Sunday, December 28, 2014

In it for the long haul

Whew... deep breath. Every day, new cause for rage. Not gonna stop. So up to me to deal with it on a different register. No good exploding into fantasies of hard justice that lead nowhere, teach me nothing, point to no useful tactics or strategies. Have to stop reacting like this stuff comes out of nowhere--shock and surprise.
It's not. It doesn't. I could close my eyes and recite ahead of time kinda thing gonna come at me before the day is out. Only thing going to be different, be the details. What it means to be in it for the long run.
Don't get numb. Let it register, but the way you have to let stuff register when you're in an action and bad shit comes down. You take a breath. Evaluate. Think what you can do to best take care of yourself and those near by. Later... you find time with comrades, friends, with those you trust and love... with those not afraid of tears or hard words. Let it out, and give back what you get in support from others.
Then you go on. Cause it's gonna go on going on for a long time, and there's no room to quit, and no place to go to if you wanted to.
Solidarity, Love, Imagination, Resistance!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

#294 Meditation box

104x44 cm. underside of coffee table, 6-pack holder, paint blob, lampshade hoop.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

#292 Through a Glass Darkly

61x41 cm acryllic smeared on mirror. This is hard to capture in a photo. It's a bathroom cabinet mirror in it's frame (I think). Found in the trash. Smeared with thin acryllic, an image rubbed out. Still semi-transparent to the mirror. The image only shows at certain angles.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Some Perspective on the Shooting of the NYPD Cops.


For more than five months since the murder of Mike Brown... with deaths to follow, one after another, there has been as yet, NO corrective action taken to insure accountability, of those who committed these crimes, or to prevent more of the same in the future.
Think about it.
Almost six months.
What are the cops to get from this, if not support for their self-justification, their maniacal racist thin-blue-line fantasies that cast as enemies those who they should protect-- as THEIR enemies! It's like a set up!
It was bound to happen, sooner or later (amazing that it took so long!)... that someone was going to say, enough is enough. Really not important that it was a violent jerk who shot his ex, and not someone more rationally enraged by establishment refusal to hold the killers accountable. What did they expect? What do they want to happen--that the cops, so puffed up with their ignorance and self-importance and self-serving us versus them rage, turn on a mass of demonstrators and initiate a massacre? Not like this hasn't happened in this fucking country before! If it should happen again, no one should be the least surprised. If one were to write a script with that as the outcome, could not be closer than what we've seen unfolding. This was my first thought when I heard the news. Oh shit... what's coming down after this?
The NYPD PBA rant that's been circulating... maybe that's someone's idea... to create the conditions for war. If it comes to that, I have to ask, is it time we need be ready to cross the line from "peaceful demonstrators' to armed asymmetrical resistance? Is that what they're pushing for? I don't just distrust cops--I don't fucking trust anyone in authority in this country--not anymore. It's over. It's fucking over.

Friday, December 19, 2014

No such thing as a good cop.


Why do I keep saying, there is no such thing as a good cop--when we know that not all cops do bad shit? Let me see if I can explain my reasoning, sans rhetoric, when I say: there is no such thing as a good cop.
First, there is the role. Then there is the person. The role is defined in general terms by what kinds of actions it involves. To keep this simple, I want to look at only one aspect: what is permissible within the role. The persons who step into the role are not identical with it, and certainly aren't reducible to it—as persons; but while they occupy that role—the role of ‘cop,’ their moral or ethical character—their ‘goodness’ or ‘badness,’ is. So when I say, there are no good cops, I’m speaking about a person in that role, as ‘cop.’ Not what they are outside of it, or in addition to it.
As the role, ‘cop,’ includes all those things permissible in the performance of that role, we have to take the unpleasant reality, that this includes killing unarmed men and women who have committed no crime, done no wrong according to the law. We know this to be true, because cops who kill unarmed men and women who have done no wrong according to the law, are, in fact, given permission to do this, post facto, if not in advance, in that they receive no punishment, experience no official sanction or restriction of their duties, once the PR phase and “investigation’ has been completed. If by chance, disciplinary measures are taken, their unions will correct the official command, reminding the command, and us, that killing unarmed men and women who have done no wrong according to the law, is, in fact, permissible.
There is no contesting this. These are facts, confirmed again and again in full view of everyone who refuses to avert their eyes. As long as cops, who kill unarmed men and women who have done no wrong under the law, are excused, confirming that this is, in fact, permissible for anyone occupying the role of 'cop,' it will be true, that there is no such thing as a good cop. That not all cops kill unarmed mean and women who have done no wrong according to the law, is no more relevant than pointing out that not all cops stand on corners directing traffic. What matters, is whether these actions fall (standing on a corner directing traffic, killing unarmed men and women who have done no wrong according to the law) under the class of permissible actions for the role we’re discussing, namely, being a cop, and given the history we have before us, it is clear that killing unarmed men and women who have done no wrong under the law, falls as much under the class of permissible actions as standing on corners directing traffic, or appending actual criminals.
Of course, the weak part of this lies in how we define what is good, or bad. Clearly, if you believe killing unarmed men and women who have done no wrong according to the law, is a good thing, it would not be true to say: there is no such thing as a good cop. More significant—is the problematic of the what that role (being a cop) plays in a larger context. Here there’s more room for reasonable disagreement.
I’m not going to write a book here, so I’ll condense this to the max. If you concede that one of the primary functions of the role of 'cop' (remember, that means everything included as permissible—even if individual cops are doing very different things)—is to protect by whatever means, the status quo of power, and the status quo of power happens to be hell bent on destroying human life on the planet… well (forgive this rhetorical lapse)… there is no way that role, the role: ‘cop,’ is a good thing.

There is no such thing as a good cop

Imagination Shall Make Us Free!


In a Facebook post, Nyle Fort, wrote of the difficulty of seeing past the neoliberal simulacra to find what is real. Maybe it helps to see this, not as binary opposites, but different *kinds* of real. In the way a fictional character is real, *as* a fictional character-- which nonetheless has real generative effects.
The spectacle, too, is real, but a reality whose generative effects impair both thought and perception in such a way that we cannot see past the simulacra, or imagine, while in its thrall, another kind of reality. That suggests to me, that the way to another reality--one we can inhabit in the fullness of our human being--is not like breaking through a curtain to something that lies there, already existing, on the other side, but in the very power of imagination on which the illusion depends, that our hope lies in knowing that that power is immeasurably greater than what has been drawn on by the oppressive system holding us hostage. Like in the Faerie Queene--the flames surrounding Busirane's castle, real enough to burn Scudamore--because he believes they are the wrong kind of real, a reality over which he has no power, while Britomart walks through them unscathed. It's our collective belief in the simulacra that makes it 'real' -- that is, gives it power to generate effects--in that way, challenging collective beliefs is the very essence of the work of the imagination.
We do not dance as relief from fighting oppression; we dance, because out of the dance, come the flames of passion that will burn the citadels of our oppressors. We do not sing or paint or rap or create stories to escape from one illusion to another--but TO IMAGINE THE REAL WE DESIRE, THAT WE MIGHT CREATE IT AND MAKE IT SO!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Art and Capitalism, one more time...


Hoping for a discussion group sometime in the not too distant future at A-Space for artists who want to explore ideas on alternative means of support-- outside gatekeeper-gallery-to-investor servitude. If you're interested in this, let me know--and I'll keep you updated on when this might happen.
True, making stuff from your own materials and exchanging it for money isn't yet capitalism. The problem is with what happens after, and the way the gallery-to-investor system works, using art as an exchange commodity to create surplus value for the investor/collectors--which also screws the artist-worker. Think of artists, with very few exceptions, as low wage workers. Any artist activist would do well to give this a shit-load of thought. It means rescuing art from being subverted and co-opted by the establishment, which is an absolutely essential step in turning our creative powers to serve the revolution.
We will never make a new world by centralized resistance. We have to turn every aspect of our lives to creating new forms of relationships, with one another, and to the work we do in making a humanly habitable world with all our fellow creatures on this planet. Making art isn't a side dish we wait to serve up after the 'real' work is done--it's how we open the faucet to ALL our creative energies. Why the elite are so committed to owning and using what we do to image forth a world that looks like the one they want us live in, the one where they own us and the labor of all.
See also Imagination Shall Make Us Free

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Surfing the wave of history!


All over the world... Brazil, London, Spain... in Hong Kong they were doing "hands up don't shoot"... Palestine. There's always waiting for us, that crescendo of events no one could have predicted. Those who are most dependent on being in control will the be the least prepared to deal with them. Those whose lives have been given to surfing the wave of history ahead and beneath the curl, ready to risk everything, give up everything they have held true to embrace the new reality, they will inherit the earth!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sometimes a riot is a beautiful thing!


Have seen several posts on Facebook contrasting white dudes rioting over pumpkins and sports victories, with stores and cars set fire in Ferguson. Who are the real rioters, they ask? I was thinking about this on the bus the other day... how what they share, may be more significant than how they differ.
On the one side, there's destruction as celebration--a spontaneous eruption from joy to mayhem. On the other side, attacks on property out of justifiable rage, or at least--rage with more than enough provocation to make it understandable. But isn't that all too neat? What kind of celebration is this--destruction of public property--of shared assets in the community (buses, automobiles, breaking into stores)--isn't this as much an expression of rage as the other? A rage let loose in people by the celebration? And if so, is there not something similar in their rage to what we saw in Ferguson--a release of pent up anger?  I mean--anger that explodes out of the oppression of living in this consumer culture, of being valued not as human individuals, but only for one's exchange value--as wage slaves, as consumers pressured to want and need always more than they are able to realize?
On the other side--isn't there joy as well as rage at the burning of a cop car? And breaking and smashing things, the tangible symbols of a culture where nothing has value of and in itself, but only as means of exchange?
Maybe--however little aware (at least the whites, in their Dionysian celebrations), are of what is driving them, there is on both sides a common passionate hunger to destroy the material symbols of a culture that oppresses everyone--however unequally distributed the raw violence of that oppression--that there is a shared hunger for genuine freedom, for another kind of world?
This is why I see appeals for 'calm' and 'reason,' are but a disguised way of taking the side of power, of the status quo. And the worst--those who think of themselves as radicals, scolding those who 'lose control' --that is, who refuse to accept the top-down discipline of the tacticians and strategists who claim to 'know better.'
Let there be room for joyful destruction. For both sides. May it come together in a great celebratory conflagration to make room for a new world.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Memorial to E. Passyunk PoemTree, 2010-2012 #287

48x22 acrylic, Poem cards, aluminum tabs, American chestnut leaves and found stuff mounted on plywood.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#288

34x36 strips & chips of wood, acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


How can we recover our creativity, if we aren't ready to renounce art, have done with the isolation of aesthetics as a specialty, and absolutely reject--work to destroy by whatever means prove effective--the vile usurpation of creative effort by the gallery to investment pipelines--to resist comodification of self and work as nothing less than a life and death struggle? Is there anything more vile or than the idea of a "professional artist?"

Friday, October 31, 2014

#284

32x40 acrylic on canvas. light through trees, Morris Park

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#283

31.5x14.5 Acrylic on packing box cardboard

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#56 There's a Soldier in the Garden of the World

Cardboard, paper, roofing paper, torn US currency, acrylic mounted on rusted sheet metal

Friday, October 24, 2014

#282

28x20 acrylic on Masonite

#281

Paintchips on rusted metal. Found object mounted on wood, acrylic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#279

24x12 Acrylic on canvas.

#280 36x34 Acrylic on canvas. Samhain, Full Moon Fire Circle, Faerie Fall Gathering

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Narrative Realism: recycled

This is the preface to a review of an Alice Munroe story in the New Yorker.
This is Part II of a review of Some Women, by Alice Munro
Naming the Real in Realist Fiction. Here is Part I .

And
Three posts on Critical Narrative analysis
  One
Two
Three

No artist tolerates reality." says Nietzsche. That is true, but no artist can get along without reality. Artistic creation is a demand for unity and rejection of the world. But it rejects the world in the name of what it lacks and in the name of what it sometimes is.
Camus, The Rebel

When I first read this, I noticed an ambiguity in the English translation which I assumed would not exist in the French. As the likely pronominal antecedents (une exigence, and le monde) are of different genders, it would be clear in French that the first refers to 'artistic creation,' or rather, its 'demand,' and the next two, to 'the world.' But {this demand) rejects the world in the name of what ( the world) lacks and in the name of what (the world) sometimes is. However, I find that there is something to be said for the ambiguity and for the creative misreading it allows. If we understand 'world' and 'reality' as synonymous (as Camus apparently does here), make 'artistic creation' the subject and turn 'demand' into a verb with 'writer' as its object, we will have pregnant formulation of the problematic of realism and representation. .

Artistic creation demands of the writer
that he/she reject reality
for what it lacks
and for what it sometimes is.

To this I would add, that artistic mimesis, what we think of as 'representation,' the very possibility of artistic realism, arises out of an encounter with what reality 'lacks.' What constitutes realism--what any work of art represents ( pictorial, dramatic, literary, musical) is not 'reality,'' but its 'lack,' the artist's endeavor to complete reality, to make real what was not...to give to Airy Nothing a Local Habitation and a Name. Which means the distinction between 'realism' and whatever name you would give to its antithesis, is false. There can be no distinction, and any criticism over-determined by the assumption that there is, will fail in its encounter with the work. With this in mind, let me turn--or return to, the story I've set out to review.
In an EARLIER POST, I wrote that writing:
is a process of negotiation with the material at hand and every act, each engagement with that material translates both material and intention. ... because the author's intentions have been in a continuous process of translation along with the writing as it evolves, what existed in the beginning, and at every point to the completion of the work, is a continuum of difference that moves both forward and back.
We can't recover the process or recreate the stages as they evolved in the continuing encounter, but I believe we can identify imprints of that encounter, evidence of the reality which shaped the elements of the writing as it emerges in its final form.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

#277 Three Who Found Truth

15x48 Oil-stick, acrylic, dirt, sparkles on weathered plywood

Friday, September 26, 2014

#274

Mounted fragment from house fire, acrylic. 29.5x25

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#273 Fish


28x35 acrylic, street trash cardboard on scrap plywood

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Appropriation of art by the Master Machine



So many variations on how the Master Machine appropriates, dilutes, and controls what is alien to it. For art, some of the mechanisms are mediated by the benign face of NGO's and grants, others are ground up in the maw of naked capitalism, like the gallery-to-investor system for the visual arts (and make no mistake, galleries, if they are to be successful, are there to serve investors and commodification of art, not the artist)--but the end is the same. Even when the message is subversive, in the institutional setting of a museum or high end gallery, it's digested and reconfigured in its AESTHETIC robes, teeth pulled and declawed.
"But how will we make a living?" the captive artist cries, like any cubical wage slave. So we sell our children to serve the Master Machine, and call it freedom.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Class and the Sunday Funnies


Somehow, while washing dishes, I thought of Joe Paluka for no discernible reason. There followed names of old comic strips--Bringing up Father with Jiggs and Maggie, the Katzenjammer Kids, Gasoline Alley. These weren't my favorites, but I read them all, Sunday funnies spread out on the living room floor.

Got me thinking about class, and how central it was in the old comics. Has anyone done a serious study of changes in how class was depicted in comics, and how that changed over the years? Related, I'm sure, to changing audience. Change was particularly noticeable through the 50's, As the largely working class audience, home from the war, college on the GI bill, moved into the middle class, the comic characters, too, 'graduated' from the immigrant, working class world that was so much a part of comics in the 30's and 40's.

The total absence of blacks, except for gross caricatures now and then, is telling. By the mid 60's, comics no longer represented the kind of mythic universalizing (white) lens of America the way they did when FDR would read the Sunday funnies on the radio. There's an interesting story in this. I wonder if anyone has done it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Artist? Or servent of the Empire?


If you are an artist--of whatever sort: we all need to live, and have to find the means to make our art. But there is no wall that insulates HOW we go about this from how it works out in the world we live in. How it supports established power, whether we want it to, or not, or doesn't. This. fucking. matters. You CANNOT claim to be an artist... of any sort, if you are unwilling to turn your creativity to thinking about how what you do, and how you seek to support yourself, works out in the real world. That means developing a politically aware conscience. If you just want to entertain established power... in exchange for their support.. you are their house servant, and you have sold out your art. x

Sunday, September 7, 2014

#268 Icon

14x11 paper bag, roofing paper, acrylic on canvasboard

Stop making art for the rich and their Empire of Money and Death!


My first thought, as I walked into the room with Cy Twombly's work at the Phila Museum of Art, was: how do you stretch a canvas that size? Then, off and on, wandering through rooms of 20th C modernist and near contemporary art, it occurred to me that the larger and more elaborate pieces, had to have been made with museums in mind--or collectors who could afford to live in very large houses with very large rooms....
How then, I thought... does this pre-selecting of the'audience' affect the making of art? Whether or not the artist gives this any thought--art made in this way becomes the art of capitalist power--not unlike how those great bronze equestrian statues of military and political figures, were meant to honor and glorify their subjects, and with that, the conquests, subjugation and exploitation of those under their power.
In this way--even the most subversive and revolutionary work, will have written across them a second message, declaring their impotence at the hands of power. "You see, we OWN you! You cannot harm us, here in our aesthetic Free Speech Zones."
Fuck the gatekeepers! Fuck all OWNERS! Better street art that defaces their arrogant walls. Stop making art for the fucking rich and their Empire of Money and Death!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

#267 Human Resources

Reworked from #265 -- looked too much like corporate wall-art 40x32 Acrylic, U.S. currancy on canvas

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Art (as Social Organism) vs. Gentrification


Art (as Social Organism) vs Gentrification.
Interview of Amie Sell by Adam Turl in REDWEDGE, September 2, 201

Monday, September 1, 2014

Stone Troll #2

Illustration for children's book. Stone troll that comes to life. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#264


264 24x27 Acrylic on composition board

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hilton Kramer and the New Criterion (from 1982)


From a journal entry, July 19, 1982
            Hilton Kramer has resigned as art critic for the NYT and announced the appearance of a new review: The "New Criterion."  In reading the publishers introduction, I detected a familiar tone. When I came to names from "Commentary" and the "National Review", the source was plain.
            There have been several articles and review on music in "Commentary" recently. They have taken a critical tack I've found odd and unsettling. Not criticism of individual works, but generic criticism. Attacks on jazz, on popular music, on the dilution of the teaching of "serious" (European concert) music in the curricula of American conservatories and schools of music. This seems to be a posse of writers and intellectuals, politically right wing, with an active agenda to correct modern culture, which they are sure has gone miserably astray. They are anti's: anticommunist, an­ti-populist, antidemocratic, anti-soviet, anti-liberal (who, by design or unconsciously, are the handmaidens of Marxism). They are authoritarian elitists.          
            The new thing here is this emphasis on controlling culture. The arts, literature, music, theater; all are seen through a kind of backwards Marxist lens, busily purveying hidden social programs. The real purpose of criticism, it seems, is to expose the hidden social agenda a which is the matrix and context of the work, then to demonstrate the political/economic wrong-headedness of that context. The work itself is but a means or foil for the serious business of promoting political and social orthodoxy. Art is taken seriously, the way Marxist criticism takes it seriously. Not for its own sake (whatever that may mean), not for the meaning or importance inherent in any particular work, but for the place a work occupies in the social-political matrix of which it is both example and creator-advocate. This new-conservative, neo-clas­sical-authoritarian criticism begins with its own dogmatic or­thodoxy, but an orthodoxy that is clear and formally articulated only on the political-social level. In other words, it's not about art, it's about politics. Art held up to political ideology.
            Their problem is, they can't deal with art. It's too slip­pery. Like a guerrilla army in the hills. So the New  Authoritarian eliminates the enemy by a master stroke; it transforms by magic thinking art, artists, and all their sup­porters, into pure ideological terms. For ideological battles the Authoritarian's rhetorical weapons are well honed.
            It's characteristic of the these guy to be more eager to attack the supporters of the arts than the artists or their work. They're realists. They know where the money is. And in the White House, having not the slightest idea what any of this is about, they  have no mere sympathizer, but a crusading general.

8/20/82
            An article in the Inquirer this week on the New Criterion. The Village Voice a critical piece. They're (NC) funded by some right wing founda­tion.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Artists, Break Free from the Capitalist Market!

keep throwing these messages in a bottle out into the wake...I mean, how we artists need to free ourselves from the capitalist trap. I would think supposidly creative people would be more hyperattuned to this.. and dig the challenge... but most, even those who pretend to radical messages... just roll over and hope to be fucked by the gallery comodification investment model... like maybe they'll get knocked up and give birth to a zillion dollars. Kinda disgusting.

Compartmentalization... but what fucking kind of 'creativity' is that, that can't deal with the real world and how it uses our art?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Human Heart Revealed #262

Ghost Flowers #261


16x12 Acrylic on canvas board

Hiroshima



Those of us who were born before 1945 or soon after, who were children in the late 40's, teens in the 50's... grew up deluged with images of nuclear bombs, the endless photos of hydrogen bomb tests in the pacific; we passed Nike anti-aircraft missiles on the Lake front in Chicago, we knew people who built shelters in their basements... all this, culminating in the most terrifying two weeks since humans came down from the trees--October, 1962.through those years, have no idea.

The nuclear arsenals are still there. The missile silos are still there. England, the U.S, Israel, Pakastan, France, China, Russia...North Korea... all armed with with the capacity to initiate a conflict that would be the end human life on the planet--or make it so terrible, that extinction and death would be a blessing.
Those years were a watershed in human consciousness--if you did not learn to disassociate, to build your life in the delusional shelter of the Great Hologram... as most people did, you became an alien in the world forever, an exile in a world run by madmen, you learned, over the years--for such knowledge is too much to absorb all at once--you understand that there is no longer any place in this world to call "home." After Hiroshima, it is always and forever, 3 minutes to midnight

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This is the End, my friend... and maybe the beginning


I think there's reason to expect that these weeks of slaughter and destruction in Gaza--made visible for those who choose to see it through social media, is going to have broad ranging consequences in the future, its corrosive effect on the impenatrable solidarity of American Jews with Israel, just for starters. Which means a less certain stream of money to AIPAC, and, one can only hope, a loosening of Israel's stranglehold on U.S. representative and senators. But I'm thinking more along the lines of how watching the aftermath of the Iranian stolen elections--following if for week on Twitter--and then came the Arab Spring!  -- how this was yeast to the brew of social and political discontent essential to the Occupy movement. I don't see how it's going to be possible--not for those of us who have stayed close to the news coming out of Gaza outside the major media, who have followed the livefeeds, have obsessively shared photos and stories by Twitter and Alternet and FB--how it will be possilbe to return to 'life as usual' without being alert in every nerve and cell, waiting and searching for the time to come together that make is feel like we are addressing the horror we've witness, in ways that feel in some small degree proportionate to the provocation.

If people came to the Occupy encampments out of disillusion and rejection of the electoral political process and its institutions, this promises to have blasted a larger crater in any possibility of believing or living in the greater Machinery of world power. We see China and India, the rest of the Arab leaders, not simply indifferent, but complicit--realizing that what Israel is doing, they are fully prepared to do with their own troublemakers. No wonder Bashar al-Assad is still in power--after waging a years long war against his own peoples! That's how it works! That's how this whole fucking bloody machinry of power works! Held together by money and its institutions and the on-going privitazatiion of everything. What Israel is doing, what Assad is doing--that's what's in store for anyone who resists the Machine, who seeks to build more humane relationships on the other side of Nationalism and Capitalism and it's tools of patriarchy and racism and enforced inequality and the propagation of ignorance and the raising of servility and complicty with tyrany to the supreme virture!

This is the end, my friend... the beginning of the end. Oh, let it be so. Let it be so.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our disparate paths to truth...

I have to consider, that of those individuals who were most influential, most helped me to define the coures of my life, If I were to name them, among them, there would some who had a profound religious orientation (I say, orientation... not 'belief)'. This does not incline me to to adopt what they believed about their religion, but it leaves me open to an understanding... not of the content of their beliefs, but how, in some, those beliefs are so much a part of who they are--and that this has contributed to their being, for me... images of what it means to be human...in the best way.

No, I don't see their beliefs (or any such supernatural stuff) as necesary to being that kind of person--I've know those who are as materialist and alergic to supernatural explanations as I am--who are there with them... as examples of how to be human... or I should say, more than 'just' human.

But when you find such persons... I feel it important to accept all of what has contributed to their character... it being so rare, that I think, we would do well to be humble in our sense of intellectual superiority. Those few compassionate, fierce souls, the shape of whose lives have been carved in the struggle for justice, the creating of beauty--we need only accept them as comrades... as they would for us. No need to measure one another by our disparate pathes to truth.

Selfie

pencil scribble..

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gaza

I went to the protest in front of the Israeli counselate to day in Philly. I was happy to see so many protests world wide, but they aren't going to change anything. Israel has no conscience to appeal to . Those Israeli's who do, are effectively silenced. American Jews, who could make a difference, are hiding from the reality, unwilling to acknowledge the horrors that Israel has committed, and afraid to take a public stand. 70 years after the holocaust, nothing has been learned. Not even by those who have most reason to have learned.
Please read the comments, and add your own.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Generative Engine of art is always hidden

Riffing off Levi Bryant "Deleuze's cinema books are only ostensibly about cinema. More profoundly they develop a materialist ontology (only visible if read with the first chapter of Matter and Memory). Those two volumes are where to look to find how art and philosophy can transversally resonate as described in What is Philosophy. When philosophy engages art it does not represent it, just as art that engages philosophy doesn't merely exemplify a philosophical thesis." And just as art doesn't "represent"... whatever its ostensible subject is. I like your idea of distinguishing between what is manifest, and the being of the object/machine... as a work of art is way more like a machine than a static object! The representation-- is its manifest reality, contingent on viewer, historical setting, cultural history etc. But the generative power is never exhausted in it's interpretations... in any of its manifest presentations. Those who would use art--turn it to propaganda, are keen to impose limits on that generative power and confine the work to --not necessarily a particular interpretation--it can be sufficient to assign it a place in an historical continuum, and from there, reduce ii to this or that political or ideological end. The criticism of the New Criterion is an example of this--at least in their treatment of American novels. One of the great things about 'outsider art'... and to the High Critics.. SciFi and fantasy are outsiders... that writers in these low brow modes can escape the Gatekeepers that have turned Establishment Literary Fiction into a wasteland.... perfectly comparable to the visual art of the 19c academies at the dawn of the Impressionists.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

#253 Independence Day, the Ship of State

27x38 cardboard, roofing paper, scrap metal, acrylic on Masonite

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On Being Authentic

How is it possible to be 'authentic?', like, you know... 'honest,' like it's all out there. It's never all out there for me. No matter how I try... or let go and don't try, you know... be there. There's always something left over, left out. Some feeling, some thought not included in whatever I've said or done. Comes back at me. Ah HA! Gotcha! You're not REAL! You're not HONEST! Look at all this shit left in the closet, the garbage bin... hiding...you are A FAKE!

That's what I am. I make it all up. I invent myself. Sometimes, what I want to be. Sometimes, what I want you to think I am. Sometimes, I don't have a clue. I just know, that I'm not real. And it wakes me up at night--stuff I've done that I'm ashamed of, or that is so powerfully stupid... I mean stuff I did 50 years ago! Comes back, says--if you did that shit, no WAY you can be anything but FAKE!

But there are people I love. I mean really. I would happily die for... and even if that's a little bit fake, and it probably is, I know I would act on it. And that wouldn't be fake. I would take their part. Stand by them.

That's how love heals. From the other side. Knowing that you can love. Are capable of love... even if you're a big fucking fake. Cause we're all fake... but love is real. Love is real... we immerse ourself, if only that we immerse ourselves... the waters rise around us, the measure of our mass. Of our elusive reality... never untainted, never without some remnant left out... but maybe that's how we go on? That part of us that refuses to join us... maybe that's ... our future self? What we are to become? That the only moment we will ever be wholly present, entirely real... is the moment at the end. When all is finished. The moment of our death?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Out of This, Comes my Art...

I have no temples. I have no gods or goddesses. No leaders. The moon is a magnificent rock torn from the earth when the earth itself was a molten rock.. and little by little drifting away into space--which will change the length of our days, making the revolutions of the earth shorter and shorter, our days, shorter and shorter.

The alignment of the planets, while wonderful fun and poetically generative.. don't mean shit for our lives. Whether Mercury is perceived (and it's an optical illusion), as 'retrograde,' or not, has no influence on our physical reality whatsoever.

The wonder of the real world needs no made up shit to leave us in awe.. and rather, pulls a cheap magician's cloak over the magnificence of the universe as it is, preferring a false sense of control to our utterly helplessness before it--other than our accumulating knowledge... our only power. I say this, and this is my... not 'belief,' but understanding, and I light the candles of my Faerie alter, and the unknowalbe refusal of my brain to acceded altogether to this so called real world. Out of that, comes my art.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Annoying Submission Requirements

Dear Publisher

Why, with an electronic submission, do you ask for a limited number of pages? If you want to stop reading at 20 or 25 or 30 pages, good. Don't read any more. But if you do--it's right there. No need to ask for a second submission. And if, as in the case with my two novels, there are chapters that read as stand alone narrative short stories, chapters in modified screen play format, chapters, for lack of a better description--which are highly 'experimental.' How am I supposed to select anything close to representing the work?

The other annoying request--a synopsis. Fine, if you write a plot driven narrative novel. That's how a synopsis works--they're boiled down plot summaries, with some added comments. Like Cliff Notes. With a book radically UNlike establishment realist fiction, a synopsis is next to impossible. Thank you, but I spent 8 years writing the damn novel--I'm not going to do critical theory on the fucker. You want to know what I wrote--read it.

And if on top of that you want me to pay you to do your job as editor and publisher, 'reading fees' or whatever. Fuck off. I'm not interested, and you probably aren't either. Save us both the trouble.

#253

20x16 acrylic on canvas board

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On Growing Old

Thinking about growing old. That I have no real models for how to deal with this. I've know some awesome, inspiring older people... but they didn't talk to me about what that meant for them. So there's a kind of void there.

I think about the posts that Kelly Coviello has been leaving. Old age is not a disease. But it shares at least as few elements... the absorption of the body into something increasingly foreign, while having to continue defining yourself by something that it both denies that, and insists on asserting its reality.

I mean, resisting the clichés.. the "age is only a number"... the youth cult crap that thinks that telling you that you look younger must be a compliment.

This is tough... cause I look in the mirror at my naked body, and I am not turned on. So I can't imagine anyone else being turned on by seeing what I see. And I am still a sexual being... so I dress to cover it over.

And when when someone says, "age is only a number" ... I think, when's the last time you wanted to fuck an old man/woman? The disconnect, on the level of sexual desire... total cognitive dissonance. And that's the least of it.

I don't think this is new...certainly when it comes to sexual desire, and being open about it. But there's so much more, and we are so cut off, generation to generation. We are not at 30 who we were at 13. We are not at 50, who we were at 30. We are not at 70, who we were at 50. This matters. This is not just personal...if you look at political history, there are generational transformations. Being able to talk about this.. cogently, critically... this matters. As what Kelley has been saying about experiencing illness, matters.

Let's try to be honest with one another about this experience of being human ... the whole range of if. Thank you, Freud, for being the first to really open up what it means to be honest, self reflectively honest.

If we can't manage it on this most intimate level, we'll never be able to make a world from our better imaginings.

#252

10x10 Street trash, ink, water color on Gessobord, for the BalletX benefit in September at the Bridgette Mayor Gallery.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Astrology, reikie, crystals & Poetry

This has been on my mind for some time. So I'm going to post this again. I really feel the need to get this out in open. On the level of science and poetry... I'm conflicted here.. not on the surface issue, not at all. I'm a science guy, first to last. But I know poets who take these ideas.. crystals, astrology, reiki... etc.. and use them to deconstruct social fascisms and open doors to rethinking received notions. I mean, I have a Faerie alter and carry a spirit stick. People love my spirit stick. They ask me about it. I say, it has powers! They say, oh, what powers? I say, would you have ventured to talk to me, sitting here on the El... if not for that stick? That's its power. How I dress, adorn myself... it's like that. I'm a science guy. And a poet. And an artist. I don't use my art to pretend to making objective claims about reality. But I do use it to challenge ... everything. but science doesn't need me to challenge its claims. It's the nature of science to always be about challenging itself. So I want to claim some outside leeway.. where I'm not challenging science or its claims, but metaphorically challenging embedded assumptions--even if I draw on the most far out spiritualist new agey bull shit. Pay attention, when you read poets. We're not stupid. We follow the news, and science. But we prefer to think outside of all boxes--even those of .. no, especially those of, established reality. But so do scientists.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#249

18x17 Acrylic, roofing paper on Masonite

#248

17.5x12 acrylic on comp board

Sunday, June 15, 2014

#247

24x 18 acriylic on Massonite

Father's day: 1918-1988.

I read tributes to fathers, and can only feel sadness thinking about my father He was emotionally restrained, not to say repressed. His affective life was primarily through a symbiotic relationship with my mother. It wasn't that he was cold, but that he wasn't able to express it, except through a droll, ironic sense of (black) humor. I don't recall his ever telling me he loved me. We never really bonded. There were some awkward camping trips, fishing in the Ozarks. I was a puzzle to him, too much like my mother, which I think inhibited him. I imagine him squeezed between my volumnious grandfather, who everyone knew as "Papa," his athletic, musical older sister, and my mother. He never found room for his own emotional life to take root

He just didn't know how to respond. The weeks before my mother died were probably the closest we ever were--and by then, he was seriously ill. He died a year to the day after my mother's funeral. He didn't abuse me, didn't do or say things to make me feel ashamed. He liked that I wrote poetry and loved art. But from the earliest I can remember formulating such ideas... I knew that whatever I did with my life... I did not want to be like my father. I do have his sense of humor... and it's no small sense of comfort to me. Thanks, Dad... so far so good.... so far so good... so far so good

Thursday, June 12, 2014

#243

#243 28x18.5. Acrylic, 3 pieces of roofing paper on 3 pieces of Masonite

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another blog to viist...


I've lost it. I mean, keeping up with blogging. Checking in on other blogs.. too may. Can't keep up wiht them all.
 But here's a one, another one, well worth checking out.