Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Art Within America

Songs for Our Time: Desolation Row -- The Marionette Performance.

In two acts, by two artists, separated by 450 years......

This 10 minute film is a collage of music and imagery set down by two artists who lived 450 years apart in history. The unexpected union of these visionaries was a chance encounter late one night while perusing through an old book of engravings by the Flemish artist, Peter Bruegel the Elder while listening to the song "Desolation Row" by Bob Dylan.
"Puppets?" you say. "PUPPETS?" Seems fitting in a time where everything changes and nothing changes, and where we are all but playthings on strings held by the gods of history, aren't we?

"As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.
They kill us for their sport."

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”

And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

Desolation Row | Bob Dylan Site

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 8, 2016 11:21 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Truth About Modern Art

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 7, 2016 10:07 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"You'll see a shadow move through the blade. That's the steel transforming."

Anthony Bourdain heads to Olympia, Washington to see firsthand how master bladesmith, Bob Kramer crafts the perfect kitchen knife from melted meteorite.

Bob Kramer | Kramer Knives - My Story

The primitive world of beating on hot steel and making tools that surpassed any knives I had ever sharpened was fantastic. The art of sharpening knives was no longer enough, I had to make them. And I needed to make them for the world I knew - kitchens.

That was 1994. Since then I have become one of 120 Master Bladesmiths in the US. To earn this title from the American Bladesmith Society, one must undergo years of study and then pass a Master's Test. The test required building a 10" Bowie knife made of 300 layers of steel. This one knife had to cut through a 1" free hanging rope in one swing, chop through a two-by-four twice, shave a swatch of arm hair (after the two-by-four), and finally, bend the blade at a 90 degree angle without the blade breaking. If you succeed, then you submit five flawless knives (including a 15th century Quillion dagger, a very difficult knife to make) to a panel of judges.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Sep 14, 2015 10:39 AM |  Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Deep North


This is actually the art installation of Chris Larson, a native of Minnesota, where of course no one is a stranger to a little chill.  A few years ago in his hometown of St.Paul, he decided to build this small cabin, and then waited for winter when the temperatures drop as low as -13 °C/ 7 °F . He then proceeded to spray it with hundreds of gallons of water, resulting in this apocalyptic scene. You know, just because … Winter is Coming! Oh, and he called it “Deep North”. The Ice Age came early for this Winter Cabin | Messy Nessy Chic


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 30, 2014 8:01 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ross Sisters - 1944

Such a dance!

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 30, 2014 4:55 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ed Ruscha, Standards, 1966 - 2009





Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 6, 2014 2:41 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Wind from the Sea: "I walked up into the dry, attic room one day."


Of all my work at Olsons this seems to me to be the one that expresses a great deal without too much in it. I walked up into the dry, attic room one day. It was a hot summer day in August, so hot that I went over to that window, pushed it up about six inches and as I stood there, looking out, all of a sudden this curtain that had been lying there stale for years, God knows how long, began slowly to rise, and the birds crocheted on it began to move. My hair about stood on end. So I drew it very quickly and incisively and I didn't get a west wind for a month and a half after that either. I did many drawings for it because I was so moved by that sudden thing. ” - - Andrew Wyeth

Wind from the Sea, painted a year before Christina's World, captures a moment on a hot summer day when Wyeth opened the seldom used window in an attic room. National Gallery, Wind from the Sea

For a larger view and a detail....

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 16, 2014 8:36 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Matter of Time

"Teeming with wildlife like deer, giraffes, monkeys and dolphins, this sculpture bursts with the beauty of the natural world.

At the centre, inexorably linked to each constituent part, is a man. He holds a globe in his hand to represent our dominant species' unique duties as custodians of the planet. Crafted entirely from driftwood, the vast, thought-provoking masterpiece was created by sculptor Paul Baliker, 59...."

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 28, 2013 11:07 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Eyvind Earleョ

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 28, 2013 5:29 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
SOLIPSIST: Something Rich and Strange

Full fathom five thy father lies;
       Of his bones are coral made;
  Those are pearls that were his eyes:
       Nothing of him that doth fade,
  But doth suffer a sea-change
  Into something rich and strange.
  Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
  Hark! now I hear them -- Ding-dong, bell.

-- Ariel's Song, The Tempest

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 15, 2013 8:35 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

This brings together a great song by Gordon Lightfoot and rare footage. Edited with a clear eye and a large heart it's one of the finest tribute videos I've found of You Tube. Worth your time twice over.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 31, 2013 4:29 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Bob Dylan Subterranean Homesick Blues - A HAND LETTERING EXPERIENCE

Created by Leandro Senna who notes:

Inspired by Bob Dylan´s Subterranean Homesick Blues video, where he flips cards with the lyrics as the song plays, I decided to recreate those cards with handmade type. I ended up doing all the lyrics, and not just some of the words, as Dylan did.
There are 66 cards done in one month during my spare time using only pencil, black tint pens and brushes. The challenge was not to use the computer, no retouching was allowed. Getting a letter wrong meant starting the page over

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 30, 2012 10:18 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
I Shall Be Released: "There's more talent on that stage than in the entire music industry today."

"This Dylan song can seem amorphous and mystical in the negative sense, especially as it became a kind of countercultural anthem and meaningless through overuse. But the lyrics are coherent and profound, especially the first verse:

They say everything can be replaced
They say every distance is not near
But I remember every face
Of every man who put me here.

"The modern world tells us that everything is fungible, nothing is of real value, everything can and should be replaced—our spouse, our culture, our religion, our history, our sexual nature, our race, everything. It is the view of atomistic liberal man, forever creating himself out of his preferences, not dependent on any larger world of which he is a part. The singer is saying, No, this isn’t true. Things have real and particular values and they cannot be cast off and replaced by other things. And, though we seem to be distant, we are connected. I am connected to all the men, the creators and builders and poets and philosophers, and my own relatives and friends, who have come before me or influenced me, who created the world in which I live." --Levon Helm, Dick Clark dead

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Apr 20, 2012 5:41 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: A Surviving Example of The Hippie Bus
Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 1, 2011 2:11 PM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Earth Is Flat and Here's the Map to Prove It

[Click to see a really big enlargement so you can real the "proofs" of scripture]

Library of Congress gets unique flat earth map

Don Homuth, a former North Dakota state senator and current resident of Salem, Oregon, will donate the sole complete copy of the Map of a Square and Stationary Earth by Orlando Ferguson to the Library of Congress. Homuth was given the map by his eighth-grade English teacher John Hildreth who had received it from his grandfather. He didn't realize it was the only one left intact until he contacted the LoC to arrange for the donation.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 22, 2011 5:42 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "Jersey Shore" Gone Wilde (In which we reach for a "mind condom.")

In an exclusive video series created for Playbill by "Earnest" stars Santino Fontana and David Furr, the Roundabout Theatre Company cast puts "Jersey" in the mouths of Oscar Wilde's famed Britons. Think of it as a comedy of bad manners. Part 1 in a multi-part series.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 6, 2011 6:23 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Stars My Destination, Chapter 1

Created by Tom O'Bedlam at "Spoken Verse" which is far and away the finest poetry source on You Tube if not the entire Internet. Subscribe @ YouTube - SpokenVerse's Channel

Tom notes, accurately, that The Stars My Destination is "the Best SF novel ever written - according to some experts. There's not much doubt it's the Best Space Opera of all time. Yet many SF enthusiasts have never heard of it. It made a great impression on me when I first read it - more than any other novel. It starts by quoting Tom O'Bedlam's Song - not a coincidence.

It's a tour-de-force, a work of creative genius, daring to take liberties that no novel had ever taken before. It was also printed with the title, "Tiger!, Tiger!". Nothing like it had ever been written before. The story has been compared with The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

A movie of the same name is scheduled for release in 2012.

"Bester used to write comics (now called Graphic Novels) as well as TV shows such as The Green Lantern. It has enough plot for five novels - Bester never seems to run out if outrageous ideas. The science is dubious and often plain wrong - for instance he says that food cannot be kept in tin cans because tin crumbles to dust in the absolute zero of space - but of course tin cans are steel, not tin. Somebody called it "A work of art made out of junk" One quirk is that he took the names of many characters from British Towns.

"It was written in about 1953 before Star Trek, before any Space Exporation, before SF became respectable. At that time SF was considered "far-fetched" and restricted to pulp magazines - traditionally adorned with pictures of girls in bra and panties being attacked by bug-eyed monsters."

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 24, 2010 8:50 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Atlas Shrugged... and.... Action!
Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 30, 2010 11:14 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Future Dog Day Afternoons

AT-AT day afternoon from Patrick Boivin on Vimeo.

It's a dog's life but something's got to live it. By the brilliant Patrick Boivin who did the ultimate Iron Man parody:

IRON BABY from Patrick Boivin on Vimeo.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 5, 2010 4:06 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Things I learned while watching Avatar"
Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 1, 2010 6:05 PM |  Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Accuracy is the Least Significant Part of Drawing


Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 24, 2009 7:59 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This Is Not A Photograph


Step by Step Illustration after the jump:

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 22, 2009 11:54 AM |  Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
William Faulker and a Writer's Creed: "I decline to accept the end of man."

December 10, 1950 Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, novelist William Faulkner gave the following speech at the Awards banquet. Unlike most other speeches given by most other recipients of the Nobel Prize, this speech has endured like Dilsey in The Sound and the Fury. This is an example of what can rise out of the Nobel when it is awarded to someone or real achievement who actually deserved it. [Emphasis added]

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work -- a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed -- love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.

The poet’s, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

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Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 15, 2009 12:19 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Affirmative Action Art: Just Copy a Dead White Male


snapped shot * technical difficulties

However, I will add that there is not a single online source that I've been able to find references Watusi (Hard Edges) as being a "study" of Matisse's prior work—Merely that she declared that, "If that old man can do it, then so could I"—which isn't usually considered to be how you "study" something.

Alma Thomas, Watusi (Hard Edge), 1963: A prominent abstract painter of the 19...

Alma Thomas, Watusi (Hard Edge), 1963: A prominent abstract painter of the 1960s and 1970s and the first African-American woman to have a solo art exhibition at New York's Whitney Museum. Born in Columbus in 1891, racist attitudes and a poor education system for African-Americans at that time hampered her childhood, but she excelled at architectural drawing.

Henri Matisse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Le Bateau (1954) (This gouache created a minor stir when the MoMA mistakenly displayed it upside-down for 47 days in 1961.[20])

Henri Matisse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Afterwards, he started using a wheelchair. Until his death he would be cared for by a Russian woman, Lydia Delektorskaya, formerly one of his models. With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches d馗oup駸. His Blue Nudes series feature prime examples of this technique he called "painting with scissors"; they demonstrate the ability to bring his eye for colour and geometry to a new medium of utter simplicity, but with playful and delightful power.

Michelle Malkin » Do the Watusi: Art, imitation, and the Obamas

Do the Watusi: Art, imitation, and the Obamas
By Michelle Malkin • October 8, 2009 05:49 PM

Yesterday, we chuckled over the indecision-themed “word art” that the Obamas chose to hang in the White House.

Today, a Free Republic poster notices another of the Obamas’ curious art choices: “Watusi (Hard Edge),” by Alma Thomas, who is described by the NYTimes as “a longtime Washington resident who is an African-American painter.”

Alma Thomas’s “Watusi” (1963) looks to be an almost exact reproduction of a 1953 piece by Henri Matisse titled “L’Escargot:”

Museum of Modern Art hangs Matisse's Le Bateau upside down for 47 days December 4 in History

December 4, 1961 in History
Museum of Modern Art hangs Matisse's Le Bateau upside down for 47 days

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 8, 2009 6:44 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
An American Koran: "We didn't start the fire..."

[Click all to enlarge]

Opening September 8 at the Koplin Del Rio Gallery at 6031 Washington Blvd Culver City, California , this art show could be a blast or a bomb. One way or another, it will test the limits of Muslim tolerance in our new age of "understanding" and "dialogue" with Islam....

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 30, 2009 12:14 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Early Sheets: A History of Video Games in 3 Minutes

By by Steve Jones a 27 year old freelance digital artist and animator, located in Leeds, England.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 21, 2009 1:01 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rainbows and Unicorns: It's Time to Cornify Obama!

Just come on over to our official Presidential Portrait page @ "Continue", and click the "Cornify" button. Bet you can't click just once.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 20, 2009 8:08 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rainbows and Unicorns: It's Time to "Cornify"

Just come on over to our official Presidential Portrait page @ The "Click to Continue" Gallery, and click the "Cornify" button. Bet you can't click just once.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 20, 2009 8:08 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Half the Joker's On You. Real Joker Artist Remains Armed and Dangerous

Light, Lame, and Limp

Appropriationists: "Their work is caracterized by... recycling... cultural iconography by [arranging] elements of it in another context ...: a detour in which... the blow up of the reproduction can become more original than the original itself." -- American Appropriationists and the Lolita-Complex

The LA Times thinks it has "exposed" the Joker, but the real Joker artist is still at large. Half of the Obama 'Joker' Artist is a Palestinian Arab from Chicago, Firas Alkhateeb. All bets are off if you think you know where he's at politically:

"After Obama was elected, you had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ," Alkhateeb said. "From my perspective, there wasn't much substance to him. I abstained from voting in November," he wrote in an e-mail. "Living in Illinois, my vote means close to nothing as there was no chance Obama would not win the state." If he had to choose a politician to support, Alkhateeb said, it would be Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
Dennis. Kucinich. ? Oh. Kay....

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 17, 2009 11:59 PM |  Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
RETRO: The Camera & 'Mad Men'

Jefferson Robbins of Film Freak Central contemplates Mad Men and concludes, "The only thing left for me to discuss is the hidden star of the show, something designed to go unnoticed unless you squint." The result is this compelling and illuminating exploration of the cinematography.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 13, 2009 1:24 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Beauty is truth, truth beauty

"So I said to him, "Barack, I know Abe Lincoln, and you ain't Abe Lincoln"

HT: Mark

Painting by Andy Thomas

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 26, 2009 2:49 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Obama Presidency So Far

Click to enlarge

Well, at least he's getting out of the White House and back on the campaign trail. Why be chained to a desk when you can be adrift on a wreck?

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 11, 2009 4:31 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
New York Life: 1,000 Pictures of New York City

1,000 Pictures of New York City .

When a man has lived a long time with a city and then decided to leave her, it seems best to make a record before departing. Otherwise, for all the years he has lived with her, all he will have left will be the shards of moments and not the mosaic complete.

The archives he retains will, invariably, be merely personal -- clippings from the local papers, a box of business cards, filched matchbooks, a sheaf of menus, random pay stubs, a well-thumbed Rolodex, and a few albums filled with pictures of friends and acquaintances remembered with varying degrees of accuracy. And his snapshots.

They will be snapshots of his personal celebrations; the birthdays, anniversaries, shared summer houses, days in the park and nights on the town. He'll be in some of them. Friends will proliferate in others. And the city will persist, implied, either in the background or intruding in the middle distance; like the air, unnoticed until absent. When you leave her, this is what you will carry away. It will fit in a medium-sized cardboard box. We've all packed this box. Mine was labeled, "New York."


Like the lies of false and faithless love, your memory of the city will fade long before the snapshots in the box. True, they fade slowly -- pushed into the mist by other days and other scenes -- but fade they do. And so you will find yourself pretending, long after she has gone to seed and faded into the smoke of the world, that you still know what she looks like, and how you felt, when you lived with her through all those bright days and white nights.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 15, 2008 6:40 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Man in the Lavender Automobile" Greatest O-Rant Yet

Read all, and print out for your permanent scrapbook -Velociworld: The Man in the Lavender Automobile

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 30, 2008 11:50 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Private Labyrinth

Seen in Google Maps, this structure is a step up from the inground swimming pool for exercise. Instead we have a private labyrinth for spiritual exercise.

View Larger Map

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 28, 2008 7:53 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Michelle Obama's Makeover for America by Daniel Edwards

If you've been playing the new game "Where in the World is Michelle Obama?" you'll be pleased to know she hasn't just been at home baking cookies. Indeed, it is even possible she's been sitting for the first bust of the proposed O-Admin, 2009.

Or perhaps our more demented artists have been mistaking eggs for chickens. In these days of artists taking leave of their senses in a manner not seen since Andy Warhol quit illustrating shoe catalogues it is difficult to know the bathos from the bathwater.

Submitted for your approval: The latest glob of bathos to hit the fan, Daniel Edwards' overheated and possibly premature hunk-o-hooey, Michelle Obama’s Makeover for America

mobamart.jpg mobamaleft.jpg
[Click to enlarge]

For the salacious details of this new Nefertiti of the Windy City, we must turn to some steaming hot artsy bullshit from the Leo Kesting Gallery:

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 22, 2008 8:25 AM |  Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Are You a Player?

ROBERT FULGHUM offers some examples of those who are and those who are not.

This lady with a shopping cart full of oddball stuff standing beside me in front of the cheese counter at the grocery story. My invitation: "I like the groceries in your cart better than mine. Want to trade? You take mine and I'll take yours. Could be interesting when we get home."

She smiles. Checks out my cart. "You've got a deal,"she says. We take each other's carts and roll away.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 17, 2006 10:07 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Slate Critic Without a Clue

Burt: Howless

STEPHEN BURT writing in Slate on Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" asks, "Is there a Howl for our own time, a cultural creation that explains, excites, antagonizes, and polarizes a wide swath of America?" He comes to the hasty and unlettered conclusion that "It could not be a poem."

Well. speak for your own silent muse, Stephen. Readers of American Digest and the many other blogs that linked, however, know better. There is the only true "Howl" for our time and that is GROWL!

Sigh, having known Allen on and off across the decades, I think it safe to say that he would have known how to Google his poem.

Ginsberg, the Nirvana Years

[from the comments]

by Mumblix Grumph Ginsberg

You sold your birthright for a bowl of porridge.
Then you refused to eat.

The Best and The Brightest.
You can lie to yourself, but not to me.

Botox, Viagra, Rogaine, and Paxil.
You are less than the sum or your parts.

Degrees on walls, they make exalted.
The lessons forgotten, the learning all for naught.

Trust no one over thirty you said once.
All right, then I don't trust you.

Your bodies decaying, despite all the work.
You fear the hell that you say and pray does not exist.

A lifetime fighting The Squares that you would never become.
The girls that spend your money, they tell you what you want to hear.

Older, but not wiser, you still fight The Man.
Look in the mirror, LOOK if you can.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 19, 2006 9:01 AM |  Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Uncaged Bird Singing

"CALYPSO LP by the Poet Maya Angelou.She was 27 at the time of this recording.Cover looks campy, but she has a voice, no doubt about it. -- Audio-History: Miss Calypso - Maya Angelou [With sample track]

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 10, 2006 12:05 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Let Us Now Praise Remarkable Bloggers - 1

#1: On The Doctor Is In

DURING THE YEARS I SPENT AS A MAGAZINE AND BOOK EDITOR, the most rewarding and exciting moments were when I'd open a manuscript by someone I'd never heard of and find a new and compelling voice. Over time I got so I'd know that voice was there within the first three paragraphs. I was never disappointed. Once I knew it, I would do everything in my power to see it was published and in this, I don't think I ever failed.

I knew it when I first read the manuscript for a short story called "The Ledge" by a young guy named Steve King. I knew it when I read an essay on the cell by a doctor

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 12, 2005 10:01 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Online Evisceration of Chris Rock


A small taste of the entire operation:

Well, in the sense that he ordered the invasion, Bush certainly started the fighting, though to say he started the war is a stretch. To wit: what Rock neglects to mention is that GAP employees had been fired upon daily in the employee parking lot by Banana Republic staffers for twelve years following the GAP's repulsion of Banana Republic from Abercrombie and Fitch (which it tried to take over by force in 1991.) After the GAP and its allies from Cinnabon, Panda Express, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc repelled the invading Banana Republic volley, Banana Republic signed a cease fire agreement, which it then almost immediately violated; additionally, Banana Republic's longtime CEO tried to have a former GAP president assassinated -- and that former GAP president just happens to be the father of that same George Bush who supposedly "started"the war).

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 1, 2005 4:21 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Numa Numa Hits the Big Screen


Tire no more. Try the Big Screen Version!

Warning: Before clicking wrap four feet of tinfoil securely around skull to prevent earworm infestation.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 27, 2005 7:57 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Law of the Blogger:" A Signed and Numbered Edition

THE PERFECT GIFT FOR THE BLOGGER IN YOUR LIFE, or, if you are a blogger, the perfect gift for yourself (And you know you deserve it.)

As regular readers know, I never ask for money on American Digest. (I might, but in the two years this site has been active, I haven't.) Don't ask me why, because I don't know, and it drives people near me crazy. Here's your chance to help return them to sanity.

I will create the first signed and numbered edition of "THE LAW OF THE BLOGGER" in two variations and limited to 150 copies of each. [See below for examples.]

Each copy will be personally printed to order in high-resolution on a Canon 9000 ink-jet. The paper will be archival, acid-free, cold-pressed Fabriano 72 pound stock -- highly suitable for framing. Each print will be numbered, approved and signed by the artist -- which would be, well, me.

The two variations you may order are:
Keep Mum. The World Has Blogs and The Law of the Blogger as a pure type treatment.

Click to enlarge

Don't be put off by the quality of the Jpegs. Here's a sample of the level of resolution in the finished print:

Click to enlarge

Cost, including shipping, will be $20.00 per print. Shipping will be via Priority Mail in a strong tube. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back on return of the print. [Shipping included within the US only, write for details on shipping to other parts of the world.]

To order, please make a payment to my PayPal account. [No credit cards. This ain't Amazon.] If Paypal is a problem, please send me email at and we'll work something out.

When ordering, be sure to include your mailing address which I won't disclose to anyone and probably won't remember anyway. If it is a gift, please tell me the address of the person you're sending it to if different from your own.

Here's the button, hit it. Think of it as DonationWare where you actually get something.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 15, 2005 4:33 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Most Innovative Novel by a Best-Selling American Author Is Not Available in English

Click to Enlarge

Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten came out of left field in the late 1980s to dominate bestseller lists around the world like no other non-ficton book in memory. It was so successful that, at one point, it was number one on the Times' bestseller list in hardcover and in paperback with his second book, It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It occupying the second slot on the hardcover list. A perfect publishing trifecta.

Over the years, Fulghum came out with many more books -- all in the vein of plain-spoken stories from life that held deeper and universal meanings; a philosophy of Everyman, if you will. Their appeal reached across linguistic and cultural boundaries and sold tens of millions of copies in dozens of languages. They continue to sell to this day.

For reasons that I won't go into here, -- but may tell another time -- I've watched this publishing phenomenon from a unique, somewhat inside, perspective. Suffice it to say that for Fulghum and everyone else involved it was, for ten years, a wild ride. A ride that might have continued, as these publishing things do, for many more years except for one wild card in the equation, Robert Fulghum.

Fulghum is one of those rare individuals that you meet in life that are best described as: "A man who is himself." There's nothing in him that is derivative of others. Besides being a writer, Fulghum is also a painter, a sculptor, a Unitarian minister, a man who knows his whiskey and cigars, and his way around a poker table. He also plays a mean mandocello. For ten years he was in great demand as a speaker, and he still is. But there was a point at which he decided, against all advice to the contrary from the traditional publishing types in his karass, that he was tired of being "Captain Kindergarten," and he just folded up the tent and walked away.

He walked away and did the one thing a successful best-selling author of short inspiring essays about life should never, ever do: he wrote a novel.

But he did not write a novel that looked like or felt like or read like any novel you have ever read. It was a "Novel-In-A-Box." Take a look. Take a long look.Take a very long look at the photographs of this work. And then come back. I'll wait here.

Robert Fulghum New Novel - Introduction

My novel, Third Wish, began as a what-if? adventure. More than anything else, I'm a storyteller by trade. But my stories have always been short. Could I write a really long story? Why not? Commercial publication was not my original goal. I wanted to write a book I would want to read - one I would want to keep and read again - one that was a product of a life I would have to live to write it. A keepsake. If there was only one copy, so be it.

They say that the novel is a mature art form. They say that, aside from tone and subject, nothing new can be done with it. But here's a novel that incorporates artifacts, music, color journals, illustrations, and even more. A novel that comes with a selection of objects that have meaning in the warp and the woof of the story, that operate as talismans. This is clearly something new in the realm of the novel. Something so startling that it takes your breath away to see it.

You would think that American book-publishing, given a chance to innovate, and working with an author who has tens of millions of readers around the world, would jump at the chance to publish this in some form or another. And you would be dead wrong.

You'd be wrong because you fail to comprehend just how deep into American publishing the creative brain rot goes. When this book was "offered" to American publishers not one could even begin to imagine how it could be done, and not one could even bring themselves to take a flyer on finding out how it could be done. Every single one of them, as well as an agent or two, passed. Were they right?

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 27, 2005 9:18 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Blog:" The Early Years


*We'd be pleased to know the source of this if any comics scholars happen to pass this way.*

*Mystery email attachment solved: The panel comes from The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century :: Joey deVilla's Weblog :: Quite Possibly the First Time the Word "Blog" was Used in Comics

"In honour of "blog" being Merriam-Webster's "Word of the Year" for 2004, here's what I believe is the first occurrence of the word in a comic 1959."

Most likely routed through Treacher, and reported by Way Off Bass

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 8, 2005 3:17 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hotel Des Idiots Opens to the Applause of Cool Fools

In the never-ending stream of bad news about bad art and worse design comes this little peek into modern hotel hell from - Hot Trends, Cool Things, a site which approves of ugliness in the name of trend.
"The hot art market is behind the art hotel phenomenon. Here San Francisco artist Tim Gaskin shows off his Hotel Des Arts room."

Bad logoesque supergraphics from the 70s? A giant stencil of Madonna? A very small and cheap room with a lot of trashy walls slapped with primary colors to get it to seem even smaller? Cost-Plus wooden blinds? Cheap little bedside reading lamps? A cheaper little bud vase? The only thing worse than being drugged into unconsciousness and then waking up in this room would be to wake up in this room with Gaskin still in it.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 7, 2005 5:28 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"A Consummation Devoutly to Be Wished?"

CHUNKS OF Barbara Boxer's,new novel "A Time to Run" have been floating about the web of late. What I find disturbing is that when I read....

"Ellen had never tasted such pent-up, aggressive determination and desire. She bit at his lips, heard her own gasping breath -- and she knew she really must stop this. She felt his competent hands undressing her, and they fell together through the darkness onto his bed. Greg's naked body was long and elegant, and they meshed with ease and grace."

... my mind just compulsively deletes "Ellen" and inserts "Barbara." Then it deletes "Greg" and inserts "George." And then I see how this present logjam in our politics has got to end.

Yes, Barbara and George meshed at last with ease and grace.... and then....

And if everyone lit

Just one little candle,

What a bright world




Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 6, 2005 11:48 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
American North

Native Man in Gut Parka with Small Carved Boat
Photographer: Dobbs
Location: Nome, Alaska
Date; Unknown

An immense and deeply fascinating collection of photographs from Alaska during the late 19th and early 20th Century Alaska. Over 13,500 available online @ The Gallery of the UAF Rasmuson Library

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 23, 2004 11:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Worthy Laureate


In case you failed to notice it, the United States has a new poet laureate, Ted Kooser. For once, this office seems to be filled by someone worthy of the honor. "What could possibly be wrong with a world in which everybody was trying to write poems?" Kooser said. "Is that not better than watching 'Survivor' or engaging in some sort of nefarious, stupid activity?" --

Two by Kooser.

After Years

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer's retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.


Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 11, 2004 11:30 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Art Made Me Do It!: "Last weak I cud not spel artis. Now I are one."
  • A poor craftsman blames her inspiration.

The dreary case of Maria Alquilar's ugly and illiterate ceramic mural for the Livermore Library illustrates just how ignorant and untalented many American "artists" actually are.Ms. Alquilar's creation had everything that government committees value in today's public art, i.e., a huge chunk of diversity worship that excludes only beauty and inspiration seeking only to mollify and soothe. It is and, except for a few mistakes, would have remained a forgettable eyesore, noted only by pre-schoolers on a dubious field trip. The mistakes? For starters it couldn't spell "Shakespeare."

Ms. Alquilar 'created' a series of four dreadful but politically correct clay plaques that were, with some ceremony and a cost of $40,000, installed at the entrance of the new library in Livermore, California. Due to the joint failures of the primary, secondary, and collegiate educational systems in the United States, Ms. Alquilar managed to give "creative spellings" to such names as Einstein, Gauguin, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and van Gogh. She also blew 'Kachinas' and 'Nefertiti,' along with a few others.

Neither Ms. Alquilar nor anyone else involved in the creation, fabrication, and installation spotted even one of the eleven mistakes. Result? They now grace the facade of a library, monuments to a culture that doesn't know, doesn't see, doesn't give a damn, and has no intention of putting things right. At least, that's Ms. Aquilar's current position:

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 8, 2004 11:51 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
9 Seats by 9 Designers That All Fit in a Fed-Ex Box.


Posted by Vanderleun at May 31, 2004 5:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
9 Seats by 9 Designers That All Fit in a Fed-Ex Box.


Posted by Vanderleun at May 31, 2004 5:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
"Framed"-- Lost Law & Order Short

LAW AND ORDER FANS can fill up on the one episode where absolutely nothing happens and the tedium overwhelms the whole cast: "Law & Order: Artistic Intent"--Shanan Kurtz and Gareth Long

[Needs Quicktime]

Posted by Vanderleun at May 31, 2004 1:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
"Framed"-- Lost Law & Order Short

LAW AND ORDER FANS can fill up on the one episode where absolutely nothing happens and the tedium overwhelms the whole cast: "Law & Order: Artistic Intent"--Shanan Kurtz and Gareth Long

[Needs Quicktime]

Posted by Vanderleun at May 31, 2004 1:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Zazen of Peanuts

What is the sound
of one ear flapping?

FROM: The Revealer: The First Noble Truth of Charlie Brown

Revealing religion in pop culture requires looking beyond the artist's intentions, to the swirl of cultural influences in which he or she worked and the whirlwind of cultural influences in which we receive the fruits of the artist's labor -- the pop culture blizzard in which the zazen of a silent beagle offers some kind of serenity, if not redemption.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 28, 2004 1:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Zazen of Peanuts

What is the sound
of one ear flapping?

FROM: The Revealer: The First Noble Truth of Charlie Brown

Revealing religion in pop culture requires looking beyond the artist's intentions, to the swirl of cultural influences in which he or she worked and the whirlwind of cultural influences in which we receive the fruits of the artist's labor -- the pop culture blizzard in which the zazen of a silent beagle offers some kind of serenity, if not redemption.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 28, 2004 1:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Different Jobs Over the Decades


A FASCINATING EXHIBITION of Wall Street Journal Portraits (called 'HedCuts') of Executives gives us this tidy graphic history of Steve Jobs styles. Conclusion. He's a man of whatever era he finds himself in.

A mere twenty-one years of age when he cofounded Apple Computer with Stephen Wozniak in 1976, Steve Jobs has matured over the past quarter century into a seasoned businessman. In 1985, Jobs left Apple, going on to found a new company, Next, Inc., which focused on educational applications. The company was later sold to Apple in 1996, when Jobs returned to guide Apple back to profitability. A series of three hedcuts reflect the evolution of the entrepreneur's style -- shorter hairstyles, the addition of glasses, and more casual clothing.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 25, 2004 1:36 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rank Nonsense Rulez, OK?

'Da Vinci' author: I left out even more

Dan Brown said that when he wrote the best seller that dissects the origins of Jesus Christ and disputes long-held beliefs about Catholicism, he considered including material alleging that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixion.

While speaking at a benefit Tuesday for a New Hampshire writers' group, Brown said the theory is backed by a number of "very credible sources," but that he ultimately decided it was too flimsy.[snip]

Since the book was published in March 2003, liberal and conservative writers have cited numerous errors. A key assertion in "The Da Vinci Code" -- that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that sinister Christians suppressed information about it -- comes from a 1982 book titled "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," which a New York Times reviewer called "rank nonsense."

Brown said he is grateful his book is generating so much debate. He said apathy is a constant threat to the study of the uncomfortable relationship between science and religion.

[emphasis addred] Translation: "Of course I know it's rank nonsense you dolts, but you should see the royalty checks!"

Posted by Vanderleun at May 22, 2004 11:15 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Saving Star Wars

George In Carbonite? Don't bet on it.

CHRISTOPHER BAHN ASKS Can Star Wars: Episode III be saved? He's not hopeful unless this unlikely scenario comes to pass:

Considering that most of the worst ideas in the last two films came from Lucas himself, he might start by handing over the reins to another filmmaker.

It might be difficult to convince Lucas to go along with it, but if necessary Lucas could probably be tricked by telling him that Joseph Campbell is waiting with a documentary crew to massage Lucas' ego by interviewing him about his wonderful mythic imagination. When Lucas shows up, knock him out, encase him in a block of frozen carbonite and put him out of the way somewhere until the movie is out in theaters.

If Lucas lived on Planet Earth, this might come to pass. But since Lucas lives on LucasWorld where never is heard a disparaging word, the odds against it approach infinity.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 20, 2004 10:59 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Number One with a Bang/Slash/Bang Option 8


ONE REASON MODERN MUSIC may not survive modernity is summed up in this stunning composition:Symphony #2 For Dot Matrix Printers,

Artist: The User
Label: Asphodel
Genre: Electronic: Experimental

It is exactly what it sounds like, a musical composition in which the only 'instruments' are printers, mic'd to amplify the whirring of carriages and the banging of type.
And no, you can't dance to it ....

Posted by Vanderleun at May 8, 2004 10:31 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Urban Renewal

The QuitSmoking Towers as we can admire them in the Kuala Lampur's skyline, took over 3 years of hard work (due to its very complex structure) and harsh legal battles against the Tobacco Lobbies that tried to stop the project.
Due to the outstanding success of their towers, the DesignForPeople Studio responsable of the project was recently commissioned to raise a "NoJunkFood" shopping center in Hong Kong...

--- Worth1000

Posted by Vanderleun at May 3, 2004 7:54 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Type Cast

Not Big Caslon, but rather Very Big Caslon: those of you strolling through midtown Manhattan may want to stop and visit the largest font of type I've ever seen -- maybe the largest in the world -- located in the lobby of the Time Warner building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas.

The 13 x 6 1/2 foot sculpture, a showing of William Caslon's eponymous 471, was originally commissioned by Time magazine. -- From Typographica : Very Big Caslon

Posted by Vanderleun at May 2, 2004 11:14 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The 10-Minute Anthem That Changed the World

An excerpt from Robert Hilburn's extensive and fascinating interview with Bob Dylan:

Dylan leans over and picks up the acoustic guitar.

"Well, you have to understand that I'm not a melodist," he says. "My songs are either based on old Protestant hymns or Carter family songs or variations of the blues form.

"What happens is, I'll take a song I know and simply start playing it in my head. That's the way I meditate. A lot of people will look at a crack on the wall and meditate, or count sheep or angels or money or something, and it's a proven fact that it'll help them relax. I don't meditate on any of that stuff. I meditate on a song.

"I'll be playing Bob Nolan's 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds,' for instance, in my head constantly %u2014 while I'm driving a car or talking to a person or sitting around or whatever. People will think they are talking to me and I'm talking back, but I'm not. I'm listening to the song in my head. At a certain point, some of the words will change and I'll start writing a song."

He's slowly strumming the guitar, but it's hard to pick out the tune.

"I wrote 'Blowin' in the Wind' in 10 minutes, just put words to an old spiritual, probably something I learned from Carter Family records. That's the folk music tradition. You use what's been handed down. 'The Times They Are A-Changin' is probably from an old Scottish folk song."

Pointer thanks to Outer Life which, strangely, "resisted Bob Dylan for a long time."

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 29, 2004 5:21 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink

"The eccentric photographer known as Disfarmer (1884-1959) seemed to be a man determined to shroud himself in mystery. Born Mike Meyers, the sixth of seven children in a German immigrant family, Disfarmer rejected the Arkansas farming world and the family in which he was raised.

"He even claimed at one point in his life that a tornado had lifted him up from places unknown and deposited him into the Meyers family. "

-- Disfarmer, Heber Springs Arkansas photographer

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 12, 2004 12:14 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
A Rare Poetic Form in Rare Form

The sharp-eyed Mike Snider of the pleasingly titled: Mike Snider's Formal Blog and Sonnetarium notes: "I Don't Like Many Pantoums but I do like this one by Martha Grimes (yes, that Martha Grimes) from her Send Bygraves."

I agree. The pantoum is a form rarely used and seldom successful. What pantoum's usually breed is a lot of new-age pap such as: "The pantoum seems particularly suited to us writing in America at the end of the twentieth century. Its repetition and circular quality give it a mystical chant like feeling. Its cut-up lines break down linear thought. The form is both ancient and fresh. Once you embark on it, it will be a poetic path you will want to take again and again." -- Miriam Sagan

It's a pleasure to see a saner path sustained in Grimes'


Down the wrong paths to the wrong answers lie
Clues that are planted to mislead the eye.
On Spectre Hill, a coach is passing by.
It will stop in your courtyard presently.

Clues that are planted to mislead the eye:
The gun, the knife, the bloodstain on the floor.
It will stop in your courtyard presently,
The driver will step down and try the door.

The gun, the knife, the bloodstain on the floor,
They are not what they seem to be at first.
The driver will step down and try the door.
As in an ending cleverly reversed,

They are not what they seem to be at first.
In silence sometimes lies the only hope.
As in an ending cleverly reversed,
Beware. Be Still. Be Patient. Let him grope.

In silence sometimes lies the only hope.
Some say there is an answer in the sky.
Beware. Be Still. Be Patient. Let him grope
Down the wrong paths to the wrong answers. Lie.

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 1, 2004 11:41 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Calling Out

by William Louis-Dreyfus

It's Early Spring. The sheep will have their young.
The flock then fills with lambs a few weeks old,
Anonymous dots until each mother's call
Brings each lamb back to get its feeding done.

The ewes call out, and by each mother's sound,
Repeated like an echo round the field,
They and the lambs, wherever is the need,
Each by their own are by that calling found.

If you keep sheep and mean to do it well,
You'll try to sell the lambs for Easter night
And get your price and give the flock its blend.

The ewes remaining in the flock don't know
Their lambs are gone and keep on calling out
For three full days; and then the calling ends

-- New Criterion

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 30, 2004 6:19 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Moving Images, 1

Photo by Rob T at

4 hands of 3 generations.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 24, 2004 7:25 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Cash-Flow of the Christ

A half-billion? Well, if I don't see a full 10% in cash, Mel's gonna
have some 'splaining to do when I come back."

Martin Grove at does the math for Mel Gibson's work of faith. Bottom line? Mell's looking at about a half-a-billion dollar hit from the money machine. Here's just a part of the picuture:

Then there are distribution fees to be paid to Newmarket, which has done a spectacular job releasing the film. While we don't know for sure what percentage fee Newmarket is getting, various reports have put it at 10-12 percent. Using a conservative 10 percent here leaves about $135 million. And then there are Icon's marketing costs (prints and advertising) to be recouped. Here, too, no one's telling us exactly what was spent, but some accounts have put "Passion's" opening and pre-opening marketing budget at a relatively modest $15-20 million. If we use the high end of that number to repay Icon's marketing costs, we've got -- well, really, Mel's got -- $115 million.

Of course, the longer a film plays the more marketing costs it generates since it needs some level of advertising support. As the Easter holiday period approaches it's likely that Icon will need to spend more on television spots and print ads. If the film enjoys the long run it seems to be on track for, those marketing costs along with other overhead costs will keep adding up over time. So let's knock that $115 million down to a mere $100 million in profits to Gibson and/or Icon.

Needless to say, that's just the tip of the iceberg. If a film grosses $400 million domestically, it could easily do twice that internationally. It could, of course, even do more. "Titanic," for instance, did about $1 billion abroad compared to about $600 million in the U.S. and Canada. "Passion" is likely to do extremely well in parts of the world like Latin America and South America where it will benefit from having a very large core audience of Christians. It could wind up in those territories as the biggest blockbuster of all time. On the other hand, how it performs in Japan and other Asian territories remains to be seen. While there isn't a huge Christian audience base to draw from in the Far East, the curiosity factor combined with global media coverage of the film's mushrooming domestic success could give it strength.
Something about: "Cast your bread upon the waters and...." seems right here.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 10, 2004 6:25 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Spam of William Burroughs

William Burroughs, an ancient and honorable beat Junkie now gone to his reward, came in his dotage to the concept of the 'cut-up.' The "Cut-Up" was a literary theory only a junkie or those who admire junkies could love. It held that you could shred up any item of print and, putting the pieces back together at random, wrest meaning out of gibberish.

And I am here to tell you that, if you were young enough, and had smoked enough dope, this theory was pure gold. It was instant literature for pot heads. Best of all, it took no thought whatsoever. (Always a plus for dope smokers.) Thought was anathema to the cut-up. What it took was a book, a pair of scissors, a pot of paste, and some blank paper. Whammo, snip and clip, cut and paste and art pure of heart and bereft of intent or cognition was yours for the asking.

Burroughs dined out on this theory for years, but I had thought that the practice and performance of this method had died with him.

So it was with renewed joy and the knowledge that, in modern art, no bad idea is ever really dead that I noted that The Cut-Up, in theory and practice, has found new life in the most recent incarnation of Spam.

Yes, as the Spammers grow ever more desperate to get their scams in front of your glazed eyes, they have now resorted to the Burroughsian Cut-Up Method for generating subject lines. A brief dip into my Junk folder today gave me these subject lines, presented verbatim and in order:


contemporaneous march
pawnshop bath
no risk anneal
lugging combination
aerobacter insolent

trait clean
huntington embassy johns borate
yogi silhouette
belittle guerdon chandler

no waiting room in clinic bulblet
gush domesday programmer intrude daredevil
moan saw agile sinter

An excellent tone poem on the nature of chaos, wouldn't you say? Just break them up a little and they seem as if they almost, but not quite, make sense.

Sort of the point of cut-ups and Spam actually. I'm looking forward to more of this poetry in the near future. Just before I "Select All" and hit "Delete."

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 6, 2004 4:51 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Speed. Action. Acting: This Film's Got It All

SKID MARKS**: The Roman Cortez Award Winning Short Film that is way too fast and too furious. Street racer or not, you owe yourself a screening of this mini-epic. Don't walk out during the credits.

And check out Seven Oh Five to keep up on these folks who deserve a genius award all their own.

(** Short Film Winner at Rockstar Games.)

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 8, 2004 11:33 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Win $50.00! Three Days Left!

You'd think they'd see this one coming.

That's right. $50 American Dollars to the Best Photoshop Goof on images below. Contest ends on December 15, 2003.


Who will decide what's the Best? Hey, it's my money and I'll decide. But I will be fair and balanced. Promise. Read on.

Khoi Vinh's elegant Subtraction notes the predictably lame efforts of the New York Time's usual suspect designers to come up with inspiring:Posters for President

It was a charming idea for The New York Times Magazine to commission nine prominent graphic designers to design posters for one of the nine Democratic candidates vying for the presidential nomination, but charming is exactly the problem. Each designer drew a candidate’s name from a hat, so there was no deliberate synergy in politics or artistic temperament, which may explain why most all of these posters are so flat and lifeless, but it doesn’t explain why, first of all, almost none of these designers really bothered to address the central challenge of the exercise, and second, why a disproportionately high number are all drawn from the same source.

Take a stroll through the posters on the slide show and Photoshop them at will and with a vengeance. Then compress the image to a webable size. (+/- 50kb) and mail them to the Publisher at American Digest.

Rights? You own your own rights except that I get to reproduce entrants at will, once.

Fair enough? Fark or do Something Awful at will.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 13, 2003 8:37 PM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Well Seen World of Bill Hocker

Eugene, Oregon 1975

"It's vain to think that you would have any interest in my photos of the places I've been, but vanity is the only excuse I offer. I like my photographs. After all the effort it's comforting to know they are available to others - much more comforting than the thought that, left on the shelf, they may become just another heirloom destined for the trash. If you like them too please let me know." - Bill Hocker

I first became aware of Bill Hocker's photography via a link on Jef Poskanzer's Industrial Archeology, a page I recommend to those with an interest in same as a central resource. In Jef's consistently terse style all he said was: "Bill Hocker's great industrial photos." I trust Jef like I trust few others online so that was enough for me.

Clicking on his link to Hocker's Industrials I was prepared for something excellent and I was not disappointed. I was not, however, prepared for the vast array of pleasures that the rest of his site has to offer.

Elegant and sparse in layout and presentation, Bill Hocker: Photographs is one of those rare sites where the visitor finds himself wandering from page to page and theme to theme with increasing pleasure. Through an all too rare meeting of taste with technical ability, Hocker's images from across many decades and through many countries, all seem as fresh as tomorrow and as solid as yesterday. Marked throughout by a quiet meticulousness and a dedication to visual acuity, this is one site you will not want to leave too soon. And one you'll want to return to as well.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 6, 2003 1:08 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Picture Window

Kaanapali Coast,
Maui, Hawaii
March 1978

John Pfahl

From: George Eastman House

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 19, 2003 8:45 AM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stan Lee and His Bipolar Comic Books


Freidrich at offers a compelling insight into the "tri-polar" nature of some of America's greatest superheroes. In his precise of "Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book," he notes:

The collaborative nature of the development of new superhero comics is well illustrated in the case of Spider-Man. According to Raphael and Spurgeon:

"In early 1962, Stan Lee expressed the desire to do a teenage superhero using the spider motif. Jack Kirby had long wanted to do an insect-related superheroWith Lees input, Kirby began to craft an introductory tale, rejecting some of the more fantastic Lee story elements, grounding the character in a domestic situation featuring a kindly aunt and uncle, and giving the superhero a secret origin revolving around a neighbor who happened to be a scientist. At Lees request, the character was turned over to Steve Ditko who, working from a synopsis and Kirbys pages, produced an inspired visual take on the character that drove its story for decadesbottle-thick glasses, slumped shoulders, and a homemade costume."

In short, many of the most memorable and human aspects of Spider-Man were actually contributions by Kirby and Ditko. In fact, the 'hybrid' nature of the Marvel comics of the early 1960s led to their most aesthetically distinct feature: Stan Lee's wisecracking dialogue floating over far more serious and, in some cases, even somber art. The tension successfully conveys something of the spirit of being a teenager, but I'm not sure a single 'auteur' could have captured it.

"Something of the spirit?" We'd say that a wisecrack floating on top of a somber spirit is the very essence of a teenager. And it may have a lot to do with the success of Spiderman.

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 15, 2003 8:02 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
At the Shoreline

Koi Dreams

The Hunt Among Stones


Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 8, 2003 9:41 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Another Story Normalized

Why should it bother me that no one cares
How hard it was to lug my ex-wife's stuff
From our new house and up three flights of stairs
To Marianne's? Who hasn't had it rough?

Besides, I got to keep the cat and plants
And sometimes see my daughter—till they moved—
And mow the grass and look for new romance—
There's nothing like it! Nothing! It's been proved!

The only things like anything are things
Too small to pet or whisper to at night
"O little quark your strangeness weaves the strings
Of everything but leptons and the light!"

What mulitudes I am, still incomplete.
My mother claims my father's breath was sweet.

From: Mike Snider's Formal Blog and Sonnetarium which alone may ensure the survival of the sonnet.

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 8, 2003 9:17 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hotel Eden


Joseph Cornell

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 3, 2003 11:49 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Most Brilliant Website in Known Cyberspace

Since 1986, I've seen a lot of the Net...Dave's Cave BBS, FidoNet, The Source,, CIS with a 6 character command line interface, Picospan at The Well, Gopher, Lynx and, after what seemed a long time and overnight, the Web. I'm well aware you can't see it all, you can't even see the beginning of the beginning of it all. And sure, I know that a site brand new to me has been seen by tens of thousands before. Right. Next. Still, because the Net has been good to me, I've seen a lot.

And, as happens when you see too much of something, I've become jaded -- "Been there, Clicked That, Bought the T-Shirt at CafePress." There are days when it all feels like I should be pulled over and booked for click and run.

But then an email brings a pointer, or a site posts a link, and, in an instant, you know you've found one of those sites that keeps you coming back.

The site pointed to below is one of those.

It is one of those sites that you know in an instant is going to be a time-sink the size of Jupiter's Red Spot and that you are going down.

It is a site that proceeds from pure imagination to meld words and images into a bright fusion. Combine that with a talent to bend HTML to serve the artist's ends rather than the other way around, and you are into "something rich and strange" -- the Sublime.

This is a site that exists to the side, in another dimension, an alternate web universe long ago and far away from these mundane uses. Above all, it is a site that challenges others to be even five percent as good. It's one of those places that show you what this medium could be rather than what is.

If you don't believe me, listen to ...The Pusher:

I'm beginning to feel like your local drug dealer.

First, I warn you about Quicksilver (which, of course, signaled many of you to just go out and buy it, and there's no help for you.

Then, I carefully warned you about this site, and I have no doubt many of you not only clicked, but you may have bought.

But neither of these are as dangerous as what I'm about to present.

This site is a diabolical combination of art, writing, and technology that is guaranteed to suck you into hours of, enjoyment. And, you better pay for it.

I suggest that your first experience begin with this. It's not quite as strong as the other installments, but will give you an eye-opening introduction. And, oh, if you don't get it, look at the bottom of your browser window. You have to scroll right.

The next is up to you. If you believe you're a right wing-conservative, or a left-wing liberal, then this work will prove appealing.

If you're into the Bible, then you should consult this, which is an interesting take on the Book of Revelations.

I could go on an on. But I won't. I've done enough damage. Please forgive me.

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 1, 2003 2:00 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Guggenheim Then

Space Object Box: “Little Bear, etc.” motif, mid-1950s–early 1960s. Box construction and collage, 11 x 17 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches.

Joseph Cornell was born December 24, 1903, in Nyack, New York. From 1917 to 1921, he attended Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. He was an avid collector of memorabilia and, while working as a woolen-goods salesman in New York until 1931, developed his interests in ballet, literature, and opera. He lived with his mother and brother, Robert, at their home in the Flushing section of Queens.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 21, 2003 9:43 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Guggenheim Now

The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (painting 3), 1997–98
[Click to Enlarge]

James Rosenquist A Retrospective at the Guggenheim

Born in 1933 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, James Rosenquist studied art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts as a teenager and at the University of Minnesota between 1952 and 1954, painting billboards during the summers. In 1955 he moved to New York to study at the Art Students League. He left the school after one year, and in 1957 returned to life as a commercial artist, painting billboards in Times Square and across the city. By 1960, he had quit painting billboards and rented a small studio space in Manhattan where his neighbors included artists Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, and Jack Youngerman. In 1962, he had his first solo exhibition at the Green Gallery in New York, and afterward was included in a number of groundbreaking group exhibitions that established Pop art as a movement.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 21, 2003 9:40 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
One Too Many Mornings and 21 Years Apart

From Today in Literature: Ernest Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls

On this day in 1940 Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was published. It had been over a decade since A Farewell to Arms, and though there had been a handful of books since, the critics had not thought much of them. About this one, many agreed with Edmund Wilson: "Hemingway the artist is with us again; and it is like having an old friend back." Sales kept pace, with half a million copies sold in the first six months, and a record-setting film deal. There were dissenting voices, some of them raised at Hemingway's view of the Spanish Civil War, some of them at his love-making. This is the famous moment in chapter thirteen when everything goes "red, orange, gold-red" for Maria and the earth moves for Robert Jordan:

"For him it was a dark passage which led to nowhere, then to nowhere, then again to nowhere, once again to nowhere, always and forever to nowhere, heavy on the elbows in the earth to nowhere, dark, never any end to nowhere, hung on all time always to unknowing nowhere, this time and again for always to nowhere, now not to be borne once again always and to nowhere, now beyond all bearing up, up, up and into nowhere, suddenly scaldingly, holdingly all nowhere gone and time absolutely still and they were both there, time having stopped and he felt the earth move out and away from under them."

Song for Woody, by Bob Dylan. This was one of two songs writtenby Dylan on his first album ("Bob Dylan"), recorded this day in 1961:

...I'm out I'm out here a thousand miles from my home
Walkin' a road other men have gone down
I'm seein' your world of people and things
Of paupers and peasants and princes and kings.

Hey, hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
'Bout a funny old world that's comin' along
See, it's sick and it's hungry and it's tired and it's torn
It looks like it's dyin' and it's hardly been born.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 20, 2003 10:19 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Curatoraprose: "Okay, we get it, we get it..."

"Elvis to Andy to Barbra,"
Is all ye know on Earth,
And all ye need to know.

There's a school of writing that has infected museums. It's called "curatoraprose," and it arises from the strange compulsion of museums to explain what can be seen. It is a terrible affliciton that kills and cripples thousands of artworks annually. Here's an example:

"Deborah Kass mimics Andy Warhol's portrait of Elvis Presley, substituting Barbra Steisand in the role of Yentl for the king of rock and roll. In this painting, the artist comments on the roles played by gender and religion in today's culture, humorously contrasting Yentl in Yeshiva-boy drag with Elvis — America's iconic image of virility."

From: Making Connections in Art and Jewish Culture

Yeshiva drag vs. the very "iconic image of virility." We've always felt that Barbra was an iconic image of virility in drag. Unlike Elvis, she's still recording if not appearing.

Jumps. Shoots. Scores!

Chris Muir's brilliant Day by Day is in the zone today.


Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 10, 2003 9:55 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Koi Dreams

Click on image for larger view.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 7, 2003 9:25 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Pix and Font Virus Proliferates

The astute Michael at nails down the current plague of eyewash trumping lucidity.

Still, the Quark-and-Photoshop revolution has delivered some -- OK, many --evils to us too. Foremost among them, as far as I'm concerned, is the vogue for what's known as "reversed-out" type -- white (or light) type set over black (or dark) backgrounds. Have you noticed how common reversed-out text is these days? It's everywhere. Type on top of dark photos, type on top of color blocks and swirls.

The eyes boggle -- which can be exciting and/or cool. What's not cool, IMHO, is when the eye-boggle goes on too long.

About three nanoseconds from where we're sitting, Michael. We can't hit the back button quicker than that.

Posted by Van der Leun at Oct 1, 2003 10:01 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The News of the World

Light of late night - Rob Gonsalves

Click to enlarge

From Amazing Art

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 30, 2003 2:46 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Twin Towers

Posted by Van der Leun at Sep 12, 2003 2:47 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Today: Last Weekend of the Summer

by David MacDonald

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 1, 2003 10:09 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Nudes of David Newman

There's a lovely selection of skillfully rendered nudes by San Francisco artist and photographer David Newman at this web gallery:Works on Paper

As Newman states:

Although I shared some of the images with friends as the works were created, this is the first time these works have been seen together on the web.
Newman, who studied with west coast masters such as Wayne Theibaud and Dave Gilhooly, but fortunately missed out on Mel Ramos, has put together an impressive selection in a wide range of mediums, all distinguished by a sinuous line. Worth more than a passing glance.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 28, 2003 3:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Falling Water's Falling Down

Falling Water: Nature Has Had It's Way
with Her from Day One

Michael at the erudite and too deprecatingly named 2Blowhards is busy committing his usual heresy. In no uncertain terms he declares: Frank Lloyd Wright Is Not God

Simple question: Would you want to live in one of his houses? I wouldn't, for two main reasons.

Most important is the way a Frank Lloyd Wright house never becomes your home; instead, you move in and become the curator of one branch of the Frank Lloyd Wright museum. You're just the custodian in a monument to his genius.

For the other, I wouldn't want to be in charge of (let alone pay for) the upkeep. Wright couldn't resist trying out innovative building techniques -- which has meant in practice that many of his houses are in semi-constant need of expensive repair.

As for the art and moral values his work is celebrated for -- openness, naturalness, a casual, flowing informality -- well, let's see. His ceilings are often very low -- uncomfortably low. Why? Because he was a vindictive short man who was resentful of taller people, and he liked ceiling heights that make tall people feel uneasy. Flowing and open? Sure: his use of space is often fascinating in an aesthetic sense. But in a human sense, it works only if you subscribe to the whole package -- if you don't mess with how and where he wants the furniture placed and the light to fall. It all works together or it doesn't work at all -- which is impressive but a pain. (There's nothing quite like being locked into someone else's concept, particularly when what you want to do is kick back in the comfort of your own home.)

As far as I can tell, and from what the owners of one house told me, his buildings are about as unadaptable as buildings can be. And those long horizontal lines which we're told are such eloquent reflections of the American landscape and psyche? Well, they collect water and leak, and the water drips down into the walls, and ....

All in all an estimable estimation of a man who has, like all men, been overrated since his death. From all accounts, dealing with Wright when alive was like dealing with a man who had mistaken himself for God. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Michael also goes on to note something that I caught my attention in the Wall Street Journal: the shabby state of that most iconic of Wright buildings, Falling Water. I realize that irony is dead, but for just a moment it sprang back to life when I learned that this house was broken from the day before it was finished. The price tag to bring it back to snuff? A cool $11 million.

Oh well, I suppose it is a mere bagatelle when you think of all the photos that the house has spawned, from the same angle, year after year and decade after decade.

Falling Water seems to be eternally spared from the wrecking ball, but, if I recall the Journals article correctly, the same cannot be said for a number of the other 100 odd Wright homes in existence. The reason? They sit on some fine sites, but nobody wants to live in their tiny rooms any longer.

I'd score the whole thing six, six and one even for Wright. I mean, Falling Water's a nice house, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 23, 2003 10:51 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Up on the Roof

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Roy Lichtenstein on the Roof

This Web feature is designed to complement "Roy Lichtenstein on the Roof," on view at the Metropolitan Museum through November 2, 2003. The installation comprises a selection of six brightly painted or patinated bronze and aluminum sculptures by American artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923￐1997). The works are on view in the most dramatic outdoor space for sculpture in New York City: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, which offers a spectacular view of Central Park and the New York City skyline. Created in the 1990s, the six works include a group of "brushstroke" sculptures and a seventeen-foot-wide house.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 11, 2003 9:59 AM | QuickLink: Permalink

by Carl Sandburg

I AM the people--the mob--the crowd--the mass.

Do you know that all the great work of the world is
done through me?

I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the
world's food and clothes.

I am the audience that witnesses history. The

come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And
then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand
for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.
I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted.
I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and
makes me work and give up what I have. And I

Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red
drops for history to remember. Then--I forget.

When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the
People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer
forget who robbed me last year, who played me for
a fool--then there will be no speaker in all the world
say the name: "The People," with any fleck of a
sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.

The mob--the crowd--the mass--will arrive then.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 11, 2003 9:36 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Frederic Remington: The Color of Night

"The Stampede by Lightning"
Click for larger view

The greatest American painter of the frontier, Frederic Remington, has a number of relatively unknown paintings being exhibitied at the National Gallery The focus in this show is on Remington's paintings that take place at night.

Remington's nocturnes are filled with color and lightmoonlight, firelight, and candlelight. These complex paintings testify to the artist's interest in modern technological innovations, including flash photography and the advent of electricity, which was rapidly transforming the character of night. The paintings are also elegiac, for they reflect Remington's lament that the West he had known as a young man had, by the turn of the century, largely disappeared. Although immediately recognized as extraordinary works, Remington's late nocturnes have never before been the subject of an exhibition. Frederic Remington: The Color of Night gathers together for the first time the finest of these mysterious, often deeply personal paintings.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 6, 2003 10:42 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Making of a Magazine Icon

Click for larger image

From the Smithsonian's retrospective of the work of Philip Halsman located at:Portraits by Halsman Here we've placed two separate images together to see how a photographer's vision is translated into a magazine cover. Hard to see how Marilyn could make a "case for interplanetary saucers," but it would be hard to resist picking up this magazine to see what that case could be. After all, people only read Life for the

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 5, 2003 9:15 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Touching Faces

One of the most moving contemporary portraits, Chuck Close's portrait of his mother-in-law, Fanny/Fingerpainting, reveals a sublime blend of technique and feeling. One which, viewed from a distance or up close, unifies his technique with his feeling -- makes that which is merely clever subordinate to that which is deeply felt.

The notes at the National Gallery of Art tell a slightly different story:

Seen from a distance, the painting looks like a giant, silver-toned photograph that unrelentingly reveals every crack and crevice of the sitter's face. Closer up, the paint surface dissolves into a sea of fingerprints that have an abstract beauty, even as they metaphorically suggest the withering of the sitter's skin with age. The fingerpaintings provide a far more literal record of the artist's touch than most abstract expressionist brushwork -- but are at the same time dictated by an abstract, distinctly impersonal system.
As usual in the manner of 'curator's notes' in contemporary exhibitions, these comments seek to involve us in the same "abstract, impersonal system" that the curator has bought into in order to achieve and extend his or her position. The notes only real role is to distance our reaction to the image that the artist has created. They say little about the emotions of the viewer and less about those of the creator.

Does anyone imagine that Chuck Close thought "I'll use fingerprints to construct Fanny's face and thereby make a broad statement about touch versus an abstract system?" Close is a clever and distinguished artist, but he works in the world of emotions. If he did not, his work would not reach from the image into the heart of the viewer.

It is a source of constant wonder to me that when so many of our better contemporary painters can be pushing deeper and deeper into the wordless realm of the human heart, our professional art establishment is fleeing from it. I'll put it down to the behavior of the "herd of independent minds."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 26, 2003 10:21 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
On the Field of Life, on the Battlefield of Truth.

On Frederick Turner and American Poems in the Key of Life

The universities were thick with lies.
Ten thousand poets would betray their name
To buy the good opinion of the liars.

-- Frederick Turner

Was Frederick Turner the only one of our poets who felt a wave of revulsion sweep over him when the "herd of independent minds" that fancy themselves as 'important' American poets formed a viscous slab of drivel around opposition to the war?

It may well be the case since I am not aware of any other American poets that stood apart from this wholesale hijacking of an art form. "Poets Against the War" was an Internet driven round-up of poets hot to resist America's plan to set 25 million Omars free, and make Iraq a place where poets critical of their despot would not have their eyes ripped from their sockets and their throats cut. It was a shameful roster of poets so deeply ashamed of themselves and their work that they were willing to consign other poets in the present and future Iraq to silence, torture, and death that their hate of America in general, and George Bush in particular, might prevail. Having fattened at the table of America, they were determined to let the world know they were not at all grateful.

Little has been heard of this rag-tag gang of scribblers since the fall of the despicable regime they struggled to sustain. Indeed, only epitaph is a preening farewell note from Commandante Hamill on their web site that, while humping and pumping his own achievements, proclaims, in the mock bombast that is his signature style:

We have drawn our line in the sand. Our tools are everyone's tools: the simple words we use almost thoughtlessly every day, but use in our art with scrupulous honesty and precision. I am Confucian enough to believe that "All wisdom is rooted in learning to call things by the right name." And we poets understand why Dante put the defilers of language into the seventh circle of his Hell.
If that is true, then Mr. Hamill will understand Dante even more clearly upon his future arrival in said circle.

But not all living American poets signed on to this shameful agenda. Many simply stayed aloof or held their peace. Not a brave stance, but who would risk being tossed out of a safe sinecure just to voice a mild dissent?

Frederick Turner has been many things in his career, but mild is not one of them. From the moment of Poets Against the War's inception, Turner made it clear he was not going to join these hapless babblers when he wrote:

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 24, 2003 9:49 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Christo's 23 Miles of Gates to Open in Central Park

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Central Park...Christo Reconsidered

The audacious and totally original artist Christo (and his fiery collaborator-wife Jeanne-Claude) are back now, with the City's approval, to install "The Gates"; their project in Central Park.

While the date isn't finally set, Christo hopes "The Gates" project will be installed as early as 2005.Christo plans to place his "Gates" along the 23 miles of Central Park's paths. Not just five or 10 or 100 but a virtual Roman legion of 7,500 gates: 16-foot-high marching metal stanchions with luminous, saffron-colored banners hanging from their crossbars, waving and billowing in the breeze.

For the complete background on this stunning project, go to The Gates Project

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 22, 2003 10:25 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
DIA BEACON: An Image of Nothing

In an old Nabisco plant Warhol's shadows fall.

Dia Beacon, like an elephants' burying ground of contemporary art that was mercifully too large to be shown, squats next to the Hudson River north of Manhattan. Within rooms of dirt vie with rooms of trash in a silent contest to see which installation can be the most meaningless. Chief among these are 122 large Warhol paintings of shadows. Lynne Cooke, working in the long and strong tradition of curatorial gibberish sums these large daubs and Dia Beacon up in her Andy Warhol Essay

The shadow, which holds a seminal role in the originary accounts of both painting and photography as art forms, assumes in Warhol's depictions a paradigmatic identity: devoid of identifiable source, detached from its maker or creator, it exists in and of itself, a purposefully made image of "nothing."
Richard Kimball, in The New Criterion makes the subtext in this statement plain text in "Minimalist Fantasies"
Where is Evelyn Waugh when you need him? I mean, where is the satirist with a boot big and swift and hard enough for the collective backside of todays art world? The hour is come, Sir Walter Scott indited gloomily, but not the man. I share that gloom. There is plenty of good art being made now, but most of it goes unnoticed, all but. The big press and the big money tend to line up behind transgressive crap (the blasphemy, kinky sex, bodily effluvia brigade) or utterly vacuous crap (the blank canvas, exhibit-my-old-sneaker, I-can-count-to-three-million-and-make-you-watch-me-do-it company). I apologize, by the way, for the word crap. I think its undignified, too. I looked around for an alternative that was equally accurate, blunt, and printable. I considered merde, but it seemed a bit pretentious for the matter at hand, and besides, its French. Crap at least is short, sharp, and expressive. It has the added advantage of being apt: CRAP, n. 3. a. Worthless nonsense, The American Heritage Dictionary.

Doubtless you have heard of the Dia Arts Foundation, though probably it is not in the forefront of your consciousness. It hadnt been in the news much lately. Dia was one of the many potty ideas with roots in the 1960s that didnt get going until the 1970s, and now, like eczema or PCBs, is almost impossible to extirpate. Why Dia? Its Greek for through, as in Cant you see through this ridiculous sham? Dia was started in 1974 by a German art dealer named Heiner Friedrich and his wife, Philippa de Menil. Herr Friedrich supplied the pretension, most of it; Miss de Menila daughter of the art collectors Dominique and John de Menil, and hence an heiress to the Schlumberger oil fortunesupplied the money, lots of it. According to Kimmelman, by the mid-1980s, Dia had spent $40 million on 1,000 works of art.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 11, 2003 9:35 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Target: Design in American Now

An icon for the 21st century that surpasses the Taco Bell Chihuahua would have to be this horned woofer run up for Target Stores by the Peterson Milla Hooks agency. We're not sure what he's promoting for Target, but we are sure that if he was on the shelves in time for Christmas, he'd run out of the store.

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum   |   is an exceptional online sight featuring numerous flash-enabled tours of current and past exhibitions. Now showing is "The "National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now" showcasing 80 designers and firms who are setting the pace in contemporary design.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 27, 2003 6:28 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
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