Visual art news, views & reviews in Dallas, Texas, USA
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Comments + Photographs by J R Compton
The View Through My Window
I'm not exactly a Luddite, but I'd prefer to understand how people use this site via page hit counters. Unfortunately the implementation of those things by our new web host, WetHose (not their real name. Their real name is WestHost. I'm just pissed at them, because they offer the code for page hit counters, then every once in a while, all their counters reset back to zero, and when I complain, they tell me it's my fault, when it's clearly not my fault, and they know it.)
Only after showing them how I couldn't have done it, do they reconsider. But it's telling that this corporation's initial standard operating procedure is to blame their customers. Even after they reconsider, they don't do anything. Instead, they tell their developers that something might be wrong but it's probably the customer's fault anyway, right, because they're perfect in every way, right?
Invective aside, I'm learning (again) to access my site statistics on WetHose's site. The Missing page (I'd link it but you won't be able to come back easily, if ever.) is the most popular page on this site. But then it always was. Probably always will be. That's what you get when you follow one of my mistyped links or mistype your own or find a misspelled link somewhere else. It's also called being "404ed," after the number code for "Page Missing."
The page you are seeking is probably wherever it's always been. It is not missing. Just how to get there from where you are is. But you don't know where that is, and there's no easy way to learn where we think you think you want to go. So I send you to the site's home page, that lists every page in the last couple years in abominable order loosely based on chronology as we know it.
Fact is, where most people go to on this site is simple. Besides engaging the Missing page when they're lost, they go to my oft-updated How to Photograph Art page, which is excellent and used by people all over the world. It's a very important page, because digital photographs of your work are now necessary to get in shows, competitions, bathroom walls, galleries and everywhere else you might want to show your work. And the sooner you learn how to do that well, the happier you'll be in this new, digital dimension.
As I write this that page has been visited 30 and a half thousand times, so far.
Didn't used to be that way, but now it is. It's an important read for any artist anywhere, got not much to do with Dallas or Texas or Estados Unidos. If you haven't already, you should read it now, although it's not a quick read. I'll be here when you get back.
The second most popular page on this site is the Schools & Classes page, which is not oft-updated or improved. It's just there. I often think I should add more comments and more schools and more everything else. But I haven't and I don't, and I probably won't. It is what it is, and I don't care much about it. Except now I know it's the second most popular useful page on this site, maybe I'll think about doing something about it. Maybe.
You may notice that this page is nowhere mentioned in the following list.
I'd put numbers on this list, except they won't be the same every month,
but most of the top pages would be here most of the time:
The 26 MOST POPULAR DallasArtsRevue PAGES IN JULY 2009
The Missing Page - Our Page Not Found reference page.
How to Photograph Your Art
The Schools & Classes page
The Artists Opportunities Page full of art jobs, art spaces, art competitions and art stuff like that
The Arts Calendar for Dallas, Texas, USA art events and exhibitions and lectures and everything else
Ken Shaddock's second page — I can link you to Ken's new G-rated Member Page, and from the bottom right of that one you can link through a bunch of warnings and eventually get to his second page, which will likely shock you, but I won't link you directly there. That's just how it is. Ken and I agree about this, that it is important to be able to present art like this, what a leading psychologist calls "transgressive" art. But it's not necessary that you go there. And probably most of the people who do go there, go for the titillation not the art (though I'm just guessing about that), but it is art and shouldn't just be hidden away from intelligent adults.
the 2007 White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour page — Showing Process Again
The Winter Show at the Bath House Cultural Center — a How to Make an Art Show Happen, step by step, day by day, full of issues, answers, incidental history and how-to along the way.
The 2006 M Street Lakewood Artists' Studio Tour — Lord knows why this page is so popular. I do not understand, and the M Street folks keep promising to but have not yet managed to have another tour.
Rita Barnard's Member Page — full of anti-war art that is painstaking and meticulous and real
The 2006 White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour — It's About Process
How to Design and Produce an Invitational Postcard — another one of those pages so important that it transcends time and space.
Page Two of the Fierce Studio Visits - me talking to the artists who'd be in Fierce about their work and how they work and where they work with lots of pictures of each.
The Index of DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members Pages that lists and links all the pages of art by the artists who financially support this website.
Ken Shaddock's first page — op cit [above]
The page about Big As Night, an art show in Oak Cliff that we participated in, but our page is not the page that's popular.
Our slowly updated Dallas & Texas Artists with Web Pages page that anybody in Dallas or Texas can be in if they follow the rules on that page.
Our March 2007 Guilty Art Night Mini Tour
Tats, Sistahs, 50/50, Verse & Eggs, another of those whatever's happening in Dallas art now pages — who knew? Maybe it's poplular, because it mentions tattoos.
Lynn Rushton's DARts Member Page — This one I could understand. She's good. Amazing, really. But her work also connects into something deep in human beings.
The Fierce show Studio Visits #3 page.
2007 DADA Art Walk a doo doo
Tom Moody's Profiles in Aesthetic Courage from DallasArtsRevue when it was published on paper in autumn 1989 — a tongue in ear humorous irony about artists and their relationships with collectors, curators, dealers and critics, with one apt illustration for each.
Tom & Frances Design Verdi's Nabucoo opera — my amazing photographs of their amazing costumes and sets.
The main, oft updated and periodically replaced lead page of Art Here Lately, whose web address stays the same, although the content changes often
And the Contact Us page, replete with goofy pictures, famous quotes and my collection of Monitor Calibration scales, so you can see if your monitor is calibrated well enough.
85% of visitors spend between zero and 30 seconds on this site. Not an unexpected amount. Most people are looking for something else — see Search Key phrases below.
6% spend between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. 2.8% stay 2 to five minutes. Now we're getting down to our constituents. They know where something is, like the calendar or Ops page, they go there, find out what they need, then split.
An equal amount — 2.6% — spends 5 to 15 minutes on DallasArtsRevue.com. These are what I'd call "readers." 1.1% stay 15-30 minutes. Those are likely interested in serious local art criticism or want to learn something.
Another 1% spends between thirty minutes and an hour. I count those as dedicated readers. They probably visit more than one page. They either know or learn their way around this huge site. A half a percentage of site visitors spend an hour or more here.
In journalism and advertising, it is estimated that the people who actually respond to something number about a half a percentage of the entire readership. Those are who buy or respond — send letters, join as a member, etc. The real nitty gritty, for whom I do this site. Those are this site's real readership.
In the 70s, when I started DallasArtsRevue on paper, an Art in America representative declared that only about 150 people in this area would ever subscribe to an art publication. I built subscribership up past that number, so I know he did not really know what he was talking about.
5.3% of this site's visitors spend between 5 minutes and an hour or more here. That's a total of 1,706 visitors here each month. Probably many of those are come back more than once.
The Top 10 Search Keyphrases were: Sexually explicit, photographing artwork, how to photograph art, how to photograph artwork, photographing art, Dallas artists, Dallas Arts Revue, Dave Hickey, Dallas and Dallas artist.
From my Chameleon Chamber Group Shoot
Trying to convince someone who does excellent bird photography to let me link to their site from my bird journal wasn't working. They insisted not, saying they did not want to be famous like I do. Had to think about that. Do I really want to be famous? Had to realize, slowly, it's an underlying theme, here first person singular.
Not too famous. I was thrilled when people used to come up and talk when they recognized me from my Dallas Arts Kazoo radio show on KNON FM. I still like the shine from DallasArtsRevue, fading though it may be (When I started this there were no other art sites and no art papers or magazines; now there's all kinds of blogs and sites and publications. But it's nice to hum and haw at the grocery store and Home Depot in peace.
I started the bird journal to improve my writing and get better with my camera and, though I wasn't thinking about it then, to get better at photographing birds. What it's become is an ongoing class in Ornithology. The long, slow way.
I am past being thrilled about printing (the last millennium's big bugaboo) my photos on paper and hanging them on walls. They're so much more delicious, pixeled here on electronic pages with light shining through, than on paper with light bouncing off. Probably why I used to prefer slides to negative film.
Light coming through a photograph is a big deal. Reflected light is restricted and restrictive. You never really know how it's going to turn out. It's expensive and a chore. Preparing them for online is a joy. Comparatively quick, cheap, and better colors and that amazing long density range only available via transmitted light.
But yeah, I want to be famous, or I wouldn't do what I do. What I've always done. Publications since 1964, watching the media change, living with it, till manipulating it become normal. Learning my tools. Typesetting and designing along the way. A lot of paste-up and slicing little typed words into pasted paragraphs.
Oh, and I'm almost famous for promoting local art and artists. Mostly for doing it, not getting cited for doing it, although more people probably read that than this. I'm less good at promoting myself, except through my projects. Then I go all out.
Even though the largest word on my bird journal is Amateur, people assume I'm an expert. Because I publish it. What I am expert at is photography. Maybe at writing, too. I've been called a computer genius, too, but that doesn't make it so. Nor does it make me famous.
I could be more famous for my opinions. In a Rah-Rah world I'm one of those screwballs who publicly expresses opinion — even negative ones — although I do enjoy running against the tide. Of all the things I could be famous for, my choice would be for photography or criticism — not just about art. Being rich and famous is different from just being famous. Or infamous, as my friends remind. So far, rich hasn't come with it.
My first great love — photography — usually requires I get out and engage life 'out there,' although I have a long-running Home Still Lifes series that wafts and wanes. It has to do with translucent light and windows. Writing is still an ivory tower activity, though this tower is more white elephant.
Another great love is teaching. Boy howdy, there's something that won't make me famous.
I've been wanting to do it again, though I engage it some when I write one of my massive — and remarkably popular beyond the city or state lines — How To pages about making art, photographing it, producing invitational postcards and starting to show it. I need to write one about publicizing one's art. Another task that's not as easy as it first looks.
I want to teach a "beginners" course in photography. Probably away from institutions — and their inevitable bureaucracies. Digital Photography 101 with cameras and computers. Though if I taught non-credit at a college, every student could use a big, fancy, medium age computer, maybe even a mix of PCs and Macs. If I teach independently, students might bring their laptops. Right now it's just a recurring notion.
When I recently implemented the new, easy way to submit info for inclusion on our Calendar page, I thought, 'at last, something so easy, anybody could follow through and send me the info I could use immediately.' Boy, was I ever wrong.
I worked for hours to make the new instructions simple. Then as people interpreted them in strange new ways, I worked to eliminate those permutations, so I'd get what I wanted in the order I need. As I say in the pink box atop the Calendar page itself and in a pink box atop the Submissions Guidelines page:
Send us your info in this precise order, in a single paragraph, in the text of an email:
Show name, names of all artists separated by commas, gallery name, opening times, day, month, date, through closing month date and whether it is one- or two-days-only.
No lists, no hype, no year dates, no quote marks, no ALL CAPS. Spell-out every word.
This page is arranged chronologically by end date. We can't list without it. If you don't list artists, we don't list you.
Attach an approximately 5 x 7-inch JPEG file of art in the show. Don't send images with words.
Nothing more. Nothing less. Our Submission Guidelines explain everything else. Info submitted this way gets published within seconds of me seeing it. Any other way takes much longer.
Our latest email is on the Contact Us page.
Many early adopters picked up the new way immediately, saw it as easy and efficient, and I responded by putting their info online within a few seconds of getting their email. Wham, bam, thank-you, ma'am and sirs. I thanked them on the page.
Others just don't get it. They read the rules for what not to include and include that stuff I just have to edit out. They insist on putting in the year, although that's pretty obvious to everybody, especially here in the middle of this one. I get ALL CAPS info; they neglect to mention the gallery or where it is; they twist the dates and months around out of order. I'm amazed at the variety.
They complain that they read the Submissions Guidelines page, not the Calendar. Even though the same info is near the top of both pages.
Ailing American Kestrel Behind Bars at Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation
My karma continueth. My next door neighbors. I call them the Tree-Killers, 'cause first thing they did when they moved in was kill my young trees on their side of my front yard that shaded the setting sun, because they'd miss their driveway and rub their big expensive trucks against my baby trees. Then they cut back my tall trees that grew higher than the fence, shading my back yard.
When they'd chopped all their shade, they set up a card table in the shade of my trees in my front yard, and I ran them off, because I couldn't insure their safety.
They aim their motion-activated security light into my living room and front porch, so I never have to leave my porch light on and can use free light to find my way into a dark house. I called every couple months for two years to get them to re-aim it, but the neighborhood compliance dork never bothered. He's probably in cahoots.
Then they got in the habit of smashing beer bottles on the sidewalk in my front yard during their Sunday afternoon parties, when they'd crank their music up so loud I could barely hear my TV on the other side of the house. I pray for snow on Sundays; it's all that stops them.
I call the police. They come out, eventually, and ask them to stop playing their music loud, which they'd do till the cops were gone, then crank it back up.
After awhile, soon as I saw them partying, I'd leave the neighborhood. I shoulda kept that up, but I have this crazy notion I shouldn't have to wear ear-plugs in my own home. So I start dialing The City again: 9 1 1. What's my emergency? "This is a noise complaint." I'd give their address and where the big booming bass was coming from this time, front or back yard.
Eventually, usually four to six hours later, cops show up. I realize it's hardly a priority. There's people out there killin' each other. Might be here soon.
Sometimes cops 'd catch them at noise-making and leave them with a warning. Usually — I assume they got lookouts — cops find near silence. Always baffled me how that party could go from so loud it shook my house to utter silence that fast, but I wasn't watching the street.
Time before that, a nice cop told me I should call 9 1 1 soon as they cranked up their music, and call again if it started up again later. Idiot that I am, I followed his advice. I gotta stop believing cops about legal stuff. They might mean well, but I've never got the same cop twice or the same advice.
One other time I called 911, the officer talked to them about loud music he'd actually heard, then left, eight party guys surrounded my house and yard. Just stood there looking menacing. I was afraid for my life, but then here in my neighborhood, I've been shot at just for walking down the street, which is why I do that at White Rock.
This time a cop arrived in quiet. And though I'd requested they not tell who called, this police person chatted up the neighbors, gossiping about me calling. So now I'm afraid for my life. Again. I call Anna every day just to check in.
Then he accused me of making up the noise beef to annoy him, and said I should take them to court, but lawyers insist that's a waste of time. Next time, next Sunday probably, I'll just leave my little castle and go see a movie, get in some target-practice or hang out with friends till midnight, when they wind down.
If I can ever afford a house in a quieter
neighborhood, I want to rent this one out cheap for band practice, because
I'm obviously the only one in earshot whom loud music bothers. Anna
suggested Brave Combo. I'm thinking nuevo-grunge.
Another Dead Egret at the Too-hot Rookery
Feels like everybody's pissed at me this week. For terrible camera karma. One set of personages wants to use a whole scad of my photos to help glorify themselves in a big-deal expensive book, but they absolutely do not wish to pay or give credit on each spread, which is what I've always wanted from them.
They threatened to take my pix out, and I didn't have the good sense to let them till later. If someone sees one of my photographs somewhere and I ain't gettin' paid and nobody can tell it's mine, what possible good zat due me?
Much loud "negotiation," them repeatedly citing "what's good for the book," ignoring entirely what might be good for the J R, and I go back to my original agreement for credit on the photo or no photos, and I'm finally happy with that.
Both situations involve old friends. I should
know not to do idiot business with 'em, but I always hope for the
best, and am often rewarded. Though not financially. Friendships
are more important.
Kelly Rathbone Translation terra
This is also a dual self-portrait.
Asking for interesting art to set my mind wandering, turns out I'd been chasing some down. Didn't see it till today, but now I've got a dozen of the pieces in pixels, Ken and I are running with it. We will soon co-write something about it. The show is Apparizione Testimone, "an exhibition in sculpture by Kelly Garrett Rathbone" at Hal Sample at 2814 Main Street, through August 11, and our collaborated story, Witness to an Apparition is on its own page.
Kelly read Ken Shaddock's 2007 story Elbow of Art last week, then asked me to ask him to review it. He's never actually reviewed anything specific on these pages, but he seems willing to try.
I took photographs of the show Thursday. Was surprised to actually like the pieces, classical, a little whimsical but serious, personal. Interesting. Odd mix of materials. Ken and I have discussed collaborating on a story about it.
Last time I collaborated on a story was with my friend Tre Roberts in Somewhere Between Art and Anti-Art: Conversation at the Dallas Museum of Art about Houston artist Bert Long in April 1987. I've used other people's comments in various stories since, still do. Some of them even get credit for writing, but there's been no actual collaboration since Tre.
Actual collaboration is
a strange thing. Dictionaries define it as either working with someone
or supporting an enemy — almost a contradiction in term — and
I've seen collaborations like both. I wasn't sure how we'd do this, but
we seem to be mapping it our by practicalities. It'll be interesting.
Tree 6 20 09 When
I couldn't stand being in that
gallery another moment. Hot out, go there anyway.
Re-title.com sends me these emails [sign-up top left] with strange visuals, and it doesn't happen very often, but sometimes the images stick in my mind. Usually, I just sort through, look at everything, almost never read the text, then delete them in a matter of days. This one sticks, and I like that it does. Only just now realized it must be on a web page somewhere and found it immediately. Oof! that I can find local art that does what this does to me.
Frances Bagley and Tom Orr, too, do that. Linnea Glatt used to. At one time when then Pam Nelson was having so much obvious fun with her mediums — now it's big business, and the colors are there, but it's all too serious, I can't get into it.
Lots of others. But it's like I've been hoarding them somewhere in my mind. My art heroes are aging. I need to find new ones. I'm sure Yayoi Kusama, Paramodel, Hiraki Sawa, Go Watanabe are not old like I am. Everybody who gets old — that is, doesn't die first — always feels young. I'm still 17. But when I was that young I didn't know any more about art than BrushStroke prints in cheap frames and exquisite full-color illustrations tipped-into old books in the library downtown Casper, Wyoming where I rode to on my bike.
While I'm off on that tangent, re-title sends me another batch. Here's two guys with suits and raincoats, everything spiffy, except their heads are snakes made of their ties and stranger stuff in the background. Google "peter belyi, justine cooper, guerra de la paz, leemour pelli, stephen j shanabrook" and maybe you'll see, too. Nope. But more hanging ropes like in the background up there.
Art that knocks sox. Gotta find me some. Somewhere besides Art in America's ads. Closer. More solid than glossy paper. Take its picture, write about it. Poetry. Text. Meaning.
Clicking off all the tabs I just browsed up, I see another image of it, from the side, then another comes up on the slide show here. Bad news.
I keep asking people on deFace to send me
images of their art. Instead they send me "pretty pictures," pix of
vacation sunsets. I want ideas. Something to set my mind's teeth into. Mess
with my mind.
J R Compton Scaffolding Near A Gallery June 20 2009
I remember thinking, "now I can rest a couple of weeks," after writing the story about Norman Kary changing his style. Then we went out to see some art on Saturday afternoon, and something in the back of the back of that gallery caught my attention more than anything else there.
I have long advised those who'd like to write about art on these pages to pick out one piece and write about it, saying in their description of the work, what they actually think about it without actually saying 'this is good' or 'this is bad.'
I seem to have done that with the current (Saturday June 20 2009) revision of Art Here Lately, although I had not set out to write about just one piece. Fascinating how minds work — especially to keep from working.
And I, who have been photographing scaffolding up buildings under construction or repair for at least the last three decades, am only now, in light of this new, accidental, juxtaposition with the next image down, realizing yet another reason why I was so instantly enamored of Norman Kary's new work.
Norman Kary Directions for a New World mixed media collage 28 x 12 x 4 inches (detail)
I started to enter this year's Art in the Metroplex (often called the AiM Show or just AiM.) after failing miserably for about four hours hacking at it step by step by step last year. I didn't finish this year's entry yet, because I decided I only had two images that went together well enough to pretend it was "a body of work," those infamous words that are so often discussed, and that basically mean art that looks like the same person did them while thinking pretty much the same thing, without duplicating everything.
Think of "body of work" meaning "of a single style but with permutations." Almost nobody ever publicly states that a body of work is required, but it seems to help get more than one piece into competitions.
This year's AiM entry was/is easier, because they give size guidance. They want JPG documents of approximately 1.9 megabytes each. Plus they provide the email of someone who will respond quickly to inquiries. I inquired and heard back within an hour — unheard of for questions in this medium. The answers were on-target and wise. I appreciated them tremendously.
Because I'd entered last year, those entries showed up as my this-year's entries, and what I did was delete them so I could start over. And that's what I was expected to do, although they didn't say that anywhere. It's a better entry procedure than last year — quicker, easier and simpler, too. And I'm looking forward to entering soon as I get one more piece that themes in with the first two.
I'm not going to show you the two images here, despite that by seeing them, a visually intelligent human being could tell what I was talking about almost immediately. I don't want to jinx the deal.
Creek Bed from the 2009 Oak Cliff Speed Bump Art Tour
In the tour story, this shot is linked by being right before another image with some similar features to an image that's largely repulsive. I was repulsed by that one, and the more I see this, the more I wonder if something similar is under this piece of blue cloth.
Oh, man! As if life weren't puzzling enough already, I'm confusing ThEdblogs and Art Here Latelys and their URL extensions (html and shtml) going a little further out of my mind. ArtHereLately is for, oddly enough, art here lately. ThEdblogs are about what the editor is doing and thinking about this site and other stuff that won't — or shouldn't — go anywhere else. I keep searching desperately for stories in one, in the other, and back again.
HTML is regular, old Hyper Text Markup Language (the code of web pages), but our previous web host required that pages end in .SHTML (Server-parsed HTML), so their hit counters would work. Since the our new web host (called WestHost, by the way) doesn't require that, I've been changing .SHTML to .HTML (capitalization does not matter to browsers), to avoid confusion, thus causing myself a lot more, as some pages are linked in too many places to make changing them worth the hassle.
Now, Art Here Latelys are all html and ThEdblogs are all .shtml, so far. I could change ThEdBlog.shtml to ThEdBlog.html, but it will be enormously difficult and even more crazy-making, and I don't need more. Apparently, it is not possible for two files with the same name but different dot-whatevers, to peacefully co-exist. Neither page shows up in browsers when either spelling is linked to. Otherwise, everything would be too easy.
Meanwhile, my Norman Kary story is the best I've written in months. Guess I was inspired. I've got four requests for reviews today alone, after that story was posted Monday and written up in KERA's Art&Seek Blog, in their Wednesday (June 17 2009) Morning Roundup, under "A Different Look."
And my story of the Oak Cliff Speed Bump Art Tour writ the next day is weak, especially against all those amazing even to me, photographs of it, showing that tour as remarkable in scope and spectrum and quality, so unlike the slam, which my photos show was busy making fun of itself.
Requests for reviews, as always, fall on deaf ears. I don't do them. I won't. I write about what inspires me, not what's desperate for review. I've got to start somewhere, and that where is wherever I am when I am inspired. A good portion of my life is by luck and chance; some call that magic, and I like it.
You can tell me when your show is, even send me a picture — but do heed the info at the top of the Calendar, but don't tell me how wonderful your work is or how desperate you are to have it reviewed. The last one of those I followed up on, insisted several times, then despised what I had to say, even though several artists agreed it was a very fair review, and mostly positive.
I probably should be seeing more art, but life keeps intervening when I try to do that, although I could probably try harder. But which of all the bidding shows should I choose?
Imagi Nation at the Art Slam -
Goofiness presented as Fine Art
Seems so peculiar that all the critics are squabbling about what so-and-so said in this blog or chief high mucky-muck whatsis insisted in some other, instead of writing about the art in the show. Art critics are such an odd lot.
Thinking about that because my first subscription copy of Art in America arrived in the no-electricity-all-day mail yester. I tried to read it in the darkness to little avail. Now I've got lights, computer and AC, I am.
I got it for the ads. I love looking at fabulous new and old art on big, commercial color pages. I still have clippings of intricate, arcing Frank Stella sculpture from old issues of Art in America Paul Rogers Harris de-accessioned to me years ago. Perusing the new June/July issue, I found a story by Dave Hickey that I'll just have to read. May eventually read some more stead art crit, too, despite my usual self-prohibition. But that'd be much later.
I am smit by Luke Gray's Deep Skin 0313, 2009, varnished acrylic on canvas, 52 x 44 inches on page 44. Oof! Nothing to do with Dallas art. But amazing in several dimensions. Beautiful and boldly painterly. Something else I noticed after perusing Paul's former copies, was that copies of them would appear in the near world months or years after showing there.
The unaccredited hose on the following flip page is just funny, especially posed between a man and a woman like that. The Green Lantern a few pages later brought old radio to mind. Then comes book crit with tiny pictures, and a big glomp of sculpture by Nagakura Kenichi — Another oof! And eventually art crit with little pictures again. Good things some of the art in ads are good. Such competition. There's more, but I hardly need review the whole book. I'll have too much fun touring it.
David McGlothlin painting at art slam - See story
Always before, when somebody wanted to reply to or disagree with something I'd written or said, they could send me a letter or email, and I'd know what they thought. Not with Facebook. I get emails purportedly from friends, but I cannot reply to them. To find out what they've said, I have to log onto the F, where I'm faced with automatic responses, none of which fit my mood or needs. I get more email but none of it is personal.
When it was popular, during the early days of the internet, to send long political diatribes, cutesy photographs or stupid jokes (I know it still happens, but not as often, and most people have grown out of all that crap), I used to reply that I'd love to hear the senders' hopes, dreams, wishes, joys, failures, etc., but take me off your list if all you can send is impersonal drivel.
Just what I get too much of on the F, which bores me silly. I like the semblance of contact and getting to see what art they are making or anything creative that they do or think, but posting adverts for something I don't want and don't need or the results of some goofy magazine quiz, or anything else dispassionate, quickly sinks communication to zero.
At first I was intrigued that someone would spend the time creating fiction, though I never read it. I recognized the genre, then went on trying to find human-ness elsewhere. But I get more of that in my inbox every day than I've ever got on my F page.
Meanwhile, I'm struggling to engage "friends" and friends with what I am thinking or feeling. I wrote about food a couple times, making it and sharing it. But I think about food too much of the time already. Lately, I've begun expressing my political feelings, something I haven't done for decades — since I published Dallas NOTES and HOOKA Underground Newspapers in Dallas in the 1970s. Community by any other name.
I fear that may turn away people whose art and other ideas I like, but it's something from the heart, and the F has so little of that, so little soul, I feel the need to inject some. Else why bother?
Northern Mockingbird Engaging in Flash Display
usually used to scare up food or intimidate rivals
I have a hard time thinking of my bird photography as my art.
It's science, I tell myself, while entering bird pix in competitive and invitational exhibitions. Lately I've pushed away from the birds in that respect — I'm working at photographing other things, too and going back to my abstracts and strange landscapes, dead still lifes and translucencies, but I devote 5-7 hours almost every day to my pursuit and my photography of birds. When I skip it for a day, I feel guilty, a little lost.
I've been going to the lake in the early ayems this week, completely screwing up what was left of my wake/sleep schedule like it's never been before. Puts me on edge, I guess. I sleep when I can. I'm up in the morning when other people are, but I don't mind letting them think I'm asleep as I usually am till noon or better, because I so cherish my time alone walking, and photographing birds.
Like many who make art, my time doing that is meditational. I'm getting better at it, because I devote so much time and energy to it. I'm already an old man, but in ten years I'd like to be considered an expert. Luckily, I'm still an amateur now. I love it. It's fun, it's educational. To me, and I hope to my readers, as well.
People suggest I publish a book with my bird photographs, but I'll only have been birding for three years this month. I still have trouble identifying the basic birds like starlings and grackles, though I've got pelicans and herons and egrets (and herons vs. egrets) down pretty well for an amateur. There's so much I don't know yet but want to.
Besides, my Amateur Birder's Journal is my book about it, so far. Saves paper. You don't have to buy it, and I don't have to find a publisher. Too early in the game to know what I'd want to say in it. Not much problem figuring that out in my daily journal, though. That's about the pictures I shot that day — the how and why of it. The good ones, at least. I sometimes shoot hundreds of shots, then pare that down to a dozen or less.
I spend more time on that endeavor than I do on this one, although I'm at this one every day, also. Maybe I need fewer hobbies.
Dead Still Life - May 8 2009
Fascinating. I've just received an online warning from Craighead Green that "[My] file is too big!" for the first of three files I'm attempting to enter into their annual competitive New Texas Talent show, not that I have any chance to get in, just I wanted to see if digital entries have got any better since the last time I tried one. Apparently not.
There was no file size guidance on the entry page, and I've been wondering what size they'd prefer. My first guess, the files that I will actually print to make the photographs I'd like to show there, is wrong.
A little guidance before I started might have been helpful. But it ain't there. So I had to guess successively smaller sizes till I submitted what they don't say they wanted. Their entry page mentions that "Depending on your connection speed, large files may take several minutes to upload." That's the sum of their image-size info, a concept I struggled with explaining when I required digital entries to our Winter Show last December. Since that's all they say about file size, I took it to mean they wanted large files.
I entered and blogged [first link up] about the opaque entry procedures for last year's Art in the Metroplex (AiM) and Texas Biennial exhibitions. Neither was pre-explained or pleasant. I guess that's the trend. People who don't know what they're doing are dis-inclined to explain the process to those who don't know what they want — and many artists who are just plain lost in the digital world may quit in disgust. I nearly did. Two artists have asked me to explain how these things work. That indicates hundreds of others don't know.
I'm fairly adept at loading digital images onto a website, since I've been doing it regularly for fifteen years. Comparatively an expert. Pamela Nelson called me an Internet Genius. But I'd have to be a mind-reader to know what the people who put shows like this together want from artists.
The easiest way to make an image file smaller is to reduce the dimensions of the image in the file. My first image file — the one I planned to print should I get in the show — started out as 11 inches high. So I made the second batch 8 inches high, remembering to slightly sharpen each image, because reducing size destroys sharpness.
Next I resized the three images from 5.8, 5.3 and 2.9 megabytes file size to 3.6, 3.4 and 2.2 megs respectively, and I wondered whether those will do. I didn't want to radically alter their image quality unless I have to. Without file-size or image-size instructions up front, I was stuck with the try and fail, so try again mode. Which is a major time-waster and blood-pressure raiser.
Guess what? The second, smaller image-sizes were too big, too. Why friggin' bother. Their brain dead warning only says that there's a warning (as if I hadn't noticed) and the file is too big. Maddening. Another intelligent opportunity to put in a request for a specific size on the next try, but nope. It's that one's too big, now guess again, unworthy one.
So I downloaded the prospectus again, thinking it might have info. Nope, and the "continued on back" portion of it continues to be invisible to my PDF reader from Adobe (who invented PDFs) and it did not download to my hard drive when I pushed their "download" button. Damn, damn, damn. There is, of course, no link to get information about the entry process.
When we had to send in slides, there were instructions galore. Now that we have to do it all in a comparatively new medium, we get no help.
So I made my files smaller again, down to about a meg each, and they are either whirling away into the internet or not at all, again. I waited for the upload site to give me a smidgen of information. What a pain in the butt. And I've only wasted about two hours on this so far.
Oh, guess what. They're still too big. So whoever designed this page wants file sizes smaller than any professional camera or point and shoot camera on the market will make. So everybody who enters this, except insiders who already know what size these idiots are looking for, has to go through this stupid step-down process — or send postage-stamp versions of their art.
Perhaps I should just point them to the pages online where I've already posted internet versions of my photographs and let them look at them in full tiny image size format, and/or blow off any hope the judge will see the quality in these photographs.
This week notice of my favorite art competition in the Metromess arrived in my mailbox, the AiM Show at TCU each late summer or early autumn, and oh, do I ever not look forward to that experience. Not. They used an outside organization's new, untried software — same as the Texas Biennial did — to load images, and it was a nightmare to deal with ...
Oh, crap! My 600k images have been rejected as too big by the digital village idiots.
Forcing my Mac to download their prospectus I see that while they require our submitted images to be named by our names and the title of the piece, their prospectus is called ntt2009.pdf. That would never stand out in my enormous directory of similarly named and sized PDFs. Of course, the prospectus doesn't even mention the file or physical image size they want.
With a painting, this means the juror will barely be able to perceive that there are brush strokes. Colors and tonal ranges will be flattened considerably. With sculpture, there'll be no details showing in any piece larger than three feet in any direction. And with a digital photograph, there'll be no real detail or texture. My Dead Still Life involves a scene in front of a screened window that will be rendered smooth, as if it were not there. For the juror it will not be.
(Can you see it in the image above?)
Astonishingly, my latest image batch went through. Fourth time's a charm. I'd say hooray, but I'm not happy. Now they tell me that "The juror will make her initial selection from submitted images only." and I have to wonder what other group she might have selected from. Are there artists who don't have to go through this absurdity? The notice continues, "Acceptance by juror does not guarantee inclusion in the final exhibition. The juror reserves the right to decline work that differs significantly from the submitted image." Huh?
As if there were any possibility that a ten-megabyte file might be "significantly" different from the submitted file whose size is 1/20th that size. In this inane process, any semblance to reality is greatly exaggerated. "Due to the large volume of entries received, notification will be by email ONLY to those selected to participate, on or by June 22, 2009. The selected participants list will also appear online at www.craigheadgreen.com on or by June 22, 2009. If your work is not selected, you will not be notified."
So even though they required our email addresses to enter this complication, they categorically refuse to use them, even though there's software that could do it automatically. My own entry process has wasted three hours of my time, leaving such a positive feeling toward this show's organizers that the I'd hesitate to go there, except Norman Kary's show's coming up and Heather Gorham's is there now.
Neatly side-stepping the reality that darned few shows ever finish jurrying by the times they claim in their publicity or on their prospectus, think of all the artists who've struggled to enter this show, some who've even hired professional photographers to make images for them (though I doubt they knew just how small to make them), who won't even be acknowledged. Makes sense that there's no entry fee, but it's still just plain, old-fashioned rude.
As a guide to anyone who's waited this long to enter, my 700k file size wouldn't go through, but my 580k one did. At 56k modem speed, that would have taken almost 90 seconds, at their speed, however, it took several minutes.
Linnea Glatt A Place to Perform at the Bath House Cultural Center
We Love You subtext
I have, once again, been struggling with hit counters. All of WestHost, my new (since April) webhost's counters arbitrarily reset themselves two days ago, trashing thousands of visits. Fascinating bit of idiot technology, especially since hundreds of DARts pages still have hit counters from the previous host, the wildly imaginatively named "Dream"Host, and those still work, still add each time anybody not on rr.tx.com visit this site.
DreamHost counters were simple to install. I copied the icon and pasted it onto a new page, then went into the code and changed the name of the page. Before that, on Earthlink, I just pasted the same icon on any page, and earth lunk separated it out.
WestHost's counters are a pain to install. There's no icon, often nothing shows up. Which is why I put an = sign there. At first I tried a •, then remembered PCs can't see those little eight-balls, or renders them incomprehensively. About 70% of the time I screw up installation the first several times.
Now I know their data will occasionally reset to zero, I wonder why bother. I have considered just using the old host's counters, since they still work, and I have an account for my personal site with them. I don't know if they will suddenly realize I am still using their data servers and cut me off, or if I'm safe.
WestHost kept a backup, and I now know that this page, for one of the 16 examples they now report, actually showed 287 hits two days ago and only 14 as of this writing (3:58 PM May 26 2009) or more germane, since this page is hardly a hotbed of interest, the Home Page, now showing 118 hits when their backed-up records show 2078 since I posted that counter on that popular page.
I know that differing hit counters count differing hits and come up with wildly differing counts. Check near the bottom of this site's home page to see examples of this continuing idiocy. Meanwhile, WestHost has reinstated all my new WestHost hit counters (on the 16 new or seriously updated pages I've added since moving to them) to their previous counts. In addition, and I'm about to update the page to include this info, they are upping our hit counter to include all the hits this site's home/index page has accumulated through all three webhosts so far.
Visited Dee's Facebook page, where he introduces us to movies he recommends, although it looks like a NetFlix tie-in. I was in Premiere Video about ten years ago, looking without success for something, anything good to watch, when Dee suggested a movie I'd never heard of. I rented it. It was wonderful. I listened when he talked about movies. I bumped into him another time and got another strange but wonderful movie and loved that one, too. I take his flick recommendations to heart and eyes. He has amazing taste.
But the data besides what Dee's doing today is straight from the back of Netflix flicks. His part of the reviews comprise only how many stars out of five he gives them. All that plus Netflix links, leads me to assume they're paying him to do this, which takes the fun and newness of his twist of the genre, out.
He says he joined Twitter but doesn't get it. I've joined FaceBook and I still don't get it.
I'm still lost in that odd new world and seeing other people's successful adaptations of the medium are helpful. I prattle sometimes in real life but don't see a future or present in it there. I'm thinking a photo series that has ought to do with birds and only a little with art, not dissimilar to the series down this page, skipping the bicycle, and only down to Pamela's Not A Barf Bag.
These are accidental shootings over the last few months. Unforeseen may be their most important aspect. Trying to be artistic is like trying to make art or trying to lose weight. Doing it makes it happen. Trying is an excuse. Art only happens when mind and soul are engaged, and it's usually best when that unholy pair is neither intelligent or willful.
Holy Toledo at The Next Contemp
That off my, mind?, I'm looking at art I'd never see if I weren't friending folk on da Face. I'd missed seeing Tom Sale's work at Gray Matters, think of it often, driving home from the gallery at the POV end of the photo below past the Old Gray on Haskell.
Art on the Internet, who'da thunk it.
Rewarding to see inside the mind and shared humans of an artist's art. It's too early to tell yet, what the art form of this infant century will be, when the form from the last one was movies, silver halides suspended in celluloid, magnetic charges or other magic on whatever.
Before that I paged through photos by Randall Garrett in Mexico and since, Trish Nickell well back from Paris. So much more fascinated by all those than prattle of somebody's day, even my precious own.
Beats burning gasoline rolling over Dig B hoping for something worth looking twice at. I'm wondering about the process of throwing images on those pages. They all seem to lack color density and vibrance. Or is that up to us? I might have to do Duh Phase photo series so i have something to talk about there, but then I'd have to leave the hide-hole.
deFace asked where I worked then assumed I was an employee. If I can't fix my own name, how can I expect to change their authoritarian mindset? It's a tool, and we are theirs.
I can scour a Face page quicker than I can run through a gallery seeking something pause-worthy. Strange the mismatch of creative souls and what they think and share about. I'm always looking for pictures. Have always enjoyed stacking through piles of snapshots in real life, but it gets tedious on Duh Phase.
Art's wherever it's at. I may have to relent my art ennui and be an art guy again. There be worser fates.
Realizing my socializations are minimal since I've all but quit attending art openings or looking at much of it (although I've got some of that planned later this week), I've joined the universe on Facebook, which I'm calling deFace, since they refuse (so far) to allow me to use the name my mother calls me, that's on my checks and credit card, that's on most of my postal mail, all my email, and is the name on my personal website dot com.
I didn't read the instruction book that didn't come with starting it, so I didn't know I could have selected my usual name as my screen name (I think that would have worked; I don't know, because I didn't do that.) So now I struggle to be recognized as me who's been a J R since Hagman was rubbing lamps. Since Junior High.
On the border of quitting the stupid thing altogether or jumping in (already slipped the surly bonds into feet-first free-fall) I'm erring on the narrow side of what-the-hell. I usually don't know what I'm doing for a long time when I start something new.
Looking back at my earliest bird journals, I see I had no notion what I was getting myself into, and for that I read the instruction books that didn't come with. It helped that I stayed with the task almost every day the past three years. Like I will have stayed with this one for 30 years in July.
I thought it would be fun. It was. Still is pretty often. I like doing it more than I don't like doing it. Reminds me of what R. Crumb (Do I have to identify him?) said about doing a fairly inane animation of his Fritz the Cat comic 38 years ago. He said Bakshi (Ralph, the director), "wanted to do it more than [he] didn't want to do it," so he went along.
Once he saw the movie he changed his opinion.
The abject, despairing ignorance may be an important part of the journey. The start. Else why bother, if we can't learn too much?
So I'm floundering on Defacer. Know I thought I wanted to — had glimmers of possibilities, and now I know I need to. Turns out, except two, the only people who want to friend me there are people I admire and like, some I even have work by or have invited into exhibitions. Who, in the extended sense of that word, I already consider friends.
All of whose niggling details I don't know. Yet. That may be what I worry about there. I've taken only one friend off my list after reading about pinched nerves where a baby sat and more gruesome details about the grisly minute-to-minute lives of someone I'd never met, though I know someone with a similar name.
I was hoping for intellectual stimuli, though I may have to initiate that, and all I've come up with so far, is "good to see you're keeping busy," to someone who's knocking themselves out making art in strange places — not exactly the intellectual height I'd hoped to attain.
After that typo-blurt I pulled back into the hidey-hole to decide what I can do there I'm not already doing here, and it comes down to interaction and conversation. I've engaged in those two arts long enough to understand that, like fear at the start, drivel is as good an intro as any, and that high-octane anything only happens once certain comfort zone minimums are met.
So I am, once again, struggling with another new medium (tool) while simultaneously hoping to push it — without much notion how or where. May be the best I can do is share photos there, but I've been doing that here so long there's too little new in the common FB parlance, and I love the really big shots I share here and here and here and here and here and here (although that's getting back into ancient history and littler images) and right here on this page, as well.
I've had that need since college and met it more than halfway. I hesitate to add more projects, although I want to photo something besides art and birds again (and really like the series happening on this page). The next photo, of the recumber combines — a hope I can find a bike that doesn't stick my feet out in front to jamb into something solid but be high and comfy enough to photo from. Plus it's an off-hand shot of something out there, even though I was photographing birds in my favorite meadow when I made it.
Sometimes I'm certain I'm an artist. Other times I wonder about that. Maybe I'm just a Journalisto, one who journals. Lately, mostly birds. Seems every day I'm doing more birds.
Originally my quest for birding online was to improve my writing. And it has. It does. Gradually I realize it is an attempt to get much better at something new and different as well as the same old. I've been photographing people and things for more than 45 years, and logging life exactly as long
But since I've lost my old lust for hanging pictures on walls and stick them here on the web instead, mayhaps I'm falling back, more toward journaling than critiquing. I had my choice in the Air Force before Viet Nam, when my orders crossed the Sergeant's desk I was standing next to waiting, and I chose photography over writing.
Still would, though getting to do both simultaneously is amazing soulful. But my minutes in the sun as a critic seem to be fading.
I've been accepting and pushing others to write here again. Be nice to have a Michael Helsem adventure or a Jim Dolan insight, but a woman's viewpoint may be needed. I've shaken Katja Zimmerman's treehouse hoping more from her. She says she has many opinions, but has not writ them.
When I'm hot for art, it works that semi-automatic auto-pilot way, but lately I'm more luke, going through the internet motions, adding pictures to the calendar and making pages more easily navigable.
I've been too picky. Like to keep a diversity going there, but now I'm eager to add more to brighten that page that sometimes bogs into gray text. I hope students and artists without and with gallery representation will keep sending show and event notices. There are calendars they can't hope to ride, and this one's free.
I've lately broken the process down to
Send in this precise order, in one paragraph in the text of an email: The show name, names of all artists separated by commas, the gallery, opening times, day, date, and closing date or if it is 1- or 2-days-only..
No lists, no hype. Spell-out every word, no quotation marks, no ALL CAPS. This Calendar is arranged chronologically by end date. Without it we can't list it, and include an image of art in the show.
Coast a little. See some movies. Think about art enough to write about some. Talk with artists. Make a salad for a pot luck supper. Feel a part of something. These interactions buoy the spirit. People keep joining this site; they see a future here. I might as well tag along. Nice to discharge hot fog, though.
American Coot Skittering — I know the feeling
Used to be when I wrote a story here, at least several hundred people read it over the first month. Its audience slow at first, then building. Many pages here have built to thousands of hits over the years. Lately, my stories only get a few hundred, if that. Then nothing. The massive and detailed Texas Biennial story got about a hundred and a half readers. I'm used to writing for more people than that. It could be the new web host, but my understanding is that its counters count more, not fewer hits.
I wonder whether my writing has got much worse or just doesn't connect anymore. I know I'm an old coot set in his ways that I don't get so often anymore. Should I stop bothering with art and stick to birds? My bird journal audience is growing. Probably because I'm excited about it and put a lot of energy into it. The internet rule is if you put energy into it, they will come. It seems to work.
That's how it's been here at DARts for all of this century. But lately I'm rethinking this stuff.
It may be that I'm losing interest in this thing after 30 years. More than my periodic ennui, which seems to recur more often these last few months since I burned my candle at both ends for that last show right after the one before that. It could also have to do with Mercury Retrograde. My phone is bunged, full of static. AT&T says they'll fix it by Saturday. It fixes itself now and again, then goes bad again. Like this site.
Someone broke and entered my car and I have no idea what they might have found in there. Trash mostly. They destroyed the lock and handle, which I don't want to have to replace on a 19-year-old car. The deep bass booming from my neighbors are driving me nuts and shaking my house I've been in for nearly 30 years since this was a quiet retirement neighborhood. I'm getting old and tired.
I will have been doing DallasArtsRevue for 30 years this July. I don't know the exact date or how to celebrate. Until recently, I'd thought the first issue on paper was published in December 1979, but it was July. I've been wondering whether 30 might be enough. I want to do that last membership show at the Bath House next January, and all the excitement that will bring. After that is up for grabs.
The only decision I've made is not to hand this booger off to somebody else when I do quit. Or create some idiot board of directors. It's too me for somebody else to do it. Maybe it's too me to continue past that show. Maybe I should vacate from this thing. Maybe I should watch more movies.
Oh, when I do quit, it won't be sudden. There will be no outstanding memberships when I leave, unless I kick-off, in which case no holds barred. But if I go quietly into the day, it will be without encumbrances. I won't just stop, although I often feel like it. There'll be plenty notice.
Now I remember. Had to finish my new member page, scare myself a little to fit into the category of an artist willing to scare oneself and not fall back on old habits or somebody else's judgment about which of my work is best. A silly question. As if I any artist could ever know which of their work is best. Best for what? Best when?
Matters not which is the best. Matters which I enter, place, hang, donate, whatever. For those categories I like recent work. So many shows are called that, one would think all artists are constantly doing new work. But too often we do the same old thing. Over and again. Once we get positive feedback for something, we keep showing that same piece till it either sells or we get sick of it.
By posting this new collection I am learning the categories they fit and do not. That some still seem strange and exciting and other simply do not. Lessons that till I put them out where other people could see them, I wouldn't bother paying attention to or learning.
Days later, I see that page I thought was going to stay scary, differently. It was exciting to put it up, but now it's more an education than emotional trauma. What I thought was a quick selection of very different photographs that were almost radical, turns out to fit — once I let them turn in my mind on a page people actually visit — categories.
Pretty Landscapes, including a anti-still life Still Life and a window shot called Looking Out comprising people doing something undefined, which I thought I'd like much more than I still do. And a people shot showing my friend Philip Lamb at his solo show at PDNB in 2007 standing stiff and straight and staring — his eyes lost in shadow — straight at the camera while everyone else is informal, wrinkled.
Likely the first I'll replace is the Contemp windows. I've yet to figure out why I liked that one enough to put it together, then up. What about it thrilled me so much so briefly. What about it irks me now. I'll give it a week, but I don't see much in it. Or I see too much in there running not accomplishing anything.
I shot several times the 500X window below and behind the main stairs today. I didn't think about it being another gallery shot or another window; I thought that's the sort of thing I like to shoot; wonder what I can make of it?
I never thought of myself as a landscape photographer, although I have admired others' in- and outdoor scenes. That top one, of the neatly sliced edge of river is beautiful. Sumptuous yet simple. Contrasting growing trees, a slatted wood rail and a pole in the water. Clouds and more leaves reflecting. I just saw it as nice shapes and color. Pretty can be a good start. It wasn't my only shot of the scene. More careful, planned, designed.
That one's been on the back burner way too long already. I pleased myself finally posting it since I'd never showed it before. It has colors in common with the Very Still Life of dead flowers in nontraditional containers similarly reflected in a round-edged red plastic with a reality outside the that's abstract and textured.
Oh, yeah. About scaring ourselves with our own art: When we do that, we open ourselves up, let flow semi-automatic expressions of our selves. Like automatic writing, automatic arting opens the channels to our souls, shows us and anybody paying attention, who we really are. Artistically speaking and thinking.
When I work, I often do it for ten or fifteen hours a stretch. I zone — not out, but — in. I stay out of my own way and do what needs doing. My fingers know what to do. I look and think about changing things. Try different possibilities. Painters and sculptors do that, too. We art
And when we're not following somebody else's rules, concepts, schedules, plans, we are ourselves making art. And when the stuff we do really frightens us, we've done good.
J R Compton Nowhere photograph May 8 2009
Artists keep asking me which of their work they should: put on their web page, enter into a competition, show somewhere. One artist I know had a friend, who didn't know much about art at all, choose the pieces the artist wanted to put in a show. Every artist struggles with the notion of which of their work is good, which lame and which they probably should have done something altogether different with.
My advice in the past, for work on their DallasArtsRevue Membership Page, has been to put at least one piece there that scares them silly. I've done that with my page a couple of times, and while scary, it is very rewarding in ways it's hard to put words to.
So just now, between that last paragraph and this one, I felt I had to scrap my old member page and replace it with a new one, full of images I just now, this very early in the day (It's 4:42 AM as I type this) threw together. From images I shoot around town between birds and art.
I say threw. I put care into them, made aesthetic choices, all that stuff we all engage in when we do what we do to make art. But I did it quickly, without time to think it through later. I just scrambled through my recent archives of images and grabbed the ones that meant something to me when I shot them but that I'd never put an iota of energy into since.
So fast I only just now realized I flitted my bird journal copyright notice on each one. Duh.
It was fun. It was fast. It was educational. It was empowering. It was selfish as hell.
Putting them on that page where I usually try to put my best work is scary, because this is not necessarily my best, just my momentary. I let go of all the trappings and just was me for awhile and scary as that was, it was gangbusters fun.
I took the joy I used to with images, splatted them onto that page, changed the wording under slightly, then went on to the next. I never work like that. I'm always considering and thinking about and wondering and worrying and after all that, I rarely get around to do what I love to do. Take pictures and make photographs. Then show them online.
I was invited to attend the opening of the show that accompanies the 2010 Fine Art in Dallas art engagement book, which purports to promote Dallas artists by charging them a hefty sum to have their art in it. You'd think such a public-minded endeavor would at least list the names of the artists in their announcements, but I had to ask. And one of the artists is the book's publisher, who sent out the notice. I'd think she'd at least want her name ballyhooed in the newly again burgeoning Dallas art press.
I keep having to ask for names of artists in shows and appointment books and other events. It's like artists are lower-class citizens whose names don't even matter in the promotion of events featuring their work. I got a press release from somebody else recently who claimed "over 50 artists" but did not name a single one. I had to pry names out of that one, too.
I've had niggling doubts for years now that an appointment book that doesn't sell well enough to pay for itself might not be the ideal promotional device for struggling young or struggling old artists. Shouldn't the book pay the artists to be in it? Do they give the book away to rich patrons who will go out and buy art by these artists?
Or is it all a gimmick?
Pamela Nelson This Is Not A Barf Bag Circa 1980s
a gift from the artist, now in the Editor's Collection
It's been a long, slow, uphill battle to get people to acknowledge that DallasArtsRevue.com even exists, let alone that it practices serious art criticism, albeit in a different and more easily understandable, populist format. Then along comes Marty Walker Gallery Director Billy Zinser, who didn't just quote or link my stories (Part A and Part B) about Frances Bagley's recent show there, he appropriated the story and put it on the Marty Walker Gallery website under a big copy of this site's logo.
They edited, then presented my two-part (so far) story and the DallasArtsRevue logo as theirs. Without permission. Without compensation. Without notice or credit. And without the photographs that accompany the story on the Art Here Lately page. Maybe I'm off kilter here, but that just seems wrong.
Worse, they repeatedly misspelled the name of this site (adding spaces where there are none). I've wanted for years for artists and galleries to cite my stories about work in their resumes and on their websites. But to have a commercial gallery appropriate my story and use the DallasArtsRevue logo as if that page were officially sanctioned by me, then misspell DallasArtsRevue, is too much.
If they'd asked, I would have accommodated them, suggesting they link to the stories on the appropriate DallasArtsRevue page. I would even have put in page anchors, so their readers could link directly to that text. But I only found out they'd done all this when I looked on their site for Calendar information.
When I complained, rather than link to my story on this site or spell the site's name correctly as requested, Zinser changed some things and refused to change others, then after further complaints, deleted all mentions of my stories and claimed they were never there.
I linked him to the Internet Copyright Website for his education, but it may be too late.
The gallery director's internet ineptitude and insensitivity to both the medium
and copyright laws raises interesting questions with squishy answers:
There's a long tradition of reprinting kudos in scrapbooks for private and public viewing as well as quoting phrases and using small versions of the originating publication's logo to promote the person or thing written about. I thought I had used a scan of the newspaper article about this site, "Dallas Arts Revue having online rebirth," in the Thursday July 27, 2000 Dallas Morning News on this site.
But I can't find Tom's story in my scrapbook or on DallasArtsRevue, so maybe I either didn't use it, or later took it off. Perhaps I misremember presenting an ink-on-paper newspaper story as a pixel-on-web-page illustration — a near identical copy of the original Dallas Morning News story retaining its original look and feel, except we didn't have to turn pages.
Copying a newspaper story in another newspaper would be illegal and immoral. Big-time publications hire lawyers and file suits. So would be reproducing one radio station's program on another; a TV show on another channel; or a poem into a book by somebody who didn't write it. Representing a web page on another website is an obvious misuse, especially without permission.
Frances Bagley The Strategist, 2008 — See story.
mixed media 145 x 101 x 132 inches
I don't know if Zinser copied the Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Observer or THE magazine stories about Frances' work on separate pages on the Marty Walker Gallery site under large versions of their logos, but he sure did mine. Till I complained.
I understand that lingering feeling that, because the, for example, Tom Sime story about DallasArtsRevue.com, was about me and this site, it was mine. We usually think we can do what we want with our stuff, even though there may be intervening copyright and other issues.
Worse, a direct copy of one medium in a competing (all pages on the internet compete for our attention), same-medium publication is likely to lead to reader confusion. It confused me. I was pretty sure it would confuse other readers, and I'd always rather they read DallasArtsRevue stories on DallasArtsRevue.
Because this site is Dallas art history, not just news and a calendar of events, I rarely remove old pages, even when I screw them up. As a printing press gives its owner an expensive "Freedom of the Press," producing my own content online yields ongoing opportunities to update and correct information and change opinions.
I don't want to let go of that freedom. Something I can't do if my stories are reproduced elsewhere. A link from a mention of the story to my latest, updated version, however, is always welcome. Important.
After the first couple of weeks of obsessively updating my latest stories, I usually leave them alone until I come upon them in a different context later, when I often fix my more egregious errors. While researching this story, I bumped into some remarkably ugly old pages that desperately need help, but I just didn't have the time or energy to deal with all of them, although I spent several hours upgrading some more important ones.
There are more dreadfully designed and/or produced pages on this site than I care to admit. The learning curve has been long and sharp — more than a few pages fell into the abyss where they still writhe. The simplicity you may see here now was not easily attained. When I discover examples of my early ineptitudes, I often update them with new type styles, versions of the logo and nav-bars (navigation presentations).
Published newspaper stories can't do that. The ink-on-paper mind set is so hardened and pervasive, the publishers I've had dealings with often will not even update or correct their online versions. Even if it's blatantly incorrect or dead wrong. Once something is printed in printer's ink on paper and distributed to readers, the information and visual style in them stays until the paper curls up and dies, although subsequent editions can be altered.
I remember making caption and photographic changes — and watching editors change factual information — from one edition to another when I was a Staff Photographer at The Texas Catholic, The Edinburg Daily Review and The Dallas Times Herald. Editions with earlier deadlines were shipped farther, so only the locals, sometimes only late afternoon newspaper buyers got the most updated editions. Only editors and copyreaders saw all the permutations.
There's a story somewhere on this site showing a progression of mastheads (the title of a newspaper, magazine or website on top of pages) and navigational presentations as I learned to listen to my own experience and ignore web experts. No wonder I could not find the mastheads — they are, appropriately enough, in ThEdblog #1.
Hand-colored Cover for Dallas Arts Revue #12
When I published Dallas Arts Revue on paper using the latest desktop publishing technology, printing out one or ten copies at a time, I could make spelling and story changes from copy to copy. Internet publishing is a lot like that, although most webbies would rather only do it once, like in a newspaper or book.
Once, years ago, I published a Dallas Arts Revue (correct spelling only for the on-paper version) with a Gerald Burns drawing from his "Great Moments in Dallas Art" series called "The Invention of MYLAR" on the cover. Each of the subscriber copies were hand-colored by one of five Dallas artists — Gerald Burns, Tracy Hays Harris, Terri Thoman, Dwayne Carter and me — before mailing or hand-delivering them.
Guess there are a few things even this bright new medium still-in-the-making can't do that on-paper publishing always could.
Ken Shaddock The Skyship (detail) 2009
(from The Skyship, Michael, and the Door to the Unknown)
image provided by the artist
I'm back from vacation visiting my parents in San Antonio and photographing birds there and along Texas' Gulf Coast, and I have no idea what's going on in Dallas art, and little inclination to find out after a bruising collision with a local gallery director whose place of business will likely not be named nor spelled correctly on these pages for awhile, through no fault whatsoever of that business's namesake.
There seems a fundamental conflict of interest between me and some local commercial galleries. Others have been helpful and friendly for years. Guess which ones I tend to attend and write stories about?
It's probably human nature. I claim not to subscribe to The Theory of Objectivity [link to a page linking my more verbose mentions of that odious preconception, so I don't have to explain it here or anywhere else ever again], and I try to be fair.
Although it's hardly appropriate or just to only review shows at some Dallas galleries. In any and all cases, I follow my interests and awarenesses, however heightened or dulled those may be.
A few weeks ago I found myself apologizing for one negligent (not mentioning one artist in a duo) and two negative reviews from the past. Yet I miss expressing strong opinions, which tend to be more con than pro. I attenuate positive reviews, so they'll be credible.
I wonder if it isn't about time I quit trying to be nice all the damned time.
Mirtha Aertker Proud, 2008 mixed media
Well, my new Missing.html page is the most successful new page ever, netting (!), about 3,000 hits so far this week. I've even got it myself a few times. When I discover those link-offs I fix them, but there's a lot that have been built into this site over the years, and it'll take awhile to catch them all up.
My new statistics reveal 598 pages that have got hit at least once this week, when this site went to the new web host. The most popular by a narrow margin is the 2007 White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour. Second is Rita Barnard's Member's Page, followed by the How to Photograph Art page.
The new DADA YADA Art Walk story is 11th in popularity over the last four days I keep calling a week. It takes awhile for readers to catch on, even though I proclaim new stories on the cover and other pages whenever I can. I have said before that this site is more of a History Channel than The Latest News, and I rarely remove a story from this site, so it just grows and grows.
The Winter Show still grows substantially. Donna Ball's page is the second most popular member page and Fannie Brito's is third. Tom Moody's elderly story — from the days when DallasArtsRevue was printed on paper — illustrated tongue-in-ear story about artists and collectors, curators, dealers and critics, Profiles in Aesthetic Courage remains immensely popular. Some site somewhere must be plugging it. It's true but funny.
I did some serious art photography myself this week and have a few additions to make to that informative page, but that will have to wait. I have the opportunity to improve my shaky finances over the next two weeks or so, and will avail myself of it, so I won't be adding here till early May again.
Igor Khunteyev Rope Walkers, 2009
acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 inches
image provided by the artist
All day today I've been implementing new code for old pages on our new web host. I've learned the code for page counters [like the one at the bottom of this page and future new pages].
The new hit counters are text, not graphics and are preceded by a bold green = sign, so they are less ostentatious. I've read that page hit counters are amateurish, and I should use site statistics instead. But I like them and have a page of them, so I can see if anybody's reading what I write, although I have got obsessed with them sometimes.
This particular page's implementation of the new hit counter is just below the hit counter still served by the old host on this and other pages created since April 2005 I've added new counters to (not many, so far), although I doubt the old host will continue to serve them for long.
I listed the counts on all the Member Pages late last week in case they all disappear suddenly, and so I could see who's been promoting their pages.
Another more complex lesson, is implementing the Missing Page I made in May 2005, but never learned how to implement on the old host. Instead of boring us with number codes about what we can and cannot link to, it simply states you can't get there from here, and links to the home and a few other pages.
I thought about linking that page here, but if you use this site much, you'll get your chance at it. My challenge was to simplify language, so we have a little time to decide and click something in those seven seconds. If we don't click, the page bounces us to the home page.
It might be more beneficial to direct us to a page that explains it all. But the home page has links to everything recent, so perhaps it'll do.
Rosemary Pierce-Lackey 232 Rolls of Color 2009
assemblage wall sculpture 20 x 49 inches image provided by the artist
Thed5 was such a long time ago, I had to change it out even if it never really went anywhere (except, of course, to garner more than a thousand hits). Welcome to Thed6, let's hope this gots more legs. Or wings.
What I've been doing most lately is stopping the dread pirate [so-called] DreamHost from being DallasArtsRevue's web host and flogging all the pages therein, all more than 1,200 of them (amazing to watch that many pages zing by without having to look into more than a couple of them whose file names made no sense. Took hours, none-the-zingyness of it all.
Perhaps the new host will not be the same as the old host, to paraphrase The Who's lyrics long ago when I was doing an underground newspaper (remember those?). Strange and wonderful the differences between publishing on paper and online. I could go on, but I'm sure I already have somewhere. Although there's a book in my experiences with the Underground newspapers, and maybe another about DARts.
I've probably already writ a book's worth about my experiences with DARE that more or less became the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, and D-Art that became the Other Contemp. But I'll steer clear of those two for awhile longer again.
Something about scooting pages onto a new hard drive on a new node somewhere out there in Internet Land gives me impetus to do some few things different. It's easy to rut oneself. On muddly roads I avoid the tried and often untrue. But ruts are easy to find and get used to.
David Hickman - Vortex (detail), 2006
steel - 16 feet high at the City's
Northwest Service Center streets and sanitation building
The calendar gets more difficult every time. Aeons ago, someone else did it. And did it well. Weller than I who hate doing the same thing every day or week or month, etc. I think about that ARt WHatever thing KERA TV FM does. I remember when the guy, whom they had originally tasked with creating an arts calendar suggested I might do it or they might do mine. Or something like that.
I'm more than a little afraid / miffed / jealous / weirded out by their thing. But there's a part of me (lower and gastro-intestinally connected) that hopes someday I can trust them enough so I don't have to do a calendar page.
But that hasn't happened yet, and probably won't. They'll fuck it up somehow. They always do.
I've only been there a couple times, briefly. I'm afraid I'd want to copy some bit of info from them to fatten up my own Calendar page. I remember the old journalism story — possibly apocryphal — about putting something in a newspaper and purposely misspelling certain items in a place that a competitor often stole from. The story to the effect that a person's name was purported to have been spelled Stolen Item only done backwards (Meti Nelots), and sure enough the competitor stole the stolen item and printed it in their calendar or list or whatever.
We did something like that when DallasArtsRevue.com first listed the North Dallas Art Center as a joke. Their shows involved trailer and pick-up truck and RecVee art, and we tried to make the humor broad and inescapable, but some people always believe. There was even a North Dallas Artists Tour in our make-believe scenario.
Norman Kary As I See It
Now of course, there is a real North Dallas Art Tour that's not terribly distant from the silliness the person who invented the North Dallas ruse and I made up out of whole kitsch. That unindicted co-conspirator later had a lot do do with starting the real North Dallas Art Tour, so she could be in it, since she lived in North Dallas. Go figure.
Anyway, there's some parts of this (not entirely self-defined) job that I love and some that I could do without, if I could only figure out how. There absolutely needs to be an Arts Calendar that any painter, drawer, sculptor or other art maker can get into if she or he follows certain basic rules, even on fairly short notice.
The new web host has a utility that replaces software I bought and long toyed with that will email calendar information, already in correct order, so I could add colors and bolds then pour it into the chronological order the calendar strives for — making it easy for the lazy editor to chop stuff that's past off the top.
There's other parts of DallasArtsRevue I'd like to automate. But the Calendar is the main one I avoid.
Something else I have done is obsess about hit counters. I feel unloved and unwanted when I write a story that nobody reads. Over the last half year, I involved myself in a blog about The Winter Show.
A Blog may suppose to be text linking pages on the web, but I have always written journals. When I call it a journal, nobody visits. But if I call it a blog, folk get all het up and visit every day, driving hit counter into thousands.
Any time one of those counters passes a couple hundred, I get excited and feel appreciated and approved of. That what I'm doing makes sense and a difference to someone. Even if I have to trick them into visiting by calling it a blog.
Dean Corbitt untitled, 2008
No telling, of course, if those people see more than the top of the page. Good web statistics tell how long people stay, where they enter and how far they go. More, less digestible info is available. But I gave up early figuring how to operate the last host's stats. Everything they did was inside-out and backward.
Well, there is telling. Watching the stats from today [Tuesday, April 21] and yesterday, I can see on WestHost's deliciously simple stats presentation that 1,345 visitors spent between 0 and 30 seconds on this site. 64 spent between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. 46 - 2-5 minutes, 47 5-15 minutes, 22 15-30 minutes, 20 spent 30 minutes to an hour, and 8 spent an hour or more. That's mostly yesterday.
And 330 got my aforementioned Missing page, 116 hit the new DADAYADA page, 69 went to Schools & Classes, 67 to WRLAST 07, 61 How to Photograph Art - 26,694 hits so far, 14,743 since September 08 when I thought I'd lost the old host's counter, 58 to the M-Street 06 page (wish it would say why), 55 to Rita Barnard's member page and 45 to the (as opposed to our) Big As Night show page (visiting which via the Home page netted me a trip to the Missing page jump back to the Home page. I can see how that might be annoying. I fixed that one link at the bottom of the Home page, so that should help. Another reason to have stats is to see where readers go amok and fix it.
There's a little bump in the middle of the night, but most people visit DARts 7 ayem till 4 pm with the peak at 4, then the curve curves down and doesn't really go up till 7 the next day.
70% use Windows, 27% use Macintosh. 48% use Internet Explorer, 33% Firefox, 14% Safari, and 1.7% (including me) Mozilla. Ten times as many come here via Google than Yahoo. The most searched term is "sexually explicit." The second, third, etc. are "postcard layout, dallas artists, dallas arts revue, how to photograph artwork, photographing art, dave hickey, dallasartrevue...
777 netted a visit to our 404 Document Not Found page (a.k.a. "Missing"). There's a lot of other stuff I can't make tails or heads of yet, but I'll stay tuned and figure some of it out.
A bunch of smart kids who never communicated with each other are running The Old Host, is my surmise. Their newsletter was insipid. Lame as their instructions how to do stuff somebody had changed by then, and they were telling how to find this page and click that link, and that page and text or links had changed, so nobody but somebody who understood it could do anything. And they could not understand why anyone else would have trouble with their twisted system.
When my sites repeatedly dropped offline, they had the temerity to call it my fault. After guarantying they would keep my sites online more than 99% of the time.
Of course 99% of 365 days a year is already 3.65 days offline, which is too much. The guy who recommended WestHost (not a personal recommendation), Kevin Kelly used to edit The Whole Earth Catalog, and his Cool Tools is like that.
Kevin said that he'd never caught WestHost letting any of his sites offline. Ever. I caught the old hosts dumping my sites often. After awhile, I kept track.
But I still didn't want to switch hosts. Moving files is no big deal. Just takes time. What takes time and energy is learning the new system and figuring out the differences between what the new host calls stuff, then doing what needed doing on the old dumbos, so it'd stop being there and start being here.
I thought all I'd have to do was click some boxes, and my personal website would let go of the old and bounce through the net onto the new host. Nope. That site [www.JRCompton.com]'s Domain Name was registered with the old host as a freebie to host that site, paid twice two years in advance, to save.
TJ Mabrey - Sky Fishing (front)
white marble 12.25 x 5 x 12.25 inches image provided by the artist
Changing DallasArtsRevue's host was easier because I'd registered the domain with another company. That was either a stroke of genius or pure good luck.
Stopping a host from hosting a site is a wrangle can be a semi-automated task. But figuring out what to punch (who would have been easy, except they're in another state), in what order after doing what and what and what. It always involves interfacing with more or less fellow human beings, and that's not the way I'd rather handle such disgusting necessities.
But stopping a host from hosting is much easier if the domain is registered somewhere else. I wrote instructions about how to do all this, but that was years ago, and it's not exactly the way they do it now. The who who registers DallasArtsRevue.com has a clickable series of doodads to punch to point a URL to another host. That was easy. I hesitated then I clicked, and it was done.
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