Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Flamingos are everywhere..

Dear K,
I absolutely loved your last post. Those chestnut pods are beautiful.. they remind me of these seed pods that I always collect but never seem to do anything with. This weekend I am organizing my new studio room (yea! -Finally space to make things again!) and am inspired by your posted book shelf. I love arranging books in small piles around the house, but am getting into the idea of one gigantic book shelf where all of them can live together.

Speaking of flamingos.. (I'm not sure why I'm working flamingos into the conversation, but then again, why not??) In Florida there are so many references to them. I pass them in my neighbors yards on my way to work, and currently there is a beauty of one in my school's gallery that I manage. These photos are from the latest show that I have curated at my college. There are some really nice pieces, I think. A good mix of traditional and non-traditional painting, drawing and printmaking. I've also posted a small photo of my messy "they told me that this was an office but it's really a broom closet" of an office space. I recently hung up these images that say, "Do What You Love" to remind me when things get crazy.

You know how you and I have regular freak outs about what we are doing vs. what we want to do vs. we're doing ok? The other day someone asked me, "What is it that you want to do?" I replied without hesitation, "I'm doing it."

We're doing it, K. ... Yes!
Happy day to you,

Saturday, March 22, 2008

maps, books, and homepage

Hey K,
Wow! Do you have a copy of that front page newspaper image?---sounds adorable!! I used to LOVE "Highlights," especially the "Hidden Pictures" page. I think I tried making my own hidden pictures without much success. Maybe if I try again as an adult?

It's perfect that you're getting hitched in the library. When you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between libraries and churches. The parallel lines of shelves and pews, smells of historical significance, older sweet ladies willing to guide you, and the quietness of getting lost in your thoughts---I'm certain I have had a spiritual awakening at the library.

Your blogs led me into many directions (like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, I had to decide what to think about). After sitting on it a few minutes, I realized how connected these paths were. So, I think I told you about the citywide Maps thing going on recently (Festival of Maps--with just about every art-place in Chicago participating). Well, there is an especially good exhibit at the Cultural Center called HereThereEverywhere, exploring maps as interpretive and reflective of both physical and psychological experience. More than defining geographic and directional sensitivities, the artists in this show explore the metaphorical power of mapping. Josh Dorman's work (at top) focuses on the mapping of internal geographies, specifically dealing with the elusive nature of memory. He's actually working with Alzheimers and Dementia patients. When I took my students to the exhibit, the curator was wandering around, listening to our conversation. She gave us some insight into this piece:Invasive Species, New York by Draga Susanj

Apparently, these are chestnut pods, native to her childhood home of Serbia. She lives in the U.S. now, and has been finding these, surprisingly, and collecting them. Although they act as objects that connect her to her past place, they are considered invasive to her current ecology. In this formation they resemble, as my students put it, "millions of little battleships coming to destroy the earth." I could go on and on about this show, but...

I'm off track. Books, also beautiful objects, seem to be getting a similar sort of attention. Now that the book has been translated, summarized, cut-up, and read out of context in the form of interweb information, there is a certain romance to them. Like the map after mapquest, books have lost their appeal, or place, or purpose?, which is why artists have taken to them once again. Time to re-invent, re-value, and re-write into daily life. I can't admit to being on the same enthusiastic page as you (you have a binding history with books), but I love the conceptual framework and intertextuality of the book. So...when are we going to explore our HomePage brainstorms?


(all stupid puns intended)
Joy Episalla: 2nd image from the top

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I should have been a librarian

Dear K,
Ever since I was little, my love affair with libraries and books grows every year. Some of my earliest memories are of the children's section in our city's library - my parents, who are huge readers were a big contributor to this. When I was 9, my name was published for the first time in "Highlights for Children," in a section where readers could write about what they wanted to be when they grew up. I became a celebrity for a day when my little face was then on the front page of our city's newspaper with some sort of heading like, "Local girl published in Highlights for seeking library career." I grinned as the photographer took photos of me surrounded with my favorite Nancy Drews.
Not much has changed really... I still get that fuzzy feeling while sifting through stacks. Also, since S and I recently decided to get married at a library (a nerd's dream!).. lets say I've been thinking about them alot. In my searching and sifting I came upon photographer, Mickey Smith. I think this gal is really onto something. See more of her work here:

There is just something about these photographs. The silence, the smells, the feeling of wheeling those long-forgotten stacks apart from one another to look at books that no one has touched in years. I can see the dust flying right off of these slick glossied spines... and all I want to do is check one out.

With bookish love,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stiching the maps ....

Dear K,
You know me all too well. Anne Wilson is one of my favorite artists. I wrote did a huge research project and huge presentation on her work while in grad school. As you know, I am drawn to fibers and encorporating sewing, embroidery and stichery into my own work. In addition to being strickingly delicate, Anne Wilson hits on another love of mine, topologies. I want to live in her fictional, thread words. Ironically, I discovered a great book in researching for this project: "You are Here: Personal Geographies and Maps of the Imagination". Highly recommended.

Thanks for thinking of me, as always!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Portable Cities

Dear K,
Yay! Here's 2 R Skool 4 Art 4-ever! Thanks, B, for our great logo! In the meantime...
Love that picnic pic. Even the dishware looks delicious! I do miss our mealtime schemings.

I actually went to this show a few weeks ago and wanted to do a little research before posting. You will love this lady! Anne Wilson (you probably already know about her). I saw her Portable City, Notations, and Wind-up at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery in the West Loop. These forms, made up of needles and thread (or wire filament) are beautifully intricate and eerily invasive. Even the clustering of glass cases mimics topographical zones of city growth across an imagined distance. It's amazing to see in person, almost unreal. The work is minuscule, delicate, organic--reminiscent of a spider web. Although so very tiny, I sensed a foreboding danger. Their individual fragility is examined only at close inspection. Complex systems of order and chaos. Some threads are finer than a hair, but the power of many (seemingly duplicating at rapid speed) move towards impending disaster---like termites to a house, cancer to a body, or people to the world.

You should definitely take a look at her website:, especially her topologies.

enjoy the sun!

Art School is for dreaming

Dear K,

I just can't resist posting this design of the utopia art school that we will be running in our future. Designed by your delightful brother, B, we will be queens!

We'll keep dreaming ...

Sending love and sunshine your way,

Dinner Parties

Dear K,
Wow, youre eating so healthy these days! Your post made me miss our dinner party days. . . I have so many good memories of eating and laughing with you. In my brief blog searching today I found this image from and all I want to do today is skip and have a picnic in the park with all of these plates and goodies. Another good blog that I just discovered via my friend A in Vancouver is called "A Book of Evenings" in which two friends document their dinners everynight... I love this idea and just might capture my dinner this evening. In addition to this, I always think of Judy Chicago and seeing her give a lecture about her influential feminist Dinner Party piece. Everytime I see her work, I am flabbergasted at the amount of devotion and crafty skill in the ceramic work, embroidery and conceptual foresight.

Happy eating.

Monday, March 17, 2008

boys will be toys

It seems, I really like documenting my breakfast. Like the use of wood paneling below (is that contact paper?) . Nothing else to report. Love love!

Birds in the walls?

Dearest K,

As you know, I'm completely obsessed with birds - a trend in which I am not alone, it seems. Outside our window, S and I have two little doves who are clearly nesting. I check up on them reguarly. The male bird is always buzzing around collecting things and the female bird just sits on her nest, keeping it warm and cozy. Somehow, I end up collecting and keeping things warm at my house!

Since I subscribe to every possible gallery who will put me on their email list, I get regular updates from Traywick Contemporary. They are a really nice little gallery that I became familiar with when I lived in San Fran. Right now they are having an exhibit showing the works of Kelsey Nicholson. I love her use of sculpture, installation and textured materials. As you know, I am a lover of mixed materials, particularly in installation. Since I am teaching sculpture now, its been on my mind alot. What do you think?

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The day of my people ;)

Love and slugs,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

voice blogging?

Reply | Copy This


Dear K,

I know, I know... Miranda J excites me and makes me sad all at the same time. The irony about her very prolific work is that it is about the juxtaposition of just that - ordinary and extraordinary colliding. Although I feel that her movie, "You and Me and Everyone I Know" is for a very particular section of the population, I could watch it over and over. Her newest work that is on my nightstand right now is her book, "No One Belongs Here More than You." I laughed and cried about the guy who gave swimming lessons in his apartment.

In the art world, it seems to be all about connections. Miranda J takes full advantage of this - and we should too! This reminds me of fact that every single time I put up a slide of an abstract/abstract expressionist work, my students say, "Hey.. I could do that..." My (sometimes) witty retort: "Maybe so... but you aren't."

Moral: I value her work ethic and gumption. Great ideas are just ideas without gumption.

Until next time,

Totally J!

Hey k, know how I'm totally J of Miranda J? I still really love the work she does! The learningtoloveyoumore project continues to be amazing. It's celebrating people, connecting strangers, and (like she talks about in her interview) is awkwardly "real." I especially love how it involves non-artists and somewhat operates outside of the trendy brand obsessed art/fashion-world economy. My only critique would be that this unique exchange of alternative "making" is then placed back into the gallery context for art legitimization (?).
And what's personally hilarious about this little video, is that my old-friend-J is featured in one of the projects re-enacting someone else's arguement.

Also, check out this website:
It's where the interview came from. The site design is adorable, and the content--quirky and fun artist interviews. I'll probably show a couple of these to my class.

love ya,

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Dear K,
Loved reading about your camping adventures. Imagining you and S in that canoe is hilarious! Great scrabble pic! Congrats on the article---beautiful excerpt. I think part of the reason Wall's color is so saturated and the moment so heightened, is because of the way he displays these images. The quiet-made-epic moments are quite literally "illuminated" from behind, illuminating, for us, the significance of every tiny detail on a cinematic scale. Sorry to diverge. There is something about Jeff Wall, isn't there? Anyway, I would love a copy of your article for my class. We look at his work, but it would be nice to have a little "trusted" reading about him too!

I'm not up to much this weekend: grading, organizing, scheming. The ARC opening was last night. A good crowd and Martha Rosler on loop! It was an interesting mix of young and old, 1st wave and no-wave feminists, taking in the shouting and whispering feminism of artists from the 70s and today. Although, people were chatting and engaged in the work, Rosler's voice was a constant drone, like a ghost from the past reminding us that we may very well still be in the past. Spooky and revealing!

More later...

Jeff Wall: "Quiet Color"

Jeff Wall
A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai)
© Jeff Wall

Dear K,

I checked my mailbox today and received a copy of my newest article in “Afterimage: A Journal of Media Arts Criticism.” After all these years of writing, it still exhilarates me to see my name in print. (and spelled right!) When I visited you in August, we went to see the Jeff Wall retrospective at the Art Institute, remember? Here is an excerpt from my published review, "Quiet Color":

“Colors of Jeff Wall’s backlit works burst with energy - projecting reds and greens of an unearthly palette. As a forerunner in the contemporary narrative and conceptual photography trend, Wall uses color and lighting as singular units of character in each piece he creates. Light emulates life, and in turn, has a lifelike quality that breathes global commonality. While most viewers capture these quiet moments in their heads, Wall increases the saturation of the colors, bringing out a memory of a particular red balloon, a particular field that seemed greener than any other field. It is as if he captures the sense of heightening that we experience when we are in love. With our senses at their maximum, viewers are sensitive to touch, sight, and sound, leaving this exhibition visually exhausted and exhilarated.”

See more about the exhibition here:

The exhibit continues to travel, if anyone has a chance to see it, I would highly recommend it. It’s definitely worth the trip.


Friday, March 7, 2008


Dear K,

Wow.. your new shows at ARC look great! (I'm still waiting to hear if I get accepted into the other feminist show at your gallery.. Curators: hint, hint, pick me, pick me!) I love the photograph by Judy Langston, it reminds me of one of my first favorite photographers, Duane Michals. Michals is amazing at successful image and text juxtaposition and was heavily influencial on my early photography days. Remember all of those tea photographs that I wrote messages on??

Other things... while you were riding urban carts, I was riding canoes and playing scrabble in the Florida wilderness. I had a "I love Florida" moment as well.. most people don't realize that this part of Florida exists and it's my favorite part! S and I had a few tense moments on the canoe run, it was alot harder than any other canoeing experience that I have ever had. It was 7 miles of really narrow and treacherous steering, including having to dodge alligators and fallen trees. Yikes! We survived (albeit a little annoyed with each other!) - even after a thunderstorm at mile 5 that made us step up the pace. After we returned to the campsite we saw this "canoe support" sign.. and I started laughing hysterically. We could have used some support! Regardless, it was a great trip that cleared my head and challenged my scrabbling obsession.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Are We There Yet?

Here are a few excerpts from the show I just installed at ARC. Really strong photo work! We're also exhibiting some historical feminist video from the 70's and Guerrilla Girls and SisterSerpents agitprop.
artist: Judy A. Langston
artist: Mare Vaccaro

Jeanette May
install shot, tall photographs by Jenifer Arbaugh-Korotko
(I love that these don't even fit the space!!)

SisterSerpents sticker
Hope you had an enjoyable swamp trip!
xo, k

More info about show:

Press RETURN to size up the situation

Hey K!
Your student's box is really wonderful!--nice job, teach! I really miss not teaching studio classes this term. I am taking my Contemp. class to the MCA Wednesday to see Gordon Matta-Clark, though. More on that later.

So...last Saturday, my bro and I went to the Chiditarod races. It was FINALLY sunny, and very funny! It's a take on the Alaskan Iditarod, only instead of sleds and dogs, they use decorated shopping carts pushed by people. How "urban!" The most hilarious part about it, is that each team creates a theme for their shopping carts and costumes. These themes via felt, foil, glitter and glue were so adorably pathetic. Let's see...there were a few Viking troops, adult babies, nurses, Sesame Street, a camel and his harem, ghetto robots, and Monty Python's knights of the round table (and that was only part of the first of 3 Heats!). Partly because their cheering section was next to us screaming "Give them dysentery!," our favorite team was the Oregon Trail. Remember that computer game from when you were in middle school? You had to do things like ration food, and make it across the river without loosing a horse or a wheel. And if you didn't call the shots properly, your entire caravan of covered wagons could die in the middle of America! Wow. V-games have come a long way! Anyway, the races were fantastic, absurd, and just what I needed in this ending stretch of winter. I mean, grown adults, wearing ridiculous outfits (that they took the time to make, by the way), racing down the busy city street with shopping carts full of canned food and construction paper pizazz---This is the Chicago I love!

Have fun in canoes!

Learn more about Chiditarod @
Download the Oregon Trail video game for FREE @