Artists consumer reports

Consumer Reports: Jim Drain

Jim Drain. Photo By Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Jim Drain.


“Consumer Reports” is a recurring feature that profiles an artist’s consumption of any and all media throughout one work week.

As a member of the influential Providence art collective Forcefield, Jim Drain helped blend music, performance, film, and installation into an ecstatic whole. On his own, Drain works in a variety of mediums, connecting the dots between sculpture, knitwear, painting, and beyond with a distinct visual energy. Drain has work in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art and has staged solo exhibitions at the University of Florida, Prism Gallery in Los Angeles, and Locust Projects in Miami, to name a few.

In one busy week, Drain travels between Rhode Island, New York, and Florida, attending openings, giving lectures, and designing parks. Along the way, Instagram factors in heavily, both as a tool for documentation and cultural research. Tanker chairs are salvaged from a classically dilapidated Rhode Island warehouse and “Islands In The Stream” plays not on speakers but in the artist’s head…Welcome to a week in the world of Drain. —John Chiaverina

Monday, November 3

7:58 a.m.

I am at the manor in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Fresh from the shower, I see a text from Keith blinking. It says: “Let’s see how sass master flash feels after his wine induced ‘tude sesh. Report immediately.” I texted him last night because I will be in New York Wednesday, but won’t be staying with him. I replied: “so fuck you.”

8:30 a.m.

Instagram is becoming a three-dimensional landscape pitted with slime pools and dungeons. Liked Houston’s FB post “Whether it’s a picture, a written article, a ceremonial vision, or rite of passage, it is our lot as humans to endure these changes across our personal topologies with GRACE.”

8:46 a.m.

Edited a comment on FB: 104 likes. 2 shares. Nik Kosmas asks me, “U play [chess]?” which, coming from Nik, makes me soul search momentarily.

Songs currently in brain: Devo’s line “I like the way they comb their hair” and the commercial for answering machine tapes (as rapped, early ’90s style) “Wait for the beep; gotta leave your name; gotta leave your number, wait for the beep.”

9:40 a.m.

Texted Phil and Ara and gave them a head’s up on a building in Woonsocket that was clearing its 100 years of fucked-up inventory. I went looking for tanker chairs and found a dozen.

11:10 a.m.

Post two IGs: the first in the worst, most disgusting part of the building. It is a video of sewer pipes and rotting cardboard boxes. The second post (11:40 a.m.) is a photo of a staircase that is incredibly solid of cherry red and golden hues.

12:12 p.m.

Check the responses. @malcolmstuart wrote: “thanks for the momentary visual instability” plus a blue hurricane emoticon (re: the staircase).
@heatherbenjamin wrote: “omg,” and @alisonjeancole added: “can’t believe you got to tour the permanent collection at WoonMOCA. (re: the rotting hell area).” @tommymcc76 writes, “you should wear a mask.” Tom is right and I think of this throughout the day.

8:12 p.m. Insides: sad face.

8:50 p.m.

eBay. Checking bids on long underwear.

Tuesday, November 4

7:30 AM

Brian Chippendale commented “ha ha” on yesterday’s Instagram video.

7:35 a.m.

Check Gmail: someone is checking me out. So I cruise. “This is probably one of dozens you’ve read, so here goes: I’m here to find the real deal.”

7:55 a.m.

Paypal for the long underwear, saved me $20.20. I am still in bed.

8:03 a.m.

Gchat with Keith: “so whats your deal – you wanna stay with me? Now I live with Athena and Nick Noe – will be a party”

8:10 a.m.

“You’re not ready for how things quickly shift now,” reads the subject line of ‘ Horoscope.’ Delete. Scroll through more and delete most. Read the rest and star the ones I know I will need more closely later (yawn, routine).

One email from Aziz in Morocco, the base for the embassy sculpture looks sick. Forward the pic onto Smitty in MIA. “Check out the pad. Petty cool.” Rethinking trashing the horoscope. I go back and dig it out of the trash. I need to “consciously accept what [I] cannot change.”

127 likes on the chess tables. Judy Leeson Polstra comments “LOVE IT!!! Perfect for my backyard!! (Smiley face).”

I check her stats.

One of her posts reads, “I think I may bail on American Horror Story. Loved every past season, but this is not for me. (Watching on Demand).”
Suddenly, I remember my dream. I was watching a row of women all getting full back tattoos.

12:42 p.m.

Barry texts me a pic of a weird mural at last night 2:04 a.m. His? Clare’s? Can’t be. “I’ll take it,” I respond and send an image of a fiberglass mustached man sitting on a mean-looking fiberglass grey horse. The man wears a rainbow poncho and surveys the Pawtucket landscape.

I just plowed through a burrito the size of an adult rabbit.

1:54 p.m.

Hangouts from Nathaniel. I tell him I’m doing some “Bonkers Yankee Shit” when he asks if I am “doing any burly New Englander guy stuff?” He also asks, “Any idea why Cunningham just dedicated a photo of him and his wife making out to us?”

Check posts. One tag from @cunningpscott is a selfie kissing @christinafrigo with the Eiffel Tower photo-bombing. I reply, “Enjoy Las Vegas.”

@melissasmock likes 4 photos and starts following me. @arcangelsurfaware follows, too. I like his Tony Conrad pic and study the pic of the gradient bed sheets shown in Venice, CA.

4:34 PM

@jimwalrod tags me on @madiedelmann’s feed, writing “Why?”

It is a picture of two women making doves with their hands and smiling. They are both in white and have long, brown hair. Early 20s, privileged, educated (Southern?). The feed is a lot of smiles, vacations, ice cream, dogs. She uses a hazy, blown out filter on many of the images.

I don’t really know what Jim is asking or referring to, but I assume it is part of an ongoing conversation he is having with @brad_phillips. Troll talk? I write, “I don’t know what to believe anymore” back at Jim on a different @madiedelmann image. This one is of a fat baby future quarterback. Some comments on the baby image are #nipslip, #noshirtnoproblem, and #bebemadi with lots of smiley faces kissing air hearts.

8:00 p.m.

Later @madiedelmann tags the three of us and writes, “u guys r ganging up on me *sigh*.” I want to write her and tell her that she should ignore us. It reminds me of Crocodile Dundee walking over cars: simultaneous passages. But, maybe it has to do with the direct messages the three of us each have been receiving. But, no, not from @madiedelmann; she seems too much like an innocent bystander. Can’t change it now; troll crossfire.

Wednesday, November 5

8 a.m.

Results are in. Buddy is not mayor.

12:00 a.m.

Post an image of a bush outside the house that is half green and half red. I first squared it up in Instagram without posting it. Once formatted, I drop it into s-memo multiple times, each time rotating and shrinking the image by a few degrees. A swirl of red and green is made. My sis @emilymoonbee likes it at 5:30 a.m. She’s an early bird.

6:20 a.m.

Using Aperture, I format 30 perimeter sidewalk images of a park that Nick Gelphi, Roberto Rovira and I are designing together. The images are formatted and dumped into Photoshop, then I make a composite and save them as .psds and .jpgs. The .jpgs are dumped into Adobe Acrobat Pro to make a presentable document for today’s meeting at 3pm in Miami (I’ll be on a train headed south to NYC).

9:30 a.m.

How do I open .dwg files? I download Rhino and I keep it in the dock. Damn. No worky. Illustrator? Check email while waiting for it to load. Quickly link to “Just remember, if you can imagine something, you can also make it real.” Illustrator opens. I can’t make any sense of the plans. I can’t make it real, dawg.

10:10 a.m.

Check bus and train schedules. Is there a Costco around here? Where is the closest laundry mat? I’ll Gmap it later. Reminded to add a few items to my Amazon ‘subscribe and save’ list. Mark commented that, “you don’t plan on ever leaving (the property), do you?”

Delivery to Mr. Drain from the man in brown.

Who needs a car? God, maybe I need a car. Uber/Amazon/Costco. We passed a VFW in Woonsocket the day before and Mark pointed out all the Buicks in the lot. They probably all had Florida plates, too. That night, we scoured Craigslist Miami-Dade and sure enough, a dozen Buicks, all within ’96-’02; less than 100k miles for under $1,500.00.

I have a car plan.

1:35 p.m.

Uber it to Fedex to send Leo’s package back to him. I look up my acct. number on It is like navigating a tiny panama canal. Found it. Caught a Nor’easter to Penn Station. Wrapped up docked boats, brick buildings, and buoys on the bay bob in the window. The fleeting landscape, a collection of mounds—smoldering oranges, browns, and reds.

Leo asks for the total. “Couldn’t wait for the receipt. had to catch a train,” I reply. No time for the Providence Au Bon Pain either. Thinking about the extra $37 for the train. It gets me in at 6:30 p.m.: biggest selling factor.

2:30 p.m.

I chew on caesar in a plastic container and sign in to “Amtrak Connect.” Nick emails a pdf version of the site plan. Downloading an M4V that Roberto sent: 48 seconds left.

2:36 p.m.

“Hi Jim,

So happy to hear that! We make every effort to partner with drivers who provide exceptional experiences—thrilled to hear this was one of them.
Please let us know if you ever have any questions or feedback. For now,
Uber on!

Uber Support”

I had written in the review of Moufstafa’s ride: “Lovin’ life.” All stars.

4:24 p.m.

@poncilicreacion likes five images and began to follow me. Their header reads, “Art Collective. Giant Puppetry. Contemporary Art. Neo Tribe.” One of their images is taken on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Two hairy men in pink shirts and black pants. One has long bright green arms trailing behind him. The second is holding the back of a yellow stuffed dog. @poncilicreacion captions it: #antiperformanceart #meltedembracestour #artbasel2014 bound.

I think about this.

“Islands in the Stream” as sung by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in my brain.

5:40 p.m.

Open up “Jung’s Map of the Soul” and then hear we’re twenty minutes from Penn Station. Exiting the train I have Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” in my head and I sing it to myself as I walk up the stairs into oncoming LIRR traffic. “I wouldn’t lie to you baby, I’m physically attracted to you.” I don’t care who sees me singing.

Penn is like a pit of snakes.

6:10 p.m.

I am outside, having exited the A at Canal and I have Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” in my head. “Yes, and only if my own true love was waitin’/ Yes, and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin.’”

6:25 p.m.

I pass the teddy bear sculpture a second time. Fuck Gmaps. I am never in TriBeCa. I imagine Cat Power singing “looking kinda dumb” to Gimhongsok’s trash bag bronze in the same way she sings “Looking like a bum. That’s my one. That’s my someone” in “Lost Someone.”

9:46 p.m.

“Jim you are trending,” texts Annie. I am at Lovely Day in the basement for Takeshi Murata’s opening dinner he is sharing with Jessica Rankin. Both @jimwalrod1 and @ludwigvontruffle take a photo of me and both say, “oh, this is the best,” respectively. I have been up since 5:45 a.m. and feel a bit cruddy but I’ll take the flattery.

8:00 p.m.

I take 2 drags on Christy K’s e-potcig.

8:05 p.m.

Man, how does Jeanne look so great? My throat is a little gooey. Is it from the warehouse or the e-cig?

10:05 p.m.

Later, I show Dan a picture of Riff Raff from Star Trek and it could be a double for a few of my early 40-ish friends. “Paul Barman has not aged a day,” said Christy K. “It’s because he does not drink,” he continued. I text back to Annie “loved.” I decide I am not going to touch the table full of reds tonight. I go and talk with Keith at the bar, grabbing forkfuls of salmon from his plate.

Thursday, November 6

4:45 a.m.

Up at 4:45. @chimpendale just posted “5 AM Connecticut THX10000 weirdness or something.” It is a futuristic Ruscha. He played in Brooklyn last night; did not go. I have a church song in my groggy head “Here I am Lord” which fades into “drop off the key Lee and get yourself free.” I pack up and go. “It is I Lord. I hear you calling in the night.”

5:10 a.m.

No cabs. A car service is in front of the hotel. I remember my dreams as I slouch in the back seat. A half-cannon/half-volcano was spewing huge cannonballs that I had to dodge for my life. Javier H. suddenly walks in and throws one huge metal sphere at the source and they all are destroyed. Read NPR on my phone: millennials were a no show at the polls.

5:20 a.m.

I look out the window and remember Brad Pitt’s excellent smile in Fight Club as the car is flipping. “Radio Free Europe” (live set on David Letterman) is in my head having seen a recent @nowness’s post of REM called “How Michael Stipe and co took on the 90s with Out of Time.”

5:27 a.m.

“Call Me” by Blondie then INXS’s “Need You tonight” play at the JetBlue Terminal. Then, Axl Rose is interrupted for a TSA service announcement. This early in the morning and “Civil War?” It feels like I am chewing on a dank g-string with my coffee.

2:10 p.m.

I met with students at Florida International University (FIU) from noon to 4:30 p.m. Write down one student’s Etsy account: kjmART. Loved the paintings although I don’t see what I loved so much on her etsy site.

It is incredible to see genius: single mom with two teenage girls, surfing dating sites and in a grad school that is on land that 50 years ago was the Everglades. What does it take to be an artist? It is a ruthless will that burns a different kind of fire. One student is taking photos of gas stations (ala Ruscha) within Grand Theft Auto’s “Los Santos.” I ask her how many people she had to kill to take the photo. Am I a salesman?

5:10 p.m.

@friendswithyou reposts my photo of an FIU electrical box with a rainbow stain.

7:15 p.m.

Wake from a 15-minute disco nap. I see myself scrolling my feed on my eyeballs. I have Beck’s song “Guess I Am Doing Fine” hovering above my skull. I think about the recent Instagram blocks. I don’t think it was necessarily right of me.

7:45 p.m.

I have 3.651/4GB as of 11/6/14 with ten days to go. Fuck it, I Gmap my way to Alexa Wolman’s house in CocoPlum to see Benny Merris’s mural commission. The mural looks awesome: it is a gradient tropical starburst extending rays like the tendrils of a ficus tree. Benny compares it to a cave painting. We wolf down the paella sitting at a long table in the cavern overlooking the Miami River. Jennifer watches me. She says that I looked like I was minutes from sleeping. My eyelids felt like awnings filled with water while my eyes were doing loops.

Friday, November 7

5:30 a.m.

I get a text. “Hi bb” from a 707 number. I look at this and then put my phone down. I fall back asleep and dream of a giant black snake. I carry a tiny ‘emotion-Ali’ and walk with Jess to a swimming pool. I see Herb, Jess’s Dad, in my dream and I begin to cry. Maybe I should have said something before going on an Instagram block spree. I need to learn a better way. Help me, Walrod1.

9:52 a.m.

I look up 707. Napa Valley, not New Jersey. God, I needed the sleep. 310 likes on the #rainbow post from yesterday. Third-most-liked post. I watch Cat Power’s live “The Greatest (Live Jools Holland June 26, 2006).” How the fuck is it from 2006? I listen and melt. The background singers are fucking amazing. Chan is barefoot in an Army olive green shirt and looks incredible. I watch “Cat Power—1996-12-10 Nulle Part Ailleurs.”

3 p.m.

I put my 7:30 p.m. lecture together, drawing images from Dropbox and Aperture library. Format using Aperture and Photoshop and then compile the images in a pdf using Adobe Acrobat Pro.

I pull images that I had discussed with the students I visited with yesterday: Michael Williams, Jessica Stockholder, Ida Ekblad, Mary Heilmann. I want to include @therealstarkiller. There is a great shot of Brian Belott’s table of drawings that I want Inga from Moscow to see. Brian would be psyched.

5:25 p.m.

Annie sends an image of rice cakes with $4.19 price tag from Organic Planet.

5:36 p.m.

I post an image of the flyer for the 2005 Deitch show (“Hypnogoogia”) I had done with Ara on Instagram #twothousandfiveFriday #nov4 #drainpeterson #deitchprojects.

The exhibit opened 9 years ago today. I had to check it and see a 2005 review from Time Out. “Standing in a field of whirling pinwheels, you feel as if you’re being coerced—even hypnotized—into recognizing this is art…this is art…this is art.” Ha ha. Why am I psyched about this review even though the writer gave it zero stars out of five? It feels like laughing into bullet holes.

6:15 p.m.

“motherfucjer like a jamaicsn beef patty 3D printed to fukkin perfection wall street wnglish” @fakesethprice started following me on Twitter. I need to post something new. Still thinking about the weird favorite on the Sept 27th post. The favorite is now gone.

“the sea. crash & grinds/ granules die upon grain/ And then pulls away.”

@sandyhey posts an image of a handsome runner. @sam4nderson I go to his feed and like the running selfie. Fucking rules.

“#TBT ALL A DREAM. NYC Marathon 3:05:32, finisher #1040. I didn’t go to prom or graduate high school. Haven’t been married or had a kid. And never thought, when as a heavy smoker and borderline alcoholic, that I’d have things like this to say. So, Sunday was a true rite of passage, signifying a completion of transformation from the past through my running. It was a day that, for a year & 1/2, I worked toward and visualized and it was better than I could ever have imagined. Maybe not the 30 mph wind in our faces for the first 20 miles but, regardless. I waited for that day, to do it that way. I waited for New York City because I knew it would test me like no other but I wanted my friends and family as witnesses. To all of you who were on the course cheering your heads off and to everyone who supported, THANK YOU! I wanted it to be exactly how it was on Sunday.”

6:27 p.m.

I text Annie “ha ha” and Bayne “BBBJ.”

7:15 p.m.

“I think they are younger than me,” I tell John in his office. A Bushwick pizza joint is coming to Little River. They showed him how to make dough. “Yes, but not emotionally,” he says. They pull in 8 mil a year.

7:20 p.m.

People are arriving late so I YouTube DJ on the flat screen. I play my favorite Ethiopian videos (Aster Aweke, Aster Kebede, and the duet between Kennedy Mengesha and Yeshiemebet Dubale) along with two Lynch scenes: “Llorando” from Mulholland Drive and “Mystery Man” from Lost Highway. I’ve watched “Mystery Man” at least 30 times.

There is a screening next week at Anthology of Scott Reeder’s Moon Dust and I play the several trailers as people take their seats and talk; John refills my glass of red and it’s an altogether #chillvibe. It’s a little past 8:00 p.m. now.

8:48 p.m.

I pull up Mike D giving an intro to the pinwheels at the Geffen on YouTube.

8:50 p.m.

“Tinder is killing me. It’s like a car wreck that I can’t look away from,” writes Annie.

9:32 p.m.

Dave comments on the flyer post, “One of the best shows ever.” Nobody is wrong; nobody is right.

10:10 p.m.

We are at the booth chowing on fried chicken and fried green tomatoes; Tinder is the hot topic. Hillary shows us a picture of two Tinders, one with a silver mask and fine black tux on “just in from France for the month” clutching whips. The other we will call “Foreign.” Foreign has bulging, oddly shaped and placed muscles. Foreign looks like an Avatar character without the blue make-up on. None of us can tell the gender. Trans? Foreign is a new species of human.

I try swiping right.

“Oh, it’s a screen shot” she says.

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