Monday, December 10, 2007

"Bean" Artist Talk

Beep Beep Gallery hosted an artist talk with Ben "Bean" Worley this Sunday. Although it's not something that would compliment every exhibit at Beep Beep, incorporating "talk back" events when possible will lend the gallery a more well-rounded repertoire. Art affords a unique opportunity for discourse, and encouraging that communication between artists and spectators can only increase the depth and staying power of the gallery experience.

Bean's presentation was a digital mixed media presentation covering the history of the Encyclopedia project. Creative Loafing does a pretty decent job describing the still images, although Felicia Feaster overemphasizes the connection between Bean and Andy Moon. A deadline must have demanded some sort of Frankenstein graft of two articles into one.

Considering the coverage there and on Thoughtmarker and Access Atlanta, I decided to offer little commentary on my own and post images (which are unfortunately lacking on the Creative Loafing website) and some excerpts from the talk itself:

* * *

Bean: If you have any questions feel free to pipe in and let me know what you’re thinking. Think of this more as a dialogue between people interested in art.

The first thing I was looking at in terms in theory was Roy Ascott. He was writing a lot in the last 40 or so years about the integration between technology and the arts. It’s still relatively new in the field today. A lot of media programs are now popping up in universities, but things really only just started in the 70s with Nam June Paik and Fluxus and movements into video art.

[Bean discusses an image, a word art quotation by Ascott, unable to reproduce here.]

* * *

When you’re making artwork, it develops by experimenting a lot through a series of changes. I’ve got to talk a little about the creative process. I think the spectator is really important: how do I interact with or impact the audience? I like to create situations where it’s not so closed off and I’m not saying specifically I’m “anti” this or that. I think of myself as an explorer or a junk collector. I think there are specific connections with how you inundate yourself in the medium. The more I’ve spent with this process, the more I sense what it is now and how may turn out in a year.

Right now it’s about defining problems and not solutions. There’s an organic process, and there’s a lot of random developments. The way I think is way up here in a large bubble up of thoughts and books I’ve read and then it filters down into specific mediums.

So basically I found this first set of encyclopedias, 1977 Britannica, basically from the around the time I was born. And they had a lot of images, not as much as World Book, but there was something there. When I first started working with books I didn’t really limit myself to one set, I added yearbooks and images from other encyclopedias. I went to the old thrift store and found some encyclopedias in the trash. Working from there, after a year I began physically experimenting with the books and looking at the artistic/social value, sitting there reading them for hours.

* * *

I did this show where I took the set, putting it together in minimal arrangements. But I actually want to talk about how I get from minimalism to actually opening them up and manipulating images. I thought: what if I tried making an installation in the college library? I found this stairwell, well lit, windows all up the side. It was nice white marble, seven or eight stories tall. A really beautiful stairwell architecturally. Starting really simple, attaching images end to end, let it waterfall and walk up and down the whole length. The library was just a perfect place. There were books being thrown away, and books that would never be read, and it was like a memorial. It was fun to propose artwork there in a place that wasn’t designed as an art space.

There I first thought of exploring the books and images, photographing and elaborating. I liked the movement and how it became sort of a film. I had the idea to make a video installation with those books and images in hybrid. It goes back to being a child being fascinated with books and images. I created a screen with blank pages from books, and I created an entire room out of all of them, taking those pages stapled together like brick walls built in an old projector room. I put a hole in some books and projected a video that was actually made from these images. So you were sitting in this space and the video was made from the space you were actually sitting in. I had to manufacture everything, looking where the air vents were… I felt like a builder, a construction guy coming in and placing my material, creating the roof in this space with my materials. I made separate films for each of the books. So I started to take these ideas from the installation and the sculpture.

* * *

I was creating work outside of school trying to develop a creative self in Atlanta. I did a number of small shows, some themed shows I don’t necessarily to do most of the time, getting into the Juxtapoz kind of art. I’m trying to stay away from that, though I get put into the those themes sometimes because that’s the environment where I work or because I’m a working class person. I’m tied to the working class, because I work really hard as a sound engineer. With philosophy, higher education, or high end art you get locked into the system, and you don’t realize the reality of the world. I think you have to find a happy medium: it’s a fine line to walk.


Images: Encyclopedia Studies

Saturday, December 08, 2007

H.C. Wonko

(John Tindel, Sexual Chocolate)

Earlier this year, Chris "H.C." Warner mentioned that his dream was to make Alcove Gallery a Wonka-esque wonderland. Although his "Wonko" show (Dec. 7 - Jan. 20) is a long way from achieving something like a magical chocolate empire, it's clear that Warner is doing well to deliver on his word. The move from affluent Buckhead to a somewhat industrial section of East College Ave. seems to have little effect on gallery attendance.

Again demonstrating his love of things Gene Wilder (the last show was titled "It's Alive!" after Young Frankenstein), Alcove continues in a spirit akin to the 1971 flick. The overall sense of the place is a celebration of returned youth. Take for instance the submission, Wonka Garden, by Barcelona artist Sergio Mora. Although the haircut on the central figure resembles Johnny Depp's rendition of the character, the tone of the piece is pure psychedelia. With a mystical third eye emerging from his hat, a rather androgynous Wonka rides a pale, blue and magenta spotted horse. Several fairy-sized (and notably caucasian) Oompa Loompas dance amid mushrooms and lollipops. One of the Oompas is especially enjoying himself, urinating on a nearby flower.

I regret not writing about Mark Henderson or Lelsie Ditto's work last month, as some of their pieces have gone elsewhere. One of Leslie's entries into the show, a piece I believe called Veronica, captured a bit more of the darker side of the novel. A girl looks directly at the viewer holding the menacing swirl of a giant lollipop. Casting a long, heavy shadow, the strained lines on the girl's face contradict her implied age, an effect reminiscent of bad plastic surgery.

The menu may prove a little too whimsical for some. The taste is indeed saccharine and can tire after repeated servings, but few would argue that Alcove hasn't carved itself a niche. The expanded floorspace of the Avondale location, for instance, makes the gallery more child friendly (without an increased danger to the art). I'm sure the decision is good for business, but it really gels with Warner's overall mission without the hint of anything disingenuous.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Winter Soulstice

Check out these snazzy flyers for Winter Soulstice next Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Variety Playhouse. It's a live music/art auction/charity event to raise money for Let There Be Music, an organization that gets music lessons for kids in foster care.

It's the first event put on by Groove Muse, a new Atlanta group formed by some really positive folk I met this year. Live music and an art auction featuring local artists, including Andrew Bellury of MINT. $15 for advance tickets; $20 at the door.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On "Fucking Up"

There is an interview with art critic Dave Hickey in the current issue of The Believer. I was flipping through and I saw another image by Gajin Fujita, so I decided to give it a read. Apparently, one of the reasons that there aren't many career art critics today is because "a whole generation of critics died of AIDS in the ’80s."

But I'm posting the reference for completely different reasons. At one point in the interview, Hickey suddenly takes an interest in the age of his interviewer, a female. She says she's thirty years old, and Hickey responds

"Great! You’re a bright young thing. You have all the way till you’re forty to totally fuck up your life. It takes that long, if you’re really talented, to really fuck everything up. You just go up and up and up and up, and all of a sudden you’ve got three ex-husbands, a broken-down Porsche, a bunch of leather clothes, some haute-couture accessories, and no prospects at all."

Opinions like that really just hit you in the face sometimes with just how someone else's perception of life can change with age and experience. So, finding myself in a strange relationship with my youth, I appreciated this odd piece of advice from this unashamedly odd, John Falstaff sort of guy.

Also, the images in the latest New American Paintings are really nice.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Art Papers Live

(Above: photographs and collaborations by Walid Raad)

I've experienced a range of emotions towards Art Papers magazine in the past. At first, I was ecstatic to see a nationally recognized arts publication based right here in Atlanta. That initial elation, however, subsided when it became clear that the magazine maintains very little interest in artists operating in its home city. Things have certainly changed since the 1970s and the Atlanta Art Workers Coalition Newsletter.

At the same time, I can't deny that Art Papers provides a very important service to the area. I've only attended three Art Papers lectures, but I would say that Walid Raad's presentation on Wednesday was one of the most pleasant so far. The man is talented storyteller, and he has a real sense for history and how it affects our perceptions of the world.

Raad's collaborative project, Already Been in a Lake of Fire, dynamically examines the history of the Lebanese Civil War through an exhaustive account of wartime car bombings. After months of relentless investigation into nearly 250 detonations, The Atlas Group produced a number of mixed media images, presented collectively as the first volume of a fictional encyclopedia about the conflict.

The goal of the project was not a precise, scientific assessment of facts, nor was the intention about fabricating information. I believe the phrase that was used was "an aesthetic history," an account that could really deconstruct the invisible connections between violence, political power, and the journalistic establishment. By carefully following in the footsteps of the journalists, career photographers, and primary investigators surrounding the bombings, Raad was able to deliver narratives hidden behind the headlines.

I think that was the most striking aspect of the presentation. In a world dominated by commercial media, I sometimes wonder if we have really started to perceive the world in terms of a sequence of disconnected "news" events. Although it would be foolish to reconstruct history as a single, uniform continuity, I can see a lot of value in exploring the past in terms of multiple converging narratives. Artists stand in an excellent position as storytellers, and I think there is a great need for radically reevaluating the transmission of world events today.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rethinking Lowbrow

(Above: Gajin Fujita, Redlight District)

I've had the entire month of October to examine and rethink my position on Juxtapoz and the Lowbrow movement. I suppose I must have sounded like a parrot, or atleast a prude, when I joined the dozens of "establishment" voices in opposition to the Juxtapoz aesthetic. Although I haven't completely reversed my position, I can finally look at the magazine with a fresh pair of eyes.

I believe it was was the image on p.85 of October's Juxtapoz that really turned my head. There was something in Fujita's mounted samurai that was austere yet electrifying and powerfully fresh yet at same time intensely bound to tradition. I was confronted by that quietly explosive image of bushido rendered in cobalt and crimson spray paint. The piece successfully married the sensibilities of modern graffiti, Ukyo woodblock prints, and if my instincts serve me well, the equestrian tradition of Mongolian painting.

Lowbrow, as identified with Juxtapoz founder Robert Williams, poses a number of unique questions today. Can Lowbrow retain its momentum as a force of change within the arts community when it has certainly outgrown its roots as an isolated, underground movement? In what ways can artists reconcile personal and local identities with an increasingly global culture? In what ways can artists appropriate imagery from graffiti and pop culture in historically meaningful ways?

After just a little reflection, I can see clearly that Lowbrow has accomplished a very, very important task. The space has widened for more people to participate in creating and appreciating art than ever before. And the best part is we don't have to be filthy rich to get inside.

At the same time, the people entering the arts community today are members of a very different generation than Williams, R. Crumb, and the other Zap Comix contributors of the 1960s and early 70s. The questions posed by Lowbrow have existed for several decades, and the cultural terrain continues to change right underneath our feet. It's the ground we've inherited, and I believe we have the power to decide what that means.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Deconform is now

available in limited distribution at several Atlanta and Decatur locations, including Java Monkey coffee house & wine bar, Eyedrum Gallery, Young Blood Gallery, Midtown Art Cinema, and Oglethorpe University Museum. After a month's delay, I'm proud to say that the Fall issue exists. And it looks great. Kudos to designer Robert Burroughs on a fine job overall.

The artist interviews are a good read: Kiki Blood, Ben Fain, Yusef M. Sharif, and Constance Thalken lay down their thoughts on art and politics with refreshing honesty and bravado. I was surprised to learn about Thalken's photo project on the brutal realities of alligator harvesting in the Southeast. Also, I think Rick Jackson's piece on the Subversive Absurdists is especially strong (Deconform p.23).

My own writing will not appear until the next issue. It was a collective, editorial decision, and there were handful of ideas that were left on the cutting table. Looking back at my notes from last month, I realize just how much my job was eating my brain. It was hard to tell at the time, but I was a nervous wreck. I've taken the time to recuperate, catch up on some reading, and fool around with Live Journal.

I posted below some approximations of writing I decided to abandon, pulled from various notes here and there. The August piece, which I don't feel too great about, is an opinion/feature surrounding shows I attended in July. The September feature story, which I think is a little better, centers on Beep Beep Gallery.

The next issue is due in January, and we plan to increase our distribution. Let me know if you think there are more businesses out there that would be a good home for extra issues.

See ya around. ;)


Notes and Unpublished Writing (September)


On one particularly hot and muggy Friday night, a friend pointed out to me that Green’s Package Store on Ponce de Leon attracts the most incredibly diverse set of customers. “And right across the street,” he marveled, “MJQ is packed with dirty Indie Rockers and Morehouse College kids, and they’re all dancing to Old School Hip-hop.” At the moment, I was too busy thinking about art shows to really consider the thought.

But he was right; that short section of roadway connecting Freedom Parkway and Charles Allen Avenue is a nexus of almost every demographic in the metro area. If you walk just two blocks to the north or south of Ponce, you can see a staggering range of development. Lower income housing rapidly gives way to the multi-story homes of Midtown and Virginia Highlands. The Majestic diner and the soon-to-be-demolished Old City Hall East stand opposite brand new condos, Whole Foods Market, and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Nested in these curious circumstances, Beep Beep Gallery sits on top of a uniquely Atlanta cultural nerve. For me, the location indicates more than a simple business decision. The gallery almost physically illustrates this fabulous collision between wealth and intense poverty, local character, and mass culture. When I stand on that corner straddling Charles Allen and Ponce, staring at the trees outlined by the glow of the Bank of America tower, I can see the bizarre evolution of Southern life appear like some impossible specter out of time.

Keep in mind that Beep Beep is no Faye Gold Gallery. Beep Beep is a tiny, single room art space with very little in the way of sophisticated ornament. A shelf of vinyl records and used books lines the front window, and a small staff booth, complete with a rack of collaborative ‘zines, guards the rear. Events typically feature Dunkin’ Donuts and Pabst Blue Ribbon; you would be hard-pressed to find anyone drinking fine Champaign. But the gallery is totally and adamantly loyal to local art, and it certainly knows how to have a good time.

Incredibly, space never seems to be an issue at Beep Beep events. This summer’s Concrete Jungle show, for example, made strategic use of limited wall surface. Gallery-goers regularly spill out onto the street, whether the evening’s call-to-arms happens to be a dozen monopoly boards by Ben Goldman and Sam Parker or a live performance by Atlanta’s Noot d’ Noot. During a recent photography opening, the venue’s back door yawned wide onto the rear side of the property. A repeating projection cast surreal illumination on the back lot, where smokers sat on a concrete bank clutched by dangles of tree root.

There could be no greater contrast between the feeling of that moonlit lot and Beep Beep’s reception at the Westin’s Sundial restaurant. At more than fifty stories in the air, the hotel restaurant is famous for its revolving dining floor. Tables set on the circumference of the tower literally revolve around the dial, allowing guests to see the Atlanta skyline from an effectively first person perspective. But Beep Beep regulars proudly displayed their tattoos and rapidly emptied their beer bottles while sampling fancy desserts from the Westin kitchen.

Five Atlanta artists were represented: Dosa Kim, Ann-Marie Manker, Michi, Bryan Westberry, and Shana Wood. Pieces by Dosa Kim, who practices a type of aggressive Asian comic book fusion, were especially popular. The combination of good art, floor-to-ceiling glass, and whole sections of moving floor was almost too much. My mind was dizzy with hilarious amazement coupled with a bit of authentic vertigo. I was looking at some of the most “low brow” artwork Atlanta has to offer, suspended up here thousands of feet above the ground.

Suddenly, “Rise:,” the title of the Westin exhibit, resounded as a powerful community statement.


Notes and Unpublished Writing (August)


The summer heat this year was paralleled by an impressive amount of creativity from the Atlanta arts community. From the wildly successful 2007 Folk Fest, a massive three-day exhibition held at North Atlanta Trade Center, to the smaller yet solid Sunday Southern Art Revival at Whitespace, area coordinators delivered a diverse, compelling season of events. Outside of mainstream venues on Miami Circle and the Castleberry circuit, Atlanta's more youthful venues, several located in the Grant Park, Decatur, Avondale Estates, and Ponce de Leon areas, gained a considerable amount of momentum. Notably, galleries such as Young Blood Gallery and Foundation One hosted consistently popular features by both local and nationally recognized artists.

Wine, music, chatter about politics, chatter about pop culture: there are number of things one can expect from an art show in any city. Although the scene in Atlanta generally complies with these expectations, the atmosphere of one auction or fundraiser can vary dramatically from the next. A benefit held at Lenny's Bar, for instance, tends to draw a crowd with a particular thirst for live guitars and Jack Daniel's served on the rocks. Events at Faye Gold Gallery, on the other hand, are more likely to feature chilled French wine served alongside platters of shrimp cocktail. Although openings tend to follow a somewhat predictable form, the possibilities for creative planning are wide open.

Consider The Vinyl Show held early this July at New Street Gallery in Avondale Estates. The annual benefit celebrated its third consecutive year with an energetic crowd of art lovers and music lovers alike. The evening began with a well-orchestrated silent auction boasting a number of affordable pieces painted and assembled according to a unifying theme. Artists were challenged to create works using the 12" vinyl record as a medium. Otherwise, each piece varied in terms of material and style, representing a generous range of skill and maturity. Although one would hesitate to compare the works highlighted that night to ones exhibited at The High Museum of Art, The Vinyl Show was highly successful as a community event. At the closing of the auction, the back of the New Street property came alive with memorable musical performances by the Atlanta group, Hubcap City, among others. At its most pleasant moments, the evening felt like a countryside honeymoon following the metaphorical wedding between music and art.

Art and music, however, do not always mix in a harmonious way. There was a heavily promoted event much later in July entitled That Big Ass Art Party. For a reasonable cover price, one could enjoy a cold beer, walk through an enormous industrial art space, and listen to tunes spun by local Atlanta DJs. The music, however, was at times much too loud, and the overall vibe of the show was fairly disorienting. Featured works tended to share an urban aesthetic, a style imitative of trends found in Juxtapoz Magazine. The quality of the art varied even more wildly than that of The Vinyl Show, a fact that added to the generally haphazard atmosphere. On the other hand, a few gems by artists such as Atlanta's Dosa Kim proved to be the saving grace of That Big Ass Art Party. As the event's title suggested, its managerial approach to art seemed less sensitive than it was sensationalist.

Alcove Gallery, which moves to a new location in Avondale this month, threw a very strong event with their 4 Score fourth anniversary celebration. Despite significant amounts of alcohol and a professional burlesque performance, Alcove succeeded in keeping the evening's sensationalism to a minimum. Event participants were respectful of the art as well as attending Alcove artists, and most everyone present at 4 Score appeared to be having an authentically good time. Upon entering the gallery, attendees were met with an entire wall of tiny mixed-media renditions of Abraham Lincoln by Matt Lively. The Lincoln pieces sold literally by the dozen, and by the end of the evening, "Old Abe" had left the building completely.

In general, the arts community continues to grow with every passing month. That tried-and-true cocktail of event planning, a mix of equal parts affordable art, smart management, and a general lack of cover charge, is an elixir for bolstering creative vitality. Fun, non-intimidating events will continue to attract newcomers from a wider cross-section of social backgrounds. Nurturing a "scene" of exclusive socialites is a masturbatory endeavor as well as poor business practice. Attracting a diverse group of gallery patrons, young and old, does not necessary hurt a venue's credibility. A poor college student should be just as welcome as a medical school graduate.

The lure of obscure music, rampant social networking, and availability of free booze at a gallery do invite the risk of distracting spectacle. Thankfully, openings this summer have generally demonstrated restraint towards over-commercialization, exploitive advertising, and other childish histrionics. Despite all of the glamor and excess, big Friday and Saturday night events are a necessary evil for most artists. But when the ingredients are right, a good opening can entertain tremendously as well as spark a genuine interest in local art.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


The Dalai Lama is coming to Atlanta on the 20th. Emory is hosting, but I hear he conducted a ceremony at Oglethorpe the last time he visited.

I've had the pleasure of hearing two separate accounts of that event from two very different men: Chuck Wingo, bookstore manager, and studio art professor Alan Loehle. These guys are so incredibly unlike, but I'm pretty sure that they both used the word "spiritual" in reference to the Dalai Lama.

I think that it's about time I see Alan's paintings in person. He works comfortably in that dizzying vacuum between photorealism and the surreal, creating images with the lucid character of a Francis Bacon or Lucian Freud. He loves doggies.

In person, Alan Loehle is a bit of a Harrison Ford type, masculine in the manner of an old Western. If you talk to him for few minutes, you immediately get a sense of his impressive force of personality. I am also convinced that he is a madman. When he starts to talk about art, or anything else that he's serious about, he gets that little spark of crazy in his eye. It's a little frightening. And endearing.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dark Times

I left work early two days in a row. My lovably Indie rock roommate, Zack, was looking out the window at around 3 o'clock or so, and he commented, "It's too nice a day to be stuck in this building." We sit on the 20th floor of one of those filthy Atlanta skyscrapers, so we could tell that it was a genuinely wonderful day.

Meanwhile, I'm packing up my stuff and emailing my supervisor and preparing to close down shop completely. I will be unemployed shortly, and to be honest, I am so incredibly "over it." The good folks at The Carter Center and Fernbank will receive my resume very soon.

I walked out of that building and stepped into the cool late-September breeze and that delicious afternoon sun. I hopped onto the Marta, plugged in some headphones, and opened up some H.P. Lovecraft. There was no better remedy for the foolish tragicomedy of the whole situation. Add one part Howard Phillips' delightfully nerdy psychological horror plus one part radiant sunshine plus one part
Thunder, Lightening, Strike and you've got a winning combination:
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
Yet with stranger aeons, even Death may die.
Tell 'em how it is, Howard. You crazy bastard.



*** insert some sort of incredible post-Hegelian synthesis ***


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Reading Fear and Loathing

So, I've not possessed the energy to read a book cover-to-cover since I started this foolish job. (To be honest, I actually like it very much. It just drains me in a very thorough way.)

Last weekend, I visited Book Nook where I picked up a copy of Hunter Thompson's "Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream," deliberately choosing a copy printed before the movie with Johnny Depp. I'm still mowing down a chapter at a time at a regretfully slow pace. Oh well - it's all part of my remedial, self-taught course in English and Journalism. Here's a passage from the middle of Thompson's savage tale:
I got my attorney's .357 Magnum out of the trunk and spun the cylinder. It was loaded all the way around: Long, nasty little slugs - 158 grains with a fine flat trajectory and painted aztec gold on the tips. I blew the horn a few times, hoping to call up an iguana. Get the buggers moving. They were out there, I knew, in that goddamn sea of cactus - hunkered down, barely breathing, and every one of the stinking little bastards was loaded with deadly poison.
Is it just me, or is the phrase "goddamn sea of cactus" simply awesome?


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Speaking of 1984, as some of you may already know, I absolutely love that fabulous 80's phenomenon, Ghostbusters. What surprised me on my latest viewing actually, is a line given by Dr. Egon Spangler, the "nerdy" member of the team. During the early half of the movie, he has this exchange with the Ghostbusters receptionist, Janine:

Janine Melnitz: You're very handy, I can tell. I bet you like to read a lot, too.

Dr. Egon Spengler: Print is dead.

I am finding the bottom of my frustration with print as a medium of time-worthy communication. It's expensive, and to be honest, there are so many fantastic possibilities in the digital media. It won't be a revolution, but we can certainly have a lot of fun.

I write, and I plan to continue writing well into the 21st century.

Here's to Aquarius, dear lovers.

::: )


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cyber Warlords

I am still writing at the moment. The demands of work, Dragon Con, my failing health ... many things have conspired to delay my progress with Deconform.

But I promise, my dear comrades, The Ghostmap Radar is still in operation. Reports indicate that ideological terrain continues to shift at a global level, culturo-tectonic readings are disturbing at best, and television microwaves are still causing cerebral power outage on a massive scale.

The Guardian reported this week that a cell of Chinese hackers, possibly affiliated with the People's Liberation Army, have been strategically attacking key information networks controlled by both the United States and British federal governments. There is evidence that this cell of hackers, currently referred to in the West as "Titan Rain," have been in operation for more than four or five years. Their tactics have been called a form of "Pressure Point Warfare." In that sort of scary, real life sort of way, it's a little too much like science fiction

In the opening chapters of the 1984 novel, Neuromancer, a man named Henry Case runs for his life through the streets of Chiba, Japan (the current real world location of Narita Airport). The novel may seem naive at first: Henry Case teams up with a female "street samurai," does massive amounts of synthetic drugs, and has long conversations with holographic entities. The book, however, was one of the main influences of the movie, Blade Runner, and it coined the word "cyberspace" in 1984 - before the internet even existed. The novel depicts a future completely overrun by the capitalist market, inter-continental levels of urban development (a theme borrowed in Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan), and a hyper-industrialized vision of modern Asia.

The climax of the novel involves Case jacking his brain directly into the internet and hacking into the secret stronghold of a clandestine mega-corporation. He does so with the help of Molly Millions, a technologically enhanced mercenary, and McCoy Pauley, a.k.a. "The Dixie Flatline." Pauley McCoy is an older hacker who, after returning from the threshold of death several times during his most daring espionage adventures, had his personality uploaded into cyberspace posthumously. Case and McCoy are able to enter the network undetected via an experimental military virus of mysterious, Chinese origin.

Despite its dated status, the novel continues to be significant. Stranger than fiction, huh?

Ghostmap out.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It was Amazing!

I swear my eyeballs were exploding.

What's happening this weekend (besides my shindig, of course)? I probably won't have much energy to go out and see any art. I plan to clock somewhere around 12 hours of writing before Monday.

I'll see you guys topside sometime soon. Woot.


Sunday, August 19, 2007


So, I was born in the land of William Faulkner, underneath the sign of the Centaur on the first day of the final month of 1983. My father was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and my mother was born in the lower Appalachians.

Sometime during the 2!st Century, there will be a number of people who will learn precisely what those events mean. .

: )


Monday, August 13, 2007

# *#

Finally to pose questions with a hammer, and sometimes to hear as a reply that famous hollow sound that can only come from bloated entrails — what a delight for one who has ears even behind his ears ... before whom just that which would remain silent must finally speak out.

- Friedrich Nietzsche
Twilight of the Idols: Or How One Philosophizes With a Hammer
(Bold type = mine. Alternate text here.)

Oh my dear, dear Fred. You see, I've been practicing with this here Sledge on a daily basis, and maybe soon, I hope to upgrade to a balls-out wrought iron Mjölnir.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Deconform September: The Spectacle

The new Deconform team has set a timeline for the fall issue that should carry us to print in early September. (Expect a nice, spiffy website makeover to launch with the next issue) Initially, I'll be happy to achieve a product similar to what the magazine has looked like in the past. The key, however, will be meeting our deadline every quarter and - as consistently and as aggressively as budget will permit - improving the overall quality of the magazine with each additional issue.

The theme we've chosen for the September issue is "The Spectacle." It's quite a broad theme, but it's one compelling enough to inspire our fairly diverse group of writers. We'll write about art - you can be sure of that - but the broader mission of the publication includes "Art, Music, Culture & Politics." I'm excited to see how it all takes shape.

I will be writing an art review or two as well a general piece about the spectacle of an art opening. The basic questions I want to ask myself (and folks in the community) include

*Does art have to be hip?; To what extent is "the scene" of art negative?;
*Are we putting too much emphasis on opening night?; Are we going to see art on weekdays?;
*How many people are actually talking about the paintings (for more than just a few minutes)?; and

*Why is it so damn loud in this gallery? I can't hear myself think!

I'm thoroughly excited about the whole project, and I hope to hear plenty of thoughts over the next couple of weeks.

Here's to the first re-launch issue of Deconform.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

I played many hours of SEGA
as a child

So, I'd like to come clean while I can: I absorbed a large portion of my vocabulary from video games and from playing Magic. Does that make me a bad person?


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Art Revival

Opens this Friday - 814 Edgewood Avenue.


Fafnir is dead, and so is Bergman

Last week, the British Museum revealed the discovery of an honest-to-God Viking hoard. The treasure, a collected stash of more than 8,000 silver coins, chains, and amulets (and no dragon!), would have been worthy of the finest of Celtic man-heroes. Sorry Sigfried, Beowulf: it looks like you missed your chance.

Also, Seventh Seal director Ingmar Bergman died on Monday. I have to admit that I know little about the man's work, but I found Peter Bradshaw's piece especially illuminating. Bradshaw is a critic that isn't afraid to pull punches, but he can achieve moments of surprising accessibility and candor. For example, check his take on Grindhouse.

Bergman: a Life in Pictures.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Be cleansed and rejoice, ye Faithful

TindelMichi and a handful of other artists are putting up a new show this weekend. They're calling it a Sunday Southern Art Revival. (Despite the name, the opening is happening Friday)

I expect good things. I have a paper flyer, but I don't have a digital image at the moment. It looks like a creepy preacher guy doing some sort of occult rainbow-connection thing with his palms...


Sunday, July 29, 2007

God, I am so completely hung over. But I now own an Apple. My Apple loves me, and I love it. (My last computer had a broken sound card; it was a piece of shit.)

I created a radio station on Pandora loosely based on the Ninja Tune sound. Plenty of funky beats, sampledelia, and smooth DJ action. It makes me happy.

Also, this Daft Punk music video by Michel Gondry makes me very, very happy. Dancing skeletons, mummies, and robots: if I could live in a world like that, my life would be complete.


Sunday, July 22, 2007


Upon its completion, the Burj Dubai is slated to become the tallest man-made structure in the world. It will surpass the Taipei 101, a skyscraper in Taiwan, as humankind's tallest (that is, phallic) architectural display. The message is fairly simple: "Hey Westerners, Dubai is a big deal."

As economic development sweeps over parts of Asia and certain oil countries, more and more towers will be erected in our sister hemisphere. It's an interesting process.

I'm sure there are plenty of other curious, rapidly developing cities out there. Doha is another oil country capital, featuring the almost extraterrestrial Aspire Tower (below). And Noida, India, (also below) is a city named after a governmental entity.



Friday, July 20, 2007

I was fairly impressed by Alex "Bask" Hostomsky

at the Foundation One show, Double Vision, last weekend.

( It's still up - if you can make it during their regular gallery hours. Unfortunately, I didn't win the autographed comic book, and it made me very sad. ) Bask's images are strong, and he demonstrates a sensitivity to the wood, canvas, and found object surfaces he uses.

*(image left = from an earlier Bask show)

Oh, and is anyone going to the National Black Arts Festival ?
I'm curious.

(image above = Radcliffe Bailey)

Monday, July 16, 2007


Everything profound loves a mask; the most profound things even have a hatred for image and parable. Might not nothing less than the antithesis be the proper disguise for the shame of a god walking abroad?

-Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Part 2

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Franz Illustrated: R. Crumb's Kafka

I don't do recommendations often, but

R. Crumb's graphic novel on Franz Kafka is a wonderful (and deeply informative) read. Whether you like Kafka or not, the illustrations are fun and are inked with an appropriately dark sense of humor.

These days, Crumb has evidently become mainstream enough that his Kafka can be found at most every Barnes & Noble (where you can pick it up and flip through without having to pay a dime). It's good.

Peter Kuper (image above, at left) also illustrated a comic version of "The Metamorphosis", but it may be harder to find.

But - I'm sorry to say - neither comic will really substitute for reading a Franz Kafka novel in full. (And there's certainly more to the guy than his short stories...)


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Today, they took down

the lobby exhibit in the building where I work.

It was kind of traditional ... (in that Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood sort of way). I can't say that I was much of a fan. The next show, unfortunately, isn't much of an improvement either. The pictures look like technicolor knock-offs of Edward Hopper. Although I really like the building's exterior, the interior tends to get under my skin. And those gold-and-faux-wood elevators?



Thursday, July 05, 2007


Folks who can sufficiently demonstrate to me:

1. why you are cool;
2. how cool you are; and

3. why i should believe you, you freaking liar!

I will by you one hip t-shirt.
For real(z)!



These people
(living in two different cities
on the same continent),

reacting to the same news announcement

in wildly different ways.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Watch out for Deconform

There is a strong possibility that I will be working on the next issue of Deconform Magazine sometime in the near future. Deconform is a smart, youthful (and free) forum for the Atlanta arts community.

Special thanks to Deconform co-founders Sandra Kwak and Todd Woodlan.

More details soon.


Guest? Workers?

My new line of work has thrust me into the world of immigration and international employment law. It's not as cerebral as it sounds; we basically respond to clients' needs on a daily basis, pushing around (tons) of visa forms left and right.

As far as I can tell, the Z visa has almost no impact on our work. The push for anti-immigration legislation, however, does. Immensely. Blue collar labor policies covered by "guest worker" programs - the stuff we hear about on TV - represent only part of the immigration issue. You hear very little about "business" immigration (corporate transfers), which accounts for a huge portion of immigration traffic through the U.S. The issue is incredibly complicated, and watching TV does little to help sort things out.

It's a swamp out there.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

At least five of the following are necessary for a diagnosis:
  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by other special people
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. strong sense of entitlement
  6. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy
  8. is often envious or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. arrogant affect.
(number two and three are real killers...

like reflective surfaces? I do.)


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This Monday, I practiced

the dance steps for the Godzilla-stomp all over the LSAT.

And I cackled.

(even though the new job entails massive amounts of time in front of a computer,
my free time has diminished dramatically these past two weeks ...

this must change.)


Friday, June 01, 2007

Naked ! - Bloggers in Creative Loafing

This week's Creative Loafing featured an article on five Atlanta area bloggers

Peach Pundit - Although Peach Pundit is devotedly conservative, CL praises it as a reliably up-to-date GA politics resource. The blog reportedly hosted an anonymous debate between Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle during this legislative session.

I Saw It on Ponce - a site devoted to the strange local attractions common to Ponce De Leon Ave., including "naked men masturbating in the street," quotes CL.

Peach Screed - a journalist covers local issues while throwing (well-deserved) insults at the AJC.

Cable & Tweed - A "Dixie music blog." Blogger Rich Vining posts broadcasts of Atlanta area concerts, covering high profile bands as well as local up-and-coming gems.

...and finally:

Inside the Oversexed Mind of Gloria Brame - sex therapist Dr. Gloria Brame shares her wisdom on the horizontal (or acrobatically vertical) limbo. Check Fridays for her weekly "erotic art show:"

Today's pics include
an Ottoman harem by Picasso (above)

...and Wow, that guy looks happy !


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Roses = Yum Yum !!

Monster like eat yum yum roses.
Monster like yum yum Bacon
Yum yum Bacon quiz = fun.



Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Are weekends

supposed to be exhausting?

Ways I occupied myself Memorial Day weekend instead of going to the beach:

- packing up and cleaning out my apartment
- destroying broken/useless furniture objects
- enjoying the Broadstrokes opening at Alcove
- enjoying complimentary booze
- filming more scenes for Livy's absurd mobster comedy
- reading Neuromancer
- wishing Adam farewell and good luck in Chicago

I'll finish moving to Kirkwood within the week, and I start a brand new job Monday morning. Hope my head stops spinning.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

... & more June Stuff

Alcove Gallery
“Broadstrokes: A Showcase of Four Female Painters”
Jenna Colby, Emmy Dudley, Laurel Hausler, & LiShinault
Opens Friday, May 25 7-11pm with music by Cinetrope
Show runs through June 22.

Beep Beep Gallery
“Crawl Space” Bryan Westberry - through June 10.

Lenny’s Bar
Youngblood Fundraiser - June 2nd.

Youngblood Gallery
MINT “Take Flight” - June 7-11, Opens June 9.

Flex Space
“History of the Future Show” - Opens June 8th.

Foundation One Gallery
Groundwork - through June 23.
- and
Derek Hess and BASK “Double Vision” - July 7-11
Opens July 14.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Love-struck Robots


For folks willing try something off the beaten path, Brenda Norbeck and Josh Ford’s high energy performance piece, “Anniversary,” is a guaranteed good time. Described by the artists as a “sci-fi comedy,” the performance is a playful investigation of 21st century married life. Mixing political satire with a pleasantly bizarre brand of humor, “Anniversary” follows a backwards narrative structure similar to the film, Memento.

The piece dramatizes the adrenaline highs and disillusioned lows of marriage against the backdrop of an absurdly high-tech American landscape. The country, rocked by a mysterious terrorist attack, elects its first robot president, and the snack food franchise, Frito Lay, becomes the holy symbol of an emotionless commercial dystopia.

The performance is the couple’s inaugural piece as Session 2, a brand new Atlanta theatre group. Be prepared: the show can be a little disorienting, and like many grassroots-variety performance acts, “Anniversary” runs on a *low* production budget. Keeping that in mind, “Anniversary” is as personal as it is hysterical. Session 2 succeeds in creating an emotionally stimulating, laugh-out-loud experience.

“Anniversary” runs Fridays at 8 and Sundays at 7 from May 11 - June 4 at Blank Stage Theatre, located in the Artisan Resource Center in Marietta. Tickets are $8 at the door. Don’t miss the final weekend performances on June 1 and June 3. Definitely worth the drive.

Artisan Resource Center

The Artisan space is worth its own mention. Featuring an eclectic handful of Atlanta artists and hosting a number of workshops, performances, and film screenings, Artisan is a venue with a lot of promise. The gallery’s head guy, Brent Brooks, just finished a screening of his original film, Art of Suicide. Filmed primarily in Athens, GA, the movie explores the lives of four struggling art school graduates. Brooks interrogates a number of familiar themes related to death, the “art market,” and “suffering for one’s art.” If the movie could be summarized as a question, it would be something like this one:

“Does a great artist like Van Gogh have to commit suicide just to sell a few paintings?”

Brooks plans to take Art of Suicide to film festivals later this year.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wow ...

Damien Hirst is fairly new to me. He's done an intense variety of projects, including stuff with formaldehyde and dead sharks...

His Superstition series (one pictured above) is pretty amazing. It's mixed media on canvas using mostly preserved - that is, real - butterflies to make cathedral window designs. Try to pull up the Flash viewer on the linked site.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

TindelMichi: Southern "Folk Graffiti"

Standing in front of a collaborative studio space on DeKalb Avenue, I tossed painter John Tindel a minefield-of-a-question, “What is it about your work that represents the South?” The artist, who was walking with a cane due to an injury last month, returned with a varied response.

“Visually, so much of what we do is experiment,” he answered, “we call it a kind of ‘folk graffiti.’” John Tindel and fellow artist Michi call their collaboration TindelMichi, adding the affectionate tagline, “Two Fat Southern Boys that Paint.” Their work combines regional humor with a flare for commercial design and Pop as well as a healthy taste for old Cadillac convertibles, fried chicken, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Tindel and Michi’s paintings are as flashy and cosmopolitan as their images are infused with a delicate sensitivity for Southern culture.

For examples, check out the artists’ work on the web. Go to and click on the thumbnails at left.

The deceptively simple image, CottonMouth Kin, offers the careful viewer a handful of interpretive options. A cow wearing a rather gloomy expression stands with its back to a horizon suggestive of anxieties about the past juxtaposed with the product logos of the commercialized present. The viewer is invited to enter the painting through the cow, whose pink star-shaped mark links it to a silhouette of a Confederate-era steamer in the background. By chance, the symbolism is strangely similar to the star-marked sheep of the novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, by Haruki Murakami.

In Tindel and Michi’s painting, the cow wears its pink star and somewhat droopy angel wings with little mirth. The smoky plume of the ship, which vaguely resembles the historical C.S. City of Vicksburg is inscribed with the crossed-out letters “C-O-N.” Like several of the collaborators’ other works, the piece contains stylistic shout-outs to artists like Basquiat, and in the sky overhead, an eyeball reminiscent of Guernica judges the landscape below. Just as in Picasso’s painting, the innocence of rural livestock - here set off by lime and baby blue - contrasts with the grit of history, held prisoner by that ominous, patriarchal gaze.

“We want so much to create this unique Atlanta art experience,” Tindel elaborates, “we want to take you in, give you food and cornbread, and talk with you and tell stories.” This story-telling process is an important part of the artists’ collaboration. Tindel describes his painting sessions with Michi as “less so much a duel and more of a dialog.” The dialog has a discernable effect on their paintings. Visually impressive, the images also contain dialect puns such as “can’t never could” and “Jackson-Potluck.”

The two artists designed a recent show that centered on the real life story of a mid 20th century Alabama bootlegger. Tindel explains, “We staged this show as if [the bootlegger] was actually the one throwing a party for all of our guests.” Tindel and Michi invited the living descendents of the bootlegger to join the celebration. This dialectic between narrative and art is part of what makes the TindelMichi project unique. The artists have made an effort to use these Southern narratives to energize their openings and events without crossing the line into gimmick.

“There’s a balance between the art and the marketing,” Tindel continues. Still, the two artists like to have a good time. In the past, TindelMichi shows have at various times featured a 1920 Rolls-Royce parked on site, authentic mint juleps (and, of course, PBR), and a buffet complete with 150 pounds of fried chicken.

Tindel, who became a father recently, is looking out for the next change in his style. “I was painting like 18 hours at a time,” he explains, “now I either do tons of little drawings or I paint something over a long period, with very little work each time I sit down.” Having a child, though, does promise to expand Tindel’s repertoire of images. He says laughingly, “One day I’m drawing a helicopter, and the kid says ‘helicopter!’ It’s great.”

Also published at:

For more info:


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Markham / Millet

... I just remembered this other painting/poem combo:

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?

The painting is called L'homme à la houe by Millet. He was a realist - which during his time probably meant you were a socialist. (which certainly comes through in Markham's poem)


Thursday, May 03, 2007

28 w$$k$ later?

Spiderman, etc. So many sequels...
I just know the next thing will be something like

a post-post apocalyptic thriller."


Jeezus, man.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

H. C. Warner

Painter and gallery owner H. C. Warner describes his vision for Alcove Gallery in readily understandable terms. “I’d like it to be like Wonka,” he stated in an interview earlier this year, “we could even sell chocolate - I wouldn’t mind.” Pleasantly unpretentious and alive with childlike exuberance, the works displayed at Warner’s art space deliver a refreshingly delicious visual experience. The gallery’s website has thumbnails of featured artists as well as a link to Warner’s own work.

Warner explains that Alcove’s name was chosen for its suggestive double meaning. “Alcove” is a synonym for “recess,” which could designate an enclosed space as well as that period of time when school kids run wild. Located near the heart of Atlanta’s heavily commercialized Buckhead district, Alcove is a welcome diversion from the mainstream. Wandering into Alcove is like discovering one of Wonka’s golden tickets. Compared to its Bennett Street neighbors, this gallery glimmers like gold.

Alcove artists are an eclectic group, reflecting a variety of influences such as folk art, graffiti, comic books, and anime. The vibrant, optimistic yet sometimes hauntingly disturbing works compliment each other with a similarly youthful energy. Warner says his management philosophy is to “treat everyone who walks in the door as a brother or sister.”

Although Warner typically reserves the space for Alcove artists, he made an exception this spring for an exhibition of his own work entitled “Circles.” The collection revolves around the theme of the circus, addressing both the innocent folly of youth and the cyclical mania of adult life. “We all have these visions based on childhood fantasy,” he elaborates, “we don’t see the darkness but its all there, and it’s all part of cycle.”

Warner’s work continues to evolve, but he follows a consistently eclectic style of his own. Clouds of nebulae bubble and boil the color of blueberry and orange sherbet. Comic book renderings of hornets and crocodiles emerge from the nocturnal swirl, joining a dance with Ben Franklin and other icons of Americana.

Warner remains optimistic about art and about Alcove’s future. “You don’t get into it for the money,” he comments, “I’m a beans and rice kind of guy, and I probably will be for years to come.” An owner who describes gallery operation as the hardest job he has ever done, Warner has been developing his business for over 20 years. He states simply, “This planet is beautiful - as hard as that is to believe sometimes - and so are the people in it.”