As promised, here are some images of John Baldessari's work.
Neil Young's box set, titled Archives, was released a couple of months ago to great acclaim. Made up of 10 Blu-ray discs, each holding 50 gigs of information, it is truly Neil Young's life in a box. There’s a beautiful moment we stumble upon in the box set where we see a film showing Young leaning out of an old car on his property in the hills of California, a land that I am so intimately connected to from having grown up here and watching the subtle changes of coastal light, and he says, “No matter how many people are around me, I keep talking about all the things that go on inside me.” The joy and vulnerability on his face against the bright blue sky suddenly made me see him as a dreamer, as someone who followed the only thing that he could do and followed it fully, preserving all the evidence of that journey in his music.
Humpday is the winner of the 2009 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Independence and screened at the Cannes Film Festival, the Edinburgh Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Seattle International Film Festival. I spoke with Lynn Shelton when she was in San Francisco and you can find that interview on the Radio Tania website.
John Baldessari has been called an LA artist, a conceptual artist, a pop-artist, but is quite simply and completely an artist. Winner of the 2009 Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, Baldessari is one of the most important artists living and working today. In October, he will have a retrospective at the Tate that will travel to Barcelona, Los Angeles and New York. Stay tuned for an article on him in The Times.
Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie (detail)
Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-43)
Yesterday, I went to gather a gift from the Museum of Modern Art here in San Francisco. It was part of a project by Jochen Gerz who had a piece in an exhibition called The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now. I interviewed the curator and was taken by this piece. What we had to do, as visitors, was stand in line and have our picture taken, a head shot, no smiling, just looking straight into the camera. That picture was then printed and framed and exhibited in the Museum for several weeks, amongst several hundred other faces. At the end of the exhibition, those who participated got a gift and many assumed it would be the image of themselves. We were suggested to go down to the museum and pick up the gift on a Sunday between 1-5. When I got to the Museum, I surely didn't expect to see a couple hundred people there standing in line for their gift. I also didn't know that the image we would receive would not be our own but rather that of another person. I was relieved by the fact that I wouldn't receive an image of myself (because why would I put that up on the wall) and I was excited that somehow, some way another person would become part of my life, almost randomly. At the offering of The Gift, Jochen Gerz was there, giving out the pieces. People in line were so excited, amazed, laughing and wondering about the value of this gift. It extended the project, it surprised, it offered a connection and it reminded us of how we are all part of each other, this collective experience we had, and have regularly. Jochen Gerz himself that as you look into the face of this stranger, you see yourself, regardless of race, class or gender.
There are a lot of perks to being a journalist and one of them is surely the chance to speak with people you admire. Philip Glass may be one of those (I definitely admire him, just need to confirm the interview). I can't say I actively listen to Philip Glass regularly the way I do to say John Coltrane or Smog (at least lately). They are more accessible artists. But I admire Philip Glass for the vast range of his work. Last year, I went to see an opera of his, Appomattox, with Philip who managed to tolerate it even though he truly dislikes opera and this year, Glass is coming to San Francisco for the West Coast premiere of Music in Twelve Parts.
The other thing happening this week is I just started teaching a workshop with some students at CCA called PODCASTING YOU. They are excited about having a voice and when the podcasts come out, I will let you all know. Oh and just randomly, this is an image that Philip took in Tahoe.
This weekend, I went to the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park, a building designed by Herzog and de Meuron that is changing color over time. I went with my Mom and Grandma, a tradition we seem to be creating, weekend excursions together to places we enjoy. Last week was Half Moon Bay, this week, the museum. We went there to see the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit, be all girly and decide which outfit we would most want to wear (I chose a brown dress). While there, we saw the work of artist Maya Lin. I had the opportunity to interview her but turned it down. When I saw her extraordinary work, I regretted that choice. She creates landscapes from plywood, almost as if she has filled The Grand Canyon with carefully carved birch wood. Some pieces could be held in our arms, others were massive. My Grandma particularly liked the work and I trust her opinion, especially given that she was impressed by contemporary art. She is an artist in her own right and her painting hangs on my bedroom wall. The Lin pieces reminded me of another artist who depicts landscapes, these being real and, according to him, manufactured ones. That's Edward Burtynsky and I interviewed him earlier this year. You can find that here. I then remembered another interviewee that inspired me—Jennifer Fox—who traversed the landscape of this world asking women about being women in Flying: Confessions of Free Woman. Here's that interview. The idea of landscapes just leads to so much! (Oh, and what inspired this whole posting was the bottom image that I saw on one of my favorite sites.)