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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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5 June 2022

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No. 1,734 (cartoon)

We are not here for a long time.

We are here for a good time.

So why are we here again?

6 June 2022

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Art’s Gun Control Plan

I just discovered that I missed one of Art Buchwald’s columns from 1976, “Art’s Gun Control Plan.” He sidestepped the question of whether the average schmo is legally entitled to have a bigger arsenal than the entire Bhutanese army and came up with a solution worthy of Solomon: amputate everyone’s trigger finger.

“The constitution gives everyone the right to bear arms. But there is nothing that says an American has to have ten fingers.”

I’m sorry to report that what sounds like a good idea in theory doesn’t work in practice. I say that with certainty, since the first thing I did after losing my right index finger as a boy was to get an Agent Zero M spy briefcase. I could fire the concealed pistol inside simply by pressing a hidden button on the side of the briefcase with my middle finger.

The moral of this story is obvious: finger triggers don’t kill people, bullets do.

7 June 2022

A Rewarding Museum Experience

I saw the huge Laurie Anderson exhibit at the Hirschhorn Museum this afternoon. I don’t want to say that a big show is a big bore, so I didn’t just say that. Ed Ruscha had the right idea when he painted, I Dont [sic] Want No Retro Spective. (I’m sure nefarious curators will nevertheless stick him with at least one when he’s too dead to fight them.)

Anderson’s one of my favorite artists. I love her work, but I can’t say the same for huge institutional installations. I’m nevertheless pleased that I saw it. Her show, along with a spotless, air-conditioned bathroom, ultimately made for a rewarding museum experience.

8 June 2022

The Tedium is the Message

I’ve always liked Robert Adams’ pithy one- or two-sentence quotes. I’ve never found his photographs to be of any interest, but thought I’d have a look at his sprawling exhibit with an open mind.

I’m glad I did, even though the photograph used to promote the show—it looked like Lee Friedlander’s work from the last millennium—was completely unrepresentative. After looking at over a hundred of the photographs he made over the last four or five decades, I appreciate that the cumulative boredom of so many dull images is greater than the sum of the tiresome photographs. (I emphasize that I’m not calling the photographs “bad” since they’re certainly not, but they address aesthetic concerns that are of no appeal to me.)

Concluding with a one-sentence quote, Brian Eno could have—and perhaps should have—written the promotional line for the show, “The tedium is the message.”

9 June 2022

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After Duchamp (Diptych)

A couple of days ago I followed a sign pointing to a Marcel Duchamp exhibit that had disappeared. I’m sure I didn’t miss anything; everything he created is thoroughly documented; he hasn’t done anything new in over fifty years.

I made a satisfyingly satisfactory photograph of readymades that museum workers created by papering over the Duchamp signage, After Duchamp (Diptych). The two photographs don’t work well as a diptych, but I’m presenting them that way because I couldn’t decide if I liked one, both, or neither of them.

10 June 2022

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National Gallery of Art Test Strips

The earnest curators at the National Museum of Art glued a sensor to a little placard and explained that it was a light meter, not some sort of clandestine surveillance device that the secret deep state shadow government mounted on the walls.

I rely on a light meter for almost every photograph I make. I’d be lost without one, and sometimes even with one. I documented the wonderful little device, and presented it in, National Gallery of Art Test Strips. This was the first time I’ve made test strips in decades, and probably never will again unless I need to calibrate a printer to make photographs on paper again.

Coming next weak: more of the same.


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©2022 David Glenn Rinehart

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