December 27, 2007

Sheep with no wool? Just say 'Bah'

Farmers in the United States are now herding "hair sheep"--a breed that grows hair and needs no shearing--rather than woolies, according to the Guardian Unlimited news today. Shearing sheep is just too much work, and we only want the sheep for their meat, anyway.

Sheep around the world, unite and go 'Bah'! A bas the lazies who eat the hairies! Basta!

December 8, 2007

Old letters

I'm lucky to have saved hundreds of letters sent to me over the years, before email decimated the practice. Recently, I went through some of those old letters to find fragments I still remembered. I wanted to paint those fragments and think about those people. In my opinion, the stuff from Si's scribblings is the most successful, but here are a few pictures based letters from: Lisa, a dear friend from Barnard College; Mary, my roommate there; and Lars, my estimable cousin from L.A.

October 12, 2007

A little satire ... all in fun. A visit to an art museum, sometime in the distant future

Body of Work

by Emily Schilling and Simon Rosenthal

“Welcome! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Modern. I’m the director of deconstructionism, and tonight we are privileged to tour a very powerful and poignant exhibition, Fred’s ‘Body of Work.’ While you’re signing your releases, let me just give you the story behind this show.
“Among the hundreds of serviceable artists in the modern firmament, Fred was the cutting edge of post-modernism. No other artist came close.
“His early cross-sections of vertebrates expanded our concepts of life and death, art and the timelessness of creation. Fred’s pieces explore decay while actually decaying. Tonight we are privileged to see, for the first time, the crown jewel in Fred’s body of work—it is literally his own body—five years after his death. It’s the very last word, am I right? It makes sense, knowing him, doesn’t it?
“When he conceived this series, a Fred piece could fetch upwards of £40 million. In order to fund his final oeuvre, the artist chose to auction his body parts, while still alive and attached to one another.
“Some of you may have read about the Fred Auction, held simultaneously in London and New York. The excitement! Fred divided his own body into 35 lots, and the total oeuvre sold for more than £521 million. Some thought he should donate a little finger or something to charity, and he was willing. His choice of charity caused another uproar and it all came to nothing, I believe.
“Conditions of sale at the auction allowed Fred’s assistants to do their work, post-mortem and pre-art; and buyers are required to lend their pieces for periodic “reunion” exhibitions. This is the first reunion, of course, five years after Fred’s death. More are scheduled every subsequent 25-year anniversary, as long as any of the pieces remain viable.
“After the auction, Fred went on to live a long life. There were some lawsuits that forced him to insure his life, and although it’s rumored he didn’t completely quit smoking, he did give up his beloved skydiving. Of course, Fred was a giant. Any way it came, his death was devastating to the art world. I can still remember where I was, when I heard….
“As I say, a long life, but he never created another work of art. Fascinating! And then, the day he died, he left us his greatest work, himself.
“Today, five years after Fred left this world, we offer his first return, the Reunion Exhibition, here at the Modern through July 5. The show then tours for at least 20 months, including Dallas, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris and Bilbao. Judging from public response—tremendous stampedes—I’m sure the Fred Foundation’s board of directors will add other sites.
“Before we walk through the exhibition, I must warn you that the full complement of 35 pieces is not on view. Fred would have approved, I think, of the ravages of time so swiftly nibbling away at his work….
“Many of Fred’s pieces have long since become dog-eared—a little frayed around the edges. I think we’ve all heard about the tragic accident at the Guggenheim … all that formaldehyde and those sloping floors … just awful. One elderly woman is still suing, I believe. She was swept from the top floor to the front door by a wave of art. A unique experience, as some might have appreciated…. Regrettable.
“Regrettable, but so appropriate, somehow. Fred’s oeuvre is really all about the effects of time. Life and death.
“As I say, not all of the ‘Body of Work’ is included in the current exhibition. No. 2 was destroyed in a fire, and we may never get to the bottom of that one. As for Nos. 16 through 19, some people didn’t think Fred should auction them as individual lots, and I believe a syndicate was formed to bid on them as a unit. Others didn’t think they should be displayed at all. Very narrow-minded.
“In spite of protests, the auctions took place as planned. And eight of the parcels have not been seen again. Much deliberation went into handling the missing pieces. Because we can only assume their number will increase, they had to be represented in a manner we can replicate for future reunion shows. A panel of constructionist sculptors and conceptual artists resolved the issue, and I think you’ll enjoy the resulting holographic pieces. Their illuminated, ghostly completion of the ‘Body of Work’ brings a timelessness to the exhibition. Personally, I find them beautifully spiritual, almost as if a new dimension has been added to Fred’s work. They almost subvert … ahem! I digress.
“Any questions? We’re ready for our tour. If you’ve all signed your releases, walk right this way….”