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BEN PERRONE

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IT'S ALL IN THE COFFEE

 

The other day I was sipping my great latte at Bobs 'Topic' coffee house, looking into the great white froth and wondering, why oh why isn't this place crowded with people, banging on the counter in unison, anticipating this great coffee experience. I know, I knowingly thought, the coffee houses of this great city need a coffee house critic, one who can get into the subtleties of this cup, kind of dive beneath the froth, snorkel around seeking out each and every nuance and courageously educate all of us who think it was only 'great'. Hey, they were successful with wine!. I can no longer look into my daily muscatel, {it's getting harder and harder to find, especially at good wine shops,) without considering its full body, heady aroma, hip flavors and gamy legs, {it travels well). I use to think it was sweet! You can see that there is a conspiracy here to build an image of wine into a real person and with more elaboration and detail about its headlines you'll soon be able to see that person in your mirror. Maybe these coffee fumes are getting to me, but ! want to assure you that I haven't seen any UFO's since '76. 

 

There is a rumor that the News is seeking a qualified critic to review the canned vegetables available at various county wide stores. Don't panic! It won't follow that prices on your favorite peas will rise, but if they do the upside will be you'll no longer have to think of them as only green and round. This critic phenomenon is the wave of the future, and its popularity is reflected in the rising cost of the daily newspaper. More critics + newsprint & ink = a more caring an astute consumer.
 

Tomorrows weather column will include a review of the sunrise and sunset. Like they are going to tell us about 'the elegant rays of fuchsia and magenta entwining velvety wisps of gossamer nimbi'. This is not funny! Not only do we have hordes of lawyers with nothing to do but cause trouble, but unnoticed there's an equal amount of English Lit majors that have been infiltrating industry where they first promoted the Edsel and later defined the ‘Domino Theory’ used by war mongers. As they proliferated they thought us all how to eat and what art is good and now the overflow of this intellect into virgin territory will lead to more definition of the common experience.

As an example, look at how well it worked in the art world. Looking back into art history we find the first critic. He’s in the lower right corner of Michelangelo’s great wall where he sentenced him to hell as a warning to future art critics to keep their distance. He had been bothering the artist with art talk, using words like ‘didactic, ephemeral, self and non-referential’ to the point of distraction. Mike finally put him in hell muttering that he only wanted to get it done and return to sculpture. 

 

This warning should have been heeded by future critics, but they apparently read the Bible and went forth and multiplied. They reeked havoc, aided by Gutenberg and the first Thesaurus. It wasn’t an accident that lead Van Gogh to cut off his ear and caused Gauguin to flee to Tahiti. More recently after an art critic described a Jackson Pollack painting as “a pleasing array of idealistic contra-descending metamorphic calligraphy” he took off in a dizzy rage (he knew he had spilt the paint) and ended up DOA.

 

Recently an art professor told me that his students couldn’t’ paint but they knew the ins and outs of the art world and how to advance. That was interesting, since I never knew how to get ahead but knew how to paint, I thought. My guess is that these students grew up reading ‘art talk’. They saw how these art writers could get ahead when armed with a couple of art history courses and a course in English Lit.  An average art lover would be overwhelmed and impressed with such talk. Boards of Directors were taken in too, not having done any creative work and lacking the special RU-25 gene leaving them to believe anything in print. The result: promotion to positions of control. Talk the talk, baby and you won’t have to walk. For some artistes the message was ‘why struggle with imagery when a great line will produce a grant. Don’t accuse me of being against art. I’m not anti-intellectual and some of my best friends are writers. But i can’t stand that guy swimming around in my coffee. “Hey, Bob, give me a fork. Maybe I can get that little sucker before he multiplies.”
 

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ALLENTOWN: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT

Did you ever notice that it never rains during the Allentown Art Festival? It's a great weekend to have a picnic or to plan yard work.  It’s uncanny and seems strange to me that in spite of all my praying that a tornado wipe it out, I can't even get a warm rain to put a damper on it. The Festival gods are just more powerful than mine. My wish for a mild disaster has been going on for a long time, ever since I and a few artist friends picketed the first Allentown event and set up a "Salon de Refuse" in an old Delaware Avenue house where I had my first apartment, Our complaint was that the merchants were abusing artists by charging them to show their work in the gutter while they reaped the rewards of the promotion. The police threatened to jail us for passing out literature, and other artists
complained that they didn't mind being taken advantage of, so the protest kind of fizzled out.

 

Nothing has changed since then, the merchandising, the artists, or how art is defined by money, money people who collect art or donate art as a commodity, and finally how this commodity is presented at the Allentown Festival, I had to agree until Spree concluded that the Allentown invite art organizations and institutions to set up some really good art in special stalls etc., so that the festival could regain some identity "as an event which celebrates the wealth and diversity of expression in the Western New York Community etc.". Sorry Liz, there never was any seriousness to the show, it was always a commercial sham and I still hope it pours. I can’t imagine that these organizations or institutions would be capable of setting up a show that wouldn't be terminally boring. 

 

The festival always drew huge crowds of people more interested in looking at each other, eating at the stalls, digging the scene and contemplating a navel or two than having an art experience.
Maybe if we could shake up this crowd we could arrive at some critical mass, a kind of nuclear fission of brain matter that would by consensus find a good artist in the crowd. I can understand that even a good artist would want to sell his art, didn't 'Vincent'. We should assign this task, maybe using a self destructing tape to the news Art Guru, go forth and find this artist. With the use of an Army helicopter Le Guru could string out a line of art talk such as "intuitive, contradescending, idiomatic, submetaphoric, noncalligraphic," etc., at the end of which he could tie a dollar bill as bait and troll through the crowds. Shonuf, l bet he'd catch one. The rescued' artist would be triumphantly led up Delaware Avenue, as parting crowds throw art graffiti and rose pedals in his path. As he approaches the Channel 7 TV cameras at North Street he’d probably be recognized as the art dodger himself, Vito Acconsi, the anti-Christ of art and successor to Andy Warhol. Vito admits that he doesn’t know anything about art, but that's what makes him such a big fish. Even bigger than Grandma Moses, I hear. Well, if not Vito who would you expect to come out of the jungles of art, someone with a phone beeper eating bugs for survival?

 

We're not going to find an answer to the art question at the
Allentown, or in art columns or prestigious museums. Offering prizes like bait won't work either, They are wasted on the already well-established fish. Yet, who could be trusted to make a wise decision? Beauty may be everywhere but its not art and only a small part of the life experience that's continually being interpreted and reinvented by artists, Chances of finding that artist at some festival are slim. She's probably in her studio looking at some blank canvas, occasionally looking out the window, seeing the sun shining and wondering why she's not at the festival checking out the buns on some of those hunks . We're only human.

BEING JACK

Jack Drummer that is. 
I first met Jack in the late 50’s when I was a student and working with other art students in a studio above a meat market on Allen Street. He lived in a stable house behind a large Victorian on Delaware near Allen with his wife Dottie and several of his children, one, Jeb, just born. He had been an excellent student at Canisius, but dropped out to marry and chase an art career so to speak. He was more informed than us about the art scene in New York City, checking out the NY Times for the art trends. Not having any formal training as an artist and not having much money, he was free to avoid traditional painterly methods and resorted to using scrap materials to make his art. He also had a good eye for design and was able to use his skills to decorate his art and environment, sometimes with stolen materials. 
Jack liked being cool. Cool jazz, cool women, cool art, cool intellect, cold at heart. He could pound out the kids but support and parenting were not part of his nature or his choice. He was more of an observer of life, including his own, than a participant. He chose not to be involved with life, not to feel it. Cool. 

 

Being cool made it easy for Jack to go with the flow. And that he did. He could dump his wife, his kids, and even as he did later when needed, dump his art to move on with another woman, supporter, lover. Not long after I met him he had his first success winning first prize in the Western New York show at the Albright Art Gallery. That brought on a summer show at the gallery with Wes Olmsted, a friend and artist. Not feeling that the scene here would get him any more attention, Jack moved on with Maxine Kohler, heading to Manhattan, leaving his kids behind, to get some attention in the art world.

Going with the flow would build his image too. He loved being contrary and obnoxious especially when drinking, and yet very personable when sober. He could shoot the shit with a lot of really stupid drinking buddies yet in the many years I knew him I don’t remember one thing of value that he talked about. Not one idea that was worth recording.

 

I think that either planned of not he constructed a reputation as a character. He understood the value of a good story for galleries when it came to selling work. His dual personalities, charming and dark, worked well for him. Having friends talk about him built his reputation. He was more like Gully Jimson (The Horses Mouth) than he knew. He could shit on the parade even if it was his own parade. His obnoxiousness often earned him several bruising’s when drinking at various bars. After getting a glowing review in the Times from being in a group show in NYC, and getting some gallery attention he managed to alienate Martha Jackson and a chance for some success (could he take it?). Shortly after that he left New York for Hawaii, leaving behind a studio full of his art. To his credit maybe, he valued his self-aware image and reputation, over being a part of the art scene. I don’t think he ever had a job and was supported by SSI and his women. Being poor didn’t stop him from drinking but drinking didn’t stop him from doing his art. 


In 1990 I bought a building on Plymouth Avenue and found myself across the street from a building later bought by Jack’s son Jeb. Jack shortly moved in using it as a studio and apartment. Here during the summer season he regularly held court with his drinking buds and a few cool chicks that gravitated to his presence. Young women were drawn to him, loving the cool, and his pixie presence. He would often be seen in the morning, walking down to the Wilson Farm store for ‘provisions’.

Jack wasn’t lazy and in the mornings usually after spending the night recovering from drinking he would spend time putting together his art. I saw photo’s of work done in Hawaii, large sculptural pieces of burnt Styrofoam mixed with sand. Other earlier work done in NYC was made of found objects, beams, driftwood, with chicken wire and other materials, all large and impressive. These were all left behind as he moved on. So on some level Jack didn’t value his work enough to save it yet when he was facing his mortality he refused to give any of his art to his children. There was meanness there but certainly no guilt. 

 

Jack’s work on Connecticut Street was mostly done on a rubber sheeting material that had been used in the printing industry. I think that he must have known that rubber has a limited lifetime and will deteriorate in a short number of years. But what can a poor artist do for material if you’re spending what little of the money you have for beer and working is out of the question. Jack did a lot of art by rubbing chalk onto this material and over different textural surfaces. Other work was done by cutting through this rubber and re-stitching, incorporating some flower like images. This was typical of Jack, juxtaposing opposites, positive and negative. He probably got a little laugh out of it.

 

Jack blurred the boundaries between art and décor as are the boundaries blurred between Craft and Art. This comes around to his creative and decorative abilities that were largely a part of his work. It’s all about style. What would you expect to get out of this cool guy, a self centered artist not seeing or caring about the world around him, not interested in social problems, not interested in personal relationships, not interested in his children or even if his art is worth surviving. It’s all about Jack. 

I knew Jack for too many years but I wasn’t his friend, did he really have any?  


May 15th 2016, on Jack Drummer

ON ADELE COHEN

 

   I met Adele when I was just out of art school in the early 60’s. Ed Whiteman was working for her doing odd jobs, but when he went to New Orleans I took over, framing and stretching canvas etc. It was about the time I started to learn something about remodeling and I did some of those things for her too. She was a very attractive person who had great taste but also had depth. There was maturity in her early work that was beyond me. I remember being repelled by her “Earth Series” which I think, looking back, was her first great individual performance. They were so abstract and subtle that they were easily overlooked. Had she done them as very large pieces they would have been overwhelming. She was an avid reader and introduced me to the “Golden Notebook” by Doris Lessing and some other writers. She loved music too and took me to see some great concerts showcasing Rostopovitch, Isaac Stern, Baldwin, etc.  That was about the time that I was shedding my school influences and started doing some ‘dark’ paintings too. Her husband Paul had undergone some major operations that had ‘disabled’ him in some ways. He was a lovely person too, very underplayed and generous. Also supportive of her work, although I don’t think he had feeling for it. His interest was in theater and business. I remember my first show NYC was with her, Roland Wise, Robert Squeri, and Frank Altamura. We loaded up a couple of station wagons with work and drove to the Pietrantonio Gallery for this “5-WNY” show for which I designed the invitation and poster. It was not my introduction to New York City having been there once while in the army, but the first art experience. We got to see some art and it may have been the first time I saw Francis Beacon. I think that it was some time after that possibly in the fall that we became lovers. You have to appreciate that they had a reputation in the Jewish community and with relatives and friends, that it took some ego to show up at concerts etc. with me as her ‘friend’. We downplayed the relationship as much as possible with little display of affection, but it was the beginning of the ‘60’s’, an era of free love. 

 

Her work was so ‘dark’ in an era of color, flash and bigness. It was a display of the intensity of her individuality. We and her contemporaries were hugely influenced by the abstract movement but she was ahead of influences and was deeply probing her own consciousness. She was able to use this dark energy, extrapolating it from her mysterious and Zen-like psychic landscape. It emerges again later in her sculptural ‘burnt effigies’, mystic echoes of the war. She was a great draftsman too, always sketching, developing images out of the simplest forms. I remember when she called me into her studio to see the drawing on canvas of what was to be called “Lacrymosa”. It was an amazing drawing and could have stood alone as a work of art. It only turned into probably her most outstanding work in the next few days as she completed, without hesitation, the image that must have been clearly formed in her mind. Later in the same period she started the Lament series that was initiated I think by her fathers’ death. These works defy influence. They could only be born from deep within an amazing and complex psyche. I don’t know if ‘creativity’ applies to it. It seems too easy an explanation for her art. 

The 50’s and 60’s were an easy time for women artists compared to previous history. There were several well-known women artist in the Buffalo area and I don’t remember them being ignored, although the question was still probed. Many too, in the national spotlight although none reached the prominence of Pollack, Klein, or Motherwell. But maybe that was like asking women for a slam dunk. It was harder physically for women to paint ‘the big one’, and harder to play the colorful, ‘romantic’ or ‘tragic’ figures that men played with ‘machismo’ so easily.  The big noise still gets more attention; it’s a physical survival gift that shouldn’t be applied to the arts, which require thought and sensitivity.  Adele and other women (and races) were discriminated against as artists but there was a wealth of discrimination in society that was devastating by comparison. 

 

I don’t know the ‘what or why’ about Adele’s darkness. It wasn’t expressed in any other way. It was a special reserve, like some aged bourbon, that she was able to swim in when she painted. A real but unappreciated gift like having ‘seen’ god. She went into that reserve and exhausted it as much as she could, and later in life she was left with the celebration of other life themes. 

 

When you look at Adele’s life prior to the 60’s, it seems rather a normal existence. She had traveled some when Paul was in the army and before she lived in SF and NYC, as a student. But family life, raising children, friends and relatives, and even her art life was ‘normal’. Normal meant some discrimination as a Jew, woman and artist. There were incidences when Paul was stationed in the south, but nothing dramatic. Adele was always an avid reader, always carrying a book, eating lunch and reading, etc..  I think life in the 60’s when a strange cast of characters came on the scene was a welcome relief. She knew that Beckett was real, so having Joeseph Krisiak living in her driveway or dealing with Joe McCann, Jack Drummer, or Indian Jim was second act comedy. I don’t know how she explained them to Paul, but as I said he was more than gracious. 

 

Adele’s life and mine though intertwined were much different. She was much more anchored living in a house that she would eventually die in, a place of beauty and serenity. I think she was very content with her life, painting every day and I mean every day. She knew how lucky she was, I’m sure. We all thought that Abstract Expressionism had opened the door to artistic expression. It freed us from the dance steps so we could invent our own. That was the feeling of the time. A kind of ecstasy of mind and body. My life was quite different. I had been at the University of Buffalo, the army and then back to art school in the 50’s. My art life didn’t start until the late 50’s. After I met Adele I was living in Allentown, working and painting into the 70’s until I gave up painting for woodworking. During that period I did a lot of drinking and partying with a rather large group of cross purposed people, from bickers to actors and musicians and waiters, etc.. Harry Albrecht and I drove small bikes and we called ourselves the Road Cultures after the Road Vultures. But it was a much different life, and Adele didn’t participate in it. I was in a culture of free love and I surely took advantage of it. I could only paint so long in the evenings and then I would start to ‘taste’ the beer in my mind and have to adjourn to ‘Laughlins Bar’ for the real taste. I had been a rather below average kid who didn’t fit in too well in high school and struggled socially and academically in college. The 50’s and 60’s were the personification of freedom. 
 

When I stopped painting my life in the arts didn’t stop. Adele and I collaborated in the running of the Zuni Gallery in the early 60’s and later we did a set for “Fondo and Lis” at the Albright-Knox. I continued to do things for Adele, we traveled in Europe seeing art and art-history. My friends were still painting, but I was doing remodeling and cabinet making for a living and then I started building a Solar house in the country, which took eight years. That and work left little time for my art and by that time I had long given up or felt a need to paint. I was still interested in art but disillusioned with the ‘art world’. Support of the arts, and especially the artist left a lot to be desired. There was a lot of talk, but talk was more than cheap. Even with her great painting and limited successes, Adele still couldn’t get picked up by a good New York gallery. It was very discouraging in generally but she still tried. 

The Zuni period was in the mid 60’s. Adele was painting well and I too had done some small series of paintings, a chair series. The Zuni started just by accident. Harrison Swados, Adele’s next door neighbor, had a coffee house off Elmwood that he was giving up. His rent was only twenty five dollars so Adele and I looked at it  and just had to do something with it. So I remodeled it with some used wood for floors, gravel garden and homosote panels to hang paintings on. We opened with a show for Lawrence Calcagno, out friend and artist who was working in New York. We ran the gallery for two years mostly supported by Paul and Adele. We showed many varied and fine artists in group and individual shows, including Jim Dine, Arakawa, etc. etc. and local artists, and although we were the first gallery in Buffalo to show Pop and Op art (including the Albright-Knox), the community support was poor and discouraging. An instance of that was that we could not get the AKAG to come to any shows. Their elitism and attitude that only colorful, upbeat paintings would grace their walls was a eye-opening and dampening forecast for future success for both Adele, me and any other artist of the doom and gloom variety.  Many fine artists are absent from their collection. There were some interesting adventures associated with the Zuni, and although Adele wanted to continue. I didn’t want to waste another year, so we ended with a show of Adele and me, the only time we had a two-man show. 

I mentioned before that Adele was a great draftsman and how she saw clearly beyond the drawing and into the painting. She really worked at some of her drawings rubbing the graphite into the paper with her fingers. Her collages were also first rate creative work. She was just amazing. She wasn’t much when it came to talking about her art. She may have felt that there was not much to be gained, or that she wasn’t that clear about it, or it may have been something she felt personal about, maybe even guarding it. I don’t know.

 

I never saw her dejected and I think that’s because she knew that her art had value, she knew that in her heart, and never questioned it. It was a source of strength and gave her power, the kind of power to be courageous in a land of philistines. Yes, the last two paintings were forecasts of her death. She was convinced that Dr. Bloom had been keeping her alive. She knew but never discussed that she had a liver disease and had already exceeded the time most cases survive. When Bloom died I guess she must have felt her mortality. Having found two remnants of birds could also have been an omen, but she made art out of death, something that had been her theme earlier. More than a theme it was her very essence. She was so powerful she could turn death back into life through art. She faced her own death with calmness and a sense of humor that never left her. She may have seen herself as that bird rising from ash. 

 

I don’t know unless it was her disappointment with me at times. I think she was very self confident, and I may have put a couple of dents in that armor. She lived a very self controlled life within reason, but couldn’t control everything. As for the art scene she had her disappointments but they didn’t get the best of her. She always had her art to fall back on and it never let her down. 

Huntington’s  “reveal and conceal” remark applies to only good artists in my opinion. It has to do with mystery. To be creative is to transverse the known to get to the unknown. It’s a mysterious and never complete journey. In its revelation there is also the unrevealed mystery or mystique, the remnants of which remain partially hidden in the work. Like wet autumn leaves telling a story of past summer and coming decay. The best paintings are those that have this mystery, which is to “reveal and conceal”. 

Artist are known risk takers, it comes with the job. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We only have ourselves as a bargaining chip to risk as a life. That chip is us, it’s our signature, still obvious in the gamble. I think Adele was happy and content with that risk that brought her a life of art. I’m enriched too by her life and art as are others. 

 

Adele’s art came from within. Rain or snow, hot or cold it didn’t change a thing. She was always inspired by the elements and the remnants of their passing. Whatever inspired her she was able to ingest and absorb. It became her blood, her neurons, her synapses, whatever, it eventually somehow energized her art. 

 

The 70’s. More Vietnam. More Nixon. Flames and blood for fuel. Adele did some great sculpture during that time. One of her best pieces was the “Seven Pillars”, a grouping of burnt offerings, a sacrificial monument to the war. It was one of her best periods, perhaps the last great one that she did. I bought a house on St. Johns and, unfortunately ran into Terry Doran’s sister there. I was still in Allentown most of that time until ’78, when I sold my house and started the country phase. Nothing else stands out except the war. We were also involved a little with the Workshop theater that Krisiak abandoned but that was just for a couple of years. It was the time too when many friends left for the left coast. Paul Cohen died of a brain tumor, after a couple of years of chemotherapy. Tina finally settled in Seattle after several schools and Adele and I traveled to Europe again. Adele was pretty solid with her painting and sculpture, a very productive part of her life. Ask me more specific questions about the ‘70’s.  

 

September 2016 a remembrance of a great artist.

more. Some tried to pump the latest movement into their newest work, a kind of esthetic mainlining that proved 'fatal' to integrity.

This phenomenon is hard to appreciate. The last thirty-five years have encompassed more art movements than the previous fifteen hundred years. This ead Vincent's

CHARGE IT!

Startling news! I hear on the radio that we, the shopping public are going to charge, not spend but charge on our precious plastic cards, three hundred and fifty billion dollars worth of goodies during the Christmas holidays! Isn't that amazing? That's in a year that has spending down. What does that mean, anyway? Radio isn't interactive, so you can't ask some pertainate and clarifying questions, like what do we normally average in spending per month, or how long does it take to repay this debt or what percentage of these gifts turn into broken or unused crap, three days after Christmas. I'd like to know how three hundred and fifty billion compares to the national debt? If the national debt is three point five trillion is that one tenth or one thousandth? It's hard for me to relate to billions or trillions, I don't even know if I have that many brain cells.

 

Spending money seems to be the national pastime, if you visit the malls you'll agree. That's probably the root of our government problems of overspending; we just let the average spender loose in a very big cookie jar, when we elect him or her to public office. We could get out of this national debt problem if we sent only people who have a zero balance on their credit cards to represent us. Forget the Democrat, Republican and Independent parties, let's start a Dependable Party.
 

This by definition could be a very exclusive club, if the criteria is going to be paid up credit lines. Mixing these guys into the House and Senate would be like trying to mix oil and water, or trying to get the lumps out of the gravy. Could I at this point make a modest proposal? Since we need some fiscally responsible dudes who are going to be short in numbers, and won't mix well with Congress, let's start up a new branch of government called the House of Credit. It could manage all the financial aspects of the government and keep the books balanced. Let the other branches deal with national and international strife, treaties and what ever they do best ( laugh here!).
 

This proposal could do even better than the Republican Contract with itself. It's a sure bet to win bipartisan support. Who could vote against it? Like who would go on record as being against balancing the books? But this isn't the only possibility for creative thought. As long as we like to charge things so much let's have the government issue everyone a credit card. We can decorate it with an American flag and a motto like "Don't Tread On Me, Baby". Each year for the next ten years Congress will charge the appropriate amount of the national debt, plus interest to these cards, and for the following year we can all work to erase the balance. Then and only then will we be able to spend the next three hundred and fifty billion for Christmas.

CHIMP ART
 

I woke up today not to the twittering of birds but to the 'lament' of Ray Bissonette. Ray, using the closing of the Anderson Gallery as his forum, expounded on the usual but not very creative arguments about abstract art. Ray admits he can't tell the difference between packing material and art, and that a trained chimp has more art sensitivity than some people, But Ray, who knows so much, being a Ph.D. in the medical field, objects to being hung out in the art world without some standards to guide him. He wants to see lines of perspective, see the body shading that will reassure him that it's art. He must have a lot of trouble when it comes to looking at sunsets, trying to decide if one is more interesting or poetic than another, without any perspective lines to help him out. He thinks that every academically taught artist using good technique, creates art. Wake up Ray, there's a lot of bad art on both sides of the fence. Knowing or using good technique does not guarantee the production of a good work of art. Even mother nature is often boring, that's why her great successes are so prominent. Look at Kansas; miles and miles of corn. Nobody frames Kansas. But I'm getting off the track. Ray thinks that only artists get away with undisciplined and fraudulent work. Am I hearing right Ray, you a PH.D. in a profession besieged by law suits, case after case of doctors who study many more years than artists yet still manage to cut the wrong arm off the wrong patient? Look at all the fakes who have managed to pass themselves off as surgeons, right under the noses of other doctors who apparently weren't paying attention. I admit we haven't been able to teach a monkey how to give bad medical advice yet, but they are capable of sign language now, so writing burned, that ple would exceed the size of Kansas, yet the energy produced wouldn't be enough to jump - start Bob Dole's campaign. Most artist work hard at their art. It's usually after working for a living. They do it because they want to or feel they 'have to'. They are rarely successful and almost never able to make a living at it. As a group, they earn one tenth of what doctors or other professionals earn. On occasion they get to hang their work and after much sacrifice, are criticized by art critics or other jackasses. Worse yet, they're just ignored. But their tenacity amazes me. Despite the pitfalls and disappointments, they persist. They plod along, homemade 'aliens' in a society that builds stadiums for millionaires and refuses to care about the homeless. So spare me any more art bashing. If art is to be criticized let it be done by the artists who work at it. And maybe Ray should save his critical judgments for his own profession. It could stand some improvement.

 

CHIMP, AGAIN
Recently someone publicly brought up the old and not very creative arguments about abstract art in order to in some way diminish it. I guess this in some way parallels the kind of thinking that diminishes other races, religions and classes, a kind of thinking that seems to say “ If it's not like me, or I don't understand it, then it must be bad, or fraudulent". Abstract artists are challenged to defend our art, because apparently some people have been fooled by the scribbling of chimp. In other words they have seen beauty or have found these scribbling so interesting that they thought they must have been done by man. It's not unusual for artists to find inspiration where others would find nothing, whether it be in a row of Campbell soup cans, the comics, the disarray of the kitchen sink or table, the aftermath of a storm, or the gore of the slaughter house. Frankly I'm tired of this kind of criticism, and feel that these people are just too lazy to make an effort to educate themselves, or are insensitive to this particular esthetic. It's not a crime but they are looking for a quick fix in a discipline that artist work their whole lives in and never exhaust.


Now I've read a few newspapers in my time, and it's not unusual for people to be fooled by very bizarre schemes, and often more than once. You may think that they were just poor ignorant fools, but professionals in medicine, the stock market, business and even the sciences with all their disciplines have been humbled by frauds. You all remember cases of frauds posing as doctors and surgeons, while fooling the staffs they worked among. Stock schemes abound, and anthropologists remember the 'Piltdown Man' charade. The truth is we don't know how many frauds are out there, in museums, board rooms, or your local medical center. How many real Rembrants exist and how many critics and art directors have been fooled, along with the average museum goer. 


The writer Eudora Welty said “Art is of human origin. And only human understanding, human experience and feeling can respond to it and appraise its meaning." She goes on to say that understanding art can't be instant, that it comes as result of exposure and is part of the growing process. Now the chimp may paint up a storm, but he will never be able to discriminate between which painting is good or bad, or what kind of feeling it may evoke. An artist or other sensitive person may and for this ability he is derided.


So what can you say to these people who continue these attacks on abstract art? I think they should get a life. While their feet are stuck in the mud they act like they're on their pompous high horse, but isn't there a small voice, that 's telling them they are missing the boat. Isn't that what's really bothering them?

 

 

CONCEPTUAL ART: A VICTIMLESS CRIME


A recent survey has shown that artists actually like the police more than art
critics. This could be because artists frequently get panned or ignored by critics but in any case you can't find one when you need one. I didn't want to be confused with the News art critic so I will refrain from littering this terrain with the latest art jargon or consulting my thesaurus. There is a point here somewhere but you’ll probably have to wait to get it. I woke up in the middle of the night and as often happens (the blood can get to the brain easier when prone) I started to mull over last nights foray into the art scene and to wonder what ever happened to the good old days of abstract expressionism when a painting was a painting. I'll have to blame what followed on Andy Warhol's funny idea to make a six hour film of someone sleeping. The idea was great but the film more than a bit boring Now leaping a few years to the present art scene and the proliferation of the “idea" painting, we can see that things haven't changed much. If we were dealing with music it would be easy to understand the relationship of music to word or lyric, how the choral in Beethoven's ninth reinforces the already fantastic and uplifting orchestral part. It even works for Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again". But some times the message and the music are not related and with conceptual art that is often the case. These artists are more wordy than visual. Is their constant use of included text revealing that the visual part can’t communicate or reinforce the message? The blank canvas or page awaits the novel, short story or cartoon. Unfortunately most concept art can't get up to the cartoon level. But its right up the critics alley. They love to chase these art ambulances hoping to get transfused. It's their love, no, adoration of the word, that has them scratching such fertile ground.

 

But why have one word merchant chasing another? It not only sounds incestuous but so much has already been written about most of these ideas and written so much better. Why are we calling it visual art if the visual part doesn't evoke some sort of esthetic, intellectual or emotional experience, or combination of these. Most of these works can be described as lacking craft, being weak, unimaginative, and visually boring. They are often crafty, large and/or motorized, and use projection. They call for attention but as the writer Jim Harrison says 'It's hard to develop the silence and humility necessary for creating good art if you are always yelling “look at me" like a three-year old who has just shit in the sand box.'I am being kind I know, but what is the sense of encouraging this drivel? Tell them they are nice people but they should get serious. Tell them if they want to write grab a pen, it’s cheaper and takes up less space. Tell them that if they want to paint to cultivate the space between the eye and brain.


For me the great paintings of history including recent history have never been completely comprehensible, they have always have a sense of depth and mystery that makes coming back a pleasure. But who wants to come back to these less than two dimensional products? Are we to believe that Mortimer Snerd was the progenitor of a race of conceptual artists? Quit boring us or you will force us to move to Cleveland or the north woods of Canada.


I'm not over abstract expressionism. Some of it was crap but in general it was a movement snipped in the bud as art merchants and critics demanded more and more 'development, growth, creativity' from the newly appointed deans of the brush, rushing them and the art scene to its present sad state.
Consider Vito Acconci, who, we are told by our local art guru, is, to say the least a major influence on the art world. He's up there with Andy Warhol, we are told, having grabbed more than his fifteen minutes of fame that Andy promised everyone. His roots are in poetry but he has outgrown that paltry field to become the fast food king of what, not art, that old stuff, but maybe theater. This philosopher vagabond wants to set a record running through the Louvre. While his ideas are interesting in a pathological way, he belongs either in theater (move over Patso ) or a halfway house. I've noticed that theater hasn't laid claim to Vito or any other of the performance or concept genius's and its about time they shared the load, pardon the pun. Hallwalls is the perfect place for Vito although most of the Hallwalls artists are more rooted in realism, expressionism or surrealism than in the abstract or Vito's "art" style. There is the possibility that great things are yet to be done in the old stuff field of art.

 

There are still a few artists trying to make sense of this crazy and tragic dream we call life. And although we gave up hope for the fifteen minutes of fame, we would like to die thinking we left some small footprints, not in the Louvre as we raced through, but maybe in candle illuminated caves. But this kind of serious painting doesn't go over too well with either the general public or the avant garde elite, a strange consensus Years ago the late Gordon Smith told me that Arakawa's sculpture wasn't esthetic. That was discouraging, but not surprising seeing that the gallery had then, and still has, gaps in its collection that could be filled by artists with great visions that are in other fine collections yet aren't 'esthetic' enough for the AAG. Even the gallery's concession to Francis Bacon is a poor example of his work. (Our art guru won't bite the bullet either, he won't say the 'M' word referring to Vito's sex act as sexual solitaire, Whimpville, let's not think about the dark or the dirty. But there I go again speaking ill of the dead.)


I think there are some questions to be asked like, are some artists who's art is firmly mired in the mud of the past, being denied their venue because galleries and critics are catering to the 'show biz' quality of this art? Are curators still suffering a short attention span as they press ahead for the bigger and better? It does take time to develop the craft and personal art language necessary for good art and it is important because we don't live in a vacuum, we do need response, reaction and the time to develop our work. I've seen great artists in my time frantically change their work, go from abstract expressionism to pop, op, hard edge, modular, etc., on and on trying to hold on to fickle audience and keep their avant garde galleries. It didn't come cheaply, they lost the time to really develop their art, lost self respect, and more importantly lost their unique vision. And we all lost too! We lost the products of their mature age Acconci will also find himself in the same situation, because time will replace him with the next series of new 'fad art' to sate the ever increasing appetite of the new trend setters.

THE CONUNDRUM FILE

 It's hard to start after laying down a title like that. I should call it The Great Conundrum File but that would assume that what I want to write about is great and it really isn't. Most of the articles I've written seem to start at 3 A.M , (It probably it has to do with blood and gravity). I wake up thinking about something, usually art critics and other despots, finally getting out of bed and typing when I get overly amused.

This time it happened when I thought of the word "conundrum". It's such a wonderful word. You can almost hear it rumbling on the horizon, a kind of storm cloud that looks amazingly like a huge Italian sausage. It's the kind of word that would have scared away the white armies had the Indians been able to write it in the sky with smoke before each battle. Unfortunately its meaning carries little power, (maybe we should reassign it a new more mysterious enigmatic meaning). I only thought of it as I started thinking of the boobie trio Newt, Dick, and Rush. Just the thought of them makes me want to go back to bed and that's the conundrum I find myself in; how to write about these nasty fellows when I spend so much time avoiding what they have to say. What I need is a higher pain threshold, and that's probably the problem with most liberals. I suggest that we take an equal number of hard core liberals and right wingers, put them into a metal cage and attach a few electrodes attached and prove out this theory. Rats won't do, animal rights and all  that . So there are only a few things I know about these guys. One is that Rush has set a new Guinness record for redundancy. Two is that Dick Army must have been named after the fact, and three is Gnewt must have modeled himself after Santa Skrooge.  

 

Born in a humble log cabin in Georgia, Gnewy, as he was affectionately known to his five friends, studied at his computer by candlelight so as to not overload his program. At first he found it hard to succeed, being put through K twice, but then the hard drive kicked in and before you newt it he was working on his masters degree submitting papers titled "Tanner and the Niebelung" and "Hubert Humphry King of the Hill". He was hedging his bets, being unsure of faculty liberal bias. Gnewy was very conscious of his image even in college, and was the first in his class to have hair implants even though he still had a full head of hair. That was what he learned from the Kennedys'; hair pays, but unfortunately that was all he learned. Gnewy lost his first election for class president but did win a disputed bid to be prom queen (charges of ballot stuffing were dropped). This was the springboard to his future political life and we all know the rest of the story. What? You didn't know he streaks his hair with gray? It gave him that professorial aura until he opens his mouth. And what a mouth it is! If opened wide enough you can see directly into Gnewy's brain or whatever. Sometimes he's been criticized for that trick. "He opens his mouth and his brains fall out." That quote from Ronald Re agan, a braIn himself, and one of Gnewy's heroes. R.R., as he's affectionately known to himself, caught Gnewy's attention when he spent 3.5 billion on his first presidential inauguration, He thought that was neat! Awe Inspiring! Boy, if the rabble can take that they can take anything. It was then that Gnewy experienced his first conundrum vision. He could see it on the horizon, like huge Italian Sausage stuffed with accolades, money and notoriety, rolling down the grill of life toward him! "I can be that sausage", thought Gnewy. "I'll be the RobinHood of the rich, The Pope of patronage, and the Poet Laureate of the proletariat." So with those words Gnewy set out to redefine the meaning of greed.

 

After all it worked with conundrum, You have to hand it to him , then you have to give him a hand . He
was a handy sort of guy, especially when it came to strategy. Maybe I'm giving him too much credit, but didn't he latch onto LBJ's radio station idea, multiplied by thousands, add fifty thousand Rush dittoheads, and feed X million baby boomers the simplistic pabulum they all so richly deserve? Did Gnewy understand and feed on the frustration of the rabble as a great dream of free beer and TV faded? Gnewy knew that American education had failed, that with the rlght formula the pubIic could shoot themselves in the foot, while muttering anti-government slogans, so do the right thing and dissing the environmental movement, the liberal and homeless immigrants, welfare mothers and other easy targets, scapegoats all. "Get those bums out of Washington, and put in someone who will really knowhow to punish us!" "Now," said Newey, "IT'S CONTRAT TIME!" No, not the" contract Gnewy meant the book contract ! Four million dollars for a story I could write in four minutes with a little imagination.

 

Gnewy’s imagination didn't stop with the book deal. He could see solutions to problems were just a matter of mathematics. Birth control is negative, family planning a negative, abortion choice a negative, single mothers a negative; so the answer is obviously orphanages. Positively brilliant. You're right, you never know the whole story, unfortunately it never ends Tax breaks for the rich, defeated minimum wage for the poor, decline of average wage, two working parents (will it soon be necessary to put kids on the payroll) and the short sighted rich get richer as they dismember the base of buying power that gave them the wealth to start with. Let's face it, the classes will soon be defined as the very poor, the middle poor, the uppity poor, the soon to be poor and the worried about being poor. A few middle class disillusioned saps who think they will either be struck by lightning or become rich; the rich and the filthy rich. Oh, I forgot all those middle class people that did so well after years of trickle down economics. Where are they?

 

Worst of all, we have to listen to more rhetoric from the right, splitting the frustrated victims of this greed into self destructing factions. But there may yet be a bit of light on the horizon. Sausage Man may yet split his sides as his appetite increases, and redefined greed comes home to roast.

 

Co-nun-drum  n. a riddle that involves a pun, any puzzling question or problem. 

CORRUPTION


Last night I awoke after a night of many dreams. I must have had about a dozen, waking at the end of each and falling back to sleep to the next installment, except they didn't seem to be related. They were like the salad I ate for dinner, a little bit of this and that, none of which left much of an impression. Dreams were more respected as another kind of life by natives, but those were probably drug induced, not salad induced, and much more intense. Carlos Castenega wrote of experiences with American Indian guru's and the fantastic drug dreams he had that inspired much of the 'drug research' of the sixties. we're not so lucky today when we can only count on indigestion for a second life.

You don't want to wake up thinking about indigestion, its another world down there. We kind of ignore thinking about that part of the body and its potential for embarrassment. It's OK to think about the heart, blood stream,
mind, etc., but don't dwell on guts. I did, in my weakened wakening state I recalled stories of an artist friend who had worked in the emergency ward at the county hospital. I'll spare you those stories, but they got me thinking about the 'after life’ and how we are 'prepared' for it. We all know about embalming, blood, formaldehyde, make up and maybe a few other things, but what happens to that lousy salad, burrito, pizza and big mac that helped dispatch you? Do they have a big vacuum, or do they just sew you up and hope for the best. Does the digestive bacteria keep working unaware that they have been laid off (or should we say 'terminated')? If they do keep working then what?  Is this a revenge for being dealt a boring life. And what would they say of you?

Ever been to a funeral where the dearly departed cut cheese? I haven't, but if you have I'd like to hear from This is where I thought of the word 'corruption', the meaning of which is 'together' and 'to break!. Need I say more? just imagine the poor fellow exploding as an encore to a otherwise uninteresting life. Like he was thinking that sweet Channel Seven, News! ”Yeggs Knock Off Store and Corpse Co-ops Consistently As Funeral Goes Up In Gas", stories to follow”. 

But as we know these fantasies never happen, unfortunately, instead we
have to endure years of Croatian-Bosnian headlines which make the adjective 'corruption' sound weak. It's better applied to the digestive tract. As we know coroners on rare occasions exhume the dead to examine stomach contents, and the rest of us are destined to be examined by future archaeologists to solve the mystery of the big mac.

ART HISTORY

I recently talked to a curator who asked, after seeing my recent work, what the thread was that connected my work. I said that it was probably my interest in using paper, but since then I have reconsidered it. She had only seen the last several years of work and it was hard to see a theme. I did have a history before that including a time that I wasn’t painting.

 

I was a ‘lost’ student who went to college unprepared, almost flunking out my first year. I didn’t find a ‘home’ in art until I got into art school after three years of college and two in the army. My love started with ‘abstract expressionism’, some minimalism then turned dark with influences like Francis Bacon and my contemporaries. It included painting of dark grotesque women and metamorphic themes. I painted, worked for Adele Cohen, became a sixties pseudo hippie, protested the war, traveled thru European art museums and learned how to use my hands. I painted a series of small chairs that morphed, did a play set with Adele for an AKAG play, then started a small gallery with Adele, eventually giving up art to earn a living in remodeling and carpentry. I taught a year of college, managed a small theater, built a solar house with my own hands, taught myself my crafts including plumbing, wood working and electricity and familiarized myself with many materials.

Later I started a ‘career’ in graphic design and returned to work as an artist although I had never been very far away from art or Adele’s art. I joined the “Martin Luther King Celebration Committee”, sorry that I hadn’t participate in the civil rights movement. With the help of the computer I learned to write a bit, who would have believed that. Later I started to do a book on Adele called “A Life In Art” which was finally published after her death, after six years of frustrations with the help of the Burchfield-Penney. 

My art went from dark figures, metamorphic abstractions, to series starting with chairs, landscapes, Volkswagens, trees and portraits to reflections on Mexico. Somewhere in there I did a series of drawings called the Kosovo Series, survivors of war. I then turned to war themes using sculpture and project ideas. My first sculpture using black lunch bags was a mock up for “Illusion/Delusion” and was about lives lost in Iraq. That theme was quickly followed by the “War Ongoing Project” again about the real cost of war. That project was the first of my ideas that tried to involve the viewer in the piece. The viewer was forced to part a maze of black bags containing names of the dead to enter into a room full of other emotional materials.

Bouncing back to a ‘pure’ art form I started a series of sculpture inspired by other artists work but using paper, origami, collage, and other materials and techniques to reform or recreate a new form with new materials including mirrors. My interest in mirrors in art forms again was a way for the viewer to’ participate’ as they became part of the work and the work became more abstract. Mirrors also expanded space as in my mirrored room and the environmental project. They expand both space and imagery. I explain this to show how I bounce between pure and emotionally based art forms. They are both part of who I am.

I wasn’t the typical artist who developed a life theme in their work. Not a Klein, Rothko or Calcagno, working every day in their studios. I see that there are many artists who have bodies of work that reveals nothing about their lives or the times in which they live. My life and my art are not parallel linier developments. It’s not a theme that runs through my art, it’s my life that runs through it. 

I couldn’t do what my art now requires without my prior experiences of work, materials, techniques and knowledge. I couldn’t have done what I do without my values and my belief in the importance of a life. I believe that my work is a reflection of my life. It’s your life that is important even if it’s your art that you leave behind. Can your art have depth, if your life doesn’t? 

September 7, 2015

“YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHEN TO FOLD THEM.”

Thanks, Johnny Cash!

I don’t know where to start. As a young artist I wanted to do ‘serious’ art, you know, life, death stuff and whatever is in between. Loved Kafka, Francis Bacon, Robert Motherwell and Mahler. It still works for me. I wanted my art to carry a message. Being a minimalist was not my thing although I actually did some more or less minimal art while young and looking for a voice. I later ranted about that movement, hoping it would move away. 

My favorite saying was ‘That’s life!’ not knowing what life was but content with its mystery. I can tell ‘young’ people, and that’s just about anyone now, that life’s a lot shorter than they may think. I’m sure that you don’t even get a fast forward replay before the lights go out. I know this is a poor preamble to what I want to talk about.

Let’s skip down the road to the present where things are darker than Kafka if that’s possible. Darker at least because we’re living it and it’s not between pages. After doing some large work that can be summed up as anti-war or for lives lost in war, my thoughts turned to the environment, global warming and the inevitability of its wrath now starting to be played out. 

I had worked with Hugh Levick on one of my projects and we cooked up some ideas about a new and huge project to be called ‘Environment/Maze’. The idea was to put viewers or participants through an experience of simulated disaster. That was about 5 years ago when we started pushing that wet and gooey mass up the hill of hope. We did have a lot of encouragement, good advice and interest. There were also many people that gave donations to make it possible.

 

If you are an artist or creative person you know that good ideas, hard work, etc. often end up in the round file. We depend on failure, in fact failure is necessary  to learn from since success often reinforces repetition not creation.
 We have tried many places, here and around the country to find a host for the project with no success. It’s not unusual for large ideas to fail. Real failure is not trying. We see good ideas fail when people think out of the box and expand the perimeter of expected possibilities. Being large (the Maze was designed to be 8,000 square feet) is great until you have to find a place for it. So after several years of work and hope, yet not finding a home for it, we are giving up on the project. Continuing requires more work and energy than I have, as time squeezes my capabilities. Not quite like flying on wax wings I’m hoping that we can find a soft landing and still get the message or maybe messages out.

 

FUTURE VISION

I often wonder what I want to be in my next life. They are already predicting that we should have a few professions ready to use in this lifetime. It wasn't that long ago that we needed only one skill, one that we could kind of polish up with a rag called "experience" and later reap the rewards for a job well done.

 

Sometimes this only added up to a gold watch, but the real rewards were getting the kids through school and grabbing a few material goodies along the way. Today one wonders what kind of resume is needed when a college education starts you out at UPS or slinging hash at McDee's. Inventing a "McLoaf (that is a slice of meatloaf with gravy, over a burger with catsup) won't get you too far up the corporate ladder. Yet how are we to prepare for a "future" we can't envision?

What we need is a new kind of new news program. I'm kind of tired of the latest war, famine, terrorism and Republican victory news that's ready to send me to a Valium farm. It's not only depressing but can't help us with the future, since its just a repeat of the past. Pd like to see newscaster Irv, on Channel 7 be replaced by one of these mystics that have solved crimes all over the country, and with a little help from the stars and planets, give new meaning to the new in News. We already have accepted a woodchuck named "Phil" as a long range forecaster of seasonal change.

Perhaps a few chirping crickets on the weather would do as good a job for tomorrow's rain or shine. (We already know it will be in the 80's). If this works out maybe Shirley McLaine will anchor the national news, although we may never know what "channel" she's broadcasting on.

 

We don't have to know all the details of the future, we don't want to take all the fun out of living, but there is a lot of good that can come of this, First of all these wonderful seers could tell us who is going to win the Iottery, so the rest of us won't have to waste our money. Secondly they could give us some insider information on the stock market, A few tips could smooth the playing field, although it may be awkward to flip burgers with a portfolio under your arm. Most importantly, we could find out if the Buffalo Bills will ever win a " Superbowl".

“Future News" probably will never happen. The Republicans wouldn't want us to see ourselves manipulated in the future. I don't know why we even now can't admit the " successes" of trickle down economics, tax cuts and other less brilliant scams. So that's why I've decided that in my next life the best profession I could choose would to be an interviewer like Larry King or Teri Gross. What could be better than spending your time talking to the most interesting people, architects, philosophers, actors, writers, musicians, thinkers and doers, and occasionally a politician. For preparation, you have to do a lot of reading, not too shabby a life style. Larry King is not my first choice. If I have to be someone , I want to be like Charlie Rose, good looking, suave, intelligent, with lots of sex appeal. This I can see would take a major makeover. 

GLOBAL TOMBSTONE   


   My muse and I often kid about what we would like on our tombstones. Mostly with a sense of humor. We agree that there are several inscriptions that bring out the laughs like “I knew this would happen” and “Here lies an atheist, all dressed up and no place to go” but the funniest we agree is “I told you I was sick”. 
   

Let’s think about the present where things are darker than Kafka if that’s possible. Darker at least because we’re living it and it’s not between pages. After doing some large work that can be summed up as anti-war or for lives lost in war, my thoughts turned to the environment, global warming and the inevitability of its wrath now starting to be played out. The New York Times recently ran a magazine section, (dressed in black, every page) about where we missed the boat on fixing the oncoming problems of now apparent Global Warming. People realized what was coming down the tracks back in the 70’s, but who would listen. Who, apparently didn’t listen and that dark train seems to be coming faster and faster. We see it every day in the news if we’re not reading the comics. All over the world and in the US, heat, fire, drought, rising waters, famine and migrations are starting an upheaval that apparently goes unnoticed by those not effected directly. We go on with our lives, shopping, getting pedicures, eating and eating, and watching celebrities dance and sing. Hundreds of deaths in India from heat or torrential rain are met with apathy.

 
Epicurean philosophers believed leading a life of pleasure would be the greatest good, the reverse being that a life of pain really sucks. We’re on that road and our choices are few to none. Those who don’t believe in Global Warming support a leader who after many years gave up on the ‘birther’ belief but hasn’t a clue on climate change and won’t, until he’s golfing on a swamp called Mara Largo. Let the good times roll!


Eight years ago Hugh Levick and I got an idea for a project on the environment which we called “Environment/Maze Project” It was a great, very large multi-media piece designed to give the viewer a sense of what it would be like to be in a disaster.  We spent time developing it and more time trying to find a place in the states and elsewhere for it to be set up. We recently gave up on it, running into too much apathy and no senses of urgency. As Johnny Cash sings: “You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them.”


Even if we were collectively wise and intelligent we would have to accept that our civilization has a limited shelf life. There are too many possibilities out there for disaster beside the man made ones. Dinosaurs made it through two million years without a thought in their heads but when extinction happened it happened very quickly. They didn’t plan ahead, sound familiar? One dinosaur called Frank, I think, was heard to be singing “That’s life, that’s all there is to it.” I wish I didn’t have to quote old songsters, but relied more on historians or philosophers. 


How many billions of years old is the earth? Like rings on trees the strata reveals how tenuous our time here is. If you believe in an afterlife it’s not so bad. Maybe you want to be recycled or if you have enough money shot into  vast space. It’s kind of romantic I think. We want to live forever and I can understand that. Life has been good for some of us and I wouldn't want to trade mine for any other person, rich or famous. On my tombstone, if I had one, maybe it would say “I told you, you should have listened” or “I’ve arrived and no one’s here!” or “Why have women put up with me?” Take that!

MAKE US GRATE AGAIN

Hey, guys, I woke up this morning with a most brilliant idea. I can make America Great Again! Really! I don’t want to sound like Donald Trump, but really, it could work. It’s simple and unlike the Donald it would mean that we wouldn’t have to build ‘The Wall’.  Nor would we have to stop immigrants from coming over the border, or raise wages for the poor. And the Republicans would get their wish for smaller government, less taxes and a free land grab on some of the best underground wealth around. All these and many more benefits could happen with the proverbial flip of a switch.

 

Have you guessed where I’m going with this? Actually not to far, it’s right below us. Mexico! Yes, we just have to offer Mexico the right to take back all of the land that we grabbed over the pretention of a fight at the Alamo. Reparation’s! I mean that was really a lot of land to grab for a little fight. 

And the Mexican’s, they would jump at the chance to actually own the land that they have been working at so hard, doing all the poor paying jobs that we don’t want to do. That would make them so happy that they would gladly build a wall to keep us out! Some would hate the idea I know. After all some of the richest people in the world are Mexicans. They already own most of Mexican wealth and government. They think rich Americans are slow to get ahead. After all, how hard is it to buy the government and several sport teams to make the poor happy. We tend to think of Mexico as a poor country but they’re not. It’s more like poor people sitting on a rich country.

 

But that’s not the deal. The Deal I would make would be that we would incorporate them into our wonderful democracy! All of their states could become states of the Union. It would mean that we would have to take on a lot more Senators and Representatives but we could pay them less and keep benefits to a minimum. Finally the Republicans can get another chance to reach out, as they proposed after the 2012 election, to all those potential minority voters, people that gladly vote for the ‘dream’ of better jobs and less discrimination. Dream on babies!

No more ‘Nanny’ problems for politicians. No more trouble finding gardeners. No maid problems. No more trouble with factories being built in Mexico, they would be back in the States! Look at all the great beaches we could now own. No long lines going through customs. There are just too many benefits to name. Look at it this way Liberals; we could get rid of Texas! Ted Cruz too. Maybe we could throw in Utah and Alabama. I could make that deal! I could not only make America great again I could make it ‘Bigger and Greater’.  Might have to change the name a bit, like Amexica or maybe a corporate style name like AMX. Could work!

Don’t worry about the drug wars, we wouldn’t have any fights about smuggling drugs into the country, we could actually attach them to the free trade agreement and really make out. It’s all plusses! And one more last benefit, the women down here are absolutely beautiful. There is something to say about the Mexican diet combined with high heels. It seals the Deal. Get another life Donald.


HAPPY COUPLE

There has been great interest lately in odd life styles. One of the strangest programs brought to mind is the obnoxious TV hour called “Lives of the Rich and Famous”, (you can rub elbows with wealthy people with bad taste via TV) if you can stand Robin What’shisname’s awful voice and accent. This program must have been aborted from between the pages of ‘Architectural Digest’, where they regularly show the houses of celebrities and are use to bad taste. When I started this I was thinking more of the life styles of gay and lesbian couples who want to adopt children or want them by artificial insemination. For some reason ‘normal’ people can’t seem to fathom that gays are just as sensitive, loving and rational as the rest of us. I think they look at them as a kind of ‘pod people’, most definitely alien. These stories come to us through all sorts of media, fodder for fat heads.


To find the most extreme cases of odd life-styles, consult your supermarket library, the tabloids. In my nest life I’d like to write for one of them just to get it out of my system. You have to admit they are the most ‘creative’ form of journalism, it’s just to bad so many people believe the stories. My theory is that after centuries of trying to believe politicians we are susceptible to almost anything. For instance how many of you believed the story about the CIA hiring psychics to solve their intelligence gaps”. Do believe the part about their success rate? Did you believe that our Intelligence Agency was satisfied being wrong eighty five percent of the time? That story, people, originated with the tabs and was later picked up by mainstream press. Here’s another test: did you believe that Nancy Regan had engaged a psychic to plan the president’s day? No? The truth of that story is that it stemmed from a misprint. She had hired a psychic to run what is know as the president’s ‘kitchen cabinet’ as it was so aptly called. That story wouldn’t have caused even a minor stir. Let’s face it, we’re like big gobs of putty, ready to be molded into any form by the most outrageous idea. 


Of course there are some stories that sound wacko but are actually true. You may have noticed that here in the business world where there has been a constant use and upgrading of computers that more and more employees have either brought computers home or had the company set up work stations in the home. Work home or home work as we use to call it has many advantages for the company and one might wonder why the workers have embraced it with enthusiasm. The truth is that may workers like their computers, I mean really like them as one would like a friend. After all they spend many hours looking at the screen and seeing what? Very, very subtly they see their own image reflected in the screen as the background image changes. Not only do they stare at that image they carry on a conversation with it in their minds. You know, they plan their day, make a shopping list, decide on entertainment, vacation, etc., much as we would do with a friend as they fall in love with the computer. I have seen it with my own eyes, this is more than just bonding! On the Internet there are many sources of consultation for users who are having ‘computer’ problems. If you read some of these inquiries they would embarrass you. All these users of the Internet do not have high standards. Some want to ‘cross-use’, others seek ‘group affiliations’. It’s only those with high standards that seek and find the Reverend Digital Disk, that will make this bonding legal in the eyes of the computer community. 
You may ask where is this taking us? 
I DON’T KNOW!

HEADCHEESE

I popped into Sybeles coffee house to pick up a latte to go, and inadvertently slid into an on-going conversation about, (you would never guess) - Headcheese! Don't ask me how it had started, I plead innocent. Believe me its not a pleasant subject. The waitress and another customer were discussing, or is it disgusting, what went into it, how gross it looked, who would ever buy it, why any one would make it, etcetera. I interjected my two cents, that I thought it was put together in a clear plastic resin that would last forever. Maybe future anthropologists would use the DNA therein to reconstitute several species. No one would ever buy any of it, (kind of like those fake dishes you see in the windows of oriental restaurants,). I added that I thought that it probably was just baloney before being ground into an unrecognizable mass. At that point I took off with my latte before thing got too ugly.


Later on I started to think about all the strange food we eat, and how we manage to disguise some of it mostly during the cooking and presentation. I remember reading stories as a kid, about ship survivors fishing off rafts and eating the fish raw. Like most kids, I thought that was really awful, but realized that they had to, to survive. Today we have Sushi. At Tops! At Wegaman's a trip to the fish department reveals a huge array of different species. You could imagine that there was a catastrophe at the New York Aquarium, (blame it on terrorists,) so all the tanks were emptied of their contents and sent on ice to Wegman's.

 

There are species we never would have consider eating, not too many years ago. They use to call them 'junk fish' and were thrown back or cooked in a boulebase until unrecognizable Eating junk fish, octopus, calamari or shark, isn't just a trendy thing to do. We're eating them of course because we're running out of the more popular species through over fishing. That and the ever increasing flow of new peoples from other lands bringing in new foods and recipes. Why do you think they call this the 'melting pot', It's because of the introduction of all these new and unusual food forms to throw into our already overflowing boulebase. This country exceeds any other in the world, not necessarily in quality, but defiantly in the variety of foods to eat. I've been to Italy, France, and Greece. The food there is great but its all available on Elmwood Avenue, those and more, not quite the same, sometimes not as good, sometimes better. After a while, even if you're squeamish about some of these varieties you find yourself trying them. You could even get to like them. You could, as long as you stay away from headcheese. Never, never, never!

 

NOTES ON ITALY

I just Returned from a trip to Italy where I traveled from Rome to Florence and environs. My biggest disappointment was that the bread was bad. Yes, it was awfulsuspect that this so called bread that I tried to eat is only a 'mock up', an adornment only to be seen not eaten. The same basket is passed from diner to diner, meal to meal, day to day, without ever being eaten. It must be economy, it makes the meal look bigger without adding to the already substantial cost. It wasn't possible to get the price below ten dollars a meal, even in moderate or economical restaurants, so be prepared to pay when you visit the 'cradle of civilization’.

When you visit a place where tradition seems to be everything, be prepared for an occasional shock. Walking through the narrow winding streets is a little like time travel. These buildings have been around a long time. I have relatives that I know have occupied the same building for well over a hundred years, so I'm sure that some buildings have been in families for centuries. Little Towns sit on hill and mountain tops where they were better able to defend themselves from invaders and unwanted plagues that ran rampant through larger cities and towns. The terrain determined the layout of streets, they were never planned, unless you consider trails left by goats two thousand years ago the inspiration for future development. When you get into Siena, you swear that your in a designed maze and that someone up above is checking your progress and assigning you an I.Q. Travelers should come equipped with a mini computer program to assist or at least a ball of string.


The up-side of all these problems is the art of course. You can now see the "Last Judgment", freshly cleaned, as much as it was when Michelangelo descended the scaffolding and said "One small step for art, one large step for Tourism”. 


I have a couple of favorites that aren’t paid a lot of attention. One is the wooden Mary Magdalene, of Donatello. The figure looks emaciated, dark, eaten away by ants or scorpions. Not the pretty picture of a woman saved by a God. She was an early model of redemption possibly saved from being stoned at that time. Her life may have been interesting before joining the crew of an early religious ‘Merry Pranksters’ but I wouldn’t want to read the book. 


Another gem, in front of all that visit St. Peters but rarely noticed, is the main bronze gates of the Vatican. Huge and all sculpted by different artists. They may not equal the amazing golden ‘Gates of Paradise’ by Lorenzo Ghiberti at the Florence Cathedral Baptistry but two of them caught my eye with very abstract figures flattened out but still revealing form and dimension. Don’t know who did it, but a he was a leader of his time.

Enough art, let’s eat. Where to go? Anywhere in Tuscany where you can’t find a bad meal even if looking. Stop in any small restaurant and love awaits you. Is there a dish with mushrooms, get it. Pasta cooked perfectly and varieties unknown here. Not a lot of tomato sauce, these are mind exploding recipes brought down in the black aprons of wise old crones, secrets that come from making something out of nothing and finding jewels. 
I love french cooking but ‘Oh you Gal!’

KANSAS CITY, MO

There is a massive hurricane going on in Florida but in Independence, Missouri the weather is perfect. There is a Tom Toles cartoon depicting an array of disasters, flood, heat, tornados, etc. and in the flood there are two figures, one asking if it God punishing us. The other says it’s us punishing ourselves. How much will the earth boil before we decide to not only admit it but to take some drastic actions.

My last day in the KC area, and I’m wondering about what I have learned here. Gerry, visiting her family and having a high school reunion brought me into contact with many people that I have found to be more interesting than I would have thought. Last time we were here her family gathered around her sister’s living room. There wasn’t a lot of exchange between me and them, everyone spread over the living room watching the football game and me on the periphery feeling ‘out of it’. This time there was no game and we all interacted exchanging family history, photos and other travel interests.  Warm and personal, it could have been a picture on one of Norman Rockwell’s magazine covers. The closeness of the family would have been the central theme. 

Independence you may know is the birthplace of Harry Truman and it’s hard not to know that with all of the roads and other places with his name attached. People here know where he worked as a kid, his simple house where his family lived and there is now a huge library with his presidential papers and information on his term as president. Harry no doubt is the reigning hero of Independence. He was a simple man known for his phrase “The buck stops here.” He didn’t mind responsibility and didn’t blame others for mistakes.

Yesterday we went to the Nelson Atkins Gallery roaming through galleries of old paintings some of which depicted martyrs of religious belief. Today is also September eleventh, 9/11. It’s a day of infamy as on that day over three thousand people died helping several true believers get to heaven. It’s not easy being a believer in a cause to the extent that you can give up your life for that cause. Having a reward of heavenly gifts could help but it’s a lot to justify taking all of those people with you. They felt they were at war with us, a war we weren’t too aware of.

 

Sometimes it’s an automatic reaction, and taking a life to protect yourself or your family is the right thing to do. When that’s extended to protecting your home and country there are many who have and still give up life, love, and future. But I do have a hard time understanding the violence that seems to percolate from the top, politics and religion, down to the streets where tooting your horn can get you into a lot of deep trouble. 

Politics and war are good bedfellows. We know how war can make us less than we should be. We Americans can’t justify many of out actions. Being aware of that and keeping it in mind should temper our actions especially when we have the upper hand. I blame Truman for dropping the bombs on a country on its knees. It didn’t bother him too much, he never looked back and as he said “the buck stops here.”  That casual action without reflection, without feeling the pain of that action sets the stage for other violence against us. As in physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. 

KING DAVID

The story goes that King David was a benevolent king and every thing was
hunky-dory until he decided to institute taxes. The people were furious, (not unlike today's reaction), but unsure about how to attribute this action. If David was Gods emissary, how could a good God do this terrible thing? To answer this dilemma the devil was invented| David was the very first world leader to be heard to mutter "The 'debil' made me do it." David either had a speech impediment or hadn't yet been advised by God on how to spell 'devil'. But the crowds knew. They were saying "How the hell" and/or "How the devil does he expect us to pay" Thus in the short space of a day or two both the devil, hell and taxes were created. That's not a bad accomplishment for mankind seeing that it took God a week to create the heavens and earth etc. And look how well that concept has been used.

Before David, if you did something wrong, your friends and neighbors would say "don't do that". Today your neighbors may picket your house with signs saying 'baby killer' or 'polluter' or your name may be attached to a sermon from the pulpit condemning you to a barbecue in the south. That's not so bad when you consider other punishments that were doled out by fellow man. These punishments were usually perpetrated against women, whose capacity to hold another being within them, was seen by men to be a strange and mysterious thing, probably attributable to the devil. Maybe it was even possible that the devil resided within them, and that could explain their bad moods after being abused. That opened up the way for a lot of creative cooking ideas like lake marinating before masting at
the skewer. A little hell on earth, but it saves God aIl that work.
You often hear the right wing decry today's moral degeneration and wish
for the 'good old days'. I wonder if deep down they aren't wishing for the 'fire and brimstone' of that era. If they could get rid of those liberals they could really have a ball, but in lieu of that they have to be 'subtle'. The I right', so wrongly named really latched onto this devil concept. They could see how well it worked in religion, from the crusades to the inquisition, jolly well good! All those feelings against Hitler were soon to find another subject and conveniently it was communism. What a terrible idea and philosophy! Sharing the wealth! That's worse than sharing loafs of bread and some fish, and conflicts with our wonderful ideas of the cream rising to the top, theory of society. Ten percent rich and the rest of the skim clawing away to get up there (It gives them something to do).

After the collapse of that Reagan's 'devil' society, and since the right no longer had the boogie man to scare us into the spending policies of the Reagan era, I thought we could move on to a new time of rebuilding But the right wasn't about to be wrong They created a new devil to take the blame for the results of massive spending under Reagan, That devil was the poor, the unemployed, and the immigrants. They were sucking up the wealth of our society. While the few and getting fewer liberals stood around with their mouths open, the right refashioned the devil. In the attire of the lowest classes. Well, if the bottom of society is the devil, reasoned all those ditto heads, then the top must be the heavenly, most worthy, and most god like of us all. Makes sense. Isn't that why we're all trying to get there. But let's take a look at who's all up there that we want to join. Donald Trump, John Steinbrenner, Leona Helmsley etc., you know all those great people the republicans want to give tax breaks to, the other breaks going to breaking the backs of the disenfranchised. Now we don't want to back 'the wacko right, and other convicted felon' broadcasters into a corner with this logic but isn't this system designed to keep the poor down? Doesn’t Allen
Greenspan keep a lid on the economy, that is, interest rates are raised to keep production down so that the job market won't cause the pressure on wages to rise? In the name of slow inflation we allow the poor no wage inflation. As a matter of policy we create the unemployed, and then blame and punish them so the right can squeeze out more tax breaks for the rich. 

Don't ask the right to explain this, they can only tell you that "the devil made them do it".

LANDSCAPE

I've heard that the Native American Indians could more easily define information in a vertical format than the Europeans, who were horizontally oriented. This may be explained by the Indians relationship to and life among the trees. Some tribes, it is said, had names for individual trees.


We immigrants came to this country, already acclimated to a horizontally written language, and used to clearing trees to farm. We made our landscape flat and broad; (the artists horizontal format is also referred to as a landscape format). Today of course many of us live in cities among tall vertical buildings, so our processing of information may be in the state
of confusion, somewhat like that of the Native Americans, coming from the other direction.
But the artists landscape us more than of our relationship to the mother earth. That has become more abstract as we plow the aisles of supermarkets, and blanket our homes against the weather. Even farmers play stocks and other investments. They politic government subsidies in elbows. Painting the traditional landscape seems to be an escape.

 

We are crowded with changing people and ideas and attitudes. Book stores are full of our stories, dreams, fantasies; our thoughts, history, philosophies and memories. They form a wonderful though incomplete mosaic of mankind. The missing titles fascinate and motivate artists, writers and others; we want to finish the work; to know ourselves; to
control our destinies.  Previously written articles that included art, politics, religion
and social observation; usually intermixed. I admit I have an "attitude" and I have some fun with it. I usually try my best to knock the ivory tower, elitist reviewers that make art into a game of sophist ideas. Their altar bears the image of Vito Acconci, their psycho-babble praises “Bel du Jour” as a wonderful joke on the bourgeoisie. Death is preferable to living the life of the art critic for one day.


My objection is that the art scene should be broader, even though each artist must focus and develop his own particular image. Humor, sentimentality, grief, satire, all have their place and should not be excluded. If we are what we eat, then our intellectual diet better include all aspects of this strange and wonderful existence, both the “positive” and the
"negative." It would be very strange if our "footprints” left for future historians didn't reflect the great contrasts between the rich and the poor, the obese and the starving, the free and the oppressed.


Art should be a part of everyone's life, freeing them from the pedantic struggle of daily routines, recreating their lives. The object of this is not to outwit the Japanese; not to develop several Gauguins, but to develop our humanity. Who wouldn't like to strap Newt into a chair and force feed him with shredded Art Voice copies until he shit a little creativity or showed a bit of compassion for the poor. Maybe a diet of art at an earlier age would have helped him and maybe some political talk as part of a larger menu would be good here.

More roughage! Better processing! We could produce a better product than Vito Acconci.

_________________________________________________________________

LAST WORDS

Person dying in a hospital bed, heart monitor on and beeping, thoughts going through his head of erotic and former loves. Thoughts become more frazzled, stream of conscious breaking-up in the end.

 

“Let me draw the lines that enthrall my mind, that speed my blood and hurry passions pleas. Let me trace the outlines of your walk and follow gesture free.” –my arty farty lines, must have been on some kind of love acid. “Let me roam your fields and fly your breath and shade each shallow rise. Let me color in your neck and cheek, your lips and then your eyes.” –too much rhyme and anatomy, I drew with my eyes and lips. I’d rather have licked a path around that delicious body, great fun it was being sure to stop at all her intersections. Great fun? Maybe not, I was dreamy , in a dream, a mellow dream on Budda’s medication. Licking paths , yeah through salted arm pits and sweet ass. “Twin peaks of rare delight” There is a god lust, in those murky essences and primal delights. “Deep thrusts of nose and mouth, tender bites and searching tongue and more, an almost religious need, arm entwined, parting, serving up delicious morsels to my insatiable demands.” What a time! “Highways to new delights” What was it like? Where are those dreams? What’s happening? God I hate to be here. That damn beeping. Let me go! I’ll walk out…out into the arms of love?...into the arms of which love? Whos sweet ass and cunt? They should merge and be the Superlove, the super whatever, great enough for my musty lusty nose and prick…twin explorers, follow your nose and hose, to the rose, a sweet target. Did I lick her precious pedals, find solace in passion, was it passion? It seemed to be to slow for passion, a Freudian journey home, a homage to the motherlode. What a load it was. But she loaded me. My swollen and tender balls, full of anticipation, waiting for a just cause, a much delayed delivery. Hold on jack, just checking the merchandise,… the moist and tender merchandise, that special morsel for my morel. “Pollen laden pedals, mystical chalice of myrrh and musk, dark passage to devilish delights.” 
But first the altar of white thighs. Pay homage to that which did deliver. “Long, loving and worshipping caresses prepare, relax and shape this hollowed ground. What more can one desire, this holy grail, this chalice prepared to drink mysterious nocturnal female essence, this pungent mother earth aroma. Pressing mouth against the mother host with long parting swells of welcome, inner tender flesh and copulent nectar”, how sweet it was. Will this be heaven? What other world can offer more reward than passage through those hot gates. No reward, no mystery, no hope awaits me, just the darkest of dark after the last whimper. If I could shake my fist instead, resistantly refuse to pass. Demand quick delivery to where? To the mother womb from whence we started this trip. 

 

This journey of fucks and sucks and licks and kicks. Lots of squeeze to start with, but no little squealers to end. Fuck it! Who needs it now? This journey will end. Nothing there anyway. Give me my memories now! Back to the room or earthly delights. I’ll lick my way to heaven if God can’t transport me. Heaven, heaven no, give me more life, less effort, more flow, mellow flow, head full, eyes closed, “these bruised lips host passage to my cranial core, those hot gates, this hot breath, deep and slow, and slow and sweet, lost but heaven bound”. Slow and deep, not deep enough, never deep enough to know. “This inner landscape, textured knolls and juicy dales”, yes, juicy and tender, a tempting treat, a succulent entrée au jus, rare, no king ate better here, a meal for all to share, and some did. Others did. Prepare the feast. Seasoned with other juice yet better for it. No virgin territory here, give me only ripe fruit, maybe over ripe a bit, given a choice, ripe and warm and sweet. 
I could use some warm flesh to soothe my cold bones, crawl in beside me, wrap me up, ready for delivery, UPS to heaven or hell, with a bow, just in time for Christmas or the devil’s mass. More likely the no mass, the non-world, the know thing. Who will be there to sign for me? 
Snow or wind or rain, let it blow me away, the ultimate blow job or snow job, a job for the snow blower or wind mower. But beware, be aware, lest all my moving parts reconstitute themselves, into what, I can’t think what I would be, some sexy thing, giant organ or fleeting flavor, whatever that means. Let me be the host for my own organ of many pipes. I’ve been that in my dreams at least, erotic dreams of self-indulgence. If only it could be reserved for the next life of dreams come true. Not all, but ones of pleasure, erotic pleasure in a garden of earthly delights. Show me de light, de light at the end of the tunnel. What a vision, and who’s delightful tunnel. Do I get to ride the train? Be the conductor, or be the locomotive, motivated, penetrative, and lubricative. Sounds too rough still, No dildos allowed. Sex re-al, reel up the organ, chug, chug, get it into position, activate all systems, organ-ize the attack or attack the organ or whatever, whenever, consummate the act, eat the act or the organ or the organization, a group of organs, group sex or sex by groupies…I must be getting delirious, be serious, remember the Maine or remember the member. Remember the pussy, curly hair and nine lives and sweet smell and parting lips sinking ships sinking my ship of good intentions, good for me and pleasure for you. Just spread your lovely thighways, direct me to your underpass. I’ll find the way without a map. Make good connections and come in on a glide path, no co-pilot, flaps down, dump the wings, this is not a test just blame it on the medication. No pain no blame.- Fuck this shit I’m out of control, not good for pilot or lover. Be cool, keep your cool, keep your cool, let her writhe in pleasure, ride in pleasure, waves of rising warmth, be cool, challenging caresses, liquid arms and legs, flowing currents of juice, jolting my brain and butt, and I know I’m out of control, shell shocked legs and mind, -- my organ, the same, waves of pleasure, beyond pleasure, - beyond life and the pleasures of death,-- slipping away, devoid of body and being,----- of self and soul,--------- into the void.  

MACHO MAN


I've been trying to get my pool table set up by the new year. It's a monster table with heavy slates that I bought from an old pool hall. Very difficult to level. It's been in storage for many years, and I finally had the space for it and spent some time rebuilding the old battered legs and re-veneering as best I could. My old friends remember it from the last time I had it set up and have suggested a black tie opening when it is finally finished. I was talking with one of my friends on the phone about this the other day. After we talked about the black tie affair the conversation continued: "Well, Bill, what are you doing today?" "Judy's got me cleaning the house. What about you?" "I'm chasing dust balls around too. It's been a while since I cleaned." We laughed. "We really are a couple of wimps." I said, "Maybe we should really make this pool table opening into a man's thing, no women invited, cigars and lots of dirty jokes. Loud music too: I'll get a recording of "Macho Man" and we'll play it all night!" "Yeah" laughed Bill "We really need our egos re-inflated" I could hear Judy in the background laughing too and telling Bill to get back to work.
I'm not married but I still get my share of orders from the opposite sex. I do my share of complying too, hoping to keep my balance on the tight rope of civilized behavior. Men aren't very good about the subtleties of language ("What do you mean by that?") and it often gets us in trouble. It seems I'm always on the back of my heels with women, just waiting to be pushed over. Trying to figure them out, i.e. learning to dance around their moods while dancing around your own, can lead to broken or at least sprained legs. My advice is to approach each situation cautiously, put on your leg warmers, do some stretching exercises, feel them out with some neutral inquiries, check the barometer, and take a quick guess. Rather than being on the defense all the time we might do better offensively. I don't mean developing bad breath and body odor, which would solve all your problems with women, the more subtle approach would be to convince them of your sensitivity. Play the part of the sensitive artist. When they see you staring into space, they think you're deep instead of just tired or bored. See, you've stolen their high ground. You may even contemplate being a poet. We all can write bad poetry, I've got some to spare, if you can't.
If you don't like this approach you can try to be surly, threatening, and generally obnoxious, but with today's modern and well read women, this can be dangerous. It would be better if you ate lots of garlic. I don't know why I'm writing this, I could get into trouble if it falls into the wrong hands; you know who. I guess my ego needs a boost, because I'm sure looking forward to that party. Just like old times, beer, smoke, pool, jokes and lots of loud music. "Macho Man! Macho Man! Macho Man!" Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

 

 

MORE COFFEE!

Again I was drinking my latte at the bookstore coffee shop and curiously observing a few of the local kids soaking  up the sun and atmosphere, (fumes I guess) on Elmwood Avenue. They were garnished in the latest attire including haircuts that are guaranteed to shivery bones come winter. I noticed too that a young girl was sporting a couple of large, rather badly designed tattoos on her calves. We should really start an art school for tattoo artists, the present crop must be more into pain than design. I wondered how this present generation of nose ringers wasting to fare when they put away the toys of youth and accommodate the real world. This isn’t a case of me condemning youth. We all were young and I admit a certain amount of jealousy and a death wish to be young again. I survived the sixties and hid my bell bottoms away although I could retrieve tham. Retrieving them won’t help, they wouldn’t fit and I would have to velcro the bottom bells onto my present pants if I wanted to revisit my past.
Well I gave up on that style and went quietly into the night, as did the next generation when they secretly hid their disco records. What I was wondering was how was this gal going to put away her tattoos? They are hard to get rid of and costly and have been known to grow like mold until the victim is forced into servitude in a circus, or possibly repairing Harleys in some mid-west bike shop. The hair, bless it will grow again and probably the holes will refill. A can of auto body filler may help. Maybe the boom box generation will wear hearing aids designed to look like ear rings. 
To get back to tattoos, my problem is that I’m a romantic and think that the body is already perfect. It doesn’t need adornment, especially tattoos which like body hair mostly needs to be in special places and is functionless, reminding us occasionally of our ape ancestors.
This attitude is not realistic, I have no idea where it came from. It was natural for artists like Michelangelo not to include hair on the legs of David or the Greeks giving Aphrodite’s armpits the works. God may have wanted it on us but we all know God wasn’t perfect. 
If God had rested before the seventh day he would have noticed his previous mistakes. I feel the same way about men although some women like the ‘teddy bear’ look reinforcing their sometime bad judgement when it comes to judging men. More visits to the Zoo could possibly be helpful to these women and make them conscious of what’s beneath the skin. If I were God or some other politician I would require that men shave their bodies. Part of the ‘Contract on America’ I think. Makes sense! Republicans like to be clean cut, well shaved and good looking. They hate hippies, beards and excess hair. They probably dislike tattoos too so maybe I should join in and get a flag tattooed on my you know what. I’ve got to stop drinking those double espressos. 

THE DIGITAL IMAGE, BEYOND THE SURFACE

Milton Warwick


In 1989 Ben Perrone returned to the University of Buffalo to study graphic arts thinking it would be a way to escape from the dust and chemical intrusions of his profession as a cabinet-maker. This happened at a time when the graphic arts industry was changing from a hands on paste-up craft to a computer driven industry. It was a digital revolution. While the computers sped the time to compose, the basic composition of images in print remained. Screened dot images continued to be the basis of print and of some art images. Think of screen-printing. This dot screen or digital image didn’t translate to sculpture which required the actual use of ‘moldable’ material to build or reveal a three dimensional piece. 
   That bridge of digital to sculpture has been made in a recent show of a piece of sculpture by Mr. Perrone now showing at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, a suburb of New York City. The sculpture is twenty-five feet high by twenty-one in other directions. Called “Illusion/Delusion” and commissioned three years ago by the Burchfield Penney under the direction of Ted Pietrzak, it dominates the space as it floats before and above you. The first impression is moving, spiritual and solemn. Built like an upside down half pyramid the point floats just off the floor. It is not solid but digitally constructed out of small black bags spaced evenly hanging on monofilament lines. It gives the impression of a ships bow pressing through the wall behind it. The space between the bags is accentuated by the back lighting and it changes constantly as one walks around and under. Looking up from below it one might imagine a space ship moving slowly past. You can see it in front and above you from the same spot. It seems at times to be a solid image yet it’s porous or spacey and as you walk lines of light shine between rows of bags. There is nowhere that you stand that it’s not impressive. That mass is made out of small black lunch bags, four thousand three hundred bags containing the names of the American casualties in Iraq at the time that the sculpture was constructed.  “Illusion/Delusion” may refer to political motives or to the dream or nightmare of war. 
   Three years ago Mr. Perrone, who describes himself as an anti-war inactivist, produced a piece at the BPAC called “War Ongoing Project” filling the project room with ten thousand black bags, video, art, stories from PTSD soldiers and original music composed for the piece by Hugh Levick. The viewers had to part their way through a maze of hanging bags, knowing they also contained names of war dead, in order to force an intimacy with the subject. Acclaimed locally for it’s powerful impressive and dark content it now lies dormant in storage.
   The artist refers to himself as a failed  student who didn’t find himself until he wandered into the Albright Art School after poor showings at the university and in the army. He said that “The smell of oil paint was overwhelming, even intoxicating.” On his way to where he now finds himself he won art prizes, showed in some national exhibitions, did some theater work, became a carpenter and designer and then a cabinet-maker. He also worked with Adele Cohen on her art projects, hand built a solar house and worked as a graphic artist. “My experience in these fields was valuable to me in taking on these large pieces and projects. I couldn’t have done them if I had just been a painter.” In the early ninety’s he bought and refurbished a warehouse where he currently lives and works. 
   Except for some early sculpture the artist had mostly been a painter, working very small and on themes that included, as starting images, chairs, landscapes and even Volkswagen’s. Like his early work after art school his paintings were about metamorphic development. His last paintings that were inspired by his visits to Mexico were about the collision of powers.
   Mr. Perrone has taken a detour since then and it has included some very large work. On a trip to Mexico he spotted a Frank Gehry Wiggle Chair, which inspired a piece of sculpture made from a sliced up Wiggle Chair. This started a series of work using collage and referencing other artists. One such piece is ten-foot square, referencing Chuck Close. Based on a Close painting it uses painted paper origami collage hung in ten layers to form the image of a face. Seen up close it is very abstract but from its focal point twenty-five feet away the image is in focus. 
   Another piece called “Van Ghost” uses two-inch mirrors to disrupt half of the image. This relates to the Close image, as you approach it becomes more abstract.  You see yourself in the mirrors and experience the rest of the piece as small abstract origami art. This piece led to a sixteen foot mirrored work called “Reflections on Monet” where the mirrored surface of Monet’s lily pads reflects the “Starry Night” sky hovering above it.
The artist then returns to a political theme referencing the artist Yayoi Kusama. She was in her early teens in Japan when the bombs racked the country. She shared a two ‘man’ show at the Zuni Gallery in Buffalo in the early sixties that was run by the artist Adele Cohen and Mr. Perrone. From her recent show the artist uses a Kusama pillow to represent the bomb blast on a horizontal sixteen-foot circle of collaged destruction. Called
“Kusama/Hiroshima/Terrorism/Truman” this work indicts the President as a terrorist since his actions fit the  definition spelled out on the piece. 
   The artist is now working on a twenty-seven foot long mirrored room referencing the artists Robert Irwin and Lawrence Calcagno. That piece will make the viewer feel that he is in the middle of a cascade of water, possibly walking a tightrope across the falls.
   Another project that tries to force the viewer into taking part, not just being a casual viewer is also in the works. Called “The Enlightenment” it is an environmental piece slated to be presented as a pilot project in Mexico. “Hugh Levick and I are looking for funding for the piece that includes original music, video projection, art and special sculpture pieces. We believe it will be an innovative project and a boost for the environmental community” said the artist.
   “Building large art pieces and designing projects at a time when most artists slow or end their careers seems like a fruitless task, but there it is, I’m pursuing it until I run out of ideas or time. I love doing it and I love when people appreciate it. I would like to have some recognition nationally and find some homes for my art, but the truth is that most art institutions and the media are encapsulated, protecting themselves and their emails from outside intrusion. Getting recognition largely depends on who you know and where you live and work. So you’re left with the choice or where to spend your energy. Are you going to spend time and money banging on doors, knowing that chances of success are poor to nil, or put that effort into your art?” Mr. Perrone acknowledges that he tries to include both, but most of his effort is in his art. “Ultimately the art has to be good to survive although there are no guarantees. One must know that in the long view of time neither art or mankind will survive.”

THANKSGIVING RANT

One of the benefits of age is that you get to go back to school; you can actually audit classes in the state schools. In my case I'm auditing a history course. Today our Professor quoted 'that the only thing were sure to learn from history is that we don't learn from history'. I thought that when we finally learned things it was too late to benefit our lives. Usually our professor starts the class by asking if anyone has anything current to talk about, since history seems to repeat itself. One of the topics brought up by a student was about a southern state that wanted to have welfare recipients tested for drugs, in which case if they didn't pass their benefits would be rescinded. Our professor asked how many would be in favor of this and quite a few students raised hands. I piped up that we should drug test the rich and take away their tax breaks if they didn't pass. 

Picking on the rich of course is seen by some to be 'class warfare'. We don't want to pick on those guys that that are doing such a good job providing jobs for us. Class warfare is OK if it is used as a diversion so that the middle class can take out their frustrations and real problems by scapegoating those even more needy. The right wing isn't against that; it just wants to use it to divert attention from the inequities in a system that protects the rich, even if it's to the detriment of the country. 

Of course the rich are so well off that they don't need a government unless it's there to protect them. They promote the dream that anyone can succeed and become rich. If it were only true. That dream is being hammered as graduates find out that there are no jobs. Maybe that will wake them up. Squeezing the size of government until, as Grover Norqist says 'we can drowned it a bath tub' may have some appeal for the young, that is until their job search ends and they find themselves in need of social assistance. What Norquist really wants is to squeeze social programs so even more money is available to increase the gap between the 99 and the 1 percent. At a time when we need government to help create jobs and stimulate the economy we are shrinking government and shrinking any hope for a recovery. 

Patriotism is another right theme used to motivate us to war, and pour more money into the Pentagon. Wave the flag, until it comes time to pay taxes, avoid military service, and support the government. Then just call it being smart to send your money and jobs offshore and send your lobbyists to Washington. Being that well off in most cases means they were born into money, class, education and government influence. They are rich, not because they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, but the sure luck of birth and having a huge untaxed inheritance to work with. Who says the system is unfair.

The “Occupy” movement is the tip of and iceberg that has yet to jell below. So far they have been criticized for not having a unified message. It’s the first movement about what? Not war or civil rights but about a broken system. If the "Occupy" movement needs a theme let it be Class Warfare. Bring it on! Socialism, bring that on too. Nationalize the banks and oil companies, and finally tax those who can afford to give back something to the system that helped them get to be so rich and so privileged. 

 

STREET WALKING

Have you noticed that the city street department has paved Richmond Avenue? This is a welcome relief from the natural frost-made speed bumps that create havoc with the suspensions of our cars. I do object, however, to their latest brainy idea to reline the street. Apparently, they want to make the avenue into a parkway for bicyclists by allowing two lanes of space on either side. Cyclists, however, wouldn't be caught dead on Richmond; they prefer Elmwood. It's much more like running the gauntlet, avoiding car door openings, tight squeezes, and the general melee that has made the street a poor traffic mover. Richmond was able to move some traffic, but the reduced lanes for cars to one lane each way, with no allowances for turns, has ended that. (One part of Niagara Street has a center turn lane that allows traffic to flow along the single lanes but, alas, not here.) This must mean that car traffic has fallen to a new low as a priority.behavior? Fm sure it's defiance with the tough attitude teens, who want to challenge the st at us quo, (that's no longer artists territory) or could they want to make a statement that they are more important than cars? No way Jose, Your dreaming! In any case, they set the standard for others who are probably torn between walking on someone's lawn and wearing out the sidewalk.

 

Would it be too much to ask the police cars to slow down and ask these idiots, for their own good, to walk off the street? Don't worry about the kids, they will soon decide that its cool to walk on the sidewalk.Things were bad enough for drivers trying to avoid the bicyclists. They lack enough gray matter to wear reflectors, light garments, or use lights on their bikes. They also ride on the wrong side of the streets, and ride through red lights and stop signs. But they want to be taken seriously as vehicles. I know this sounds negative. I usually reserve these kind of vibes for art critics or other right wingers, but it probably comes from my

ambivalent feelings. I either want to teach these fools a lesson or get out of the car and walk in the street myself, Walking would mean exercising, and opening my big mouth could get me in more trouble than it's worth,

 

It'& happened before, the pain is not worth it and it's really hard to recover your dignity. These street problems show that there's little if any thought given to them by the city. Have you noticed the stop sign virus? The city grows these signs in large Petrie dishes in the city hall basement. For years, especially in the six pack administration, they were thought to contain beer. Visitors from other cities laugh at the number of these decorative signs, like who stops. The latest of these beauties decorate Lincoln Parkway near the lake; it seems to be an effort to slow traffic as

cars approach the Scajaquada ramp. They just add to the frustration that drivers bring home with them as they battle through the streets, fighting stop signs, un.-timed lights, bike and pedestrian traffic, and worst of all each other. It's a jungle out there!

 

Statistics show that an amazing amount of gas is wasted each year stopping at unnecessary stop signs and untimed lights, If however, you can get a few people together, you can get the city to install a stop sign almost anywhere, probably in your driveway if you want it. We do well focusing on details, while the big picture eludes us, A good example is education. We want to pay less taxes even if it means that schools and teachers get less, quality education decreases, and our 'precious children' end up with the short end of the stick. If this mania persists, we will

finally have a stop sign at every corner that doesn't have a light, most of which will be ignored, Stop lights will be consistently run, and traffic accidents will abound. Hooray! I just can't wait!

THE BRAIN
I was listening to Charles Osgood on his radio segment the other day. In
one of his humorous clips he passes on the interesting information that Einstein’s brain was rescued from cremation by a Doctor Thomas Hardy, who has been studying it for the last forty years. The Brain appears normal except that it may have been supplied with more blood than usual. If this is the case then maybe the Yoga exercise of standing on ones head does have merit, since more blood would flow to the brain. I don't know if we know enough of Einstein's personal habits that might reveal if he spent any significant time on his head, but his trade mark hair does suggest that this was true. This could mean that not only was this forty years of research on The Brain not wasted, but that we may be able to get a leg up on the Japanese, with some significant re-design of the workplace.

 

We could start with a new work chair that would support the shoulders and torso while the head hung free. Of course that would mean that all those computers would have to be hung under the desk. New designs in clothes and foot fashions would also be appropriate, since visitors to the workplace would be compelled to shake your foot. Of course dresses would be out, and pockets would have to be U-shaped, kind of like the trap under the sink. This re-design presents all sorts of new problems but that's good. New industries and the retooling of old companies would create more jobs and be a shot in the arm for the economy. There may be other solutions to The Brain problem, maybe less disruptive.


Perhaps we could cover the walls and ceilings with steel and walk and work on the ceiling with the aid of magnetic shoes. This would fulfill a childhood fantasy for many of us who wondered what it would be like to be a fly. Desks and computers would have to be bolted down or up in this case, and drawers would be turned up side down.


By now your pretty annoyed at all this nonsense but its probably because the rewards aren't very apparent. Please consider what a country full of Einsteins could mean. Firstly no one would be listening to Rush Limbaugh any more. God and the Republican Party would be out. Women all over the country could celebrate Thanksgiving dinner without competition from the Stupidbowl, since sports would be a thing of the past. The Arts could survive, no, actually thrive! Barnes and Noble would surpass GM and Ford on the stock market. Money would be again available for education. It's mind boggling! And we would owe it all to The Brain.


The first thing we should do, if this all works out, would be to honor The
Brain with a monument. As an artist I can visualize it now. It would be made outof black marble like the Viet Nam Memorial. This would be symbolic of the mystery of this wonderful organ of the body. It would be a huge replica, maybe twenty feet tall, of Einstein's brain split in half like a walnut. One half of course would be the female side, the other the male side. I hope your familiar with that concept, I don't want to explain it. Each side would be computerized, in fact engraved with a huge circuit board. And each side would continually be arguing with the other about what channel to switch to. This is to remind us of what life was like before Dr. Hardy dissected and studied .... The Brain.

THE GREAT DIVIDE

Across the great divide. I use to think it meant crossing the Mississippi River when the first settlers went west. That was until I first saw the Grand Canyon. Any settler or Indian that ran across the canyon surely had their concept of a 'great divide' redefined. Or maybe Balboa banging into the Pacific Ocean, somehow knew that this was really a big sucker, beyond vast, maybe even a 'great divide' For me the divide became apparent in the sixties, when the Elvis of Art, Andy Warhol walked into the art world waving his silk screen instead of his hips. Believe me, this divide was anything but great.
 

This was kind of an after thought, that is after a few beers, after a poetry reading, after a conversation about artists being writers. We talked about Blake, Michelangelo and DiVince, the latter two being artists, architects, sculptures, inventors and poets. Van Gogh wasn't mentioned, but his letters may earn him a mention. There may have been a few more but considering the number of artists, few were writers. This has been attributed to the left and right side, brain theory, and probably has merit. It could certainly explain what happened in the early sixties, when artists were painting up a storm, and breaking the bonds to image. They exploded into a new world of pure and sometimes poetic expression. These guys were real leftists in a sense, card carrying commies of art, the Weathermen of Paintville.

But their new, boundless and chaotic expression left their art hard to explain. It was a new language in need of translation. Our language so easily fits realism, surrealism and semi-abstract work. This was a very uncomfortable area for critics and writers, not to mention the artists themselves. A lot of bullshit hit the fan through out this time but the pressure to explain it was relieved with the emergence of the reactionary and literal Pop Art. These artists were far from the poetry of the abstract. Warhol's repetitive soup cans and Indiana's flags heralded in an era of the 'talking artist', big on ideas, small on visual interest. Their connection to critics and writers was secure. They were mirror images of Pollack, Kline and Rothko personalities, glib, showy and extroverted: a good show and sell for the galleries and easily explained. When they came on the scene it didn't seem like a big deal. 

 

Abstract art was into its third or fourth generation of painters who were refining the huge leaps of Still, Rothko, Klein, Pollock and others. But the 'art world' was small, too small to satisfy the needs of all the artists looking for attention. Reputations were at stake along with jobs, the competition heavy. Galleries competed for sales, reputation, and their existence. Selling each new art movement meant leaving the last in the dust. Galleries went from abstract expressionism to Pop, Op, Modular, etc. etc. in such a short amount of time as to make your head spin. Andy's 'fifteen minutes of fame' idea proved true for many artists. And the taste of fame, even warm interest in their work, had many scrambling for more. Some tried to pump the latest movement into their newest work, a kind of esthetic mainlining that proved 'fatal' to integrity.

 

This phenomenon is hard to appreciate. The last thirty-five years have encompassed more art movements than the previous fifteen hundred years. This productivity might impress Henry Ford, or it might make you consider the shallowness of the water. Most artists had spent their whole lives developing their unique imagery. Read Vincent's letters if you want to appreciate the depth of artistic commitment. Today's 'art brats' seek the latest obscure phrases and silly ideas to hide their art under, and it's no wonder considering the waves of change in pop culture since the fifties. 

The 'Art-Now' has replaced the art know, as the public find it harder and harder to relate to the art scene. Why spend two hours watching a bunch of musicians sit on a stage play classical music when you can jump up and down, scream and dance to a pop music, light show. Why spend the time listening to a poetry reading when you can be pounded by the rhythms of Rap, have a beer and another conversation at the same time. "Hey baby, chill out! Do you expect us to actually love classical music?" Do we expect you to actually spend time looking at your art, alone and thinking?

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ART

A friend of mine has asked me to do him a small favor. He wants me to give him a little background on Art. Now this friend who I'll call "Al" comes from the same Mediterranean background as I do, and one would think that when one comes from the “Cradle of Civilization" one would know about Art. But Al's forte is crime. I don’t mean Al is a criminal, hell no. Al is up there in high places, where he gets to talk about other people's crimes and even their indiscretions if you know what I mean, Al got there by shaking a lot of hands and spending other peoples money, but I shouldn't say too much. Anyhow, sometimes he has to make decisions about other subjects, and needs a quick fix, so he won't sound stupid as he "cuts the heart out of some of those intellectuals". So he asked me, and I thought as long as I was doing it I might share some of my knowledge on this subject, in case some of you gals and guys out there also want a quick fill; you know, something you may want o share at a cocktail party, maybe impress the date with so they don’t think you've spent all you life studying banking or football. So here goes, just pretend you're at the movies.

 

It was the Dawn of Civilization (looking out the window it’s either dawn or the street lights have gotten very bright.) But it's too early to digress. It was the Dawn of Civilization and in a little cave town in France Mr. and Mrs. Lascaux were working in their cave as the first rays of civilization were about to shine on the horizon. Mr. Lascaux were working in their cave as the first rays of civilization were about to shine on the horizon. Mr. Lascaux was knitting (he didn’t know why) while the Misses, working on the cave wall was accounting for the used bisons and sabertooth that the town had consumed at the last ‘Age of Darkness’ festival. “Well”, she thought, “I’ll just fatten up these bisons, they look a little scrawny.” At that moment (the first recorded incident of creative accounting) appeared a bright eyed and bushy tailed babe. “Wow” said the Mister. “That’s not how we did it the last time, and would you look at that tail!” “ Don’t worry about that” quote the creator, we can call him Newt and raise him as a politician.” Things happen so fast I didn’t mention that the first rays of light were accompanied by strains of Star Wars “Thus spoke Sara Tosilla” and the shattering of a glass window by and errant bone. Well that didn’t happen or I’d have to change the title. They called him Art.
To get back to my story, the happy couple didn’t know why Art was smiling and smelling. The poor kid apparently didn’t know what lay in store for him in the future or he wouldn’t be smiling.

 
Now Arthur didn’t grow up to be an accountant like Ma, he applied for a Fulbright and set sail on the ‘Continental Drift’ to Greece where big things were happening. The drift was that he qualified to run the Ionic Pentameter in the first Olympics or invent the Corinthian Style. “Wow” said Art, ‘I can be the first Doric of Art.” You can see that Art didn’t have much experience and didn’t know diddly when it came to concepts or dialectical homeophraseologistical ‘art talk’. The first art critic had yet to be born. Having puttered around the Peloponnese Art flew on waxed wings, the first Trans-Adriatic flight. 


Art was late getting to Rome. There was a backup at the airport with the science, math, and other flights getting preferential treatment. It took him so long to land that he didn’t get to the Vatican till the high Renaissance. Rushing into the Sistine Chapel he found the pope shaking the scaffolding under M. Angelo. The pope had borrowed a small devil from the mythological closet, dressed it in a Brooks Brothers suit, brushed off its screen and slid a new thesaurus disc into its mouth. He un-blessed it with the words “Fortus Gettus, Renduri Plendurus” which means something like get the plunder. Criticus Valueles as he was known throughout the next few centuries, put on the togs of a cardinal and started to bother Mikey, as he was known, to speed up the job. C.V. jumped all over Art and Mikey, jabbering up a storm of very unusual words that had Mike confused and wondering if his images of women were homophobic, denigrative, sub-intuitive machinations or simply men with boobs as he intended. Mikey and Art wrestled CV to the ground and plastered him into the ‘Last Judgement’, only a temporary solution. Art hung around Italy for a while until his home sickness inspired a flight over the Alps and a return to France.
 

His arrival in Paris was unheralded but his presence was felt as he sipped coffee in the cafe’s of Monmarte. His favorite artist was Van Gogh, a passionate artist who couldn’t sell a painting for his soul. This convinced Art that the argument that good painting will be recognized was flimsy and that the reverse was more likely to be true. (He had toured the Academy and recognized the mediocrity of the establishment.) Later encounters with Picasso had his head spinning so that adjustments on Freud’s couch were necessary. Freud suggested that Art take a trip and he agreed, then traveled on the Queen E. headed to New York, New Times, New York Times, Time Mag, Travel Times and possibly time in jail. Art was a hoot in the Big Apple where there were more ‘movements’ than a spastic bowel. So Art put on his waders and fly cast his way through the Hudson Vally school, the Ash Can School, and finally the School for Public Work, a boon for many artists. With beginner’s luck he ran into a whale of a white canvas about to be molested with waves of splashed paint in a most undisciplined manner. Yes, Jackson Pollock had arrived along with a few other chums to break away from imagery and plunge into the jungle of pure painting. Art had a hard time swallowing this one, although his heart told him it was good and after all not much different than jazz or other music. It wasn’t long before Art was surfing through the waves of other art movements, but as he surfed the waves quickly diminished as artists gave in to popular demands quests of fame and money. There was no doubt that this was the result of an increase in wind, not a weather front, but from Critics Valueles, escapee form the annals of art history. 
 

So, that’s it, that’s all you have to know about Art. It’s kind of like a soap you know, but on a different level. Maybe I should script it and send it to Hollywood. They’ve done worse. 

WARNING

I had a strange conversation with a coworker today about E-mail on our computer system .  E-mail is the ability to leave messages for certain specific workers that can be picked up and answered via computer, and replace s memos and face to face meetings.  While this system is applauded by some, others have reservations.  We were talking about how people in the office spend more time at their desk, and how a lot of what goes on during face to face meetings, such as body language, gesture, facial expressions, word intonation, timing, etc., is missing from E-mail
communication'.  Somehow we seem to be less for it. Being "less for it" may mean that that as we "pour ourselves into our work", we are being dissipated . That jives with the word recreation. That is, to re-create our selves after work.

 

We can re-create ourselves if not too much is missing.  I expect that as computers raise our efficiency, they will also speed the amount of dissipation . What is actually happening here is that we are kind of dissolving and being reconstituted into the pixel s or tiny dots that make up the computer system.  Have you ever wondered where all that memory in your latest IBM comes from? Why do you think each new model has more and more memory ? Why are they being described as "more

powerful ", "more friendly ", and why is the computer population soaring to new
heights? It's because fifty percent of the people we know are being dissolved and

re-absorbed into computers right before our eyes and we don't even not ice. Why do you think that some people are described as "suits"? By the end of the week that's all that's left! Why are some described as being transparent? Same reason . All over America people are being wheeled into emergency rooms and are being declared brain dead, but the strange thing is that not only are there no brain waves but on closer examination the brain is missing! This is true! The brain is missing and fifty percent of these people also have carpel-tunnel syndrome .  That 's not a coincidence folks, the brain is the first thing to go. 

 

You have heard of complaints about radio and magnet ic waves . You have heard about medical problems attributed to these waves. You can't deny that the list of missing persons is growing, and that the government is involved in cover up of information that would reveal that fifty percent of these people worked as computer inputters, a job that has been described as the highest stress job out there.  In other words, it "takes the most out of you".  It's the kind of job where in some organizations a message will flash onto the screen if that worker is falling behind or not performing up to their coworkers capability . Now this practice is denied  by every company  (my company  certainly doesn't  do this) and they  are telling the truth.   What  is happening  is that fifty percent  of those accumulating bionic pixels that have been stolen from our brains and bodies, have independently decided to speed up the process of dissipation (which in my humble opinion has more than exceeded the speed of sound). This is hard to deny and no mater what you think, you can’t deny that half of the country is in denial. That’s fifty percent they deny that there’s a problem singing the National Anthem. They deny the world is flat, especially in Kansas. They deny that Newt’s sister is a guy, and they deny holistic healing. Worst of all , they deny that all of these fifty percents add up to two hundred and fifty. I don’t know what that means but I intend to find out. 
 

In the meantime, be careful! Don’t trust your computer with any personal information. Look at the screen with only one eye at a time and keep your head bobbin’ like a prizefighter. Don’t be an easy target, help is on the way. But now I have to get back to work on my computer.

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