includes all the usual suspects [sic], plus the biggest, blackest Republican they could find, Condoleeza Rice, who replaces little known HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who originated the role in the short [above]. Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett are writing the script.

    White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage
    As White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis
    See the production blog []

    Bush went to Louisiana again today to shoot some more footage of grateful evacuees. Governor Kathleen Blanco traveled with him, although she had only first heard about the trip from reporters. Seems no one from Washington bothered to coordinate the trip with her, or even let her know it was happening until this morning.

    I'm sure it's not politicizing anything. And I'm sure it's not an infantile, petty, personal snub by the administration meant to punish an outspoken critic who they're trying to deflect blame for their own failures onto.

    No, it's just that no one could have anticipated the need to maintain an open channel of communication between federal and state leaders in this kind of situation. To the White House's credit, they apparently did try Blanco's secretary's office voicemail last night. Seriously.

    "Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House reached out to Blanco's office Sunday, but didn't hear back..." [via CNN]

    "Not an hour goes by that we do not spend a lot of time thinking about the people who are actively suffering."
    - Michael Chertoff, DHS Secretary, in the aptly names White House Rose Garden. [As NYT: White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis]

    "We're making progress."
    -GWB, a million times on The Daily Show [, anyone have the video?]

    "I think about Iraq every day. Every. Single. Day."
    - GWB, a US-EU press conference. [transcript,]

    "I want them to know that there's a flow of progress. We're making progress."
    -GWB yesterday at NO airport []

    Google News started indexing The New Yorker, and using this link, you can see the links of up to 100 articles from the magazine. Right now, that covers stuff back to July 31.

    +the source:new_yorker
    , also available via rss and atom [Google News, via robotwisdom]

    September 1, 2005

    MoMA-Hatin' On My Mind, Nerves

    Well, things could certainly be worse, but I'm pretty fed up with the achingly nostalgic, self-appointed populist heroic, knee-jerk MoMA-hating that passes for an enlightened, progressive cultural standpoint in certain quarters of New York these days.

    James Wagner takes it personally and politically when PS1 won't let him shoot images of the Greater NY show. The MoMA Man holding him down. Sure, it puts a cramp in your photodiarykeeping to not be allowed to take pictures, but please.

    PS1 generally, historically--and GNY particularly, famously--is a seat-of-their-pants, chaotic circus. Photo release language in the lending documents--assuming there even ARE lending documents--is exactly the kind of thing I'd expect to slip through the cracks there. Little harm, little foul.

    And as for those works being lost forever because you couldn't snap'em? I thought the conventional wisdom about GNY was that everyone in it was already discovered, represented, and getting famous already. I thought up half a dozen artist names in the show and found images of their GNY work and more on their galleries' websites. It's more time-consuming than uploading from a digital, but that's about it.

    The one that really bugged, though, was critic/polymath Terry Teachout's sob story of his visit to MoMA last Friday, how it's a crowded mall now, not as good as Cleveland or as conducive to artviewing as the Met. Well, I happened to be at MoMA last Friday, too--I had a meeting there earlier in the day--and not only didn't it suck, experience-wise, it was actually nice, and there were some revelatory art moments the likes of which Terry apparently couldn't be bothered with, because he was bitching about the escalators too much.

    1) The "mall" escalators are not a core element of the Taniguchi design, but they can be a core element of a visitor's experience there if you choose them to be. First, they're 1% the mall that Cesar Pelli's escalators were. Remember those? Second, the stairs are not only less crowded, they're highlights of the spatial experience. If you want a contemplative visit, leave the escalators to the tourists and take the stairs.

    1a) In fact, the staircase Terry complains Diebenkorn has been shunted to is one of the most sublime elements of the whole Taniguchi building.


    2) Terry's right about the Monets; they're finally in a gallery where they belong. But he has not a word for what replaced them: giant Cy Twomblys that have never looked better than they do right now, alongside the Museum's latest purchase, Rauschenberg's giant Rebus. As an awestruck friend pointed out to me, Twombly and Rauschenberg were hooking up at the time Rebus was painted, so putting the two artists side by side again--and making you think about where that scribbling on Bob's canvas came from, or as I rephrased it, "You're wondering where Cy's hands were?"--is at once hilarious and important. That painting, as my friend said, is "the best $30 million spent on art this year."

    to PS1: but they're called the visual arts, aren't they? []
    One Big Blockbuster [about last night]

    September 1, 2005

    But Ferragamo's From Florence

    And you can't even see the smoke from Rome, much less the fires...

    Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (weíve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPoís Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Riceís timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, ìHow dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!î Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.
    God Bless New Yorkers, the true Americans, and Gawker, too, although it's run by a Brit.

    Breaking: Condi Rice Spends Salary on Shoes [gawker]

    Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

    comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
    greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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    about this archive

    Posts from September 2005, in reverse chronological order

    Older: August 2005

    Newer October 2005

    recent projects, &c.

    Social Medium:
    artists writing, 2000-2015
    Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
    ed. by Jennifer Liese
    buy, $28

    Madoff Provenance Project in
    'Tell Me What I Mean' at
    To__Bridges__, The Bronx
    11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
    show | beginnings

    Chop Shop
    at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
    curated by Magda Sawon
    1-7 March 2016

    eBay Test Listings
    Armory – ABMB 2015
    about | proposte monocrome, rose

    It Narratives, incl.
    Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
    Franklin Street Works, Stamford
    Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
    about | link

    TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

    Standard Operating Procedure
    about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

    CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
    Canal Zone Richard Prince
    YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
    Decision, plus the Court's
    Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
    about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

    "Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
    Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
    about, brochure | installation shots

    HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
    Printed Matter, NYC
    Summer 2012
    panel &c.

    Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
    background | making of
    "Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

    Canal Zone Richard
    Prince YES RASTA:
    Selected Court Documents
    from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
    about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99