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SFMoma, SRL show, Cyclecide, Bagpipe and Flat Cow

Time for another blog post. I have a lot of photos that have piled up. Today I want to make it easy on myself, so I’ll just post the photos, recent ones first, older ones last, with some comments.

Today’s theme? ART!

Sylvia and I got into the newly renovated SF MOMA yesterday. They got a ton of modern works from the Gap owner, who also paid for the new galleries. A little bit of a vanity self-publishing aspect to this. “My collection is perfect, and I don’t want no stinkin’ curator messing with it!” Some good stuff in there, with a certain number of misfires. I mean, the guy was buying art every year, no matter what…and some things don’t hold up so well.

Here’s a couple of my fellow culture vultures with an Ellsworth Kelly painting. A bunch of paintings by him…they’re kind of satisfying. I don’t think they’d work at all if they weren’t so big.

I guess it goes without saying SF MOMA isn’t on a level with the treasure house that is the NY MOMA — despite some local boosters’ efforts to say otherwise. Floor area isn’t everything. But, hey, don’t ask too much, after all, SF is only a tenth as large of a city as NYC. And, make no mistake, the new SF MOMA really is a fun place to visit, and I don’t mean to dis it. More stuff than you can see in one day. I look forward to many trips there.

Saw a great Stella called “The Hunt: the Third Day,” … see the horse hooves on the lower right. Stella has done a million of the wall assemblages, but this a particularly nice one.

I really liked John Chamberlain sculpture made from a squashed washing machine biting a car bumper. I told my brother-in-law I’d pay $100K for it, if I were richer, and he said that to buy that sculpture he’d need to have $60M in the bank…and be drunk. But I feel he’s mistaken. It’s not so easy to bend and crumple a washing machine so that it looks like art. The frozen torque, mon ami.

When Sylvia and I wandered down the 2nd floor galleries wondering what was there, we were surprised to find the museum’s old collection…I had forgotten about that in the hullaballoo of the new Gap-load. Good to see some old pals here. Fabulous surreal painting by Diego Rivera, called “Symbolic Landscape,” inspired by a woman’s murder in Taxco — suggested by the woman’s glove, and the bloody dagger with a ring at the bottom — and dig how the peeled log “is” the woman. Such lush painting. Diego is king. Not enough of that in contemporary works, in my geezerly opinion.

I was happy to see they have Arneson’s “California Artist” on display, wearing shades whose lenses are holes revealing, oho, that he has an empty head, California artist that he is. I first saw this sculpture when we moved to California in 1986, and I was, like, yeah, I’m a California artist too. I just didn’t realize that before. It’s high time I got here. Solidarität!

“Riding the Flat Cow” acrylic and oil on canvas, April, 2016, 24” x 20”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

I’ve been painting a lot myself lately. Here’s “Riding the Flat Cow,” with my character Villy atop the back of a seemingly flat, or flattish cow, who is in fact a flying saucer and, more than that, is the general of the flying saucer rebel army and, more than that, is capable of travel into the four-dimensional “unspace” that separates our universe from the saucer-filled parallel universe in which it is in fact possible to do a Million Mile Road Trip in your car, assuming you have some really good tires and shocks.

I love the bagpipe in Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” With what you might call a “Yay Bagpipes” flag near it. Cropping the image, I see a possible Boschian commentary, to the effect: “The sound of that frikkin bag is like a knife through my ears.”

The super boss villain in Million Mile Road Trip is a bagpipe the size of Mt. Everest. He’s about to touch down on the high-school building during graduation ceremony. Fortunately everyone is sitting on the lawn outside, just like at Los Gatos High every spring. Unfortunately giant jellyfish-like saucers will be dragging their edges across the lawn, eating people. Fortunately, Villy and the Flat Cow are going to get rid of the giant bagpipe. Unfortunately the book is almost done. Fortunately I’ll be able to stop writing.

Thinking about a device in a container, I noticed this little tableau near Aldo’s restaurant in the Santa Cruz Harbor. Love how lively that ensemble of red fire pipes looks.

I always get some good photos when I’m at my son Rudy Jr.’s house or with him and his friends. What is more beautiful than a faded yellow plastic ball with the sun shining on it?

The legendary Marc Pauline and his machine art group SRL (Survival Research Lab) were putting on a surprise show in San Francisco when we were up there a couple of weeks ago. And Rudy’s rabid bicycle art group Cyclecide, a.k.a. Bike Rodeo where helping to set the show up. Here we see some of the Cycleciders assembling an SRL Tesla coil for creating giant sparks.

All sorts of great photos to be found in the Bike Rodeo’s workspace/living space down near the bay. A bag of hammers saying “HAMMERS”…so great.

Jericho, one of the main forces behind Cyclecide, has never seen a bike he didn’t like, not a bike that he didn’t wish to liberate and to reform to revolutionary standards.

Of course you have a steering wheel on the floor.

And a meaty noose with a poster of a Pullman porter.

A tin roof with chains and block and tackle.

A head-mask monster and a hipster.

“Funland,” a word to conjure with. Fading memories of amusement park arcades…

If it’s green enough, a bulb horn doesn’t even need to honk.

Such a great assemblage on this wall. Like…why do I go into museums?

Across the street, a whole Corvette incorporated into a body shop’s sign. Wonderful.

Here’s me, still on my effing crutches for the cracked femur, with some of the Bike Rodeo characters: Big Daddy, Violet Blue, Katie Bell, and John Law.

And that night we saw SRL in action. Some robots here attacking innocent dummies.

For the last twenty years or so the San Francisco fire marshal refused to give SRL another license for a show. This might have had something to do with an epic 1988 or so show with a stack of three burning grand pianos being attacked by a back-hoe under an elevated freeway leading to the Bay Bridge. With chunks of “front line demolition” explosive cubes with fuses scattered about. In any case, the old fire marshal has retired, and the new one was like, “SRL? Who? An art show? Sure.”

And here’s a “claw” that Marc Pauline’s been working on of late. Facing down that sparking Tesla coil.

What does “Bob” Dobbs have to do with anything anymore? Well, I did run into a fellow SubGenius named Philo Drummond at the show. This is a processed image I made of “Bob” using the software CA Lab about thirty years ago. You can get that ware free online. (And good luck getting it to run.) We had to change it’s name to CelLab because some humorless greedy pinheads at a company called Computer Associates claimed they “own” the initials “CA.”

Anyway, back at Rudy Jr.’s now-former apartment, here’s a nice touch of California spring. I like the weathered peeling San Francisco paint, in a pastel shade of course, and the untended garden.

These are the bad ass wheels of my grandson Calder.

I don’t remember where I took this photo. Who do I know who has a stack of four snow tires in their kitchen? Obviously I don’t go there often enough. Reminds me of our old days in upstate New York.

As my leg/hip gets better, I’m going out more. I went to Santa Cruz with my professor pal Jon Pearce. Classic picnic table on wharf here. Blustery spring day.

Look at these three seals. Part of a whole “raft” of them floating off the wharf, on their backs holding up flippers to warm them in the air. I like how these three are in a triangular pattern. The graces, the muses, singing out to me the ending for my novel:

“Have a giant bagpipe attacking from the fourth dimension with a big cloud of flying saucers.”

Oh, of course. Duh!

3 Responses to “SFMoma, SRL show, Cyclecide, Bagpipe and Flat Cow”

  1. Laurence Brothers Says:

    I haven’t been to the reopened SF MOMA, but I visited a few years ago, also more recently to NYC MOMA, NYC Guggenheim, Bilbao Guggenheim, and several other modern art museums around the world. IMO the SF MOMA was clearly the best both for the quality of the collection and the shape and feel of the space in which the collection was presented. I hope they have maintained the same style and approach in the current incarnation.

    Glad to hear your hip is doing better!

  2. Clear menser Says:

    Somehow your journal writing here (and the memories of all your work in my brain) transported me to another new point of view. In this new one I saw the whole of human experience as a set of nested CA. Individual people are their own cells at one level and civilizations are their own at another. And it’s so trippy to imagine these thoughts happened in CA systems echoing those outside of it. Of course with our looming mortality just a single timestep it makes the whole thing catastrophically alien to normal time flow work life days. If that makes any sense.
    <3

  3. Gregory Benford Says:

    Lotsa fun! Hope your femur recovers. Keep writing!
    Wonder if it’s time for a new math sf anthology…


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