When I saw that Philippa Hughes was hosting a performance artist in her apartment for a week as an experimental art piece (Art is Fear) about the relationship between artist and collector, I was intrigued. I’ve been too busy to check in and see how it’s going. Yesterday’s piece in the Washington Post by Kriston Capps gives some clues. Joe Flood’s blog post about visiting Philippa during the experiment tells more of the story, including an unfortunate visit by the ASPCA!

I’m sort of glad I didn’t bother Philippa while the experiment was in progress, it sounds like she had her hands full. I also sort of regret not making some time to visit, because I would have liked to have seen the project in progress for myself.

Spotted this in the Reliable Source this morning:

Julian Schnabel dining at Buck’s Fishing and Camping Friday night with daughter Lola. The artist/filmmaker wore pajamas to his meal of steak, bone marrow, ice cream. (Why? Because he’s Julian fricking Schnabel, that’s why.) In D.C. to give a talk at the Hirshhorn.

We attended the talk on Friday. It was entertaining. And yes, Schnabel appeared to be wearing pajamas under a button down plaid shirt. I can’t say whether it was the cold he had, cold meds he may have taken, or GAW (Generalized Artist Wackiness) that led to Schnabel’s sartorial choices, it actually seemed quite normal and unremarkable to me until Eric mentioned it on the way home. We didn’t stay for much of the meet and greet portion so I can’t tell you if anyone asked him about it.



Juri Gagarins Raumkapsel "Wostok 1", originally uploaded by astirn.

It’s Yuri’s Night, the annual celebration of the 1st manned space flight . This year marks the 50th anniversary of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight.

You can learn more about Yuri Gagarin here. You can also find a local Yuri’s Night party – there are more than 400 official parties happening worldwide this year.

If you’re in the DC area, the party’s at Science Club this year instead of out at NASA.

There was a shindig at Artisphere on Saturday, but if you’re just reading about it here, you missed it. Producer Jared Davis described this year’s featured burlesque show as “Star Trek meets Love Boat. I missed it this year despite peer-pressure from many of the participants, so I can’t really comment on whether they succeeded in achieving that lofty goal.

NASA’s Starchild webpage about Yuri Gagarin is so filled with awesome 90s web-design wonder I just have to link to it. Fortunately, there’s an even swankier update still online.

Now that I’ve been liberated from the Board of an arts organization, I can say whatever I want without worrying about my inbox and voicemail getting pounded by bitchy recriminatory messages from thin-skinned artists who feel perfectly free to say what they think about my work but feel it’s not fair for me to say I don’t like their work. It’s art, it’s subjective.

This might still happen, but now my response is an extremely professional boo-fucking-hoo.. Also: It’s art, it’s subjective.

This is liberating. So liberating, in fact, that I can’t decide where to start.

It’s not even that I have anything mean to say. Just saying I don’t like or don’t care for something is usually enough to start the hissy-fits and a barrage of “you aren’t being fair.” It’s art, it’s subjective.

Life isn’t fair, people. It’s fine to say “it’s not fair” once in a while. But grown-ups really shouldn’t stamp their feet and say things “aren’t fair” over and over unless an airplane has fallen on them or the Mob has fixed a game against them or they’ve been forced to watch that terrible sitcom about Indian call centers. That show, it isn’t art.

If you’re over the age of 7 and you’re pitching a fit about how something isn’t fair and you say it more than once, it may be time to stop drinking. Or start. I don’t really know. Just stop saying it to me and we’ll all be happy.

The sad part is, years ago I got so worn down by all the hissy-fits that I just quit trying. If I didn’t have anything nice to say, I didn’t say anything at all. That of course became a problem, because I’m often too tired to post about every show I see, so some artists took no mention as a sign I hated their work, them, their families, their dogs, and all of their friends.

Artists, I love you, but you make me tired. That’s not sarcasm. The care and feeding of your fragile egos just wears me out.

Here’s the thing that’s always perplexed me about all of this: I have no power. If you really think that my saying I don’t care for your work is the thing that makes or breaks your career, you have a lot to learn.

Plus, just because someone doesn’t like one of your pieces piece or doesn’t understand it or doesn’t care for one show doesn’t mean they want to burn down your studio, revoke your diploma, and smash your fingers with a hammer. It just means they (read: I, in this case) don’t care for one thing. It’s art, it’s subjective.

This is a lot of lead-in to mock one little FOX5 Morning News piece about the Pink Line Project’s Cherry Blast, isn’t it? Sorry about that. It’s a good example of something I’ve considered holding my tongue about, though.

Let’s be clear: I think Philipa Hughes is awesome. So awesome I’m allowed to take the word “awesome” out of linguistic limbo just to use it to describe her. Her Pink Line Project is super-awesome. Delicious. Delightful. Delectable. Divine. Etc etc ad infinitum.

I’m sure Philipa doesn’t care what my or anyone’s opinion of a morning show segment is. What often gives me pause in cases like this is what other people will read into the post. 3 months from now, I don’t want to hear that I’m out to get Pink Line or I’ve been bad-mouthing it, because that’s not the case. I’m not being snarky, I’m not being snide, I’m just giggling about something I saw on TV.

Cherry Blast will be, well, a blast. We’ll probably attend since we decided not to go to Artini this year.

I lied about one small thing. I didn’t giggle at this news segment. I laughed until I cried. It’s probably not that funny, but I was having a challenging week.

It just doesn’t work, and it doesn’t work on so many levels. I don’t know who’s to blame, and it doesn’t matter. Publicity is publicity, and it sure stays with you, so it’s a win in that respect, I suppose. For Cherry Blast, anyway. Maybe not so much for modern dance, which, despite the obvious grace of the dancer, doesn’t come across so well.

Modern dance + television are rarely a combination that goes great together. Add silence, balloons, and a tight shot with no lead-in and you get a French and Saunders sketch. What’s funny here isn’t the skill of the performer, the artists, the event, or the organization. It takes a lot of guts to perform on a morning news segment. What’s funny is the end product, which just….doesn’t….work.

It’s art. It’s subjective. Most importantly, it’s the FOX5 Morning News. Go. Enjoy. Giggle if you want. It won’t hurt anyone’s career or bring about the Endtimes. I don’t think…

FOX 5 Weekend Events with Paul Raphel April 1 – 3: MyFoxDC.com

Recently, a loyal reader assured me she’d keep my secret.

“Which one?” I asked, mostly joking.

“That you’re also Andrea Janes, of course!” was his reply.

This was, in part, his evidence:

Andrea Janes is a native of Canada now living in New York City, where she spends most of her time writing ghost stories and dark fairy tales. She is obsessed with dreams, monkeys, rare diseases, and slapstick. Her writing can be found at www.cabinetdesfees.com and on her blog at bourbonandtea.blogspot.com

I checked out Andrea Janes and was quite taken with her work, but alas, I am not she. Nor, for that matter, is she I.

Sorry, been reading a lot of Lovecraft of late and it’s seriously screwing with my linguistic faculties.

Speaking of Lovecraft, did you read the profile of Guillermo del Toro in last week’s New Yorker? It covers, amongst other things, his quest to bring Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness to the screen. Good article.

Where was I? Right, so I’m not Andrea Janes. Clues include that I’m not living in New York City. Nor am I Canadian. Although I am from Florida, which was annexed by Canada some years back a winter breeding ground for free range Canadian retirees, so that may count for something.

At any rate, learning about Andrea Janes led me to this delightful review she wrote for the Rumpus, Corine May Botz’s Haunted Houses.

Technically, I started this little adventure with the Rumpus piece, since that’s where that bio blurb is posted. Whatever.

The review about Botz’s work reminded me of something I need to speak to Doctor Birdcage about.

That may be the worst conclusion to a post, ever, but I’m sick and this is all I’ve got today. Sorry, kids.

I like Studio 360. (My favorite episode of all-time is still an episode from 2008, “Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius.” It wasn’t the point of this post, but I’m going to embed it, just because I can).

The astounding mad scientist life of Nikola Tesla. Just who was this pioneer of radio, radar, and wireless communication? We discover his legacy in the work of today’s scientists and artists. Samantha Hunt’s new novel The Invention of Everything Else is a fictional portrait of Tesla. Monologist Mike Daisey tells us how Tesla X-rayed Mark Twain’s head. And across the country, garage inventors toil in obscurity at the next breakthrough that will change the world.

A more recent episode made me think of Michele Banks, so I thought I’d post about it so I’d remember to make sure she heard it.

In 1928 the Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming discovered the fungus from which penicillin is derived. Fleming made the discovery while trying an unusual experiment: painting with strains of bacteria. Lindsay Patterson talked with a team that’s taking bacterial painting to a new level.

Michele has a new show, “Love and Death”, at the National Institutes of Health through March. I need to go check it out so I can post about it.

Los Angeles gallery La Luz de Jesus recently hosted a show called The Lowbrow Tarot Project.

The Lowbrow Tarot Project will showcase 23 artists who will use their creative and unique styles to take on the tarot 22 Major Arcana and original card back totaling 23 new works of art in the rugged glow of the lowbrow art movement to be displayed in an exhibition at La Luz de Jesus on October 1, 2010.

The group exhibition will feature 23 new and original works by renowned and accomplished artists Carrie Ann Baade, Christopher Ulrich, Edith Lebeau, Cate Rangel, Kris Kuksi, Chris Mars, Christopher Umana, Chris Conn, Brian M. Viveros, Claudia Drake, Heather Watts, Molly Crabapple, David Stoupakis, Laurie Lipton, Patrick “Star 27” Deignan, Chet Zar, Jessica Joslin, Danni Shinya Luo, Jennybird Alcantara, Angie Mason, Scott G. Brooks, Aunia Kahn and Daniel Martin Diaz.

I mention this two months after the show because the accompanying book and card deck are supposed to be released sometime early this year. The project contains work by a number of artists I find intriguing, particularly local favorite* Scott G. Brooks and Laurie Lipton.

Link via the divine art magazine Hi-Fructose. I had a draft post about this stashed away for when the book and cards come out but Scott reminded me about it when he recently tweeted about the project. I decided to post it now before it got buried amongst the badly written rants about squirrels, Mike Huckabee, and bras with ribbons on them and then got deleted by mistake.

*Let’s not have drama. Scott G. Brooks is a popular local artist and he’s a favorite but I didn’t say he’s my all-time favorite.

In the interest of mitigating drama, here’s a list of my favorite artists, in order:
1. me
2. Whoever gets to my house first and scrubs the kitchen and bathrooms
3. Whoever gets to my house first and does the laundry. That includes folding the clothes and putting them away in the proper drawers or hanging them in the proper closets
4. The escalator at the Archives/Navy Memorial metro stop, because I’ve learned to cope with the insane sounds it makes in the morning by convincing myself it’s an avant garde alto sax performer and I’ve subsequently grown to really enjoy our time together