Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So Long, Pratt, and Thanks For All the Fish

(For those of you who want to see the Jerry Saltz bit, you'll have to scroll down.  First things first.
And fyi - click on the gray text for links to this and that.)

I'm on a bit of a fish run (see last blog), which is why I'm referring here to the
4th book in the Douglas Adams "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series 
where the dolphins flee earth forever.  Which they will do for real soon enough
as the sea turns into a toxic mash of acidic sludge filled with 

Here endeth the obligatory global warming warning for the day. 
And now onto other matters, acidic and otherwise.

The following picture shows how I've been feeling since (through no fault of my own!!!)
 my Pratt teaching career came to a screeching halt:

Also feeling like this:
Once sparkly and bright, now ready for the shredder.

Well, that wasn't very cheery, was it?
Perhaps some dots will make us happier.

Ah, the halcyon days of me (center) and my Pratt seminar class, just a short year ago, 
here at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea posing in front of a few of
Damien Hirst's plethora, surfeit, glut of assistant-painted dots.

This photo (above, taken by a Gagosian gallery-worker) was my response to
a photo of Terry R. Myers, below, and his School of the Institute of Chicago class on a field trip to Beverly Hills where they were lucky enough to catch a few more Damien-dots.
(Coincidentally, Terry Myers also used to teach at Pratt.)
He posted this pic on the popular Jerry Saltz Facebook page
where I saw it and thought, hmmm, anything he can do, I can do better.

SAIC has bigger dots, but Pratt has more.

Well, enough Damien-dots; back to me, me, me.  
Over the semesters, I've taken dozens, hundreds of 
photos of the artwork we've seen in NYC on our Pratt seminar field trips
for use in our later classroom discussions.  Many times the students got "in the way"
and I began to realize that I was getting some pretty great shots.
You can see a selection of these photos in a fun and fabulous slide show HERE.

A few examples:
Alex in front of Inka Esssenhigh's painting.

Logan and Louise Nevelson.

Danielle and Franci with David Reed.

Really, in spite of the strange brew that runneth over Pratt's current cup,
I love the place.  Hopefully my exile will be temporary.

In the meantime, I'm not letting myself sit around like a broken-down bus;

I'm keeping busy. 

I'm working along with my Kingsborough Community College drawing students.
I love these twin mannequin heads with their identical petulant stares.
I'm too sexy for this art class, too sexy for this still life...

Along with teaching at KCC, I get out and about.

In SoHo I celebrate Restaurant Week at Cafe Noir by ordering a salmon tartar that is a bit heavy 
on the nose-tingling horseradish but otherwise delicious,
and any excuse to gobble down the chips.

At Recess Gallery, 41 Grand Street, Rutherford Chang stocks the place 
with his 650 copies of the Beatles White Album, and he wants more!
You have until March 9th to get your copies over there and sell, sell, sell.

Next on the activity agenda is  the South Street Seaport Museum where Rick Brosen,
a friend of Frank's from his Pratt student days, is showing his exquisite watercolors.

 The museum was badly hit by Sandy and has just gotten back on track, 
still missing its escalators and elevators, however.
Rick's work was there during the storm, fortunately on the fourth floor, as
watercolors and sea water would not have been a good mix.
See more about the show in DowntownMagazinenyc.com

And to see more of Rick's work, 
go to Hirschl & Adler, or to their website, HERE.

Also at the Seaport Museum is Mayor Mike
who gives a little speech that I don't listen to, being more
engaged in eavesdropping on the
 woman with white braids bragging about how she's the first, first, first to post 
a pic of the mayor on Facebook tonight!
Someone must have stood on a chair to do it because I can't get more
than a vague glimpse of Hizzonor by holding my iPhone way up high.
Hmmmpph.  Whatever.

The Museum also features an awesome display of their "Handheld Devices."
Don't people still use some of those things today?
Maybe if I'd held up a mallet, I'd have gotten a better picture of the mayor.

And then I trip into Chelsea where 
I segue over to 24th Street and who should I see but the famed art critic and Facebooker
Mr. Jerry Saltz getting out of a car.
I say to him, Mr. Jerry. Saltz!
And he says, And you are...
I'm Jeanne Wilkinson, I answer, to which he responds,
Oh!  From Facebook!

We are virtual people miraculously conjured up in the flesh.
I tell him I'm on my way into the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, mere steps away,
and he graciously accompanies me.
 Inside, I mention how much I liked
their last Peter Campus show (see earlier blog) and we chat with 
Heather Dell and Andrew Wingert, gallery director and manager, respectively,
 and get a picture snapped of our mini-date.
Jerry and I are totally FFF's!  
(Which of course means Facebook Friends Forever, an acronym I thought I cleverly made up, 
but the Urban Dictionary tells me:  think again, d'oh!)

Here we are in front of "Entropy," a print by Niko Luoma in his show 
These works are made not on the computer but by analogue techniques wherein  
the artist exposes a negative to lines of light over and over again until 
the image accumulates a sense of infinite time and space.

 "Entropy" Diasec archival pigment print, 67 x 55 inches, edition of 5)

Each image is different in the way that snowflakes are different, or crystals, 
each with its own specific template, direction and outcome. 

I found the following one to be especially compelling,
vertiginous, almost magnetic, as if you could fall into forever.
I would love to see these as projections in a dark room.

("B + G - BG" Diasec archival pigment print, 67 x 55 inches, edition of 5)

On the subsequent Facebook post of the snapshot, 
Jerry's pose is compared to Mr. Peanut's stance, but in fact, 
it seems to be a variation on that "one foot in front of the other thing"
that he mentioned on the Facebook dot-post (see above).

 In any case, I find out in our moments together
that he is no nut
 - indeed, Jerry Saltz is a true gentleman.
(Actually the peanut itself no nut - it's a legume.)

And speaking of true gentlemen,
I also visit the show of Peter Wayne Lewis,

Booster #10, 2011, H91" x 121", Acrylic on Linen

I've known his work from his days of showing at Rosenberg and Kaufman in SoHo, 
when I wrote about it in various art magazines.
Peter has a current studio in Beijing where some of this work was made, 
and he's had recent shows all over the world.
This series is airy and expansive, as if his earlier organic forms were shaking off their surroundings and stretching out, demanding more room to move, to be themselves.  
And there's a whimsical quality to this imagery that reminds me of cells and protoplasm, 
the "building blocks of life."  
As if all things, when you come down to it - artists, writers, politicians, Pratt administrators - 
are made of funny shapes and squiggles.  

Beijing Booster 1B, 2006 H 94" x 71", Acrylic on Linen

As if the "mind-behind-it-all" is a bit of a prankster.

Beijing Booster 1B, 2006 H 94" x 71", Acrylic on Linen-Detail

In the same building, I stop by to see the Elizabeth Harris Gallery
where my friend Mario Naves is showing his work.

"Timpanagos," acrylic on canvas, 2011, 20 x 24 inches

I am surprised to see that there are no more collages;
and instead he is making small paintings with a sense of subtle tension,
as if the forms are balancing for a moment but will, as soon as we turn away,
be moving on into new relationships and contexts.

"The Doubtful Suitor," 2012, 24 x 30.5

There is something reassuring about looking back and 
seeing that they have maintained their initial equilibrium.

Next I go to the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, to the Five Myles Gallery
to see a group show called "Sign of the Tides" which includes the work of my friend Karni Dorell,
who just starred, with her daughter Eve Campbell, in

Karni's current imagery is made of hundred of photos of the Red Hook area of 
Brooklyn where she now lives and works, complex digital collages that become
mysterious images, more than the sum of their parts.

I'm finding that the art I'm seeing is making me revel in realms made up of parts and wholes, 
where I need not worry about the odd, annoying hole. 
My friends' art is giving me the courage...

... to keep up and running, just like the Painted People,
who, with their new friend Julius.
are going with the flow as they always do, being strong, being themselves,
being awesome.

Later I see a bus flashing its "EMERGENCY - CALL POLICE" sign, and think,

What did those awesome Painted Pranksters do now?

Which all goes to show that in spite of ups and downs, ins and outs, overs and unders,
the buses still run.

I think you get my drift...

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