Montague and Byrnes Dwell together

Our friend Julian Montague was interviewed in Dwell magazine’s blog by another friend, and Block Club contributor, Mark Byrnes. Super cool conversation about Montague’s fake-book art, states poster series, and his beautiful Stray Shopping Cart Project.

Follow these fellas’ work. They’re doing good stuff.

-Ben

Photo courtesy Julian Montague Projects

Hosting a party is one thing—having enough food and drink, good music, the right combination of guests—but conducting a philosophical conversation throughout all the catching-up, the elbow grabbing, the networking, is something else.

We launched BCM31 with that exact creative challenge. The goal with each issue’s launch is to not only display artwork and cover art from the issue, but to interact with it somehow. Block Club is a magazine that relies on conversation and thought, where you can put it down and think about it days later, bring it up with friends and talk about it some more. We craft each issue to be an experience, starting with the launch party.

When guests arrived, they were instructed to choose a mysterious piece of white paper.

On the backs of most papers was the word "Quantity" with an image of something mass-produced—Velveeta cheese food product, identical suburban-development homes, reality TV star Honey Boo Boo, sliced white bread, Chili’s restaurant, a plastic bag, pop star Christina Aguilera, and processed ground beef. If you received one of these, you were the proud winner of the miniature poster you were holding.

On the backs of 40 papers was the word "Quality" with instructions to see a Block Club employee throughout the night. If you were lucky enough to snag one of these, you won a limited-edition print of one of the four letterpress prints we made in collaboration with the Western New York Book Arts Center, who also supplied a limited-edition print from their Small Press Book Fair, held the same weekend as our party. The prints hung as the artwork for this opening installation, but by night’s end, our walls were bare—another rumination on the relationship between quality and quantity.

This simple instruction begat a night’s worth of interaction, conversation about art, printing, installation, clichés, design, marketing, and the stories told in the issue. And dancing, of course. Lots of dancing.

-Ben

What should I put in my art bubble?
These little green pods are being distributed around Buffalo right now. You’re asked to fill it with art, whatever can fit. Once collected, they will be installed in vending machines around town.
How sweet is that!
I need to figure something out. Stay tuned.

UPDATE! Word has it, this nifty project is known as the Buffalo Art Dispensary Project, and is headed by a small group of fine arty people. Lots of interest in this project already, hopefully yielding a great collection of small art.

-Ben

What should I put in my art bubble?

These little green pods are being distributed around Buffalo right now. You’re asked to fill it with art, whatever can fit. Once collected, they will be installed in vending machines around town.

How sweet is that!

I need to figure something out. Stay tuned.

UPDATE! Word has it, this nifty project is known as the Buffalo Art Dispensary Project, and is headed by a small group of fine arty people. Lots of interest in this project already, hopefully yielding a great collection of small art.

-Ben

There’s this funny misconception about creative people—that being artistic means there’s no organization or form or theory or structure behind what you do. But this is a whole other art, and I think now more than ever artists are being recognized as really efficient leaders. And I think it’s because of the way we’re able to improvise and be flexible and be fluid. I don’t really see many things as having boundaries, and I think artists are really good at weaving things together.

Jax Deluca, our neighbor and friend at Squeaky Wheel, offers this intelligent thought in today’s Artvoice cover story.

Justin hinted today about that long-rumored new music, which comes something like 85 years too late. (No more movies for a while? It’s okay; you tried that.) What I love about this announcement—which neglected to offer any hint of actual music, rumored as of last night—is that he explains himself. Not that he needed to. It was classy and in touch, which a lot of other pop entertainers are not. Good move.

I understand where he’s coming from. If you can afford the time to sit on yourself and let your creation speak to you, then you should only produce when it makes sense. If you can’t, like most of us down here in Realityville, we must produce what we must, when we must. Still, not bad that we get to at all.

Listening to inanimate things—not to mention YOUR ART! WACKY!—talk to you sounds like a bunch of malarkey, I know. It sounds like you’re a crazy person who talks to his hands when your mittens are on. I don’t know where that example came from, but I suppose it’s just hypothetical, okay!?

I know that when I feel myself talking to myself, I follow it. Even if it takes me to moody caverns or dimly lit recording studios. I just go for it. Sometimes it’s a brighter spot, where your work is illuminated so strongly you cannot cannot cannot will not shove it in a drawer or journal. Sometimes your work tells you when it’s ready. And that’s when it’s the best, I think. Because it’s ready.

Watch Justin’s quick vid about “the ready” above. After that, jump onto this creative manifesto from Alan Watts that’s circulated your WIFI for a while. Both videos came to my attention today. Coincidence? I dunno. But I gotta make something. See you later.

-Ben

"Master art forger" is not the title that comes to mind after seeing Mark Landis.

For the last three decades, 57-year-old Landis has successfully duped close to 50 art institutions in more than 20 states into accepting forged works of art. His forged works of art.

His process is simple, but obscure. Mimicking the work of mostly 19th century American impressionists, Landis picks a painting from a museum catalogue, makes a photocopy, and glues it to a small piece of wood. He then draws atop the image with a mix of colored pencils, paint and sometimes marker. 

Landis never profited from his fraud, but rather “donated” his work in honor of his deceased parents or distant relatives to smaller, more regional art institutions, while posed as an eccentric Jesuit priest or an average businessman. Most of the galleries accepted the works at face value, often times due in part to his delightfully denominational demeanor and disguise and many still don’t know they’ve been fooled.

The story of this slightly compulsive, but immensely creative character is certainly one that will outlast those of whom he copied.

- PS 

For decades, Phyllis Galembo has traveled the world documenting costumes and masquerade attire of indigenous populations. Her recent exhibition, Maske: A Collection of Photographs by Phyllis Galembo, just wrapped up at Three Squares Studio in New York in December, but I seem to be late to the party, having just discovered her work. I might just have to go and buy her 2010 book by the same title.

- PS

Ever heard of The Residents? No? Not surprised.

The crazed San Franciscan oddballs eyeballs have been making weird music for over four decades.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first release, 1972’s “Santa Dog” single, the group is releasing what they call the Ultimate Box Set. For $100,000, this “box set” takes the compilation cake. 

That being said, this “box set” doesn’t come in any ol’ box. Instead, buyers receive a 28-cubic-foot refrigerator filled with over 100 Residents items, including an iconic eyeball-and-top-hat mask and other “objects.” As for actual music, the fridge comes packed with 563 songs on 40 vinyl LPs, 50 CDs, dozens of singles, EPs, DVDs and CD-ROMs.

So, you love The Residents, but you don’t have 100K just laying around? No problem. “Have a bake sale,” presses Residents frontman “Randy.” “Sell a gddamned kidney if you have to.” Only 10 of these puppies will be available for purchase on Christmas morning, so maybe you’ll want to sell a friends’ kidney too. When he wakes up in a bathtub full of ice, you can show him your new refrigerator and explain, with good reason, why you had to cut him open.

If you do have an extra hundred stacks in your piggy bank, you might be able to afford the mystery box “Randy” advertises. This one clocks in at $5 million. 

If anyone can pull off this bizarre stunt, it’s probably The Residents. The band of artists/performers/musicians have been turning pop culture on its head since the mid-1960s while wearing tuxedos, top hats and giant eyeball masks. Oh yeah, they’ve maintained anonymity the entire time.

Head to theresidents.com on Christmas morning to get yours.

- PS

Notes on Blindness: Rainfall on Nowness.com.

"If only there could be something equivalent to rain falling inside. Then the whole of a room would take on shape and dimension. I should also say that this is an experience of beauty. Instead of being isolated, cut off, preoccupied internally; you’re presented with a world. You’re related to a world. You’re addressed by a world. Why should this experience strike one as being beautiful? Cognition is beautiful. It’s beautiful to know."

From Nowness:

New sensory experiences are explored in this exclusive clip from Rainfall, Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s dramatization of an audio diary entry made by John Hull, just four months after going blind. As part of the Memory Marathon at the Serpentine Gallery, London, the short explores Hull’s understanding of the world through means other than sight, touching on the notion of consciousness and how immersive elements such as rain give the world depth, detail and contour.

Stunning. Hull has written much about his changed perception of the world following his blindness, and often returns to rainfall with awe - the acoustic landscape created as rain collides with worldly physical detail provides an experience Hull’s eyes can no longer account for. It’s a lovely exploration of synaesthesia and the mind blowing nuance of human cognition. You can read a bit more of Hull’s rain writing here.  

- Maggie

Brooklyn’s Street Museum of Art needn’t bother with collection; the already extant street art, etched into the Brooklyn landscape, does the work itself. Instead, SMoA simply provides a walking guide to the underground urban art movement that covers the borough’s walls. From We Heart:

That’s the idea at the heart of Street Museum of Art (SMoA) – leading art lovers on a walking tour of the city, pointing out artworks that may normally be lost or ignored as people buzz about with their frantic daily lives. Signs have been placed giving information about the work, some telling the viewer where to look for the more discreet pieces. […]

So far, so great, but here’s where the project gets really interactive. SMoA also provides blank labels on their website that fans can print out, fill in and stick up to highlight work that they discover, to share with other users. Interactive, inclusive and with the potential to unearth an absolute treasure trove of obscurely-placed or previously ignored artwork, constantly expanding, and encouraging city inhabitants to look at their environment through fresh eyes, always on the lookout for new work to champion.

Pretty great idea. SMoA is now “showing” its inaugural exhibit, In Plain Sight, with works by C215, Elle, Faile, Gaia, Imminent Disaster, Sweet Toof, and more. Read a bit more about the concept on the SMoA blog.

- Maggie

It’s Halloween, y’all! We’ve rounded up a few spooky posts to better pass this candy-corn fueled fever dream of a work day for you. But first, what are you up to later? Quiet evening at home? Costumes, candy, carousing? Scary stories?  Regretting your amazing but hopelessly unattractive troll doll bodysuit purchase now that you’ve got a cute new crush? Endless options. Let us know!
Aaaand, here we go:
- The Hairpin has put together an excellent catch-all of every spooky Wikipedia entry you could dream of. Go nuts and read them all now and probably get fired, or just save some for later. No need to rush it! These scary stories aren’t going anywhere; they’re real [needs citation], so they’re always here when you need a good nightmare. (For one that’s more supremely mysterious than ghostly, might I recommend the Dyatlov Pass Incident?) (Seriously, read it! What happened? Let’s talk about it.) 
- GQ shares the personal account of a woman’s real life run-in with a truck stop killer, and:"Then he said one word: Run."
- BBC peeks behind the tattered, wind-whipped curtains of the kitchens that cook with blood. 
- Stepping into a pair of less spectral/ more soul-crushing pants, here’s a real life ghost tale: the slow death of higher public education. (Recommended by the always excellent Longreads tumblr.)
- And, okay, back in the hokey halloween print pants: are you going to a party where drinking is definitely involved but still have no costume? Have fun, drink responsibly, and know that Grubstreet’s got you covered: costume ideas that are really just excuses to drink more.
- Professor Plum in the pantry with the cote-du-beouf. Gory restaurant horror stories.
- Paper play: your favorite famous horror houses, kirigami style. 
- And finally, saving the best for last, let’s round this out with some classics. Here’s the ever infallible Alfred Hitchcock in a jowl-y telling of ghosts and ghouls: the 1962 recording of “Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghost Stories for Young People.” (Youtube account VintageHorrorSounds hosts all five parts of the Hitchcock series, in addition to the classics “The Haunted House” and “The Headless Horseman.”) Perfect. 
Happy Halloween from Clubhaus! What are you going to be?
- Maggie
[Image credit: Marc Hagan-Guirey / Paperdandy.co.uk]

It’s Halloween, y’all! We’ve rounded up a few spooky posts to better pass this candy-corn fueled fever dream of a work day for you. But first, what are you up to later? Quiet evening at home? Costumes, candy, carousing? Scary stories?  Regretting your amazing but hopelessly unattractive troll doll bodysuit purchase now that you’ve got a cute new crush? Endless options. Let us know!

Aaaand, here we go:

- The Hairpin has put together an excellent catch-all of every spooky Wikipedia entry you could dream of. Go nuts and read them all now and probably get fired, or just save some for later. No need to rush it! These scary stories aren’t going anywhere; they’re real [needs citation], so they’re always here when you need a good nightmare. (For one that’s more supremely mysterious than ghostly, might I recommend the Dyatlov Pass Incident?) (Seriously, read it! What happened? Let’s talk about it.) 

GQ shares the personal account of a woman’s real life run-in with a truck stop killer, and:"Then he said one word: Run."

- BBC peeks behind the tattered, wind-whipped curtains of the kitchens that cook with blood

- Stepping into a pair of less spectral/ more soul-crushing pants, here’s a real life ghost tale: the slow death of higher public education. (Recommended by the always excellent Longreads tumblr.)

- And, okay, back in the hokey halloween print pants: are you going to a party where drinking is definitely involved but still have no costume? Have fun, drink responsibly, and know that Grubstreet’s got you covered: costume ideas that are really just excuses to drink more.

- Professor Plum in the pantry with the cote-du-beouf. Gory restaurant horror stories.

- Paper play: your favorite famous horror houses, kirigami style

- And finally, saving the best for last, let’s round this out with some classics. Here’s the ever infallible Alfred Hitchcock in a jowl-y telling of ghosts and ghouls: the 1962 recording of “Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghost Stories for Young People.” (Youtube account VintageHorrorSounds hosts all five parts of the Hitchcock series, in addition to the classics “The Haunted House” and “The Headless Horseman.”) Perfect. 

Happy Halloween from Clubhaus! What are you going to be?

- Maggie

[Image credit: Marc Hagan-Guirey / Paperdandy.co.uk]

Chicago has a “Cultural Plan.”

Chicago has a Cultural Plan. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Monday a wide-ranging cultural plan for the city of Chicago, including arts education in public schools as a priority.

From the Tribune:

For a cultural center such as Chicago, Emanuel said, “to not have the basics in our neighborhoods and in our schools is a big hole, and that hole just got filled.”

And this:

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called the proposed 120-minute art requirement “an excellent start,” but she noted: “Arts studies must be fully supported and cannot be left to the vagaries of funding sources.”

And this, from Philip Thomas, president and CEO of the Creative Arts Foundation:

"Here on the South Side, there’s a dearth of economic opportunities, and we certainly have a lot of cultural assets," Thomas said. "So that’s really the way forward for us as a community."

So…your move, Buffalo.

-Ben

(Image courtesy: Chicago Magazine)

The shortlist of reasons to have cable should include Iconoclasts on the Sundance Channel. The show, now in its sixth season, is a series of conversations between some of the world’s most inspiring minds. Past pairings have included Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson (with a great hot tub scene), Bill Maher and Clive Davis, Mario Batali and Michael Stipe, and Dave Chapelle and Maya Angelou.

The new season includes Lena Dunham (“Girls”) and Judd Apatow (every funny movie of the last decade), and James Franco and Marina Abramovic. In the clip above, performance artist Abramovic demonstrates her passion for art philosophy while coating Franco in gold leaf. It’s not as weird as it sounds.

Iconoclasts is a fantastic glimpse into the things that connect dissimilar minds, and the value of passion, hard work, and consistency. The two-way interview format inspired Block Club’s 2009 Arts Issue, and January 2010 Conversationalists issue.

-Ben