Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Openings, Trains, Planes and Other Ups and Downs

I have lots of what I call "Random Floors" - abstract compositions 
that my iPhone camera takes all by itself.  
Sometimes I make them into collages.  This one is particularly gorgeous, I think.
Below is a particularly gorgeous day in the life of Frank's painting palette.

In early the waning days of November, I go to some Chelsea openings
on 24th Street.  Here is the work of Gary Simmons... Metro Pictures.  I see two men peering at the price list while talking to a third, two of them having a distinct "collector" look about them...maybe something to do with the cut of the coats, 
the tucked in white scarves...the clean-shaven bristle-cut heads...
Of the following two works, one makes the comment that he likes the frames 
before they both turn on their heels and walk off briskly, importantly.

Last time I was at Metro Pictures they were showing 
Andreas Slominski's "Sperm" exhibition where vast  
white walls were dotted with the odd, barely perceptible blip or spatter of something translucent, purported to be sperm.  The exhibition also featured rubber thong sandals
scattered here and there.
But maybe I'm making it sound more interesting than it was.
At the very least, it was real sperm, remnants of jism that had 
once been inside the bodies of pilots, bulls, endangered animals, etc. 
Of course it was real.  Otherwise one might have to ask oneself, 
what is the point? 

Next I find a video by George Jenne at Freight and Volume Gallery.

His upside down face is spouting words that are less than memorable, but what strikes me
is what crazy teeth he has, jagged and yellowy, nothing like the
perfect rectangles of translucent neon-white required in most public places these days.

By now I'm wondering where my obligatory, complimentary glass, well, plastic cup of white wine is, 
but none of the galleries seem to be serving it.
Are they trying to save money by keeping the thirsting hordes from sucking down gallons, 
barrels of the stuff as they haunt the dark streets?

Finally I find a gallery serving tiny sippy cups of the precious fluid.  
I think back to when I worked in SoHo at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery and
we would offer not only wine and cheese, but trays
of fabulous for d'oeuvres.  Ah, those days are gone with the wind, I fear.

Next I go to the opening of Yigal Ozeri at the Mike Weiss Gallery.
He is looking fabulous, as always... are his immaculate, flawless photo-realist paintings of a young woman, 
an Israeli soldier who is depicted
sometimes in uniform, sometimes in wispy floating dresses, Ophelia-style.
The water in this one I find particularly beautiful - it seems to be alive.

Later there is an after party in a West Village 
night club where you have to know a secret handshake and password to get in.
Well, not quite.  The special invite-label does the trick.
Unfortunately my iPhone battery conks out just as I arrive... me only one mysterious, grainy picture of the mysterious, grainy interior.

Speaking of mysterious, the next weekend I visit the East Side, where a strange ancient train
is in the 2nd Avenue F-train subway station, filled with people who seem to be 
regular train station folk, yet oddly unreal.

Later I return and the train is gone, and I wonder,
was it a time machine?
Had all those souls been transported into some dim, misty Christmas past, never to return?

Instead of getting on that mystery train, I had dropped into The Proposition, 
a marvelous gallery on a street with the intriguing name, Extra Place,
tucked into 1st Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery, where
Peggy Cypher's work is currently showing.

The week then brings me to Pratt Institute's annual Christmas party at the President's
mansion on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn, where Frank
is honored for his over-35 years of service to Pratt,
as Chair of Fine Arts, as Dean of the School of Art and Design, and
now as esteemed professor of painting and drawing.

Random Floors gives me this shadowy shot at the Pratt mansion:

A few nights later I find myself once again on the East Side of Manhattan, 
this time at my very own opening,
at GalleryBar at 120 Orchard Street, where the Painted People
grace the walls in a show themed, "What's Your Religion."

The People are up in the clouds, and happy to be next to Hunter Clarke's work, 
luminous, beautiful paintings of female spirit-creatures with animal heads.

At the opening, I also meet the inspirational artist,
Berette MacCauley, world traveler and brilliant photographer.

We Connect at the Root of a Beautiful Catastrophe
           from ReKON: Differenzierte Möglichkeit

Big thanks go to Frank Jackson of Art For Progress 
who set up this show, who does such great work for art and artists,
and who, with his wife Allyson, just brought a baby boy into the world named Cameron Harris.

Later I'm in lower Manhattan where I see the new "Freedom" tower rising
where the Twin Towers used to be.  
Dramatic, but eerie.

Finally I wind up all the frantic December activities and 
head for LaGuardia for my annual Christmas vacation
to the Midwest.  This time, iPads have taken over the the airport, finally giving us free internet service
and also the opportunity to order mega-stuff to be brought to us while we wait for our plane.
Junk food, clothes, luggage, all at our eager fingertips.  Yay!

My plane is about an hour behind schedule because, we are told later, they had
to change a tire at Raleigh/Durham, which took an extra three hours.
This brings up the obvious question, 
how many Delta employees does it take to change a tire?

Up in the clouds, we drift between layers,
before finally breaking through into the sunshine...

...where the clouds look like piles of pasta...

...which is timely because the Newsweek I bought in the airport
reports that the future of pasta is in jeopardy, one of the many
projected casualties of global warming.
Apparently the variety of wheat needed for pasta requires a cool growing season,
which is getting less and less frequent.
Yet as the Great Plains farmers watch their crops wither and their ground dry up, 
most of them still believe that global warming is a government plot to take away their rights.
Which rights they mean, I'm not sure.
The right to fritter away precious time left to make changes so we can keep
 our crops and fish and ocean and coastlines alive and viable?  
The right to bury heads securely in the ground
and pretend that current storms and fires and floods and droughts are flukes 
and everything will all be fine again very soon?  
The right to be willfully ignorant of the ways in which our future is becoming a dead end?
The right to ignore the obvious messages nature is sending us?
Those rights?

And here I could give a lecture on farming, on the dangers of plowing
 (caused the Dust Storms of the 30's, sent the fertile soil of the Great Plains into the Atlantic ocean), on the benefits and problems involved with the no-till method, (saving soil but using lots of herbicides) which some brave North Dakota farmers are using to 
better effect than plowing in our overheated world,

but I won't bother you with all that.
(When I was a farmer, I thought about these things all the time.  Still do.  
The complex needs of soil are imbedded in my soul.)

(internet photo)

On a lighter note,
I read the cover article on the life of Jesus, and what "really" happened...

...a subject which has come up recently in the wake of the "discovery" of ancient parchment
supposedly referring to Jesus's "wife" which may or may not be "real."


Perhaps we should just remember to think about
the importance of metaphor in our lives.

I've heard that Newsweek  is not long for this world,
which is too bad because it's had a great run, and it asks the big questions,
like what exactly was going on between Jesus and Mary Magdelene?
Or as one of my recent (yes, college) students called her, Mary Mandolin.

But who needs Newsweek  when you have mags like Cosmo 
taking on the big issues, too.  Note the current issue referring bravely to the "hottest year ever."  
Oh, wait, that's a metaphor, isn't it...
...that not a reference to global warming, is it...

Well, on to the fun!  Finally in Madison,
Aaron and I shop for the upcoming festivities, which include
 our annual early gift Mad City opening
where we eat Baby Cookie cookies...

(Click here for Baby Cookie in the flesh, singing with Crosby.)

Aaron tries to move in on Courtney's gifts...

...and Andrew shows us how to clutch a clutch...
(my fabulous gift from Courtney and Aaron)'s hand reaches for brother's foot for no apparent reason...

...and wooden popsicles by artist Johnny Herman, each signed and numbered,
are gifts from the big city, in fact, from Spring in DUMBO
one of my favorite places.

And here's Jennifer in the most comfortable chair ever.

Merry early Christmas!

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