Lascaux Bull: On Savage Liberations and Their Tamings

All words occur after looking; they are autopsies of seeing. In the best cases, these perceptual post-mortems can sharpen our understanding of what must have occurred in the moments of seeing (including clues about how and why seeing stopped); they build the experience retroactively, or they go on building it, by reformulating it; and, when they reach their limit, they provoke the viewer into more looking. They return the eyes to their object. 
Mike Barnes


Sigmar Polke Agate Window

Created in 2009 for the Grossm√ľnster, in Zurich.

“I can accept the power of nature as religious,” Polke says.



HOWARD HODGKIN  And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day  2007-8
Hodgkin’s paintings are indeed richest in episodes when pertaining to the intellectual life pictured through the color and texture of his panels. Aside from the personally oblique importance imbued in each picture, what remains in Hodgkin’s work is an intensely intellectual and formalized relic of color, touch and composition. Memory and emotional aside, what matters are instantaneous moments in the studio where the artist must make a specific decision regarding what color will be placed where and how.

George Saunders

Photo of George Saunders by George Saunders of George Saunders by George Saunders, etc., etc.
... whatever I’ve learned is at such a weird, subtle, sub-verbal level that I can’t really articulate it. I imagine it might be something like being a good athlete (and here I really have to imagine. . . ). What does a really good tennis player know? There is, of course, some basic conceptual knowledge—the grip, general strategies for pacing oneself over the course of a match, or whatever. . . . but what really distinguishes that player from the (lesser) player he/she was five years earlier is a series of neurological/muscle impulses and responses that he/she has “learned” in some sub-verbal place.
My feeling is that it’s similar with art. You put in thousands of hours at the writing desk and the result is some refinement of your hundred-a-day micro-decisions. I am more convinced than ever that the talking and the doing are miles apart—probably mutually helpful in some complicated way, but still, miles apart.

The only thing I’ve really come to believe is that it’s all about putting in the hours. The poet Jon Fink related this story to me awhile back and it’s stuck with me. Robert Frost was apparently doing a college visit back in the 1950s and a student asked him some complicated, technical, conceptual question, of the “how must the poet proceed?” variety, and Frost answered: “Don’t worry, work.”
Now, at first this struck me as a little bit easy. (Hey thanks, Mr. Most Famous Poet in the World, I’d never considered not worrying before! That’s super!) But it’s starting to make sense to me. I’m a person who has always done a lot of thinking and worrying and planning and strategizing vis-√†-vis my writing, but as I look back at the last 20 years, I can see that all the real big leaps, such as they were, took place in a sort of extra-conceptual place—they came at-speed, while writing, or over many days of writing—but in any case, through work, through the hours and hours of work, when the subconscious is being given free rein and hence can do the crazy things only it can do. That is, I never “decided” anything about writing that did me much good, that I can remember.


Eija-Liisa Ahtila


...“Horizontal,” a video installation presenting a tall spruce tree rotated 90 degrees, is almost Minimalist by contrast. Displayed by six vertical projections, each showing a section of the tree, it spreads more than 35 feet across one wall. With its wind-blown branches heaving and swaying and its trunk whipping up and down, it looks more animal than plant, as if were a great, arboreal whale. A beautiful complement to the comparatively complicated “The Annunciation,” it makes a compelling case for the proposition that the miraculous may be just a shift of perspective away.