Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Taking stock to make stock

Well. My home visit to NY was much more than I thought it would be, and all I'll say for now is that I survived and am glad to be home! One of my first jobs was to visit Stefan for a photo shoot and always enlightening catch up. One of my many takeaways was his reminder that the two most vicious places in the world are the Vatican and academia. Above, a detail of one of my newer paper compositions (you can see a few more here, and then more woven fun here).
The one show I wanted to see for sure was of handmade paper art in Brooklyn, and I was so happy to visit with my friend Lisa, who also loves paper.
I had met Candy briefly when they assisted me in a hanji class years ago in Cleveland and am gratified to see their current work now that they are done with grad school and in the wide world. This piece addresses their own body while looking at altar work of other artists.
I met Lina a few years ago when I helped Dieu DonnĂ© with studio buildout, loved her work then and still love it now. She combines colorful paper pulp with fabrics and imagery that address different issues—this particular one addresses a festival in Ohio that used to welcome seasonal migrants who did agricultural labor but then was cancelled because of anti-immigrant feelings.
Lisa is inside of Paul's enormous installation, which brings together three past pieces into a new iteration.
This is inside, but my favorite part is on the outside panel where you can see burned joss paper embedded between abaca sheets and then cut, so you see the different layers of the different paper.
I always try to see my conservator friends at the Met, but usually am too tightly booked to see any of the actual shows. I loved seeing Wangechi Mutu's four sculptures on the front facade but wondered how much of her work was on the inside.
The final museum bit was to see Amanda at the Museum of Arts & Design to see what she has been doing with paper cording since she took a class with me at the Center for Book Arts years ago. She had taken to it right away and then ran with it. It's fantastic because she is doing what I had wanted to do over 10 years ago but never had the time to do because of the education and dissemination part of my hanji work: I never felt like it was enough to make the art. I had to provide all of the cultural context. This is still something I grapple with.
But look at what you can do with hand-corded paper! She is really into nets, which I have been wanting to do since Pat Hickman so generously showed us how to do it at rainy, cold Haystack in 2015 (these ideas take longer and longer to come to fruition these days). I was going over old notes from two years ago from reading an anthropology text and it said something about material culture being only concerned with culture and not materiality. Guess who needs to check this book out of the library again to re-read?
Because of family constraints, I could only literally run through the rest of the museum, like this bit of the Anna Sui show.
Loved this Jaydan Moore piece. A docent tried to get me to talk to him about a video installation behind this wall but I had to run down the stairs to find my family instead.
And then a Vera Neumann exhibit.
The gift shop had soooo many delightful things, including paper rock containers from Japan that I wish I had written down the designer of. I was admiring the very top necklace on the bust when my sister pointed out the designers were from Cleveland. I took a jewelry class with Debra! Small world.
This was another run through the museum, this time of folk art. I'll never get over them being forced to move from a beautiful building next to MOMA; I really do not like this space but it's all about money. It's hard to see everything, it feels discombobulated, almost like they never really recovered from that move.
Everyone around me is looking back at their year before heading into the next, but I don't feel I have the time. Last night I re-read handwritten notes in the front calendar part of a journal I've had for years, and it was like looking into the weird mind of someone else: profound statements that came from an unattributed lecture, to-do lists of all sorts in all orientations on the page, technical details from website redesign, drawings, notes from books, schedules, and so on. That's all I'll do before moving on. It would be great to make those long simmering soups but the fast ones are okay in a pinch. My celebration today was to swim for the first time in weeks and do it alone in the small diving pool because the lap lanes were full. Small luxuries!

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