Michelle Cohen recently published a new book documenting New York City's Public Art for Public Schools Program.
The City displays approximately 1500 works of art, most of them funded by the mandatory Percent for Art ordinance, which requires 1 percent of construction costs for new buildings to go toward permanent, public art.
This piece, Eung Ho Park's Bowling Ball Curtain (2003) is on view at P.S. 270 in Queens. It is, perhaps, my favorite, though the WPA murals are a close second.
Many of the artists I work with tell me that they did not achieve commercial success until they hired professionals to photograph their work. When they can't afford it, they trade their art for professional photos.
I also believe in great photos, but I've been wanting to learn to do it myself. I've seen instructions for this DIY Macro Photo Studio pop-up on my internet travels, but never made time to give it a shot.
I made the photo box today, and I'm actually pretty pleased with the results. I put it together and shot about 16 photos in less than an hour. I made it with stuff I had around the studio. No money spent.
Compare this photo of "Egg Man" , taken in the DIY macro studio with the digital scan I'm using on my website. [I didn't crop the photo because I want you to see how the tissue paper lets light in on each side.]
I'm much happier with this photo. It captures the richness of the yellow, and the transparency of the encaustic wax without putting light through the wax as the scan did.
The DIY box seems to work best for small objects. I've never had good luck photographing this small piece I completed a few years ago. Lots of shiny stuff = lots of glare. The tissue seemed to cut down down on the glare, and overall, I'm pretty happy with this photo.
Curators at The Whitney have shared a wealth of information about exhibiting artists via YouTube. This two-minute narrative shares Lynda Benglis' thoughts on her 1969 painting, Contraband. We looked at the Benglis' work a couple of years ago.
I just bought these Jessica Simpson shoes. I never would have picked these out - my wardrobe consultant at Trunk Club did - but I love them with jeans. I'm their first woman client and I'm keeping them busy. Not much shopping here in Montana.
Moving from a big city to rural Montana has given me the opportunity to learn a few new tricks:
1. I learned to knit, but it didn't really "take." I enjoy making quick and easy projects and have no desire to advance my skills. This hat is something I enjoy making over and over again. The pile of unfinished projects in my knitting bag is actually pretty stunning. Most of them have been noted under the "Needles" category at one stage or another. Let's just say I had to drop out of my knitting group for lots of different reasons.
2. I learned to sew. I love to make soft toys. I don't have children of my own or anything. I just make them to relax and then give them away. It's weird, but there is something comforting about making something completely and utterly useless. The only thing about a soft toy that matters is whether or not it is cute. There is something about that, after a long day of trying to solve unsolve-able problems, that really helps me chill out.
3. I learned to can. I think this upsets my mother the most. She spent her entire life trying not to sew, knit, can preserves, or serve a man. But, as I've said before, the year 10,000 pounds of our cherries went unsold was the year I learned to can. No regrets.
4. I can hem my own jeans (see #2). I was never satisfied with the tailoring I was paying for in town, so I just decided that if my pants were going to be ruined - I'd be the one to do it. I'm getting better. Tonight I did a really expensive pair of jeans and they look pretty good.
5. I am doing some very low-key landscape work. I've learned that sun plants don't grow in the shade just because you want them to. My strategy is to buy it, throw it in the ground and hope for the best. So far, that's working pretty well. I also help clear brush once in awhile, since I need the exercise.
6. I have learned to put a dryer sheet under each seat in my car so the squirrels don't build nests in the air conditioning system. (They don't like the smell.) I learned that AFTER I had the nest pulled out, stick by stick, at the dealership. Twice.
Without a thought, I decided I would make my Blueberry-Lemon Tart and it was perfection on a plate. Homemade pastry with fresh lemon curd topped with the season's best berries. The lemon curd was divine - fresh squeezed lemon juice, zest, and egg yolk set to perfection. The perfect combination of tart, sweet, and smooth.The blueberries popped in your mouth and their cool juice rose up into the palate before settling back down on the flaky crust.
Her pie used cherry pie filling from the can. An unnaturally red, sour-thick glue stuck to a frozen pie crust in a tin foil pan. The kind of cherries that make your face screw up into a wince. By the end of the party, there was only one missing piece, and that piece sat on a damp paper plate, half-eaten and looking slightly radioactive.
While her boyfriend's family raved about my pie - and hers sagged in the heat - I realized what I had done. I'd broken the rules. I'd made a great pie, just because I could, without stepping outside myself and thinking of the big picture. She didn't say anything, but she didn't have to.
And that's why, to this day, I always sign up to bring chips and soda. You're not really going to hurt a friendship when you show up with a bag of Doritos.
The Defense Department recently lifted a controversial ban on photos of caskets, or "transfer cases", of soldiers killed in action. I am glad the ban was lifted. I find the quiet ceremony of care shown by the transfer teams to the fallen soldiers to be a very moving tribute. The photos always make me stop and reflect on the young life that has passed away.
This Inuit Whale Ceremonial Dish is on display at the University of Alaska Museum, Fairbanks. Though I don't know much about it, the dish has always stayed on my mind. It looks like a float with loon feather sails.
Last fall, artist Debra Tomson Williams spent two weeks working in my art studio. She made a series of artist books during her time here.
One of my favorites, A Story About You, is featured in the artist books exhibition Recto Verso at Sweetwater Arts Center.
This accordion file book tells the story of how a genetic condition passes through a family. The show opens on Friday, June 5th.
El Museo del Prado recently opened a retrospective of works by the artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida. Sad Inheritance is the painting that first caught the attention of the Paris salon, but it is the lazy, dappled sunshine of La Siesta (1911) that draws me into Sorolla's work.
To lie down in the grass? What luxury.
Last summer we visited the Coeur d'Alene Resort for a conference. The golf course was planted with pine trees, low juniper bushes and bright red geraniums. I was really inspired by the pop of color the geraniums brought to the landscape, which is, of course, very similar to the lake, mountain and green grass views we have here. Today, I will be planting my geraniums in our garden containers and hoping for the best.