“Lovely Things is a work from my Player Piano Roll series. I chose it because it draws attention to the critically important act of listening. Lovely Things 2008 Courtesy Erica Baum and Bureau, NYC.”
“During the past few months I have concentrated on drawing. I work from my kitchen table which overlooks a courtyard of apartment buildings. I am sharing this drawing because it comes from a place of love. It was made in an automatic, open hearted way. It represents the love of drawing, love of the imagination, love of possibility, love for the introspection this time at home allowed me, and love for this world. The windows indicate a connection to others, who share this time and place with me.”
“Friday I’m In Love ( With My Wife ), 2020”
DEVASTATING, Collage, 2018, 145 X 118 cm
“This piece is part of the ongoing project BUT IT OFTEN RHYMES, in where I investigate the ways in which the “other” is seen in popular culture -books, encyclopedias, recordings, magazines, film- after a long time reasearch at The Rock ‘n’ Roll Public Library, the personal collection of Mick Jones, from the Clash. The way in which the gaze is highlighted here is through the idealization, the ignorance, the teaching and misconception of the other, throughout history, and how women, indigenous people, black people, etc. have been portrayed in popular culture and how punk was a tool for subverting that vision”
“Summer is hot”
In the summer of the night, The summer under the moonlight is beautiful all over. Hot in love, looking for a person to be in the dark.
Covid Concert Series, 2020 – “I asked relatives of Covid victims, to tell me the stories of their loved ones, which I translated into improvised live compositions. These pieces remember them. It’s an offering – a moment of healing and peace, when it was impossible to be with them in their moment of passing.”
“The painting “Centaurea Horrida” depicts the plant of the same name, native to the northern Sardinia, that lives only in four specific areas of the island and nowhere else in the world. The narrow endemic plant is an endangered species protected by the Bern Convention. Centaurea Horrida is a living fossil that dates back 30 million years. It thrives in the most adverse of conditions, between the salt of the sea, the rocks and gusting winds, making it a perfect symbol of independence and resilience and yet at the same time it is not able to self‐pollinate and so creates an exceptionally sweet nectar to attract insects and birds, a symbol of co-existence. The painting is a portrait of myself through the native Sardinian wild plant, a resilient thorn bush that protects its fragile vulnerability at the same time as reaching out through loving nectar to nurture a gentle co-existence. It is precisely the hardy wild nature of the Centaurea Horrida that makes it able to survive outside our definitions of domesticity that makes it a powerful symbol for love that needs to thrive today like a resistant wild plant.”
“I’m contributing with street snapshot I took a few days ago. It may seem to be a very banal image, but it tells a lot about the urgency of this globally explosive time. A street corner can express a real message of loving, caring and sharing, by those who are usually seen as being very remote from an event happening thousands miles away, on the other side of the world. The current movement of Black Lives Matter, among others, is a part of this global chain reaction, against the overwhelming power of totalitarianism. For the last decades, we have mistakenly thought this totalitarianism has been disappearing with liberalism. But it has not! It’s a time for global solidarity. Indifference kills, and we must make difference! We act from where we are.”
Tune in. Change the world. Love. “During the “Long, Hot Summer of 1967”: 159 cities in the USA saw demonstrations. The most violent took place in Detroit, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, set up the Kerner Commission, which concluded that pervasive social inequities in American ghettos were the causes. Also during the 1967 summer: San Francisco became the focus of the “Summer of Love” – where 100,000 Flower Children came together, and the Be-in was invented. What has changed 53 years later?”
“Since my daughters were very young, sailing was always our favorite outdoor activity. I bought our small sailboat when María was three years old, and later, just a month after Ana was born, we started taking her sailing too. Some of the best memories that we have of our summers together are in that sailboat. This picture was taken a few weeks before the quarantine started, when we had no idea of what was coming. In his book The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles says something that remains in my mind: “Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
I saw this girl in a dream every night. I was in a fever of feelings, and there, in that illusory world, everything was too cold. She whispered to me something from the depths of my subconscious. Distant, disappearing… She called me to her.
“Where? Where?! Where should I go, memory? Let me go. Leave me here in reality. One day I will meet you, but not now… Too early, my darling…”
She comes back to me after so much time… And I don’t understand where reality is and where madness is.
We just had to look
at each other.
Together we are love.
Together we are life.
Together we are one.
Many artists have had unique relationships with their mothers-in-law, whether it was Larry Rivers depicting Berdie in his sensational Double Portrait of Berdie, or Vermeer, who lived and painted in his mother-in-law’s commodious house in Delft.
I loved my mother-in-law Barbara, and was always impressed with her keen intellect and vast understanding of human nature. Her interests were far-ranging and unconventional; she studied antique glass, and poisonous plants, read idiosyncratic books, and knew how to repair the action of a piano. Barbara loved the multifaceted things of life, and that’s what I especially loved about her.
Though not an artist, my mother-in-law was a creative soul. Occasionally, I’d spot things she created and placed around her house, like this strange wire contraption she fashioned holding a large faded pompom. I love this little “sculpture” and wished that I had made it.
Mother-In-Law Sculpture (circa 1999)
ink jet print
© 2020 Michael Ross
soil from the Essequibo River Guyana and acrylic polymer on paper
9 x 6 in.
This work is an excerpt from an installation “He Said I Thought” I exhibited at signs and symbols (gallery in Lower East Side, NY) October 2019. It is a story I wrote, originally in an email text-based work titled cockshut dummy, about a woman’s encounter with a male colleague and describes a series of misunderstandings between them from her point of view. The piece reflects the more complex aspects of love and compassion, shared between business associates with little in common.
“Most writers—poets in especial—prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine frenzy—an ecstatic intuition—and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought—at the true purposes seized only at the last moment—at the innumerable glimpses of idea that arrived not at the maturity of full view—at the fully-matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable—at the cautious selections and rejections—at the painful erasures and interpolations—in a word, at the wheels and pinions—the tackle for scene-shifting—the step-ladders, and demon-traps—the cock’s feathers, the red paint and the black patches, which, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, constitute the properties of the literary histrio.”
— Edgar Allan Poe
I’m Not Lazy I Just Don’t Like Making Profits for Capitalists, 2020
One Day On Crosby Street …
One fine day early in my year of employment as Jean Michel Basquiat’s assistant; Madonna came by, popped a cassette of Everybody in the tape player and then hung out with us while we worked feverishly building and painting. I quickly shot off an entire roll of black and white film on my Leica.
The loft was a swirling, sumptuous carpet ride of activity and in these few moments time stopped… Love was in the air. This was not the eroticism of the Madonna of later years nor was it Basquiat; the ladykiller. This was the tender, childlike love of two kindred spirits wired for success who were grateful and soothed by the comfort of each other’s arms. The kinship of familiarity, a safe harbor full of joy.
Jean Michel Basquiat and Madonna, One Day On Crosby Street, 2a — 1982
© Stephen Torton
gouache on paper
The Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund helps preserve the exceptional beauty and natural value of the archipelago, to encourage a more sustainable, and responsible tourism, promoting the unique experiences that the local habitat and natural phenomenon offer.
During the quarantine period, 36 children enthusiastically joined the initiative by sharing their drawings, showing great sensitivity with regard to the protection of the sea.
Drawing by Alice Lo Schiavo (from Pianoconte school), the winner of the contest “Draw the Aeolian sea, Let’s protect our sea”.
‘Oh love. What beautiful days it has been. In happiness and sadness, life and death. Life has not really changed … the ebbs and flows, the winter and spring … it is still here. Close to the salt of the sea, the golden lancets of the sun and the ever present breeze of change: I am here. Now. Nothing has changed. It is summer now.
The heart still beats. It is Life. In love. Summer-in-love.’
Martina, Ibiza 2020
SELF NATURE, 2020
Archival pigment print & drawing (marker), framed
40,7 x 26,7 cm
La sérénade, 2020
20 x 30 cm
Overall, digital technologies have transformed our mentalities and our behaviours. The evolution of cultures and techniques as well as the progression of economic and social living conditions, has revolutionized our means of exchange. In comparison with love, the established norms and the relationship to the other, have found themselves shaken up.
Symbolizing the journey as well as loyalty and commitment, these lovebirds (in flight and perched on electric wires), are metaphors for how our communication means have been increased by new technologies in modern societies.
Love, no matter the form of expression it takes, is for me a chaotic symphony between spirit and bodies, imbued with the freedom of the human being. I wanted my proposal to carry a love message and to highlight a contemporary vision faced with the past.
et @anatomica_paris_flagship_store a demandé à @julien.freremottant, amoureux du grand bleu depuis l’Isola di Filicoudi, de commenter:
Berceau de l’amour, entre la mythologie de ces eaux bleues profondes et la pureté de ces beautés insaisissables, la Sicile m’enlace !
L’été et sa promesse d’éternité, m’éblouisse de cette vague automnale…
Je suis amoureux dans le reflet de ces yeux.
Culla dell’amore, tra la mitologia di queste profonde acque blu e la purezza di queste inafferrabili bellezze, la Sicilia mi abbraccia!
L’estate e la sua promessa di eternità, mi abbaglia con questa ondata autunnale …
Sono innamorato nel riflesso di quegli occhi.
Gilbert & George
30 x 40 cm
I loved Hester Diamond. I met her for the first time when I went to her New York apartment with some Austrian gallerists. I accompanied them to advise on the installation of a sculpture of mine, one that Hester had recently purchased at the gallery in Salzburg. Hester’s apartment was stunning. It was large and fantastically situated on a high floor of a venerable Central Park West building, and it had sweeping views of the park and city. The entire apartment (beautifully, unconventionally decorated by Hester) was filled with a wild amalgam of 21st century and traditional furniture, Renaissance and Baroque sculpture and painting, contemporary art, and a collection of rare minerals and stones. My God, she even had a Bernini!
Hester herself was a living treasure – one of those warm, intelligent, sophisticated women who exemplify New York at its best. Although she was diminutive in stature and a bit frail, Hester was gorgeous, gracious, and very quick-witted – a delicate dynamo. I always felt greatly privileged to be invited to her large dinner parties. Hester never failed to assemble a rich cross-section of extraordinary people. And I was very proud to have my sculpture standing among her treasures.
On October 12, 2015, Hester, joined by her husband David, came to my Brooklyn studio to be photographed and digitally scanned, the first steps in the creation of my planned portrait sculpture of her. This wasn’t a commission – I simply thought that Hester would be a perfect subject. And she was, in body and spirit. How typical of her to be game for anything aesthetically adventurous.
Hester and I had a wonderful time working together that day, as is obvious from the images in the accompanying short video. The atmosphere at the studio was fantastic, with a group of talented people and advanced equipment focused on Hester. It is not often when the creative process, aesthetic goals, technological advances, and wonderful folks come together. With my art, its making is always long and arduous – a multi-year climb for every piece. There has been a lot of concerted effort put into the subsequent steps of realizing Hester’s portrait, and I’m still quite far from finishing it. But the feeling of love I experienced in 2015 – for a uniquely great person, for my collaborators, for art – will continue to lighten those steps as I push toward what I hope will be a fitting tribute to her.
I last spent time with Hester at TEFAF Maastricht in the spring of 2019, where a group of my sculptures was being presented by Fergus McCaffrey. She and I had lunch at one of the fair cafés, and of course there was champagne! Although her body was failing, Hester glowed, sharp and bright as ever. She lit up the building by her mere presence. I and all of her many friends will always be filled with love just thinking about her. New York and the world are, simply, less lovely without Hester.
A time for new dreams.
Untiled VI, 2019
Acrylic paint and collage on Fabriano paper
76×56 cm (30x 22 in.)
From The Art Newspaper, August 21, 2020
Remembering the beautiful melancholy of Matthew Wong
I’d like to share a few thoughts concerning Matthew Wong and the recent auctioning of four of his works since his recent premature death in October of 2019, the highest for a record $1.82m; but, more importantly, I’d like to discuss the artist.
Having studied photography, Wong started painting only a relatively short time ago, to virtuosic affect. He sucked visual information from social media platforms at a superhuman pace; and, just as quickly, out it came in the form of paintings and poetry. The amalgamation of all he absorbed at rocket speed, quoting masters like Van Gogh, Matisse, Vuillard, Klimt and Bonnard, manifested itself in a manner all his own—a distinctly dark and beautiful way of seeing. Even when his works were rendered in saturated upbeat colours, they still conveyed an air of melancholy. He painted a lifetime compressed into the approximately ten years since he picked up a brush.
Together we’d meet up and share meals across the globe from Paris to Los Angeles and even in Long Island, where he and his mother, Monita, whom he always travelled with, twice visited shows of mine. Matthew was super-inquisitive, acutely sensitive and wildly passionate about not only art—he dressed as coolly as my clothes-crazy kids, who often joined us. They even went out late on one occasion, after I claimed elder’s early retirement for the night. Matthew closely watched everything from the remove of Instagram (and before that Facebook) from either Hong Kong or Edmonton, Canada, where he was based in the last years, and from that vantage point he was a consistently supportive follower of the art of Adrian and Kai, my two oldest kids, and they grew to adore his works and, moreover, him.
In March of last year I lost my 21- year-old son Kai to suicide, which I have written about before, and don’t plan to stop—the rates in young people alone are up more than 50% in the US in the past ten years. Kai was enrolled in The Slade School of Art in London, where he was admitted to graduate school without even completing a semester of undergrad based on the merits of his portfolio. The pain, to say the least, is indescribable for the survivors, not to mention what my son, and Matthew, silently endured. It’s impossible to characterise how un-understandable it is to family and friends, especially when people as successful as Matthew and ostensibly as Kai seemed on the verge of becoming, fall prey to mental illness. I think of Kai every waking moment of my life and am surrounded by his accomplished works.
I purchased a painting by Wong in 2017 before I knew who he was, from a dealer (other than his long-time gallery Karma), ineluctably drawn to the colours and composition of his take on classic art. Not long after his death I sold the work for a modest sum back to the dealer I originally bought it from—I just couldn’t stand the thought of another reminder of such senseless, unbearable tragedy. It never occurred to me to check on the offering price. The very next day, I had multiple queries for Wong’s works at more than three times the amount I had accepted. I didn’t renege as to do so wouldn’t be right, either.
That still doesn’t account for the morose speculation that drove his prices to astronomic levels at last month’s auctions, though great the paintings surely are. Adding to the fray, Loic Gouzer’s recently launched Fair Warning auction app will sell off another, a work painted in 2017, on 27 August with an estimate of $100,000- $150,000. I was obviously targeted for not being aware of the demand the works were beginning to garner on the secondary market. Markets trade on a zero-sum edge—a disparity of information unbeknownst to one party in a transaction is at their immediate and direct expense. Markets have no motivations other than opportunism and greed. It’s human nature. I don’t care about the sum so much as the fact I was slightly taken advantage of by the disingenuousness of both dealer and buyer. But this is my fault alone.
Like Kai, I miss Matthew and both of their brilliant insights, childlike humour, joy for art, love and friendship. On Matthew’s tombstone is a poem he wrote:
I am that which is idle on a summer day.
I am the mouth that does not move.
I am the dish that parts the beef like a sea.
I am the wind’s last legs at dusk.
I am six feet short of the moon,
Watching you as you sleep, and you,
Who came to my breath, perhaps expecting me
To turn up around the corner in the rain,
Like a memory of Paris, so I close my eyes
And kiss you as if I was there.
Work below by Kai Schachter
Inkjet on cotton paper
I remember roadtrips in our car. I would lay down on my mother, looking for space.
To fit my neck and head in any of her body angles.
To feel my insides. My muscles, organs and bones being exactly where they were meant to.
My skin acting velvet, my bones gears, and my organs scrutable tissue. Knowing the body’s reason for being.
Bones show for a moment they are not hard, dry and compact. They can exhale. Pleasure and shiver.
They recognise rupture. Hatred for the gathering.
The sore of those solids inside. The desire of mashing. Of powder. Of undoing
That’s how I meet my bones.
My 40 years and 40 days
In the traditions of Eastern Orthodox believers, the fortieth day after a person’s death is of great importance. This day ends the forty-day memorial period. On this day, relatives gather in the house of the deceased, and memorial services, rituals and ceremonies are held. It is believed that for 40 days the soul of the departed wanders the earth visiting the places where he lived and has been, stops by at the acquaintances he knew during his lifetime and comes to the place of his future grave. After that, the soul completes its journey through the ordeal and finally leaves this world.
During the 40-day period all the mirrors in the house of the deceased are kept covered. According to the belief, a mirror plays the role of a door between two worlds. If the soul of the deceased falls into the mirror it will be stuck there forever, without any chance of release. Mirrors in the house of the deceased are also associated with the fate of the living people. So, if a person sees in the mirror a reflection of the deceased or the soul of himself, it could be a sign that he might soon die too.
Jamais encore je ne t’ai dit je t’aime
Quand je pense à toi j’entends le craquement des brindilles sous mes pas
La colline déclive
La terre est sèche comme tes mots
Comme tes silences
Toi que je connais depuis le temps d’antan
La plage c’était avant
C’était le bel été
Dialogues de lune et de feux
Jamais encore je ne t’ai dit je t’aime
Fantôme #21 (fantômes amoureux)
31 x 31 x 1,2 cm
Some Body to Love, 2020
41 x 31 cm