The Crowd: Jet Lagged [252]

Hi Crowd!

I'm just back from Paris where I spent the last weekish running around with other jpg aficionados looking at art and talking about art and experiencing art and generally being art enjoyooors. I was there with the kid, kind of a both of our birthdays trip. It was awesome.

(Context: The Photo was taken on the M1, 14 years ago.)

Over breakfast on our first day on the ground my friend Tony asked if we wanted to join an impulsive trip to FLV to see the Rothko exhibit. Would I ever! If any of you read the essay I wrote about my Two Bit Punks series then you know I've recently been obsessing about Rothko so this decision took all of a fraction of a second. I think I knew about the exhibit but also kind of didn't, I mean I knew it was up but hadn't realized where it was and that I could actually get to see it, so it wasn't on my plans for the week until it was. If you know what I mean. It was incredible, brilliantly curated and a fantastic retrospecting spanning his whole career which shows the early development and experiments and sort of how he found his way to the work that would make him so legendary. And that work, wow. Being able to see those pieces in that setting, it was one of the most powerful things I think I've ever seen in a museum. Top 5 for sure. I don't know that I'll ever have the opportunity to see a room full of Seagrams or Blackforms again and I'm really glad I did. The kid enjoyed it too, especially seeing how the artists vision progressed over the years and also the example of how, in the end, being successful and famous and rich doesn't always mean being happy.

Speaking of Two Bit Punks, 119 pieces in the 512 piece collection have found loving homes, which means, and the math experts in the audience will attest, that there are still some available. I'm really proud of this project and I know gas sucks right now but here's the minting link just in case you want to grab one or five. I'm still looking into local-ish screen printing options for the accompanying physical and will reach out to collectors directly when I have more news on that.

The next day we visited Invader's Space Station exhibition/installation. Another brilliant career spanning experience diving into the genesis of the idea, global growth of the project and off world expansion. Some readers will know that I showed Invader's RUBIKCUBISM at sixspace in Los Angeles in the early 2000's so unlike Rothko this is an artist, and friend, whose career I've seen develop first hand over the years, but still seeing in all together in one place was kind of breath taking. But in similarly, it was a fantastic display showing an artists idea growing and evolving over several decades, and I left feeling inspired and lucky and proud to have played even the smallest role in that story.

Of course the main bookends for our visit to Paris was Bright Moments and my talk at NFT Paris both of which were wonderful. Not my talk, the event, but my talk as well. You should have been there. The exciting news from my talk is that the book on Cryptopunks that I've been working on is going to be published by Phaidon. Yes that Phaidon. We spent a lot of time bouncing between those venues and some of Paris's premier vegan offerings. Cloud Cakes of course which we had been planning for weeks before the trip, but also Land & Monkey and Boneshaker which we discovered while there and I highly recommend for anyone visiting or living there.

(Despite the fact that I'm wearing an Assück T-shirt and making a death metal claw hand thing while holding a mic this not in fact a photo of me busting out some vocals for a new grind core band, it's me talking with Stone about our Cryptopunks book at NFT Paris. Pic by Ripley.)

Speaking of Cryptopunks, while in Paris we were lucky to get last second access to a screening of What The Punk! directed by Hervé Martin-Delpierre who might know from his previous film Daft Punk Unchained. The film is a documentary about Cryptopunks but it's also a larger story about the web3/crypto-art scene and actually an even larger story about artistic integrity and intention which starts off with Occupy Wall Street and weaves it's way up to 2023 covering a lot of challenging story lines, all very respectfully and honestly finding the human thread through out. I know the story and still found it to be surprisingly emotional. It's premiering next month at the International Festival of Films in Montreal and I really can't wait to see it again, and for others to see it as well.

Another highlight on a trip full of highlights was an early morning private tour of the AGORIA installation at Musee D'Orsay by Agoria himself. Yes, a legendary classical art museums in all of Paris had an exhibition where you could mint an NFT (on Tezos!) 60 seconds away from a room full of Impressionist masterpieces is a real thing that actually happened. Is happening right now. If you are one of the last few people in the world who thinks NFTs are not going to be an important part of art history, it's time to pop your bubble and come see what you've been missing.

I took a few photos while walking around, of course, and realized while going through them today in order to pick something for SB24 that I'm leaning more and more towards moody atmospheric settings devoid of people rather than the close up strangers on the street shots I've done for years, though I took some of those as well. I've written before about loneliness being a recurring theme in my work, and I'm often drawn to late night empty streets in big cities as specific representation of that. Crowds often give me the same feeling of detachment, something about being surrounded by people who are oblivious to you. Conversely, the thing I love about late night empty streets is that you never know what will be around the next corner, maybe more emptiness, another stranger wandering home, or perhaps a group of friends. There's always the chance of familiarity, and for me Paris is filled with unknown corners that I walk around and discover something recognizable. The little invader in the corner of this shot speaks to that, even when alone in a distant land, you can always find a friend so I picked it for the series.

I still have a few things to check off on my daily todo list so I'll leave you at that. Thanks always for listening, reading along, backburnering and forgetting or instadeleting this newsletter.


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