Thursday, May 31, 2007

I received this letter in the mail today:

May 25, 2007

Dear Mr. Cudlin:

The Search and Screen Committee for the Assistant Professor of Chemistry position at Penn State Harrisburg was pleased to have had an opportunity to meet with you and review your qualifications.

This letter is to advise the search has ended with the acceptance of an offer by one of the finalists brought to our campus.

Please accept our sincere appreciation for taking the time to become an active and serious candidate for our faculty position, and best wishes as you continue to seek an appropriate faculty position in higher education.

The strangeness of this letter cannot be understated.

First: Assistant Professor of Chemistry?

I could wallpaper my bathroom with the rejection letters I've collected over the last three years. As it turns out, there are rather a lot of MFAs out there trying to teach painting. And drawing. And theory. I can handle it.

But getting preemptively passed over for something I wasn't pursuing--a post I'm completely unqualified for, anyway? Turns out it's surprisingly demoralizing.

Second: Wait a minute. Penn State Harrisburg? These folks offered me a job last year! Heavy teaching load, mostly art appreciation...

I had to turn them down because of the money--we couldn't afford to relocate/give up our house/give up Cassandra's work.

Is this some sort of weird, cosmic retroactive rescindment?

Very sneaky, Penn State, Harrisburg. Very sneaky.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Meg has some very nice installation shots for Ian and Jan up on her website now.

See them here...and go to this page to download a preview.

Pictured: J.W. Mahoney, Derek Guthrie, Andrea Pollan--stills from Ian and Jan

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ask a silly question...

In an e-mail I sent out about Kriston's CP piece I idly wondered why he'd chosen to spell "yuck" without the "c":

An aside: What does it mean to be "yuk-yuk funny"? Doesn't "yuck" have a c in it? Is "yuk" equally acceptable? Does it have different connotations, or is it just a simplified variant, like "nite"? I am forever plagued with questions.

My friends and colleagues rushed to give me the answer: I'm an idiot!

Yuk is a colloquial noun or verb (sometimes adjective) specific to laughs and gags (;it's imitative in the way that "ha ha" is. Yuk is also sometimes a variant spelling of yuck, yuck itself now almost always referring to a reaction of digust. However, I bet they share the same etymological lineage.This has been your memorial day word korner!--Rebecca

Another answer--guesstimative, but correct:

i think a "yuk" is a noun (can also be a verb) describing a sound somewherebetween a chortle and a guffaw. snorting may be involved. ("get your yuks,""yukked it up")while "yuck" is an exclamation indicating disgust. this is just my personal belief and not based on the dictionary, which isoverrated in my humble opinion and is no substitute for the imagination.--Doug

The universe is suddenly a little less mysterious.
Kriston writes a really nice review of Ian and Jan in today's City Paper.

Read it

And I've got a review of Not only A, but also B at
Transformer in that very same issue.

Read that one

I got a message from Tyler Magill--an old friend from college--yesterday. He referred to Ian and Jan as a "media prank," and associated it with our tenure together at the Yellow Journal, UVA's now-defunct humor magazine.

"I guess you can take the boy out of the YJ, but not the YJ out of the boy," he wrote. "You've pretty much done what all of us wanted to do: high-concept piss taking."

Which is strange, because while I've been thinking a lot about the use of humor in the arts over the course of this project, I haven't been thinking at all about plain ol' humor.

And I think Meg and I always assumed that this show was too inside-y, too much of an art world involution for mass consumption, anyway.

When Meg showed the video to
Laurie Anderson, she was entertained, but she thought it was too narrow--great for making curators and critics feel clever, but unable to speak to a broader audience.

Of course, I think of Ms. Anderson as something of an art world pop star, so maybe her idea of a "broader audience" is different from mine.

Anyway, I'm glad that my non-art-world friends get the jokes, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jessica Dawson writes about Ian and Jan: The Washington Body School in today's Washington Post.

Read it here.

Jessica apparently really got into the spirit of the show, and she finds Josh Shannon as brilliant and funny as both Meg and I did.

Note: The accompanying photo is attributed to me--but it was actually taken by Steve Strawn, who took great shots of both "The Chariot" and "Wings" for our show.

Steve must love us right about now.

Pictured: The Chariot, 2007, performance photo taken by...wait for it...Steve Strawn.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I have a pick in today's City Paper for Nayda Collazo-Llorens at Project 4.

Read it here.

Also: Tomorrow night--Saturday, the 19th--my band will be playing the Warehouse Next Door with Five Four--one of our favorite DC bands--and the Vita Ruins.

We go on late--10:30-ish? You know how these things go.
Should be a fun show.
Stop by! Have a drink! Engage me in a debate about aesthetics! That sort of thing.
Pictured: Roaming, still from video, Nayda Collazo-Llorens, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mark Cameron Boyd examines Ian and Jan--and J.T. Kirkland's Supple.

Read it here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell died today.

I only mention this because I grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia--home of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University.

Mind you, I grew up in a secularist household, and was taught to value science, literature, and the arts.

So my feelings on the passing of the Moral Majority's founder are understandably complex.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Still more opening night photos. If you missed the reception--you poor, poor person!--the show's open through June 3rd. Thanks to everyone who came!

I dropped by 8th Street on Saturday to see the Gene Davis memorial street painting and found Rex carefully laying out one long pink stripe.

"This is not my favorite color," he confided. "And, of course, now that I've been at this for awhile, everything I see looks pink."

I couldn't help but notice a patch near the curb where two rectangles of canvas had been spread over the asphalt.
"That's for the Flexcar people," Rex explained. "They wouldn't consent to having their parking space painted over."
Flexcar is apparently not a patron of the arts--at least not when it comes to their own real estate.
So that was Saturday. I also dropped by the Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition at the Hirshorn, and took a final look at Alberto Gaitan at Curator's Office and Barbara Probst at G Fine Art.
I've already written about Probst's work for the CP. I really enjoyed Gaitan's piece--three automatic painting machines, each dripping one of the additive primaries--green, blue, or red--across a white grid, moving from square to square with each passing hour. Each machine responded to local, national, or international news feeds, graphing the occurrence of certain key words or stories.
What I found less satisfying about the piece was the vagueness regarding precisely what information the machines were responding to. The "local" painting machine apparently went nuts a couple of weeks ago, spraying broad triangles of slippery red pigment during the days surrounding the Virginia Tech shooting. But why? What words was it monitoring? They apparently changed from day to day, according to the artist's whims.
The pieces were supposed to map and make evident the organic, imprecise nature of the news cycle--but aside from the Tech shooting, the drips and lines remained more or less constant, as far as I could tell: Dark bands appearing consistently at certain times of day, leaving long, densely grouped drips that trailed down over a small lip at the bottom of the graph, ultimately dripping onto the floor.
Having said all of this, I nonetheless think Gaitan's machines were wonderful. I even enjoyed the sound portion of his installation: high pitched swells of swirling noise, somewhere between the stirring of information in the electronic ether and dolphin songs.
It was nice to get out again and see some artwork that wasn't, uh, mine.
Speaking of that: Thanks to everyone who came to the opening on Friday. I think it was a great success. I'll be posting some more photos today, and will put up some installation shots soon, as well.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Here are some pics from opening night:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ian and Jan and the Going Out Gurus:

Julia Beizer over at picked our show's opening on May 11th as her Reception of the Month.

Scroll down and read here.

Pictured: 14K Cabaret performance photo taken by Steve Strawn