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09-2021

This week… i continued my reading of The Second Sex… i am on the chapter on motherhood, the demands child bearing and child rearing place on women, societal attitudes towards abortion, the stake that men have (or don’t have) in home and family… de Beauvoir paints a bleak picture of the marriage enterprise as currently constituted, as it too often “diminishes man” and “destroys woman”… much has changed since the book was written, the roles of men and women have grown more equal even if still unbalanced, and it is in a well balanced relationship that men and women can be most successful together, as family, as man, as woman… several examples of gender fluidity came to my attention this week… in particular fashion designer Richard Tischi argues that society should respect a range of gender concepts within what is though of as male… his current men’s collection for Burberry features male and female models… my Iwachu cast iron omelette pan arrived this week, i began to produce omelettes that did not stick so i am on to refining my technique and i have decide to keep an omelette diary… an article on leather fetish fashion caught my attention because it is fetish fashion for women, designed by a woman and photographed by a woman… the sexy presentation of model and fetish fashion is very sexy and while produced by the female gaze, certainly attracts my male gaze, so i wonder where if falls in the world of objectification of women and whether there are feminist concerns… increasingly i am coming to the conclusion that there is a broad range of how men and women present themselves and the main thing is not to insist an narrow definitions of what is appropriate or attractive or beautiful… gender expression is ideally fluid… because i am developing a series of Mt. Beacon views, i researched Hokusai’s 36 views of Mt. Fuji, and remembered Jeff Wall’s “A Sudden Gust of Wind, (after Hokusai)” image and include it alongside Hokusai’s original “A Sudden Gust of Wind” below…

02-27-2012

231.2 lbs

04:55 AM – my studio

… reading about Lawrence Ferlinghetti, if there is a period of history that i’d like to have been young adult in, it would be the scene in Los Angelas that he presided over…

… Simone de Beauvoir… a discussion of woman as mother… immediately, there is a discussion of abortion amidst a discussion of an irrational attitude towards birth control, especially in Catholic countries…

It must be pointed out that the same society so determined to defend the rights of the fetus shows no interest in children after they are born; instead of trying to reform this scandalous institution called public assistance, society prosecutes abortionists; those responsible for delivering orphans to torturers are left free; society closes its eyes to the horrible tyranny practiced in “reform schools” or in the private homes of child abusers; and while it refuses to accept that the fetus belongs to the mother carrying it, it nevertheless agrees that the child is his parents’ thing; this very week, a surgeon committed suicide because he was convicted of performing abortions, and a father who had beaten his son nearly to death has been condemned to three months of prison with a suspended sentence.1

… de Beauvoir notes that the same men who ardently defend the fetus are also perfectly ready to use adults as fodder in war… the sorry state of abortion in society, the trauma and damage it does to women (men too, from my own experience)…

Yet when man asks woman to sacrifice her bodily possibilities for the success of his male destiny, he is denouncing the hypocrisy of the male moral code at the same time. Men universally forbid abortion; but they accept it individually as a convenient solution; they can contradict themselves with dizzying cynicism; but woman feels the contradictions in her wounded flesh; she is generally too shy to deliberately revolt against masculine bad faith; while seeing herself as a victim of an injustice that decrees her to be a criminal in spite of herself, she still feels dirtied and humiliated; it is she who embodies man’s fault in a concrete and immediate form, in herself; he commits the fault, but unloads it onto her; he just says words in a pleading, threatening, reasonable, or furious tone: he forgets them quickly; it is she who translates these phrases into pain and blood.2

an article in Mother Jones about changes in FB algorithms that favored right wing media outlets over left wing outlets, delivering more eyes and revenue to these platforms, and less of these precious commodities to their left leaning counterparts, including Mother Jones in which the article is published… this seems a big story that has not gotten the attention it deserves…

an article on a photographic project documenting addiction and recovery therefrom… i almost immediately pass over it because i am not a fan of photographic projects that deal with personal trauma or the trauma of others… this is largely because my perception is that the sensationalism of revealing stories of pain, of self or others, often outweighs the artistic merit of the project… in this case, attention seems warranted, though i still don’t like the form, and, to be honest, the book, the photographs seem very well done, the photographer is overcoming addiction to alcohol and recording the journey… it leads me to think about Masahisa Fukase’s Ravens, which is in part a document of despair over the dissolution of his marriage… Fukase suffered from, descended into, alcoholism subsequent to his divorce, Ravens is a kind of lament about that and state of Japan in general…

… well, not sure how productive the morning has been, but some good things read and seen… time to get ready for my walk, which it appears will be done in the rain…

02-26-2021

230.2 lbs

05:46 AM – my studio

… my artist talk went well, 20 plus people in attendance, friends and acquaintances, J, a newly rediscovered acquaintance from years and years ago, she and her husband B… attendees were complimentary…

… as noted in an update yesterday, my Iwachu pan works beautifully, this means that the anticipation for the week is complete, on to daily life without the desire to jump forward to arrivals and presentations, a curious thing, especially at this stage of life, we anticipate the arrival of a new thing to the extent that we want the days between now and then to evaporate, which we shouldn’t we should cherish each moment for its present beauty and surprise… HCR talking about voting rights legislation, the majority of the country is behind its provisions, including substantial numbers of Republicans, it feels as though the people would like to throw off the yoke of partisan gerrymandering and voting suppression, it sounds like it will take elimination of the filibuster to do so…

An article on Burberry men’s fashion collection, I Champion Fluidity, Richard Tisci, multiculturalism too, both male and female models, very multicultural, no euro-caucasians that i could see…

“For me, masculinity is the confidence that a man should have in his sexuality, so he doesn’t have to fight or justify his femininity. Being proud and living with his own sexuality.”3

an article on Asian queer clubs, gender fluidity among Asians, there is a theme on AnOther mag today…

an article on donation of 100 photos by Women Artists to MoMA

Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob), “M.R.M (Sex)” (c. 1929-30), Gelatin silver print, 6 × 4 inches (15.2 × 10.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Helen Kornblum in honor of Roxana Marcoci.
Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob), “M.R.M (Sex)” (c. 1929-30), Gelatin silver print, 6 × 4 inches (15.2 × 10.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Helen Kornblum in honor of Roxana Marcoci.

… an article on non-fungible token (NFT) art… ?????…

Beeple, "EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS," the first the first purely digital artwork (NFT) being offered by Christie's.
Beeple, “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS,” the first the first purely digital artwork (NFT) being offered by Christie’s.

… hmmm… is this something i should get into, or am i too old?…

02-25-2021

231.0 lbs

11:52 AM – my studio

… update!, the Iwachu pan performed according to claims!, i can now jettison the non-stick pan i had been using for eggs, which in any case, was becoming the eggs will stick pan…

04:45 AM – my studio

… my Iwachu omelette pan arrived a day early!, i did the preliminary clean and season steps, very simple, really just getting a coat of oil onto the pan, it seems to have been seasoned already… i announced its arrival on FB, S sent me an article on making the perfect omelette, i have seen it before, it has two approaches, one deploying high heat, the other low and slow, this is the contradictory information that is out there, almost all instructions recommend a non-stick pan, this is what i am trying to avoid, non-stick is not good for the environment, potentially not good for me and its non-stick qualities degrade with time, meaning that to maintain a good egg cooking pan, it has to be replaced periodically, annually, so i am trying very hard not to resort to nonstick, thus, the Iwachu pan… i am nervous, i will make my first omelette in it later this AM, will it stick?, that is the major question, its an expensive pan, i would hate to be in no better omelette making position than i was before it arrived… it is a beautiful thing, so maybe it will be fun to look at and handle… i read reviews of the pan on Amazon, one person makes clear that for eggs to not stick, the temperature must be high enough (medium heat recommended) but not so high that the eggs brown, not hot enough and the eggs will stick… after lengthy review of cast iron omelette making videos i conclude my first foray should be medium heat and that i should add two tbs of water to the eggs to help prevent sticking…

02-24-2021

231.0 lbs

04:35 AM – my studio

… tomorrow two things of import to me happen, i give my artist talk and my Iwachu omelette pan arrives… both have me in anticipation, though the arrival of the omelette pan excites me more since it is pure gratification… my artist talk will go well, i believe, though i have to prepare for it today… towards that end, i am looking up and reading about Goya’s still lifes… they channel the same energy and vibe as my Dark Matter work, though perhaps deal more directly with death, freshly killed fish, sheep, the war between Spain and Napoleon… painted between 1808 and 1812…

Francisco Goya
Francisco Goya

One of Spain’s greatest artists, Francisco de Goya is famous for documenting the dark underside of a country ravaged by conflict. While his earlier works included royal portraits and biting satirical caricatures, his later works explored somber themes such as the horrors of war and disease. After a traumatic illness in 1792 left the artist completely deaf, Goya’s work took a turn for the macabre and the bizarre, realms which inspired great creativity and technical skill in him. This painting was created during a time of particularly great political and personal upheaval in the artist’s life. Goya’s home country of Spain was in a brutal war with France, and his beloved wife of thirty-nine years was also dying. During the most violent years of the war (1808–14), the artist worked increasingly in solitude, creating private works that were intended primarily for his own use. These included many masterpieces about the war as well as his haunting still-life paintings, most notably a series depicting dead animals. This painting from the aforementioned series reflects the solemn circumstances of this dark period in the artist’s life.4

… Goya was the same age as i am when he made his still life paintings, he only did a few of them… my Dark Matter work is not as directly about death, my concerns are not about war or the pending death of my wife, neither applies in my case… they are about reaching a stage of life when one contemplates death more often, being subsumed into the blackness of no longer seeing and appreciating, no longer able to pay attention, just atoms, molecules looking for a home in some other structure rising out of immanence…

… as i think about my talk, i know i want to talk about other avenues of the work, the views of Mt. Beacon, the utility poles and wires, the church steeples, the cans, the abstractions, this could be about 10 photographs with brief explanations of what the hum is i am going for… i must talk about the daily walk routine, as that is the practice that takes me again and again to revisit places and rephotograph them, until i have woven them into my being… i need to speak about what matters to me in my work, what matters to you may be different, Stieglitz said, “beauty is the universal seen,” but universal is the capacity of something to connect to a very broad range of what matters and knit them together into common archetypes…

an article on Transgender people, photographic project, seems to focus mainly (entirely) on men who present as women, an idea i am the most comfortable with (in the LGBTQ spectrum) because there is such a strong feminine streak in my being, though i suspect i would not make a very attractive woman… still, i identify with woman much more than men in general while at the same i don’t mind being in a male body, i am more of a they that tilts to he, than a he or she, and all this is largely in construction of thoughts about myself…

… an article on photography of the 70’s… i study it, many compelling photographs, some of them known to me, like this one…

Jeffrey Silverthorne, Woman Who Died In Her Sleep
Jeffrey Silverthorne, Woman Who Died In Her Sleep

… a lovely young woman, i would have been willing to date her looks, would have liked to sleep with her based on those looks, who knows if i would have liked her as a human being, but then the (autopsy?) scars, she died in her sleep, had rigor mortis set in?, was she a drug addict or something?, so many questions and emotions swirl around this photograph, that the photograph was made at all suggests she had no immediate family, was a Jane Doe… the theme is death this morning… if i had $4500 to spare, i would buy this photograph, if you do, here is the link

02-23-2021

229.2 lbs

04:33 AM – my studio

… up a little early, no alcohol, better sleep, more alert this AM… anxiously awaiting my Iwachu cast iron omelette pan…

… which i imagine to be the tool that will set my omelettes free, i read the directions for its use, no metal utensils, no metal scouring pad, maybe that has been my problem… i have been seasoning my pans regularly and find they don’t have the non-stick qualities i hope for, will keep trying… in the meantime, when the pan arrives on Thursday i will follow the directions carefully and see if i get to omelette heaven… i reviewed an instructional video on making an omelette this morning, it advised the addition of a little water to keep it from sticking, will try that this morning to see if it helps… i will conquer this!…

… Simone de Beauvoir…

… all this reading and i am 2/3 of the way through the book, long and detailed… long passages on the boredom of being a housewife, long stretches of time alone, nothing very meaningful to do, and by that she means, nothing that represents action upon the world in an impactful societal way, which to me is gross misrepresentation of the ritualistic, daily cycle of routines that sustain a household… this seems to be the crux, that too many women who are not satisfied with being a housewife, are, or at least were, denied agency in the world which men claim for themselves alone… this has clearly changed some seventy years after The Second Sex was written, but for many, it remains the same story… as one who enjoys the daily rituals of living, craves them really, above the action on the world possibilities, i imagine that i would have made a good housewife and if i had made a good marriage, a happy one too… i live for the small evidences that the cosmos has meaning, has an order that i fit meaninfully into, i do not seek to enforce an order on it… i have noted before that great writers and thinkers often come back to the place that “attainable felicity” dwells in the small things…

It is said marriage diminishes man: it is often true; but it almost always destroys woman.5

… de Beauvoir’s assessment of the institution of marriage is bleak, not healthy for man or woman, though she maintains men get the better side of it…

The drama of marriage is not that it does not guarantee the wife the promised happiness—there is no guarantee of happiness—it is that it mutilates her; it dooms her to repetition and routine.6

… do i fail to be rich in mind because i am happy with routine, ritual, the mundane?… i don’t build much at this point, i exist, i maintain, i write, i make pictures, I am not unhappy with that, i have never been unhappy with that…

Real activity, real work, are the privilege of man: her only occupations are sometimes exhausting but never fulfill her.7

… and here is a problem, the work of the household is “real work,” and de Beauvoir’s failure to recognize that is a problem, it’s one thing to bemoan the imprisonment of women in the institution against their will and capabilities, but still, there must be women who are quite happy with the work of household, and we all have to recognize the enormous contribution that household maintenance and the raising of children is, it’s like ignoring the value of publicly maintained infrastructure in the production and distribution of goods and services… no woman should be destined for home and children if that is not the role she wants or a role she wants no part of, but conversely, women should not be sneered at because they enjoy the role and see its fundamental value… we can’t afford for men and women to continue the idea that one does not exist if one does not transform the world in some major way, the planet is dying because of this idea…

Many nuances are possible in the relations of a man and a woman: in companionship, pleasure, confidence, tenderness, complicity, and love, they can be for each other the most fruitful source of joy, richness, and strength offered to a human being. It is not the individuals who are responsible for the failure of marriage: it is—unlike what Bonald, Comte, and Tolstoy claim—the institution that is perverted at its base. Declaring that a man and a woman who do not even choose each other must meet each other’s needs in all respects, at once, for their whole life, is a monstrosity that necessarily gives rise to hypocrisy, hostility, and unhappiness.8

… and so, at last, we have the possibility that a good and balanced relationship between man and woman is possible, its just unlikely in the traditional conception of marriage…

a fashion article on fetish wear, skin tight leather clothing with sado-masochistic fetish under and overtones, designed by a woman, modeled by a woman, photographed by a woman and very beguiling to me…

Skin Tight LeatherPhotography by Anna Sampson
Skin Tight Leather, Photography by Anna Sampson

… i realize the woman in these photographs reminds me of my High School girlfriend, N, with whom i lost my virginity…

an article on a photobook about the transgender community in India

an article on Hilma af Klint, pioneering abstract artist, woman, just now getting recognition…

lovely paintings on the theme of domesticity and womanhood, Chidinma Nnoli…

a book by visual artist, Linn Phyllis Seeger, catches my attention… the work is described as cloud-based, screen-based… it is digital, although in this case, published in physical book form, i am interested because the book looks interesting and because i have been evolving an idea about being cloud-based, screen-based…

Linn Phyllis Seeger
Linn Phyllis Seeger

02-22-2021

229.6 lbs

05:00 AM – my studio

… another S and his partner S went to see my show and said they really liked it, a little less effusive than yesterday’s S, still complimentary and they spread the word… i have to prepare for my artist talk this week, given on Thursday… i am really liking the photo zone i am in lately, which has to do more with organizing my archive into theme collections, the abstracts i showed H and yesterday, i reviewed the collection of photographs i have been building of Mount Beacon and realized that i have the basis for a book, in particular, i have a number of really nice photographs from being on top of the mountain, one series featuring a crow or raven flying around, which i think would solidify a mysticalness, how to assemble it though?… there is more work to do in the series, i need to start walking in the late afternoon as well as the morning, there are dramatic pictures to be had with sun shining on the mountain and lighting it up… i should see what other sets of images are coalescing… the idea of cataloging my walk photos continues to be compelling…

… Simone de Beauvoir… addressing the enterprise of catching and keeping a husband…

There is an art to “catching a husband”: “keeping” him is a profession. It takes a great deal of skill. A prudent sister said to a cranky young wife: “Be careful, making scenes with Marcel will make you lose your situation.” The stakes are the highest: material and moral security, a home of one’s own, wifely dignity, a more or less successful substitute for love and happiness. The wife quickly learns that her erotic attraction is the weakest of her weapons; it disappears with familiarity; and there are, alas, other desirable women in the world; so she still works at being seductive and pleasing: she is often torn between the pride that inclines her to frigidity and the notion that her sensual ardor will flatter and keep her husband. She also counts on the force of habit, on the charm he finds in a pleasant home, his taste for good food, his affection for his children; she tries to “make him proud” by her way of entertaining, dressing, and exercising authority over him with her advice and her influence; as much as she can, she will make herself indispensable, either by her social success or by her work.9

… initially i was going to include a much shorter quote, but this much seemed necessary as there seems so much to unpack here… there is a lot that rings true in the somewhat inverted and more egalitarian relationship with H, inverted because she is the financial stability, i am the more economically dependent one, and i do all the things a wife does to maintain a husband… so, all of this rings true, at the bottom, there will often be one who is more economically dependent on the other unless careers and paychecks are largely equivalent…

For there to be loyalty and friendship between spouses, the sine qua non is that both must be free vis-à-vis each other and concretely equal. As long as man alone possesses economic autonomy and holds—by law and custom—privileges conferred on him by his masculinity, it is natural that he should so often appear a tyrant, inciting woman to revolt and duplicity.10

there are many marriages that “work well,” that is, where the spouses reach a compromise; they live next to each other without antagonizing each other, without lying to each other too much. But there is a curse they rarely escape: boredom. Whether the husband succeeds in making his wife an echo of himself, or whether each one entrenches himself in his universe, they have nothing else to share with each other after a few months or years.11

… it seems amazing to me that after all these years, H and i still have things to say to one another, tell one another, as irritating as we may sometimes be to one another in the telling and saying of things… still, one could not argue that we are not on some levels bored by the sameness of each day, that we don’t exist in a restricted bubble, all the more so because of the pandemic, in fact, our success at being alone with each other during the pandemic has been significant… moreover, i think there is value in the well worn and familiar, the daily repetitions that lead us to be oh so familiar with all that we are within all that we have… lately, i have realized that the only thing we need to be able to add to our lives is a little adventure, some day trips, overnighters, etc… but on the level of familiarity, it is the same principle that i apply to the work i am doing, i photograph every day the nuances of the city i live in, over time, this builds up a knowledge of the city that is represented in the archive of photographs, and in reviewing that archive, organizing it, rearranging it, it starts to reveal deeper connections, more universal themes…

It is sometimes claimed this very silence is the sign of an intimacy deeper than any word; and obviously no one dreams of denying that conjugal life creates intimacy: this is true of all family relations, even those that include hatreds, jealousies, and resentments.12

A human relation has no value if it is lived in the immediacy; children’s relations with their parents, for example, only have value when they are reflected in a consciousness; one cannot admire conjugal relations that degenerate into the immediate in which the spouses squander their freedom.13

… there is no value without consciousness?, conscious appreciation of it?…

02-21-2021

229.6 lbs

04:36 AM – my studio

… S went to see my solo show yesterday and was highly complimentary, he would be honest while being kind if he thought there were problems with it… he saw H at the member show too, he told me she mentioned my portfolio review and was complimentary, ok, that’s good, i said yes, it had been a positive review but that i was a little unsatisfied in that i think there are ideas behind my work and she responded more to them as individual art images, with a sales value because they would have a broad audience… still, i want them to be about something and will perhaps pursue them as catalogs…

a book by Deanna Dikeman catches my attention, twenty years of waving goodbye to her parents after visits, a touching book, makes me a little sad, there have been similar moments in my life but my relationship with J being what it is, not necessarily always happy…

… i think about the series of photographs i am doing on Mt. Beacon, i think about it relative to Hokusai’s series, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji… i am not the first artist to pursue this emulation, i won’t be the last, but it is an interesting topic for Beacon, as the mountain (you almost can’t call it that, more of a big hill really) but it does loom over the city and is visible with the distinctive scar of a years gone funicular route up the side… as i am reading i see one of the woodcut prints and remember Jeff Wall did a photograph after, it…

Hokusai, Sudden Ghust of Wind
Hokusai, Sudden Ghust of Wind
Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai)
Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai)

… ok, it will be interesting to see where the Mt. Beacon project takes me… depth is coming to my work?…

an article by Brad Feuerhelm in ASX, J.M. Donat: A Self Portrait of the XXth Century… as i read the article i begin to think about the collecting, cataloging and arranging of photographs i have undertaken… i become somewhat more convinced that arranging the work in catalogs is a thing to do, if not the only thing to do…

Within the book, there are a number of personal reference categories of collecting. This might sound strange, but collectors tend to fall for similar types of vernacular images quite often. This is in no doubt due to the age of the collector or the phenomenon within the image that is too hard to resist. “Back to Camera” images, television screen photographs, boudoir studies, and process-driven collecting (Polaroid, Cyanotype for example) are all a result of similar attitudes towards collecting.14

  1. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 525). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  2. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 532). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  3. https://www.anothermag.com/fashion-beauty/13133/riccardo-tisci-shares-his-casting-secrets-burberry-aw21-fw21-models
  4. https://lta.mfah.org/LessonPlans/LessonPlan/LessonPlanDetails/1081
  5. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 518). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  6. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 519). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  7. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 519). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  8. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (pp. 520-521). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  9. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 505). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  10. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 506). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  11. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 508). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  12. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 510). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  13. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex (p. 511). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
  14. https://americansuburbx.com/2021/02/j-m-donat-a-self-portrait-of-the-xxth-century.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=j-m-donat-a-self-portrait-of-the-xxth-century

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