Arm Chair Solidarity

Breast-like mushrooms on the leaf compost
Breast-like mushrooms on the leaf compost

In these dog days of summer I’m closely watching a few ongoing conflicts and I’m siding with the women in each one.

Pope Benedict XVI vs. the Nuns.

Putin vs. Pussy Riot

USA vs. Japan
Without cable tv we’ve had to arrange our days around finding a set for the Women’s soccer games. The games have been sensational. The semi-final against Canada was was one of the most thrilling games I’ve ever seen. I was so happy to see Christie Rampone’s brilliant shot and Heather O’Rielly come off the bench and cross that perfect ball to Rochester Flash’s Alex Morgan in the final minute of overtime. I don’t think I could handle the noise level while watching the game at Abby Wambach’s brother’s bar. We will probably go for the comfort of my parents living room.

And I’ve been celebrating Marlene Dumas‘s birthday all week.

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Post Dumas

Paul Dodd "Crime Face" painting 2009
Paul Dodd “Crime Face” painting 2009

This is the first painting I’ve done since taking in the Marlene Dumas show at MoMA last week. My show at the Little is up for one more day. It comes down tomorrow so for one night only, both it and the second half of this last batch of “Crime Face Paintings” is up at the two locations. The second half opens tonight at the Printing and Book Arts Center in the old firehouse on Monroe Avenue. I put the best light in the house on this painting when I hung it over there.

Today is the first friday of the First Friday series of openings this year. Small galleries, scattered all over the city, have openings tonight. So if you are out and about , stop in at the Book Arts Center for “Crime Face Paintings Pt. ll”. Peggi made spicy little ginger snaps (from Shelley’s recipe) for the occasion and dj Sam Patch will provide the music.

02.06.09 – 03.04.09 Printing and Book Arts Center 713 Monroe Avenue
Opening Reception on Friday 02.06.09 7pm – 9pm
DJ Sam Patch will provide music

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Anybody Have A Kind Heart?

Subway to MoMA
Subway to MoMA

We got on the F train in Brooklyn at Fort Hamilton and headed for the Modern in Manhattan. We were sitting at the front of the first car. This line brings you above ground for a few stops before going down under the East River. A very short man with a camouflaged hat got on and started singing a beautiful folk song in Spanish. I gave him a dollar. At the next stop a guy in a trench coat got on with a styrofoam cup that he was rattling. I tried not to look at him.

A women burst through the door right behind him and loudly addressed the passengers, “OK people. I will try to be brief. My husband has abused me, humiliated me. . . etc.” She kept walking to the other end of the car and we tried to tune her out but she worked her way back to us with her hand out, repeating, “Anybody have a kind heart? Anybody have a kind heart?” She said this like it didn’t have a question mark. Next on was a woman with missing front teeth. She was dragging a big black trash bag. She leaned against the pole in front of us and began singing, “I believe the children are the future”.

The distance between stops as the train goes under the river is longer than that between most stops so this train is a magnet for buskers. Duane, our NYC friend and guide, told us he has seen guys bring a whole drum set in, set it up and bang out a hip hop tune. They get of on the other side, cross over and ride back all day long.

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Isn’t Grappling Enough?

Art work at 2 Vine Restaurant in Rochester, NY
Art work at 2 Vine Restaurant in Rochester, NY

The Democrat & Chronicle seems to be falling apart. They have laid off about ten percent of their staff and there were ridiculous typos in the paper this morning like this head, “McCain Rejects Criticism Republican of Obama”. The typos have to be bad for me to notice. Readership is declining (more like dying) and they can’t seem to think their way out of the box. How about some more interesting local content? I already knew someone threw a shoe at Bush before I opened the paper. In fact I had already seen the video.

City does an amazing job with local stuff. There is some meaty political coverage and Frank DeBlase is a joy to read and they even have an art critic. Imagine that. Rebecca Rafferty reviewed the RoCo Members Show last week. We had been to the opening and saw plenty of things that we liked. I usually just let my eye wander and stop when something seems pleasing so I knew I had missed a lot. It’s hard to see the show when so many people are milling about but it’s fun to see the people. We wanted to go back and this time we brought Rebecca’s review and we tracked down the drawings and paintings that she cited. It was a lot of fun.

I like art criticism regardless of whether I agree with it or not. Roberta Smith’s review of “Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave“, a mid-career survey at MoMA was tough. Marlene is one of my favorite painters of all time and easily my favorite living painter. She draws raw and right on and her paintings are luscious. Roberta worked extra hard to knock her down. Here’s a quote. “Fusing the political and the painterly, it grapples with the complexities of image making, the human soul, sexuality, the beauty of art, the masculinity of traditional painting, the ugliness of social oppression. How much it delivers on these scores is a question that this exhibition doesn’t quite answer.” Why does this exhibition have to “deliver” any of this. Isn’t grappling enough?

We had an incredible dinner at 2 Vine. We shared a Thai flavored Calamari appetizer and Peggi and I both ordered the bass special. The waitress explained that all their fish comes fresh daily from Boston and it is never frozen. It was also prepared first class. Crispy on the outside but light and moist on the inside with a very delicate orange flavor. It was the best fish I have ever had in my life. Which brings us to the art on the walls. Egon Schiele on Red Bull and Jagermeister?

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Palin In The Corn
Palin In The Corn

How do you go about drawing in a cornfield at this scale? The articles say it took the farmer eight hours to mow his corn field in this Palin pattern but how do they work on this huge scale? Does someone project an image on the field? I might want to do some big crime faces.

Sometimes its easier to find a site with Google even when you know the domain name. And then there are always the diversions. I found the Korean Pop Wars and just added this Popwar “Word Beanie” to my wish list all on the way to my blog.

Monica emailed me from the Memorial Art Gallery today. She needs the Marlene Dumas books back that I borrowed. Excellent timing because “Measuring Your Own Grave”, the Marlene Dumas book from her upcoming MOMA retrospective, just showed up from B&N online.

A bird flew into our kitchen window this morning while I was having coffee. It’s lying upside down on our deck. I have to get out there and give it a proper burial. I promise not to photograph it. I never got around selling my 3 mega pixel Kodak when I bought the 5 megapixel Sony that I had until I bought my new little Nikon so I gave it to Pete and Shelley when they were here last. They sent a photo of a mouse that they caught in a trap. I probably won’t post that either but I wanted to acknowledge receipt of it. It’s nice to know they are using the camera. It all happens with solar power up where they are.


Progress or Passage

Margaret Explosion at Little Theater Cafe in Rochester, New York
Margaret Explosion at Little Theater Cafe in Rochester, New York

John Gilmore brought a Wegman’s precooked chicken over for dinner last night. We had a salad and some salsa waiting for him but the salsa was too hot for John. We gobbled it all down and raced off to the Little for our last Margaret Explosion gig until November. We’ll use our down time next month to rehearse for the Scorgies Reunion gig. Haven’t touched most of that Personal Effects material in twenty years.

Bob Martin was out of town last night so we played with Jack Schaefer. We got through the night without doing any songs and that is usually a sign that there will be some magic on the recording. Paul Brandwein was there to hear the band and marvel at his art on the walls. We had just seen him at the Billy Bang show on Monday. Mick Sarubbi was there with his mono recording rig set up. That’s his mic in the foreground of this shot. Here’s our recording of one of the tunes from last night. We’ll have to A/B it to Mick’s.

Back home we checked out the photos that John Gilmore took at the Little while iTunes shuffled away in the background. Patsy Cline’s “Does Your Heart Beat For Me?” leveled me for some reason. Does that old stuff really sound better? Is there such a thing as progress or just passage? Like Irene (Palermo) Baurschmidt told me at our reunion, “We’re getting old, Paul”.

Dreamland Faces ignores these issues and plays timeless music. They’ll be playing saw & accordions tomorrow night while Jenn Libby projects some films at the Visual Studies Workshop – 8PM. Pick up a copy of their new BROWN HORN instrumental record while you’re there. I will be entertaining my mother-in-law.

I used the 25 dollar B&N gift certificate that the class gave me for being on the reunion committee to order the Marlene Dumas book, “Measuring Your Own Grave”. The book is a companion piece to her upcoming show at MOMA. She is my favorite living artist.

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A Big Mistake Is Better Than A Small One

Marlene Dumas "Illusion" detail
Marlene Dumas “Illusion” detail

If I lived anywhere near LA I would be at the Museum of Contemporary for the Marlene Dumas retrospective before it closes on September 22. I can hardly wait for the show to open in New York in December. I haven’t had time to paint on canvas in the last few months. All of my painting has been “en plen air”, on the house. But I have been thinking about painting and I am excited about getting back to it.

Marlene Dumas is great food for though. This quote is from a book of Marlene Dumas watercolors called “Wet Dreams”.

“For me watercolors used to be associated with failed artists (e.g. Hitler), retired politicians (e.g. Churchill) and Sunday painters. It was the most uncritical, non aggressive asexual thing to do. Then it’s image changed. Now everyone is doing it. Falling for this seductive, addictive medium, it’s hard to stop. Every little blob begs to be loved. It’s easy to drown in its sweet perfumes. So I try to raise the stakes. Increase resistance.

Unlike most painters, my watercolors, these days, are bigger than my paintings. A big mistake is better than a small one.”

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Transportation Please

Crowd on Gibbs Street at the Rochester Internation Jazz Fest

The tabla player, Badal Roy, who was featured in the program as the key player in Dharma Jazz was a no show last night at Max’s. Dan Johnson sat in and did a pretty good job but he was filling some big shoes. The keyboardist, who did most of the talking, said this band is a collective but he acted like it was all his. He did have a better sense of rhythm than the two percussionists.

We hung around Gibbs Street, renamed “Jazz Street” for the week, until Kamakazie Jazz started. We skipped John Scofield at Kilbourn but kept our ears open for reviews from people who had seen the first show. Kathy Palokoff said she had “never seen a band that old playing rock and roll” and in this morning’s paper Jeff Spevak said “With John Scofield the Jazz Festival really felt like jazz”.

We stopped into RoCo where pieces continue to sell in the 6×6 show. There are over a thousand red dots on the wall now. And then we went next store to Christ Church for Yggdrasil who transported us to a Nordic seashore with a beautiful forty five minute piece.

I posted a bunch of photos from the jazz fest on the Refrigerator. You can get to this years batch by clicking on the 2008 Club Pass.

I kept thinking about the feature on Marlene Dumas in the Sunday Magazine Section of the NYTs. There is a major retrospective of her work opening at the LA County Museum next month and that show moves to MOMA in December. I know where I’ll be.

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Marlene Dumas Is A Saint

If Padre Pio can be a saint then Marlene Dumas can be.

Martin Edic forwarded an email from Boo Poulin this morning with a link to a video with Marlene Dumas paintings in it. Boo assumed I had seen it but asked Martin to forward it just in case. I watch about as much YouTube as I do TV and that’s hardly any. I had not seen the video and I still haven’t. I keep pausing the damn thing so I can look at the paintings. I will take me weeks to get to the end. And the music – I turn the sound off and it works much better.

Is it legal to open a book, scan a bunch of paintings and have that be your whole video? Rich Stim would know. He writes and Intellectual Property blog for Nolo. Marlene Dumas painting or drawing, now there would be a video. Marlene Dumas talking about painting or drawing would be a good one too. I’d take a video of Marlene Dumas crossing the street so I do love this video.


Endless Rejects

Marlene Dumas Chlorosis (Love sick) 1994
Marlene Dumas Chlorosis (Love sick) 1994 at MoMA

In 2002 I painted twenty two “Artists’ Heads,” and mounted them together in two long frames. At the time they were my favorite painters. The piece was in the 2003 Finger Lakes Show at the Memorial Art Gallery. I’m still pretty happy with the list but if I was doing it today I certainly would include Philip Guston and Marlene Dumas.

Geri McCormick saw some Marlene Dumas work at MOMA and told me that she thought I would really like it. Wow, do I. I checked out a “Marlene Dumas: One Hundred Models and Endless Rejects” from the UofR library and ate it up. I brought it into painting class to to show to Lorraine but she wasn’t in class. My painting teacher, Fred, borrowed it and he seems to have devoured it (that’s a few steps above eating it up). He brought it back into class with yellow post it notes hanging out of the bottom of the pages. I’m happy that Fred liked it as much as I did and now it’s Lorraine’s turn. The book, from a show of her work in Boston is out of print. There is a copy on Amazon for $221.26 if you’re interested.

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