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Chau and B.J.'s notes from Space City

Archive for January, 2010

darzacq_hyper20

Denis Darzacq, Hyper No.20, 2007. 50 x 40″.

Denis Darzacq’s Hyper exhibition, at the Laurence Miller Gallery, ventures into the supermarket. Obviously this isn’t your average grocery store. Bodies pause mid-air near the frozen food, bend at freak angles, levitate toward the top shelves. But why, of all places, in this place? Darzacq seems to be casting his solitary souls into Andreas Gursky’s famous panorama of merchandise.

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Andreas Gursky,99 cent, 1999. 6′ 9 1/2″ x 11′.

Too many choices and desires overwhelm us, Gursky’s rainbows of sugar and plastic tell us. Putting people in the foreground, not things or crowds, Darzacq renders this same feeling in a more haunting style. There’s something empty and creepy about our zombielike urge to accumulate, and here that emptiness and creepiness is given form: the subjects are tractor-beamed skyward by unseen forces; their faces swivel mysteriously away from us; a sickly fluorescent light refrigerates every composition; the aisles are cleared, you suspect, even of sound. These tableaux vivants, like those of Gregory Crewdson, remind you that the ordinary world we’ve taken for granted is, on closer inspection, a good deal more surreal than we notice.

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Denis Darzacq, Hyper No.3, 2007. 50 x 40″.

Jackie

Happy Belated Birthday Jackie!

How cool is this picture? She always hikes and camps in the most beautiful places. Did you know that I carved my first pumpkin at Jackie’s apartment? And when I had no place to go for Easter break at ND, she took me home to Pittsburgh and introduced me to burgers served with french fries inside them. And even though she lived off campus her senior year, I could always count on her or Jen to drive by the main circle to pick me up. I’m a lucky girl. Now if all my friends weren’t spread out across the country, things would be much better!

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Shabd SS10 Collection. So beautiful. Hat tip: unruly things.

Hi. Outfit #1 for July? Hmm. Growing up, tie dye was a staple for field day uniforms. I especially loved the event where the entire team had to maneuver a gigantic beach ball around the obstacle course. The second picture perfectly captures my mood this week: relieved it’s Friday and ready to spend some time outside!

Starting new projects like those that involve clay can be exciting but exhausting. Students are eager to begin but don’t want listen. I think I impressed a few with my (ahem) loud voice—I just don’t like to bring it out much. Also, high school kids are not sneaky at all. Why would you ask if you can make a bong, shot glass, martini glass, or ash tray? I wonder if they sincerely thought I would say, “Sure, as long as it has great surface treatment!”

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The story of Dennis Stock (1928-2010) is intertwined with the story of cool. Such is the fate of a virtuoso photographer who, present at the right time and the right place, potently documented America’s passage from strait-laced postwar gloom into the fiery emotions of the misfit mid-century. His portraits hinted at the blooming counterculture: a dissenting, introspective crowd equally given to brooding loneliness and ecstatic reverie.  It is no exaggeration to say that, for one, his 1955 shots for Life magazine helped craft the myth of James Dean. While shooting a visual essay on the actor not long before his fatal car accident, Stock snapped the legendary, and legend-forging, image of Dean in Times Square, strolling what Life called the the Street of Broken Dreams. As Adam Gopnik saw it: “bearing the weight of a generation on his shoulders.” With his hunched posture, enveloped in his overcoat, and that squint, that cantilevered cigarette, he looked  uncannily like Albert Camus. Shielding himself from the rain, seemingly the last citizen of New York, Dean was the picture of the existential loner.

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Invited on to the set of Billy Wilder’s film Sabrina, Stock displayed his talent for capturing moments of vulnerability, when artists conscious of publicity and image fleetingly let their guards down. Here we see Audrey Hepburn resting on a car window, lost in thought, perhaps, casting her famously gamine gaze downward. “She was very un-Hollywood, which was the key to the whole thing,” Stock remembered. “She wasn’t glamorous. She didn’t try to be glamorous.”

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The spirit of the age was available in his portraits: you could sense the national mood shifting. In 1968, freezing a moment of abandon on Venice Beach, he expressed the libertine freedom of that time. A woman stood, back to the camera, against a sea of youth rapt by music, simultaneously an individual and part of something larger. It’s no surprise that his philosophy of photography was refreshing and vital–”To be able to continue an attitude of childlike discovery into adult existence can only be perceived as a gift toward the individual’s spiritual survival”–and it spoke to both the joy of artmaking, and its place in a full life.

Stock worked for the prestigious Magnum agency for six decades. They gather more of his work here.

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I’ve been slowly making fabric flowers since the summer. Very slow. I tend to get too sentimental and attached to each object. They have a story, travelled with me to different cities, and/or were given to me by someone close. I was nervous to bring all the details together, but it all worked out in the end.

Lately, I’ve been reminded that it’s time to kick it into gear, to plan for The Big Day. And although there are too many ways to get overwhelmed, too many wedding related blogs to read, too many people to please, too many traditions to uphold, these are our real wishes: to show our friends and families how much we love and appreciate them, to craft a day that is meaningful and authentic to us, and to enjoy our day and our friends even if it means fewer DIY projects or less sleep.

And I am so happy that BJ and I have collaborated every step of the way. He is really the best.

Off I go. Om Om Om.

DominoMagazine_March2009

I’ve been in scanning mode- I guess I kind of miss my slide library days cleaning up all those images! Anyways, I went through my inspiration binder and found these images from Domino magazine. It would be a dream to live around all those trees and lush landscape . I can’t even keep one plant alive. Last year, my students made me a sign reminding me to water George, our classroom plant. Big fail.

The last photo couldn’t be more perfect. Mismatched furniture, frame gallery, chandeliers, tin vases &  a macbook!

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Some Christmas books that I need to spend time with. I got BJ Painting Today, and he also recieved American Illustration 28 in the mail, so we’ll be set for awhile. At least that’s what we always say, but you know how it goes. :)

One of my favorite gifts was a jewelry torch kit from BJ. I loved the intro to jewelry course at RISD, and the size is perfect ’cause that’s all I used for my projects. I’m super excited to get started but also a little nervous—I hope I don’t blow something up!

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I’m brainstorming ways to use all the beads and charms I’ve been collecting, like these skull pieces from International Beads & Novelty, a little place near Michigan Avenue in Chicago. They had an awesome vintage stock, but after 90 years, they closed their shop. Lucky for me and you, some of their goods can be found online here.

I don’t want to say I’m busy and tired because that’s all I ever feel like/complain about, but man, I am busy and tired. My grades are due tomorrow, final exams begin, and contests are approaching. I feel fortunate at my job, but arriving at 6:40am and not leaving until 6pm—plus taking additional work home—is hard. Today, one of my colleagues discussed the possibility of me taking over painting courses next year (something I would love to do), but that would mean 4 preps and that class is a combination of different levels. And don’t even get me started on how my class sizes increased from 25 to 35 this year. But I am lucky…

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Yesterday afternoon, we arrived home from our D.C. trip and started work the next day. Whew. I am exhausted. The weather was especially cold and windy, but we managed to do a good amount of walking and visiting during our time there. I wish we had a few more days to see friends, visit the National Gallery, and climb the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. Sounds like we’ll have to make another trip soon! (Oh if only our pockets were a little/lot deeper)

We rang in the New Year at a dive bar with fellow Domers, ate a delicious breakfast with Melissa, and enjoyed the breathtaking wedding with close friends. AND BJ danced. It was awesome.

1. Ben, me, and Ben relaxing after the rehearsal dinner, 2. Arriving at Dupont Circle 3. BJ getting fancy. more pictures here