Olga Poláčková-Vyleťalová

A Gentle Woman, 1969

Affection, 1974Escapes Home, 1980Tristana, 1972Krehké vztahy, 1980

Born August 8th 1944 in Hradec Kralove.  Painter and graphic artist. Private studies (1963; Antonin Kybal), Art school (1968) and Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague (1968-1969; Karel Svolinsky). She showed her works on collective exhibitions from 1974, on her own from 1980. She designed 76 movie posters between years 1969 and 1989. (
(See more here)

White Male Human Privilege

I just want to say something brief in regards to the use of live animals in art exhibitions, because it has recently re-re-re-emerged as an annoying trend. Most recently I encountered the dog that is living in the gallery at LACMA as part of Pierre Huyge's retrospective. While I personally believe that living beings have no place as part of human economic transactions (which art exhibits usually are in one way or another), I wont try to convince anyone that it is morally wrong, because there is endless far worse exploitation of animals occurring every second of every day all around us. Instead, I'll just say that I find it artistically pathetic. There is almost always in these cases a white male "provocateur" behind it, who clearly believes that including a non-human living being in the art work is in some way novel or edgy - congratulating themselves for provoking an emotional response from a viewer based on concern and empathy which they mock or play with from their meta-human meta-animal perspective. What's pathetic is that they think they are breaking with a tradition when instead all they are doing is cynically exploiting a tradition by breaking only its most superficial of rules. It's still objectification and commodification based on white, male, human privilege. It isn't novel, and it could hardly be a stodgier, more classical idea. Pierre Huyge could simply have rescued the dog and provided a good home for it, but that would hardly provide him and others who think like him with the false sense of provocation they depend upon to escape real ideas. And the monkey used in a video piece shatters at every moment any concept or artistic intent in the piece by clearly being a bored and confused monkey in a room. The crabs, lobsters and fish are almost certainly bred by businesses that exploit animals or captured wild - both of which are in a real and concrete way environmentally destructive, undercutting Huyge's otherwise interesting ecological constructions. The only way to enter into the meaning of the piece is to ignore these facts, and thats the same way of thinking that exists everywhere. It'd be fucking boring if it wasn't vile. Maybe it's just another banality of evil. It's unfortunate because I admire much about Huyge's work - but empathy and real politics are not in vogue in the very elite and lucrative echelons of international conceptual art exhibitions, or for those who aspire to be included in it.


Nicholas Monsour
Extinction Phone, 2014

Aluminum, thermoplastic, PVC, plywood, paper, refurbished pay phone, crystal oscillator timer circuit, Arduino control circuit, audio circuit, lead-acid batteries, recordings of extinct species, phone book containing scientific names of extinct species.

The extinction phone rings every time a unique species goes extinct on Earth, which is 73,000 times per year, or 200 times per day, or every 7.2 minutes.

This project is a site-specific, interactive art installation.  The phone is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller, and uses an AdaFruit Waveshield to playback audio.  The phone also includes custom built timer and interaction circuitry.  The recordings of extinct animals were gathered from various libraries and collections around the world.

The directory that hangs from the pay phone contains the most up to date and comprehensive list of identified species believed to be extinct.  The phone book can be purchased here.

OSPAAL Poster Art

The Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Organización de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Asia, África y América Latina), abbreviated as OSPAAAL, is a Cuban political movement with the stated purpose of fighting globalisation, imperialism, neoliberalism and defending human rights. It publishes the magazine Tricontinental. The OSPAAAL was founded in Havana in January 1966, after the Tricontinental Conference, a meeting of leftist delegates fromGuinea, the Congo, South Africa, Angola, Vietnam, Syria, North Korea, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Chile and the Dominican Republic. Mehdi Ben Barka, the Moroccan leader of the Tricontinental Conference, was murdered the year before, allegedly with complicity of the CIA.

One of the main purposes of the organisation is to promote the causes of socialism and communism in the Third World; for example, OSPAAAL strongly supported Hugo Chávez and demands that the Cuban Five be released. Social development, which the organization says is a human right, is a recurring theme in OSPAAAL publications.

From its foundation until the mid 1980s, OSPAAAL produced brightly coloured propaganda posters promoting their cause, however, financial difficulty and ink shortages forced the organization to stop producing these posters. However, in 2000, these posters began to be printed again.  These posters, as they intended to be internationalist, usually had their message written in Spanish, English, French, and Arabic. As opposed to being put up on walls around Cuba, these posters were instead folded up and stapled into copies ofTricontinental, so that they could be distributed internationally. This allowed OSPAAAL to send its message to its subscribers around the world.

All OSPAAAL-Posters from the beginning until 2003 are documented and indexed in the book The Tricontinental Solidarity Poster.

Comprehensive archive of OSPAAAL posters created by librarian/archivist Lincoln Cushing

These are some of my favorites:

Austin Osman Spare

Austin Osman Spare (30 December 1886 – 15 May 1956) was an English artist who developed idiosyncratic magical techniques including automatic writing, automatic drawing and sigilization based on his theories of the relationship between the conscious and unconscious self. His artistic work is characterized by skilled draughtsmanship exhibiting a mastery of the use of the line, and often employs monstrous or fantastic magical and sexual imagery. (Wikipedia)

Simon Schubert

Simon Schubert (born 1976) is an artist based in Cologne, Germany, his birthplace. From 1997 to 2004 he trained at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the sculpture class of Irmin Kamp.  Inspired by Surrealism as well as by Samuel Beckett, Schuberts works imagine architectonical settings, common situations and objects, whereas the material he uses are either simple or sophisticated - white paper folded or mixed media arrangements. Some of his paper foldings entered the West Collection, Oaks, PA, while the Saatchi Collection, London, owns sculptural works in mixed media. (Wikipedia)

Vasily Vereschagin

Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin (Russian: Васи́лий Васи́льевич Вереща́гин, October 26, 1842 – April 13, 1904) was one of the most famous Russian battle painters and one of the first Russian artiststs to be widely recognized abroad. The graphic nature of his realist scenes led many of them to never be printed or exhibited.

A bit of Kantor, 20 years on


Tadeusz Kantor (6 April 1915 – 8 December 1990) was a Polish painter, assemblage artist, set designer and theatre director.  His work and his writing about his work is what first sparked a real interest in theater for me, as well as an understanding that there are no limits to the transformative power of live performance.

I want to state openly that
this need to create theater
and visual arts
that would be   d i f f e r e n t
from the reality of political terror and
of police vigilance
was grounded neither
in a moral obligation
to create
a   R e s i s t a n c e   M o v e m e n t ,
nor in feelings of   p a t r i o t i s m ,
nor in the   h e r o i s m   of the underground movement.
I do believe that this process of
creating a   d i f f e r e n t ,
o t h e r
reality whose freedom is not
bound by any laws of any system of life,
or the act itself, which is like a demiurge's act
or a dream
is the aim of art.
I keep stubbornly repeating this thought
because I am suspicious that
in the epoch of "the Springtime of the Masses,"
and of the fight for political and economic freedom,
this notion of
the biggest freedom
that is demanded by
a   r   t
will not be understood,
or will even be deemed unnecessary...
Freedom in art
is a gift neither from
the politicians
nor from the authorities.
Freedom exists inside us.
We have to fight for freedom
within ourselves,
in our most intimate interior,
in our solitude,
in our suffering.

— Tadeusz Kantor, 1990 (translated by Michal Kobialka)



IAMPETH (the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting), which describes itself as "an international, non-profit association dedicated to practicing and preserving the beautiful arts of calligraphy, engrossing and fine penmanship," has an absolutely wonderful, treasure-trove of a website at

Highlights of the IAMPETH's website include the gallery of Master Penmen from the Golden Age of Ornamental Penmanship (replete with biographies and work samples), but by far the greatest thing this site has to offer is a PDF library of dozens of scanned, downloadable rare books filled with beautiful calligraphic designs.


1911 - 2010


— Louise Bourgeois

Dario Robleto

Dario Robleto was born in 1972 in San Antonio, Texas; he lives and works in San Antonio.  In his sculptures, Robleto uses rare and archaic materials, including vinyl records, dinosaur fossils, and impact glass formed by meteorites or nuclear explosions. Taking his cue from disc jockeys' music sampling, Robleto refers to history, memory, nostalgia, chance, and hope in order to understand the present. Sampling is a method of composing something new from existing sources in a nonlinear manner. To Robleto, this is a philosophy rooted in American history, rather than just a technique. His sculptures originate from his extensive research around an event, which eventually brings him to identify specifically evocative materials and forms. While his earlier work focused mostly on the history of rock and pop music and its relationship to official history and our personal lives, much of Robleto's more recent work references the experience of war, raising such questions as "who is the enemy?" (Scope).

A Homeopathic Treatment For Human Longing, 2008

Glass vials, vintage glass electrode wands, 19th c. bloodletting cupping glass, various home made homeopathic remedies (sound of glaciers melting, voice of oldest to ever live, last heartbeats of loved one, million year old blossom, million year old raindrop, deceased lovers heartbeats, extinct animal sounds, extinct languages), various custom ordered remedies made by professional homeopath (black amber, willow, tears, mammoth hair, glacial runoff, voice of oldest widow, black swan bone dust, Silvia Plath's voice), velvet, silk, leather ribbon, brass, iron, cork, pine, typeset.


Love Has Value Because It's Not Eternal, 2008

Hand blown glass beakers, stretched audio tape of field recordings of the sound of glaciers melting (2005-06) intertwined with audio tape of various lovers recording their partner's heartbeats as they reflected on each other, ground passion flower, amber, eternal flower, resurrection plant, silk, satin, leather, ribbon, brass, iron, cork, pine, typeset.


The Boundary of Life Is Quietly Crossed (left), 2008

The Ark of Frailty (right), 2008


The Boundary of Life Is Quietly Crossed, 2008

Ink dyed poplar, typeset on cardstock, hair lockets made of stretched and curled audio tape recordings of supercentenarians (human living to 110 or older), 19th c. hair flowers, lace and fabric from widows' mourning dresses, colored paper, silk, antique ribbon, homemade paper, willow.


Ark of Frailty, 2008

Poplar, typeset on cardstock, hair lockets made of stretched and curled audio tape recordings of "Lazarus species" (species that are rediscovered alive after being classified extinct) in the wild, 19th c. hair flowers, 19th c. dried flowers, lace and fabric from widows' mourning dresss, colored paper, silk, antique ribbon and buttons, carved animal bone buttons, homemade paper, willow, ash, white oak, milk paint, glass.

The Pause Became Permanence, 2005-2006

Ink dyed willow and ash, hair lockets made of stretched and curled audio tape recordings of the last known Confederate and Union Civil War soldier's voices, excavated and melted shrapnel from various wars, hair flowers braided by war widows, mourning dresses, colored paper, silk, ribbon, milk paint, glass, typeset.

The Pause Became Permanence (detail), 2005-2006