Sunday, April 18, 2010

Open Studio

Two neighboring artists and I are planning open studios for May 8. I am working on getting my mind around a clear gesture.

My new work is not cheap; it requires a middle class income or a deep enough love of the art to pay smaller amounts over time. From one point of view the prices may seem "outrageous," and from another, they are clearly "a steal." Which is the correct point of view? I am going for "reasonable," considering artistic experience, skill, integrity, and emotional and spiritual depth. Plus my status (Carl and I often use this one) as an "under recognized sophisticate."

My wish however is to have my art to be affordable by just about
everyone. I am determined to have things at my open studio that
someone can purchase for the price of a lunch. There again is the economic issue - WHOSE lunch? Someone of modest means.
I am taking some of my older drawings, and good quality reproductions of new work - and playing with frames and ways to make these accessible. This is a great experiment. And fun.

Now the challenge is to bring people HERE to see these.

Mike Daisey's radio show performance

With great excitement and chutzpa financially (having just been to NY), we purchased tickets to Mike Daisey's performance in NYC at The Greene Space, reserved a hotel room at Hotel 31 (newest favorite place to stay), booked Vamoose bus round trip, and set off early Friday morning. The weather prediction was cold and rainy, but we were feeling like - well, he was the best thing we'd seen in DC for ages.
We described Mike's DC performance to my (dynamite) artist friend Marion Held, who came along to this performance and brought her husband Curtis. We had tried to get my son to join us, as well as an actor friend. Luckily they did not come, because, to my great disappointment............

Now this is really interesting. I like this guy so much that it is hard to badmouth him in any way! On the other hand, I was really really peeved to have done this trip around him and been presented with 50 minutes of low level (bordering on really awful) performances by others and only 10 or 15 minutes of the real Mike Daisey. Not two hours, and hardly anything of substance. Is he getting tired? What was happening there? I am stymied.
Might I add that we arrived an hour early to be first in line and get the best seats? Maybe if we'd just driven in for the evening from Brooklyn...

So - nope, not the BEST trip to NY but we realize that we need to do this often. Even the best performers screw up or plan badly. Even people you like have that awful "New York Attitude" and think they know best, are always right, and are better than us born mid-westerners who don't live in the City.
We sensitive non New Yorkers have to toughen up. Those of us without middle class or NY attitudes have to take our rightful places anyway. Aren't we supposed to fill in those gaps as we grow older? Who makes up these stratifications anyway?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

David Lund

Miraculously I found my art teacher mentor from the 60's - I had found an article about him on the web and traced him to his new address in NYC. On Sunday Carl and I spent 3 hours with him and his wife. David Lund is about 85 or 86 now, didn't quite remember me - he has taught hundreds of students at Columbia and Cooper Union, and our meeting was at Washington University in 1967.
We looked at painting after painting after painting. It was really something, as he is steeped in tradition, and you can see Giotto, Cezanne, Chagall, Italian painting, Rembrandt - and Lund. Steeped in tradition yet totally contemporary and coming out of his own mind. He says "I am so out of the box that there IS no box!"
I loved hearing him talk about his work, and I loved seeing all that I'd been taught so long ago, there in front of me, looking fresh, deep, radiant, and substantive. No flat cartoons! Yay!

Eventually I showed David and his wife some of my postcards - images from Scenes of Childhood, Still With Us, Soul Ladders, Presence of Spirit, and others. Very different from what I'd studied with him, and yet so "art" that they were both genuinely impressed. It was very moving and gratifying to me. I can't quite describe this, think I'll post an image or two of his work.

and ps what made him the best painting teacher I'd ever encountered had little to do with technique. It had everything to do with his encouraging us to go into and to then express the depth and breadth of our human experience. Hmm. Same with Lowry Burgess years later.

Karen Finley

Unbelievable, but the day we arrived, last Saturday, Karen Finley was performing a piece about Jackie Kennedy, right across town at 42nd and 9th. We were second in line (yes, I really wanted to be there!). I'd seen her perform at Dance Place in the 80's, striding back and forth across the stage in a raincoat, ranting, eventually baring her chocolate or spaghetti or both (I can't remember) covered body. Womens' bodies. Our bodies. Sexism is too weak a word to ues. It was the most unforgettable performance I've ever seen.
The Jackie performance was brilliant, (got a bit too long for me in parts,) and eventually got to the meat of the issues of female objectification and oppression. There was a long string of epithets (word?) telling us females to be quieter, more assertive, more this, more that, not ever this, always that, etc. She got louder and louder. It was all too true. And we are pretty much all the time still under it.

Return from NYC

This is going to be backwards, but since the blog ends up being a public art diary, I have to say that I am so "in my element" in New York City, that returning, even to this house and neighborhood that I love, is difficult. I hope that blogging about my art experiences in the big apple will relieve some of this burdensome feeling. Stay tuned.