Thursday, April 29, 2010

9:50 a.m.

Love is blind, and that is why I've seen It's Complicated more than once. The slew of life-style driven product placements, shiny Priuses and close-up shots of glossy highlights/laughter/bottles of wine wanders beyond too much to bear. But! it's a movie, and not reality anyway.

However, as much as I adore Meryl Streep and many rom-coms, I am perplexed by the scene in which her character, Jane, and Alec Baldwin's character fight, kiss and make-up around a water-cooler in her kitchen. Do you know what I'm talking about? Jane has already graciously made a Pellegrino (more lifestyle-driven product placements) and orange juice for Jake. Then, in mid-conversation, Jane strides over to her strategically placed, office-sized Arrowhead water cooler and begins to fill up a glass. This is supposed to feel natural. Instead, I try to think of someone I know, of any socio-economic-bottled-water-loving attitude, who owns a water cooler like this. Still in mid-conversation with Jake, she realizes the water cooler is empty. She grabs a new one, from some secret lair of water coolers, and we watch as she removes the now-obsolete container and replaces it with the new one. Knowing firsthand that water coolers are tricky, I anxiously wonder if she will drop the container, and it will burst all over the floor. Throughout all of this, Jane and Jake partake in a light-hearted banter.

What is the meaning of this scene? What if Jane had poured herself a fizzy orange juice too, and they playfully argued in the garden or at the sweeping stone-topped kitchen island? For me, it would have been less distracting than the giant water cooler action in the corner.

Further, does this scene develop Jane's character? Do we now learn that Jane not only possesses the world's most beautiful kitchen (complete with glass cake stands and covers) but can also multitask at the water cooler?

Most important, what producer owed Arrowhead a favor so big it required a distractingly long and contrived domestic water cooler scene had to come from it?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

12:42 a.m.

Children have an uncanny ability to transform fleeting moments into unbelievably exaggerated lengths of time. Strangely, these elongated lapses remain embedded in our memories, even into the logical realm of adulthood. I vividly remember being dragged by mother through the old contemporary wing of the Nelson-Atkins Museum on weekends and afternoons. As a six or seven-year old, I think I dealt well regarding the number of museum visits I made. With the zoned-out valiance of an easily amused child, I wandered around and waited for her, my mother, an artist, who should have lived during the New York School, and whose abstract paintings would, sadly, never outsell the garish barn watercolors in the local galleries of Parkville. As long as we visited the corridor of recreated period-style rooms before leaving the museum, I was okay with sitting on any black, leather bench and staring off into space. One afternoon, I found myself staring into a dark, square void of a painting and thinking in child-appropriate terms, "What the hell is this?"

"This" was Untitled No. 11 — a Mark Rothko.

Nothing in my minor existence had prepared me for a painting like No. 11. Although I grew up around art, adored papier mache and huffed new boxes of Crayola crayons, my experience with Rothko was a full-fledged mind-blower. In retrospect, viewing the Rothko was the first of only a handful of recondite moments I have had in my life. I was enveloped by the nearly-black brown and carried into what I can only describe as a dark-lightness. I do not recall any breakthrough thoughts related to the painting or art in general, but I do know that I couldn't stop thinking about it, even in the recreated period-style rooms, and even after we left. On return visits, I was only interested in going back to the black leather bench and getting sucked back into Rothko's world.

For something so abstract, I wasn't intimidated by Untitled No. 11. If anything, it was easy and strangely inviting to me; somehow unpretentious, I remember thinking that the painting itself wasn't trying too hard or suggesting a particular point of view. Kids like that.*

Rothko's work moves without moving, and that's what I love about it. With each visit, each viewing, it is impossible to see the work in the same way. Brooding colors play games with whatever personal mood you bring into the gallery. The longer you look, the more you are drawn into the slow, deliberate flux within the canvas.

Untitled No. 11 stuck with me, but I didn't get sucked back in until 15 years later, when I was in a room filled with his works at the Tate Modern. If a person can have an experience like mine as a child with one of his paintings, being surrounded by eight, large works was overwhelming. "This afternoon, I am sitting in a room filled with Rothko's," I wrote in a journal entry from the day. "My stomach churns like the paintings, and my head has filled with thick syrup that moves with what I see before me."

One year later, I was back again. Only now, I walked through rooms filled with Rothko's color field paintings for the Tate Modern's retrospective on the artist. Maybe it was because I was not sitting while viewing most of the works, or perhaps the constant stream of viewers left me distracted, but my experience was more grounded this time. I was moved by the series, and for transient moments I was drawn into certain canvases, but never in that syrupy way.

Certain smells, imagery and foods conjure memories of childhood. A friend told me that just thinking about the cinnamon rolls her grandmother once made nearly brings her to tears. My association with Mark Rothko evokes memories of inscrutable moments — memories of inexplicable, personal growth and imagination. Although I cannot remember my thoughts while viewing his works (journal entries help), I can recall the feelings afterward because they have remained with me, especially Untitled No. 11.

* Rothko began writing a book he never finished that compared the work of modern painters with children's art.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2:54 p.m.

As if our financial state wasn't a big enough joke already, let's take a moment to reflect on the tragically confusing, colorplosion of the new Benjamin. I'm different typefaces? Can anyone confirm? Is it even possible?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

10:45 a.m.

Making a vector Earth card was the least I could do for such a special lady!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

9:46 p.m.

Potions of Our Own Perception
It's Elementary My Dear Watson, an exhibition by Ian Shelly
Exciting photos to come!

"Holy Shit," exclaimed a surprised, twenty-something as she entered the George Caleb Bingham Gallery. "Now this is a grad show."

Despite her uninhibited use of an expletive, the woman's reaction is quite appropriate for ceramicist Ian Shelly's Masters Thesis exhibition. It's Elementary My Dear Watson is a successful and complex study on where, among other things, childlike naiveté and scientific rationalism converge. Excited playground shrieks rub together with scientific discovery in an atomic particle party of Eureka! moments.

Shelly has transformed the gallery into a space full of sculptural vignettes that are tied together not only by subject matter, but also by a distinctive language of color, geometrics and mechanics. The cone is used throughout his sculptures, and Shelly constantly challenges its meaning as a "beneficial or detrimental" symbol. Clay, cone-shaped, pseudo-humans are the protagonists of each work, peering collectively through scientific lenses, or wobbling alone at a miniature, handmade telescope. Large canvases adorn either end of the gallery, with more cone-beings hanging from miniature, metal swing stages, perhaps serving as window washers or painters. Recalling past science lessons, they seem to paint or rinse away sketches of abstract atoms.

In another imagined world, a canvas with the faintest hint of Mondrian is violated by multicolored cone-shaped bullets that penetrate and pop out like growths, suggesting the juxtaposition of humanity and weaponry. Painted in slightly dirty yellows, oranges, reds and blues, crumpled traffic cones serve as drunken guides through many of Shelly's other works.

Situated in the center of the gallery and serving as the exhibition's climax, a post-apocalyptic sand castle crumbles before us — either washed away by a natural source or our own doing. And still, there is a naiveté and whimsy to it all. Shelly is a skilled illusionist, as his nearly real fortress evokes our own childhood pipe-dreams and playthings. Maybe it is simply a little boy's imagined playhouse. With his range of techniques, it is quite possible to forget that Shelly's primary medium is clay, a natural substance that is always somewhere under our feet. Here, miniature wooden tanks infiltrate the barriers of trompe-l'œil clay that imitates wood or rusty, aged metal.

The exhibition inspires valuable discourse on the perception of our own activities. At what point does a plaything represent a perpetrator? As if left out from their toy-box, there are disheveled toys off in a corner — a reinvention of Risk where there are no continents to conquer, only soldiers to corner and destroy. Across the room, five jets hang statically between the floor and ceiling. Four resemble military aircraft. One, however, looks like a tiny, model plane invented by the Wright brothers. By questioning our memory of childhood, perception of objects and thoughts on our own history, Shelly taunts us to play "Which of these things is not like the other?"

Down to every detail, It's Elementary My Dear Watson is an exquisite show that examines and challenges our notions of humanity's flippancy and fragility against undisputed scientific evidence. Although there are only a few moments when the exhibition can seem too literal, the artist's vision and execution of his show is both complex and complete, with plenty of opportunities for discovery along the way.

It's Elementary My Dear Watson exhibits April 19th-29th at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, with an opening reception on April 23rd and a lecture on April 28th.

For more information, visit or the Bingham Gallery's website.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

10:17 p.m.

Venice, through the Looking Glass
Thoughts on 3. Visions in Glass, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

From Left: Laura de Santillana, Christiano Bianchin, Yoichi Ohira
Photos via Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

I couldn't go to England because of a big, loud volcano that Jon Stewart named Kevin. I went to see Venice instead, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Venice. 3 Visions in Glass is the first stop on a tour of three cities (Kansas City, Naples and Paris), that illuminates the Venetian side of life, showing the diverse work of a trio of glass artists, all of whom work on the island of Murano.

I've always had a difficult time thinking critically about sculpture (although, you'd think with a design background, sculpture might be a more comfortable place for me to think about art), but in the past few months, I've enjoyed the challenges that come with experiencing an unfamiliar media, asking stupid questions and diving right in to find out what I really think.

I had never thought about seeing a city through glass. Although you could take a stained-glass window tour of the entire country of Italy, I didn't initially believe that contemporary glass sculpture could emotionally place me in present-day Capulet-Montague territory. This group exhibition changed my mind.

I was first drawn to the minimalist slab works of Laura de Santillana. There is a two-yet-three-dimensional quality to her work, and the color field style is reminiscent of a Mark Rothko or Morris Lewis painting. But thank goodness it isn't a painting; the color and the frostiness of the glass work together in different lighting to exude a certain moodiness. Her slabs are inspired by pieces of glass found on the shore that have been worked away by the sea. Dark grays, charcoals and ambers give off an earthy glow. And then, washes and splashes of Merlot and Kryptonite green are stretched through a series called Flags, which creates even more opportunities for variations in light and reflection. Although the colors alone draw one into her work, the complexity of a seemingly simple slab is what ignites the hues. Moments and sips of air are trapped within glass confines — as if there is a gap between two window panes — forming small pockets of liveliness that evoke large, flat bubbles from deep in the sea.

But Santillana doesn't stop with the slabs. She also makes bright, large, metallic vessels that do not look like glass at all. In a way, they resemble oversized, crunched-up water bottles strewn along the shore. Overall, the artist's use of surprising color — tangerine, sparkling amethyst, ultramarine — produces an ethereal quality to the everyday objects that happened to provide inspiration.

Christiano Bianchin's glass sculptures work well when placed in the room with Santillana's. Like Santillana's slabs, there is a mid-Century modern quality to Bianchin's sleek shapes, partly covered in intricately crocheted hemp, which immediately transport us to the coast, where fishermen pull in their nets. There is a seriousness to both Bianchin's opaque and transparent pieces, but flea-market trinkets adorn the tops of urns, adding a humor to his work, hinting again at the sea's endless surprises of contextless objects washed ashore.

Bianchin's sculptures do not necessarily stir up a particular emotion; rather, they evoke imaginings of Venetian history. A series of polished, oblong vessels resemble modern-day interpretations of ancient effigies or tools. Although they are clearly works of art, Bianchin's pieces imbue an intentional practicality — perhaps in another life they stored one's jewelry, sweets or stones from the seaside.

And then, Japanese-born Yoichi Ohira takes viewers spiraling down a rabbit hole of both dazzling, kaleidescopes of color and extreme absences of everything but clear glass. In his imaginative and meticulous-yet-chaotically colorful series Calle, Ohira presents vibrant works that open, like Venetian canals, into another world of psychedelic, super saturated, color. Fleeting moments of narrow, sunlight-ridden streets amble into loose-yet-intentional patterns and layers. But then, he eliminates everything. All color is stripped from other works save for the painted red lip of a vase's top. It's as if we've made an accidental but lucky turn down a side alley to see something so abruptly different. Even with the extremely minimalist glassworks, one can clearly see Ohira's artistic range and dynamism within the pockets and layers he has created in the vessels. With or without color, Ohira's works kinetically dance to "music without sound."

Venice: 3 Visions in Glass is not lacking in pieces to see. In fact, the amount of glasswork was slightly overwhelming. Because the Nelson does not yet have a permanent glass collection, it is understandable that the museum would want to take advantage of the opportunity to show as much work as possible. Still, a higher level of selectivity could have tied the artists together more effectively. Although most of Santillana's works are shown with Bianchin's, Yoichi Ohira's pieces are cornered in cases out of the central exhibit (I found myself doing an excessive amount of walking back and forth between Santillana and Ohira). Integrating the three artists would enable viewers to develop stronger exhibition narratives and fully appreciate the simultaneous diversity and mutual experiences of the artists and their work.

9:32 p.m.

Whoa. Get ready.

Organic vanilla yogurt, halved almonds and the crown — a few chopped pieces of Green & Blacks 70% Dark Chocolate.

9:09 p.m.

Some people lose themselves by the sea. Others let it all go with a drive in the countryside.

Me? I reach a zen-like state in the grocery store. All is right in the world, and the new Hy-Vee on Conley.*

*And in my mouth, which is still savoring dinner's flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, leeks and balsamic vinegar.

Monday, April 19, 2010

4:36 p.m.

Auditorium by Ian Davis

Thoughts: Faith in the Future

A warning: if your transatlantic flight has been cancelled three times due to volcanic activity, Ian Davis' Faith in the Future might hit a little too close to home. Unscrupulous and sometimes bizarre tragedies or events are painted into looming, threatening environments. However, the depth, detail and humor that each work imbues might also conjure thoughts of New Yorker cartoons, films by Terry Gilliam, or quite simply, the hilarity of life.

I mean this as a compliment — viewing Davis' work is much like unraveling the world financial crisis. From far away, the newspaper headlines didn't look so bad, but as we read more stories, the more overwhelming it became. In this exhibit, the magnitude of Davis' works cannot possibly be appreciated from three-feet away. You must start up close (nose-to-the-canvas-give-your-eyes-a-chance-to-refocus close) for the Twilight Zone-esque depictions to materialize.

The unexplained circumstances depicted by Davis are so meticulously calculated, that every intricate, minute detail adds to the surreality of the scene. Although Davis has gone to pains to draw hundreds of faces on men whose heads are smaller than thimbles, they are all so scarily similar that features transform figures into a faceless void.

Davis utilizes architecture to implant his faced-but-faceless masses in colossal halls, auditoriums or pseudo-natural disasters as predicted from the perspective of scientists circa 1950. The gravity of the situation is felt at an intimate level and also at a grand scale. The colors he chooses — black, pinks, reds and blues — stay with you. All you can really remember about For No One is that pink, pink sky. You cannot remember the faces you got up close to see, but there are blobs of black suits following you to your car.

But Davis isn't making a political statement. It's not a scare tactic. His work is really quite humorous and innocently engaging. It's his perception of our future, mixed with a good dose of the now-funny, Cold War-era imagery.

Faith in the Future, which ends mid-June, is part of Kemper at the Crossroads and is Davis' first museum exhibition.

3:52 p.m.

Ideas and the space between

Last Wednesday morning, I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrea Heiss' Carnegie Arts Writing class at the Missouri School of Journalism. I talked a bit about what's happened since graduating last May, and how art and design make up a significant part of my life. We talked about freelancing, curating and going to exhibitions, and somewhere in my ramblings, I set myself up for a difficult question.

Andrea, one of the best professors I've ever had and someone with whom I'm very happy to have stayed in touch, asked what I saw when I looked at art.

As someone who wants to write about art and design, I've thought about this question a lot, but never really outside of the space where I am seeing art/design. It's kind of a personal thing to talk about because everyone's experience is different.

When I look at art, I want to see the work in a way that allows me to remember it from every angle, distance and perspective. If it is a painting, I want to stand five feet away; and then with my nose practically against the canvas; and then I want to see it from across the room. If it is a sculpture, I want to remember it from a 360-degree point of view (I very much dislike any exhibit that inhibits the ability of someone to walk completely around a three-dimensional work of art). If it is a building, or an entire exhibition, I want to see things from birds-eye view. By mapping out the exhibit through memory, notes and art, I create a strange sort of out-of-body experience for remembering how I encountered a narrative or display. I try to bring a mind full of these memories back to my computer when I write. But, many times, when it comes down to it, I forget all about the maps and models I created for myself. And instead, what I think of immediately when I write or think about a work is the space; especially, white and negative space.

In Andrea's class, I equated this type of thinking to musical rests. When I was learning a difficult passage, my cello instructor told me not to think of the notes. Instead, she said, focus on the rests. The rests are what make this music. For me, this notion works quite well for finding meaning in a work of art. My eyes are naturally drawn to the white or negative space. You could use this ideology to think about the work of Franz Kline. Is the work about his thick, black dramatic brushstrokes, or is it about everything that surrounds them?

You also don't have to consciously view a work of art to take part in this idea. How do you get from one piece to the next? One moves through negative space, and many people — architects, designers, artists and curators — might have a say in the way you get to the next work and the feelings that meander, roll, stroll, or run invokes.

I thought more about this conversation on Saturday, as I walked through the Naguchi Gallery of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Six-Foot Energy Void is equally about the slab of Swedish granite from which the work is carved and the emptiness the work creates. The same is true for Henry Moore's Large Torso, which is also at the Nelson. The negative space makes the sculpture, and the sculpture makes the negative space. Or, to quote a Buddhist sutra, "Form is emptiness and emptiness if form."

Except, there is nothing "empty" about these negative areas; they are kinetic and dynamic. Because the Moore is part of the sculpture garden, it becomes a great example for how easy it is to see how negative space can enhance or actually be the work of art. Time of day, time of season, state of mind all change what you see. For me, that is what makes sculpture so special. The negative space makes it impossible for you to experience it the same way every time.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This Afternoon

In the garden of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, I munch on a Winstead's grilled cheese sandwich and sip a Diet Coke. It has been some time since I have sat outside with no purpose at all. I packed things to do in my satchel — a book to read, a notebook for scribblings, a camera for photographs, a stamped postcard to write and to perhaps send — but mostly, I rest my head on my jacket, and doze supine, with the sun in my face.

There are no clouds in sight, but my mind is hazy, and most everything feels blurred. I even have difficulty focusing on what I recently deemed (to just myself, but now to you) the most beautifully written novel in the world. Even Colum McCann's words — which are sometimes strung together in a way that connotes dripping hot caramel from a spoon 12 inches above your ice cream, and other times are so succinct they break like snap peas — are too much to take in this afternoon.

From how the voices sound, two mothers sit approximately 20 feet behind me. They are doing a poor job of watching their children play. I guess this because their voices are not directed in the general direction of their children, who are following a butterfly up ahead. Instead, they gabber quietly amongst themselves, but I can still hear one woman's long and dramatic tale of the babysitter who recently fired her (gasp!) through text messages.

I tune out slightly, so that the women's voices mix with the volume levels of the boys who play frisbee down the main green and the trio that picnics on a gingham blanket down the way. Even in my patterned blouse and bright red lipstick, I feel invisible and wonder if the women mind that I hear everything they say. It all feels bright, even with my eyes closed.

8:25 p.m. (From a while ago)

Using up the leftovers

Sauteed spinach, carrots and mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and a touch of Worcestershire sauce (weird, I know!), with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of black bean pasta.

8:18 p.m.

Gifts from a very dear friend.

Here are the hand-lettered, brown paper packages.

Friday, April 16, 2010

11:49 a.m.

Last night, as I wondered whether my rescheduled flight would get off the ground, I realized that I had been personally warned this eruption might happen. At the beginning of April, my father forwarded an e-mail from Olafur, a friend of a friend in Iceland, who took photos of recent eruptions. I forwarded the photos onto T, with the attached message:

"got these interesting photos from my dad. aren't they cool!?"

Guh. If only I had taken Olafur's words seriously:

"The danger is if it triggers the next Volcano, “Katla” then we could see problems on big scale even affecting the northern part of the globe!"

Now 1 million passengers have been affected, and who knows if this next rescheduled attempt for Sunday will pan out. This could last for ages! The natural world is really having its say. In the meantime, I'm waiting to see when Godzilla appears.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

4:09 p.m.

This volcano is ruining my plans.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10:12 p.m.

Do you want to see something cool? Like, really cool?

Luke Lisi, a designer in Kansas City and all-around great person to know, has posted some of his hand-drawn type on his blog. But! It's better than just a jpeg. Luke takes you through his process with an animation of how he works with the type. It's terrific. And, I do believe he's getting ready to post Part 3 of the series.

9:37 p.m.

Woohoo! BodyTalk is back in the glory of a million, big queer rainbows.

Go visit the website and download the issue. Let us know what you think!

BodyTalk is going on a bit of a hiatus. I mean, come on, we deserve it after putting out the 4th issue of a quarterly zine in seven months. We'll be back, though and even better! And we want to hear from you while we're away. Keep sending your submissions. Anything you want to write. Your work will end up in a future issue, and who knows, your contribution could inspire an entire theme.

Written by the lovely Kristin Noe, and I ate far too many of those grapefruit jellies.

Illustration by Joel Sager

The shirt I had embroidered with a purple patch and silver letters!

Strange Enough

Official video for N.A.S.A.'s "Strange Enough" by Tom Loughlin, Stewart Wagstaff, Sam Taylor and Lorna Lavelle.

Check it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

9:43 p.m.

I'm leaving for London on Thursday at the horrible hour of about 4 in the morning, and I've been trying to get things finished up before time gets away from me. BodyTalk is currently in the wild throes of production, and I am excited about our contributing artists. So excited, in fact, that I thought I'd post their links for you to check out. You'll have to download the new issue when it launches to see what they did for us!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

5:11 p.m.

I eat blood oranges in plain yogurt with honey on the sunny spot of my couch. Turned slightly, I catch the mauve tones of the blooming redbud out my window.
Mid-morning light
Redbud. If only I cleaned my windows more.

After breakfast, I decide it is a bright red lipstick day. Bright red lipstick looks smashing with denim shirts over black Audrey Hepburn cigarette pants and a messy bun high-atop my head. I do some work, and despite the low height of the couch compared to the Parsons coffee table, it is worth it to sit near a sunny window and listen to Francoise Hardy, who reminds me that my eyebrows are looking a little too French lately, and so I make an appointment to have them looked after. They can't fit me in UNTIL TUESDAY!
Old lipstick, and NO, I will not show you the state of my eyebrows.

Though it is expensive and unfortunate, today is also a good day to get locked out of my house and wait for the locksmith, a very well-fragranced man named Tom Devine, who didn't pick a lock at all. Instead he climbed in through the window, and let me in.

I learn my lesson. I have a spare key made, buy new red lipstick and buy more yogurt and spinach.

Then, 4:21 rolls around, and I think of my grandparents, who drink a martini every day at 4:21. I don't have anything to make a martini, so I make a gin and tonic. It is a tad strong, and I realize I have not eaten enough today. Then I apply my new red lipstick, which will also look smashing with my vintage swing dress that I'll put on later.

Sorry, Hans. But, I adore you and the Serpentine and this book so much I've read it twice. I think that warrants using it as a plate for delicious happy hour snacks.
New lipstick. Still no eyebrows. You would quit reading this blog if you knew the truth.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

5:21 p.m.

She didn't want to put on tights. Why couldn't the event's dress code be "Pajama Party?"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

9:42 p.m.

Radicchio is no laughing matter.

Radicchio and spinach salad with bosch pear, cameo apple, leeks, sunflower seeds and a tangy-sweet, balsamic-yogurty dressing.

I think next time I'll use a bit of goat cheese for richness and to balance out the severe flavors of the leek and radicchio. Otherwise, pretty good.

6:00 p.m.

Walking up to the Jewel Box reminds me of champagne fountains and what Nick Carraway might have come across on Jay Gatsby's estate. The reflection of 4,000 glass panes is imbued with bright blue sky, clouds and foliage from within. From the outside, the Jewel Box conjures an image of a sparkling, emerald-cut diamond.

Although it is a greenhouse, the temperature inside is not unpleasant or particularly muggy. A hint of humidity hangs delicately, like the leafy branches of the tropical plants above. It is just barely difficult to breathe, and the gentle reminder of a future August is refreshing after the bitterly cold winter. I smell the sheerness of lilies and a freshness like plaid shirts washed in rose water and sun-dried. Plants in large, round ceramic pots line a walkway up to what could be a gardener's alter. Vines and flowers creep upwards, climbing towards the glass roof that seems to blend into a Coppice of leafy Art Deco. Moments of splashing sun between shadows fill one's entire body with an otherworldly warmth, one that can only be found in the concentrated heat of a greenhouse. The glinting brightness of the panes encourages a serene meditation of zoned-out bliss. I find it difficult to leave.

Monday, April 5, 2010

3:21 p.m.

With every tap of my black leather flats against the concrete floor, I savor the sound that reverberates from my toe, echoing to the wall and across unknown spaces.
I am enveloped in two grey boxes, that despite possessing six sides each, seem endless and infinite. It should be entirely unnatural, but instead the Pulitzer makes me feel closer to the elements. Inorganic concrete effortlessly adheres us to the wind and water and grass. It's as if the streak-free glass window doesn't really exist. It's so clean I forget about it, and when I lean my head against it I am surprised it is there to catch me.

We are not allowed to take photographs of the exhibit, so instead I circle and circle the work of Gordon Matta-Clark and attempt to commit the sliced-off sides and corners of houses to my memory. Where else could this exhibit have been shown? Although the bits of houses once rose elsewhere, they now cannot exist outside of this space. Like the wind and water and grass, I am connected to their decrepit exoskeletons. I enter a room and see the outside of part of a house. Red paint chips off the wood siding, and the windows are cut off at an abrupt place. I walk counterclockwise around the structure and see the boney insides -- tacky and cement, wood blocks and bolts. 45 more degrees counterclockwise and I am surprised to find the inside of a house. For a moment I forget what this piece really was: A place. It belonged to someone. It was someone's. A home. A fading coat of seafoam green paint is interrupted by pale wooden imprints of the stairs and the creamy white trim around the windows. Even out of context and history, it is inviting.

Rather than thinking critically about the works as art, Matta-Clark's anarchitecture stirs up wonder and imaginative, unpretentious experience. When I notice the three-inch thick stacks of roof shingles, the unbearable cold of a New Jersey winter without heat chills my insides. I think of little stories of the boys and girls who might have lived in one of these abandoned rooms. This exhibit is challenging. In the Pulitzer, I am more aware of the fleetingness of history, and I wonder what structures and places last forever. Only in retrospect do I realize how emotional something like that is to think about. In the Pulitzer, thinking this way is simply second-nature.

10:55 p.m.

Holy Shitake Mushrooms!

The delicious result of an impromptu and surprisingly affordable Easter trip to Whole Foods on my way out of St. Louis.

Baby bok choy, carrots, spicy roasted pumpkin seeds and black bean noodles with sauteed leeks and Shitake mushrooms. And sesame seed roasted sweet potatoes. I topped everything off with a sesame-lime-ginger-ilovemyfoodprocessor dressing.
I can't wait for leftovers tomorrow.

8:15 p.m.

For an acid trip without the acid, check out the Vice Guide to North Korea:

You will be mystified.

Friday, April 2, 2010

2:25 p.m.

Yep. It's kind of like this today.

I also had my fortune told. I'm supposed to eat more raspberry whip eggs and pastel M&Ms.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Earlier today

Good morning.

9:38 a.m.

Flying hedgehogs in my inbox!

Oh, yeah, and get 10 percent off at Urban when you enter APRILFOOLS at checkout.