My Brooklyn GO experience begins with a walk through Prospect Park, where
my favorite panther gazes longingly into the western sunset.
The sun lingers over the park on this warm late August day.
I'm on my way to the Brooklyn Museum to pick up my materials for
their "Brooklyn GO" open-studio project.
I have 20 minutes before the GO gathering begins so I check out the BMA's
"Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn"
where I pursue my burgeoning fascination with Hindu deities.
This is Varaha, the Boar Avatar of Vishnu, who holds the world on his shoulder in the shape of a goddess.
Varaha "plunged to the bottom of the primordial ocean to retrieve the drowning earth."
(BMA wall plaque.)
Soon we may need Varaha to act again:
This is a seated Shakyamuni Buddha.
While he is elegant with his subtle "mudra" hand gestures,
I am currently favoring the multi-armed action heroes over the navel-starers.
from Central or Southern Malawi, circa 1977.
Elvis may not have plunged to the bottom of the ocean (not quite, anyway),
but he did shake shake shake the world with his crazy hips.
Perhaps he had a goddess on his shoulder, too.
The GO get together is outside the museum in the waning sun,
a beautiful setting,
but, alas, there are no refreshments!
I wander back through the sun-dappled park,
westward towards home where sustenance awaits.
The morning of Brooklyn GO dawns dark and dreary with driving rain and tornado warnings.
The F and G trains aren't running and my shuttle bus encounters flooded streets
(see picture above)
and actually has to back up at one point during the snail's pace ride to the studio.
There are two tornado touchdowns, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn.
They used to be rare in the city, but are more common now -
new patterns of weather forming in our new climate.
(Photo by David Fein, posted on the NYTimes website.)
Nevertheless, none of the above can stop Brooklyn from GO-ing!
Our studio is number 73, out of 1800 total artist sign-ups for this event.
We live about a half-hour from the studio, bus or train.
On normal days. Today it takes an hour.
Here's the same map showing the level of inundation when the sea rises, say 7 meters.
The dark area is under water. http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/new-york.shtml
("Time and Tide" by Frank Lind)
This is a theme Frank has explored in his "Sea Level" series - the ocean
moving up into the city, in this case beginning at Ft. Tilden, the abandoned WW2 Army Barracks
off of Rockaway Point, not far from where the tornado hit today.
("Army House" by Frank Lind)
Frank, who is very exacting in his mathematics, uses a 5 meter sea rise for his paintings.
But I digress. Back to GO! When I finally arrive at the studio, I find Sierra waiting for me.
She and Leslie are from LaGuardia Community College,
and they choose three favorite works of mine to write about for their class!
Jackson, Keith, Jennifer and Cara, my current and former Pratt students,
drop in to commune with the Painted People.
They also go on the "Voyage of the Panther"
exploring the tunnel created between two translucent scrims,
and two projectors.
This piece was inspired by the Prospect Park panthers, whom I always picture rising off of their pedestals and heading west. I was also inspired by the tale of a panther who left the Dakotas in 2011 and trekked eastward until getting killed on a Pennsylvania highway.
In my piece, he travels through city, suburb, country and finally wilderness -
it's set up to be a continuing loop, showing an ever-changing journey.
See more at my website:
New friends Marc and Killa take the Panther trip also, and Marc's arm burns with digital fire.
Below, they ponder Frank's work,
noting the red underpainting still showing in his unfinished piece on the right.
Christopher Stackhouse has an intense conversation with Frank about painting
and the myriad of deeper issues involved - historical, aesthetic, mathematical.
This is how the painting above, "Ft. Tilden," began, as a warm-colored underpainting.
Frank uses a twelve color palette (with no greens), based on the techniques of James Perry Wilson, famed diorama painter (see Yale's Peabody and the NY Museum of Natural History).
The next day, Sunday, wonderful painter Manuel Hughes is our first visitor.
Here he waves from the Panther tunnel
to his wife in Paris.
Jack Sal chills with the People before his next trip to Rome.
He has work worldwide, including his profound sculptural installation "White Wash II,"
a Memorial for the Victims of the 1946 Pogrom in Keilce, Poland.
Travel writer par excellence Clint Brownfield impresses Chelsea Stewart and Gerald Siciliano
with tales of exotic hotels, far off pristine beaches and nearby Junior Restaurant's
Good friends Sims, Mada and Bob commune on Frank's side.
A new friend contemplates the voyages of the People,
and they extend an invitation to her to visit again with her Pop-Up Circus.
Rick Klauber and Ryn Maartens steal a kiss at the door, in front of the
Macy's poetry-covered parking ramp.
(It's okay, they're married.)
Rick currently has a show of new shim paintings up at Howard Scott Gallery in Chelsea
529 W. 20th Street. http://www.howardscottgallery.com/
(I wrote the "Rick" part of the press release.)
Here's Thomas, one of my Pratt students contemplating the show last Thursday
during our first field trip of the semester.
Rick and Kye Carbone talk shop, above...
...Sally Novak and Maria Cornejo get down with the Painted People, below.
Patricia Einstein transits from Frank's world into mine.
During the event, I also show one of my works in progress which incorporates abstract imagery by Caitlin Martin with footage from my Duluth Aquarium trip.
For some reason the camera gets less focused as the evening wears on...
...but I shake it out of its stupor, and catch a great pic of Mary McBride, Suzanna Simor and
Mary's husband Richard Green.
Mada Blanton and daughter Lara take the last Voyage of the day...
...thus, my Brooklyn GO experience begins and end with the Panther.
And with the evening view of Macy's parking ramp
as we wait for the bus...
...which never comes, so we hail a random gypsy cab
which gets us home in no time flat,
whereupon we basically collapse.
It was a full weekend!
We had a great time and talked with lots of cool people: old friends and new.
Thanks to all of you who came, and
thanks to the Brooklyn Museum and all the GO staff who have worked
incredibly hard to get this complicated project off the ground!