Saturday, March 27, 2010


73:The darker side of the art world: petty jealousies, competitiveness, failure. And also what's so great about art.


Foreign correspondent Jim Biederman reports from a cell phone inside the Louvre, in front of the Mona Lisa, on what people say while they're standing in front of some of the world's greatest works of art. It turns out to be pretty banal. People talk about dinner. And the price of the paintings.

It actually makes you feel bad for artists—a group most of us feel no sympathy for whatsoever. After all, it takes years to develop artistic skills; it's intensely competitive; almost no one makes any money doing it; there are jealousies and unfair treatment; and then, if somehow, your work is recognized, and you end up in a museum like the Louvre, you're even treated badly there. (5 minutes)

Act One. Life in a Bubble.

TAL contributing editor Paul Tough talks with Aaron Hsu-Flanders, an acknowledged master in the field of animal balloons, who says that artistic jealousies have ruined his life. Even in the world of latex giraffes and doggies, there are artistic rivalries and bitterness. (9 1/2 minutes)

Song: "Tears of a Clown," The English Beat

Act Two. Still Life.

David Sedaris recounts his shameful career as a performance artist. Recorded before a live audience by KUOW Seattle.

David's most recent book is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. (14 minutes)

Song: "The Collector (and the Art Mob)," Terry Allen

Act Three. Reverb.

Ellery Eskelin never met his father, but always heard he was a musical genius. Years after his father's death, Ellery started finding recordings of his musical output: he was the king of "song-poems." These are the songs that result when people answer those ads in the backs of magazines that say, "Send us your lyrics, and we'll write and record your song."

Ellery's father's musical output was prodigious—and very odd. An accomplished jazz saxophonist and jazz snob, Ellery listened to his father's tunes, and his own musical taste started to change. (17 minutes)

Song: "Green Bermudas," Ellery Eskelin with Andrea Parkins

Act Four. Grace Note.

After all this doom and gloom about the difficult lives of artists, we end the show with a more hopeful story from Joel Kostman, a New York City locksmith, who tells us about an incident that happened to him on the job.

Joel is author of Keys to the City: Tales of a New York City Locksmith.

Song: "Chapel of Love," Barry Winograd and John Siegle

Friday, March 19, 2010

She Works Hard For The Money

This morning I had errands to run at the Providence City Hall. While I was there, I had the opportunity to check out the current exhibition, She Works Hard For The Money, curated by Rebecca Siemering. The show is really great, and it made having to hang around the tax assessors office much more bearable! I took this picture of the piece that I included in the show, I really like how it looks framed in the space. This image is a little dark, but you can still see the formal foyer with the marble floors, and dark woods... And the darkness of the space just makes the necklace pop that much more!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From The Studio

This is a neck-piece that I've been working on in the studio. Similar to the pieces that I made for my recent show at Craftland, this piece is made of monochromatic glass beads encased in a tube of knit thread, floss, and retroglo. Again, similar to the body of work that I just completed, this will have some reflective aspects, but will be much more selective than before. I'm not sure how I will resolve the many connections of this piece, but feel that it's time to just bite the bullet and start working on it again... hopefully the piece will help solve itself!

Coprolite Watch

Apparently, I'm only making tacky or ironic posts these days. Supporting this revelation, I just came across an article from the Associated Press about a Swiss luxury watchmaker who just revealed a new design for a watch made of fossilized dinosaur feces, and poisonous toad skin costing $11,290. The dial is made of Coprolite, which is a fossilized animal dung.

"A relic of the Jurassic period, it has taken millions of years for this organic substance to embrace its present warm and matchless tints," states the press release from Artya, sounding like something out of a J. Peterman catalogue parody ala Seinfeld. "In its mineral aspect, it forcefully underscores the pristine strength emanating from the very dawn of life."

The coprolite used to make the watch dials came from a plant-eater that died about 100 million years ago in what is now the United States, designer Yvan Arpa told the Associated Press. The strap for the Coprolite watches is made with the blackened skin of American cane toads. In live cane toads, the skin is toxic and can kill if ingested.

Despite being an incredible expensive accessory, the watch looks pretty chintzy and cheap. The contrasting textures and colors compete for attention and result in a watch that definitely looks like you're wearing crap on your wrist.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Baby Skull Jewelry May Be Linked To Violence

Check out this sardonic news piece from the Onion discussing the new fad of wearing baby skulls. Regardless of whether the skulls are fairly traded or not, it seems that this new jewelry trend might be a real fashion faux paz!