Members Only

Image from the Internet

I just received the request to renew my membership to MoMA and was reminded of a funny story.

I have been a MoMA member for probably 20 years. I feel it's important to support the institutions that are valuable to me (and of course the discounts, members' previews and avoiding the long ticket lines are a plus).  When I moved my studio to Massachusetts, I was able to get an "International" membership for $70 instead of the $85 I had been paying as an "Individual" here in New York. Same benefits. (I'd had an "Artist" membership for years, but when I got a raise at a good job I had at one point, I decided to be bit more financially supportive and paid extra for the Individual.)

Somewhere along the line "International" got changed to "Global" and with it the ability to enter the museum early during members' hours was curtailed. When I went recently, I was asked to wait until regular museum hours to enter.

"Can artist members get in early?" I asked.
"Yes," replied the woman at the desk.
"Great. I'm an artist."
"Well, can you prove that?" she asked.
"Sure. Here's my business card."
"No " she said, arching her back slightly. "We need proof from a gallery."
"I can do better than that," I said. "You can hear from the dealer herself."

I introduced Marcia Wood, owner of the gallery that bears her name in Atlanta. She had just arrived to meet me for early entry.

"I'm sorry, said the membership person, whose back by now was so arched she  could see the wall behind her. "We'll need written proof on gallery letterhead."

At this point it was 10:30 and the general public was being let in, so it became a non issue.

But here's the thing: When I renew next month it will be with a $50 artist membership--I have proof--so generosity be damned, I'll actually pay less for a membership that gives me more.

Artists: You do know about the Artist Membership at MoMA, right? You have to ask for it. And you have to provide documentation, such as exhibition postcard or catalog. You can be an artist from anywhere. You just have to be "documented." Info here.


A Few Days on Cape Cod

Sarah Hinckley, Hours That Are Lonely, from her solo show, Stillness of Remembering, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, Mass., up through September 8

In Massachusetts-speak, "going down the Cape" means heading to Cape Cod. That's what I did recently, stopping at the Cape Cod Museum of Art to see a beautiful solo show of Sarah Hinckley's regionally-inspired paintings, and then traveling along the arm of the Cape to Truro at Castle Hill Center for the Arts to drop off a painting for their auction (one of the very few I participate in), before ending up in Provincetown where I spent a few days hanging out with my friends Bev Hulse and Linda Reese, visiting the galleries, eating squash-blossom appetizers at The Mews, and sitting on the beach. Alas, I did not photograph the squash blossoms but I do have some images of the art I saw.

We start at the Cape Cod Museum of Art where Sarah Hinckley, who lives in New York City now but grew up not far from the museum, is showing 17 easel-size abstractions in oil that evoke the meeting of sky and sea. In Hinckley's version, that meeting--an omnipresent visual experience for Cape dwellers--is reductive and stylized but contains the essence of the horizon and the Cape's rarefied light. Her vegetation explodes wildly, too tropical for New England, but let's give the artist some room to cultivate her vision. At left is the museum and its own exploding vegetation.

View from the entry

Panning around to the far wall . . .

. . . and then continuing around to the third wall

Find a Better Dream, oil on canvas. Image from the artist's website
. . . . .
In Truro I stopped at Castle Hill Center for the Arts. I love that place! Judy Pfaff was holding a weeklong studio class, and students were in two large studios, as well as outside, creating large elements for what I presumed would become installations. 
View of the barn. I took this from the Castle Hill website. It was a hive of activity the day I peeked in, and I didn't want to disturb the proceedings
The gallery set up for the auction. Photo: Cherie Mittenthal, taken from Facebook
(Disclaimer: the school and its executive director, Cherie Mittenthal, are my producing partners for the International Encaustic Conference, which takes place in June each year). I went to drop off a painting for the Castle Hill Auction, which will take place this Saturday. Though I'm not a fan of auctions in general, I do think it's important for artists to support the institutions that support them. If you're in the area, check it out.)
. . . . .
In Provincetown I visited a number of galleries. Here I'm showing you Schoolhouse, Voyeur and Albert Merola. If you're in the area, I'd encourage you to also visit A Gallery, ArtStrand, ErndenGallery Ehva,  Kobalt and  Rice Polak. Many are within walking distance of one another in the town's East End. Provincetown does things a bit differently from galleries on the mainland. Because high season is so short--July, August and September--the standard length of each exhibition is two weeks. And many galleries hold multiple solo shows at one time, meaning that each solo gets a corner, alcove or wall.

Welcome to Schoolhouse Gallery. Yes, it was once a schoolhouse. Now there's a radio station upstairs and ArtStrand Gallery in the back. Bonus for drivers: there's a parking lot behind the building
View of Clark Derbes solo show in the front gallery. Derbes, a Vermonter, paints on rough-hewn wood, creating the illusion of optical depth on cubes and planks

That block has a lot of facets

I'm using it as the visual anchor to show you around
Below: the work on the far wall, partly visible in the image above

With Derbes's sculpture as a landmark, we swing around to view Sarah Lutz's solo

Lutz, a New Yorker who has shown on the Cape for many years, makes luscious paintings that seem to embody a lifecycle of growth, abundance (even overabundance) and inevitable decay.
Above, center: Cloud
Detail below

I peeked into the hallway that links Schoolhouse to ArtStrand and saw work by Mira Schor, above, and Garry Mitchell, below

. . . . .
Next stop: Gallery Voyeur

In all the years I've been coming to Provincetown, I have never stopped into Gallery Voyeur, though appropriate to the gallery's name, I have peeked in. Painter Johniene Papandreas's large-scale portraits--classically inspired and often cropped dramatically--are to my mind an acquired taste. But my Facebook friend, Richard Christopher Patterson, who is now a real-life friend, works there and I stopped in to say Hi. I'm glad I did. The painting Papandreas did of him is fabulous, though as you can see from the picture of portrait and sitter below, those chartreuse cat eyes are a dazzling figment of the painter's imagination.

Richard Christopher Patterson and his portrait by Johniene Papandreas
 . . . . .
Matisse was not here  
At Albert Merola Gallery, Timothy Woodman was showing a selection of small collage paintings from Tim's Museum, his collection of famous works. The scale is all Woodman's, as is the execution; the medium is oil on aluminum and the construction is pieced and riveted. So in this small exhibition he has turned MoMA on its end and squeezed it into a tiny gallery at the tip of the Cape.

The wall to your left as you enter the gallery with recreated works of Van Gogh, Rousseau, Matisse and Picasso
The "Matisse" close up

The Red Studio, scaled down and riveted

Mondrian didn't have rivets in mind when he painted his Broadway Boogie Woogie, but Woodman did--and their staccato rhythm boogies the woogie. Image from the gallery website
Below: The work on the wall, next to a Woodman Stuart Davis

. . . . .
At twilight the sky turned pink and lavender. The palette was reflected in the calm water of the Bay and repeated in the profusion of hydrangeas in front of a building on Commercial Street. It's a vignette that has been repeated season after season, year after year. And that brings us back to Sarah Hinckley at the opening of this post, whose exquisite paintings are inspired by the  light and horizon and vegetation of a unique and marvelous place.

Next up, next week: 24 Hours in the Hudson Valley


A Peek Into My Studio

How I'm spending my summer
If you wonder why I've slacked off on the blogging, this is why: I'm getting ready for a solo show, Chromatic Geometries, at Arden Gallery in Boston. If you've followed my work, you know that I've been involved with the diamond shape for a couple years. In this new body of work, I started by fracturing the diamond into a planar crystalline structure, which you can make out in the four diamonds on the right wall in the panorama above. You may see the shapes as triangles, but I'm thinking of them as segmented diamonds. Tomato, tomahto.
Here's a peek with commentary:
Nothing is titled yet, but the two-tone red painting above, with its strong horizontal, inspired more bilateral color. I also wondered what would happened if I placed the same horizontal into a square, retaining the diamond-patterned surface and triangular segments.

The answer so far:


I hadn't intended to make so many small paintings, but as one palette leads to the next, a series is born. In the paintings in progress, foreground above and detail below, you can see the patterned field I've laid down

On the opposite wall are four finished diamonds and two squares in progress. I'm painting in encaustic, whose fluidity runs counter to the preciseness of hard-edge geometry. I love the duality and the challenge of making it work. These square paintings in progress are 24 x 24 inches; the two larger diamonds are 28 inches point to point
In the sketches I establish chromatic relationships

This panorama makes the studio look much large than it is, but you can see what's going on. There's no easel, as I work flat on a work table. Out of view: several larger works, squares and diamonds taped and ready for painting this week.
That's it for now. I'm going back into the studio.