I’m making this post using the little unit you see here: after months of waiting and waiting and techno-obsessing, I’m finally the owner of an Asus EEE pc, 900. Ain’t it cute? Smaller than and about a third of the price of a mac Air thingy. My little blog buddy, which I still have to name. I can now start trying to understand linux, which is what the thing runs.

And it came along at just the right time too, since it lightens the load in my bag considerably, and somehow yesterday I threw my lower back out for the first time ever. I’m hobbling a bit.

I’ve been away for a while, but I have a lot of announcements, so expect a bunch more posting in the near future.

…about not posting enough. The past week has provided two states of being: feeling ill, thus too limp to reflect and type or doing stuff, in which case there is no time to type. The result? A week slips by with nothing. So now finally some time is wrested from the job, which allows for a quick update. here’s some of what’s been happening:
1. I’ve attended three plays Lee Bruer’s new production of “A Doll’s House”, Cabaret, Wonderful Town. All through the great graciousness of my friends who offered me tickets.
2. I’ve spent weekend in bed convulsed by coughing to the extent that I thought I had ripped a muscle.
3. I haven’t played any Pikmin.
4. I purchased two bookshelves at Crate and Barrel.
5. I watched the people’s court.
6. I compiled a list of people I needed to contact, calls I needed to return, projects I needed to nudge forward…and despaired.
7. I had a number of exchanges and attempted to apologize for my boorish behavior.
8. I organized a still life of t-shirts and ribbons in the back room of my gallery so that it could be photographed for an ad in artforum.
9. I’ve eaten BBQ ribs on several occasions.
10. I’ve drawn.
11. I’ve spoken to my therapist about submissiveness.
12. A friend graciously came by and fixed the desktop machine, if by “fix” one means walking me though another clean install.
13. The buzzing, counfounding strains of NPR have woken me every morning, and the self reflexiveness of Adult Swim has droned me to sleep each night.
14. I’ve fretted about my filing system, and the extreme amout of facial hair left around my wash basin.
15. My family hasn’t called, nor have I called them.
16. I have found myself unable to decide between a dead or fake christmas tree.

Frustration and anxiety have given way to techno-covetousness, meaning that I’ve used the excuse of desktop problems to purchase a new laptop. And so this is written on a new jujitsu lifebook, , ni the air over Michigan on an jet blue flight. I’m heading to san Francisco to speak on a panel. The topic is the tenth anniversary of the Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens. I’m supposed to provide the perspective of how the center fits into the art world as a whole. Usually the way I deal with these things is to wing it, that is I think about the topic an great deal, perhaps jot a couple of notes and then speak off the cuff. I can’t say I’m so sunny at the prospects of the center in any event. It’s difficult to paint much of a rosy picture of the art world in general these days, at least for me, and I’ve been thinking about the advisability of constructing “centers” in a time where every thing seems to be de-centering. Yerba Buena seems to be the result of a collision between two forces: the postwar drive to develop south of market San Francisco, a plan that originally included a sweeping demolition all the way out to the south bay and huge rebuilding, with the rise of the artists’ space movment, the flowering of artist run organizations that got its start in the seventies. So commercial and non commercial interests collided., And the result reveals the striations in SF’s art world, the contesting communities that co-exist uneasily in the bay area. Has the center actually meant a place for these groups to come together? Often it’s been regarded as the poor relation of the SFMOMA, at times by the board of the center itself.

And in the visual art world as a whole? In the 80’s and 90’s it became more and more characterized by travel, the moving around of people and objects from city to city, ultimately with the effect of killing off regionalism. Museums embraced the notion of a “world class” which meant that in effect all museums inb the world should have the same collection. The year now abounds with art fairs, biennials, art festivals and prizes, that constitute the circuit parties for this new jet set. People go around the world to see the same narrow set of compatriots and works, and of course each other. This is an internationalism divorced from any political thought, it is the market that whips everyone and everything along, hither and yon . Travel feels like experience, but it is not, and the work of art is not something lived with, but something primarily glimpsed in a booth on the way to another exhausted meeting. We have not yet seen the final fallout of this, but I glimpse it’s effects in the shell shocked way that my students turn this way and that in search of a reason to make anything.

Hmm, perhaps an essay called “How the idea of a Modern Art market stole New York”

Last night one of my students told me that she had been advised to stop painted the way she did because “abstract expressionist painting had failed” by one of my fellow faculty. I was and remain flummoxed. Failed to do what? She does have problems with her work, but honestly, not because she is working in some ‘Failed” manner. I wish I could summon the certainty to say something so silly. Assertions like that seem to me do be enormous denials of responsibility, the instructor being lazy in their response to the work and turning it around on the student . Plenty of times I walk into a graduate students studio and find myself at a loss or profoundly unsympathetic to what they’re doing. But it isn’t my job to stop them.

There is no emoticon for the exasperation I am feeling!
Once again the desk top machine is on the fritz, and the second I thought I knew what to do about it, things got worse. Now windows is giving me another of those incomprehensible error messages and I’m typing this on the laptop, which is oh so cute but oh so outdated. After discussing with my shrink the way all of this was related to some of my problematic sexual boundries (don’t ask), I decided to not spend the day freaked out about it but rather to go see the Boucher drawing show at the Frick. Of course this was interesting, even though it confirmed my distaste for Boucher, who seems incapable of rendering a face that contains any emotion beyond a simpering bovine lust. This was made all the more glaring by the inclusion in the show of several drawings where he displays a crisp, lively eye in the depiction of things like chickens and courtyards. When he attempts to be serious everything devolves into mush, dough-like anatomy whipped into furious “s” shaped compsitions. The drawing show is downstairs at the Frick and upstairs, as part of the permanent collection is a Boucher room with allegories of the arts and sciences enacted by putti, and it is clearly the ideological forerunner of the muppet babies.
The rest of the Frick was a joy, the paintings hung with little or no explanitory text, which makes it much easier to treat each one as a discovery. Today I felt good about Reynolds over Gainsbourough, and Velasquez over El Greco. It was startling to see the Franz Hals portraits of anxious burghers echoed in the portrait of Washington that faces down his British contemporaries in the ajoining room.

Does sneering at a centuries old frenchman make me feel better about my technological ineptitude? Sadly no.

The die is cast. After about 6 hours of cumulative talk-time with Dell tech support over the past two days, I had to clean install this morning. So now I guess my system is spring time fresh, and all that info is gone. If you’re a friend and reading this, I probably no longer have your email address. What has been most overwhelming here has been the loss and frustration I’ve felt. Disproportionate to the event I think. The actual documents and such I don’t miss so much. But while the machine was down, I could barely think about anything else. I was medicating myself by watching season one of Futurama with the commentary track on, which was both comforting and irritating, since it meant that I couldn’t hear the jokes on the show unless the volume was so high that the commentary was completely disruptive. I took a one hour break to watch the Joe Schmo Show, which is one of the only bearable reality shows. So what was I mourning in this whole process? the ability to go online easily? That’s a need I couldn’t have even articulated a few years ago. So perhaps the computer has become one of the battery of distractions I deploy about myself daily. Interesting after London where my media input was greatly reduced: no tv, a little news on the radio, occasional email checks from the gallery’s Imacs. At home I have a media regime and it’s interesting that I got home and almost immediately screwed it up. (I wish I could pretend that this whole foul up was something that happened to me but it didn’t. It was something that I did) One interesting side effect: computer crash stories play around the office like family illness stories.

Ok so since I was getting security alerts, I thought I would fix a problem on my desktop machine (deskunder? does anyone keep those huge boxes on their desks anymore?). So much for my feeble gestures towards geekiness – the damn thing is now stuck in safe mode and numerous attempts to reinstall xp have proved futile. So it looks like time for a clean install, if I can even manage one with consequent loss of , well everything, because duh, I didn’t back up. I suppose i should be grateful for having a few years free of windows horror. I was expecting this to happen all the time once I switched over from mac. And maybe it’s a little lesson that I spend too much damn time in front of the computer. Biggest loss? Digital pics from London and Briar Bash