INTERVIEWER: You once said you based the Wild Things on your elderly, uncouth Jewish relatives. Have you become one yourself?
SENDAK: Apparently I have, and I’m not even a relative. It’s just being Jewish and old age. I’ve become an old person like the old Jews I knew. Sort of bitter, yet not bitter. I would say strangely that this is a good time for me. This is a good time for me to put aside all kinds of things and just to go back what it was like when I fell in love with William Blake and saw the world through his eyes for a minute and was so happy. And that world still exists in spite of us. This is the only time I have ever felt a kind of inner peace.
I mean, it’s great to have a successful book. I’m not so dumb as to not know that is a good thing. But that is not the thing, and that’s why this is a good time. Because the important things – what were considered important to me – are no longer important. They’re not shame-faced, they’re not bad. They’re just not what interests me any more.
Peter Schjeldahl in a video/slideshow on CA “Finish Fetish” minimalism: “It helps to imagine these works in Southern California light, which is soft and fierce, as opposed to New York light, which is clear and mild.”
“But of all my complaints, the most legitimate and depressing is that so many of my dearest friends are so spread out from Belgrade to Amsterdam to Paris to London to North Carolina to Toronto to Chicago to Santa Fe to San Francisco to Seattle to Fairbanks that I don’t get to see most of them once in two years. […] It’s the price many of us pay for picking our friends from among those we have most in common with professionally, rather than those who happen to live in the neighborhood…”
– From Kyle Gann’s PostClassic tribute to his friend, the recently deceased composer Art Jarvinen. This postscript on what it’s like to lose a dear but faraway friend reminded me, very much, of Ron Allen, and others.
“At what point did acquiring performance art switch from owning objects associated with the actions, such as videos and photographs, to possessing the “idea” behind the piece? Berlin-based artist Tino Sehgal has evidently turned collecting criteria on their heads. He sells his performance art pieces by means of verbal transactions in the presence of a lawyer with no written contract. Instructions on how to re-enact his works are delivered literally by word-of-mouth, with collectors under strict orders never to photograph or video his “constructed situations”. Yet they sell in editions of four to six for $85,000 to $145,000 each, according to The Art Newspaper. “
“Across Europe the age of austerity is beginning to drain the reservoir of talent. Cecilie, half-German, half-French, was in the dance chorus at one of the big Berlin opera houses. “It was not enough to live on but we all supplemented our fees by giving dance or piano lessons,” she says of 2007. “Then came the first stage of the financial meltdown and I got maybe two or three performances a month. We all took on more and more private lessons. So the rates went down — and I ended up teaching yoga.”
Now there are no more stage performances, yoga is done on the cheap and Cecilie works as an evening shelf-stacker for a supermarket.”
“…how should an artist cope with color deficiencies?
Most of my color deficient readers recommend the use of a limited palette, in particular a selection of paints that creates minimally confusing color mixtures. It’s worth considering the fact that traditional easel painters, because of their historically limited palettes, rendered colors with gamut limitations that are easily as extreme as many types of color deficiency.” (emphasis mine)
– from Bruce MacEvoy’s Handprint essay on color deficiency (colorblindness)
“Although I never attended one of Louise Bourgeois’s Sunday Salons held in her Chelsea townhouse, they were reportedly psychic-artistic battlegrounds. Open to anyone, artists could bring their work, wait their turn, and then get feedback from Bourgeois, who was said to preside over the proceedings like a queen. Some were made to cry; more shook in anticipation. But all seemed to leave with the sense of having passed through some sort of aesthetic fire.”
Drove out to Mt. St. Mary’s today, and attended a career interest lunch for Maryland sophomores, which meant I got to spend an hour and a half at a table with seven sixteen-year-olds who were interested in writing, theater, or both. They were running around from one leadership event to the next, and were a bit worn down: the way we ran it was I talked while they ate, and then I ate quickly while they asked questions. I had a great time with them. I hope some of them will email me.
I found it surprisingly inspiring. Telling other people not to give us has a good effect on making you (one) not give up.
After it was over, my friend dropped me off at the art supplies store on North, and I bought colored pencils (Lyra) and markers (Sakura) and the best pencil sharpener ever (Staedtler tub sharpener with a lid, for those of you who sharpen pencils / draw in bed) and spent a couple of hours scribbling. I now think I have the new concept for the ever-shelved Sander Lamori project.
So, hear me out: instead of a first-person narrative (Sander’s blog, Sander’s journal, etc.) I’m thinking of a first-person narrative told by multiple writers, a la Moonstone, in the form of a collective blog put together by a group of art students. This means that I don’t have to make Sander’s personality incorporate all of the visual things I want to do with the project: I just have to invent enough other co-bloggers for him. This is a very attractive idea to me. There can be co-bloggers who tend to supply more of the writing, or others who do more of the visuals.
I’m exhilarated about this, but if I had a nickel for every time I’ve reinvented Sander’s concept platform over the years, I’d have ten years of Sander comics / graphic novels / blog posts.
Also cleaned bathroom.
Speaking of burnout, and coffee, here’s a selection of items from Ellie Harrison‘s Tea Blog. I like going through it and pulling out the ones that interest me and making my own list of her excerpts. It’s not possible for me to link to individual quotes, because of how the site works, but all of these that follow are hers.
4 April 2006
It’s so funny to think of us working in this studio, nobody knows we are here. I wonder how many artists there are working away in rooms hidden above dodgy looking shops?
21 November 2008
I just find discussions about materials and technique highly irrelevant and thoroughly boring
23 March 2006
I want to go and look round the artists’ studios, but I really don’t feel like I can string a sentence together
28 August 2008
A cup of coffee can be a very powerful tool and you must choose the optimum time at which to use it in order for it to have the maximum positive impact on your work
25 October 2008
I’m not looking forward to the day when I have arthritis