Yesterday I met my friend Scott in the MOMA (ohhh the temptations) bookstore. We took the escalator up to the 6th floor and spent quite some time looking at the new German Expressionist exhibition. I love love love looking at the prints from that era(?) and it was a treat to see so many familiar-from-books images in person. The skill and dense, velvety, black of Kathe Kollwitz’ somber and moving work just floored me.
Scott was taking a half-day vacation from work. To my mind it was more like a few-hours vacation since he planned on heading back to the desk. Such dedication. That commitment aside, I talked him into walking with me to the Park Avenue Armory to see a “secret (he he)” show that was FREE. I think it was the freeness that swayed him. Even when he saw the banners festooned with “Infinite Variety” he had no idea what he was going to encounter once inside. 650 red and white quilts, each one different from the other, were suspended magnificently in the enormous space. Today I discovered that he enjoyed it more than I suspected. And, he was paying attention!
We parted ways and I walked uptown and crosstown to the Met where I specifically wanted to see Cezannes Card Players. Totally worth the rapidly tiring feet.
Now, ahem, here’s the point where Big Time Imagination is necessary.
Thursday and Friday were spent at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking working with encaustic. To prepare I printed from my thermofax “Faces” screens onto some questionable gelatin monotypes made last summer. These papers I adhered to six 6″x6″, two 2″x4″ and one 4″ x 4″ cradled boards. Also, as an experiment, I printed with the screens on already-waxed boards and on some finished pieces that I never really liked and thought I would try to rework. Printing on the wax worked fine but my reworking of the older pieces was a disaster – what started out ugly remained ugly – at least the wax can be melted and scraped off and the boards reused.
I’m pleased, for the most part, with how the works on cradled boards turned out. Here are three of them – they are all part of a series and it was noted on Friday that they are a bit “dark” for me.
I won’t tell you what Leslie said they reminded her of (and when she was searching for the name I knew exactly what she was talking about)
but I agreed with her instantly although I had nothing to do with that – I was just the conduit. You really have to see all nine lined up together to see what I mean but I took the photographs in the studio and had trouble adjusting the colors.
(Psst. The next one is my favorite.)
The hotel I spent the night in promised me two bottles of water and a wireless connection. I finished the water but the wireless fizzled out and I should have called down to the front desk but instead I read my book and completed two journal entries and didn’t Internet Obsess.
Yes, yes, yes I also had the television(s!!!!) on.
My journals are visiting with Gwen for a month or two. This is their first time away from home and I was very relieved when I received notification of their safe arrival. Sigh.
This morning I met Vivian in Penn Station. We walked uptown to the southwest corner of 38th Street and Seventh Avenue, and, let me tell you, it seemed warm earlier when I was waiting outside for the train to the city, but that wind was whipping down and up and around the valleys formed by all the garment district buildings making it darn cold. (Ok, that’s my complex sentence with a few “ideas” in it for today. Maybe there’s really only one idea in it but it feels complex and therefore might count as mental exercise.)
Shirley and then Benedicte joined us and as soon as I asked Shirley to text Melly, she appeared. Ta Da! It works every time.
We had an agenda for today which would lead us from the west side to the east side, 38th Street to 36th Street, a very narrow slice of Manhattan. Two days ago Melly sent me an e-mail in which she wrote about one of our destinations: “I am going with the crowd on this, I am not really inspired but…perhaps I will be wowed.” I wrote back that we didn’t expect to be wowed and that the whole thing would take only a few minutes – 15 at the most. You know, trying to spin it so she wouldn’t decide not to come.
First Stop was a Window Space installation featuring the work of Gwyneth Leech and the artist herself sitting amongst her art and creating even more.
Vivian, fast walker, reached the window first. Melly, schlumping along with the rest of us soon caught up to her. Melly’s mouth fell open, she grinned and “WOW” came out of her mouth. Really, that’s the word that came out of all of us. This installation was beautiful and the manner of display was genius. Congrats Gwyneth! We were graciously invited inside so we could speak with her. It turns out she’s read my blog and Melly‘s and will soon be checking out Shirley‘s and Vivian’s. (Hurry Up Benedicte! You’re spending too much time getting juried into national shows and not enough getting your blog started.)
This is the view from Gwyneths chair as she draws on cups each day for 1-1/2 hours:
We said our goodbye’s after being photographed by the artist and headed for our next stop – which was kept as a surprise for Melly – east to Broadway, turn right at the corner, stop in front of the second (third?) storefront and watch her expression. Big Grin Ear to Ear. A super duper snazzy Donut Shop and she had her pick of the “litter”.
Soon after that we had lunch in a diner on Madison Avenue. Melly gave each of us some atc sized artwork, Vivian gave us each chains of Mardi Gras beads, and I gave out tags (c’mon – you can never have too many tags).
The last stop of the day was the Morgan Library to see the Diary exhibition. I’ll let Shirley describe that – she pays attention better than I do. I did enjoy it and was glad that we had a docent lead us through everything. There were quotes stenciled onto the walls and one struck me as fitting for our little group: “I am enamoured of my journal. I wish the zeal may last.” Sir Walter Scott.
(Please, please, please don’t tell Anyone that I actually used a quote. Please.)