Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

Unfortunate Timing.

February 1, 2016

broken There was a television show I liked very much called Once and Again. It was a quiet show, basically a family drama. In one of the last episodes of the series, a character named Karen, who has had a rough time of it, gets very depressed. Unable to help herself alone, she eventually seeks the help of a therapist. It’s a slow process, climbing back into life, but she does it. One day, near the end of a therapy session, she laughs about something inconsequential, and she knows she will be okay. She knows she will be happy. But before she has a chance to announce her return from the dark side to her family and friends; before she has time to enjoy the lightness of being she has worked to achieve, she is hit by a car.

This was on my mind last night as I struggled to feel comfortable enough to sleep with my recently broken shoulder.

I’d spent the last 4 months trying to regain my sense of joie de vivre. I had been so sad, so crushed by an unexpected event and for a while there, even though I knew I would be okay, it seemed to be taking much longer than it should have. I was scared of never feeling really joyful again.

Then, like an unexpected delivery of flowers, there it was. I felt a surge of inner strength, a desire to move forward and a belief that I could not only heal, but be BETTER. Feeling this was was joyful in and of itself. I’d come home during an 8 hour shift to walk Alice, check e mail, and head back to work. It was dark, but not the dark of December. It was cold, but not icy cold. I was happy to walk my dog and I was enjoying the pop tunes playing in my ear thanks to my trusty old i pod. I was aware that I felt happy the way you are aware of health after a long illness. Alice and I were just a few houses from our own red door. There was some residual snow and ice from Rhode Island’s one real snowfall, but for the most part the remaining patches were almost pathetc. They certainly were no match for this new me, drunk on happiness. I had boots on, with treads. My left hand held Alice’s leash and my right hand was in my coat pocket, wrapped around the I pod. I stepped on one of those small spots of ice. I lost my balance and fell forward. I knew I was broken.

This is the first time in my life I have ever broken a bone. It is the humerus, a common break according to Google. During that four month period when I was so sad, I kept hoping for some small something bad to happen to me. Nothing too serious, or too long term. But something that would allow me to have time to cry, to be weak without being seen as weak. I wanted a little t.l.c., a little extra kindness. I craved a chance to just step out of my life for a few days. It’s ironic then that on this day when I was glad for my strength and resolve, I was taken out by a 6 inch circle of ice.

There is no moral to the story. It was an accident. My plans for moving forward are put on hold. I did not break my arm because I was under stress. I broke it because I fell on cement. I know I’ll be able to resume my plans when my bone heals. I was happy and that happiness is not going away. In spite of the pain I have now, and the weeks of recovery ahead of me, I know that happiness is inside of me. It just has to wait a bit longer to reveal itself. I can wait.



I Had A Toothache.

November 11, 2014

All women think there is one pair of jeans in the world that is the perfect pair. The pair that will make you look slim, cool, stylish and will transform every ratty top into a smashing fabulous accessory. This is why there could be a series called Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, about magic jeans.

I am an atheist. I do not believe in God. But I foolishly believe in the magic jeans. I thought I found them just over a week ago at T.J.Maxx. Not only magic, but discounted. I bought them. They look like this:

Joe jeansI wore them. I thought they looked great.

Then I got a toothache and at the same time was expecting company  from out of town, so tried to push toothache pain into recess of my brain. I was stoic. Company arrived on Friday. Toothache was there,  but bearable. Saturday I went out with company and husband to fine dining establishment I have wanted to go to for a very long time. Tooth hurt and pain was getting to be a nuisance. (Where do the jeans come in? you might wonder. Be patient.)

At beginning of meal, I ordered wine. I was afraid of fancy cocktails because I wanted booze I knew would act quickly to lower pain and elevate cheerfulness. Husband and company ordered cocktail called Infinite Fall. It was pretty. I tasted it, and knew it was the drink of my dreams. I ordered one.

The meal was the best I ever had and Infinite Fall was the best drink I ever had. I ate soft starchy yummy food. I was cheerful. I thought I was fine for the night. But, toothache came back with mighty roar. I scrounged around for old pills and tra la! Found codeine + acetaminophen. Took two. And a sleeping pill. Slept.

Sunday I had a very important event. Company, husband and I were going to see the 8 minute art movie of me, along with 11 other 8 minute movies of other artists at the impressive R.I.S.D. Museum. Before breakfast decided I’d better take two more codeine + acetaminophen to head off imminent pain. Wanted to look fab. Was going to wear magic jeans and random top and look cool & artsy. SBut something was wrong. Fast forward through being unable to keep head off floor, unable to eat breakfast or even crawl properly. Made valiant effort to climb upstairs, dampen unruly hair in shower. Put on magic jeans. Husband & company left me in semi coma on bed, wearing jeans and sweatshirt, to go to Museum. There was sleep. There was unpleasant sick. There was sleep.

Felt kind of normal Sunday, except for pain. Got proper medication from best ever dentist.

Company went home Monday. I went to work. Still had pain. Week proceeded in blur of pain and work and sleep. Finally, by Wednesday, there was light at end of pain tunnel.

By Friday I was ready to look chic again. Had art event. Looked for magic jeans. Could not find them anywhere. Looked the next day. Could not find them. Had I given them to Savers when I was in coma? Thrown them in trash? I looked again and again in closet. Found all other inferior non magic jeans. Was bereft and sad. Would have to wear non magic jeans.

The next day, I carefully, slowly, methodically looked at all hanging jeans, and lo & behold, saw the magic jeans. I put them on. I realized they are a little too big in areas, a little too stretchy. Not magic.

But my toothache is gone.



Are You Mad At Me?

October 13, 2014

IMG_0002I almost always have a list in my head of people I think are mad at me. It is a sign of my self centered-ness, of my insecurity, and of my knowledge that at least once a day I say or write something that makes someone mad at me.

But this list is of real friends. People I love and respect and who I know love, or at least like, and respect me. If I have gotten in touch with one of these people via phone or e mail or facebook and I don’t hear back in a timely fashion (that day, that hour, that minute), I  worry. When my son was young I would look at him and say “I think Lulu (fake name to protect the innocent) is mad at me”. I did this from the time he could have any sort of back and forth conversation with me, which was four. He would look up at me and say “mom, why would Lulu be mad at you?” in a reasonable, calm, reassuring voice. I would give him a list of why I thought Lulu might be mad and after a while he would convince me that I was being an idiot and I should just call Lulu again, or send a new e mail or even forget it. Eventually I would hear from Lulu and I would tell my wise son, because of course he was right and she was NOT mad at me. She was just busy with real life.

I am one thousand times better than I used to be and now I only think friends are mad at me once or twice a week. My son is in college so I can’t bother him about the list of angry friends in my head and for whatever reason I don’t find it soothing to tell my husband. When I tell him, in a somber and almost teary fashion, who I think is mad at me, he barely glances up from the newspaper or book he is reading or sports game he is watching. Instead I tell our dog Alice. She is  somewhat reassuring because she is never mad at me.

This  sounds funny, as do most neurotic tendencies when they are the neurotic tendencies of other people. But when it is your own self telling you that your friends are mad at you, it is sort of painful. Now that I am addicted to facebook and I have friends I have never met but still consider quite real, I have MORE people I can think are mad at me.

Sometimes they really are.

There is no real solution to this. I just want to put it out there because although I know I can be harsh and tactless and blunt I HATE to hurt anyone’s feelings. I love my friends, real and virtual and if I do not hear from you after I have written to you or called just know that I am sitting in my kitchen or studio with coffee or if it is evening wine and I am telling Alice that someone, maybe you, are mad at me. And though she will look at me with love she can’t tell me that they are not mad because as crazy as I am I know she can’t talk. So, write back or call back or send me a message back or something, even if it is to tell me you are mad as hell at me.


Jennifer Wynne Reeves

June 23, 2014


Jennifer Wynne Reeves, an artist, died today. This being the 21st century, I knew her mostly as an online presence. She was friends, really friends, with some of my Facebook friends. I loved her art work. Her paintings seem entirely original to me, which is about the highest compliment I can think of to bestow upon anyone trying to be an artist. She also incorporated words with images, long before it was a Thing.
I could tell from what she wrote, her little commentaries and replies, that she was super smart. I could tell she had a sense of humor, an edge, and a heart.
Before I knew she was so ill, but after I knew she knew who I was, I sent her a private message asking for some advice on getting a Guggenheim. She was as close as I got to knowing someone who had received one. I asked her if I could ask her. And she said yes.
When I found out she was sick, but still unaware of how sick, I asked her if I could send her a home made card. And she said yes. She gave me a p.o. Box number. I made a sort of strange collage card for her with a little note and sent it off. And later, she thanked me.
I asked the price of a painting of hers I loved. It was $4,000.00. I wanted it very badly and if I did not have a son soon heading to college I would have figured out a way to get it. I still think about it.
Eventually I realized that she was very sick, and that probably she would not beat the kind of cancer she had.
She was mad. She wrote fiery furious funny posts about her time in the hospital, her time in rehab. About patients, bad and good nurses, bodily fluids, mess, degradation. Life and death stuff. She was not shy. She wanted to live to be at the opening for her upcoming solo show.
I did not meet her, but I know all of this from her words and the words of her friends.
Not that it matters, but she happened to be beautiful.
I am so sad about her death and at the same time angry that most people, even people who are sort of in the art world have no idea who she was, or what her work was like. I am angry at Art in America, MoMA, the NY Times, and the gutless writers, curators, collectors who give so much space, ink, and energy to the likes of Jeff Koons, but never took a chance on a real artist.
She had money worries. She should not have had those worries piled on top of her worries about time running out and on top of not having energy to paint all the paintings in her head.

Look her up. Read her words. Watch her interviews. She is worth the time, the energy. If you can afford it, buy one of her paintings. She is getting a show. Kudos to her gallery, Bravin Lee, for giving her the space she deserves.
I am sorry I never knew you well Jennifer Wynne Reeves. But I am thinking of you and you have become a big part of my memory bank.


It was the worst of times, relatively speaking.

October 9, 2013

It was the worst of times, relatively speaking..

The Art of Thinking About Art

July 28, 2013

I went to Brooklyn to visit my mom, and, for a change, to see a couple of art exhibits. Whenever I drive, ever since the year I had to drive to Brooklyn every other weekend to see my father at the V.A. hospital, I listen to an audio book. It has saved me.

For this trip I was listening to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Image

I’d read it when I was in my 20’s. I remember that it was important to me then, but I did not remember anything specific about it. I just felt like I wanted to visit it again. At first it seemed like a bad choice. It sounded a little dated, and preachy. But eventually I found myself taking in every word, and I am glad this is the book I’ll have accompanying me on car trips for a while longer.

The first exhibit I planned to see was the James Turell show at the Guggenheim. Usually when I see a show, I just arrive. But for this one there had been a lot of hype, a lot of press, and  big crowds. I bought a ticket in advance, for around $24.00.

I walked in (my advance ticket really helped. I hardly had to wait at all) and looked up at the skylight. I saw the colored spiral that had been posted all over facebook.Image

It did not look like this picture. It looked a little washed out, like a hazy day at the beach.
The best part of the exhibit was a room of aquatints based on his light beams. They were beautiful, mesmerizing, elegant. Before I left the Guggenheim I looked up again. Now the color was sort of an almost white with a touch of peach.

I am so grateful that a friend told me about the Ken Price show at the Met. I was not very familiar with his work, but knew I liked it enough to go to the Met to have a deeper experience. I paid $1.00 to get in. The work was smart, beautiful, labor intensive yet simple, and it was so personal.

I thought hard about why I liked the Price show so much, and had been so unmoved by Turrell. I know it had a lot to do with what I KNEW about Turrell, or thought I knew. I am an artist who likes to see only a small degree of separation between the artist and the art. I deeply admire Sol Lewitt, which might seem a contradiction, because he is responsible for artworks he never touched. And there will be new pieces of his, even though he is not alive. But to me, the hand of Lewitt is in all of his work.

Anyway, this isn’t about Lewitt. This is about me, trying to understand my reaction to an art event that is far more complex, more bold, more complex than anything I could ever conceive.

But I never believed Turrell had much to do with it. I felt like he had an idea, he found people to make the idea into something solid. That is not nothing. But it is a cold way to be creative. This reenforces the subjective nature of looking at art. I know Turrell is Good. But the exhibit did not move me, and so I was disappointed and critical. With Ken Price, his hand, his humanity were everywhere. It made all the difference. That, and the fact of the work being so beautifully executed. There was humor, craft, skill, beauty, and there was Ken Price. I was in awe. I was not awed by Turrell in the same way. I was in awe of his ego, of his capacity to have people turn their buildings and spaces upside down with little support from him. But I am unmoved by his creation, or, at least,  what I saw at the Guggenheim.

UnhingedFrontWallThe above image is from the last show I saw on Friday. It is called Unhinged, and it was at Pierogi, in Brooklyn. I have work in this show, which you can sort of see. There are two drawings that are circles with red ink. This exhibit made me so happy. Not only because I have work in it, but because it is a heroic sampling of art from the vast collection within their flat files. There were rooms with drawings in every style you could imagine. The hand of each artist was clear and present and so was the eye of the staff, who must have gone a little crazy hanging all these pieces.

I have more to understand about why I like what I like and do not like what I don’t like. For now I’m glad I made it to two shows that were so inspiring. I would be happy to hear from people why they disagree with me. But, I know my mind is made up. It is not very Zen. Neither am I.

Catching Up On Many Things

May 21, 2013

Oklahoma…of course this is #1 on my mind.

So so sad. And yet, questions do spring to mind. When to tactfully remind the senators, Tom Coburn and his colleague James Inhofe , that while we all share their grief, they did not share ours after Storm Sandy? They were both quite steadfast about voting against FEMA relief. And…considering that this is the third (at least) catastrophic tornado incident in the same place since 1999, is it wise to rebuild an entire city there again?

The summer of Jess

Very soon, at the end of May or beginning of June, I am going to Philadelphia to watch the installation of my Ulysses Glove Project take place at the esteemed Rosenbach Museum & Library. It will be my second trip there. The third will be to attend my talk, a party, a gala, and Bloomsday. A weekend of Museum events where I will be part of the hooplah. It is a dream come true. I only wish my dad could be here to see it. He would have been my guest of honor. I don’t think my mom has much, if any interest in it at all. I bought a fancy dress at the store Zuzu’s Petals, on Thayer Street. My friend Bernadette, who is from Paris, helped me choose it. She saved me from making the terrible mistake of buying a pink dress with black kitties on it. This one is all sophistication. Nicole Miller, mostly black. I wish I could get my hair done and also get my eye brows threaded.


I am working on a series of small drawings, all abstract, while I think about my next BIG project. I want to write a novel. I want to make another epic art work. But right now I am making mostly 6″ x 6″ drawings and enjoying making them. Here is one. Blue Circle-Red Circle

Also, I will have a glove piece shown at the R.I.S.D. Museum. Not talking much about it. It has been shrouded in secrecy, but it will happen. Opening, July 18, 2013. Here is a sneak preview.

The-Election-Gloves-(flag)Very exciting.


You’ll have to read my mom blog.

Blanche, the Cat

Blanche is our cat. She is about 12 years old. She is not a good cat. She is very pretty (I think) but she willfully poops and pees in areas near but not in her litter box. I have done everything that every book ever written has recommended. I have given her extra boxes, moved box around to be more convenient for her (not like she has anything else to do mind you), cleaned it and generally been very sweet to her. Sometimes she does her business just where it should be and then wham! She won’t. All the books say that cats do not do things out of revenge. They are wrong. I don’t know why she feels the need for revenge, but these are revenge poops. Here is what Blanche looks like.


My Son

He is almost finished with his junior year of high school. He is a teenager. I worry about him, but really, he is pretty great.

My Husband

I love him too. He is a newspaper man. We all know that’s a business that has big issues. He will be with me for all the hooplah at the Rosenbach and he came up with Summer Of Jess.