Saturday, September 29, 2007

Writing the Making

Writing the Making
Heather Willems

Last night was my first time in the neighborhood of Dumbo, which made me feel like I was in another city altogether, or in the movie, Delicatessen. My friend, Heather Willems, was showing work in the DAC: Art Under the Bridge festival. Heather and I share the history of living in small-town Ohio, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York. It has been interesting to watch her evolution as a conceptual artist, and she is currently exhibiting two gigantic scrolls of paper upon which she has obsessively written stream of conscious thoughts over the course of hours and days and weeks. The scrolls have a monumental presence installed within an old store front on Pearl Street that was once a carpet salesroom. The spare, weathered, concrete space lends itself uncannily to these scrolls which are attached to the ceiling and roll towards the street.

The DAC: Art Under the Bridge festival runs from September 28 - 30, and Heather's work can be found at the 20 Jay Building on Pearl St. Btw Plymouth and John St.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Deborah's Grilled Cheese Collection
copyright Deborah Stratman

For years, Chicago artist Melinda Fries has devoted herself to curating and managing a collective website called ausgang, which my German mother told me means "exit" in German. Each season, Melinda proposes two new topics and welcomes submissions from artists and writers in response to these or previous topics, and so ausgang expands each winter, spring, summer and fall with more written and visual ideas including drawings, photographs, videos, lists, letters, and stories.

I have contributed some series of photos in response to topics such as guns and true crime and obsessions and things in the road, and have found the topics a helpful way to generate ideas for small and fun projects. On account of a spinning head from recent work obligations, I missed the dead-line to respond to the fall topics, animals and desire, which is too bad, because those are certainly favorite subjects of mine.

Pictured above is a collection of polaroids of grilled cheese sandwiches in American diners by Chicago film-maker, Deborah Stratman, which can be found in the archives of ausgang.

To view the Fall07 ausgang and find out more about submitting ideas, go to:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

80 Year War

Remembrance of Things Past
Video Still
copyright Bryan Zanisnik

Before I moved to New York, I lived in a big old house near Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis with two wacky guys, Bob and Cormac. Bob was in a rock band and we turned one room into a conservatory full of instruments - a piano, a violin, an accordion, a harmonica, and a bunch of guitars. Bob brought a stream of young musicians over to the house for band practice, and I felt much like an older sister might feel towards her sometimes wayward little brother.

Bob moved back to Philadelphia last year and came to New York on Thursday for the opening of his friend, Bryan Zanisnik's, show at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art. Bryan has edited footage he shot of his grandmother and parents re-enacting scenes of war, immigration, and gangster predicaments which he shot between the ages of 13 and 15. The results are pretty hilarious and what a fantastic grandma this kid lucked out on.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


White Parrot
Pinellas Park, FL
February 2007

This welcome wave of reconnecting with old friends keeps rolling in, and I also discovered two blogs coming out of Minneapolis this week. Written by Matt Olson, rolu/design, is full of great imagery and observations concerning art, design, architecture and the landscape. When I lived in Minneapolis, Matt wrote music and performed with a minimalist music ensemble called Smattering, with whom I had the pleasure of collaborating on two multi-media art events at The Cowles Conservatory of the Walker Art Center along with another visual artist based in Minnesota, David Hamlow. I appreciated seeing some photos on Matt's blog reminding me of these experiences we created combining photography, video, drawing and live musical performance within this gorgeous and ethereal glass space.

And writer friend who moonlights as Evilyn Garnett has also started posting short versions of her essays and some strange pictures of birds on her new blog, Satan With Sinus Trouble.

I also finally linked up to some blogs whose discussions of photography and art-making and the art world have been informative and inspiring to me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Green Hill Farm

I am still feeling some of the warm glow from spending a sunny, awesome weekend on the Green Hill Farm in New Jersey shooting the wedding of friends from Oberlin College, Doug and Mari. It was fantastic to see the faces of old friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in over a decade, and to hear incredible live music by blue grass band, Jim and Jennie and the Pinetops.

Here are a few of the faces ...










Friday, September 14, 2007

20x200 at Jen Bekman

Jen Bekman has launched her unique 20x200 project selling prints by artists associated with the gallery starting at $20.

To view work by all artists involved in 20x200, go to:


To find out information about purchasing one of my Palm Aire prints, go to:

Palm Aire

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fashion Week in New York

Velvet Painting
Steinway St.

Dolls in Plastic Bags
Manhattan Ave.

Tuxedo Rentals
Steinway St.

Acrylic Tips
Steinway St.

Final Sale
Steinway St.

Wig Forms
Steinway St.

Striped Tiger
Manhattan Ave.

Huggable Emily
Manhattan Ave.

Gory Body Parts
Steinway St.

Crazy Lights
Manhattan Ave.

Monday, September 10, 2007

American Fashion

Bergdorf Goodman
58th Street Window

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Stopped by a loft on Mott Street on Saturday to take some photos of friend, Corinne Dolle (aka Coco), grooming for The Dietch Art Parade, which is becoming an annual tradition for her. This year, she had nine Greek muses in tow, including her new house-mate, Daniel.

See this French fashion diva's paintings and photography at

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Emily Carter

This past week brought a visit from another old friend from Minneapolis, Emily Carter, the author of Glory Goes and Gets Some, a collection of autobiographical short stories based her experiences with addiction, recovery and searching for love. Shortly after I moved to Minnesota in the winter of 2001, I heard Emily give a reading of one of these stories at the Barnes and Nobles on the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. This scrawny little Jewish writer with watery green pit bull eyes who looked something like a cross between a hooker and a grandmother stood in front of a room of quiet and much less colorful Minnesotans, and then hobbled off afterwards with a dark-haired boyfriend wearing a black leather jacket.

I felt an pang of longing to trail after them, but instead, bought a copy of her book and took the bus back to the room I was renting in a ranch house in St. Louis Park and read it cover to cover. Reading Emily's stories brought on such an overwhelming set of emotions and an uncanny process of identification with her experiences, I scrawled several drafts until I arrived at an emphatic fan letter replete with my own stories which I addressed to Emily at The Loft, a writing center where she taught classes.

When I encountered Emily again two years later, we quickly became friends. I asked if she had ever received my gushing and delirious letter, which she hadn't, and we laughed at the idea of whose hands it might have ended up in.

Emily is as much of a story-teller in person as she is in her writing, and walking through the streets of New York triggers an endless stream of memories and associations. Witty, sardonic and affectionate, her presence and narrative voice makes the world come alive for me. I think of her almost as the big sister I never had - cooler, wiser, tougher - she reads my thoughts and offers some sisterly advice. This time around, she left me with a piece of advice about romance. She said if I want to make someone like and respect me, I need to stop acting like a shy, sweet puppy-dog and learn to be more of a bitch. Hmmm.

The timing of Emily's visit coincided with the opening of an exhibition of autobiographical photographs by Mark Morrisroe and Friends from the Boston School at Clamp Art, an artist who also lived on the edge in the eighties and died at the age of thirty from AIDS related complications. Morrisroe has been described as a kind of dark luminary of a circle of artists which included Nan Goldin, David Armstrong and Jack Pierson, whose his teenage prostitution contributed to the lore surrounding his persona.

Emily told me a story once about how Nan Goldin tried to photograph her in the eighties in New York and how she refused to participate. She said she was scared of this creepy lady with a camera who was trying to take pictures of all the junkie kids. I guess I feel pretty darn lucky to have had the chance to snap some shots of Emily on a late afternoon in McKarren Park in Brooklyn.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Teryl's Barber Shop
Brooklyn, NY
September 07

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Peter and the Art Shanty Projects

Silver Shanty

White Ice

Melting Lake

A high point of my summer was getting to spend a few days roaming the city with one of my closest friends, Peter Haakon Thompson, who was showing work in the exhibition, A New American Portrait, at Jen Bekman. Peter lives in Minneapolis, and I met him several years ago in the color darkroom at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I spotted a tall, skinny, dreamy-looking guy printing these quiet, sensitive, enigmatic photographs of himself in evocative landscapes and interior settings and was instantly smitten. At first, I fancied him an exotic exchange student from Norway, but it turns out this Scandinavian beauty was bred in Minnesota.

Peter's enthusiasm for the Minnesota landscape and for cultivating a sense of community amongst artists and those who appreciate the arts led him to conceive of an idea to create an artists' community on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN. Based on the model of ice houses traditionally used for fishing in the winter, Peter imagined these "shanties" created by artists where they might congregate and collaborate during the coldest winter months. The first shanty built by Peter and some friends was installed on Medicine Lake in January 2004, and some of my fondest memories of Minnesota winters include holing up with friends in a warm shanty on a frozen lake.

Peter's experiment snowballed as more artists erected their own shanties and creative activities abounded including karaoke, knitting, yoga, musical performance, photography and painting. The following winter, an arts organization called The Soap Factory got involved with the shanty project, and Peter joined forces with a partner, David Pittman, in organizing events and residencies. Now funded in part my The McKnight Foundation, the Art Shanty Projects is a vital and growing feature of the Minneapolis arts environment and welcomes submissions from artists for the 2008 season.

Open invitation for the Fifth Art Shanty Projects:

Seeking visual artists, musicians, composers, media artists, architects, poets, scientists, dancer/choreographers, writers, builders, fisher-people, outdoors-people, naturalists, puppeteers, set designers, vocalists, spoken word artists, craftspeople, storytellers, actors, playwrights, etc. interested in participating in the design and construction of ice fishing shanty-like structures, producing projects, art, events and shows on frozen Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN during January and February 2008.

Find more information, photographs and the call for entries on the Art Shanty Projects website: