Hello all, I shared a photographer with sara today and she immediately asked me to share it on the blog, but alas off the orange will soon be no more. In an effort to keep the sharing and inspiration alive, her and I have decided to begin another, much in the same vain as this one. Every one is welcome to join and post, please just email her or I and we can make you an administrator, I will be adding a kick off post sometime tonight or early tomorrow morning.
Christian Boltanski’s No Man’s Land is currently on view at the Park Avenue Armory in New York through June 13. If you’re in NYC it is a must see.
I thought discussing No Man’s Land would be a nice way to sign off on the blog, as the work – in fact Boltanski’s entire oeuvre – is about preservation, memory and loss via his career-long use of found photographs, old clothes, bare lightbulbs and mausoleum-like structures. Through his work we see an autobiographical approach to an ever-shifting identity that is examined almost from a post-mortem state. “Every individual is unique yet at the same time so fragile that, after two or three generations, he or she disappears completely,” he says. “My work is a sort of exploration of uniqueness and disappearance.”
What drives me as an artist is that I think everyone is unique, yet everyone disappears so quickly. I made a large work called The Reserve of Dead Swiss (1990) and all the people in photographs in the work are dead. We hate to see the dead, yet we love them, we appreciate them. Human. That’s all we can say. Everyone is unique and important. But I like something Napoleon said when he saw many of his dead soldiers on a battlefield: ‘Oh, no problem – one night of love in Paris and you can replace everybody.’ – Christian Boltanski
Unlike a large portion of his previous work, No Man’s Land does not employ the use of photographs. First installed at the Grand Palais in Paris under the title “Personnes” (a French word meaning both ‘nobody’ and ‘somebody’), the work is a combination of clothes, a crane, a wall of rusted boxes, exposed lighting and a soundtrack of recorded human heartbeats, all put together in a large interior space. Since 2005 Boltanski has collected heartbeat recordings (a visitor to No Man’s Land can have their heartbeat recorded by a docent in a lab coat). Each of the recordings are placed in Boltanski’s Archives Du Cour, a monumental project that will secure and preserve over 35,000 heartbeat recordings safely underground on a remote Japanese island. Some people, such as writer Anthony Haden-Guest, have begun referring it as Boltanski’s own “LOST” island. You can read Haden-Guest’s much blogged about article here: Christian Boltanski’s Lost Island. And check out a video interview made during the Grand Palais exhibition here:
“We can preserve nothing,” Boltanski says. “I collect heartbeats. But this island is going to be an island of dead people in a few years. And if somebody goes there he is not going to see the presence of the person. He is going to see the absence of the person. Each time you attempt to preserve something, you fail. But I think that’s the beauty, to fail.”
And so, as our time together on this blog comes to a close, I want to wish you all the best in your future attempts – in both your successes and your failures – and hope you may find the beauty in all outcomes. I have the highest hopes for each of you and look forward to seeing how you will all continue to grow in your art making. This has been a great year. You’ve made good work. May this blog be a testament to our partnership and learning together and a marker of not who you are, but of the potential of who you will become.
I sat for decades at morning breakfast tea looking out my kitchen window, one day recognized my own world the familiar background, a giant wet brick-walled undersea Atlantis garden, waving ailanthus (“stinkweed”) “Trees of Heaven,” with chimney pots along Avenue A topped by Stuyvesant Town apartments’ upper floors two blocks distant on 14th Street, I focus’d on the raindrops along the clothesline. “Things are symbols of themselves,” said Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. New York City August 18, 1984 – Allen Ginsberg
A lecture by Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs, National Gallery of Art; book signing of Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg follows.
This has been my ongoing collection of links and such…some of the contests are obviously expired, but the contests usually run around the same time every year, so check on them next year. Most of the other contests are coming up soon, so get on it!
This is a four day a week job for a highly organized and responsible person with excellent office, communication and photo skills.
There are many aspects to the job – correspondence, coordinating commercial work, archiving, financial stuff, travel plans, overseeing other assistants and interns, reporting back to Nan by email at the end of each day. A can-do, problem-solving approach is essential, along with previous artist assistant experience. Travel will sometimes be necessary, as Nan is living in both NY and Paris and often travels for shows or commercial work. French language skills a big plus. Please send a resume and cover letter to
Its always easy to get your work shown, just look at the previous winners and see if the people jurying your show would be interested in what you do…
So it’s been a while since my last post, and my work has changed dramatically. It was my intention to experiment with cliche verres once shooting was complete, but in finding this process no longer desirable, I became focused on printing the clean, unaltered image. There was just something that didn’t feel right about making the cliche verres, as if they were inhibiting the prints rather than adding any significance to them. I still have a lot to figure out, but in some way this documents my struggle with innocence and search for beauty. Here’s a quick preview of what I’ve been working on.
See y’all in critique.
There’s a new exhibition up at the NGA, longtime friend of Jack Kerouac – Allen Ginsberg – has his collection of photos which he took from 1950 to 1990. If you’re interested in the Beat Generation, or if you’ve never heard of Ginsberg head on over and take a look.
Susan Meiselas has created a pretty cool 4D website. Take a look and explore…it’s a little awkward to navigate at first, but it’s worth it. Also, dont forget to have your speakers turned up!
Side note, I’ve been publishing all of my work/writings over on my individual page for the past few weeks; there are some good PDF’s at the bottom of the page for those interested…