Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the upper crust

The Dutch houseguests, Maia and Dick, taught me this recipe this summer in Italy. It's a delicious, crispy pie/quiche crust...but with no butter and no chilling-time needed. It's so good. make two batches to have a top crust, too.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup olive oil (If you are making a sweet pie, you can use vegetable oil instead)
1/2 cup water
pinch salt
stir just until clingy
form ball of dough in palms
press into center of pie plate, knead outward with hands up to edges, make it thin as possible

fill with desired stuffs
(egg & broccoli quiche, strawberry rhubarb pie, and sugared blackberries have all proved delicious)

bake at 415 degrees for 30-45 minutes

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


  1. sculpture completed: three
  2. semesters remaining: one
  3. final crit: successful?
  4. photographs of work: stuck in camera, due to missing camera cord.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

48 hours to finals

All I have done today has gone kaput, but it's only 5pm! The night is young.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dan Cameron Lecture

Fantastic. Dan Cameron opened his talk, which was focused on his creation and curation of the inaugural incarnation of Prospect One: New Orleans Biennial, by talking about water. He talked about how water flows down the Misssissippi River, and empties in part into Lake Pontchartrain. He talked about trading, and slaving , and rowing, and the bayou, and all of the effects that all of this water has had on the tropical climate in Southern Louisiana. He had his facts and figures down pat. He talked about the city itself and its three most important cultural axes: music, food and architecture. Dan Cameron, along with many of my friends from New York, is openly in love with New Orleans.

His first concrete action, as curator of the largest biennial in North America, was to redraw the official tourist map of the city. He included all of the poor neighborhoods that the city commissioner didn't want tourists to be able to find, including the Ninth Ward. For my money, that was a terrific and inclusive way to begin a relationship with the city. He gave us each a copy of this map. It's a real beauty.

I have discovered on line that it's called Birds-Eye View, and was created by Atelier Fleufhaus and Thalweg Studio for Prospect One.

His lecture was really great, and moving, and the projects that many artists made just for the event were beautiful and well thought-through. If you have a chance to hear him speak, try to make it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So, Hi. There's that Part.

Now for the taking stock:

Studio visitors this semester:
  1. Kenny Goldsmith, ubuweb.com
  2. Elana Herzog, sculptor
  3. Ellen Driscoll, sculptor, professor
  4. Dean Snyder, sculptor, professor
  5. Martha Schwendener, critic, village voice
  6. Lee Boroson, sculptor, profesor
  7. Joe Wolin, critic, time out new york
  8. Gregory Volk, critic and curator at large
  9. Luca Buvoli, sculptor
  10. Jöao Ribas, critic and curator, Drawing Center, MIT

Accomplishments since September:
  1. Sculpture completed: none
  2. Shows curated: one
  3. Papers written: four
  4. Catalogues created: two
  5. Essays written: two
  6. Artists Statements revised: two
  7. Dance Parties: one
  8. Applications filled out: none
  9. Meetings held: possibly in the hundreds
  10. Trips to New York: six
  11. Money spent on sculpture material: about $150
  12. Books read: part of one
  13. windows broken while I was in the room: twelve
  14. mirrors broken while I was in the room: two
  15. Drawings created: four
  16. Collages completed: twenty four
  17. Collages sold: fourteen
  18. Collages traded: should be two
  19. Commissions: two, both of which are minor
  20. Albums purchased: two (All Things Must Pass, Forge Your Own Chains)
  21. Movies watched in the middle of the night: like fifteen, I think
  22. Shows seen in New York: gotta be around seventy five.
  23. Really good conversations: five (Charlotte, Dan, Rubens, George and Allison)
  24. Lectures Attended: Four (Kenny G, Elana Herzog, Gregory Volk, Dan Cameron)
  25. Best Lecture: DAN CAMERON (more on that later)

Thinking about art and war and illness and homemade music and bird taxonomy.
One week from today this semester will be over.
I pledge that the next semester will go well, will be managed better.
There is no excuse not to make this work.
This grad school business is a privileged position, and I am about to get bumped out, back into the cold, with incredible concern.

The best thing to do now, I suspect, is to really try and enjoy myself for the next six months.
One of the Sophomores I TA for gave me this beautiful Moondog album to listen to in the studio. I can't stop. I think it might be the soundtrack til finals.

One Week to go.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


There are two 1970's Brazilian films streaming on Netflix right now, Bye Bye Brazil and Black Orpheus. The former deals in economic change and technological progress in 1970s Brazil, (as told through the eyes of a dwindling traveling circus) and the latter is an absolutely stunning reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus (set at Carnaval).

This recommendation comes with thanks to my in-house and treasured Brazilian, the Great Rubens Ghenov, for sending me off into one of the highest fits of inspiration in recent memory.

Watch 'em late at night, with no distractions, if you can.

Bye Bye Brasil


Black Orpheus


Friday, December 4, 2009


This is what a good morning looks like. Lavazza is a very good coffee to start the day right in the studio. If only I could get to the studio. Now, back to the drudgery of endless paper writing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

four-hour sculpture

Bird Flu
glass, wood, metal, paint, skinned and preserved bird skull
15 x 5 x 5 inches

Questions for the first week of December:
(Questions only I can answer)

Do I need to make my own alchemy how-to book?
What do I hope to learn from it?
Do I need to make a hypnosis machine?
How do I derive auras?
Turn moss into gold?
Take studio shavings and turn them into money?
Suck objects through a tube?
Make more days in the week so I could actually get get something done?

All thanks to Charlotte for not giving up on my exhausted brain.


a criminal broke into my studio and left me this.
memo to self. don't improve security.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


people keep asking me what i want for my birthday. i am getting kind of old, so it feels a bit ridiculous, but here are some ideas that seemed appropriate:

1. a burger king crown and a new set of teeth
2. a dance party and the ability to fly

3. the perfect health of brother handy

4. a good day in the studio (because something is better than nothing)

5. the perfect health of the lovely gray
7. a hot cup of coffee in bed...oh, wait, just got that.

8. my serious darling
, who makes the coffee, and takes me to late-night zombie flicks

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Customizing Project

I've been meaning to change it for months.

I don't know if it really makes a difference. It's kind of funny that it took this long to get a black piece of paper and white pen, and a scanner, and me all in the same room. How satisfying, though, to sit at the newly cleaned kitchen table and write this page out. Also, I found the ball point pen on the ground on the way to school the other day...seemed like kizmet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I met with the TONY critic again this week in class, and he in fact (true to his word) had already forgotten our momentous studio visit. Cracking and all. Weird.

In other news, Halloween was the same as usual...making the costumes was the best part.

here's gt and me, photos courtesy of Mr. Michael Bizon.



Monday, November 2, 2009

and then they all cracked

Last Monday was the first sunny day in a week. I had a really gorgeous pinhole camera projecting in my studio. It was set up on full wall-sized window in studio, and I had just gotten it right while having studio visit with the critic from Time Out New York. The visit was going miraculously well, when we began to hear a series of long, searing snapping sounds. All the window panes, covered in blackout fabric, overheat & broke. As the critic helped me rip the blackout cover off the window, he told me that this would be the most memorable studio visit he's had...at least for a while.

After this incident, and after this summer's live-bird-trapped-mysteriously-in-the-fusebox incident in my studio in Italy, It was gently suggested to me by my friends that I discontinue my work with magic and alchemy. An incompetent alchemist, that's me. I refused but had only broken windows and no mid-term work to show for myself. The only record I had of this project so far were the drawings I projected as placeholders with my little old Tracer Jr.

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    oh patti patti. do the watusi.

    Last night I watched Patti Smith: Dream of Life. I also watched it the night before that. It is really intimate, and yet still a performance; it is a documentary made in collaboration between director and performer over the course of a decade. It is weird and kind of messy and often really beautiful. People appear and disappear inexplicably, age and change dramatically over the course of the film. Relationships remain mysterious, lovers are hinted at but not announced. At different points throughout the film, I alternately admired Patti, wished she would stop being so pretentious, applauded her, mourned for her, was impressed by her, and couldn't believe how good her hair looked in the 70's (I got up and chopped at my own bangs while I was watching it the first time). I also couldn't help but notice how charming and girlish she is when she's tickled by something, how appealing. You wouldn't think that such a giggle would come out of her, but there it is. So disarming.

    And then there are the clips of her performing live, which are the nucleus of the story. However close you might come to her, however vulnerable she might seem, as soon as she steps on the stage she becomes the wild, raw, raucus and incredible performer that she is. And the music. It's just so good. Overall, I came away thinking that whatever she needs to do to keep willing herself into being the dreamer and the poet and the force that she is, so be it.

    Long live Patti, survivor supreme.

    try not to forget

    pinhole camera
    stiffened curtain
    bow and arrow
    northern hemisphere
    checkerboard floor
    sugar coating
    and legs for days

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009


    cleaned studio
    organized tools
    ate take-out thai
    drank one coors light
    listened to nina simone

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009


    So to continue the thought...I just can't believe that I didn't find a way to insert Chuck Berry into a show about rock and roll. It dawned on me in the middle of the night, like things do, and I sat up with a start. I felt a bit fraudulent for a while there, but I guess as a curator you can't control all the content of the work, just respond and support and compile. However, I will have to write about him for my catalog essay for sure.

    On the other hand, there's this:

    Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom Live from Anti Records on Vimeo.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    Chuck Berry

    ...more on that later.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    no, you Rock My Religion

    I found this great post on a blog called 16 Miles of String about watching Dan Graham's "Rock My Religion" at the Whitney Museum show. I felt the same way...I wanted to stay the full hour too, but had to move on with my fast-paced class. Maybe I'll get to go back.

    From 16 Miles:

    In the first ten minutes of Rock My Religion, Dan Graham discusses folk music, Puritans, Shakers, Ann Lee, the industrial revolution, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, hardcore punk, Glenn Branca, Quakers, Rimbaud, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, opium, henna, eighteenth century American history, dancing in religious ceremonies, and Minor Threat. From there, it only gets better.

    It is showing on a loop as part of
    Dan Graham: Beyond at the Whitney right now, and it's the best video I have ever seen in an art gallery. Graham dissects youth subculture with historical and sociological lenses, then packages the whole sui generis creation with grainy handheld footage and clumsy computer title cards. Then doesn't sound like the recipe for a hit, but it coheres perfectly. Almost every person who walked into the room showing the video stayed for the full hour.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    weekend in new york

    The RISD Sculpture MFA 2nd years went to New York this weekend.
    We were looking at art. We hated most of it, but we didn't hate these things.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    The Drawing Board

    (Opening photos thanks to Sonya German)

    Lat week, when I started writing this post, I had tentatively titled it "So now it's back to the drawing board."

    I take it back.
    I take it all back.

    This is A Show About Rock and Roll finally opened at the Gelman Gallery. It now holds the record number for attendance at a Chace Center opening, about 250 people. Apparently, the weekend attendance after the opening was through the roof too. The show looks really sharp, and I am immensely pleased and grateful to my co-curator, Kat Hodges. She is my perfect complement, so terribly good at fine detail when I lose my attention.

    We have presented the show to Chris Ho's Critical Curating class, to Brian Shure's Junior Printmaking class, to Patricia Phillips (new Dean of Graduate Studies) and to the Graduate Sculpture Department with our first visiting artist of the semester, Kenny Goldsmith.

    Kenny (poet, reformed sculptor and creator of ubuweb) was excited about the show. He came in and gave me some surprising and helpful feedback in the studio today. He is quite astute, really, and easily drew a line through my visual aesthetic and my interests in:

    1. narrative
    2. arranging objects
    3. re arranging objects
    4. lighting
    5. atmosphere
    6. community

    He insisted that all aspects of my practice...collage, drawing, sculpture and curating are part of a single oeuvre and should be pursued equally.

    His ideas for me included:

    1. Continue to work hard.
    2. Travel with the Rock&Roll Show.
    3. Curating a new show of work about R&R at a different venue (maybe Cooper Union?) with art students there.
    4. Eventually returning to Torino and curating a show about magic and alchemy...

    He felt there was room for ego and expression, conceptuality and social sculpture - across the board.

    Pretty fucking awesome.

    TIASAR&R is on view in the Gelman Gallery at the Chace Center, RISD Museum, until October 25th, Tuesday through Saturday from 10-5.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    who the hell is this guy?

    this gimmick has been used before, and oh so well. but there's something about his beat up robert downey jr. drag queen face...and his obvious fondness for sploshing...i think this is kind of a brilliant art video.

    i wish he were in my show.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    This is a Show About Rock and Roll

    Hot poster design by Chris Hund.

    This is a Show About Rock and Roll

    Oh, it's coming. Here's the press release to prove it. Click on the image to zoom in on the text.

    Curating with Kat

    I am in the last throes of curating a show, with my friend and alarmingly tireless compatriot Kat Hodges. It is the first show of the season here at RISD, in the still relatively brand-spankin' new Chace Center Wing of the Museum, designed by José Rafael Moneo. it is modestly titled This is a Show About Rock and Roll. I have been doing nothing but work on the show, so I've been thinking a lot about the process of curating.

    At it's worst, curating is a giant to-do list, a nagging and never-ending monster. It doesn't allow for down-time; it is a breakfast meeting that turns into a dinner meeting. It is shifting deadlines and panicky phone calls. It is endless editing.

    At its best, curating is an endless thought, a great huge swirling conversation. Our conversations with all the artists shows me how the show's concept can expand, become richer, more complex, and more significant. If I am smart enough, I can let them be shift and be far-reaching in their scope, while quietly guiding them and encouraging them. The work that all the artists have been making for the show is so exciting that encouraging them is easy like Sunday Morning.

    For moral support, I have been reading and re-reading Mike Kelley's famous essay from the exhibition catalogue that accompanied his show "The Uncanny." I highly recommend it to any artist taking on the role of curator, or examining what the idea of curation means to them.

    A little support from the school doesn't hurt, either. Actually, it feels great:

    All we do is work on it. But it will be so good.

    This is a Show About Rock and Roll
    opens on September 24th at the Chace Center.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    missing the studio a bit today.

    I do miss my studio in Italy, now that I am back here in lovely summertime Rhode Island. I think it's more the desire to get back to work than anything. I had begun to really get into these drawings. I was trying to find a way to use my drawing skills, to build on my collage style, and to respond to the place I was in. Using walnut dye and squid ink and berry juice was really fun, and I think I was moving towards creating something that spoke both to my nostalgic lean and my desire to make contemporary drawings (ie: how would these drawings look in handsome frames, installed salon-style on a venetian plastered wall in the Castello Di Rivoli?)

    I hope they are doing well, rolled up in a tube somewhere between Berlin and Providence. When I get them back, I hope to be ready with my seppo di neria and my fancy mechanical pencil.

    Here's the summer studio, as it developed. June - August 2009.


    Early July:

    Early August:

    swimming at wassaic

    Dear Bowie did a marvelous job organizing her Wassaic Project weekend. During a break in sunny art-cationing, we went for a swim, and explored these mysterious mounds. there's nothing like a swimming hole tucked out of the August sun, and then to escape poison-ivy free in the end.