Monthly Archives: July 2012

Rock Lobster

B-52 Strato Fortress, Heavy Bomber, Wing Span 185 feet, Length 156 1/2 feet, Height 48 1/2 feet, Gross Weight over 350,000 lbs., Range over 6000 miles, Speed over 600 miles per hour, Ceiling over 50,000 feet, Crew of 6, Armament 4-50 Caliber Machine Guns.

Quickie for today, since this an image of an object that has enough information on the internet, in its Statto mode. Postcard again from the collection of Georgia, but not sent.  Band named for hairstyle, named for bomber, numbered for order of procurement and enhancement of destructive capability. The B-52 always poses uneasily, remaniscient of the back projection in Doctor Strangelove (1964), where the rogue B-52 commanded by Maj. Kong (Slim Pickens) drifts uncomfortably over the northern Canadian landscape: stock footage taken, it appears from the ground shadow, by the B-52’s predecessor-but-two, the B17 Flying Fortress. First flying in 1952 (by coincidence), the B-52 is still in service. It flies a long way and drops a lot of bombs, and for our miserable new century of small wars, you can’t say fairer than that.

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Champagne supernova

This card is one of a vast stock of American postcards collected by my mother-in-law, Georgia. A passionate and largely indescriminate collector, she would collect anything that you expressed an interest in, largely sourcing collections from a 40 mile radius of her home town in Minnesota. This card was sent in February 1967, written in a geriatric hand, by a ‘Diana’ to ‘Mr and Mrs Ewalt Barbsch’ of Mankato. It depicts the now demolished Paul Masson Champagne Cellars in Saratoga, and the Gurdon Woods sculpture in front. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s Woods personified the acceptable face of abstraction, creating forms and images that were recognisable enough to be real, yet abstract enough to be art, for public and private clients, including IBM, Paul Masson and Walt Disney, throughout the Bay area and N California.

The Champagne Cellars, built in 1959 by Bay area architect John Savage Bolles, with murals by Jose Moya Del Pino closed in 1986 and were demolished in 1990 for luxury housing development and an expansion of Highway 85 in Santa Clara. Here is it is in 1981. Woods and Bolles also collaborated on IBM Building 25 in San Jose, now on the National Register of Historic Places. While Bolles, Paul Masson and Woods were creating a similacrum of the future in N. California, their work would be surplus to needs of the actual future in the development of Silicon Valley. The award that was given to Woods’ cast aluminium sculpture or it’s eventual fate at the hands of Dividend Development LLC (Woods died in 2007) is unknown (by me at least; I’m sure someone knows what happened to it…).

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Baby got back

Image Another example of an opportunity missed. This card was an invite to Gillian Carnegie’s first solo show at Cabinet in 1998 at the space in Northburgh St. I’d bought Jeremy Deller’s Acid Brass print from Wheatley in 1997, so was on the invite list. It was a great show, and I kept the card because a) I liked Gillian’s work and b) I liked Gillan’s bottom.

Hey presto, in 2005 she’s up for the Turner Prize. Simon Starling won that year (I think Gillian was the ‘look there’s still painting’ nomination, but buying one of those beautiful graphite ‘bum’ drawings (even though now, it’s her painting that’s the thing) would have been amazing. Would have looked great hanging in the loo.

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