Twittering Machines

January 19th, 2011

Ten Great Years

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Music, Stuff

Max Dalton
Ten Great Years
Giclée print on ultra premium paper
Measures 16 x 21.3 inches
Limited edition of 500
Price $59.99

January 15th, 2011

Pierre Klossowski

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Books

Pierre Klossowski (1905 – 2001)
L’enlèvement de Roberte, 1993
Résine peinte et bois, 250 x 130 x 90 cm. © Collection of Denise Klossowski

Did you know that Pierre Klossowski made sculptures based on his faint life-sized colored drawings? Until recently I had no idea which is not really a surprise since he only made a handful of them with the help of sculptor Jean-Paul Réti and they were only exhibited a handful of times, most recently in 2006 at the Whitchapel Gallery, London along with works by Hans Bellmer.


January 6th, 2011

Duchamp & Cage

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Music

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp first published his 12 Rotoreliefs in 1935. He had been working with rotary discs and their optical effects for decades – Rotary Glass Plates (Precision Optics) from 1920, Disks Bearing Spirals 1923, Rotary Demisphere 1925 and in his silent film Anemic Cinema from 1927.

The Rotoreliefs are silent too even though they’re meant to be played on a record player. You can think of them as the home version. Duchamp thought they were amusing and Calvin Tomkins suggests that they move in an “erotic rhythm”. I do too. You can see the Rotoreliefs in silent action here and/or watch and listen with John Cage’s prepared piano accompaniment…

…from Hans Richter’s film Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947)
you can watch the entire film here

December 26th, 2010


Posted by michael lavorgna in Art

Marcel Duchamp
In Advance of the Broken Arm (1915)
Wood and galvanized-iron snow shovel, 52″ (132 cm) high

December 24th, 2010

Jean Dubuffet: Expériences Musicales

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Music, Records

Jean Dubuffet
Musical Experiences

Jean Dubuffet was a champion of Art Brut (that was his term, he made it up in the 1940s) which translates roughly as “Raw Art” or “Outsider Art”:

“Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals.” Dubuffet

Whether or not we agree or sympathize with Dubuett’s point of view on Art Brut (it seems to me as soon as he coined the term it became obsolete), the Art he collected and loved not to mention made was positively stunning (you can visit his collection of Art Brut at the Château de Beaulieu in Lausanne, Switzerland). Dubuffet also published a magazine in 1964 titled L’Art Brut and I had the extreme good fortune of finding volumes 1 & 2 many years ago at a long gone bookstore on 18th Street. The text is in French but fortunately the Art isn’t.

I saw a show of Adolf Wölfli’s art at the American Folk Art Museum and it was among the most amazing and exhausting experiences of my life. But I don’t want to talk about Art Brut and Adolph Wölfli right now, I want to talk about the records Jean Dubuffet made with Asger Jorn in 1961.


December 23rd, 2010

Christmas Cards

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Music

A Christmas Card From Don Van Vliet

The Ocean
Gave me Oysters
The People Watching it
Gave Me Ulcers

When the Ocean
is Wounded
it Takes the
Whole World to Heal.

Philip Guston, Christmas Card

from the Smithsonian

Cat sings Cat for Christmas

December 18th, 2010

In Your Face

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art

Andy Warhol
Oxidation Painting (in 12 parts), 1978

I saw a show of Andy’s Oxidation Paintings years ago (I believe it was at the Parrish Art Museum but I may be remembering something else about Southampton) and I also recall my first reaction – they’re beautiful. I’d heard about these paintings, read about them but never saw one in person and I have to admit I was surprised by their visual appeal. Seeing as they’re made through the chemical reaction between urine and copper.

Warhol had a few people, some speculate even himself early on, pee onto these canvasses coated with copper-based paint and based on their diet the paint reacted to the piss. More vitamin B, more orange…No, they don’t smell like piss and if you didn’t know, you’d never know.

Which reminds me (warning ‘adult’ material next)…


December 16th, 2010

2010 Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Cigars, Music, Stuff

Build Your Own Music Box

Includes music box, note puncher and 4 note sheets. Find your inner mini Nancarrow. Available from the Giant Robot Store for $22.


December 10th, 2010


Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Music, Stuff

images (from the top):
Victor Moscoso, poster The Chambers Brothers (1967)
Katharina Fritsch, Madonnenfigur (1982)
Converse by John Varvatos
McIntosh, MANHATTAN Home Audio System (MXA60)

Yesterday I received these two emails – the first was from the Matthew Marks Gallery announcing the opening of their new Poster Shop featuring “original works of art, rare books, signed catalogues, multiples, vintage rock posters from the 1960s, and will feature many hard-to-find objects.” The second was from Stephen Mejias who was kind enough to forward this press release “Mcintosh Joins Forces With John Varvatos To Sell Its Iconic Audio Components In Select Boutiques”.

And I thought, nice. Music, art, fashion and hi-fi all commingling and damn cosy. But let’s get real. I mean come on, who are they kidding. No audiophile is going to go into an “upscale themed boutique” to buy a hi-fi and no music lover is going to go to an Art gallery to buy a poster. The idea is just so…Oh. Wait a minute. What if they’re thinking the other way ’round. And I thought, nice.

I also think that the Matthew Marks Gallery should have one (or 2) of these in their new Poster Shop.

December 9th, 2010


Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Books, Music

John Cage

I didn’t know about Notations when I found it in the Rare Book Room at the Strand Book Store. That said, I didn’t discover Notations any more than a hiker discovers Versailles. But that didn’t stop me from feeling a deep sense of discovery (I’m talking about Notations and Versailles) regardless.

It was roughly 20 some odd years ago and I was becoming immersed in ‘Contemporary Classical Music”. I honestly don’t recall the initial spark but finding John Cage’s book Notations published in 1969 by Something Else Press, Inc. was like finding a treasure map. Filled with page after page of ‘graphic notation’ from Murray Adaskin to Gerd Zacher and 267 more in between, I read, peered at, examined, mined and studied John Cage’s Notations as if it contained the answer to life’s great mysteries.


December 1st, 2010

The Erotic Object Redux

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Stuff

Meret Oppenheim
Paris, 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, cup 4 3/8″ (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8″ (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8″ (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8″ (7.3 cm)

Bruno, Hairy LEATHER HEAD football ($150)

It only took 74 years for someone, Leather Head, to make a male version of Meret Oppenheim’s most famous fur-covered object. For Oppenheim the idea came about over conversation with Picasso and Dora Mar in a Paris cafè. The idea for the Hairy Leather Head Football came about when Leather Head’s kids asked him for a dog – “I made them a hairy football instead.”


November 21st, 2010

Inner Simplicity

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Audio

One of the pieces I put together for Inner World Audio was this pictorial spread. The premise was as the title suggests simplicity but the more interesting component for me was pairing up audio components with what I saw as kindred spirits from the world of visual art.

The article was prefaced with this work by Robert Rauschenberg titled “Erased de Kooing Drawing” which is exactly what it is. Rauschenberg convinced de Kooning to give him one of his drawings so that Rauschenberg could erase it and exhibit it as a work of his art.


November 9th, 2010

Triple Crass

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Music, News

AT&T went two steps beyond crass commercialism with their “Rethink Possible” campaign which features Nick Drake’s “From The Morning” (strike 1), which they edited to match the ad’s content (strike 2) that shows people covering big architectural things with bright orange fabric. Most people I know just figured Christo was somehow compensated for this absolute reference but it turns out it was a plain old-fashioned rip off (strike 3).

Christo, through his attorney, complained to AT&T so they stuck a disclaimer on the tail end of their ad – “The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with AT&T.”

fun fact: I just ran a Google search on “crass commercialism” and a link to AT&T’s “Rethink Possible” page showed up prominently as a paid-for adword in the search results. However, this ad will not show up every time you perform this search. It will only show up after you’ve visited sites based on “Christo” + “AT&T”.

“In addition to ads based on interest categories, Google allows advertisers (including Google) to show you ads based on your previous interactions online…”

I don’t know exactly which site(s) cause this AT&T ad to show up when searching for “crass commercialism” and have not been able to get it to show up again after clearing my browsing ‘history’. Someone out there has a wickedly good sense of high-tech humor.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
©2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude

November 5th, 2010

Roth Lynched

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art, Audio

The sleek Eames-tinged white Ceramic Speakers by Joey Roth cost $495 and include a 15W T-amp and cables (speaker + interconnects). As if that wasn’t enough (and it wasn’t for some audiophiles in terms of SQ), Joey gave a pair to each of nine of his favorite artists / designers / friends who transformed them according to their fancy for an exhibit titled Sounds Like: “The collaborators then worked with musicians to produce tracks specifically for their re-imagined speaker systems.” Musicians include Matmos and Ben Frost.

Care to guess who’s responsible for this darkened tattered vision version?


October 28th, 2010

A postcard from San Marco

Posted by michael lavorgna in Art

Remembering is the next best thing to being there.

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