New Essay posted

August 9th, 2009

Cover of the McKnight Catalog

I’ve posted the essay from the 2008-09 McKnight Fellowship exhibition catalog. Dr. Jane Blocker from the University of Minnesota visited us in our studios and penned the essays. You can find a link to the scan on this page.

Collecting Links: Math, Art, and Curves

August 8th, 2009

I am starting to plan for my travel grant, and realize that I’ve seen lots of interesting things that I haven’t really had time to think about. Here’s a start of a collection, assembled with the hope that I’ll now have time to spend with these sites:
Computational Origami from Eril & Martine Demaine

“Complex math and beautiful art” from Erik and Martin Demaine, who I plan to visit while I am in Cambridge. I am interested in talking to them about curved folds, to learn more about the structures I’ve been building fairly intuitively, and to start to get a grip on how to be in-between.

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“This grant is a life-changer…”

July 13th, 2009

Metro Magazine did a nice article on the 2008-09 McKnight awards, including interviews with each of the artists. Two things were interesting about the article: they asked us how we spent the money, and the introduction to the interviews described the grant as “life-changing.” The thing is, we all spent the money on pretty practical things: medical bills, credit card bills, basic equipment, living expenses. Is a grant life-changing if you spend the money slogging through bills?

I guess, yes. I got through this year, and have some faith that I’ll be able to continue working next year, and that there will be (and are) people out there who are interested in what I am doing. When someone writes you a check, it is easier to see what you’re doing in a broader context, even if the money’s going straight to the day care center.

About sending in that application…

June 22nd, 2009

Edward Winkleman recently offered some “tough love” for artists on his blog (which I read daily): send in those applications for grants and residencies, disappointments be damned. His argument is that nothing bad can come of applying, and at the very least, someone important will see — and perhaps remember — your work. True. And sometimes, you might get a grant, or one of the panelists will remember your work for some other opportunity. But it does take time, and energy, and, really, it is pretty unlikely that you will see anything come of your application.

I faithfully apply to all the local grants, unless absolutely overwhelmed. I see it as part of my job, and as much as I don’t like doing the applications (and wonder why applications cannot be standardized — can’t everyone ask for the same size jpeg? the same naming convention? the same format for written documentation?), I do grudgingly admit that they force me to get my shit together. I have to pull together images, figure out what to say about them in a clear and concise way, and make plans for what I’d like to do in the future.

I think it is the planning & dreaming part that would otherwise get lost for me. I work, I have kids, I manage to barely squeak things in on deadline. And if I wasn’t applying for grants, when would I be thinking about what I would really like to do?

Lumpen odd-shaped rocks

June 13th, 2009

Meteor for McKnight show

I have done little but go to work and prep for the McKnight show lately — I haven’t seen anything, read anything, or done anything much art-related, though I did bake the recipe for the Tate’s chocolate chip cookies that Gwyneth Paltrow so kindly shared on her lifestyle website.

So here are new meteors — denser, simpler, more compact shapes than the earlier ones.

Meteor for McKnight show

Meteor for McKnight show

Hahn’s Living Meteorites

May 11th, 2009

Hahn Die meteorite
Published in 1880, Dr. Otto Hahn’s Die Meteorite (Chondrite) und Irhre Organismen features 32 plates of micro-photographs of cross-sections of meteorites. Meteorites are often sliced, photographed, and their interior structures analyzed to determine their origins and physical make-up, but Hahn was expressly looking for fossil evidence of life from outer space.
Hahn Die meteorite
He identified mysterious structures, like the ones in these photographs, as evidence of fossilized plants and simple animals, carried within meteorites from extra-terrestrial origins.

Sadly, Hahn was mistaken, and other scientists realized his mis-interpretation upon the publication of this beautiful book.


May 8th, 2009

Sculptures at Fallon

The work is starting to have destinations beyond my studio — here is one of the work tables from the MIA installed at an advertising agency that does temporary exhibitions in their offices. Some of the big meteor watercolors are going to be in an exhibition in June, and the icebergs seem to have moved to southern California (they’re in a show in November). Stuff that goes places for people to look at it; people go places to look at stuff.

End of the Fiscal Year

April 21st, 2009

View of the MAEP Pezalla exhibition

This feels like the end of the year — taxes are done (at the last possible moment) and, as usual, sorting piles of receipts provides a new perspective on the year. Nearly everything I buy for the studio is consumed — it is cut up, taped, pasted, folded — then put in a gallery, then moved to storage — and I don’t really have a sense of the quantity of stuff I burn through. Woof.

The Velaslavasay Panorama

April 11th, 2009

I’d heard about the panorama, but hadn’t visited it until this most recent trip to LA. It seems the perfect LA place — you arrive at this little theater off the freeway and go from the blinding white light into a dark, cool slightly musty place, and wind up a tiny dark stairway to discover this:

The Velaslavasay Panorama
The Velaslavasay Panorama. (
The Velaslavasay Panorama
Because panoramas are a form of public spectacle, Los Angeles is sort of the perfect place for one, perhaps especially because it depicts the polar regions. As entertainment spectacle, the Panorama was charming — charming as in unexpectedly disarming.
The Velaslavasay Panorama

Looking back and looking forward

March 24th, 2009

I spent the past week in Los Angeles, visiting friends, and talking, and looking. I’ll have tons to post soon, once I get a bit caught up. But - here are a couple of quick notes:

If you are in LA, go see Francis Alys Fabiola right away. It was extended, but closes this week. Ask a guard for directions to the show — you’ll get the best route to the gallery, and, very likely, a passionate review of the exhibition. My friend and I asked for directions, found the out-of-the-way gallery, and went back to talk to the guard again and thank him for recommending it so highly. It’s a great exhibition for registrars, by the way — there’s a binder of the condition reports in the gallery (and a copy of the catalog, which was sold out in the LACMA store, but still seems to be available online.)

And for looking forward — the opening of The Quick and the Dead at the Walker, visiting LA again soon, and figuring out what to do for the McKnight exhibition.