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Contents for October 22, 2012

1. Kathy Grove, FF Alumn, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan, thru Jan. 27, 2013

Kathy Grove, included in Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition: "Faking
It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop", NYC, through January 27, 2013.



2. Robert Mapplethorpe, FF Alumn, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and more, thru Feb. 3, 2013

Sean Kelly announces that, following the joint landmark acquisition of Robert Mapplethorpe art and archival material by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the J. Paul Getty Trust, LACMA and the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center will mount concurrent solo exhibitions in Los Angeles.

Robert Mapplethorpe: XYZ
at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA
October 21, 2012 - February 3, 2013

This exhibition presents Robert Mapplethorpe's X, Y, and Z Portfolios (published in 1978, 1978, and 1981, respectively). Together, the 39 black-and-white photographs summarize Mapplethorpe's ambitions as a fine-art photographer and contemporary artist, reflecting the tripartite division of his mature work: homosexual sadomasochistic imagery (in X); flower still lifes (Y); and nude portraits of African-American men (Z).

For more information on the exhibition, please visit lacma.org.

In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe
J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center
Los Angeles, CA
October 23, 2012 - March 24, 2013

Arranged chronologically, this one-gallery exhibition will present works-from his early mixed-media objects to his photographic portraits, nudes, and still lifes-that were jointly acquired in 2011 by the Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

For more information on the exhibition, please visit getty.edu.

For press inquiries, please contact Maureen Bray at 212.239.1181 or via email at maureen@skny.com. For all other inquiries, please contact Cecile Panzieri at 212.239.1181 or via email at cecile@skny.com.



3. Cecilia Vicuña, FF Alumn, at Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn

Good news everyone!

Limited edition prints of Cecilia Vicuña's drawing "Com" are now available at the Ugly Duckling Presse's online store. Be the talk of the town--get yours today!
Love, UDP

Ugly Duckling Presse
The Old American Can Factory
232 Third St. #E303
Brooklyn, NY 11215




4. Hector Canonge, FF Alumn, announces autumn events

I´ve had the following exhibitions and performances in Bolivia: "SUI GENERIS" a project with a public performance done at the airport of Cochabamba and the exhibit at Proyecto mARTadero, "KOKA" the performance and exhibition related to the (in)famous coca leaves presented at Museo Arqueológico UMSS, and "OhRIENTE" with 2 performances and exhibition in relation to the Amazon presented at KIOSKO in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. In addition, I conducted the public actions "MARCAS" in the streets of Cochabamba, the third largest city in Bolivia.

In Argentina, I initiated the "Escuela Pública Informal (EPI)" a social project and action working with residents of San Fernando in Buenos Aires. For October 12, Christopher Columbus Day, I intervened the Plaza Colón with the public performance "DES-CUBRIMIENTO" (Dis-Covery), and presented a Live Networked Performance "ÜBERGROUND PACHAMAMA" from Zona Imaginaria, Buenos Aires, to evoke the urban settlements and shanty towns that sprung in large cities in South America -villas miseria in Argentina, favelas in Brazil. While in Ecuador I will open the Queer Colloquium in an old cathedral in Quito with my piece "BESAME MUCHO" to later travel to Colombia and Chile.



5. Dan Perjovschi, FFAlumn, at Lombard Fried Gallery, Manhattan, opening Oct. 25

Dan Perjovschi
Exit Strategy
October 25 - December 1, 2012
October 25th, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Lombard Freid is pleased to present Exit Strategy, Dan Perjovschi's third solo show with the gallery. Perjovschi is known internationally for his unique blend of wit and sociopolitical critique, and for this exhibition, Perjovschi targets the upcoming American presidential election.

Having collected months worth of newspapers, Perjovschi's interest in American and world politics has informed his recent work, a series of interventions directly on the papers. Perjovschi has simultaneously used these pages as intellectual sources for his drawings and as the physical ground on which they were created, investigating the relationship between the media, the public, and the artist himself. As he is known to do, Perjovschi has created many of the drawings on site, responding directly to his immediate physical and social environment. The show illuminates the artist's continued critical engagement with world politics through his dynamic illustrations, pairing humor with a critical eye in discussing the Obama and Romney campaign trails.

In addition to Perjovschi's drawings, Exit Strategy also features his War Collage series, created in 2003 on the occasion of the United States' invasion of Iraq. These 56 works on paper blend media images of the war with food advertisements, ubiquitous elements presented side-by-side in any newspaper of the time. These colorful juxtapositions propose a complex and comical investigation of the relations between media and capital-the war abroad and our consumption at home. Displayed alongside Perjovschi's new drawings, the War Collages prompt us to think about the socio-political events of the last ten years and the necessary connections between the news of yesterday and that of tomorrow.

Exit Strategy questions how we'll reconcile today's turbulent political state with that of the recent past, specifically the war in Iraq. Is the future born out of the events of the past?

Dan Perjovschi-born in 1961 in Sibiu, Romania-currently lives and works in Bucharest. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Between Lines, Kunstraum Stein, Krems; Perjovschi, Reykjavik Museum of Art; A Retrospective, Center for Contemporary Culture, Tours; The News After the News, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Intense Proximity: Art as Network, La Triennale Paris, Palais de Tokyo.




6. EIDIA, FF Alumns, at Plator's Cave, Brooklyn, opening Oct. 27

EIDIA, Plato's Cave exhibits Todd Ayoung, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Oct. 27

Presenting: Todd Ayoung
an EIDIA HOUSE project
October 27, 2010 to November 17, 2012
Opening: Saturday, October 27 from 4 - 6pm EIDIA House Studio, 14 Dunham Place, Basement Left, Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY 11211
646 945 3830 eidiahouse@earthlink.net www.eidia.com/
Hours: 1-6pm Wednesday - Saturday

EIDIA House announces its continuing exhibition initiative, PLATO'S CAVE. The 15th artist in the series, Todd Ayoung presents an in situ installation: "ACTUALITY and LAUGHTER" with limited edition: "Only laughter will save the people".

"ACTUALITY and LAUGHTER" displays, resonates current political desires and actualities, while at the same time reflecting, re-directing, cutting into the originary utopian dreaming of Plato's Republic. This visual art luggage travels with the stickered potentiality of everyday collective acts, while dreaming of the will to laughter, as an anarchic tool for political change. Can we combine our current "communist" everyday actualities, with "laughter" to create a slow playful revolution, a revolution platformed on environmental justice and social equity?

Todd Ayoung is a visual artist originally born in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. Ayoung has exhibited throughout Europe, Latin American and the United States. His artwork in the past has addressed issues of colonialism, race and cultural difference. Currently, he works with notions of collectivism, activism, politics, education, participation and political and social change.

"Only laughter will save the people." is a limited edition (40) digital print. Twenty of the prints are in blue (Times Roman font, in English) and twenty are in red (Times Roman font, Serbo-Croatian.) The prints come in a transparent archival bag, 5.75 in x 7.75 in. Contained in each bag is also a red and white sticker: "Only laughter will save the people".
For PLATO'S CAVE, EIDIA House founders Paul Lamarre and Melissa P. Wolf curate invited fellow artists who create installations along with accompanying editions for the underground space; PLATO'S CAVE. EIDIA House Studio boldly states that it does not function as an art gallery, but collaborates with the artist to create provocation in art forms, keeping within an ongoing discipline of aesthetic research.

Directions: EIDIA House Plato's Cave 14 Dunham Place, Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY 11211
14 Dunham Place is only 1 block long, and located at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, 1/2 block from Kent Ave. between Broadway and South 6th Street. (4 blocks west from Peter Luger restaurant on Broadway.) Trains: the L train, first stop from Manhattan in Brooklyn at Bedford stop, walk (about 15 minutes) toward Williamsburg Bridge.
The J & M trains: first stop from Manhattan over Williamsburg Bridge, Marcy stop, walk west down Broadway toward the East River.
Bus: B62 drops you at Driggs Ave & Broadway walk to river & Q59 drops you at Wythe Ave and Williamsburg Bridge, (see: www.mta.info/nyct/maps/busbkln.pdf ) To visit the Plato's Cave installation, Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 6 pm, or by appointment.
Contact Melissa Wolf, 646 945 3830, or email to eidiahouse@earthlink.net



7. Jay Critchley, FF Alum, in The Boston Globe Sept 27

The Boston Globe
Kate McQuaid
Sept. 27, 2013

PROVINCETOWN - The bathhouse at Herring Cove Beach is on its last legs. The nearly 60-year-old modernist structure dominates this little slip of the National Seashore at the tip of Cape Cod, but the floors are cracking, and the second floor was condemned years ago. Demolition will begin in October.

But the bathhouse is going out with a bang. Artist and impresario Jay Critchley has spearheaded "Ten Days That Shook the World: The Centennial Decade," featuring art installations, performances, panel discussions, video screenings, and more at the bathhouse and on the beach, Sept. 28-Oct. 7. Friday's opening includes a campfire and marshmallow toasting on the beach, with music by Screem Along with Billy/Clap for Sue and Magic & the Reggae Stars.

"It's a classic modernist structure, built as a fortress to protect us from nature, and now nature is encroaching," Critchley said of the bathhouse. On a blustery, sunny day earlier this week, as electricians laid cable through sand and artists busily worked around the bathhouse, he was taking a break in the musty-smelling lifeguard lounge.

Critchley is known for running the Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla benefit, and for a variety of comic, politically incisive art projects. These include his massive multi-artist 2007 installation "The Beige Motel," for which he completely encrusted a North Truro motel in sand and invited artists to create installations in the rooms. But even with Critchley's experience organizing such events, "Ten Days That Shook the World" has been a marathon run at a sprinter's pace.

"The bathhouse was originally going to be torn down in 2014," he said, and he had spoken to George Price, National Park Service superintendent for the Cape Cod National Seashore, about doing the project then. "But money came in early, and I got a call from George in July." Critchley said. "It was a two-year planning project in two months."

More than 30 events will touch on themes such as the environment, time and impermanence, and Provincetown's inception as an art colony 100 years ago, between 1910 and 1920. "Ten Days That Shook the World" is held under the auspices of the Provincetown 10 Days of Art 2012 Festival and the Provincetown Community Compact. The event's title refers to journalist and activist John Reed's account by the same name of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Reed was also an early member of the Provincetown Playhouse, founded in 1915.

"That decade was the progressive era in American history," said Critchley. "There was suffrage, birth control - Margaret Sanger was in Provincetown. There was the labor movement, muckrakers. Then World War I came, and the government started cracking down on activists." He sees parallels today, he added.

History-themed events will include actor Tim Babcock's performance "1912 or 2012? You Decide," a couple of renditions of plays by Eugene O'Neill, a Provincetown Playhouse founder, and a panel discussion, "Provincetown's Centennial Legacy: State of the Art Colony."

While Critchley spoke about "Ten Days," artists were at work on their installations. Vicky Tomayko and Maryalice Johnston had set up a work table covered with paint and stencils in the men's changing room, and were painting female figures and fish in the shower stalls. Jennifer Hicks had filled the original electric utility room with sand, gauzy fabric, and sparkles, and intended to create a nest on the floor complete with giant eggs visitors might sit on.

"It's about the tree swallows roosting around here right now," Hicks said. "There are thousands of them, eating bayberries." In addition to her installation, Hicks is scheduled to lead a free class in Butoh, an image-based Japanese dance tradition, on Sept. 29 followed by a performance on Sunday. "I've got everyone a hazmat suit, and people will be painting birds on their backs as they move," Hicks said.

Outside, Paul Wirhun was covering the concession stand with designs and illustrations in tape. He planned to paint the walls, then remove the tape to reveal a seascape. Inside, photographer Marian Roth had boarded over the windows of the hot dog stand in order to turn it into a giant pinhole camera. According to Critchley, performance artist Heather Kapplow will take over another portion of that building Oct. 6, and invite visitors to make their own concessions.

Every evening, there will be a campfire on the beach, and the bathhouse will be lit.

Next summer, visitors to Herring Cove Beach will have new facilities. Several smaller shingled buildings, linked by boardwalks, will provide a more intimate experience compared with the bulwark of the old structure.

"This isn't charming," said Critchley. "This is monolithic. It's out of character with the landscape and architecture of Cape Cod. But this is a monument. People wouldn't build anything like this again. It's an excess of material, an excess of space."

He was standing on the concrete platform that separated the building from the beach, squinting at the few tiny windows along its beige walls. "There's a determinism to this building, that it will last forever. It is a self-righteous and in a way arrogant building. And it has held its ground for 60 years," he said.

The wind riffled his shirt. "But the times are a-changing," he said, "and the climate is a-changing."

Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com.



8. Luke Roberts, FF Alumn, publishes new book

Dear All

Please join us for the launch of my book Luke Roberts: AlphaStation/Alphaville
All welcome.

Saturday 27 October 2012
Speakers: Julie Ewington & Luke Roberts

GOMA Store & Bodhi Tree Terrace
Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia

RSVP essential by 24 October: (07) 3842 9900 or gallery.store@qagoma.qld.gov.au

The book launch will be followed by a 3.15pm screening of the artist's short video works.
Please see attachment for more details.

Luke Roberts: AlphaStation/Alphaville has been published by the Institute of Modern Art



9. Nina Sobell, FF Alumn, at Archivio Emily Harvey, Venice, Italy, thru Nov. 11

I published a book for this show ' Dog Days of Venice '
Nina Sobell, FF Alum, at Archivio Emily Harvey, Venice, Italy opening October 19 - November 11
PAPYRI -Guestbooks, Bookworks and Similar Departures
by guests of the Emily Harvey Foundation
Curated by Berty Skuber
San Polo 387
30125 Venice, Italy

PAPYRI is a recognition of the presence in Venice of all the various personalities who have been resident guests of the Emily Harvey Foundation since 2004: over 150 creative individuals (painters, sculptors, architects, photographers, publishers, calligraphers, poets, novelists, journalists, critics, composers, performers, stage designers, linguists, and a theoretical physicist) from 25 countries on six continents. In addition to the guestbooks which are found in the Foundation's various residency apartments, the exhibition also presents a series of books and book-related works by Foundation guests. Some of the works were made in the course of the guests' periods of residency in Venice, others refer back to those times, and many were made especially for this exhibition. The artists' response to the idea of the exhibition has been both generous and enthusiastic. Many of the works which have already gone to press or been published as editions gratefully acknowledge the Foundation's contribution to their realization.



10. Simone Forti, FF Alumn, at The Box, LA, extended thru Oct. 27

Sounding extended through October 27.
The exhibition by Simone Forti, Sounding, now on display at The Box, LA, has been extended through Saturday, October 27th.
The gallery will be open for visitors Wednesday through Saturday, 12 - 6 pm.

For further information, please visit our website http://www.theboxla.com/

The Box, LA
805 Traction Avenue
LA CA, 90013

Current Exhibition:
Simone Forti
Opening September 8, 2012
8 September - 27 October, 2012



11. Beverly Naidus, Eve Andree Laramee, FF Alumns, at 2012 Bioneers Conference

Atomic Legacy Art Exhibition, 2012 Bioneers Conference, October 19-21, 2012

Curatorial Statement by Eve Andree Laramee and Beverly Naidus

The visual and performative history of anti-nuclear activist art has been in the making since the 1950's and will sustain the intentions of educating, provoking and inspiring audiences as long as our stories and images continue to enter the info-stream and the nuclear industry remains dangerously uninhibited. Peaceful non-violent activists are tenacious creatures: they want their own, if not the next generation to live to see a nuclear-free world.

Sixty-seven years have passed since the first nuclear weapon was detonated at the Trinity site in the New Mexico desert, and 60 years since the nuclear "energy" industry metastacized from the military. Our nation's failure to come to grips with the fact that no long-term plan exists for radioactive waste disposal reveals a cultural blind spot towards the ecological war that continues to be waged by the military/industrial nexus. The true costs of "clean, green, cheap" nuclear energy must take into consideration the front end and the back end of the fuel process, and the cost to the health of all species due to accidents. The National Cancer Institute of the U.S. Department of Health reports that exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons testing continues to be a worldwide issue of significant concern, yet the powerful medical industry continues to profit from this situation so there is little incentive to shift priorities. Each and every weapons test and nuclear industry accident is recorded in the ice of Antarctica - scientists have monitored these traces in ice core samples. We are all unwitting test subjects of the Atomic Age.

Technology currently exists to create a new energy infrastructure based on integrated renewables: wind, solar, biomass, tidal, hydro, and geothermal. Artworks can provide interventions that unsettle cultural blind spots, leading towards reconfiguration into a disposition of caring and healing. We need an ecology of practices and behaviors that are sustainable and in sync with the complex forms on our planet. We have an obligation to the future. As Joanna Macy and others have eloquently written, it is important to do the work of voicing our despair and grief, piercing through our often numb facades, whether we are artists or not, if we are going to grapple with the challenge of changing the status quo. Every teaspoon of action, whether it is learning more, joining a group working on these issues, writing to people, petitioning, direct action or making art adds to the momentum needed right now.

Please visit the current issue #5, Atomic Legacy Art, of the online journal, WEAD (weadartists.org) edited by Susan Leibovitz Steinman, to learn more about the artists featured in this exhibition.

Beverly Naidus
Artist and author of Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame (New Village Press, 2009)
Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Art
UW Tacoma




12. Dan Kwong, FF Alumn, at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, October 24

Kwong performs his politically-charged interdisciplinary multimedia solo, IT'S GREAT 2B AMERICAN, for one night only.

Bowker Auditorium, on campus
Wed. Oct. 24
IT'S GREAT 2B AMERICAN follows Kwong's search for an enlightened American identity, inspired by his journeys to Asia. From stories of his all-American childhood to dark historical sagas, Kwong confronts the split personality of the American psyche - "champion of democracy" on one hand, "imperialist bully" on the other -- and reveals the ironies of having a U.S. passport and an Asian face.

Packed with personal stories, dynamic physicality, rich video imagery and Kwong's signature comical props and costumes, IG2BA speaks to America's checkered past, troubled present, and a hopeful future.



13. Aviva Rahmani, FF Alumn, at 6th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration, Tampa, FL, Oct. 24

Restore Americas Estuaries
6th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration, Tampa, Florida
Panel: "Why We Restore - An Exploration of Values,"
Wednesday, October 24th 10:30-12:00 in room 18.
Moderator - Gene Turner, Participants: Restoration Scientist - Robin Lewis, Eco-artist - Aviva Rahmani, Community involvement - Bill Shadel, Community-based restoration Practitioner http://www.estuaries.org/conference/



14. Yoko Ono, FF Alumn, in The New York Times, Oct. 19

The New York Times
October 19, 2012
Yoko Ono: A Reconsideration

Yoko Ono is not pretty, she is not easy, her paintings aren't recognizable, her voice is not melodious, her films are without plot and her Happenings make no sense. One of her paintings you are told to sleep on. One of her paintings you are told to burn. One of her paintings isn't a painting at all - it's you going outside and looking at the sky. Most of her stuff is not even there. This is why I love her. This is why we need her. We have too much stuff already. It clutters our view, inward and outward.

We need more impossible in our culture. Go out and capture moonlight on water in a bucket, she commands. Her art is instructions for tasks impossible to complete. We already have a billion lovely things and a million amazing artists who have honed their talent and have lorded it above us. People who have achieved the highest of the possible. People wearing their roles as artist or writer or filmmaker or spokesman as a suit of armor or as an invisibility cloak or as an intimidatingly, unacquirably tasteful outfit.

Even other artists can't figure out Ono or accept her as legit, nor can she obey the club rules. Her stuff is all wrong. She tells you to spend a whole year coughing. Listen to a two-minute song of recorded silence, music lovers. As for you, the most imperialist and arms-profiteering superpower in the history of the world, give peace a chance.

There are two schools of art. One is what is made beautiful by the artist; the other is to make way for the viewer to see or feel what is already beautiful.

The first is to make something ornate and unreachably special with skills. The viewer or listener is awed, their belief regarding the order of things is confirmed and they are reminded by this unachievable beauty of their own powerlessness. And I do love that kind of art, the beautiful kind.

The other way to make art is to tear down what's between us and nature, us and eternity, us and the realization that everything is already perfect. In this experience of art, the viewer or listener loses respect for the current order or arrangement of civilization and thus becomes powerful, like King Kong, and outside civilization, like God - or simply like the shuffling janitor who is pleased with his own work and sleeps well.

I always admired the Japanese use of negative space in decorating and the unspoken in conversations (or so I gather from old films). Ono uses the negative positively. She is a classically trained operatic student who uses silence or screeches in her singing; a recipient of coveted gallery showings who hangs unpainted canvases with requests for you to pound holes in them or to walk on them. She was the first woman admitted to the philosophy program at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, and could travel the world discoursing multisyllabically, yet instead she tries lying in bed and not lifting a finger to cure a war.

It takes an enormous lack of ego to not put your imprint on everything you do, to not employ your learning and position. To stand back, to hold back, to keep your mouth shut. To yell with your silence, when you know you very well could make soothing and welcomed sounds at the drop of a hat. She could sing; she knows how. And being a Beatles wife could have been a magic charm - but she wasn't interested. It takes willpower to overpower the will to power. To be accepted, to be thought nice, is traditionally woman's power. That is something Ono doesn't need.

She uses nonexistence in art, and she uses absence in her private life. Her first husband was the composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. They grew apart then flew apart. Her second husband, the film producer and promoter Tony Cox, same thing. Only he took their daughter, Kyoko, and hid with her, joining a religious cult.

At first Ono allowed her third husband, John Lennon, to do what came naturally to him: to hunt for the lost daughter through private detectives and the courts. Only after John's death, when Ono wrote an open letter to her grown daughter, saying how deeply she loved her but that "you should not feel guilty if you choose not to reach me" and that she would no longer try to locate Kyoko, did her daughter slowly come back into her life.

It's paradoxical, but it seems that when you accept loss, it loses its tenacity to stay lost. Ono wived by letting husbands go; she mothered her daughter by letting her go. Lennon got the urge to roam, and she told him: Go! Go roam! And he did, and then he called and said he wanted to come home, and she said, No, you're not ready. Ono believes in the right to drift. She didn't want to hold down and lay claim on human beings any more than she did her art and ideas.

Everything that has happened to Ono has caused her to become better at living outside of the culture (instead of trying to get in). She is out there in the lonely wide open - from being a silenced daughter to a war transplant to an expatriate to an unpopular artist to a feminist with few female friends to a lover blamed by the world for the breakup of its favorite band to losing her daughter to a cult to losing her husband to a killer. She manages all these losses and holds her ground. She is not swept away. She tries to find beauty, and she tries to find connection, and she knows the pain of loneliness that is in all of us even though we might not be aware of it. But she is aware, and she reaches to that place in us, she wants us to know it's O.K. We will be O.K. Everything is all right.

Ono has made a career and a life out of doing exactly what she was not supposed to do and not being what she was supposed to be. And when she does tell us what to do, it's the undoable. Because if you cannot do that, what else might you not do? The possibilities ofthe impossible are endless!

So . . . if I love her so much, why does this little old lady still make me so uncomfortable?

I am a huge Yoko Ono fan. I feel that what she does in art - tries to free people - is the most important thing you can do in life, period. And I love that she always does it, bravely, no matter who or what it goes against, no matter how much further her unusual and uncompromising methods might drive her from our bosoms.

Even now, at the most acceptable point her career or private life has ever reached in our moralistic and artistically anorexic society, who is embracing her? Courtney Love and Lady Gaga. And those women seem nuts. They're extreme. We all love to watch what they do next, but who really likes them? And while they catfight then make up and champion or co-opt other famous ladies, I never get the feeling they like anyone either. It's more like the lonely and the aggressive recognizing one anotherand choosing not to expend their energy trying to destroy one another. (Maybe I watch too many Godzilla movies.)

Back to Yoko Ono. I feel such intense appreciation for her, yet it is not a warm feeling. At some level I just don't understand her. It would please me so much if I could - it fills me with suppressed wariness that I don't. I don't judge anyone, yet I judge her. How could she sell the rights to make John Lennon-branded neckties? Or Lennon-themed children's clothes by Carter's? Doesn't she have enough money already? She keeps her own stuff uncommercialized; why not similarly protect her husband's legacy?

How could she not support Julian Lennon when he was not named in his father's will - he'd already been abandoned by his father in life; why make him abandoned in his father's death as well?

Why is she so wonderful in disinterested ways - communicating love to people she's never met, paving a hard path to peace inside and out for the loneliest of the lonely among us - yet sometimes so mean in a personal way?

I care about her. She puzzles me. There are areas where I wish she made different decisions, and it bothers me, but still I'm rooting for her. Then it bothers me that she bothers me; there's something wrong with me in that equation.

Female artists in our society (in every society?) have to be somehow accessible. Ono's not. Just when you think you understand her feelings on things, like when she put Lennon's smashed glasses on her album cover, you feel her vulnerability, you soften, then suddenly you find out she's been living with another man while she's been talking and singing about the murder of her husband, and you deem this disrespectful to both men. Then you feel guilty that you were intrusive about how a widow mourns or how an artist alchemizes pain. Then you step back, abashed, and then you're back to Square 1: She's not accessible. Not figure-out-able. She is so weird. She's not endearing.

So what's wrong with the fact that I can't relate to her? I don't relate to male artists or expect them to be my friends. It's all about the work. I don't need to examine the human being to admire what they created. Which is lucky, because male artists don't typically seem to let that - whether or not I imagine I would like them as people - get in the way of their work.

But women do let it get in the way. Men are allowed to express all kinds of things, and it is not thought of as impacting their ability to provide as fathers. Women, though - everything they think and do and are proves their worth or danger as mothers and wives. But not with Ono. "Mothers are not supposed to give guidance," she said in a 1998 interview, believing instead that children should do their own thing. I don't think I've ever heard anyone before proposing mothers should not guide their children. How different. How refreshing. And Ono's had to deal with kidnapping, deportation, assassination - yet she absorbs it all and still says what she believes is true, not what will make her look like a good woman to the public.

This is why, for me, Yoko Ono is the ultimate feminist. She isn't fighting for women's rights per se, but she expresses herself doggedly and with a single-minded purpose of art for art's sake, truth for truth's sake, and doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks about her as a woman. Just as male artists do and we don't think anything of it. She's an artist, not a female artist. Her life - and those of the people around her - is a tool. She uses incredibly personal autobiographical details in her work, yet she doesn't seem to feel any need for perfect factual order or to worry about anyone's feelings. That quality is neither feminine nor masculine; it's genius, which is always disturbing when peered at too closely but more so when it's housed in the body of a woman, who should be maternal, who is supposed to be desirable, agreeable, likable.

That is the ultimate feminism: Yoko Ono doesn't need us to like her. She doesn't care.

Then sometimes I think she does care.

Oh, Yoko, you trouble me so.

This essay was adapted from "Reaching Out With No Hands: Reconsidering Yoko Ono," published this month by Backbeat Books.



15. Lucy Lippard, Agnes Denes, Sol Le Witt, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, William Wegman, FF Alumns, in The New York Times, Oct. 18

The New York Times
October 18, 2012

Planter of the Seeds Of Mind-Expanding Conceptualism

Anyone who wants art to be more radical, anti-market and otherwise against the establishment should hasten to the Brooklyn Museum to see "Materializing 'Six Years': Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art." Traditionalists who bemoan the triumph of mind over matter brought to us by Bruce Nauman, Sol LeWitt, Adrian Piper and scores of others in the mid-to-late 1960s will also profit, for they will here become better acquainted with their enemy. Today's booming market for attractive objects notwithstanding, most of the ideas, values and fantasies that animated the conceptual turn half a century ago are still in play in the more intellectually fashionable circles of the art world.

The show is not a conventional museum period survey. Rather, it approximates how the rise of Conceptualism was seen, while it was happening, by one person: the curator, critic and writer Lucy R. Lippard. Ms. Lippard (born in 1937) is known today mainly as a feminist and leftist activist, but in the years addressed by the exhibition - 1966 to 1973 - she was an extraordinarily energetic participant in, and promoter of, what was then seemingly a relatively apolitical trend.

Organized by Catherine Morris, curator of the museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and Vincent Bonin, an independent curator and writer, the exhibition is designed to reflect the chronological structure of the seminal book Ms. Lippard published in 1973 to document her involvement with the Conceptualist movement. Its lengthy, unlovely title is worth citing in full, as it reflects the dauntingly cerebral tenor of much of the art it describes: "Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972: a cross-reference book of information on some esthetic boundaries; consisting of a bibliography into which are inserted a fragmented text, art works, documents, interviews, and symposia, arranged chronologically and focused on so-called conceptual or information or idea art with mentions of such vaguely designated areas as minimal, anti-form, systems, earth, or process art, occurring now in the Americas, Europe, England, Australia, and Asia (with occasional political overtones), edited and annotated by Lucy R. Lippard."

Yes, that is like a mouthful of sawdust, and a lot of what is in the show is similarly dry and technocratic. There are charts, maps, magazines, exhibition catalogs and pages of dense verbiage. Among dozens of aesthetically indifferent photographs are examples from Douglas Huebler's impossible mission to take a picture of every person in the world, and images of Vito Acconci performing his "Following Piece," in which he tailed strangers on the street until they went indoors. Notebooks by Lee Lozano are filled with carefully hand-printed texts describing, for example, a performance work called "No Title (Grass Piece)," for which she tried to stay continuously stoned on marijuana for 30 days.

Some things are weirdly disconcerting, like Mr. Nauman's video of his hands kneading his own hairy thigh into different shapes. Some are comical. William Wegman's video "Spit Sandwiches" offers a close-up view into the artist's mouth as he sings a nonverbal, percussive tune. Bas Jan Ader's "Fall I, Los Angeles" is a 34-second film showing him tumbling off the roof of a one-story house. Generally, though, there is not a lot of hilarity to be found. And excepting a Minimalist diptych by Jo Baer, conventional painting is entirely absent. It is not a visually ingratiating show.

Oddly, there is little acknowledgment of world events. An exception is the famous poster picturing victims of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, overlaid by the text reading "Q. And babies? A. And babies," which was distributed by the Art Workers Coalition in 1970. But the overall impression is of a nearly autistic, self-reflexive insularity.

Conceptualism's political import is better understood when considered against the background of the mainstream art world at the time. Abstract painting, championed by the powerfully influential critic Clement Greenberg, was ascendant, and the market for contemporary art was booming, thanks to Pop Art. Young radicals viewed the commercial gallery system as a cog in the capitalist machine that they believed responsible for the war in Vietnam. Refusing to produce goods for sale to comfortable collectors and instead making "dematerialized" works that sharpened and elasticized thought were construed as forms of political resistance.

This helps to explain what seems in retrospect to be the messianic nature of Ms. Lippard's involvement. Between 1969 and 1973 she organized a series of four exhibitions in four cities. This she did by traveling to each place with many of the works in a suitcase in the form of artists' instructions for realizing the pieces on site. Each show had for its title a number signifying the population of the host city. One in Seattle in 1969, for example, was called "557,087"; "2,972,453" took place in Buenos Aires in 1970. She was, you could say, the Johnny Appleseed of Conceptual Art, planting germs of mind-expanding thought that would grow and flourish around the world.

In the early '70s Ms. Lippard's commitments changed in response to a pertinent question asked by some: Why were there so few female artists among the cohort she was promoting? In 1973 in Valencia, Calif., she organized her last numbered show, "c. 7,500," which included Conceptual works by 26 women, including Agnes Denes, Martha Rosler and Yoko Ono. In the decade after that she devoted herself to promoting female artists of all kinds. In some ways this was a reversal of field, from a mandarin preoccupation with pure thought to a populist concern for the economic and political conditions of living people in the real world.

But as Ms. Lippard notes in an essay in the Brooklyn exhibition's excellent catalog, it was not a rejection of where she was coming from: "Conceptual Art in the broadest sense was a kind of laboratory for innovations in the rest of the century. An unconscious international energy emerged from the raw materials of friendship, art history, interdisciplinary readings and a fervor to change the world and the ways artists related to it." That energy can still be felt in this richly illuminating show.

"Materializing 'Six Years': Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art" is on view through Feb. 3 at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, at Prospect Park; (718) 638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org.



Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller