Sunday, February 25, 2007

Faking It

"Ours, the scientists keep telling us, is a universe which is disposable. You know it might be just this one anonymous glory of all things, this rich stone forest, this epic chant, this gaiety, this grand choiring shout of affirmation, which we choose when all our cities are dust; to stand intact, to mark where we have been, to testify to what we had it in us to accomplish. Our works in stone, in paint, in print are spared, some of them for a few decades, or a millennium or two, but everything must fall in war or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash: the triumphs and the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. A fact of life... we're going to die. 'Be of good heart,' cry the dead artists out of the living past. Our songs will all be silenced - but what of it? Go on singing. Maybe a man's name doesn't matter all that much." Orson Welles narrating his mockumentary...or is it a documentary? I saw this movie years ago...and it was a crazy cool film...some people have said it was confusing, riduculous, fake...but it's become a bit of a classic and just from that quote, you can see it delivers some outrageous observations...a little like Citizen Kane. It was Orson Wellles last completed film and really worth seeing.
I have often found stories of stolen art, and art forgery, to exicte my imagination. This painting, The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden...was returned to a church in Hidalgo, Mexico, where it had been stolen.

What is faked the most?

PreColumbian pottery: This type of forgery is common because of the enormous demand for the pieces and increasing penalties for smuggling in South American countries.
Greek gold jewelry: Gold can't be dated, and fakes pass by even the experts — plus the money is good.
Ancient Egyptian blue faience (earthenware) animals and scarabs: Every tourist going to Egypt must have an example or two of this type of work.
Paintings by Francesco Guardi, the Venetian 18th-century genius of landscape: You may actually think that Guardi is still alive because so many of his views of Venice are emerging daily.
Salvador Dalí prints: These prints have exceptional public appeal and are, therefore, faked frequently. In one infamous case, the aging Dalí was induced to sign a thousand blank pieces of paper that, after his death, were filled with images taken from his repertory, but were definitely not by him.
Watercolors by the American 20th-century illustrator Maxfield Parrish: Due to his growing popularity, Parrish's watercolors are often faked.
Old master drawings of every period: This is where the big money can be earned.

Elmyr de Hory was a famous forger. He forged Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse and Renoir. He was in jail several times and a concentration camp. He was deterred in a concnetration camp for being both jewish and a homosexual. I believe Orson Welles must have found him a fascinating person on many levels and that is why he made the documenatary about him...for one...the movie Citizen Kane is about storytelling and what is truth, and what makes history. Who writes the history of a man could easily be seen as an allegory for who writes the history of the world? Or writing screenplays and characters as a reworking a faking of real life, his own experiences with building a character inspired by Hearst might have taught him that one goes further with fiction than realilty?

Elmyr de Hory (on painter Modigliani): "He worked very little, he died very early, so if added a few paintings (to his collection) a few drawings it's not going to destroy him.."
Elmyr de Hory: "I don't feel bad for Modigliani I feel good for me."
Orson Welles (narration): "It's pretty but is it art?. How is it valued? The value depends on opinion, opinion depends on the expert, a faker like Elmyr makes fool of the experts - so who's the expert?.. Who's the faker?".
Orson Welles (narration): "I must say I'm honored - my signature forged by a real Elmyr."
Elmyr de Hory: "I never signed any painting."
Elmyr de Hory: "If they are hanged long enough in the museum they became real."Wikipedia

Richard Gere is starring in a upcoming movie called The Hoax about the author Clifford Irving who wrote a fake biography of Howard Hughes.

The remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair is about faking art and stealing art and is a very good movie. A sequel is coming out soon called The Topkapi Affair, which is also a remake. Isn't a remake a kind of forgery...a kind of revisiting a work if we are to be more generous? The movie Vertigo plays with the compulsion to remake art work, ourselves, and forge personalities...for criminal purposes and for love, and for art.
The Moderns is a crazy pretty movie with art forgery, the damned, the meaning of art, love and heartbreak and some very cool characters. The Spanish word for the day is cuadro. Or we'll take it up a bit, cuadro falsification. Cuadro=painting.

Funny about the title of Orson Welles last film. F for Fake could very well be an allusion to Welles reputation over his career. He was given grade school marks for his work. He was the butt of many jokes in his life. A brilliant mind and actor, his body, his boxoffice failures, his own hoax with War of the Worlds radio play...were often scorned and joked about in public. I'd like to believe he had found a kind of peace and personal resolution with his own art. I suspect he always did get it. Actors struggle with the exploration and surrender to a character as a mirror into their own self worth and knowledge as real people. Artists must surrender into a view outside and yet authentic to themselves. The dark side of this vision quest manifests in the criminal mind, in the clever imposter, in the mind of a stalker who obsesses about someone elses life in order to give their own life value and meaning, the thief or computer hacker who outwits the powerful elite and the immature youth who wants to dress and party like Paris Hilton or Britney Spears to learn how to be a powerful individual. Orson Welles might have enjoyed comparing forgers to actors and artists...after all comparisons are like art objects and allow philosophical exploration on what it is to be an artist. Artists are always in the struggle between being true to themselves and yet remaking the world as they see it, telling a story in their own words, and mimicking the words/images of others and the world, amplifying nature to make an object or an idea. The popularity of heist movies, the intelligence and talent of actors to mimic others, of art forgers to copy the greats is a poke at authenticity and reality. Artists know that by being fake and making comparisons between real and the imagination we find may find truth. A great double bill would be Vertigo and F For Fake where Hitchcock and Welles are at the height of understanding the drive to create with imagination and the responsibility of being true to oneself regardless of who writes history. Each man seemed to know the danger of this act too.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Making of: Ride The High Country

Spanish word of the day, acabar


Friday, February 23, 2007

No Country For Old Men

A still No Country For Old Men based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy.
filming in Mexico and Texas.

Set in West Texas in 1980, the story is about a young Vietnam vet who stumbles over the remnants of a drug deal gone bad. He's hunted by two extremely vicious assassins who want the money back.

Rodger Boyce as Sheriff Giddens and Tommy Lee Jones as Sheriff Bell. Josh Brolin is playing Moss the Vietnam vet who finds the drug cartels massacre and money...and Javier Bardem is play Anton Chigurh. Should be fun!
This movie directed and produced by the Coen Bros premieres May in Cannes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Pieter Claesz1625.
James Hopkins, The Last Chord, 2006. inspired by "Vanitas".

1) Vanitas were a trendy painting movement in the 17th century. It was immensely popular in Holland and the Netherlands and a little in Paris. The idea comes from a concept and Hebrew word, "hevel" which may or may not have been misunderstood and evolved into Vanitas, which means "vanity". But the Hebrew word is often associated in meaning with "vapor painting". The popular style of painting often included objects of poetic reference to mortality, the brevity of existence and are akin to the concept of "memento mori" = remember you are mortal. Some of the painting still life objects would include, mirrors, bubbles, musical instruments, skulls, hourglasses, burning candles, decaying fruit, flowers, smoke, all reminders of the transience of life.

2) Will Paint For Food blog, just foud this, how cool is this painter!!!

3) Why we don't eat people? "..the larger a state's population grows, the greater the amount of surplus production, and the bigger the tax and tribute base, the more powerful the governing class becomes. Large-scale killing and eating of captives would thwart the governing class's interest in expanding its tax and tribute base. Since captives can produce a surplus, far better to consume the p[roducts of their labour than the flesh of their bodies, especially if the meat and milk of domesticated animals (not available to most band-and-village people) are part of the surplus. In contrast, band-and-village societies are incapable of producing large surpluses, lack a military and political organization that is capable of uniting defeated enemies under a central government, and have no have no governing class that stands to benefit from taxation. For band-and-village societies, the military strategy that most benefits the victors, therefore, is to lower the pressure of population on resources. Because of their low productivity, band-and-village societies cannot derive long-term benefits from capturing enemy personnel. Since captives cannot usually produce a surplus, bringing one home to serve as a slave simply means one more mouth to feed. Killing and eating captives is the predictable outcome; if captive labor cannot yeaild a surplus, captives are worth more as food than as producers of food." Marvin Harris.

4) Food rituals of fasting in various religions seem to be born from agricultural societies. Likely the religious practice of lent and fasting for Ramadan are born out of food rationing in the lean months before growing season. Napoleans army would practice fasting as a form of food rationing.

5) Why do we eat junk food? Junk food, which I define as having no or trace amounts of nutrtional properties is enjoyed by so many people, why? Noodles and potato chips and a slice of bread have almost no nutrition. In fact the nutritional value of a slic of bread has been added in the processing factories that manufacture flour, they add synthetic vitamin B and iron. Neither of which the body absorbs and assimilates easily. So why do we eat a bag of chips or a bowl of noodles? I think, it's because it is predictable...and therefore, comforting. We can eat it especially whe we are feeling depressed and tired. Most people do not have a sense of craving or adventure when they are depressed or tired. So eating a bowl of noodles or a slice of bread...with pedestrian toppings added is not a risk. We believe we can relax when we eat such mellow (safe, nonthreatening) predicatable foods, and they are cheap. Sad stressed out people are afraid to spend money and take care on themselves, they don't feel worthy.

6) The Economics of Junk Food Very interesting site to click on. For example:
12 cents goes for packaging
17 cents pays for the advertising and promotion
55 cents goes for processing and profit-markup
6 cents is for additives, preservatives and colorings
10 cents is for the actual food in the product

7) In some sects in India, particularily Hindus, the cow is taboo for eating of it's meat. At first we may see art and stories which support a supernatural treatment of the cow as sacred. But also, we may notice...a cow is a useful plowing tool for growing vegetables, and a cow provides milk, an excellent source of protein. In protein compromised society it makes much more economic sense to use the cow as a plow and milk protein source, than to butcher it for meat as a one time food source. Milk can provide protein for many years. The meat of a cow, for a few weeks or months.

8) Karen Gordon-Grube of the Free University of West Berlin points out that anthropoligists have been so preoccupied with seeking evidence of institutionalized cannibalism among "primitives" that they have overlooked a well-documented cannibal tradition that flourished in their own back yard. From the sixteenth to eigtheenth century, medical textbooks in England and on the Continent recommended the use of "mummy"-"a medicicinal preparation of the remains of an embalmed, dried, or other "prepared" human body that had ideally met with a sudden, preferably violent death. London pharmacies kept this cure-all in stock, but for high-quality products, physicians recommended that it be purchased at a mummy shop. from Our Kind by Marvin Harris.
Vanitas Now

9) Some religions and countires (like Scotland in 18th century) forbid eating pork. The modern urban myth says this is because of a potential disease like trichinisis enforced the taboo. Nope, the ratio of meat yeilded to the damage pigs tdo to riverside growth and land is not worth the expensis. Pigs tear up land mass, especially beside rivers and so the amount of meat they provide does not justify the cost of raising pigs for food.
Tara Green.

10)...Food and Religion
Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces, smashed silverware by industrial press.11) This artists work which I recently have been looking at, is often relating to prosaic items, domestic and food.
Embryo Firearms12)
13) Robe worn by Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby. I did not realize when I posted and was writing here today, that the meme "Thursday Thirteen" is being discontinued and disappearing, ironically this post is a little about art and the impermanence of life. I have really enjoyed the expereince of participating in a meme and it worked as a good format for exploring some of my ideas and hunches. I will miss running around and reading other peoples often funny 13 lists of things. The pendulum swings in blogland as in real life though doesn't it?

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Maher's Says, Hillary Clinton Will Never Be President

Bill Maher : New Rules : America is not number 1

Bill Maher's Manifesto On America - 10.27.06

Yippeee...Real Time is back on the air...

Russian Ark - Trailer

I only know one other person who loved this's kind of a love it or hate it movie. I thought it was the coolest thing...stabs at political arrogance, nationalism, permanence, human squabbles and the notion of stature between cultural, it's one Red and * gave Stagg and I an awesome book based on the BBC program The Power of Art. The book opens...Great art has dreadful manners. The hushed reverance of the gallery can fool you into believing masterpieces are polite things, visions that soothe, charm, and beguile, but actually they are thugs. Merciless and wily, the greatest paintings grab you in a headlock, rough up your composure and then proceed in in short order to rearrange your sense of reality. It's a fantastic book with wonderful reproductions.

What Kind Of Mind?

"Anthropological accuracy requires, therefore, a great deal of caution about the hunter-gatherer:farmer dichotomy. In reality, there is a possible spectrum of economic systems-with hunters at one end, farmers at the other, and many kinds of misture in between-rather than two exclusive categories, some pair of opposites that between them include all possible human societies. In this respect, the hunter gatherer;farmer divide is itself a form of myth.

Nonetheless, I believe that within this distinction lies a set of intellectual and imaginative opportunities. Thinking about the place of hunting peoples in the human story offers an insight into the history of the world. It provides a parallel insight into the nature of the human mind. The destiny of the hunter-gatherer is both an external and an internal process, an issue for societies and for individuals.

The hunter-gatherer mind is humanity's most sophisiticated combination of detailed knowledge and instuition. It is where direct experience and metaphor unite in a joint concern to know and use the truth. The agricultural mind is a result of specialized, intense development of specific systems of intellectual order, with many kinds of analytical category and exacting uses of deductive reasoning. the hunter-gatherer seeks a relationship with all parts of the world that will be in both personal and material balance. The spirits are the evidence and the metaphors for thi relationship. If they are treated well, and are human in the right way, and are therefore at peace with human beings, the people will find the things they need. The farmer has the task of controlling and shaping of the world, making it yeild the produce upon which agricultural life depends. If this is done well then the crops will grow. Discovery by discovery, change by change, field by feild, control is increased and produce is more secure. The discotomies of good and evil, right and wrong express this farming project: control comes from separating manipulative resources from the rest of the environment and working with determination and consistency against all that might undermine this endeavor.

The differences between hunter-gatherers living before agriculture developed or beyond the later farming frontier, and small indigenous societies based on a mix of farming and herding, hunting and gathering, may not be best understood by issues of mind. As noted, ideas about spirituality and the boundaries between the physical and the metaphysical are shared by many indigenous societies, both hunter-gatherers and small-scale farmers. However, all agriculture depends on controlling and remaking the natural world, and farmers have the task of both defending thier feilds and finding new ones. These are social and economic reasons for relatively high levels of organization and aggression. It is no coincidence that in so many parts of the world, including regions where different indigenous systems live along side one another, agriculturaists despise hunter-gatherers for being "primitive" and hunter-gatherers complain that farmers are belligerent. In the colonial era of the past 500 years "developed" agricultural societies have launched themselves with particular ferocity against all other peoples, and have, in particular, sought new land in vast territories occupied by hunter-gatherers. However complex the overlap between different kinds of indigenous societies, the dicotomy of hunter-gatherer:farmer says a great deal about how the world and the mind have been shaped." from Hugh Brody.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blog Birthday

Kawasaki Krump on eBay. It's been one year that I have been blogging. This is post # 457.
I was reading about marketing and found Guy Kawasaki's blog. One day Kawasaki said he wanted to make it to top ten of technorati I commented that I would beat him. Then I made a portrait of him for intimidation purposes. Nothing scares an opponent like painting their portrait.Guy Kawasaki is ranked #41 on technorati. I am ranked at 3355. It's a hell of a lot closer to beating him into technorati top ten than I was a year ago. I wonder if he has stopped by to check out my rank?
Sounds to me he's been begging for links from this blog...and a conspiracy?
What's a birthday without a self-potrait as Hunter S. Thompson.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Good Food and Art For Auction

The James Hotel hosted a fundraiser art auction to benenfit needy people living with HIV/AIDS. The party was sold out and people were hunting for art. The food was wickedly good.
Loving the bartenders.
Stagg checking to see if anybody has placed bids...they placed LOTS.
Can you see Stagg's? It's the one lower down and made up of sticker logos and is called MyTube. one has bid on my painting. I'm getting nervous. Honestly every other painting has a bid. Mine looks all lonely there...will anyone take Asterisk's Brew home? It's the bright pink one on the left there.

I had to dig out the warm boots's a beautiful clear night.
Looks like she bought some art, it's all bundled up to go home.

D.J. Oskar is just about to spin some Madonna. And yes...someone took home Asterisk's Brew!!! I saw a well dressed handsome man pick it up...but I was too shy to go say hi. I wonder if he will find this blog and see these pictures?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Unexplained

This is not an action packed I haven't really ever been one of those people who experienced a lot of strange phenomenon...but I have always been surrounded and drawn to people who have. I wonder how many folks who stop by this blog have strange bizarre happenings in their lives? Basically, I've enjoyed Star Trek and The X-Files and aside from being raised by several believers I don't have too many unexplained events. I didn't know what to write about went to Amy Ruttans blog to get some inspiration and noticed she posted about Ghostbusters, a movie I also love...and she has a side bar saying she would like to write a novel about the paranormal.


2)When I was about 10 years cousin and a friend and I would sneak into an abandonded fully furnished house on Quadra Island. We believed the house was haunted and we would sneak in like Nancy Drew and Wuthering Heights and try to find a hidden diary. Fortunately we never got caught and charged with B&E. We eventually found out who owned the house and went and spoke to the woman who had moved out and lived a few doors down. It turned out she was really involved in the paranormal and she taught a class on ESP at the local high school and when we went to high school we took her class. Once, when I was a young adult...I was visiting Quadra Island, and I went up to this old house and knocked on the door as a whole new family had bought the place and lived there. Somehow I managed to confess my adventures as a kid, and convince them for a tour of their house all legit.

3)My cats have always stared at invisible things on the ceilings. It's disconcerting those wacky cats.

4)My grandfather once sat on the end of my bed and chatted with me. He had been dead several years.

5)I was travelling in europe and reading A Hitchhikers Guide To The Universe I lost my copy in a train station. A couple days later, a few hundred miles away, I found a copy on a park bench.

6)I once lived in an apartment that books fell off my shelves and the bath tub would start running full on. It didn't bother me, I found it funny, although weird...but when friends were visiting they hated it...

7)There used to be a homeless woman who lived more or less in a bus shelter at Victoria and Queen East in the 80's in Toronto. Every time I walked past her she would mumble a statement...and then later that day, it would come true. Thats when I realized she was making predicitons. I would always give her a couple of bucks. I actually landed up writing an entire character based her for a short film, his character was played by Adain Devine.

8) Oh I'm working on this , Oprah comes on in the background and she has a show on ESP.

9) I can't really say I believe in the paranormal, but I've always been interested in hearing about people's experiences. I am not psychic or very dream conscious. My father is an atheist and my mother believes in everything from ufos to reincarnation to Atlantis.

10) I don't believe in coincidences...I do however like to feel things and make a lot of my personal and professional decisions on whether something feels right or not. I have rarely had a paranormal or ghost or unexplained spooky thing happen to I can't even hardly make this list and wonder why I even thought I would try...

11) I have several friends who practice Wicca, astrology and one works as an agent for a medical intuitive.

12) I went to two group meditations with this medical intuitive in Ontario and he was girlfriend went with me, and ever since her chronic pain in her knee and back has gone away.

13) We had a customer at a bar where I worked for years and he was very old and went into the hospital. He was a super cool guy, had seen all kinds of famous jazz musicians met Mohommad Ali, partied with the Rat Pack...he had a lot of great stories and we were all very fond of him. I went to visit him. I decided to go visit him again, and then I found out he died. then we found out it was just a rumour. so I went to the hospital to see him again, because it was so sad to hear he had died, but then he didn't. I said no matter how bad the weather was...I would go see him. I get to the hospital, and the nurse tells me, he just died a second before I arrived but I can see him in a few minutes. URP.

Um...wait, what? But I had made a promise to go see him...So I waited and then she ushered me into his hospital room. I didn't know what to do especially as when I went in the room...he felt like he was still there. No seriously, he was still there. I sat down and meditiated for a while and wished him a good voyage. This was very humbling for me...and I think it's very self centered to assume that the spirit just dies. I felt it is not my business to label this world as a final place...

Um, sorry I don't have any wild experiences...but the weird thing with all of a sdden half way through writing these notes Oprahs show being about ESP is just too funny. Makes me feel it's a sign and jsut now as her show ends...she is going to talk about the scientific communities research in ESP...too bad I didn't watch her show this morning before I started this post, oh well...maybe I should rent the movie What The Bleep again...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

First Contact

Cupid Chastised...Happy Singles Appreciation Day!!!!
Stagg and I went to an excellent evening at the Art Institute of Chicago, that not only included photography and a great set of films by Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev we heard a lecture by a real life Indianna Jones...and we met a blogmate! Edward Winkleman was in Chicago for the opening of two of his artists in The New Silk Road exhibition. It was a crazy cold night, but the photography and video installlations were awesome, very compelling. Check out the highlighted texts to get an impression. A real treat was to meet Edward Winkleman whose blog I intensely enjoy...he and his partner, Bambino, are the first bloggers I've met face to face since blogging. I admire Edwards ideas and enthusiasm so much, and it was really good to see his face and to have his charming personality confirmed in the real world. It was a kind of fun feeling...actually I was completely thrilled. Sorry about this scattered post, I'm just all over the place tonight and super tired. I really intended on writing about the real life Indianna Jones, deep sea salvager...but not only am I tired, I can't find his name or the notes I took.
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