Friday, April 2, 2010

Image of the Day

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams (?) in the distance, as seen from the plane.

Cold Comfort

Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat, 1793.
[click to enlarge]

The cold and stormy weather today in Seattle somehow brought this image to mind. It's one of my favorite paintings of all time, if a little grim. Jean-Paul Marat was a journalist, orator, and one of the French Revolution's political leaders; Jacques-Louis David was his friend. Marat was killed in 1793 by a woman named Charlotte Corday, a member of an aristocratic family who feared civil war.

David depicts Marat in a cold bath, where he retreated to relieve discomfort associated with a skin condition (which he was rumored to have contracted years earlier while hiding from his enemies in the Paris sewers). He often did his work there, using a wooden board as a desk. On this day Corday burst into the room with a personal petition, and stabbed Marat in the chest while he read it. Afterward Corday reportedly stated, "I killed one man to save 100,000." This sad and beautiful painting was David's public memorial to his friend.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

.Resting the mousers

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Image of the Day

Washington State, 1970, by Lee Friedlander
(b. 1934 in Aberdeen, WA)

The New York Times reported today that Lee Friedlander's archives and 2,000 prints from his collection have been jointly acquired by the Yale University Art Gallery and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. According to the Times: "The gallery will get 1,800 prints, including every image in Mr. Friedlander’s monographs since 1996." The library will acquire the archive and Friedlander's photographs of Western landscapes.

Time for a trip to New Haven.

Dark Days

Marlene Dumas, The Blindfolded Man, 2007. Oil on canvas.
Via David Zwirner, NYC.

Marlene Dumas is one of my favorite painters working today. Her technique and color palette are stunning, and in combination with her often macabre subject matter, create an irresistible, almost physical pull when seen in person. It's hard to describe – there is an inscrutable quality about her work that demands close attention but always keeps you at arm's length. I imagine that if you lived with one of her paintings you would find something different in it every day.

The Teacher (sub a), 1987. Oil on canvas.

Jule – die Vrou, 1985. Oil on canvas.

Dumas's first show since joining David Zwirner in 2008 is on view now through April 24. Titled Off the Wall, it features all new paintings from 2009 and 2010 and marks the first time since 2001 that she has presented new work in New York. (The painting immediately below is from this show; those above were part of Dumas's retrospective last year at MoMA.)

Wall Wailing, 2009. Oil on linen.

David Zwirner is at 519 West 19th Street, NYC. If you're there be sure to also check out R. Crumb's exhibit, The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb's Book of Genesis, which closes April 17.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good Fortune


Living Underwater


Rodarte x Maggie Cheung

[ via Dazed & Confused ]

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Image of the Day

The cover for Karen Elson's forthcoming debut album The Ghost Who Walks, available May 25th from XL Recordings. Visit for info, and click here to read a good article about Elson from this past Sunday's New York Times.

Hell, Yes!

Architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese firm SANAA have won the Pritzker Prize, their field's top honor. Among other things, the duo designed the New Museum in New York (pictured above), one of my favorite buildings of all time.

When I first started this blog and the New Museum had just opened, I was going to do a post about the ads they were running at the Broadway/Lafayette subway station.

You can't tell from here, but that's just a flat poster – it's not actually built into the wall.

These stickers were also popping up all over the city.

The logo is a smart, simple anti-brand, using the outline of Sejima and Nishizawa's stacked boxes and hinting at the idea of a museum as container of art.

Click here for a great interactive tour of the New Museum by Nicolai Ouroussoff of the New York Times, and here for an article about the Pritzker Prize winners.

[Photos by me except the bottom one from the New Museum's website]

Monday, March 29, 2010

Image of the Day

Lou Bond, from the cover of his self-titled 1974 record on Stax/We Produce – photo by Tom Nixon. (I designed the re-issue CD and vinyl for Light In The Attic, released a couple weeks ago.) Here's what Other Music had to say about it:
Awesome reissue of a heavily atmospheric and fairly weird obscure soul LP originally issued in 1974 by Stax subsidiary We Produce. It's picked up a bit of a cult following over the years, but it's still not nearly as known as it ought to be, hopefully this Light in the Attic release will change that. String-laden, yet still strangely sparse sounding, with long, slow-burning tracks that gain in heaviness and momentum, you'll hear shades of Terry Callier and Isaac Hayes, but with a more string-of-consciousness bent. Definitely one of the more idiosyncratic soul LPs that I can think of, with a lovely soft folk edge to it considering the nice finger-picked guitar and mellow flute and string arrangements. Late night vibes for days on here people, pretty sure you'll love it.
Visit the (also newly re-designed) for info and clips.

Hail Mary

I wasn't sure at first, but upon further reflection I've decided that I really like the flavor of Stefano Pilati's fall collection for Yves Saint Laurent.

He's insisted it has nothing to do with religion (come on. Really? Like with art it's sometimes best as a viewer to run with your own interpretation). Anyway, I really like the clothes' suggestion that a mood of spareness and denial can serve as its own kind of ornamentation (small flourishes aside).

...Not because I think that's the way we're supposed to behave because we're working our way out of a recession or something, but because it seems like a contrary little rebuke to excess and it feels fresh. Also, I just like the look.

It reminds me of this dress I used to wear when I worked at the watch counter at The Bon Marche in downtown Seattle. I found it in a thrift store – it was all black, one of those grandmotherly woven numbers from the early sixties with a zipper up the back and a plain front with a point collar. At one point I remember the handbag girl telling me that I needed to wear a scarf with it or something, because it made me look like Maria from The Sound of Music. (I guess she meant it made me look like a nun? I've never seen The Sound of Music but I gather that Maria wore a lot of black.)

Because that was pretty much the whole point of the dress, I ignored her advice.

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Manhattan Records presents DJ Premier VS Pete Rock – A Legendary DJ Battle

[ via the neverending cultural minister that is DJ Suspence ]