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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak VII


12 February 2020

gratuitous image

No. 457 (cartoon)

I think I’m depressed.

If you’re not depressed you’re not thinking.

I think therefore I’m depressed!

13 February 2020

Maybe Sorry, Dogg-Style

Snoop Dogg, a “television host,” objected to remarks made by Gayle King, a “television personality.” He expressed his displeasure by referring to her as a “funky, dog-haired bitch,” and threatened to “come get you.”

Mr. Dogg decided to apologize to Ms. King after his mother—who’s apparently sensible enough not to have anything to do with television imbeciles—gave her son a good conceptual whap upside the head.

“Two wrongs don’t make no right,” he proclaimed after his comeuppance.

I thought that was a powerful statement; I’m still trying the parse the coupling of a pair of double negatives, “two wrongs,” and “don’t make no right.”

“When you’re wrong, you gotta fix it,” he added.

Maybe I’m looking at it too logically; perhaps it was just a bit of sophistry to obfuscate the absence of a sincere apology.

14 February 2020

The Joy of VD

Amanda used to suffer from the fear of VD, the kind penicillin and antibiotics can’t cure. She was distressed because she couldn’t endure the saccharine romantic Valentine’s Day clichés and best wishes on her nonexistent love life from complete strangers.

I told her Valentine’s Day was like any other day: quite enjoyable if approached creatively. I wrote a little story for her to tell well-wishers.

Valentine’s Day means something else to me. On this day in 2011 my husband slit the throats of our three children, even the baby. He was coming for me when I pumped both barrels of the shotgun into what was once his head. He was such a wonderful loving man before he started using methamphetamine. I’m sure you must know what that’s like; happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

The approach I suggested worked; Amanda now looks forward to today’s false holiday. Each time she tells the story it gets a bit more macabre and gruesome. It’s a wonderful example of how anything can be rewarding if approached with creativity and joy.

15 February 2020

Earth Sandwich

Dang; I wish I’d done that.

That’s the highest praise I have for another artist. I rarely say that, but I am today for Etienne Naude’s piece, Earth Sandwich. He put a slice of bread on the beach in Bucklands Beach in Auckland, New Zealand, at the same time as a collaborator put another slice of bread on the ground exactly on the opposite of the planet in Spain, twelve thousand seven hundred and twenty-four kilometers away as the fireworm burrows.


Theresa said she might have used a plate underneath the sandwich and topped it with cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, et cetera. That’s a ridiculous thing to say; artists don’t need editors. Not only did she not do the work, she never even thought of such a lovely idea. Nor did I, alas ...

16 February 2020

Failing the Dizzy Dean Test

Cheryl claims that she’s working on a new symphony made entirely from rubber bands. She boasts that her work will be better than any symphony Beethoven or Picasso ever cranked out.

She’s great at bloviating about things she claims to be doing, but she’s never passed the Dizzy Dean test, i.e., “It ain't bragging if you can do it.”

17 February 2020

Contemporary Musical Promotion Strategies

Holden Matthews, a twenty-two-year-old aspiring musician in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, burned down three churches. He explained the arson was an attempt, “to raise his profile as a ‘Black Metal’ musician.” He sent videos of the burning buildings to his friends and boasted about setting the fires, and in doing so only managed to raise his profile with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Qaw’mane Wilson, a twenty-three-year-old would-be musician in Chicago, paid a man to murder his mother in order to inherit her savings and insurance. Again, the motivation was artistic: he wanted to customize the expensive sports car his mother gave him and be seen waving huge wads of hundred dollar bills to increase his popularity.

Wilson was remorseful at his trial, and told the judge, “I just want to say, nobody loved my mother more than me. She was all I had.” That’s almost as good as asking for leniency because he was an orphan after the matricide. The judge, who also heard hired killer Eugene Spencer testify that Wilson ordered him to stab his mother after shooting her to, “make sure the bitch is dead,” was unmoved and sentenced him to ninety-nine years in prison.

This reminds me of an old joke, but then everything does.

A tourist in Manhattan asks a local how to get to Carnegie Hall.

“Practice, practice, practice!”

Will anyone will repeat that to Matthews or Wilson when they’re behind bars? I suppose it doesn’t matter; I doubt either fool would understand the punchline.

Or maybe the joke is on me, as is so often the case. I wonder if the reason that so much of the new music I hear sounds so tediously crappy is because murderers and arsonists, not musicians, made it?

18 February 2020

Gwyneth Paltrow Revisited

Stephanie wrote to berate me for the snarky comments I made about Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina-scented candles. (I’m not complaining, though; I’d rather receive a chiding note from a friend than none at all.) She said my focus on the ways the entrepreneur was monetizing her vagina blinded me to the “fact” that she was a great artist.

She claimed Paltrow was exploring the same aesthetic vein as Count Meroni Manzoni di Chiosca e Poggiolo did with his 1961 piece, Merda d’artista (Artist’s Shit): ninety tins each allegedly containing thirty grams of his feces. Each can sold for the same price as gold at the time, thirty-seven dollars an ounce, or three hundred and twenty dollars in 2020 dollars.

“Gold is currently going for sixteen hundred dollars an ounce,” Stephanie noted, “but a tin of Merda d’artista is selling at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Manzoni never saw any of that; he died before his thirtieth birthday.”

I’m afraid Stephanie may be right. Once I discard my prejudices against a new age mountebank laughing all the way to the bank, I have to admit that Paltrow’s candle, This Smells Like My Vagina, may indeed smell like art, with or without a flame.

19 February 2020

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Encantado Fence (Sextych)

I spend much of my time in my Santa Fe studio looking at an old fence. I’m not being meditative or anything like that; I don’t do that sort of thing. It’s just that it’s visually in line with one of my three computer monitors.

It’s a typical New Mexican coyote fence, and I have no idea how the popular design came to be, or why it even exists. My best guess is that it’s a windbreak, since it’s essentially a wall that encloses nothing. It’s not going to stop ambitious coyotes from climbing over or lazy ones from walking around either end.

After weeks of staring at it, I decided to photograph it in order to stop thinking about it. (I sold all of my lenses that stopped down to f64, but that aperture will be etched in my brain forever, alas.) I gave in to the visual temptation to photograph the rough cedar fence, but I’m not pleased by the result, Encantado Fence (Sextych). That doesn’t matter; now that doing that is out of my system I can move onto my next visual attraction although I have nothing in mind at the moment.

I rarely work on two projects simultaneously; serial monotony is the artist’s life for me!


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©2020 David Glenn Rinehart