Statements and Passages

“Put up a new blog post already.” <– my mother to me on the phone the other night. See what I have to deal with? My life is a living hell!! Yes, I’m kidding 😆 Actually Mom’s right. What the heck’s going on here? A new post is way overdue. I hope you all had a good week in the interim.

Speaking of Mom, her art show at the Queens Botanical Garden is still on view, providing joy and enchantment to all the family friends and QB Garden visitors who have seen it. It closes on January 17th. I helped my mother write her artist’s statement for her show and I think it came out pretty well. I’m mentioning this because an artist I know sent an email to several of us that I got a kick out of. So I thought I’d share it here. The “artist’s statement”, which I imagine is a somewhat new formality, appears on artist’s websites and promotional materials. The artist who sent the article I’m sharing told me she has no artist’s statement on her website because she thinks it’s stupid and pretentious. She has a point. Some of them, not all, can be quite pompous, particularly the ones that use postmodern language and theoretical terminology. You can’t help but roll your eyes when you read some of them. 

So John Seed, a painter and art history professor, wrote up some artist’s statements for the old masters using postmodern rhetoric, and they’re hilarious. For example, Michelangelo’s begins with, “The pre-homoeroticized body forms both my field of action and the basis of my conceptual taxonomy.” The one for Velázquez’ reads in part, “In addressing the collapse of personal autonomy and identity in an authoritarian/monarchist space I imply a multiplicity of didactic constructions and formations.” Click here for the entire article. The ending is great.

Also, my beautiful talented niece Olivia turned 12 yesterday which boggles the mind because it feels not so long ago that I saw her for the first time, on a cold December day, at Mount Sinai Hospital when she was just a few hours old. And now she’s a young lady! Kicking butt at JV basketball, student government, and of course her voice lessons. Olivia has always been the gladdening ray of light in our family and she is now more than ever, given the circumstances. Here she is sitting on steps, like the true Upper West Side city girl that she is. Happy Birthday sweetheart ❤

Olivia

And tomorrow, December 7th, will mark ten years since my father’s death. That he’s been gone a decade now is difficult to grasp. A decade since that harrowing morning when I was roused from sleep by my brother banging loudly on my door at 7 AM. Olivia was only two years old when Dad left us. Sadly, she has no memory of him, her grandfather.

Thanks for reading, friends. And yes I will post again soon 😉

16 thoughts on “Statements and Passages

  1. Mike says:

    Olivia is a beauty, and I sense greatness in her.

  2. Grier Horner says:

    Glad you’ll post again, soon.

  3. artmodelandrew says:

    Nice photo of Olivia. I hope she has a more sturdy pair of shoes for all of her butt-kicking endeavors.

  4. Derek says:

    First and foremost a big congratulations to Elaine on her big success of her art show held in NYC and so far from what I hear its a big success and people are appreciating her work. She is one brilliant artist with a great eye and her joy of making art makes her happy and healthy and I hope she continues in the years to come.I wish I could have been there to see the exhibtion but I live in Australia but I saw some of her work that was presented in this site. I give her work a big thumbs up for creativity and great feel to it especially the landscape portraits she did. I assume she did oils or acylics cortrect me if I am wrong. It is my understanding from what I read that she did a lovely pastel painting of you which you modeled for her from what I read. I have never seen it but I am sure she did a lovely job she is truely a visionary. I would love to see how it came just as she did with the others she did of you. You are certainly her favorite inspiration from a creative stand point. Anyway a big congrats to her and more power to your lovely mum. Give her a big from me .

    Anyway a lovely piece of your niec e she is one talented ypung lady with a big heart and a smart personality. I believe she is pursuing in the future music like her dad who is a talented composerI saw his website . I have nothing but great respects to Olivia and she dies look like a younger version of you. What a great Resemblance. You are all talented artists in your own right. All of you found you niche and have inspired every one of us in the forum about the love for thatrs and more power to all of you mates….

    God bless you all

    Derek

    • artmodel says:

      Derek,

      You’re mostly correct. Mom’s works are in oils and pastels. Not acrylics though. Yes her show is success, and it’s extra nice that regular visitors to the Queens Botanical Garden are seeing it and signing in the book their kind words of praise. It’s the perfect venue for Mom’s work which makes such captivating use of color. Like all pastelists, she rejoices in color.

      Olivia, without question, has inherited her father’s gift for music. We all certainly support her practice but we’re also not pushing or pressuring her in any way. Endeavors should be chased with joy or not at all. Olivia always had a beautiful voice, from the beginnings of her talking. Whether she decides to sing for pure enjoyment or ambition is completely up to her. She has strong abilities in athletics too which she may want to pursue.

      Thanks very much for your comments, Derek!

      Claudia

  5. scultore says:

    I think artist statements are quintessential to the elucidation of the post-visual creative psyche. At the New Museum’s “Less than 33” show a few years ago, they were the best art displayed!

    • artmodel says:

      Bruce,

      That is hilarious. I’ve felt bad a couple of times because some artist friends have asked me what I thought of their new websites. And they were really great, except for those pretentious artist’s statements. But what can you do? Galleries demand these things nowadays and they’ve become essential in the marketing/promotional aspect.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  6. Bill says:

    I think the inherent problem with artist statements is that the artist is expected to provide a literary piece to help explain his/her visual work. It would be as though Tolstoy had been told that his novels couldn’t be published unless he provided suitable explanatory paintings. Besides, since the artwork is supposed to communicate (isn’t it?) — if it really needs an artist’s statement, wouldn’t it have to be considered a failure?

    Fortunately, your mother’s work does speak to the viewer. . . and quite successfully. Congratulations on the success of her show! And to your niece as well — have there been any recitals since her previous Museworthy appearance?

    I’m sorry about your 10 year anniversary. Time may heal all wounds, but it doesn’t do much about the scars. Still, the memories must be of a life well-lived — and Olivia’s (and your) inheritance is the love that he shared with his family. And that counts for a lot.

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      There’s a quote from Picasso that I should try to find. It comments about how art speaks for itself and there’s no need to “explain” it. Until I find it, you can imagine what it would be, given that it’s from Picasso’s mouth.

      It’s true what you said about artists providing words and writers providing art. Seems unfair and kind of silly. What’s interesting though is that I’ve found artists to be pretty darn good writers. Not all, of course. But a good number of them. I think the issue is the tone of artists statements these days. Dripping with that absurd postmodern language. It draws nobody toward the art, if anything it pushes people away.

      I really appreciate your sensitive comments about Olivia and my Dad’s 10 year passing. It was a hard day, but we managed to get through it with music and memories.

      Thanks again, Bill 🙂

      Claudia

  7. Bill says:

    Ah, but you’re talking to a retired librarian, Claudia 🙂 You’re thinking of a Picasso quote . . .

    As far as I am concerned, a painting speaks for itself. What is the use of giving explanations, when all is said and done? A painter has only one language.
    ~ Pablo Picasso

    • artmodel says:

      You got it, Bill! Thank you! I can’t imagine Picasso sitting down to compose an “artist’s statement”. He’d probably spend that time actually PAINTING.

      Claudia

  8. fredh1 says:

    John Seed’s artist statements are the best parodies of the pomo artspeak genre that I’ve seen, because they are simultaneously utter bull and completely specific to the individual artists.

    I loved Elaine’s show at the QBG. Happy birthday Olivia! My respect and honor to your father’s memory.

    • artmodel says:

      Fred,

      I noticed the same thing! The statements, absurd as they are, do in fact describe the work once you “de-code” them from the BS. 😆 John Seed nailed it.

      We were so appreciative that you attended Mom’s art show and reception. Thanks again for coming and for being such a dear friend to our family. And thanks also for honoring Olivia and my Dad.

      We will talk soon to make MoMA plans. I haven’t forgotten! Just been terribly busy.

      Claudia

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