Sunday, January 10, 2016

From the Blood Moon to the Beaver Moon: Art, Real Estate and Hog Futures.

It's been many moons since I last posted, four to be exact,
one of them the "Full Harvest Moon" which also happened to be that rarest of events, a "Blood Moon"
occurring on my birthday last September 27th.
I went out walking with the rest of the people in Park Slope,
all of us photographing this phenomenon, the lunar eclipse,
some of us only using our not-the-latest iPhones
that make night pics look very painterly.

Well, I've been busy, composing poetry, revising my memoir, going to Roberta Allen's fabulous
Wednesday evening writing group, and taking part in
exciting fall evening events like the one at the Dawn Hunter Gallery
as part of the Gowanus Art Weekend...

…where the Painted People romped and played in the October breezes.

They could be seen far and wide.

I was in a recent two-person show at Dawn Hunter, curated by Waylon Tait,
with Maya Seuss, her work shown with mine above,
and you can see more about that show HERE...

Maya herself stands below right, contemplating Karen Heagle's depiction of Salome
with the head of John the Baptist...

…a story which does not lack for visual interpretations…

…but Karen brings it up to date with a woman who looks not unlike 
a suburban housewife dressed to kill.

Her partner Elizabeth Insogna gives us women coccooned in the midst of swirling
tendrils of energy that metamorphose into sacred snakes, an elemental world of water and fire. 

The Gowanus weekend is something of a last hurrah for a number of artists whose buildings
are being sold or remodeled for more cash-laden clients.

So the artists are asked to leave. In no uncertain terms. No renewed lease, sorry.
Or maybe not sorry. Just get lost, please.
Karen and Elizabeth are both moving to other spaces, not so easy to find these days
in an affordable way.
Below, Emily Berger is also losing her beautiful studio full of light...

…where she paints her serene abstract paintings, seen below.
These paintings reflect the colors and forms of the landscape she sees through the windows,
distilling their colors and repetitions into meditative visual riffs.
But now she must uproot herself and find other digs, as do all the artists in her building.

Just another example of artists coming into a less-than-desirable part of the city,
and making it just that: desirable. And once they've made it vibrant, full of life and activity, 
they're kicked out to make way for the big money. 

Above is the studio of Rhia Hurt within the Brooklyn Art Space,
an arts organization that offers studio space for reasonable rates.
So Rhia's space is not in any immediate danger of being wrested from her,
in fact they are expanding into other buildings to make more spaces for artists.  

Rhia's collages seem to capture moments where disparate shapes and forms
join together, overlap and form patterns
in a kind of delicate balance that could be anything else,
but has chosen to be just this. For now.

Back in my own studio, which crouches precariously between several Downtown Brooklyn
many-storied monsters, regularly shaken by the pulses of
pile drivers with the force of mini-earthquake…


...Sarah and Romana dance one October evening in the Cloud Tunnel
to my Summer Solstice video installation.

Using two projectors and scrims and two video streams, I am able to catch their joyful movements.

Thus we soldier on, as artists do.

And on we trek to Chelsea to Opus Gallery, where Frank is showing his painting of Ft. Tilden interiors,
old abandoned Army buildings that are covered with wild, ever-changing graffiti,
and in this case graced with a mysterious female presence.

Also in Chelsea, I stop in at Cara Gallery where I see through the window the monumental and atmospheric paintings of Natvar Bhavsar.

(internet photo)

I am familiar with his work from my time curating the estate of
Australian/American artist Margery Edwards.
Before her untimely death in 1989, she had also been engaged in the art of
 creating large, meditative expanses of paint...

(Margery Edwards, Tribeca, NYC, mid-1980's)

...and in their roles as avid collectors of art, she and her husband David had acquired
 a large Bhavsar painting much like the one below which they hung in the
Tribeca loft where she lived and painted.

Standing in front of one of these paintings is like being immersed in a molten world that is both
soothing and overwhelming, like gazing upon the cosmic dance of Shiva
who both creates and destroys the world as we know it.

Speaking of the creation and destruction of the world as we know it,
this fall has been an extended one,
warm and full of color. The upside of global warming.

Rest assured that there would be much more concerted world action re. climate change
 if we were in a global cooling phase that was freezing people's you-know-whats instead of 
lulling them into a fine-weather stupor.

So we eat, drink and enjoy the lovely warm days!
Above, Manhattan Beach and Kingsborough Community College grounds,
below, my flower-filled window overlooking a big beautiful oak tree.

The colors remind me of these Downtown Brooklyn structures,
the stuff of the amazing real estate boom that has blasted the city,
making some people piles of money but not doing much for those who don't have piles of money.

The old vs. the new, a face-down, below, on Fulton St.

And here's an ad outside of our Downtown Brooklyn studio on a bus shelter:

Jennifer Aniston showing us the wonder of this new kind of water
from this new kind of process that boils water and collects the vapor…wait,
isn't that just regular old distilled water? The kind my mom would keep in jugs and spray jars
 to use for ironing clothes? Remember ironing clothes? I wonder if my mother
would meditate on how this water was inspired by the clouds 
when it rose up from her iron in great huffing puffs and steamed hotly into her eyes.
Below are some fun comments where people mull over the pros and cons of 
"smart" water, and celebrity hucksterism:

Down the street, some cool clothes and shoes on display. They didn't quite make
it into the Goodwill store behind them.

On Flatbush Avenue, here's what the street looks like after the garbage has been picked up.

And below, someone has laid down for a short autumn nap.
At first I thought he might be dead, but apparently not.
Just another person who can't afford one of the fabulous new condos going up all over the city.

And here's some more neighborhood messes, oh, wait, it's just Halloween!

Brownstones decorated with seasonal trash that will fill the bins November 1st.

But it's fun, nonetheless, to wander the streets in search of free sugar.

The fall days go by, the flowers bloom. In November!

At the Prospect Park entrance, the panther casts a November shadow.

And it's another beautiful warm day in the park!

I'm on my way to Five Myles Gallery in Crown Point, Brooklyn,
which is a walk through the park for me, literally.

It's a wonderful exhibition, and not just because my work is in it...
(Above, lower center)

The show is a selection of artwork by the American Abstract Artists, curated by Rachel Nackman,
 entitled "Endless, Entire" on the theme of what goes around comes around.
Circles, cycles, curvatures, repetitions, etc.

Here mathematician Robert Sibner expounds upon the theme during the panel discussion.

And below is a wonderful review written by Alexis Clements that I'm excerpting by
selfishly including the part that just happens to address my two artworks in the show!
It's a great thrill to have someone "get" your work in ways that you haven't thought of yourself.
A gift, really. I am grateful for her words - they have expanded my own understanding.
There's more to the article, of course, and you can find it HERE.

These two artworks are part of my continuing series of small drawing/paintings that I work on
year after year, taking them out every so often to see what they're up to. What they want now.
Sometimes they don't want anything, and then they're "done."
Or they're just framed before they can make any more suggestions or demands, like these two.
I have hundreds of them!!! Hundreds! Fortunately they're small.

Well, speaking of cycles and seasons, it's that time of year again. 
Halloween has come and gone, so the Christmas holiday
decorations go up! Here they are being installed under the subway in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

I am out in Brighton Beach as usual, because I teach at Kingsborough Community College,
right down the road.
This semester I have two students who are in a special program for students with disabilities
where they audit the class, getting no grades but participating fully. 
This semester for his final project, one of them made a series of holiday paintings,
 for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, which are totally...



Above, a November tree glows in Brooklyn.
Below, a tree is warmed in Madison, Wisconsin
where I go to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

I spend quite a bit of time with the small king, Elliott the First, who just turned two.

He drinks his smoothie with the royal crooked finger, accompanied by the royal lion guardian figure.
Good thing he loves the kale smoothie because he doesn't finish his vegetables.

And Elliott has been taking his painting lessons seriously:

Above: work from Brice Marden's latest exhibition at Matthew Marks in Chelsea.
Below: Elliott's work done in the Madison Children's Hospital office 
before being checked out for adenoid problems.

Well, okay, maybe Elliott is a little more like a subtle merging of Jackson Pollock
and late de Kooning…

Along with the implicit rewards that come from making art, 
Elliott received a new Teddy Bear for his visit to the hospital,
where he will visit again soon to have his adenoids (successfully) removed.

On more depressing subjects, which, like the poor, are always with us,
 I pick up a local Midwestern paper, The Country Today,
and read an article which is just a bit horrifying, saying that we humans will be adding, in our wisdom,
 78 million people per year to the earth, equivalent to nine New York Cities!
Apparently this is fabulous news for the pork industry because a lot of these newbies 
will be meat-hungry Asian middle-classers.

I find it impossible to think of all this as "good" news. 
But then I don't imprison, torture, kill, process and ship highly intelligent four-legged
creatures for a living, so what do I know?

But up in the sky, the sun flows like gold over the Great Lakes...

…and the moon still shines down on all of us.
This one is edging into becoming the "Beaver Moon" or the "Frost Moon."

Thus we travel through our days.
And next, the Christmas holidays!

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