Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Artist: William Kentridge on Time

[M]oments of coherence, of understanding and changing
the world, [are] the most we can hope for.
~ William Kentridge

Five years ago, South African draughtsman, sculptor, and filmmaker William Kentridge created a fascinating, immersive, five-channel installation, The Refusal of Time (2012). Synchronized video projections show live action, animation, and dance; audio feeds comprise both music and sound; a kinetic sculpture (dubbed "the elephant") "breathes". Visual images and megaphones also are featured.

As Kentridge explains in the video below, the piece visualizes time while at the same time upsetting our notions of how we mark time's passage. The installation "uses the metaphors scientists use when they're doing their deepest thinking about time." It is not, however, "a scientific lesson in time"; rather, Kentridge says, "It's much more about to what extent do we escape our fate? To what extent are we heading towards our fate[,] whether we like it or not? Can we change the world on our way or is this all illusory?" The Refusal of Time references not only the science and the philosophy of time but also colonial wars and revolts, cinematic history, Einstein's theory of relativity, Greenwich Mean Time, and South African theatre. 

Kentridge was interviewed by Christian Lund when the artist's work, a joint acquisition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, opened in February of this year at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, where it continues on view through June 18. Featured in the video are excerpts from Making Time, Catherine Meyburgh's 2011 film about the creation of The Refusal of Time.

An artist whose work is exhibited internationally and found in museum collections throughout the world, Kentridge is well-known for his animated films based on charcoal drawings. A printmaker, he also works in photography, collage, and books; designs stage sets; and has produced and directed opera. A witness to the dismantling in the 20th Century of apartheid in South Africa, Kentridge uses art to explore such subjects as time's expansion and contraction, colonialism and totalitarianism, and the consequences of political control and oppression. Among Kentridge's most recent projects is the Centre for the Less Good Idea, an arts foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, that he describes as a "safe space for uncertainty, doubt, stupidity and, at times, failure." (Read Cristina Ruiz's article "Kentridge Opens Johannesburg Space for Artists to Learn by Failing" in The Art Newspaper, April 13, 2017.)

The publication William Kentridge | The Refusal of Time (Editions Xavier Barral;Har/Bklt, 2013) is available through booksellers.

William Kentridge at Art21 and Barbara Krakow Gallery

William Kentridge on The Refusal of Time at SFMoMA. The installation was shown at the museum from December 16, 2016, through April 2, 2017. The video was produced by the Metropolitan Musuem of Art.

Watch a video on the SFMoMA Website that shows how Kentridge reworks charcoal drawings to create stop-motion animations. Also see the YouTube video Pain & Sympathy, from Art21, in which Kentridge discusses how artists draw on tragedy as subject matter and how the act of drawing can itself be an act of compassion.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

'Night Court' (Videopoem)

Poet Erica Goss recently made her second videopoem, Night Court, below, doing all of the filming, recording, and editing over two weeks. The poem is from her collection of the same name, which received Glass Lyre Press's 2016 Lyrebird Award. 

Goss, former Poet Laureate of the City of Los Gatos, California (2013-2016) and widely published, also is the author of the chapbook Wild Place (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas an Inspirations for Poets (Pushpen Press, 2014).

(My  thanks to  Dave Bonta, who posted the videopoem to his Moving Poems Website.)

Another version of "Night Court", created by Marie Craven and narrated by Nic Sebastian, can be seen at Gnarled Oak online.

Erica Goss on FaceBook

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Muse: Poet Melissa Green

[M]y battle to find language again after a series
of shock treatments destroyed my attachment to it....
~ Poet Melissa Green

A lover of poetry since childhood, Melissa Green also suffered depression at approximately two-year intervals. In 2013, she decided to have a dozen shock treatments and for four years thereafter "had no language"—and no memory of having written anything. In Conversation with Melissa Green (Penny Ante Productions), below, by Green's friend Melissa Shook, the poet describes what it took to "put things back together after [they'd] been destroyed" so that she could "become a poet again." With strength and determination, Green found her way through mental illness and what she suffered because of her shock treatments by making things with her hands and doing what she had never done before. 

Green, who studied with the great Derek Walcott and Joseph Brodsky while in a masters program at Boston University, is the recipient of a Lavan Award (Academy of American Poets) and a Norma Farber Award (Poetry Society of America, 1989). She lives in Massachusetts.

(My thanks to Cynthia Haven's blog, The Book Haven, where I first saw the documentary short and discovered Green's wonderful poetry.)

Poetry by Melissa Green

Magpiety: New & Selected Poems (Arrowsmith Press, 2015) (Read Janeil Page's review, "Why Magpiety? Because the Poet Has So Much More to Say", at Consequence magazine. M. Lock Swingen's review is available at Rain Taxi.)

The Marsh Poems

Fifty-Two (Arrowsmith Press) (This is a limited-edition chapbook of six-line poems. Read a review at New Criterion.)

Squanicook Eclogues (Reprint, Pen & Anvil Press, 2010) (This was Green's debut collection. Read a review at Anna Livia Review blog.)

Melissa Green's poetry has been published in Agni Online, The Best American Poetry, Little Star, The New Republic, The New York Review of BooksThe Paris Review, Poetry Daily, and other literary periodicals. See the blog Melissa Green Poems, which Green closed in 2012, for some of her poems.

Memoirs by Melissa Green

The Linen Way (Rosa Mira Books, 2013) (This is available on Kindle. It details her friendships with Walcott and Brodsky and her struggles with depression. Read an excerpt at Parnassus Poetry in Review. A review is available at Nerobooks.)

Color Is the Suffering of Light (W.W. Norton, 1995) (This is available via resellers.)

Green also is the author of the novel Tres Riches Hours de la Belle Heloise.


Recording Session: Melissa Green (April 2015) in the Poetry Room Listening Booth (2015)


Soundings: On the Poetry of Melissa Green (Arrowsmith Books, 2016) The book's editor is Sumita Chakraborty, who describes the contents of Soundings on his Website. A 2017 review by Mary Germaine is available at Break Water Review.)

Melissa Green on FaceBook (See her videos on FaceBook.)

Also of Interest

"On Joseph Brodsky and suffering through, by Melissa Green" (52 Men Podcast) at Louise Leonard Website (2017)

Leslie McGrath, "Still a Maker: A Profile of Melissa Green", AWP magazine (2016)

Askold Melnyczuk, "Second Opinions: Vesper Sparrow at Dawn", Drunken Boat (2016)

David Rivard, "'I've Been Awhile Away': The Poetry of Melissa Green" (Review of Magpiety), Agni Online (2016) 

Sumita Chakraborty, "Violet  and Violent: A Conversation with Melissa Green", Los Angeles Review of Books (2016)

Daniel Evans Pritchard, "MAGPIETY: An Interview with Melissa Green" at Woodberry Poetry Room (2015)

Toni Nicolas, "Walcott Introduces Author of Magpiety!", St. Lucia Star (2015)

"'Magpiety': getting to the bottom of it." at The Book Haven Blog (2015)

"Poet Melissa Green: Virgil would still be proud" at The Book Haven Blog (2014)

"Q&A with poet Melissa Green" at Rosa Mira Books Blog (July 2013)

"An Interview with Melissa Green" at Tim Jones's Books in the Trees Blog (2013)

 "Melissa Green; A place from Words", The Ottoman Estate Blog, September 24, 2010 (A recording by Green also is available here.)

Nora Delaney, "The Poetry of Melissa Green", Jacket 37 (2009)

Melissa Shook at Joseph Bellows Gallery

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Thought for the Day

Forgiveness is not a form of forgetting. It is,
rather, a profound form of remembering.  . . .
~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Quoted from Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, Made for Goodness and Why This Makes All the Difference (HarperCollins, Reprint 2011)

Desmond Tutu, Theologian (Anglican), Human Rights Defender, Nobel Peace Prize Winner (1984), First Black African Archbishop 

Desmond Tutu on FaceBook

Mpho Tutu, Daughter of Desmond Tutu; Executive Director, The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation; Episcopal Priest 

Mpho Tutu on FaceBook

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Short

I don't like to take photographs of people who are sad.
I somehow have this misguided therapeutic idea that
it's my role in the universe to make people feel better.
~ Elsa Dorfman

Film Poster

Today's short is the trailer for Errol Morris's documentary The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography (2016). Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dorfman, who was most interested in "the surfaces of people", took photographs for 35 years, using an unwieldly, weighty (240 pounds) Polaroid 20"x24" camera. The subjects of her large-format portraits included families, Beat poets (e.g., Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky), folk and rock stars (e.g., Bob Dylan), and other notables. Before retiring, she invited Morris to her studio to share her memories and give him a look into her archives.

The 76-minute film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and Independent Film Festival Boston and officially opens June 9 in Boston.

The B-Side at Neonrated on FaceBook and Instagram

Elsa Dorfman Website (Dorfman describes her Website as her "obsession".)

Elsa Dorfman Photography on FaceBook

Read Mark Feeney's article "'The B-Side' Could Be Early Birthday Present for Photographer Elsa Dorfman", Boston Globe, April 21, 2017.

Also see Sara Cravatt's "Celebrated Portraitist Elsa Dorfman Takes Her Final Giant Polaroids" at American Photo. Included is an 8:54-minute radio segment with Dorfman.

Friday, May 19, 2017

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Three years after debuting her sphinx Sugar Baby in "A Subtlety" at Brooklyn's Domino Sugar Refining Plant, Kara Walker is taking on two new public works projects. Read Doreen St. Felix's feature article "Kara Walker's Next Act" at Vulture to learn what's on Walker's artistic radar.

✦ How does an artist respond to a war that has ravaged his country? Damascus-born artist Wissam Al Jazairy paints the reality of Syria. Watch a short film featuring Al Jazairy's  paintings.

Wissam Al Jazairy on Tumblr and Flickr

Syria.Art on FaceBook

Read Diana Al Rifai's "Anatomy of a Revolution Through Art" at Al Jazeera; and "Wissam al-Jazairy" at Syria Untold. 

✦ Nancy Perloff, author of Explodity: Sound, Image, and Word in Russian Futurist Book Art (Getty Research Institute, 2017), explores zaum, an experimental language used by Russian painters and poets, in an interview with The J. Paul Getty Trust's president Jim Cuno. Both audio and a transcript of the interview are available at the iris, The Getty's blog.

Cover Art

✦ Work by England's MacKenzie Thorpe is on view through May 29 at New York City's AFA Gallery. For information and images, see the gallery's exhibition page for Thorpe.

Mackenzie Thorpe on FaceBook

AFA Gallery on FaceBook, Instagram, and YouTube

✦ Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has crafted a response to the humanitarian crisis caused by conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His Law of the Journey, on view through July 1 at the National Gallery in Prague, is featured in Hyperallergic; read Dorian Batycka's "Ai Weiwei Floats a New Project About the Refugee Crisis".

✦ Following is the trailer for Linda Hatendoft's The Cats of Mirikitani (Brightwide Films), a film about an elderly homeless man, Jimmy Mirikitani, who uses art to heal from the trauma he suffered during WWII and on the streets of New York City, especially after 9/11. The documentary won numerous awards following its 2006 premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

ArtHouse Films

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In New York City, The Grolier Club continues through July 29 its exhibition "The Revival of Calligraphy: 1906 to 2006". Drawn from public and private collections, the show features calligraphic art by more than 70 Western artists. The San Francisco Public Library's Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy & Lettering and private collectors are among those who have loaned calligraphic art for the show. Read about the exhibition at the blog of Fine Books and Collections magazine. A full-color catalogue is available.

The Grolier Club on FaceBook and Flickr

✭ Next up in Penland School of Crafts' John & Robyn Horn Gallery, Penland, North Carolina, is "Within the Margins | Contemporary Ceramics". Opening May 30 and running through July 16, the exhibition is curated by Steven Young Lee.

Penland on FaceBook and YouTube

✭ More than 1,000 artifacts, images, video clips, music, and oral histories comprise "Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Reinventing Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South", an 8,000-square-foot "centerpiece" exhibition at Levine Museum of the New South. Charlotte, North Carolina, and its 13 surrounding counties are the exhibition's focus, illustrating profound changes in the South since the Civil War. The museum has created six "environments" that offer visitors interactive, hands-on experiences in a one-room tenant farmer's house, a cotton mill, a mill house, a chapel that was within one of the first African American hospitals in the South, a Belk department store, and a lunch counter for local sit-in leaders; the sixth installation includes an opportunity to see and touch seed cotton. A selection of installation photos is available at the exhibition link above.

Installation Photo: Barber Shop

Levine Museum on FaceBook and Instagram

Museum Blog

✭ On view through September 4 at Missouri's St. Louis Art Museum is "In the Realm of Trees: Photographs, Paintings, and Scholar's Objects from the Collection". Presenting photographs, paintings, and decorative works by Chinese artists,  the exhibition also features contemporary photographs by American Michael Cherney, the set titled Sacred Tree on Mount Lu, mounted on a folding screen; acquired by SLAM in 2016, this exhibition marks the first time the set has been shown. Ink monochrome paintings on hanging scrolls and scholar's objects that depict trees as revered subjects also are exhibited. SLAM's curator of Asian art, Philip Hu, curated the exhibition. Cherney is based in Beijing, China.

Michael Cherney at Photography of China and Qui Mai

SLAM on FaceBook, Instagram, and YouTube

✭ In the East Building Tower of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., you'll find "Theaster Gates: The Minor Arts", a new body of work, continuing through September 4. Featured are Gates's towering library constructed of old copies of Ebony magazine; a landscape painting created from roofer's tar on yellow Naugahyde; the floor of a Chicago high school gym; and other works repurposed from the outdated and left-behind, yet acquiring value through the stories they tell us. The exhibition is free. A related, comprehensive monograph about Gates, which includes a survey by Lisa Lee, an interview by Carol Becker, and Gates's own writings, as well as 220 illustrations, is available.

Monograph Cover Art

NGA on FaceBook and Instagram

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Sharon Wolpoff, Dave, 2013
Oil on Linen
22" x 22"
© Sharon Wolpoff


I am delighted to introduce the work of Sharon Wolpoff in my new Artist Watch column at the online arts magazine Escape Into Life.

Sharon, who began her art training at age 5, has a master's of fine arts degree in painting from American University, Washington, D.C., and has also studied fine jewelry design, tapestry weaving, beadwork, and printmaking. In addition, she is a skilled hands-on healer. A native of Washington, D.C., she maintains her studio in Kensington, Maryland.

You'll find in today's Artist Watch column eight images of Sharon's paintings as well as Sharon's Artist Statement and biography. The images are all selected from Sharon's upcoming exhibition at the National Institutes of Health, "Sacred Thresholds & Other Spaces: Glimpses of Italy"; their appearance at EIL marks their first showing anywhere.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Artist: Thomas Hirschhorn

I try to give form to what I can't accept:
that someone else can decide for me what
I should do, see or think.
~ Thomas Hirschhorn

"I see life as a possible collage," says the award-winning Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, whose large-scale work, which makes use of such ordinary materials as cardboard, duct tape, and plastic bags, never hides the violence, destruction, and gruesomeness of our world. Using the collage technique to interpret and critique, to "create a new world" from what already exists, Hirschhorn aims, he says, to reach "strangers, passers-by, and people from other cultures" to engage their senses in ways that open them to questions of moral responsibility, mass production and consumerism, aesthetics, and social justice issues.

Trained as a graphic designer, Hirschhorn, who lives and works in Paris, France, and is considered both an influential and uncompromising artist, exhibits his often political work throughout the world; moreover, his work can be found in the permanent collections of such museums as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to sculptures, drawing, paintings, and assemblages, Hirschhorn creates videos and art for public spaces.

Below is a Louisiana Channel interview with Hirschhorn, conducted by Kasper Bech Dyg at Kunsthal Aarhus, in Denmark, in January 2017. 

Thomas Hirschhorn at ArndtArt 21Gladstone Gallery, and Stephen Friedman Gallery

See Angelo A. Ludin's insightful film about Thomas Hirschhorn's Gramsci Monument, a project at Forest Houses in the Bronx, New York. Also read Veronica Simpson's feature article about the project, "Thomas Hirschhorn: 'The Gramsci Monument, like all monuments, is made for eternity'" at Studio International.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Poet Charles Coe

A "Boston Literary Light for 2014", poet Charles Coe is the author of All Sins Forgiven: poems for my parents (Leapfrog Press, 2013) and Picnic on the Moon: Poems (Leapfrog Press, 1999). Many of his poems have been published in literary periodicals and anthologies. Recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a Fellow of St. Botolph Club of Boston, and 2016-2017 Artist-in-Residence for the City of Boston, Coe's work also has been set to music by such composers as Beth Denisch and Robert Moran ("Requiem for Edith", 2009).

Coe, co-chair of the Boston chapter of the National Writers Union, published a novella, Spin Cycles (Gemma Media), in 2014. That novella is included in Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers Searching for the Muse (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2016). 

Coe also is a jazz and popular vocalist who travels widely recording and performing his work.

Roberto Mighty's short documentary about Coe, Charles Coe: Man of Letters, follows.

Charles Coe: Man of Letters from Roberto Mighty on Vimeo.

Roberto Mighty's short Peach Pie, based on Coe's poem "Fortress", had its debut in June 2016 at the California International Shorts Festival. It also was featured at the 2016 Los Angeles Short Film Festival.

Charles Coe on FaceBook

Charles Coe, "A Son's Songs", The Boston Globe, June 16, 2013

Read Coe's poem "A Poem for Happy Endings" at Solstice magazine.

Listen to Coe read "Billy Pilgrim Reflects" on YouTube video.

Ryan Pait, "Poet-in-Residence Charles Coe Still Believes in Libraries", The Chautauquan Daily, July 12, 2016

Jane Dornbusch, "Thanks to Father's Influence, This Poet Is Well Versed in Cooking", (The Boston Globe), October 31, 2007

Boston Mayor's Office, "Ten Artists Selected for Boston Artists-in-Residence Program", October 3, 2016

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday Muse: John Rule, Poet

Below, Sarah Moore Chrychel relates in her 33-minute documentary, Witch Hazel Advent: The Story of an Ozark Poet (2012), the life of poet and peace/environmental activist John Rule, who, with his wife Margaret, lived off the grid in their home, "Frog Bayou", in Arkansas's Ozark Mountains. Though Margaret became ill with Alzheimer's disease, Rule cared for her under less-than-ideal conditions for almost 10 years; ultimately, he was forced to place her in a nursing home, where she died in 2009. Subsequently, Rule became an activist.

Chrychel, Rule's granddaughter, tells his story, interspersing it with his poetry and interviews. Her film was made for her master's degree in journalism, which she received from the University of Arkansas.

Chrychel, who lives in Fayetteville, is a video producer at Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas.

Witch Hazel Advent, The Story of an Ozark Poet from Sarah Moore Chyrchel on Vimeo.

Sarah K. Moore on FaceBook

Pryor Center on FaceBook

Ozark Poets & Writers Collective on FaceBook

Hear John Rule read some of his poetry at his former blog John Rule: An Arkansas Poet.