Thursday, September 30, 2021

"Laurie Anderson: The Weather" at The Hirshhorn Musuem

On view at The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. until July 31, 2022 is "Laurie Anderson: The Weather." Regular readers may recall I am a huge Laurie Anderson fan. I have adored this extraordinary multi-media artist, performer/storyteller, and musician for many years (previously here). I was lucky enough to see her groundbreaking, mind-boggling musical and theatrical performance art piece "United States I - IV" when she toured it in 1983, and have seen pretty much every tour and major piece since then.

The press release from The Hirshhorn reads:

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will present the largest-ever U.S. exhibition of artwork by groundbreaking multimedia artist, performer, musician and writer Laurie Anderson from Sept. 24–July 31, 2022. “Laurie Anderson: The Weather” will debut more than 10 new artworks, interspersed with select key works from throughout her career. Guiding visitors through an immersive audiovisual experience in the museum’s second-floor galleries, this dynamic exhibition will showcase the artist’s boundless creative process, featuring her work in video, performance, installation, painting and other media.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of live performances by Anderson from January 2022 to July 2022. “The Weather” is organized by the museum’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Secretarial Scholar, associate curator of media and performance art, Marina Isgro.

For more than four decades, Anderson has investigated issues such as American identity and the effects of technology on human relationships, often inventing new ways of interacting with technology. The Hirshhorn’s exhibition uses the museum’s prominent location on the National Mall to encourage viewers to reconsider the sociopolitical landscape. “The Weather” will include landmark artworks such as “Habeas Corpus” (2015), a video sculpture that examines via multimedia storytelling the experience of Mohammed el Gharani, who was detained at Guantánamo Bay throughout his adolescence.

“Anderson pushes the limits of contemporary art, from instrument-making to pioneering new and creative applications for emerging technologies,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “We are honored to present this monumental exhibition, which provides a platform for the artist’s newest innovations, situated within decades of artistic output that have defied categorization.”

Drawing on the Hirshhorn’s distinctive cylindrical architecture, the exhibition will be laid out as an ongoing narrative. Guiding visitors on an intimate and personal journey through her work, Anderson will interject at points throughout the exhibition space; portions of the gallery walls will be covered with writing and images that the artist has directly hand-painted.

“The Weather” will debut more than 10 new works by Anderson that highlight her unique blend of the personal, the poetic and the political. These include “Salute” (2021), a new installation featuring robotic flagpoles referencing Anderson’s song “O Superman” (1981), which broadened her following from the downtown New York art world to the MTV generation. Other new installations include the dystopic “The Knife Sharpeners” (2021) and the immersive “Four Talks” (2021), composed of sculptures and texts that investigate the relationship of language to objects. Another gallery will showcase a group of new, monumental paintings on the scale of her large performance works, some of which will appear in her new opera, Ark.

Demonstrating the range of Anderson’s multimedia practice, “The Weather” will feature video excerpts from the virtual-reality pieces “Chalkroom (2017) and “To the Moon” (2018). Earlier work will include excerpts from “Songs for Lines/Songs for Waves” (1977), the interactive “Handphone Table” (1978) and the narrative video installation “Sidewalk” (2012), a film projected onto the gallery floor with a story from the artist’s childhood.

Other featured photographic works include documented performances of “The Institutional Dream Series” (1972­–73) and “Object/Objection/Objectivity (Fully Automated Nikon)” (1973). Several violins and other musical instruments that Anderson designed and altered will be shown alongside photographs from her key performances from 1971 to present.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Currently listening to...

...David Byrne's miraculous score for Twyla Tharps' production of "The Catherine Wheel." Unexpected, polyrhythmic, pan-cultural, oddly expressive, disturbing, calming, haunting. I bought this when it came out in 1981 and was quite struck by it. It has stayed with me, in my mind, my imagination, my emotional memory, ever since. Here are a selection of some of my favorite tracks.

My Big Hands (Fall Through the Cracks)

Well it ain't my fault
My fault that things gone wrong
And it ain't my fault,
Some things are sticking out.
My big hands
Keep my big hand to myself.
Tip toe too
Tip toe around the house

Come, Come on in
It's not, it's not like that
Down, down we go
Fall through, fall through the cracks.

Well I help myself
Help myself to what I want.
Side by side
Get stupid in the dark.
Didn't get home
Things broke down
No sense
Not at all.

Come, Come on in
It's not, it's not like that
Down, down we go
Fall through, fall through the cracks.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

BEAUTY: Man--Lee Pace

Starring in the upcoming Apple+ television series "Foundation," based on Asimov's novels, Lee Pace did some publicity for it in Esquire, modeling Gucci, Prada, and Dior Homme...and lookin' fiiiiine...

And he wore Thom Browne to this year's Met Gala!

Monday, September 27, 2021

Terrazzo Chocolate and Black Sesame Cake

Regular readers may recall that one of my careers is as an interior designer and I am always sourcing flooring material for remodeling projects. A very old style of floor that was popular, fell out of favor, then came back only to fall out of favor again, and now seems to be back for another round is a flooring material called terrazzo.

The form of terrazzo used today derives partly from the 18th century pavimento alla Veneziana (Venetian pavement), and then from the 1920s to the 1940s, it was used in the Art Deco and Steamline Moderne styles of architecture and design. It came back briefly in the 70s, and now it is seeing a resurgence in popularity once again. Terrazzo consists of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, and stone set into some sort of binder like cement which is ground smooth and polished. The fun part of terrazzo is the possible colors and shapes--using different colored stones and different sized chunks of marble allow for a great variety of presentation.

And Katrina Cho created a clever cake that pays homage to the construction of this traditional flooring. She uses a chocolate cake base, but I suppose you could use any base, really. She uses a buttercream frosting infused with a paste of black sesame to mimic the cement base. And then chips of white chocolate infused with food coloring make the terrazzo pattern.


150g (1 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
220g (1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
100g (1 cup) cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
240g (1 cup) full fat coconut milk or buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
100g (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
170g (3/4 cup) boiling water

Black Sesame Buttercream:

3 sticks butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp black sesame paste (store-bought or recipe below)

White Chocolate Terrazzo Chips:

10 oz white chocolate chips
food coloring of choice

Black sesame paste:

1/2 cup toasted black sesame seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp sugar

In a small food processor, combine sesame seeds, canola oil, and sugar. Blend until smooth and somewhat loose. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Make the cake:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch cake pan with parchment paper.

Whisk to combine sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk to combine eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until a few clumps of flour remain. Stir in boiling water and mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into the cake pans and smooth out the surface with an offset spatula. Bake until a tooth pick comes out of the center clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Set the cake over a wire rack and allow to fully cool.

Make the buttercream:

In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine softened butter, powdered sugar, salt, and black sesame paste. Mix on bowl until most of the powdered sugar has incorporated. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix until smooth and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrap down the sides when needed.

Make the terrazzo chips:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Divide the chocolate into 3 microwave safe bowls. Add desired food coloring to each bowl and mix until you’re happy with the colors.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the chocolate into a thin later with an offset spatula. Allow the chocolate to firm up on the counter or in the fridge.

Once set, cut the chocolate into small and larger shards.

Assemble the cake:

Spread the buttercream over the cake into an even layer.

Arrange the terrazzo chips over the buttercream and gently press down to set.

Cut and serve.

You can find the original recipe here at Cho's site:

And here are some actual terrazzo floors for your inspiration!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

BEAUTY: Collage--Kurt Nimmo

Artist and photographer Kurt Nimmo approaches his layered collage pieces like abstract paintings.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

"Meguro" by BLOW

I am grooving on the retro-futurist funk of "Meguro" by French band BLOW. Filmed at the Palais de Tokyo, where Rick Owens shows all his collections (when not on the Lido in Venice)...and the styling here feels very fashion-forward like Rick!

Friday, September 24, 2021

BEAUTY: Art--Ravi Amar Zupa

The ethnic mash-up and text (from a large array of sources like Phillip K. Dick, Dylan Thomas, and Dostoevsky!) -based imagery of Ravi Amar Zupa's print works hit me just right...

Top to bottom: Continue; Durga's Love; Everything Takes Time; Flexible; Go And Be Great; He Knew; Large Rage; This Universe; Wicked Or Weakness

You can buy prints at his website!