Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2009 AIR Taipei Open Call for International Residence Projects

This announcement is from Taipei Artist Village:

"Applying Deadline:From now till 2008-8-18 (by postmark)
2009 AIR Taipei Open Call continues focusing on the projects in arts & culture, creative industry, and interdisciplinary and business-arts collaboration, for both international and local artists. This year we will launch a new site in the Yangmingshan National Park , the Grass Mountain Artist Village , which the artists have another option. Combining the two sites, the brand new AIR TAIPEI will continue spreading the art seeds in Taipei .
Since the establishment of Taipei Artist Village (TAV) in 2001, art exchange between local and international talents has been the most important mission. In 7 years TAV has sent nearly 80 Taiwan artists abroad for residency and over 200 international artists have been in residency in TAV activating in the city corners with art. The application deadline for both domestic and international programs will be August 18, 2008. Please download the application guideline and form from the website: . Application through email is not acceptable. For further inquiries, please call (02)3393-7377 ext 102/105/107/108 or email to "

Monday, June 23, 2008

mmm, dead artists

Today's NYTimes has a morbid article that discusses how the art market loves artists, especially deceased ones.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catatonic Baby & Staten Island Politics

Years ago I wrote a musical comedy titled "Catatonic Baby" about a young woman madly in love with a catatonic patient. That was my ideal perfect relationship at that time.

It contained catchy R.D. Laing-inspired lyrics such as:

I love the way
you sit and stare
and act like
I'm not even here.

For 7 years
My heart's been numb
My head gets hot
Coz you're the one

You're my catatonic baby

We performed it at New York's Club 57 and Danceteria in 1982. It was a blend of punk, Leslie Gore and performance art. The male lead who played the catatonic and co-composed the music was Fran Powers. Fran recently made headlines for running against his father Frank Powers in the recent Staten Island elections. LOL

The New Yorker covers this compelling story in their latest issue:

The photo is from Pasolini's classic film Oedipus Rex (1967).

Monday, June 16, 2008

The US's Cultural Policy

U.S. presidents aren't known for their support (and even understanding) of the arts and culture.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama's policy for the arts sounds innovative and exciting.
Andrew Berardini posted this on his blog:
Our nation’s creativity has filled the world’s libraries, museums, recital halls, movie houses, and marketplaces with works of genius. The arts embody the American spirit of self-definition. As the author of two best-selling books – Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama uniquely appreciates the role and value of creative expression.
Reinvest in Arts Education: To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children’s creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education. Unfortunately, many school districts are cutting instructional time for art and music education. Barack Obama believes that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning. The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts recently said “The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.”
To support greater arts education, Obama will:
Expand Public/Private Partnerships Between Schools and Arts Organizations: Barack Obama will increase resources for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants, which develop public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations. Obama will also engage the foundation and corporate community to increase support for public/private partnerships.
Create an Artist Corps: Barack Obama supports the creation of an “Artists Corps” of young artists trained to work in low-income schools and their communities. Studies in Chicago have demonstrated that test scores improved faster for students enrolled in low-income schools that link arts across the curriculum than scores for students in schools lacking such programs.
Publicly Champion the Importance of Arts Education: As president, Barack Obama will use the bully pulpit and the example he will set in the White House to promote the importance of arts and arts education in America. Not only is arts education indispensable for success in a rapidly changing, high skill, information economy, but studies show that arts education raises test scores in other subject areas as well.
Support Increased Funding for the NEA: Over the last 15 years, government funding for the National Endowment for the Arts has been slashed from $175 million annually in 1992 to $125 million today. Barack Obama supports increased funding for the NEA, the support of which enriches schools and neighborhoods all across the nation and helps to promote the economic development of countless communities.
Promote Cultural Diplomacy: American artists, performers and thinkers – representing our values and ideals – can inspire people both at home and all over the world. Through efforts like that of the United States Information Agency, America’s cultural leaders were deployed around the world during the Cold War as artistic ambassadors and helped win the war of ideas by demonstrating to the world the promise of America. Artists can be utilized again to help us win the war of ideas against Islamic extremism. Unfortunately, our resources for cultural diplomacy are at their lowest level in a decade. Barack Obama will work to reverse this trend and improve and expand public-private partnerships to expand cultural and arts exchanges throughout the world.
Attract Foreign Talent: The flipside to promoting American arts and culture abroad is welcoming members of the foreign arts community to America. Opening America’s doors to students and professional artists provides the kind of two-way cultural understanding that can break down the barriers that feed hatred and fear. As America tightened visa restrictions after 9/11, the world’s most talented students and artists, who used to come here, went elsewhere. Barack Obama will streamline the visa process to return America to its rightful place as the world’s top destination for artists and art students.
Provide Health Care to Artists: Finding affordable health coverage has often been one of the most vexing obstacles for artists and those in the creative community. Since many artists work independently or have nontraditional employment relationships, employer-based coverage is unavailable and individual policies are financially out of reach. Barack Obama’s plan will provide all Americans with quality, affordable health care. His plan includes the creation of a new public program that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health care similar to that available to federal employees. His plan also creates a National Health Insurance Exchange to reform the private insurance market and allow Americans to enroll in participating private plans, which would have to provide comprehensive benefits, issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums. For those who still cannot afford coverage, the government will provide a subsidy. His health plan will lower costs for the typical American family by up to $2,500 per year.
Ensure Tax Fairness for Artists: Barack Obama supports the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow artists to deduct the fair market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Closing of Florent in New York

What's happening to New York City, man?
I read in today's China Post (here in Taiwan), an AFP story about the closing of the unique restaurant Florent.
Why would a blog about art discuss a restaurant closing? To have a truly creative environment conducive to art making, you also need cool hang-outs for people to meet and be influenced by each other.
Here's a NY Times story discussing the importance of the restaurant. The owner Florent Morellet is the son of conceptual artist Francois Morellet. Florent will close the end of this month.
When I lived in NY as a struggling painter I worked there as a waitress. On various occasions I dressed as a French sailor, a tripping hippy (love child) for Valentine's Day, a suffragette for a feminist political rally plus I got to chat with the people I served such as Elizabeth Murray, Susan Sontag, Leigh Bowery, Roy Lichtenstein, Spike Lee.
The news reported that the rent went from US$6000 a month to US$30,000 a month. This truly sounds criminal. With similar things happening to the Chelsea Hotel and CBGBs, I really wonder about the cultural life of New York.
From the NY Times article it seems like a lot of 'Sex and the City' wannabees are dominating New York's cultural life - so a lotta young yuppies demanding macaroni and cheese to consume in their shallow lifetimes sound quite revolting to me.
C'est la vie.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Creation & Destruction

Beautiful photo of Yves St. Laurent's famous Mondrian dress courtesy of

Yves St. Laurent's recent death was discussed in all the major media. One thing many of these obituaries mention is his mental fragility. Robin Givhan of the Washington Post stated:


"Saint Laurent had a temperament as fragile as a hothouse flower and always seemed just on the verge of nervous collapse. He seemed burdened by creativity and overwhelmed by his success and responsibilities..."


For such a sparkling genius who worked for decades creating innovative designs and changing history, he also had a negative side to his creative mind.


That got me to thinking that the flip-side of 'creation' is 'destruction.' And I wonder is that the price to pay for creativity? In other words, the mind that gives you 'creativity' also gives you 'destructive' thoughts. Since they are the exact opposites of each other, they seem to be inseparable.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Beijing's 798 art district gentrifies

So if you only thought gentrification happened in capitalistic art centers such as NY -- you're absolutely right.
It's again happening in a highly capitalized art city: Beijing.
Read this AFP news story about how the once-edgy 798 art district is becoming the new Soho.

Choose by Carl Sandburg


THE single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open asking hand held out and waiting.
For we meet by one or the other.