35 articles

El Anatsui!

Anthem for A-Nu by El Anatsui at the Mnuchin Gallery in NYC

A small but powerful woodland elf admires Anthem for A-Nu by El Anatsui at the Mnuchin Gallery in NYC

This past weekend, on our way to yet another Halloween party with our daughter (which, I might add, had quite possibly the best holiday themed snacks I’ve seen outside of Pinterest) we stopped by the Mnuchin Gallery to have our breath taken away by the beautiful work of the Ghanaian artist El Anatsui.

We knew what we were getting into, as we’d seen his work in a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum and literally couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks afterwards. Josh and I had a friendly-ish who-can-take-the-best-photo-of-the-show competition, which we both lost. The work is monumental and tactile and three dimensional in a way that makes it difficult to capture with an iPhone. And yet I continue to try…

Metas II by El Anatsui

a detail of Metas II, one of the pieces in the Mnuchin show.

This detail gives you a bit of an idea of how the pieces are constructed… they are sculptures and quilts and installations all in one, transforming locally common found objects (basically trash) into profound and moving pieces of social and cultural commentary. El Anatsui has been described as a post industrial african urban pointillist, and while that doesn’t roll off the tongue all that easily, I think it’s an accurate description of his work.

This Art 21 video does a great job of describing his process and is well worth watching. Even my 6 year old daughter was mesmerized.

The exhibit, consisting entirely of work made in the past year, is not to be missed, and it’s open through mid December. If you can’t deal with the upper east side, there is another show of his work at Jack Shainman in Chelsea, but you have to get there before the 15th of this month. If you want to learn a bit more about the work, check out this slide show on the New York Times’ site… it has images from the Brooklyn Museum as well as a bit more information about the artist.

Disciples, by El Anatsui at the Mnuchin Gallery.

Disciples, by El Anatsui at the Mnuchin Gallery.

Every time a new person walked into the space, you could hear them gasp with wonder. In these strange and uncertain times, with so much craziness going on in the world, it is lovely to know that there is still a way to tap into our childlike sense of wonder.

Please go and see this man’s work and tap into yours.

Bye bye summer…

our sons and daughters farm camp

If only this little universe could be open (and sunny and warm…) all year round

Last week was the official end of farm camp for the summer, which always makes me a bit sad. Waldorf inspired and entirely outdoors, the kids sing and hike and compost and play and create and swing and eat and build and grow their way through the season, and I sit in front of my computer down the road at the Amagansett Library whilst secretly wishing I could be outside singing along with them.

It is a truly magical place, and one we will always return to… until that inevitable year when Ada is finally too old to take part. (Though who knows? Maybe there will be a junior counselor job waiting for her around that corner…) This year they have expanded their offerings, with a dedicated art camp for the older kids (6 to 10) in which the campers created all sorts of works of art that we will love and cherish and put in a pile and wonder what we’re going to do with them and eventually give some of them away to the grandparents and put the rest of them in a pile with all the other art-that-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with.

But in the meantime, I will photograph it all and put it up here for you all to enjoy. And to be inspired by, and to remember all of the various crafts you may have done when you were a kid (I’m sure I did all sorts of things, but my amazingly unsentimental parents have saved next to nothing– which makes their house far less cluttered than mine) Because while summer is almost over, we still have a bit of time left, so take out those toilet paper rolls and make dolls, paint boxes to put all of your treasures in, and sketch or paint a little something every day in order to preserve the memories of this present moment.

Because tomorrow is right around the corner and coming up fast.

In the meantime, as promised, the artwork:

Yesterday, at some point…

Joe Bradley 23 skidoo karma amagansett 2014

Ok so I took this on Saturday, but it’s close enough.

The brilliant, irreverent Joe Bradley threw me a total curve ball with his most recent show. Last time I was paying attention, there were lots of almost kid like drawings with very minimal color. This time around, it’s huge shiny blocks of bright primary colors, with some suggested potential activities (“VISUALIZE DOLPHINS”, “EAT A PEACH”, or my favorite “GO BUILD IN HELL”) posted on the surrounding walls.

Never a dull moment. Always a good one.

If you’re out East, check it out. You have 2 weeks.

Joe Bradley
23 Skidoo
at Karma in Amagansett
August 2 – August 16

Joe Bradley 23 skidoo karma amagansett 2014

Sound advice, if you ask me…

Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day. The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.

Kara Walker’s sweet tooth

domino sugar factory kara walker

The centerpiece of the exhibit, monumental, overwhelmingly feminine, made of sugar yet she don’t feel so sweet…

If you do one thing this weekend, you should go see Kara Walker’s breathtaking installation at the Domino Sugar Factory, which is just north of the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. Provided you are in New York City, of course. You’ve actually got through July 6… all the info you need is here.

The show, titled “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby– an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant,” is a sickeningly sweet portal into the brutal world of the Caribbean slave trade, forcing us to both admire the incredible majesty of the people depicted as well as contemplate the disturbing reality of the conditions under which they labored and our own relationship to that work.

Which is complicated. And a mouthful. But it is what Kara Walker’s work is all about. Because the world is a complicated beautiful excessive mouthful, to say the least. It’s about race, and work, and family, and money and… well… just about everything.

And while we are in the space, we also confront the fact that this whole place, literally dripping with history, is about to be demolished and turned into a huge luxury condo building with all that entails.

I saw the show with my family and took loads of photographs… some of which are in the grid below. This is a new trick for me, but they say that if you click on the images, it turns into a slide show of sorts and you can scroll through them all at their full size. Seems like a nicer way than to have to scroll down forever, but you guys will let me know, right?

Enjoy the photos, the show (if you get there) and your Memorial Day weekend!

It’s not just paper


It’s paper from Pingo van der Brinkloev on Vimeo.

I was wandering around on the web last night instead of going to bed (which would have been the responsible thing to do) when I found this incredible video of a whole bunch of crazy origami-like paper superhighway-feeling transportation hubs by Danish animator Pingo van der Brinkloev. Evidently, the entire thing was created on a computer, which is so beyond my comprehension that even when I read more about the technical details, I still couldn’t wrap my brain around the whole thing.

So I’ve decided to just keep on believing that there is some mad genius out there folding lots of little pieces of paper into trucks and airplanes and then sprinkling magic fairy dust over them to make them move.

Because sometimes it’s nice, especially as an adult, just to let yourself drift off into the land of make believe.

Reed Anderson just made some really good art

Reed Anderson Perogi

One of the larger mixed media works on paper by Reed Anderson showing right now in Brooklyn.

Ok so you know how there are those other parents that you see at drop-off or pick-up, your kids aren’t in the same class but you have sort of pleasant ‘hello-face’ kind of encounters with them fairly often and you might even wish that you actually ever had time to get to know them because you feel like, in some alternate universe, you would be friends?

I have loads of those… which is part of the reason I chose the school I did for my daughter. I mean, it’s so much better wishing you had more time to deepen friendships with fellow parents than cringing and hiding every morning and afternoon and feeling like an alien, right?

Anyway, I ran into one of these parents at the local pizza spot a few weeks ago and he very enthusiastically invited me to his gallery show that was at that point just opening at Perogi. I said I would check it out for sure, and then I suddenly got all worried that I might hate it and then what would I say to this guy the next time I saw him around?

Weeks pass and I avoid the show.

Finally, yesterday, I checked it out and it is actually amazing. I’m going to take my daughter, and any of her pals that feel like joining, this afternoon.

The work is colorful and manic and exhaustive and beautiful and haphazard and super skillful without being at all precious. And the show is only up through this weekend so please check it out if you happen to be in Williamsburg.

The Way You Look
Is the Way I Feel
at Perogi
177 N 9th Street
Brooklyn, NY
21 March – 27 April, 2014

Yesterday, at some point…


Ok so this photograph is not exactly from yesterday… it’s from last week, when we were pretending we lived in LA and had a house with a pool (thanks to a cousin who let us borrow his pad) and no real commitments. It was what spring vacations are meant to be like. And you’ll hear all about it by the end of this week, I promise. Just got to wade through the photos, organize my notes, etc etc etc…

Anyway, this is a picture of some of the tempura paintings we made in the Boone Children’s Gallery at the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA.) Their kids programs are amazing– and if you come with your little ones on a family day, each child gets a membership card to the museum that’s good TILL THEY’RE EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD. How cool is that? Plus they can bring a grownup with them for free.

Now that’s a great use of philanthropy, if you ask me.

The DIY collective community art world of Pawel Arthamel…


Yesterday my daughter and I checked out the Pawel Arthamel exhibit at the New Museum. His work often invokes viewer participation and this show did not disappoint. The main attraction, for us anyway, was Draftman’s Congress, a huge white walled studio all set up with paints, chalk, crayons, aprons, a teepee, ladders and everything else one might need to get to work making art. Needless to say, it’s a kids’ paradise. But the best thing about it was watching the adults, especially the non-artists, begin to let loose, get their hands messy and create.

It was like going back to preschool, in the best of all possible ways. All about forging a sense of community through collective action.

I took tons of pictures…

A panoramic view of the whole room

A panoramic view of the whole room

Some of the materials waiting to be used...

Some of the materials waiting to be used…

Your apron is waiting...

Your apron is waiting…

Fellow collaborators

Fellow artists

The teepee

The teepee

I don't even know what to say here...

I don’t even know what to say here…

Two friendly strangers filming each other filming each other. With their phones.

Two friendly strangers filming each other filming each other. With their phones.

On the elevator door...

On the elevator door…

The show runs through April 13 and should not be missed. There are also films, sculptures and lots of things to read, listen to and think about if you are so inclined. And bring along both your inner and your actual children as they will all enjoy themselves immensely.

Pawel Althamer: The Neighbors
New Museum
235 Bowery (at Prince)