Archive for December, 2015


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I got a polaroid camera in 2003. Around that time I gave up my apartment, and just travelled. I moved permanently back to NYC in 2008, and soon after that the polaroid film stopped being produced. For those five years I had a big suitcase that would go with me, and boxes of polaroids that I would bring in the suitcase. I would also leave them at my boyfriend’s place in Berlin. I was shooting a lot, in different countries. I never did a show with the polaroids—always meant to. I should scan them soon before they fade.

These are 7 of my favorites.

New York based artist Sue de Beer was born in 1982, Tarrytown, New York. She has become well known for both her dubious characters and her cinematographic experimentation including colored filters, flickering lenses, and tight crops. To more fully transport the viewer into her worlds, de Beer often screens her films in site-specific environments where fiction can rarely be distinguished from fact, and the psyche of our contemporary culture is cross-examined.


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I lived in Chicago from 1992-1999. I moved there for grad school and then stayed on for another 5 years painting, teaching, working at Dusty Groove and playing music. I met Devin Johnston early on while he was getting his PhD at University of Chicago. We became fast friends and started playing music together. Our first foray into recording was an attempt to cover the entirety of Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait. We abandoned the project after the first track, but we have been collaborating ever since. Soon thereafter, we started playing with Corre Dilworth as the 53rd St Project. This was probably the summer of 1994. Gene Booth moved back from New York and Gene, Corre, Devin and I started playing as USA. We recorded an EP and an LP for Drag City. USA disbanded sometime around 1998, and Devin and I continued writing and playing together as The Hours. After accumulating a batch of songs, we enlisted Rich Germer to drum and play some electronics. We tried to keep effects and overdubs to a bare minimum. I don’t quite recall why but I suppose we were trying to construct a fairly minimal form of songwriting. We recorded several songs with Jim O’Rourke in Chicago and then some more with Paul Oldham in Shelbyville, Kentucky. A few weeks after recording with Paul, I moved back to California. Corbett vs. Dempsey will release an EP from these recordings in early 2016.



A Barrel Drops (& All Falls) and A Little Money were both recorded with Jim O’Rourke at his home studio in 1999. If I remember correctly (Jim and I did a lot of bartering back then), I traded a painting for Jim’s payment. The painting was subsequently used as the cover for Loose Fur, Jim’s project with Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche. We stopped referring to the band as The Hours as another band started releasing music under that name shortly thereafter.

Devin Johnston lives in St. Louis and teaches at Saint Louis University. He is the author of several books of poetry. He co-founded, and co-edits, Flood Editions with Michael O’Leary.

Brian Calvin was born in 1969, in Visalia, California, he lives and works in Ojai. He has had shows at Almine Rech Gallery, Paris; Anton Kern, New York; Corvi-Mora, London; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; Marc Foxx, Los Angeles; and Gallery Side 2, Tokyo, amongst others.


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— In the early 90s I had an unpaid position at i-D magazine. Nick Knight, who I had assisted, was the picture editor for a time and one of my roles was to go through the photographers’ portfolios, between 30 and 50 a month, and push anything interesting his way. One perk was going through the piles of unwanted look books and catalogs that would get sent into the office. The pages illustrated here were a brochure for the ’creative communication’ agency Imagination.

I had been making these collages since my early teens, as a way to consolidate and centralise my interest in images and experiments with layout and context. I think I was using visual prompts to assume different cultural positions, in the same way that I would come to understand clothing and later on photographic aesthetics.

This scrapbook covers a period from mid-1992 to early 93 and contains original prints from photographers I worked with or knew at the time including David Sims, Craig McDean and Wolfgang Tillmans. (Other editorially sourced inclusions included Bruce Weber, Mary Ellen Mark and Corinne Day.)

These pages set off a soundtrack in my mind and were made at a transitional point in my musical journey. I had just tried Ecstasy for the first time and it marked the end of an exclusive roots reggae/digital dub diet (Jah Shaka, Disciples, Alpha & Omega, Manasseh, Zion Train) as I began to connect with the spacier, crustier end of the rave scene (Megadog, Sugerlump, DIY, the Orb, Mixmaster Morris, Plastikman). A reoccurring subtext in this culture alluded to utopian heavens, other worlds, with outer space the ultimate cosmic destination. As someone who was not comfortable in his own skin inner space was what actually needed to be charted, though it took me a while to figure that out.

Jason Evans was born in 1968, in Holyhead, Wales. He is a multidisciplinary photographer who, since the early 1990s, has had a broad cultural practice. His out put developed to include writing and teaching alongside applied image making. He works around art, fashion and street photography tropes making work which is often influenced by vernacular culture. His long term projects with musicians Four tet, Caribou and Radiohead resulted in influential sleeve imagery and portraits which seek to redefine the relationships between sound and image. Since 2004, Evans has been maintained which celebrates simple pleasures as their own reward. Every day an image of something which made him happy is presented on this one page, non-archived website. His work has been exhibited internationally, and his game changing series STRICTLY is held in the Tate collection. Solo shows include his nomination for the Grange Prize at the AGO in Toronto and a retrospective of his Fashion work at the Hyeres Festival du Mode. He has been published and exhibited in several significant contemporary photography surveys, notably David Campany’s defining survey ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY and Charlotte Cotton’s new genre mapping PHOTOGRAPHY IS MAGIC. His monographs include NYLPT (Mack 2012) and PICTURES FOR LOOKING AT (Printed Matter 2014).


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I’ve just finished a draft of a novella-length memoir charting the dissolution of my thirteen-year long collaboration/friendship/fascination with an extraterrestrially off-kilter actor and musician named Fred. We met in late 2000 when I cast him to play a chorus teacher who gets mocked and humiliated by a class of junior high students in my autobiographical short film, Mr. Rose. As I learned more about him during the production process I started feeling like I’d discovered the jackpot of eccentrics and for the first few years I knew him it seemed like he’d reveal some wonderfully bizarre detail about his life every time we were together.

In the Summer of 2001 Fred made the two-hour long trip by bus from his home in South Jersey to visit me in the East Village and as we strolled through Tompkins toward the vegetarian restaurant Kate’s Joint I apologized for all the walking I was making him do. “I don’t mind walking at all,” he said, completely nonchalant. “I can walk and walk for hours. When I was in college I walked 25 miles each way to school.”

Such an incredible revelation obviously required more attention so I pulled him to a bench and forced him to explain himself further. “I didn’t start college until I was in my late twenties and I was already living on my own. I had this beautiful blue Mustang but I needed money for tuition and my parents weren’t supporting me financially anymore. So I placed an ad in the paper and a few weeks later I sold my car to a plumber. Two days after that I walked outside of my apartment and looked at my empty parking space and said to myself ‘wait a minute, now how am I gonna get to school?’”

I was immediately struck by the implausibility of what he was suggesting. Nobody can walk two marathons a day as a commute so I pressed him, could it really be true? But he was insistent and said, “I waited so long to get to college that once I was able to afford it nothing was gonna stop me from getting an education, so I just did what I had to do.”

There were no combination of buses that would get Fred from his apartment to his school, Rowan University, and even though he’d hung up flyers around campus seeking a ride share and gotten his professors to allow him to get up before his classes at the beginning of each semester to explain his situation and beg for a ride nothing had ever come together, and he was forced to walk. “I’d tell everyone I’d pay half gas but all of these kids at this school were spoiled,” he said with a shrug.

I remained skeptical, and to prove himself a few weeks later Fred produced a laminated copy of an article that had chronicled his journeys to and from school. I borrowed the copy of the article as part of my research for a documentary about his life that I’ve never finished and it’s been a permanent fixture on the walls in my life ever since.

When Fred first revealed his walking tale to me I was immediately compelled by the Herzogian image of a man stubbornly walking along the highway alone in the dead of winter, a duffel bag loaded with oversized textbooks dangling from his hand. The article revealed that he’d suffered through numerous encounters with the cops – walking on the highway is illegal in NJ–and had even had a gun pulled on him while being searched one cold December morning.

I also loved how his story took the cliche’ idea of “back in my day we had it really tough, we had to walk through three miles of snow to get to school” to such hilariously grotesque lengths.

What I found strange was how he seemed to revel in the unique absurdity of his walking tale, proud that it made him an especially rare person, deserving of attention, while never once acknowledging how painfully sad it was.

He came across as a total oddball so I could understand his classmates not wanting to commit to the intimacy of being alone in a car with him day after day, aside from the nightmare of coordination such an act of charity would have required in the world before cell phones, but still, once his struggle became public knowledge someone should have been courteous and decent enough to come to his aid.

Yet nobody ever had, and Fred claimed with a smile that he was forced to walk for years and was even singled out by the dean of students during his graduation ceremony for his dedication to obtaining his degree.

I’m always charmed by desperate acts of deception and if my experience is enriched by a victimless fib then I appreciate the other person making the effort to entertain me.

So now, as I sit here after living with this story and having this weathered, laminated article in my possession for all these years, what I value most about it is how I doubt it even really happened. Walking 50 miles a day is impossible. That’s a cold, irrefutable fact. But Fred’s been living out this and many other strange tales for decades. And that was the real gift of knowing him. To share in his warped, mysterious, unfathomable, truth.

Ultimate Commute
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Jason Giampietro was born in New Jersey and moved to the East Village in the early 2000s. He’s a cofounder of Magic Square Films and has written and directed the short films THE SUN THIEF and WHIFFED OUT, both of which played at BAMcinemaFest and The Maryland Film Festival, and HERNIA, which screened at the New York Film Festival. As an actor he appeared in Nathan Silver’s STINKING HEAVEN. In addition to his directorial work Giampietro is known for his street photography, which he posts through his instagram, named The Village Voice’s best local instagram. He has also written and recorded music as part of Mighty Moon and Daylight’s for the Birds.


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I was in love with Lili Taylor in high school. Lili Taylor as Valerie Solanas in I shot Andy Warhol. Her voice kept me awake at night. She was the sexiest woman the world had ever known. Before I ever heard her voice, maybe I’d read a little Rimbaud. Something was beginning. Thickening. Something was happening to me. Preparing me for her. The first thing I ever did on the internet was search for the S.C.U.M MANIFESTO. My best friend and I printed it out from her mom’s computer. Lili T’s voice. Her blunt, uncondescending face. Her tough little ears, her hard little wrists. Her voice.

In 2010, at a studio in Bushwick, Lili Taylor recorded a little poem of mine called SAVE THE WORLD. The poem is kind of about one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also about tired twentieth century ideas about women and men and the end of the world. But because it’s a poem it’s also just about nothing.


Ariana Reines is a poet, playwright, and translator. She was born in 1982, in Salem, Massachusetts, she lives and works in New York. Her books of poetry include THE COW (2006), which won the Alberta Prize from Fence Books; COEUR DE LION (2007); and MERCURY (2011). Her poems have been anthologized in AGAINST EXPRESSION (2011) and GURLESQUE (2010). Her first play, TELEPHONE (2009), received two Obie Awards, and the Guggenheim’s Works+Process series in 2009 featured a re-imagining of its second act.