Poetry from Hadara Bar-Nadav

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From Lullaby (with Exit Sign)—forthcoming from Saturnalia Books, 2013

Split the Lark

The lock. The dark. The eyes of a man who loved birds. Let’s step outside, try a Scarlet Experiment in the afternoon. At first you see nothing, a brilliant heat. Sharp seam of spring where sorrow meets song. Tender turns to tenderize. Turn skyward, mouth like a church. Where does the whistle live? Little god you open, search. Knife-red feather in the twine of the lemon tree. A leather-throated cry and your eyes pinch closed. Sequins wink along the lining of the lids. The sky like a ball gown, ball-gown grass, ball-gown stop sign. The taffeta dog. Everywhere lavender suns, diamonds of bloodless light. Still memory remembers you seeing. Still the eyes are blind. 


conversations public and private

posted in: Blog, Collaboration, Writings | 0

here is how i gloss your response [see posts by sonya blesofsky and jack rees below] as a series of questions: 1) what gives our art-making logic? 2) what makes one’s own work consistently engaging? 3)what is it that makes jury-rigged forms so compelling? initially, number three engages my attention, maybe because the logic of a response in (and to) pictures is so undefined (read: open ended).

i agree: that which is cobbled together smartly, is often oddly compelling. My shorthand for this is kluge: the quick fix, the temporary solution constructed from material at hand that ends up “working.” what i find compelling about a good kluge is the way it marries things that in other, more considered, frames would not be part of the same solution—elegance and awkwardness, form and idea, necessity and impermanence.

one example might be drawn from the etymology of jury-rigged: a temporary mast erected on a ship when the permanent mast is no longer functional (WordOrigins.org). in this situation the revised object must function under great stress yet all involved understand it to be only as functional as needs be—life saving necessity meets just good enough.

form and idea are, of course, often married in art yet in a kluge, allow for what might be called category shifting which is a singular mark of distinction. the picture you selected of the water bottles hanging from the seat rack of a motor bike is a case in point. in that circumstance, hanging the bottles from their tops is a satisfying kluge, unexpected but just “right.” one admires the solution because the idea is good, novel, and ad hoc while the form is pleasing.

so as not to beat a dead horse, i would make an analogous argument argument for elegance and awkwardness yet; to my mind, these deserve special consideration. our visual world is so cluttered with crafted yet meaningless objects that one is tempted to depend on a lack of craft (or even the semblance of a lack of sophisticating in making) as a way to call attention to the handmade object. the implicit claim is: this work means something simply because it is not “polished.” sadly, the implication does not hold up to scrutiny. not polished is not polished and significance, though inexorably tied to form, is not automatically present by virtue of an object being hand-made.

in this context, i wonder at your seeming pride in removing alchemy from the mix. why is it that magic and transparency are contradictory? seems to me the trick is to present in the objects we make, a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts—just like a good kluge.

Suggested Reading List

Now that the temps finally dropped, we will all be spending more time inside the gallery and studios. So I thought I’d start compiling a list to keep minds sharp and winter blahs away.

Currently reading “The Artist-Run Space of the Future” by Chris Kennedy. “A research brief and some incomplete thoughts about the artist-run space of the future from the Institute for Applied Aesthetics, Office of Research Experiment Stations.” I will be bringing a copy to Plug to share and distribute. Stop by on Saturdays (10a-5p) to weigh in on the text/topic. More resources can be found at Applied Aesthetics.


A recent arrival to Plug Projects is Cory Imig’s copy of Golden Age’s recently published, Reference Work. Reference Work is a conceptual business textbook written by Martine Syms and Marco Kane Braunschweiler.

“It is difficult trying to enter the business world as a right brain thinker, not because those skills aren’t essential, but because that world is structured around hard metrics and art is difficult to quantify. Reference Work is intended to demystify some of the day-to-day operations of a cultural business and expand the definition of commercial success.”



And I’m still missing this terrific compendium of art writing, John Kelsey’s “Rich Texts: Selected Writing for Art.” It was stolen from my car outside of The Whistler Bar in Chicago. If you see it, call me. I need to get another copy. I love the design of the book a la Sternberg Press. Photographs of top female tennis players in action poses act as pauses between each essay and remain unexplained. Kelsey talks about art from the hip, from the gut. I particularly like the way he outlines Charline von Heyl’s paintings in his essay, Big Joy Time.




On deck in my reading list: “The System of Objects (Radical Thinkers)” by Jean Baudrillard.

Introducing Plug’s Second Guest Blog Curator: Erik Wenzel

Plug Projects is pleased to introduce our second Guest Blog Curator and Contributor, Erik Wenzel. He will be blogging from Berlin, in response to the Remasters exhibition on view at Plug Projects through January 6, 2012.

Erik Wenzel

Erik Wenzel is presently based in Berlin. He is an artist and writer. This past October Wenzel presented If travel is searching & home what’s been found at the WerkStadt Kulturverein in Berlin, DE. Other Recent solo exhibitions include Live A Little, Live Ennui at the Harold Washington College President’s Gallery, and New ‘N’ Lonelier Laze at DOVA temporary, Chicago, 2010. And Belief in Doubt in Painting at 65GRAND, Chicago, 2009. He is co-editor and contributor to “Internal Necessity: a reader tracing the inner logics of the contemporary art field” published by the Sommerakademie at the Zentrum Paul Klee and Sternberg Press. His recent writing on art can be found at ArtSlant Berlin. Ongoing online projects include Kunst oder Dumheit? Cats From Art History and Art or Idiocy?


Poetics of Collaboration: Part II

Much like the artists who channel and challenge art historical figures in the current Remasters exhibition at Plug Projects, poet Cedar Sigo, draws inspiration from and writes about poetry itself. I came across Sigo’s work at San Francisco’s famous City Lights Books in the form of an anthology of his work entitled, Stranger in Town (2010). Recently I have been craving poetry, took a gamble on Sigo and was pleasantly fulfilled.

Will Yackulic: Outpost Nocturne 2008 ink, spray paint and typewriter on paper 18" x 22.25"


for Oscar Tuazon
6     The Father of all perfection is in the whole world is here
7     Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth
One of my primary concerns in poetry has become the courtship, recognition, and handling of physical tension. Does it die down along the furnished room or become changed by it? (I think of THE LORDLY AND ISOLATE SATYRS, the grip in Charles Olson’s line, “only the vault of their being taking rest.”) People know you do something, but poetry is often a last guess as to anyone’s chosen field. I’m still quite impressed by its plaintive skin and boiling insides, its suited discretion. It is much like whistling down around the catacombs, or worse, tapping one’s foot, waiting for remains to surface.
Captivity, Constancy, Bright Prospects, Defiance, Wisdom, Lightning Snake, Carefree, Lighthearted, Journey, Courtship, Infancy, Youth, Middle & Old Age, Alertness, Protection, Friendship, Thunderbird, Sacred Bearer of Happiness Unlimited, Human Life, Peace, Paths Crossing, Warding Off, Feathers, Enclosure, Guarding Good Luck, Watchful, Wise, Sky, Horse, Plentiful Crops, Constant Life, Happiness, Guidance, Morning Stars, Days & Nights, Swiftness, Time, Good Omen, Plenty Game
What I was seeing was half a hotel
so I wrote that down to see the picture better
After first thinking I would write on resistance, its opposite, compliance, kept pointing out at inopportune angles and moving instantly to work. It is just a hair that separates disfigured language (in which the words turn away, icing each other out) versus expansive (marrying the world in warm flowing tones of voice)? Each poem was once a separate jewel- they have been washed into very broad fabric. I have let it roll out and paid the highest price for what many assume to be found pieces. It doesn’t feel as if anyone is working over anything to get a desired effect. They were already always doing it. Distinction is the medium,  never something sought after.
Will Yackulic: Doppelganger Inversion Lozenge, 2009 spray paint, screenprint and palladium leaf on canvas over panel, 23.25 x 31.875
“Poetry can be a difficult field to enter into, as I find people sometimes think of it as old fashioned. It is this assumption that drives me to try & keep current. I do not want to interest academics. Skaters are more dear to my heart. Boredom is the cardinal sin. Collaboration can be a terrific introduction to poetry. Things tend to happen a lot faster than they might with a single author. Sometimes I will just be talking my head off while someone else has the typewriter & bits of our conversation will find their way in. It is one of the poet’s great fantasies come to life, having a secretary recording over your shoulder & making the words fit rhythmically too. Often it is the second draft of the poem I look forward to typing (in collaborations & just my own poems). The first draft is a catalogue of content, a list of everything available. The second is is more test of skill &the sounds you wish to make. You may have to sacrifice beautiful & resplendent lines in service of the skeleton.
A lot of my practice is listening. I try & respect that I am making demands on an outside force I do not entirely control.
I wouldn’t still be writing if it was not more fun than almost anything else & if I wasn’t still writing poems that I wished to enter over & over again.
I have tried above all to bring an allure to poetry. Where I would once read other poems to begin my own, not it’s more common that I write in response to hearing live music, attending an art exhibit, films, or just going out. When I to call to mind all the artists I have met & held dear over the years the lines that divide our fields begin to blur. This seems to me a result of both read dedication & capability. We feel like a band of mystics along the right tracks.”
WILL YACKULIC Foil / Plotting I 2009 india ink, spray paint, screenprint, archival inkjet print, palladium leaf and typewriter on paper 18.75" x 14.5"

San Francisco poet Cedar Sigo was born February 2, 1978. He was raised on The Suquamish reservation near Seattle Washington and home schooled from the eighth grade onward. In 1995 he was awarded a scholarship to study writing and poetics at The Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado where he studied with Allen GinsbergAnne WaldmanLisa JarnotAlice Notley, and Joanne Kyger, among other poets.  He has lived in San Francisco since 1999.In 2003 Ugly Duckling Presse published the first edition of his Selected Writings. It was followed in 2005 by a second revised and expanded edition. Other books include Death Race vsop, and Expensive Magic. A second large collection Stranger In Town is due out from City Lights in the fall of 2010. Sigo has given poetry readings at The Poetry Project at St. Marks Church, P.S. One Museum of Contemporary Art, The San Francisco Poetry Center, San Francisco Art Institute, and Beyond Baroque. He has collaborated with visual artists including Colter Jacobsen, Frank Haines, Cecilia Dougherty, and Will Yackulic. Recently, Sigo has blogged for SFMOMA’s Open Space. Currently, he is guest editing the second issue of The Can, a journal devoted to writing on poetics.

Will Yackulic is represented by Jeff Bailey Gallery.