Posts Tagged ‘artists’

Memories are Motionless

June 2, 2016

“Memories are motionless, and the more securely they are fixed in space, the sounder they are.” – Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

tribeca $1900 300sqft

Earlier today, taking a break from painting, I googled studio prices in NYC to check out the going rate. The above studio is on the market in Tribeca. For 300 sq. ft. you will pay $1875.00/month!

Once upon a time, I rented a painting studio of my own. The space was larger than the the space above. For 400 sq. ft. I paid $400.00/month. Situated above a clock store in Williston Park on Long Island, a decidedly unhip but affordable and convenient location at the time,  northern light flooded my studio all day long. I was in heaven.

Excited to have a dedicated workspace I could get as dirty as I wanted, I laid down a roll of cheap linoleum, moved in my work table and supplies and got to work.

One morning as I arrived, the proprietor of the store below me was standing amidst a forest of chiming grandfather clocks, front door open. He introduced himself right away and asked me what I was up to, mentioning he always heard music playing. He then said he enjoyed (rather than objected to) the music and seemed a bit tickled to find out that someone was making art in the space above him instead of preparing tax returns or teaching traffic school.

I fondly recalled my studio days as I stepped back from the easel this afternoon to assess the progress of a new painting. My studio is the second bedroom of the two bedroom apartment we rent in Queens. I never did put down linoleum, but I guess I should have.

It’s fun to fantasize about the days when I painted full time as I spend my days off from a dreadful office job. I’m not complaining, per se, but occasionally on days like these I enjoy torturing myself by thumbing through an artist book I own called Studios by the Sea. 

To refer back to Bachelard in Poetics of Space, he writes: “…even when we no longer have a garret, when the attic room is lost and gone, there remains the fact that we once loved a garret, once lived in an attic. We return to them in our night dreams.”

This is so true. At heart, I’m a romantic. A big part of me loves to dream and yearn. Loves the yearning part more than the actual getting. The aroma of coffee beans in the grinder more delicious than drinking the brew. As I flipped through Studios by the Sea I wished and imagined. Sometimes walking around NYC, I will find myself gazing longingly at a 19th century townhouse on the Upper East Side — yearning to live there. And enjoying every minute of yearning.

During my recovery from a broken ankle last summer, I would pass a particular townhouse on East 63rd St. on the way to physical therapy. A painting hanging on the wall by artist Caio Fonseca was visible through the expansive front window. It held my eye each time I passed by. His work is a favorite of mine. As I stopped to gaze, I conjured an entire fantasy scenario based upon seeing his work hanging in that space. On the landing beneath the painting an elegant ebony grand piano, keyboard exposed, was poised to be played. Above hung a glittering crystal chandelier. Aware Fonseca played the piano, I was convinced it was a Steinway and that Fonseca lived in the townhouse.

But he didn’t live in the townhouse as I would come to find out. The scene – his painting, the piano, the splendor of the decor  – had been staged by a real estate agent, likely another “romantic” like myself. That agent, through his or her design, had gifted me many evenings of yearning and pleasurable wanderings.

Fantasy is better than the reality. I suppose people who invest in their “dream house” spend the rest of their lives “making it even better than they imagined” with continual remodeling because intrinsically they know that dreams are never realized. Otherwise, they would no longer be dreams.

…the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” – Bachelard


Art Thought of the Day

April 3, 2013


“Art cannot be modern. Art is primordially eternal.”

– Austrian painter Egon Schiele



Brilliant Film About a Powerful Artist

March 10, 2013


Installation by Anselm Kiefer

I had the good fortune to watch a stunning new documentary about German artist Anselm Kiefer — thank you, Netflix! It made my day. In fact, it made my month of March (which, so far, I must confess, has not been stellar…and it’s not even half-over).

As I’ve said before, ART will save you. It will!

Filmmaker Sophie Fiennes has made this visually arresting film about Kiefer and his spellbinding art. If you are not familiar with Kiefer, or, even if you are, this is your chance to become better acquainted with an important artist.

The film focuses on Keifer’s ongoing installation-in-progress in rural France — where in the 90s he purchased an abandoned silk factory and refurbished the buildings to make them livable and workable and serve as a venue for these monumental works of art.

Fiennes moves her lens at a snail’s pace, which is to say, reverently, covering every inch of the towering rubble, dark crevices and rippled slabs of lead. The camera ponders. Divines. As if she is making love to the materials.

And in the doing, a lesson is imparted on the best way to view art (and does so without a shred of pedantry). Take the time to really look at a piece of art, she shows you with her lens. See how it makes you feel.

The film’s monochromatic palette and meditative style bring to mind the films of Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky, and to great effect. The depth of emotion captured by the camera is at once startling and comforting. Startling, in the beauty to be found in destruction and ruin; and reassuring, for the very same reason.

Her camera work in this film has been described as unconventional. As Fiennes explains to the interviewer (in the clip, below):

“I love observational documentary filmmaking. I don’t like what I call ‘illustrated radio’.”


The film reveals insight into Kiefer’s art-making process as he, with the aid of assistants, painstakingly labor over and bring his work to life. To my delight, he also delves into the deeper meaning behind his work while in conversation with an interviewer.

If you are an artist, if you love art, especially if you love Kiefer’s work, you will love this film.  And, it does have a great title:




Here’s a bit of trivia: the filmmaker’s brother is Ralph Fiennes, the actor…


…the universe squeezed into a ball…” (T.S. Eliot)

November 19, 2012


(all that’s missing, above, is the easel)

*   *  *   *



What a joy having FOUR whole days off from work in a row!

Away from the office FRIDAY, SATURDAY and SUNDAY is wonderful enough, yes.

But — waking up on MONDAY, with the knowledge that all the other employees in your section of the office are reporting to work and YOU ARE NOT — is beyond wonderful.

During this particular FOUR-DAY weekend, quality time was on the agenda.



I finished the painting I’ve been working on!


(apologies for the grainy iPhone photo)


Practiced Schumann’s Remembrance on the piano  (a small piece I’ve always liked; I’m determined to learn and memorize it).


Woke up early and drove to the Jericho Cider Mill on Long Island; stocked up on all things apple: Cameo apples (my favorite), apple cider, apple sauce; apple turnovers; apple oat bran muffins…

Apple Nirvana


I found a THURSDAY parking spot (which means we won’t have to move the car until one week after Thanksgiving)!


I read the essay on T. S. Eliot by Mark Ford from the New York Review of Books that I had dog-eared a month ago and set aside for a later date.

Facts I learned from this detailed, erudite review of The Letters of T.S. Eliot (3 volumes) by Valerie Eliot (Eliot’s widow):

  • Eliot was born into a comfortable, Unitarian family in St. Louis, MO and summered with them in East Gloucester.
  • An anglophile, he moved to England and readily acquired an accent. He became more “English” than the English. He  joined the Anglican church and eventually became a citizen.
  • He was born under the sign of Libra, went to Oxford, studied philosophy and Sanskrit, taught at Harvard.
  • Eliot was a virgin when he married his first wife, Vivienne, after knowing her for just a couple of months.
  • Vivienne suffered from mood swings. She was diagnosed with a “hormonal imbalance” (parlance of the day for what resembled bipolar disorder) and endured a host of physical problems; i.e. “female problems” (another euphemism).
  • Vivienne lived on a trust fund endowed by her wealthy family, over which Eliot would later assume governance.
  • Virginia Woolf once called Vivienne “a bag of ferrets.”
  • Ezra Pound was a friend of Eliot’s and was instrumental in launching his career as a poet.
  • Bertrand Russell, also a friend, lent the newlyweds one of his flats and was rumored to have had an affair with Vivienne.
  • Poetry notwithstanding, Eliot was encouraged by his father-in-law to take a position in a bank.
  • In one of his letters, Eliot describes what it was like working in the bank:

“I hope to become less of a machine–but yet I am frightened–because I don’t know what it will do to me–and to V.–should I come alive again. I have deliberately killed my senses–I have deliberately died–in order to go on with the outward form of living–What will happen if I live again?…Have I the right to be I–But the dilemma–to kill another person by being dead, or to kill them by being alive? Is it best to make oneself a machine, and kill them by not giving nourishment, or to be alive, and kill them by wanting something that one cannot get from that person?”


  • The misery of Eliot’s bank job produced these lines:

He didn’t know if he was alive / and the girl was dead

He didn’t know if the girl was alive / and he was dead

He didn’t know if they both were alive / or both were dead


  • The opportunity in hand, the next logical step was to re-watch the film, Tom and Viv. Which I did.

I first saw the film in the mid-1990’s when it was released. With Willem DeFoe, Miranda Richardson and Rosemary Harris, it’s a gorgeous film. The character of Ezra Pound is noticeably absent (perhaps because he was an anti-semite). But the film includes Bertrand Russell (an extramarital affair, or the allusion to one, naturally being a more juicy topic).


  • To complete my experience of total T. S. Eliot immersion, I pulled from the bookshelf my marked up college edition of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and re-read The Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

As I contemplate (dread, more like) returning to work tomorrow, these lines stand out:

“And indeed there will be time

To wonder, ‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’

Time to turn back and descend the stair…”


I’ve made a promise to myself that, one day, I will dare.

But in my case, my descent will take place in the elevator — and I’ll be eating that peach.

R U Blocked?

January 10, 2012

(courtesy of The New Yorker )

Wouldn’t it be convenient if a prerecorded message were made available to artists, something to guide them through the creation of a work of art, just as the viewer above is guided through the appreciation of the art?

Because there’s no greater “high” than spending a successful day painting (or writing or just being creative)… But when you’re blocked, it’s hell on earth.

When it happens to me, I rapidly descend into a foul mood. I’m touchy. Cranky. Depressed. I am so tied to my work, I  feel it defines me. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

When I lose my “connection” (i.e., when I’m “stuck” on a piece and just can’t move forward in any acceptable way), I often fear I’ve lost it — or never even “had” it to begin with.

Had what? is the question. Where does the “it” come from? Therein lies the mystery.

This past Saturday, I stood in front of the easel staring at my new painting — which was no more than an underpainting, in actuality, since  I’d worked on this piece only one time before Saturday. Then the holidays arrived.

Responsibilities and festivities, all of them good, took precedence…I’d sacrificed “the flow” that continuity bestows…and worried about what would happen when I finally got back to the easel.

I got lucky.

I’d been reading Milan Kundera’s latest book of essays, Encounter, a Christmas gift from J.C., on the train the previous Thursday.

What are these essays about?  “…a passionate defense of art in an era that, he argues, no longer values art or beauty,” says the liner notes.

From the essay titled “The Painter’s Brutal Gesture: On Francis Bacon,” comes this brilliant piece of insight I hope will help unblock you the way it did me:

“In his reflections on Beckett, Bacon says: ‘In painting, we always leave in too much that is habit, we never eliminate enough.’ Too much that is habit, which is to say: everything in painting that is not the painter’s own discovery, his fresh contribution, his originality; everything that is inherited, routine, filler, elaboration as technical necessity…Almost all great modern artists mean to do away with “filler,” do away with whatever comes from habit, whatever keep them from getting directly and exclusively at the essential (the essential: the thing the artist himself, and only he, is able to say).”

These wise words opened the floodgates. Suddenly, I knew what I had to do. I was high for the rest of the day.

How To Be An Artist

December 4, 2011

I’ve just finished writer David Rakoff’s remarkably witty, insightful, poignant, snarky but never mean collection of essays, Half Empty. What a joy to read.

From a piece he calls, Isn’t It Romantic — written in reaction to seeing the Broadway show, Rent — he muses on what it takes to be an artist:

“..hanging out does not make one an artist. A secondhand wardrobe does not make one an artist. Neither do a hair-trigger temper, melancholic nature, propensity for tears, hating your parents, nor even HIV — I hate to say it — none of these make one an artist. They can help, but just as being gay does not make one witty…the only thing that makes one an artist is making art. And that requires the precise opposite of hanging out: a deeply lonely and unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out.” 

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not seen Rent and probably never will; even if, and, perhaps, because, Rent has been hyped as a modern day interpretation of Puccini’s La Boheme. 

I mistrust — hate may be more accurate — hype.

Compare any part of La Boheme, if you will, to the following lyrics from the title song of Rent:

“Last year’s rent
This year’s rent
Next year’s rent
Rent rent rent rent rent
We’re not gonna pay rent”

(Where, oh where, is Stephen Sondheim when we need him?)

From those lyrics alone, I don’t think it’s outrageous to assume that:

Rent is to La Boheme —

— as Thomas Kinkade

is to Christian Boltanski .

Which, quite possibly, begs the question: What is art?

I can tell you what art is not. It is not for individuals that:

1) see something on a wall/floor/ceiling of an art gallery that appears to have taken a really long time to do in the eyes of this viewer (as in: “wow, it looks just like a photograph!”) and continues to judge all art by that bizarre standard;

2) Joe-Schmo-tourist full of unsolicited opinions, who has never taken a single art history course in his life and probably never will and goes to a gallery only while on vacation and only because his wife has forced him into it —  all of which does not keep him from opining, loudly: “They call that art? I could do that!”

3) are the 1%, the billionaires, who have driven up the price of art to obscene heights, who buy art as an investment only, so they can flaunt their wealth to their fellow billionaires (who fully expect them to — otherwise why spend all that money?) Those who buy art at auctions or private gallery showings, and only on the advice of their art consultant since the bottom line is what they care about most (the 1%, the unmistakeable presence in high-end galleries, are easy to spot: those of the expensively cut snowy hair, designer-ly suited up, scribbling notes on little pads next to their too young for botox but botoxed nevertheless trophy wife, whose sole job is to fan herself with the price list and wear stiletto heals and Prada and shun us lowly artists who show up at the gallery – i.e., invade their privileged space — because we would like to see the work).

We all know the rich are getting richer (and if the artist is dead, so much the better because they get to keep all the money at auction that the gallery doesn’t get). Sure-bet, top drawer artists are also getting richer in an inverse proportion to genuine values and a genuine love of art. We’re supposed to admire — revere, suck up to — wealthy collectors who don’t have to cajones to buy a work of art without getting a second opinion.

In yesterday’s paper, there was an article on artist John Baldessari (big time CA artist, rich guy, in case you don’t know) who recently erected a billboard overlooking Manhattan’s High Line, a billboard that brandishes a $100,000.00 bill as its message.

Apparently, very few of that particular denomination of currency have been issued over the years. Accordingly, the billboard has been touted as some kind of “protest” by the Baldessari hype machine. That’s a laugh.

A John Baldessari work recently sold at auction for $280,000. I suppose he’s depressed because it wasn’t $2 million. I’ll bet he’s crying in his pillow this very minute.

Meanwhile, the rest of us artists are doing our own work whenever we can because we love what we do. We make art because we can’t not make art. We don’t need millions. That’s what day-jobs are for. That’s how we pay the rent.

What we would like is some recognition and a little more respect.

For Art’s Sake

April 3, 2011

Quasi-Bohemian Days of Grad School

I may not be  a sentimentalist, but I am a romantic. I love art and music and poetry and books written about the early 1900s in Paris.

Particularly, Montmartre and Montparnasse, where artists and poets and musicians lived, worked, starved, smoked hashish, drank absinthe and, tragically, died of tuberculosis.

I’ve just finished reading Modigliani: A Life by Meryle Secrest. I now know more about that horrible disease than I ever thought I would. The terrible pain, paroxysms of coughing, spontaneous hemorrhaging of blood through the mouth, the migration of the disease to the bones and the brain. Many artists and poets self-medicated with drink and hashish to mitigate the pain, from which there was no relief.

Incurable at the time, TB killed so many creative people. As I read, I couldn’t help relating it to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

Women loved him —  all 5’3″ of him

In the first ten years or so of the 20th century, Modigliani hung out at The Lapin Agile with the rest of the artists.

The Lapin Agile was frequented by the likes Picasso, Gris, Braque, Bonnard, Vuillard, Derain, Picabia, van Dongen, Degas, Duchamp…it’s staggering to think that all these incredible artists were in Paris at the same time.

Around 1910, the art scene moved to Montparnasse, as scenes are wont to do. The new gathering place for artists was now a café called the Rotunde. Poets came, too. Apollinaire, one of them — who, shockingly, served in WWI and died of a head wound, as a result. Braque served in the war, too, and also suffered a head wound, which almost cost him his sight.

Also at the Rotunde: Diego Rivera, Léger, Max Jacob, Brancusi…the list goes on.

Typically, an artist arriving at 8:00 a.m. would find a cozy place to warm his hands, eat the free bread, sketch, and nurse a single cup of coffee for the entire day and into the next, unmolested.

The Paris scene reminds me a bit of Soho (NYC) in the late 60s and 70s, back when it was still gritty and industrial and interesting and Trump-less and empty of chain stores, with graffiti everywhere:

Secrest’s book is painstakingly researched, never pedantic or boring. If you are an art lover and like to fantasize about Paris during this time period — it focuses on the years right before Hemingway’s Paris in “A Moveable Feast” — and share an appreciation of Modigliani’s painting (he was one of my favorite artists in high school, during my “portrait” period), you will also enjoy this book.

I’d like to share this excerpt from page 42. The scene takes place in the late 1800s (a bit of backstory), and features three friends: poets Shelley, Byron and Keats ( ! ):

“Early in July 1822, Shelley set sail in a new boat, the Ariel, built for him by Byron, fast and luxurious but an open craft with no deck. He made the fifty-mile trip to Leghorn in about seven hours, and stayed for a week. Then he, a friend Lieutenant Edward Williams, and an eighteen-year-old cabin boy set out on the return journey. There was a violent storm. The boat capsized and all three were drowned. Their bodies washed up on the beach at Viareggio ten days later and were cremated on the spot, with Byron in attendance. Shelley’s partially decomposed body was recognized by a book of Keats’s poetry that was found in his pocket.”

I hope this passage moves you as it did me.

Books – the longer, the better

March 21, 2011

Seen in a Chelsea gallery: sculpture by artist Teun Hocks

(Click on photo to see it larger)

I love peering into the cloistral swirl of a snow globe in much the way I love burying myself in a book. And, the longer the book, the better.

I’ve just finished reading, back-to-back, two semi-tomes (at 500+ pages each). One, non-fiction; the other fiction:

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is the true story of Louie Zamperini, a nervy, contentious prankster as a kid-turned record-setting Olympic runner-turned fearless bombardier, whose plane is shot down over the Pacific in WWII.

For 47 harrowing days and nights, Louie and two fellow crew members drift on a small raft in the shark-infested Pacific Ocean. Withstanding machine gunfire from a Japanese fighter jet, a fierce typhoon, intense thirst and starvation that reduce them to near-skeletons, on day 47, they finally spot land. But little do they know they are paddling toward the most brutal prisoner of war camp in Japan.

Hillenbrand, a marvelous writer and scrupulous researcher, has written another thrilling page-turner (if you’ve read the unforgettable Seabiscuit, you’ll know what I mean). I admit, reading about the brutality inside that prison camp was difficult at times but those terrible scenes were outweighed by the stunning resilience of Zamperini — who, by the way, is still alive and kicking at 93 years old — and his honor and allegiance to his comrades.

Not long ago, I read the magnificent Mattahorn by Karl Marlantes, a novel about the Vietnam War. It’s not that I’m on a war kick, per se; but I am interested in reading a really fantastic book about the Civil War (recommendations, anyone?). I’d also like to read War and Peace (Anna Karenina more than sold me on the brilliance of Tolstoy).

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I’m a Franzen fan and I really enjoyed this book. I was amazed, after reading some of the reviews on Amazon, at how many readers hated this book. I had to wonder if they’d read it all the way through.

Yes, there were a few slightly draggy parts, as when Franzen spent a little too many paragraphs describing one of the main characters grassroots movement to save the Cerulean Warbler, or some such bird (not sure if it’s even a real bird) vs. promoting MTR – Mountain Top Removal in West Virginia to mine coal (hence, creating an inner conflict in this character).

But — those sections were punctuated with enough wit and irony, human insight, and funny description to keep me reading. For instance, I loved it when this particular character referred to cats as the “sociopaths of the animal world” because of their wanton penchant for killing birds.

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy reading Franzen. Familiarity with his essays enhanced my reading experience because I could “sense” parts of Franzen in the characters and felt I’d learned a real lesson on shaping characters in fiction.

Why not put a little piece of yourself in each different character you create? In other words, it’s possible to create five characters from five different aspects of yourself. I loved discovering that.

At any rate, this novel is about “freedom” on many levels. Freedom to live your life with integrity, freedom of self-expression, freedom to not do what you do not want to do, how to find freedom, the meaning of freedom with respect to the war in Iraq…

If you like Franzen’s writing, then please read this book. If you don’t know Franzen, try reading his essay collection: How To Be Alone. Even if you read just one essay, try Books in Bed. It’s so good!

The next book I will read was an actual purchase (as opposed my usual habit of taking it from the library): Modigliani: A Life by Meryle Secrest.

I thumbed through it at Rizzoli’s bookstore on 57th St. and bought it on the spot. After the purchase, I discovered on Amazon the book has been highly praised by critics as being (finally) a true account of his incredible life and what led to his premature death at 35.

Amedeo Modigliani was one of my favorite painters during high school. I can’t wait to read it. Besides, I’ve been doing a lot of painting, myself (when I’m not reading or working at my soul-sucking day job). Art is what saves me.

Which seems a good time to mention, my website has been redesigned, with many thanks to J.C.

My newest paintings have been added and I hope to be adding more work soon.

Time to Self-Actualize

December 3, 2010

Don’t try this on concrete.

Just the other day I came across the following quote by humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow:

“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature.”

Ahhh….I love it. I was first introduced to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” (see diagram below) in an Industrial Psych course I took as an undergrad. All these bazillion years later, it still makes sense to me. Especially during trying times, when, unwittingly, I’ve tended to invoke its message as a mental boost to better understand what I am going through.

This is a pictorial depiction of Maslow’s pyramid:

It’s sort of fun to parse the six tiers constituting this pyramid. Looking back on my life, I’ve discovered I’ve been mired one too many times in Levels 1 and 2 — essentially, flopping around like a fish in an empty bucket, short on air but long on promise. Worrying, worrying, worrying — much too much about money.

The dark cloud of imagined poverty hovering above me, which never quite seems to dissipate, perhaps, was spawned during childhood. With parents that were products of the Great Depression, it was sort of a given. They knew first hand what it was like to be poor and reminded us of that, well, constantly.

Do you think I’m made of money?

Anyway, I don’t blame them, but it’s had an effect.

That said, I must clarify that I have been reaping the many benefits of Level 3 for years. Luck, a good marriage, and enough life experience has helped me appreciate how much that is worth.

Still…you always need more. That’s why there are three more tiers to scale.

For shorter durations, I have dwelt in the realm of the highest tier and it was glorious.

Self-actualization, the uppermost, the apex of the pyramid, is where bliss resides. During two memorable periods in my life, I savored it.

The first was in grad school. With studio space in which to make art, and unencumbered by a soul-sucking job, I worked long and hard and enjoyed every minute of it — even while suffering (i.e., a painting not working out and the misery that entails).

After grad school, I rented a small space on top of a clock store on Long Island and worked in it as often as I could. I produced a body of work that earned me a solo exhibition. Utter, complete happiness.

The second period was when I worked as a weekly columnist for a local newspaper in California. Driving around each day looking for stories and meeting fascinating, wonderful people who were doing what they loved to do. I was writing everyday and meeting deadlines. I just love deadlines. They’re great motivators.

Remember when Joseph Campbell said we should follow our bliss? And when Joni Mitchell said we have to get ourselves back to the garden? And when Marlo Thomas said we’re free to be you and me?

Abraham Maslow also said: “You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.”

Safety, though safe, can be deadly. My New Year’s resolution, starting tomorrow, (because why wait until January 1st?) is to reclaim myself, rediscover my inner garden, reach out for bliss at the top of Maslow’s pyramid.

I’ve been there before. It’s not impossible.


Dreaming Of Art…

November 20, 2010

A Pistoletto Happening at the Tate Modern, 2009

I love the Arte Povera movement. The work of Michelangelo Pistoletto, a longtime favorite of mine, is now on view now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibition closes on January 16th. A visit to the museum and an overnight stay in Philly is the only item on my Christmas list. Hint hint…

On October 30, to inaugurate the opening of the show, a recreation of his 1967 “Walking Sculpture” was staged in Philadelphia (similar to the one at the Tate, in the above video). You can view Philly’s video by clicking this link:

It’s fun watching Philadelphia’s video and especially so to hear what Pistoletto says at the end. He thanks the appreciative crowd by saying: “I am almost moved.” Watching it, we burst out laughing. Maybe, due to a language barrier, he’d meant to say “most moved,” but I prefer to believe he meant exactly what he said.

Alas, this morning, as in many mornings (though, usually this occurs from Monday through Friday), I awoke feeling just like this Pistoletto sculpture:

Burdened by a weighty cranium.

So much pressure — overworked and under-appreciated at a job I loathe (no one ever says, “thank you”); being completely misunderstood by my co-workers (“Why are you so quiet?” “Why don’t you talk more?”). Hello…? I’m working.

Basically, I’m an introvert who enjoys my solitude, but not anti-social, by any means. But I’m neither conversant in, nor care about, the private lives of celebrities — where they live, who they’re dating, why we should rip them apart (“That’s what they’re there for,” as a celebrity-site addicted co-worker once announced).

Yesterday, the (chronically burping, gas-passing, potatochip-munching explosive “psychopath”) co-worker, who sits next to me, offered this completely unsolicited comment.

When I was first hired, he said,  he thought I was “mean,” because of how quiet I was (i.e., not complimenting him every two seconds on his extraordinary personality).

I generally don’t joke in an unfunny and forced way about every living person or thing. They do. And these jokes produce completely forced guffaws and ear-splitting, witch-like cackles on a daily basis.

All I want to do is to be myself and do my job, which is demanding and requires concentration. Is that so much to ask? But most days I feel as if I’m back in Junior High School.

Lately, I find myself needing all day Saturday to decompress from the work week, only to be confronted by Sunday — just one day away from Monday. The dread of Monday’s arrival has begun creeping into my consciousness earlier and earlier on Sunday, to the point where I sometimes wake up with the dread.

Art — in whatever form it takes — is my only salvation. When you’re an artist and you’re in the closet (my co-workers routinely make known their narrow views on art — as well as their narrow views on practically everything else — blatantly clear), when you’re hiding your light under a bushel, life can be hellish.

As part of a text Pistoletto wrote in 1967 called “Famous Last Words”:

When a person realizes he has two lives – an abstract one for his mind and a concrete one, also for his mind – he ends up either as a madman, who, out of fear, hides one of his lives and plays the other as a role, or as an artist, who has no fear and who is willing to risk both lives.

As an artist working as a legal secretary, the roundest peg in the squarest hole — I have become “a madman.”

Number One on my list of New Year’s Resolutions:  QUIT.

Although, if any one of my co-workers finds out about this blog, they will spread the word and I could be fired. And you know what that means…unemployment checks 🙂