Framing Wilderness

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For the last week James Trainor, myself and 10 incredibly awesome Columbia MFA students have been roving around Hudson River valley and the Catskill Mountains in order to learn how America’s perception of landscape has been culturally and historically framed and defined by its art.  In a bus named gymsock we have visited the homes of Washington Irving, Thomas Cole, Fredric Church as well as sites such as Kaaterskill falls, Byrdcliff Arts colony, Woodstock, the Maverick Theatre and the amazing Tilcon quarry hidden in the backside of a mountain right on the edge of the Hudson River. Also thanks to some very generous folks up at Bard our group got to stay in their dorms, and we were able to check out a few studios as well as their MFA Thesis show.

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Small Victories

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Progress on the Brooklyn home-front at A-Z East feels like it has been moving forward at a snail’s pace.  I’m in my old apartment on the second floor every other month, but it seems like whenever I’m here there is a show to hang, or a bunch of meetings to make.  Today we finally hung a new linen window-panel in the bathroom that has been on my to-do list for over two years….  Victory.

Chakra Healing Pyramids

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For years I’ve been eyeing this head turner – a big pink building (turns out it is a former post office) – uncharacteristically stylish for its Wonder Valley digs.  Why this remote and sparsely section of the desert would need such a huge and fancy post office is still a bit of a mystery – as is the reason for its decommission.

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A few years ago my interest ramped up even more when pyramids and a big dome appeared scattered around the grounds.   And on Sunday I finally got an up-close viewing by owners Philip and Margot who are going to open up the building and grounds as part of the HDTS driving map (the building will be open on the first Saturday of every month).

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The inside of the building is even more astounding than the outside, but since the power was out I didn’t try to take photos – discovering the interior wonderment should be considered further enticement to curiosity seekers considering the trek out to Wonder Valley.

First Day For HDTS HQ

Screen shot 2010-07-10 at 10.10.45 PMLemons, Land ownership, and Licenses….  was the heading of Jena’s first entry in the HQ’s log.  She also noted that we had seventeen visitors, made two sales and received the following: a $10 donation, a cookie and a bag of lemons.  Not a bad day for the “slow season” in downtown Joshua Tree.

Crazy Sweet New Tiles

Screen shot 2010-07-09 at 11.36.55 PMCheck out the new tiles in the kitchen at A-Z West!  This is a pattern that I designed for Arena in Mexico who will be producing and selling them….  soon.

Fresh Stucco

Screen shot 2010-07-09 at 11.36.10 PMAbout two and a half years ago we started a 499 square foot addition on the house.  (If you add more then 500 square feet you have to bring the entire structure up to code -and as it turns out over half of my 800 square foot cabin had been built illegally with no permits) At first the structure went really quickly – but since then it has taken years to finish all of the details.  Today Danny Simpson re-stuccoed the back and side of the house which were riddled with at least ten different patch jobs.  Next we finish the outdoor kitchen (coming soon) and finally there will be an outside sleeping deck on top of the area that Danny is working on in this photo.

Soft Opening

Back CameraThe HDTS Headquarters is finally going to be open this weekend!  Jena has volunteered to come out from Los Angeles and HQ sit – and I’m putting the finishing touches on the driving map as I post this.  Plus we have new stuff to peddle including a bitchin stained glass window by Steve Halterman (in background) and cool bronze necklaces by Wells Pollock (being modeled in the foreground by Thomas).

For more info on HDTS visit the website.  If you are local and are able to help sit the space on weekends email us – we need you!

Sadie Coles HQ

HQ13-AZ7681P  Material Manifestation Single Stand Forward Motion iiThis show that opened June 10th is being posted in July because June was a crazy bad-ass month.  Not only was there a mini survey show at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence and a large new project at the IMA in Indianapolis – but we also hung a solo show at Sadie Coles HQ in London.  It is hard to chose a single representative image of this show  – but here is a shot at it.  I liked this body of work because it was all about representation and experience which is something that I’ve been struggling with in my work forever.

And there was a video.  I mean a real video-video (not a powerpoint style video), which is sort of a first.  Each show I try to make one work that scares the shit out of me (generally something that might be doomed to fail) This time that work was a video called “Clutch” – thanks to the superb cinematography of Giovanni Jance I think it actually worked.

Beauty Shot

Island CroppedThe beauty shot doesn’t do it justice.  Not because the Island is any more drop dead gorgeous – but because it is missing Mike Runge and Jessica Dunn the official Island Residents at the IMA (Indianapolis Museum of Art) this summer.

I heart Mike and Jessica.  They are resilient, funny, articulate and seem to have an endless cadre of friends bringing them picnics while they live on the Island.

The way it works is this:  For the last two years we have been working on Indy Island for the IMA’s new art and nature park: 100 Acres.  (The island was made by Barnacle Brothers – a fabrication outfit in LA who totally rock).  Each year the IMA will invite one or two residents to live on the island and to interface with the public, sort of like park rangers.  Or maybe docents.

This year island residents Mike and Jessica who are doing a project called “Give and Take”.  When a flag is raised on the island they will row ashore to pick up visitors who want to tour the island (there is a bell on shore that people ring when they want to come out)  Visitors can also send them messages in floating island-like pods, and they have what they call  “island trade” where people can bring them things and make trades in the process.  And while doing all of this they manage to maintain a pretty detailed blog.

And to top it off there is a bicycle generator for energy and floating gardens in an attempt for self sufficiency.  Genius.