Saturday, May 31, 2008

The World's Longest Performance Art Piece Continues, or Various Ways of Ignoring What We Don't Want to See...

My friend called to tell me of A Blessed Art Thou sighting. From it, I learned there are rumors that Angelina Jolie has given birth, so we are having another go round of BAT posts on the web. The fact that the bottom of the painting
is almost universally omitted by these gossip sites before they co-opt the image is priceless: I simply don't know what to say.

My job: to make sure it all gets credited properly, and be sure I don't read ANYTHING that is posted in the comments: I find the experience to be as stomach-churning as wading in a sewer. Last night, we inadvertently ended up watching a provocative, too-close-to-reality-to-be-funny movie called Idiocracy, and it gave me the same feeling. I researched the film a bit, and apparently, it was so scary to the screening groups, and threatening to the corporations and media it pokes fun at, that the studio sat on it for two years, then released it in theaters according to contract, but only to 130 screens across the country, with no trailers, posters, or screening for critics. It has since, however, developed a cult following. Dan Mitchell gave the situation a brief writeup in the NYTimes, and David Weigel wrote a great piece for about reactions to the film, entitled Idiot Wind.

P.S. Incidentally, I think this is an alternative religion site, as opposed to a gossip site, but can anyone translate Hebrew for me?


Friday, May 30, 2008

Doing boring sewing on paper tests today, and adding pearls to the thank you tie. Took the afternoon off to go thrifting with some friends: I am looking for an impossibly gaudy plastic or resin oval mirror to cover with blue glitter. I plan on having an open studio soon, and I am getting the house ready....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Radley & I are off to Michael's to get some thread......

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What I Am Reading Tonight.....

I have always been a voracious reader, thanks to the childhood Tuesday night ritual of all the Kretz kids being hauled off to the library. Years later, when I was a teenager, my father pointed out to me that I was only reading books that reinforced my point of view, and that I wasn't going to learn as much that way.

So tonight I am reading "On the Way To Work", interviews with Damien Hirst.
Just to prove me completely wrong on my graffiti comments the other day.... this will blow your mind. (Of course, it would be even MORE amazing with some real content..... )

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Thanks to Extreme Craft for the discovery, where Garth astutely noted, "Once again, low-tech rears its head and kicks the everloving crap out of Speed Racer and any and all of its overblown high-tech minions."

...still in progress. (click to enlarge)
"Artfairs: An Artist's Viewpoint" from Art World Salon.
Drizzly day.
... the beginnings of the thank you tie.

... refining (and refining) ice.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Has anyone else noticed the recent graffiti-as-high-art phenomenon? (as opposed to graffiti that evolved into art, aka Basquiat.) I have a cousin who in deeply entrenched in that scene, so maybe I feel its presence more intensely than most. Ben Lewis, of the Evening Standard in London, writes an interesting and challenging review of a show on the OUTSIDE of the Tate Modern.

On a related note, I have been reading so much lately about the candidates and their need to essentially "dumb things down", and downplay any aspects of their lives that reek of elitism, in order that they might appeal to "the general public". This phenomenon causes me to scratch my head, and it makes me wonder about possible parallels in the contemporary art world, as a new kind of collector appears to drive the art market, and consequently, the art world, in a different direction.

And at Ed Winkleman's, they are discussing the pros and cons of serving wine at openings.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Decided that the dripping ice was too much.

Yesterday I had some doctor's appointments, stopped for lunch, and opened my sketchbook while eating. Got a great idea for a political piece using some material that I have been holding on to for a long time. Got home, and found a call for entries sent to me by a friend, for political pieces addressing the upcoming election, and the piece I was thinking of will be PERFECT for it. So this morning I was ripping apart a ready-made to reconfigure it for my piece. (If any of you live in the Southeast and do political work, email me and I will send you the prospectus)

While I was out, I stopped at Uncle Bud's Fabric and Foam (huge inventory of wide rolls of material, mostly upholstery) for fabric to reupholster my dining room chairs, and found that every fabric was on sale for $4 a yard! That's tapestries, brocades, etc. So I got lots of swatches and tomorrow will be buying up fabric for some upcoming art projects, as well as fabric for everything I want to reupholster in the next 5 years. I asked how long the sale would go on, and the nice lady said, "until the boss calls up and says stop".
It happened.
As reported by The Art Newspaper, Lucien Freud, a painter who paints his own paintings (from live models, even!.... he won't even paint the couch when the model is not there) has replaced Jeff Koons as "the most expensive living artist". Party at my place.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sorry I am being lame... lots going on here. Have you ever seen a living wall? They take my breath away.... trying to convince my husband we need to make one. Art & pics tonight or tomorrow a.m., I promise. xo Kate

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back to the Drawing Board

One of the things I have picked up from reading about really productive artists is that they go into the studio every day, even if it means that they are doing "busy work". I have spent the past few days sick and kind of out of it, so I figured it was my time to do "busy work", despite the fact that my husband kept reminding me that artists can take sick days too. If you are ambitious and/or compulsive about artmaking, it can be really difficult to have a day, let alone two, when you are not producing anything. This would explain the normal condition of my studio. It is not as bad as Francis Bacon's Studio (ok, nowhere near as bad), but let's say that I often go from one project to the other without doing major cleaning, because
1.) I am always anxious to start the next project, and
2.) because a day spent cleaning is not nearly as satisfying as making anything.

The fact is that there are so many unglamorous, non-product producing things that need to be done in the studio, and days when your brain cannot function, but your hands still can, seems the best time to work on some of those tasks. For all the things I DID do Mon & Tues, there are still packets to send out, updates to the website & blog, more technical prep work for the new projects....... but today, it's back to the angel.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Today, a NYTimes article on the Orphan Artworks Bill. Kate, meanwhile, is still woozily under the weather, and is (slowly) cleaning her studio and shopping for lumber rather than messing up her current piece.

Monday, May 19, 2008

In Life, as in Art.....
color reigns. Started working on one of my angels today, then felt sick and went to bed. Later I still didn't feel up to working on it without messing it up, so I worked on the dining room.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

An update in today's NY Times on Paducah, KY's successful attempt to lure artists. Apparently, the same revolution is now happening in Syracuse, NY. I lived there for a summer: the houses they are talking about were dilapidated but gorgeous, and Syracuse has a museum, a major university with an art department, and is only a few hours from NYC.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Taking the weekend (mostly) off from work to paint the dining room:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Much better.

(click to enlarge)
Interestingly enough, while up until 4 am, I was reading this long but fascinating old Art In America article by Wade Saunders about assistants. He interviewed over 20 artists, many of whom had been assistants to others years ago, and now employed assistants of their own. One thing that came up again and again was that the artists said they liked having other people essentially make their work, because then they had less attachment to it, and could destroy it or alter it more easily.

I may do this angel again, as I have learned something that will make it different the next time..... (or I may go on to the next thing, and wait until I get an assistant in here and have THEM do it). I am going to let this sit on my wall for a while to see what it needs. There will be other things happening to it, undoubtedly involving red velvet.

As I was spraying this piece, beyond what was happening to the work, I could not help but feel that it was a necessary and monumental step for this control freak artist.
An insomnia-induced surfing find: Tateshots, which I will add to my blogroll... mini interviews with artists. Watch Dorothy Cross talk about "The Virgin Shroud".

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Getting Things Exactly Right, and Letting Things Go.....

Although I finished the painted portion of this work today,
there were a few other things occupying my time, not the least of which was 2-3 hours spent online trying to find a simple 4 x 6" cherry wood oval frame for the interior of this piece. You would think that would be a simple task. I used every combination of the words on google and every shopping search engine, but to no avail. (There is one place in South Africa where I can get one for 23.00 Rand + 155.00 Rand shipping, but who knows how long that would take, I can't determine if Rosewood would work, and I'm sure returning it would be a bitch). I even looked for raw wood that I could stain myself. I would strip the oval frame that I have, restain it and varnish it, but it is composite wood, and could dissolve with stripper. I have given up, and tomorrow will repeat my Google search for a solid wood frame that I CAN strip and restain.

The "letting go" part of this post? To be enacted this evening, and posted tomorrow morning, despite the degree of success (or failure)....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jeff Koons speaks about his piece "New Hoover Convertibles...", the one that sold for $11,801,000 tonight at Christie's. If only I had this resource when I was teaching my BFAers about artist's statements in particular and the art world in general. Sex sells.

My husband was in bed with me when I was watching this, and he could not stop laughing.
Orphaned Works Legislation

There is a bill going through congress that proposes to severely limit artists' copyright rights. It will require the registration of EACH and EVERY image/work you have ever done to be registered with a private company for a fee. If you do not register, anyone will have the right to copy your work and you will have no recourse. There is a good synopsis here. A ranting article explaining the proposed changes and how it will affect you is here. Please contact your congresspeople here to let them know of the negative impact this will have on our creative property rights.... they do not understand the full impact this legislation will have on us.
There is a blog covering news updates and commentaries. If you want to get on the email list for Orphaned Works legislation updates, email


Robert Rauchenberg is dead. I had occasion to meet him once or twice in Miami. A kind man whose contributions are like thousands of raindrops, hitting the surface of the water and creating infinite ripples.
If the prediction at Modern Art Obsession comes true, it will make my day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

So, it's come to this.
Studio tidying-up, prepping to start some new pieces, ordering supplies for new projects. Hours spent prepping new images of models to be printed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thorns and (finally!) The Dining Room

Before quitting Friday, decided that the thorns needed a background color: the white was not working with all that red. I really love working with gouache.
Saturday, got up bright and early and started stripping the undisputably cheery, but nevertheless awful, yellow wallpaper in the dining room.
Only to find infinitely more hideous wallpaper underneath.

Can you imagine living with this?
Today must pick out REDS....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

At Guardian Arts, Sean O'Hagan interviews Anselm Kiefer, who says, "When I was four, I wanted to be Jesus. It was only a short step to becoming an artist."
And Gregor Schneider, who has received a lot of press recently about his desire to die in a gallery, gives an edifying explanation.

Friday, May 09, 2008


One of the projects I was developing was a book about the complexities of being poor, how a great deal of these complexities are self-perpetuating, and how they are made worse by the people who make money from taking advantage of them. While researching what else has been done along these lines, I found this, "Being Poor", an essay by John Scalvi following hurricaine Katrina, in response to all those people who asked "Why didn't they just leave?....". Bookmark it and come back when you can read the comments as well as the original essay. It does what I was hoping to do and more, partially because of the additions from the readers. "Fate of A Technicolor Romantic" was about the identity issues surrounding growing up poor... how they never really go away, no matter how secure your life gets. You never really feel safe, even when you are. I have always wanted to do more class-based work. His essay brought back so many memories, some of them in the not-so-distant past, and was like a punch in the gut. I still can't get up from my chair.
Amended medal attachment....
Itching to start the next piece, but will try to make some order in the studio first.

"Thicket", 2008, gouache, collage, hair, medal on colored paper, 24 x 18".
(click any to enlarge)

Still not happy with the pics. will shoot on the camera stand tonight, and send it out if I am still not happy. Losing lots of subtlety in the painting, and the colors not accurate or as intense as they are in the painting. I redid the medal, and it is still not right. I think the tie-in with hair worked in this drawing, but does not work in this instance, because the hair is too light. Will remove the ring, and sew the top of the medal to the paper with hair.

Trying to work from an especially intuitive place these days, without asking too many questions. That place is leading me to guardian angels, roses, thorns, martyrs, relics, Virgin Mary Blue, red, hair, light, framing devices, ovals and circles, playing with picture planes...

Amended medal attachment:

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The kind of day when, instead of breaking to lunch with my husband and do the 5 minutes in the hammock looking up at the trees, I say "I'm inside my head..." and keep working.
So Much Floating Around in My Brain.....

There is a good post at Ed Winkleman's today.
There was also a link in his post yesterday that has me working on a long post of my own, one that ties together today's EW post about animal abuse, The Chocolate Jesus, censorship, articulation skills of artists (or lack thereof), artists' statements , and censorship.

Still trying to come up with a title. I like "Thicket".

Very excited about this period of experimentation in the studio. Yesterday Mary asked why I did not paint the roses, why I used collage (wallpaper, actually) instead. For over two years, I have wanted to take some time to play in the studio, as I feel a new direction brewing. I have been concentrating for the past few years on major paintings and hair embroideries, projects that take 3-9 months each. Although I am also prepping for some new experimental paintings, I feel that it is essential now to do some pieces that are faster and less labor-intensive, so I can get some ideas out there in a more rapidfire way. Doing this kind of work is essential to feed the bigger works and allow them to evolve.
It is frustrating to have ideas for things that I want to do that would take several lifetimes to execute, so I have to find a way to make some major leaps in a shorter period of time.

Speaking of work, time to get to it. Not happy with the way that the hair ties the medal to the paper, so I must redo it before I shoot.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Camping out on the futon in the basement music room with the dog tonight, watching tornadoes headed towards us on TV.
Rough finished pic. Good pics tomorrow. I am off to look at some art, and see Chop Shop. Bringing my thesaurus and sketchbook with me, so in between museum closing and movie, I can work on a title.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I am arranging and rearranging cut pieces of paper & photographing them. Decided it would be prudent to look at the options through fresh eyes tomorrow before gluing things down. So I am off to watch Richard Tuttle: Never not an Artist and work on the omnipresent vein embroidery. But I have a treat for you: my friend Sarah just sent me the link to her new drawing, which blew me away.
Spent half the day adding details, and the rest of the day cutting paper. Hopefully the collaging can be completed tonight.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

(click to enlarge) Did not quite finish the face. Maybe after the photo shoots tonight....
I have hung this Anthropologie catalog cover on my wall because I want to live in this photograph.

Perplexing, what is happening to the yellows and oranges in the jpegs. Spent the weekend working on the yard, much to the delight of our neighbors, because I am still hoping to pull together an open studio by the end of this month. Worked on hair highlights this morning, refining face and clothing this afternoon. Tonight, cutting out my collage elements after I photograph a student. Might finish this piece tomorrow......

Friday, May 02, 2008

Aside from a few touch ups, the hair is finished. Alas, this is one of those images that does not read well in the photo, no matter how I try to fix it in Photoshop. The yellow blows out and the different values of orange flatten. There are lots of nuances in both.
Busy, with a sleep deprivation hangover....

Been spending my days finishing up this gouache painting, and nights photographing models for upcoming projects. I have been thrilled with the outcome so far, such that it is hard to decide which project to start first. My non-photography evenings are spent on a few projects that I am setting up to create passive income, in preparation for the market slowdown. Things are actually going quite well, I will have few new exhibitions to announce soon, but better safe than sorry.
Back from the gym after 5 hours of sleep, I desperately want to nap right now, but... shower, coffee, and tiny brushes are the order of the day. Hoping to finish the hair today.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Gorgeous gorgeous day. Patty Griffin music marathon. Good news coming....