I am sitting outside on a porch. Although, I know there is much more to come, it already feels like the height of summer – hot, humid, rumbles of distant thunder, tomatoes and cucumbers ready to be harvested. I have a lot to learn about my new home. If I had moved here 250 years ago, it would have taken weeks to hear about the Stamp Act, and it would have been even longer before I learned about the opening of the Uffizi. We are fortunate to live in a time when it is easy to connect with people and activities around the world. We virtually see exhibitions across the country; we draw connections between seemingly isolated acts of police violence; we link weather extremes, changing temperatures, and global water crises into a new epoch; I follow art sales and art fairs in New York and London and Shanghai.
I have been tantalized, enthralled, and engaged by the seemingly endless streams of photos from NADA, Frieze, and other fairs – the paintings that are not paintings, the snack-cum-knapsack, the crowds and crowds rubbing shoulders, drinking, filling the fairs with that mutable substance that enlivens them long after the lights are off and booths packed. We remember the laughter, handshakes, the attempts to meet and be met long after the objects on the walls have transformed into new objects. That conversation about the relevancy of painting will return next year with new paintings; that objet du jour will be replaced with something else of the moment, but the people and the relationships built and maintained are what last, build, and enliven these events. This moving, living, breathing series of moments is not and cannot be transmitted in tweets, favorited photos, or lenghty write-ups. I keep up with the news, but I miss the substance. I see what has happened, but I cannot experience it happening. For all of the speed with which I receive the information, I am not present.
To reconnect with that presence, with the lived experience of making and co-living, I recently went to the Chattanooga Zine Fest. I met vendors and zine makers from across the country. I touched and read the painstakingly written, photographed, photocopied, printed, folded books, pamphlets, zines, and stickers. Each object held a story in its creases and staples, in its hand drawn cover and intimate looks into experiences of depression, motherhood, anarchism, or robots. These connections, conversations, and shared experiences enliven the objects in my hands. They unfold the complexity, longevity, and deeper understanding that I cannot experience online. They magnify those digital experiences, transforming words and images into the artists, gallerists, collectors, reporters, revelers, and visitors I know live behind them.
I am more connected to the global contemporary art world than ever. I have the luxury and privilege to have that multitude of information at my fingertips. I can be in multiple places around the world in seconds, yet I wake up in one bed among the mountains. I live in a world where someone can easily buy a painting for more money than I know how to imagine, yet I see the daily lives of people trying to move from one to the next. I see highlights of art fairs, exhibitions, and performances from across the country, yet I live with creators, makers, and doers who intellectually, creatively, and financially sustain themselves here. Holding those contradictions while moving through, with, and beyond them towards the future that is continually made real by us is the great challenge before us. The mosquitoes are biting, leaving red welts along my mistakenly bare ankles. The condensation from my glass is dripping onto the ground that has been continuously inhabited by humans for 12,000 years. I have a lot to learn about my still new home; I have a lot to learn about this life we all lead.
This week: From Volta 2014 we talk to painter and muralist Maya Hayuk.
This week: Live from our bed at Volta, the fine folks of Propsect New Orleans! We talk to Franklin Sirmans the Artistic Director of Prospect New Orleans(who moonlights as the Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and the Executive Director of Prospect New Orleand Brooke Davis Anderson!
Plugs from our intro include:
Karen Azarnia, her installation work “Luminous” will be up at Terrain (http://terrainexhibitions.tumblr.com/)
May 4 – 28, 2014
Reception: Sunday, May 4, 4 – 7pm
704 Highland Ave.
Oak Park, Illinois
Opening May 22, 2014 at Rush and Chestnut Streets (50 E. Chestnutt)
Curated by Jeffly Molina
Jennifer Reeder’s new movie, help out, kickstarter!!
Frank would like you to know… “I mention Matisse’s brother as a dealer. I meant Matisse’s son Pierre Matisse who was the great art dealer. Matisse’s brother Auguste Emile was a painter as well.”
Do not email him about this. He is on top of his art history. For those of you who did not immediately recognize the error, for shame.
This week: Neysa Page-Lieberman and Amy Mooney tell us about Risk! Dana B. of What’s the T with Dana B kicks off her series from the Material Art Fair 2014 live from Mexico City!