Archive for the ‘What I am Looking at’ Category

[ The Great Lakes ] Death Watch

September 8th, 2011 No comments

[ Lake Erie Death Watch ] By Barry Yeoman for the NRDC

Brought back from the brink once before, a Great Lake again faces biological collapse

What would it mean to lose one of our Great Lakes? The environmental and economic calamity could devastate the region’s tourism, sport fishing industry, drinking water supply, and wildlife, and could also take a toll on human health. And there would be plenty of blame to go around, from changing agricultural methods to inattentive politicians to weaknesses in our nation’s bedrock environmental protections — many of which can partially trace their existence to concern over Lake Erie in the first place.

Erie is the most fertile of the Great Lakes: It contains only 2 percent of their water but 50 percent of their fish. Its biological abundance, and its location in a densely settled corner of the Midwest, make the prospect of collapse all the more frightening. If conditions grow worse, imploding native fish populations could decimate Lake Erie’s recreational fishing industry. (Fishing generates $7 billion a year throughout the Great Lakes.) The water supply for 11 million people could become undrinkable without expensive treatment. And blue-green algae, linked to liver cancer in China and fatal poisonings in Brazil, could pose a grave threat to people here, too, particularly if ingested.


What I Am Looking At: On Teeny Tiny Tuesday

April 1st, 2010 1 comment

On Tuesdays, the kids get out of school early. This week we checked out the new exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry – Science Storm.

<Just saying>
It is a brilliantly organized patterned space of light, color, and waves. As an activist space of semi-permanent large scaled “interactive information installations” it draws upon the full rhythmic and sensual engagement culture of rock concert and night club stage design – A kind of refined Wonka / Rube Goldbery space of gestured science.
</Just saying>

Forgive my indulgences.

What I Am Looking At: Vinton County Ohio

April 1st, 2010 3 comments

Last weekend I visited Vinton County to help my brother in-law run for county commissioner. The trip gave me a little education into this region of the country. – Phone Photos

Information on Vinton County via [ Wikipedia ]

View of Lake Erie: Road Trip to Buffalo

March 24th, 2010 No comments

Spring break and the opening reception for the show “Precious Cargo” just happen to coincide, so we took a road trip along the southern shores of Lake Erie. All photos from my phone.

Armed with market analysis’ and statistics, it is rare for an Urban Planner to reveal how they or their family’s approach and use different spaces. They never appear in the analysis. Is that possible? Just asking.


Categories: What I am Looking at

fb: Jerry Saltz: Awaiting Friend Confirmation: His Geographical Move

February 19th, 2010 No comments

Perhaps the most important lesson from this dialogue is were it is occurring.

Update – Friendship Confirmed (Feb. 18 2:54 pm): I’ve been given entry to this gated community.

What I’m Looking at: Carl Jordan

October 13th, 2009 1 comment

What I am Looking at: Joyce Owens

July 14th, 2009 1 comment

[ Website: ]  [ Blog: Artist on Art ]

I first came to know Joyce’s work about a decade ago and then again recently when she sat on a panel discussion about southside artists – [ The Invisible Artist – Creators from Chicago’s Southside

For me these paintings make plain the strength of the Human Spirit – in there ambition and worry. I have always loved the portrait. 

Out of the Box Series

(Click images to enlarge)





“These paintings are dramatic renditions of the black middle class men and women shown in photographs during the Paris Exposition in 1900… There is a depth to our African American ancestry that we need to be able to build on; the wooden box is a symbol that can both hold the truth and tell the truth.”

 – Joyce Owens

Categories: What I am Looking at

What I am Looking At: Our Garden

July 5th, 2009 No comments

Every summer my wife and I migrate out to the backyard. During the warm season the backyard becomes the most used room in the house. On our city lot we’ve learned about the bio-diversity of this highly industrialized community. This region is extraordinarily rich in biodiversity and rare ecosystems, fragmented between mostly industrial areas. 80% of East Chicago is zoned heavy industrial, with less than 14% for residential, and 6% for light industrial and commercial. 

No region in the Midwest has been as greatly impacted by human activity as Northwest Indiana. Pre-European settlement, a series of white pine and jack pine-covered dunes, and swales rich in wetland species, paralleled Lake Michigan. Inland, the dune and swale topography met the Calumet marshes. 

Although it is undoubtedly still the richest region in Indiana and in the Great Lakes basin in terms of biodiversity, Northwest Indiana ecosystems are fragmented and under constant, diverse stress from multiple sources. Without restoration of ecosystem functions and structures, their long term viability is severely threatened

[ EPA ]

But what amazes most is how quickly life takes hold and grows here. By having our own little paradise in such an environment that is hostile toward nature we attract all sorts of creatures. However, we are discovering that we are not the only ones. As we get out in the community we are seeing many residents creating their own special spaces in their backyards. I hope someday to document some of these spaces.

This year Kristin has begun taking these incredible close-ups of the garden.



What I am Looking at: Jens Brasch

May 20th, 2009 No comments

[ ]

Caught looking again. [ First Look ]

This past Friday 33 Collective Gallery opened its 5th Annual National Self-Portrait Exhibit to which I contributed two small pieces. 


The show opened to a large crowd – not surprising when your showing close to 50 artists. With so many artists showing there is always the opportunity that something quite new will surface and I think it did with Jens Brasch’s piece “the apparitions of faces in the crowd – the narrative self.”

Jens has a long, long history working with his own identity and self-portraiture. In his new piece he iterates the idea that Art and Identity need to be read. His work is a library series of twenty book covers on five shelves each contributing to the subject matter – himself. There is a lot to be said about this piece. It owes so much to Duchamp, Rembrandt and other artists who articulated individual human identity. Instead of enumerating the obvious and not so obvious I will leave it to others. His recent work is some of the strongest I have seen in today’s contemporary galleries. 

One other point. With the depth that human awareness has achieved and the trajectory of the new, complexity has squeezed out prodigy from contributing to the depth of the new. I think Jen’s work is a great example of how much stuff his contemporary life processes and of course I am very sympathetic to the path he has taken. I find the depth behind his immediacy refreshing after enduring nearly twenty years of graphical one liners in the gallery’s of contemporary art. For the intellectually challenged a one liner became a simulacra for a minimalist moment. 


Categories: What I am Looking at

What I am Looking at: Paul Lloyd Sargent

April 29th, 2009 No comments

[ …recycledcaronrecordings ]

at Version>09 opening reception.

Paul Lloyd Sargent’s installation comments on the waterway management policies and practices by the Army Corps of Engineers, the St. Lawrence Seaway Corporation, and other institutions regulating major American rivers. His engagement in this body of water parallels my interest in the Indiana harbor Shipping Canal (IHSC), which feeds into the Great Lakes – not only because of my particular involvement with the IHSC, but also because of the role of the artist and designer in this larger dialogue of the built environment.



This is a time when Artists and designers are exercising strengths in dialogues they were traditionally excluded from – such as in making decisions and designing the built environment. I touched on this topic when I asked about the Artist’s role in urban visualization in my post [ Drawing the Lines ]. Another aspect of the Artist’s role has been to bring into and from (reconfigure and re-equip) our visual culture what was either not seen or only seen peripherally at the margins. Much of this work is coming under a research designation of “Experimental Geography.”

We are at a moment of major change in how we address and prioritize voices in the decision making and design process when it comes to the built environment. We are beginning to see the authority traditionally given over to Architects folded under the the authority of “Landscape Urbanists” (often referred to as Landscape Architects, but I already think this is an arcane title). In this shift in roles we are opening up all sorts of new visual disciplines to re-orientate ourselves toward space and re-organize it in a re-development framework. You can see some of these changes in Urban Lab’s H2O project: [ Growing Water ], Valcent Product’s the [ vertical farming ], and William McDonough & Michael Braungart’s seminal book “Cradle to Cradle / Remaking the Way we Make Things.” Luckily there are so many examples springing up daily.

What I am Looking at: Paul Charles Pallaro

April 23rd, 2009 No comments

Paul and I went to graduate school together in the early 1990s at Indiana University. “A Mark In The Sand” is documentary by Flynn Donovan about the art of Paul Charles Pallaro. Flynn Donovan does a fantastic job capturing Paul and his work. 

A Mark in the Sand (part I)


(part II)

Tabula Peutingeriana

April 20th, 2009 No comments


Categories: What I am Looking at

What I am Looking at: Paul Kane

April 3rd, 2009 2 comments

Paul Kane is an Artist working in Bloomington Indiana. Like myself he hasn’t shown much, but has been prolifically working on his paintings, some of which he has reworked over the course of twenty years.

Categories: What I am Looking at

Characterizing the Indiana Harbor Shipping Canal

March 16th, 2009 No comments

What I am Looking At: Jens Brasch

March 1st, 2009 4 comments

I love discovering. [ ]

<Untitled Work from 2004> 

Shows: Experimental Geography

February 27th, 2009 2 comments


Curated by Nato Thompson from Creative Time

Geography benefits from the study of specific histories, sites, and memories. Every estuary, landfill, and cul-de-sac has a story to tell. The task of the geographer is to alert us to what is directly in front of us, while the task of the experimental geographer—an amalgam of scientist, artist, and explorer—is to do so in a manner that deploys aesthetics, ambiguity, poetry, and a dash of empiricism. This exhibition explores the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, as well as the juncture where the two realms collide, and possibly make a new field altogether.

Also at the New Museum on Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 3:00 PM there will be a panel discussion: Experimental Geography Panel Discussion: An Aesthetic Investigation of Space

This sounds like something I would like. I will have to check it out.


February 24th, 2009 1 comment

Born:  July 15, 1606, Leiden, Netherlands

1631: Moves to Amsterdam

1634: Marries Saskia


  • Rumbartus died two months after his birth in 1635
  • Cornelia died at 3 weeks of age in 1638
  • Second daughter, also named Cornelia, living barely over a month died in 1640
  • Titus born in 1641. Died in 1668 (the year he married)

1642: Saskia Dies

1642: Begins relationship with Geertje Dircks

1647: Hendrickje Stoffels joins household as maidservant

1650: Rembrandt has Dircks detained in the Gouda house of correction

1654: Hendrickje Stoffels gives birth to Cornelia

1662: Hendrickje Stoffels dies

1664: The painter Christiaen Dusart is appointed guardian of Cornelia van Rijn

1668: Rembrandt moves in with Cornelia

Dies: Oct. 4, 1669, Amsterdam

Why Rembrandt? Didn’t he lose all relevance by the end of the 1990’s? – Yes but…

<<<tangent>non-sequitur>childish garble>I recently spent a week in community organizing and leadership training. The program was set up in the usual Saul Alinsky tradition (negotiating self-interested power). At the end of the first day everyone was asked to name a hero or mentor. I really did not mean to answer incorrectly –  when it was my turn I named Rembrandt because he was one of my first inspirations when I was a teen. They just thought I was playing with them. They expectied something like Martin Luther King, a politician or union leader, but not an artist. I felt a bit obligated to attempt to defended my choice by saying that I choose Rembrandt because he changed the western worlds way of seeing, and if you change the way people see, you change a culture of behavior. It didn’t go over well. They were serious and the discussion was about power v power and I chose Rembrandt. <<</tangent>/non-sequitur>childish garble>

Anyhow, Rembrandt opened and closed an era. You might even say he closed the market on the individual. And the marks he left on his late canvases opened new eras for others to explore. His pursuit of a persons persona was engulfed in his materials and his process. Carravagio may have conveyed the sense of “touch” through the image, but Rembrandt conveyed it through the paint.

Despite his official portraits of prominent figures and guild work which I have no affinity for, or his allegorical work which I think are atrocious, his self-portraits and the work he did of those he had an intimate relationship (Saskia, Hendrickje, and Titus) are another thing altogether.

When looking at the arc of Rembrandt’s career you can see how he moved with extraordinary confidence from rendering a persons image and likeness with amazing luminosity, to rendering marks, left by his touch, as the carrier of identity in his later work. In the arc of the progressive tradition Rembrandt changed where we are likely to find the “first principle” expressed. Prior to Rembrandt, Martin Luther advanced the progressive interest by challenging the papacy’s power to broker the relationship between an individual and God (the first principle). Martin Luther empowered individuals to negotiate their own relationship to the first principle. This empowerment of the individual, along with economic and technological forces, gave rise of a merchant class in the Netherlands. Rembrandt began his career during this rise and produced a body of work focused on sublimating the image and likeness of those individuals. But by the end of his career Rembrandt had decouple that identity from the image and placed it in his touch. Now the mark – the touch of the artist, was the carrier of the first principle.

Walking Directions from Leiden to Amsterdam via google maps.

41.6 km (25.8 miles) – about 8 hours 27 mins
Go to Google and View Larger Map
Categories: What I am Looking at


February 22nd, 2009 No comments

Caravaggio fascinated me throughout my student years. Not only for his heightened representation and pushing the forms out into the viewers personal space, but also the way he pushed a censored spirit into that space. Despite the grandeur of light and form, his works are very intimate. The image of Thomas poking around in the wound of Jesus reveals, only to Thomas’ touch, some sort of mystery beneath the fold of Jesus’ skin. This image has always been a startling image for me. The encounter between Jesus and Thomas is a physical encounter. Thomas seems almost like a blind man focused on the tactile touch at the end of his finger along with Jesus’ restraining grip around his wrist. Thomas is orientated to be from the viewers space. He is our entry into the painting. By probing jesus’ wound he is modeling how we are to poke into the painting – we doubters.

It’s all visual, but I am left with a tremendous tactile sensation on the tip of my index finger.

And it is very sexual. From the mid 1980’s to the mid 1990’s there were many artist exploring this very orientation of the roles of the sexes.

I just realized we haven’t heard much about Caravagio lately.

It was a strong influence on the blue draped elephant (the top image) in the previous post.

What I am Looking at: Michael Costello

February 22nd, 2009 No comments

New Street Agenda (2005 – present)


Who – What – Where – When Do We Start Fighting… (Journalistic Street Art and Advertising)

Chester Alamo & Costello holding a “When Do We Start Fighting…” drop-off print, Near Albert Dock, Liverpool, England, December 15, 2007 Sandy Kaminska Costello holding a “When Do We Start Fighting…” drop-off print, Regent’s Park, Frieze Art Fair, London, England, October 12, 2007
Jesse Bercowetz holding a “When Do We Start Fighting…” drop-off print, Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York, March 29, 2008 Jeff Costello holding a “When Do We Start Fighting…” drop-off print, Near Grand Central Station, New York, New York, March 28, 2008

“The Jackson five once played here” – Fernando

February 22nd, 2009 No comments

The Soundz of Santana at the Whiting Indiana Winterfest, featuring Dave and Lisa Sanchez.