Gallery Crawl, January 2017: The NY Ceramics and Glass Fair

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Last Thursday I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Bohemian National Hall for my first experience ever of The NY Ceramics and Glass Fair.  It seemed like a no-brainer that this should be on my list of things to do.  I also had the pleasure of riding the newly opened 2nd Avenue Subway for the very first time.  The 72nd Street stop was just around the corner from the venue and I enjoyed viewing the colorful mosaics at the station.   It was exciting to ride the gaily decorated train through the clean tunnel to the bright and cheerful stop.    I had never been to the Bohemian National Hall, located on 73rd Street. It’s a beautiful building and very much worth the visit.

A mosaic in the 72nd street station stop of the 2nd Avenue Subway

A mosaic in the 72nd street station of the 2nd Avenue Subway

My first stop was  to attend a lecture, The Feminine Clay given by Shannon Stratton.  It was a thought provoking presentation of contemporary interpretations of the figurine  featuring the works of artists Coille Hooven and Chris Antemann, both of whom have works currently on display at The Museum of Art and Design (MAD.)  I enjoyed the lecture immensely as I had seen the MAD exhibits and adored their works.  I particularly enjoyed the thesis of the subversion of the classic figurine for feminist interpretation.  What made it an even bigger treat was that Coille Hooven was in the audience and took questions after the lecture.

Onward and upward to the 4th and 5th floors to view the works on offer in the booths.  In addition to the impressive selection of antique glass and ceramics, several contemporary artists displayed their works, 3 of which particularly impressed me.

I could have spent the entire day visiting with beadwork artist Leslie B Grigsby and her beadwork sculptures.  She uses taxidermy forms to create lifelike animals out of hundreds of colored glass beads.  I will never complain again when I am in the midst of adding texture to my sculptures with the point of a pastry bag.  Leslie has me beat hands down in the intricateness department.  I had so much fun visiting with her, she treated me like a long lost friend and let me hold and handle a couple of her sculptures.  She told me that it takes so long for her to create each one, that when she’s done they are like her pets and she has trouble seeing them go out of her studio and into the world.  Her sculptures are so gestural and lifelike that I can see why, each has its own personality.

Leslie B Grigsby with one of her beadwork creatures

Leslie B Grigsby with one of her beadwork creatures

Leslie's artist statement

Leslie’s artist statement

A fawn beadwork sculpture by Leslie B Grigsby

A fawn beadwork sculpture by Leslie B Grigsby

After leaving her booth I made my way to the booth of Hideaki Miyamura.  His booth contained vessels with stunning satin lusters.  I was drawn to them as iron to a magnet.  At first I thought they were blown dichroic glass and I spent quite some time looking at them up close to determine that they were indeed ceramic.  I asked Hideaki if the glazes were the result of fuming and he told me no, they are porcelain fired to cone 13.  Huh.  I have never seen glazes act that way at that high a temperature.  Another penny into the bank known as all the things Lisa never knew that never cease to amaze her.

Stunning creations by Hideaki Miyamura

Stunning creations by Hideaki Miyamura

As I left Hideaki’s booth, my lusterware antennae began to quiver.  I was picking up a vibe that glaze nirvana was close by.  I followed the signal and hit pay dirt (stoneware to be exact) when I came upon the booth of Michael Wainwright.  His platters and vessels share my form sensibility and his use of platinum and gold are what I hope and dream I can someday achieve if I ever stopped being a cheapskate and forked over what these materials cost.  I fell in love with one of his crystalline free form platters.  To me it looked like a giant slice of a precious mineral.  I am so thrilled with my tray.  We had a very pleasant chat before I snatched my tray and scurried home like one of Leslie B Grigsby’s squirrels with a prized nut.

Clay artist Michael Wainwright

Clay artist Michael Wainwright

Michael's booth

Michael’s booth

My beautiful crystalline tray made by Michael Wainwright

My beautiful crystalline tray made by Michael Wainwright

Overall it was a wonderful time.  My only regret is that I didn’t revisit the Fair to attend the panel lecture Buy, Sell or Give? What Happens When the Kids Don’t Want It? that included friend Ulysses Grant Dietz, chief curator of The Newark Museum.  I have attended many of his lectures and they always delight and inform.  Sorry I missed you Ulysses, next time!

 

Being a Light for The Ghostlight Project at The Public Theater

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It takes a long time for me to process momentous issues. I do not leap into action easily, and when I do it’s usually to jump to the wrong conclusions or put my foot where it does not belong. I’m over feeling guilty about not going to Saturday’s Womens March in Washington. I am not a large herd animal. I would be a liability. I would be the one suffering from a panic attack who has to be given oxygen and carried off in an ambulance from getting extreme claustrophobia standing shoulder to shoulder with a million people. I prefer to hide in my studio and throw clay around and pray for the safety and strength of my sisters on the front line doing the dirty work. Yes I am a coward in this regard.

But my small still voice told me to go to The Public Theater to Be A Light and participate in The Ghostlight Project.

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I downloaded my sign, printed it out and pondered what I am and what I fight for. In this regard I am an American Patriot, someone willing to defend their country. I really don’t want to fight. I’d rather work with, but for the purpose of this exercise I decided I’d fight for dialogue and compromise.

The way I see it, we as the great nation of The United States of America have steered off course and are headed for very dangerous waters. We’ve stopped listening to each other. We only surround ourselves with people who agree with us. We have no desire or energy to have a dialogue, find the common ground then work to arrive at it, i.e. compromise. These days we are all or nothing. We are no longer united. The only way we’re going to turn this ship around is to grab the wheel and pull together.

Call me a dreamer. Accuse me of hallucinating, but this is what the small still voice is telling me.

And that’s why I took my little sign and my flashlight and stood on the steps of the Public Theater, and sang a song and wiped my eyes and left my sign pinned to a board along with the hopes and dreams of strangers.

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And sang a song

And listened to a speech

And hung up my sign

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May Day May Day!!!! Peters Valley Open House and Studio Tours

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May Day can either mean May 1st,  a day to celebrate or  May Day May Day a distress signal.    Thankfully in my case it was a celebration, as in my line of work it could have gone either way.  Yesterday was the Open House and Studio Tours event at Peters Valley Craft Center and I was asked to fire the raku kiln as part of the festivities.

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Sharon Pflug-Moench (left) and I (right) doing the heavy lifting at the Peters Valley Raku kiln

 

Knowing my schedule would only permit me to make enough ware for 1 or 2 loads I reached out to teacher, potter, and good friend Sharon Pflug-Moench to make ware and join me in the effort.  She did not disappoint.  We had enough work between us for 6 loads, a full day of firing fun!

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Sharon aka Lucy and me, aka Ethel with the ware waiting to be fired

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Caught Instagramming- red handed!

Sharon and I are the clay version of Lucy and Ethel.  We’re soft-hearted tough cookies.  We work well together.  We get into scrapes.  We generate alot of laughs. To temper us and provide support were my husband Bill and her husband Paul- Ricky and Fred, although none of us could decide who was who of that pair.

True to form, like every other time I have raku fired at Peters Valley, it poured rain all day long.  You can set your watch to it.  You want rain?  Call me, I’ll either schedule an outdoor picnic or a raku fire at Peters Valley.  I’m so used to it I don’t think I’d know what to do if the sun was shining.

Joining us in the ceramic studio were director Bruce Dehnert, his wonderful wife Kulvinder Dhew, and fellow potters throwing on wheels, including Linda Garrabrandt of MudSlingers Pottery Works.

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Kulvinder Dhew arranging Bruce Denhert’s work for sale, while Linda Garrabrandt of MudSlingers Pottery Works throws clay in the background

Visitors came and went and pots went in and out of the kiln.

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Vases fresh from the kiln “steaming” until cool to the touch

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I was nervous about firing hot and fast in a kiln set up differently than my own, but it’s alittle like riding someone else’s horse:  the basics are the same I just had to learn its nuances and how to get along with it.  Everything worked out fine and the kiln saints and devils smiled upon us.  The pieces survived the firings, the glazes came out great and the humans came out of the experience unscathed, just filthy, tired and wet, but very very happy.

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In terms of kiln saints, I brought the heavy artillery: St Michael the Archangel, Pinocchio and the little devil who, if the sun were shining as he is solar powered, would be dancing a little jig

I had the good fortune to meet many people touring through the studios, show my work, eat a great meal from a food truck (fish tacos with the most divine fries!) and even get interviewed by a reporter at the NJ Herald.  Look at me, I wound up the lead article in their on line edition the following day!

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For my next Peters Valley trick I will be teaching the 3-day raku workshop Raku Rodeo the first weekend in June.  Get out your umbrellas and galoshes and come fire with me!

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Let’s All Go to AIPAD

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Hanging with the works on opening night

AIPAD is an exciting event for Bill and I.  Unlike Paris Photo, Bill has work in it – at Charles Schwartz Ltd. Charles is a dear, dear friend who collaborates with Bill in camera obscura projects, in particular, Visions in the Dark.  I met Charles in the 1990’s when he hired me, during my former work life as a construction consultant, for the installation of his camera obscura .  During this process I told him that he just had to meet Bill and they have been fast friends ever since.

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The gang’s all here at booth 415- right to left: Charles Schwartz, Bill, and Charlse’s wife, fabulous artist Nancy Drosd.

Charles Schwartz Ltd occupied booth 415 at AIPAD.  Bill was there to lend a hand and to explain his current works, 3D printed geometric shape series entitled ElementaryBill’s work is a meld of very early photographic process with cutting edge technology.  This current series involved making tin types on colored metals by placing geometric shapes he created with his 3D printer directly on the metal, or something like that.  I think scanning is involved too.  Anyway, hard for a mere mortal like me to describe, best to have him on hand to explain it.  Also on view were sculptures Lumix and The Silver Circle from his Gutenberg series, which involve objects and texts encased in 3D printed sculptures. (Ask him to explain them too.)

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Bill with works from his “Elementary” series at Charles Schwartz Ltd booth #415, AIPAD.

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Bottom shelf far right and middle shelf far right corner: works from Bill’s “Gutenburg” series.

What I like about AIPAD is it’s home turf for me.  It’s local so I can bring clothes just for the opening reception and really rock my inner disco queen.  I can change into my heels and leave my sneaks under the table with my purse at the booth.  I don’t need a notebook to keep myself busy.  I know some of the other exhibitors.  I don’t have to be on my best behavior, I can wander around and fetch food and drinks for Bill, Emma and Jenny (who work for Charles) and leave and do other fun things elsewhere when I get bored.

The opening reception was really fun.  I decided the occasion warranted a very busy outfit:  my father’s necktie skirt.  These were neckties he wore in the 1960’s, waffle weave, crazy- pattered silk and synthetic paragons of psychedalia that my grandmother flattened out and sewed together.  Some of them had naked ladies tucked into the lining at the point, which Grandma, probably in a fit of propriety, tore out and discarded, sigh.  The waist band was also a tie, one of his skinny silk ones.  The skirt has seen me through high school dances,  twirls under the disco ball at Studio 54, a couple Halloween parties and many a gallery opening.  It has had such a peripatetic life that the closure promptly tore off when I fastened it just before leaving for the reception.  A large safety pin was deployed and we were back in business.

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Shedding the Nicole Miller rain coat and about to put on my silver shoes to complete the “look.”

Complementing the skirt was my silver embroidered Mandarin style blouse I picked up at a flea market in Portland, Oregon, a silver foam motorcycle type jacket from Ibiza (on sale) vintage bamboo and glass chandelier earrings from Love Saves the Day (mentioned recently in my personal blog:  https://notesfromajerseygirl.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/another-nail-in-the-coffin-trash-and-vaudeville-moved/ )  a pair of really busy tights from the Reebok store on Union Square, my silver “tranny fence climber” pumps I picked up in a thrift shop in Provincetown, MA (everyone should have their heels broken in by transvestites, they have such nice wide feet) and to top it all off a really busy candy wrapper patterned Nicole Miller silk raincoat and vintage Donna Karan sunglasses.

Thus outfitted, I made my way to the reception.  That outfit made me friends.

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Comparing outfits with photographer and style consultant Mahlot Sansosa

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Photographer Henny Garfunkel on the other side of the camera. Don’t you just love her look?!

Photographer and style consultant Mahlot Sansosa grabbed me for a picture.  Jill Krementz took some photographs and included us in her New York Social Diary coverage of the event!!!   I  simply ADORED Henny Garfunkel’s entire look and followed her around until I got up the nerve to ask for a picture.  There was an Asian woman wearing the most divine pink wool skirt suit with matching bowler hat with darling purse and shoes, but she moved too fast to snap a pic, drat!  She had by far my favorite outfit.

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Other cool outfits seen during the event.

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Oh, and the art photography was pretty good too, 😉  This is my 3rd AIPAD event and without a doubt I found it to have the best fine art photography, both vintage and new that I have seen yet.  The works were aesthetically pleasing, told amazing stories and not derivative in the least. Go to the AIPAD website and have a look for yourself!

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These works by Simone Rosenbauer captured my eye at Paris Photo.  I had more time to enjoy them at AIPAD’s Laurence Miller Gallery Booth.

 

 

 

Gallery Crawl: Quebec City, Musee des Beaux Artes

On our last day in Quebec City, thus fortified by our hotel, Le Vincent’s hearty breakfast, we set out by cab for the Musee National des Beaux Arts du Quebec (MNBAQ.) Note we set out to walk it the day before, but after riding straight up the funicular then hoofing up 310 steps we didn’t make it in time before closing, drat.

When I realized the museum housed only collections of native artists, my eyes rolled, uh oh. But I was pleasantly surprised by not only the quality of the art, but the exquisite manner in which each installation was curated and displayed. The building itself was very interesting and in no way detracted or distracted from the art, which seemed very at home within its walls.  Another aspect that impressed me was its accommodation to families with small children.  There were alot of people pushing strollers and little ones toddling around.  Once a city jail, part of the museum was comprised of small brick cells.  Several held attractions paralleling the exhibit within the same space:  The Art of the Miniature, showcasing Inuit art.  One  cell had faux skin rugs, another plush toy stones to form into cairns.  Another had a table and chairs.  There were little ones enjoying the main exhibits as well.  It lent a really fun atmosphere to the galleries.

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A little art appreciator checking out works by Alfred Pellen. She was so cute I had to take her picture (with Dad’s ok of course)

Besides works from contemporary artists and retrospectives, there was a gorgeous collection of indigenous art sculptures carved from stone, whale bone and walrus skull.

There were 3 retrospectives on view when I visited and I was extremely impressed in the way they were curated.  Not only were the exhibits arranged in a chronological and historical fashion as to evoke the creative development of each artist, but the exhibition spaces themselves and the manner in which certain works were displayed echoed each other.  I felt that I was completely immersed in the work of each artist as I trolled through the spaces.

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Take a look at how the space reflects this work by Jean Paul Lemieux

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The drama of this image at the beginning of an exhibition of the works of Jean-Paul Riopelle reflects the drama of his paintings

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The bold hanging of this massive work heightens its exquisite drama

Works of 2 other artists I absolutely enjoyed were by Alfred Pellan, The Wide Awake Dreamer and David Moore, aLomph aBram.

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aLomph aBram literally tucked up inside a turret accessible via a narrow spiral staircase

 

In addition to being impressed by the museum and its collections in situ, I am also impressed by their website and programs.  Check out the video suggesting how to view art as a family, and also their artwork rental program, CPOA.  My visit was one of the highlights of my stay in lovely Quebec City.  It was perhaps one of my favorite museum experiences that I’ve had recently.

Studio tour on the road: Quebec City, Verrerie Coquelicot, Jean Belanger, artiste verrier

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Jean Belanger, artiste verrier in front of one of his large and impressive glass wall pieces

When traveling I never know where my feet will lead me, but so far it’s always been always to the best places. Especially when in foreign lands I send up a little prayer as I embark on my journeys to be guided by angels to places I need to see and people I need to meet. My short weekend trip to Quebec City was no exception, for it is where I walked through the door of an artist’s shop and met artiste and verrier, Jean Belanger.

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Some of Jean’s work on offer in his lovely shop, fused glass, stained glass, blown and slumped glass objects

To regard Mr. Belanger as a verrier does not do him justice- yes he is an artist and craftsman in all glass disciplines, but also a sculptor, welder, 3D printing artist, t-shirt maker and poet, in other words, a Renaissance man.

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My favorite piece, a very colorful, thick and substantial fused glass table on feet he designed and welded himself.

What was lovely about stepping into his shop was his willingness to talk to us- about his process, his work, his history as an artist, his successes and struggles. He welcomed hearing about us, our art, our projects. When we left I felt as if I added another friend and partner in the pursuit of creativity. This does not happen often, and when it does I look up to the sky and thank my angels.

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T shirts, mostly sporting profound and topical quotes

Visit his shop in person or on line:

Verrerie Coquelicot

Jean Belanger, artiste verrier

515 Rue de l’Eperon

Quebec, Canada G1K 6S7

(418) 692-1555

http://www.verreriecoquelicot

jeanbelanger@verreriecoquelicot.com

Turn Milestones into Stepping Stones: SEND A KID TO SUMMER ART CAMP!!!

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Won’t you enrich the lives of a deserving child by giving them and their families the gift of art and culture?

It has come to my attention that on April 4th I will turn 55.  Even more shocking is the fact that on April 6th, Bill and I will have been married 25 years!  Do you know what this means?  This means something grand must occur to mark these tremendous milestones.  What do two people  whose lives are so full and blessed with an embarrassment of riches beyond our wildest dreams need?

WE NEED TO SEND KIDS TO SUMMER ART CAMP AT THE MONTCLAIR ART MUSEUM!!!

In 2012, I taught pre-teens a 2- week clay class at MAM SummerArt Camp.  What I learned is that I am not the best teacher for anyone less than 20 years of age.  I also learned that the camp was in desperate need of economic and cultural diversity within the student body.  Minimalism is a great genre, but not when it comes to filling a class with students.  Creativity begins when cultures, races and others of diverse life experiences collide.

Bill and I have created a scholarship fund to accomplish this mission.  A gift of $900 will send 1 child to camp for 2 weeks.  To make things even more fun for them they will also get a lunch box, a gift certificate to a local art supply store and a 1 year family membership to the museum.

Imagine  if 90 people sent $10-  BINGO, a child’s life is changed!

The folks at MAM have made it really easy to donate.  All you need to do is click on a link:

montclairartmuseum.org/donate

Enter the donation amount on the first page (under the donation amount you can check a box in case you want to make the donation in honor or memory of someone, pretty cool..)  Just after entering your credit card info enter the coupon code SUMMERCAMP at the bottom and it will earmark your donation for the camp.  DON’T FORGET TO ENTER TO COUPON CODE!  Please do not delay, as the selection process for student applications is fast approaching. Please help turn our milestones into stepping stones for a budding artist.  Give them a chance to grow and create in a spectacular, nurturing, fantastic place.  Help add “let’s all go to the museum!” to their list of fun things to do.

Please share this post with as many like minded people you can think of, help SummerArtCamp go viral!

Session II Session I Exploring Pottery

 

Gallery Crawls Fall 2015/Winter 2016

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November 12, 2015, inside the Grand Palais for the Paris Photo 2015 exposition

This posting will continue my reporting on what I saw and did in Paris last November as well as catch you up on what I’ve seen lately.  To review, the purpose of the Paris trip was for my husband, photographer Bill Westheimer to attend Paris Photo 2015 at the Grand Palais.  I was along for the ride.  I love looking at art.  I love critiquing art.  I love learning about art.  I love meeting fellow artists and when it comes to international creative events such as these, I love the people watching.  Its where art, fashion and artists collide.

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View from the stairs to the mezzanine. It’s as if Paris Photo is inside an enormous jewel box!

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So much to see, where do I begin?

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As night fell the venues glowed

In my opinion, there was no better location than Paris, no better venue than the Grand Palais to hold this event.  It was as if all the images displayed were slides tucked inside an enormous glass and green steel jewel box.  The structure itself was worth the visit.  I have been told, more than once by Bill, that the purpose of the visit was reconnaissance- for him to see what is out there and who is representing it; to make lists for future reference.  It was NOT the time and place to shop work.  Ok.  Got it.  Message received.  I would keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut.  We went twice:  once to breeze through, say hello to a few friends working in the booths and get a lay of the land.  The second trip would be a longer more day long affair, going from booth to booth, taking notes and gathering info.

To execute this feat I realized I needed something to do, some sort of individual purpose other than being the supportive spouse to keep me occupied, engaged and quiet.  So I bought a notebook and a pen and I set about reviewing the work,  the space, the food and what people were wearing, like an undercover reporter for a lets pretend magazine.  In addition to planning the activity it was also necessary to plan attire.  My very first entry in my Paris Photo notebook was:

11/12/15

How to attend an all day exposition:

-Dress in layers:  wear comfortable shoes & clothing; carry a light weight shoulder bag to put things in and hang things from, like jackets and scarves;

Immediately locate and use the bathroom;

-Put some cash in your pockets (wear clothing with lots and lots of pockets)

-Carry a cellphone, pen and little notebook.

-Keep your mouth shut if the reason you are here is for someone else;

-Carry lots of business cards in case you are here for YOU;

-Eat a good breakfast that will give you energy and not slow you down;

-Dress stylishly; to be noticed, in case you get separated from your party; (it pays to be tall by birth but alas I am not)

-Pick a meeting point and a time to meet your friends in case you get separated (meet you by the food every hour;)

-find a place to sit the minute you get cranky (this is important;)

-Don’t try to make dinner plans with every person you run into that you know;

-Try not to get jealous of the success of others on exhibit and don’t come from a place of low self esteem;

Don’t monopolize the time of your friends working the booths;

-Network over lunch;

-Drink alot of caffeine;

-Don’t start drinking until early evening;

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Some hand outs I picked up at the booths and my ever present notebook.

Thus dressed, fortified, informed and debriefed I made my way around the exhibits.  Here are comments I made in my notebook:  NOTE:  My comments will appear in italics

Yves Marchand & Roman Meffre, “Rivoli Theater, Berkley USA, 2013:

Jacob Aoe Sobol, “Boy in Novosibirsk, Russia, 2014;

Polka Gallery, Paris, booth A52

 It’s hard for me to view photos like these because I want to know the story behind each one and they aren’t there, they’re just works of art;

Gitterman Gallery:  Herbert Matter, “Untitled” 1939-43William Larsonsending images and text through telephone lines in the 1970’s!!!

Grids of photos:  Bruno Roels (A palm tree is a palm tree is a palm tree)

Appropriation:  Sherrie Levine: “After Man Ray Man and a Woman 2005”

Man Ray’s photo of a nude descending a staircase by DuChamp, 1920.

Delphine Balley- staged murder scenes “Les Choses de la Vie” at Suzanne Tarasiere booth C37

My favorite and I don’t know why:

Garry Fabian Miller

Winged Hawthorn- The Hedgerows of Homeland & Haying Down, Dartmoor Spring & Late Autumn, 2011″ at Ingelby Gallery

Katarzyna Mircsak (Polish) “Tools of the Crime Series, 2012″ at Eric Franck Fine Art booth C40

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Amazing people watching. I just loved her hair and her whole look.

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These women won the hair category of the people watching awards.

It was an amazing couple of days and we were so glad we went.  Going to Paris for Paris Photo has always been a dream, and all of a sudden it was a wonderful reality.  Ironically, we were there on November 12, 2015, the day before the shootings and bombings in the Bataclan and in the cafes, where many young spirited fun loving people had their lives cut short for no better reason than they were out living their lives in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Ironically even more, since I remember feeling so free and so spirited at the event, thinking to myself, “isn’t it wonderful that we can be out in large venues again without fear of terrorism?”  Oh my.  Like all other public venues in Paris that terrible day, Paris Photo was shuttered and closed early.

February, 2016- my first visit to the new Whitney Museum of Art, New York City

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Yes, can you please tell me, why was art in the 1990’s so bad?

If you know me you know I am not really a fan of the Whitney.  I never liked the architecture of its original location on Madison Avenue.  I tried, I really tried to like the artwork they have presented over the years.  I give them points for exhibiting works by Marilyn Minter, and I never tire of seeing Calder’s Circus, but everything else usually annoys or confuses me, and it’s one of those deals where they actually want you to feel that way.  Whatever.  The Whitney is one of the few museums in New York City where I don’t have an annual membership.  I rather choose to get in free by flashing my museum employee id from the Montclair Art Museum where I teach.  This magical perk is a thrill.  So far I’ve gotten in everywhere except The National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY (the nerve!) and the Denver Botanic Garden (even though the employees thought I should as they sadly made me pay.)

So when the Whitney moved downtown into a new light and airy structure with outdoor terraces on every floor with a killer view in all directions, designed by Renzo Piano, while flashing my employee id I gave going there another chance.

Oh well.

At least Calder’s Circus was still there, this time given a place of pride front and center instead of being tucked into a hard to access mezzanine like at the old location.

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Calder’s Circus

We started at the top floor and worked our way down, beginning with an exhibition of works by Laura Poitras: Astro Noise.  To preface, I try to be as objective as possible in consuming another artist’s work.  I realize that a strong negative reaction is just as successful as a positive one; artwork is not made with the sole purpose of making the viewer smile or feel loved.  Rather, a very important part of making art is to bring difficult subjects often swept under rugs out into the open and visible to the masses.  A critique of the exhibit by me would not be fair as my reaction to it is strongly subjective as the artist is delving into the surveillance, interrogation and wrenching cultural shifts brought about by the attacks on September 11, 2001.  Having seen the second plane slam into the World Trade Center from my seat on the commuter train then being in lower Manhattan as the towers fell, smelling the burning, hearing the screams, seeing people covered with ash running for their lives, then being evacuated to New Jersey are forever seared into my psyche.  They are now part of my DNA, like it or  not. Anytime I view or experience video footage, audio clips, photographic montage of that day bring on horrific nightmares, so I need to consciously avoid venues like this.  So, after viewing a couple light boxes in Disposition Matrix, I waited for Bill in the hall.

I must say that most works on the lower floors blurred one into another, except for a fabulous abstract film I enjoyed enormously entitled, Synchromy #4 Escape by Mary Ellen Bute which she made in the 1930’s.  It is an abstract cartoon set to classical music.  Just a few squiggles, lines and a few geometric shapes in primary colors on a black background dancing to the music.  I loved it.  Having been raised on Disney’s Fantasia it’s just what I see in my head when I hear classical music.  The rest of the floors were kind of a bust for me.  There’s just so many times I want to see a Jeff Koons. Don’t even get me started on the art of the 1990’s.  I just don’t see the point of it, other than the fact that is coincided with the commodification of art and the market was suddenly driven by investors looking to make a buck rather than a collector wanting something of aesthetic value.  But hope springs eternal, I like DuChamp’s Fountain don’t I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibition announcement: Sacred Spaces Holy Places, opening reception rescheduled for January 30, 2016

Due to the impending snow storm the opening reception has been rescheduled. See you on the 30th!
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I am pleased to report that I have 3 sculptures in the upcoming show, Sacred Spaces Holy Places at the Nails in the Wall Gallery in Metuchen, New Jersey. These sculptures are dear to me and I’m honored to have them included in such a fine venue in the company of phenomenal works by very talented artists. I would love to see you at the opening reception and would love to hear your comments about my work.

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Hotei Hideout, 2008 For more images and statement go to: http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/statement and http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/view/340 and

Detail, Hotei Hideout, 2008
For more images and statement go to:
http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/statement
and
http://lisagw.com/sacred-art-/buddha-and-hotei/view/340
and

Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature, November 2015

No cheating! Can you tell which one is the human in this picture?

No cheating! Can you tell which one is the human in this picture?

 

Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

One of the things that is a curse and a blessing regarding not speaking a language well, let’s say, moi une belle fille Americane who is not all that fluent in French, who finds herself in Paris, is when I visit a place of interest and have no information in my native tongue, I can 1) miss the whole point of the place; and 2) make up all sorts of stories much more interesting than the text provided.

Such is the case of my visit to Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature at 62, Rue des Archives. For those of you who don’t know me, I am the sort who can burrow into my studio or in front of my computer or wander off into the woods for days on end, emerging only to eat, use to the bathroom or have my husband Bill drag me somewhere. I’m very glad to have Bill in my life. He rescued me from a life as a hermit, recluse, and creature of habit. He is my activity director and usually never disappoints. With him I am never bored.  Bill takes his job seriously and makes it a point to seek out places and things that satisfy my sense of curiosity that slants towards the bizarre, unusual and more than dips into the grotesque. Well, our foray to Musee di la Chasse et de la Nature did not disappoint on all counts!

I loved this place. I could live in it. I could decorate my house with every single item in it. It has my number, it is my best friend, I was at home! I knew I was in for a treat the moment we stepped into the very unimposing building, in fact, we weren’t even sure we had arrived. Beyond the street door was a courtyard straight ahead with 3 enormous beehive type structures that were later determined were ovens relating to one of the exhibits. Given they had a striking resemblance to kilns, I immediately broke into a trot. To the right and left in this square little vestibule were doors with very little markings. We went right and found ourselves in a small, bare lobby. Assuring us we were in the right place we were told to go through some double doors and down a hallway, past a set of open stairs with amazing iron worked handrails and chandeliers.

Check out the amazing ireon work on the light fixtures, scones and bannisters in the stair hall.

Check out the amazing iron work on the light fixtures, scones and banisters in the stair hall.

At the end of the hall we found ourselves in a darkened room being watched over by a very nice man who looked official and smart in a uniform that I realized wasn’t a uniform, just smart French apparel. He handed us a card in English that didn’t seem to refer to anything. I just barged in. What lay beyond this door were rooms filled with curiosities, taxidermy, artworks both old and contemporary, and all sorts of bric-a- brac related to flora, fauna and hunting. O.M.G!

This museum is the best representation of the intersection of art and nature that I have ever seen. Some rooms were decorated with comfy sofas and furniture that upon first glance seemed to be “don’t you dare touch” armoires, but in reality were cleverly and expertly crafted please touch cabinets of curiosity with compartments and drawers each containing artifacts, moving images, paw prints and other paraphernalia pertaining to a specific animal, like a wolf in one, a moose in the other.

One of the amazing cabinets of curiosity of the Grey Wolf. Those 2 circles under the words are for you to look through and see a really cool video of a wolf strolling through a make believe forest.

One of the amazing cabinets of curiosity of the Grey Wolf. Those 2 circles under the words are for you to look through and see a really cool video of a wolf strolling through a make believe forest.

Another room was filled with all sorts of bizarre specimens in glass jars, yet another a room of taxidermied baboons playing cards. Presentation of specimens is elegant, grotesque, whimsical, tongue in cheek, a surprise at every turn. What I found especially attractive was that intermingled among the artifacts were contemporary artworks made to mimic the collection.

These are all tureens. Care for some soup?

These are all tureens. Care for some soup?

I took this picture because the dog on the right looks like Petey, especially when he's in the process of trying to take my arm off.

I took this picture because the dog on the right looks like Petey, especially when he’s in the process of trying to take my arm off.

I know this is all pretty gruesome and heartbreaking but at the same time it's completely fascinating, sort of like a train wreck.

I know this is all pretty gruesome and heartbreaking but at the same time it’s completely fascinating, sort of like a train wreck.

Check out the painted ceiling. Is that a gnu over the window??

Check out the painted ceiling. Is that a gnu over the window??

I know, I'd rather see him moving around in a zoo (I'm too chicken to see one this close in the wild)

I know, I’d rather see him moving around in a zoo (I’m too chicken to see one this close in the wild)

What do you think they're trying to catch with this????

What do you think they’re trying to catch with this????

Pretty cool contemporary sculpture in the collection.

Pretty cool contemporary sculpture in the collection.

Clever way to display your Aunt Bessie's jewelry...

Clever way to display your Aunt Bessie’s jewelry…

Very cool very large porcelain sculpture!

Very cool very large porcelain sculpture!

So please do visit this wonderful museum. I have made up all sorts of stories about it. There was a room at the end of the exhibit that explained who founded the collection and created the museum. I could only gather with my 3rd grade elementary school level of French comprehension that the items were collected by a man who held a high level position in whatever the French equivalent is to the US Department of Interior, and created the museum and donated the items after his tenure, for the enjoyment and education regarding what the glorious natural world has to offer us.  The elegance and placement of these objects side by side with exquisite artworks, to me, reflect how precious our natural environment is and in a way, how sad it is that it is housed in a museum where it is safe from human destruction unlike what is going on outside its walls all over the world.

Without the help of electronic translators, I think this says that Francois Sommer and his wife Jacqueline created the Foundation of the Hunt and Nature to promote hunting that is respectful of and in harmony with nature.

Without the help of electronic translators, I think this says that Francois Sommer and his wife Jacqueline created the Foundation of the Hunt and Nature to promote hunting that is respectful of and in harmony with nature.

Ok, how close did I get to the real meaning and purpose of the place???