Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

art. / December 5, 2005

I know blind, one-legged Buddhists who decorate a christmas tree better than our national tree. The tree itself is kind of frumpy, to begin with. Shouldn’t the national tree be the perfect specimen of Christmashood? They proceed to cover it with a blanket of lights. You can’t go more than an inch an a half in any direction on this 50 foots tall tree without running into a light bulb. Scattered over those are the largest, gaudiest, cheapest baby-blue, foot-wide, opaque, plastic snowflakes. And that’s it. (Besides the clear plastic, 2-foot tall star on the top. It looks like something that ghetto liquor store on the corner would have in it’s window, with cases of beer wrapped beneath it. The state trees aren’t much better. Washington DC’s particularly bothered me. Inside the clear balls which house the ornaments on every tree, were pictures of all the major local federal landmarks. Monuments, Memorials, The Capital, The Pentagon. (Okay… the pentagon isn’t even located in Washington DC!) There’s a half million people living in the District, with a rich local history going back 2 centuries, and all they can find to put in christmas tree ornaments are pictures out of a fucking tour guide book?
gilliam artChristmas trees aside, it was a pretty nice day. I ended up going to the Corcoran Gallery to check out their current exhibits. I first ended up at the Sam Gillian retrospective, even though i knew nothing about him. But oh my god, is his work… impressive. He basically ignores the traditional differences between 2D and 3D; working in non-traditional materials, or traditional materials in unusual ways, almost always on a grand scale. Bold use of color and texture on such an overwhelming scale can leave you briefly shocked looking at some of the pieces. (i.e. The Perfect White Paintings) I’ve never seen a collection from a single artist that showed such a clear progression in his work. You can see exactly how he got to every stage in his development. I felt a clear sense of purpose and planning, that I wish I had more of myself.
maoI eventually found the Andy Warhol exhibit, which was originally my main intention for going into the Corcoran. I was skeptical at first, and almost didn’t go, because I saw a Warhol show at the Corcoran just a couple years ago. But this was a much more comprehensive show, examining the artist over his entire fine arts career. Some of his portraits are so dead-on to the person represented, (such as the Dolly Parton or the Clint Eastwood), that I almost laughed. The skill and dedication with which he examined the media as a source of culture, and eventually his appropriation of it in the creation of something completely new… it’s impressive by today’s standards, much less 3 or 4 decades ago. I can’t believe he came out of the incredibly conservative advertising industry of the 1940s.
But yes… go see the shows. I could write about them for hours, and not convey how much I got out of them. (Although, as usual, the best part was a desire to create more on my own.)
indri.jpgWhat would a journal entry be, recently, without reference to Indri? Pretty sad indeed. She asked, after the last entry, why she wasn’t yet “freakishly beautiful”. But I think being “disgustingly cute” is much better. Cuteness requires an integrated package of looks, personality, and action. It’s your whole being. And it’s applicable to every part of your life. Beauty is so much more limited. It seldom refers to more than one aspect of an individual. (“She has a beautiful face.” “She has a beautiful soul.”) And it doesn’t often come up in a positive manner outside an intimate relationship.
So Indri… do I think you’re beautiful? Of course. There were times during my recent visit when I looked at you and couldn’t help but smile like an idiot. And I don’t often do that. So I guess that makes you abnormal as well.
But I still think being disgustingly cute is better.

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One thought on “art.

  1. If you are commissioned to decorate the National/State X-mas tree what will you embellish it with?
    3 entries in a row? tsk.. tsk.. tsk..

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