Brutus and Caesar at the MET

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If facebook was a bar…

If facebook was a bar, I wouldn’t go.

The bar would make money by lining the walls with LED billboards for things that are tangentially related to the places I was at before coming to the bar. The bar would be the only one that would have my friends and acquaintances, having years ago put all the other bars out of business. It would use that unique advantage to sell my presence to other interests.

They would only serves drinks that were based on other drinks I have had before.

Everytime I spoke it would be mic’d so the whole bar could hear. There is almost nothing I have to say that I want everyone I know to hear. Most form squads of silent judges.

This bar would be the sole arbiter of identification processes for other public places. When other shops and venues needed to verify who I am, they would promise not to put anything on my tab at the bar.

When something goes terribly wrong near where we live, it would become custom to check into the bar just to let everyone know we were ok, and that we’d be back at the bar soon.

If facebook was a bar, it would be so carefully designed that I feel compelled to check in even when I was just there. I would stop by in between all my other errands. There would always be another friend offering another drink.

Bars are great places to speak freely, to be uncomfortably honest in a zone of limited collective memory, to stand down our guards, and to be among those who will forgive our peculiarities and our faults. If facebook was a bar, I wouldn’t go.



Why I started accepting digital currency for my artwork

A week ago I posted this on my facebook page:

There’s a fun new addition to my website. I now accept Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) for art purchases. Most of my new work costs about 0.055 BTC or 0.95 ETH.

The comments were entirely sarcastic, “What about Monopoly money?”

My response, “I’ll have to check the exchange rate.”

Which made me ask, could I reasonable accept Monopoly money? Here was my response:

OK, so i checked it out. Monopoly retails for roughly $25, and each set comes with 15,140 MM (Monopoly Money), so each 1 MM is worth about 0.00165 USD. My new work would cost about 605,600 MM or 40 full banks of Monopoly Money. Logistically this is too burdensome, so at this time I can not accept Monopoly Money, and have no plans to do so in the future.

Theoretically, I could accept full monopoly sets as payment, with a premium to cover the cost it would take to resell them.  The issue comes down to this:  I don’t have a passion for selling board games.  Anything of value that distracts me from my core goals has no value to me.
I could accept anything that is valuable to me under those terms in exchange for my art.  I have bartered with fellow artist friends to trade works. Their work is valuable to me. In almost every case I think I’m getting a deal because I can literally create my work from a pile of materials, but I can not make theirs.
Purchasing my art in digital currency is closer to bartering art for art. It is payment that comes in a form that overlaps with my interests. I doubt I would even withdraw from the digital currency market into USD, that would be like trying to sell my freinds art as soon as we traded. Doing that misses the point.
This prompts a fun thought experiment. What other valuable and easily transferable things could I trade for art? I love cooking, but the quantities involved are likely too burdensome, and there is the issue of spoilage. Truffles are overrated clods of dirt. Cheese comes closest to feasibility, but becomes rather horrible in large quantities. Spices last fairly well but few of them are valuable enough.  I can’t imagine holding on to fifty pounds of cumin for a painting.
And then it hits me:  I can accept payment in saffron for my art.

Details from a Billion Dollar Nudes Show

Gagosian Gallery in Midtown put up about a billion dollars worth of nudes, mostly men painting women. Here are a few details from the fleshy romp through modern and contemporary figure painting.

John Currin

What always surprises me when I’m lucky enough to get in front of a Currin is the brushyness of it.  The old master technique is visible on the surface, not secretive at all.

Aristide Maillol

The patina on this is stunning, lustrous.  You could treat a bronze cast of a clod of dirt with it, and I’d be mesmerized.  (A note of caution, I crushed my hand on the door handle going out to the roof deck. There’s not clearence for a hand to go between the handle and the door jam, rather odd really.)

Lucien Freud

The glass between the viewer and the art is always disappointing (Francis Bacon’s suffer similarly), but it makes sense as this work is likely worth 8 digits before the decimal.  Get up close to the hands and feet before the guards yell at you, it’s worth a close look



This Cézanne is basically a detail in the show, it’s tiny and in a huge frame (I’ve cropped about half of it out). The clarity of this piece in person is remarkable, the brushstrokes are fractured, stitched together like a quilt made by a drunkard, but the overall effect is crystalline.  I think this guy Cézanne knows what he’s doing, I’d like to sign up for the newsletter.


Another example of Currin’s subtle touch.  His sexually explicit and provocative content provides a convenient excuse for the prudish art viewer to dismiss his genius.  There’s probably not a greater figure painter working today than John Currin.  His women are attenuated, extra-vertebraed impossibilities that are marvelous to behold even as a close inspection shows you they’re about to rip apart.