I’ve been on a roll with museum shows!
Opening today is the 50th Annual International Exhibition at the Museum of the Living Artist in the beautiful San Diego Art Institute. Two of my pieces are in this group show, which runs until May 10.
On display are 24×30 inch prints of Alley no. 97, NOW and Alley no. 102, Goast Pier
And I’ve just learned that two of my pieces will be in a group show at the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition is scheduled for Aug 24-Sept 27, 2009.
On display will be 32×40 inch prints of Alley no. 102, Goast Pier (again!) and Alley no. 100, Ghost Story
And March 1st was the closing of yet another museum show in which I had two pieces; this one at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art.
Mare Island part deux
I had the chance to re-visit Mare Island this weekend with my wife. Mare Island is the site of a nearly abandoned Naval shipbuilding facility in the Bay Area. It was built in 1854, and throughout its life produced or overhauled thousands of ships. It is several square miles of mostly empty industrial buildings, so at night it is ghost town heaven. The base closed down in 1996.
Here’s the shot I did at night last year, and the images I got during the day this past weekend.
Randy Grant3.18.09 / 11pm
The top photo, the one taken at night, really reminds me of a Giorgio de Chirico painting. He’s one of my favourite artists. Are you familiar with his work ? His paintings typically consist of deserted sets of buildings. Often there’s a tower. The smokestack in your photo reminded me of a De Chirico tower.
X3.19.09 / 6am
He’s famous for his haunted cityscapes with their long shadows, so yes! I’m a fan…
Rod Mtz 3.19.09 / 4pm
Nice pictures Man. Are you selling? Where?
From Monterrey, Mexico.
X3.19.09 / 5pm
I ship my art all the time. I just need an email address and I will send you pricing/ordering info.
Tatjana 3.23.09 / 2am
I miss you! The good exploration times we had! I miss Skaggs and Mare Island..
Come down to the Santa Barbara area.. there’s some places I need to show you in LA and Oxnard!
Morning and Night
I thought I’d mention two of my obsessions for the month… both are historical: The Dark Ages and the Neolithic period. Although I’ve always found these periods fascinating, I’ve devoted many hours recently to learning more about them. In a sense they are bookends. One is the dawn of civilization, while the other is the end of it. The Dark Ages, of course, is the 300-700 stunted years following the fall of the Roman Empire. I’m obsessed with the vision of our modern societies collapsing; of our highways and skyscrapers being overgrown with weeds, and centuries later people looking at their remnants, scratching their heads and wondering what it was all about. It seems incredible and unthinkable, but this is exactly what happened. Although the Roman Empire didn’t collapse overnight, imagine what went through the mind of a citizen, upon witnessing the sacking of Rome, after 800 years of rule. How much more can you blow someone’s mind?? An entire world was collapsing in on itself. Then for centuries afterward, people in rags would look upon the ruins of a once great world; they’d look at their own squalid little encampment and know something very wrong had happened. I think of how people lived in that time, for generations after the fall; the massive decline and reversal in most forms of progress. Imagine if our scientific advancements continued free from obstruction at our current pace. Then imagine this world in the year 2509. This is essentially what was robbed from us in this backward time. The Neolithic period, on the other hand, is a glorious time in our history: Humanity’s first settlements (in what is now the ravaged Holy Land), our first farms, our first permanent stone buildings, our first societies. It was the end of the Stone Age. As people started living in groups larger than their immediate families, ideas flourished and progress was rapid. Imagine one of your typical nomadic hunter/gatherer families stumbling upon an early village of several thousand people in size. It would have seemed impossible, a dream to them. But what is likely, from what’s known of these early cities, is that the nomads would have been accepted with open arms. Dawn is always a beautiful time, and this was one of the all-time great sunrises… Ok, sunsets are pretty too… Sunset in Cape Cod, 1985
My friend Michael Murphy, after reading this post, just sent me to a fantastic web site that chronicles the Journey of Man
More Nuclear War! Yay!
I’ve been on a tear, watching some of the remaining nuclear war films that I hadn’t yet seen… Last week I watched two excellent installments in the genre: On the Beach (1959), and Testament (1983). This week I’ve lined up The Day After (1983).
And when I say genre, there really are just a handful that deal with it in the proper way, which is by addressing the war head on, and making you really understand this isn’t the way you want things to go. A film like Mad Max, for example, doesn’t fit the bill because reality is so utterly suspended, it ends up really just being a light action film in the vein of Die Hard, but with a different backdrop. There are many, many post apocalyptic action films like this, which in my opinion wimp out in the end. It’s a difficult choice, taking nuclear war head on.
The most eye-popping, devastating and realistic nuclear war film to date is Threads (1984). It is NOT for the faint of heart.
On the Beach
Museum of the Living Artist - San Diego Art Institute
My show at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art ended this week and today I’m shipping two pieces to the Museum of the Living Artist at the San Diego Art Institue. That show - The 50th International Exhibition - begins March 21st.
This is an image of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, shot when I was there in 1991. The building was originally a train station when completed in 1900, the Gare d’Orsay, thus the spectacular clock. It was converted to a museum in 1986, and is noted for its collection of impressionist masterpieces.
Beauty in Urban Decay
Here’s a great set of images from Smashing Magazine on the theme of Beauty in Urban Decay
By Robert Bowen and Smashing Magazine Editorial Team:
The city is a fantastic source of beauty and inspiration, with all the glitz and glamour glistening beneath the city lights. But there is another side of the city altogether, one rife with its own kind of allure. Across the tracks, away from the dazzle of downtown, lies a darker imagination, this one looking to grunge-ridden, dilapidated architecture for inspiration. There is a beauty that pervades this kind of urban decay and captured wonderfully through a photographer’s well-trained eye. These industrial city scenes are wonderfully dark and offer a glimpse of the weathered face beneath the city facade.
In this inspirational installment, we take a tour and show the charm of a more neglected and worn side of the city. We showcase the beauty of urban decay, a series of photos of this eroded elegance that photographers have captured brilliantly. These gorgeously grungy images have a haunting appeal, a stirring quality that radiates from within and that earned them a spot on this list.
Ride My Pony - Corner Desk:
The Unknown Bug
While scanning my slides recently, I came across an old photograph from my Bug series that has suffrered from some neglect. It was shot in 1993 in the dank basement of an old industrial building I used to live in, which I described in an earlier blog post.
This image was exhibited in 1995 in Stornaway Gallery in Montreal, and it had a name back then. But as with much else, I have lost its original identity, and so someday he or she will have to adopt an alias. Its now in the Glam Bugs slide show.
The Unknown Bug, 1993
Homeless in NYC
This was shot in the mid-1990’s in Manhattan.
Homeless in New York
Web site and Milwaukee alley
The upgrade to my web site has met some hurdles… sorry for the delay!! It will all be back on-line soon, maybe a few more days. In the meantime, unfortunately all the slide shows are down.
But here is yet another new image!! Shot in Milwaukee this summer…. and here is the blog entry the night after the shoot.
Alley 113, Truck Stop (2008, Milwauke, WI, 1am)
…here’s a nice detail, not visible in the small jpg above:
Picture of me and my toy truck. Photo by Mark Adgate, who was a great help getting the shot done.
Abandoned gas station, Denver, CO
All my images will be off line for a couple of days (make that a few days…) while the site is upgraded. In the meantime, here’s a new photograph… shot in Denver last year and appropriate for our times… I wrote a blog entry the day after shooting this.
Also I just learned two of my pieces will be be in a group show at the Museum of the Living Artist in San Diego, which is part of the San Diego Art Institute.
Alley 112, Gas Station, 2008, Denver, CO, 2:00am
Under Pressure: graffiti wall murals
My friend Randy Grant sent me these - they are pictures of graff wall murals in Montreal. The city is full of them…
Montreal holds an annual graffiti competition called Under Pressure, where over 100 artists participate. This, along with the city’s usually lax attitude toward (quality) graffiti, results in some incredible work.
This is an excerpt from The McGill Daily:
“The city’s direct sponsorship of graffiti art, in the from of the Under Pressure event and murals throughout the city, is both born of increased public tolerance and also contributes to the opening of minds. This, coupled with the increase in private funding for painted walls, leads us to a neighbourhood quickly morphing into one of the city’s first living museums.
You can’t turn a corner in the Plateau area without seeing walls covered by the city’s finest painters. KOPS Krew and Urban X-Pressions are represented “TO DA MAXX” in several places, and close by are the different styles of crews DA and UNC, among others. The area is a mélange of spray paint that reflects Montreal’s diversity of culture. Well-defined shapes, vibrant colors, and lively, inventive characters all serve to bring a unique aesthetic to the otherwise grey and wintry urban environment.
At the heart of the open-air exposition, though, is the commercialization of the art form.
The abundance of painted walls commissioned by private funding has contributed to such a relaxed atmosphere that even illegal walls can be done as large-scale productions. Says MAYSR, “The cops come by and say, ‘is this legal?’, and you say, ‘uh, yeah.’ and by the time they check it out and come back, you’re already finished and gone.” And yet, the money greasing the wheels is made up of double-sided coins.”
I came across a fun collection of images on-line… people and things lined up until they interact in a unique way… No credit is given, and it looks like most are shot by different people. I’ve posted a couple here, but there are 30 or 40 delightful (a word I don’t often use) examples on this (Brazilian? Portuguese?) web site
The “almost” file
This is an image I shot 2 years ago in Seattle… I thought it was good, but I decided recently it will go into the “almost” file…
So here is its brief moment in the spotlight:
More odd portraits I took of my friend Phil when we shared a huge, mostly vacant, and slowly collapsing industrial building in Montreal in the early 90’s.
From the Phil series, Phil scratches a wall, 1993:
The next picture from my Phil series.
Phil and his nutritious dinner, 1993: