slightly wonky

Barry, I’m your number one fan…

I went downtown this week.


Lots of people were milling around the site of the bombing on Boylston Street.    There was actually a small crowd of cops and individuals with prosthetic legs, possibly veterans?, chatting and talking to people who stopped by to visit the site.  I know that it would be bad for business…but I almost wish that this spot could stay boarded up like this.  It won’t, though, and I know that it shouldn’t.  But a statue or a plaque in this location to mark the significance is so much less powerful than seeing the boarded up storefronts.  The grim blankness of the closed windows is mirrored in the faces of those who stop and stare.  There was also something poignant about people both walking past, a sign of the return to normalcy, and people standing in reverential silence.  Everyone here is still obsessed with the event and the victims.

Eventually, I headed down to South Boston to check out what’s up at the ICA.  I used to work in South Boston, so it was nice to be back there.


I used to work on that street!  Looks the same as I remember.  Other parts in the area look MUCH different:


Mural by Os Gemeos

LOVE IT!  This work has been somewhat controversial.  Some people found it to be disturbing, but I think it’s a fascinating mural on an irregularly shaped building facade.  This used to be a plain, flat, gray metal facade.  But, now LOOK!  He’s just hanging out like everyone else on the lawn!  I like the ambiguity of his expression and partially hidden face.  He’s SO big and obtrusive, and yet he appears to be trying to almost hide and make himself small and unnoticed.  FASCINATING.  I’m glad that I finally got to see this in person.  Here’s what else I saw right near him:


Brilliant!  There is a little grouping of food trucks right across from him…and I loved the local “flavah” of this one.  As much as I love the Boston accent, I get worried when I hear my son say words in a slightly Boston way.  I’ve had to explain to him that “hair” is a single syllable word.  It’s “hair”, not “HAY-ER.”  I wasn’t born in Massachusetts, so I’d feel like a fraud if my son sounded like a local.  I should have bought one of the cookies to really get a sense of the flavor, right???  I wonder if they sell the raw dough?  I would happily have gnawed on a blob of dough whilst sunning myself on the lawn in front of the enormous, reclining “dude”.


Edouard Manet, Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe

Not to be confused with this reclining nude.  See how far we’ve come in art?  Now, instead of a nude female having lunch with a couple of clothed men on a lawn, we have a larger than life oddball peering at us from beneath the sweatshirt he’s wrapped around his head!


I love the ICA.  I don’t always remotely grasp the content of the work, but I still love going.  Right now, they have the work of Barry McGee up.  He’s a painter / graffiti artist from San Francisco.  His work is amazing and I bask in his artistic brilliance.  The show is incredible, with works of a stunning variety of scale, color, and medium.  I love the dark humor throughout his work.  He had written his name, “McGee” on a wall with what looked like wishbones from chickens.  I wish that I’d taken a picture of it.  Brilliant.

a-bmcgee2Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

That is so amazing.  EACH DRAWING that makes up this piece is amazing.  This faux living room wall with an amorphous “growth” of these drawings was phenomenal.  I don’t want to gush, but I will.  GO SEE THIS NOW.  I LOVE how this is so compelling from far away AND up close.  Look:


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Look at all of these amazing sketches, collages, drawings, photos, etc.!!!  Each one is a fantastic and bizarre little world to get lost in.  Stunning.


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Again, SO amazing.  A wall of whiskey (??) bottles hung by wire in a giant cluster.  Who is this population of disturbing men???  On the surface, each face is different…but they all share a common core and they are all empty and “hanging by a thread.”  Again, it’s compelling from a distance AND from up close:


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Don’t you love the limited color palette and vintage look to the style of illustration?  I love their neat, shiny hair and unnerving expressions.

a-bmcgee3Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Okay.  THESE drawings were INCREDIBLE.   They are ballpoint pen on paper.    Each “face” appears almost as a mask made from shiny human hair and like a collection of strange tribal fetishes.  These may have been the most mind-blowing drawings for me.  They are disturbing…beautiful…strange…and done with a BALLPOINT PEN.  I could have spent the day pouring over each one.  Together, especially in that mass, they are imposing.  While they are mask-like, the eyes are not vacant but staring back at you…tiny deities from a mysterious religion.

Please go see this show.  Call me, and we’ll go together so that I GUSH over everything with you as my unwilling audience.  Sound good?  Okay, it’s open at 10 tomorrow…see you then.


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

LOOK.  AT.  THIS.  These are little patterned color swatches that FILL THE WALL and are configured in a unique way each time they are installed.  I desperately wanted to touch them, but I didn’t.  I would never do something like that, but I can admit that I WANTED to.  Again, I could have pulled up a chair and basically sat all day staring at this.  Is the breadth of his talent not mind-blowing?????  I have to end this commentary soon, as I’m running out of superlatives.

a-bmcgee7Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

The bulging wall behind was incredible.  This tower of TVs fit so perfectly with the context of the show.  I am so glad that this show has an extensive range of his work.  I would love each piece individually…but the entire show makes you dizzy and awestruck.  Next time I’ll get myself a blob of that cookie dough, bring a lawnchair, and sit myself down in front of this totem of TVs for the afternoon.  The staff will love me.  (Maybe if I share my cookie dough they actually will love me?  Maybe not?  What would Barry do???)

Strangely enough, I came home to find my son creating something that felt similar:


Okay.  Not quite.  I know that some kids build with Lego, but this is what my son was up to.  Somehow though…this multicolored blob of Lego on the rug struck me as fitting in with my Barry McGee afternoon.  (I hope that he wouldn’t be offended for me to say that.)  Actually, the fact that he’s being written about in this blog is probably offensive enough to him.  Hmm.  If he writes me to complain, I’ll be sympathetic.  I might even put down my blob of cookie dough to give him my full attention as I read his enraged comments about my misguided analysis of his work.  I flatter myself to think that he would contact me.  If he does contact me, I’ll remind him that I LOVE his work and that I did NOT touch any of it, never mind get cookie dough on it…

Maybe I’ll hold off on telling him, “I’m your number one fan…”


Okay, I’m going to stop wearing my hair like that…IMMEDIATELY.  I’m also going to end the post here because I’m starting to freak myself out…


April 20, 2013, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , ,

Oh. My. God.


What a week this has been.  It began on Monday with the explosion of two, homemade bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon…three people killed and many others horribly maimed…a young police officer shot on Thursday…and it ended last evening with the capture of the second suspect who had been hiding in someone’s backyard in Watertown.

In spite of the fact that the second terrorist is still alive, nothing he can say will somehow “clear things up” about why all of this happened.  It was senseless, calculated, and evil.  Those dead are gone forever, and those who lost limbs will never recover them.

I can’t believe how recently the nation was sickened by the shootings at Newtown.  And yet…here we are again, with more senseless killing of innocent people.  I know that this happens all over the world.  I don’t mean to imply that these events are somehow more horrific than events that have occurred anywhere else.  Personally, however, these last two tragedies were very close to home…both to my childhood home in the case of Newtown,  and my to current one in the case of this Boston/Cambridge/Watertown nightmare.  I know that it shouldn’t make a difference to the horror of it all, but it does…only in that I’m filled with more disbelief.




No man is an island,

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thine own

Or of thine friend’s were.

Each man’s death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.

– John Donne


I’ll post about art next week.


Livin’ my time capsule…80’s style

I know that I normally post on Fridays…but seeing as I missed last week and I’m wanting to get this published, I’m doing it TODAY. CARPE DIEM.

So, tomorrow night…I’m going to an 80’s prom.  No, I’m not kidding.  This is the brainchild of a friend, who feels that we need to revisit this era on Friday.  In all honesty, my fashion sense is probably stuck in the 80’s, so I should have no problem with an outfit.  Did hot pink ever go out of style????  If so…WHO CARES???  It’s one of my favorite colors.  I’ve been scrounging around my closet to come up with some kind of 80’s outfit:






No thank you.  This is what I have to aspire to for this event??????  Egads.  Does anyone else have the sudden sensation of acid reflux?

Or is that just from the ice cream sandwich I decided to have for breakfast?

(KIDDING!  I’m testing to see if you’re still paying attention. No?  Oh well…)

One thing that I DO love from the 80’s is jelly shoes.  I am sad to say that I don’t own a pair of jelly shoes anymore.

a-jellyMine were pink, of course.  There is an urban legend that if you stand on a hot sidewalk for too long, they’ll melt.  Pshaw.

Besides wasting time planning for this 80s outfit, I also went to check out what’s at the galleries in the South End.  I know that you’re relieved to hear that this post is moving on to more compelling topics than acid green and/or acid reflux…

a-sigalLisa Sigal at Samson Gallery, Boston

This is the work of Lisa Sigal at Samson.  Okay.  Let me just say that I LOVED all of her work.  Her pieces for this show were sooo fascinating.  In the piece above, she has a digital print of what appears to be housing.  I believe that she also paints on this print.  In front of the print, leaning on the wall, is a typical window screen that she has also painted.  Her sense of color is amazing, and I love the mix of pattern, flatness, layering, depth, and translucency.  So inventive!  I really could have stared at these all day.  (Maybe it’s just the architect in me?  Who knows…)


Robert Richfield at Gallery Kayafas, Boston

Robert Richfield has photographed eclectic, exotic, and intimate Mexican burial sites.  I loved the intense colors and exuberance in spite of the morose subject matter.  The photos are surreal, and you really forget what it is that you are looking at as your eyes take in the explosive colors and the dizzying array of objects.  They are very beautiful in their composition and content.

a-alpertLaurie Alpert at Bromfield Gallery, Boston

Laurie Alpert has a great show at Bromfield Gallery.  Her show it titled, “Milori Blue,” and is based on a series of photos that she took of her studio floor.  I love how inventive her printmaking is.  The rich, saturated blues are inky (for lack of a better word) and deep.  These images are both abstract and intimate.  This photo really doesn’t do her work justice, so you’ll have to see if for yourself.  I was obviously drawn to the mylar, as that’s what I use for my drawings.

I also had a great time chatting with Lesley Cohen, who is an artist at Bromfield, and was “on duty” at the gallery.  We talked about drawing, why we draw what we do, how we got to were we were, etc.  She is a LOVELY person…warm, creative and engaging.  She is having a show in June, so I’ll be sure to stop  by and see it.

a-pibalAnn Pibal at Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston

This is the work of Ann Pibal at Steven Zevitas Gallery.  I love the sparseness of her work.  There is so much space, and the elements are always balanced, albeit asymmetrical.  I’m not sure why I keep thinking that her work is very minimal?  Perhaps it’s the clarity of each piece, or the “quiet” world that they seem to create?  Really impressive.  Go see!  Now!


 Karen Meninno at Kingston Gallery, Boston

Karen is a sculptor, but she has created these astounding wallpaper designs that hang floor to ceiling.  This one was one of my favorites.  See the detail here:


Karen Meninno at Kingston Gallery, Boston

Her work was filled with jewel tones and rich materials.  Her sculptures (which were present as manipulated images) are almost like artifacts of some forgotten dynasty. I wonder how different the images are from the sculptures that they are created from?  I wonder how Meninno feels about this transformation that she’s made?  The nice thing about these images and the wallpaper is that she almost creates a environment which the viewer is immersed in, as opposed to an object that the viewer looks at.  Please go see her work…amazing!!!

I am intrigued by her image manipulation, as I have been doing some similar things in my own work.  I am embarking on a new series generated by my existence as a housefrau/parent/chef/chauffeur/family cruise director:


Elizabeth Kostojohn, Nameless Problem #1, 2013, colored pencil on mylar

Perhaps I should have cropped the image?  Anyway, I’ve started making these compositions…AND I’m starting to work in color.  You’re looking at pickles, ham slices, raw chicken legs, a can of chickpeas, and ketchup.  Comments?  Questions?  I don’t really have a working artist statement yet…so you’ll just have to wonder.  I know that my family does…

My son is obsessed with drawing, much like his mommy.  I love all of his creations.  He tends to draw lots of dinosaurs, as he’s five and that’s just what five year olds are into:


Okay.  I love this.  He wanted to show an ENORMOUS sauropod dinosaur towering above a T.Rex.  I love that it is so big that the neck disappears and reappears at the edge of the paper to show how HUGE it is.  He even drew a tiny person for scale.  DON’T YOU LOVE IT???  Or, is this a picture that only a mother could love?  The T.Rex looks as if it is pouncing on the person, and the whateverasaurus looks like it’s going to stomp on both of them.  Brilliant!  I wish that he hadn’t drawn on the back, as it distracts from the awesomeness of this drawing.  Just my two cents…

Well, wish me luck with my 80’s prom.  We’re going out to dinner beforehand, so I’ve got to go out in “public” with my bizarre, fluorescent ensemble of coolness.  Should be…interesting?

I’ll let you know how many sad looks I get from people who see my appearance as a pitiful and creepy “time capsule” that should be put back underground…STAT!

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