Thursday, November 3, 2016

Is it Tiffany or Robin's Egg blue?

When you say  Hermes orange, or Tiffany blue,  does Kapoor black come to mind? British artist Anish Kapoor has secured the exclusive right to use the high-tech color "Vantablack", a color developed for military purposes. The pigment is so dark that it absorbs 99.96 percent of light making anything coated with it nearly invisible. I heard that the former Soviet Union went to great lengths during the Cold War to discover the formula.

Kapoor is not the first artist to secure rights to a color.  Think Yves Klein. Did you know you are supposed to pay a licensing fee to the estate if you use that color (International Klein Blue)? And how would you ever know if you strayed into Yves Klein territory when for instance doing a painting of a swimming pool with a myriad of blues?

What do you think of an artist monopolizing a color? Should brand identity stand in the way of artistic expression? Will Kapoor aggressively pursue his rights and sue fellow artists?  Will you be arrested by painting with Kapoor Black?

And what if you are using it as a commentary on Kapoor, or a reference to the military, or the nature and presence of a painting with the absence of color? Shouldn't that all be covered under freedom of expression and merit legal protection?

Tom Sachs comes to mind with his use of safety orange. It informs our understanding of his work. I love that he's thought about orange.

I think we are at the beginning of a large conversation. What do you think pink?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Pierrot Lunaire

I am finally gaining insight into my newest works in paper (The artist is always the last to know...).

As you know, they had the working title, Tropes but are clearly concurrent with Pierrot Lunaire by the Belgian writer, Albert Giraud.

Fables, tropes, and the absurd. Dreamlike, fractured, nocturnal. Stories that are told without telling coalesce into potent though uncertain relationships.
Within a theater of recurring figures and gestures, a disconcerted balance of undiscovered and ambiguous histories emerge as metatheatre — improvisation and invention, parody and burlesque a world of lunacy, deceit, disorder, and confusion.

In my Pierrot, man and animal trade body parts, morph into mists and smoke and touch each other in ambiguous spaces. With these tropes on the fabulous and fractured, all is possible.

Here's a preview:

Susan Shaw, A host of playful pranks
cotton, linen, trash pulp  2016

Susan Shaw, Linen spun of light
cotton, linen, trash pulp  2016

Susan Shaw, The fountain laughs in it's pool 
cotton, linen, wood, trash pulp  2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Tropes taking on a life of their own.

As you know I have been working on a series of Tropes at Dieu Donné Papermill...large works in handmade paper.  All painting done with pigmented pulp—cotton, linen and trash pulp.
handmade paper trope 022 susan shaw 2016

Susan Shaw 2016  60" x 40" Trope 005 (green deer) cotton, linen and trash pulp


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pulling Pulp

Catching up. I spent the month of September at the  Women's Studio Workshop. I had the paper studio residency all to myself and how great it was. WSW is an incredibly supportive place. Everyone is very encouraging no matter what you are trying to accomplish. Chris Petrone the studio manager and the interns were beyond great. Chris helped me wrestle with fibers I had never tried before. Tana the Artistic Director and co-founder got me using the vacuum press, a noisy novelty. The other artists in residence were also interesting. My apartment mate, artist Wei Jane Chir, was working on a book about organ harvesting. Interesting photos floating around when I got home at night... All of this helped me to create more than fifty works during my residency.  Add all that to the glorious fall weather and wow—you should try it yourself. Read more about it in this article.

Photos by Chelsea Campbell

Friday, January 9, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

The comic world is a small one and Kurt knew some of those killed. It is so very sad. As a tribute, I have made a poster in the style of those I saw during the 1968 student protests in Paris. With hope for a better world, la lutte continue!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dieu Donné Benefit and Ann Hamilton too!

Dieu Donné is the world's leading cultural institution dedicated to serving established and emerging artists through the collaborative creation of cutting-edge contemporary art using the process of hand papermaking. As you know I work there frequently, and have met some of the wonderful artists who collaborate with them.Last night was their annual benefit. It was great, in addition to a silent auction, they honored Ann Hamilton and  performed her piece, Page Sounding. 

Below are some snapshots from the event,  a short clip of the performance and a video of the process at Dieu Donné  to make that paper.


Friday, October 24, 2014

W.A.G.E. Rage — an Update

I'm happy to write this follow up to a blog post I wrote in 2009, called W.A.G.E. Rage. It's been one of my most popular posts. I wrote about how W.A.G.E., Working Artists for a Greater Economy, is trying to create a model for artists to earn money from their work in a lot of different ways. Here's some good news I received in a recent email from W.A.G.E.:

"W.A.G.E. just launched W.A.G.E. Certification, a paradigm-shifting model for the remuneration of artistic labor.
Initiated and operated by W.A.G.E., Certification is a program that publicly recognizes non-profit arts organizations that demonstrate a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees—it is also the first of its kind in the U.S. that establishes a sector-wide minimum standard for compensation, as well as a clear set of guidelines and standards for the conditions under which artistic labor is contracted.

W.A.G.E. worked in dialog with artists, arts organizations, writers, sociologists, labor historians, and critical theorists over the past four years to produce a scalable model that can be applied across the non-profit arts economy in all its variation: from small artist-runspaces struggling to support a single employee to large institutions with hundreds of full-time workers and top salaries in the seven figures.

We are also proud to announce that, working with W.A.G.E. over the past year as part of a two-year Research Partnership, Artists Space has met the policy’s requirements and paid fees meeting a minimum standard specified by the program’s fee calculator—making it the first organization to be W.A.G.E. Certified.

If you know our work, then you know that these are major achievements in the history of W.A.G.E. What you may not know is that for the past six years we have operated on speaking, writing and workshop fees. It's a miracle we've lasted this long.

W.A.G.E. can only keep fighting for equitable compensation if we ourselves are compensated.

We are asking you, as our constituency and our community, to join W.A.G.E. by directly supporting us: help us raise $75,000 by making a tax-deductible donation to Wages 4 W.A.G.E. Funds will be applied directly to minimal overhead costs, which include paying our dedicated organizers a living wage. We cannot W.A.G.E. RAGE without you!

W.A.G.E. Certification's guidelines and fee calculator are at

To support Wages 4 W.A.G.E. please go to"

I am excited to say, "For the times they are a changin'"