Seeing that our friends at The Citrus Report spend their Mondays featuring all that is good with Madlib and his universe, we can’t believe they missed the new Madvillainy 2 box set featuring this incredible 12-page mini-comic. As Jeff Jank told Juxtapoz this morning, “comic was done by James Reitano who did the Madvillain “ALL CAPS” video. The concept here was to continue the next episode where the CAPS video left off cliff-hanger style. We went all out with ’70s-80s comic book details, a letters page with a real letter, 8 track tapes, etc. The album itself is Madlib’s personal version of the album. The LP comes with 2 records, the comic, and digi download card.”
Photos by Patrik Lindell, from Erland Brand’s exhibition at the Konstakademien in Stockholm from early 2011. As the museum explains, translated from Swedish by Google, “The wallpaper surrounds the work of the old Erland Brand: dreamed-of trips in an entropically disappearance of the universe. A gigantic archive of dead and living languages. A manic work without beginning or end.”
From The Citrus Report
Italian muralist, and probably the most influential political cartoonist in the art world, Blu just destroyed the planet in a huge explosion in Buenos Aires. It just so happens that we are just living on a jigsaw puzzle, and we are going to float into the universe, and nobody is going to remember that the Earth was there.
All images via BA Street Art, a great blog run by good people.
From The Citrus Report
Google Street View is pretty bizarre as is, but when it rolls in Miami and finds some naked women in the hood hanging out naked on her doorstep, Google Street View becomes another universe. Or everyday in Miami? We don’t really know. Its odd regardless. Why is she holding a gallon of water?
From The Citrus Report
Jesse Small creates art work that is a unique combination of bright, fresh, contemporary ideas that hold a rich history in both form and in media. Some of his work encroaches on realms of design that he has vowed to take back for contemporary art, while some merge craft and utilitarian objects with technology and modern concepts in ways that challenge preconceived notions of these items. But no matter what the concept behind any particular piece, Jesse’s work is always a masterful display of manufacturing and laborious craftsmanship that goes unrivaled. —Ronnie Wrest / The Citrus Report
Ronnie Wrest: You recently set up a studio in Los Angeles. Is it nice to be back in southern California?
Jessie Small: I am constantly responding to messages the world sends me via mundane, daily life. For example, I created a series of figurines in Jingdezhen, China, inspired by the public-bus-muse. In France, I got an idea for an infinite porcelain chandelier from a hall of mirrors in the Nice city hall. Putting myself in foreign environments creates a lot more messages each day than I get now in LA, probably because of the shift in the flavor of the mundane. Is the function of my studio in LA to collect all these experiences and give myself a base to produce them? I never looked at working that way before. I’d rather collaborate with my circumstances than control them. My work delves into both antiquity and anti-antiquity, into the past and the future. LA is sort of crushed into a very bright singularity in the Now. If I get embraced here, it will be through mutual misunderstanding. There was recently a fire in my studio which trashed a lot of new work, so I am feeling very un-here at the moment. Fire can be very cleansing too, just as the ancients assure us, possibly meta-regenerative.
You lived and worked in China for a few years. Can you talk about this experience and how it impacted your work and your life?
Well, it helped me digest and purge western culture somewhat. Last month I visited the Royal College of Art in London and they killed me with that research-then-modify tactic. It reminded me of when I was coming out of Grad School, on the verge of China. I was just another product of western art school curricula. Referring to art historical figures living or dead in order to put ones own work into context never felt right to me… isnt the world at large where art is happening? Could art just be a thing first, then become art later?
Audience is everything to me, the final stage of meaning, and when I operated within Chinese society, I and audience were free from assumption and understanding. This new found freedom from cultural start-points (which usually become endpoints in a nanosecond) was poisonous because it stemmed from ignorance, though it only slayed the dull and dying theories I had dragged in from the west. I lived for 6 months in Jingdezhen, and then 6 months in Shenzhen. I made many trips by bus and train to the toy-manufacturing capital of the known universe, Shantou, on a goose chase for god’s toy maker, who I joined and worked with.
Living in China, I found my people, who made things and sold them, like me. I designed an egg-shaped mobile phone, cut a chinese army jeep into lace using an ancient plasma cutter, shared quarters with semi wild dogs, and gleefully used 300 year old public toilets. I walked through and in many cases spent days, weeks, or months working in dozens of workshops and factories. The strangest thing was coming back. My sense of value was completely obliterated, mainly because I had seen the squalid conditions from which our merchandise is born. I am a terrible consumer now. The Chinese thrifty DIY techniques are what I do instead (within reason of course, after all, I’m a Diva.)
In the past few years you have been working with metals and plastics. What brought about your interest in these mediums?
Steel probably comes closest to the unreal, fabulous notion of drawing-in-space. n 1998 I found a stash of old metal army helmets at a family run scrapyard in KC. These were the genesis of what would become a library of sculptures, using a torch and then a plasma cutter to treat steel like paper. To find the lace in the steel. The helmets became unique, beautiful, and useless. I saw the flow of vandalism and decoration going both ways, like a tide, depending on what direction I ran the film.
I continue to work with steel, sometimes in a state of overwhelmed rapture. It is the nectar of Mars, my home planet and muse to which I always return. Being made of water, it is transcendental to hold a fire torch and, with the slow motion balet happening in my fingers, hand, and arms, feeling big chunks of iron fall clanking to the Earth, liberating an image or a mess. I can taste the electricity and the rust, my body is stained and scarred, but I am ever so grateful to be at the feet of Mars.
It’s funny you ask about plastics, because I am now running, screaming. Audience is everything (to me) and when they speak I listen. I know well some great theories about working in the void, putting oneself in a fiction that doesn’t script or completely disguises the Audience (like a teaching gig, for example.) We go into exile to concoct new concepts out of dust and tattered ends… and that isolation is sacred. Everything returns to my Audience, and I am deeply curious about their response to the gifts I create for them, for that is their rich gift to me. Their response is the mirror, the mirror is the gateway to truth and the secrets. If a mirror is made of plastic, you can twist and bend it until it is not a reflection anymore, but a distortion. A real glass mirror will break when a single lie is thrown at it. So, yeah, folks hated it. All the stuff I made of plastic, cant sell any of it. Plastic does not fit the deeply nostalgic vein of my work, nor does it fit the pantheon of antiquitous fine art materials. Plastic is to retro to smack of the future. Who am I to argue with this, having failed every test of a pure heart? Though I implore endlessly at times with the material gods to break loose of their chains, to be not killed by culture but free from it, they have no power over their captor. It is not I who will free them, I’ve not the power, and so I say, be gone with you plastic, be gone from this place!!
Some of the sculptures you create are constantly reoccurring in new ways. One of my favorites is the porcelain pac-man ghost. Is there a particular concept that has kept your interest in this object?
Initially the Ghosts were an effort to confront various demonic porcelain figurines in Jingdezhen, China that needed checking. Traditionally in China, ghosts are considered troublemakers, so there are several common shields against them. One is that each home should have a porcelain figurine to scare ghosts away. So I created a cute porcelain ghost figurine as a contemporary alternative. Few people were insulted by my slight to traditional superstition, most people understood the work as conversation between an ancient culture and a young, pop oriented culture. For me, the insight was not that my work was insulting or humorous, but both, independently communicative globally.
I had broken through the East-West culture barrier with something as generic and mundane as a Pac-Man ghost. No way I am putting that down. They are extremely versatile. When I show them in China, the audience focuses on the western aspects (pop, trend, technology,) and when I show them in the West, the audience focuses on the eastern aspects (porcelain, tradition, craft.) Very few things can mirror-play like this, so I am still learning from it. I just finished a series of Terra-Cotta ghosts that are sporting ribbon clusters and sheets for my show in NYC coming up.
Who are 2 or 3 artists or authors that have inspired you recently?
Lanark by Alasdair Grey. This is a dark diptych about a young artist, unable to finish anything.
Neuromancer by William Gibson.
“You think that’s air your breathing now?” -Morpheus.
Dina No. Dina is an artist living and working in Portland, Oregon. She created my favorite sculpture in the world, which is a mechanical typewriter with the letter blocks replaced by various teeth. Using carbon copy paper, one can compose sentences of little teeth marks, or ASCII art.
You have some graffiti in your past. Was this one of your early art influences?
I think of myself as having attended, thus far, three schools of aesthetic training. Fine art BFA and MFA, but as an essential prequel, a graffiti habit. The rules and regulations that are present in graffiti law are volumous. I learned much more about colors and composition from graffiti than art school. One time some cops were hassling me and a friend at the Venice Breakwater over some cans of paint, and we got into a debate with them. They couldn’t see that we were not territorial, that we wanted to be everywhere. Everywhere is not a street-corner. All-city was the phrase.
Manifestations of Graffiti in modern civilization may be human’s last great gift to the universe, so its fitting that bureaucrats would classify it as an offense. I got hauled in as a skinny, greasy 17 year old by a cop named Randolf. Amazing LAPD Officer Randolf. Came down off a fire escape after bombing some billboards in downtown LA. 4 am. Guy cuffs me, throws me in the car, and lectures me all the way to the station about Picasso, Matise, Renoir, all the French greats. Hard to believe right? It’s true. He said if I was a few months older I would be going strait to Juvenile hall. He kept telling me that I had talent, and that I should apply it in a “legal” way. So, I should say that Graffiti propelled me to art school, from getting arrested by LAPD Officer Randolf, but also by addicting me to the power of visual art, and I am grateful for that. Most contemporary art doesn’t hold a candle to the extremism and theories that really good Graffiti gushes into the world, everyday, for absolutely free.
Can you touch on how some of your current work still holds on to some of the early graffiti ideals?
Graffiti artists are examining the world quite differently than most pedestrians. We’re looking for perfect surfaces to write and paint on. The city is the canvass, but upon closer inspection there are millions of surfaces. A few of the surfaces are excellent for Graffiti, and become classics. When Santa Monica put in new bus stops, we would tag the 18″ metal poles that held up the benches. Great little spots that never got buffed. We were analyzing and getting excited by much more mundane environmental information than most locals would in their entire lifetime, looking for “spots.” This method of scanning existent reality is why I am working with forms I find in the world rather than invent new forms. It’s about showing people something that is obvious, using a different light, that they never noticed before. My favorite artwork is that which jumps out of the mundane, like a trap or a trick.
Much of your work overlaps into realms of design and utilitarian products. Do you enjoy pushing these boundaries of what “art” is defined as?
There is a group of contemporary sculptors, my seniors, working within the vein of design and public spaces. It has been a much needed “craft-check” for the fine art bracket. Andrea Zittel and Jorge Pardo are some of the bigger fish here. For me, this movement has been very inspiring, but I consider it excessively cerebral. We can call it a movement, or an ism, because it has a broad reaching cultural agenda that includes questioning and fomenting class struggle. Society desperately needs this right now. In contrast, my use of utilitarian forms is much weaker and less thought out. I’m unable to imagine a “sculpture” or what we might loath to call a “cool shape” or a “super shape.” The first thing people reflect back at my work is their pre-existing label for “it,” which turns out to be incorrect, because representation collapses into art. We label something as art when we think it is art, mainly because none of the pre-existing labels will stick. Believe me, if we could call it a “door” or a “cup” we would. And when we call something a door, we do so because we KNOW it is a door. As such, the art bracket widens as we claim to know less for certain. Eventually, you reach an infinite library, beautiful and useless.
I’ll be working at a residency in Vallauris, France in November-December. I’ve recently started working with a gallery in Paris, and I’d prefer to make my show for them in France. Now that I have divested myself of machines and a studio, I’m lighter than I have been in a while. It’s nice to have gone through a few cycles of studio-residency-studio-school-etc. Studio always keeps popping in, wanting to ground me and water me. As part of my counter-insurgency against the influx of Design and Architecture, I will need to acquire their skills. So, more school might be coming up soon. I have a few interviews for Public Art projects on the horizon, winning a project could dictate the next location. Right now, the next stop is NYC at Nancy Hoffman Gallery, September 8th, 6pm. September 8th, 6:01pm is a mystery to me.
More about Jesse Small at http://www.jessesmall.com/
From The Citrus Report
We fell in love with the Art Bookstore and Gallery, LEADAPRON last time we were in L.A. We got a private, sneak peek of some of the work from their upcoming show, Amanda Eliasch’s “Seven Neons” when we were there last but we are sorry we are missing the opening June 16th. From the press release:
LEADAPRON is pleased to present Peccadilloes an exhibition of Seven Neons by Amanda Eliasch.
One approach to art is to take something measurable and make it immeasurable through the prism of ones imagination. Amanda Eliasch has flipped this notion and taken something immeasurable and made it measurable. She is a using a noble gas as her material, though common in the universe is quite rare on earth, namely, neon. Her subject is again a flip, common on earth, but supposedly clarified once reaching the heavens, namely sin. Sin is also an ether. Where does it come from and can you hold it in your hand? To be greedy or slothful or envious first happens in the mind, only later do these sins manifest as consequences that effect oneself and others. Similarly neon is extracted from the air. There is an alchemy to the artist’s approach and Amanda is quite versed in turning a dull metal into gold.
Since the nativity of time, artists have tried to bring to the light those impulses that drive us, whether they be our darkest fears, desires, aspirations or dreams. The creative process is an enlightening drawing out ideas or expressions that are first in the milky shadows or air or in space. This too can be said of the sins, which are like nascent drives ready to be awakened at any given time. Amanda is keen enough to realize that our culture profits on our sins and even encourages them. Sins sell.
Furthermore, it is neon that welcomes us to sin, neon is a symbol of sin, whether it be announcing a strip club or a sugar filled soda. Again, neon has been used for signage and many artists have used these glow lamps to convey their own messages. From Bruce Nauman’s “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths,” in which he expresses a private thought to a public by means of a spiral neon sign to Dan Flavin’s “Proposals,” Amanda is using the pure intention of neon to both expose and reveal what neon aims to express and furthermore, much like Tracey Emin or Cindy Sherman, in multiple layers of symbolism, she places herself as the subject of this intention to humour, to question and to confound. She admits to being a sinner, while at the same time stating humorously that her sins are just peccadilloes. Are these mantras or jokes? Amanda wants also to remind us of the prevalence of sin and express her concern that we as a people and culture are losing a grip on values and morality in what she calls a “feckless and fallow world,” but she wants to do it in a soft, candy colored way so as to not beat us over the head with it.
Morris W. Travers, a British Chemist who discovered Neon wrote, “the blaze of crimson light from the tube told its own story and was a sight to dwell upon and never forget,” and this is precisely what Amanda is aiming for.
From The Citrus Report
Looking for a good read, but not feeling the commitment to take on a novel? Check out Crane’s “The Open Boat”. Already read it? Maybe you should reread it. You could always get something new out of it. Here’s a little excerpt:
“The boat was headed for the beach. The correspondent wondered if none ever ascended the tall wind-tower, and if then they never looked seaward. This tower was a giant, standing with its back to the plight of the ants. It represented in a degree, to the correspondent, the serenity of nature amid the struggles of the individual–nature in the wind, and nature in the vision of men. She did not seem cruel to him then, nor beneficent, nor treacherous, nor wise. But she was indifferent, flatly indifferent. It is, perhaps, plausible that a man in this situation, impressed with the unconcern of the universe, should see the innumerable flaws of his life, and have them taste wickedly in his mind and wish for another chance. A distinction between right and wrong seems absurdly clear to him, then, in this new ignorance of the grave-edge, and he understands that if he were given another opportunity he would mend his conduct and his words, and be better and brighter during an introduction or at a tea.”
From The Citrus Report
Just some questions our cat ponders after her late morning nap: How do I justify my personal existence? Are we really alone in the universe? Are my values inconsequential to my choices and actions? If i have so much freedom why do I live in this “box”? Why are syringe needles disinfected for death sentenced convicts?
From The Citrus Report
Posted from The Citrus Report
G.L.F. analyzes the graffiti and other (sub) cultural (re) presentations: as linguistic sign, as a producer of symbols to represent certain groups, as symptoms and self-expression tool …
G.L.F. also aims to reflect the capitalization and commodification of style and… urban art or the formalization of that shout in the air from the system.
GLF; Nacho Magro and consonni
When walls talk. Film series ZINEBI 52.
23rd, 24th and 26th November.
BBK Space Gran Via. 8pm.
Tuesday 23rd: The commercialitation of street art.
– Up There. Malcolm Murray. 2010.
– The Universe of Keith Haring. Christian Clausen. 2008.
Wednesday 24th: The street as an area of tension.
Metagraffiti (short film selection)
Friday 26th: Contexts and projects.
– Pixo. João Weiner and Roberto Oliveira. 2009.
– Selection of animations SAM3.
– Graffiti. Fun or Dumb? Helaine Swerdloff. 1976.
Graffiti and systems. Bridges and boundaries.
– Friday, November 19th. Hika Ateneo. 7pm.
GLF. Shout v. Symbol / Visceral v. Political.
Nacho Magro and consonni.
– Saturday, November 27th. Hika Ateneo. 6pm.
Graffiti and systems. Bridges and boundaries.
– From the public space and its trivialize.
Francesc Muñoz. 6pm.
– From graffiti to street art. 7.15 pm.
Brief presentations of Angelo Milano, Remedios Vincent, Pablo España and Mischa Cannibal of Parafernalia.
– Round table with speakers. 8.15 pm
Chairperson: Nacho Magro