Glamorama | acrylic & oil on wood panel | 15.5" x 11.5"
There's a saying around our house: "When a kid turns 18, you have to send them to college; when a dog turns 18, you just bury them in the backyard."
But for all the bravado, dogs have always ruled the roost here--you'll find no bigger fan of canines than the Burckhardts. To prove the point, we've built a shrine of sorts to dogs past/passed: the top one is Glamorama, who lived to be 12 and had a pacemaker (not nearly as expensive as you'd imagine), and Diva, who earned her name every day; their collars hang next to their portraits.
I've spent almost every day of my working life with a dog laying somewhere in the studio; I've probably spent more time in the presence of dogs than I have with any human. They're loyal and patient, and you feel their absence when they're not around.
Diva | acrylic & oil on wood panel | 16" x 12"
Gertie currently has the run of the house, and I hope it'll be a long time before she gets her own spot on the wall.
As was mentioned, the O'Briens came to Austin last week, and things are just getting back to normal (all flat surfaces are now cleared, Tim). As part of our "Art for Margaritas" program, Janice and I put Tim to work shoring up the wine cellar with a custom air-control system. Along the way, I got to see the Master in action, and stole a few tips I plan on using in the future.
Even on vacation, he's working!
The Kroninger above the bed. The fat lady has sung!
We've had the good fortune of making some wonderful friends over the years—and we've extorted some great work from them in the process! Along with a host of beautiful prints (Alex Gross; Laura Levine; Dale Stephanos; etc.) and children's books (Gary Kelly; Hanoch Piven), we've gotten quite a nice collection of original art from some of the best in our field. So in keeping with the theme, here are a few highlights from the Burckhardt Collection.
My old friend James Victore sent us these plates. We have somewhere around 50 posters by James; we need more walls.
A silk screen by Mr. Taxali
From ICON 3, a drawing by Steve Brodner of Anita Kunz, myself, and Mark Ulriksen (we have a beautiful Ulriksen dog print above the fireplace)
My friend and teacher, Joel Nakamura
One of two McCauley's we have on the walls here
Left to right, top to bottom:
Group piece by Anita Kunz, Cathie Bleck, Jose Ortega, Jean Tuttle, Molly Z, and Brian Leister; Seymour Chwast does Ben Franklin
Taxali peanut; Victore signage
Rob & Christian Clayton
And just to close it out, here's a few extra shots of the O'Brien family. It was really fun having them here, and it's been great having all these good folks come and hang out with us in Austin over the years. We hope there are alot more of these to come—we want to expand the collection!
"Resurrection" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 10" x 10"
Here's a piece I did for the upcoming Art Basel | MiamiKNOW with Mark Murphy, Dec. 4-7. This is a group show that includes:
Jennybird Alcantara : David van Alphen : Ana Bagayan : Robert Bellm : Jonathan Bergeron : Mike Bertino : Cathie Bleck : Jonathan Boam : Darren Booth : Brandon Boyd : Katherine Brannock : Calef Brown : Ryan Bubnis : Marc Burckhardt : Christopher Buzelli : Ray Caesar : Luke Chueh : Dave Chung : Robert Connett : Molly Crabapple : Amy Crehore : Rob Day : Xiaoqing Ding : Leslie Ditto : Doodles : Gerard DuBois : Ekundayo : P-Jay Fidler : AJ Fosik : Andrew Foster : Ken Garduno : Ill Gill : Matt Haber : Moira Hahn : Robert Hardgrave : Ryan Heshka : Vincent Hui : Jordin Isip : Jason Jacenko : Levon Jihanian : Ron Job : Dan Kennedy : Mel Kadel : Donald Kilpatrick : Kinoko : KMNDZ : Zane Kozak : Kukula : Travis Lampe : Daniel Hyun Lim : Tommii Lim : Jen Lobo : Lola : Dan May : Brandi Milne : Mark Murphy : Joel Nakamura : Andrew Neyer : Clinton Neuhaus : Kathie Olivas : Brandt Peters : Jenn Porreca : Luke Ramsey : relAx one : RG : Mark Ryden : Chris Ryniak : Erik Sandberg : Mijn Schatje : Jeffery Scott 92501 : Kim Scott : Jeff Soto : Nathan Spoor : Matt Stallings : David Russell Talbott : Yoko Tanaka : Gary Taxali : Peter Taylor : Jon Todd : Joe Vaux : Alexei Vella : Jonathan Viner : Marco Wagner : Cynthia Walton : Gordon Wiebe : Nicholas Wilton : Martin Wittfooth : Davey Wong : Johnny Yanok : Marco Zamora : Chet Zar
I'm also showing 10 paintings at Art Basel | Miami SCOPE, with the Marder Gallery, also December 4-7. Here are a few of the pieces in that exhibit.
"Affiction" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 33" x 48"
"Mirror" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 18.5" x 15.75"
"Whitewash" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 20" x 16.25"
"Proxy" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 18.5" x 16"
"Heroine" | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 7.5" x 10.25"
And finally, I have a few new pieces that will be part of the "America" show at Marder in Bridgehampton, NY, opening next Saturday, November 29th. The gallery is located at 120 Snake Hollow Road, and the opening reception is 5-9 on Saturday.
I did this one a few years back for TJ at Texas Monthly, and it remains one of my favorites
Down here we have a slogan: "Keep Austin Weird." Nothing and no one embodies that spirit of off-kilter mellowness more than our own Willie Nelson, who turns 75 today. Tonight, KGSR FM is broadcasting a birthday celebration for Willie that includes Patty Griffin, Bob Schneider and Alejandro Escovedo, so tune in, light up, and wish Willie many weird birthdays to come.
Here's the beautiful cover of this month's Texas Monthly, shot by Platon and designed by the great TJ Tucker. Hats off to them both, and to editor Evan Smith for allowing a cover this nice to go out into the world without the clutter of type.
The Santa Parade on the sidewalk. There's music playing, too.
Janice and I live and work out of a renovated 1910 farmhouse in the great old neighborhood of Clarksville, which sits on the edge of bustling downtown Austin. In one direction you're steps away from restaurants, nightclubs, and skyscrapers, but in the other you're in one of the oldest single family areas in the city—it was recently named one of the 10 Best Neighborhoods in the US. One of our neighbors, Willis, is part of the reason why: he's single-handedly been putting the Merry in Christmas for years now with a light show that seems to grow every time you visit it. And he's more than ready to give you the tour. I thought I'd put up a few shots of his display—hope you enjoy.
The mailbox opens and reveals a letter from Santa.
James Brown serenades you from the porch.
The Reason for the Season.
The scene from the street.
Not sure why, but Santa climbs up and down this ladder all night.
As Joseph Fiedler mentioned the other day, if you're in LA on Saturday, November 17th (7:30 opening), check out the GREEN Show at the Robert Berman Gallery, curated by Mr. Mark Murphy. Over 40 artists, myself included, created work for the show, and it will be up until December 22nd. For more details on the exhibition, check out www.robertbermangallery.com or www.murphydesign.com There'll be live music by SSI and the Modlins and many artists to meet:
Jason D Aquino + Jordan Awan + Andrew Brandou + Cathie Bleck+ Marc Burckhardt + William Buzzell + Luke Chueh : David Chung + Amy Crehore +Kevin Christy + Sas Christianson + John Copeland + Bob Dob + andrew foster+ Douglas Fraser + P-Jay Fidler + Joseph Daniel Fiedler + AJ Fosik + Robert Hardgrove + Jody Hewgill + Michael Hussar + Tim Hussey + Jordin Isip + Rich Jacobs + Pamela Jaeger + james jean + David Choong Lee + Anthony Lister + Jen Lobo + Mars-1 + Chris Mostyn + Mark Murphy + Scott Musgrove + Joel Nakamura : Christian Northeast + Martha Rich and Esther Pearl Watson Collaboration + Kathie Olivas + Nathan Ota + Brandt Peters + Jermaine Rogers + Kim Scott + Keith Shore + Jeff Soto + Damon Soule + Matt Stallings + Gary Taxali + Amanda Wachab + Justin Wood
Robert Berman Gallery Bergamot Station Arts Center 2525 Michigan Avenue / C2 / Santa Monica / CA / 90404
I've been wanting to post something about one of my favorite artists, Gabriel Cornelius Ritter von Max, (August 23, 1840 - November 24, 1915) for some time now. Given the various competitions in our field that are either being unveiled or judged in the coming weeks, I saw a very thin thread to hang it on now. After all, one of von Max's most famous paintings, "Monkeys as Critics", was about judgement and aesthetic.
Gabriel von Max was the son of a sculptor, Joseph Max, and he initially trained in his native Prague with Eduard von Engerth. He later went to the Viennese Academy of Art and finally to the Munich Academy, where he studied under Karl Theodor von Piloty and Hans Makart. He settled there, and from 1879 to 1883 he was a professor of Historical Painting at the Munich Academy. He was also an accomplished illustrator, producing images for a variety of literary stories, poems, fairy tales and folk songs.
But what's most interesting to me about von Max's work is the mystical & allegorical paintings he began producing later in his life. In addition to "Monkeys as Critics", works like "The Anatomist", and "The Ecstasy of Katharina Emmerich" (all three in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich—one of my favorite museums) take on an almost surreal quality that's unlike anything his peers were doing, and that foreshadows both the Secessionist movement and today's figurative/symbolist genre.
"The Ecstasy of Katarina Emmerich"
While a great deal of his work had a religious theme, there's a haunting quality about his paintings that comes partly from the muted palette he used for most of his later works, but also from the lifelong interest he had in mysticism and philosophy, which colored even his most conventional subjects.
"The stars at night, are big and bright, Deep in the (he)art of Texas."
Monday and Tuesday were busy days here in Austin, with the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts ceremonies taking place. I was asked to create the art for this year's event, which was used on everything from posters and three-dimensional installations to tickets and gift bags. Janice and I attended most of the events over the last two days, and had a blast!
Grabbing my moment with Mr. Cronkite and Mr. Coleman
This year's honorees included Walter Cronkite, jazz legend Ornette Coleman, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, sculptor Jesus Moroles, and screenwriter Bill Wittliff. After a gala dinner at the historic Driskill Hotel around the corner, we were led by the dancing, drumming performance group Urban 15 over to the awards ceremony itself, held at the Paramount Theater, one Austin's oldest and most beautiful venues and a great architectural jewel of the city.
Presenters for this year's awards included CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, Tommy Lee Jones and piano great Van Cliburn, and bands Del Castillo, the Quebe Sisters(pronounced Kway-bee - check them out , they're amazing!), and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel fame kept folks entertained with toe-tapping Texas tunes. The night was capped off with champagne and dessert (and lots of dancing) back at the Driskill Hotel.
Some of the goodies
In addition to all this fun, we were invited to a few other special pre-event events, which included a luncheon at the Governor's Mansion, as well as a VIP 'Legislative" reception at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, which put me and my "plus one" guest, Steve Brodner (down for a Texas Monthly assignment) in close quarters with virtually every power broker and politico in the state. An eye opener for Steve, who has some stories of his own to tell from his visit to our fair city. And now, back to my quiet life again......
Party in the streets with Urban 15, in front of the Paramount and down from the Capitol
Inside the Paramount
Del Castillo, and the Quebe Sisters (these girls are terrific!)
For the last three days, I've been living in the heart of one of the biggest music festivals in the country: South by Southwest. Over 50 venues showcase almost 1400 bands, and most of the action takes place within a short stroll of my house/studio. This year's biggest act was the opening gig of the Stooges new tour, following the release of their first album together in 33 years. The piece above was done a while back for a book and exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it seemed like the right time to break it out.
I'm an Iggy fan from way back, having first seen him live when I was a teenager, and over 20 times since. I even got to meet him once, at a now defunct record store here called the Inner Sanctum, and found him to be a very nice and approachable guy. In concert, however, he's a force of nature, and last night's show was no exception. It's hard to believe that a guy about to turn 60 still looks like this and is willing to throw himself into the moshpit mid-concert to battle it out with the fans (which he did several times last night). The band even invited the crowd up on stage during the final number, which was absolute chaos. All and all, a Fun Time.
Along the way, I saw some other great acts, including my new favorite Peelander Z, a Japanese band now based in NY that's part punk and part Teletubbies, and from what I can tell the official band of Kaiju Big Battel - itself a cross between pro wrestling, bad science fiction movies and performance art. We also saw the Polyphonic Spree, the Little Ones, and a number of other bands that were new to me.
Peelander Z - like nothing you've ever seen.
Another aspect of the Fesitval is the showcase Flatstock, which brings together some of the best gig poster art & artists from around the country. Yee Haw Industries, Methane, Burlesque of North America, and several other great groups that create the most amazing concert art are all under one roof, and selling their posters at very reasonable prices.
Today, the crowds are starting to head home and city is beginning to quiet down again. There's always great music here in Austin, but SXSW represents one of the main reasons this city has developed the reputation it has internationally for music, and one the best times of year to come and see why Austin is a destination.
"Don't drink Water! Drink Only Beer from Schlossbraueri Hohennaschau."
I've got a collection of German beer coasters that I've always loved - great type and imagery that I find inspiring (not to mention fun to collect!). To see more of them, check out my Coasters gallery.
It's been a while since I added anyone to the staff around here, but I plan on working this one like a dog. She definitely needs some training; has slept most of the day away so far. Hard to find good help anymore.......
Janice and I went for our annual trip to Canada this past weekend to visit our friends Dick Chin and Anita Kunz at their cottage in Honey Harbor on Georgian Bay - one of the most beautful spots around, and Dick and Anita are wonderful hosts.
Anita got the idea to arrange for a dinner at the famous chef Michael Stadtlaender's place, Eigensinn - an eccentric and top notch restaurant/farm he runs in the middle of the Canadian countryside where he lives. Only 8-10 people can dine there each evening, and the food is phenomenal (he's apparently ranked as one of the the top 10 chefs in the world). He's also a folk artist of sorts, and wandering around his farm before dinner was a real experience.
Clockwise: the farm impliment sculpture; the birthing oven; the pig grill; the chef sculpture
First of all, this guy knows his grills. He has all sorts of sculptural ovens and just nutty objects placed in fields and at the ends of paths where you just stumble across them; they apparently have events throughout the year where folks can wander around and dine in various spots on the farm, so he has set up "field kitchens" to accomodate them.
Catch! This oven definitely has attitude.
As you get further into the property, you find some real "Blair Witch" style areas, including this teepee, some wooded eating areas, and some sections where signs carved in boards have all sorts of deep and obscure quotations.
Here are a few more spots, including a "winter house" that's really a round hut that seemed like a cross between Hundertwasser and Howard Finster (upper left), an "Oyster Pavillion" entirely lined with oyster shells, another oven adorned with moose antlers, and piles and piles of wine bottles lining the pathways - dead soldiers from the many dinners over the years (it's a BYOB place, and they fax you the recommended wine list the day before based on what they'll be serving).
Anita, Dick, me and Janice, contemplating nature - and what's for dinner!
The meal was great, the experience and the artwork inspirational, and once again we had a wonderful time in Canada. These folks have it figured out!
Saw Beck Tuesday night at the Backyard (which has changed pretty dramatically since my last visit, the result of a giant suburban mall that's been built all the way around its once beautiful hill country setting). Still, the show was great and I'm here to extoll the virtues of marionettes. He had a real live puppet show (by the Team America people) reenacting every move of the entire band, directly behind them and projected onto the giant screen. They were so compelling we hardly even watched the band. When in doubt, break out the puppets....
A few years ago I promised myself that if that season's hurricane didn't destroy New Orleans, I'd finally make the trip to Jazzfest. It didn't, but neither did I. Realizing now that I'm at least partially responsible for Katrina - this doesn't relieve George and Brownie one bit, BTW - I decided to make amends and take the plunge (my apologies for the bad pun/symbolism/metaphor/whatever). A few friends and I jammed into a new Prius for the roadtrip out, with the goal of seeing how little gas it would take to get there and how gassed we could get once we arrived. We did the latter well enough that I can't recall the answer to the former, but I did manage to take some pictures to remind myself of what we saw, so I thought I'd put 'em up here. I've now offically reached that point in life where you bore your friends with your vacation pictures.......
One of the first things you need to do when you cross into Louisiana is begin looking for a place - almost any place - to eat. It's the national pastime there, and with damn good reason. We missed a few opportunities to hit the roadside shops for Cracklin's (fried pork fat - trust me, it's better than it sounds), but we quickly found ourselves at the doorstep of Crawfish Town. What it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in cholesterol.
Fish isn't typically associated with heart disease, but then not much is typical in Cajun Country. In addition to the platter of ditchbugs here, there was a dish of deep fat fried fish, crab, shrimp and a few other unidentified things pulled out of the swamp that were delicious when stacked together like a edible Tower of Pisa. Washed down with a few Abitas, this hit every spot available, all at once.
Of course, there's always one more spot that needs hitting, and nothing doe the job better than Bread Pudding - the official dessert of Louisiana. It's the best thing since sliced bread was allowed to go stale and get soaked in milk, butter, cinnamon, raisins, and bourbon.
After this we were wheeled out to our car by the friendly staff and pointed in the direction of New Orleans. A few hours later, we were rolling into town.
I fully expected to see some significant damage when I got there, but I was really struck by both how widespread the destruction was and how quickly the tourist sections of New Orleans were (seemingly) brought back to their pre-Katrina state. There were lots of the old spots missing (Felix's, for one), but passing through the Quarter and the Garden District, you'd have been hard-pressed to think much more than a hard thunderstorm had recently hit. It was really easy to see how, depending on the direction you pointed the camera, you could frame the picture of this city any way you wanted.
With six guys off on the long (lost) weekend, we stuck close to the Jazzfest and Quarter for the trip, so we didn't begin to see the worst of what Katrina did to this beautiful city (we were told again and again that the 9th Ward and others areas would leave you wondering if you were in a Third World nation). Still, just the ride to and from the festival grounds gave plenty of evidence of a job left undone, including these pictures of blue-tarped roofs, temporary trailer homes, and seas of flooded and abandoned cars under every elevated stretch of freeway. You can still make out the high-water lines and spray-painted codes on the exteriors of virtually every house front indicating how many animals and/or humans were found in a given structure. So this is what a post-Apocalyptic America will look like.......
Our first night out, we made it to a great bar called DBA where Papa Mali, Eddie Bo and Big Chief Monk Boudreax were tearing it up. We did likewise, and rolled in around 5am, stopping on the way back to the hotel to get beignets at Cafe Du Monde (I know, I know, but it was good). The bartendress was kind enough to write the band's name on my hand before we left the club, but the evening was far too fun to be that easily forgotten.
Hats and odd outfits are a must for any festival. Folks here know how to make statement.......
......and some even had the hutzpah to tie their's on the back of an airplane. This guy circled the fest for an hour, letting sponsor Shell know what they thought of their civic outreach (in case you can't read it, it says "Shell - great music - don't kill our fish!").
Lots of folks dancing, having fun, and generally being extroverted.
No, he's not dead, just resting between acts.
This lady was catching up on a little reading while the Radiators played.
And the obligatory photo with Beetle Bob.
I've actually started a collection of Bob photo ops ever since I first met him at the Austin City Limits Fest two years ago. For those of you who don't know about him (I didn't either before ACL), he's sort of a oddball celeb, showing up (usually without a ticket, from what I hear) and getting the VIP treatment based on cult status alone. You'll typically find him in front of the band everyone wants to see, doing his crazy dance in the roped off section and generally adding to the atmosphere. A very nice guy......
Well, that's it. Great music, great food, and great fun. It's a good thing this only happens once a year.