Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fun Was Had, Part 1: Madison, Milwaukee Art Museum and Elliott

I conduct a summer drawing class at Kingsborough Community College, 
and by the last sessions, after we've been through weeks of drawing exercises,
 I encourage students to follow their bliss, if they're so inclined. Most are not.
But this student, Tara, went in an unexpected direction, using ink and wash
on museum board
to make drip paintings that were quite beautiful...

Tara's second painting, above.

Her first painting, above;
her third painting, below:

She had never heard of or seen Morris Louis, whose stained, dripped work is shown below...

...or Jackson Pollock, below:

Jackson Pollock "Autumn Rhythm: Number 30" 1950, enamel paint on canvas, 105 x 207 inches

I used to make stained and dripped paintings also -  here's one from 2000, called "Symphony"-
acrylic on cloth, 64 x 44 inches.

Now I project instead of paint and stain.
There's some serious action when my friend Graciela Cassel comes to the studio 
and has an encounter with "The Sun and the Horn"!

And back at home, in our Park Slope apartment,
I do a window installation with the New York Times.
It serves to block the view of the men who are clinging to the building, cleaning, re-pointing, drilling and pounding right outside our window for three straight days. 
Not that they are interested in watching me sit at the computer, or I them,
but having people inches away from your fourth-story window is disconcerting.

Frank and I ditch the big city for a smaller, quieter one:
Madison, WI, where there are signs in the elevator
that make us think we'll have a quiet night.
Unless the alleged baby wakes up.

Speaking of babies, hanging out with us in our hotel room is our very, very favorite one,
Elliott, with his fabulous mommy Jennifer...

...and his awesome daddy, Andrew!

Summer in Madison is full of bloomin' front yard gardens,
and back yard fun!

Mad City is also home to this amazing Capital Building...

...that is unfortunately watched over by the infamous square peg in a round hole,
Governor Scott Walker.
For a while, anyway. We are sending good vibes to his opponent Mary Burke who is in a 
neck-and-neck battle with the incumbent. One poll giver her a 49 - 46 percent edge,
another gives Walker a 49 - 47 lead.

He thought that attacking her wealth (her father founded Trek Bicycle) and business practices
would turn voters against her, kind of an odd stance for a Republican, but it  hasn't been working out for him. Plus he's getting flak from his own party for it.

Go Mary!

Later on the Keeley Yonda's real big deck, things are heating up!
Here's a song about them that will give you an idea of the fun to be had:

Awww, Grandpa Frank!

Yummy stuff from the grill!
And broccoli-onion puree!

Wow, things are getting even more exciting!

Later we go to Aaron's living room where he puts on his Pizza Hut video game
of virtual light sabers and swords that's pretty fun, too, even though it's not on a real big deck...

Elliott gets into the game when Jennifer plays...

At Graze restaurant, he entertains us with a multiplicity of facial expressions.

A stand up comedian in the making. When he can stand up on his chubby feet, that is.

Later, while Andrew and Jennifer shoot a wedding...

...Frank and I have a Saturday night date with Elliott.

Something's not quite right with the way I have placed Elliott in the pack
(see the proper placement below)...

...But in spite of the awkwardness we go for a long walk and swing on the 
local elementary school swing set until I'm carsick. 
I sing Pee Wee Herman's "con-nect the dots, la la la la" a million times, but
when that fabulous entertainment begins to wane, we are forced to find something better to do.

Falling water and a canning jar ring make for great Saturday night entertainment.

Elliott, exhausted by all the fun we've had, finds "Breaking Bad" to be akin to a lullaby, 
and he falls asleep next to Uncle Aaron.

Speaking of "Breaking Bad" - we later find these seriously obnoxious stickers sold
in a Wisconsin gas station on Highway 94 between Madison and Milwaukee.
They cover all the bases: sickening anti-immigation sentiment, nasty sexism, pro-gun mania,
distorted Christianity, and anti-Obama ugliness.
Makes me not proud to be an American when I see this kind of mass mental illness.

We arrive at the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and enter a better world.

Elliott is in awe.

Frank reflects on the amazing sights.

Andrew loves this one, made of...

...hundreds, thousands of buttons!

Jennifer meditates in front of Eva Hesse's piece...

The family who museums together, stays together.

There's a big Kandinsky retrospective that shows us how he got from this... this.

From pictures of things: houses and trees and skies... being the first artist who made the cosmic leap into "non-representational abstraction"- 
imagery that is independent of specific reference to objects and things.
He thought of it as a kind of visual music.
Music without lyrics.

The Milwaukee Museum's new wing is really a wing.

The pink water in Dan Kiley's fountain/landscape installations is a bit disconcerting. 
The only information I can find out was that the water
was dyed pink in 2012 in support of breast cancer awareness, but I don't know if the pink has
just continued or if it is a yearly occurrence.
Not everyone agrees that it's a good thing.

According to this blogger, Kiley's landscape piece is being ruined not only by pink water but by uninspired plantings of mundane flowers,

Personally, the pink feels wrong to me.
The water in the fountain looks like blood, or maybe beet juice, connotations 
I'm sure Kiley wouldn't have wanted. 
The blogger above says what if someone took a painting inside a museum
and added pink paint to it - would that be acceptable?

Elliott takes some time to mull over the big questions, with Frank
looking on.

On our way out, we add our entrance stickers to the sticker installation...

And speaking of the big questions,
here Elliott puts his mind to "Evolution vs. God"...

...and comes up with his own take on the subject.

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