FORMS & GHOSTS

an art blog by a.g. moore
in the big shakeup of moving to san francisco, i’ve started making art history-related comics over at http://formsandghosts.wordpress.com. (i suggest going there to see a larger image…)
"swans" is about the very surreal experience of meeting my little sister for the first time six years ago—and leaving my trusty typewriter to her as a parting gift.

in the big shakeup of moving to san francisco, i’ve started making art history-related comics over at http://formsandghosts.wordpress.com. (i suggest going there to see a larger image…)

"swans" is about the very surreal experience of meeting my little sister for the first time six years ago—and leaving my trusty typewriter to her as a parting gift.

Charles Fréger’s series “Wilder Mann” examines the use of masquerade in pagan rituals and festivals across Europe. Fréger insists the series is not an exercise in anthropology, but a look at “animality” and the human need for myth. The origin of many of these practices are shrouded in mystery, though the impulse takes us back to the Neolithic. For millennia we have chosen to forego human bodies and assume animal forms. What if the oldest part of us is disguise?

At first glance the images appear whimsical, then a fierceness emerges. Costume, Fréger tells us, is confrontation. Here goat meets devil, hunter meets savage, and we meet our earliest selves.

Alejandra Laviada’s Re-Constructions are concerned with themes of demolition, redevelopment, and urban renewal. Even more various are her plastic considerations, as she works at an intersection of sculpture, photography, site-specific art, and painting. Laviada visits construction sites in her native Mexico City and makes sculptures from what she finds there. Her pieces are pristine and decidedly Modern, recalling Braque at some points and Duchamp at others. Reminding us that after the Ready-made, all “waste” is precarious. 

In her series “Last Measures,” Sally Mann visit battle sites from the American Civil War. Antietam, Manassas, Fredericksberg—one hundred fifty years ago these were locales of great violence. Mann documents what time has given us: a bare, quietly haunted landscape. 

Mann used a collodion wet plate process which meant the pictures had to be developed almost immediately after their capture. Conceived and charged in place. This allowed for a variety of flaws—scratches and blurs, starry ghosts, the skin of the image peeled back at the corners.

It was, in fact, the same process used by Brady and Gardner in their Civil War photographs. Once revered as a forefather of photojournalism, some of Gardner’s images were later revealed to have been staged or otherwise manipulated.

Which brings us to another seam where Mann meets these gentlemen across the ages: what is the nature of reportage? Mann’s work is dark and painterly, the stuff of elegy. Looking at these photographs, one feels a great lament that war exists at all—but also a romanticism, hard to pin down. The idea of a tragic South is a tired one but Mann avoids the stereotypes, as always, with poetry.

Not the florid stuff, but smoldering.

It’s been one hundred years since the Armory Show. Definitely on my short list of if-you-could-go-back-in-time hypotheticals.
But did you know that the Armory Show wasn’t all shock and fragmentation? The 18 octagonal galleries served as a visual timeline through mid-19th century art up to the modern. It was an attempt to place modernism in a time and a tradition—not wildly outside of it, as we have been taught.
Did you know that roughly half of the works were by Americans? The story of the Armory Show is often a stranger-came-to-town tale in which Marcel Duchamp offends the entire continent before we sluggishly join the new.
Did you know that 20% of those American works were by women artists?
Don’t take my word for it. If you’d like to reframe what your Survey of Art class told you in college, read Refuting the Myths About the Armory Show over at ARTnews.

It’s been one hundred years since the Armory Show. Definitely on my short list of if-you-could-go-back-in-time hypotheticals.

But did you know that the Armory Show wasn’t all shock and fragmentation? The 18 octagonal galleries served as a visual timeline through mid-19th century art up to the modern. It was an attempt to place modernism in a time and a tradition—not wildly outside of it, as we have been taught.

Did you know that roughly half of the works were by Americans? The story of the Armory Show is often a stranger-came-to-town tale in which Marcel Duchamp offends the entire continent before we sluggishly join the new.

Did you know that 20% of those American works were by women artists?

Don’t take my word for it. If you’d like to reframe what your Survey of Art class told you in college, read Refuting the Myths About the Armory Show over at ARTnews.

Ann Hamilton. Privation & Excesses. 1989.A man sits in a chair across a sea of 750,000 pennies embedded in honey. The viewer may watch him from the street but the viewer is also watched by two peering sheep with their own room and their own view. Two motorized mortar & pestles set to grinding. One pennies, the other teeth.
Included by Hamilton in the listed materials: a gesture.
He dips his hands in a felt hat filled with honey. Smell of copper smell of clover. What is metallic and unyielding. What is sweet.

Ann Hamilton. Privation & Excesses. 1989.

A man sits in a chair across a sea of 750,000 pennies embedded in honey. The viewer may watch him from the street but the viewer is also watched by two peering sheep with their own room and their own view. Two motorized mortar & pestles set to grinding. One pennies, the other teeth.

Included by Hamilton in the listed materials: a gesture.

He dips his hands in a felt hat filled with honey. Smell of copper smell of clover. What is metallic and unyielding. What is sweet.

South African photographer Pieter Hugo’s series Looking Aside focuses on albino, blind, and aging subjects. The portraits are unflinching and starkly frontal. Together they form a kind of mandate to move the “unusual” from our periphery to the center.

The Shield of Achilles (Night Sky Over Troy). Spencer Finch. 2009.

Using Ptolemy’s Almagest as a guide, Finch approximates the named constellations of ancient Greece. 384 cans hang from the ceiling, punctured with a single hole and harboring a single light. The color of the light and size of the hole correspond to the wavelength and magnitude of each star. The cans hang from their strings at lengths scaled to light years.

Here is the  firmament in a room, an epic tale distilled into pinpricks of light. Peer through this keyhole. Hold close this night. History hangs (as always) by a thread.

Will we see what Achilles saw? What is approximation? There are other words a poet might use. See, also: bow before - dream up - pray to.

"Light itself is becoming the revelation." - James Turrell

1928 snapshot of Magritte and his wife, Georgette, re-creating the scene from La Tentative de l’Impossible.

1928 snapshot of Magritte and his wife, Georgette, re-creating the scene from La Tentative de l’Impossible.

Jose Manuel Ballester - Place for a Birth.
Botticelli painted Birth of Venus in 1486. It is worth asking what time has done to the landscape of love. To say nothing of painting.
If love is a woman then she can walk away anytime she likes. If love is an allegory then it was always made of other things. Allegory: the word means “other assembly.” Maybe you were seafoam maybe you were pigment.
Sometimes absence is the realest. It maintains itself.

Jose Manuel Ballester - Place for a Birth.

Botticelli painted Birth of Venus in 1486. It is worth asking what time has done to the landscape of love. To say nothing of painting.

If love is a woman then she can walk away anytime she likes. If love is an allegory then it was always made of other things. Allegory: the word means “other assembly.” Maybe you were seafoam maybe you were pigment.

Sometimes absence is the realest. It maintains itself.

(Source: anthropologyyy, via havsnymfer)

nevver:

The door to…

As striking as these pictures are, it is totally inappropriate and deplorable to glamourize the suicides of women writers in a fashion spread. This is not about art or pathos or desperation. It is about clothes. Sanmao’s portrait, in which she hangs herself with stockings, is just conscientious enough to include the fashion credits for the tights.

nevver:

The door to

As striking as these pictures are, it is totally inappropriate and deplorable to glamourize the suicides of women writers in a fashion spread. This is not about art or pathos or desperation. It is about clothes. Sanmao’s portrait, in which she hangs herself with stockings, is just conscientious enough to include the fashion credits for the tights.

kateoplis:

Richard Mosse, Love is the Drug

"The Irish pavilion displays Mosse’s stills and videos of rebel-filled forests in eastern Congo ‘made using military surveillance film that turns the world psychedelic cobalt, magenta and puce. A forgotten war, in all its horror, yields a wonderland of cruel and indelible beauty."

Cy Twombly - Pan (Part II) - 1980
                      The Shades of Achilles, Patroclus, & Hector -  1978
                      Hero & Leander (to Christopher Marlowe) - 1985

Restraint is not a word often associated with Twombly but here I find something classical in his restraint. As if the forms were forged millennia ago and recited just now.

image
 Susan Rothenberg. Chix. 2003



There were few slow things left in the world. One had to go to the jungle to see the sloth with its smiling lethargy and hooks. Even the glaciers had dispensed with pace, choosing to disappear quickly instead of the usual creep across the ages.

Had it started with the engine or the horse? This breathless beating of blood. A globe turning so that land and sea are an unblemished blue. Because there was so much speed and such a dearth of stillness,

she decided not to fall in love but walk slowly toward it.