Archive for April, 2011

The Week In Review

April 15, 2011

Ulysses Glove Project: Page 244.

This morning I read The Week In Review. It takes a certain amount of masochism to want to see the news of the week in print and up close. There is no hiding from it after that. After last week’s budget fight, this McCoy/Hatfield fight in Congress, doesn’t everyone feel a little bruised?
Meanwhile, I drove on Tuesday to New London to deliver artwork for a show called Time In. I think it’s meant to connect to a women’s prison population. My contributions are two pieces, of women sweeping, like Muybridge photos, only the women are not nude, but are rather scantily dressed. On the sides of the women are notations of how much cleaning I did that day or recently, and as the drawings progress there are more bits about the news events of the day or the week, like the BP oil spill, and the downfall of Mubarak. It’s supposed to indicate that while most of us are taking care of daily chores, doing what we must, big things are or are not happening. I mean they are, but in the case of the budget, did anything really happen, or is there now a void where there had been intellectual discussion? These drawings are as close as anything I have ever done to putting on paper what I want others to see. I had trouble finding anyone to show them, any of my regular venues. Nobody seems to find them as compelling as I do. So, when I was invited to be in this show, and the gallery (Expressiones) only asked for a small artist statement, I decided to go ahead and be part of this. I had the work framed beautifully, brought it to Guido Garaycochea, the man in charge.
The space is smallish, but not tiny. The building is one you would pass without thought, with a mish mash of art, objects, crafts, and ephemera in the window, like every other struggling, urban, non-profit space I have ever seen. It’s on a street across from a big non descript building. There is a quaint eatery near it, but the street looks a little unused, like a forgotten block almost. I don’t have any idea what the quality or content will of the other artworks in the exhibit, but I know I instantly treasured this man, Gudio. He is an artist too, and a teacher, and a liaison for the Latino community in New London. Within moments of meeting we talked of the scary tone of tea party radicals, the disappointment of Obama’s presidency, the invisible but despised immigrant community. He was in a hurry so he showed me the space with equal parts pride and apology and when I left to return home he gave me a big bear hug. This won’t be the sort of show that will garner a review, or even be likely to be seen by my friends,or by practically anyone, except on opening night. But I felt really happy leaving my sweeping women in Guido’s hands and very glad that I’ll be sharing space with invisible people who matter a great deal to their families. I bet some of those people will like my sweeping women, and understand their message. If not, that’s okay too, really.
Now I am going to try to figure out where to put all the opinions from Week In Review in my cluttered brain. There’s already too much anger in there, too many fears, a lot of helplessness. I want these stories to fuel the fight in me. I don’t want to walk away…I want to argue and demand normalcy and reason. I don’t want Paul Ryan to have his budget approved. I don’t want to see Rand Paul get applause for his ideas. I want to see someone fight for the underdogs, for the sweeping women, for Guido’s friends and students.

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Art In The United States of America

April 5, 2011

First of all, I have a goal with this blog. From now on I am going to write an entry every other week. Also I will begin with my progress on the Ulysses Glove Project.So. . .

Ulysses Glove Project: page 236.

Last week I got a new issue of Art In America in the mail. The subscription was a gift from my husband. I asked for it. I like to read about artists, to be in the know a bit. This magazine always makes me a bit depressed because a lot of the artists featured are youngish, and are such enormous icons already that I become jealous even while appreciating the work, sometimes. But this week what caught my eye and completely infuriated me was an article about our nations’ newest art star, James Frey. This is the man who wrote a book called A Million Little Pieces, supposedly about his walk on the dark side and his reaching the bottom in a world of drugs and addiction. He’s plucked from obscurity by Oprah for his brave memoir, then thrown under the bus by Oprah when it turns out that some of the memoir is completely fabricated. But in spite of being under the bus, his book goes on to sell about eight million copies and makes Mr. Frey a very wealthy, if ostracized man. Apparently, now that he is rich he has made friends in the art world, like Richard Prince and Ed Ruscha, by buying their work and commissioning them to make book covers for him, or something. But the thing that made me so angry is that he is having a show, at Gagosian. In the exhibit is his newest book, a sort of fake bible called The Final Testament. Gagosian is the publisher here in the states and the exhibit consists of the book, sold in two kinds of limited editions. The less expensive edition $50.00, for one of ten thousand. The more limited edition, one of one thousand, will sell for $150.00. The other part of this ‘show’ is each page ink jet printed on to canvas,like people do with portraits of children and pets and hung on the walls, like say, an actual work of art. All the pages will be sold together. This is everything that is wrong with the big art world. I am sure some idiot collector will swoop in and buy this massive piece of crap. I mean, I would rather own a freaking Thomas Kinkaide. Or maybe I’ll bring my copy of Anna Karenina and have Kinko’s print each page of that onto canvas so I can have my own work of art.
I wonder is why this makes me so mad. Why do I care? But, I do. I feel like it just plain isn’t fair that this mediocre talent is going to have some fancy opening at one of the most prestigious galleries in the world because he was able to buy himself rich art world friends. I am jealous. That’s the crux of it. But not envious. I don’t want to be like James Frey. I just want the end result.

Meanwhile, while I simmer about James Frey, and the one day depression I always have when I’m finished having my taxes done which shows proof of failure in monetary terms, I have been watching news of the next big fight in congress, the fight between the democrats, the republicans, and now the tea party over the budget. The tea party people want to cut off everyone at the knees including pre-natal care for pregnant women (the same women they do not want getting abortions, by the way), early education for poor children, unions, the e.p.a., you name it. If it costs them money they don’t want it. I wrote on facebook one day that I felt like I was still living in a nightmare that started in 2000, and has yet to end. I keep thinking that whatever bad thing happens next it will be the thing that jolts Americans from allowing this small, nasty group of people from screaming loudest and getting their way. But the nasty group seems to only be growing stronger, while the rest of us are whimpering in a corner.
The strangest thing of all is that right at this moment I am feeling a surge of energy and ambition for my artwork. On some level I must think that things will be okay, or I would take a bunch of pills and throw in the towel. Instead I sit my ass in a chair, make a trillion lines for my newest slinky drawing, and write another page of Ulysses. I just wish that I could buy myself a nice friend like Mr. Gagosian.