Friday, December 31, 2010

Brooklyn Blizzard 2010

top: 47 seedlings buried in 3 feet on snow
middle: Burr Oak seedling/pre-bonsai
bottom: Sycamore Seedling/pre-bonsai

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone Pine in inverted Pedestal 12x12x12" variable 2010 (Seen Outside Backyard Studio)
There has been some questioning if Bristlecone Pine makes good Bonsai. This one is in the studio which hovers between freezing and the 50's through the winter. I have had it since the late summer, so am not familiar with seasonal care.
Neglect is the name of the game in taking care of them. I treat it like a cactus water once every two weeks or much less in the winter. Let the sandy soil dry out completely. Last one died from over-watering. I shifted it out of the center of the box so far growth has been extremely slow. Although with the shift I found that the roots were really spreading out so I hope in the spring for a little spurt.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Late Fall Colors

White Oak seedling wintering outside in Williamsburg Brooklyn in a spruce log from Block Island Rhode Island. Looks like the trees may have a new home in the spring at the Moore Street Market in Bushwick. This being part of a new project of Austin Thomas founder of the beloved Pocket Utopia. This space comes as part of Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation and % for art where Austin will make a outdoor social setup of some kind looking 2 years into the future. So short of some disruption expect a new avante guard in this new exciting location.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Auction for MS

"The Painter" ink on paper 18x12" 2010
Find this and many other pieces of art at the Abbey a fund raiser for MS
some artists:
abbey ryan
tania cross
justin matherly
davina semo
alejandro almanza
erica baum
birgit rathsmann
emily noelle lambert
dan kopp
scott healy
shane wilson
jay davis
dan rushton
graham parks
greg vore
aron namenwirth
emilio perez
will smith
chris dunlap
oliver michaels
helena peterson
timothy gannon
benjamin dowell
chris smith
alicia gibson
claudia pena
david malek
barbara choit
ana wolovick
nathan gwynne
adam frezza
rafeal taylor
carla edwards
johnny lancaster
patricia valencia
timothy gannon

Monday, November 8, 2010

Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art: Art Contemporary with Itself

By Jean Baudrillard / Translated by Chris Turner

This essay was originally published as part of Jean Baudrillard's "Le Pacte de lucidité ou l'intelligence du Mal" (2004), translated into English in 2005 as "The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact".

The adventure of modern art is over. Contemporary art is contemporary only with itself. It no longer knows any transcendence either towards past or future; its only reality is that of its operation in real time and its confusion with that reality.
Nothing now distinguishes it from the technical, promotional, media, digital operation. There is no transcendence, no divergence any more, nothing of another scene: merely a specular play with the contemporary world as it takes place. It is in this that contemporary art is worthless: between it and the world, there is a zero-sum equation.
Quite apart from that shameful complicity in which creators and consumers commune wordlessly in the examination of strange, inexplicable objects that refer only to themselves and to the idea of art, the true conspiracy lies in this complicity that art forges with itself, its collusion with the real, through which it becomes complicit in that Integral Reality, of which it is now merely the image-feedback.
There is no longer any differential of art. There is only the integral calculus of reality. Art is now merely an idea prostituted in its realization.

Modernity was the golden age of a deconstruction of reality into its simple elements, of a detailed analytics, first of impressionism, then of abstraction, experimentally open to all the aspects of perception, of sensibility, of the structure of the object and the dismemberment of forms.
The paradox of abstraction is that, by "liberating" the object from the constraints of the figural to yield it up to the pure play of form, it shackled it to an idea of a hidden structure, of an objectivity more rigorous and radical than that of resemblance. It sought to set aside the mask of resemblance and of the figure in order to accede to the analytic truth of the object. Under the banner of abstraction, we moved paradoxically towards more reality, towards an unveiling of the "elementary structures" of objectality, that is to say, towards something more real than the real.
Conversely, under the banner of a general aestheticization, art invaded the whole field of reality.

The end of this history saw the banality of art merge with the banality of the real world -- Duchamp's act, with its automatic transference of the object, being the inaugural (and ironic) gesture in this process. The transference of all reality into aesthetics, which has become one of the dimensions of generalized exchange...
All this under the banner of a simultaneous liberation of art and the real world.
This "liberation" has in fact consisted in indexing the two to each other -- a chiasmus lethal to both.
The transference of art, become a useless function, into a reality that is now integral, since it has absorbed everything that denied, exceeded or transfigured it. The impossible exchange of this Integral Reality for anything else whatever. Given this, it can only exchange itself for itself or, in other words, repeat itself ad infinitum.

What could miraculously reassure us today about the essence of art? Art is quite simply what is at issue in the world of art, in that desperately self-obsessed artistic community. The "creative" act doubles up on itself and is now nothing more than a sign of its own operation -- the painter's true subject is no longer what he paints but the very fact that he paints. He paints the fact that he paints. At least in that way the idea of art remains intact.

This is merely one of the sides of the conspiracy.
The other side is that of the spectator who, for want of understanding anything whatever most of the time, consumes his own culture at one remove. He literally consumes the fact that he understands nothing and that there is no necessity in all this except the imperative of culture, of being a part of the integrated circuit of culture. But culture is itself merely an epiphenomenon of global circulation.
The idea of art has become rarefied and minimal, leading ultimately to conceptual art, where it ends in the non-exhibition of non-works in non-galleries -- the apotheosis of art as a non-event. As a corollary, the consumer circulates in all this in order to experience his non-enjoyment of the works.

At the extreme point of a conceptual, minimalist logic, art ought quite simply to fade away. At that point, it would doubtless become what it is: a false problem, and every aesthetic theory would be a false solution.
And yet it is the case that there is all the more need to speak about it because there is nothing to say. The movement of the democratization of art has paradoxically merely strengthened the privileged status of the idea of art, culminating in this banal tautology of "art is art", it being possible for everything to find its place in this circular definition.
As Marshall McLuhan has it, "We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art".1

The revolutionary idea of contemporary art was that any object, any detail or fragment of the material world, could exert the same strange attraction and pose the same insoluble questions as were reserved in the past for a few rare aristocratic forms known as works of art.
That is where true democracy lay: not in the accession of everyone to aesthetic enjoyment, but in the transaesthetic advent of a world in which every object would, without distinction, have its fifteen minutes of fame (particularly objects without distinction). All objects are equivalent, everything is a work of genius. With, as a corollary, the transformation of art and of the work itself into an object, without illusion or transcendence, a purely conceptual acting-out, generative of deconstructed objects which deconstruct us in their turn.
No longer any face, any gaze, any human countenance or body in all this -- organs without bodies, flows, molecules, the fractal. The relation to the "artwork" is of the order of contamination, of contagion: you hook up to it, absorb or immerse yourself in it, exactly as in flows and networks. Metonymic sequence, chain reaction.
No longer any real object in all this: in the ready-made it is no longer the object that's there, but the idea of the object, and we no longer find pleasure here in art, but in the idea of art. We are wholly in ideology.
And, ultimately, the twofold curse of modern and contemporary art is summed up in the "ready-made": the curse of an immersion in the real and banality, and that of a conceptual absorption in the idea of art.

"... that absurd sculpture by Picasso, with its stalks and leaves of metal; neither wings, nor victory, just a testimony, a vestige -- the idea, nothing more, of a work of art. Very similar to the other ideas and vestiges that inspire our existence -- not apples, but the idea, the reconstruction by the pomologist of what apples used to be -- not ice-cream, but the idea, the memory of something delicious, made from substitutes, from starch, glucose and other chemicals -- not sex, but the idea or evocation of sex -- the same with love, belief, thought and the rest..."2

Art, in its form, signifies nothing. It is merely a sign pointing towards absence.
But what becomes of this perspective of emptiness and absence in a contemporary universe that is already totally emptied of its meaning and reality?
Art can now only align itself with the general insignificance and indifference. It no longer has any privileged status. It no longer has any other final destination than this fluid universe of communication, the networks and interaction.
Transmitter and receiver merging in the same loop: all transmitters, all receivers. Each subject interacting with itself, doomed to express itself without any longer having time to listen to the other.
The Net and the networks clearly increase this possibility of transmitting for oneself in a closed circuit, everyone going at it with their virtual performances and contributing to the general asphyxia.

This is why, where art is concerned, the most interesting thing would be to infiltrate the spongiform encephalon of the modern spectator. For this is where the mystery lies today: in the brain of the receiver, at the nerve centre of this servility before "works of art". What is the secret of it?
In the complicity between the mortification "creative artists" inflict on objects and themselves, and the mortification consumers inflict on themselves and their mental faculties.
Tolerance for the worst of things has clearly increased considerably as a function of this general state of complicity.

Interface and performance -- these are the two current leitmotifs.
In performance, all the forms of expression merge -- the plastic arts, photography, video, installation, the interactive screen. This vertical and horizontal, aesthetic and commercial diversification is henceforth part of the work, the original core of which cannot be located.
A (non-)event like The Matrix illustrates this perfectly: this is the very archetype of the global installation, of the total global fact: not just the film, which is, in a way, the alibi, but the spin-offs, the simultaneous projection at all points of the globe and the millions of spectators themselves who are inextricably part of it. We are all, from a global, interactive point of view, the actors in this global total fact.

Photography has the selfsame problem when we undertake to multi-mediatize it by adding to it all the resources of montage, collage, the digital and CGI, etc. This opening-up to the infinite, this deregulation, is, literally, the death of photography by its elevation to the stage of performance.
In this universal mix, each register loses its specificity -- just as each individual loses his sovereignty in interaction and the networks -- just as the real and the image, art and reality lose their respective energy by ceasing to be differential poles.

Since the nineteenth century, it has been art's claim that it is useless. It has prided itself on this (which was not the case in classical art, where, in a world that was not yet either real or objective, the question of usefulness did not even arise).
Extending this principle, it is enough to elevate any object to uselessness to turn it into a work of art. This is precisely what the "ready-made" does, when it simply withdraws an object from its function, without changing it in any way, and thereby turns it into a gallery piece. It is enough to turn the real itself into a useless function to make it an art object, prey to the devouring aesthetic of banality.
Similarly, old objects, being obsolete and hence useless, automatically acquire an aesthetic aura. Their being distant from us in time is the equivalent of Duchamp's artistic act; they too become "ready-mades", nostalgic vestiges resuscitated in our museum universe.
We might extrapolate this aesthetic transfiguration to the whole of material production. As soon as it reaches a threshold where it is no longer exchanged in terms of social wealth, it becomes something like a giant Surrealist object, in the grip of a devouring aesthetic, and everywhere takes its place in a kind of virtual museum. And so we have the museumification, like a "ready-made", of the whole technical environment in the form of industrial wasteland.

The logic of uselessness could not but lead contemporary art to a predilection for waste, which is itself useless by definition. Through waste, the figuration of waste, the obsession with waste, art fiercely proclaims its uselessness. It demonstrates its non-use-value, its non-exchange-value at the same time as selling itself very dear.
There is a misconception here. Uselessness has no value in itself. It is a secondary symptom and, by sacrificing its aims to this negative quality, art goes completely off track, into a gratuitousness that is itself useless. It is the same scenario, more or less, as that of nullity, of the claim to non-meaning, insignificance and banality, which attests to a redoubled aesthetic pretension.
Anti-art strives, in all its forms, to escape the aesthetic dimension. But since the "ready-made" has annexed banality itself, all that is finished. The innocence of non-meaning, of the non-figurative, of abjection and dissidence, is finished.
All these things, which contemporary art would like to be, or return to, merely reinforce the inexorably aesthetic character of this anti-art.

Art has always denied itself. But once it did so through excess, thrilling to the play of its disappearance. Today it denies itself by default -- worse, it denies its own death.
It immerses itself in reality, instead of being the agent of the symbolic murder of that same reality, instead of being the magical operator of its disappearance.
And the paradox is that the closer it gets to this phenomenal confusion, this nullity as art, the greater credit and value it is accorded, to the extent that, to paraphrase Canetti, we have reached a point where nothing is beautiful or ugly any more; we passed that point without realizing it and, since we cannot get back to that blind spot, we can only persevere in the current destruction of art.

Lastly, what purpose does this useless function serve?
From what, by its very uselessness, does it deliver us?
Like politicians, who deliver us from the wearisome responsibility of power, contemporary art, by its incoherent artifice, delivers us from the ascendancy of meaning by providing us with the spectacle of non-sense. This explains its proliferation: independently of any aesthetic value, it is assured of prospering by dint of its very insignificance and emptiness. Just as the politician endures in the absence of any representativeness or credibility.

So art and the art market flourish precisely in proportion to their decay: they are the modern charnel-houses of culture and the simulacrum.

It is absurd, then, to say that contemporary art is worthless and that there's no point to it, since that is its vital function: to illustrate our uselessness and absurdity. Or, more accurately, to make that decay its stock in trade, while exorcizing it as spectacle.

If, as some have proposed, the function of art was to make life more interesting than art, then we have to give up that illusion. One gets the impression that a large part of current art participates in an enterprise of deterrence, a work of mourning for the image and the imaginary, a -- mostly failed -- work of aesthetic mourning that leads to a general melancholia of the artistic sphere, which seems to survive its own demise by recycling its history and its relics.

But neither art nor aesthetics is alone in being doomed to this melancholy destiny of living not beyond their means, but beyond their ends.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Japanese Black Pine seedling ready for trip back to Brooklyn

Japanese Black Pine seedling with Chinese Juniper in the Zen Bud dist garden

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ghost Ship

Top to bot.: "Ghost Ship" dead Pin Oak seedlings, dead Bristle cone Pine seedling, beaver wood, and red crossover wire and ikea shelf 33x24x12" 2010

"Stack" Spruce, pit fired clay, red crossover wire, dead Pin Oak seedling, driftwood, Sycamore,
drawer, and acrylic 42x17x10" 2010

"Mountain Maple Inlaw" transplanted Mountain Maple approx. 7 feet, showing beginning of fall colors. 2008-2010

"Reservoir Hemlock" New addition replacing the first Hemlock cut down over the summer this one was taken from Simsbury Ct. Reservoir measuring in at a whopping 2" tall, planted in spruce log. 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Killed Sycamore

A couple of weeks ago I planted a sycamore seedling in on the park on north 12th street in Brooklyn, today I found the tree tube and bamboo by the garbage the seedling gone. how it looked after 6 months of nurture in the studio.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dug up Boxwood

Boxwood like the hedge on BI is tenacious and hard to kill. These bushes provided ambush for many an hider.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dump Truck

Pin Oak in Dump Truck

Imaginary Oak 3

imaginary oak 11x14"pencil on paper 2010 (in progress)

WO23 named Jane Namenwirth

White Oak 23 named Jane Namenwirth replanted in piece of Blue spruced downed on the North East portion of the estate where is planted a white oak given to Nancy.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Sound of Art

pulling out the faux wood turntable in anticipation of the LP we can do analog too!

Aron Namenwirth, Untitled 19 (The Sound of Money), 2005, Acrylic on panel, 48 x 36 inches

You can get one of my paintings for 1750.00 and support one of my favorite sources for art commentary and criticism ArtFagCity and The Sound of Art

Sunday, September 26, 2010

outside front back

London Plane seedling 10" tall in tube (north)
London Plane seedling backyard with cat proofing, replaced with conventional tree tube, the wind was blowing the leaves into the wire mesh and cutting them up.
(east) London Plane 14"
Burr Oak 11" self germinated on guernsey st. greenpoint in front of Fishman/ Resheff residence
(note): tree of heaven(above) will not give up.
Compost: of the 2,000 worms only 197 survived this summer with record high temperatures in the backyard in Williamsburg.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cement / Sound of Art

Naming this one Oliver Michaels in a 3 gallon plastic bucket with grey oil floor paint, Sycamore (London Plane) 18"

14 days left to "sound of art" artfagcity- I have a some sound from back in 2005
she is making an album help support her. 20$ gets you the vinyl.

About this project

For the past five years I've been looking at art and writing about what I see. But I've also been listening. Does art have a distinctive sound? Sometimes I think I could be in a remote cabin in Maine, and still instantly recognize the sound of an art video or a performance piece. Yet the things I hear in galleries and performance spaces don't seem to share any formal qualities – they run the gamut from noise to melody, recitation to wordless grunts.

I want to produce an album full of the sounds art makes in order to document and investigate this range, but I also want to take such sounds and set them free in the world, to be remixed and reused – sampled, mashed up, Auto-tuned, chopped and screwed.

More people than ever are engaged in this kind of cultural recycling, though they rarely draw their sources from the field of fine art. Frankly, the art world doesn’t make it easy – it's a profession invested in its own scarcity.

More than anything, I want to make a record of the Sound of Art because I want to see what people will do with it. It's a project guided by Jasper Johns’ description of the art-making process: "Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that."

The Sound of Art is a limited edition vinyl LP composed of sounds heard in New York galleries, museums, and project spaces over the last five years. Inspired by classic DJ battle records, it features forty tracks of diverse sounds culled from art video, performance footage, and kinetic sculptures. This is not an easy listening record. It's an audio document and a tool to create new sounds and new work.

Work by artists well-known and not-so-well-known. Difficult electronics. Sounds of stampeding animals, Hebrew prayer, a transformer fire, a children's carousel. One hundred carpenters pounding 10,000 nails. Field recordings of recordings by guitar genius John Fahey, and archival sound pieces by the pioneering conceptualist Lawrence Weiner. An iPod drum circle and thoughts on nostalgia. Also, yes, a toy monkey with cymbals.

Sounds have been donated by a large spectrum of artists and venues throughout New York City – everywhere from big fancy museums to odd little project spaces. We've also introduced Internet artists, as "wild cards" on this album.

Keep checking this page and our kickstarter blog for upcoming teasers and other audio-visual treats. We'll be profiling various artist work as the campaign progresses.

This is a collaborative project, with dozens of people donating their work and their services. Project Manager Michelle Halabura has been working from Art Fag City headquarters since last spring to make Sound of Art a reality.

Fundraising Consultant Sarah Landreth and BAM visual art curator David Harper have donated their time and skills advising on the campaign.

Matt Madly Azzarto at Think Tank Studio will be producing the record.

Phillip Niemeyer of Double Triple is designing the album cover, and is offering a limited edition offset lithograph to 10 lucky funders at the $200 level. Edition of 60, see the print HERE.

Celebrated performance and video artist Michael Smith will create a limited edition screen print of 50 in response to the sounds on the album, available to funders at the $250 level. See his bio HERE.

Artist Ben Coonley of Valentine for Perfect Stranger and NYUFF Dr. Zizmor Trailor fame will produce our promotional videos.

Men-about-town AndrewAndrew will host the record release party and Sound of Art DJ Battle, to be held at the ever-cool Santos Party House. (More about that soon!)

We’ve come up with a plan, brought together a group of fantastic artists and sounds, and have enlisted some of city’s greatest creative minds to donate their talent to this project. Now we need to make it happen. We can do it for $10,000. That covers only the direct costs of this project ¬– the pressing and shipping of a limited edition album, 500 in total, the promotion of the release party, and its launch. Additionally, 50 special edition LPs will be available, including the Michael Smith screen print. For every 50 dollars donated, United Record Pressing will offer a free test pressing, which will be given to each participating artist and gallery. Any funds we receive beyond that level will be directed to archiving and distributing the remixed music produced from this album.


Petra Cortright (Internet), Jennie C. Jones, (Sikemma Jenkins) Moyra Davey, (Orchard47) Elias Hansen (Maccarone), Ted Riederer (Marianne Boesky), Cliff Evans (Luxe Gallery), LoVid, (LMCC), Marcin Ramocki (MOMA), Shannon Plumb (Sarah Melzer Gallery), Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, (Luhring Augustine), John Fahey (AVA), Miriam Stern (Yeshivah University), Jennifer Schmidt (Elizabeth Foundation Project Space), Carolina A. Miranda (Armory show), Tyler Jacobsen and Chris Anderson (Canada), Tom Thayor (White Columns), Luke Murphy (Canada), Joel Holmberg (New Museum), Lawrence Weiner (Whitney Museum), Laura Parnes, (Participant Inc), Brainstormers (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center).

Andre Avelas (Abrons Art Center), Aron Namenwirth (artMovingProjects), Damien Catera (Hogar Collection), Andy Graydon (LMAK Projects), Sonny Smith (Cinders Gallery), Paul Slocum (artMovingProjects), Heidi Neubauer-Winterburn (Louis V. E.S.P.), Eric Laska (Diapason), Elena Wen (AIR Gallery), Joe McKay (Vertexlist), Heather Dewey (Issue Project Room), Peter Dobell (English Kills), Douglas Henderson (Pierogi), Robert McNeill (MonkeyTown), Erick Zuenskes (Real Fine Arts), Wayne Hodge (Fivemyles), Ranjit Bhatnagar and Nick Yulman (Coney Island Museum), Lara Kohl (PS.1), Mike Koller and MTAA (McCarren Park).

Project location: Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some new trees

As noted earlier I am going to name all the trees after people I am fond of.
Top: A boxwood that I dug up this summer on Block Island in painted pine box, named Marcin Ramocki.
Middle: Bristle cone Pine the oldest living thing on the earth we will call her Magda Sowan.
Bottom: The Coast Redwood, the tallest tree, we will name her Jane Hall.
That brings the total number of trees in the studio to 53.
Three more than I want, so I plan to give 3 Sycamores (London Plane trees) away.
Anyone in the New York City area who is invested in the arts will be considered. These trees get really big!! Need to be kept outside or really cold in the winter. Please contact me through comments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One million dead trees

Dead Sweetgum tree

3 Pin oaks a very resilient tree but if it keeps getting nailed with no watering not going to be so green soon. This is a small sampling of damage too depressing to put up more but you get the idea.
Tulip tree

Linden tree- here it has been damaged over and over all the way around, this one is a goner.

3 dead cherry trees

White oak north 12th near bedford ave. this survived the first hit but this time does not look good.

I have been watching the new trees that have been planted around the city, Mccaron park in particular as I walk my dog there regularly and am sorry to report that 75% are dying. This is very sad for the tax payer, as a tree costs the city 300-500$ each. This is throwing valuable money away. The problem is 2 fold the lawn mowing tractors are hitting the trunks at the base which is like cutting a straw no nourishment. The weedwackers finish off the job. Further once a young tree is planted it needs care for a couple of years till its roots become established. This care is not happening. No watering for example. Here is a perfect example of green waste. Never mind all the paper posters and flyers Bloomberg used to advertise his million trees, that was probably a lot of pulp :0( .

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