Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bumper Sticker History




This video collage of sticker images is a snapshot of an era of history, as well as telling the story of our personal lives over the last fifteen years. I couldn't bear to scrape them off the cupboard doors without a way to remember the layers that slowly accumulated. Soon the doors will be painted white, nice and bland for prospective buyers, as we get ready to move.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Arc of a Journey



The arc of a journey, both inner and outer, is embodied by Helen Redman's exhibit at the Women's History Museum in San Diego. The venue couldn't have been more appropriate for this history making pioneer of Feminist Art. The generosity of her spirit as she shared fifty years of experience as an artist with women of all ages, and the dialogical nature of the salon talk's discussion was a paradigm of the Feminist Art Movement itself...and testifies that it's history is still unfolding.

I'm happy that I was there and captured some of the flavor on video. I'm even happier to have been Helen Redman's friend over the years!


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WomenArts!


Want your socks knocked off? Check out http://www.womenarts.org, a non-profit dedicated to helping women artists be seen, celebrated, and compensated. They also organize and support SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now Day), a world-wide celebration that builds awareness of the power and diversity of women's art. This statement by Martha Richards, the Founder and Executive Director of WomenArts says it all: "We dream about what will happen as more and more women artists gain the resources they need to express their creativity fully. We are convinced that they will change the world."

I am delighted that my blog has been added to the list of bloggers on their website: http://www.womenarts.org/news/bloggers.htm. It is lot of fun to see the range of blogs on this site. I am honored to be in such great company!


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mozart Aids AIDS




The first time I heard Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik I was a one person fan club of my big brother's high school string quartet. I never imagined I would one day arrange for it to be played at his memorial service.

Years later, when my brother died of AIDS, we gathered at chapel in New York City. A Julliard student string quartet were to play Eine Kline Nachtmusik. "We're grateful to play" said the young violinist, her eyes brimming with tears, "because so many of our classmates have died of AIDS and the school doesn't allow us to honor them." The quartet played their hearts out - for my brother and for their classmates whose names I don't know, their destinies woven together on the strands of music, of history, and of Mozart.

Music speaks when words can't, just as my photo of a Dia de los Muertos altar above resonates for more than one unknown violinist.


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Greenwich Village Reflections



Stumbling on the unexpected is part of the fun of walking in New York City. This one-minute video captures the discovery of my last morning in the Big Apple before returning home.


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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Heart is Flipping!



This is the first video made with my new Flip Video, a mini-camcorder you can put in your pocket. It's a lot of fun...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Free Digital Gallery - a gift from the New York Public Library!

Shushan emek uyamah, kerovah f... Digital ID: 405137. New York Public Library

New York Public Library Digital Gallery


NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 700,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more. It is a great resource! The site allows you to browse by subject, names, or topic.


The above image is from the Yom Kippur morning liturgy. (14th Century manuscript)

I am grateful to http://artsmedialab.blogspot.com for calling my attention to this incredible resource!



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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Good For One Fare: Davis Museum Piece



"Good For One Fare," inscribed on an old New York City subway token, gives this piece its final form and its title.



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Monday, September 7, 2009

Second Step - Davis Museum Piece



Like a dream made concrete, surprising imagery that bubbles up in unexpected juxtapositions gives me glimpses into my deeper inner life. At the same time, I enjoy how other people's associations to my work have meaning for them, but can be quite different from my own.

Yes, it's a real dragonfly. I found it several years ago and coated it with acrylic. It has been residing in a jar waiting for the right assemblage moment - this one.




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Sunday, September 6, 2009

The First Step - Davis Museum Piece




These papers were carefully saved from our trip to Spain in 2008. I was never knew that paper bags for ordinary items could be so beautiful. I created a platform for my piece for the Davis Museum in Barcelona by collaging this selection of the papers facing upward on the underside of a transparent acryclic square just under the 7" x 7" specified size.

We were in Spain with a traveling university group, in search of La Convivencia, "The Coexistence," - a time when Jews, Muslims, and Catholics not only got along, but experienced a rich and deep cultural interplay. I loved Cordoba for its glimpse into the history of La Convivencia. The triangle of red paper in the corner is a piece of a gift shop bag from the Museo Sefardi in Cordoba.

These papers thus will be sent back home to Spain as part of this yet untititled piece, having been transformed in my heart.



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My Kind of Alternative!




I am thrilled to have been invited by Davis Lisboa to be a participating artist with the Davis Museum in Barcelona! This is all due to the wonders of social networking. My Facebook friend Neda Darzi, an artist in Tehran, posted that she was participating in the Davis Museum. I then looked at the Davis Museum website and wrote on her page congratulating her and saying that I found the alternative concept intriguing and refreshing. Davis found me there, asked if I was an artist, and if so could he see my work. After looking at my website, he invited me to participate!

I have been playing with sketches, and enjoying the challenge of the size limitation: 7" x 7" x 7" (20 x 20 x 20 cm). I will be blogging as I go along, which will help me conceptualize the meaning of each element chosen. With such a mini-assemblage the final choices represent a lot of interesting possibilities eliminated.

Following are excerpts from from the Davis Museum website. You can see why I love the subversive, alternative, collective concept!

"DAVIS MUSEUM - Anthropophagic Davis Lisboa Museum of Contemporary art in Barcelona is a mini museum of contemporary art, with its own permanent art collection. It is also a readymade sculpture and collective work of art. Opened on January 1. 2009, it is a non- profit artistic project that organizes and produces exhibitions, encourages research and promotes contemporary art exhibitions. Davis Museum has traveling exhibitions to other cultural centers, museums and institutions, nationally and internationally, while generating debate,thought and reflection. Its mission is the selection, presentation,study, dissemination and preservation of contemporary art by emerging artists from around the world.

The object selected to create this museum/sculpture/collective work of art was a voting box, a methacrylate bucket used to collect ballots in an election. This object has been selected as representation of the possible critical management processes of the art institutions.

DAVIS MUSEUM is subtitled "anthropophagic" because it is an art space created specifically to promote "cultural cannibalism." It is a work that "swallows" other works of other artists and other disciplines. Its ownership strategy is a legacy of Brazilian Anthropophagy of the Modern Art Week in 1922 and the neo avant-gardes of the 80's and 90's.

DAVIS MUSEUM does not have a single author, it is a collective work of art, therefore, all the artists who participate DAVIS MUSEUM will have their names and works cited in it. From this collectivistic point of view DAVIS MUSEUM is linked to "relational aesthetics", where the old notion of authorship is altered. Precedents are Marcel Duchamp's Boite-en-Valise and Robert Filliou's Galerie L├ęgitime. Both works contain scathing institutional critiques, not without sarcasm.

DAVIS MUSEUM brings, above all, a link to the aesthetic of the New Media Art, in the new context of the digital era."

See more at http://www.davismuseum.com

YES!


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Friday, September 4, 2009

Beyond the Border / Over the Edge




I managed to get to Beyond the Border: International Contemporary Art Fair, San Diego, this afternoon, mainly because it was ten minutes from my house. I knew it would be essentially a market place for wealthy collectors, - not just a fun place for voyeurs like me. I didn't expect to be so exhausted from swinging between enjoying looking and feeling like a misfit outsider to the commercial side of things.

One of the most exciting exhibits was an installation called ReEnvisioning A World Beyond Borders. An entire room was filled with a mobile phone digital photo installation, with large screens and multiple monitors. See the entries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/reenvisioning2009/sets! A great concept, with participation from all countries. The room was also a quiet refreshing place to sit down, rest, and enjoy images that didn't have a price. The kind of images that were posted more than counterbalanced the Mazeratis parked in front of the posh hotel, hoping to find buyers.

PEACES was an exhibit by Debby and Larry Kline combining video and installation, dramatically documenting the creation and destruction of peace in 3 minutes and 32 seconds. It captures the hope and the tears, and hits you in the gut. I'll think of it when I watch the news and read the newspaper.

May artists make a living from their work. May gallery owners survive in these tough times, and thrive enough to take risks on emerging artists. May artists continue to find alternative exhibition spaces outside the conventional gallery system. And may PEACES find it's ultimate home in the right museum where it will be seen by many.



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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gayatri Mantra on YouTube!



First I saw it on a Facebook friend's page. Then I looked on YouTube. There are dozens and dozens of versions on YouTube, with amazing visuals, various translations (all different), various melodies and instrumental arrangements, some with explanations. This one, viewed almost 60,000 times, was posted in response to another one. Another version was viewed over 500,00 times. I am stunned. Slowly trying to get with the 21st century...

For me, a nice Jewish girl, this mantra has a very special meaning. It was given to me in the early 1970's by my yoga teacher, Dr. Vijayendra Pratap. It was only given to a handful of students, in a very private, if not secret, way. When someone asked for the translation of the Sanskrit, he said: do it diligently, daily, sincerely, for a long period of time, and the meaning will dawn upon you. After doing this for several years, the meaning dawned upon me. It changed my life, but that's a story for another time.

I haven't been in touch with Dr. Pratap for a long time now, but still consider him my yoga teacher. During the 1970's I hung out with every teacher around, but always from the home base of SKY Foundation, our ashram. It is named after his teacher, Swami Kuvalayanandaji, of the Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, India.

This morning I lay on the little blue blanket I use for yoga practice and realized that I do feel connected with this lineage. Still. Despite distance, time, and even periods of falling out, disillusionment,and disagreement (at least on my part.) This little blue blanket is the one that my dad was tucked under at the dialysis center. (Dialysis apparently makes people cold.) Over the years it has become my magic carpet.

I don't practice yoga regularly anymore, but know what to do when I need to. I am pretty well recovered from surgery, but know that in more subtle ways the tissues that were traumatized by the knife need a more refined kind of healing now. I'm grateful for the way I was taught: simple, compared to how yoga is mostly taught these days, which is much more gymnastic.

I thought about the Gayatri Mantra videos on YouTube, and all the comments posted under them, mostly along the lines of "thanks" "beautiful" "so peaceful". Did people watch it once and then move on to the next thing? What would happen if someone chose their most compatible version and spent the nine minutes and four seconds with it every day, day after day? I wonder...



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Send Rain!!



Drought, heat, and wildfires are consuming California. Jean Shin's wonderful video excerpt of her installation, "Penumbra" is my prayer for rain.



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Saturday, August 15, 2009

What is 'Real'?



This beautiful video of the Omo People has been making the rounds of Facebook, because it is so astonishing we can't resist forwarding it! It was sent to me by my friend Grace Matthews, on whose page another friend commented that while the Omo People traditionally have decorated themselves with clay-based colored pigments, the German photographer, Hans Silvester, created the headresses.

What does this mean? Aside from just enjoying the whole video visually I have a particular view of this controversy of what is 'real' or 'fake'.

I was privileged to take a graduate class in Inuit (Eskimo) art at Columbia University in 1965-66, taught by James Houston, a Canadian artist, author, and filmmaker who had lived among the Inuit for many years. (Little did I know at the time that I would be living with Inuit in Alaska the following year!) James Houston introduced lithography techniques to the Inuit people of Baffin Island, whose prints today are highly prized. Although not an indigenous technique, it was related, since people had been scratching into ivory for millenia. But the concept of printmaking, using paper, and the possibility of multiples was new.

The Inuit people, once they learned printmaking, made it fully their own. It does not matter that it was introduced by a non-Inuit person. Perhaps what does matter is that cooperatives were set up so that the profits went to the Inuit artists.

As an Art History major, I can only say that in these days of globalization, few if any indigenous cultures have not been influenced from the outside. However the new influences may be introduced, once they are learned and appropriated, they are most often integrated in a manner that is consistent with that culture's own history and traditions.

As a mixed-media artist I appropriate images, concepts, techniques, you name it - all the time. Once I have appropriated them I know they are fully mine. The same, I would imagine, as for the Inuit...or the Omo People.


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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Unexpected Writing



I don't normally think of myself as a writer of poems. Yesterday I was fortunate to again attend an all-day writing marathon with Judy Reeves at San Diego Writers, Ink, http://www.sandiegowriters.org, of which she is founder and Director. Because of Judy, and the synergy she creates with her being, I wrote a poem:

Susan:
It means passion for life, despite aging and pain.
It is the number sixty-five and looming MediCare.
It is like the horizon in Alaska in the dead of winter, a delicate glow illuminating from below.
It is knowing I was pregnant in that Alaskan wilderness, conceiving in the heart of winter like the caribou.
It is the memory of David
Who taught me adventure and the unexpected
When he became my daughter's father in that arctic wilderness.
My name is Joy.
It means love endures, beyond divorce, beyond re-marriages, like a light glowing from beneath the horizon.



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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Gratitude

This passage from the Hebrew daily morning liturgy has greater meaning for me since my surgery:

"Blessed are you, The Architect, our God, the sovereign of all worlds, who shaped the human being with wisdom, making for us all the openings and vessels of the body. It is revealed and known before your Throne of Glory that if one of these passage-ways be open when it should be closed, or blocked up when it should be
free, one could not stay alive or stand before you. Blessed are you, Miraculous, the wondrous healer of all flesh."



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Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Michael Jackson Story



I'm having surgery next week, and have never been so fearful of anaesthesia. I have lost trust in anaesthesiologists - the ultimate drug dealers. I fear I won't wake up. However, the doctor I met with only warned me that a tooth could get chipped because of the tube down my throat.

Constant media messages do infect our brains. I don't have to be embarrassed to think, wow, I wonder what it feels like to go under like that. I will find out next week.

When I think back on previous surgeries, it felt like non-existence... I think Michael Jackson wanted to non-exist, and stay forever young.




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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Old Fashioned Fireworks!




This small town family fireworks celebration is never to be forgotten! Now part of our family's personal mythology, it is also a window into a simpler time in America's history.

My first effort at editing my video footage and putting it on YouTube, in retrospect it is also from a simpler time, just like the fireworks themselves...


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Friday, June 12, 2009

Messages in a Bottle!



Whether random or not, the whole concept of collaborative journal pages, with no rules for content or format, is very intriguing. I have just put this film by Andrea Kreuzhage, http://www.1000journalsfilm.com, at the top of my Netflix queue and can't wait to see it.

In 2006, at the International Women's Writing Guild annual conference at Skidmore College, N.Y.,a member had created several blank journals, which were to be circulated over the coming year, to be filled with text, art, whatever - and returned by the following years' annual conference to then be auctioned as a fundraiser. I was proud and excited to be one of the participants. The following year, all of the journals had been returned except the one I was part of! No one knew what had happened to it. I still don't know. I'd like to think it has taken on a life of its own...still circulating.


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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Plant Mandalas!



The maps hidden in mandalas may be maps of internal consciousness, but they are all around us too. The garden at the California Center for Creative Renewal, www.artretreats.com, was spectacular after the rain. The plants were an integral part of our recent Tibetan Mandala workshop.


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Sunday, May 31, 2009

T-Shirts Have Power!



A few days ago, I ordered two of these t-shirts, designed by our friend Annette, for me and Sharon. I didn't cry over the recent California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Prop. 8 until I saw that a local church was having an Ecumenical Service of Consolation. The word 'consolation' hit home. I realized how badly I needed to be consoled.

After a weekend with the Venerable Tibetan Lama, Lobsang Tsultrim, I am questioning whether I am 'attached' to having equal legal rights, 'attached' to the outcome of ballots and court decisions. The answer is that the Tibetan monks, in their own fight, are our role models. We will carry on our fight, but with love and compassion in our hearts, not anger or bitterness. It is, after all, about love.

You can order your t-shirt from www.cafepress.com/gaymom. (This is one of several designs.) You don't have to be one of the 18,0000, a resident of California, or even gay to take this viral!


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T-Shirt Synchronicity


The Venerable Choeze Lotsel Gyamtso (Lobsang Tsultrim) and me


A day and a half of work on the Compassion Mandala, with plenty of mistakes!

I wore my Gaden Shartse College t-shirt today, which I had gotten from the monks in 2005, hoping it would help me to have more patience. To my surprise, it turned out that Lobsang Tsultrim was the artist who had designed it back in 2001! I was touched that he was the designer, and he was touched to see it worn... a happy synchronicity for both of us. He is not only a Master of traditional mandala sand painting, but also a contemporary painter of Thangkas. I didn't look at his website, www.puremind.org, until after the workshop ended today.

We didn't have time to add color to our mandalas today, but got to see a picture of what it looks like fully colored: overwhelming after experiencing it deconstructed, at the micro level. As performance artist Rachel Rosenthal would say, it was "doing by doing."

Lobsang didn't want to teach certain things about the inner meaning of the mandala, saying this can't be done without initiation and vows, or is otherwise dangerous. On one hand, I would not have learned what little I know of Kabbalah had Jewish Renewal teachers not bent the traditional rules in order to teach people under forty, unmarried, and/or female. On the other hand, those teachers knew me over time. It wasn't hit-and-run. So I appreciate his caution, within which he is most generous.

I'm very glad that Lobsang was granted asylum in the United States in 2002 and is teaching workshops all over the world. I'm happy to be on his email list!


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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not Quite Creatively Renewed



I spent a lot of today's workshop telling myself that I don't have to go back tomorrow. It felt like geometry class, measuring with a little piece of paper in units of 8, 4, 2, and 1, re-learning how to use a compass, ruler, pencil, and eraser. There was nothing freehand about drawing the structure for the Compassion Mandala. Having to get it precise didn't feel very compassionate to a dyslexic like me. It seemed like a fine line between obsessionalism, tedium, and meditation, with the emphasis on tedium.

As we broke for lunch, Lobsang told us he spent ten years learning what he had just showed us in two hours. Some things can't be condensed that much.

I had spent time with other monks from from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India, Lobsang Tsultrim's home, when they were here in 2005. (My photo above, taken at the local internet cafe, is from that time.)

The strange chanting with horns and cymbals, bells and drum, filled the garden of the Center for Creative Renewal for a special program. Tulku Lobsang Jinpa Rinpoche, an elder with big ears and glasses with yellowish tinted lenses, was the head teacher. I sat in the second row, almost center, but slightly to his left. There was a healing and purification ritual, followed by lecturing and more lecturing. The repetition was boring. My seat grew harder. My mind wandered. Blah, blah. I wondered when it would be over.

Suddenly he was talking about meditation. I started to pay attention. Listening to the translator I realized he was guiding us in a short one, without actually saying so. I did as he said. And then I focussed/unfocussed on the Rinpoche and whoever/whatever he had become at that point. It was dusk. The moon was almost full, and had been rising and getting brighter and brighter in the darkening sky. Rinpoche seemed to be looking in my direction. He was looking at me. I felt as if he was addressing me. I started listening to him. I let the sounds of the Tibetan language wash over me. The message was coming through without translation. The translator’s voice was like a distant addendum to the real event.

The tears flowed and kept flowing, meeting under my chin and wetting my neck. Something got planted/transmitted directly. (Oh yeah, I remembered later. That happened last time I was around these guys too, the White Tara Initiation time. Not the kind of thing you can really talk about...)

Then I heard the translator say something about how to end meditation, “so you are free to do other things.” I appreciated the help, since we were in so deep that it was important to remember how to end. Or to end. I looked up and we were both smiling - by then it was so dark that his teeth shone like a Chesire cat.

So - it is good to remind myself that if I endure the boredom, the repetition, and desire to flee, that something might actually happen (or not). I think I will go back tomorrow... Besides, that is when we will finally add color to our Compassion Mandalas.



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Creative Renewal



Today and Sunday I will be at The California Center for Creative Renewal, www.artretreats.com, at a workshop on "Tibetan Mandala: Introduction to the Art of Mandala as Meditation and the Hidden Symbolism of Tibetan Sacred Art", taught by The Venerable Lobsang Tsultrim. "The map hidden in the mandala is not of external paths, rather the map is an internal path of consciousness."

In the lunar Hebrew calendar, today is also the second day of the holiday in which we remember standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, accepting and receiving the revelation of Torah.

It rained last night and the plants are sparkling with moisture. The garden at the Center will be beautiful. I'll let you know how it goes...


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

animoto.com



I learned about animoto.com, the simple video program which created this 30 second video, from the Arts Media Lab of Palomar College Blog. The 30 second format is free, so it is a good exercise in brevity, and letting go of the images that got edited out. This is my first attempt. Next time I'll try fewer images.

This is a good example of why I am starting to follow other people's blogs. I am unashamedly asking all of you to follow mine as well. I want to be networked with all of you. I want to learn from you, laugh with you, and see your art. I would never have heard of animoto.com if I hadn't been a follower of Arts Media Lab's blog.


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Sunday, May 17, 2009

p.i.c.a.s.s.o. : Guernica in a new way...




The pictures in this video are originally by Picasso and they all lead to his main painting - Guernica. Sound was written especially for this movie. This is Guernica like we have never seen before. I have spent much time with the original Guernica, as well as with sketches and studies for it I that I saw recently in Spain. There is something however about the combination of animation and music in this brief video that conveys drama and emotion in a completely unique and impactful way.

It was sent to me on Facebook from iArt Galeria de Arte, in a format that did not indicate it was a YouTube video. It was so remarkable that I posted it on my Facebook profile page. My Facebook friend Karen Keimig Warner saw it there and posted it on the Arts Media Lab blog of Palomar College, http://artsmedialab.blogspot.com. When I saw it on the AML blog I realized she had somehow located it's YouTube provenance, which then allowed me to post it here.

I am trying to grasp the webness of the internet. I may never understand it. All I know is that videos like this one are important to keep circulating!


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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why I love Nam June Paik


Need I say more? I received this wonderful image because I subscribe to Vasili Kaliman's Art Patrol, at artpatrol.blogspot.com. It is my virtual way of scoping out contemporary art exhibits world wide, this one of Nam June Paik's work at the James Cohan Gallery in New York. It's easy to subscribe to artpatrol - just plug in your email address. I enjoy anticipating what artpatrol will send next, and especially enjoy exhibits from cities I have never been to and may never get to. Some work appeals to me more than others. And then there are the moments of joyful surprises, gems like this one, that will stay in my brain cells forever! Thank you Vasili Kaliman!


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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Didn't Go



Only one day in the Big Apple - a few precious hours! I headed first for the American Folk Art Museum , a little jewel. I then planned to spend the rest of the day at the Museum of Modern Art. Alas, it was closed on Tuesdays to the public. I asked the guard in the lobby who all the people were who appeared to be gathering to go in. She told me that on Tuesdays it is open to autistic children, there by the busload, with increased supervision and an acceptance of noise. What a wonderful idea! This subway poster is a sad reminder of the exhibit that I didn't go to, that I almost got to. I traveled all the way from San Diego to New York City, stood in the lobby and couldn't get in. I only hope that other museums in other cities also have these kind of special closed-to-the-public days!


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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stick with me kid


This is not an image I would have been drawn to, but once it was handed to me, I became drawn to it. The target practice poster, Tactical Encounter No. 3, had been part of an installation by Micki Davis, mickidavis.com, at the University of California at San Diego Visual Arts Department Open Studios. She offered me a copy of the poster to be added to in any way, titled, photographed, and sent to her.

I checked the website of Alco Target Company. It actually does produce targets - this one considered a tactical training target for hostage situations. It's for real..

The title, Stick with me kid, is from the note over the barrel of the gun.

I had used the image of the bound up figurine in a previous installation in which she was actually dangling from her ropes. I printed out a photograph of her on adhesive-backed clear mylar. She is positioned as if a baby on the woman's shoulder, but a falling one. Red adds drama to the sparse understated palette.

I know that my attunement to negative space is greatly sharpened by my recent life-drawing class with Ken Goldman, goldmanfineart.com. I knew that life-drawing would enhance my mixed-media work, but couldn't have forseen it taking this form!


The scrap of paper with days of the week and dates, indicates the ordinary and daily quality of the violence depicted. The erotic edge to it is part of what makes it complicated and disturbing.


This is the original poster, Tactical Encounter No. 3. I love what grows out of collaborative art. Although Miki Davis did not alter this poster herself, she used it conceptually, and challenged others to come up with other concepts. It was a lot of fun!



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