Sunday, August 30, 2009

Recent Developments

There were a few late additions to the auction on Friday, including an original Sammy Harkham page, a very hard to come by copy of Kramer's Ergot #4 and a framed drawing of mine, of a rock (below). Also, I made a correction to the post below, adding links to all the artists names, so readers can see more of their work and find out more about them.

In other news, there are reports of a bunch of retirees picketing the G.O.P headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, telling them to stop their disinformation campaign on health care. Awesome.

Friday, August 28, 2009

46 Million (people have no health care)

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned to my wife, Heather that I was thinking about putting a couple of drawings or paintings up for auction on ebay to raise a little money to influence the health care debate. The fact that some democrats were beginning to distance themselves from a Public Option (a compromise from the beginning, since Single Payer is, to me and most on the left, really the only sane system) was frustrating, infuriating, depressing, etc. The screaming morons and outrageous lies turning up at town hall meetings all over the country were just as bad. Heather said "Sure, good idea, but why don't you get some other people involved and raise some real money." So I did. Click here to see the auction (or go to ebay and search for "46 Million"). I also managed to get both the Chicago Reader and Time Out to cover it. And most importantly, the response from the artists I asked to contribute has been humbling and incredibly generous. Here's a list of the contributing artists and a few of the 51 pieces (so far) on auction:

John Porcellino
Genevieve Castree
Chris Ware
Ivan Brunetti
Dan Clowes
Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie)
Jeffrey Brown
Paul Hornschemeier
Todd Baxter
Sonnenzimmer Print Studio
Kevin Huizenga
Jay Ryan/The Bird Machine
Lynda Barry
Lilli Carre
Cheryl Weaver
David Heatley
Kyle Obriot
Stephen Eichhorn
Buenaventura Press
Sammy Harkham
James Sturm
Souther Salazar
And, obviously, me.

As for the money, it will go to grass roots efforts and TV ads in the districts and states of fence sitting Democrats (the focus presently is to get the number of supportive Senators from 45 to a majority of 51) to support a strong public option in the final health overhaul legislation that goes to the President. For more on the kinds of efforts we support, and for more information about the issue, check out Democracy for America and Health Care for America Now.

And, hell, while you're at it, sign this petition.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

fragments from correspondence

Got this in an email from my mom tonight, after storms in Minneapolis:

"Tornadoes here today. Strange variation on the theme, with no big
disturbance that I noticed, except for torrential rainfall on Pleasant
Avenue. But over on Portland: trees down, roofs lifted off, and
cars crushed under huge trunks. Multiple touchdowns. Downtown too.

Sort of like life. Enormous disturbances and trauma at one
address, and life flowing on next door. How to understand it?"

Yeah, totally.

Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

I've made entries here about a number of small, idiosyncratic museums of science and anthropology in Europe--in Bologna, outside of Odense Denmark and in Lucerne Switzerland. There's something very odd and wonderful about these places. One really gets the sense that some obsessive aristocrat with scientific pretensions just started amassing objects in the 18th or 19th century and never stopped until he died. The divisions between the disciplines were still extremely blurred, so one gets sculptures of human anatomy in wax right next to unusual rocks. They also date from before science separated itself clearly from art, so the aesthetics of the exhibits are highly refined. The cabinets and display cases are as beautiful as the exhibits themselves. I'd never really seen quite the same thing in the U.S. The Field Museum here in Chicago and the Museum of natural History in New York City have a vaguely similar feel, but they date from later, and are more rigorously scientific and ambitious. This Summer, while I was in New Hampshire at my dad's, I went for the first time to The Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury and found the closest thing to those little museums that I can recall seeing here in the states. Below are some of the artifacts and exhibits, including some live local plants in glass jars, various dolls, childrens books and toys, stuffed birds and a few jelly fish that were just on a shelf in the basement.

Down the street from the Fairbanks is the Atheneum, a public Library and art gallery. The art is mostly old, not very interesting landscape painting. though I sort of liked this one:

But they also have Albert Bierstadt's Domes of Yosemite, a massive, 10 by 15 foot landscape painting. Bierstadt was sort of the main guy in the Hudson River School Painters, the first artists to treat the American landscape as beautiful and grandiose rather than just wild and unkempt, as it had been seen previously. Albert really went for it. the painting is pretty amazing in person. It's almost comical in it's grandiosity, but the guy could paint like a Motherf----r, and it really makes me want to see some more. Needless to say, the photo here doesn't even come close to doing it justice.

I tried to get a photo of it with the context of the frame and the room, but the custodian yelled at me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

View From a Train

The first two pictures here are not technically from a train, but from a tram: the one that goes up Cannon Mountain in Franconia, New Hampshire. The photographs that follow are from a train trip from Northern New Hampshire down to New York City last June.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A tree sticking out of the wall with a car in it

I made a diorama for the Diorama Show at Home Gallery a couple of weeks ago. The closing brunch is tomorrow, Sunday from 12-3. There are several other great pieces there, including a couple by Doug Shaeffer and Frank Pollard that you really should go look at. Jenny Buffington's lakes are pretty cool, too.