Monday, December 31, 2018



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The Naked Truths Frieze, 44 x90 inches, charcoal/rives paper, 2018-2019

Thursday, December 27, 2018

ROMA 12/27/18

Saw the much-acclaimed film ROMA and was seduced by the B&W digital photography and all the gray values that the camera was able to discern. It felt like a technologically enhanced version of films that I would see at the Heights Movie Theater (the local Washington Heights Art House} that only showed "foreign films". It was a delicious place because the movies they presented were more explicit about everything and that included sex - which made it a frequent destination point in the late 1950s.

ROMA is a personal film by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron dedicated to the woman LIBO who raised him - In the film, she is called Cleo and is the live-in maid in the family home in the Roma upper-middle-class neighborhood of Mexico City. The movie is shot against the 1970s backdrop of violent political and student unrest. Is this just another nostalgic tale told by a now successful man who is very aware of the large class divide in his home country? I had mixed feelings but am still sorting them out.

I agree with much of what Brody wrote but have some caveats. I thought ROMA was beautifully filmed in B&W - in homage to 50's Italian Neorealist film-makers. There are moments when the slow movement of the camera pans on and caresses not only the daily activities of a servant's duties but focuses on the essentials of life itself such as flowing water, rooftop sunlight creating transparent shadows on sheets drifting in the wind, revealing a cover of comfort and reminding us that they are also a consequence of drudgery, and a dog's excrement, squished from being stepped on, as if to tell us not to forget that shit is everywhere and unavoidable.

When a Master/Guru addresses a group of martial arts students and asks them to attempt to stand like a heron on one foot, arms up and eyes tightly - no one can perform this seemingly simple exercise - except for Cleo who is balancing on one foot without tottering. This act acknowledging her endurance and stoicism and the ability to with-stand (no pun intended) the world around her - that of extreme poverty and class disparity, a world where she sustains her role in silence acquiring the love of the children who adore her.

Yes, it is sentimentalized; yes it is patronizing, but it is a reality - in many many cultures. The loving maid/servant/slave surrogate mother who nurses a generation of children who are not her own.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Grace Crashing Into Trump World: The Naked Truths Confront Trump, photo print, 2018

The Ignominious Trump Administration is confronted by the naked truths en masse - #thenakedtruth and #hazmatgrace.
We witness a President who increasingly has become more and more insidious and autocratic - a frightening first for this country.  In the Constitution - One cannot rule by Executive Order. One cannot rule by Fiat; we have 3 Branches of Government NOT one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Since 2016 I have been doing a series entitled GRACE CRASHING INTO TRUMP WORLD.

Often with bitter humor, often with anger, I try to show the danger and absurdity of this Presidency. I present myself with my "avatar" a blonde/white wig as "the naked truth"- who tries to show up and reveal the moral corruption and shame of this administration. Most recently I purchased a hazmat suit because Trump's toxicity has become even more lethal.

Please click on the thumbnail and then click on DETAIL IMAGE on the right- hand side and drag from the lower right-hand corner to enlarge images.

Monday, December 10, 2018


Julian Schnabel’s new film AT ETERNITY’S GATE is indelibly moving from the moment we hear murmuring voices in the first darkened frame - portending the interior struggle, and psychic agitation of the painter, Vincent Van Gogh, a haunted artist who tames the turbulence of his mind by the act of painting, assuaging “nature” into patterned marks of tactile, luminous beauty merging his whole being physically and piously with the subject. Since Schnabel is an artist himself, this “portrait” of Van Gogh is different from previous depictions, particularly in the singular way the film is shot,  and the understanding of his character. We “see” Vincent as a man who is sanely insane; a man who has the clarity to organize and penetrate the world around him, and a man who is suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness - one which he achingly endures. The movie instills in the viewer a profound empathy and recognition of his persistence in creating exquisite paintings despite a life of bleakness and despair; making art was digesting and breathing in life.

Willem Dafoe's performance as Vincent Van Gogh is heart-wrenchingly melancholy as we literally step into his shoes - (the camera often attached to him) as he rushes wildly through the reeds, blinded by the mistral winds howling, the dry, dying sunflowers with bent heads streak and fly around in front of our eyes as we sense the brutality of the elements and the dank coldness of desolation. Often the camera lens is foggy as if the artist’s tears obscure and humanize his vision.

We first meet Vincent in Paris as he dreams of a community of artists that live and work together, a yearning that is totally unrealistic given his idiosyncratic temperament. Except for the deeply felt relationship with his devoted patron/businessman brother Theo, only Paul Gauguin is responsive to his artwork which seems “ugly” and “unrealistic” to other onlookers. Gauguin played by Oscar Isaac, (regrettably did not seem well cast - lacking the charisma and heft of a Gauguin) recommends that he leave Paris and go south to Arles. He listens to his advice and is flung into the most passionate period of his short artistic life.

Schnabel conveys Vincent’s love of southern France as the camera pauses, lingers and then meanders through the countryside - the blinding light is contrasted with the “yellow” room that Van Gogh rents, monastically furnished with finished wet paintings, hung on the wall. Like an animal that has found his natural habitat, Vincent spends most days outdoors and we observe him sensuously outstretched flat on his back, intoxicatedly dribbling moist soil over his face and body - an animate internment. Being productive and frenetically heady as the sun beat down on him, Van Gogh’s periods of lapses of memory, and whatever incidents occurred during those spells become more prevalent. After several episodes which are never depicted or explained - a mystery to Vincent and to us - he is sent to  Saint-Rémy de Provence an asylum for the mentally ill where he spends one year feverishly painting. 

Throughout AT ETERNITY’S GATE,  I delightedly watched  Dafoe’s slender long fingers, his skull-like face encasing dark, vivid eyes working - the brush touching the canvas with a “lightness of being.” Julian Schnabel has unearthed some new information as to how Vincent Van Gogh died so the end is perhaps a revelation, perhaps fiction, but I sensed the truth of it - in light of Van Gogh’s steamy affair with art. Whatever demons he desperately fought, Van Gogh was able to paint the surrounding world with a directness and lucidity of a man in control of his destiny. I left the theater thinking this was no romanticized/mythologized bio-pic but a person that I, as a fellow artist could relate to - could understand and could (dare I say) love.