25 December 2023

Rufino Tamayo, The Watermelons, 1977

23 December 2023

20 December 2023

Mary Bauermeister 1934-2023


Square Memories, 1965
ink, glass, glass lens, wood, stones, paper collage, graphite, felt-tip pen, painted canvas and painted wood construction
18 5/8 x 18 5/8 x 6 1/2 inches / 47.3 x 47.3 x 16.5 cm 

Do try to catch "the first public exhibition of Bauermeister’s earliest mature body of work, a series of abstract, psychedelic pastels dating to the 1950s... ..Bauermeister’s limitless imagination ... would soon nurture the environment where the first Fluxus happenings took place between 1960 and 1961 in her Cologne studio. The avant-garde that gathered there included John Cage, Christo, Merce Cunningham, Nam June Paik, David Tudor, and others who would go on to form a vanguard scene of musicians, dancers, and performance artists who thrived in New York throughout the 1960s, a milieu now known as Neo-Dada" at Michael Rosenberg Gallery, 100 11th Ave at West 19th Street, til January 20th.


Fuck the System (Dürer Madonna), 1972
18 5/8 x 18 5/8 x 6 1/2 inches / 47.3 x 47.3 x 16.5 cm 

“I could never execute the Madonna picture if I titled it in German—the work is named Fuck the System—that doesn’t work in German but in American English it’s more casual, and the Madonna personifies ‘fuck the system.’ She is the first iconic, revolutionary feminist whose immaculate conception we still celebrate today; she is a glimpse into the future, she is a woman of the future…”
—Mary Bauermeister



Antonio Negri 1933-2023

Reality is always ordered toward the infinite determination, but the converse also is true: This tendency toward the infinite must also invert itself, expressing itself as a plural determination of things produced, without which the infinite world would be seen as divisible.  The ontological totality is the endpoint of the spontaneous expression of reality; reality is the product of the spontaneity of the infinite totality. To the spontaneity of existence corresponds the spontaneity of production. The spontaneous and complete correspondence of the singular existence and the total existence, within the tension of expression as well as within the nexus of production, is the beginning and the end of philosophy.

Philosophy speaks because being is not mute. Philosophy is silent only where being is mute. [Spinoza's] Ethics, I, D1: "By cause of itself I understand that whose essence involves existence, or that whose nature cannot be conceived except as existing." D3 "By substance I understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, i.e., that whose concept does not require the concept of another thing, from which it must be formed." .... Being tells of its necessary correspondences.

(L'anomalia selvaggia, 1981, tr. Michael Hardt, pp. 45-6)

08 December 2023

Refaat Alareer 1979-2023


Rise! Rise!
No matter how neglectful you are,
You will remain in my eyes and flesh an angel.
And you remain as our love wants you to be:
Your breeze is amber, 
Your land bliss— 
And I love you more. 
Your hands are trees
But I do not sing
Like other nightingales.
The chains teach me to fight and fight,
Because I love you more. 
My singing is daggers of roses,
My silence the birth of thunder,
And a lily of my own blood.
You are the soil and the sky
And your heart is evergreen.
Your love when at a low ebb is a flow; 
How, then, can I not love you more?
And you are as our love wants you to be:
I am your beloved child;
On your sweet lap
I grow, and rise.


(Mahmoud Darwish, I Love You More,  translated by Refaat Alareer "with the help of Ghada AhmedSarah AliHanan Habashi and the amazing Mohamed Shamaa)"

30 November 2023









15 November 2023

09 November 2023

Mohammed Sami, One Thousand and One Nights, 2022, Mixed media on linen, 113 x 219 inches












08 November 2023

THATCHER: "Charles, you know perfectly well there's not the slightest proof of this.. armadas off the Jersey coast" 

KANE (Based on William Randolph Hearst): "Tell Wheeler: You provide the prose poems, I'll provide the war."

Enrique Dussel 1934-2023

"Political systems or social formations go through four structural moments that are analogous but never identical. The period of liberation begins with the resistance to oppression ...

"The second period entails the organization of the state and a new mode of production..  Liberation is a time of struggle (because of this, a time of military priority, but of the nonprofessional military)...

"The third phase is the classic epoch, stabilization, the slow ascent...

"The fourth phase is at the same time one of splendor and of decadence. It is in this phase that the state and the social formation jell; the productive forces grow; the domination of the oppressed becomes repression.  Again military art acquires a primacy, although not as the valor of the civilian but as the discipline of military bureaucracy, of a profession that must be entrenched.  It is the epoch of empires, of bread and circus, of the slaughter of liberators because they are subversives.  It is the time of the Pentagon, of control of the frontiers, of not allowing the barbarians to cross the Danube... or the Mexicans to cross the Rio Grande." (77-8)

"In the United States it is possible to work out a philosophy of liberation .... from the ideological manipulation that conceals from the public what "the empire" does to people outside its boundaries to poor peoples that it impoverishes even more... An international division of the philosophical labor, assigning to diverse groups and countries distinct tasks, would permit us to begin a fruitful dialogue where uniformity of themes would not be demanded, nor would certain thematic objects be spurned because they are not relevant to one or another group.." (195-6)

       (Philosophy of Liberation, 1980, tr. Aquilina Martinez and Christine Morkovsky) 



01 November 2023

Edward Said interview with Charles Glass

If you haven't seen this interview, the three hours go by quickly and you won't regret it.  Charles Glass' books are also worthwhile snapshots of times and places. One of my critical obsessions is Said's quarrel with misinterpretation of Orientalism found in almost all his late interviews (starting here at 1:13:33), which I suspect to be an inevitable and intentional distortion by American academia geared towards atomizing movements along the lines of identity politics. 

You can write whatever you want, and others can write whatever they want about what you've written and conjecture why you wrote it that way. It's called literary criticism. Orientalism never contradicted that.



The more Israel under Netanyahu wraps itself in exclusivity and xenophobia towards the Arabs, the more it assists them in staying on, in fighting its injustices and cruel measures.

 (Edward Said, born on this day in 1935)

27 October 2023

Godard's Notre Musique: Judith Lerner and Mahmoud Darwish

Ahmed Abu Artema's son and four other members of his family have been killed by an Israeli airstrike. Ahmed, a poet who has for years advocated non-violent protest, was injured in the attack.

25 October 2023

Birthday boy

Study for Guernica, 1937

The Charnel House, 1945

La Guerre, Temple de la Paix, Vallauris, 1952

17 October 2023

10 October 2023

Iraqi-born Mohammed Sami at 531 West 24th Street until October 28.

Mohammed Sami, Refugee Camp, 2022, mixed media on linen, 290 x 550 cm
Mohammed Sami, Family Album, 2022-3, mixed media on linen, 290 x 580 cm    

Eugène Delacroix, Christ Asleep during the Tempest on the Sea of Galilee, Oil on canvas, ca. 1853


15 September 2023

11 August 2023

Brice Marden 1938-2023

After Botticelli No. 2, 1993, etching with aquatint, ed. 11/45

30 July 2023

Keith Waldrop 1932-2023


The Marquis de Sade regained the interior of the erupting volcano

Whence he had come

With his beautiful hands still in ruffles

His eyes of a young girl

And that intelligence at the rim of panic that was

His alone

But from the salon phosphorescent with visceral lamps

He did not cease to hurl mysterious commands

That breached the moral night

Through that breach I see

The great creaking shadows of the old sapped husk


So that I may love you

As the first man loved the first woman

In utter freedom

This freedom

For which fire itself was made man

For which the Marquis de Sade defied the centuries with his great abstract trees

With his tragic acrobats

Caught in the gossamer of desire

(André Breton, Le Marquis de Sade, tr. Keith Waldrop)

28 July 2023

Milan Kundera 1929-2023

The symphony is a musical epic. We might compare it to a journey leading through the boundless reaches of the external world, on and on, farther and farther. Variations also constitute a journey, but not through the external world. You recall Pascal's pensée about how man lives between the abyss of the infinitely large and the infinitely small. The journey of the variation form leads to that second infinity, the infinity of internal variety concealed in all things.

What Beethoven discovered in the variations was another space and another direction. In that sense they are a challenge to undertake the journey, another invitation au voyage. 

The variation form is a form of maximum concentration. It enables the composer to limit himself to the matter at hand, to go straight to the heart of it. The subject matter is a theme, which often consists of no more that sixteen measures. Beethoven goes as deeply into those sixteen measures as if he had gone down a mine to the bowels of the earth.

The journey to the second infinity is no less adventurous than the journey of the epic, and closely parallels the physicist's descent into the wondrous innards of the atom. With every variation Beethoven moves farther and farther from the original theme, which bears no more resemblance to the final variation than a flower to its image under the microscope.

Man knows he cannot embrace the universe with all its suns and stars. But he finds it unbearable to be condemned to lose the second infinity as well, the one so close, so nearly within reach.. if it is perfection we are after, we must go to the heart of the matter, and we can never quite reach it.

That the eternal infinity escapes us we accept with equanimity, the guilt over letting the second infinity escape follows us to the grave.

(Kniha smíchu a zapomnění, 1979, tr. Michael Henry Heim)



Jane Birkin 1946-2023


Refroidis ça t'va bien quand tu dors- Lautréamont les chants d'MaldororTu n'aimes pas moi j'adore- et quand bien mêmeTout se voile dehorsJe me guiderais sur l'étoile du nord- rompre les chaînesSans souci de son sortS'eloigner des regrets et remords - Lautréamont les chants d'Maldoror

(paroles de Serge Gainsbourg)

Peter Brotzmann 1941-2023



+ these, and


+ (II), (III)

Philippe Sollers 1936-2023


Out on the balcony, the wind will wake me up, the cool wind blowing straight in my face.. Everything has disappeared now; this distance, this ever-receding mass of stars, in that absolute void, in the cold, is no more. No shape; no direction, no center, as when I feel without ceasing to see what I see, the imperceptible, blind movement of what awaits and threatens, quite near, on the other side.. So it is useless to continue the experiment. For his own presence, when he directs his vision on to his hand, the earth, the vague outline of the mountains, seems to him to be surprising enough; the proximity in which he finds himself so improbable - exactly his own reflection enlarged - that he regrets his earlier doubts; quite unafraid, reassured even, since he must now go to sleep; since what he sees must not the seen and, after all, he is resting there, not here, in this unsuitable situation, walking carefully along the rocky mountain path, where occasionally a stone starts rolling down; where he stops, followed by these men, to listen.

Celestial vault endlessly observed, where he will no longer have the time, will no longer be the age to go out walking; nocturnal vault where they will navigate noiselessly and without collisions, as he has done so many times from his bed near the open window (and the lime tree in the garden moved in the wind); as he wished to live, too, plunged in this element, this substance, too heavy, too thick, that has not succeeded, and will not succeed in holding him back. How many voyages by instantaneous trajectory, how many places already occupied, reserved in the same way, and the immediate return, without anybody or anything - not even himself perhaps - suspecting anything ... Motionless, without leaving his chair ... Precise and secret repertory of attitudes; circumstances altered by a trivial thought: his arm lying in the sun, his face in the shade; his hand placed one evening on the edge of a well ... Details that he projects in his mind as violently as possible; details that held him back and which now call him on... Anyway, do they not tend to come together, in this place that eludes and overtakes him; an illusory construction that despite itself he can only vaguely substantiate? Is he not walking among them now, without seeing them? Is he not, at each step, an obstacle to their existence? Himself a false collection of their hidden multitude? Observing in the dark, starry sky, he recomposes the following fictional elements: carnivorous flowers,  multicolored canals of the planets; interstellar silences; giant rainbows; fabulous animals doomed in advance; strange diseases that can always be cured (like those explorers lost in ice-bound territory who, without food, gradually waste away, but can be saved a the last moment by fruit). And if some fellow-traveler came to a sudden end (blown up, submerged), one communicated with his new form by means of a system of individually controlled screens: the position of the stars; all points of view; the enumeration of universal thought in terms of concrete elements (numerical fragmentations provided by an arithmetical table) and, in a general way, any imaginable spectacle whatsoever. Then ever onwards, without interruption or going back, the voyage continued.

(Le Parc, 1961, tr. A.M. Sheridan Smith)

Karl Berger 1935-2023

Karaikudi R. Mani 1945-2023

Sinéad O'Connor 1966-2023

Cormac McCarthy 1933-2023

There stood on its farther rim a spire of smoke attended and crowned by a plutonic light where the waters have broke open. Erupting hot gouts of lava and great upended slabs of earth and a rain of small stones that hissed for miles in the sea. As we watched there reared out of the smoking brine a city of old bone coughed up from the sea's floor, pale attic bone delicate as a shell and half melting, a chalken shambles coralgrown that slewed into shape of temple, column, plinth and cornice, and across the whole a frieze of archer and warrior and marblebreasted mail all listing west and moving slowly their stone limbs. As these figures began to cool and take on life Suttree among the watchers said that this time there are witnesses, for life does not come slowly. It rises in one massive mutation and all its changed utterly and forever. We have witnessed this thing today which prefigures for all time the way in which historic orders proceed. And some said that the girl who bathed her swollen belly in the stone pool in the garden last evening was the author of the wonder they attended. And a maid bearing water in a marble jar came down from the living frieze toward the dreamer with eyes restored black of core and iris brightly painted attic blue and she moved toward him with a smile.

(Suttree, 1979)

Tony Bennett 1926-2023

João Donato 1934-2023

03 July 2023

"He used to write me from Africa. He contrasted African time to European time, and also to Asian time. He said that in the 19th century mankind had come to terms with space, and that the great question of the 20th was the coexistence of different concepts of time. By the way, did you know that there are emus in the Île de France?...

"Hayao Yamaneko invents video games with his machine. To please me he puts in my best beloved animals: the cat and the owl. He claims that electronic texture is the only one that can deal with sentiment, memory, and imagination...


"I'm writing you all this from another world, a world of appearances. In a way the two worlds communicate with each other. Memory is to one what history is to the other: an impossibility.

"Legends are born out of the need to decipher the indecipherable. Memories must make do with their delirium, with their drift. A moment stopped would burn like a frame of film blocked before the furnace of the projector. Madness protects, as fever does.

"I envy Hayao in his 'zone,' he plays with the signs of his memory. He pins them down and decorates them like insects that would have flown beyond time, and which he could contemplate from a point outside of time: the only eternity we have left. I look at his machines. I think of a world where each memory could create its own legend..


"He wrote me: I've understood the visions. Suddenly you're in the desert the way you are in the night; whatever is not desert no longer exists. You don't want to believe the images that crop up.

"Did I write you that there are emus in the Ile de France? This name—Island of France—sounds strangely on the island of Sal...


"So, it sufficed to wait and the planet itself staged the working of time. I saw what had been my window again. I saw emerge familiar roofs and balconies, the landmarks of the walks I took through town every day, down to the cliff where I had met the children. The cat with white socks that Haroun had been considerate enough to film for me naturally found its place. And I thought, of all the prayers to time that had studded this trip the kindest was the one spoken by the woman of Gotokuji, who said simply to her cat Tora, “Cat, wherever you are, peace be with you.”

"And then in its turn the journey entered the 'zone,' and Hayao showed me my images already affected by the moss of time, freed of the lie that had prolonged the existence of those moments swallowed by the spiral. 


"Then I went down into the basement where my friend—the maniac—busies himself with his electronic graffiti. Finally his language touches me, because he talks to that part of us which insists on drawing profiles on prison walls. A piece of chalk to follow the contours of what is not, or is no longer, or is not yet; the handwriting each one of us will use to compose his own list of 'things that quicken the heart,' to offer, or to erase. In that moment poetry will be made by everyone, and there will be emus in the 'zone.'"


(Chris Marker, Sans Soleil, 1983)



08 June 2023

25 April 2023

Harry Belafonte 1927-2023

I can recall feeling sad a few years ago that he won't be around forever. Piri' Miri Muli' readers know that I am hyperattuned to the art and politics of the Caribbean, and Belafonte was one of the rare figures that showed you can create great art for a large audience and never compromise your principles, never betraying the legal and economic emancipation of the people, in times and island places that have become contemporary laboratories for celebrity con artistry. Modernissmo and Negritude are that and only that, despite the robust tradition of prominent pretenders.

22 April 2023

John Tranter 1943-2023

I was arrested because of that internal memo,
and ended up in a cell, then I was told to sit
with the police and the local bigwigs.
In the hushed and fast darkening room they said
someone—someone—had reduced the safety margin
on the airport risk factor, and I got the blame.
The sky that day was a pale, clear blue, but
that was happening outside, and far away.

The cop on duty would not open the tomb
of the deported—sorry, departed—and as usual
he had a story. Every movie, he said, depends
on a script, and the narrative grows out of
market research: a set of standard deviations. Art? 
What would they know? Open the tomb, and let me in.    



04 February 2023

It just so happened that I drove into Billings today to sell my remaining livestock and caught this on my cellphone..

22 January 2023


It is with sadness that I note how the killing of 47 mostly indigenous protestors by the US-supported coup government in Peru and the storming of its university reminds me of the beginnings of the military dictatorship of Brazil in 1964.  From my blog post on the art of Regina Silveira:

"Recently declassified documents attempt to suggest that LBJ was spurred to provide military support to a locally autonomous military uprising, but the US had begun to infiltrate and indoctrinate the Brazilian military as early as 1948 through the ESG institute,  whose graduates included most of the coup leaders, and when the CIA was formed it created the IBAD institute in 1960, whose financing and organization led to legislative victories for the right in 1962.  General Medici, President during the most repressive period of the early 70s, served previously as military attaché in Washington and was trained at the ESG as were his two predecessors.

"The University of Brasilia was invaded the day after the coup, after which rural peasants organized by Goulart were subject to violence and killings as the judiciary, military, legislature (including Kubitschek), and civil service were purged of anti-fascist elements."

I had the pleasure of meeting Silveira 3 1/2 years ago and predictably I proffered a concise version of my interpretation of Middle Class & Co. and she agreed with it.


Regina Silveira, Middle Class & Co, 1971

I have no problem with vigilant concern over the events on January 6th, 2021 by either Americans at the grassroots or as inevitable partisan finger-pointing.  But imagine if that gang that stormed the US Capitol on the 6th ran the US by decree for 21 years, killing and imprisoning their critics and purging others of their government posts.  That happened in Brazil with the support of US Presidents of both parties, just as the Biden administration has supported the coup government's extrajudicial killings in Peru this month.

David Crosby 1941-2023

11 January 2023

Marilyn Stafford 1925-2023


Baalbeck Village, Lebanon, 1960