Thursday, 26 February 2009

a Nordic disposition

From Mad Men:

Arthur: You are so profoundly sad.

Betty: No, it's just my people are Nordic.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Open the door

In the jobless vortex there are some small (free) pleasures... one of them is Spotify.
Right now I'm listening to Betty Carter.
Betty Carter said some pretty cool things during her career. I'm taking her advice to heart:

“You can do anything you want to do, if you know what to do”.


Monday, 16 February 2009

Joe Brainard, and Writing Art History

Portrait of Pat, 1971.

Flower Painting IV, 1967.

If Nancy was a Painting by de Kooning, 1975.

Untitled, 1976.

On saturday I went to the Writing Art History: On the Agenda? symposium at the Courtauld, organised by Catherine Grant. I couldn't quite get to grips with Francesco Ventrella's lecture Exercise: Writing a Choreography on the Art Historian’s Hat, which seemed to fly over most of the hatless heads of the Kenneth Clarke Auditorium attendees, but really enjoyed Catherine's Fans of Feminism: Re-writing Histories of Second-wave Feminism in Contemporary Art. Best of all was a lecture on the work of Joe Brainard, and "writing about the minor", which Gavin Butt presented with a good spread of Nancies and Pansies.

Joe Brainard homepage.
Another lecture by C.G here.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Adrian Jack

Today I created a Wikipedia entry for the composer Adrian Jack. Please view it here.

Monday, 9 February 2009

The last blossom....

Today I heard that Blossom Dearie has died, aged 82. It was literally the day before yesterday that I was at my friend's house, and we were scouring the internet for a recording of "My Attorney Bernie" or "Answering Machine", and I was reminiscing about the two times I saw Blossom perform; once, when I was only about 2 years old, and fell asleep, no doubt lullaby'd by the tinkling piano, "little-girl-lost" voice, and buzz of adults smoking and clinking glasses... and then once more in 2006, at Danny's Skylight Room in NYC, where I met Blossom afterwards, and told her how I'd become an early, if unintentionally unattentive, fan.
My good friend Adrian has written a fulsome obituary for The Guardian, which you can read here. I remember him telling me that he'd penned it some years ago... the papers have to have these things, morbidly, at the ready, and he had to speak to Blossom personally about some details. Apparently she'd been a little suspect about what the information was for.
Sometimes I can't believe I have actually shared time alive with some of the greats I loved from previous generations, like when I met my all-time favourite singer Anita O'Day. Like O'Day, Blossom Dearie was wonderful, distinctive musician who could define an era in the first few bars, and I'm so glad to have seen her play.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Hurl the bloody urn, Umberto!

Henrietta – As a designer of artificial ruins, Alexandra was well-known. She designed ruins in the manners of Langley, Effner, Robert Adam, and Carlo Marchionni, as well as her own manner. She was working on a ruin for a park in Tempe, Arizona, consisting of a ruined wall nicely disintegrated at the top and one end, two classical columns upright, and one fallen, vines, and a number of broken urns. The urns were difficult because it was necessary to produce them from intact urns and the workmen at the site were often reluctant to do violence to the urns. Sometimes she pretended to lose her temper:

– Hurl the bloody urn, Umberto!

From a dramatization of Donald Barthelme's Henrietta and Alexandra.
Photo of Ai Weiwei.