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Xin Nian Kuai Le 2012

December 31st, 2011

  • Happy New Year 2012

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  • Photos by Fung Lin Hall

    Helen Frankenthaler R.I.P

    December 28th, 2011

    Slipper dance or shuffle.

    Helen Frankenthaler died at 83

    Like Diane Arbus Helen Frankenthaler came from a wealthy family, unlike Arbus, Helen was at home in the 1% world enjoying access to influential people, to a life of comfort and, to laughter.

    With Motherwell
    (Motherwell upstairs and Helen below) As the Wifewell of Robert Motherwell, she enjoyed entertaining guests, threw a big party. They were the Olivier and Vivien of the art world, elegant, erudite (Motherwell was) and grand.
    Helen and Motherwell divorced, Nancy Spero and Leon Golub they were not.. (an enduring activists/artists who painted violence.)

    Telegraph obit

    In 1953 Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland were both profoundly influenced by Helen Frankenthaler’s stain paintings they were brought to her studio in 1953 by critic Clement Greenberg her lover at the time, the artist was not there.
    If Helen did not date Clement what would have happend to Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis?

    (James Brooks was amongst the first abstract expressionists to use staining as an important technique. According to Carter Ratcliff) See his gorgeous paintings..

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    NYtimes – Grace GluecK

    In 1972, Ms. Frankenthaler made a less successful foray into sculpture, spending two weeks at Mr. Caro’s London studio. With no experience in the medium but aided by a skilled assistant, she welded together found steel parts in a way that evoked the work of David Smith.

    Although she enjoyed the experience, she did not repeat it. Knoedler gave the work its first public showing in 2006.

    Ward Schumaker on Helen’s Sculpture (via email).

    “For a very long time I had a photo of one of her sculptures in my wall, a bronze, looking a bit like a blown up film canister, and no one recognized that it was her work. But when told, many would gasp and sat, now, I really like that, I didn’t know she did anything like that , so lovely, amazing, really. I like many of her paintings but, as with Twombly, I prefer the sculptures.
    “I think this is hers, but it’s not the piece I fell in love with.”

    Collection of obits here.. including a scathing review by Charlie Finch. .. no surprise there.. he likes to pinch.

    Over on Artnet, Charlie Finch declares that Ms. Frankenthaler “was another one of those painters who, like the recently deceased George Tooker, basically made one painting,” Mountains and Sea (1952)—which, he writes, “inspired so many lazy imitations in studios across the world, including that of Frankenthaler herself.”

    LA Obit

    Frankenthaler did take a highly public stance during the late 1980s “culture wars” that eventually led to deep budget cuts for the National Endowment for the Arts and a ban on grants to individual artists that still persists. At the time, she was a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts, which advises the NEA’s chairman.
    In a 1989 commentary for the New York Times, she wrote that, while “censorship and government interference in the directions and standards of art are dangerous and not part of the democratic process,” controversial grants to Andres Serrano, Robert Mapplethorpe and others reflected a trend in which the NEA was supporting work “of increasingly dubious quality. Is the council, once a helping hand, now beginning to spawn an art monster? Do we lose art … in the guise of endorsing experimentation?”

    Champagne & 4 -Leaf Clovers

    December 23rd, 2011


    Marilyn Photos

    Photographer Len Steckler shot the black-and-white images of Monroe when she unexpectedly arrived at his apartment in December, 1961.
    She was visiting his friend, Pulitzer-prize winning poet Carl Sandburg
    As we know, Marilyn loved older men, she loved the intellectuals — and Carl was very parental with her,’ said Steckler. ‘It was a lovely thing to see.’

    Carl and Marilyn

    The actress died in August, 1962, and Sandburg, who won Pulitzer prizes for his poetry and for a biography of Abraham Lincoln, died seven years later.


    My Best Marilyn – It arrived, I drank it, and I was gayer.

    Jessica Hines who found Marilyn’s letter also visited Carl Sandburg’s home.

    Thinking of Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe (from the video shared by Fung-Lin), I remembered finding these two 4-leaf clovers in the yard there. Good memory. Hope they are still bringing me good luck.

    Visit Jessica Hines‘s homepage which includes her award winning photography project “My Brother’s War” and many other intriguing projects.

  • What did Jesus do ? by Adam Gopnik + Mr. Blank and Jesus

    Nuclear Christmas Tree in reverse.

    Happy Holidays!

    John Chamberlain R.I.P

    December 21st, 2011

    John Chamberlain dies at 84

    John Chamberlain, a multi-tasking artist who made sculptures out of crushed, often vibrantly painted automobile parts that came to define his career while flouting connections to any single movement or trend, has died. He was 84.

    Mr. Chamberlain had been ill for a number of years. Critic Charlie Finch first reported the news on Artnet. An immediate cause of death was not available.

  • John Chamberlain at Gagosian (video + images)

  • Jim Bauerlein

    Before DIA-Beacon opened,and the large collection of Chamberlain was being installed, working there…remember driving around in a sissor lift at dusk, seeing the sun set across the Hudson, through the beautiful window designed by Robert Irwin & streaming through the huge Privit centered in the Chamberlain gallery..crazy light in all that cust and twisted Detroit..His work grew on me…took quite a while..

    Privit at DIA Beacon

    Dooms Day Flotilla

    The interview is great…never seen it..such a regular guy..and the list of names…so funny…I wish we could have brought him into talk with all the construction crews…they would have liked him and then got it…in general they did not understand why we were building this incredible space for a bunch of wrecked metal…Listening to him I think he would have got their attention.

    (Images and text courtesy of Jim Bauerlein)

    Vaclav Havel – Leaving

    December 18th, 2011

    R.I.P Vaclav Havel – a leader of the Velvet Revolution and the first democratically elected President of the Czech Republic… He wrote plays, Letters to Olga and many theater works..
    Vaclav Havel 1936-2011

    Shy and bookish, with wispy mustache and unkempt hair, Havel came to symbolize the power of the people to peacefully overcome totalitarian rule.”

    A film directed by Vaclav Havel “Leaving”(via)

    Based on his own play, Leaving is “about — what else? — a politician trying to adjust to a new life after leaving politics.” It “tells the story of Vilém Rieger, the former chancellor of an unnamed country, locked in a battle of wills with his successor, the unsavory Vlastík Klein. It’s a King Lear-like contemplation on a politician’s frustrating impotence at finding himself slowly being forced out of his beloved government villa, with several of Havel’s favorite actors among the cast. They include his wife Dagmar [Havlová], who plays the chancellor’s wife, Irena.”

    Always the Optimist
    Václav Havel’s transcendence of politics. By Stefany Anne Golberg

    On the day of Havel’s death, Czech novelist Milan Kundera said, “Václav Havel’s most important work is his own life.” There’s a moral there somewhere, one that Havel would have appreciated very much indeed.

    The Power and the Powerless – Obit from Artinfo

  • Havel was still the President when I took this photograph of the
    toilet paper in the Prague Castle
    This photo was presented as The Articles of Faith here.

    George Whitman R.I.P

    December 16th, 2011

    Burning head (haircut) – tête de feu (coupe de cheveux)

    Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man (the whole film)

    NYtimes obit – Cultural Beacon Dead at 98.

    George Whitman (wiki) <> <> Shakespeare & Companay

    Sylvia Beach (previous post)

    Alan Sondheim (via Facebook)

    I haven’t seen the film but in the 1960s I hung around Whitman’s bookstore and got to know him; it was there that I met Steve Stollman, Bernard’s brother – that eventually got me a record contract with ESP-Disk. I really liked George; I didn’t know he was still alive, he was old then and seemed always old. I also met Joel Zabor there, now Rafi Zabor; he played drums with me, we played here and there in Paris and Copenhagen; as Rafi Zabor he won the Pen Faulkner award for The Bear Comes Home. After that he pretty much stopped speaking to me! That was a few years ago now. So a lot happened re: George – I also remember listening to Langston Hughes through the bookstore skylight, we were on the roof and I almost fell through and on him. There was a wishing-well in the center of the place. It was amazing.

    Oscar Niemeyer + A Memory of Biennial Sao Paulo

    December 15th, 2011

    Happy birthday Oscar Niemeyer.. he is 104 and still working ..

    See a slideshow (NYtimes)

    The Bienal de São Paulo was initiated in 1951 and is the second oldest art biennial in the world after the Venice Biennial, which was set up 1895 and served as its role model.

    I was thrilled when I arrived and they said, ah here,this is your space, make your show…and right outside the door was a huge Louise Bourgeois Spider, so I felt right at home

    We had done the piece at Dia Beacon, in a very similar space, similar pillars, but Niemeyer’s space was all glass walls, and the wall opened up, sliding doors into a huge blissful park…

    A Performance at Biennial

    Tough time

    it wasn’t all fun in the sun in Sao Paulo, there were the tough times too…

    Thanks to Jim Bauerlein for sharing your sweet memory of Sao Paulo Biennale

  • Dec 15 Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (December 15, 1832 – December 27, 1923)- another architect was born on the same day as Oscar Niemeyer
    See a clip on Eiffel Tower from Paris Je T’aime.. (remix with Yves Montand singing La Vie en Rose) – the
    original film is here.

    Ozu was born but..

    December 11th, 2011

    Innocent children disovered the father was no hero. (A bit like how the 99% feels about our government)

    Ohoyo – Good Morning is Ozu’s hilarious Technicolor re-working of his silent I Was Born, But.. .(The younger brother says ‘I love you’.. post war Japan in danchi or suburb the kids negotiate for a TV set).

    Ozu spirit of a clown

    The clown is lonely, but he must hide his loneliness and play the fool joyfully, comically. That’s the spirit of Ozu’s film.

    Wim Wenders made two great documentaries one was Buena Vista Social Club and another Tokyo-Ga. Wim Wenders is responsible for increased attention paid to Ozu.

    Aki Kaurismaki calls Ozu a mathematician

    Jim Jarmusch on Ozu (He mentioned Kawakita Kazuko a formidable pioneer distributor of Japanese films to Europe and vice versa) in the article

    Ozu’s grave “MU’ shows up in many of these documentaries. (See here at Engakuji)

    Hou Hsiao Hsien made Cafe Lumiere as a tribute to Ozu.. (see Hou talking about Ozu)
    (Dorris Dorie, Cherry Blossoms, Wayne Wang – Dim Sum also are tribute films for Ozu)

    Claire Denis on Yasujiro Ozu

    Late Spring finale

    Floating Words (previous post on Ozu)

    Psycho Stripes and Net

    December 7th, 2011

    Ernesto Neto
    (via Joanne Mattera blog)

    Psycho by Saul Bass

    See Pyscho title here. (youtube)

    Psycho remake by Gus Van Sant (youtube)

    Current by Bridget Riley

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    53 vertical stripes by Jtwine

  • White chair by Fung Lin hall

  • Lucian Freud born 8 December 1922

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    Lucian Freud R.I.P (previous post)

    Esther Freud and Hideous Kinky (Kate Winslet played a mother of Esther Freud and her sister)

    Alain Tanner

    December 5th, 2011
  • 1aaBulleOgier
    Bulle Ogier from La Salamandre.

    Alain Tanner
    Happy birthday Alain Tanner – born 6 December 1929.

    Influenced by his involvement with the British “Free Cinema” movement in London and with the French New Wave during his years in Paris, Tanner is best known for his movies Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000 (Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000), Dans la ville blanche (In the White City) and Messidor. (via wiki)

    See his filmography (via MUBI)

    “My films have always represented a balancing act between those films whose objective is the discourse, the concept, and those which start from the material, from emotions, behaviour and locations.”

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    Thelma and Louis was a remake of Messidor.

    Messidor is an original, unpredictable, and disturbing film about two alienated young women in search of freedom from society. The film, in its poetic sweep, is reminiscent of Terrence Malik’s Badlands and could have been a prototype for Thelma and Louise.”


    Tanner’s first film.

    John Berger wrote the script for La Salamandre (youtube repost) (1971); The Middle of the World (1974); and Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976)

    Fotos of Eleven Good Men

    December 1st, 2011

    Here are some photos of eleven good men whose lives were cut short with Aids. R.I.P

    klausgif Klaus Nomi DerekJarmananimation Jarman and Tony Perkins in the middle.
    Klaus Nomi died on August 6, 1983 – he was 39.
    Perkins died on September 12, 1992.. Berry Berenson (Perkins’ wife), was killed on American Airlines Flight 11 during the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
    Derek Jarman died In 1994 London, aged 52.

    thek-portrait
    Paul Thek and Peter Hujar
    Peter Hujar, Paul Thek and David Wojnarowicz at Mathew Marks Exhibition
    Susan Sontag by Peter Hujar

    Paul Thek New York City in 1988. He was 55.
    Peter Hujar November 26, 1987. He was 53.

    .Arthur Russell
    Michel Foucault
    Wild Combination Arthur was an original Michel Foucault would not mind to be paired with him.

    Arthur Russell died on April 4, 1992, at the age of 40
    Foucault died in Paris on 25 June 1984, he was 58.

    Tseng Kwong-Chiand Herman Costa having a blast at photobooth (Thanks Herman for this photo).
    Martin Wong with lunchboxes
    Tseng and Martin – pride of Chinese Americans!

    In 1990, TSENG died at age 39 in NY.
    Martin Wong died on 12 August 1999 in San Francisco.. He was 53.

    Nestor & Reinaldo Arenas
    They were good friends in Cuba.
    Nestor Almendros died on 4 March 1992 in NY. He was 62
    Reinaldo Arenas died on December 7, 1990. he was 47.

    “All these years, I’ve felt Manhattan was just another island-jail. A bigger jail with more distractions but a jail nonetheless. It just goes to show that there are more than two hells. I left one kind of hell behind and fell into another kind. I never thought I would live to see us plunge again into the dark ages. This plague — AIDS — is but a symptom of the sickness of our age.” Reinaldo Arenas