Body of Evidence: Colophon

According to Keith Houston, “the last thing the reader saw was the “colophon”, a single page at the back of the book named after the Greek word for “summit”, or “finishing touch.”*

Still quoting Houston: “The colophon was a place for the printer to record the details of the book’s manufacture–the name of its firm; its coat of arms, perhaps; and the place and date of its production.”

The attentive reader will notice that I got carried away. Under the influence of a Walter Hamady retrospective at The Center for Book Arts–plus a generous helping of the social and emotional conditions under which we are finding ourselves, I vented.

page one

And I vented, and vented and vented, as if after all that was said and done, there was yet much steam gathered under the valve.

page two

And yet–yet again, after so much has been said and done, there is something else I want to share: the very attentive reader might have noticed that I harbor a romantic hope in between those lines. That one of my impulses for splurging so bad comes from wanting to expose a certain hierarchy of labor in the making of works of art. That creating and crafting for me are one contiguous act, that honing these skills have made me an artist, and that by being an artist I am honing my skills.

And that one is no lesser than the other. And that I am grateful for it, and that I am grateful for you to have noticed it, too.

*source: a book called The Book, by Keith Houston. 2016, published by Norton.

Uliks Grika’s Sisyphus Stones

(clique aqui para a versão em Português)

Someone created a true sculpture park in Manhattan, by the Hudson River. At first I took some phone pics thinking ‘Instagram’, but before long I came to my senses – phone pics alone don’t do it justice.

I asked the man who seemed to be always on site, are you the sculptor?

“I am the stone lifter”, he said with a smile. He was surprised when I asked for his name so that I could credit the work when posting. “People don’t usually do that.”

His name is Uliks Gryka.  According to a New York Times article, he had the whole thing rebuilt once after vandals toppled them all, and then again after someone from the Parks Department took an opportunity to meddle.

While I was meandering (with my clunky film camera) between balanced stones, I heard something fall on the river with a big splash. It wasn’t me. “Yeah, I knew that one was about to come down”, he said. The sunset that particular evening had been magnificent, with perfect-drama clouds framing the pieces. I felt surrounded by a crowd of magnetic fields; every where I turned there was purpose and beauty and mystery and gravity. I couldn’t get enough of it, and as it turned out I didn’t get any of it at all: that roll of film had been badly loaded, operator deficiency. 

Having to go back was all I wanted, though. Didn’t get the same fantastic clouds, but with hindsight I think in B&W the sculptures fare better this way – less interference. And there where new pieces too. “It’s getting there”,

Uliks said. Where is there, I asked. “By the trees”, he said vaguely.

Be it because of the trees or some vandals or the parks department or a mighty storm, something is sure to draw a line and change the place after the place has been changed by the skill of a human hand. Sounds like art?

I can get to see as much art as I want in the city, but I don’t get to see as much truth as I want. This work was so truthfully humbling, I can only feel proud to share.