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Performing is always tough for writers. I mean, we’re not typically stage-trained theatre experts amped up on auditory performance steroids when reading our prose. The reality is, most writers are just average Joes like me. We stumble, stutter, are monotone, and really are quite boring when we get up in front of people and open our mouths. I don’t know why this is, and have been guilty of it for years. I’ve droned on like a pontificating robot. I’ve blathered, buzzed, and really was in need of a good oiling of my vocal joints.

“The fans, which move from time to time, touched by invisible currents, serve also as some form of communication known only to the Reptiles.”
-William Burroughs

One of the key purposes of art in my view is pure inquiry-to ask ourselves some new questions, or to be invited to consider familiar or obvious things in a new way. As mainstream commercial art in all its forms becomes ever more committed to the quick narcosis of superficial entertainment, I think this inquisitive and participatory aspect of more thoughtful art becomes all the more significant.

THINGS SEEN

Robert Henri Snow in Winter (1902)

Nicholas de Stael The Football Players (1952)

Atsuko Tanaka Drawing for Electric Dress (1956)

George Segal The Old Woman at the Window (1965)

Jim Rosenquist A Lot to Like (1962)

It’s been a strange month, mostly because I spent the bulk of it chasing the dangling carrot of artistic legitimacy.  Then my birthday came, and I woke to the realization that I was halfway to eighty-four. That’s a lot of trips around the sun, not enough to make me feel old, but definitely enough to have a strong sense of who I am.  I realized that the powers that be (the ones dangling the carrot) were asking me to become a cookie cutter version of myself.   When I finally balked at at their wishes – when I put my foot down and said I’m not writing that! – I was informed that my stance was “anti-establishment”.  Anti-establishment?  I rolled the word around in my mind for a moment.  Yes.  That seemed exactly right.

So, this is about the how, and when and why, and what of seeing.It’s about how the habit of seeing activates our minds and our imaginations, and how seeing opens doors that were otherwise closed;And how when those doors open, the world seems more manageable and meaningful.

MADRID, SPAIN-

Two months ago over a hundred cows were set up one night in Spain capital. Just like that. One day the corners are simple, everyday Spanish-capital corners and the next, every other one is adorned with a myriad  of fiberglass cows painted every sort of design and color imaginable.

 It’s been just over two years since I posed naked with 2,753 other people on the edge of Cleveland, Ohio.

It’s been just over two years since I stood shivering in the middle of a park behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where I pulled my T-shirt over my head and dropped my pants and boxer briefs for a couple of hours.

All very legal.

All very much for art.

All said and done and plastered all over the news at the time.

ANYWHERE, U.S.A.-

The drive is an endless repetition of fun and unfathomable boredom.

We are human curiosities in the small towns where we stop to refresh, revitalize, refuel and retire. People eye our cameras and booms with delight, apprehension, disgust and desire.

Other people are unfazed.

I like those people the most.

ANYWHERE, USA-

The night is still and the purple scent of wisteria fills my nostrils.

I feel heady, dizzy, drunk on smell.

I’m also drunk on sake and celebratory champagne, but it’s the drooping clusters of flowers that make me nauseous.

I feel sick.

Yesterday I went to the opening of an exhibition at a small art gallery.

I love exhibitions. Especially when they’re small and quirky.

The invitation to the opening was nondescript and black, and gave no indication of what the art was going to be like, or even what medium it was going to presented in. All we could discern from such an oblique invite were the artists’ names, ksubi and Kane, and the title of the new collection.