December 2005 Archives

Back in the day (Feb. 2002, that is), I requested clearance to use "Google" as a verb and to show search results screenshots in my first short. The head of Google's marketing sent me an email saying it was a-ok, and wishing me good luck.

Now it turns out Google's founders Larry and Sergey bankrolled half the sub-$1mm budget for Stanford friend and Dreamworks CG animator Reid Gershbein's first live-action feature film, Broken Arrows. The fils is described as "the story of a man who loses his pregnant wife in a terrorist attack and then takes a job as a hit man." [Clearly, I was searching Google for the wrong thing. From now on, please formulate your requests appropriately.]

According to Gershbein's production blog, they just screened a rough cut for team members last week, and they're starting audio, effects, and music editing next month.

Google team sets sights on big screen [sfgate via defamer]
Broken Arrows production blog []

As the year winds to an end, I think I can officially say it: the art world is whack. It's all about the Benjamins, and I don't mean Walter.

I was going to post a diatribe, but instead, I'll just point out what I've already said in print: the small comparison I made between the ravenous fixation on Richard Prince's appropriations and the parodic, poll-driven works of Komar & Melamid; my calling into question the credibility of a system [i.e., price] that persists in systematically discounting the influence, importance, and value of half the culture; a pair of artists' self-serving embrace of that same system to overinflate the importance of their work; and the apparently unstoppable influence of the market on the conceptual underpinnings of an artist's work after he's gone.

Jerry Saltz hits on a lot of it in his great, biting end-of-year essay in the Voice this week. [I'm glad someone else will call BS on that hilariously embarassing Wizard of Oz photospread in Vogue last month. The idea that someone with a straight [sic] face asked the famously closeted Jasper Johns to be the Cowardly Lion? If I didn't know how deadly serious the Vogue people took it, I'd say it was the awesomest slam ever of the whole artist-as-vapid-celebrity schtick since Francesco Vezzoli.]

Here's hoping that in 2006, somehow the bubble will pop, the winds will change, and not too many of my friends' livelihoods will suffer too much as a result; because I'm looking forward to seeing the art that comes out of it.


I was out of town for the holidays [anything big happen while I was gone?] Anyway, for one dollar, less than the price of a subway token, I scored this sweet Transit Workers Union commemmorative t-shirt at the D.I. [aka Deseret Industries, the Mormon-run version of Goodwill] in St. George, Utah.

Not sure if anyone's ever even heard of the TWU, but I thought it'd be a real kick in the pants to wear this around town.

As I type this, the Maysles Brothers classic Grey Gardens is playing at MoMA. Unfortunately, I'm in the wrong time zone to see it, but watching those Crazy Edies suddenly seems like an excellent Christmas Eve tradition.

Meanwhile, I will be back in time for what would have been an awesome triple feature, if only they weren't overlapping: sandwiched between the Maysles's incredible documentary, Salesman [a business school in-class screening of which, for better or worse, set me on my filmmaking path] and Albert's docu about the making of the Getty Center [worth watching just to see Richard Meier get so pissed at Robert Irwin] is Gus Van Sant's Elephant, which was programmed, surprisingly, by Stephen Sondheim.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and to the rest of you, enjoy your Chinese food.

MoMA Film & Media screening schedule 16-31 Dec 2005 []

December 21, 2005

Free MoMA

I have 20 16 14 10 8 4 free passes to MoMA that expire on 12/31/05. If you'd like a couple, please drop me a line, and I'll mail them out to you today.

[update: I ended up with 4 passes left, but now I'm out of town and won't be back before they expire. Sorry. The Target Corporation invites you to Free Friday Nights at MoMA, though... Merry Christmas, &c.]

I've been a fan of Hiroshi Sugimoto's work since discovering it in the early 1990's. Although his work had him travelling constantly, Sugimoto had been based in New York City for decades. Recently, he has spent four years building a studio in Tokyo [as well?] instead [?]

Even if you haven't followed his work, this interview in I.D. Magazine will be enlightening, but also sad:

Q. What effect did the tragedy have on your work, and on your attitude toward the U.S.?
I have mixed feelings. Everything has changed since 9/11it's no longer the America I used to know. Americans have become very aggressive and nationalistic. As far as my work is concerned, when I first settled in the U.S., there was a feeling of freedom as an artist. But now, I can't travel with my work without having X-ray problems, especially when it comes to big sheet-film, which is so seldom used. At the airport I'm always ordered to open the box to show what's inside. So I'm retiring from photography. Digital photography? I don't use it because it's too easy. [Chuckles]
Q+A Hiroshi Sugimoto []

A retrospective of Sugimoto's work is on display at the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi through Jan. 9, and an exhibit curated by the artist is in NYC at The Japan Society through Jan. 8.

Previously: on Sugimoto

wet_mag_nydoll.jpgHave you heard of Wet Magazine? proto-Punk/New Wave LA deal from the late 1970's? I confess, my parents were just taking me to my first concert--the Osmond Brothers--in the late seventies.

Anyway, in the Nov/Dec 1978 issue, an unnamed-but-hardhitting journalist from Wet sat down to breakfast with New York Doll David Johansen and really worked him over. The whole interview is about style, style vs. taste, image, clothes, looks, and death. And taxes. Seriously. It's one of the most deeply, satisfyingly, superficial things I've ever read.

WET: Are you very attached to your image?
DJ: I din't know if I'm that conscious of it. When I see a videotape of myself I wonder who it is for the first couple of minutes. I listen to myself and I say, "Who is that guy? Listen to his voice. He sounds like he comes from Brooklyn or something."
WET: Where do you come from?
DJ: Staten Island
WET: How often to you go through image changes?
Sharpeworld has scans of the entire issue. The DJ pages are here.

Wet: The Dawn of the L.A. New Wave (style) []
Previously: on NY Doll

December 16, 2005

Yin Xiuzhen's Portable Cities


Beijing-based artist Yin Xiuzhen's Portable Cities series are models of cities inside suitcases, made using the old clothes that city's residents. In her practice, she explores issues of globalization and homogenization, but also memory and transience.

In a way, her work reminds me of the nomadic Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata, who constructs temporary structures, favelas, and whirlwind-like vortices out of scrap wood and junk he collects around the city. While they exist, they put into play issues of development and destruction and (im)permanence.

Anyway, Yin's sewn suitcase version of New York City from 2003 includes a shimmering, ephemeral version of the World Trade Center made out of what looks like mesh or organza or something. It's really quite nice.

via Regine, who has some links to Yin's work at the Sydney Biennial last year. Yin was also in "How Latitudes Become Art" in 2003 at the Walker Art Center. Her NYC gallery is Ethan Cohen Fine Arts.

December 16, 2005

Typepad Time Warp

Like a planet of xenophobic aliens on Star Trek, Typepad has erased the last week from everybody's memories blogs. Most unusual.

December 16, 2005

Um, About Eve...

The designer in The Incredibles was named Edna, not Eve. And though she does ressemble her, Edna's voice was done by the writer/director Brad Bird, not Linda Hunt. Linda Hunt was the willow tree in Pocahontas, though, but I can't imagine you'd learn that in a Pixar show.

Somebody has some 'splaining to do.

It's A Pixar World, We're Just Living In It [nyt]

sigur_ros_reyk05.jpgSo there's a full Sigur Ros concert from Reykjavik available to stream online. Two-plus hours of maxed out visuals and...aurals? You know what I mean.

sigur rs live in reykjavk 2005 []

Also, Ari Alexander's documentary tracing the development of Icelandic music, Screaming Masterpiece, opens tomorrow in London at the Curzon Soho for a one-week run. [According to Kultureflash, one of the highlights is footage from a firework-equipped Bjork concert in Central Park, which'd be quite a get; the concert in question was actually at Coney Island. But then I don't know Shoreham from Nottingham, so it's all good.]

See the Screaming Masterpieces schedule at Curzon Cinemas, get more info at Kultureflash, and check out the official film site.

From the website for Showgirls: The Best Movie Ever Made. Ever!:

Please join us as we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of 'Showgirls'. The UCB Theatre is proud to present an evening with Mr. 'Joe Eszterhas' as he is interviewed by noted film historian, Jackie Flynn Clarke. Experience the power and sanctity of Mr. Esztheras' words live onstage. Its half staged reading, half Inside the Actors Studio, and half female empowerment, Eszterhas style.
Hurry up with the tickets. The last performance of the year is tonight at 930. There's a high Herbert Muschamp warning in effect for the surrounding area.

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre presents: "Showgirls: The Best Movie Ever Made. Ever!" [ via gawker]

Nomi on the MySpace answers: "Muschamp + Showgirls"

jerry_springer_opera.jpgJerry Springer: The Opera just came out on DVD in the UK. Apparently Woolworths and Sainsbury won't carry it. Well, Woolworth's dead in the US anyway, and Amazon UK has it for 13.99. It's Region 2.

But apparently, you can unlock the firmware of this $49 Philips PAL/NTSC DVD player quite easily by following the simple steps found on the internets.

Previously: Painless Prediction: A Wave of Raves For Jerry Springer: The Opera

And it's true that things have been worse down there...

but seriously, is there nothing that can be done to stop the slide into disgusting travesty that the George Pataki is permitting the Port Authority to perpetuate?

  • People who cared about art and culture and constructive memorializing sound like they hold no hope for the WTC site now.
  • The memorial's core feature--waterfalls into the voids of the footprints--will be turned off in the winter. Because no one thought of this before? Please.
  • Silverstein vs. Port Authority; empty office towers vs. a mall. If we'd known four three years ago the end game was to be a replica of the Jersey City side of the PATH train, would there have been an outcry?

    Controversy Still Clouds Prospects at 9/11 Site
    What does $1,000,000,000--"excuse me, make that $1.4 billion"--get you downtown? [miss representation]
    WTC Memorial Official: Waterfalls will close in the winter [dt express, via curbed]

  • And here I thought Jeff Jarvis was the only one flogging vlogs. The NYT had an article over the weekend about the explosion of vlogging, and the distribution deal that slightly funny vlog Rocketboom made with TiVo. TiVo gives Rocketboom 50% of the revenue from ads it sells on their content.

    Then Andy picked up producer Kent Nichols' call of the coming--and monetizable-- "indie tv" wave, a combination of online and TiVo subscription vlogs and DVD sales, with existing TV networks cherrypicking proven content for broadcast.

    To a hammer, everything looks like a nail; and to an independent TV producer courting networks all the time, everything looks like a pitch&development process. Personally, although the mad money TV networks might throw around as they lurch toward oblivion may be irresistible to some future vloggers, I can easily imagine people rejecting the creative and commercializing meddling by network suits, and just sticking with a smaller, more manageable process and audience online.

    Of course, this also takes away a lot of excuses. Soon, with exorbitant production costs and distribution strangleholds out of the way, the only reason you'll have for not being a famous comedian is that you're not actually funny.

    The Indie TV Movement is Here [beatboxgiant via waxy]
    TV Stardom on $20 a Day [nyt]


    I know that any day now, hundreds of readers will be emailing me, asking for suggestions on how I'd like my gifts wrapped. The answer is below. To the swiftest 150 or so of you, I suggest Cool Hunting's limited artist-edition wrapping paper. There are two sheets of each of three designs in each set, so if for some reason you're giving me fewer than six large gifts, you could share amongst yourselves. Above is Derek Aylward's design. Is it tacky to mention the price? No, it is not. $24.


    If six sheets aren't enough, or if you're too slow, I suggest the silvery silhouetted goodness of 2x4's "New World Order" wrapping paper for Cabinet Magazine. 3 sheets are $10, and you can fit 6-9 in each mailing tube.

    Want to see whose naughty and/or nice? Check out the advertisers; there's a little of both:

  • NY Doll: The Movie
  • Backstage: The Magazine
  • Nokia: The Mobile Phone Lifestyle Company
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Badass Animation
  • MSNBC: The TV Network
  • Daddytypes: The Weblog For New Dads

    Isn't symmetry lovely? God bless you advertisers, everyone.

  • zaha_neto.jpg neto_venice.jpg

    I've been waiting for anyone else to say it, but Zaha Hadid must have some serious cojones to show up in Miami--his own home [away from home] town!--sporting a gigantic Ernesto Neto fallopian tube sculpture. I mean, Neto's Venice installation is like two blocks away in the Margulies Warehouse. Don't even get me started on Anish Kapoor's Turbine Hall. Seriously, woman, WTF?

    December 6, 2005

    My Dinner With Robbe-Grillet

    Forget Louis Malle, my evening trying to catch up with with peripatetic curator Hans Ulrich Obrist for a few minutes at Art Basel Miami Beach last weekend felt like it was directed by Fellini. Or Scorsese [think After Hours]. Or John Hughes [Sixteen Candles] for that matter. It was hi-larious chaos all the way through, but somehow it worked.

    As our chat got pushed back and back, HUO ended up pulling together a "very small dinner in honor of Alain Robbe-Grillet." We were to meet at The Shore Club at 8, where HUO had "a room with a terrace for drinks." Which turned out to be a conference room/office with a tiny outdoor space over the valet parking. It was stocked for an offsite, with rows of tiny Cokes and eclairs, but no cocktails. Or as the dapper Robbe-Grillet--who has more than earned the right to play the curmudgeon--put it, "Il a promis un verre sur la terrace, mais il y a ni de verre, ni de terrace. C'est qu'un balcon!" [Still, it would be a handy space to have on a trip. HUO is a tireless explorer of institutional collaboration; if I consumed infrastructure so voraciously, I would be, too.]

    Anyway, No drinks, no terrace no problem, because HUO's colleague picked up the phone and ordered a mojito for Monsieur on the phone. Then fifteen minutes of smalltalk later, she called to check on the order. So often, these giant art fairs, with their overlapping VIP events leave you wondering if you've chosen the wrong one and are missing something. I knew I was in the best spot in Miami when she called again a few minutes later, and pleaded with the hapless bartender, "Uno mojito, por l'amor de Dios! U-NO Mo-ji-to!"

    Like clowns exiting a car, a stream of waiters brought successive, differently concocted mojitos, until we had six, enough for us non-drinkers, too. Then a cart with antipasto and a bathtubful of wine on ice rolled in, which we all nibbled faux-casually in full self-preservation mode, since, except for Mr. Robbe-Grillet, whose eminence gave him the confidence that he would be taken care of, the less famous/faithful among us were not at all sure this wasn't the only food we'd see that night. Turns out the original restaurant was too noisy, so a quieter venue--for 8 people, at 9pm, on Saturday night, in Miami Beach, during Art Basel--was being sought.

    Soon enough Tim Griffin showed up, a restaurant was apparently set, and we piled into the Art|Basel|Miami Beach|BMWs and ended up at The Forge, which sounded like an S&M club and looked like Robin Leach had done over Disney's Haunted Mansion. It was, naturally, packed with Tony Montanas, and we threaded our way back, back, back through the din--to the chilled silence of a private table in the wine cellar. Nebuchadnezzars of whatever in individual back-lit niches filled the walls [the normal wine cellar was elsewhere]. Sure was quiet. And freezing. We retired to a private courtyard to let the room warm up, which, of course, it never did, so after first trying to set up a table outside, and after I dopily offered to drape my napkin on Robbe-Grillet's shoulders to stay warm, we went out and joined the haut polloi.

    The place was deafening. Though we were able to hear the offer of "surf-and-turf" [at $100+, you'd hope they could come up wit' a classier name] and the birthday antics of the table next to us, we couldn't hear across our own table. thus, most conversation was shouted into the ears of the people on either side of us, or was relayed like a game of telephone to M. R-G. Apparently, they stop playing this game in France at age 5 or so, because R-G [can I call him R-G? I think I can.] spent an unsettling amount of time with his hands over his ears. Unsettling for me, anyway. I mean, who wants to see anyone--much less one of the greatest writer/filmmakers of the last hundred years--do that when you're talking to him?

    It turned out, though, that several of the table's stories overlapped: a screening of Last Year At Marienbad on an Icelandic glacier that ended with an emergency airlift; red meat; Patty Hearst and Stockholm Syndrome; Claude Lelouch. Although the owner and staff deserves full credit for their backbending hospitality, the steaks--"Wine Spectator says this is the best steak in the country" were entirely forgettable; I confess, I ate alone at Outback the night before [come on, I'd just gotten into town, and it was right in front of the containers!], and my steak was easily twice as good, and a quarter the cost.

    But whoever the angels in accounting were that night, we can only thank them from afar, because we all bolted for the door in order to make Doug Aitken's party by 11:30.

    Near the end, we were divvying up the rights to the story: Tim Griffin was getting a thinly fictionalized version for his novel; while Robbe-Grillet himself may use it--or at least the curator-as-energizer-bunny/hero version of it--in a film, since he's apparently showing no signs of slowing down soon; Stefano Boeri may run it in his magazine. I claimed blog rights, which set off a whole new discussion of blogs, the art world, and boingboing. Turns out HUO knows Cory. I guess by definition, two guys who know everyone in the world would know each other, too.

    Unrated is the new Rated R. In addition to 17 additional minutes of edited-out footage, the New Unrated Version DVD of The 40-Year-Old Virgin contains "a four-camera behind-the-scenes look at Steve Carell's character, Andy Stitzer, having his chest waxed."

    I feel like I'm letting down my hairier readers, but I'm unfortunately not going to be able to make the "Hairiest Chest Waxing Contest!" promotional tie-in being held in 17 markets around the country on Tuesday. [Of course, if they threw in some earlobe- and back-waxing while they're at it, I might be persuaded to rearrange my schedule.]

    As of December 13th, The 40-Year-Old Virgin will be available in both R and Unrated DVD versions. Collect them all!

    Although it was released on DVD last year, C'etait un Rendezvous, Claude Lelouch's classic/notorious underground film, has turned up online. The film is a Ferrari-eye view of a flat-out race across Paris, shot in a single 9-minute take using a gyro-stabilized camera mounted on the car.

    Now the web is filling up with stuff that should've been on that DVD. Folks have mapped out Lelouch's route [from Porte Dauphine to Sacre Coeur] and analyzed the car's average speed, landmark to landmark. I was discussing this with Alain Robbe-Grillet last night at dinner. [thunk. Sorry, did I just drop something?]

    Find a download/streaming source at Jerry Kindall's C'etait un Rendezvous post
    Here's one Googlemap of the route
    Here's a breakdown of the average speeds from The Physics Factbook

    December 2, 2005

    Mission Accomplished, Indeed


    Just when you [and by "you," I mean "Scott Sforza"] think it's been a rough month or two, and you're reduced to staging photo ops in a yurt on the backlot of Far and Away, you wake up and find one of these on your doorstep, and it makes it all worth while. It's an early Christmas at the White House.

    And then you catch the headline right under it: "US is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers," and it hits you, like the helpful list the super slides under your door with the names of all the building staff, or the Xeroxed holiday greeting from your mail carriers: These guys are hitting you up for tips.

    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

    find me on twitter: @gregorg

    about this archive

    Posts from December 2005, in reverse chronological order

    Older: November 2005

    Newer January 2006

    recent projects, &c.

    Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
    about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

    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