TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT May 2007

TOP TEN

Chip Lord

Chip Lord was cofounder, with Doug Michels, of Ant Farm, the subject of a major retrospective organized in 2004 by the Berkeley Art Museum and of upcoming exhibitions at the Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain Centre in Orléans, France, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture in New York. A survey of Lord’s single-channel video works was held at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid in March 2005. He is a professor in the film and digital media department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

  1. LIVING WITH WAR (2006) Neil Young’s protest album is a heartfelt, humanist howl grounded in three-chord rock, but it goes deeper than the music. The special-edition CD includes a DVD with ten music videos that sample news footage and Bush sound bites, plus a documentary for each song. Young rolled out the album’s most biting track, “Let’s Impeach the President,” on tour last summer to mixed reviews, which are posted on his website along with music, videos, and links to more than a thousand other protest songs.

  2. VICTORY GARDENS 2007+ In the recent SECA Art Award show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Amy Franceschini displayed clever combines of gardening tools (the “shovelpogo,” the “bikebarrow”). Also on view were graphically striking posters, seed packets, and maps for the real action—planting parties the artist organizes to grow backyard “victory gardens,” à la World War II, but for the age of global warming and Slow Food.

    Amy Franceschini, VG2007+ Public Seed Bank, 2007, wood, glass, paper, rubber, thread, and seeds, 10 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 2". Amy Franceschini, VG2007+ Public Seed Bank, 2007, wood, glass, paper, rubber, thread, and seeds, 10 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 2".
  3. CAROLYN BURKE, LEE MILLER: A LIFE (KNOPF, 2005) What makes Lee Miller’s story fascinating is her peripatetic (and sexual) drive—a Vogue cover model in 1927 at age twenty, she went to Paris two years later, where she announced herself to Dadaist Man Ray as his student (but quickly became his muse and lover); she returned to New York to set up her own photo studio (1932), impulsively married Aziz Eloui Bey and moved to Cairo (1934), and “vacationed” in Paris with the Surrealists (1937). Serving as a war correspondent/photographer for British Vogue, Miller covered the liberation of Paris, the march into Germany, and the liberation of the death camp at Dachau. She even dropped by Hitler’s Munich home, where David E. Scherman photographed her in der Führer’s tub

    Lee Miller in Hitler's bathtub, Munich, April 30, 1945. Photo: David E. Scherman. © Lee Miller Archives. Lee Miller in Hitler's bathtub, Munich, April 30, 1945. Photo: David E. Scherman. © Lee Miller Archives.
  4. GORDON MATTA-CLARK, FRESHKILL, 1972 This Super 8 film, currently on view in the artist’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, has a great sense of mise-en-scène. The protagonist is a GMC Panel truck—a precursor of today’s ubiquitous SUVs—whose tragic end involves a truly startling moment of impact. The sly title is both literal (Fresh Kills being the Staten Island landfill where the film was shot) and figurative. In 2007, Freshkill is still fresh!

    Gordon Matta-Clark, Freshkill, 1972, still from a color film in Super 8 mm, 12 minutes 48 seconds. © 2007 The Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark/Artists RIghts Society (ARS), New York. Gordon Matta-Clark, Freshkill, 1972, still from a color film in Super 8 mm, 12 minutes 48 seconds. © 2007 The Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark/Artists RIghts Society (ARS), New York.
  5. ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES: THE AIRPORT PICTURES OF GARRY WINOGRAND (CHARLES RIVERS PUBLISHING CO., 2004) I’ve been shooting, er . . . I mean, photographing in airports for the past few years, and Garry Winogrand’s 1960s and ’70s airport shots provide inspiration, showing the photographer’s great eye for the details of human behavior. Back then, people showed incredible openness to having their pictures taken, a lightness of being that is not possible in today’s airport-cities, in which anyone with a camera falls under suspicion.

  6. NAM JUNE PAIK: LESSONS FROM THE VIDEO MASTER, 2006 Skip Blumberg is a master of on-the-street video recording—largely due to his ability to engage his subjects from behind the camera. In this video, he engages artists Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, Beryl Korot, Bill Viola, and others at the funeral of Nam June Paik. A fitting tribute to Nam June in his own medium.

  7. THE NEW WORLD (2005) Terrence Malick’s latest film does what cinema can do so well but seldom does: transport the viewer through time and space to a different world. But Malick doesn’t just take us to the place (Jamestown, 1607)—he finds unique visual and poetic ways to tell the story. We hear Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) thinking: “To love her in the wild, forget the name of Smith. I should tell her. Tell her what? It was just a dream. I am now awake.”

    Terrence Malick, The New World, 2005, still from a color film in 35 mm, 150 minutes. Terrence Malick, The New World, 2005, still from a color film in 35 mm, 150 minutes.
  8. ELIZABETH DILLER For years, I’ve marveled at how Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s practice blurs the boundaries between architecture, installation, sculpture, and media. So I was thrilled to learn that Elizabeth Diller would be speaking at UC, Santa Cruz, this past March. When designing the new Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, she said, the firm felt that the debate about the ideal role of architecture for the museum (that of protagonist or that of background player) was too reductive. Rather, she explained, “the museum should aspire to expose the public to issues through and about space, just as the museum aspires to expose the public to issues through and about art.” Bold ideas, lovely metaphors, and beautiful visuals made this talk a delight.

  9. DE YOUNG MUSEUM Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the De Young welcomes the community—both the café, with its terrace overlooking the sculpture garden, and the torqued tower, with its unexpected views of San Francisco, are situated outside the ticketed galleries. The building is an elegant “big box” with the outdoors slicing deeply into its center, bringing natural light and Walter Hood’s amazing landscape design into the lobby. It’s the city’s first great twenty-first-century building.

    Herzog & de Meuron, De Young Museum, 2005, San Francisco. Photo: Mark Darley. Herzog & de Meuron, De Young Museum, 2005, San Francisco. Photo: Mark Darley.
  10. THE CLOCK OF THE LONG NOW (BASIC BOOKS, 1999) In this insightful book, published before climate change was widely discussed, Stewart Brand asks: “How do we make long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare?” In response, he proposes the Clock of the Long Now, named by Brian Eno and designed by W. Daniel Hillis. The clock, to be built into a mountain in eastern Nevada, will rival James Turrell’s Roden Crater—and will have an intended life span of ten thousand years.