Friday, May 28, 2010

David Lynch's "The Cowboy and the Frenchman"

I recently finished watching The Short Films of David Lynch, a compilation of some of the early short works he's done over the years, and one of them was particularly silly, so I thought I'd share. (Note: The other shorts are also worth checking out, but all besides this one have some pretty gruesome Lynchian moments. My second favorite was The Grandmother, [1970]).

Commissioned for a series on French television called The French as Seen By...,The Cowboy and the Frenchman was completed after Blue Velvet in 1988 as David Lynch's ode to France. It's quite absurd, full of pretty awful stereotypes, and visions of the soon-to-be Twin Peaks flutter in and out throughout this 25-minute gem.

(Note: It takes a bit to load this video. If it seems like it's loaded and doesn't start right away, move the tab slightly to the right and get it past the first couple of seconds).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Ate This Because I Love You

Some people send cards. They wrap gifts. Others call, or even hold hands. Not these guys. My friends, Chuck and Marcus, their love torn apart by their lives in two distant cities, have started a little something I like to call, I Ate This Because I Love You

Or, The Things I Want To Eat With You, But You Can't Eat Them With Me. Video-birthday-love-letters, straight from the heart.

This was the first (in honor of that ridiculous meme of a KFC sandwich-of-which-we-shall-not-speak):


And, in honor of Marcus' birthday (and his awful gluten intolerance), the response:

I can only dream of getting such a gift, myself. I hope many more are in store.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Peep Dancin'

What happens when a tiny little Japanese marshmallow-Peep-like robot called a Keepon bounces around to a song by the band Spoon? It makes me want to dance, too! The song's called Don't You Evah.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Profile: The Garden Summer

There are some people in life who just make you smile when they're near. Those people who make you smile, they often do amazing things that put a huge grin on your face even when they're not around. My friend Marie Barker, a fiery, sassy cutie-patootie from South Carolina, is one of those people, and she's doing an awesome thing this summer. 

A few months ago Marie asked me to help contribute to the Kickstarter project for The Garden Summer. I watched the video Marie's friend (and project leader) Hailey Wist made, and I was pumped! I'd heard of Kickstarter before, but never really known anyone who'd used it and who'd been successful. Marie and four other people are doing a little experiment called The Garden Summer. They're working on a farm, growing all of their own food, and figuring out first-hand just exactly how they can make their lives and actions more sustainable. And they are making a documentary about it. I think it's just great.

On Kickstarter, Marie and her friends were trying to raise $5,000 for farm implements, energy, water, travel, gas, cameras, equipment rental, and seeds. I pledged, and lo and behold, with a little bit of help from a lot of people, the project was funded!

This was the initial video (the "pitch") that they made back in March 2010:

These are the goals:
  • Grow an abundant garden.
  • Produce zero-waste (or pretty damn close).  
  • Eat food grown within a 100-mile radius.
  • Sell at the Farmers Market and donate to local food banks.
  • Make some farmer friends and have some fun along the way.
Here's the first installment of the documentary. It's all kinds of cute. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Looking Ahead: Arts This Week(end) in Chicago

Things are looking jam-packed and promising this week. Here's a little survey of what I'm excited to see and be a part of around Chicago.

May 16th–September 8th, 2010: Chicago Stories: Prints and H.C. Westermann's 'See America First' exhibit at the Art Institute in the Prints & Drawings galleries. I've mentioned this before in previous posts, but I've been working long and hard with curator Mark Pascale and fellow-intern Andrew Blackley, and I'm really proud of the show.

Wednesday, May 19th: It's AIGA's Design Week in Chicago and Wednesday May 19th is the Chicago North Side Studio Walk from 6-9pm. There are also other location-centric walks throughout the city. I'm excited to see some design studios on the north side, including my friends Nick and Nadine at Sonnenzimmer. Also open will be Winterbureau, Someoddpilot, Rohner Letterpress, Threadless, and 50,000feet.

Thursday, May 20th: The closing reception for Marwen's incredible show, Oaxaco Now: Young Radical Printmakers. I got the chance to serve as the teaching assistant for a printmaking (linocut) workshop at Marwen in conjunction with this exhibit a few weeks ago, and it was a treat! More information about the show is here.

Friday, May 21st: This night! A plethora of delights!

From 7:00-11:30pm is the opening for We Are Family at the Post Family (1821 W. Hubbard, #202), what promises to be a stellar line-up of Chicago's young, emerging graphic designers who also make art. My friend Scott Reinhard, who's responsible for many of the classy wall/print designs coming out of the Museum of Contemporary Art, has one of his awesome text-based "colloquialisms" paintings in the show. Scott was recently profiled at the Post Family, along with Isaac Tobin. Margot Harrington of Pitch Design Union is also working on a piece, inspired by a recent trip to Detriot, which I'm excited to see.

From 7:00-10:00pm is also the opening for Canadian artist and illustrator Ryan Heshka-- he has a new painting show at Rotofugi (1953 W. Chicago Ave), curated by Monte Beauchamp over at BLAB!. I'm really digging these epic, fantastical, pre-Comics Code-style paintings.

To cap off Friday night, at 8pm, Gaper's Block is holding it's annual anniversary party (7 years!) at the Metro.

Saturday, May 22nd:  Saturday night is the last (tear!) opening at the stellar Barbara & Barbara Gallery. Not sure on the time (it's usually 7-10pm-ish), but it promises to be a great gathering of good people and fun art. I may or may not be making delicious cupcakes to devour...

I'm sad that those beautiful Barbaras are closing the gallery doors, but never-fear, lesbian haircuts will be making a comeback at the new salon location they are opening up at the beginning of June. Details to come!

At 10:00pm the lovely and talented Madison, WI-based songstress Anna Vogelzang is playing a banjo-filled show at Uncommon Ground (at Clark/ Grace), part of her tour for her new album, Paper Boats.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Odds & Ends (May 2010)

Behold. Here are some great odds and ends I've been enjoying lately.

1.) Chicago artist, activist, and teacher Anne Elizabeth Moore spoke on Chicago Public Radio this morning about her women's rights work in Cambodia making zines with young women. It's a great piece-- listen to it here. Anne Elizabeth Moore writes at Camb(l)o(g)dia, and here is a post answering a few more FAQ. I like her style.

2.) The awesome Chicago Arts blog and podcast Bad At Sports has recently teamed up with PBS' Art 21 for some Chicago-based arts coverage. The new online series is called Center Field: Art In the Middle with Bad At Sports. Check out a recent interview with Jacob Meehan of Golden Gallery.

3.) Chris Ware's rejected cover for the May 2010 Fortune 500 issue. Be sure to view large and check out the nitty gritty detail in all its groan-worthy glory. Found at Comics Beat here.

4.) This Kid Cudi Make Her Say video is pretty rad:

Here's a little write-up in Esquire about the video, stunningly directed by Nez Khammal.

5.) This has been done before (theatre kids love doing stuff like this), but this is a particularly good version:

6.) Now this is something that is long overdue: posters-on-a-stick. By Allan Peters. See more here.

7.) For all my library and book-nerd friends, check out David Garcia Studios' revisioning of the modern personal library, called The Archive Series.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gladys Nilsson: Works from 1966–2010 / Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

Gladys Nilsson. A Little Friendly Game. Watercolor and gouache on paper (2008)

Gladys Nilsson, Hall of Mirrors, 1980-81
acrylic on canvas, Gift of Francis and June Spiezer to the Rockford Art Museum (Illinois)

I neglected to post this a while back-- a short April 12th art review for Newcity of Gladys Nilsson's great retrospective show at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art here in Chicago. It featured paintings from her post-graduate days at SAIC in the 1960s through the present.


Big Birthday Gladys, 2010.

(April 12, 2010) Noodle arms and legs akimbo, a multitude of figures dance across the walls of the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) in a brightly colored survey of the work of Chicago painter Gladys Nilsson. Organized by the UIMA, in partnership with the Illinois State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the exhibition coincides with Nilsson’s seventieth birthday in May, and is a joyful celebration of her life and work.

As is indicated by the sheer masses of elongated people crowding her paintings, Nilsson’s work continues to exude a Chicago Imagist style. The Imagists, a loosely defined group of Chicago artists working in the 1960s and 1970s, were often known to have an irreverent focus on the figure, and used imagery culled from advertising, comics and non-Western art. Pointy-nosed women predominate in Nilsson’s paintings, their bodies bending and distorted. The figures are often floating in narrative scenes that are filled with marginalia both familiar and otherworldly, reminiscent of the fantastical paintings of fifteenth-century artist Hieronymus Bosch.

Nilsson’s most recent painting, a large watercolor titled “Big Birthday Gladys,” was created specifically for this exhibition. With an always-present sense of humor, Nilsson depicts herself comically sprawled in the center, complete with drooping d├ęcolletage, clutching a slice of cake while surrounded by celebrating people. The horned helmet on her head is a nod to her Swedish ancestry, and a bespectacled man (presumably Jim Nutt, Nilsson’s longtime spouse and fellow Imagist artist) perches on her shoulders while daubing paint on her nose. One small square sketch exists for this painting in a case in the center of the room, displayed amongst a fascinating array of sketchbooks and ephemera selected by Nilsson herself. (Julia V. Hendrickson)

Through May 23 at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, 2320 W. Chicago Ave. Conversation with James Yood, and cake, May 14, 5:30pm.


Etching from 2004, from the Print Research Institute of North Texas.

I'm bummed to have missed the "Cake and Conversation" (would love to hear from anyone who went), but sincerely happy to have work in print that starts off with the word, "noodle".

Nilsson is doing some work this year with Anchor Graphics, which is pretty neat, too.

Gladys Nilsson, working proof of a lithographic print for the FIA Print Society, printed at Anchor Graphics (2010).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lessons from Milton Glaser

Photo credit: Sam Haskins.

We could all stand to learn a thing or two from Milton Glaser. Here are some things I've been (re)learning from him recently.

A.) Glaser gave a AIGA talk in London in 2001 called Ten Things I Have Learned.


All ten things are quite useful pieces of advice, but number three in particular had a profound affect on how I've been thinking about relationships lately; mainly, surround yourself with people you actually like. Be conscious of how other people affect you. Let people into your life who leave you feeling uplifted, and wave a fond goodbye to people who leave you feeling drained. Here is Glaser's text:

3. SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM. This is a subtext of number one [You can only work for people that you like]. There was in the sixties a man named Fritz Perls who was a gestalt therapist. Gestalt therapy derives from art history, it proposes you must understand the ‘whole’ before you can understand the details. What you have to look at is the entire culture, the entire family and community and so on. Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.

B.) A lovely video on drawing as thinking (Glaser wrote a book in 2009 on the same subject).


C.) Go here to watch a great, short documentary by Adobe on Glaser.

Via Glaser from the always poetic and lovely Iris Murdoch:

E.) And, for future Glaserian edification and education, I am looking forward to seeing this film, Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight, released April 27th, 2010, on DVD.