Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Amy Sillman and Robert Rauschenberg

Amy Sillman, Birdwatcher. I saw this on Bill Gusky's blog.

I am seeing Rauschenberg's bed, Diebenkorn, De Kooning, even James Castle. Love it.

Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg.


Okay! So... somewhat related to Architect and the wonderful Stitchy Japanese House, allow me to introduce you to UFOjisan.

This was a shop somewhere in Tokyo, can't remember where exactly. It was interesting because it was full of old Japanese treasures, sort of like an antique shop... but co-existed with some kind of religous outer-space meteor temple. There were a ton of signs out front, like big placards, all about UFO's watching us... and pictures of UFOjisan.

UFOjisan seemed to be a cult leader, wearing bright robes and large shiny hats, and has a link to the aliens. The shop is his place (i'm calling it a shop, but i don't think that is the right word exactly), and he was hanging out with some other old guys in the back area around the tv and heater.

I should explain that the Japanese word for U.F.O. is "UFO", written like that and pronounced "you-foe". Yes, they have their own original words also (space is uchu, alien is uchujin), but UFO is just as common. Ojisan is a term for an old(er) man, so UFOjisan is a pun.

EVERYTHING in this shop was interesting, including the imperious bearded UFOjisan. There was an altar to a huge meteor (maybe), draped in bright fabrics... plus lots of other space rocks and cosmic things, Buddhas, many odd interesting beautiful old Japanese treasures, and UFOjisan's drawings documenting his abductions and extra-terrestial experiences.

Here are some bad photos of the drawings, wish I had taken more. Discovered this shop in a hurry to someplace else, and never got that way again.

That third picture in from the right is a self-portrait. The cases are full of old treasures.

I've tried googling him, but can't find anything.. . although I think I am just not putting in the right things.

I know I have a picture of the outside of the shop somewhere, but can't find it. When it shows up I'll add it to this post.

Monday, November 27, 2006

a job, PLUS... what is your job?

I'm looking for a job, a real or real-ish job.

I've been waiting tables since April, which was fine during rafting season, but now that the season is over I feel like a loser... I make very very very little money, no insurance, etc. Some of my co-workers are teenagers! I seriously can't go on like this... some days I only make thirty dollars.

So... what can I do? I am happy to stay in Richmond, or to move pretty much ANYWHERE, in the WORLD. Somebody please send me some leads on opportunities, it doesn't have to be art related at all. I just want to be able to stop riding a squeaky bicycle everywhere. My apartment lease expires December 31st and I'm not renewing it... all options are open.

PLUS - Other artists, I am so curious about what you do for jobs. I know lots of you have cars, houses, children... what are you doing for a living? How did you find your job? PLEASE CLUE ME IN.

Leave a comment, anonymously is fine, telling us what your job is... where you live, what is your income.

Some of my previous work experience is as a bookstore worker, Japanese steel plant inspector, zoo swan-boat attendant, whitewater rafting guide, star reporter. I also worked a few years near Mt Fuji at Kanrisha Yosei Gakko's Jigoku Kunren (Hell Training) camp... you would not believe, seriously.

Without some guidance I am likely to:

A. Go back to Tokyo and enter this program in April. This isn't a job though.
B. Explore the world of desert plant landscaping. This isn't a job either, and my last experience in Phoenix was a disaster. I wish this school was in Albuquerque or Tucson.
C. Join the Army. They have raised the maximum enlistment age to forty-two.
D. Car salesman. This is the only paying job I can find in the newspaper that I might be at all qualified for, even though I've never owned a car (except for that beater I abandoned in Phoenix).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

someone's sign

Someone's sign on Strawberry Street.

This is the back. Must be the same person who did this.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Jerry Saltz at Art Basel: Stuffy's!!!

Jerry Saltz visited Art Basel: Stuffy's!!! I'm so lucky that I happened to go to Stuffy's for a meatball sandwich and recognized him! What are the odds?

I wonder if this art fair will get on Artnet??? He seemed to take a lot of notes.

Jerry Saltz reading Michael Lease's obituary.

Jerry Saltz with work by Don Crow, Scott Eastwood, me, and Paul DiPasquale.

Sorry for all the bad cropping and angles, I was trying to be inconspicuous.

He looked at Barbara Tisserat's piece for a long time. I could hear him softly whispering.. "hello my lovelies, my pretties"... it was a little creepy.

AAARRGHH!!! He walked right by my painting! This is the SECOND TIME he has done this! Bastard!! He did the same thing last year at Scope Miami, when I was sitting out front with a bunch of paintings. I can't get a break.

Admiring one of Rachel Hayes' two pieces.

Studying one of Timothy Sean Johnston's paintings. He kept that same expression throughout the entire show, he is THAT intense. I guess maybe that is his poker-face?

I couldn't figure out what he was thinking AT ALL.

Art Basel: Stuffy's

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

pictures from another planet

An architect friend went to my show at Haigh Jamgochian's building and took these excellent photos.

This silvery painting on the brick wall is what I was hinting about with that last Tomma Abts painting. This silver surfer was finished and the Markel show already planned when I found Tomma's painting... it's actually the oldest painting included, finished December 22, 2005.

Martin Bromirski

This is the painting that was featured on PaintersNYC!

I still need some good shots of most of these undocumented paintings. The one on the left includes what Vittorio Colaizzi referred to as a "net", and I was thinking of as a web... last night a lady who saw the show told me that she thought it was a badminton birdie.

I like the net reading because it has me thinking about Kusama Yayoi's infinity nets.

Thanks, Susan! If anyone else goes to this show, or Art Basel: Stuffy's, PLEASE SEND ME SOME PICTURES!


Monday, November 20, 2006

Eric Sall reviewed in artUS

Eric Sall review in artUS
Eric Sall's atm show is reviewed in the Oct/Nov 2006 issue of artUS. Click here to see it bigger and read it.

The reviewer, Nadja Sayej, has an interesting article/interview with Tino Sehgal in the same issue.

stitchy japanese house

Look at this crazy house! This was close to the ARCHITECT house I posted earlier, in Nagaoka or Niigata ... and very unusual. It was padlocked from the outside, but didn't look abandoned. I wish I could have seen inside.

Look at all the nails...I can't help but think of Philip Guston's piles of hairy legs and shoes, pointy-headed figures, all of his stitchy linework.


Sunday, November 19, 2006


An old house in Japan.. I think this was in Nagaoka, although it might be Niigata. One of those two, definitely Niigata prefecture. I lived in Nagaoka for a year...

I'm (always) trying to organize all my crap, going through old papers and photographs, but I keep getting sidetracked on the content... and wanting to scan things onto the internet. The recent Markel Building post is compelling me to post more examples of interesting architecture.

Isn't this a cool old house? Most of wooden Nagaoka was burned down during WWII, but this looks to pre-date the war. Here is another view, it's almost under the Shinkansen tracks. Nagaoka now holds - on the anniversary of it's firebombing - the biggest and most beautiful hanabi matsuri (fireworks festival) in Japan, on the banks of the Shinanogawa. So pretty... great memory.

I met the most interesting old man in Nagaoka. He was in his 90's, spoke excellent English, and kept a cluttered third-floor office full of amazing things. He learned English in the States, before the war (he travelled all over America)... and after the war began he was assigned to run a prison labor camp, I think in Malaysia. He told me about how hard the prisoners had to work and that every morning he would assemble everyone in the yard for exercise, and give a motivational speech, in Malay. He told me that he would thank them for their hard work and suffering, not having enough to eat, but that after the war was over and they won, everything would be great... "but we didn't win".

Then.. HE became a prisoner. There were so many Japanese spread out over so much of Asia that the best and quickest way to isolate them was to round them up and keep them on various uninhabited small islands. He said they had no clothes, food, medicine, or shelter and that many many men died on the island. I asked him what he ate and he said that they would stamp on snakes and eat them. Their feet were so calloused they were like clubs.

Okay, this is not so much about art. I did this same thing yesterday talking about Press, but didn't like seeing all that on my ART blog, so I moved most of that biographical text to the comments. Maybe I should start an Interesting Old Man blog... it would include Fred, Paris, Haigh Jamgochian, Charles Ware, Press.

Okay! Ladies also! I can't leave out Mildred Greenberg!!!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Press at Art Basel: Stuffy's

Yesterday, at Art Basel: Stuffy's, I met an artist named Press. He was working on a portrait, from memory, using only toner, Q-tips, and a brush.

Press' portrait, with tools. He is unsatisfied with the jaw and wishes parts of the portrait were darker, but the copy shop doesn't have any more empty toner cartridges for him.

Press is welcome at Art Basel: Stuffy's.


Friday, November 17, 2006

i... am not... a potato

I love that Haigh Jamgochian's Guggenheim Richmond, site of my current SOLO SHOW, was inspired by a foil wrapped baked potato he was served at dinner.


potato polaroid 2, 1989, martin bromirski
Potato Polaroid from 1989. It is a jack-o-lantern! Scary!

texas potatoes, 1989, martin bromirski
A showdown of potatoes... also from 1989. Those are ACTUAL photocopied potatoes!

The painting posted at top is from early 1992-ish, I am thinking, the ending of the Potatoes and the Humbertos. Je ne suis pas une pomme de terre.

Magneto in his office, 2nd floor, Bizarro Guggenheim, Richmond (next to Val-Pak's).

RELATED: 1/4 career flashback - the potato years, 1/4 career flashback - Humberto!

Eric Fischl on John Currin

Eric Fischl was asked, during the Q&A period after his VCU lecture yesterday, if he had seen John Currin's most recent show at Gagosian -

"the angriest, most hostile show I'd ever seen"

"I was struck by the misanthropic animus that was being projected"

"the caricturish _____, .. parody of it, the way he used objects to humiliate his subjects..."

"some fabulous strategies... he would paint an old woman's face on a younger woman's body, for example"


RELATED: Photographer Alec Soth also saw it... but says that "not only is he an outrageously talented painter, there is genuine affection in the work."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Michael Lease and Christopher Wiedeman

An Assault on Taste, formerly referred to as Art of This Century, and Art Basel: Stuffy's are NOT the only two CURRENT BEST shows in Richmond... there is also Michael Lease and Christopher Weideman's artist-initiated Alley-Oop, in an old cinderblock shed behind the former Hand Workshop Art Center.

Michael has wrapped all four sides of the small building with wheatpasted photographs; most of the photographs seem to be of, or reference, people and places that Michael feels close to. Sweet documentary snapshots... details of odd little corners, cropped figures and moments. I think he calls this body of work For The Lack Of Words.

Judith Baumann says "equal parts nostalgia, mystery and deliberate spontaneity, Michael's photography makes you wish you were there."

Michael Lease is also in Art Basel: Stuffy's!!!

The two tombstones one above is funny; Eggleston of course would reference the photographer William Eggleston... Adair must be local artist and teacher Tom Adair.

When I saw Tom indoors at the opening I greeted him with, "hey, there's a tombstone out back with your name on it"... which was probably not the best thing to say. Hopefully he ended up getting the joke. Ha ha.

P.S. Tom is a GREAT drawing teacher...

The opening was a couple weeks ago... some of the pictures are starting to peel away now.

Michael's work is outside, and Christopher Weideman has the INSIDE of the building.

Christopher has built a plywood wall and floor.. so that when you walk into the building you step UP into a short corridor, around the corner of which the plywood floor becomes a curved ramp directing your eye and body toward a black pit near the opposite corner of a darkened room. All of the dirt and rubble pulled from the pit is piled up in that corner, on the other side of the pit and curved around it, so that the black hole is encircled by cement, wood, and dirt.

Man, I really like seeing the arrangement of these three materials together... the rough plywood, smooth cold cement, and soft dirt... and that round black void. It feels like an altar, or waiting for some arrival.

There is MORE! Inside the hole, at the bottom, is a television screen playing a video... a ten-minute (or so) edited loop of Christopher digging the hole. He rigged a video camera directly overhead.

The hole itself is so pretty.. it's hard to see well in this picture, but the sides are like petals. It reminded me of the Imi Hwangbo pieces that were exhibited last month.. but this whole thing was way more interesting.

Christopher Weidman
Working through the layer of cement floor.

Christopher Weidman
The sweaty, grunting artist... glimpses of ambition and futility.

Go see it! Monday through Friday, 9-5, through November 24th. They have documented the whole process here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

dolphins are spatial

DOLPHINS ARE SPATIAL Opening Reception November 17th, 7-10PM at Plant Zero.... there will be a keg of good beer and music and lots of paintings and drawings and things. It will be fun.

Featuring the work of:

Trudy Benson Daniel Lane Brian Blomerth Matt Malone Heather Bregman Frieda Masters Minna Cho Katy McDaniel Katherine DeGaetani Joseph McCorkle Nicole Duquette Beth Noe Cindy Eide Megan Nolde Katrina Fimmel Ben Perry Andrew Fiorillo Matthew Ritchie Erik Gonzalez Erin Schwinn Ashley Hawkins Marie Sudduth Maria Hill Erin Thompson Benjamin Hirsch Adam Triplett Melissa Johnson

A show of current VCU painting undergrads organized by Sally Bowring and Heide Trepanier.

RELATED-ish: Tom Moody has posted a list of the Five Types of Artists.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Eric Fischl is speaking tomorrow (Wednesday), November 15th, at 4pm at the VCU student commons.

Pat Oleszko is ALSO speaking tomorrow (Wednesday), November 15th, at 5:15pm at VCU, at that fifth floor AFO building (above the parking garage). Unless they've changed the time because of the conflict with the Fischl lecture.

What did you think of the Sina Najafi lecture?

I submitted to the upcoming (April, 2007) Insects issue.

Monday, November 13, 2006

DC on RVA, plus..

Tyler Green has been posting images of the Bonnards that were given to VMFA by the estate of Paul Mellon. He also started to talk about the John Ravenal curated Artificial Light last week, but didn't finish.


The Grammar Police also announced they were coming to see that show.. but he hasn't said anything about it since. Did he come? I'm curious about what he thought, what else he might have seen...

Oh.. another DC guy is coming down soon. JT Kirkland has the next show at the new Red Door Gallery. Philadelphian Douglas Witmer will be showing concurrently.

RELATED: my first post on Artificial Light, my second post on Artificial Light, Paul Laster's interview with John Ravenal, for Artkrush.

PLUS: I was going through some old clippings and art stuff and found an old pamphlet for a 1993 Philadelphia show I was in... John Ravenal was on the Art Advisory Council! He was working at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at that time.

Weird to see the old things. Sarah McEneaney (one of my favorite artists) was in that show, Virgil Marti, Stuart Netsky, Shelley Spector. Ed Rendell and Anne D'Harnoncourt were at the very fancy reception, I guess John must have been also. I visited again with Mildred and my mom later on.

Richard Torchia was also on that council.. I always liked him. He worked at Moore College of Art at that time. They had some very good shows... first time to see David Wojnarowicz, Marlene Dumas, Adolf Wolfli.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tom Sanford's Serious Artist Barometer

Tom Sanford likes Artnet's updated monthly list of the 300 most popular artists because of it's democraticism, claiming it is compiled based on the number of searches for particular artists, and that "they are there for some other reason than how much money they stand to make for Steve Cohen or Charles Saatchi".

But I'm pretty sure that the only artists listed on Artnet, and reflected in the "popular search" thing, are names that have been provided by galleries that advertise on Artnet, or have an auction record.

So I say so in the comments -

ME: you think? i didn't think many artists get listed on artnet that are not represented by galleries that pay to be listed, or advertise, on artnet.

To which Tom replies -

TOMPAC: well, maybe you could accuse me of being too snobby, turning my nose up at weekend artist and those who doodle while on the phone, but for practicality's sake I am willing to say that being on artnet is a useful bar for whether or not one is a serious/professional artist. i am sure that there are plenty exceptions...


Tom, I could also accuse you of being a shallow, naive, pompous ass.. but.. I think maybe that was just a slip?

Some of Tom's own favorite artists are not listed on Artnet... Richard Onyango, someone whom Tom himself has described as "an internationally recognized artist since the early 90s", is listed on Artnet for only a single auction sale. Very good artist friends (i like them too) Eric Doeringer and Bryan Zanisnik... not listed.

Quick searches reveal that Tom Moody is not listed, Zoe Strauss is not listed, High Times, Hard Times artists like Harmony Hammond and Joe Overstreet are not listed -- both are still working, the recently posted Lauren Luloff is not listed... Lauren shows with Cinders, Cinders does not advertise on Artnet... NOT LISTED.

Chris Norris is listed! Chris is listed because his name was provided by ADA Gallery, which recently signed up with Artnet. Six months ago ADA was not on Artnet, so Chris Norris was not yet serious. Bruce Wilhelm, ADA did not provide your name... you can't be serious.

Mildred Greenberg is listed on Artnet! She wasn't a couple years ago. She died in 2003, I guess she has become a more serious artist since she died. That was very professional of you Mildred!

Anyways, being listed on Artnet is of course a career positive, but IS NOT indicative of the "seriousness" of the individual artists, or of those artists not included.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

uh oh...

Uh oh.... (click here, or on the picture, to read the Style Weekly article)

rafting on the James River, 9/8/2005
If you liked the ride, tip your guide!

rafting on the James River, Richmond, VA 9/8/2005
This is the same group as the photo above. The guy in the front with his legs up is former Lt. Governor Hager... he is paralyzed and has no use of his legs, so he's the only one in the boat without a proper brace... he was actually the most gung-ho. Bigger photo is here.

Lauren Luloff

I have seen her work on Painter's blogs.. and am wowed.

A little bit I am thinking of Alan Shields, whom I enjoyed so much in the High Times, Hard Times show.