Monday, June 29, 2009

in the studio

Piedmont. I have been fascinated by the stone walls, caves, and houses carved into boulders since I arrived at the beginning of June. This is a haunted place, with a strong history of witchcraft. I have been walking a great deal, shooting video in the crevices and caves around the mountain farm where I'm staying, and making drawings of myself in the guise of a witch, a Madonna and a queen. I have been drawing with raspberries and dirt. I have been feeling watched. I have recently learned that the part of Piedmont I am in is on an intense energy line axis, supposedly much akin to the Bermuda Triangle.

There is also a strong history of magic here. Turin and it's surrounding region is at the axis of two triangles. The city lies on the axis of white magic (along with Lyon, France, and Prague) and on the axis of black magic (which it shares with London and San Francisco). Magic, and superstition, seem to take precedence over any more organized religion.
It is a strange and challenging experience to have a studio in the midst of all this rich history. The link here seems to be the alchemist. The industriousness, the ego, and the curious mind of the artist all align with the desires of the alchemist. The alchemist and the artist alike are outsiders, expected to disappear into a mysterious laboratory and conjure something from nothing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

concept/post-concept. getting remedial in preparation for year two.

In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.
-Sol LeWitt

Post Conceptual Art marries the concepts of conceptualism with figurative art. The focus is on the strokes – and each stroke is a symbol, usually a letter from a text(s). The strokes are then used, as artists have always used strokes, to create a narrative image.
-JR Wasserman

Conceptual art questioned the traditional role of the art object as conveyer of meaning. The subsequent dematerialization of the object results in artists exploring impermanent media and creating ephemeral experiences in time and space.
-Mark Cameron Boyd

Friday, June 26, 2009

torino, empty

I spent Wednesday afternoon wandering though the emptied streets of Torino, feeling like I had been written into an Italo Calvino story. The city was quiet. I became quiet. After exploring sun-drenched alleyways lined with 16th century churches and shuttered tabacchis, I eventually emptied out on the Piazza Castello. It's huge and white looming castle loomed all around me, with only it's covered arcades offering shelter from the sun.

From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her. After the dream, they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive's trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.  -Invisible Cities

maine-chiaverano express

what can you do when your darling picks you a bouquet of four leaf clovers?
nothing. you have no recourse. you are finished. caput.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


there is a train-bombing graffiti artist working around torino, and he has the best tag i've ever seen. i WILL get a photo of it eventually.

Monday, June 22, 2009

excerpts from a love letter, dispatches from italy.



i went to the castello di rivoli. it was incredible, incredible. pipilotti!! she is so good to see in a castle. and mauricio cattelan's hanging horse. really breathtaking. so much more moving than i was prepared for. really well selected contemporary art in a swooningly beautiful castle is a very good idea. i walked around the town for a long time after the museum, and had gelato and a peach for lunch. it was a great day. i took the bus to the metro to the train back to torino with time to spare and bought mascara and socks and chocolate at a street market. unfortunately, a deluge in the mountains delayed my return from torino to ivrea by five hours or so. waiting in the thunderstorm on the platform with teeming screaming italians for three and a half of those hours while inscrutable announcements came over a loudspeaker... whoah.


when i finally got back to ivrea, buses had stopped running to chiaverano. i didn't know this. i also didn't know that the bus stop in front of the train station is no longer used, so i waited there with my little dress and my little pink umbrella. i was mistaken for a prostitute twice in ten minutes. literally, two separate men stopped and tried to pick me up. it was awful. what i found out later is that a little dress and an umbrella at a bus stop is code for prostitutes in this part of the country. when marguerite arrived to pick me up. she also told me that prostitutes have to stay out in cornfields during the day, and then at night they come in to try and get work around the train stations. not such a good end to the day. sometimes being a girl is a real drag.

sunday i went with marguerite to pick up her friend kianga in santhia. kianga had a friend with
her (and because of my name, they were expecting me to be the hot new boy assistant, and i think they were a bit disappointed, but too bad) and we had a great time drinking wine in the enoteca at castello di roppolo. after drinking, we went down into the dungeon, which is now a wine cellar, and all selected a couple of wine in a former dungeon is still pretty good wine! afterward, we ate delicious pizza by a lake. with the alps doing their best to drive me wild in the background, someone on the opposite shore lit paper bags on fire like fireflies and let them go over the lake. it looked like slowly moving constellations in the darkening sky.

as we drove through deep countryside on the way back to the station, we saw one of the ladies of the night in the middle of a cornfield, propped in a lawn chair, holding a bright umbrella up to shade her from the sun. it was heart breaking and surreal. i can't get her out of my mind.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


why not, gangsta?

dinner was a hit.
our super cute neighbor, alma, who wears pink and green tank tops and is growing a beard, invited us to dinner. 
margie the pig (who is a boy) is fed and happy.
half the men at cascina remondenca are invalid.
i'm lying in my bed in this little italian sera in the foothills of the alps, 
and what pops into my head?


baby makes dinner for the hosts

1. fresh farmers' market salmon marinated in honey mustard sauce of my own devising

2. chilled cucumber/carrot soup with tomini instead of yogurt (look it up, it's Piedmontese)

3. grilled potatoes

4. yummy red wine

cross my fingers, hope for the best...

Sunday, June 14, 2009


seriously feeling the hoodoo.

here in chiaverano, the gloaming comes, finally, at ten pm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

also at the market...

....wild chickens!!!

to market to market

so, friday market in Ivrea is a whole different ballgame than tuesday market.
it is about 40 times the size. i went into complete cute overload at the livestock truck, obviously.


sidestack of baby bunnies. little gingersnap one needed to be snuggled extensively and fell asleep in my hands.

curious hopalong darling city.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

a little more from life on the mountain

prime cherry poaching.
lately, i cannot get enough cherries in my system.
the trees are dripping with them, and there's no one around to eat them but me.

the next door neighbor's abandoned bocce court

this is Gander, my opponent in sound control.
he hates me, i mock him.
he poops, i feed him.
we go round and round.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

salad experiments

today in Chiaverano;
the best salad for the day, from the garden:

bitter young lettuce
wild strawberries

add olive oil and vinegar and salt.

let the raspberry juice run into the olive oil.
sop it up with crazy german health bread.

Monday, June 8, 2009

walk number one

welcome to chiaverano.

it has been brought to my attention that maybe people are actually looking at this. ok. so maybe i should try for once to be more clear. i am living in italy for the summer. i am up near the alps. (you can see them in the background in the last photo). i went for a walk the other day and took these pictures, and if it ever stops being rainy i hope to explore lots more...ok, there you go!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

v e n i c e

b i e n n a l e

1. Saudi Arabian party at the Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo Polignac

2. 20 minute rainstorm

3. me, at the mexican party

4. Mr Swiss Curator, Marjetica, Marguerite, Milano. Piazza San Marco.

5. Me with Marjetica, Tim Hyde, Lovely Irene, Mr Max P. & Milan!
(also, the ubiquitous red schwag by Ms. M. Kahrl)

6. view from the water on the Tortoise-slow, tourist-filled vaporetto.
Still, not bad. rather posh.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The list so far

just-ripe raspberry
strawberry (wild)
mystery berry
tiny, charming currant
gigantic fig from huge fig tree
black walnut

wild thyme
enormous rosemary

baby clematis
wild roses
1 reluctant to bloom begonia
fading wisteria
purple allium
flowering lavender border

1 sly german grandfather cat
2 happy handsome country dogs
1 enormous goat
too many bunnies
stupid chickens
darling baby chicks
cocky bantam rooster
obnoxious gander and his lady
1 vietnamese potbellied pig

1 overgrown bocci court in the next field over

Two Weeks

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

the new bed

i'm finally here. now i'll take a nap.