Brian Calvin


Painter said...

Brian Calvin @
Anton Kern Gallery
532 West 20th
New York

lives and works in Los Angeles

no-where-man said...

this was the best piece in the show, by far.. the super pop rolling stones reference worked.

arebours said...

Love him but he can be perilously slight-he's got something...that I can't describe.

Sven said...

I thought this one was all about Rei Kawakubo spring 2006...
a part of me should hate this ouvre, because of its stance of defensive vapidness, as I'm sure some of you do, but somehow I find his sensitivity with tone signifying an emotional honesty. A friend said this show was very Katz, I'm not sure how I feel about that.. It was wierd how one wall of sketches looked really 1918

Mark Barry said...

I like his work, haven't seen this show yet. Got a George Condo feeling.

SisterRye said...

It's not as bourgeoise as Katz. It comes from a more Bohemian seed.

A grown up narrator from Malick's Days of Heaven watches Cat People and recognizes her own eyes.

A boy poet quits Freshman Greco-Roman wrestling when they tell him to cut his hair. He goes feral. He has smog and chlorine induced asthma from growing up in the Los Angeles Basin. He contracted an incurable ear infection after swimming in the LA river, and now teaches sign language to immaculate social workers.

A midwife in training gives a free lecture to expectant teens detailing how to tell if the cervix is dilated more than two centimeters.

The enigma is slightly less cold, closer to Buddhist detachment, than detachment that comes from money and snobbery that I find in Katz.

Don't get me wrong, there are redeeming qualities in the Katzs.

devinlevin said...

Sooooooooo good! These paintings kick ass.

jeff said...

SisterRye what are you talking about?
Is this some sort of free association

This is kind of Katz like, not a big fan of him.

I'm not sure about this work need to see more.

devinlevin said...

by the way... "buddhist detachment"?
what are you talking about? you obviously
know little about buddhism. bad analogy.

jeff said...

Went to the web site, not my kind of painting or drawing.

kalm james said...

Made the grand tour last night, stopped in at this show and about twenty others. As far as painting goes this was certainly one of the top three or four. Defensive vapidness might be a good term cookly, there is a certain blasé “valley girl” sensibility, and for someone who works in acrylic Calvin gets a painterly quality out of some pretty pasty color schemes. I did have a problem with the apparent influence of a type of magazine illustration that you might find in “Raw” or “Wired”, a naïve hippness that seems to come a little too easy. Strangely enough I liked that quality in the drawings. Also there’s his stumpy handling of hands, like super sleek long-necked model types with wrinkly, stubby hobbit hands, kind of funny. My faves were the double heads with the blond African and the dark haired white girl, made me think of the “Simple Life” (not that I’d ever take the time to actually watch that stuff)

Slipped in to the backroom at Keonig and finally had a chance to see a kelli painting in the flesh. Nice work, I’ll bet she won’t be here for a while, (sleeping off the after party party).

Erik Benson at ReoblingHall was also a pleasant surprise. Seen the work over the last five years and wasn’t disappointed, though it is a weird technique.

Recommendations for this evening in Williamsburg:

“Strange Instrument” at 3rd Ward, 196 Morgan Ave. (not painting but sculpture)
Peter Caine at Jack the Pelican.
Thomas Broadbent, Patricia Smith at Front Room
“Echo” five Spanish artists, “Our Back Yard: A Cautionary Tale” curated by Hoggard and Wagner, at Dam & Stuhltrager

arebours said...

not a big fan of a light touch,I can see that by your work-

arebours said...

don't mean that meanly

kelli said...

K J thank you that is thoughtful. I had a great time last night seeing everybody. I went into it crusty and had an anxiety attack seeing so many people but enjoyed it eventually. This painting reminds me of Nara who I don't really understand but so many people love. And maybe Chris Finley.

youth--less said...

Borrowed Tune. My dotter and niece are like this-- we call them crunchy granola. But they are quite NorCal. Niece goes to college in SoCal and doesnt quite fit in with the jessica-simpson bimbos down there. Well UCSB what can u say?

The double portraits looked like Madonna and Cher to me. Cher used to stand in for ethnic. Demographics.

youth--less said...

Re the Buddhism. Almost every Cali artist has some connection to Buddhism these days. But its more like the wandering laughing monk style of buddhism--later Japanese--a bit more whimsical and a lot more messy. It's evolving.

youth--less said...

"Borrowed Tune"

I'm climbin' this ladder,
My head in the clouds
I hope that it matters,
I'm havin' my doubts.

I'm watchin' the skaters
Fly by on the lake.
Ice frozen six feet deep,
How long does it take?

I look out on peaceful lands
With no war nearby,
An ocean of shakin' hands
That grab at the sky.

I'm singin' this borrowed tune
I took from the Rolling Stones,
Alone in this empty room
Too wasted to write my own.

I'm climbin' this ladder,
My heads in the clouds
I hope that it matters.

zipthwung said...

Im not sure how I feel about getting the bendediction from an androgynous round eye. Just kidding. I dont like it. THe rolling stones t-shirt, the overalls, the blank look. If I saw this image selling I-pods I'd go apopleptic, deploying my weaponized sharpie at the nearest sleeper cell.

I might make a mistake.

The hands look older than the face because there are more lines, and lines on cartoons allways make the figure look older. Try adding lines to your refrigerator, you will see what I mean. It starts looking like pad thai.
They have pad thai in Vietnam, and they also have a form of buddhism. Buddhism is said to have come from one monk, Bodhidharma.

This is a christian bodhidharma.

Ironic, no doubt, because how can Christians be zen about anything?

Christianity, as practiced by most americans, is a tribal institution based on gaining prestige by helping other, less prestigious communities.
Macrobiotic lentil eaters, for example.

Well I dont need your hippy benediction.

I keep my bible in a pool of blood, so none of its lies can affect me.

One last - it looks liek there is a helicopter timing chain around the right wrist. That could change everything.

zipthwung said...

Chris Shaw

Donna Pardue (carved apple?)

thats my daddy on the right. RIP.

and finally

why rolling stones?

Hand me down.

zipthwung said...


The object of fine art is to create or identify ideological conflict.

zipthwung said...

I don't need your way of life
I can't stand your attitudes
I can do without your strife
I don't need this fucking world
I don't need this fucking world

This world brings me down
Gag with every breath
This world brings me down
I'm looking forward to death

It seems so unreal to me
So much hate and so mouch pity
I can't take another day
It's such a bore
It gets me really sore
I don't need this fucking world
I don't need this fucking world
This world brings me down
Gag with every breath
This world brings me down
I'm looking forward to death
Looking forward to death

burrito brother said...

Overall I liked this show. The paintings don't seem as 'labored'as they used to be which is bad. The last show had many more moments of underpainting, exposed outlines, and brushstrokes happening that I missed in this one. That being said, there were still great moments (the 2 lady paintings on the west wall.) I'd like to see him push it a little further, either exploring new narratives or else tinkering with his mediums. The drawings were beautiful, but too close to Matisse.
Passivity is a worthy subject.
Why the Rolling Stones?
Andy Warhol, maybe?

youth--less said...

Bob Dylan sells ipods...and he has the #1 album in the country. Just noticing...

Rolling Stones cuz Neil borrowed their tune. Dont u believe me?

zipthwung said...

Bob just confirmed my sus;picions that he lost it around the time of his "we are livng in a political world"

Never should have left the west village (its hopping right now) - the times they are a changing.

Just noticed the Lee signature bottom right. Another tripple pun. Great.
Just great.

kelli said...

What is worse Bob's Victorias Secret ad or Johny Cash's Taco Bell ad: "that's a lot of food for a little cash"

zipthwung said...

"A horse," said Antisthenes, "I can see, but horsehood I cannot see."

TO which I might say:

horse meat, I can eat.

zipthwung said...

Holism (from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total) is the idea that all the properties of a given system (biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) cannot be determined or explained by the sum of its component parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave.

The general principle of holism was concisely summarized by Aristotle in the Metaphysics: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts".

youth--less said...

There was a little boy and there was a little girl
And they lived in an alley under the red sky.
There was a little boy and there was a little girl
And they lived in an alley under the red sky.

There was an old man and he lived in the moon,
One summer's day he came passing by.
There was an old man and he lived in the moon,
And one day he came passing by.

Bridge #1:
Someday little girl, everything for you is gonna be new
Someday little girl you'll have a diamond as big as your shoe

Let the wind blow low, let the wind blow high.
One day the little boy and the little girl were both baked in a pie.
Let the wind blow low, let the wind blow high.
One day the little boy and the little girl were both baked in a pie.

Bridge #2:
This is the key to the kingdom and this is the town
This is the blind horse that leads you around

Let the bird sing, let the bird fly,
One day the man in the moon went home and the river went dry.
Let the bird sing, let the bird fly,
The man in the moon went home and the river went dry.

zipthwung said...

ever di this assignment?

Sven said...

I told you zip this chick is wearing commes des garcons

SisterRye said...

Was I free associating? Yes.
Do I know about Buddhism? Yes.
Do "round eyes" matter? No. Please.

wade said...

zip, you know how to link... when you cut-n-paste wikipedia maybe you could just link too...

The aristotle quote is ridiculous. How'd he write so much,um, through spending so much time on the parts.

Even in looking at a painting, let alone in science, etc., there is analysis... If you get some synthesis eventually, hurrah, or just take some mushrooms
Aristotle would be pleased with that opening paragraph.

Anonymous said...

"its more like the wandering laughing monk style of buddhism--later Japanese--a bit more whimsical and a lot more messy. It's evolving."
sounds interesting.
Calvin's work is good!
Cavin's work is stereotypically western. Nara's, on the other--is the hand of Japan. Despite the different cultural loads that are clear in the way each nut an image out, they do, as kelli points, share a commonality--there is something there--working strong.

jpegCritic said...

perhaps "whole...sum" was only said in respect-deference to his mentor ... y'know, political lip-service... dunno, just another rumination...

no-where-man said...

the stones shirt + hand gesture

zipthwung said...

Could someone tell me if this painting is subversive?

Wade - sorry man, nothing I can do. EVERY THOUGHT out of my head is important. It wont amount to much - no SYNETHESIA man, just a whole lot of crud. Poop.

Saw an excellent documentary on Lee Harvey Oswald that used first hand sources - eyewitness accounts of people who were the same age as oswald - so it was just him. He wasnt crazy.
Someone called the assassination "agressive decompartmentalization"
in a new yorker article.

I might write a book - "how are our paintings self revealing self portraits?"

Are yours? Or do you hide behind a projector and some appropriated imagery?

Are you a mass artist or a personal one?

Like global alignment in a taste for cuteness (subversive edge? Ha! mere Opiate!). Not for me. You can have it though. If you want.

Shrooms+mystical experience=integration experience sound great - Im all for mystical experiences and feelings of oneness with a cosmic web of meaning.

If art was illegal people would have more mystical conversion experiences, no doubt. Nuts.

Stuggle does what? for me spiritually?

Commes de garcons?
DO they know?

zipthwung said...

For me this is youth reflecting the father.


zipthwung said...

"The study, Griffiths adds, has advanced understanding of hallucinogen abuse."

Wade - is that the selling point of the article or did you read it? Its interesting to me, because if god wanted us to have mystical experiences why are they illegal?

er done shrooms in quantity, so I dont know, they could be spores from outer space. But I doubt it.

youth--less said...

shrooms are great but o the tummy ache. actually thats part of the fun.

Theres something good inside you. maybe its symbolized by a little girl. If Kehinde Wiley can make saints of bangers why not a little crunchy granola saint?

Maybe Calvin & Wiley should colab. Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

zipthwung said...

Tropes man. Thats your bag of tricks. THen its like a language - but really a murmur. But usually you can recycle one trope to say essentially the same thing over and over again. people say this is what happens. Usually.

The arrows of death fly unseen at noon-day; the sharpest sight cannot discern them.

-Jonathan Edwards, 1741

zipthwung said...

Tropes man. Thats your bag of tricks. THen its like a language - but really a murmur. But usually you can recycle one trope to say essentially the same thing over and over again. people say this is what happens. Usually.

The arrows of death fly unseen at noon-day; the sharpest sight cannot discern them.

-Jonathan Edwards, 1741

wade said...

I'd read the news write-ups of the article, and glanced at the article. I think they throw in the qualifying stuff about abuse, paranoia, etc., to be on the safe side...Its John Hopkins ya know.

I'm partial to the idea of paintings as self-portraits, just self in a more abstract sense. Personality in a swedenborgian sense, like platonic form in a jello mold, or an equation plus the handwriting, chalk and chalk board.

chucky said...

He's a hippy with greasy hair and melancholic eyes. His eyebrows are asymetrical, a sign of the anti-christ. This is very confusing because he is making the sign of the christ child, which is a dead give-away for a higher meaning. The shirt expresses the devouring nature of god and nature. The overalls exhibit the role of nature in our god knowledge. The golden snaps represent thunder and manufacturing prowess. The asian eyes and large ears mean nothing if not plurality.

chucky said...

His lips are girly.

kalm james said...

I think this is where I came in to this movie. Psychotropics as the key to transcendental consciousness? Not bloody likely mate. I went through this dead end ideas about thirty-five years ago. I dropped acid more times that I can count: blotter, Sunshine, Blue Cheer, STP, mescaline, morning glory seeds, peyote, etc. etc. I tripped in Goldegate Park during the “Summer of Love”, freaked in Height-Ashberry, saw the sun rise while tripping on Mount Shasta, found God and the Devil during days long sessions in the desert. Saw Tim Leary in 1970, what did it get me? A fucked-up attitude and maybe a couple of clichéd concepts about my place in the universe.

One thing I did learn is that everybody who thought this was the way to some great enlightenment ended up as road-kill on the evolutionary highway. The ones who survived are petrified hipsters who do nothing and accomplish less, minds of marshmallows. Like Alan Watts said, psychedelics are a door to pass through, but you shouldn’t keep going through the same door just for the sensation.

If any of you were truly interested in “transcendence” there’s a world of painting that has just as much or more “hidden knowledge” than the dope dogma. Problem is, no one wants to take the time to dig that deep, and once they do they don’t want to squander the secrets on the uninitiated. The ancient secrets of alchemy have been transmuted in to the art of painting, like the dinosaurs evolving into birds. This knowledge is there, right in front of you, waiting for you to be able to receive it. If you study the history, you’ll understand the mystery, and perhaps be able to fly.

Just the humble opinion of someone who’s been there.

chucky said...

kalmjames, you sound like a stud.

zipthwung said...

I just wonder about ethnobotanists - some get into it for the "right" reasons.

Not enough chaos in this painting.

"And what shall then be done unto the Children, that prove Curses unto their Father, or their Mother? Undutiful Children are so; But the Curse of God puts them to Death for it: And because those Undutiful Children are Wicked over much, therefore they Die before their Time.
Yea, 'tis no unusual Thing for the Death of Undutiful Children, to be Embittered with some Extraordinary Circumstances of Confusion and Calamity. I tell you, O Undutiful Children; There is Danger, Lest you be so Cursed of God, as to be Hanged on a Tree, at the Last.


Save us, O our Lord JESUS CHRIST. Save us from the Mischiefs and Scandals of an Uncultivated Offspring; Let this be a Land of Light, unto Thou, O Sun of Righteousness, do Thyself arise unto the World with Healing in thy Wings. Amen.


kalm james said...

I was till I broke it.

kalm james said...

Zip, please tell me what the visiting hours are at the “institution” so that I may come and pay homage, Really!!!

zipthwung said...


read this first

zipthwung said...

buy my product

youth--less said...

You guys try so hard to be hard.

kalm james said...

Softness has its place, except when it comes to thinking.

youth--less said...

what a cliche. do ur work.

Martin said...

kalm james - what do you think of alex grey?

jpegCritic said...

Type 2 Civilization.
It's a no brainer.

zipthwung said...

sophism is my work.

zipthwung said...


"Much of the best satire depends, in other words, on a skillful caricature or cartoon, rather than on any attempt at a life-like rendition of the subject.


With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
If there's nothing in it

kalm james said...

martin, I should have included Alex as one of the few exceptions. I’ve know him for years, doesn’t live that far away from me. Recently I think his painting has improved through its increased painterliness. We’ve discussed the drug thing, which he doesn’t want to push too hard, (he’s got a kid, so realizes the potential for unprepared people getting involved) It’s interesting how he (Alex) is looked upon as an outsider. I think he’s one of the better, more dedicated and ambitious artists out there.

youth--less said...

chek it out nowear--you made the painters paparazzi

cha said...

KJ I agree.... chemicals as a means to an end, often became the end for people I knew. Painting works... but it's so much harder!

Sven said...

elijah wood is a painter?

youth--less said...

that doesnt even look like elijah wood--he's too tall.

albino radio1 said...

chucky: you really think it's a dude? i think it's either-or on purpose.

and what about the grey 'overtone'? i think the grey is sarcastic, and states "the future is bleak!"

or maybe the grey says, "we've denied the colors of difference to make for a happy generalization of culture, and now culture doesn't exist anymore."

the asian subject and the stones reference, i think, try to reclaim the diversity in 'free love', yet somehow, it is the grey that acknowledges failure.

chucky said...

I know it is a dude, because of the big hands. Also Christ was a man.

kelli said...

Chucky where is Doug? Is he in the bathroom or have you done something to him.

youth--less said...

the star, the child, the light returns
the darkness will not win completely nor will the green dragon entirely devour the sun

what is this softness that will not take no for an answer
that penetrates and masses like love
in an empty heart?

Buddha has seen the morning star dawns purple and then gold in the snowy mountains

your hands flicker like sunlight among candles

sit down in the streets they buy peace with their blood
it shines on the gloomy pavement

our prayers
envelope us like a crystal sphere in which we all are moving

no-where-man said...

The title is interesting "Music (Borrowed Tune)"

heh! thats funny thx for pointing pic. out close-up. i love a parade.

spectacle! spectacle! spectacle!

kalm james said...

Chucky, I think it’s a chick, but Elijah Wood was doing the hand modeling for it.

Nice start on the muttonchop sideburns, very 70s.

Sven said...

i meant on painter paparazzi

jpegCritic said...

I've always loved Calvin's work.
Funny, 'cause I've never understood
the appeal of Katz. One person referred
to Calvin as a Katz as Modigliani in Los
Angeles, or some such... In the earlier
work, I saw modi, i also saw alice neel.
a feeling for paint much more luscious
than katz.... hmmm... what could it be?

ok. my ipod's updated. I'm outta here.

jpegCritic said...

Sennelier titanium is by far
the most luscious aggressive white
i've ever had. R you experienced?
Mixes nicely. Amazing tinting strength.
Kicks ass, makes nice looking kids.
Have yet to see if it's psychotropic.

jpegCritic said...

but honestly, Calvin's work is nice.
They're nice painterly constructions.
Though I like the earlier work --
I think someone above observed that
process and underpainting et al was
more apparent, for me, making it seem
more vital. The computer screens in the
eyes seemes trite.

I feel bad wanting more red eyed
guitar players, but i do want them.
doesn't everyone?

bluebalz said...

sennelier white titaniam the best i agree, their black is nice too.

youth--less said...

Subduing the
Demons in America:
An Interview with John Giorno
By Bill DeNoyelles

Part 5

The Process
“My whole performance thing started in 1964 when William Burroughs and Brion Gysin came back to New York and introduced me to sound poetry with people like Kurt Schwitters. It had a re-birth in 1959 with Gysin treating sound as a way of making a poem. The poem was written but the sound of it, which could be very abstract, was the attraction. Brion was given the BBC Studios in London to do his mutated poem I Am That. When he and William came to New York in 1965 they introduced me to that notion. I did my first piece as a collaboration with Brion called Subway Poem. I recorded sound on the subway. It was sent to Paris and presented at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in the Biennale of 1965. My first sound poem, I was thrilled. When you get given a little bit of acknowledgement it inspires you to go on.
I went on doing it thereafter.

“William came back to New York at the end of November 1964. It was the first visit to America by both William and Brion Gysin in about 10 years. It was calculated as coming to New York to conquer it so to speak. I met them at these various parties in January and February of 1965 like at Panna Grady’s at the Dakota. Diane DiPrima had a theatre on East Fourth Street where they did a reading. I got to know them.

“In an interesting way they are my very first spiritual teachers. Before I met them I was just this dumb American. At that time in spring of 1965 I took my first 34 LSD trips with Brion Gysin at the Hotel Chelsea in Room 703. I was in my mid-twenties but it didn’t matter, I was like a 14 year old. I had come out of the 1950’s. My mind was blown in the context of those LSD trips, which we took one or two times every week. The Chelsea was the only safe place for us to do that. I was living on 9th Street and Brion lived in the Chelsea in this nice big room. At those times [on LSD] you don’t want to be outside. We were lovers so we fucked all the time as well. Brion was not a Buddhist or Hindu but he was doing his own sort of meditation that he never told me about, some kind of magic. On those acid trips I would also sit. The mind being a wild elephant, we’d both sit on the bed in meditation, resting our minds. They were my first experiences with real meditation in terms of trying to deal with my mind. I went to Morocco with Brion in 1965.
“I was also good friends with William. He had introduced to me, on daily basis, to what he and Brion were working on. A thing called The Third Mind. Their daily work together was dealing with the nature of emptiness, the nature of phenomena arising and the nature of obstacles and suffering in this world. It was my first spiritual training–taking drugs and being with them everyday. Before the beginning of 1965 I was in the art world–Pop Art, Warhol, the dancers. Their spirituality was in their heart and only expressed through their work.

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Unknown said...

i like this - yeah some figurative painting at last - I've spied Lucian Freud in the list and I am happy - that guy rocks