Category art

What is art?

I’ll never forget a tshirt I saw someone wearing at an art museum a few decades ago, it read “Art is a window washer in Madison, Wisconsin.” It was answering the question before anyone could ask… um, what is art?

I like this video because it skips stones over this question and offers some answers that make sense to me. Art is about a reaction. Art conjures up emotion. Art builds on what came before it. Art challenges our world view. Art reinvents us. Art is a unique power. Art is… many things to us all.

Jeffery Deitch runs  Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) and is perhaps one of the modern soothsayers that has the chops to take on the question what art is. This video makes sense to me.

Skateable architecture

My dad was telling me the woes of the golf industry recently, the short version is that it’s on a decline. No wonder it’s in a slump… five hours and $200 per session is a pretty large filter.

Then, a few days later I walked off a stage in DC and a bunch of surfers walked up to me… and it occurred to me that what was once considered “fringe” (most board sports) is now mainstream.

And that brings me to skateable architecture.


These pics are from the “At First We Take Museums” exhibit at the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art in Finland. Rich Holland has created something visually beautiful and spiked the imagination of every skateboarder who will set their eyes (or wheels) on these forms.

Maybe it’s because I grew up skateboarding but these forms make sense to me. Why wouldn’t you design a space to, literally, flow like this? Further, why not let skaters take it over from time to time?




Taking this a step further is the PAS house designed to skate in. I’ve heard of a few others out there… hmmm… maybe it’s time for me to build a halfpipe… in the family room.

Completely dry in the middle of a rainstorm

MoMA’s new exhibit, Rain Room, offers yet another intersection of art and technology. It enables you to walk through a room full of rain and stay… dry.

The only thing better than that concept is the lighting they’ve added. Stark and sparse… so the rain’s audible onslaught is accompanied by a visual brain-scrambler… “I hear the rain all around me, why am I still dry?”


Beauty is embarrassing – Wayne White

I was in the first time I saw his word paintings.

Actually, that’s not the truth… I was in more than thirty years ago when Pee Wee’s Playhouse first aired. That show is hard to understand from a contextual standpoint. It was birthed in a desert of ultra-predictable, off-white bland television shows. Pee Wee’s Playhouse was a visual anarchy of ideas… if Salvador Dali was a Producer of kids television programming he would have created that show… and he would have hired Wayne White just as Paul Reubens did.

This a great, straightforward film about an artist born in Tennessee, living in Los Angeles and addicted to creating.

More on Wayne’s world here.

How to shoot film

One of my favorite photographers, Ryan Tater, gives you a few pointers on moving past your iphone.

You know your ready for something less perfect, less immediate… better. Here you go.

Tiny moving pictures

I love the idea of people pushing the boundaries within tightly constrained mediums.

If you think about it entrepreneurs and artists, people who push new ideas out, they tend to operate within some tightly defined parameters.

How many singers push out songs more than three and a half minutes? How many film makers create films longer than three hours? How many startups take on two or three ideas at once?

This brings me to GIFs.

A tiny file size, mini animation, mostly for not apparent reason or value other than to entertain. Tiny moving pictures, cinemagraphs, made by… anyone.

Cindy Sherman: American cipher

I read the review of the Cindy Sherman, SFMoMA show and it instantly snapped me back to my first memory of her.

Having just transplanted to New York City from the Midwest in the late 80s I was trying to make sense of large-scale train graffiti, an evolving urban lexicon… and Ivan Boesky’s Wall Street rhetoric.

I distinctly remember seeing Cindy Sherman’s work at a Whitney Biennial and feeling… some kind of understanding… even an odd kinship with her work.

Her conceptual portraits were a metaphor for what I was feeling… a stranger in a strange land.

Hip hop was being birthed, much of the city was in gross disrepair and was dangerous (unlike today). Wall Street had run amuck… it was a dynamic, morphing time.

Cindy Sherman, like the people I saw around me, was shape-shifting her exterior to adapt. She’s been doing the same thing since those days. She embraced this process as an art form and has spent her life drawing attention to issues connected to women’s roles and related representation.

I’m not sure I understand her work and yet… it makes more sense to me than the celebrity-making machinery that has become a large part of the American experience.

Spend a few minutes on this page. It’s like looking a cultural looking glass.

Firewall play thing

Sometimes an art installation goes further. Sometimes it brings you in and captivates your attention… even for just a few minutes.

This is one of those installations.

Ingredients are Processing, Max/MSP, Arduino, spandex and a Kinect.

An algorithm created with the Max controls music cadence and loudness.

Stanley Kubrick’s obsession with geometry

Stanley Kubrick, arguably one of the most important film makers of our era, had something approaching a fixation with using a single vanishing point in his films.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw 2001: Space Odyssey. I distinctly remember two things. One is the fact my friend that couldn’t deal with it… he hated it, he wouldn’t stop talking and then he left. He was lost at the chimps… and it went downhill from there. The second thing I remember is feeling like I was lost in a dream… like I was in some alternative reality.

The truth is that all Kubrick’s films make me feel like I’m dreaming… it’s almost as if they take over my brain for an hour or two. That, at least to me, is the sign of a master director… commandeering someone’s mind for the duration of a film.

This… stunning… clip suggests one reason why. Stanley Kubrick had a distinct, signature perspective and he forced the viewer into it.

The vignette reminds me, yet again, of the depth of his legacy. Give it a watch.

Kubrick // One-Point Perspective from kogonada on Vimeo.

When ads try harder… by doing less

Less is more.

Bold color, interesting line quality and stark minimalism… this ad just works for me.

What doesn’t work for me is when advertisements expect me to read a ton, plow through a dozen cultural references and attach those things to a concept, service or product.

Introduce us to the essence of your brand.

If we’re intrigued we can always go deeper.