JOSHUA ASTER’S WORDS AND IMAGES from Inglewood, introduced by Max Picard via Annie Dillard

these images “seem as though they had just come out of the opening in a wall; as if they had wriggled their way out with difficulty. They seem unsafe and hesitant because they have come out too far and still belong more to silence than to themselves.”

A spring collection of shattered dreams.

JOSHUA ASTER, limpidpools 2014, oil on canvas over panel  14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, limpidpools 2014,  oil on canvas over panel  14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, shattereddreams, 2014, oil on canvas over panel, 14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, shattereddreams, 2014, oil on canvas over panel 14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, springcollection 2014, oil on canvas over panel, 14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, springcollection 2014, oil on canvas over panel, 14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist


JOSHUA ASTER, thunderstorm 2014, oil on canvas over panel, 14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, thunderstorm 2014, oil on canvas over panel, 14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist



After a life spent hiding his paintings in a wood shed, Paris became his scent of the rose for two years, then he died: it was September 2007


This post is dedicated to all the ‘invisible’ artists who steadily grow on the forest floor of the artworld. Often not known enough to be forgotten. Al Payne not only built his sheds, he filled them with paintings and the human scape the paintings contained, a physical density needing protection, not to be exposed to a price that could be money or intellectual evaluation or both. The colors of life, sounds and feelings collapsed, maybe, so inseparably into those pantings that the artist locked them into his inner space. He did not cut the umbilical cord.

Allan Kaprow would say, “His act is tragic because the man could not forget art.” And yes, Al Payne sacrificed himself in a romantic dream of purity, dragging his artworks into his tomb before death. It would be easy to misunderstand. Only an extreme love for life leads to such a secretive activity. Or the discovery that life, and art, are in big part beyond concept, “enactment of hope” out of heartbreak and failure. He did not want to break the common roots that keep a person and her art in only one body.

From Al Payne’s notebook:

Attempt at conjuring the unthinkable thru painting.

1987-2001 – reaction to cancer, light and passing of time, family as subject-drawings, paintings pictures of family, home. Focus on here, now.

2002-2004- Dirt paintings here, now. Existence drawings

2005-2006 -reaction to parents death, rejection by family-Painting o/c. Paintings become ‘automatic’ avoidance of photography as basis for imagery. Draw, paint.

Late ’00 – invisible sculpture, engage artworld, recovery from family rejection –


AL PAYNE, Self-Portrait, 2007, Drawing on Paper – Courtesy of The Box, Los Angeles

Paris Late ’00 seems to be a NO TIME for Al Payne in Paris, his metamorphosis from the American inchworm to an elegant butterfly. A space of existence not needing to be measured. A taste of history, beautiful people, new food, a lot of white buildings under a sky shading walls and pavements with different clouds at every hour. An upsetting light. Often for lack of it. His dreams changed as well. He told Paul McCarthy, the affectionate friend who called him twice a week when he was in Paris, that he had a dream about his paintings, they were carried one by one. Time wasn’t moving onward, wasn’t moving at all. His last piece, The Invisible Sculpture, 2006/2007/2015 is a crate whose content changes size every time the container is opened. Open Paris, here is an other man, a new Al Payne, maybe taller, flaneur. “An old debonair man in a suit,” says Mara, “interviewed by Yves Klein’s daughter!”

Who was Al Payne? “A very sweet man” Mara McCarthy says. Her eyes in search of a figure that was a name, a story heard in her parents voice much more than a real person. “I don’t know, I don’t know if it’s me or my mom, who always told Al was the sweetest person in the world.” Odd coincidence, Al Payne left his painting on earth when he moved out, for his last journey, in September 2007. The same month and year in which Mara opened The Box, an L.A. art gallery she runs in collaboration with her father Paul.

On January 24, 2015, at 4 in a sunny afternoon, the Box made Al Payne’s dream a real thing: the wooden sheds were in the building with their big mouths open: from a truck parked outside the paintings were transported one by one, by hand, into the sheds. They will stay there, unseen, the whole time of the exhibition. The moving display (theory) of paintings was art for the time of a quick, imperfect view but also, unmistakably, a mystic exposure of the artist’s body spread in his work.                        


From Shadows by William Carlos Williams

Ripped from the concept of our lives and from all concept somehow, and plainly,

the sun will come up each morning and sink again.

So that we experience violently every day two worlds

one of which we share with the rose in bloom and one,

by far greater, with the past, the world of memory,

the silly world of history, the world of imagination.

Which leaves only the beasts and trees, crystals with their refractive surfaces

and rotting things to stir our wonder.

Save for the little central hole of the eye itself

into which we dare not stare too hard or we are lost.

The instant trivial as it is is all we have unless-unless

things the imagination feeds upon, the scent of the rose, startle us anew.


One by ANA PRVACKI: Let’s Make Paying Taxes Sexy! 2014 Video

This video was made in response to an invitation from the European Union initiative called New Narrative for Europe. “In his ‘State of the European Union’ address, delivered in September 2012, President Barroso invited artists and people of culture in Europe to contribute to the development of a genuine European public space and to be involved in a wide debate on the future of Europe.” 

prvacki 9_17

SIZE OF THE SHADOW ECONOMY in the top 10 countries losing to tax evasion in absolute terms:

U.S. 8.6 % – Brazil 39.0 % – Italy 27.0 % – Russia 43.8 % – Germany 16.0 % – France 15.0 % – Japan 11.0 % – China 12.7 % – United Kingdom 12.5 % – Spain 22.5 %  (According “Tax Justice Network” using Worlds Bank’s data)

During the debates two issues resonated with me. One was the issue of taxation. Many of the participants brought up the problem of taxation and tax evasion and the effect this has had on arts and culture. Tax evasion is a real problem, in Europe as in many other countries that are suffering and collapsing due to the lack of contribution. Then there was the question of “How to make Europe sexy?” a question that deeply addresses the physiology, the fluidity and the experience of pleasure in our society. I proposed a two in one solution, a union of the economy with the libido; “Let’s Make Paying Taxes Sexy!” is a playful yet serious proposal to transform our contemporary narrative of taxation and reconsider what is sexy. I presented this project to the delegates, colleagues and President Barroso as a spoken statement at the Berlin convening. (A.P.)


ANA PRVACKI, still from video: Let’s Make Paying Taxes Sexy!

The second by ANDRE´ GIDE, from his Prometheus Misbound, (Le Promethée mal enchainé) 1899

Between four and five o clock of an autumn afternoon, Prometheus left his chains on the top of a mountain (Caucasus) and walked down to Paris, on the boulevard between the Madeleine and Opéra.

 “Gentlemen, anything I could say would have so little relevance. … I don’t even see how … in fact, the more I think of it … No, really, I can’t possibly say anything. Each of you has his own story; I have none. You must excuse me. […] it is hardly two hours since I came to Paris. There hasn’t been time yet for anything to happen to me—except your invaluable acquaintance, which makes me feel most keenly what a Parisian conversation can be, when clever people begin to …”

But before you came here,” said Cocles.

You must have been somewhere else,” said Damocles. “Yes, I admit it,” said Prometheus, “but, I repeat, all that is quite irrelevant to …”

It doesn’t matter,” said Cocles, “we’ve come here to talk. Both of us, Damocles and I, have already brought out our story; you alone make no contribution; you only listen; it isn’t right. It is time for you to speak, Mr. …”

The waiter felt with all his tact that it was time for an introduction, and, slipping the name in as if to complete the previous phrase: “Prometheus—” he said simply. “Prometheus,” resumed Damocles. — “Excuse me, sir, but it seems to me that this name has already …”

Oh!” interrupted Prometheus immediately, “that is of no importance whatsoever.”

But, if nothing is important,” cried the other two impatiently, “why have you come here, my dear Mr. … Mr. …?”

Prometheus,” repeated Prometheus simply. ‘My dear mr. Prometheus—for after all, as I had occasion to remark just now,” continued Cocles, “this restaurant invites conversation, and in any case, nothing will persuade me to believe that the peculiar name you bear is the only thing that marks you from others; if you haven’t done anything yet, you must mean to do something soon; what are you capable of doing? Show us your distinguishing characteristics: what have you that no one else has? Why do they call you Prometheus?

Under this deluge of questions Prometheus bowed his head, and was obliged to reply, submissively and in a tone graver than before, though still confusedly:

You ask what I have, gentlemen?—What I have, I personally, is —ahem! an eagle.”

A what?” “An eagle—or a vulture, perhaps—people aren’t quite sure.”

An eagle! That’s a good one!—an eagle … Where is it, then?”

You really insist on seeing it?” said Prometheus.

Yes,” they said, “if it isn’t being indiscreet.”

Then, all too completely forgetting where he was, Prometheus abruptly rose to his feet and uttered a great cry of summons to his mighty eagle. And there occurred the stupefying event that follows:


A bird, which seemed enormous from a distance, but at close quarters was seen to be not so large after all, darkened for a moment the sky above the boulevard, fell like a tornado in the direction of the café, smashed the plate-glass window, and alighted—dashing Cocles’ eye out with a blow of its wings, and uttering a shower of affectionate but none the less imperious chirrups—alighted, I say, on the right hip of Prometheus. The latter immediately unbuttoned his waistcoat and offered a morsel of his liver to the bird.

“Come, come now!! It’s nothing but a conscience, at the very most.”


(Editor’s introduction:  “The Sharing Project”  already appeared in this blog with its first manifestation, “To Restore Happyville.” It’s a proteiform project, a body of work that will be presented in the end as both a sculptural video installation and a feature film. Obviously, not in this blog anymore. I publish here its still configuration: 7 episodes each made with one text and one image. 

It’s an unusual art project, an invitation to rethink and question our system of values and behavior with philosophical and psychological tools. Further more, Joel Tauber merges into his family life as he did at the beginning of his art making: to experience the air he built a balloon and became a wise Icarus flying over the California desert, to really know the earth he dug a hole and lay inside. I’m proud to introduce in this blog an artist who is inspired by feelings and by the little creatures he has generated with his wife. One more artist after Rembrandt painting his mother in the act of reading; Seurat drawing the most expressive portraits of his family;  my grandfather Oreste Albertini often placing in his painted landscapes wife and sons; Bill Viola revealing the most dramatic events of his life, his mother’s death and his son’s birth; Rebecca Campbell transforming family images into symbolic portraits. Only a few of the many. Judy Fiskin and Nicole Miller in this blog, for instance. R.A.

“With nostalgia we dream a universe in which humans, instead of furiously fighting for their visible appearance, would engage themselves in getting rid of it, not only refusing to act in that direction, just making themselves naked enough to discover that secret place, within,  from which a completely different human adventure could have started to exist.” (Jean Genet)

— The Sharing Project —


By Joel Tauber

It’s hard for me to share my video equipment or to let anyone into my studio. I tell myself that I would face all kinds of problems if anyone damaged my gear, and that I need peace and solitude in order to work effectively. Yet, my rationalizations leave me feeling guilty. I sense that I’m not acting generously enough, and I worry about what my behavior is teaching my kids.

One day, my son Zeke, crying profusely, banged on my door, and demanded to know why I wouldn’t share my space with him. I didn’t have a good answer. Then, Zeke showed me his secret hiding spots and offered to share them with me. He argued that there was plenty of room in his “office” for my tools and that I didn’t need another space for them.

Zeke’s generosity overwhelmed me, but I wasn’t able to accept his offer. Safeguarding my personal possessions in my own space was too important to me.

As I tried to justify my feelings, I thought about John Locke’s claim that we should have the freedom to acquire our own land and wealth and that it shouldn’t bother anyone – unless we do so excessively, or during times of scarcity.

Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten about Locke’s restrictions, and we’ve created a tremendous amount of inequity in the process. While a few of us enjoy excessive amounts of wealth, far too many of us struggle with scarcely enough – if anything – to eat.

Gene Nichol; who runs the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina; tells me that 18% of North Carolinians live in poverty and that there are higher levels of poverty in the United States than in any of the other wealthy Western Democracies.

As I eat dinner with my wife and our two young boys in our home in Winston-Salem, I think about how there might be more childhood hunger in our city than anywhere else in our country. How can we allow that horrific reality to occur in such a wealthy place?

I was wrestling with that dilemma when I went to the Moral March in Raleigh last February. It was a big protest, maybe the biggest in the South since 1965 and perhaps the biggest in North Carolina history. I saw buses from Tennessee, Virginia, and elsewhere. There was a giant traffic jam, as buses filled with activists tried to park. Everyone on our bus was feeling antsy. They knew that there was a lot at stake, and they wanted to be a part of it.

I had taken Zeke to smaller protests in Winston-Salem, and I wanted him to experience the March in Raleigh and hear why people were protesting; but it just seemed too dangerous. Too many people had been arrested – including some people I knew – in previous Moral Monday events, and I couldn’t justify putting our young son in danger.

The crowd was large, and it was loud. Zeke would have been impressed, and he would have enjoyed seeing all of the signs. They were inventive, and they expressed people’s thoughts about a plethora of things, from the torture we’ve done in Guantanamo Bay to the wars we’ve waged overseas; but mostly the signs and chants reflected what’s happening in North Carolina right now.

North Carolina has a high unemployment rate. People need help, but we’ve decided to eliminate significant social safety nets that are essential for those who can’t find jobs. We’ve decided to cut unemployment benefits and reduce the number of weeks of eligibility. We’ve declined expanded federal funds for unemployment benefits and for Medicaid.

Is this what sharing looks like these days? Is this what we want to teach our kids?

Reverend Barber insists that the laws that we have passed are immoral. He talks about how we cannot be silent and how we must insist on change.

We were all hoping for change at the Moral March, but it hasn’t occurred yet. So, we will gather in Raleigh to march again.

Joel Tauber, "SHARE" (photo direction: Joel Tauber, shot by Kristi Chan) from the art installation and movie, "The Sharing Project"

Joel Tauber, “SHARE” (photo direction: Joel Tauber, shot by Kristi Chan) from the art installation and movie, “The Sharing Project”

Joel Tauber is an artist and filmmaker who is developing the video art program at Wake Forest University. His current undertaking – “The Sharing Project” – will be presented as both a sculptural video installation and a feature film.


  FIONA CONNOR and her effort to free community boards from their service as content containers  

by Rosanna Albertini

Fiona Connor Community Notice Board (Frogtown), 2015 Custom message center, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminum plates, light, pins, staples 32 x 64 x 13 inches 81.3 x 162.6 x 33 cm (Inv# FC85)

FIONA CONNOR Community Notice Board (Frogtown), 2015
Custom message center, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminum plates, light, pins, staples
32 x 64 x 13 inches  81.3 x 162.6 x 33 cm  Courtesy of 1301PE 

It’s likE dropping oil

on a Quivering sheet so

yoU don’t know how to touch it

the brAin gets slippery

maybe Lost in liquid thoughts

what Is language for the body

who’s wriTing or speaking

why invent anYthing on your own?


Fiona Connor Community Notice Board (Green), 2015 Custom message board, paint, cast aluminum handle, staples 27 x 32 inches 68.6 x 81.3 cm (Inv# FC82)

FIONA CONNORCommunity Notice Board (Green), 2015
Custom message board, paint, cast aluminum handle, staples
27 x 32 inches 68.6 x 81.3 cm   Courtesy of 1301PE 

To follow Fiona around the city is like following a humming bird, a big bird with no wings, but her stops on every display of content, either the working desk in my studio or a community notice board of a school, or a library, intensify her attention. A humming bird digging the flower. I see her mind in every part of her body, tense with inner movement.

Yet, when her art pieces are done, Fiona Connor is the first to step back. She makes herself an observer of the object she remade. Not a copy, not an imitation, the very object re-produced as it was: frame, cork, staples, paint, every piece of material remade identical to the components of the original object. Used and abused, damaged, because it’s a community tool, a framed board for immediate exchanges: lost cats and dance classes, mentors, baristas, trips for seniors, dates and prices. There are not many community boards now. Most passers by don’t even see them, their eyes on their smart phone, their private community tool. The artist found a bunch of them in Los Angeles, some almost completely destitute of function, empty. Scratched, marked by myriad holes. Some still carrying messages, messages on paper. They are archival artworks now, thin sheets of metal have replaced the paper, but one has to know it, the mutation is invisible.


Fiona Connor Community Notice Board (Laurel), 2015 Custom bulletinboard, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminum plates and vinyl, pins, staples 41 x 53 inches 104.1 x 134.6 cm (Inv# FC81)

FIONA CONNOR, Community Notice Board (Laurel), 2015
Custom bulletinboard, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminum plates and vinyl, pins, staples
41 x 53 inches 104.1 x 134.6 cm   Courtesy of 1301PE 

Fiona Connor Community Notice Board (Laundry), 2015 Custom corkboard, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminum plates, vinyl, pins, staples 25 x 18 inches 63.5 x 45.7 cm (Inv# FC79)

Fiona Connor Community Notice Board (Laundry), 2015
Custom corkboard, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminum plates, vinyl, pins, staples
25 x 18 inches 63.5 x 45.7 cm    Courtesy of 1301PE 


Fiona Connor brought to Los Angeles from New Zealand the heartfelt attachment to a sense of equality, a better word for democracy. Her art is a tribute to gestures and habits of social passing on that are not destined to last, or to be considered worthy of attention. Those moments and objects that slip through our fingers like water, like time. Small memorials of the living that nobody loves, just useful, they don’t count. “There is an ethics -she tells me- in renewing and reflecting people’s notice of common needs, to pay a tribute to ephemeral moments.” As most of life is.


LAUREN LAVITT   –  a small anthology  (organized by R.A.)

LAUREN LAVITT, Lady Painting, 2007, Oil and acrylic on canvas board. Courtesy of the artist

LAUREN LAVITT, Lady Painting,   2007  Oil and acrylic on canvas board
Courtesy of the artist


by John Puhiatau Pule 

Huidobro, I too met the virgin seated on a rose,

she was bringing herself to orgasm by thinking of life.

She said, the trees have a special yearning

only the wind can compromise;

emptiness has a sound compared

to a name. A name is a silent


insect the loneliest man sees;

it sometimes sculpts bread

from stone and water.

A name is an inorganic desire,


it reaches into the loneliness of eyes,

finds a secluded time only

the lost soul knows. My soul


is a name. It realizes the empty

houses carry on tradition

when sad memories has no name.


LAUREN LAVITT, What I, What I, Pattern, Pattern, 2014, Digital photo Courtesy of the artist

LAUREN LAVITT, What I, What I, Pattern, Pattern   2014  Digital photo
Courtesy of the artist