Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tweeting Art

I'm very excited to become involved with a new international art project!  Thanks David Sandum for allowing me to help get those kids books printed in a language I will never understand.  OK, that one sentence was my only try at being a comedy blogger, I know, I know, don't quit your day job.  But now, what to send.  I've been working on this piece

It's a homage to Richard Serra, the sculptor based on a photo I took at San Francisco MOMA of the rust on one of his small pieces in the Fisher Collection, which I blogged about back in August.  I'm gonna print it on photo paper at 5 x 7"  and attach it to a sturdy substrate and send it off to Moss, Norway.  

What I love about it is that it is happening in Norway, a country I would like to visit someday.  Speaking of the north countries.... JK and I have decided to move to Portland Maine!  It's officially official now.  We're gonna have one monster garage sale (including artwork) to try to sell most of our stuff.  We also have this wonderful 2 bedroom, 2 bath house with an office space and an income producing (unless you're an artist and you want to use it as a studio as I've done) one bedroom cottage in the back yard near the pool.  We still have some remodeling to do in the master bath, but other than that we're good to go!

When I dropped off Power #1, ran into Gale Hart at the Center for Contemporary Art.  She's apparently thinking of hitting the road to become a possible full time RVer... hope she comes to visit us in Maine!  The big art auction there is on November 20th.

Next up - Blog Blast for Peace!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back Home

It's now been not quite a week since we arrived back from our New England exploration trip.  I realized that I had not shared the photo above with you!  I took it in the Salt Lake airport at the very beginning of our trip.  They had a whole wall of a photo shoot that I was I was at - dancers upon the Great Salt Lake!

But now we're home and it's time to pay the piper in terms of getting "behind the mule, in the morning and plow"  - yup back to reality as we know it.  Part of the reality for me is trying to clone myself because I'm involved in three !?! art shows in November.  I was invited to show some small work at the Temporary Contemporary (1616 Del Paso Blvd), am participating in the Trade and Transform show at Tangent Gallery (Franklin Blvd near 4th Ave) and also have donating the grand master work of my Power Series - Power #1 - to the Center for Contemporary Art's fund-raising auction (19th St. between O and P Streets).

The text on it is a Nadine Gordimer quote - "Power is something of which I am convinced there is no innocence this side of the womb."  This is the largest piece (45 x 62") in that body of work, which is a digital C print on sintra substrate and wired for hanging.  I love this piece and I hope someone special wins it at the auction to give it a good home.  I love working this big, but have little room to store it, no where to hang it at my house and the only way I can transport it is to take it in the camper van. 

So yes, I'll be at all three galleries this coming 2nd Saturday!  I think I'll start at Tangent at 6 pm, then over to Center of Contemporary Art by 7 pm and finally arrive at the Temporary Contemporary by 8 pm.  Hope I see you at one of these venues!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Arting About

 I'm always fascinated by graffiti when I travel.  I think it gives you an other way into the local culture - OK subculture then.  I'm going to add a new category to the Flickr site just for graffiti that I've snapped across the US and in Europe.  This was across the street from the Portland Museum of Art.

One of the wonderful things about the Museum is that they show French Films!  We were torn as it was a film we had never seen before, but the siren call of visual art pulled us through the first floor which was primarily more "classical" works of the 18th Century including some decent John Singer Sargents as well as one truly wonderful Winslow Homer seascape.  Homer lived in nearby Prouts Point (a bit south) for the last 20 years of his life.

In the modern collection they had a stellar Anselm Kiefer  painting which literally took my breath away (you'll find it on the Flickr site) and about one of all the masters of the 20th Century.  They also had a section for Maine artists from 18th  century onward and in the lobby a monumental installation by a contemporary Maine artist - Anna Hepler.  The top floor of the museum was also dedicated to her work.

The other truly fascinating exhibit was a photography called Debating Modern Photography: The Triumph of Group f/64.  It was a visual look at a split in the early days of the art form from a style that attempts to evoke painting in a way (which we still see today) to a style that emphasizes the more technical achievements.   All the big time names of the 20th century and some of the more obscure photographers of whom I was not aware.  the f/64 in the title refers to the f stop (aperture opening) that allows the greatest depth of field to be in focus.

What amused me a bit was thinking of the Santa Fe Photo Workshop I did with Elizabeth Opalenik where she was trying to teach the others how to step away from that purely technical stance and create more expressionistic work.  I have always done that naturally and I was there to hone my technical skills which amazingly I did!  

But I digress and we return to our regular programming -  back to the Group f/64 show where I saw one amazing photograph by William Mortensen who died in 1965.  It was a nude of his wife that he manipulated in the dark room to look like a statue missing a head and arms.    In the accompanying ID card the curator writes that Mortensen thought that the negative was only the starting place in image making.  Hmmm, sounds rather like digital art doesn't it?  I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if he were alive today he would be a big proponent of digital art and Photoshop.

After the museum, we drove around Portland's different neighborhoods to get a feel for them.  For dinner that night we were both craving Italian food - but the restaurant we picked out (Maria's) wasn't open.  So we trolled downtown a bit and found Walter's - which was terrific.  Another upscale dinning experience with a focus on the local bounty of Maine which would give places in any major city a run for their money!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Going Home to Maine

I can honestly say that I'm sort of a Mainer, as I lived in Fryeburg (inland near the New Hampshire border) and Cape Neddick (south of Ogunquit, north of the Yorks) when I was in kindergarten through 3rd grades.  The house in Cape Neddick still stands today but has been very remodeled.  About six years ago my sister, JK and I came this way to visit an old family friend Arnie Ginsburg when we arranged a memorial dinner for the family in New Enlgand who couldn't make it out to Colorado for her funeral.  Arnie is still hale at 84 and still at the wheel.  On that trip we also found the old rock beach down the road from the house that we used to play on. I've always had an affection for the Maine coast.

We had a tremendous lunch (lobster for JK and fried clams for me) and also met Arnie's friend Carlos who chairs the Spanish Dept. at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.  Arnie is now taking care of  Carlos' Mom's dog (Pinion) as she recently passed away.  Arnie really loves the little doggie, who is cute as can be.

After a lovely visit, we headed up the road to Portland, about an hour north.  We checked into our hotel and decided to have a walkabout the downtown area, especially the Old Port Area that is being renovated with shops and businesses as well as housing.  Even though we had a large lunch in Perkins Cove, we were ready for a wee bite and a beverage and stumbled into The Salt Exchange, a new restaurant that could give many places in Sacramento and San Francisco a run for their money.  

It was late and we chatted up the owner, finding out that he and his wife were both artists (hence the wonderful paintings on the wall) and were part of the "Keep Portland Independent - Buy Local" movement.  It's a membership group that publishes a handy guide which we've been using to find what we need while traveling here.  They are also part of the Slow Food movement as are many other local restaurants.

The next day, it was off to New Brunswick (about half hour north of Portland) to see Das Rheingold at a movie theatre that was participating in the Met Opera's Saturday afternoon simulcast.  I was really interested in seeing how Robert Lapage would stage this.  He used this huge system of gears and levers so that the elevation of the seemingly simple set could be changed.

Sometimes different pats of the stage moved while other parts stayed flat.  Another interesting thing was that they showed video of the singers in rehearsal getting over their fears of using such a set to which they were attached by harnesses under their costumes.  It wasn't only the set, lighting and costumes (which totally rocked) but the singing and music was wonderful too.

That night we decided to have dinner at a less upscale place and found J's Oyster House on the dock, which is one of the local's favorites.  I had a lobster dinner which even included a few steamers while JK scarfed down a huge bucket of steamer clams.

On Sunday, we decided that brunch was in order and found a wonderful place called Local 188 in the arts district within walking distance to the Art Museum.  It was a funky place whose decor could be called green in that they were recycling fools - using church pews for benches upon which to wait until a table was ready and the wait staff were all wearing thrift store aprons!  The food was terrific - JK had a scramble of the day with organic local veggies and I tried the Caribbean corned beef hash with poached eggs - out of this world.

Then was waddled over to the museum.... but that's a post for tomorrow...  check out the Flickr site for more photos and a sneak preview.

Monday, October 11, 2010


We were so close to NYC, it seemed a shame not to jump on a Metro train and get into the city to see some art.  So since we decided that Bridgeport and environs were not on the short list, we went down to the station, got a ticket and an hour later we pulled into Grand Central Station.  Waiting for a cab outside is where we saw this fellow

We didn't talk to him as other folks were and we didn't want to lose our place in the taxi line.  Our plan was to get over to MOMA, have lunch at their totally awesome restaurant The Modern, look at the art and get some dinner at Grand Central Oyster Bar before catching a 9 pm train back.

We saw a great exhibit about women and photography there, but was disappointed they didn't have any kind of catalog for the exhibit.  Ya know, it wouldn't need to be a glossy four color affair, it could be a few standard size sheets folded in half to make a booklet to give some background on these women.  If they sold it for the amount of money needed to produce it, I'm sure that they'd come out OK.  You listing MOMA?  Hmmm  going to take a break to go over to Twitter and tweet about it.  OK got that off my chest. 

There were two installation type pieces that were having their first showing at MOMA that blew me away, along with a classic Yoko Ono Fluxus action piece and a sort of scavenger hunt to find little things she had written on the walls of this part of the museum.

This sign was on the wall near a microphone on a stand and two small speakers.  I think that JK & I were the only ones our age who participated.  I mostly saw younger folks taking part.  Then Ono had gone around the gallery writing on the walls in unexpected places.
We also had the pleasure of seeing Kara Walker's debut at MOMA.  A huge wall was covered with many arch and telling silhouettes called "Gone: A Historical Romance of a Civil War as it Occurred B'tween the Dusky Thighs of  One Young Negress and her Heart".  One thing that happened was that people were using her art as a background to take photos of each other.  I thought this was great in that it made the installation interactive and performative.

Then what truly blew me away was Paul Chan's "Waiting for Godot" project installation.  He partnered with an African American theatre group and produced five free performances of the Beckett play to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims. 

I've posted photos of the works and statements on the Flickr site.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bridgeport CT

I know that I'm a few days behind in keeping you all up to date on our explorations of new vistas, but I will try to rectify that in the next few days.  We flew into Hartford as the Sweet Hubby has three clients out in the area (NY as well as two in CT).  While he went to visit two more clients in CT, I had a pleasant morning and afternoon lazing about the motel and taking myself out to lunch with my latest novel (Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver-highly recommended) within walking distance.  It was late by the time I got there so there weren't too many folks in the cafe which afforded me the opportunity to spend some time chatting up the manager - a personable guy from El Salvador who had moved to NYC and then to Bridgeport.  After Sweet Hubby got back from his appointments we took another tour of the area and visited this restaurant/pub in the nearby town of Fairfield.

There is so much history in this part of the world.  After a cocktail there, we went to dinner at an Irish bar-restaurant called The Field in the Black Rock district of Bridgeport.  I had the MOST excellent potato leek soup as well as some salmon served with a pea and leek risotto.  Not only was the food excellent, but we got there in time to see a comedy show with a couple of local guys and two from NY.  As most comedy shows go, there was some genuinely funny stuff and some pretty gratuitous, far too easy "humor".

The following day we toured the area more and went to the Housatonic Museum, founded by art professor Burt Chernow at the Housatonic Junior College which had a special show featuring some of Andy Warhol's work.  Most of the other work in the show was by artists I had never heard of and liked and the others... meh.  But isn't that the way it goes, as art is so subjective.  I did see this piece that I really liked, but there was no ID tag on it and it was hidden away near the theatre space.

I liked the conceit of the work being a soft sculpture but portraying what looked to be like a stone sculptor at work.  We then traveled down to Norwalk to the Center for Contemporary Printmaking where they had a show featuring Grace Shanley and Ron Pokrasso.  I found the Pokrasso work more interesting than the work by Shanley.  It was located in an old carriage house at an old mansion in Matthews Park.

 That evening we checked out another Black Rock District (an alleged arts redevelopment area of Bridgeport) restaurant called Viale.  It was wonderful with some of the greatest garlic rolls that have ever passed these lips, made in-house.  Sweet Hubby had a terrific Saltimbocca while I relished the Chicken with Mushrooms in a Gorgonzola sauce. 

After much exploration of the area we've come to the conclusion that we don't want to live in a bedroom-suburb type community.  It seems as if when you're about an hour outside a "big" city, the local arts scene has no tooth to it.  There were only a few community theatres featuring what I consider pretty boring and pedestrian entertainment.  We're looking for a more vibrant local arts scene - so we'll see what Portland brings.

But speaking of proximity, we did take the train into NYC the following day - look for the next post featuring work from MOMA and the guy with the rat on his head!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm sitting in the plane at the Salt Lake City airport waiting to take off for Minneapolis, where we will catch another flight to Hartford CT.  This is the beginning of our journey to find a new place to call home.  After over 20 years in California, we're ready for a change from the heat and bad air of the Sacramento Valley.  We're going to check out Bridgeport CT (only an hour from NYC, on Long Island Sound) and Portland ME (Maine's largest and most culturally hip city).

Although I spent the first 17 years of my life in New England, I've never been to either city.  When my California friends look at me with horror and tell me that I'll encounter cold and snow, I laugh up my sleeve at them (remember that line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail?).  WHY?  Because I lived in Milwaukee  for 5 years working morning drive radio news with 40 degree below zero winds coming off the lake as I battled snow storms to get to the station to tell everyone else listening to stay home from school and work. 

I survived to tell the tale and right now would much rather deal with snow and wind than crappy air and heat.  The there's my urge to be near the ocean and my pocketbook which can afford a Maine place more than a West Coast place unless I win the lotto.

I also have a general theory about weather and the arts.  I first noticed it in Hawaii where my sister lived for 10 years.  It seems as if the more west one would go where the weather is nicer, the less emphasis on the arts and the more on outdoor activities.  Which is not to say that there's nothing to do outside in the winter.  I learned to cross country ski in Wisconsin!

Now I'm sitting in our hotel room in Bridgeport CT.  We explored the area a bit and are a bit disheartened that the Black Rock District of town doesn't have much of an arts scene.  But we had a great dinner of local osyters last night at the Swan Osyter House in the border town (we're actually staying here) of Fairfield.  Of the CT, MA and ME varieties we tried, have to admit the Maine ones were my favorites.

Photograph from the Hockomock Oyster Company in Maine.  Go visit them if you're up that way!

Today Sweet Hubby is off to visit some clients he's worked for years with while I focus on making the final edits to "The Vineyard" to send to a local theatre by week's  end.  Tomorrow we check out downtown and the surrounding area.  Since we're also only an hour away from NYC by train, we're also considering a day trip to MOMA.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

And the Winner is....

Drum roll, please...  But while the drums are rolling, I'll be honest with you about why it's been three week since the last post: I thought I had lost the Open Studio Tour sign up sheets that had everyone's name on it that came by the studio so they could win one of two prints!  In efforts to clean up the desk before the Sweet Hubby and I head off for my homeland tomorrow, I FOUND it and picked the winner - Cheryl Holben!

These are the prints from which Cheryl may choose:

Angel in the Temple is based on a very lucky shot I took while in Sicily and a wonderfully estatic angel sculpture that was in a piazza in Palermo.

Or she can choose this one: "Motel Variations: 24 Hours".  The original of this was created on Duratrans and is in a light box.  It was purchased last year by a collector in Savannah, GA.

Now, you might want to know how the KVIE Art Auction went for me.  Other than the fact I starteled myself seeing myself on the monitor while we were live during my first stint on Saturday with Heath, their very fun fund development guy, really well considering I haven't done any live TV for a while.  I should have listened to my gut and worn that belt damn it!   I was an art expert for Heath who was an auctioneer.  I also did a stint with Sharon Gerber, Mayor Kevin Johnson's Arts Liaison with h is For Art's Sake initiative. 

Not only did I volunteer for that, I donated a very special piece of art as well.  The lucky collector who got it was Ronald Stockmann of Stockton!  Thanks Ron for giving a piece of my art a good home as well as supporting public television.  This was another version of "Angel in the Temple" that I had printed onto a transfer substrate and then transferred to a gallery wrap canvas and then painted in on the sides.