Archive for March, 2011


Thursday, March 31st, 2011

— 1955 was a time of much stress between the USSR and USA. I felt that both sides needed a more humanized view of each other for things to get better. There was very little in the American media to bring us closer to the people of the USSR. These photographs got us walking along with these ordinary Russians and allowed us to feel what it might be like to be one of them. Thus helping to break through barriers that the media had set up. The same is true for these two Russian girls in their backyard, designing a house–they could be our own children.

Albert Maysles is a pioneer of Direct Cinema who, along with his brother David, was the first to make nonfiction feature films (GIMME SHELTER, SALESMAN, GREY GARDENS) where the drama of life unfolds as is, without scripts, sets, interviews or narration. With his first film, PSYCHIATRY IN RUSSIA (1955) he made the transition from psychologist to documentary filmmaker. In 1960 he served as co-filmmaker of PRIMARY. His numerous films include WHAT’S HAPPENING? THE BEATLES IN THE USA (1964), MEET MARLON BRANDO (1965), five films of the projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude (1973 to 1994), and recently a sixth, THE GATES (2007), as well as four documentaries for HBO. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1965), a Peabody, an Emmy, and five Lifetime Achievement Awards. He won the award for best cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival (2002) for LALEE’S KIN: THE LEGACY OF COTTON, which was also nominated in 2001 for an Academy Award. Albert received the Columbia Dupont Award in 2004. Eastman Kodak has saluted him as one of the world’s 100 finest cinematographers.


Thursday, March 31st, 2011

On 10/15/07, Robert Nickqs wrote:
I am more than a little bit wasted, so please don’t be unkind. I was watching
that Wire DVD we’ve seen, live on German TV in 1979, still so riveting, and
I realized that a really good band comes down to one basic principle: The idea of
a band as: A shared belief. Shared beliefs — under any circumstances — are difficult
to sustain. Why privilege bands? Because they are these random/volatile/precarious
constellations of people and emotions/egos/volatility? What about just friends?
We don’t have it any easier. Even if we don’t go on tour, we have to see
each other with some regularity, and it’s not always easy. When you called from
Boston the other night your main message was that I need to take better care of
myself. Even if old habits die hard, I do think that I am taking care of myself,
and I realize that you say this because you really care about me. I may be defensive,
but you have to know that it means a lot to me when you express yourself in this
way. I get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, don’t smoke, have a good
meatless diet, and drink a ton of water. The bad news is always the good news, and
I will probably live forever. And even then … it won’t be over.
I really love you a lot.

Your friend in this life and the next.


From: brendan
To: Robert Nickqs
Subject: Re: bob for brendan
Date: Oct 16, 2007 5:07 AM

i’ll haunt you first


Orient Point, August 2008

Brendan, Orient Point, July 2010

Video by Brendan Majewski
Photos by Ryan Foerster

Bob Nickas is a critic and curator based in New York. His books include LIVE FREE OR DIE (les presses du réel, 2000), THEFT IS VISION (JRP/Ringier, 2008), and PAINTING ABSTRACTION (Phaidon Press, 2009). CATALOG OF THE EXHIBITION, a retrospective of his exhibitions from 1985 to 2011, is forthcoming from 2nd Cannons Publications in April, and he is one of the contributors to HISTORY ENDS TODAY, a survey of the 200 most important artworks of the past 25 years, to be published by Phaidon in October.


Thursday, March 31st, 2011


— The following collage details some recent home made tattoos I’ve given people and some of the things received in exchange, including food, books, a haircut, transport, films and artwork.

I’ve been loosely considering the term ‘post-economy tattooing’ to describe these exchanges. No money is involved, and there is no sense of set value that carries over from one exchange to another. This approach helps to take the seriousness out of what is usually considered serious.

Thomas Jeppe was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1984. He is author of the book HOME MADE TATTOOS RULE (Serps Press 2006). Forthcoming shows include, Art Gallery of Western Australia; Curro Y Poncho in Guadalajara, Mexico; and Galerie Conradi in Hamburg, Germany. He lives and works in Melbourne Australia.


Thursday, March 31st, 2011


— There was this story going around on the internet that Hitchcock actually didn’t have a belly button. It was Ron Burrage, a professional Hitchcock doppelgänger, who first mentioned this during an interview at his place in London. Together with Hitchcock himself, Ron Burrage went on to become one of the protagonists in Double Take (2009), the film I was working on at the time. I liked the story of Hitchcock not having a belly button, as it sort of alluded to the fact there might not have been an original Hitchcock after all. If he didnt have a belly button, so I reasoned, he might be a clone and there might actually be many doubles of the master, of which Ron Burrage was one. Ultimately this became also part of the plotline in the film.

I was able to verify this anecdote when I stumbled onto the transcript from an all women’s panel on Hitchcock (**) during the research stage of the film. Indeed Karen Black, the last in a row of Hitchcock’s famous female protagonists who featured in the master’s final film Family Plot (1976), recounted this little story as participant in the panel, invoking in a funny way Hitchcock’s sardonic way of speaking. Now while I was completing Double Take with editor Tyler Hubby in Los Angeles, he mentioned that his wife was big pals with Karen Black. Maybe we could interview her for the film and check if the story of Hitchcock not having a belly button was really true? So, in August 2008 that’s what we set out to do: Karen Black, who really is the most wonderful storyteller, honored us in her house and this is her testimony she told us about the master without a belly button.

“See the 100 movies I’ve made in a few moments”. A link to Karen Black’s film work.


Belgian filmmaker/artist Johan Grimonprez caused an international stir with his first feature DIAL H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997) after its premiere at DOCUMENTA X. An exploration into media’s mutating collusion with mass perception, this dizzying chronicle of airplane hijacking eerily foreshadowed the events of 9/11.

His recent feature DOUBLE TAKE (2009) questions how our view of reality is held hostage by mass media, advertising, and Hollywood. In a plot written by award-winning British novelist Tom McCarthy, the film targets the global rise of fear-as-commodity in a tale of odd couples and hilarious double deals.

Traveling the main festival circuit from the BERLINALE to SUNDANCE, his critically acclaimed films have garnered Best Director Awards and were acquired by NBC UNIVERSAL, ARTE, and CHANNEL 4. In addition, his works are part of the permanent collections of the TATE MODERN and the CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU. In 2011 HATJE/CANTZ published a reader on his work called IT’S A POOR SORT OF MEMORY THAT ONLY WORKS BACKWARDS. His distributors are SODA PICTURES (London) and KINOLORBER INTERNATIONAL (New York).

(*) Karen Black interview with Johan Grimonprez, 2008.
Recording by Tyler Hubby and Cole Akers.
Montage by Sarah Dhanens.
1min, stereo, English.
A zapomatik production in collaboration with the Hammer Museum Residency, LA.



Thursday, March 31st, 2011


Daniel Turner was born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1983 and currently lives and works in New York, NY.


Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


From left to right:
Henri Huet, Helicopter landing, Saigon, 1967
An-My Lê, Untitled, Mekong Delta, 1994
Lê Family Photograph, Huê, 1961
Royal Australian Air Force, Operation Baby Lift, Tan Son Nhat, Saigon, 1975
Ted Partin, An-My and Marine Force Recon, USS Peleliu, Coast of California, 2006
Full Metal Jacket, 1987
Platoon, 1986
An-My Lê, Untitled, Nam Ha, 1994
An-My Lê, Line Shack Supervisor, USS Ronald Reagan, North Arabian Gulf, 2009
Bob Cole, Combat Photographer Catherine Leroy, Saigon, 1967
An-My Lê, US Naval Hospital Ship Mercy, Vietnam, 2010
Vo An Khanh, Vietcong Improvised Operating Room, U Minh Forest, 1970
Pilson-Lê family photograph, California, 2008
Pilson-Lê family photograph, Rhode Island, 2010

An-My Lê was born in 1960 in Saigon. She came to the United Sates as a political refugee in 1975. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches photography at Bard College. She has had solo exhibitions at DIA: Beacon (2007-2008); the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2007); the San
Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006); The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago
(2006); and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2002), among many others.


Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

— Along with the cairn at Kilmartin Glebe, the Nether Largie Cairns, mid, north and south, make up the Linear Cairn-cemetery running along the floor of Kilmartin Glen, Argyll. They are tombs that once contained inhumations dating from the Neolithic and bronze age. For those researching the sites; the still unexplained ‘cup and ring’ marks, carved by Neolithic peoples into rocks here and at nearby locations, form one of a number of sites of extensive archaeological interest in the area. Manchester based sound artist Lee Patterson was invited by Arika and NVA to produce a series of outdoor sound installations in and around Kilmartin Glen. For several months Lee gathered field recordings from the area using air mikes, hydrophones and contact microphones, I accompanied Lee on these excursions with thoughts towards producing a portrait of the process (which eventually morphed into A Grammar For Listening Part 1, 2009). Though Lee preferred in most cases not to ‘play’ or make interventions whilst recording in the sites, in this instance he considers possibilities for a version of Christian Wolff’s seminal text score Stones – the instructions of which read:

“Make sounds with stones, draw sounds out of stones, using a number of sizes and kinds (and colors); for the most part discretely, sometimes in rapid sequences. For the most part striking stones with stones, but also stones on other surfaces (inside the open head of a drum for instance) or other than struck (bowed for instance, or amplified). Do not break anything.” Christian Wolff. STONES, (Prose Collection, 1968-74)

In the covered cairn, utilising locally sourced stones, Lee highlights the distinct acoustic resonances and phasing that can be produced in cramped conditions. Following earlier attempts to interpret the score within quarries and other stone walled enclosures, Lee here uses the stone as a reflective surface, whilst also experimenting with rubbing quartz together, producing a series of shrill shrieks.

The film was shot on one 100ft roll of Fuji colour film with a Bolex H16 and available light. The sound was recorded with a pair of Sennheiser microphones, set to record a stereo Mid-Side configuration.

By Luke Fowler and Lee Patterson (after Wolff)

Luke Fowler was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1978. A central figure in Glasgow’s vibrant art scene, Luke Fowler creates cinematic collages that break down conventional approaches to biographical and documentary film-making. Solo exhibitions include Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2011); The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2009); The Serpentine Gallery, London (2009); X Initiative, New York (2009); Kunsthalle Zürich (2008); and White Columns, New York (2006). In 2008 he was awarded the Derek Jarman Award.

Lee Patterson was born in eastern England, in 1971, he resides and works in Prestwich near Manchester. Working across disciplines, Lee Patterson attempts to understand his surroundings by using both the aided and the naked ear. Recent commissions include Bouillon de Sons Frioulais, MIMI Festival, Marseille, Catchments (for The Glen and The Till), AV Festival, Newcastle and A GRAMMAR FOR LISTENING PT1 (with film maker Luke Fowler)–featured in The British Art Show 2010: In The Days Of The Comet. He is currently artist in residence at Stour Valley Arts, Kings Wood, Ashford, Kent, where he created the installation, Elemental Fields in July 2010.

Solo releases include EGG FRY #2 and SEVEN VIGNETTES. WUNDERKAMMMERN with David Toop and Rhodri Davies was released in December 2010. His solo and collaborative works have featured in shows, festivals and radio stations worldwide as well as on UK TV.


Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


— In 2006 I began working on a project about mothers with young children, filmed in Italy. The search was massive (for me anyway), taking me into homes across the country. There were 2 women with whom I shot some test footage, Maria Mauela in Biella and Ulli in Milan. Neither woman made it into the final work, for reasons I do not remember. I’ve always thought of that footage with longing, wanting to acknowledge it somehow. I love the idea of pillaging my own archives (being thrifty, not wasting good footage) and essentially finding a way to use the outtakes as a separate work, a shadow work. It hasn’t happened yet, so here are some scraps to share, for the archives, the lovely Ulli and Maria Manuela. Funnily the footage for Maria Manuela appears in an interview I did for a BBC special about Technicolor. We shot a scene of me editing the vibrant color footage in the basement of the Royal College of Art, while I clumsily tried to describe my practice in voiceover. The reversal stock does look pretty good though and the shine on her top is pretty exciting…

That same year I was in NY and heard about a new truck that was going to be “christened” at our local fire company – what firemen call a Wetdown. Buying a new firetruck is a very big deal for a fire company (I’ve been told) and when a new truck arrives they host a big party for all of the volunteers and their family and friends. Other surrounding companies will send a truck and some men to deluge the new truck. They drive up, one after the other, and blast the truck with water for a few minutes. I really have no idea why I filmed this! Some of the footage is pretty strange though and I’ve always remembered it as something fantastical and exotic.

Born in 1975 in Suffurn, New York, Margaret Salmon lives and works between Kent, London, and New York. She creates filmic portraits that weave together poetry and ethnography. Focusing on individuals in their everyday habitats, her films capture the minutiae of daily life and infuse them with gentle grandeur, touching upon universal human themes. Margaret Salmon won the first Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2006. Her work was shown at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and the Berlin Biennale in 2010 and was featured in individual exhibitions at Witte de With in Rotterdam and Whitechapel Gallery in London among others.


Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

A selection of unused source material from the series Noise & Capitalism.

Marco Fusinato
Born: 1964


Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


— After school we hitch hiked to Carbondale, Illinois for the weekend. It was 1970 and I was 16. On the way we took some acid. I didn’t know it was supposed to be split up and did too much. Things got so weird so fast that there was nothing to hold on to in the world. The trees were total cartoons with lots of mouths, etc. I had to get out of there and ran into the woods. I began floating around in blackness in outer space or inner space. Maybe it’s the non-material universe. I was alone, disconnected, even though it was packed with souls floating around. I think you could see through them. A terrible negative suction was pulling downward in a sickening and horrible way. If you connected with others you could avoid it. But your thoughts, feelings and actions were all the same and hard to control. The whole time I was receiving tons of important truths that I forgot. It seemed I was floating around for eons. I was surprised when I slowly began to make out the details of Allen, who was asking me a question. I said wryly, “you asked the question, you must have some idea about the answer.” Unfortunately I also explained to him that I wasn’t from the same planet. The next morning I did not awaken refreshed. I had to watch the people of this planet carefully—how they used their legs to walk, for instance. We went to a diner for breakfast. Of course I had no idea what people ate, so I ordered the same thing as the person sitting next to me and I think no one knew.

I recently read that Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence 1966-1973, admitted to bringing in 100,000 tabs of LSD to distribute to the youth. Boy do I feel stupid.

Creepy Links:

Sue Williams was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1954. She lives and works in New York. Williams has had solo exhibitions at the Carpenter Center at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Valencia; Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; among others. Her work is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s exhibition “Seeing is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion” and has recently been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY; Whitechapel Gallery, London, England; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada; Museum of Contemporary Art Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York.