Even the shadows
at twilight couldn’t conceal
ripe pawpaw from me
Relentless screeching to mom,
“Gimme more bugs! MORE!”
Sparrow on one arm
Mockingbird on the other
Weathered wooden chair
chirping near window
What kind of night bird is that?
Wait! That’s a frog song.
wings spread, slender neck
curves slowly down then straightens
graceful heron dance
duck swims at high speed
frantic flapping and quacking
paddling bird dog chase
flew through window wings brush wrist
Granna died today
winds build to a gale
foam caresses stone shorelines
birds hover like kites
smell, taste, and hear snow
winter’s blood, water’s sleep dance
All images copyright © 2014 by Stephanie Reid
Click any image below to enlarge
To view the area from a different angle, take a walk on the Chelsea High Line, an elevated railroad track that has been converted into a boardwalk and garden.
If you’re a foodie, be sure to check out the Chelsea Market which holds a wide array of gourmet restaurants, a fresh spice vendor, books, and sometimes an arts and crafts bazaar inside a beautifully restored National Biscuit Company factory. This is also where The Food Network has its offices.
Also recommended is the cozy Co Pane pizza serving 17 unique, wood-fired combos.
Fashionistas! Check out the Comme des Garçons shop. It’s like being in a toyshop elf’s closet. Besides pointy shoes, apparel becomes outrageously fun wearable sculpture in here.
Chelsea Gallery Tour Favs:
Murray Guy Gallery, Lucy Skaer’s exhibit Sticks and Stones takes two forms cut from a dissected mahogany tree and duplicates each in a variety of materials. This successful interpretation of belonging to a group with similarities while retaining individuality gives new, exciting meaning to sculpture.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Peggy Preheim’s exhibit Archipelago combines nostalgic pencil drawings of people in found photos with pressed leaves or other natural materials such as feathers and fur. The delicate illustrations ask us to imagine stories of interaction between gentle humans and nature.
Gagosian Gallery, Takashi Murakami’s exhibit In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow is exhilarating in its scale and use of cutting edge materials. Taking queue, as Murakami does, from graphic design precious metals sheets are embossed with skulls then over painted with acrylic landscapes and characters straight from a comic book and screened designs of acidic suns. Thick glossy lacquers embedded with glitter enhance the dimensional quality of the works where mandalas of Buddhist masters beckon neophytes to walk the thin line between the land of living and dead, their insane gestures and eyes give warning of what we will experience there. Gigantic guardian sculptures guard the gates of Nirvana and fight those who try to enter before they are well prepared. The gorgeous scent of ancient wood permeates the front gallery which is entered through a replica of a shinto shrine.
303 Gallery, Mike Nelson’s exhibit Gang of Seven takes found objects collected on his tour of the west coast of the United States and Canada and turns them into imaginative and sometimes disturbing sculpture.
During the winter residency for my grad school MFA program, I had the pleasure of visiting several places that I love in New York. In this post, I will share some of the highlights of my first stop, the Museum of Modern Art.
*Henri Matisse Cutouts show. Excellent curation. For those of you are less familiar with art history, the painter Matisse became disabled as he aged and was confined to a wheelchair. This was when he produced a new phase of works from collaged paper cutouts. With the help of his lovely assistants, he was able to create monumental murals and even chapel stained glass designs.
Enter the exhibit: A room of playful works commissioned by Verve Magazine. The circus themes and flowing shapes of the Icarus myth are prevalent. A quote from the artist elucidates his experience making those cutouts, “You have no idea how, during the cutout paper period, the sensation of flight which emanated forms helped me better to adjust my hand when it used scissors…It’s a kind of linear and graphic equivalence to the sensation of flight.”
Next: A room meant to mimic his studio with mockups, paper samples, and photos of him, scissors in hand surrounded by scraps of paper which had fallen to the ground – negative spaces of shapes he had cut. Two long walls hold examples of his “Oceania” series which were printed into wallpaper – sandy beige backgrounds with all white cutouts of seagulls, flora and fauna of the waters.
A darker room: Watch a film of Matisse working with an assistant to design vestments (cloaks) for the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence. Stained glass sections are lit from behind. *In the gift shop I purchased holiday cards with tinted acetate covers to look like one the chapel windows maquettes, La Nuit de Noël (Christmas Night).
The monumental works: The highlights in the last few rooms are works inspired by Islamic art such as Large Decoration with Masks which is approximately 11′ x 32′. You will also see the joyful, immersive work The Parakeet and the Mermaid, which is approximately 11’ x 25’ and meant to give the sensation of being in a garden. It was completed towards the end of his life when he was no longer to enjoy his own garden as he once had.
Souvenir: Amongst prints and lengthy books about the artist’s life and career, I found a gem produced by MoMa who commissioned a cutout artist to create illustrations about Matisse and his inspiration from nature and his garden. By printing it on matte surface paper, the book better represents his cutouts, especially in the bonus gatefold pages of his works.
*In the contemporary art gallery, adjacent the Matisse Cutouts, I discovered a contemporary artist whose work I would like to share here. Her name is Kerstin Brätsch. These works are large scale oil on paper:
*A choice selection from the permanent collection of modern masters was on display. They are hard to capture in photos, especially when they are behind glass and A Starry Night and The Persistence of Memory are now. Sadly, some of the life has been sucked out of them by this addition, which was not there the last time I saw those pieces on tour. I was not in awe of the vortex pulling me in as I had been when Van Gogh’s masterpiece was on view in Houston. This is what happens when people insist on touching the art or using flash! Luckily the Guggenheim had some of his work out (sans glass) and I got a taste of that vibrance on this visit. Less famous, but not less important than the above mentioned paintings, my favorite Matisse oil, Goldfish and Palette, was on view as a nice counterpart to the cutouts exhibit. Other pieces I adore by Léger, Brancusi (Mademoiselle Pogany sculpture below), Cornell, Picasso, and Klimt were present as well.
*In the design section, Tomáš Gabzdil Libertinya presented a vessel slowly made by bees using a “vase-shaped scaffold” for a beehive which was removed to reveal the waxen vase seen here:
*Another special exhibit was a retrospective, entitled The Heart is Not a Metaphor, of the sculptor Robert Gober‘s work. Seemingly irreverent with its wallpaper of penis and vagina line art, other rooms papered like a fall forest scene with objects protruding out of wax torsos and crotches coming out from the bottoms of walls , and the like, his work has a serious tone which requires us to think of domesticity, sexuality, and religion more closely. Within the vast, sparse rooms, I felt less claustrophobic than I normally do when thinking of a permanent home. Sexuality felt like an ordinary and mundane activity that might take a turn for the bizarre if one becomes too familiar with it. A sinister underbelly is exposed inside of a fireplace full of girls disembodies legs, pink Mary Jane shoes and bobby socks intact. A nearby installation of a large vintage suitcase had its bottom cutout to accommodate a sewage grate installed into the gallery floor where below a softly lit scene of rocks and water plants swayed in flowing water and bubbles. This somehow lessened the blow of the previous difficult subject matter by offering an escape for the mind before exiting the show. The denouement of his story played out gently with an easy chair covered in custom designed fabric of pink, yellow, and blue florals and birds and other digestible fare.
*Soul of the Underground, an exhibit featuring works by Jean DuBuffet, contained prints, paintings, and sculptures made from dirt, sticks, aluminum foil, grass, and other common materials used in unexpected ways to evoke gritty, playful, and sometimes shamanistic imagery as antithesis of la bourgeoisie. In the third image below, Landscape with Bulldog, random objects were inked, pressed, and then reassembled to create the final composition.
*Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection 1909-1949 reminded me of the fun and experimentation I had when I started taking black and white photos in the 80’s. The surprise revealed on paper in the darkroom is unparalleled by digital photography and I look forward to working in one again someday. At the height of film photography we can see here that playing with light, shadow, form, and perspective are emphasized when color is taken out of the equation. The luxurious platinum, palladium, and silver surfaces reminded me of a treasure box. This is truly an art form that has been lost, but many young people are recognizing this and word has it that shuttered analog photo departments are being revived around the country. This news has helped relieve some of my melancholy around the matter. For a virtual tour, visit the MoMa page below:
*Finally, I would like to give mention to the Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye section which showcased vintage stereo equipment, posters, and album art. Especially inspiring to me is this print by Koichi Sato for New Music Media and this stereo with swinging, detachable speakers by artist Mario Bellini and Manufactured by Brionvega S.p.A., Italy.
*To see what is on showing at MoMa for during your next visit to Manhattan, check their calendar:
All images copyright © 2014 by Stephanie Reid
Twin Sisters Dance Hall, Blanco, Texas
December 6th, 2014
Various styles of Texas fiddling graced the room that night:
Los Triñeros, a Mexican-American son Huasteco style that originated in NE Mexico and is a blend of native and Spanish music.
Son Huasteco is usually played by a trio on a small instrument similar to a mandolin, called a jarana; a lower clef instrument called guitarra huapanguera;
and a violin. The highlights usually include the violinist playing with bravado and the vocalist singing in a falsetto, which to me sounds like a voice impersonating the high notes of the violin.
Sean Orr, Country-style fiddler recognizable influenced by Celtic music
Mia Orosco, who I didn’t get to hear, but is an award winning contest fiddler who can be seen elsewhere on the Internet. I would describe her playing as crisp and clean.
Howard Rains, who was apparently playing old style and is involved with a group who has taken the time to learn O. Henry, parlor style songs.
Ed Poullard from Beaumont playing a Cajun style. The song in the video here (https://vimeo.com/114585849) reminds me of unrequited love, very French indeed.
Bryan Marshall, played polish flavored tunes, that I missed during the festival but was able to hear around the fire pit later that night.
To end the night, Al Dressen’s Super Swing Revue played a nice long set for the dancers to practice their waltz, two-step, reel, and of course, swing moves.
Fire pit jam videos: Bryan Marshall, Ed Poullard, and Mark Rubin on fiddle in videos one and two below, Frank Motley on accordion and Jakub Marshall on clarinet in video three.
TEXAS FIDDLE SAMPLE CD
One of the main sponsors of the event was Texas Folklife has compiled a sampler CD of fiddling called, Traditional Music of Texas, Volume 1: Fiddle Recordings from the Texas Folklife Archives, that can be ordered on their web page https://squareup.com/market/texas-folklife I picked one up and have been addicted to it! Nothin’ like a cheery fiddle tune for the holidays.
**Two new terms fiddling terms I heard on that CD are ‘breakdown’ and ‘double stop’. The definition of ‘breakdown’ seems to vary depending on where the players are from. In the north, from what I gather, it refers to a fast paced 2/4 or 4/4 song that allows for a lot of footwork, but in southern climates, it tends to be a bit slower so that dancers don’t overheat. ‘Double stop’ means to play two notes at the same time, which is apparently difficult to do. To ‘stop’ a string is to press it down, but on a ‘double stop’ this is not necessarily the case. In addition, one string can be plucked and the other bowed to play the ‘double stop’.**
During the Transart Institute MFA Summer Residency in Berlin, we were given insight into the art world there by going on a gallery tour on July 26th. The tour was organized by the school’s Initiatives Coordinator, kate hers RHEE. This was an excellent way to begin the program. Most Berlin galleries set up at the major art fairs such as Cologne, Miami, Basel, and Hong Kong. Feel free to report to me any errors in this post. All images copyright © 2014 by Stephanie Reid.
Gallery Stop 1: Esther Schipper
Exhibit: “Paper Work” featuring works by Ceal Floyer and Karin Sander created with office supplies. The former artist created a series of gradated circular ink blots make by pressing grey pens onto the center of blotting paper sheets until the pens are out of ink. Whereas the latter artist utilizes objects such as a hole punch, clips, or tabs on A4 paper to make patterns.
Gallery Stop 2: Kühlhaus Berlin.
This is an approximately 18,000 sq feet historical building that was a cooling station before refrigerators were readily available. The courtyard in the photo below, with the whale hovering in the air, used to be a market and train station where people could come and buy foods that had been kept fresh in the kühlhaus. Several people recently purchased the warehouse for cultural activities and are remodeling the building to code, such as making cement stairs. The Berlin Art Prize, an annual art competition between local contemporary artists, was held at the Kühlhaus earlier this year.
Exhibit: Four floors of the gallery contained student works from the school of high art, Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee in the GDR (German Democratic Republic), or East Germany. It was explained that arts funding is highly competitive since the conjoining of East and West Germany because now there are two major art schools in Berlin, the other being Akademie der Künste, in the west, which has a history going back to the 1600’s. None of the works had labels, therefore I am unable to provide the names of the artists whose works are shown here, except for a sculptural installation in front of the building which is the result of a performance given by a Kunsthochschule Weissensee affiliated artist, Elena Kaludova. Elena wore a t-shirt with the slogan “STOP BORING ART!” printed on the back so that it could be read as she drilled holes through the wooden sign. The sign had the words “BORING ART” carved out of it. The artist drilled through most of the letters until only the “O” and “R” were left intact.
Gallery Stop 3: Schwarz Contemporary run by Ann Schwarz
Exhibit: works by several artists represented by the gallery
Gallery Stop 4: Wentrup Galerie by Jan Wentrup
Exhibit: The gallery currently represents 13 artists. Works by several of those artists were on display.
HB 55 (Herzbergstrasse 55) Räume der kunst (rooms of art). This historical set of buildings used to be a margarine factory.
1) Aleks Slota (no images): It was explained to me that Aleks uses a megaphone to recite speeches, that were written but never read, out of his studio window. One example was the speech written in case the U.S. astronauts never returned from their first trip to the moon.
2) Art photographer, who makes commentary on the fashion world and beauty, Ivonne Thein http://www.ivonnethein.com/
3) Louise Gibson is a sculptress from Scotland currently working in Berlin at a studio near a scrapyard. She embeds discarded clothing and electronics in resin castings. In addition, she melts, morphs, and varnishes large appliances and building materials into blobs of color and sheen. http://www.louisegibson.co.uk/?work-cat=current