Category Archives: academia

LACMA Meets MC Masta Don

130719_lacma-mastadon

Proposed LACMA Site Renovation with Mastadon Edifice

LACMA Director Michael Govan announced plans for a complete makeover of the LA County Museum Of Art Complex. When renowned Swiss architect Mänfred Zweibach proposed his breath-taking $300M “Zwirlyplex” vision, critics were momentarily silenced by the sheer audacity of the vision.

“But…we’re completely ignoring the rich history of vernacular architecture of Los Angeles” argued Franklin Grossemund Trautte, enigmatic benefactor who has only recently surfaced on the West Coast. Mr Trautte made his initial fortune in recycling ’70s and ’80s TV tropes and memes. At a recent LACMA board meeting, described by nameless observers as “a candid and open sharing of views and visions”, Trautte unveiled his idea for a massive edifice in the form of a Woolly Mastodon.

The edifice, quickly dubbed “Masta Don”, would house the entire Post-Modern holdings currently in the BCAM, which would be converted to a Zeppelin hangar. Michael Heizer’s “Levitated Mass” would be moved, and painted a cheerful lime-green, and be the entry portal for the Four-Pillared Gallery under Masta Don’s massive hindquarters.

Construction is slated to start in June 2015.

“The Art Doctor” Cannot Reanimate the Brain-Dead

Mr Shark has his own thoughts on the subject of art.

Mr Shark has his own thoughts on the subject of art.

I’m delighted to assure you that bullshit knows no boundaries or statute of limitations. The New Yorker had a lengthy article on “the Art Doctor”,  conservator Christian Scheidemann. I respect Mr Scheidemnan’s encyclopedic expertise. What I find thoroughly laughable is his considerable talents are keeping art swindles by the likes of Damien Hirst et al, on life support.

Exceptions to the sorrow were some droll moments where beetles were gnawing the guts of a Wilfredo Lam canvas because they liked the glue. Wilfredo could kick the asses of all the current Po-Mo darlings, and then entertain their mistresses in style.

So, I decided to fire off a letter, to hurl a dead cow over the parapets if you will:

Editors:

Did it occur to anybody else while reading “The Art Doctor” that the real task was conservation of a preposterous fraud? Every “artist” reverentially mentioned is a slick bullshit artist, a mountebank, a swindler and cheat; pimply adolescent trolls stumbling in the footsteps of giants. I can’t wait for all of their “works” to implode due to their moronic ineptitude.

There was no thud, but it felt good anyway.

21 Questions In An Unsettled Time

Abandoned 1920s Billboard, N of Mojave CA. 1989

Abandoned 1920s Billboard, N of Mojave CA. 1989

I was contacted recently by a student who is going to be graduating this spring from Brooks. She included a survey and asked for answers so she could figure out her next move.

Tell me about yourself and your business.

Self-employed freelance print-production expert, with a sideline in photo

Where did you go to school?

Ohio University

Why did you choose that specific school?

A complicated story. There was no choice in the matter–my dad taught photo there, and with a faculty discount I paid (you’re not going to like this part) $79 a quarter (1973-77). However I had to cover all my own school expenses, while working nearly fulltime at his wife’s boarding stable. Much, much later I discovered that my grandparents had salted away money for my education…

What was your major?

Graphic design

How did you get started after school?

Looking for entry-level jobs. Got a job as a paste-up guy at a tiny magazine for $4.50/hr

Did your schooling prepare you for the industry?

Not really.

What are your most effective methods in growing and sustaining your business?

Being adaptable, learning new skills, learning old-school techniques and processes. Showing up on time. Meeting deadlines. Not being a dick.

What was the greatest challenge in starting your business?

Overcoming the terror. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Is there any particular methods you would target and approach clients?

Be honest. Get a mentor

What are your favorite strategies of promoting yourself and your business?

Word of mouth. Social networking via LinkedIn/facebook. Its not surefire, but it helps.

What is your branding method or strategy?

Selling my experience.

What is the job market like in your market for new college graduates?

Really bad

What is the competition like in the industry?

Fierce

What is the competition like in your geographic area you promote and operate your business in?

Same as above

How do you determine your pricing?

1/ not being a CraigsList low-ball dick.

2/ realistically cover your costs, because this is a business

What would be your advice to a recent grad from a photography school about art direction for a career?

An effective art director is somebody who understands that looks alone are not going to make truly effective or interesting advertising.

I had a teacher who observed that fashion advertising is a world where the rules of gravity are suspended. I read W because the photography is alternately wonderful and horrifying, and gravity-free. Like the recent Marc Jacobs stuff where models are in a swirl of what appears to be mustard gas. Those are somewhat interesting images, but missed opportunities for art direction and design. By contrast there were some Chanel ads that were brilliant in their understated strength.

Are you growing as a business or entity?

I′m trying to grow my business as a specialty photographer using vintage cameras and film. Since my work is not insta-deadline driven, its a set of techniques like an illustrator

Would you recommend going to marketing classes or seminars?

depends on who’s teaching them. Get on a photo/designer list, ask questions, poke and pry. You’re trading money for talk.

Do you attend seminars?

Yes, very selectively

How is changing technology affecting your business?

Too numerous to mention. Suffice to say I watermark every image I post. Yes, its a dick move, but until I get paid for that image, its there, at 5% opacity, and meta-data’d as well.

What advice do you have for a student photographer desiring to enter the business?

Get ready to work very, very hard. Some joy, a fair amount of heartbreak. The stuff you thought was soul-deadening in school will probably pay your bills.

CODA

I mentioned my dad taught photography. Every quarter hed review the numbers for his Basic class:

450: annual number of students in Basic Photo [150 x 3 quarters]
100: number of students accepted into Intermediate, annually
25: number of students in Sr Class
10: number of students as graduate students
1: number of students making their living in photo, 5 years after graduation

This did not take into account the photo-journalism shooters, which was a different program. The numbers may have shifted over the years, I don‘t know.

I sincerely wish you the greatest success in your efforts. I really do. Hopefully the soundings I offer will help in some way, and not be discouraging. If I can be of any other assistance, let me know.