29 marchso doug, thanks for indirectly directly getting me this gig in sweden. 36 hours on the ground, 32 hours in transit. i now have a juicy hemmerhoid on my ass. i got to see my friend svante! and they liked me on television. people i didn't know, other panelists, students were having their pictures taken with me without even introducing themselves or bothering to say anything.
sunday church bells frantic clanging wake up the sinners at eleven - this is old country.the most noted attraction at moderna museet - the stockholm museum of modern art has rows of dead horse hanging; untitled by jannis kounellis. quartered, hair and skin stripped horse flanks hanging pieces three rows staggered along a long wall and taller than i am. only one horse worth i think. was it real? i didn't smell. but it looked real! i didn't touch it. wax perhaps? or shellacqued? the plaque was deliberately blank. it got me to think! yeah! art!
after finishing my web page yesserday and trying to dial in, svante and i walk to noodles/helen's deli where i eat the swedish equivalent of a irish toasted special - ham and cheese with onions and tomatoes.
in the new museum of modern art, bio/life theatre. they have us sit under the lights in rows with expensive things pointed at us and run the panel a few times roughly. we are then free to wander the exhibits.
part of their current exhibit on "wounds" - with paintings by francis bacon and some cindy sherman work and a few swedish pieces and warhol and other stuff about where art does it's job is when it's painful and on the edge and testing comfort, etc.
i like being art saavy - maybe part of dating amy, we went to the philadelphia museum of art and looked at 20th century (duchamp especially - his last installation is there) and asian art and some medieval stuff even but the best at the PMA was insane religious people. see march 27th.
anyways, i am coming to enjoy art more and more, and much of it stems from familiarity i think - oh, there's nam jun paik, i saw his work in soho last year. or there's a big sperm commentary. i'm more literate.
anyways, speaking of sperm commentary, kiki smith's "sperm piece" is 731 crystal glass sperms on the floor all pointed swimming around brancusi's egglike "the newborn" - it was a nice, if easy, juxtaposition. but hey i don't see art galleries indulging in sex like that, so hej.
amidst the raushenberg and mondrian was many rooms of swedish art; you can see how impressionism, or postmodernism, they are art movements that sweep the world. people in many countries take to these styles and iterate the small steps of their saturation. there were swedish ringers for draft dali's or cubist brancusis.
ingrid orfali had a bold large cibachrome (colour photo) "la chute d'ariane / a challenge for bloody bastards" from 1986 - ruby lipstick and fresh tampon in one tube against a bloody red background. they didn't have a postcard of it, of course, the postcards are all monets and man rays.
so i never thought i'd say it, because i relish being a curmudgeon, but i like modern art! good modern art, it's thought provoking. great modern art, it makes me laugh! or sad.
what made me laugh, what i loved at this show especially, besides what's listed above, was the last work i saw, ilya kabakov - "man who flew into space into space from his apartment." the apartment is a tiny room cluttered with tradjectory drawings and the walls plastered with bright coloured commie poster art. between a bed and a chair, all cheap and rickety, there is a little seat attached to four large springs attached to the ceiling. above this seat there is a large hole like someone ripped through it. there's a diorama of his town in one corner, with a line coming out of one building where he must have flown.
other people say amy's art is reminiscent of eva hess - fabric like sculpture or 2d canvases that have strands or tendrils or plaster rising out of them or falling to the floor. the stockholm museum store had a book or two on her, one of which reports that she was born a capricorn, with scorpio rising - january 11, 1936 (strange thing to find observed). she died at the tender age of 34 of brain cancer. at the age of eighteen, in 1953, she worked for seventeen magazine, and in 1954 had an article published by them (on what?).
[my report on the unesco tv panel in which i participated will appear elsewhere, compiled from offline notes.]
from email the next day to doug,
i get some foodmoney from one of my hosts, and svante and i spend it at "salt" a restaurant where i had lingonberry vodka and elkmeat in may '97 with howard. probably a tourist type thing to want, svante agrees, he recommends i might enjoy visiting the north - the home of that kind of stuff as actual lifestyle. "the alcohol belt" high suicide rate. hunting elk. that must be nice, right? no, svante reports, you sit in one spot for eight hours and you can't talk, maybe to whisper, "hey - did you see anything?" "no" "oh" and you are freezing and all the rest of it. svante is from the north of sweden, his family still has a house there (though his parents and brother now live in stockholm. the tidholms. i make some reference to the american south, he notes that the northern swedes have a much more silent serious dark bearing, and people from the south are far more talkative. sounds harsh up there. i'd like to visit.
svante and i mull his next thinking after his book - in sweden you go straight from high school to professional university - there isn't really liberal arts type study available i don't think. so he skipped all that and works at spray as an internet cool dude, and a writer. so now it sounds like he's going to have his own discipline to develop his mind - a regime of essay writing, as opposed to merely dwelling on diaristic imaginings. his primary subject: underlying nature of things. it reminds me a little of what i've tried to get at - it's like philosophy or morality or something i think we're trying to write.
i am going to interview svante about his work and his writing in english, for his english speaking fans that can't read his swedish stuff. watch this space!
i was so tired and falling asleep - sucks to have to opt out of good conversation because you are just physically unable to focus and prop up your lids. the vodka probably didn't help, but neither did crazy rapid travelling neither.
common, hip hop svante plays i've not heard before with horns and guitar