It's the usual thing. Kurt and I went out to photograph the circus elephants as they walked into Manhattan in the middle of the night via the Midtown tunnel. We waited for about 2 hours in the pouring rain and got our best photos, and not of the elephants. As usual it seems to be a case of Mars vs Venus. Decide for yourself...
Being in Louisiana for a while has the effect of making one think about nature more than usual for a New Yorker. And when I spied this vine it made the usual connection to the work of Andy Goldsworthy.
I was also struck recently by a comment made by Cora Cohen when we were at the Joseph Beuys: Make the Secrets Productive exhibition currently at Pace Wildenstein. She reminded me of his idea of social sculpture as a gesamtkunstwerk. Whether that interaction is societal or political can depend on one's point of view. So is interacting with nature politically or automatically green? In my case, I am only a natural bystander, photographing things as I find them without any alterations as seen here, always looking for spots where nature mimics the man-made. In Andy Goldsworthy's case he does an active intervention via natural materials collected from the site. We are probably both descended from Beuys view of interaction although somewhat far afield.
I've enjoyed watching Mad Men and have been curious about the potential for merchandising, fully expecting to see barware sets and fitted dresses with poufy skirts. What surprised me was when the New York Times covered the launch of the four Mad Men dolls for Mattel that come under the Barbie rubric. Surprising because in America dolls are very wholesome. Given Don Draper’s propensity for adultery, he and Betty may be firsts for the Barbie world as stand-ins for Barbie and Ken. The other two Mattel Madmen dolls represent Roger Sterling and his former mistress, Joan Holloway. They must be the first extra marital Barbies. The dolls come with period accessories like pearls and padded undergarments, but no cigarettes, martini glasses or cocktail shakers.
I have a major thing about Barbie not only because I grew up with her, but also because at Hyperspace Cowgirls we created a Game Boy game for Mattel, Barbie Fashion Pack, and because I love the work of artist, David Levinthal, who has two incredible Barbie books. They are, as are all his works, "political" and worth seeking out.
Lastly with my triple obsessions of Mad Men, Barbie and dress up, I discovered that one can Mad Men oneself. AMC's entertainment allows you to create your own persona within the Mad Men universe. Here I am the ground breaking first Jewish Creative Director at Sterling Cooper, meeting with Kurt and Donald Draper for drinks after work.
Whew! I'm in the post opening let down phase. The opening was great. More than 1200 people came. I was gratified and honored by the wonderful turnout. I was not surprised about the power of media though. Only 3 minutes on TV and people all over town would come up and say, "oh, you're the artist lady." Of course, I do have lavender hair...
In the meantime, I took two true fishing days and am now anxious to get back into the studio.
They've even given me some additional space. A presence in the lobby of some additional works that didn't make it into the show. They won't be up long since the walls of the lobby will soon change shape as they open parts of the amazing expansion that the ACA is doing.
I am riding on a cloud. Louisiana seems to provide the substance that is usually only dreams. In just one day, the ACA put up a building banner of my work, I went out on Lake Martin and I got to twirl a hankie and dance a second line with the guys in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Life doesn't get much better than this. See you at the opening. Remember it's 6-8pm tonight as part of Artwalk and it's free!
Well it's up. And I love the way it looks. Brian Guidry did a fantastic job of organiging the work. I've spent the last two days as well doing press , radio and TV. Now working on the electronic component. Whew! I hope to see all of y'all at the opening tomorrow night! Remember 6 to 8...
Too tired to post last night. Worked late cutting images to go under the cast glass bubbles and marking on the prints.Will finish up today. At least its stopped drizzling. It's now a little steamy hot and feels like Louisiana.
Drizzly rain and dreary work on labels and statements (for the vinyl wall letters).
Bright burst at the end of the day though, started working with the pastels to do the water markings on my large paper pieces. Unpacked the glass as well. And final burst of color having dinner with artist friend, Stephanie Patton. She has a show opening same night as me (March 13) in New Orleans at The Front. At least I'll get to see her work tonight before it heads west.
In Turtles Bar at the end of the dock. My closest internet access. Here are photos of my neighbors and more views from the roomboat. I have to call it a roomboat because its too small to be a houseboat. I'm recovering from painting three coats on the interior of the boat. Turtles is fun! I saw a dog just jump 10 feet into the air. Met some more neighbors and am chilling with a Margarita.Back to work at the gallery tomorrow.
I got up at dawn to watch the sunrise from my deck. Today is a day off!!! I went out on Lake Martin already, where I surprised a wood duck and it surprised me. We had an incident on the boat where an alligator bit someone's cellphone. "Can you hear me now?" I stopped for coffee and stumbled on a Cajun jam in Breaux Bridge, and after a few errands, like stopping by Tee Sues if the fresh baguette light is flashing, I'm gonna sit on thedeck and have a cold one. Laissez les bon temps rouler.
Spent today laying out the show. Was vert surprised I had to edit. After spending a year in a panic about filling the space, we cut five paintings and 12 photographs. Everything has room to breathe and its looks wonderful. So now I'm heading back to my boat to eat crawfish etoufee and watch the sunset. Ahhhhhh.
Got a look at the space now that the prior show is gone. Wow!!!!! What a beautiful space. Not much to do since they are prepping walls so I went off to get my float camp into the basin. I spent some time on the deck and then went off with a friend to check her catfish lines. Fried catfish for dinner. Yum. I love Louisiana!!!
Susan Shaw is an internationally exhibited painter and photographer. Private and public collections include the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shaw is the recipient of two New York State Artist’s Fellowships and 2007/2009 residency fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center.
Kurt Hoss is a freelance photographer capturing the exuberance of
New York City for 35 years. A favorite project has been documenting life in south western Louisiana, culminating in two recent books, Going to Lafayette and Bosco Swamp.
Shaw and Hoss recently received an AVA gold award for video production, as producers of The Mermaid Parade.