Friday, May 8, 2009

In the Mix

Consider the following an apt intro to what will hopefully be an extensive series of posts from our good friend Matthew McDonald.

But first, by way of introduction: Matthew has lived all over the place (Philly, D.C., Brattleboro…Scranton) and went to school for printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design. After that he did a bunch of other stuff including co-founding the Brooklyn record label Sound-Ink and producing tracks for MF Doom (aka Viktor Vaughn – Vaudeville Villain, pick it up). After that he worked for venerable furniture/design purveyors Moss and Cassina. Matthew would not like it that I'm listing all this stuff but since it's the first post I feel like it's good to provide an intro. Matthew is a great DJ and producer (if you're familiar with Visionaire SOUND you know him as Max Billions) and a truly unique individual. Matthew and his wife Lily moved from Brooklyn to Seattle at the same time as us and he now runs the business side of her fashion label Sunshine & Shadow. Am I allowed to say that Sunshine & Shadow is working on a capsule collection for Urban Outfitters? Lily and Matthew have a studio in an old metal foundry in Georgetown and they're about to move to Beacon Hill with their dogs Fittybucks and Carmine.

Is that enough of an intro? That's pretty good.

I couldn't be happier to have Matthew do some blogging up in here.
So, with all of that out of the way, an appropriate first post:

Matt’s in the Market Bloody Mary recipe

In the interest of passing along a tasty drink recipe from one lush to another; as a public service announcement; here is the recipe for Robbie McGrath's signature Bloody Mary:

Served in a pint glass with bar ice:
1.5 ounces Aquavit, preferably Linie Aquavit as it is not too anise-y. This brand of aquavit supposedly has to cross the equator line twice before the liquor is ready to drink, giving it enough time in its oak casks, with temperature fluctuation and rough seas slosh to impart the desired flavor.

A healthy dose of Sacramento Tomato juice (don’t be a fool and use an inferior brand)

A dash of Worcester sauce

A healthy dose of Melindas Habanero Pepper Sauce, XXXtra reserve (don’t skimp)

Salt and Pepper

A pickled green bean

Shake well and serve with a sidecar of beer, otherwise known as a snit.
You could probably get away with substituting a celery stalk for the pickled green bean but you have to have one or the other. Attached are supplemental pictures.


Closing and Opening

Two things on the radar tonight:

Sarah Kavage The Long Road West, 2008

1. Closing party at Vermillion for the Headwaters of Industry show featuring Sarah Kavage & Erin Morrison.

2. Opening party for Ghost of Plants, featuring new work from Heidi Anderson, at Cairo.

Also, some Rainier tall boys. And then after that: sleep, because we're getting up early to go on our first camping trip of the season to Rialto Beach. That's near Forks, for all you Twilight fans out there (don't lie! it was kinda good).

In Other News

Speaking of the pleasures of print, the new issue of Artforum arrived this week, and it's a great one: Tim Griffin offers an interesting introduction to the issue that discusses the conundrum facing contemporary art as the assumptions and underpinnings of the 20th century suddenly seem to be up for grabs; Amy Taubin interviews Jim Jarmusch about his new film, The Limits of Control...

Mark Godfrey writes about Italian conceptualist Alighiero Boetti...

Alighiero Boetti, Aerei, 1978

...interesting reviews and previews of a slew of shows, including the 2009 Tate Triennial, Paul Graham at MoMA, Katharina Fritsch, Bruce Nauman's contribution to the United States pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale this summer, and the Seattle Art Museum's upcoming show, Target Practice, which will present works by post-WWII artists who used various means – knives, bullets, fire – to physically violate the sanctity of the canvas...

Katharina Fritsch, Rat King, 1993
[you can't see it, but the rats' tails are tied]

...and last but not least, a top-ten list from our friend Byron Kalet, a Seattle native whose Journal of Popular Noise imprint released a Flexions EP last month. (Strath art directed the photographs, shot by Kyle Johnson, and wrote about it here...get more info and buy the EP here.) We're really bummed we'll be missing the band's release party – and Byron – this weekend. It's at 8 p.m. Saturday (5/9) at The Holy Mountain in Seattle. Be sure to check it out if you're in town.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

SMILE FACE 12 + 7 x 23
Jeans has loved hanging out in this cardboard box ever since we lived in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn – I got it from a Chinese restaurant on Smith Street in 2001 or 2002.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sister Europe

This coming Saturday, May 9th, is Europe Day, which commemorates the day in 1950 on which the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, presented his proposal for the creation of an organized Europe. The proposal, known as the Schuman Declaration, is considered to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.

Each May in New York, Ambassador Fernando M. Valenzuela, head of the delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, hosts a Europe Day party. I had the pleasure of designing the party invitation for the 50th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration in 2007, and for this year's party as well (the front cover is shown above – letterpressed blue stripes and yellow stars). If you're in New York look up at the Empire State Building and it will be lit up in blue and gold, the colors of the EU flag.

Whiskey in the Van

New Triumph of Lethargy video:

"RC & Whiskey" from the new 5-song EP Old Jail (Order it from Luckyhorse Industries)

[see also]

Destroy All Art

I am, as my friend Head would say, SFP* that I'm not in New York to see this show. Seattle is great, lots of cool stuff going on, etc., but I am bummed to miss this, the follow-up of sorts to last April's show in the same gallery, From Fluxus to Media Art. If you, dear reader, find yourself in New York between now and July 25th, please go see this and report back:

A group exhibition featuring works on paper, film posters, diagrams, maps, charts, and documents by George Maciunas, Jonas Mekas, George Brecht, Ben Vautier, Yoko Ono, Paul Sharits, Shigeko Kubota, Chieko Shiomi, Henry Flynt, Ken Friedman, La Monte Young, and Paula Scher.

Opening reception tonight, 6-8pm

Maya Stendhal Gallery
545 West 20th Street
11am – 6pm Tuesday–Saturday

Ben Vautier Total Art Match-box, 1966

*Super Fuckin' Pissed

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Muses in the Museum

"To deal with the crowds following Twiggy during her first shoot in New York, in 1967, the photographer Melvin Sokolsky had hand masks made of her image for the fans to hold up on cue. It was a way both to acknowledge Twiggy’s celebrity and avoid seeing other faces."

In today's New York Times (nope, haven't canceled yet) Cathy Horyn has a thought-provoking review of the Met's new exhibition Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion. The show, which opened Monday night with the Costume Institute's behemoth annual fashion binge known as The Met Ball, explores models' roles in "projecting, and sometimes inspiring, the fashion of their respective eras."

A section of the exhibition. Photography Sara Krulwich/NYT

While the premise of the exhibition is valid and even overdue, and I look forward to checking it out for myself, from the outset it was clear that even the slightest missteps in curation could collapse the show into extreme vapidity (same goes for this blog, I should add).

Met Ball partygoers

Leave it to Cathy Horyn to smash it apart and pick up the pieces. Her review is full of great one-liners and bits of information, but one of the most interesting points comes toward the end, when she notes that "What goes unaddressed is the change from film to digital photography, and how that affected sittings and the dynamics of the photographer-model relationship."

Jean Shrimpton. Photography Richard Avedon.

I am not one of those people who thinks of the film-to-digital evolution as inherently "bad" or "good" – I think it's just "different" – but Horyn's point is a good one, and previously overlooked as far as I can tell (or at least overshadowed by the more common complaint about digital photography: that you can never believe what you see). With film, it was possible for a shoot consisting of only a photographer, a model, a stylist and an art director to produce iconic results; with digital that is also true, but in my experience, digital shoots for magazines or campaigns often come with large teams of technicians, and there tends to be a lot of stopping and starting and reviewing on-set. The process is different and that has fundamentally changed the interaction between photographer and model. Horyn had the presence of mind during the mayhem of the Met Ball to discuss this with veterans such as Marisa Berenson, Lauren Hutton, Twiggy, and Carmen Dell'Orefice, and you can listen in here.

I don't read much about fashion, or at least not much that is very interesting, but I always learn something new from Cathy Horyn. She's extremely sharp and witty in her own way, and as fashion critic for the Old Gray Lady, she is both in the mix and above it all. Read her review of Model as Muse here.

Related, from a recent issue of WWWWD, which New York magazine is calling the fashion version of The Onion:
Authoritative Cathy Horyn Blog Impossible To Disagree With, No Matter How Hard You Try

By Ruth-Ann Horsen

Cambridge, MA. —
“What Cathy says, goes,” said Job Korby Jr. “We’ve always known this, but only now have we begun to understand it.” Over the next three months, Mr. Korby, 33, a senior research analyst at MIT, will lead a team of 30 graduate students in an effort to investigate the phenomenon called “The Horyn Factor.” Cathy Horyn’s infamous New York Times blog, “On the Runway,” a compulsive read for fashion professionals, is known for its ability to make—or, more often, break—decade-long careers. It is rumored that after a recent post dismissing the entire premise of Ralph Lauren as “outdated and out of touch,” a single tear struggled down one of the designer’s cheeks. Research, however, has been slow. “Control groups that haven’t read the blog seem to adopt Cathy’s opinion as soon as a laptop is introduced within a 500-yard radius. We’re finding it difficult to even engage researchers in scientific debate, so absolute is the power of our subject matter, that is, her blog.”
Read WWWWD's May 5th Met Ball Special here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Publisher's Clearing House

Last night I pulled my first all-nighter in the new office. I haven't really talked much about the new office. The new office is in an old building on Capitol Hill in beautiful Seattle WA. Long ago the building housed a car dealership. The showroom was on the ground floor and there was a big elevator that brought cars down from the floors above. The elevator is gone now and the former elevator shaft has become Pacific Standard HQ. It doesn't have any external windows but there are some nice big ones that look into the hallway and the space itself is all cement and wood and I like it. We'll take some pictures when it's a little more done.

So anyway, that was the first time I've spent the whole night in here. It was fine, no big whoop. Of course it's always better when things are not so last-minute, but I liked what I was working on so it's okay. (Can't talk about it though, it's a secret.) I'm also kind of brain-dead, I haven't showered since before the Kentucky Derby, and I feel like crap. So for today's post, just a quick clearing house of things I've been meaning to mention.

The GZA, The RZA, and Bill Murray. Still from Coffee & Cigarettes, 2003, Directed by Jim Jarmusch

1. Wax Poetics has a good interview up right now with the GZA (aka the Genius, of the Wu-Tang Clan) on the making of Liquid Swords, his seminal first solo album. (Yes, I invoked "seminal." It happens occasionally.) To quote Larry Mizell from a recent post at Raindrop Hustla, "All GZA’s lines end neatly, cleanly. They fall in blocks, like Tetris. They fit tight and are descriptive. He makes it easier than it is, and has sort of a formal way of announcing himself, that GZA." Here's one of my favorite cuts from Liquid Swords wherein GZA stands out among stand-outs:

4th Chamber mp3 [buy it]

2. Another cool video from Nick Knight and Ruth Hogben at SHOWstudio.

Anja Rubik in Gareth Pugh. Still from Black/White, 2009
by Nick Knight & Ruth Hogben

This one features an array of avant-garde monochromatic clothing and accessories. Kind of better if you mute it and just listen to "4th Chamber" though.

3. The Fly Girlz are a group of teenage girls from Brownsville, Brooklyn, which is kind of a rough spot. They just released a really weird album produced by Nathan Zebrablood of the group Excepter – some real dusted-out '83 type stuff. Here are a couple samples:
The Fly Girlz Love Hurtz [excerpt] mp3
The Fly Girlz Tired [excerpt] mp3
And for reference:
Excepter The Fire and the Wood mp3
Buy it all at Wall of Sound or Other Music depending on your locale.

Joey Bates Untitled, 2008. Graphite and goauche with cut paper

4. I like this. Joey Bates is currently showing at Caffé Fiore, 224 West Galer Street, Seattle.

5. I can't tell you what a luxury it is to have good Mexican food again – I think we ate at Rancho Bravo three times last week (one block from the office = dangerous).

So… Happy Cinco de Mayo. Time for a tamale and a nap

Monday, May 4, 2009


[ some older ones – click images to enlarge ]

[ click 'black books' below for more ]