“So Much Better” is a debut novel about a self-sabotaging Credit Union employee, a cold woman at odds with and alone in the world. In the absence of her lover, she seduces her lover s sister, wades through old storage units and wonders after her own absent family. Printed in an edition of 500 w/ silkscreen covers by Nick Butcher of Sonnenzimmer.
Terri Griffith’s writing has appeared in Bloom, Suspect Thoughts, Bust and in the anthologies Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class and Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Health Care in America. Along with Nicholas Alexander Hayes, she is co-authoring a transgressive retelling of the Greek Myths. Terri is the literary correspondent for the popular contemporary art podcast Bad at Sports and she also co-hosts the online reading series The Parlor.
December 16, 2009 · Print This Article
Writing for the Los Angeles Times’ arts blog Culture Monster on December 14th, art critic Christopher Knight wondered why more arts bloggers did not receive Creative Capital Grants from the Warhol Foundation this year. “As writers on art, bloggers just don’t seem to measure up,” he notes (a bit smugly, I thought, although I may just be reading between the lines there).
While it isn’t possible to know which blogs and bloggers applied for grants (or how many of those got tossed out as ineligible because they didn’t fit entry criteria), a Creative Capital spokesman tells me that, for 2009, the blog category had 153 applicants. Yikes. Maybe art blogs are generally a waste or only really bad bloggers submit applications or the jury doesn’t like the form.
The bad news doesn’t stop there. Two successful applicants this year got grants to start blogs. That’s a nice vote of confidence in those established writers’ abilities, but it also suggests the jury’s rather sizable degree of dismay with existing bloggers who applied for assistance.
“Is art blogging really that bad?” Knight asks in conclusion, leaving the answer open to comments. Weighing in on the issue are art bloggers such as C-Monster and Culturegrrl as well as Donald Frazell who I’d not heard of nor read before, but he commented at least three times.
There’s some bitchy snarkery about past winners as well one or two musings on why the awards were awarded mostly to those planning projects in traditional print (“dead tree”) media. But there’s nothing that speaks to what makes art blogging valuable, what purpose art bloggers may serve within a larger art community, or why those contributions are worthy of any foundation’s support (the fact that independent art bloggers can’t make enough money off ads or other forms of revenue to support themselves is not, to my mind, a good enough reason to receive grant money. Just because you can’t support yourself through the work you do doesn’t automatically mean you *deserve* support for it).
I seriously love WFMU’s Beware of the Blog. I often find awesome tracks and albums that I would never have found on my own. While trolling their site for more info on the Masked Man and the Agents (check out their song Roaches)Â I came across John Steele and John Cage’s 1976 album Voices and Instruments.
via Beware of the Blog:
“Brian Eno’s Obscure Records label released only 10 albums during its existence from 1975 through 1978. Some of these have been reissued on CD (among them Eno’s own 1975 masterpiece Discreet Music), but for some reason the album Voices and Instruments (Obscure No. 5, 1976) only exists on out-of-print vinyl. It is a very quiet and beautiful record, featuring three compositions by Jan Steele on one side, and five compositions by John Cage on the other side. Lyrics are by James Joyce and E. E. Cummings, performers include Jan Steele, Richard Bernas, Steve Beresford, Fred Frith, Robert Wyatt, and Carla Bley. It is not just mellow, it is avant-mellow…”
You can download the album via WFMU’s site. If you do not already check them out you should add them to your list.
On this week’s pick we bring you The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack’s “The Plague Song”.
Photographer Larry Sultan has died at the age of 63. The New York Times reports that the cause was cancer. From his obituary:
Larry Sultan, a highly influential California photographer whose 1977 collaboration, â€œEvidenceâ€ â€” a book made up solely of pictures culled from vast industrial and government archives â€” became a watershed in the history of art photography, died on Sunday at his home in Greenbrae, Calif. He was 63.
The cause was cancer, said his wife, Katherine, who is known as Kelly.
In the mid 1970s using a grant and a letter of introduction from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Sultan and Mike Mandel, who had met as students at the San Francisco Art Institute, somehow managed to persuade several large companies, agencies and research institutions like the Bechtel Corporation, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the San Jose Police Department and the United States Department of the Interior to let them rummage through their documentary photo files.
Highly influenced by the West Coast brand of Conceptualism then percolating out of places like the California Institute of the Arts, both men were interested, as Mr. Mandel later said, in exploring photography as â€œmore than just the modernist practice of fine-tuning your style and way of seeing.â€ The pictures they chose from the archives, out of the hundreds of thousands they examined, were a strange, stark, sometimes disturbing vision of a late-industrial world: a space-suited figure sprawled face down on a carpeted floor; a car consumed in flames; a man holding up a tangle of weeds like a trophy; a shaved monkey being held down by a gloved hand.
Some of the images seemed to have been picked for their uncanny resemblance to installation art being made at the time. But the 59 photos published, with no captions to explain what they showed or where they came from, pursued a much broader, Duchampian agenda of harnessing found photographs for the purposes of art while using them as a way to examine the society that produced them. The critic Kenneth Baker of The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the project demonstrated brilliantly the degree to which â€œwe have no calculus to unravel relations between what a picture shows and what it explains.â€
You can read more about Sultan’s Pictures from Home, a photographic series on his parents’ lives post-retirement, here, as well as an essay that Sultan wrote about his photographic series The Valley for the L.A. Weekly here.