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Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man

 

October 31, 2009

Sometimes in late fall in New England, there are golden days. Friday was one of them.

I took a lot of photos in the morning and then again in the afternoon. These are all from the late afternoon after a friend and I had a wonderful time talking over coffee.

I was driving up South Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts - the town where I live - when I caught a red light at West Housatonic.

It looked so beautiful in this clear light that I pulled my little Nikon out of my pocket and took this shot.

 

Then I turned right on East Street to return an audio book, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, to the Berkshire Athenaeum.

If you haven't read this amazing, mystic first novel by David Wroblewski, I recommend it highly.

Anyway, I was standing in the library's lower parking lot when I took the photo above looking east on East Street.

Still on East looking east I put the camera in it's telephoto phase and took this picture of the Wendell Funeral Home and Pittsfield High School, it's spire pointing to the moon.

Photos by Grier Horner/ All rights reserved.

Let me apologize for the technical problems that have blocked my efforts to post recently on my main blog site, http://grierhorner.com/blog.

 

October 27, 2009

Three posts from Louisiana that should have appeared here didn't due to technical problems. But you can see them on Blogspot.

October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

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Urinating off the 61st floor of the Chrysler building, artist Janine Antoni takes "piss on you" to new heights.

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I saw her show, Up Against, at Luhring Augustine on West 24th Street last week in my continuing gallery quest. Unfortunately it closes Saturday. Much of her art is performance based and what most of us see are the photographs or videos that result.

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The seed for the project was planted when she was a girl. Her brother told her stories of the pirate Anne Bonnet who passed as a man by urinating standing up with the help of a special device. Antoni came up with her own version of the device, this 7-inch copper gargoyle.

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"It was definitely a wild and exhausting session that took endless hours and a lot of patience on the part of everyone involved," Antoni says of the skyscraper project in the current issue of Art in America. The magazine used a photo from her show as its cover.

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Drama was added by Tears (above), a work composed of a two-ton lead wrecking ball, a 11'x11' video projection tightly focused on her eye and a sound track that filled the gallery with an ominous boom every few seconds.

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The show was set up so you walked down a long, dimly lit corridor with the noise growing louder before you turned a corner and actually saw the piece. I suspect I was walking as hesitantly as a kid in a Halloween house of horrors.

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As it turned out, the big bangs were the sound of the wrecking ball demolishing a building. The blinks of Antoni's eye are synchronized to the rhythmic thunder. Wrecking balls are normally made of steel but Antoni's was made of lead, and its softer surface bore the scars of its encounters with the building.

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Purposely omitted is any video of the ball in action, turning the piece from one about the construction business into one about the pounding individuals take in life. At least that's the way I read it.

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And then there was this giant 116"x 72" photograph, Inhabit, in which she is suspended in her 5-year-old daughter's room from a harness by a spider web of ropes while wearing a dollhouse like a skirt.

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And now a piece that was not in the show but one I consider her most powerful work (below). Called Saddle, it was formed in 2000 of a single piece of cowhide tanned while draped over a cast of the artist's body.

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For more about her work in the Luhring Augustine show, read the Antoni interview in Art in America's October issue or online at this link.

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And now a piece that was not in the show but seems to me the most powerful of her works. lthough it was not in this show, I'd like to show you what I consider Antoni's most haunting piece (below). Called Saddle, it was formed in 2000 of a single piece of cowhide tanned while draped over a cast of the artist's body.

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Author's query: How often have you seen an article start as this one does with the word urinating?

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About the photos: The one of Tear is mine, the one of Saddle is from the Brooklyn Museum and the others were taken from the gallery's website

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October 21, 2009

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Photos by Grier Horner. All rights reserved.

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This shot of the Harlem River was taken from the train carrying me into the city last week. There is a melancholy look to it that I like. Despite the drastic change of locale in the photo below, I think it captures the same mood.

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But the somber tone can disappear in an instant, as it did seconds later when the clouds parted and the lowering sun ignited the tree tops with hope.

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Switching gears, here are a couple shots of people. This one conveys, at least to me, a certain gritty camaraderie among a group of guys more interested in Chelsea's passing scene than its art scene. But there's a sadness too.

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The woman against the wall in this shot is warming up on her harmonica. I wouldn't want to be this barefoot musician. She looked like she might be homeless. Besides, these crowded underground passages are dingy and, to me, depressing.

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My next post, which will be published Monday, will appear only on my Blogspot page. You can get there by clicking this link.

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October 17, 2009

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Photos by Grier Horner - all rights reserved

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This photo symbolizes my position in the art world. Outside, looking in. Which I am trying to change.  Anyway, those are my sneakers planted on the sidewalk in front of one of the big galleries on West 24th Street yesterday.

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I got up at 5:15 a.m., which is pretty amazing for someone whose normal wake-up time is 9 or 10. I drove to Wassaic, rode the train to Grand Central, took the S subway to Times Square and the E train from there to Chelsea. That's pretty mundane. But for me taking the subways is an adventure. Lots of potential photos there, but I haven't worked up my nerve to take them yet.

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Crime is way down in New York. But it's still a dangerous city from a traffic standpoint. Take a look at the next two shots.

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These women look like they're about to be mowed down by a cab or two that have mounted the sidewalk. (Actually the cabs were parked.)

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Talk about danger, how'd you like to be a bicycle delivery guy in New York.

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I saw a lot of galleries on West 24th Street. And that was just the ones on the north side of the street. I'll tell you more about that part of it another time.

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October 14, 2009

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Remember when Janet Jackson had her "wardrobe malfunction" during halftime of the 2004 Super Bowl?

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Well I had something less traumatic but nevertheless troubling happen to the fly of one of my favorite pairs of pants, pictured above. The strip of cloth that is supposed to cover the fly started malfunctioning. That exposed the zipper.

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Even with the zipper up, it's sort of embarrassing to go around  with your zipper showing. In case you need to refresh your memory, I've tucked in this picture of Janet exposed.

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A lot of people contend that Justine Timberlake, who was singing with her, intentionally yanked off the material over that breast as a publicity stunt.

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Adding credence to that was the fact that this part of her costume was attached with snaps, making it a breakaway breast plate. MTV, which produced the halftime show, had promised a "shocking surprise."

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But back to my wardrobe malfunction. Snaps probably would have been a more tailored solution for my pants. But I don't think that the staples really show that much. Here's proof. If I hadn't drawn the arrow, would you have noticed?

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October 12, 2009

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photos © grier horner - all rights reserved

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This has been a year of magnificent clouds in the Northeast. Here are a few shots to illustrate my point.

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The one at the top was taken last week from the newly opened pedestrian bridge crossing the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York. It was an abandoned railroad bridge before its conversion.

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This shot was taken in Pittsfield this weekend.

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A patch of blue sky, above, looks like a gigantic bird soaring over Pittsfield.

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Then there were these clouds adding to the drama of Niagara Falls, which made clouds of its own, as well as rainbows.

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And here's another view from the pedestrian bridge, this one looking south at the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

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October 10, 2009

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For today's post click on this link.

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October 8, 2009

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From all the pots and pans you can tell this was a great supper. It's 8:55 and the meal's over. Babbie can really cook.

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I only cook occasionally. Chicken Jambalaya - I capitalize it because it's so good - is my specialty. The secret ingredient is andouille sausage. It gives it that smoky cajun flavor.

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I'm the cleanup kid. I washed all these pots and pans and dishes and spoons and wiped down the decks. Here's what they look like when I hang them back up. You don't need a map to know where the pots and pans hang. But we have one just in case.

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October 6, 2009

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grier horner - all rights reserved

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Niagara. It is a force of nature, it's churning water suddenly dropping over the lip. Clouds below. Clouds above. Amazingly, three people have survived a plunge over the falls without special equipment.

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Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over the falls in a barrel. She was a 63-year-old widow from Michigan and the year was 1901.

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She made an airtight vessel out of a pickle barrel. Air was pumped in with a bicycle pump before she took the plunge. She stuffed the barrel with pillows and, some say, her cat Iagara.

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Mrs. Taylor was able to walk away from the stunt under her own power. If the cat was on board, I don't know how it fared.

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Although she is something of a daredevil, Babbie, looking temporarily like Michael Jackson, stuck to shore when we visited the falls in September.

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This 30-year-old man jumped into the river above the falls last March and survived the 180-foot drop. He was apparently attempting to kill himself and fought off rescuers for about 45 minutes before he was finally hauled out of the frigid water. The water's force tore his clothes off. Another man survived several years earlier.

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The first survivor of an unprotected trip over the falls was a 7-year-old, Roger Woodward. He and his sister Deanne, 17, were being taken on a boat ride by a friend of their father's. Powered by a small outboard, the boat got caught in the current and capsized.

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Roger, who was wearing a life preserver, was swept over the falls but escaped uninjured. His sister, who put one on just before the capsize,was pulled from the river by two tourists on shore just yards from the lip. The man with the boat, however, went over and did not survive.

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Correction: The Storefront Artists gallery is open Fridays from 12 to 8 and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5, according to Julie Edmonds. She and Susan Hartung have a show that will be there through October 31. I had the hours wrong in my October 4 post.

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October 4, 2009

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Two Views, work by Julie Love Edmonds and Susan Hartung, opened last night at the Storefront Artists Project Gallery and drew a crowd.

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The photo at the top was taken in Julie's section and the one below was in Susan's. That's Susan in the center.

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Both exceptional artists, Julie works figuratively and Susan is a minimalist.

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In this shot Cia Elkin is listening to friends. On the wall is one of my favorite drawings by Susan.

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And here's Julie with one of my favorites of her's.

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And here's a shot of me with my portrait by Julie. Of course, it was the highlight of the show.

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The show is up at Storefront, 124 Fenn Street, Pittsfield, through October 31. You can see it on Fridays from 12 to 8 and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5.

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October 2, 2009

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grier horner - all rights reserved

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This shot of Harlem I took from the train going into New York yesterday looks like the Apocalypse.

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I was sitting by the window next to the girl whose hands are in the foreground. She spent most of the trip applying makeup. The young woman across the aisle spent the trip working on her laptop.

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The guys on the right are having a good time watching the guys on the left. What do they have in that blue bag?  A body?

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Here's a young woman after work. The shot is out of focus and grainy but I like it. The blue bundle is in the background.

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This was the second day of my Gallery Quest. I'll write more about that in another post. On the train ride home, after having a martini at a bar in Grand Central, I wrote two poems. These may be my first since high school, when we had to write sonnets for Miss Chloe. The first is about Ten Mile River, a stop near the end of the line.

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Ten Mile River

has a name so great

you wonder if any place

could live up to it.

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Then a poem about seating position in the train.

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Sometimes when I ride the train

from Wassaic to New York,

I sit in the seats facing backwards.

Other times in forward facing seats.

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I have friends who say

they can't stand sitting the wrong way.

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As for me if night blackens the windows

or I close my eyes,

I can't tell whether I'm pointing

toward the future or the past.

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On the way home, this man with his cool collapsable bike, sat across from me. If you go to this post on Blogspot, you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

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LINKS

Seth Harwood, writer

Leslie, poet

Joe Goodwin, painter

Juliane: bimbopolitics

Lisa Reinke, painter

John Mitchell, commentary

Charles Guiliano, MAVERIC, art critic

Saatchi Gallery

ArtDaily.com

Steve Satullo, movies

Christine Heller, artist

 

© grier horner - all rights reserved • grierhorner.com