Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happy Birthday 73 Me and Advice From George Krause

High time to write a blog post. It's been weeks since I checked in. Yesterday was my 73d birthday. Was up at 4:00 a.m. more or less and started the day in an obsessive way by getting on that iPhone. Found that three folks were already up, or never went to bed - three insomniacs had already wished me happy birthday.
Last evening, Earl took me to dinner at Weights and Measures. Nice place. We had one terrific sour dough pizza, loaded with anchovies, tomatoes and cheese. And a slender and rich piece of semolina cake topped with honeycomb and whipped cream. I gained one pound overnight because of pizza and this cake. Will take me three days to offload that pound. Oh, for the old days, when I could eat anything without consequence. Thank you, ES, for dinner and for that vintage Mexican so-bad-it's-good copper and onyx necklace. Love it. Do you all think I have enough Mexican silver on my arm?

I will digress here. The weighty silver all began with Mom's Mexican cuff bracelet, which I used to hear with Bakelite. Earlier this spring, the day I was selling off 'stuff' from 'Second Seating', a garage sale devotee saw Mom's bracelet on my wrist. He commented on its beauty, and in an hour he returned with a Mexican linked bracelet with onyx insets. The bracelet was a gift. Seems he has a collection and wished to share. I put it on my arm immediately. Later, ES and I looked at Mexican silver on EBay, found a bracelet we liked and bid. Got it. Then on Mother's Day, ES gifted me with yet another Mexican bracelet with abalone insets. And now, this funky pendant necklace. More is better. Am I wearing enough on that right arm? Look like armor?
Dinner out is rare these days. Almost every moment is spent on 'Finding Our Way', mostly fundraising. Happy to say, I've raised over half the money we need to produce our installation and fund the public events. It's taken three precious months and I am always on it. Last week, I began to talk with our speakers, planning each program. And in between, I think about the actual installation and do a little work on it, but not enough. Most of my time goes into admin and raising money. Ever the way. Hoping if I think enough about the pieces that will make up the installation, it WILL come together. Second Seating did and so did the installation in Marfa and way back in 1985, Silicon Stones. They are what they are.
Yesterday, Patsy and I took George Krause to lunch at Costa Brava to talk about his presentation on October 17. Remember, it was over lunch at Costa Brava with Patsy last October that the idea for 'Finding Our Way' first took form. It was fitting that we returned there with George, incredible teacher with a generous spirit. Can hardly wait for him to talk and interact to our audience. They will love him.
Here is what George said yesterday.'You need a sense of urgency. It could take a year to edit these images and get what you want."
A year. We have three more months.  For several months, I've worked at tapping down anxiety and drinking just the right amount of coffee. That sense of urgency has been there for me since last Thanksgiving.
On editing, "Put your photos in three piles. Put the ones you absolutely don't want or need in one pile. Put the maybes in the second pile, and the ones you deem best, put in the third."
"It took Dorothea Lange over two years to edit photos for her final exhibition."
Not so good. However, she was looking at a lifetime of work. We are looking at one body of work, extending for 3 - 4 years of time.
"Take the bad photos away first."
"Figure out what sizes you need to make the images."
Well, all spring I printed images in several sizes and if they still don't work or we select entirely different images, we'll have to scan and have them digitally printed.
"Over time, people have responded to my nude photos in many and strange ways. At one early exhibition, folks wouldn't enter the room, after they looked through the doorway and saw nudes on the walls. And another time, because I was printing small, viewers would find their noses an inch away from genitals and back away in embarrassment."
George looked at the spread of images on Patsy's livingn room floor. And he spoke of editing. And EDITING. And of course, we need to have a clear idea of the installation itself. In the last day or so, I've blanked. Then, both Patsy and George looked blankly at my images of Patsy with that silk parachute. Even I have struggled for months over how to use them. And can't come up with anything I truly want to exhibit. So, yesterday, out they went. I will save them for a piece that will include those of Mary B in her black organza dress. Maybe.
OK, we still have to figure out how to make a casual looking wall that speaks to our process, that shows how often we tossed a camera back and forth on a single roll of film, that shows how we played off one another. Sounds easy. Yet, it may be the hardest piece in the show, because it has to look effortless.
Yesterday, I emailed Diane Schenke to ask if I can use the GEEMD board room next week to spread photos and frames on the concrete floor, and maybe on the walls too.  I need to get a visual grip on things. Hoping for a breakthrough.
So, it's just after 9:00 a.m. and I need to prepare myself for a late lunch meeting with the Rice U folks. We'll be discussing the ways we will partner during the fall semester. And, sometime today, I'd love to drive over to Silver Street Studios for another look at our space - this time with a tape measure.
One last word from George, "Something different happened when I hung nude images from beams in the center of the gallery. People walked around them, stood by them, and it became like a cocktail party. They were at ease. Different than looking at nudes on the walls."
Patsy and I took that comment to heart. Shall we put some of our photos on the partitions in the middle of the space? Will folk's responses be different if they are not looking at photos on white walls? Is there a sense of privacy in looking when the photos are spread out, in the middle of the space? And are partitions 'free-floating' enough to make viewers more comfortable?
All of this is unnerving. Best to focus on my meeting with the Rice folks. I can handle that. Best to recount the donation received and those about to come in.
And why do I spend so much time wandering around the house and studio, 'just' thinking, hoping for that flash of inspiration that now, invariably hits about 4:30 a.m. And thank you, universe, for sending ideas at any time at all.

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