I was going through old files and came across these images that I’d taken of these beautiful textiles from Indonesia. Very much an inspiration!
I was going through old files and came across these images that I’d taken of these beautiful textiles from Indonesia. Very much an inspiration!
I feel like the U.S. is embodied in all of the bumbling characters on the road to OZ (though, all signs show it’s actually on some dirt path rather than the yellow brick):
If I only had a heart — the United States of America
If I only had a brain — the United States of America
If I only had courage — the United States of America
JESUS! MARY! JOSEPH!!! (to be read in loud disbelief with a heavy Irish accent.)
What’s sparked this dystopic vision? Reading about the “Stimulus Package” being put forth by the U.S. Congress as the answer to the problems with economy. They should just call it for what it really is — the “Sisyphus Package” or “Sissyphus Package” — oh, that’s right, the U.S. Congress doesn’t have a heart, brain, or courage.
In short, Congress is moving to vote on a plan that will provide rebates of up to $600 to most tax payers, senior citizens, and the unemployed. WOW!!! $600 of money to spend! Which is the key word here — spend! spend! spend!
And where will most of that money end up?
In the pockets of the CEOs and top execs of large corporations (like Walmart — since Walmart is the one-stop shopping center — folks can get their groceries and lots of useless items for a couple of weeks … maybe). The CEOs and top execs can use all that additional cash to continue playing monoply on their GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card, issued by the United States of America’s heartless, brainless, and courageless Congress.
CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Two major events yesterday — one here in the U.S. and one half way around the world in Indonesia.
In South Carolina, Senator Barack Obama won the primary with 55% of the votes.
In Jakarta, former Dictator Soeharto died. Two books that I recommend to learn more about contemporary Indonesian politics are: The End of Sukarno: A Coup That Misfired, a Purge That Ran Wild by John Hughes and Reformasi: The Struggle for Power in Post-Soeharto Indonesia by Kevin O’Rourke
Anti-Soeharto Protests in 1998
Home Is Where The Heart Is
My friend and former student Mei-Tsung (Mei was in my and Aaron Noble’s painting intensive class at the San Francisco Art Institute, she received her MFA in painting) is back in Taipei and teaching. She sent a link to her most recent project and it’s awesome and totally wacky! Thought I’d share:
Home Is Where The Heart Is (at night)
we are so tired from work…
there’s a hole on my roof..
we’ll find lumbers for you..
the forest isn’t that far…
we’ll be back before the sunset
i left my mascot in the forest..
i need to find it back…
Home Is Where The Heart Is (day time)
when the morning arrives
let’s go find the light nymph
searching in the air
oh, my sweet balcky…
where is the light nymph?
let’s go and find out!
huu….here we are!
what’s up, blacky?
finally, knights found utopia, the small green land on rocks, and i finally could end my fantacy…….
Not to be missed …
Scaling a Minimalist Wall With Bright, Shiny Colors
by HOLLAND COTTER New York Times, Published: January 15, 2008
Joyce Kozloff’s “Hidden Chambers” (1975-76) at the Hudson River Museum
YONKERS – “Pattern and Decoration: An Ideal Vision in American Art, 1975-1985,” at the Hudson River Museum, documents the last genuine art movement of the 20th century, which was also the first and only art movement of the postmodern era and may well prove to be the last art movement ever.
We don’t do art movements anymore. We do brand names (Neo-Geo); we do promotional drives (“Painting is back!”); we do industry trends (art fairs, M.F.A students at Chelsea galleries, etc.). But now the market is too large, its mechanism too corporate, its dependence on instant stars and products too strong to support the kind of collective thinking and sustained application of thought that have defined movements as such.
Pattern and Decoration, known as P&D, was the real thing. The artists were friends, friends of friends or students of friends. Most were painters, with distinctive styles but similar interests and experiences. All had had exposure to, if not immersion in, the liberation politics of the 1960s and early ’70s, notably feminism. All were alienated by dominant movements like Minimalism.
They were also acutely aware of the universe of cultures that lay beyond or beneath Euro-American horizons, and of the alternative models they offered for art. Varieties of art from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as folk traditions in the West, blurred distinctions between art and design, high and low, object and idea. They used abstract design as a primary form and ornament as an end in itself. They took beauty, whatever that meant, as a given.
P&D artists were scattered geographically. Some – Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, Miriam Schapiro – were in California. Others – Cynthia Carlson, Brad Davis, Valerie Jaudon, Jane Kaufman, Joyce Kozloff, Tony Robbin, Ned Smyth, Robert Zakanitch – were in New York. As a group they found an eloquent advocate in the critic and historian Amy Goldin, who was immersed in the study of Islamic art. And they had an early commercial outlet in the Holly Solomon Gallery in SoHo.
They all asked the same basic question: When faced with a big, blank, obstructing Minimalist wall, too tall, wide and firmly in place to get over or around, what do you do? And they answered: You paint it in bright patterns, or hang pretty pictures on it, or drape it with spangled light-catching fabrics. The wall may eventually collapse under the accumulated decorative weight. But at least it will look great.
And where do you find your patterns and pictures and fabrics? In places where Modernism had rarely looked before: in quilts and wallpapers and printed fabrics; in Art Deco glassware and Victorian valentines. You might take the search far afield, as most of these artists did.
They looked at Roman and Byzantine mosaics in Italy, Islamic tiles in Spain and North Africa. They went to Turkey for flower-covered embroideries, to Iran and India for carpets and miniatures, and to Manhattan’s Lower East Side for knockoffs of these. Then they took everything back to their studios and made a new art from it.
Ms. Kaufman turned 19th-century American quilt designs into abstract nocturnes glinting with sewn-on beads. Mr. Zakanitch went for flowers in monumental paintings based on fabrics remembered from his childhood home in New Jersey. Ms. Schapiro also drew on floral images in a type of feminist-inspired collage she called “femmage.” And in her “Gates of Paradise” (1980) she applied domestic crafts materials – lace, ribbons, fabric trim and so on – to a theme associated with Lorenzo Ghiberti.
Ms. Carlson’s all-over tweedlike patterns, done with repeated strokes of thick paint, are less specific in their references. And even if Ms. Jaudon doesn’t insist on Islamic art as a source for her crisp interlace designs, it surely had some effect. Ms. Kozloff is forthright about the debt she owes to Moroccan and Mexican tile work. Her melding of brilliant colors with a basic Minimalist grid has yielded generous results in public architectural projects, and in her poetic and intensely political recent art.
Mr. Davis and Mr. Smyth lie a little outside the general P&D loop, one doing figurative work and the other mosaics. Mr. Robbin, who lived in Iran as a child, conflates geometric Persian motifs with others from Japanese silk kimonos. For Mr. MacConnel and Mr. Kushner, textiles themselves are a primary medium.
Mr. MacConnel glues pieces of Near Eastern and Southeast Asian fabric together into suspended open-work hangings. Mr. Kushner, who studied with Mr. MacConnel and traveled with Ms. Goldin to the Middle East, originally draped his painted fabric pieces over his own body in performances. One festive piece in the show, “Visions Beyond the Pearly Curtain,” is shaped like a chador, cape or kimono, although with its gathered swags and melon-orange curlicues it has the theatrical punch of a rococo opera curtain about to rise.
When Mr. Kushner finished this piece in 1975, P&D was taking off. It had avid collectors in the United States; in Europe it was a hit. Then interest dried up. Worse than that, in America the movement became an object of disdain and dismissal.
There were reasons. Art associated with feminism has always had a hostile press. And there was the beauty thing. In the neo-Expressionist, neo-Conceptualist late 1980s, no one knew what to make of hearts, Turkish flowers, wallpaper and arabesques.
Thanks to multiculturalism and identity politics, we know better what to make of them now; the art world’s horizons are immeasurably wider than they were two decades ago (without being all that wide). Besides, to my eye, most P&D art isn’t beautiful and never was, not in any classical way. It’s funky, funny, fussy, perverse, obsessive, riotous, accumulative, awkward, hypnotic, all evident even in the fairly tame selections by Anne Swartz, the curator for this show.
And not-quite-beauty is exactly what saved it, what gave it weight, weight enough to bring down the great Western Minimalist wall for a while and bring the rest of the world in. Let the art historical record show, in the postmovement future, the continuing debt we owe it for that.
BARACK BARACK BARACK
OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA
Being the political junkie that I am, I’ve been watching all of the debates and primaries. I know that I’ve been critical of Barack Obama on this blog in the past; however, I think the issues that I had with him in 2006 were perhaps the result of bad advice at that time by his political team.
Having watched Senator Obama over the past 2 years and learning more about him, I believe that he’s the only candidate who can truly lead this country into place where we’re no longer hated around the world and where we treat other countries with respect, compassion and, equality. I have a great deal of respect for Obama’s past work as a community organizer, which is far more difficult than working in the corporate sector, his work as a teacher, his work as a civil rights lawyer, and his work as a U.S. senator. Hillary Clinton made a remark recently that while leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. are great visionaries, it takes someone in the Executive Office to sign bills into law. With Barack Obama we’d be getting both! Thanks Hillary for reminding us of this.
VOTE OBAMA IN 2008!!!
I’ve been working on the Home installation, it seems endless … everytime I finish with one thing, I have a bizillion ideas for something else. Thought I’d share some of my inspirations/influences. I love the way each works with space and creating an experience that’s out of the ordinary.
Phantasy Landscape, Visiona II, 1970, Cologne, Germany
Circus Building, 1984, Copenhagen, DK
Spiegel Publishing House, Canteen, 1969, Hamburg, Germany
“The Light and the Colour” Exhibition, 1998, Trapholt Museum, Kolding, DK
Verner Panton’s Home, Dining room, Binningen, CH
Verner Panton’s Home, Entrance Hall, Binningen, CH
Spiegel Publishing House, Swimmingpool, 1969, Hamburg, Germany
Erco Lighting Showroom, 1997, London, GB
Varna Restaurant, 1970, Aarhus, DK
BOY IN WUNDERLAND
From my friend Arya Pandjalu in Yogyakarta Indonesia:
While I was home in Montana we had to stop by the feed store to pick up some corn for the deer. So I took the opportunity to pick up some cattle markers and look into purchasing a branding iron with our family’s brand for a future exhibition I have at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.
It was fascinating to learn from my dad about the brand registration process. I learned that our family’s brand (this goes back to my great, great grandfather, John Vernon Kemp’s cattle ranch in Montana in the late 1800′s) is only registered to be used on the left flank and right leg of horses. Someone else owns the same brand that can be used on specific parts of cattle. The store itself was awesome:
Yet another bout with the flu. My theory is that it’s from flying domestic airlines in the U.S. — with all of their reductions in services, I think sanitation has probably been another one added to the cuts. Everytime I fly a domestic U.S. airline, I find myself getting sick soon thereafter.
My favorite airline? Singapore!!! So many amenities (and this is just coach), good food, real silverware, etc. And even domestic airlines in other countries so blow away U.S. airlines. When you fly Indonesia’s domestic airline Garuda (even if it’s just an hour flight from Java to Bali), you’re given a breakfast, lunch, or dinner box while you’re boarding the plane and then once seated, the hot towels are dispursed.
However, I did make a point to muster up the little energy that I did have on Friday to head over to the opening at Southern Exposure: Artist Projects by Chris Bell, Elaine Buckholtz, Jenifer Wofford, and Bruce Tomb.
Jenifer Wofford’s Drawing for Unseen Forces
We made it there right at the end of Jenifer Wofford‘s talk about her installation Unseen Forces, which was too bad because I really wanted to hear more about it. However, it looks AMAZING! As you walk into the back gallery, you first encounter several sculpted metal detectors that act as the entrance ways into a large space surrounded by full wall paintings of beautiful, lush, tropical landscapes with three monochromatic grey blocks on the horizon of one wall that could be read as buildings or references to the metal dectors. It was interesting how within this context, without agency, the metal detectors appear so benign in contrast to the affect they generally elicit when used as a form of intimidation and supposed protection — which tends to be frustration and irritation. While the natural world with its facade of beauty and serenity is the true unpredictable danger. As I once wrote, “Never trust Mother Nature. She is the Queen of Delusion: heart of gold, head of fire, soul of uncertainty.”
From Bruce Tomb’s (de)appropriation project archive — I did make it into the archive!
We did get to hear Bruce Tomb speak about his (de)appropriation Project Archive. For 10 years Tomb has been documenting the wall on the outside of his home between 23rd and 24th Streets on Valencia. The wall has become one of the premiere spaces in San Francisco for wheat pasting posters that most often are of a social/political nature. I’ve loved this space since I first learned about it 8 years ago when we utilized it for Art Strike’s Back. Since I’ve often makes trips over to the area just to see what’s up. I’ve also taken advantage of the space myself to add to the wall. Definately check out the Archive and the space itself!
TOP 13 OF 2007
Again, hard to believe another year has passed …
12. Watching the documentary Imelda and then Meeting Her a Week Later
The documentary is a Must-See – it provides great insight into the history of the Marcos’ reign in the Philippines, as well as Imelda’s psyche (including a jaw-dropping, belly-splitting segment in which she describes and draws a diagram of her philosophy on life that concludes with a Pac-Man). A week after I saw this, I found myself looking into her glazed eyes in disbelief that I was actually speaking to her, and I didn’t even look down to see what shoes she was wearing.
11. One Less Year of The Bush Administration!
The giddiness is felt around the world!!!
Carolyn Castano’s Wagon Station
This was my first year to finally attend the event High Desert Test Sites in Joshua Tree, even though I’ve spent a great deal of time in Joshua Tree and have even stayed at Andrea Zittel’s home there for a week after a Vipassana course in 2004.
I went with Carolyn Castano, one of the participating artists who customized a Wagon Station on Andrea’s property. Highlights included sleeping under the stars in the Wagon Station with the lid up; watching Piotr Uklanski’s Summer Love outside at sundown against the old Western set in Pioneertown (the film is the first Polish Western and it was stunning!); and several long hikes through the desert.
Schwitters’ original Merzbau
9. Kurt Schwitters in Sao Paulo
Totally serendipitous! As we were driving in the taxi from the airport to our hotel, I just happened to see a large sign for an exhibition of Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau. We investigated the next day and found that it was at the Pinacoteca do Estado museum. We headed over and not only were blown away by the reinstallation of Schwitters’ Merzbau (as it turns out, Eliza actually knows the daughter of the man who travels around the world recreating and building the Merzbau), but the Pinacoteca was amazing – it’s tied for first for my favorite museum (along with the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Niteroi).
Grizzly outside of my dad and stepmother’s home — it’s common to have grizzlies roaming around folks’ homes year-round!!!
I love my home state! However, I won’t be sharing any of the best things about it because I don’t want it to change.
Wofford in Manila (photo by EBX)
7. Jenifer Wofford
Girl this is your year! What can I say, you are the reason for five of my Bests in 2007 – THANK YOU!!!
Galleon Trade Crew in the Living Room (photo by Juan Caguicla)
6. Participating in Galleon Trade in Manila
The project was a whirlwind of activity and wonderful, memorable experiences and my first introduction to the Philippines – I LOVE Manila!
5. THE Men of North Syquia Apartments in Malate, Manila
Love these (you) guys! They were three of the best things about the Galleon Trade residency – Bold, Brilliant, Beautiful … and always up for watching “The Tyra Banks Show”.
4. Another One Bites The Dust, Another One Bites The Dust, And Another One Gone, Another One Gone, Another One Bites The Dust …
Bush Administration Scandals:
* Eric G. Andell – deputy undersecretary in charge of newly created Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (previously senior adviser to Secretary of Education Rod Paige) – pleaded guilty to one count of conflict of interest for using government travel for personal causes and was sentenced to one year of probation, 100 hours of community service, and fined $5,000.
* Claude Allen – Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy- resigned, pled guilty to shoplifting from Target stores.
* Lester Crawford – Commissioner, FDA – resigned in late September 2005 after only two months on the job. On October 17th, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts, making a false writing and conflict of interest. On February 27, 2007, Crawford was sentenced to three years of probation and was fined $90,000.
* Brian Doyle – Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Homeland Security – Resigned in wake of child sex scandal. Doyle was arrested on April 4th, 2006 and pleaded no contest on September 19, 2006 to seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and sixteen counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor. On November 17th, 2006 Brian Doyle was sentenced to five years in state prison and ten years of probation. He will also need to register as a sex offender.
* Steven Griles – Deputy Secretary at the Interior Department – is the highest-ranked administration official yet convicted in the Jack Abramoff scandal. In March 2007, Griles pleaded guilty to lying about his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Sentenced to 10 months incarceration.
* John T. Korsmo – Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board from 2002 to 2004 - pleaded guilty in 2005 to lying to the Senate and an inspector general. He swore he had no idea how a list of presidents for FHFB-regulated banks were invited to a fundraiser for his friend’s congressional campaign. On the invites, Korsmo was listed as the “Special Guest.” Got 18 months of probation and a $5,000 fine.
* Scooter Libby – Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff – resigned after being indicted for lying to a grand jury and investigators in connection with the investigation stemming from the leak of Valerie Wilson’s covert CIA operative’s identity. Convicted on four of five counts, making him the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-contra scandal. Sentenced to thirty months imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. On July 2nd, after a judge decided that Libby would remain in prison during the appeals process, President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence by removing the thirty months in prison.
* David Safavian – former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget – convicted of lying to ethics officials and Senate investigators about his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. On October 27, 2006, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He is currently appealing the ruling.
* Robert Stein – former comptroller and funding officer for the now disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority, Southern Central Region in Al-Hillah, Iraq – pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, possession of a machine gun, and being a felon in possession of a fire arm. On January 30, 2007 Stein was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.6 million.
* Roger Stillwell – desk officer, Interior Department – pleaded guilty to failing to report Redskins tickets and free dinners from Jack Abramoff. Resigned Due to Investigation, Pending Investigation or Allegations of Impropriety
* Philip Cooney – chief of staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality – a former oil industry lawyer with no scientific expertise, Cooney resigned after it was revealed he had watered down reports on global warming.
* George Deutsch – press aide, NASA – resigned amid allegations he prevented the agency’s top climate scientist from speaking publicly about global warming.
* Michael Elston – chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty – announced his resignation on June 15, 2007. Despite allegations that he’d threatened at least four of the eight fired US Attorneys, McNulty said Elston had served the Justice Department “with distinction for nearly eight years.”
* Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo – appointed executive director of the CIA, the agency’s third-highest post, in October 2004 – resigned and was ultimately indicted on bribery charges related to the Duke Cunningham scandal.
* Alberto Gonzales – former Attorney General – resigned without explanation amidst investigations of the firings of U.S. Attorneys, the politicization of the Justice Department, warrantless surveillance, and the torture and mistreatment of detainees.
* Monica Goodling – former Justice Department liaison to the White House and senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales – resigned on April 7, 2007 amidst the investigation of the firings of U.S. Attorneys.
* Michelle Larson Korsmo – deputy chief of staff, Department of Labor – Helped her husband (see John Korsmo, above) with his donor scam. Quietly left her Labor plum job in February 2004, about two weeks before news broke that she and her husband were the targets of a criminal probe.
* Howard “Cookie” Krongard – former State Department inspector general — accused of not properly investigating State Department contractor fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan; of retaliating against whistleblowers in his own office; and of not telling the truth about his knowledge of his brother’s ties with Blackwater, a State Department contractor. Faced with a possible perjury investigation, Howard Krongard resigned on December 7, 2007.
* Julie Macdonald – former deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks at the Interior Department – resigned in May 2007 after an “inspector general’s report found she had improperly leaked information to private organizations, bullied staff scientists and broken federal rules.” The Department of the Interior is investigating many of her decisions regarding endangered species; so far seven have been overturned.
Paul McNulty – Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice – resigned, after questions about his involvement in the U.S. attorney firings and his testimony to Congress about the firings.
* Richard Perle – Chairman, Defense Policy Board – resigned from Pentagon advisory panel amid conflict-of-interest charges.
* Susan Ralston – assistant, White House – resigned amidst revelations that she had accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from Abramoff without compensating him, counter to White House ethics rules.
* Janet Rehnquist – inspector general, Department of Health and Human Services – resigned on June 1, 2003 in the face of an investigation into her alleged efforts to block a politically dangerous probe on behalf of the Bush family.
* James Roche – secretary, U.S. Air Force - resigned in the wake of the Boeing tanker lease scandal, after it was revealed he had rather crudely pushed for Boeing to win a $23 billion contract.
* Kyle Sampson -former chief of staff for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - resigned amidst the investigation of the firings of U.S. Attorneys.
* Joseph Schmitz – Inspector General, Defense – Resigned amid charges he personally intervened to protect top political appointees.
* Bradley Schlozman – resigned from his third and final post with the Justice Department after accusations of actively politicizing the department. He’s currently under investigation by the Department’s inspector general.
* Thomas Scully – Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – shortly after Scully resigned in 2003, an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general found that Scully had pressured the agency’s actuary to underestimate the full cost of the Medicare reform bill by approximately $100 billion until after Congress passed the bill into law. Scully was also hit with conflict of interest charges by the U.S. attorney’s office for billing CMS for expenses incurred during a job search while he still headed the agency. He settled those charges by paying $9,782.
* David Smith – deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks, Interior Department – resigned on July 21, 2006 after shooting a buffalo and accepting its skeletal remains and meat as an illegal gratuity. He eventually paid over $3,000 for the dead buffalo, but only after the internal inquiry had commenced. The Department of Interior inspector general also noted in a May 16, 2006 report that Smith’s involvement in the designation of Houston as a port of entry for imported wildlife in order to benefit a friend was inappropriate.
* John Tanner – Voting Rights Section Chief, Justice Department – resigned in December of 2007 and moved to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. Already under suspicion for aiding efforts to politicize the voting section, the bumbling proponent of voter identification laws angered lawmakers with his comments that such laws actually discriminate against white voters because “minorities die first”. Even more impressive was his apology for the comment. The DoJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility is currently investigating his travel habits and those of his deputy.
* Sara Taylor – Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs at the White House, where she was Karl Rove’s top aide – resigned amidst the U.S. attorneys investigation and other probes of Rove’s alleged politicization of the government.
Ken Tomlinson – Board Chairman, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; member, Broadcasting Board of Governors – resigned at the release of an inspector general report concluding he had broken laws in spending CPB money to hire politically connected consultants to search for “bias” without consulting the board. At BBG, a separate investigation found he was running a “horse racing operation” out of his office, and continuing to hire politically-wired individuals to do “consulting” work for him. After being nominated and serving another term, he finally stepped down from that spot earlier this year.
* Carl Truscott – Director, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau – resigned. A report by the Justice Department’s inspector general found that Truscott wasted tens of thousands of dollars on luxuries, wasted millions on whimsical management decisions and violated ethics rules by ordering employees to help his nephew with a high school video project.
* Paul Wolfowitz – World Bank President – resigned in May 2007 after a committee report found that he broke ethics rules by giving his girlfriend a substantial raise.
Nomination Failed Due to Scandal:
* Linda Chavez – nominated, Secretary of Labor – withdrew her nomination in January 2001 amidst revelations that an illegal immigrant lived in her home and worked for her in the early 1990s. Chavez blamed what she said were the “search-and-destroy” politics of Washington.
* Timothy Flanigan – nominated, Deputy Attorney General (also Alberto Gonzales’ top deputy at the White House) – withdrew his nomination in October 2005 amidst revelations that he’d worked closely with lobbyist Jack Abramoff when he was General Counsel for Corporate and International Law at Tyco, which was a client of Abramoff’s.
* Bernard Kerik – nominated, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security – withdrew his nomination amidst a host of corruption allegations. Eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor relating to improper gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars while he was a New York City official in the late 1990′s. Subsequently, on November 8, 2007, Kerik was indicted on sixteen counts for bribery, tax fraud, and false statements with a maximum sentence of 142 years and more than $5 million in fines. Kerik has pleaded not guilty. For a rundown of Kerik’s myriad indiscretions, check out TPM’s Ultimate Kerik Scandal List!.
* William Mercer – the former associate deputy attorney general and US Attorney for Montana – withdrew his nomination to be the permanent number three official at the Department of Justice on June 22, 2007 due to his role in the U.S. attorney firings.
* Hans von Spakovsky – Commissioner, FEC – nomination to another term after his recess appointment failed due to allegations that he’d worked at the Justice Department to suppress minority voter turnout.
Under Investigation But Still in Office:
* Stuart Bowen – Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) – was once admired for his successes while investigating allegations of waste and fraud in Iraq, but now employee allegations have prompted four government investigations into the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).
* Lurita Doan – Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration – still in office, despite investigations by both the Office of Special Counsel and the House oversight committee that found that Doan had “crossed the line” by suggesting that the GSA use its resources to help Republicans get elected.
* Alfonso Jackson – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – following reports that Jackson told a business group in April 2006 that he once canceled a contract after the contractor criticized President Bush, an investigation by the HUD inspector general found that while Jackson told his deputies to favor Bush supporters, there was “no direct proof that a contract was actually awarded or rescinded because of political affiliation.” A second, criminal investigation was triggered in part by Jackson’s claim before Congress in May 2007 that “I don’t touch contracts.” That probe, now before a federal grand jury, has turned up evidence that Jackson may indeed have touched contracts – and steered them towards friends.
My dad (in the skull cap — consensus is that dad always has the best outfits), my uncle Sande, and great grandfather Jack Wilson
3. Wilson Family Mining
Over the past year, I’ve become responsible for the Wilson Family archive – it’s been wonderful to hear so many stories and go through hundreds of photographs from the different branches of our family – dating back to the late 1800′s. Still much work to do, but it’s a total treat.
EBX and I in front of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio.
2. X-plorations in Argentina and Brazil
Amazing experiences in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Applause to the mayor of Sao Paulo, Gilberto Kassab for his Cidade Limpa law, which prohibits all forms of external media and visual pollution such as billboards. It helped to make Sao Paulo my favorite city during these travels.
Dad and I at the Red Lodge Cafe
1. Family Time, Especially With My Dad
Last March my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. It’s been heartbreaking for our entire family; however there is a silver lining. The family has become very close and we’ve spent a good deal of time together over the past year that has been such a blessing and great fun. I look forward to more of this in the New Year.
Seis y Siete
Megan Wilson Project
As an addendum to my last post, I thought I’d share another project that was inspired by the Flower Interruption. Several years ago I received the following email from a student in the UK:
My name is Melodie, and I’m an Art student from the UK. I’ve stumbeled across your work a few weeks ago and was really impressed. So, as my current project at school is about flowers, and I’ve chosen you as my Artist, I have started something I call the ‘Megan wilson Project’. Basically my plan is to design some Murals and single flowers on a large scale and (if i get the permission that is) put them up around my school (since it’s not a very colourful place, pretty drab really…..). I also have to write a 1000 word essay about one or more artists i have chosen, and relate them to a essay title of my choice. As I’m doing this project, i thought i might aswell do my essay about that.
My essay title will be ‘Flowers in Art’ (or something similar) and i thought that maybe (if you have the time of course) you could just write a little something about why you chose to use Flowers for your projects so often and what they mean to you, or something in that direction. And anything else you think might be of relevance.
I’d be very very thankful if you could just take a few minutes for a reply. Also i think the whole thing would be rather interesting for the moderators at the university I want to go to (they only accept then people a year so i’m trying everything to get in hehe).
Any help/response would be greatly appreciated.
Again, I was totally honored to have inspired someone through the project and happily “gave permission” to use the project. We then continued to correspond.
I started my project now, it’s going quite slow because i have to find all kinds of different flowers to draw because my teacher said i need flowers that don’t look like the ones you use, otherwise it’s copying rather than basing the idea on it.
So, to the pictures that you asked for. The first one (with the many flowers on it) is the first painting i did with flowers that are somewhat similar to yours. I am going to add some swirls into it (if you look closely you can probably see the pencil outlines) and just in general experiment with it all a bit more .
The secong picture is of the two paintings i was going to do, but in small and just the outlines (i projected them onto a bigger sheet of paper later on) I only did one of them because i was sort of stopped in my tracks, realising that i have to personalise it a lot more, but for a start it’s not bad i think.
The last picture is of one of my flowers (a lily) that i did in a style pretty similar to yours. and as soon as i did that of course i got all kinds of ideas again how i could make that really huge and add tiny little bits of detail into it hehe, my teacher told me off for trying to do too much at once :p. oh well, anyway, i quite like that lily, it’s very plain at the moment but i’m still working on it, the outline underneath i still have to paint and i’ll add some more shades to that, trying to find something that i like, and that looks good. the only problem now is that i’m sort of slipping into the same thing i did last year (gary hume and franck le coversin). If you have any suggestions/criticism or something, be sure to let me know
If you like I’ll keep you updated with pictures on how my work’s going. It’s all still in the very early stages of development, so and suggestions are more than welcome. At the moment i’m just trying out different things, and i hope it’ll all work out in the end.
Dear Melodie –
thank you so much for sending the update and images! It’s great to watch your progress. I agree with your teacher that the initial ones did look almost identical to mine — I really liked the lilly and that direction. Though something to think about (and it would be helpful for you to do some writing about this) –
What is your intent for the project?
If you’re using my project as a base to start from and continue the general idea of wanting to build on what I started with by introducing these flowers into different environments that provide for an unexpected interaction with the public — then any form of the flowers (including ones that look like mine) would work with your concept (building on my concept) — then the project becomes a collaboration with me (it still is sort of anyway) that opens up a lot of possibilities in the way of questions around new technology and new ways of buidling communities and collaboration (you came across my work on the Web and contacted me and now we have a whole new artistic project and collaboration that’s grown from that). In some ways, I actually think this might be the most interesting part of the project and definately deals with the most contemporary issues. Have you read Nicholas Bourriard? He’s written a number of essays that he compiled into a book called “Relational Aesthetics” that’s really good.
Please do keep me updated on the project and send pics as you go along.
Melodie — I hope you got into the school!!!!