Sunday, December 30, 2007


I'm here, with you...

Phew! With the model train running, the robotic vacuum cleaner going and stacks of leftovers on every table... after holiday blues, I know them well.
Let's talk about the gray. I take pictures of the sky- every day if possible, when I'm disciplined. It is winter, and cold, the weather fierce and we are very small in this case. I feel my feeble stature. When I feel the worst I lie on the deck and watch the clouds pass as my mood rolls over me.

Painting gray: I am working with cool transparent colors: lemon yellow, permanent madder, cobalt. With these and white some amazing grays and browns happen (also a touch of indian yellow) thinking about painting the gray sky (limitless task here).

Will post images of studio shortly, missing you.. our next family adventure (after end of schooling and loans) building a cob house for the fam. So excited by your process of growth in your structure!

New Year's Eve eve

Today on the news there was the long list of people who died this year. At least the people who the newscasters deemed worthy of remembering on TV. Iconic (mostly American) personalities. Pavarotti. US soldiers. Norman Mailer. Ike Turner.

Something inside me feels numb about all this passing, all this death. I feel this way almost every New Year's Eve: depressed and despondent. With Benazir Bhutto's assassination, and remembering Those Who Died, it makes me wonder what kind of people are we as a human race?

When I look back at my own image from New Year's pictures, there is almost always a vacancy of gaze, a palpable blankness. I kind of hate celebrating New Year's Eve, but then regret if I "stay in" and withdraw. Next year I'd like to be on my way somewhere else. Last year I was on my way to Cape Town, South Africa. Next year we'll be on our way to Peru hopefully. I don't know.

Like the sky outside my studio, I feel grey.

Friday, December 28, 2007

On site

Another day, another day at the job site...

Our trusty cellar windows, arrived safe and sound from over the mountains and through the woods. This picture may not look like a lot, but it's one step closer to COMPLETION of our building project. It means every window we ordered has arrived on site and is ready to be installed. Woo hoo!

This very long truck was ordered to drive our cellar patio doors down from Canada. From Canada! The doors are only 2.5 meters x 6 meters for crying out loud! Another genius move by building manufacturers whose actions clearly do not support the environment.

Our trusty building in relation to the new(er) construction site. I want to document a lot of this change now, as I'm sure my memory will fade over time and I'll not have the proper documentation to support my ramblings of how our building was the newest on the block, etc.

Street view of "before" ... namely, before the monstrosity goes into production. I know some of my neighbors probably think the same about our building, so I'm not saying anything new...

Our trusty building under wraps today, as the brick facade gets tenderly and aptly applied. It's all happening!

Another view of the demolition. Both buildings are coming down to accommodate for a super big one. The only thing saving us is the height limit for R6 zone: 55 feet. If it weren't for that, we'd be looking at yet another high rise "luxury condo". urgh.

Demolition of a neighboring building...I'm sorry to say the new monstrosity will shortly be blocking our entire view of the city's skyline. Oh well, I guess we'll have to make friends with the penthouse folks and go to their house for 4th of July parties. The architecture firm that has been hired for this new construction project is the same one responsible for the high rises in and around MacCarren Park. I only hope the design sense of the client here is less "spec and run" than the client of the Park condos.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy birthday mom

It's my mother's 64th birthday today. We started out the day at her favorite junk store in Brooklyn, after singing "happy birthday" over red velvet cupcakes. She was also saddened by Bhutto's death.

But many people are born the same day many other people die. I'm not saying anything new. But it's interesting to consider.

Bhutto and Redding

Last night, In the cold, rainy night of Post-Christmas, I watched a documentary about Stax Records on PBS. It was fascinating to learn about a part of US history that was, until last night, unknown to me: the origins of a record label based in Memphis, TN that propelled the soul music industry from its roots into international acclaim. Otis Redding, in his prime, was highlighted as Stax's rising star...until his fatal plane crash at the age of 27.

Then this morning, I learned Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan. The news was of course very sad. I had been following her story for some time, interested yet keenly aware that I was very much in the dark about her position, relying solely on the international media as my source material.

But I have been inspired by her dedication, the fact that she is a woman, and by her resolve for change in her country.

I think it's fitting to join Otis Redding and Benazir Bhutto today.

Benazir Bhutto, 54, Lived in Eye of Pakistan Storm

Charismatic, striking and a canny political operator, Benazir Bhutto, 54, was reared in the violent and turbulent world of Pakistani politics and became the country’s and the Muslim world’s first female prime leader.

A deeply polarizing figure, the “daughter of Pakistan” was twice elected prime minister and twice expelled from office in a swirl of corruption charges that propelled her into self-imposed exile in London for much of the past decade. She returned home this fall, billing herself as a bulwark against Islamic extremism and a tribune of democracy.

She was killed on Thursday in a combined shooting and bombing attack at a rally in Rawalpindi, one of a series of open events she attended in spite of a failed assassination attempt the day she returned to Pakistan in October and of repeated warnings.

A woman of grand ambitions with a taste for complex political maneuvering, Ms. Bhutto was first elected prime minister in 1988 at the age of 35. The daughter of one of Pakistan’s most flamboyant and democratically inclined prime ministers, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, she inherited from him the mantle of the populist People’s Party, which she came to personify.

Even from exile, her leadership was virtually unchallenged. She staged a high-profile return to her home city of Karachi, drawing hundreds of thousands of supporters to an 11-hour rally and leading a series of political demonstrations in opposition to the country’s military leader, President Pervez Musharraf.

Ms. Bhutto often spoke of how her father encouraged her to study the lives of legendary female leaders ranging from Indira Gandhi to Joan of Arc and, as a young woman, closely observed his political maneuvering.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the best present

I am almost always riveted each time I read about Frida Kahlo, see reproductions of her work, see a picture of her.

Her work is inspiring in so many ways.

For Christmas I bought a great book for my cousin about Frida, with never published photographs and letters between her and her lover after Diego. She bought me the same book.

It makes me wonder if I'll ever dedicate myself to my work enough to have written really great letters that are discovered years after my death. I wonder if I'll ever make art that transforms anyone else, or myself for that matter.


visitors from other countries and from other US cities make me really happy this season.
Christmas dinner was thankfully low-key; lots of salty old men being grouchy towards each other while we all ate too much.

Friday, December 21, 2007


building from the back

building from the front

My five year wedding anniversary was yesterday. It's too bad my husband and I were both too sick to enjoy it. Wah.

We did blow out candles on red velvet cupcakes and sang "happy anniversary to us". That was a nice moment.

It's hard not to think of all the things we were hoping to have accomplished by now: we wanted to have our anniversary party/housewarming at our new home. For the past two years we've had really nice anniversary parties (in lieu of actually having a wedding ceremony and party), and we were looking forward to sharing this special anniversary and housewarming with our family and friends. Secretly, I was also looking forward to planning a really fun event.

As is the case with almost all construction jobs, ours is hopelessly delayed. We're still sleeping on the proverbial couch, house-sitting next week and moving into our sublet in the new year. It frustrates me that we even had to find a sublet at all. I've started writing emails to myself NOT sent to our builder about all the things I'd like to see change on site. I am ready for this not to be so much a part of my life.

On the other hand, I have to thank the stars for everything I DO have now, based on all the hard work we've done to ensure as great and healthy a building as possible. It's also hard not to sound like a spoiled brat, but until I find the right support group of women-who-work-with-their-husbands-building-new-construction-projects-for-the-first-time, this blog will have to do.

Tereza I miss writing to you, with you. Where have you gone?

It's been almost one year since i started writing my journals online. Another anniversary.
At this time last year I was getting ready to go to South Africa, and unbeknownst to me at the time, confront my deepest pains from my past. It's hard not to get emotional about that milestone. To admit to others, and begin to work with, sexual assault and public/pubic humiliation at 12, and then date rape at 19 was indescribably transformative. If I wasn't going to confront my past in a place like South Africa, where on Earth was I going to confront it?

Capetown townsip

Although the building project has been a formative project this year, working more consistently in studio on my artwork has become more regular in my days. I'm thankful for that. I'm proud that I made that choice to not withdraw but to work towards a new understanding of my life without so much fear.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cubes and the golden ratio

Our new home is turning into one composed of perfect squares, mathematical harmony, and golden means.

We are in the final stages.
Windows are getting delivered.
Reclaimed lumber is getting delivered. From Kentucky.
Our bricks are outside "weathering".

With all the complications, mess-ups, wrongly installed trades, etc., almost every room on almost every floor is turning into either a perfect square or the golden mean. It's almost a miracle. I wonder if it's the builder's secret gift to us. I won't say anything in the hopes that it is.

That's a little magic that entered into our lives today.

My despondency is lifting as the clouds are moving. I'm almost done with another sheet for airing my dirty laundry. I cannot wait until spring. For now, cubes and golden ratios.

I bought a homeless woman a cup of coffee today and also gave her two dollars. She opened the door of the bank for me. She was being virtually ignored by everybody else. Most of the times I have to admit I would have ignored her too. There is so much need in the world...actually, I can't believe I live in a country rich enough with the capacity to support the whole world, and careless enough to have (what I can see as a growing) homeless population in such a city like New York. I felt so badly. She got a large coffee light and sweet.

The New Orleans residents in FEMA trailers are getting evicted. Right in time for Christmas. I'm building my home. On what foundation? There are so many variables in the world, and in the end it doesn't even matter because we are but specks of dust in the universe. I feel that so profoundly that often I feel so out of place in urban contexts.

Out of the darkness comes the light.
Neither the beginning nor the end; the end gets swallowed up by the beginning. I read that today.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sadness and regret

During the tree planting process this week. a lot of family information was shared with me, mostly in a sad and regretful way.

This building project and the tree planting experience cannot be more of a symbol for transformation and home (putting one's "roots" down, building one's home, etc). Over the past two years many family dynamics have come up that I've had to confront, deal with, synthesize, and help transform. This week was no different, if only a bit more intense because the information was told in confidence, without shouting or yelling but sharing in a different way. A lot more intimate.

Hearing stories about time after time either poor choices made, properties stolen from out from under one, family members also stealing ideas and land, loosing a bid by five minutes or five dollars, always being second runner up never the winner. Never the winner. Never the winner. Hearing story after story about life 35 years ago in the same environment but 35 years later like it was yesterday put me in a listening position but there was nothing I could "do".

I quietly reminded myself in my head that it was 2007 and not 1977. What was I supposed to do?

I felt full and sad and remorseful myself since I listened to those stories in the car. Yesterday I went to see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly at the Angelika and was confronted again with sadness and regret, this time in cinematic form. The movie was wonderful, beautiful and very sad...of course bringing me to tears during the whole thing. I broke down after the movie, and I think it's because this is the first year I've begun to feel anything deeper than anger and happiness. I feel more now than I ever have before in my whole life, and everything it seems leaves very deep impressions on me.

I'm tired of holding it together for everyone else.

I let it all out after the movie.

I talked my way through it (another first) which was also important because I've been able to communicate more this year than I ever have before in my life. Through my work, through the way I walk down the street, through everything. Many old friends don't even pretend to be interested. I find myself mostly alone. However many newer friends are etching themselves in my life for the long term and for that I am grateful.

I feel propelled by sadness. I know I wrote about that earlier. This unraveling is so informational, and I feel like I'm making up for decades of lost time with my father. Can one keep on making the same mistakes year after year, over a lifetime, before one learns from the mistake, thereby changing one's brain pattern? I will never give up thinking that YES a person can change one's entire life in an instant.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A tree grows in Brooklyn

A Quality Housing requirement for the NYC Buildings Department is for the home owner to plant a street tree either in front of their new home or somewhere nearby (same block or neighborhood). That was my task this week. Along with my father, we planted our first street tree together. A Japanese Zelkovatree, apparently impervious to the devastating longhorn beetle, was chosen in conjunction with the Parks Department.

I had an amazing time planting the street tree. I never had the opportunity before, only knowing how to take care of windowsill gardens. It felt like I was part of something larger than myself. I really liked getting my hand dirty and working outside. I felt like I was bringing back the wolf by bringing back a tree.

My father also had a great time. We are so similar that at times we really got on each other's nerves and stepped on each other's toes, both proverbially and literally. He worked really, really hard that day. Lots of heavy lifting. He's staking out the soil for the tree-helpers (so the tree won't fall over this year)

Another view of us with our lovely neighbor (not a fan of street trees herself, but interesting in chatting us up a bit), and our progress with our street tree.

Around midday, a reporter and her crew found us. They are/were doing a story about "holes", and found ours to be newsworthy. They shot some footage in the street tree pit. It was a very nice experience for all of us.

Another view of the reporter and her great crew.

Our street tree, with not quite enough soil, not any mulch, but planted. A successful collaboration between father and daughter! We made it without killing each other or the tree. Job well done

My father and I in and around the street tree pit

When we arrived on site for the tree planting, we noticed the dumpster that was there for weeks on end had been taken away. The trash underneath it, however, had not been addressed yet. Job for meaningcleaning!! We cleaned the street to start our day. I think that was even more important, or as important rather, than planting the tree.

Our street in process.

Another view of the progress.

A view of the cleaner but not yet perfect street. Meaningcleaning still needs some work.


Not to speak is to speak
not to act is to act

Appropriate for today, for this week really.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Angry marks

I went to the Kara Walker show at the Whitney on Friday. Now I know what an angry mark can feel like. I had questions about how one can recognize angry marks, empathetic marks, still was pretty apparent that Kara Walker has learned how to channel her rage and anger into amazingly powerful work.

The show was curated really well. It inspired me to be less afraid as an artist. Again, to use one's pain and trauma as a propellor, even the trauma of the past before one was born (or using what one was born into). There was all her PROCESS work which made her more finished and presented work make so much more sense!! Loads of drawings, small and large alike, and text pieces on index cards which were so simple and so powerful. Strength in the confrontation. Certainly not a subtle show at all. Loads and loads of work!

I went with my partner, a colleague and some of her high school students from the Bronx. We were all blown away, I can imagine for very different reasons. The students made some astute observations, comparing Kara Walker to other contemporary musical artists who channel their anger into their work ("but better!")...I was impressed by the clarity of the images and was taken by how crazy and wacky her drawings are. She's really intense. Excellent draftswoman.

I would like to go again.

Another connection

A friend of a friend, Sara Schnadt; really interesting artist with whom I reconnected with last month. I feel connected to the direction of her work, and am thinking about her today as I look at her latest postcard on my wall in studio. Among other things, we spoke about the interesting opportunities for artists in Chicago, where she is based, and a lack thereof in New York City, where I am based.

It seemed like a lot of the conversation that night was about the changes and differences between the two cities over the past decade or so; about how expensive and actually uncreative New York City has gotten, and how Chicago still retains a lot of experimental spaces for artists, spaces where "emerging" or un(der) represented artists have a chance to exhibit without the behemoth of the Art Market breathing down their necks. I've never lived in Chicago so I can't say, but my experience of being an artist in New York has certainly proved a lot about the direction of this city and the parallel but distinctly divergent direction of my own work. I've never felt I really belonged here; I haven't ever thought I had to "conquer" New York because I was born and raised here.

Hearing that echo from another artist in a clear and concise way (in North America even!) was refreshing, if still a little melancholy because I'm still in New York (at least for the next year)...but to hear a different opinion, one I share about the confines about the city and to see the proverbial Emperor's New Clothes was GREAT.

I wish I could have seen her performance in Chicago. I hope we can collaborate in the future.

The stain of memory

Hanging dirty laundry
sweeping the floor
casting/mold making
collaborating with women
the spirit of Aloha
embroidery "women's work"
memory of trauma embedded in the body
distortion of repression
the regret
the shadow
angry marks

Below is a video I tried to link to about a year ago, but didn't know how to in blog-land. It's a video by Tania Katan, an artist whose work has inspired my own. Transforming her own experience with breast cancer into an entire body of work that (as I understand it) confronts, processes, and deals with trauma, tragedy and her own body. It's helped me lose a lot of fear about confronting my own issues of body trauma, pain, and art making.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

letter reading

I was waiting for a train to studio this afternoon, and a woman sat next to me, reading a letter written on yellow legal paper. Of course I looked over her shoulder to read part of the letter...part nostalgia at the letters I used to write, part pure nosiness...the letter was so sad.

It was written by someone who is in jail, whose son is living with his grandmother, who adopted him; his son's mother and new boyfriend are on drugs (or so the letter writer thinks); his father just got out of jail after 22 years inside; his mother is terminally ill and doesn't have health insurance; his niece is on a Christian mission in Honduras (the only one to get out); his other family is overwhelmed by too many children, not enough partners sticking around, and not enough money to go around; his other children are also adopted by other family members; another son is also serving time (3 years)...

I felt so sad for the letter writer as well as the letter reader. Reading hand-written letters has always been such a joy for me; an account of someone else's life that was important enough to share in writing. No one does this anymore; we have the internet. I miss letter writing. It's bittersweet that the first letter I've read (albeit over someone's shoulder) is from someone in prison. In a way it pours salt on the wound.

I can't help but think of Diane Jacobs' work in Santa Ana: "Do you know someone who is incarcerated?" with all the fingerprints. Identification. Incarceration. Laceration.

I wonder where that woman was going who was reading the letter. She didn't get on my train but was waiting for another.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I love it when I'm actually doing my own work I don't think about being judgmental towards others. I think that's really interesting about the creative process.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

First dig

First dig of our job site.
Year and a half ago.
I love this video. I wish we had more of them.

My brother in law

My brother in law is a musician in San Francisco. He's really great.
He's never been classically trained and yet he's been making his own music for over a decade. He's quite the local celeb.
He has his own record label he created on his own. His name is Mophono

Friday, November 23, 2007


The Village Voice, May 28, 2002

“Fresh Kills Becomes an Urban Artwork”

Two days after 9-11, the Fresh Kills landfill reopened to take in the wreckage from the World Trade Center. “That was very, very shocking to me,” says artist Mierie Landerman Ukeles, whose six-channel video piece about the former dump─ Penetration and Transparency: Morphed─ is currently running at Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. She remembers thinking she’d been misinformed: “The city would never do that. They would never mingle human remains in a place where they put garbage; that would collapse a taboo in our whole culture. That crosses a line.” But no other site was big enough; no other so secure. Ultimately, about 175 of the landfill’s 2200 acres were given over to sifting through the hundreds of the thousands of tons from Ground Zero, no doubt some of it human ash. This added a layer of tragedy to a site that was already contested, fragile, enormous, resented, and political. Ukeles has been the sanitation department’s unpaid artist-in-residence since 1977. She’s devoted her entire career to thinking about garbage, recycling, ecology, and the endless invisible labor involved in keeping things clean. In 1989, the Department of Cultural Affairs gave Ukeles a commission, making her the official artist of Fresh Kills. She’ll now participate in its transformation, working with whatever design team wins the international competition. (Proposals by the three finalists are currently on view at the City Planning Department.) She’s come up with her own conceptual design for the site that she isn’t yet at liberty to discuss. But everyone’s future plan includes a memorial.

What Ukeles has on display now is Phase 1 (out of a projected six) of her Fresh Kills project: reconnaissance. For a while, though, the September 11 disaster stopped her in her tracks. When Snug Harbor’s long-planned exhibition “Fresh Kills: Artists Respond to the Closure of the Staten Island Landfill” opened last October, Ukeles decided to observe a traditional 30-day mourning period with her piece and ran just a text crawl on four monitors, posing questions that amounted to: Is any of this still relevant?

Then she began to phase in interviews with people she calls pathfinders: for example, landscape architects, wetlands, specialists, environmental engineers, experts on the fine points of decomposing garbage and its odious by-products─ methane gas and leachate, a kind of brown bilgewater.

Ukeles, with videographers Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra, also taped many of Fresh Kills’ post-industrial vistas. Some of the former dump, which is two and a half times the size of Central Park, looks surprisingly bucolic. Underneath those mounds of trash, now capped with plastic and covered with dirt, are pipes and drains, gas lines and leachate collection systems. She marvels at the engineering design─ not just a complicated infrastructure but a flexible one, since everything’s settling at the average rate of two feet a year. It will take many years of “healing” before Fresh Kills becomes a park.

Last Sunday at Snug Harbor, Ukeles added the last of her pathfinders to the exhibit and celebrated the completion of her Phase 1.

Ukeles has been waiting to get to work at Fresh Kills for 24 years. That’s when she first visited the site. Back in the ‘70s, every borough but Manhattan had a mandfill, she she went to see them all. She thought of them as urban earthworks, social sculpture made by all of us.

When Ukeles began to place an art framework around sanitation activities, she had a context for it. In those years, certain avant-gardists designated parts (even all) of everyday life as art, and feminists pointed out that housework was unvalued labor. Ukeles shifted her own art away from abstract expressionist painting after she had a baby, and, in effect, became a maintenance worker. Now she was not just someone engaged in repetitive tasks; a small human life depended on her ability to perform those tasks. When Ukeles wrote her Manifesto for Maintenance Art in 1969, it was a decision to make housekeeping of all kinds visible. In her 1973 piece Hartford Wash, for example, she scrubbed the floor of the Wadsworth Atheneum for four hours, then scrubbed the front steps for another four─ and called it art.

Then, when she turned her attention to the New York City Sanitation Department, she created one of the signature performance pieces of the ‘70s. In Touch Sanitation, she spent 11 months meeting each of the department’s 8500 workers on the job (at the time, they were still called “garbagemen”) to shake hands and say “Thank you for keeping New York City alive.” As she made her way to every worker on every shift, she saw that morale was terrible. “You can’t just ask people to pick up your garbage and then treat them like they’re not there, or like they’re part of the garbage, which was how they were feeling,” says Ukeles. “As a feminist, I recognized something in that. The fury they felt, I knew about as a woman who was seen as invisible. The maintenance work I did had no cultural sound. It didn’t exist.”

Her mirrored garbage truck was created in 1983 to send a message; It’s your garbage. The essential fact of her work is this: Discarding something does not make it invisible. It goes somewhere, and she is the artist of where it goes.

Ukeles has found more and more layers to this work over the years. Certainly, it isn’t just political. In her office at the sanitation department, she’s taped a Xeroxed news photo to a filing cabinet: “Cleansing the Soul.” Masses of Hindu pilgrims wade into the holy rivers at Allahabad, India. She points out the people in the photo who’ve reached out as if to embrace the river. This one joyful and relaxed. That one tense. Both ecstatic. “That’s what I’ve been searching for all these years. You make a place; it’ll have huge emotion, but allows room for difference.” The photo inspires her as she works on a public art piece for Schuylkill River Park in Pennsylvania. The Schuylkill is extremely polluted. “I’m trying to build an artwork that incorporates moving with joy towards the river. Is there any way to become transformed?”

Sanitation, she points out, is not the same as garbage. Sanitation created order out of chaos, and in that way it’s artlike.

I consciously put myself in a position to deal with some of the hardest issues in our society: What to do with our garbage, how might we transform a place that’s completely poisoned and degraded by our own waste, how might these places become available to us again? Placing myself in the sanitation department, where these questions never go away, is a way for me to keep myself in the real. If our dreams can be expressed in material form, then I want to place myself where the material is completely degraded. I want to deal with the landfill. That’s the center of reality; that’s where I try to locate my work.

Handlebras to follow in footsteps...with pink and yellow rubber gloves, some water, and elbow grease...

Thursday, November 22, 2007


So much to be thankful for today. Below are images from the job site/our future home (near future? far future? hard to say)...The home that Turu and I built together. All the plans are his: our house, our home was once just a thought form in Turu's brain. The interesting thing is, maybe I've written about this before, is that because of his thought forms coming into 3 dimenions, future thoughts are going to be formed within those four walls. Life begets life...

View of the areaway from the cellar inside.

Cement retaining wall on the exterior of the vault wall!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Red phone yellow phone

Although some may argue he's no Duchamp, my dad does his best on our yellow rotary.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another Clash video

The Clash

I went to see the Joe Strummer documentary "The future is unwritten" last night at the IFC center on 6th avenue. I forgot how much my pre-teen and teenage years were influenced by the Clash. Unknowingly. Like millions of other people, I loved them. It was really interesting to see what Joe Strummer did after his tenure with that band, of which I knew next to nothing. I just remember being very sad to know he died in 2005.

continuing to work

After the impression the Domestic Departures workshop initially left on me, I began to wonder how to continue on in the presence of the other workshoppers in my own studio by myself?

The enormous weight of self criticism was lifted by the end of that week, only to erect itself again when I began to work again.

However, the joy of another beginning, the "oh yeah" connection felt between hand and heart were a small but profound reaffirmation of what I'm making and why.

I don't know why I'm still insecure about much of the work I make. It seems antithetical to all I've learned and all I've experienced. Is my ego still so fragile? Am I still that junior-high school girl? I've gotten so much better at speaking from my own position, and using my own voice to's interesting how petrified I can be about my own process.

The ease of continuation transforms that sometimes. Sometimes not.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Give and Take, the link

To inform the viewer/visitor/ potential participant of this entry:

My father has been playing what he has re-named "Give and Take" for the past 40 years. A combination of Turkish chess and checkers, he's the reigning master.

He's been playing in Washington Square Park, and most recently at Union Square Park with anyone who would sit down to learn (and subsequentially, ultimately lose) from him. Unlike other players in the park, my father's interest has more to do with human interaction, education, and demonstrating his superior skill and ability. He's a staple, a regular, a very popular person in the neighborhood.

I think Duchamp would have liked to have learned his game from him. I know he became extremely interested in chess in his later life, but I truly believe he would have preferred Give and Take. It suits him better...I'll ask him the next time he calls us on the red phone...

Getting back to my dad: he's been the focus of curiosity for years, by passersby and fellow players alike. Articles have been written about him and his game in Games magazine (late 1990's); the above link brings the viewer to the first video interview/educational challange online. My dad is on his way to becoming rich and famous. He's thrilled.

I would encourage the viewer to watch all the videos; each one has a different flavor. All of them are humorous, informative, and magical if you know my dad. Even if you don't, he'd love it if you watched his videos.

Give and Take

Teaching Kids the Game of 'Give & Take'

My father has arrived in cyberspace. Follow this link, above.
His obsession with Give and Take, the Turkish version of chess and checkers, has paid off!

Rainy November

Bare Feat
Oil on Canvas

The cold dampness has settled into November.

In studio, at last alone, thinking about art, the commerce of art, how to remove art's "value" from one's concept of the creative process...thinking about art's participatory possibilities, the activation of more spaces, thinking about "the draw" (free art, free expression, free expression, free art)...

It's so interesting to work alone after working collaboratively for a week. The atmosphere shift is interesting to observe, smell, see. Motivation and continuation is tinged with recent nostalgia and something bittersweet.

Just visited my cousin's studio and saw her most recent sculpture (its' stunning, going to Asia for a show next week)...

I know my true quality is the floor. I've always loved the floor. I make the best work on the floor or about the floor. The hand made, the hand stained.

In a way Rose did clean that vestibule in Santa Ana because she was the one who taught me how to clean. In a way each of us made those pieces because we were in that space together at that time. I know what path I'm on, what kind of work I'm making. Ironically, money and finance and business don't play much of a part of the process.

Starting another conceptual necklace today. Looking at the red dot transfers. Thinking about knawing off the hand to save the body; giving away to receive more, letting go of the devil I know to face and accept and confront the one I don't.

Friday, November 9, 2007

more on DD

Basic concept of what the week was written to be:

Workshop: The artist duo Rosenclaire will be in residency and working with groups of artists at the Grand Central Art Center, Downtown Santa Ana Artist Village in correlation with the Domestic Departures exhibit; October 28th thru November 3rd, 2007. Public is invited to participate weekdays from 3-4:30 pm through November 3rd.

There will an additional artist’s reception and open studio on Saturday, November 3rd, 7:00pm-10pm, Artist-in-Residency Studio, Grand Central Art Center
For more information please call 714.567.7233 or go to

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Domestic Departures pictures

The Handlebars Saloon vestibule, before Hayley and I cleaned it. It was disgustingly dirty, used as a urinal, very unsightly. We both wanted to clean it from the first day, and finally on the last day brought new life into the old vestibule.

The laundry line was hung right in front of the front door of the main studio building, blocking the view of the fountain behind it. The sound of water could be heard (and thinking about washing away one's guilt, one's shame, holy water, purity, etc) as a component to the piece of "airing one's dirty laundry". I can envision 1,000's of these sheets hung up next to each other one day (soon).

Studio shots of "read aloud" and the red dot work, thinking about the circle of life, the red dot as commercial gain (sale of artwork), the title coming from the book "the status seekers" about social climbing and "fitting in"...Again, I can see these as seeds of future work (they already are I think)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Here is a video of Robert Rauchenberg about erasing a DeKooning drawing. It sometimes takes a moment to load, but worth it to stay around for:

Reminds me of Rosenclaire's work at Domestic Departures show, with William Kentridge

Day 1

storefront window, day 1/ Domestic Departures

storefront window, day 1/ Domestic Departures

life and/in art

The implications of the Domestic Departures workshop will take me a little longer than one day to process, but as I just returned to New York from Santa Ana I really wanted to begin to post about my experience, what I learned from others, how my approach to art making has shifted, etc.

It was incredibly interesting to work with 19 other artists in Santa Ana (a location antithetical to New York City, with its strip malls and driving culture). At first I was claustrophic; although there was vast amounts of physical space, somehow I was not open to being around US mass culture in that way (clearly, New York City is also a city of US mass culture, but the mall culture somewhat threw me for a loop).

The focus of the workshop was the theme Domestic Departures. That was the thing in the middle for us to work with/around/in, etc. This was not about us as individual artists with our own betties making our own art, but rather being individuals making art as facilitated by Rosenclaire's, also to facilitate the public to start thinking about Domestic Departures.

At first it was very difficult to wrap my head around this. Collective art but not collective in nature, collaborative but not for the sake of collaborating, individual but making work about Domestic Departures. But as the days progressed, the work began to generate itself, all of us, the public.

After getting over myself, things really began to move, both personally and for the group. The work was made because of and inspired by everything and every one. It's hard to express at the moment, but not one piece could have been made independently; each piece was because we were all there together around the theme.

Hayley and I cleaned a horribly dirty vestibule until it gleened with lavender. With yellow and pink gloves, mops and scrub brushes, we cleansed the space. Before and during the open studios for the studio our studio was housed in. The handlebars sign can be transformed into "handlebras" for future projects...

Friday, October 26, 2007

In California

Arrived to Northern California yesterday, after stopping over in LAX for about an hour. The sky down there looks white from all the smoke, which doesn't really feel different than the usual smog I have seen the last time I was in LA. But the taste in one's mouth is different. It's metallic.

Because my hostess suffers from migraines, after she picked me up from the airport, I had to drive us back to the coast over Highway 17. I haven't drived in over one year, and to brave Highway 17 in a new car with a friend with a migraine was no easy task. Luckily I didn't hit any guardrails and we made it back home safe and sound.

I can't get over how fresh everything feels here. It seems so much easier to live. Things seem to make sense. The coffee tastes better. The view of the ocean is lovely.

Tomorrow we go to Monterey and Laguna Seca. Turu is warming up today. I can't wait to see him and the racing Alfa Romeo. The Domestic Departures workshop starts Monday in Santa Ana. Not sure how I feel going into the ring of fire. We'll see.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


By Dana Ford

SAN DIEGO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - As emergency shelters go, the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego might get a five-star rating, with yoga and acupuncture for stressed-out adults, clowns and candy for bored kids and even Kosher meals.

The stadium, best known as home to the National Football League's San Diego Chargers, was converted this week into an emergency evacuation center accommodating 10,000 people forced from their homes by wildfires scorching the county.

City and state officials and legions of volunteers running the center did their best to provide not only for evacuees' basic needs but also lifestyle perks designed to make the Golden State's displaced denizens feel more at home.

Food and water were in ample supply, with tables lining the stadium's main concourse laden with cold cuts, breads, condiments, cookies, fruit and coffee. Dinner included roast beef, fresh vegetables, salad and rice.

Jewish evacuees were able to abide by their dietary restrictions by following a sign advertising Kosher food.

"You hear all the horror stories from Hurricane Katrina, but it's nothing like that here," said Linda Leonik, 22, who was evacuated with her husband and their 6-month-old twins from the upscale community of Rancho Bernardo.

"We have all the resources we need. I'm so surprised how well people pulled together for this."

The almost festive mood was a far cry from the overcrowded, squalid conditions, despair and fear of violence inside the New Orleans Superdome following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where evacuees spent several days without adequate food, water or sanitation.

While some of New Orleans' poorest residents sought shelter at the Superdome, many of the evacuees taking up residence at Qualcomm came from affluent suburbs of San Diego.

Clowns made balloon animals for youngsters, people dressed as "Star Wars" troopers gave out candy, a ventriloquist performed with puppets and volunteers painted children's faces. Other children spent time in a play area stocked with toys crayons and coloring books.

Acupuncturists set up a makeshift clinic, and signs guided stressed evacuees to yoga and meditation sessions offered elsewhere in the stadium. Crisis counseling and massage therapy also were made available.

Organizers did their best to keep evacuees plugged in electronically, with TV monitors put up throughout the facility and a cell-phone charging station on the concourse.

The stadium was so well stocked by nightfall on Tuesday that San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders issued a statement saying individual donations were no longer necessary.

"There's been such an overwhelming response from the community. There are people here in immediate need and there are people here to give. I'm proud of my city," said Tony Greco, a San Diego native and sergeant in the U.S military.

As opposed to the superdome in New Orleans:

From the sky