library ladders and a good writer

I just read a delightful piece in the times. I hadn’t really been captured by one of the CITY articles quite like this one. The writing conjured up sounds and smells that made me feel quite warm inside, like a silky bitter hot cocoa. The piece was written by Caroline H. Dworin whose other work can be found at her website. You should read her work, because as she so simply says, ” She is a good writer, and she means well.”

This story reminded me of the moments in Harry Potter where he goes to Mr. Ollivander wand shop. Mr Ollivander climbs a ladder and reaches around many cardboard boxes looking for Harry’s wand. I also thought of the numerous fabulous art stores with wooden floors and ladders to reach stores of lithography inks and papers.

This is just one of the glorious insights into a place where time stands still and quality of materials and product are part of what defines the Putnam culture.

This floor is an orphanage of broken ladders, the bleaker version of those below. Gregg still rescues ladders from closing businesses, and sometimes even buys them back for $25 or $50. Once, while having dinner in a downtown restaurant, he spied one through the window of a closing bookshop, and wrote a letter to the owner asking to reclaim it. His friends and family are mystified by this ability to pick out his ladders from a distance, as if responding to some low-frequency cry.

Mostly I thought of this magical way that the ladders still speak to their makers.

You might want to order a ladder while you still can. Who knows how much longer they can hold off progress.

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photobooth saves the day

We were heading to Pittsburgh to meet with heavybubble agent #1 Matthew Naftzger. Margaret got the Redcap at 30th Street Station and I drove off to park the car. By the time I walked from the garage at 17th and Chancellor back to 30th Street our bags were on a dolly and our Redcap was waiting for me to arrive.

We took the elevator down to the platform and boarded our waiting train. It was dark and most of the passengers were napping recovering from their earlier start I guessed. We tossed our luggage overhead and then settled into our seats with a couple bottles of water and I put on my bright pink travel Crocs.

I put some of my small technology — camera, ipod, and earbuds, in the elastic fishnet pocket on the back of the seat in front of me. Settling in to watch the train departure from Philadelphia to points west.

As we pulled out from under the station to the surface of west philadelphia I began to look up at the passing neighborhoods. I was engrossed in the view of passing rooftops. Time passed and we meandered through the suburbs and then burst through to the farm land of Lancaster. I reached for my camera to catch an image of a four horse team working an Amish farm. Turned the camera on and nothing happened! All kinds of things went through my head, “Crap, did I drop it?” … Then it came to me like a water balloon on my head — I had left the battery in the charger, plugged into the wall receptacle in the studio. I could see it in my minds eye.

No photos on the outbound trip. Maybe I could get a battery and charger in Pittsburgh. I have my laptop, I’ll google for a store. Wait, I HAVE MY LAPTOP. Lucky me. My Macbook Pro could act as my camera. I opened ‘er up and launched Apple’s PhotoBooth app. My little built in camera turned on. Yippie!

The image capture experience became more fun. I even took a couple short test movies to play with and here’s one for you to take a look at. This clip is all about rhythm. The patter of light, the familiar sound of the rails, the change in sound and light when one car ends and another begins.

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The New York City Waterfalls : BIG Public Art

New York in the summer is a sluggish time with the heat and humidity driving anyone who lives in the city to shore, mountain retreats, or europe. However, for those that cannot escape there is a wonderful new public art project to cool your mind if not your body.

While meandering through one of the many copies of the Times piled on our coffee table at Stellarvisions I came across an article about the new really BIG public art project by Olafur Eliasson. This project involves lots of water and that is a cool thing. This is a project so compelling it will draw many to see it during their sultry vacations.

I haven’t seen any of this project in person yet but I have been visiting the many places on the web that will help you find out more about Olafu Eliasson and the Public Art Fund who made this installation happen. You can see this work by train, boat, bicycle, or foot and the website will give you the scoop.

This is a huge project in all ways. There are four waterfalls they are between 90 and 120 feet tall, water will fall between 7 and 10 pm. The water will be lighted in the evening. The engineering is an incredible feat; pulling water up from the river to let it rain down to its source again. It cost 15 million bucks and the Public Art Fund tapped everyone including the Major to make it happen.

I’m thinking the Circle Line tour is a good idea. No lugging around my camera, picnic basket and all. Seems like you would have to experience it so many ways and times of day. This could keep us all busy until October when the installation closes.

Without even visiting the work it has made me think of the water that surrounds Manhattan in a different way. It brings the water to life again. No longer just a surface upon which boats pass and commerce takes place. It is a surface that can be broken. It reminds us of the nature of water and water in nature. Its not a leap to move into the thoughts of our experiences with gentle sprays and powerful cascades.

Thanks to Olafur Eliasson for creating this internal and external conversation.

Here’s a look at some of the info available on the web. Even if you can’t make the trip to NYC. You can experience the work in another way.

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Obama’s support for FISA

Don't spy on me.

from Barack Obama back in in September:
[ I willl ] support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.

Is this not a defining issue of this campaign? What happened to supporting the Constitution? This bill legalizes the continued use of unreasonable tactics that subvert Constitutional rights. Here are the opening lines from Obama’s statement supporting the Bill.


Friday, June 20, 2008
Statement of Barack Obama supporting Hoyer FISA bill

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on FISA Compromise

“Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.”

Given the threats we face? Sounds a lot like George Bush and his rationalizations. This is a serious moment for Mr Obama. Are we supposed to say this is ok? Trust him? I think not. I’m with Russ Feingold.

from Salon:
The ACLU specifically identifies the ways in which this bill destroys meaningful limits on the President’s power to spy on our international calls and emails. Sen. Russ Feingold condemned the bill on the ground that it “fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home” because “the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power.” Rep. Rush Holt — who was actually denied time to speak by bill-supporter Silvestre Reyes only to be given time by bill-opponent John Conyers — condemned the bill because it vests the power to decide who are the “bad guys” in the very people who do the spying.


The ACLU recommends a no vote on H.R. 6304, which grants sweeping wiretapping authority to the government with little court oversight and ensures the dismissal of all pending cases against the telecommunication companies. Most importantly:

• H.R. 6304 permits the government to conduct mass, untargeted surveillance of all communications coming into and out of the United States, without any individualized review, and without any finding of wrongdoing.

• H.R. 6304 permits only minimal court oversight. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) only reviews general procedures for targeting and minimizing the use of information that is collected. The court may not know who, what or where will actually be tapped.

• H.R. 6304 contains a general ban on reverse targeting. However, it lacks stronger language that was contained in prior House bills that included clear statutory directives about when the government should return to the FISA court and obtain an individualized order if it wants to continue listening to a US person’s communications.

• H.R.6304 contains an “exigent” circumstance loophole that thwarts the prior judicial review requirement. The bill permits the government to start a spying program and wait to go to court for up to 7 days every time “intelligence important to the national security of the US may be lost or not timely acquired.” By definition, court applications take time and will delay the collection of information. It is highly unlikely there is a situation where this exception doesn’t swallow the rule.

• H.R. 6304 further trivializes court review by explicitly permitting the government to continue surveillance programs even if the application is denied by the court. The government has the authority to wiretap through the entire appeals process, and then keep and use whatever it gathered in the meantime.

• H.R. 6304 ensures the dismissal of all cases pending against the telecommunication companies that facilitated the warrantless wiretapping programs over the last 7 years. The test in the bill is not whether the government certifications were actually legal – only whether they were issued. Because it is public knowledge that they were, all the cases seeking to find out what these companies and the government did with our communications will be killed.

• Members of Congress not on Judiciary or Intelligence Committees are NOT guaranteed access to reports from the Attorney General, Director of National Intelligence, and Inspector General.

There is no justification for support of this Bill.

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The Warhol.

to the warhol.png

This was the google suggested route. We took the Roberto Clemente bridge over the river. There was a ball game and the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic. Everyone was headed to the game. It was a glorious evening and we almost went to the game. The stadium vortex almost pulled us in — didn’t happen. We went to the Warhol. Couldn’t take any photos inside. There was a terrific room on the first floor where you could be familiar with events of Andy’s life. Enjoyed it very much. They had an interactive kiosk that sucked.

Here’s a shot of Andy’s bridge. Sweet eh?

Check out the website and make a visit if you are in town. Seven floors of fun stuff and fridays are half price.


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our reserved coach seats, off to pittsburgh

Photo 90

Here we are on the train to pittsburgh. I forgot the battery to my camera — it’s plugged in charging at the studio downtown. I refused to be thwarted and took shots along the way using the laptop. It was a very quiet trip. We met a couple that was on the return trip to california.
It made me think about a fun trip west, sleeping car and all. Maybe our next art fair business trip. More about the trip to come.

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Sydney Apple Store, COOL!

I just want to reiterate how much I want this job. Another amazing storefront.  Thanks to everyone at for posting these images and documenting the creation of buzz and energy by a terrific design team. The store is pretty amazing when they took the cover off.

Hmm, what city is next?

Sydney store banner

Sydney store banner

Sydney store banner

Thanks to Simon Tsang, Bradley and Cameron for these photos.
original story and images :

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carano gallery, artist reception

Lately I’ve been involved in getting the marketing up and running for our cooperative gallery at Sherman Mills. The Carano Gallery is a wonderful space right inside a working artist building. These are some photos my art bud Carol Wisker took at the artists reception this past friday. Enjoy and next time join us. Oh, and don’t miss the show its up until August 18th. You can find out more at my artlog or at the smARTS website.

Okay, pictobrowser is refusing to work. So go to you can see the photogallery there.