Saturday, March 31, 2007

Postcards (Glitterbest)

This is not exactly mail art, but I treasure this card.

In 1977 I spent a few months in London. It was not until I had returned, hanging out with my granddad in Ashland, that I could make an assessment of what had happened to me. What the HELL was I doing back in the States? - that was my big question. And like the goofy girl from Oregon that I was, I wrote Glitterbest, the office of the Sex Pistols and Malcolm McClaren, and asked them for a job.

Few people had a job in the UK as it was! And I had zero qualifications, enthusiasm aside. But at least I received this cool card and loads of fabulous propaganda, including a God Save the Queen t-shirt printed inside-out in glorious day-glow purple and pink. I wore it till it was dead. I can only assume that the same Sue who wrote me the card also wrote this article.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Postcards (Yoko Ono)

Anna Banana was a well-known mail artist, who put out VILE and did all kinds of Dadaesque performances. I met her through her collaborations with Bill Gaglione. She also put out this great book called Femail Art (see below).

I was included in this book, which came out in the summer of 1978. The ‘Contents’ page not only listed each artist’s name but their address! And so I could correspond with those I had not before – like Hannah Hoch and Yoko Ono.

I still have the returned missive I sent to Hoch, all carefully written in German, as she died right around the time I sent it. But I also still have other mail which did come way as a result of that book, like this card from Yoko.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Postcards (Mark Bloch)

I think I first met Mark Bloch at the Inter-Dada Festival in SF in 1984, but we may have corresponded before that. He sent me art-missives over the years, informing me about Panpost and Art Strike.

I still get the occasional email- art, but that’s not quite the same thing as the paper stuff I have. Real mail is best.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Postcards (Buster Cleveland)

One of the advantages of having participated in mail art is that I’ve been able to keep all this great stuff. After all, most of it is paper and a few big boxes literally hold hundreds of missives from artists from all over the world.

Buster Cleveland was one of the better known mail artists, showing at Gracie Mansion in the East Village days and later on moving to even bigger galleries. I met him through various Bay Area Dadaists and he sent me mail from time to time. He was known for making his own postage stamps, of which you see some included here. This card is from 1980.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Last week I spent some time in Pendleton, checking out the Art Center there. I had no idea how beautiful this building was. It was an old Carnegie library and the renovation is wonderful. The main gallery, where I will showing work in May, has a luminous golden light.

Roberta Lavadour is the director and we went over details about the building and ideas for the show. And so for the rest of the day, I was free to scout around with her husband Jim. He was kind with his time and we drove over hills in the reservation, checked out Crow Shadow Institute and his studio, where you see him here.

For those of you who would like to meet the artist, Organism is providing an opportunity to do just that. They are hosting a dinner party in celebration of hot Oregon artists and of course Jim is one. PORT provides the details here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Yum. Too bad I am not around to see this show in NYC (of course I say that very same sentence every single time I open the NY Times). I like how Charlie Finch describes the work: “…Color Field painting put through a thresher.”

Outside of the Times, Artnet has been a most consistent source of art news for me. I am thrilled to report that both Charlie and Ben Davis will be my guests when I take this new art talk show on. That latest piece by Davis called White Walls Glass Ceiling is something I want to discuss.
(photo: Charlie Finch)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

R. Crumb

I see that YBCA just opened a show of R. Crumb. Fecal Face has some great photos of the opening and an account by Joy on the show.

While not someone who has read every ZAP comic, I am more than familiar with his work. My mom worked right next to what would be the west coasts’ longest-running head shop and by the age of 16, I was working there. You might say that for a short time, I was surrounded by Crumb. Everywhere I looked – posters, books, comics. The only X rated film I have ever even seen in its entirety is Fritz the Cat. I swear I even knew guys who looked just like Keep On Truckin’ guy.

So when I moved into an illegal sublet in NYC in the 80s and found this (hand painted and signed) R.Crumb in the closet, I knew just what I had. Still, it was almost 20 years before I would frame it and proudly display it, because I was always afraid someone would come back for it! But since I wrote about it on my old diary and no one came running after me, I figure by now it’s really mine.

And it is in so many ways the perfect Crumb for me – for I was a makeup artist for over a decade, giving people all kinds of makeovers. And what’s more, I was also part of the initial “New Wave’, so this piece really covers a lot of bases. - One thing that really strikes me about this work is just how prophetic it is, for not a lot of folks were looking like this in 1983, but the look definitely spread.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

salad days

The playlist from yesterday was eventually called my Salad Days, taken from the title of the last track for the hour by Young Marble Giants:
Glen Branca - Lesson No. 2
Heaven 17 - We Don't Need That Fascist Groove Thang
Richard Hell - Blank Generation (live)
Magazine - The Life Pours Out of Me
Stooges - Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell
Ultravox - Hiroshima Mon Amour
Siouxsie - Dear Prudence
Killing Joke - Change
Lou Reed - Vicious (live)
T Heads - Psycho Killer
Stranglers - (Get a ) Grip (on Yourself)
Patti Smith - Free Money
Clash - Police and Thieves
YMG - Salad days
I love the original line-up of Ultravox especially, when they had an exclamation point at the end of their name and John Foxx was the singer - he was the hottest. I walked by the Marquee and there was this LP cover in the window: the record was not even out yet, but they were promoting it as this band was being produced by Brian Eno. I became friends with one of the band and saw them quite a few times.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Today I will play music during my timeslot at KPSU and will post the playlist and a link to the archive later, if you care to listen.

Artstar is in for big changes. My next interview will not be on KPSU. I need to take the next step with what is now a five-year project - and I hope that those of you who liked what I produced will stay with me.

Because I’ve been a bit spread out with this blog, that old diary and then a separate page for the radio show, there’s a need to consolidate. This blog was called ‘an experiment’ from the start and I’m glad I called it that! – because there are changes to come with it too.

(PS – Edward has nothing to do with this post; I just like looking at him :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007


This years marks ten years back in Oregon and also, ten years married. My big job when I first moved back here was organizing our wedding and reception. I had a couple of different ideas for the music at the party. Luckily, I went to a dance concert my first month here and found a great band: 3 Leg Torso, who crammed us into their schedule. They play violin, cello and accordion and their CD has interesting percussion tracks. These guys can really play and I think we did very well in having them (not that I could really appreciate it - all you do is talk and say thank you at your own wedding reception).

But for a brief spell there it seemed I couldn't get ahold of them and was having bad luck. I had visions of myself running down to 23rd Street in desperation and grabbing this old cowboy I always saw on the streets. He always seemed to be playing for 50 cents; surely he'd be available. In bad weather he could barely spew out a tune. I could have sworn I saw him back in the old days, when I was here in the 70s. Sometimes he hit his guitar right but most the time he didn't seem to. I remember always thinking you've got to take a picture of him someday. He was a picture, a bit of an old rouge.

Then I found out later that he was indeed a legend. The Clinton Street Theatre hosted a bunch of independent films one evening and one was called Honky Tonk Dirt... about the life of Lucky Buster, who was on the streets of Portland for over 15 years, suffering tonsillitis, alcoholism and a series of unlucky breaks along with an outdoor music career. Turns out Lucky opened for Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard back in the day. Last I heard, he moved to Kentucky and so we no longer see him around. Something tells me that even though some of my guests would not have appreciated Lucky, we could have done a lot worse.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

collection (Rotella poster)

I've got this version of Mimmo Rotella’s Marilyn in the kitchen; with a vertical border graphic stating this piece was shown in the Gallery Yves Arman,probably dating from the early 70s. I found it on Ninth Avenue in NYC hawked by a street vendor for 10 bucks, already framed. It is only a reproduction of the piece, but the gallery was very reputable - and like my postcard and poster collection and so many other things --- cherish the paper!

Marilyn is of course sort of hawked herself by so many artists – Rotella is only one of many and he went into overkill in his later years. I love all of the work by the "Nouveaux Realists" though - like Mimmo Rotella - and especially love exhibitions based on street art and the poster (his site takes some navigating but is well worth the hunt if you love collage. He is a master).

I recall an Artnews several years ago which was an entire issue devoted to Marilyn in Art. I've also got an art book of the same title, years old.

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and 50 cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the 50 cents."---MM

She worked the camera best. It's interesting how painted portraits of her are not nearly so successful and in fact are sort of a let down.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

collection (Henry Scarpelli)

As a kid I read Archie Comics. They were really the only comic I collected. Then fast forward to my early 30s, I got into them again. I am not sure why, save I never got to be much of a teenager and after all, Archie is all about teens. So I was kind of looking back and redoing some things, at least in my head.

When Archie turned 50 in 1991, there were all kinds of special editions and celebrations. I met various cartoonists at the big convention on NYC and even had my own drawing of Betty and Veronica printed in one of the editions (they printed art by readers via contests).

Then the Children’s Museum on Staten Island had a big Archie event and I got to meet Henry Scarpelli. A lot of kids were in line to get free drawings, but I was the only adult.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the pattern may change...

This is on my mind in more ways than one.

We have an opportunity to change the pattern in the upcoming election. As many times as you see the above noun (with attached adjective), that’s as many times as we’ve had this kind of president (minus one, and he’s below).

But will it change? I was one of those high school kids so excited by Shirley Chisholm - such a naïve dream. Hey, we still have people like the Free Man in Paris telling us that Hillary is ambitious!

- Like a billionaire like David Geffen wouldn’t be, should be, isn’t celebrated to be. It sickens me. Nah. We’re probably going to end up with another one:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Recently I checked out a new shop in town which promotes artists who make objects all made from recycled materials. It is called Cannibals and it is right next to Keep ‘Em Flying on NW 21st (next to Glisan).
This place had pillows remade into modernist designs by Randy Moe for starters. It also had handmade clocks, handbags all constructed out of the plastic bags used to package the local newspaper, all kinds of furniture remade and reconfigured. Cannibals also has the work of Melanie Goldstein (see above). She takes her grandmother’s lingerie and uses it directly as the print material, which she overlays onto vintage wallpaper.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

David Cohen of Contemporary Crafts

Tomorrow I have David Cohen, the director of the Contemporary Crafts Museum, joining me on the radio. This museum is leaving its home in Lair hill of many years and getting a prime place in the new art building called the DeSoto.

The other day I took a quick tour of the new digs. It’s going to be a wonderful building, a place for art fiends to hang for an entire rainy day. And this museum has already a very illustrious history, giving exhibition after exhibition demonstrating what ‘craft’ can be.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

the Anti-Nazi League Rally in 1978

In 1978 I participated in an event which I’ll never forget. As I researched it a bit online, I saw that I was not the only one. The Tom Robinson Band and the Love Music Hate Racism site have recounts of this rally organized by Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League. I still have all kinds of paper materials from this time.

It was about a six mile walk from the center of town through the east end. I recall it was pretty nice spring day and much of this parade was made of punks. A lot of people jeered at us from the sidewalks I am sorry to say – not for our beliefs, I imagine, but for how we looked. But the pics from this site give you an idea of the spirit of the times and how much fun we had anyway!

We were rewarded at the end of the haul with one of the best concerts I’ve ever heard – imagine – the Clash, X-Ray Spex, Sham 69, TRB and Steel Pulse. The music provided a total mix, as Sham were known as Skinheads, Tom Robinson was gay, Steel Pulse was Reggae and you know the rest. I remember when the Clash came on we were screaming like crazy and the guys in front of us were saying it was like Beatlemania all over again.

Well, not quite! - for these ‘stars’ were still our peers at this time. I used to see Poly Styrene around my neighborhood, always nice. Same with Paul Simonon, a hottie who is a visual artist now.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Soon I will be leaving Chambers. I will put in, once all is done, two years with the owner Wid Chambers and feel we had a good run together. We showed some great talent – David Eckard, Jesse Hayward, Alice Wheeler, Baby Smith, Eunice Parsons, Horia Boboia – pretty stellar for a start-up who does not represent.

That gallery will carry on without me and I’m sure it will do well. Chris Ashley will be showing in June, for one thing. That exhibition is going to be awesome.

A conversation about my departure was already underway and it was brought to my attention that I needed to interject into this conversation. It’s not good to let others speak for you, because then it’s all hearsay and speculation. I am happy to answer any questions regarding my departure and feel I am the one to do it. My email is right on my profile. Thanks.

Monday, March 5, 2007


The discussion over at the Slog is getting rather remarkable. I found that one of the more recent posts had a very steady aim when it declared that this discussion was about power. And in her story, she gave the details of almost getting a gallery, but it involved a ‘date’. Now, this is a story I could unfortunately embellish in many added dimensions.

I can only think of two times I showed in New York that did not involve a possible sexual opportunity and as can be projected, one of these exhibitions came from a gay male curator and the other, from a woman. Otherwise the shows were gone when the hopes and moves were over. But looking back, maybe I should have just stuck my elbows way out and been the art whore.

Like when I was invited over to Holly Solomon’s house for a dinner party and did not go. I would go only as a girlfriend, it was abundantly clear, and not as an artist. No doubt I should have just made it obvious that I was an artist too and in no uncertain terms (whatever that is), even if I received only tepid, polite responses. But I just didn’t have enough kahoonies left after my work-day was over, plus too much (ridiculous) pride.

There’s the gallery owner who grabbed me as I walked by and placed me on his lap, the fellow who visited my studio and stuck his tongue down my throat before I could use it to say Stop! What is really awful is to recall how many times I was courted by ‘curators’ and even fellow ‘artists’ who turned out to be none of that; just using the one thing I would hold out for. Coffee and promises of dinner made no dent with me, but mention you are in the art world – like any true predator, they know your weakness.

So yes, it’s always about power. I openly acknowledge right here and right now that I started most of my current, ongoing over-cramped life because I couldn’t stand someone else having so much of it over me anymore. Busyness lets you forget, but there's more reconstruction to come.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

last night

I had so much fun at Paper Chase last night. I liked it all, but found the small Kennedy postcards by James Gallagher, some of which I have posted here, especially nice. The works by Philip Iosca were also fantastic.

more on COI

There is an ongoing Seattle discussion about a critic supposedly curating his collection into an exhibition. It started at the Slog and continued at Artdish. Several times I wanted to jump in, but felt I had maybe too much to say that was hovering yet still beside the point - as I am not in Seattle, have not seen the Mary Henry show (unfortunately!), don’t know much about Matthew Kangas, etc.

But I do know a bit about what can happen when a writer wants to collect here. It wasn't cool for the writer to review and collect, seen as a potential ‘conflict of interest’ (and no, this writer had not reviewed that particular artist or show).

But what about creating an intimate relationship with art as part of your critical practice? Can you really do that if your relationships are all based on gallery and museum visits and books? Art is an ongoing conversation and a real critical practice can be similar to a real art practice – it doesn’t happen in flashes or at a distance.

Mind, one should never ‘pay’ for a review with artwork! These questions apply whether someone buys the work or it was given to them. Art can change your life and change your mind, but it has a harder time doing that if you don’t let it in. To let it in takes a certain commitment, even if it was a gift. To live with it demands something that critiquing does not (that also applies to people who curate and hang shows, who write press releases and all – I’d call that ‘living with it’ too!).

After all, what does a critic do but give an opinion? It is all based on bias, every bit of it - and the writer is allowed, maybe even celebrated, for their bias. But the really great writers love, they don’t just like. And they often surround themselves with what they loved enough to let in.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


When I handed Jim Riswold the postcard for Paper Chase, he said: “Well, why don’t you do this?” I replied that I do do that. He just didn’t know. When I wrote about it the next morning in my diary, I blurted out: Can the world finally be ready for my photomontages?

You may think that it’s a stupid question, but it unfortunately has one of those stories behind it. Once again, someone is telling me what I cannot do. (That is why I recognized it so clearly the other day.)

I was off to New York in 1986, having had a nice run of self-instigated shows in San Francisco which were well received. These shows were multi-media and usually involved all kinds of collaborative efforts, but at the core were always my montages. It was the art dealer Jeffrey Browning (of Modernism then; he is no longer there) who told me that my montages were all fine and well and that maybe someday I could be as good as Hannah Hoch, but that was all history anyway. No one would show me really seriously unless I was A Painter.

Isn’t it amazing how someone’s words can make a mark? Someone’s very silly words? I should have realized that I was already doing quite well, thank you, and said so, but I respected so much the position of this man in the art world.

Luckily I never quit cutting and pasting, but I actually did not show my photomontages the whole time I lived in New York – and never tried. We are talking altogether a gap of 17 years.

It was not until I sent some work to the Littman Gallery at PSU in 2002 that they resurfaced. And I did it as an afterthought – I was actually sending slides of paintings but threw in some printouts of scans of collages just as some added effort. The curators had no interest in my paint, but these paltry printouts found their way into getting me an exhibition.

I went over all of my collages at this point, a collection which starts around 1977, with a cut-up of the Clash. I looked over everything and we’re talking hundreds of works. Since it is paper, I was able to keep it all, something very difficult to do with other mediums. And what I found was my life – because after all, these works (for the most art) were not made for exhibitions. They were made for me. They contained a certain veracity difficult to muster in works made for the public and while I have ditched a narrative when it comes to paint, I like to tell stories via montage.