March 07, 2008
'Achieve and Maintain a More Powerful Delusion' — The art of Jean Lowe
Ms. Lowe's above-titled show is up through March 15, 2008 at McKenzie Fine Art in New York City.
Ken Johnson featured it in today's New York Times, as follows.
Jean Lowe: 'Achieve and Maintain a More Powerful Delusion
Here’s a book that some people might find useful: “10 Steps to Becoming a Published Author in Your Next Life.”
How about “Napping: An Inexpensive Way to Stay Busy”?
Or “Craft Your Way to Mental Health,”
which has the picture of a heavily frosted gingerbread house on its cover?
These are 3 of more than 200 volumes [a number of which are pictured above and below] in Jean Lowe’s laugh-out-loud exhibition.
Based in San Diego, Ms. Lowe has specialized in constructing satiric museum-style period rooms out of papier-mâché and enamel paint.
For this show she has created a library of invented titles and displayed them on bookshelves covered with wood-grain-patterned paper.
Also made of papier-mâché and colorfully painted with a skillful, loose touch, the books imitate various genres, including self-help, children’s storybooks, academic tomes, law books and popular potboilers.
You can’t open them — they’re blocky, sculptural volumes without inside pages — which is just as well, because the covers are more than enough.
The action is mainly in the verbal and visual interplay.
“Get Thee Behind Me, Satan” shows a fork digging into a big piece of chocolate cake.
“6 Simple Steps to a Better Attitude”
is illustrated by a half-dozen drinks in cocktail glasses.
Some titles, like “Torture Preparedness,” are more sobering.
Some are self-reflexive.
In “Conceptual Art: Subverting a Commodity Driven Practice Paradigm,” which has a marked-down sticker price of $1.50, Ms. Lowe makes fun of her own intellectual pretensions.
While many of her books are individually hilarious, cumulatively they add up to something more:
a fun-house-mirror reflection of the American consciousness industry, warts, blind spots and all.
Through March 15, McKenzie Fine Art, 511 West 25th Street, Chelsea, 212-989-5467, mckenziefineart.com.
Bugatti Hermès Limited Edition Veyron
What happens when you decide to create a limited edition of your limited edition?
That's what we're gonna find out now that Bugatti's just unveiled its newest wrinkle: a collaboration with Hermès to produce a vehicle (above) that costs $2.3 million (before taxes).
That's about twice the price of the original limited edition Bugatti Veyron ($1.25 million), introduced with much fanfare in late 2005 as "the world's fastest production car."
With its top speed of 253 mph, you'll get no argument from me.
Richard S. Chang wrote about the new über-car yesterday in a New York Times "Wheels" blog post, which follows.
- Bugatti Supercar Now More Ridiculous
On Tuesday, Bugatti unveiled a limited-edition version of its Veyron supercar at the Geneva auto show. Could it be faster? Does it handle better? Is it even more streamlined to exceed the original’s stated top speed of 253 miles an hour?
No. Bugatti teamed up with the French leather and silk specialist Hermès to create a special model that will cost $2.3 million (not including tax). Wait, is that Richie firing up the motorboat? Tell him to hold on because it gets better, or worse.
This extraordinary piece of lavishness is called the Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès. And if you don’t know what Fbg means — Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, where you’ll find Hermès headquarters — then you’re obviously not fabulously exclusive enough to put a deposit on such chic wonderfulness.
Here’s a choice excerpt from the press release:
"The inner surfaces of the Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès have been designed and sheathed in bull calfskin by the Hermès workshops in Paris. The care and attention to detail observe an extremely refined, minimalist formal vocabulary, reflecting the tradition of the very first Bugattis and the fundamental design principles of the house of Hermès. The door handles echo the fluid forms of handles on Hermès travel bags and luggage. And the dashboard, traditionally finished in brushed aluminium, is here clad entirely in bull calfskin. Passengers aboard the Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès will find a dashboard glove compartment designed to hold a selection of small travel accessories and a zipped Hermès wallet. Both seats are covered in two-toned bull calfskin, and the panel separating the cockpit from the central rear engine - traditionally made of carbon fibre — is covered in the same fine leather. The leather-lined trunk holds a specially-fitted “Toile H” and leather case, hand-made by craftsmen from the Hermès workshops."
Apparently bull calfskin is big this year.
Just goes to show that more money doesn't always buy more top end.
There's not a scintilla of evidence that this bespoke Hermès iteration will do any more than the original's 253 mph.
Stainless Steel Kik-Step — 'As seen in Atlantic Monthly magazine!'
You could look it up or just rest your eyes on the graphic above.
While you're doing that, take a real close look.
What's wrong with the picture?
When I saw the ad on page 104 of the new (April) issue of the Atlantic Monthly I realized the apocalypse was nigh.
Because the magazine's ad copy reads, "Designed to compliment your contemporary home or office."
I figured the website wouldn't make the same mistake, but I was so wrong — there it is (top): "... our 14" rolling stool compliments your contemporary home or office."
I don't think so.
Unless there's a voice chip in it they're not telling us about.
The correct word is "complements."
You could look it up.
I wonder how many really smart people at Kik-Step®, its ad agency and the Atlantic haven't a clue this error made it past all their gimlet eyes and high-powered brains.
Anyway, the stool costs $129.
Why pay less?
Little Joseph — by Maxim Velcovsky
A delicate porcelain candleholder made in the Czech Republic.
Meet Maxim Velcovsky (via YouTube video) here.
How to get me to buy your book
1) Write a really good Op-Ed page essay for the New York Times that notes, at the bottom, that you're that author of a book with a really good title.
There — that was easy, wasn't it?
- Time Out of Mind
In 1784, Benjamin Franklin composed a satire, “Essay on Daylight Saving,” proposing a law that would oblige Parisians to get up an hour earlier in summer. By putting the daylight to better use, he reasoned, they’d save a good deal of money — 96 million livres tournois — that might otherwise go to buying candles. Now this switch to daylight saving time (which occurs early Sunday in the United States) is an annual ritual in Western countries.
Even more influential has been something else Franklin said about time in the same year: time is money. He meant this only as a gentle reminder not to “sit idle” for half the day. He might be dismayed if he could see how literally, and self-destructively, we take his metaphor today. Our society is obsessed as never before with making every single minute count. People even apply the language of banking: We speak of “having” and “saving” and “investing” and “wasting” it.
But the quest to spend time the way we do money is doomed to failure, because the time we experience bears little relation to time as read on a clock. The brain creates its own time, and it is this inner time, not clock time, that guides our actions. In the space of an hour, we can accomplish a great deal — or very little.
Inner time is linked to activity. When we do nothing, and nothing happens around us, we’re unable to track time. In 1962, Michel Siffre, a French geologist, confined himself in a dark cave and discovered that he lost his sense of time. Emerging after what he had calculated were 45 days, he was startled to find that a full 61 days had elapsed.
To measure time, the brain uses circuits that are designed to monitor physical movement. Neuroscientists have observed this phenomenon using computer-assisted functional magnetic resonance imaging tomography. When subjects are asked to indicate the time it takes to view a series of pictures, heightened activity is measured in the centers that control muscular movement, primarily the cerebellum, the basal ganglia and the supplementary motor area. That explains why inner time can run faster or slower depending upon how we move our bodies — as any Tai Chi master knows.
Time seems to expand when our senses are aroused. Peter Tse, a neuropsychologist at Dartmouth, demonstrated this in an experiment in which subjects were shown a sequence of flashing dots on a computer screen. The dots were timed to occur once a second, with five black dots in a row followed by one moving, colored one. Because the colored dot appeared so infrequently, it grabbed subjects’ attention and they perceived it as lasting twice as long as the others did.
Another ingenious bit of research, conducted in Germany, demonstrated that within a brief time frame the brain can shift events forward or backward. Subjects were asked to play a video game that involved steering airplanes, but the joystick was programmed to react only after a brief delay. After playing a while, the players stopped being aware of the time lag. But when the scientists eliminated the delay, the subjects suddenly felt as though they were staring into the future. It was as though the airplanes were moving on their own before the subjects had directed them to do so.
The brain’s inclination to distort time is one reason we so often feel we have too little of it. One in three Americans feels rushed all the time, according to one survey. Even the cleverest use of time-management techniques is powerless to augment the sum of minutes in our life (some 52 million, optimistically assuming a life expectancy of 100 years), so we squeeze as much as we can into each one.
Believing time is money to lose, we perceive our shortage of time as stressful. Thus, our fight-or-flight instinct is engaged, and the regions of the brain we use to calmly and sensibly plan our time get switched off. We become fidgety, erratic and rash.
Tasks take longer. We make mistakes — which take still more time to iron out. Who among us has not been locked out of an apartment or lost a wallet when in a great hurry? The perceived lack of time becomes real: We are not stressed because we have no time, but rather, we have no time because we are stressed.
Studies have shown the alarming extent of the problem: office workers are no longer able to stay focused on one specific task for more than about three minutes, which means a great loss of productivity. The misguided notion that time is money actually costs us money.
And it costs us time. People in industrial nations lose more years from disability and premature death due to stress-related illnesses like heart disease and depression than from other ailments. In scrambling to use time to the hilt, we wind up with less of it.
The remedy is to liberate ourselves from Franklin’s equation. Time is not money but “the element in which we exist,” as Joyce Carol Oates put it more than two decades ago (in a relatively leisurely era). “We are either borne along by it or drowned in it.”
Klein's book, pictured up top and on its way to me as you read these words, costs $16.32 at Amazon.
You could look it up.
Fashion Week — at the Mos Eisley Cantina
Nicolas Ghesquière of Balenciaga figured no one would twig if he simultaneously showed at Paris Fashion Week.
After all, entanglement isn't limited to electron spin once you get out where dark energy isn't just a good idea but, rather, rules.
Free: A signed copy of James Barron's book, 'Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand'
No tricks, nothing to buy, no hidden costs.
All you have to do is show up at Steinway Hall (109 West 57th Street) in New York City at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, March 8).
"Seating is limited — call 212-246-1100 today to register."
If you can't make it, not to worry: the book's
for sale at Amazon.
Read a sample chapter here.
What is it?
Answer here this time tomorrow.