Michel Leroy Image MASHUP […]

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Horseshoe Crab Weekend

Horseshoe Crab Weekend at Pickering Beach in Dover, DE […]

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Modernism – David Bowie & Kazimir Malevich

Modernism – David Bowie & Kazimir Malevich […]

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Don’t block the box

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Refresh Community

Dave Pell writes a refereshing post about the cycle of craving online recognition and acceptance for creative work on the NPR blog. It reminds me of the last moments of David Fincher’s, The Social Network, where the Zuckerberg character is repeatedly “refreshing” the page to see if his EX will accept his friend request; thereby forgiving and accepting him.

Sad moments of clinging and craving web stats punctuate our lives as never before. Moments we all share. It won’t be long before psychologists are blaming Social Media Addiction for everything. Every new media conference I attend raises the ‘how much is too much’ issue, the arc between your blossoming online life and your physical life. It’s like love: there’s a spark, blinding passion, unexpected flare ups and the warmth of a steady burn.

For those who spend the entire day in front of a computer, checking in every ten minutes becomes the caffeinated twitch of a nervous mouse. How many updates is too many? Will your community loose interest in you if you don’t post for a few days? Do you really have over a thousand “friends” that you keep up with? Can you really follow 250 Twitter feeds?

Last night I was at another Adhesive event in Soho. ‘Sticking creatives together’ is their motto and I have to say how much fun they are, they actually believe in face-to-face conversations and build events around that simple truth. One magazine editor in particular that I was talking to commented how powerful 2 minutes of personal connection real is by comparison to the relative weakness of the hundreds of daily eMails, updates and tweets that dilute her day.

As for craving recognition and acceptance for creative work, it’s about your own faith, not retweets, “likes” or industry awards. Everybody in advertising and the creative arts has to “create” their best work, on demand every day. No small task to be sure, but faith in the pureness of your own talent when standing alone, judging your own creative work is the raw measure of recognition.

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Against Our Will

After years of walking along the streets of New York, past what must add up to miles of street art, I’ve never really seen anything that stopped me dead. As it happens, I saw this out of the corner of my shades as I navigated the doe-eyed freshman of NYU when it hit me – like a brick.

This piece of street art by Teofilo Olivieri, who paints on the cover of old library books is downright arresting. Not only does it comment on the place of books in our iCulture (which includes me), but this particular pioneering volume, by Susan Brownmiller; Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape takes on a loud second life. Conspicuously inscribed in hunter’s orange, the pig icon, forces something all together unwelcome on the cover of this book.

And there it was, gently resting against the tiled facade of HSBC on 6th Ave & 3rd Street. Magic.

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Elisabeth Biondi: The New Yorker

Fifteen year Visual Editor icon, Elisabeth Biondi is leaving The New Yorker. A wonderful interview on Elisabeth Avedon’s blog for La Lettre gives some insight into the incredible vision and energy Biondi brought to one of the great magazines of all time. Biondi will be one of the curators at this year’s New York Photo Festival in Dumbo, May 11-15, 2011.

A photograph is an entity. You don’t crop it, you don’t butcher it, you don’t plaster text over it, you treat it with dignity. – Elisabeth Biondi

It’s a fascinating read, as are many things on Avedon’s blog.

Richard Avedon’s, Malcolm X, Portrait 1963.


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Invisible talent

Remaing invisible to the world around the artists has little to do with talent. But there are few who toil away year after year without recognition. There are however some maverick talents who continue tirelessly. A recent exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center concentrated on an unknown genius who quietly toiled away, alone for decades, who was almost lost to time, Vivian Maier. The show reminded me of a few other amazing photographers that are almost unknown despite their unarguable talent as portrait photographers.

Their selfless, artistic dedication to creating compelling portraits, articulates the relevance of their time and makes their sacrifice timeless. If you are not familiar with these few, your research will be richly rewarded. How many more remain invisible…

Vivian Maier – a mixture of street scenes and bizarre portraits in keeping with Diane Arbus.

Michael Disfarmer – photographed rural farmers with dignity and empathy in 1940’s Arkansas, along the lines of August Sander.

Evelyn Cameron – Montana homesteader who tirelessly photographed prairie life despite hard conditions and little recognition.

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Meg Hitchcock – Mantras & Meditations

Browsing the galleries of DUMBO’s “First Thursday” walks and the Verge Art show, I was drawn into the beautifully unique work of Brooklyn artist, Meg Hitchcock and her Mantras & Meditations series. The level of concept and craft in her pieces eclipses the work of her peers hanging alongside.

It’s taken a few weeks to fully connect with the work but anything that lasts with a viewer for weeks has obviously had an impact. However, it wasn’t until yesterday that I frantically rushed to my iPhone and scrolled through the thousands of pictures to find her work. It was an “aha” moment that had been simmering in the back of my mind – these sacred texts are a revelation when taken out of the traditional “book” format. She has created something genuinely fresh from something we take for granted.

What is particularly striking about Meg’s pieces are their organic structure and her monumental dedication to the process. She obviously does nothing by halves. In the era of digital production, this work reminds the viewer of the physical connection to print, the page and the touch of the artist.

What may seem tangential if you’re not familiar with modern Data Visualization is the similarity between analytical data and the beautifully unique style of Meg Hitchcock’s sacred texts series. The connection between the words and the visual created, transcend both; a quality all too uncommon in contemporary art. Luckily, Meg’s work reconnects us to the power of the singular and gives us a point of entry in the content void of the digital age overload.

Meg’s work will be in a show opening April 30th at the ACA Galleries on West 20th St. in Manhattan.

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Visualization of global Internet Usage

After ten days on vacation hiking the moss forests of the Oaxacan highlands – off the grid – I returned to my office and about ten envelopes, however, there were hundreds of eMails, Facebook updates and Twitter feeds patiently waiting for my attention. Following the same thread, I bumped into an old friend at an Adhesive Event last night who I haven’t physically talked to in four years – despite following each other’s “updates” consistently during the same span of years.

The volume of physical connections to virtual connections has shifted in our lives and the framework for understanding the effects of technology on human interaction and culture sparked my interest. Visualization (mapping) of internet usage is unexpectedly beautiful. Think Wired Magazine meets Jackson Pollock (great interactive site). Some of the examples I found would easily surpass the art of Chelsea and Dumbo galleries.

Check out the Flare site, it’s one of the most interactive visual web experiences I’ve ever had. For an impressive voice on Cyborg Anthropology, check out Amber Case’s TED Talks Podcast. fas·ci·nat·ing!

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