Friday, November 28, 2008

A Painful Pill to Swallow

"Make Believe Damien Hirst For The Love of God" by Jim Riswold

I don't understand our economy. How can it be possible that telling Americans to borrow more money is good for the economy, when we're all already in debt above our eyeballs. And how does it make sense that lower gas prices aren't good for the economy? Is it just that the oil executives aren't making their multi-million dollar profits? And how come retail prices coming down from their inflated levels is bad for the economy when no one's incomes are going up?

So here's another question, how is it that Damien Hirst, one of the world's richest artists, who made £111 million British pounds selling his artwork at his latest auction (just his latest folks), how come he now has to "be mindful of the current economic climate." Just this week Hirst canceled the contracts of many of the poor sods that work for him for a measly £19,000 a year, 17 of the 22 artists that make the pills featured in a number of his works. However, "In June 2007, Lullaby Spring, a cabinet filled with hand-painted pills, sold for £9.65m."

Am I missing something here? Well, it turns out he wants to stop making his pill cabinets, but still...he can't find other work for these artists? All together their wages are a measly £323,000 a year.

According to an article in the Guardian, "Last week, Hirst admitted that art had probably become too expensive in recent years and said he welcomed the prospect of selling his work at cheaper rates in the present climate of recession." Hmmmm, seems to me he could just sell his work for less. How much less could he possibly pay his workers?!?!

I say it makes no sense and he's being a scrooge, breaking the news that by years end they'll be out of a job! It's shocking and despicable!

Bah Humbug.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Which American car would you buy?

A friend sent me the following article from the Huffington Post....awesome...gotta love American cars.

"I guess I've rented American cars..."

Last night on Charlie Rose, the talking boobs (i mean heads) were having a heated debate. The guy from the NT Times was arguing for Chapter 11. The Auto Industry Rep was arguing the biggest doom and gloom if we don't give em money. But then he admitted that 25 billion wasn't really enough. And he didn't know what number would be enough. The NY Times guy was explaining that US car manufacturers BY LAW can't afford to stop producing a particular brand IF THEY WANTED TO. There are state laws that make it prohibitively expensive to close dealerships...over a million dollars a dealership. So, if they went into Chapter 11 they could re-organize for less. Hey, if it worked for uh United Airlines, Delta, Northwest, and can work for the auto industry. The airlines got to shirk their debts, screw the labor unions, as well as their their employees, reorganize, and come out of Chapter 11....making lawyers rich in the process. yup, it's a lose/lose situation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sign of the Times

Not my typical post...but last night my sister and I spent some time talking about the possible bailout of GM. It's a complicated issue and I don't think anyone really knows if giving the car industry money right now will really prevent them from failing, or prevent the devastation of massive joblessness.

Well, check the piece "A Sea of Unwanted Imports" in today's NY Times. Frankly, if no one's buying cars, giving GM an unlimited supply of money, let alone some tens of billions, isn't going to get them selling more cars. It's like putting the proverbial finger in the dyke hole. It really looks like we're entering a new era, people. We've stopped shopping and, won't recognize the future we're about to enter. I fear the human despair. But hopefully we will adjust to the seismic shift of having and needing less quickly, and the change will be in time (and enough) to prevent the collapse of our planet.

Monday, November 17, 2008


"Broadway Protest" by Jerry Spagnoli

Back in December 2006, Barack, Michelle and eight others were in Axelrod’s office in downtown Chicago. If Barack was going to run, he had to decide quickly, a point the group made by laying out primary schedules and game plans for fund-raising and building an organization. Insights were offered from around the room.

It was Michelle, Axelrod remembers, who stopped the show. “You need to ask yourself, Why do you want to do this?” she said directly. “What are hoping to uniquely accomplish, Barack?”

Obama sat quietly for a moment, and everyone waited. “This I know: When I raise my hand and take that oath of office, I think the world will look at us differently,” he said. “And millions of kids across this country will look at themselves differently.”

Obama understood, through his own search for identity, how America’s seminal struggle over race was part of a wider story, of a search for dignity and hope that defined the lives of countless people throughout the world. A battered America, he felt, was ready, even anxious, to prove the truth of its sacred oaths — liberty, justice and equality. To show the world. If, through his own ambitions, he could offer his country a chance to step forward, it might rise to the occasion.

What started as a story about race became a larger story, by day’s end, about America. The transforming promise of the nation, after all, is the idea of welcoming the stranger, the outcast, to a place of limitless possibility — a place where each of us might discover our best self, be comfortable in our skin and find a home.

Excerpt from Change by Ron Suskind in NYTimes

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aphorism 3

artwork by Idiots

“The first mistake of art is to assume that it’s serious.” - Lester Bangs

Monday, November 10, 2008

Terra Aqua

Maya Lin is certainly one of the greatest American artists. Her lastest? Wave Field at Storm King which opens next spring. Here she deals with some of my favorite topics, water and land. Reminds me of a large scale realization of a Hiroshi Sugimoto: oceanic landscapes, undulating meditations, and the disorientation of losing oneself.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

A New Dawn

It’s shocking isn’t it?
It’s shocking to feel like the person who is steering the ship shares your values and your concerns, is thoughtful and heart-full.

It feels different doesn’t it?
Did you notice how in NYC on the 4th of November and every day since, people are looking you in the eye…like they did after 9/11?

I keep catching myself smiling. I keep realizing I still care…that it hasn’t worn off. This is my country and my president. For real.

I love this video, the spontaneous outbreak into a song that never held much meaning for me, until now. Heartbreaking it didn’t matter before. But this is a new dawn, a new day.

So, astrologers have been throwing in their 2 cents about this election. Did you know that on November 4th (you can decide if it’s a coincidence) Saturn and Uranus moved into opposition, something that happens about every 40 years. What does this mean, you ask? Well…the previous two times Saturn and Uranus opposed each other was 1918-20 and 1964-67, two period that saw big cultural changes.

At the end of World War 1 distinct class privilege began to be eroded, a flu epidemic killed more people than had died in the war, women in the US agitated for the right to vote, Wall Street was bombed, there were massive strikes in major industries like steel, race riots occurred, the Russian revolution had just happened and socialist ideology was spreading. The 1960s saw immense social upheaval: riots, strikes, race struggles in Africa, and a US Presidential assassination. “In the mid-’60s the counterculture emerged as an articulate alternative to the blind pursuit of the American dream and automatic support for the overt hegemony of the military-industrial complex. For the first time in history, young people all over the world voiced their social criticism en masse.”

Currently, we’re seeing sweeping changes to our financial systems and an erosion of the complacent sense of material security we’ve had. We’re also witnessing an environmental crisis on a global scale unseen before. Check out the 'American history' article on Wikipedia.

It's conveniently divided into historical periods. One begins in 1918, at a Saturn-Uranus opposition. Another begins in 1964, at the next Saturn-Uranus opposition. Could 2009 mark another major epochal break? What else might Saturn/Uranus have in store for us? And where does Obama fit in all of this?

Well let’s look closer at Saturn and Uranus…
“Saturn is experience earned the hard way, through a trial-by-fire history of achievements and mistakes, which bestows a real-world wisdom one cannot learn through books or theories or sudden flashes of genius. Uranus is radical freshness, the electrifying pulse of innovation born from the need to try something different, once it appears those with experience have become blinded by the perspectives they've held for years. Saturn signifies tradition, a conservative approach that respects the sanctity of institutions upon which many folks' sense of stability rests. Uranus brings the change and, along with it, increased liberation for those who felt oppressed by such traditions… and what surely seems like anarchistic end-times to those plenty content with how things have always been.”

While typically Saturn is seen as restrictive while Uranus is exciting, this is a big simplification. Uranus can be destructive and cynical, and Saturn can bring calm by being containing, realistic, and stable.

What is remarkable is how Obama seems to naturally balance these opposing forces. Neither Saturn’s strict adherence to order, nor Uranus’ rebelliousness should “be allowed to unilaterally triumph at the expense of the other. Their opposition reveals the obvious pitfalls of both extremes to our immediate consciousness. The touchy challenge here is to balance between a reining-in and tightening-up of government's traditional role (Saturn) and an abrupt, dramatic reinvention of its practices to better support the needs of a changing populace (Uranus).”

If Barack Obama can pull this off this will be the shiniest new dawn of them all.

Thanks to the following sites for illuminating me
All pictures are courtesy of the fabulous