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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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30 July 2020

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No. 8,152 (cartoon)

I might murder you.

You’ve never done a favor for anyone.

31 July 2020

Shadow It Furtively

Luka told me that she’s read the thing I wrote about the thing and asked me where I came up with my creepy and cockamamie ideas. I recognized her remark for what it was: a combination of a compliment as well as the old question every allegedly creative person occasionally gets, “How do you do it?” There are millions of ways to respond to that, so I quickly made up an answer I’d never thought of before.

“I just relax, let my mind wander, shadow it furtively, and take notes on where it goes and what it sees and hears,” I explained.

“Really?” she asked.

“Yes, surreally,” I replied.

Hey; that wasn’t so bad! That explication merits recycling, so I just did.

1 August 2020

Said By Me

I’ve been working on a secret project for months and it’s going slowly. The problem is that it requires fabricating things—actual work!—from scratch. I acquired all of the scratch I needed some time ago but haven’t done anything with it. This is a (lack of) result of the project management strategy that’s always served me well: why put off until tomorrow something I can postpone until next week?

I am aware I’m not the first person to describe that plan of (in)action, but that matters not one whit. Karl Valentin and I are in agreement, “It’s all been said already, though not yet by me.”

My computer flagged the previous paragraph for plagiarism, but not for the quote. (Valentin’s line is in the public domain; he died in 1948. And anyway, I don’t worry about stealing other people’s material.) I coded my writing program to only alert me when I’m copying myself, and it seems that’s the fifth time I cited his observation in eight thousand nine hundred and eighty of these entries. I don’t have a problem with that, especially since I’m the only person who’s read all this drivel over the past quarter of a century.

And finally, here’s a bit of advice for anyone tempted to write to me and point out that I last cited Valentin on 8 October 2017: get the professional help you need and don’t waste money on postage.

2 August 2020

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Georgia O’Keeffe, Artist or Artisan?

The curators at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum are organizing a conference to address the question everybody has not been asking, was she an artist or an artisan? It seems like a simple, irrelevant question only because it is, but the symposium already has various factions drawing their rusty daggers.

Exhibit A—the only piece of evidence presented—is check no. 4532 for “Only Four and 93/100” dollars drawn on O’Keeffe’s account payable to “Artisan/Santa Fe” for “Art Supp.” That might not seem worth mentioning because it’s not, but that slip of paper is all the self-appointed guardians of her legacy need to argue for two days.

The “she was an artisan” bloc argues that no one but an artisan would get their supplies from a store called Artisan; case closed.

The “she was an artist” camp points out that she clearly said the funds were to be used for art supplies, and that the name of the vendor is irrelevant. “It wouldn’t have made any difference in her oeuvre if she bought her paint from Sabrina’s Schnitzelhaus,” argued an irate scholar from Die Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf.

There’s also the political angle. The check is dated the first of May, 1978; that’s International Workers’ Day. Were the “Art Supp.” for banners or posters and not for proper art?

Her signature is rather shaky as might be expected since she was in her nineties at the time. Someone else filled in the rest of the check, but who? If she didn’t authorize the four dollar and ninety-three cent expenditure, then is the entire symposium pointless if not absurd?


Having definitively answered the only question that matters, I’m calling it a day.

3 August 2020

The Decisive Moment Remastered

Leica Camera AG will publish an “enhanced” seventieth-anniversary edition of Cartier-Bresson’s seminal 1952 book, Images à la Sauvette. Sort of; I shall ’splain ...

The original French title means “hastily taken images” or “images on the sly,” but for reasons known only to people who know what the reasons are, its English title is The Decisive Moment.

Matthias Harsch, Leica Camera AG’s Chief Executive Officer, explained that the photographs will be “digitally enriched” to show what the original photographs would have looked like had Cartier-Bresson used the latest iteration of the Leica camera and lens he used in the first half of the twentieth century.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release: “The stunning photographs in The Decisive Moment Remastered will reveal how the maestro’s classic images would appear had he used the Leica M10 Monochrom camera (MSRP $8,295) and the APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH (MSRP $10,595) lens. The finest details are rendered with more than fifty percent contrast, enabling sharp images with superb corner-to-corner detail rendition in all photographic situations.”

My friend Niklas in Wetzlar, Germany, works for Leica; I called to him to tell him how outraged and amused I was that his company was turning a classic volume into an expensive quadtone coffee table sales tome.

“Don’t get your lederhosen in a twist just yet, honig,” he advised. “In 2023 we’re tarting up Frank’s The Americans, and in 2024 we’re doing colorized editions of both.”

I had to agree that made good business sense since the only people who buy new Leicas are idiots with more money than brains who are too stupid to realize that cameras don’t make great photographs, artists do.

Cartier-Bresson, who died sixteen years ago today, was unavailable for comment at press time.

4 August 2020

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Spravato’s Not Funny

Well dang, things sure are grim, aren’t they? (I know I’ve said this before, but, as an artist, I have a keen grasp of the obvious.) Coronarama would be even worse without satirists and parodists. How do they keep coming up with new ways of lampooning life today when contemporary life is a parody of everyday life? Or something like that.

I was amused when a team of writers and graphic artists came up with an illustrated press release for “Spravato,” a nasal spray to prevent suicide. Who wouldn’t want to have an emergency canister nearby these days? I wouldn’t have a hard time imagining all the skits and jokes except for one thing ...

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Spravato as a legitimate, overpriced, Big Pharma drug, even though it was about as effective as placebos in clinical trials. And that’s not at all funny, alas.

5 August 2020

It Is What It Is: An Inane Tautology

On 4 September 2011 I wrote, “... some things annoy me too much to ignore. Take the phrase, “It is what it is.” Take it, kill it, shred it, and bury the remains. Please.”

Stupid people will always say idiotic things, so I’m not at all surprised that the abhorrent saying has been in constant use ever since I published my unread rant. And speaking of nincompoops, pResident Drumph used the inane expression in response to an interviewer’s observation, “A thousand Americans are dying a day [from the virus].”

“They are dying. That’s true. And you—it is what it is,” Drumph replied.

It may sound counterintuitive, but I was delighted to hear him say that. Now, whenever someone who should know better says, “it is what it is,” I shall point out that they sound just like Drumph.

I wonder if the pResident just might have been talking about his fatuous phrase and not the coronavirus when he went on to make his hallucinatory prediction: “This thing’s going away. It will go away like things go away.”

If only ...

6 August 2020

A Brief Visit with Lily

Lily called and invited me over to her place for a quickie. Now let’s stop right there.

Lily and I have been dear friends for a very long time. There was nothing really wrong with her offer on the face of it—or any other part—but I was fairly sure what I heard her say wasn’t what she meant. (English is not her first language.)

“I’m not sure ...” I began.

“Don’t worry,” she interrupted, “we can cut back on the cheese and have no bacon. I will make you enjoy it.”


After a bit of awkward backing and forthing, I finally understood that she was inviting me to share the quiche she was going to make.

I happily accepted her invitation and we had a nice visit, although it took an improbable turn and was over all too quickly.


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©2020 David Glenn Rinehart

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