Monday, July 23, 2007

Food Stuff Consumption And Miscellany

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2 sm coffees (light/sweet)
2 glazed donuts
1 med butterscotch coffee (light/sweet)
1 can of green iced tea (apple flavored) 12 fl. oz.
3 peanut butter/grape jelly on whole wheat bread sandwiches
3 sm rolls of semi-hard candy (smarties)
1 container of blackberries (half dry pint)
box of fruit punch (6.75 fl. oz.)
3 peanut butter/grape jelly on whole wheat bread sandwiches
3 sm rolls of semi-hard candy (smarties)
can of ginger ale (12 fl. oz.)
1/2 pack of cigarettes

Saturday, July 21, 2007

lg coffee
1 pretzel (mustard)
1 vitamin water (dragonfruit) 20 fl. oz.
1 med butterscotch coffee (light/sweet)
1 tootsie roll
1 can of fruit punch (11.5 fl. oz.)
4-5 biscuits
1/2 pack of cigarettes

photo essay: Grove (Branded Trees)

photos taken Sunday (7/22) 3:30 - 3:40 p.m. and Monday (7/23) 8:40 a.m.
location - B. Franklin Parkway between 20th and 21st

Journeys | Religious Art:

European Artists Return to Church


Speaking volumes - an interview with Chris Burden

Well, it's pretty simple. I went to a prep school in Cambridge, Mass., as a day student. It was a very hard school; my dad must have paid a lot of money to send me there. Between my junior and senior year, I got a National Science Foundation grant to go to La Jolla, to be like a junior scientist, and I took the Greyhound bus from Boston to L.A. That was an eye-opener. I was supposed to have some college interviews. I had one at Pomona College on my way back home because it was off Route 66.

I ended up going to Pomona in a pre-architectural program; the deal was you studied math, physics, art and art history. The math and physics were really hard, and I could not keep up. To tell you the truth, I wasn't interested, and I started working in the art department. My first teacher was John Mason and we did bronze castings; I still have my first casting.

I went home one summer and I worked in an architecture firm in Cambridge and it was horrible. I hated working there. I was organizing magazines and such, but there were people who had gone to architecture grad school, and they were sitting there at these drafting tables drawing toilets on these huge blueprints and I went, "No, I am not going to do four years of grad school to become a draftsman." You had to be 55 years old before you got to make a decision!

So I came back to Pomona and I said, "I want to be a sculptor." My chairman, Nicolai Wasisksi, Jr., was buying art for collectors. We'd see works by Poons and all kinds of Minimalist painters and stuff before he would send them on to the collectors. It was good; I was lucky to go there at that time; schools have life cycles, and this was a good phase. So then I went to graduate school at U.C. Irvine. It was the first year they had the program. I had applied to East Coast schools, like Rutgers and Columbia, got all kinds of offers from there, but I did not want to go back East.

I liked California; I liked the openness of it; I already had started building big sculptures, and I remember deciding that I had to get a pickup truck. I liked doing things outdoors. So I went to Irvine, and after graduating I stayed one more year in Santa Aria because I already had a great studio there. I was the first tenant in this industrial unit: they were huge, 300-foot-long tilt ups, where the walls are poured flat on the floor slab and then craned up into place in a day, with the bases of the walls cast into footings and their tops tied together by the roof beams. They chopped these things all up into little industrial units, and each had a garage door and a little door. You were not allowed to live there: you had to hide your car because that was the sign that someone was there all the time. They were $100 a month, 20 feet wide by 20 feet high by 50 feet long, a little bathroom and a sink in the back corner, brand new.

I worked at the Newport Harbor Museum doing prep work; I got to know a lot of L.A. artists. Somehow Chuck Arnoldi knew that a bunch of us were looking for a space to show our work; we wanted to keep living in Orange County but we wanted to have a small gallery hike the F Space, which was adjacent to my studio. [Burden did performances, including Shoot, there.] Chuck heard of a little hot-dog stand on Brooks Ave. in Venice. It was so nasty, it took us a year to fix it, and then at the end of fixing it, the other people kind of lost interest, so I said, "Well, I'll pay you back for all the materials, so I can live in this." And they said, "Sure." So I paid them $350 for all the paint, and bingo, I had my studio. That was great.

The lady who owned the building lowered the rent from $90 a month to $80 because I was an artist, as opposed to the drug dealer who ran the business before! All the 10 years I lived in that little place, people would get out of jail and come and not just knock on my door but really pull on it, looking to buy drugs. I could see it flexing. It was kind of scary.

I always thought I'd have a career as an artist, at least since my second year in college, when I decided to become an artist. I did not want to teach. I felt really bad when I had to start teaching. I was 33 years old and borrowing money from my mother; my career was weird that way. I got a lot of L.A. press originally, then a lot of art press, but it did not really translate into money. ! was on the cover of Artforum in 1976, and my phone did not ring for two years after that, because the art world is so fashion-conscious and so cyclical. Once you get known, it's like, "Whom should we have for a performance or a lecture? Well, everybody knows him. Let's bring in somebody else, because he's a known quantity."

I started teaching in '78 at UCLA and at the San Francisco Art Institute. Every other day I'd fly into San Francisco. It was a lot of work, but I needed it to get going. I was really penniless. I'd been at UCLA three or four years when Charley Ray was hired. I was full time, but we were lecturers, not tenure track. There were no new positions--it took years to get them.

Southern California has changed a lot since I've arrived, of course. It's become more frenetic, more stressful. L.A. has completely changed. You used to be able to drive around here; can't do that anymore. There's this ossification. The city used to be small because you could get everywhere fast; now it's huge, since driving has lost its fluidity.

I do feel in a community of artists: I see Mike Kelley sometimes and Paul McCarthy; I don't really know what Charley Ray's up to these days. I go out sometimes, not too often, traffic's changed so much. I don't leave Topanga Canyon, where I live now, unless I can do five things at a time. What's happened in my neighborhood here is like what's happened all over L.A. I'm a preservationist, as opposed to my neighbors, who are developers. We bought extra land so that other people would not build on it. My theory is that if you don't own it, they will build on it. I wish I could have bought more land.

I built the skyscrapers here. My office manager Katie's husband, Cary Gepner, is a certified architect. When we were first building here, this is now 22 years ago, I asked, "What's the biggest structure that you could build without a permit?" His answer was, you can build something up to 400 square feet. At the time I had lots of books on architecture. There are these Baltimore row houses that are 10 feet square. Your rooms are stacked on top of each other. The height here for residential building was 35 feet max. I could build a little skyscraper, because that would be within the definition of the 400 square feet--four 10-foot-square floors, and it's four times 8 feet high per floor, making 32 feet plus the thickness of the roof and floors. And who's to say you can't stand on the roof and have that be your deck? So that was the idea.

I made a little sketch of it in 1991. Then these architects came to me; they wanted to do a project with houses designed by artists, and they asked me for a concept. I said, "I've already got mine designed, you guys do the arithmetic." So we started meeting for a couple of years. It was interesting--we got all these different materials, they brought all these samples. So I did end up getting to be an architect. Well, kind of.

We showed it in L.A. at LACE, lying on its side. They did a prototype. Then we built one in Basel in the summer of 2004 in the Messeplatz, and the more I built it, the less I wanted it to be a building, and the more I wanted it to be a sculpture. In Basel it was vertical, it really looks good vertical; so now I have two, because it was cheaper to rebuild it in Basel than to ship it there. See, my dream is to use those two skyscrapers, make some stainless steel ones, and also have these wooden frame houses, and have all those kinds of models of real things, totally freak my neighbors!

I started collecting old municipal light poles, many from the '20s, a while ago. They get taken apart, stripped, restored, repainted and rewired. I've installed them three rows deep on three sides of my studio, about 150 total. They all work. I like the light poles here, so it's not a terrible loss if they don't get to go somewhere else. There's discussion of them going to Vienna, but I would never loan them for an exhibition. When they go from here, they go to a home and I get a check. It's the only way it's going to work for me.

I built a beehive bunker near the top of my property. It's made of 100-pound paper sacks of concrete mix, laid up like the blocks in an igloo. We drove rebar through the bags to link them together and then installed some drip irrigation lines so that the dry mix in the bags turned into concrete over a couple of weeks. The thing weighs more than 5 tons. Access is through a manhole set in the top, about ten feet from the ground. It's the right place for a bunker because it's just a tremendous view, and it's very bizarre when you're up near it, it's disjunctive. You're looking down on all these multi-million-dollar homes, so it's not in Beirut, or on the Golan Heights or something. It gives me information before I build it somewhere else. And I keep waiting for someone to call, and I'll just tell them that it's a sculpture! I wonder how many beehive bunkers it will take before somebody calls?

A lot of my work is performative. I would say the same of the bridges: they're about spanning from A to B. You could do it by writing an essay connecting nuclear physics to Renaissance painting, or you could do it in a physical way. The bunker is performative by implication. With the Medusa Head, the whole thing [a suspended, dark, gnarled 14-foot-in-diameter lump] is covered with model railroad tracks. The trains can't move, but the implication is that this whole thing is like a snarling world of industry. I don't know if it's performative, but it seems to me it is. Medusa Head is about an ecological nightmare that did not come to be. It shows what an early British farmer thought in his heart of hearts when he saw the first fucking steam locomotive coming down the tracks. There are parts of England--or New Jersey, for that matter--that look like the Medusa Head for sure. But trains are also like, well, the Orient Express--they have their own mythology.

I am not sure that the radicality in my work is linked to California, linked to place, but maybe it has to do with how you feel history is so much newer here. I remember going back to my father's funeral in New Hampshire around ten years ago. There were some people in the room, so just to be a wise guy, I say to them, "And when did you get rid of your Indians?" The glare and the hatred was indescribable, and they looked at me like I was some sort of madman, you know. And they stuttered a little and said, well, I could probably go to the library and look it up.

excerpted from Art in America (November, 2006)

...and lastly, just cause it's a good tune


dani said...

i can't seem to dig up your email address, so this will have to do. i wanted to say thank you for including a link to my haiku blog just the other day. i am new to this whole blog thing and was quite unsure if anyone out there was even interested in my daily haiku. anyway, i appreciate it. i see you are also have a link for chap ambrose, who is my dear friend's boyfriend. funny how those things work. anyway, your blog is really interesting, and again, thank you.

Allan Smithee said...

Funny you should mention Mr. Chap Ambrose. He's sitting in his office about 15-20 feet away from me as I type this.

Btw, found your site after you commented on Maura's blog.

Also, you're more than welcome for the link. Keep writing, your haiku is good.