Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Longest Spring, with City Trees, Art Giveaways, Shows and Summer Wine!

So what's been happening in the big city since the last time I posted?

(Canal Street t-shirt vendor)

Okay, I know it's already summer, but it's been a long spring.

Spring busted out all over, for virtually forever.
The first year I was in New York, it was winter then summer, just like that. Overnight.
From a long dreary cold rainy winter, to summer city-oven. Just like that.

Turns out that many trees grow in Brooklyn. More and more all the time.
All blooming exquisitely slowly and gorgeously while spewing pollen in record amounts,
making for a lot of sneezing and red eyes.

On 6th Street in Brooklyn they're building crude wooden barriers around the trees for some reason,
 Instead of cars bashing into trees they will instead bash into the barriers, perhaps?

This year a tree-counting program  will map and count
every tree in the five boroughs. They need volunteers - only 2.4 percent are counted thus far, but even that small number has yielded almost 17,000 trees of 128 species in 3000 blocks.

The view from our window on 3rd St. and 8th Avenue goes from gray
to golden.

More Park Slope beauties, below.

While they're counting trees, they should also count those of artist Mary Hrbeck,
some of them hanging recently at CREON Gallery,

Mary, second from left, amongst the trees and people at the opening.

I recognize in her imagery a vision of trees that I understand - they embody 
a kind of consciousness, not human, but sentient and sensual.
Trees in their rootedness migrate not individually but as a mass - there
are mass tree migrations going on today as the climate changes.

I love trees. I draw them often, like these three.
I find them to be extraordinarily generous in their life-giving processes.
If only humans were more like trees.

On my one and only mescaline trip, I sat on a hill in Golden Gate Park and watched
a group of trees on a distant hill lift their limbs in an exultant dance, swaying
back and forth, reaching for the sky. 

More nature in the city is shown up in the Yonkers Van der Danck Park, 
next to the recently "day lighted" Saw Mill River…

…where we see one of the amazing sidewalk mosaics by Haifa Bint Kadi of creatures 
that used to call the river home...

The park on this lovely May weekend is also one of the sites of Yonkers Arts Weekend,
which features a "color run."
I get there to witness the telltale trail of color that follows these events.

I'm in Yonkers to participate with my four round paintings "Earth, Air, Water, Fire"
curated by Haifa Bint Kadi, who is curating this entire event!
A huge undertaking, and very successful!

My work can be seen on this colorful Yonkers street,
near the Claudine Maidique gallery space, which is showing the lenticular work of Miggs Burroughs
that, depending on where you stand, shows this fresh-faced young woman...

…growing old before our eyes.

The Journey is a journey that we're all taking.
You can see more journeys and more lenticular magic on her website.

Also during the Yonkers Arts Weekend, Fumero executes this color-filled painting 
on the Herald Statesmen building.

On my way back from Yonkers, I shoot this picture of one of the bridges over the Hudson River.
The strong forms call out to me...

…and I turn the bridge and water into an abstract digital collage.

Back in Manhattan, the spring city's drama of light and dark…

…also wants some digital manipulation…

"City Symmetry 2" 2015

"City Symmetry 4" 2015

More city art: I visit Susan Luss in her SVA MFA studio space
where she's showing her color-filled latest work.

Above is a window weaving that shines through to the floor, below.

Much of Susan's work is gleaned from her city travels, picking up
 this and that from the streets and corners of the big metropolis.
I love this one with its mysterious inner lights, like an electric jellyfish
conjured up from urban detritus and floating through our vision...

It reminds me of this Brooklyn "front yard" display in the spring blooming, blue lights twinkling
in the waning sunshine...

Then on to see Troyan Tecau's work at Gallery 210 where, 
instead of inserting dots of light, he simply shoots at some of his paintings, like the two below.

This is wild and crazy art, wonderful in its fierceness, exuberance
and WTF? qualities.

This one seems like an homage of sorts, with a large pile of colorful plastic flowers
 honoring its continuing existence, caught mid-drip.

Visitors from the West Coast are regaled with 
amazing (and all true) 
Troy stories at his studio/gallery space in the Sunset Park district of Brooklyn.
Below, Frank listens appreciatively to a Troy-tale at my opening at 
the Dawn Hunter Gallery in the South Slope/Gowanus 
area of, yes, Brooklyn.

We were fortunate to have a wonderful review/analysis of this show in HYPERALLERGIC
by artist/write Peter Malone!

The studio/gallery space is run by the most excellent Waylon Tait, also an artist,
who was a student in my Pratt Seminar class some years ago.
I've made some wonderful friends in those classes.

The Painted People are pretty pleased to be here, and they take the opportunity
to dance and party.

…and also spend some time contemplating Maya Suess's...

…fierce post-apochalypse women and the artifacts and objects that make up their existence.

In their next adventure, the People contemplate leaving it all behind…

…to explore the Hubble universe.

Closer to home, Waylon and I spend some time up on the roof
watching dark clouds gather, as they do so often these days…

Below, a brighter scene under the dark clouds: 
if you look closely you can see the greenhouses and elegant windmills of
the new Whole Foods complex at 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue 
right next to the Gowanus Canal.

Granted, the Canal is still one of the most polluted bodies of water on earth,
but if projects like Whole Foods keep cropping up, even that may change for the better.

A few days later, the skies have cleared and my awesome b-in-law Brett
contemplates the skyline from the Dawn Hunter roof...

…while my also awesome sister Sherry relaxes after their long drive to NYC from Minnesota.

(Photo by Sherry Cook)

We stop by the gallery to see my show,
but the reason they've driven all the way out here 1000 miles in their van
is to pick up artwork as part of my 
"Great Giveaway Art Project!"
How cool is that?
I have a lot of old paintings and assemblages stored in Frank's and my studio,
and I decided it was time to get them out of the darkness and into people's lives.

This wasn't a casual decision. As artists we're supposed to protect our "markets" and not
go around giving art away for free! But while some artists may be able to sell successfully, apparently I'm not one of them. And the New York gallery scene is so baroque and complex and opaque and difficult, it will erode your soul if you let it. So I'm setting this past work free,
most of it done over ten years ago, this work
that I made with such
care and love and good magic, and watching it
take wing and land in other people's lives.
If you want to see more about this project, there's a page on Facebook about it

(Photo by Sherry Cook)

The work in the racks behind me is the stuff that's going.
We raise a toast to all the people who are giving my artwork good homes!
Thanks to you all!

We also toast to you at the Whole Foods restaurant and bar...

…and again at the Bacchus Restaurant in Brooklyn!

You art-appreciating people rock!!!

I n Montauk, I began a "Summer Wine" series of images...

...and I'm adding to that series here.

We didn't actually drink all these drinks. They were made at the 12th Street Bar and Grill
in Brooklyn where we had a great meal.

Speaking of great meals,
here's one that Frank whipped up for the four of us:
soft-shelled crabs with toasted almonds and a summer salad...

…which Sherry and Brett greatly enjoy!

They also enjoy a trip on the Staten Island Ferry...

…and a ride in one of those big city-tour buses, which I've never done before.

It was relaxing and fun being up there with the tour dude and the stoplights...

…and the vents that spew up fumes from hell…

…and all the big buildings!

 And finally we ended up - where else? - Times Square!

We also took in a street performance where two young men entertained us...

…with acrobatics and edgy jokes 
(as is, "this is where you'll see a black man running but not from the police")
and then humiliating several men from the audience with sexual innuendos and other funny stuff.

So New York.

Brett spent some time taking pics of the city in process - that's what he does in his real
life when not picking up artwork, manage construction sites.
He was also impressed by the porto-potty parade across from our studio.

(Photo by Sherry Cook)

Alas, time to go. The art must go to its new owners, and Sherry and Brett
must take it there.

Thanks for the memories!!!

(Photo by Sherry Cook)

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