Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Rosenbach!

In just a few days I am going to the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia. They are going to exhibit my Ulysses Gloves. All 310 of them. This is the first solo show I shall have, and my first museum show. My art dealer Cade Tompkins is coming with me, which is a very good thing because I am a little overwhelmed just thinking about my meeting. But in a good way.
Kieth Haring, when he was around thirty years younger than I, used to fly all over the country and the world, overseeing installations of his work, painting  freehand on museums walls, in hospitals, on buildings, on bodies. I think about him when I am afraid because that young guy was fearless. He is an art hero to me.
Anyway, everyone at the Rosenbach seems really nice. The e-mails back and forth have been encouraging and when we are done meeting and discussing and drawing up a contract we are going out for a nice lunch. I am excited about that too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Next Phase. . . Providence Athenaeum.

This Glove post needs to continue.
First of all I gave a talk at the Providence Athenaeum on October 19, 2012.
It was a wet night, chilly and rainy, but so cozy inside this beautiful old library. On Friday nights there are salons, open to the public, about any number of topics. There is wine and sherry, and dainty snacks. This was my Friday, shared with my new friend Stuart Blazer.
Stuart is a poet. I am not well read in the genre of poetry and when I first found out we would be paired...Stuart asking me questions about the Gloves and me responding, mingled with questions from the audience, I was nervous. All I knew about him is that he did not like e-mail, which is my life blood.
Fortunately, this being Rhode Island we met first by accident, at a gathering for Art New England. As soon as we began to talk I knew it would be fine, that we would be fine. That truth was made more sure when I met him for coffee with Christina Bevilaqua, who organizes these events.
Over coffee the three of us fine tuned the format we'd use for our talk. After C. left, Stuart and I continued to talk. Our conversation went from the art project, to e-mail, to childhood, mutual acquaintances and family. It was one of those conversations that gives you goosebumps because the things that draw you closer are so unexpected as to feel other-worldly.
The night of our talk only a few of my friends were able to make it. Of course my husband was there, with his sister Amy who flew up from Florida. It was great to have hugs and familiar faces but most of the crowd were strangers to me, to my work.
Just like the conversation I had over coffee with Stuart this night at the Athenaeum began and ended taking turns in directions I never imagined. It was one of the happiest, most fun events I have been part of. I should have been really nervous, and I was for five minutes before we started. But once the first word was out of Stuart's mouth my nerves were hijacked by adrenaline, and the audience came along for the ride. There were cynics and skeptics, fans and puzzled Joyce devotees. At the end we were all high and happy and there was applause and cheers.
It was magic.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Party

On June 16th, I had a party to celebrate finishing my Ulysses Glove Project. I am not good at having parties. I like the idea of it, and I want my muses to be Gertrude Stein and maybe Florine Stetheimer. But mostly I am anxious from the second I make it known that I am having a party, right through the following day. 
Still, I thought it would be a good idea to have people around who have supported me and encouraged me, as well as some people who might be able to help me get this project shown. I saved the last six sentences of Ulysses to write at the party. They are beautiful lines, from Molly Bloom. I don't have the book in front of me, but I know the lines include yes I said yes I will yes. As I leaned over my last glove, pen in hand, I was so hot. My face was hot, my hair was hot. I felt like one of those cartoon characters who is sweating from every pore. Out the eyes, the nose, the top of the head. I had such a surge of relief when it was done....as though an infusion of oxygen had been blown into my lungs. 
 I should have said a few words, but I didn't. I mingled and chatted and drank champagne and did not eat any of the food I had paid for. I think I had two strawberries, two crackers, a half an inch of pate, and a piece of broccoli. 
When it was all over I had to get right back in to mommy mode, head downtown to pick up my son from  Pride festivities and deliver him to a party in Johnston. I am always trying to imagine Picasso or Richard Long, Richard Serra, Warhol, or any big time artist having to make mental switches like that. I think I might be able to imagine Roz Chast having to to do it.
This project is about so many things. One day I will write down all the ingredients that make up the Glove Project. I do have an official artist statement, but that is for grants and residencies, for parties and publicity. It does give the general idea, but there is much, much more. One important piece of it has to do with what I see as a mostly female concern with being able to be a shape shifter all the time. When I began this project I wanted to create something epic. But I knew I needed to be able to do it on my own terms, with my limited time and space, my lack of funding or star power. I needed to be able to be in the car pool, to walk my dog, do the wash, clean the house. 
This project is so personal. I need to re-read the book Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood, which I think I read twenty years ago. I seem to remember that the main character was an artist. She had an exhibit when she was past middle age and all the strange parts of her life, the roads not taken, the turns and random choices, the decisions of her parents and family, went into the artist she became. For me, the Gloves are everything I have been doing since childhood. They include being taught handwriting by nuns in parochial school, feeling like I am not skilled enough to draw what I want to draw, not brave enough to make something big. 
Anyway, the party is over. Now I need to get this project out in the world. The next party, for my opening, should be really big. I'll try to eat something. I'll try to relax, and enjoy all of it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's Next?

This morning I finished all I am going to finish of copying Ulysses on to rubber gloves. I left six sentences for my Bloomsday party, where I will sit and finish the book, then open some champagne!!!
I have an artist statement to explain the bones of this project. But in part it was to show myself, and whoever else cares, that one person can create something very epic without any help. I had no funding, no grant, no residency, no assistants. I took my gloves with me on every vacation, to Florida, to California, many times to N.Y., to the beach hotel in Misquamicut. I didn't miss any school plays or concerts or any of my son's lessons. I watched t.v. and cleaned the house. I did it all with no special space, no special equipment. This is very much a woman's project because I just don't know a man who would worry about the above list. The clean house, the lack of chunks of time, the child's lessons and plays and appointments.
These are the books I listened to while I worked on this project:
If I Stay
My Hollywood
The Sun Also Rises
Secrets to Happiness
The Three Weismans of Westport
The Lakeshore Limited
The Widower's Tale
Heir to the Glimmering World
My Abondonment
The Septembers of Shiraz
Private Life
I'd Know You Anywhere
Strength in What Remains
This Beautiful Life
State of Wonder
The Lost City of Z
A Good and Happy Child
In The Heart of the Canyon
The Starboard Sea

I also listened to the news, too much, watched a lot of Pawn Stars, repeats of movies. Anything I could follow without watching.
Soon, my dealer, Cade Tompkins and I are going to spend a day finding out how many gloves this project took, and talk about the show we will have.  My friend Pam Petro is going to photograph the process so we can document each layer of this crazy project and have some idea of how much space all these gloves will take when shown as I want to show them.
But first, on June 16th, Bloomsday, I am having a party to celebrate the end. My thanks to each and every friend, acquaintance, passer-by, facebook friend and family member who cheered me on along the way. To those colonies who turned me down for a few weeks to work, you just might rue the day. Or, maybe not. I could have used that validation because I had some very low moments. But now that I have done this, I feel like the chubby out of shape person who just finished a marathon. Proud.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The beginning of the end, for real. Page 781.

I am so close to the end of this project, at least as far as copying text on to rubber gloves goes. It has put me in an odd state of mind. I am almost nervous about it, as though the end is more of a challenge then starting it. I could have finished it today if I had wanted to, but I was not ready. I have other things to do and I just want to stick to my routine of about a page a day. Tomorrow I'll do the last full page. Thursday & Friday I think I'll take a break, and Saturday I'll do all but the last few sentences. I'm saving those for my party on June 16th, when I'll write the last bit in front of my friends.
Meanwhile, I heard that tonight there is going to be some sort of astro phenomena. The transit of Venus? The Venus transit? There are lots of postings on facebook about the implications as far as moods and feelings. I am such a tumultuous person anyway...I'm not sure any astrological event could have much of an effect on me that anyone would notice. I am up and down on an hourly basis. I am cranky and then corny with love. I want to do everything but I want to sleep in. As my husband says, I am uptight. The nice thing about this project is that I have had a plan for each and every day. I always write something of Ulysses on to a rubber glove. Soon, I won't have that. It's like studying meditation or yoga or being a runner, and then stopping cold turkey.
I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do next as far as art work. In a way I think I would like to do a series of still life's (or is it still lives?), just small paintings and drawings of things around the house. I feel like I want to do something kind of conventional to cleanse my palette. But, who knows? I don't have to decide for at least a few days more. Maybe Venus will give me a clue.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The beginning of the end. Page 737.

Today I start copying the forty-six page four sentence stream of conscious musings of Molly Bloom. I have heard of this section. I had heard it was eighty pages and I'm glad that isn't true, at least it isn't true in my edition. There is almost no punctuation, almost no paragraph indentation. It is very, very dense.
I remember when I started doing this project.
I remember when my son was rehearsing for the play 13, in the Courthouse Theater. I brought gloves, my pen, and my library copy of Ulysses. I sat alone in the beautiful, quiet lobby of the big old building. I listened to podcasts on my ipod and wrote, while young actors were upstairs learning their lines and songs.
I remember reaching page 100, and having Noah make a little you tube movie to mark the occasion.
I remember reaching the halfway point, which I had bookmarked with a small, torn piece of paper.
I remember reaching page 500, when my friend Pamela Petro brought me a bottle of champagne.
Now I really feel that I am near the end. It is hard to believe, but it has taken over three years and in the past year hardly a day has passed when I haven't written at least a page, and usually more.
When this is over, which it will be on June 16th, 2012, I am having a party. Anyone who reads this blog or who is interested in this project or curious is invited. Details to follow.
Today I begin the task of reaching the end, one letter, one word at a time. Page 782 and 1/2....here I come! I think I shall remember this day too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

page 646 - Hopes and Dreams

I set a deadline for myself to finish this project. June 16, 2012, Bloomsday and a day before Father's Day. Right now that means completing 1 and 1/2 pages a day, which takes me around two hours, because the text is so dense. It's the first time the project has felt a little burdensome. I don't allow myself to work on any other drawing until my Ulysses quota is finished, or unless I know I have time to get to it before the day ends.
Now, having set this deadline, and having told people about it, I feel pressure. Because I feel pressure, my anxiety about what will become of this work is invading my sleep.
The first dream I had was classic anxiety stuff. I dreamed I was going to have a launch of the project at a museum before an audience of high powered curators, museum-goers, friends and family. At least three hundred people were waiting. I was running around like a lunatic, upstairs from the crowd. The plan was for me to lie (or is it lay) naked surrounded by a circle of gloves. But I knew I could not do that. Me, naked?  I realized I needed clothes but all I could find were old, too large overalls. My assistants (if only) were telling me I could not wear overalls and I insisted I could. Then we started looking for all the gloves, which had gotten out of order, grown furry (?)...well, let's just say this dream did not end well. Everyone important had left. It was a total failure.
The next dream was much better. In that one (last night) my curator friend Judith told me she had set aside a room at the RISD Museum for my first show of the gloves. I was shocked and elated and grateful.
Neither of these scenarios are going to happen. I can't imagine what will happen. It's been a long long time since I have done something where I can't visualize the outcome, at all. It's scary and thrilling. It makes me feel a little like I felt in college, when I attempted things that were beyond my reach.
And all this pressure is coming from inside me.
I do know that I shall finish on or by June 16.
And I am having a party.
And I am excited.

Friday, February 24, 2012

page 620

So, I have started part 111 of Ulysses, which began on page 613. I have still been able to write out one page a day, though I'm not sure I can keep to that goal. I hope so. If I can, I should be finished with this project in around six months, which will be in August.
This section is pretty hard going. The text is dense, a wall of words with only a few breaks for paragraphs and quotes. But it gets even harder toward the end, when Molly Bloom begins the 80 page four sentence stream of thought that has no breaks at all.
I thought it might interest people to know what audio books I have listened to so far, while I work on this project. A lot of times I just listen to CNN or MSNBC, but lately, what with each republican candidate leaning ever farther to the right, I have a limit to how much I want to hear.
So, the books are:
If I Stay
My Hollywood
The Sun Also Rises
Secrets to Happiness
The Three Weismans of Westport
The Lakeshore Limited
The Widowers Tale
Heir To The Glimmering World
My Abandonment
The Septembers of Shiraz
Private Life
I'd Know You Anywhere
Strength in What Remains
This Beautiful Life
State of Wonder
Lost City of Z
It's quite a variety. Murder mystery, a couple of y.a. books, non fiction, lofty fiction, chick lit. Within this list I'd say my favorite was Septembers of Shiraz, which was heartbreaking and beautiful. The next one, coming soon from my library, will be The Sense of an Ending. Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I am listening to books while writing Ulysses, because I can't really focus on what Joyce is saying when I am listening to a story. But mostly I think it helps me to focus and I feel like it enriches my life. I am a fairly slow reader and this allows me to "read" more than I could if I kept only to holding a book in my hands. I feel that listening to a book maximizes my time, and there are so many books I want to read and re-read, that doing this helps chip away at my ridiculously long list.
Anyway, I have not yet completed my page for this day, so off I go. Sadly, my new audio book isn't here yet, so I am stuck with politics.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

page 600!

So, I am almost through with page 600. The past hundred pages or so have been very easy to do. Not easy like reading a magazine, but in the context of writing neat text onto a yellow rubber glove with a sharpie pen, easy. In approximately thirteen pages the party is over. There begins part three, and is the most difficult section in a difficult book. I think I read someplace that the last eighty pages of the book consist of just four sentences.
I have been able to do at least 1 and 1/2 pages each day for some time now, often getting through two or more pages. That's why this last hundred pages flew by. Soon my pace will slow down considerably. I'm trying to keep reminding myself that it is okay to finish just a half page, or three quarters of a page when the text is so dense, but it will be hard to keep myself from pushing to keep to a one page a day quote.
In equal parts I want to finish this project and not finish it. It will be hard to imagine what I'll do with the extra hour to two hours I now spend almost everyday on this thing. Also, there is the mounting anxiety about where this will end up...what gallery, room, space. Who will see it, write about it, want it, want to show it. For now though, I just have to keep myself in the right now, and today, make it to the end of page 601. A breeze.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Page 544

Yesterday I realized that I will probably be finished with the Ulysses Project this year...the year 2012 (the end of the world according to some people). When I started it, the end didn't even seem like a possibility, and now, it is soon to be a reality.
Part of me longs to just plow through, doing three or four or more pages daily. But I am also thankful that I am not finished, because when it is done I have the expectation, the hope and dream of showing it someplace fabulous to great acclaim and glory. So, with the end comes the inevitable fear of crushing failure.
Meanwhile, I have been working on small slinky drawings on color aid paper, which I bought when I was in college. Each piece of 6" x 9" paper is silkscreened in some glorious saturated intense color. Any mark one makes with a pen, or with gouache, pops, and in real life much more than on screen the final works are just plain luscious. Real eye candy. I hope to have twenty of these eventually, but so far only have four.

It's always nice to have a couple of projects going at once. One to take me years, and some to give me more instant gratification.