Thursday, April 18, 2013


new work:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

to worship a fallible god

Nan Goldin, Swanlike Embrace

I am a sculptor, a molder of form.
In every moment I shape an idol.
But then, in front of you, I melt them down
I can rouse a hundred forms
and fill them with spirit,
but when I look into your face,
I want to throw them in the fire.
My souls spills into yours and is blended.
Because my soul has absorbed your fragrance,
I cherish it.
Every drop of blood I spill
informs the earth,
I merge with my Beloved
when I participate in love.
In this house of mud and water,
my heart has fallen to ruins.
Enter this house, my Love, or let me leave.

- Rumi (13th c, Persian)

Thomas Eakins

Monday, February 20, 2012

These two insomnias

Michael Jager, "The Lovers"

"When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them."

-Untitled poem by Rumi, (Persian, 13th c)


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

100 by 100 Fundraiser

Dear Readers,

Today I am finally launching a fundraiser project called "100 by 100" I am selling screen prints for $100 each, to support my upcoming research project in India.

see the prints, and read about my research here:

thank you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


more to come.........

Recent Reading List:

which led me back to... Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

more from Sianne Ngai, on JSTOR:

“Merely Interesting.” Critical Inquiry 34 (Summer 2008): 777-817.
“The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde.” Critical Inquiry 31.4 (Summer 2005): 811-847.

more fun endorsements:

Morgan Library Online Exhibitions (esp. the Islamic Painting!)

P.S. Studio Musix:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Terpnopoietic Ornament: On Pleasure and Decoration

Pleasure seems to be a fundamental consideration in Indian aesthetics, hinging on the concept of rasa:
Ragini Madhu Madhavi. Ragamala painting (possible source for Paul Klee’s Abenteuer eines Fräuleins).

rasa, ( Sanskrit:: “essence,” “taste,” or “flavour,” literally, “sap” or “juice”) in Sanskrit literature, the concept of aesthetic flavour, or an essential element of any work of art that can only be suggested, not described. It is a kind of contemplative abstraction in which the inwardness of human feelings suffuses the surrounding world of embodied forms.

............and more broadly, I love these 2 words:

"Ornament is, to coin a word, exclusively calliphoric; it carries beauty with it."


terpnopoietic: "providing pleasure"

delightful neologisms that come from...


"Oleg Grabar... a historian of Islamic art and architecture whose imposingly broad range and analytical subtlety helped transform the Western study of Islamic culture..." (NYT Obit)

here is an excerpt from a BRILLIANT book I'm reading, called The Mediation of Ornament by Grabar

"Why is it that even a cursory consideration of the nature of certain designs that are neither entirely mimetic nor nonmimetic and of theories of ornament and decoration could lead us to consider such weighty issues of esthetic and moral philosophy? It is perhaps true, as Ruskin or Le Corbusier's anonymous teacher, among others, would have suggested, that to deal with whatever ornament may be strikes at the very core of the visual experience, where that experience is not skewed by taste, snobbery, ideology, social convention, ecclesiastical or political restrictions, stylistic salesmanship, and all sorts of other refinements that limit the emotional and sensory freedom of each viewer. If so, artistic traditions, like the one issued from the unique conditions of medieval Islamic history, like the worlds from which come the Irish manuscripts of the sixth century, Inca sculpture, or ancient Chinese bronzes, are all traditions that avoid the straitjacket of copying nature or else transfigure visual and imaginary experience into other types of forms. By doing so, they lead most powerfully and most directly to the very root of our need for pleasure through our eyes. Clearly there is a process of ordering visual experience, as was indeed well seen by Gombrich, that is independent from the cultural forms it has taken. To call this process ornament or decoration is not appropriate, for ornament itself can be the message that is communicated..." - Oleg Grabar

Princeton's review of it:

"In this richly illustrated book, Oleg Grabar shares a veteran art historian's love for the sheer sensuality of ornamentation. Grabar analyzes early and medieval Islamic objects and uses this art to show how ornament in general enables a direct, immediate encounter between viewers and art objects from any culture and time period."

Ottoman Calligraphy:

Some textiles from Safavid Iran:

and finally (somewhat relatedly) I love this unusual quote from Matisse, about "arranging" expression:


“What I am after, above all, is
expression…. Expression, for
me, does not reside in passions
glowing in a human face or
manifested by violent
movement. The entire
arrangement of my picture is
expressive: the place occupied
by the figures, the empty spaces
around them, the proportions,
everything has its share.
Composition is the art of
arranging in a decorative
manner the diverse elements at
the painter's command to
express his feelings” (Matisse).

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Enduring Love

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I am glad to the brink of fear

"Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear." - RW Emerson, Nature

Sebastiaan Bremer
‘A friend, proven in death’

"To be in any form, what is that?
(Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither,)....
Mine is no callous shell,"

-Walt Whitman

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Letters to a Young Poet, for Ben

"The Letter", Mary Cassatt

" But let me make this request right away: Read as little as possible of literary criticism. Such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are clever word-games, in which one view wins , and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentation, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating. "

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet (3)