Aesthetic Thursday: Matthew Jensen's "49 States"

Matthew Jensen, The 49 States, 2008-9
Google Streetview in Art
I am addicted to Google Street View. I am going to Philadelphia this weekend and I have already seen on Street View what the hotel will look like, what the front of a restaurant I want to have lunch at looks like  all as if I will have already "done" the trip before I even go. Someone else has already been there. Someone has already snapped a photograph. There is nothing new under the sun. But I like what Matthew Jensen has done in the Metropolitan Museum of Art display of his work  he has taken a collage of images from Google Street View and organized them alphabetically according to State (e.g., the fifty states of the United States).

Jensen's Work at the Met Reminds Me of the Iconic American Road Trip
Seeing Jensen's work at the Met, as part of an exhibit on contemporary photography, I think of travel, the association Americans have with the road trip and snapping pictures. What is a road trip without a camera? Now that we have Google to take our snapshots for us maybe the camera is dead on the road. *sad face*. The images Jensen has collected are absent individuals but it seems easy enough to insert a human being into each State's slot. Look, there is me in New York. There is me in Connecticut. I look at my home state of Louisiana and compare it to Wisconsin. They both seem the same  and taken as a whole the image captures a unity of sorts, the kind of unity I get when traveling on the interstate where every exit is the same as the ones that came before it and all the ones ahead will look the same and so on. Is this a new American flag? Maybe so.

Stray Observations:

  • Why are there only forty-nine states in Jensen's collage? I did not have time to figure out what state is missing.
  • Did Google allow Jensen to use their images?
  • I feel like Jensen's work would be better if every picture in the series included a person whose face is blurred out.
  • I want this piece to hang in a doctor's office.


Found Objects: Jean-Paul Sartre Found On Construction Signage

In this post, I look at a sign that is supposed to be one thing, but looked at through the lens of existentialism means something else entirely.

This sign is on a fence meant to direct visitors to the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan away from construction on the new transportation hub for the PATH train at the World Trade Center Site.


New York City Subway Story: 34th Street Herald Square BMT Broadway Line

*The following is an excerpt from my book Things I Shouldn't Have Said and other Faux Pas.*

The N train is a New York City Transit subway line.
I feel shabby. On the BMT Manhattan-bound platform waiting for an express train, she wore white earmuffs, a chic gray winter coat affixed with neat round black buttons, forest green stockings, and black boots.


Video Repost: Nick At Nite Those TV Classics!

This is a clip from a Nick at Nite promo: "Those TV Classics!" 

I think lots of people from my generation will remember this advertisement.


Aesthetic Thursday: Eva Hesse at the Whitney Museum of Art

Eva Hesse, No Title, 1970
I like to go to the Whitney to experience one artist's work  and that is it. The Whitney does a good job of showcasing one work by one artist in a collection of works dedicated to several artists' work. Here is Eva Hesse's sculptural evocation   I call it an evocation of a sculpture because I am not sure if it is a sculpture or something else. Rope suspended from the ceiling in what appears to be haphazard, but on closer inspection, the organization of rope is purposeful, designed. Hanging rope. Hanging garden. Hanging. The feeling I get standing, hanging, hanging around, flapping my arms, my body, in space  this is how this piece makes me feel.
PDF Copy for Printing
Image: Whitney Museum of Art


Photographs: "Train Station" and "Orange Train"

"Train Station"
Orange Train

In this post, I showcase two photographs on a recent trip I took on the Amtrak Crescent — a heavy passenger train that travels from New York City to New Orleans daily.
image credit: Greig Roselli


Theresa of Avila on the Meaning of Life

Handwriting Credit: Greig Roselli


The Best Novels I Read in 2012

Top Ten Novels Read in 2012
1.       Lionel Shriver. The Post-Birthday World .  2007. 528 pp.
I was intrigued by the storytelling. Shriver is da bomb.
2.       Lionel Shriver. We Need to Talk About Kevin. 2003. 400 pp.
About a high school shooting, it is a dark indictment of American mores.
3.       William Trevor. Felicia's Journey . 1994. 240 pp.
Stepping into this novel is like stepping on a hot plate with set to slow burn fuck up.
4.       Don Delillo. White Noise.  310 pp. 1985
Written over twenty years ago, this novel may be too ironic to still matter.
5.       Lionel Shriver. A Perfectly Good Family: A Novel  305 pp.
Southern family, a house, sibling rivalries – and the death of parents!
6.       Norton Juster. The Phantom Tollbooth. 1961. 272 pp.
Very clever novel about how to overcome boredom and to think for oneself.
7.       Terry Pratchett. Hogfather (Discworld, #20) 1996. 448 pp.
Ho Ho Ho. Death cracks me up. An alternative Christmas story for sure.
8.       Lindqvist, John Ajvide. Let the Right One In. 2005. 513 pp.
Child murderer(s), bullying, girl vampire, pedophilia and Sweden. Chilling.
9.       Joyce Carol Oates. Zombie 1995. 181 pp.
The ending is fucked up. Pair it up with Shriver’s Kevin and Trevor’s Felicia.
It’ll make for good CGI film-making and the time travel makes sense. Sorta.

Honorable Mentions

George R.R. Martin. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) 1996. 693 pp.
   The names are fun. And maps! Surprisingly easy to follow.

Neil Gaiman. American Gods . 2001. 632 pp.
   Gaiman wants us to like his villains. I don’t mind.

Lonely Christopher. The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse 2011 190 pp.
   I was not stunned by this mess.

Charlaine Harris. All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #7)  2006. 323 pp.
   Don’t hate me but Allan Ball does a better job.

Neil Gaiman.Neverwhere 1996. 370 pp.
   Great concept: a world under London. Feels like Pullman. It isn’t.

Phillip K. Dick. The Simulacra. 1964. 214 pp.
   Sorry. I was not liking this paranoid regurgitation. Not Dick’s best.

Phillip K. Dick. Paycheck and Other Classic Stories 1952. 432 pp.
The one about the robots and the dude who builds a replica of his hometown are the best of the stories.

Shriver, Lionel. The Female of the Species 1987. 416 pp.
   I’d rather a story about the Masai then Gray and her failed trysts.

   The book is lackluster and I’d suggested Homer instead.

Daisuki Igarashi Children of the Sea, Volume 1 (Children of the Sea, #1)  Unknown date. 320 pp.
Too bad I read this book from left to right first! Duh. Read it from right to left.

Great set of books: I loved the description of food. I hear there is a Hunger Games cookbook.