Friday, June 24, 2011

'I don't do blogs'

last weekend i took down some moulding and had a giveaway table.
about two hundred artforums got dragged to the corner.

can that be some kind of long haiku?

its 3 days til i move and i feel some blog urgency, like i'm not allowed to post anymore once out of the building, so i should cram in a few more entries no matter that there's no inspiration to at the moment. this is the heart of the problem with blogs. a friend's mother recently and most bluntly replied to my post update: "i dont do blogs". ...

... i can totally relate.

more later, sorry!
thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Exactly Capturing the Moment


The NYTimes came Saturday to complete interviews and take pix for a possible article on the disappearing 2nd Ave facade, from the Marsbar on down to our building. The photographer was very thorough and spent quite a bit of time in our building, and almost 2 hours in my place. I was grateful for the photo session even if the pictures don't make it into the paper, as I have very few if any, images of myself in my house. I have lived the 20 years here alone for the most part, don't throw parties, and no longer inclined toward to self portraiture, so there you have it.

As the photographer clicked away I experienced an inkling of what models must feel. It is not so easy being yourself (or not), on request. I was also reminded of the day long ago when I sold my backyard horse Justy. I was 18, and heading on out. We realized after the sale but before she was trailered away that we had no pictures of she and I together, maybe one, since we got her when I was 12. We got out the camera and started snapping. I sat on my horse, no-longer-mine, bareback, no tack, in my street, or rather, countryroad clothes, and then we tried some hugging from the ground shots. A distracted half-smile was the best I could do. It was a weird time. I miss that horse terribly now (sobbing, here, for real), but back then I was eager to get on with things and I couldn't be taking a horse to the big city. The few pictures from that day that remain (the best ones were all in luggage stolen from a friend's truck a few years later during a pickup from EWR) are not the proud and ecstatic girl-and-horse-fully-turned-out-maybe-with-ribbon equestrian portrait I would like to possess now. They are pictures of an attempted moment already gone by, and out-takes at that.

So Saturday I finally got my house pictures; not some portrait of artist-working-in-full-studio or laughing around a table, but sitting alone in a space (both head- and literal) half packed up and half torn apart, distracted and somewhat uncomfortable, possibly already out of here.

But away with all the sentiment...I can't wait to see them!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Regrets and Bad Vibes

As I pick and plough through my stuff getting ready to move I get periodic waves of panic and regret over what more I imagine I could have done with my building over the years, beyond making it my home. For instance we had, have, around 2000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The 'storefront' as we call it, is now an absolute filthy wreck, one part warren of abandoned rooms once occupied, incredibly, by a doctor's office called the St. Marks Women’s Health Collective (we still get mail for them) and the other part a more open space in the back with ruined french doors that lead to a dead end alley of sorts, an 'outside space'.

After the lady doctors split sometime in the early 90s, (I suspect for more hygienic horizons) the storefront was then occupied by one of our building-mates, a somewhat engineer of sorts. He had commandeered the entire space to hoard mountains of old computer equipment, and none of us had any access until after he left, which he did suddenly one day in the early 2000s, miraculously disappearing along with most of his storefront stuff. Unlike our more rustic places, he left behind a completely finished duplex apartment across the hall from me in the front top and 3rd floors, connected by a cast iron spiral stair. I didn’t go into his place for a long time after he left, not until it didn't feel like his anymore. He was a very surly, sometimes violent and divisive force within our little tenants association, and since he left us our group has gotten along quite well, something unheard of among NYC coop boards, de facto, as ours is, or otherwise. If we were so inclined I suppose we could have burned sage or done some feng shui thing to dispel the palpable bad vibes, but we just let the space sit. It has since come in handy occasionally for studio visits or when I've had a big project to produce. Except that while making his exit our ex-colleague tore all the electric out, so it's day use only. I have strung lights up in there on occasion, but its a pain and taxes my electric.

Back down to the storefront: I could have had a gallery, performance space, free-for-all-whatever-gathering-happening-space, a space. I could have proposed any number of projects in the back, accessed by CUANDO's long defunct hallway. One would enter from the street, travel the long hall to arrive at, what… a robust lawn growing under fluorescent grower lights? a gallery of blacklight paintings? (no), and installation of anything at all I could have curated, or invited someone to curate involving other artists from the neighborhood. Never mind that I no longer know any artists from the neighborhood. I could have found some I'm sure. I could have shown my fabulous telephone wire piece down in there if I had done it. I could have started something that might have become part of the grassroots artistic fabric of the neighborhood, or that might have contributed to, represented and help sustain the area's gritty past creative energies in the face of growing threats from gentrification and developers. This is what goes through my head every once in a while these days. Stuff I would, could, and should have done with this precious chunk of decrepit Manhattan real estate.

Other HDFCs did it, managed to engage the neighborhood by providing public-ish exhibition and performance spaces over the years, and some are still going to this day, such as Bullet Space on east 3rd street.

But the truth is that we in this building were never the 'community' types. For one thing, our median age was above that in most homesteaded buildings, and most of us are well past gritty and way over making the scene. Despite my current few regrets, we have kept a low profile here on 2nd Ave., and basically desire quiet, not drama, even of the staged variety.