Monday, March 28, 2011
George and I got pretty nerdy this weekend. Between other obligations (helping out at the beautiful Golden Calf, checking out an old Jonathan Demme film at the dizzying Museum of the Moving Image, lunch in Astoria, Cookie Road coffee with Handy) we went to Home Depot and Michaels' Crafts in Queens yesterday, then came home to NV's beautiful house had a leftover dinner and made crafts. It was much needed quiet time. I made a hippie dippie tie dye fringe necklace with materials from M&J...I have been going to the jewelry section of the fashion district way too much, sourcing a job...can't help but get my head turned by the glitz. So, there it is, on me. (Hi friends) I even tried to make a proper clasp at the back. The incomparable Madame Fortuna will always be my official jeweler, but I just thought I'd have some fun.
Meanwhile, George made an amazing popsicle-stick model of a mold-making spinning device he needs to build...one that I don't completely understand but think is beyond cool. More on that later.
Monday, March 21, 2011
When my brain feels like flat grey useless porridge, it is possible that I might sometimes re-watch my crappy download of The September Issue, just to see Grace Coddington tirelessly create the sublime in the face of the ridiculous. It makes me want to push on. This week when I watched it I noticed the gorgeous ceramics on Anna Wintour's desk, and a quickie google led me to Clarice Cliff. Her beautiful pottery remind me a bit of Sonia Delaunay's textiles (a show at the Cooper Hewitt I am so glad CC over at The Blue Cheer has been blogging and flickring about, and which I hope I haven't missed). On the website for her work, I discovered that in turn of the century/early twenties England, she proved her mettle as a woman to her employers by painting their cast-off pottery. She painted triangles over the blips and bumps to disguise them, and called them her "Bizarre" collection. Then she married the boss. Player! Look how gorgeous:
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
There was a photo of the actor Bradley Cooper in the NYT Sunday arts section, where he is shown chilling out at home with his dog. That's very nice, except that it is MY DOG. I guess that when Arlo is in NY and LA he is considered a girl and is called "Charlotte." Whatever, man.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
On Friday the 25th, my brother had a birthday and my family lost our dear friend Gray. On Saturday the 26th my father had congestive heart failure, and we lost him for a moment. I said farewell to Gray - though I can feel her all around - but eventually was allowed to keep my father. Thank you thank you thank you, spirits and doctors and super-nurses and friends.
In the past week and a half, I have slept in a Coronary Care Unit in a fold-out chair, watched my father turn into a lion and growl at people, lost my appetite and gained it back, been to Boston Logan airport twice, and encountered a man named Tony Ceprano (pronounced "Sop-rano"). I argued with countless nurses and doctors, and fought outright with an uppity physicians' assistant. I have also been to a funeral, watched parts of movies, read parts of books, and walked the dog on the beach. My skin has broken out, I've lost my voice, I've cried an ocean, and flipped out at random. Finally, somehow, my dad stabilized, and my mother and I brought him home to recover in his own bed. The doctors still don't know how this all happened. They only know how to stabilize him.
Throughout this whole late-winter calamity, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be an artist during an extreme emotional tragedy/hospital situation/freak out.
Here is a list of all the artists I thought about:
- Sally Mann
- Rube Goldberg
- Bill Viola
- Fred Tomaselli
- Annie Liebowitz
- Susan Sontag
- Paul Klee
- Buddy Bolden
And here is a list of all the art I considered making:
- Rube Goldberg-style drawings based on cliches I heard in the hospital (e.g. tip of the scale, roll of the dice, the way the wind blows, taking a turn, the way the cookie crumbles, etcetera).
- Drawings of future sculptures for my show
- Drawing my father while he slept
- Laying a green screen over my father as a blanket, and shooting video footage where the blanket would be replaced with images of paradise from Key West
- Making watercolors on watercolor-paper postcards I carted around for a week
- Making collages from hospital journals
- Making a clever word-drawing on top of a hospital terminology word search puzzle I took from the lobby.
In the end, I made nothing. I couldn't focus on a single idea long enough to watch a movie, have a phone call, chat with a friend, or do more than one errand at a time. My father, on the other hand, was lucid and awake for probably 10 hours cumulatively over eleven days, and managed to write two poems and make a collage/drawing with crappy ballpoint pens and some gauzy adhesive tape. All without his glasses, which had been misplaced in the kerfuffle.
I have a lot to learn.
Today, in my first day of trying to be a normal person again, I have been trying not to hover over my dad. Instead, I made new spore prints with George. I am captivated by this whole idea, mushrooms dropping spores onto paper to make a print. I like that this is the most efficient way to identify a mushroom - how poetic. George loves mushrooms, and he also loves John Cage. We both delighted in the New Yorker article last year which detailed how he used his mushroom expertise to support himself in New York, picking mushrooms upstate and selling them to chefs in the city. I have always loved a monoprint, and any printing from nature.