samantha krukowski


making marks

first post from ohio

Moving slows down all sorts of things, even stops some – like creative process and writing practice. But only for a while.

This morning is filled with the words of Rosalind Krauss from her essay ‘Grids’ (October, Summer 1979) and the sounds of the wheels of my chair as I roll back and forth between tables to read and draw. It comes out, after a while, the way we each reckon with trying to understand things. I find I’m starring the text by simultaneously writing notes in the margins by hand and making digital marks. What would Roland Barthes (S/Z, 1970) say about drawing on a machine being part of the readerly/writerly phenomenon?

The paradox of the grid – suspended between materiality and spirit, science and transcendence – is worth revisiting, especially in terms of its centrifugal and centripetal implications in painting. Centrifugal (signaling the world outside) and centripetal (signaling the object itself) forces in representation need to be reconsidered given the increasingly common boundary (finite edge) of the computer screen.

A student of mine recently remarked that his difficulty in making continuous and energetic lines was in part the result of working primarily on a tablet, which required that he contain (constrain, restrain) his marks. The grid is now up against hardware edges. Who is going to make an infinity screen first?

Filed under: art, grid, thinking


img1934Taking all of these photographs of deteriorating barns in Iowa led me to a series of recent books on ruins and related ideas/productions. Brian Dillon is doing some great writing and from so many perspectives – going out to find some of his books today.

Filed under: architecture, art, books, thinking, ,

selling value

Yesterday I was in a restaurant and saw a little sign propped up by the window that read “best soup in town.” Though we are constantly exposed to such signs advertising “the best” of something-or-other, I began to wonder when this kind of language first appeared – has the language of advertising always included “the best”? The sign wasn’t effective in the way it might have originally been intended (I didn’t try their soup), and it didn’t inspire cynicism, either (I didn’t snort), but instead it seemed a quaint and tentative leftover from some other time (though that time must be now, since I can buy the same sign online from a restaurant supply company).

Best Soup in Town

Maybe a customer brought it in and set it up after they had a meal, just for fun – it’s that kind of restaurant, with an atmosphere of accumulating the discarded – regardless, it was unread as it was read – proclaiming your soup as the best soup in Ames, Iowa isn’t saying much, really.

Then, this morning, two articles in the New York Times appeared, both very much about value, great in juxtaposition:

The Art World’s Patron Satan
Ferran Adrià Feeds the Hungry Mind

First, the piece on Stefan Simchowitz, sponsor and promoter of young artists who is upending art world etiquette by buying and selling artists as well as their work. His is not a new model, really – patrons and artists have cohabited in uneasy ways throughout history – except that he is selling the work by selling himself – he’s got billionaires buying artworks they have never seen by artists they have never heard of. He sets up the artists with studios, materials, places to live, clothing – with the understanding that they have to do that one thing, make art. One of the artists he helped out was making large canvases filled with eyeballs. He requested that she cut those canvases up so he could have more paintings to sell – she did – each one sold for $150. Taste? Value? Better? Best? Who knows. Maybe Simchowitz does.

Second, the piece on Ferran Adrià, the former chef of El Bulli who appears to be a phenomenologist at heart – he tends towards questions like “What is wine?” and ponders essentials like what makes a drink different from a sauce – “Maybe it is a drink if I put it in a cup. But what if I make it into a sauce and cook with it?” Adrià’s restaurant was named world best (there’s that “best” thing again) from 2002-2009 and operated only six months per year, serving one meal per day. He earns a little less than 100K for a one-hour lecture on creativity, his catering division brings in 400K a year, VIP dinners earned him about 3.5 million. His restaurant is no longer, but he is working on a foundation now and according to the article he “concedes that what allows him to operate such an ethereal enterprise is the value of his personal brand”, one that is deeply linked to Telefónica, the Madrid telecommunications company.

Next on my reading list: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty.

Filed under: advertising, art, creativity, thinking

April 2018
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