[Jandek] similar covers

Danen D. Jobe djobe at uark.edu
Fri Dec 22 10:59:32 PST 2006

Curiously, this CD shows up right after I read an article in the Dec 11 New Yorker about avant-garde visual artist Jasper Johns. I'd recommend this, in fact, for Jandek listeners as the two artists seem to share many similarities in philosophy regarding the approach to art. Anyway, in this article it talks about how Johns likes to make lithographs and prints of his paintings but that he always uses those mediums to do something different - put the painting at a different angle or maybe upside down. Or he re-uses the same object in sequences of paintings. To him, it gives a different look at what may be a very normal object. Here the normal object is a photograph, but look at the differences: in "What Else Does the Time Mean" the photo is of a young man with an axe by a woodpile. It's a contemplative photo, but one that puts the physical task into perspective. (the potential sarcasm of the axe, of course, is always there as possible commentary, though that's for the audience t
o discern). 

By focusing in on the photo, we now have a definition of a young man in contemplation, a theme that runs through the album.

There's similar ideals to "Living in a Moon So Blue" and "Staring at the Cellophane." In the first, the focus is entirely on the guitar. When pulled back, we get the perspective of a room. The guitar is now not simply an object to itself but part of a collection that belongs to someone. I think the photo sequences often show similar thought: why all the Slingerland drum sets from so many angles in different rooms, sometimes in focus and other times not? Because they all mean slightly different things. 

To reference the Johns article again (where this philosophy is much discussed), I think he's using some of the ideas of Marcel Duchamp, who suggests that what starts as the ideas of the artist must be finished by the viewer. So: what you see is what there is. If you don't like it, that's not an issue. I think this is why he doesn't answer questions about where photographs were taken, etc. So you can see this as something lazy, but I neither believe that the guy has run out of photographs nor is being lazy. Even if all studio albums forthwith do nothing but focus on different aspects of the same photo, I think it will be a deliberate thing. 

Just some thoughts.


----- Original Message -----
From: Alimarea Vasquez <beachdame125 at hotmail.com>
Date: Friday, December 22, 2006 11:57 am
Subject: [Jandek] similar covers
To: jandek at mylist.net

> well technically it could be argued that
> "Living in a Moon So Blue" and "Staring at the Cellophane" are the 
> same 
> photo just cropped different
> and
> "Later On" and "One Foot In the North" appear to be the same photo, 
> just one 
> is from another angle and is the shadow of the individual instead 
> of the 
> actual individual
> I am not annoyed at all, in fact it makes me more intrigued.
> He seems to do everything for a deliberate reason.
> maybe he felt that the picture had a lot of weight
> plus this may be one of the sexiest pictures of him yet
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