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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Please Touch

"Consider This", exhibition at LACMA. 2006
(photo Lori Lipsman)

As I read "Art as Combustion: Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" Under Pressure - Part 1 and Part 2" by Kevin Freitas, I realize that one amazing thing about Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" is that one can actually WALK on it. Not only touch it but walk on it.

Yesterday I was reading "I'm just sayin'" by Edwin Decker, about the exhibition "Innnocence is Questionable", which was on display for a few months at the California Center for the Arts this year. He talks about how he stepped on Jean Lowe's carpet in the middle of the room and was immediately spotted by the guard.

The same thing happened to me when I visited the exhibition the day of the opening. There was a lot of people and every two minutes someone was stepping on that carpet and each time the guard was saying something, making the person feel very uncomfortable. "Argghh! I just stepped on art!".

The paintings on the wall and everything usually present in an exhibition must not be touched. Everything tells the people who come: this is precious, fragile. It creates a distance which bothers me. The sacralization bothers me. Going to see an exhibition with my children should always be a pleasure, but I am always worried that they will touch something they are, of course, not supposed to touch.

I remember going in August 2006 to "Consider This" at LACMA, stimulating exhibition designed by Barbara Kruger. What an interesting experience it was to be able to participate, to write, to touch...

I was very excited to have a personal show at the San Diego Art Institute. But when my paintings and digital pieces were there on the walls, I thought they were somehow disconnected from the public. I have to think very hard about what is next, about what will be the next solo show at the San Diego Art Institute. I certainly would like more participation from the public (grown ups and children). I certainly would like that people could touch the pieces and why not walk on a piece if there is one on the floor. And why not making art on the spot, working as the people walk around. I think I would like that. I have to find a way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquake 5.4 today

map USGS

I was in the garage, painting. It lasted less than 20 seconds. I don't remember something as strong since we arrived in San Diego in 2004.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Comic Con 2008 / San Diego

I took some pictures today at Comic Con 2008. It was the last day, it was really crowded and there were a lot of heroes - and super heroes - everywhere!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Art as Authority ... or ... Following Jack Kerouac

Ah! This is great! While Guillaume Cherel was smoking a Churchill on the roof of a house in Coyoacan in Mexico (we received a text-message today!), Kevin Freitas was posting something really nice on his excellent blog, Art as Authority, titled "Ahh ces Francais..." where he talks about the very good evening we had together at the house with Guillaume!
Things can be simple and good.
Guillaume, bon voyage! Kevin, merci de ton amitie!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Guillaume Cherel On the Road - In Mexico

This is the "On the road" I have, bought in Fort Collins, Colorado, about 10 years ago, at "Old Corner Book Shop, Used and Rare books", 216 Linden Street. I still have the store's bookmark in the book.

A little text-message from Guillaume Cherel on the cell phone today: he is in Monterrey, Santa Catarina Valley. Not in Mexico City yet! Liz is wondering when he will be there, Jorge is waiting for him in Coyoacan!

Randy Pausch Last Lecture

Professor Randy Pausch died today of cancer, he was 48 years old. He gave his last lecture at the Carnegie Mellon University September 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. Randy Pausch says: "I am dying soon, and I am choosing to have fun today, tomorrow and every other day I have left".
I would like to share this inspiring lecture with you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guillaume Cherel on the road - San Diego day 3

Guillaume and Geronimo -
Centro Cultural de la Raza, Balboa Park

Wednesday morning. We have breakfast on the deck. The beginning of another beautiful day in California. We take some pictures. I take the boys to their summer camp at the zoo, then I take Kyle to his work (his car died almost 10 days ago and I am driving around a lot, but that's OK!). Meanwhile Guillaume is writing on his blog in the quietness of the morning in the house.

Then it is time to take him to his Greyhound bus to go to Mexico City. Before we left the house Kyle called and tell Guillaume to take a Churchill for the road, which Guillaume very much appreciates! Guillaume says he likes San Diego and he may stop a few days on his way back to Los Angeles. He is very welcome to do so. We like his company.

I come back home and starts writing for the blog (finding the time is actually sometimes difficult and things I want to talk about are piling up!). I also send via email the photos I took of Guillaume to the newspaper Liberation in France. Guillaume left me their address before to leave.

Then, shortly after, Guillaume calls me from the Greyhound Station saying that the bus he is supposed to take does not leave before 6:00 pm! So I decide to go back downtown to take him back home.

My friend Elisabeth calls when we get back and I invite her for lunch. She arrives a few minutes later: we are neighbors. Last night, after coming back from Old Town I went with Guillaume to Elisabeth's to talk with her about Guillaume's trip to Mexico. She is originally from Mexico and she knows a lot of people there so I thought it could be nice for Guillaume to have some connections in a town he never went to before. Elisabeth almost immediately thought about a good friend of hers and called him! It was very late there but he was awake. The conversation was very animated and Elisabeth were laughing a lot. Then she told us Guillaume is invited to go to Jorge's in Coyoacán, which is the very town where Frida Kahlo was born and lived most of her life. Very pretty town, not too far from Downtown Mexico City, lucky Guillaume!

I make a tomato salad with the beautiful tomatoes my neighbour Craig brought us yesterday from his garden, some fresh basil, feta cheese, calamata olives and olive oil. We also have avocados and red grapes. The three of us eat lunch on the sunny and breezy deck. It is true, it always feels like vacation here.

Then it is the time to go pick-up the kids at the zoo. They call Guillaume Guillo. They don't want to speak French, which makes interesting conversations: us speaking French, them understanding everything but answering in English.

Because we are in Balboa Park, I stop at the Centro Cultural de la Raza. We see a group of people outside, in the shade of a big tree. Walking stick decorated with feathers are leaning against the tree.

I ask the woman inside the centro cultural if there was something going on today and she tells me that they will have a special ceremony at 5:00 with the group of people standing outside. They are part of a march starting in Alaska and finishing in Panama, which happens every 4 years since 1992! The purpose of the march, "Las Jornadas de Paz y Dignidad", is to bring peace between all the native tribes on the way. It was created in response to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. No one walks the whole trip: it is a relay. People from different tribes join along the way, other people leave, there are always a group marching... So, amazingly, the group is in San Diego today, just at the time we are at the Centro Cultural! Guillaume go talk to the group while I am watching the kids. Then I joined them. The group is on its way to Tijuana. Then they are going to Mexico City but they will get there days after Guillaume.
This march is a beautiful thing and I am touched and honored to talk to them.

Unfortunately we cannot stay for the ceremony because it is too close to the time Guillaume has to take his bus...

We have time to make a quick stop at the place nearby: The World Beat Center. There is nothing going on this afternoon but I want to show Guillaume the large murals they have inside. Maybe when Guillaume comes back we could come one night when they have a reggae concert here.

Then we head downtown and this time (I guess) Guillaume leaves San Diego to Mexico City via Texas (it was less expensive to do that for him than to go via Tijuana).

I told Guillaume I would like to show him more of my work when he comes back to San Diego. He said he would like to have a portrait of him "Guieu's style". I would love to do that but I need to take more pictures of him!

Yesterday, when we were walking, I asked him how writers remember things they see and hear. He talked about Kerouac who had a phenomenal capacity to remember small details, and Jim Harrison who, when he met Guillaume for the second time, asked him questions about family members Guillaume talked about months before, may be years. The capacity to remember is also the attention one is able to give to people and things.

Guillaume's post in Libeblog about San Diego (In French of course!) illustrated with my photos!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Guillaume Cherel on the Road - San Diego day 1 and 2

Guillaume in Pacific Beach

Monday afternoon arrived French writer Guillaume Cherel on his way to Mexico City. I picked him up downtown on Broadway, at the Greyhound Station. I could not miss him: he was the only one on the side walk smoking a cigar at 2:oo pm! He is a friend of Ivan Sigg and in fact we have a lot of people we know and friends in common in Paris. He is doing Kerouac's road 50 years after, writes everyday in a blog for the French newspaper Liberation, and is re-writing "On the road" which should be published next year. He started his trip in New York and will end it there, in the middle of September.

He is very tall, very tan, has crazy hair and a striking blue look, talks a lot (more than me if it is possible!), likes to laugh, and of course, likes to talk about his beloved authors: Kerouac, London, Bukowski, Fante, Miller... He travels very light (just a few items and almost no money), writes from time to time in a small notebook with super heroes on the cover, likes to login on the computer to check his e-mail and to post on his Libe blog or on his Myspace page. He is a techno-beatnik!

He liked the house right away: the deck, the canyon...

We had a great time Monday night with a couple of american-French friends, talking about Guillaume's trip, Los Angeles, Hemingway, Jack London, Tarentino, art, Paris, Bruxelles, wine (we drunk a lot of wine too) and eating Kyle's good dinner on the deck, as we were warmed by the fireplace. After the dinner Guillaume and Kyle enjoyed a good cigar.

at "Be Curious" on Pacific Beach

Yesterday, while the boys were at their camp, I spent some time with Guillaume, taking him to Pacific Beach. We had a coffee at "Be Curious" where he wrote a postcard to his daughter. We walked along the Ocean and along the bay, talking about relationships, traveling alone, making choices. Some people say he is lucky to do what he does, but it has nothing to do with luck, it is a choice.

Oversized Pink Afro!

I know Kevin will not like this picture!

At Joe's Crab Shack

I took some pictures of Guillaume to send to the newspaper Liberation . We ate a salad at Joe's Crab Shack.

At Seminal Project, "Cocked!"

Then we went to Little Italy where we visited "Cocked!" at Seminal Projects and I took some more pictures. I left him in India Street and I went pick-up the boys.

Then we all met in Old Town where we had dinner.

Rita Coolidge at Anthology

We were invited last Saturday to Anthology to listen to Rita Coolidge. It was the first time we were going there, the place is great, and Rita Coolidge was spellbinding!

Cocked! at Seminal Projects

Cocked! the entrance of the gallery

Owen Mundy, Targets (1,2,3), tar par, grease pencil, paint

The moon was big and orange above the town when I took Interstate 5 to go see "Cocked!" at Seminal Project the night of the opening. "Cocked! The possessed male: object and desire, Art and the masculine evolution" (what a title!). It was really crowded. I was greated by the "golden boy"silent and almost motionless, on a high pedestal at the entrance pf the gallery. I recognized right away some students' pieces from MFA 08, which just ended at UCSD gallery. Works on paper by Owen Mundy (the titles changed slightly between MFA 08 and now) and Dean Deane, also the photographs of the young boys in Ocotillo by Scott Horsley.

Seth Augustine, The Man who's arm exploded,
latex rubber, foam, steel, hardware.

I had a great time talking to people there. I had the pleasure to meet Iana Quesnell whose work I really enjoy and Stephen Hepworth, curator of UCSD's gallery. I also talked to Mary-Catherine Ferguson and Olivia Luther, director and curator, respectively, of the Museum of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, enthousiastic and curious.

Zuri Waters, Untitled, MDF, halftone print, paint, shirt, corduroy. On the paper is written: "Sooner or later everyone will find out what an asshole you really are"

Zuri Waters, as one of the featured artists was there too, and I talked to him while he was standing not far from his untitled piece.

Craig Kane, untitled (Tits), ceramic, felt, gold thread

Craig Kane, who had an exhibition at Spacecraft a few months ago, has two pieces in the exhibition, the smallest of them all: a little opened chest with a female torso inside. His other piece is in the adjacent room, a super tiny man with a giant golden sex.

Seth Augustine, Perfection, digital cibachrome

"Cocked" presents a lot of pieces. It contrasts a lot with the previous one "Lael Corbin: Remodel", which I saw. I did not talk about it in the blog. I guess it was kind of too late. I saw it in the last days. With a title like "Cocked", I was expecting to be surprised and the exhibition is, all in all, rather tame.

"Lael Corbin: Remodel", entrance of the gallery.

"Lael Corbin: Remodel", one of the room inside the gallery.

Recycling Center

I went to the recycling center in Kearny Mesa - it is huge.
So many things. Piles of things.

I am aware of the space I have and I don't want to have too many things. At the same time I paint, I produce images, and I like to paint rather large canvases. Each time I paint one, it takes some space in the garage where I work, and I am wondering where this is going. Sometimes I envy the lightness of the writers. Today they can carry everything they wrote with them and it does not take any space! What a dream!

Things, things, things...
It reminds me Chris McCandless in "Into The Wild".

Studio visit

I had a very interesting studio visit a few days ago. I displayed the last two years of my work - paintings and digital prints - in the larger room in my house and in the garage, where I work.
Very good conversation. Sometimes it happens: the contact is professional yet friendly and everything goes smoothly!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here it's Peace: talk at the San Diego Art Institute

With Kevin Freitas after the talk

video - part 5
Question about "the appearance of military camouflage".

video - part 6
A question about the process.

video - part 7
"Do you think your work is supposed to be in a gallery?" The question is longer than that and was asked by Kevin Freitas... I don't think I answered it very well. Also I said "which artist does not want to have a gallery?". This is not true of course, some artist are not interested in beeing part of that system.

for part 1/part2/part3/part4, see July 12, 2008.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Play at the summer camp

Some Aliens come from outer space to visit Earth. They look kind of mean (but in fact they are very nice). And when they meet a group of children, they accept right away to play with them.
Short and simple.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Regional Show at the San Diego Art Institute

"Landscape (here and there)", 2008, [36"x36"] x2, acrylic on canvas

Yesterday I took my exhibition down at the San Diego Art Institute and packed everything. It was also jury day, in preparation for the next regional show. The juror was
Kinsee Morlan, arts and culture editor at the San Diego City Beat. As usual, a group of artists members came to help. All the paintings, photographs, sculptures which was checked in by the artists for the new regional show had to come out from the stock room and displayed along the wall. Then everything from the previous regional show had to go to the stock room. There are always a lot of pieces to see for the juror.

"Give me truth -2", 2008, 8"x8"
mixed media on wood panel

I am happy Kinsee Morlan selected "Landscape (here and there)" for the regional show and "Give me truth -2" for the one foot show.

On Kinsee's page on the San Diego City Beat, one can read: "Kinsee writes about art, culture and everything in between. Get in touch with her if you're an artist who deserves some recognition, an interesting person with a story to tell or a concerned citizen who wants something to change."
I like that!

Kinsee also writes a very interesting blog filled with brightly colored photos she takes: Stairs to Nowhere, Tijuana Tales.

San Diego Art Institute

Regional Show: July 17 - August 24, 2008
opening reception: Friday, July 25, from 6 to 8pm

1439 El Prado,
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 236-0011