I think the work of Deborah Turbeville is some of the most supremely beautiful photography. Her style is particularly independent, personal, decisive and brimming with strength. The world could certainly do with more photographers like her -and by that I do not mean who imitate her work on the grounds of visual aesthetics.
Her book The Fashion Pictures (Rizzoli) is one of my favorites.
By: Michael Shermer Scientific American, 3/14/2012
Are you better than average as a driver? I know I am. I’ll bet 90 percent of you think you are, too, because this is the well-documented phenomenon known as the above-average effect, part of the psychology of optimism.
According to psychologist Daniel Kahneman, in his 2011 book Thinking, Fast and Slow, “people tend to be overly optimistic about their relative standing on any activity in which they do moderately well.” But optimism can slide dangerously into overoptimism. Research shows that chief financial officers, for example, “were grossly overconfident about their ability to forecast the market” when tested by Duke University professors who collected 11,600 CFO forecasts and matched them to market outcomes and found a correlation of less than zero. Such overconfidence can be costly. “The study of CFOs showed that those who were most confident and optimistic about the S&P index were also overconfident and optimistic about the prospects of their own firm, which went on to take more risk than others,” Kahneman notes.
Isn’t optimistic risk taking integral to building a successful business? Yes, to a point. “One of the benefits of an optimistic temperament is that it encourages persistence in the face of obstacles,” Kahneman explains. But “pervasive optimistic bias” can be detrimental: “Most of us view the world as more benign than it really is, our own attributes as more favorable than they truly are, and the goals we adopt as more achievable than they are likely to be.” For example, only 35 percent of small businesses survive in the U.S. When surveyed, however, 81 percent of entrepreneurs assessed their odds of success at 70 percent, and 33 percent of them went so far as to put their chances at 100 percent. So what? In a Canadian study Kahneman cites, 47 percent of inventors participating in the Inventor’s Assistance Program, in which they paid for objective evaluations of their invention on 37 criteria, “continued development efforts even after being told that their project was hopeless, and on average these persistent (or obstinate) individuals doubled their initial losses before giving up.” Failure may not be an option in the mind of an entrepreneur, but it is all too frequent in reality. High-risk-taking entrepreneurs override such loss aversion, a phenomenon most of us succumb to—in which losses hurt twice as much as gains feel good—that we developed in our evolutionary environment of scarcity and uncertainty.
This loss-aversion override by those with pervasive optimistic bias seems to work because of what I call biographical selection bias: the few entrepreneurs who succeed spectacularly have biographies (and autobiographies), whereas the many who fail do not.
Think Steve Jobs, whose pervasive optimistic bias was channeled through something a co-worker called Jobs’s “reality distortion field.” According to his biographer Walter Isaacson, “at the root of the reality distortion was Jobs’s belief that the rules didn’t apply to him…. He had the sense that he was special, a chosen one, an enlightened one.” Jobs’s optimism morphed into a reality-distorting will to power over rules that applied only to others and was reflected in numerous ways: legal (parking in handicapped spaces, driving without a license plate), moral (accusing Microsoft of ripping off Apple when both took from Xerox the idea of the mouse and the graphical user interface), personal (refusing to acknowledge his daughter Lisa even after an irrefutable paternity test), and practical (besting resource-heavy giant IBM in the computer market).
There was one reality Jobs’s distortion field optimism could not completely bend to his will: cancer. After he was diagnosed with a treatable form of pancreatic cancer, Jobs initially refused surgery. “I really didn’t want them to open up my body, so I tried to see if a few other things would work,” he admitted to Isaacson. Those other things included consuming large quantities of carrot and fruit juices, bowel cleansings, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and herbal remedies, a vegan diet, and, Isaacson says, “a few other treatments he found on the Internet or by consulting people around the country, including a psychic.” They didn’t work.
Out of this heroic tragedy a lesson emerges—reality must take precedence over willful optimism. Nature cannot be distorted.
Perhaps they are afraid they’re going to get attacked by the big gallery owners who need to sell these expensive art pieces and that’s why they all sing the same song. Someone should write a film noir style crime drama about it.
I was reading this blurb on GalleristNY by Michael Miller and wanting to add Roger White’s new book to my “To Read” list, but that’s very difficult for a book with no title. Nonetheless, I imagine this will be a great examination and review of life that many artists can relate to. In my personal experience, such introspective groups of essays often bring out a combination of inquisitive judgements on oneself as well as admiration for others in a sort of altruistic sense.
Last night I was scouting interesting books online for my “To Read” list otherwise known as the Amazon Wishlist. I came across this interesting compilation of writings about art from varying perspectives, Six Stories from the End of Representation: Images in Painting, Photography, Astronomy, Microscopy, Particle Physics, and Quantum Mechanics, 1980-2000, by James Elkins. While I have yet to read this book, it brought to mind how inspiring sciences, mathematical theories and the like can be to a creative consciousness.
This afternoon while browsing ArtInfo.com, I stumbled upon this very interesting video, by the French artist Xavier Lucchesi, in which deriving artistic imagery from scientific technologies is the medium.
We know the love affair between art and science goes way back (from the production of the first paints to the invention of photography, etc.), but I think it’s very cool to see it continually in action.
When you call to make an appointment or schedule a meeting, or just plain get some information, do you ever conjure up an image in your head of what the person on the other end of the line looks like? Just by the sound of their voice, their accent, manner of speaking, et cetera, do you ever get a visual in your head in the short amount of time that you’re scheduling your appointment with Jim Smith to do your taxes, that Jim Smith wears a suit every day and has short brown hair swept to the side, but not in a swoop sort of way, in a geeky kind of way, with maybe too much gel? Maybe he wears contacts usually, but he’s wearing glasses today. The thick framed kind. He has a bit of a five o’clock shadow, but not enough to take the suit down a peg. And then you hang up the phone, wondering if you were right. The calendar now says you will find out next Tuesday at 4PM.
And now, getting to the point of this post, I came across a book that addresses that sort of question. However, the subject is phone sex operators, not accountants, bank tellers, marketing reps, or other relatively normal people to have on the line. I think this is a brilliant project because I don’t expect you would ever find out who is on the other end of the line in that case. The photographs in Phonesex by Phillip Toledano are accompanied by writings from each subject relating to their experience as a phonesex operator. You can buy this book signed from the International Center of Photography for $50/$45members.
“The tween buying jeggings at Forever 21 in 2012 has no idea that they derive from the Spring 2010 runway of Balmain (which was styled by a French Vogue Editor, who last year became editor-in-chef). Meanwhile, her mom is ordering a Triple Chocolate Meltdown at Applebee’s, happily unaware of who Michel Bras is, or that he invented the half-baked chocolate cake in Laguiole, France, in 1981.” From the article “Trickle-Down: The Circuitous Path of Ideas in Food and Fashion” by Christine Muhlke.
Layer Love (or Corine Wasmuht at Friedric Petzel Gallery)
Bibliotheque, 2011, oil on wood
Gate 77, 2012, oil on wood
I am sorry to say that I have never before come across the work of Corine Wasmuht, however I am thrilled to have the pleasure of seeing her work now. The process by which she constructs her images is fascinating and the product of her efforts is highly effective in translating aspects of contemporary society into a permanent visual representation. Read more on the Friedric Petzel Gallery site.
Bluefly.com Promo Photos revisit Modern Art Styles
Anyone who knows me knows I love a modern aesthetic in art and I feel like these contemporary trends mesh well with this set because they have threads in the modern era. Bravo, Bluefly, for being content conscious.
Would it be so terrible for everyone to shoot just one roll of film as little as once a month? If everyone who shoots solely digital bought and printed just one roll of film per month (apparently per week would be asking too much right off the bat), think of the benefits to the industry. I honestly can’t even begin to count them.
Check out the Guggenheim Lab Log for a first rate confrontation of (dis)comfort and examination of our innate mental (and consequently, physical) reactions to change of routine. Christine McLaren leaves the city for 15 days on a freight ship to Berlin, sharing her experience and related research on the subject. #fascinating
Visiting the Armory Show today put me in a critical mood, as do a decent majority of art shows these days.
I thoroughly enjoyed the modern art on Pier 92 -you know there are always some exceptions, but for the most part… It occurred to me the reason for this is probably because I know about it. I understand it’s place in history and where it’s coming from. This is unnerving for me as a 20-something to say that I understand the past more than I understand the present.
Pier 94 held the contemporary show and while there were a few pieces that struck me as interesting, I could not seem to make sense of the show as a whole. The Nordic focus seemed to be the most coherent and decisive group of exhibitors, however I may not have noticed this had they not been in a designated section.
And this is why I’ve looked back to jog my memory about art criticism history and ideology. In my readings, I came across this lovely article by Barry Gewen for the New York Times.
You can download the black and white catalogue from this link, which is in itself really beautifully designed, and/or you can select pages as you walk through the fair in a specially designed binder available at the ticket desk. Keeping art personal.