sizzlin' cecily

I'm going to be obnoxious again and direct you to my other blog. You can see images and read explanations of what I made (to sell, but didn't, sadly) for the reception we held last night.

Okay, now that that's out of the way...I would post those kinds of images here, but since I do have a whole 'nother website and blog devoted to this particular project, I figured I'd be consistent. Now that the show has been officially received (postcards printed and multiples made) I can shift gears and finish a couple of other projects before my review board on December 13th. I'm actually feeling fairly ready in terms of production. I have a few things I'd like to work on a bit more, but mostly, I'll spend much of the next two weeks just thinking about what I've done and how I'd like my board to go, next semester being my last before thesis pressure kicks in. I've got some ideas for what my thesis show will look like (and a super idea for a title, oddly) and I'm feeling like I had a pretty successful semester, but I've still got a lot of work to do to get there.

I haven't blogged much this semester - only eight or nine posts, about a third of which seem to have been largely devoted to television. But I did have a very blogworthy afternoon on Tuesday. As part of a painting seminar I'm in, we were invited to attend an intimate gallery walkthrough over at the MFA with Cecily Brown. She has a mid-career retrospective up right now, originally organized by the Des Moines Art Center. As we walked through, I definitely got the sense that these kinds of retrospective shows are as much for the artists as they are for the public, students, critics, etc., that make up the art-consuming part of the world. She seemed excited to see her work in the space, older paintings next to more recent work, themes recurring and evolving over time, creating all sorts of possibilities for years and years of future work. It was incredibly inspiring and energizing.

I'm a fan of her work, but I have to admit I was apprehensive about meeting her in person. I guess I've never met a famous artist before (although I heard a couple of my faves speak last year, including Ed Ruscha and Kara Walker...but that's different) but I thought it might be like the often disappointing encounters I've heard folks describe after meeting a famous actor. If anything, meeting the extremely engaging artist in person only increased my respect and admiration for her work (and work ethic). I remember being introduced to her paintings as an undergrad, after her first solo show in New York, when these hot young things from London (Jenny Seville's another one) were painting up a storm, a decade or so after painting had been declared dead for the umpteenth time, when everyone else was still gaga for installation and video art, and at a time when I was just getting serious about this stuff, dabbling in a little figure painting myself. So to be able to meet her and hear her talk about her work was definitely a high moment in my academic/art career thus far.

Of course, I think some paintings are better than others. I'm not completely convinced by the more recent, much smaller paintings. I tend to favor the larger works, but I appreciate her reasons for working on a bunch of smaller images. And the question I was too embarassed to ask had a little to do with what she grazed over a number of times in her talk, using animals instead of people in earlier paintings to avoid gender issues, for example. Pretty much everything I read about her brings up her insistent denial that she's taking up a feminist brush, with so many of her resources and inspirations coming from old master paintings and the male-dominated post WWII abstract expressionist tradition. What's most important to her is painting, not that she's a woman painting these kinds of images in this way. And I respect her priorities, but I also think the art world has changed over the last six or seven years (along with the overall political climate) since she first started showing, and that we've become a little lazy when it comes to feminist issues. Undergrads are getting curious about the f-word when older grad students bring it up in critiques. In other words, the younger students don't seem to have a clue about the various waves of the feminist movement (not that I have any idea which wave we're currently in) and its relationship to and effect on visual culture in general. And I think that's kinda scary. So part of me wishes artists like Cecily Brown would take up a feminist brush (or camera, or squeegee, or whatever). It's tricky, that's for sure.



I'm not usually a fan of blog posts that simply point you to another blog, but I'm afraid it's unavoidable. My latest project includes a website and a blog (separate from this here WAZO), so if you wanna read about it, other than the little teaser(s) I'll provide here, you'll have to follow this link to the website (which links to the blog) or hop right on over to the blog. If you're local, you can check out the gallery portion of the project, up now at the Museum School's Mission Hill building (160 St. Alphonsus St: green line 'E' to Brigham Circle, left on Tremont, right on St. Alphonsus). We'll be having a reception for the show on Wednesday, November 29th, from 4 to 6 p.m., during which multiples (t-shirts and other printed ephemera...no "art for art's sake") will be for sale, if you're into that kinda thing.

Consider yourself officially invited.

This project has pretty much consumed my life the last few weeks, but I have managed to watch a little t.v. during my downtime and I'm following the Britney/K-Fed split very carefully. More about all that a little later. If a little later happens to be after Thursday, well then, Happy Thanksgiving!


63 posts in 371 days

October 29th was my one-year anniversary on blogger. And I averaged a little more than one post per week. Not bad, eh? Add blogging to the list of ways I keep myself busy doing things most people feel they have no time for.

Anyway, I thought I'd spend a little time this morning on random stuff. Lured in by a "buy one, get one free" coupon, Neal and I tried the McGriddle sandwich this morning, filling my once per year McD's quota. The bready portion, consisting of pancakes with little globs of syrup baked in, was tasty, but they forgot to add the egg and cheese. On both of them. That's like leaving the pastrami off of a pastrami sandwich. Twice. Needless to say, it was a sad little sandwich that I doubt I'll ever have again.

Also, in my haste to blog about art projects and confusing critiques, I failed to comment on the fall activities of last month. Over Columbus Day weekend, Neal and I traveled to Connecticut to visit my brother and his family, spending an afternoon at an orchard complete with apple picking, a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and a hay ride. The leaves were just starting to change color and the crisp fall weather was perfect.

By now, most of the leaves have fallen and the weather has taken a definite turn for the nippy. It's still pretty mild compared to last year, though. In fact, it had already snowed by Halloween. I'm sure it won't last so I'm preparing myself, physically and psychologically, for six months of cold temps, closed windows, and constant layering.

And finally, a brief t.v. recap. I'm no longer watching "Lost." I have a theory that when J.J. Abrams leaves a show to work on another show (in this case, "Six Degrees"), the show seriously suffers. It happened with "Alias" and it's happening again - for me, at least - with "Lost." I'm just too confused to care. Conversely, I've been pleasantly surprised by "Veronica Mars." I resisted the show for the first couple of years, feeling like it was a total "Buffy" wannabe (complete with some of the original "Buffy" cast). But what teen show with a female heroine isn't'? So I watched the premier this year while latch-hooking and I really enjoyed it. So I'm converted, but I don't feel the need to catch up on the first two seasons. I get the idea, you know, and Neal's there to fill in the gaps when I get confused.

That leaves regulars "Gilmore Girls," "House," and "America's Next Top Model." "Gilmore Girls" has improved (if you'll remember, I was a little disappointed with the GG premier), but I don't have much to write other than that. Same for "House." It's as formulaic as ever but I still enjoy it. More about ANTM below. New addictions - in addition to "Veronica Mars" - include "30 Rock," "Heroes," and "Six Degrees." I was hesitant to add new shows to an already long list of television viewing, but I'm enjoying all three and I have no problems abandoning a show once I've tired of it (as in the case of "Lost").

As for ANTM, I still feel like this is one of the weaker cycles, not only in terms of the model-hopefuls but in the overall production of the show. Tyra is still totally full of herself and the photo shoots have been pretty hideous. On a lighter note, one photo shoot requiring the application of facial hair to a female model is one thing, but you do it the next week and you cross a line. On a more serious note, I thought their early photo shoot about model stereotypes was handled pretty poorly. Having an eating disorder or drug addiction is not the same thing as being a dumb blonde or a diva. I understand that the show is not and has never been a public service announcement, but if you're going to address such model-related issues in your "most controversial shoot ever," you should be prepared to handle the difficult subject matter a little more thoughtfully...or don't bother.

That said, Melrose is still my favorite. Caridee's been getting a little more attention lately, on the show and among the fans, but Melrose is still the best of the bunch, as mediocre as it is.