Friday, February 20, 2009

The Shows Must Go On

Tonight at Cairo…round the corner and up the street.

Fall Forward

More highlights from the Fall 2009 shows, in no particular order:

Rodarte. Also, check out Jessica Stam and James backstage, captured by the always entertaining JD Ferguson:

Zero + Maria Cornejo

William Rast, Jill Stuart, Organic by John Patrick

Thakoon, Altuzarra, Max Azria, Tibi, Carolina Herrera

Matthew Williamson, G-Star, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Philosophy

Derek Lam

Daryl K

Behnaz Sarafpour, Cynthia Steffe

Narciso Rodriguez

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

On the heels of all that great stuff posted yesterday, I have some troubling news to report about our favorite little guy.

Jeans has been having these wheezing attacks in recent months, and they have gotten more frequent. We thought maybe it was because we have carpets here, whereas in Brooklyn we didn't. We took him to the vet this week, where they performed an x-ray and discovered an inflammation and/or mass of something in one of his lungs. They referred us to a clinic up in Lynwood. We took him there this morning and they are certain that Jeans has cancer. He's getting ultrasound right now and we'll find out later today if surgery is an option and something worth pursuing.

Jeans at 9 months, the day we got him from the Westside Animal Hospital in Hell's Kitchen.

It's weird, I know he's a cat, and Emily and I both grew up with a lot of cats. Heck, we have another cat now (Inez, the rescued stray cat who lives inside our couch). But there's something special about Jeans. We first got him to keep Emily company when she was studying around the clock during law school, and he has been with us every step of the way since. He's lived in three boroughs of New York City and crossed fifteen states to live with us here in Seattle. He is a part of our family. The reason Jeans has been okay with all of this moving is that he looks at me and knows he's safe, and looks at Emily and knows he's loved. On some level, and people who "don't get pets" will not get this, but the three of us understand each other.

I know that cats don't live as long as humans (of course – like I say, I've had a lot of cats) but he's only ten, and I want him to be with us a lot longer. Hopefully we'll get good news from the clinic and there will be a relatively easy fix…stay tuned.

It's definitely cancer – there's a big area in his left lung. It doesn't appear to be anywhere else. So now we have to decide if we want to go forward with an extremely expensive procedure to remove it; the doctor says that after these surgeries, cats live an average of six to fifteen months. Littlejeans is a very healthy cat other than the cancer (and his weight, but that does not appear to have affected his health) – so we're leaning toward skipping the surgery and just letting him live out his days as the happy cat that he is, until we have to put him down. That might be as long as he'd live after surgery anyway. Right now, I'm glad to report, he is totally happy and oblivious, clearly in no pain, just as he's been. More updates later (though I still promise this will not turn into a purely cat-related blog).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

That's My Partner

Way back on February 12, 2008, in my very first post, I mentioned that my brilliant and beautiful wife Emily, pictured above at the Louvre, would sometimes be posting on Pacific Standard along with me.

Emily in Mojacar, Spain.

Though she hasn't posted…not even once, I often feel the blog is our group project anyway – she is trained as a lawyer, but she knows a ton about art, fashion, and design, and is at least as qualified to be an art director as I am.

Emily in Westsound, Orcas Island…brainstorming.

I learn new things from Emily constantly; I run projects and creative thoughts by her to get her take before anyone else sees them, and it always leads to new ideas.

Emily at some Visionaire party. Photo Patrick McMullen.

So…I am ecstatic to report the following:

Emily is going to help me set up a Seattle studio. As business director she will handle development and management for Pacific Standard, which will allow me to focus more closely on creative direction.

Emily reading a map in Montmartre. The map is upside down because it's France.

We just signed a lease for a small office space at Pike & Broadway and are moving in on March 1st. It's been a long time coming – I've been freelancing since April 2007 but have always worked at home; I'm excited to branch out, and especially with a uniquely qualified business director at my side.

(This is not the office.)

Emily is going to start posting on the blog, occasionally, for real this time, starting with the post you see below.

That is all.


It's That Time of Year

Some early fashion week favorites – more to follow from the later shows.

Alexander Wang, Elise Øverland

Yigal Azrouël


Ohne Titel

Peter Som, Jason Wu, Abaeté


Cushnie et Ochs, BCBG Max Azria, Cushnie et Ochs

Boy by Band of Outsiders, Hervé Léger by Max Azria

Adam, Adam, Prabal Gurung, Prabal Gurung, Karen Walker


More at

The Name of the Thing One Sees

We saw a bunch of gallery shows when we were in New York last week, but my favorites by far were Robert Irwin at Pace Wildenstein (above) and Fred Sandback at David Zwirner.

These massive Robert Irwin pieces at Pace were totally overwhelming. The fluorescent lighting patterns immediately called to mind letterforms and swastikas – symbols that convey meaning, whether they are letters put together to form words, or a swastika, which has a ton of meaning certainly in the twentieth century, but also as the oldest known symbol. So I found that, staring into these harsh lights, I was almost urgently trying to pull meaning out of the patterns, but realizing that ultimately they are just formations that in and of themselves had no meaning. If that makes sense.

Fred Sandback's show at David Zwirner was also really intense. These "panels" you see in the photo (see more here) are actually just pieces of string attached to the ceiling and the floor and pulled extremely tight at 90º angles. You could walk right through them if you wanted – but when you're standing next to them, it feels eerie, like if you did walk through them you might enter another world or slam against a forcefield, like a kid running through a screendoor. I found myself thinking about walls and doorways a little differently as we walked around Chelsea for the rest of the afternoon.

There were other bright spots (I liked this photograph by Carolee Schneeman at the Carolina Nitsch Project Room, for example) but overall it was a bit lackluster. No matter, those first two shows were so memorable, it was worth the time.

We also had time for a quick run through Soho one morning. We saw this show at Team Gallery featuring the work of Gardar Eide Einarsson, Davis Rhodes, and Stanley Whitney

…which reminded me of the more geometric elements of Bas Louter's current show at Ambach & Rice (formerly OKOK Gallery, pictured above) in Ballard.

And we tried to see the Stephen Sprouse show at Deitch Projects, but were a little too early and they weren't open (click here to see some images from the show, though judging from a peek through the window, that doesn't really do it justice). It's sort of a bummer to miss things on a quick trip like this, because it's not like we can just go back over there and see it tomorrow or something – but it was great to cruise through our old haunts and see what we saw.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something Else / The Mind is a Muscle

So, in addition to doing our taxes, Emily and I had a chance to race around town and see a bunch of different cool things in New York last week. One day we had lunch at The Modern (pictured above, one of my favorite spots in the whole city), and then spent the entire afternoon wandering around MoMA.

I never found out who the artist is, but this massive felt and fabric panel on the front of the museum reminded me a little of Coco Howard and Spencer Moody's show What We Do Is Also Secret, at VAIN gallery. (Not that they are that much alike, but the layers upon layers of textiles brought it to mind. The more I've thought about What We Do Is Also Secret – the installation part upstairs – the more mind-blowing it is. It's up through February 28th if you haven't seen it yet.)

Yvonne Rainier Trio A (The Mind is a Muscle, Part 1), Choreographed 1966 and performed 1978

There are a bunch of good shows up right now at MoMA. I mentioned Marlene Dumas and Vik Muniz previously, and this time around I was glad to spend some more time with the survey Here Is Every: Four Decades of Contemporary Art. Here are some pics, click to enlarge:

Detail from Bruce Nauman Cones Cojones 1973

Various books by Ed Ruscha

Annette Messager My Vows 1988–91

Detail from Annette Messager My Vows

Christopher Wool Untitled 1990

I have seen that last piece many times, but the violence it exudes – conveyed not only by the phrase itself but supported by the typography, composition, large size, and stark lack of color – never fails to shock.

More later.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spirits in the Material World

Tin types from the 7th Ave flea market in Brooklyn on Sunday morning, $6 each. (Click to enlarge.)

Dark Night

So, completely unbeknownst to me, that Ben Gibbard & Feist song I posted last week is from a new Red Hot compilation, in stores today, called Dark Was The Night. (Thanks to fellow Seattle-based design blogger Still Dottie for the tip.) More audio samples:

The list of artists involved is so outstanding, you have to see it for yourself – visit 4AD to acquire a pretty serious sense of urgency about going out and finding this record. More info at

Here's a favorite track from a 1996 Red Hot comp, America Is Dying Slowly: Organized Konfusion Decisions mp3

P.S. – For anyone who gives a crap, I posted a little addendum to the Neko Case post from last week...scroll down.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Paragraph, President

Pacific Standard the blog is closed for President's Day, i.e., I am just back from NYC and playing catch-up. Great trip, loads to report, tons of pictures…all starting tomorrow. Also, some interesting changes and developments for Pacific Standard the studio. And it's fashion week.
So look out – stuff is about to get real interesting up in here.

Above, maybe my all-time favorite photo of Abraham Lincoln (click to enlarge). The photo was taken by famed Civil War photographer Matthew Brady at Antietam, Maryland, on or shortly after September 17th, 1862 – the first major battle fought on Northern soil and the bloodiest single day of the entire war, with over 23,000 casualties. Pictured with Lincoln are General J.A. McClernand and "Major" Allen Pinkerton, the head of Union Intelligence (which would become the Secret Service) and of the infamous Pinkerton National Detective Agency.