Category:etc.

tillmans_brexit_posters.jpg

Wolfgang Tillmans is worried about the impending vote for the UK to remain in the EU. So he and his studio assistants created a set of posters to encourage people to stay in, and especially to vote, and to register to vote. UK voting registration must be completed by June 7.

After they were released yesterday, I tried to find a printer in the US who could easily handle an A1 (33x24 in, roughly) size. So far, nothing. I need to print them out before the vote, though; if it goes awry, I don't think I'll have the heart to make a memorial set.

tillmans_count_me_in_poster.jpg

I also tried to find anyplace that can confirm that Wolfgang's parents are Polish and Spanish. He grew up in Germany, and I always understood he was German-in-London.

There are a couple of atmospheric landscapes, and some of the posters are now-classic Tillmans abstraction, but most of them are straight-up text, a new direction for Tillmans' practice. Text are images, though, so it's really not that far afield. The most intriguing poster for me is #24. It's completely blank.

It's probably the one that most closely mirrors my feelings about the EU's right-wing turn lately; I just haven't known what to say. And it boggles my mind that the Britain and Europe of my generation are creating such an existential crisis for themselves.

Read Wolfgang Tillmans' letter and download and circulate the posters [tillmans.co.uk]

UPDATE: So I emailed Wolfgang's studio to find out the story behind the blank poster, and the next day they replaced the pdf file. The new poster bundle includes two new posters, and the monochrome is gone. So now we know. And that original 4.21 pdf is vintage/collectible.

berthold_political_handkerchief_princeton.jpg

To circumvent the tax on paper designed to drive revolutionary activists like himself out of the British print media, Henry Berthold published his calls for reform and worker solidarity on cotton. Berthold's Political Handkerchief was itself a political statement, apart from its content. It seems to have run for around ten issues beginning in September 1831.

I guess if there were a modern equivalent, it would be short stories on Chipotle bags. Or T-shirts, probably.

Anyway, there's a bit about the Political Handkerchief from 2013 on a Princeton blog.

Notabilia | Berthold's Political Handkerchief • 1831 [blogs.princeton.edu via @john_overholt]
Previously, related, and the reason I am posting this, because of trends: Queen Victoria Silk Newspaper

November 30, 2015

Starr/Bach's

Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach are decluttering and downsizing, from Monaco/Surrey/Snowmass/Beverly Hills to LA and a London apartment. Nearly 1400 lots of furniture, art, clothing, memorabilia, and borderline boot sale junk will be auctioned this week in LA. Here are some of the things:

ringo_john_yoko_table.jpg

First up, Lot 79, Originally John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Refectory Table [est. $5-7,000, sold for $19,200]

"'This refectory table was left at Tittenhurst by John and Yoko when I took over the house. Enjoy!' - Ringo." That would be in 1971. Tittenhurst Park was outside London. Starr sold it to the Emir of Abu Dhabi in 1988, but took the table with him. Hey, here it is in the living room of Rydinghurst, Starr & Bach's Jacobean estate in Surrey, which they put up for sale last year. Look at how they lay down a Google-like blur on the artwork in estate agent photos.

ringo_surrey_lr_blur_knight-frank.jpg

And speaking of tables, what is up with that coffee table? It's big and moon-shaped and filled with gazing balls. Or giant Christmas ornaments? I cannot tell, and the designer Ringo Starr doesn't weigh in this time.

Lot 351, Moon Coffee Table Designed by Ringo Starr [est. $1,000-2,000 sold for just $1,920]

ringo_gazing_balls.jpg

And speaking of gazing balls, holy smokes. Lot 608, Two Monumental Gazing Spheres [est. $3,000-5,000] They're from Rydinghurst, and each one is 36 inches across. Let's see Jeff Koons try to handle those. [WHAT, sold for just $1,920? Why didn't you ever get back to me with the condition report??]

ringo_la_galaxy_bed.jpg

And finally, speaking of satelloon-looking things, Lot 411, Galaxy Theme Platform Bed [est. $800-1,200] "'When we bought the house in 1992 in LA, we had this bed made so we could sleep under the stars and moons, and surrounded by the stars and moons.' - Ringo." Will the presumably LA-based Master Of The Ringo Starr's Bed Starscape with the initials SWG please come forward and take a bow? [Yes, well, sleeping in Ringo and Barbara's bed? Priceless, but apparently they'll take $875.]

ringo_starr_white_album_no1.jpg
Lot 1005, **RINGO STARR'S UK 1st MONO PRESSING WHITE ALBUM NO.0000001 [est. $40-60,000]

Oh wait, no, one more: It turns out Ringo got the first numbered copy of the White Album, and he put it in a vault. Now it is selling for at least $55,000. What a world. #monochrome [WHAT A WORLD INDEED: $790,000.]

Property from the Collection of Ringo Starr & Barbara Bach, 12/03/2015 [julienslive via jjdaddy-o]

November 4, 2015

More Vine, More Fig Trees

I have not touched on my Hamilton amazement here yet. I figured I'd save it for the review, which would follow soon after getting tickets. [insert gif of endless horizon retreating from me.]

But I have to write about one place in the score that tears me up, when Chris Jackson sings George Washington's final address over Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, who reads it aloud:


[WASHINGTON]
...Like the scripture says:
"Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid."
They'll be safe in the nation we've made

I want to sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we've made
One last time

...

I anticipate with pleasing expectation
that retreat in which I promise myself
to realize the sweet enjoyment of partaking,
in the midst of my fellow-citizens,
the benign influence of good laws
Under a free government,

the ever-favorite object of my heart,
and the happy reward, as I trust,
Of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

Emphasis added for the lines that just do me in every time, even as I type about them now, as I think about the millions of people who don't feel safe in this nation we've made, or who find suffering, injustice, or even death, under the far-from-benign influence of our laws and government.

george_washington_farewell_manuscript_p32.jpg
image: from the final page of the final manuscript of George Washington's Farewell Address, via gwpapers.virginia.edu

This was literally the kicker of Washington's parting address, his wrap-up, his mic drop. And to look around at this mess we've made, the Founding Fathers'd be like smdh.

One Last Time, from Hamilton [youtube, lyrics via genius]
Buy Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)(Explicit)(2CD or MP3) [amazon]
[note: fwiw, when I bought the album, I ended up swapping out the explicit tracks with the broadcast-safe versions I ripped from NPR. You know, for kids.]

eclipse_photo_1851_jena.jpg

The first successful photographic image of the sun's corona was taken 164 years ago today. A daguerrotypist named J. Berkowski was brought to the Royal Observatory in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia) by the director, Augustus Busch, to record a solar eclipse on 28 July 1851. According to this 2005 paper in Acta Historica Astronomiae, Berkowski soon made some daguerrotype reproductions. Busch commissioned Robert Trossin of the Royal Academy of Painting to make a steel engraving of the daguerrotype. In 1891, CFW Peters had Berkowski's original daguerrotype photographed for publication. It has since been lost.

Four of Berkowski's copies were known, including one in the Jena Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany [above]. The order of copying events in the Jena description does not quite line up with the 2005 paper, even though the author, Dr. Reinhard Schielecke, is the same.

The moon in the 2nd-generation daguerrotype is tiny: 8.7mm across. The original was under 8mm. The Jena print is thus only around 5x6cm, as wide as the screen on an iPhone 4s, but shorter. It was recently conserved, and the Google translation makes me wonder if images of the daguerrotype have been Photoshopped a bit.

I don't expect to beat diehard collectors of Prussian daguerrotypes to the rediscovery of another of Berkowski's prints. It would probably be easier to start from scratch and make a new daguerrotype of a solar eclipse somewhere.

ABSTRACT: "On the Berkowski daguerreotype (Königsberg, 1851 July 28): the first correctly-exposed photograph of the solar corona" [adsabs.harvard.edu via @coryspowell]
Daguerreotypie der Sonnenfinsternis vom 28. Juli 1851 [museum-digital.de]
Konservierung der Berkowski-Daguerreotypie abgeschlossen [daguerrotype-gallery.de]

July 24, 2015

Libre Soy, Libre Soy

dilley_flag_bobowen_saexprnews.jpg

Based on this photo at the opening of the world's largest family detention center in Dilley, Texas last January, I'd say San Antonio Express News photographer Bob Owen is very familiar with Dorothea Lange's photos from the Japanese American detention camp at Manzanar, CA. It's almost like the only thing that's changed in this country since WWII is now the government outsources its illegal, immoral detention of non-white children to a giant, for-profit prison company.

manzanar_flag_barracks.jpg

And what do kids do in Dilley, besides get dangerously incorrect vaccinations and medical treatment?:

While children wait for their mothers to talk to lawyers and legal aids, they are usually watching kids' movies dubbed in Spanish, namely Rio or Frozen. The children of Dilley, like children everywhere, have taken to singing Frozen's iconic song "Let It Go."

The Spanish-language refrain to the song "Libre soy! Libre soy!" translates to "I am free! I am free!" It's an irony that makes the adults of Dilley uneasy. Mehta recalls one mother responding to her singing child under her breath: "Pero no lo somos" (But we aren't).

Do you know the chorus of "Let it Go" in Spanish? I did not, but it is one helluva song for kids to be singing in a corporate prison in 2015:

Libre soy, libre soy
No puedo ocultarlo más
Libre soy, libre soy
Libertad sin vuelta atrás
Y firme así me quedo aquí
Libre soy, libre soy
El frío es parte también de mí

I am free, I am free
I can't hide it anymore
I am free, I am free
Freedom without turning back
And I'm staying here, firm like this
I am free, I am free
The cold is also a part of me


'Drink more water': Horror stories from the medical ward of a Texas immigration detention center [fusion.net]
which is basically a re-reporting of this: Immigrant families in detention: A look inside one holding center [latimes]
Ansel Adams, Born Free And Equal, 1944 [loc.gov]
Related: Translating "Frozen" into Arabic [newyorker]
"Let it Go" in 25 languages [youtube]

July 2, 2015

Nocturne

Whistler-Nocturne_in_black_and_gold_DIA.jpg

I basically never do this, but now I had to.

I dreamt it was a new Cady Noland piece. It involved a boat ride and possibly a flume or course of some kind. There was some line of people trying to figure out how to get into these pedalboats with six seats, seatbacks cut and folded into place, like kirigami, from a single sheet.

Someone who knew the deal motioned to me to come over onto a two-person kayak/kneeboard which was easier to maneuver because you paddled. she looked like a younger Mary Boone, though it was definitely not her, in a straight sleeveless dress and flats she didn't want to get wet, so I went to get a couple more towels. She already had one under her knees and folded up onto her lap.

The towels were yellow and black Versace Home, but not so gigantic. I walked back up from the shore to where the towel attendants were, wondering if they'd even have more towels [because Versace], and they had stacks and stacks of them, it was an insane volume of towels.

A blackboard sign was perched on top of the leftmost towel tower, too creatively handwritten like a coffeeshop greeting:

BE DIVAS AND RIP OFF OUR TOWELS AND WE WILL COME AT YOU FOR $500 EACH

Maybe it was the vivid memory of this sign that prompted me to write this down.

I got a couple more towels and took them back down to the beach/shore, and not-Mary was already gone. The befuddled line of people trying to get on the pedalboats was not making much progress.

The setting was very clear, light, sand-colored shore, and darkened water and sky, but it didn't feel like night. I tried to recall a painting that might correspond to the setting, and the closest I can get right now is Whistler's Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket from the Detroit Institute of Art [above]. Maybe the title somehow informed the towels, is that how it works? I don't know. I might need to feed this into Google DeepDreams when I get home.

It shouldn't need to be pointed out, but I will anyway, that Ms. Noland was not involved in the conceiving of this piece and did not approve it.

gregdotorg_taylorswift_scr_2.jpg
"I came because of Prince." Untitled (Screenshot), 2015, png

cf. @gregorg. ibid.

soyuz_confederate_flag1_2005.jpg

What's that? #20 - Soyuz TMA-5 Flown Flag? Oh nothing, just a flag, like you'd see anywhere.

Next month RR Auction is selling a Confederate Flag that flew on the International Space Station. It is signed by Salizhan Sharipov, the Russian cosmonaut who brought at least five of the flags to the ISS in 2004-5, and by NASA's own Leroy Chiao, who was the commander of the pair's 6-month expedition.

The flags caused an uproar when they first started appearing on the flown souvenir market in 2006, and both Chiao and Sharipov acted like they had no idea how those flags might've--Confederate flags, you say? Well how'd that--who coulda--

Which seems like total crisis PR-driven bullshit, and a lot of needless racist hassle for a couple hundred bucks. But anyway, here one is.

#20 - Soyuz TMA-5 Flown Flag, est. [rrauction]
[spaceref]

paul_revere_time_capsule_mfa_6.jpg
image: via usnews

I may have tweeted smack about it when I thought it was just old newspapers and coins, but that's only because initial headlines of Samuel Adams' and Paul Revere's time capsule in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House criminally underplayed the presence of this amazing, engraved silver plaque.

THIS is EXACTLY the kind of thing people should put in time capsules: slightly-precious-but-not-too items handmade to commemorate the occasion. These artifacts capture the moment, but more importantly, they retain an historical significance, and who knows, in time they may accrue an aesthetic aura as well.

paul_revere_time_capsule_mfa_2.jpg
image via reuters

The Boston time capsule plaque also benefits from the connection to the still-relevant Revere brand; whether he actually made it or not, it feels plausible, authentic. There is also the handmade aspect: I have an engraved ring, and a stationery die, but a whole engraved plaque? That's something.

[It's not the intern who wrote this USNews piece's fault for describing every item in the time capsule in terms of its market value, and the impact a Revere attribution & provenance might have on it. Every report has that. It's just another sign of who we've become as a culture. Like Antique Roadshow.]

A more interesting cultural change is the invisibility/illegibility of whatever the plaque actually says, and what it might mean. The Masonic context goes unremarked or glossed over in the mainstream coverage of the plaque. He that still hath ears, two hundred years on, let him hear, I guess.

walter_de-maria_melville_chr.jpg

Invisibility was one of the qualities of engraved text that appealed to Walter De Maria early in his career; he made a series of polished steel or aluminum works with engravings on them: Garbo Column (1968) had a list of the reclusive actress's 27 films; Melville (1968, above, which I have swooned over before) features the opening of the author's first hit novel, The Confidence Man.
demaria_color_men_choose_menil.jpg

The Barnett Newman-scale monochrome painting De Maria asked Michael Heizer to make for him for Dwan Gallery's 1968 Earthworks show has its title engraved on a polished steel plaque in the center: The Color Men Choose When They Attack the Earth. Can you read it in this picture?

demaria_dorian_gray_prada_2011_fabyab.jpg
Walter De Maria, Silver Portrait of Dorian Gray, 1965, at the Prada Fndn's exhibit in Venice in 2011, image: @fabyab

De Maria created at least one work in silver. It was for his patron at the time, Robert Scull, who fronted the dough for the fabrication of a series of polished metal sculptures. Silver Portrait of Dorian Gray (1965) is just that: a mirrored silver plaque behind a velvet curtain that darkens and oxidizes over time. The artist's instructions on the back offer the owner the chance to wipe away the stains of aging, though: "When the owner judges that enough time has passed, this plaque may be removed to free and clean the silver plate." The promise of immortality, the opposite of a time capsule, at least for the mirror. Your call, Miuccia!

demaria_dorian_gray_verso_scull_aaa.jpg
image:

UPDATE A brief dive into the history of time capsules tells us we need to pay more attention to the Masons, and to the Egyptians. The birth of the modern/20th century time capsule is linked to the discoveries of relic-filled Egyptian tombs and pyramids. And in a list of the International Time Capsule Society's 1991 list of the Top Ten Most Wanted Time Capsules is this:

5. George Washington's Cornerstone
Today's custom of burying time capsules is in part an outgrowth of Masonic cornerstone-laying ceremonies. Through the centuries, Masons have officiated at rituals which often include placing memorabilia inside building cornerstones for later recovery.In 1793, George Washington, a Mason, performed the Masonic ritual upon the laying of the original cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. Over the years, the Capitol has undergone extensive expansion, remodeling and reconstruction, but the original George Washington cornerstone has never been found. It is unknown whether there is anything inside of it.
Here is a Mason's explanation of the cornerstone laying ceremony, one of the only public Masonic rituals. ["When the brethren are sharply dressed, and well-rehearsed, it's an awesome thing to behold." mhmm.] And Wikipedia's article on cornerstones has a brief account of a 19th century cornerstone laying ceremony in Cork, which involved "a trowel specially made for the occasion by John Hawkesworth, a silversmith and a jeweller." So maybe these engraved plaques are also a thing?

Coins, Newspapers Found in Time Capsule Buried by Paul Revere [usnews]
Previously, very much related: While We're On The Subject Of Polished Metal Objects: Walter De Maria

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Since 2001 here at greg.org, 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 greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
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find me on twitter: @gregorg

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