Saturday, July 4, 2009

On the 4th (Farce) of July

Independence Day. Really? When can we change the name of this holiday to Interdependence Day?

I have no definite plans until five o'clock when I will drive to the edge of the county to spend a few hours with some remarkable friends of mine. We won't be roasting hotdogs. We won't be singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." We won't be waiting for the fireworks at first dark---unless, as my friend K. said, "It's conversational fireworks." We will be sharing ideas and opinions about world politics...because these friends are my very savvy and articulate experts on many aspects of politics and on the realities that accompany the confounding and disappointing political movements of our world---our interdependent world.

Meanwhile, I am organizing my mind to beat in rhythm with my heart so that I can articulate the throbs and aches that give meaning to this life of mine. I am struggling to "hearticulate" these things!

The Gallery is closed this Saturday--4th of July--so my young staff can go to parades and pancake breakfasts on the Plaza and prepare family picnics and outings to see the displays of fireworks. I don't like displays of fireworks. So there, I've said it!

I have stayed at home all day--alone, naturally--doing stay at home-type things: re-hanging some artwork; finishing a couple of books that have been on my night table for far too long; doctoring my forlorn geraniums; watching a bit of tennis...and thinking.

What has happened to The good old United States of America? How did it become a country of frightened and greedy and somnabulent people who feel no connection to most of the people they encounter on the aforementioned picnics, parades and other community events? Why do so many judge and condemn and dismiss those who are different on the outside (skin, age, dress, accent, choice of mates)?

I plan to explore these personal posings for the remainder of the month...or so I'm telling myself right now!

We are interdependent, you know. I'm not making that up just because it offers a bit of semi-clever wordplay for the day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."

...Confucius (and/or one of his followers) said or wrote that!

In a mood of confusion, while searching for a mite of comfort in the words of any ancient philosopher, I chose to peruse The Chinese Classics---thinking that (perhaps) Confucius could extricate me from the discomfiting mental space into which I had plummeted earlier in the day.

I must have been word-marrying "confusion" with Confucius.

The quote that stood out, as I skimmed the page, is the one you see above. A mistake. It caused a continuation of my plummeting state of mind. Confusion is now coupled with contrition. Oh, yes! I have faults. And I am fearful of abandoning them! Without my faults, I fear, I would be bereft of enough je ne sais quoi to sustain my myriad tasks, my commitments, my follies, my veritable Life's purpose!

Confucius say: " not fear to abandon..."

Confusion say: Should I stay or should I go?

Later in the evening, I found some useful quotes by Chuang-tzu (369-286 B.C.) whom I had never read before. He is said to have said (or written): "All [wo]men know the utility of useful things; but they do not know the utility of futility." Great that he could rhyme so cleverly in English lo! those many years B.C.

Confusion say: Utility, futility, ability, humility, shumility...

It seems to me...that through all these years of working for and playing with and learning from THE ARTS, I have neither fully grasped nor completely conquered that which would eliminate the recurring futility of my ability to marry humility with utility. Hence: Shumility!

But seriously, Folks!

I lament the fact that the arts (especially the best contemporary painting, sculpture and photography) have such a difficult time finding respectful places in the lives of most people in this vast country of ours...I'm keeping this lamentation confined to the situation in this country--it could be a world wide lament. Quien sabe!?

I'm looking for a solution...some sort of action that would catapult the Art World to a place of prominence on our national list of priorities...

Got any ideas???

Friday, May 15, 2009


Loving, in this case, is not an adjective. It's a gerund. As in: I am loving Art.

Sometimes I find it almost painful to love great art---serious, brilliantly conceived, divinely inspired, well-crafted, personal art. It's painful because it doesn't fit inside my hungry being. It's too big. It stretches my consciousness to the bursting point. It spills out and slips away from my most earnest efforts to contain it. I guess I must accept the fact that really good art can't be completely contained. That is an awesome fact! Sometimes looking at masterpieces makes me dizzy. I have to close my eyes before them and take a breath and struggle to absorb them; to be absorbed by them. Sometimes, when I am standing before a true work of art, I start to weep inside and tears appear in the corners of my eyes. It doesn't happen all the time. It doesn't even happen frequently. But when it happens, I am forever changed.

I am remembering a small Annunciation work by Leonardo DaVinci that hangs in a dim corner of a small room in The Uffizi in Florence...
And now my thoughts leap to a tearful reunion I had with one of Rodin's Burghers of Calais in a stairwell at the Chicago Art Institute...
My memory bombards me with Art for which I harbor respect and mind's screen flashes quick images of works by Ribera, Cezanne, Gorky, Guston, Hopper, Diebenkorn, Martin...I celebrate the enormity of the possibilities great art has to elevate the spirit, to inspire, to heal...

...oh, I'm beginning to wax a bit too poetic, too mega-dramatic, methinks.

My plan, this morning, was to write about a current personal experience of awe...but I seem to have gotten self-conscious---even here in the privacy of my sun-filled writing room. So, without intending to, I retreated into the relative safety of past masters! I became self-conscious because what I want to say is difficult to say without the words sounding like hollow Gallery Owner-ese. And these feelings/thoughts are too important to me to risk sounding like a commericial gallery owner writing self-serving business-type hype.

I know/believe that the show opening tomorrow at Linda Durham Contemporary Art is... Remarkable. Rare. World-worthy. Amazing. Brilliant.

It's been a long sleepy winter at the Gallery. The months-long, rotating show of works from our Inventory offered the relatively few January-to-May gallery visitors a fine look at the strength and beauty of the work we represent. It was what it was! It was what we do in the "off season." The weather was tough. The financial world was in deep disarray. The town was quiet. I spent most of those months wondering what in the world would happen to the Art World---given the perilous political/economic times that we all faced---and still face. I had some gloomy thoughts that I worked hard to keep at bay. But gloom sometimes had its way with me. And so, in a gesture towards optimism, I catapulted my hopes forward to May when our so-called season would begin. I survived my harnessed fears of doom. They disappeared...completely...yesterday! Poof! Whoosh!

Thank you Erika Wanenmacher and Lucy Maki!

All day Thursday, I wandered around the Gallery, in a state of semi-bliss, looking and (re-looking) at two rooms full of MASTERFUL paintings by Lucy Maki and observing the progress of Erika Wanenmacher's REMARKABLE "Ditch Witch" installation...I couldn't stop smiling. Two exhibitions, opening on Saturday. Two excellent exhibitions worthy of International praise and respect. The more I reveled in the beauty, power, originality and integrity of these two bodies of work, the more I realized and embraced a treasured facet of the Art Business, my Art Business:

What makes me most happy, most satisfied and proud about having a gallery is (surprisingly?) not those moments of financial success. No, it's excellence. Excellence! It's the privilege of participating, in a small way, with the extraordinary art of my time and community. It's about introducing the Art World to the work of brilliant, passionate artists. It's about mounting and presenting that work to a curious, inspiration-seeking public. It about being astonished and then...having the opportunity to astonish others!

Don't miss this ASTONISHING show!
Walk, run, ride your bike, skip, drive, fly to Santa Fe.

Lucy Maki's Architectonics
Erika Wanenmacher's Ditch Witch

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wondering Woman

That's it: Wondering Woman!
That's my secret code name for myself. I've been searching for a proper secret code name for a very long time. For years I have been deceiving myself, flattering myself by thinking (hoping) that the powerful moniker "Wonder Woman" suited me. I know, I know, Linda What's-Her-Name really owns the title...and before that there were the comic books...and before that there were (surely) countless wonder women wandering anonymously around the world--wondering. Identifying with the Wonder Woman character has long been a way for me to entertain myself, a way to boost my wildly vascillating sense of self worth...It amounted to nothing more than a chronic case of wishful wondering.

(note to readers: sometimes a perverse penchant for accidental alliteration overtakes my marginally more measured means of word selection--my apology)


Why, I wonder, have I collected so many random, kitschy Wonder Woman items: magnets; a jelly glass; note paper; dolls; books...The piece de resistance---because, when I saw it I couldn't resist it---is a Carol Sarkisian Wonder Woman doll, with a gold-leafed body, bejeweled in ersatz rubies and diamonds, standing stalwartly on a snowy peak, in a glass and powder-coated metal diarama--fantastic!

And now to answer my own question:

I collected (accumulated is the better word here) all those odds and ends of "wonderwomaniana" because...well...pretty much just because! The book bag, the lunch box...they simply appeared (as gifts and from wanderings in flea markets and second hand shops) and I simply found a place for them in my life--on shelves, in drawers, on my refrigerator...

In an attempt to find clarity, through pondering possible answers to a loose variation of the chicken and egg puzzle, I posit that first there was the wonder and then there was the wonder woman and then there was the wondering...Or was the wondering first?

This started out to be a personal celebration of the wondrousness of the act of wondering. It was meant to be serious. Profound, perhaps. Now, I see that it has morphed into an unintentionally (and embarrassingly) exposed view of a not infrequently frequented part of my mind---the part that gives me no peace of mind. May I add that it's late, late at night!

I'm wondering (I can't help it) how chains of thought are linked...There is a drinking/parlor game that, from time to time, I've played with others---but that I play most often with myself--when I am caught without people or books. It goes like this: think of a common two word phrase...take the second word of the phrase and make a new two word phrase starting with the aforementioned second word...and so this:

table top---top hat---hat trick---trick pony---pony tail---tail end---end paper---paper trail---trail dust---dust bin---bin Laden...

Now what, I wonder!?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brother, can you spare a smile?!

Today my thoughts center around problem-solving---make that "puzzle"-solving. The word "puzzle" is much more optimistic. It implies a definite solution. The word "problem" does not. So, I'm wondering (I seem to wonder again and again) about possible solutions to the multitude of troubles facing our endangered WORLD. On this beautiful Earth Day morning, having saluted lovely Venus and the exquisite sliver of moon--a glorious gift to the early risers who looked to the East--I am searching for a clear and righteous question. I'm searching for a question to pose to myself and the Universe...the kind of question that will lead to the kind of answer that will lead us to the kinds of beauty, safety, happiness and opportunities that we ALL seek. I think we all do seek our own kinds of beauty, safety, happiness and opportunities.

I'm envisioning a growing, world-wide acknowledgement of the strength and fragility of our planet. "Envisioning" works better (for me) than praying. When I envision, I can "actually" see; when I pray, I can only hope!

Everything about our global community seems both fragile and strong these days---environmentally, socially, politically, spiritually, emotionally. Some people look at what's working, what is fixed or (relatively) pure and say things like "it's all okay...don't problem." Other members of this World of ours point to the terrible poverty, wars, pollution and ignorance that threaten our health, livelihood and Peace...and they weep or tear their hair or rant or cry out about our threatened wilderness, our unhealthy children, our homeless, hungry...

In this country, these days, I sense so much isolation---between us, among us, within us. How is it that so many "citizens" who live somewhere between "the redwood forests" and "the gulf stream waters" fail to find pride in this country! What has befallen the people of these United States to cause us to thwart the many opportunities to join with others to celebrate what's right about America and Americans and to work to fix what is wrong about this country of countless possibilities?

My question is: Given that I believe that power, opportunity and solutions can be found in those places where opposites meet (friend/foe; right/left, light/dark, big/small, strong/weak...) how can I (and how can we and how can the World) meet the important issues of our time on those lines in order to solve the issues that threaten the life, liberty and happiness of ALL?

Naivete is one of my strengths. It seems to me that when one is too naive to believe that something can't be done, one just might envision it being done and one just might work to make a difference. A positive difference.

I read a poem (a jingle, actually) long ago. It stays with me to this day: "The World would stop if it were run by those who say 'it can't be done.'"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A few thoughts on Architecture

Today I will participate in a distinguished panel on Architecture. I am the only non-architect on the panel. The most famous panelist is Ricardo Legoretta! It's the second time this panel has convened. The first time was to choose the recipient of the 2008 Jeff Harnar Award for excellence in Architecture (we did not award the award!!). Today we meet to talk about excellence in architecture in front of a few hundred interested (??) people. I wrote the following a few months ago...but thought it was time to share it.

THE HARNAR AWARD: It was with curiosity and a soupcon of trepidation that I drove up the driveway to Lori Harnar’s house, parked my car and found my way through the tunnel and up the winding staircase to the living quarters where the Jurors for the Harnar Award, as well as those who had organized the events and those who were facilitating, had gathered. It was not my first time in a Harnar house but it was my first time in Harnar’s house. It was remarkable! And yet, something bothered me. I was uncomfortable in the structure…It took a while to realize that the house was not designed for such a gathering…Oh, yes, everyone was accommodated---but in the process of accommodating them, the house was…and I use this word with hesitancy…abused. This house, in my opinion, was designed for Jeff and Lori. It is a highly personal expression. Far more than personal: it is a brilliant, sculptural object in which a private couple could dwell! A sanctuary. A respite from the outside world. The Harnar House is a thoughtfully conceived, creatively designed, masterfully sited and constructed personal monument to a set of ideals. No wonder Garrett Thornburg, who lives in a Harnar designed home, was moved to establish the Harnar Award for Excellence in Architecture in honor of Mr Harnar’s life and in celebration of his work. In 2007, a Jury Awarded the Harnar prize to Suby Bowden. Although I was not on the jury, I know the property and I know Ms. Bowden’s work. She was a most appropriate and most deserving recipient of the first Harnar Prize.

This year seven applicants presented their submissions for this award. After our first review of the material in the folders and the power point presentations, I had troubling thoughts. Where was the remarkable (and sexy) innovation that I experienced in the Harnar properties? Where was the superior design, the careful attention to site, the special use of materials? In short, where was the innovation?
I am not an architect. I am a Dealer of fine contemporary art. My life is about considering ideas, form, geometry, color, originality, execution, truth, beauty and the relationship of these elements with the whole. My responses are more intuitive than intellectual, more emotional than practical. With that caveat in place, I state that, from my vantage point, not one of the submissions came close to meeting the criteria for the Harnar Award. From first view of the seven submitted projects, I felt that no award should be given. To select the best of the uninspired would be to do a disservice to Harnar’s work and memory and to reduce significantly the honor that was given to last year’s honoree.

“Science works with chunks and bits and pieces of things with the continuity presumed, and (the artist) works only with the continuities of things with the chunks and bits and pieces presumed.”

---Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The connections between art and architecture---like the connections between aesthetics and ethics---are subtly present in all sorts of contrasts and comparisons. One can be found inside the other, or enfolding the other, or supporting or confounding the other. Architecture is the new glamour career, the new passion, fad and/or hobby. Everyone is an expert. Everyone has an opinion. Today the interested public is easily (all but blindly) lured or swayed by the hype that surrounds the creations of certain “famous” architects. Some architectural projects turn into sightseeing wonders---sometimes at the expense of their implied or original function. Some new museums eclipse or outshine the art in their collections. Some simply do a disservice to the collections by flaunting faux architectural genius above function. Not that form must always strictly follow function but shouldn’t it do more than merely pay lip service to it? But where is the dialogue? Where are the arbiters of taste or should there be no arbiters of taste.
Here in Santa Fe, architecture has been turned into a game: how many ways can adobes (and faux adobe walls) vigas, portals, copings, small windows, latillas, Mexican tiles…be designed/ assembled, re-designed/re-assembled to create an original look in the historic zone!

It seems that this current, all-consuming culture of ours, is embracing the idea of art and architecture more and more but ignoring the study of aesthetics and authenticity. We have lowered out standards of excellence. We “worship” the big and strange and famous and hyped at the expense of simple genius and elegance. Ersatz satisfies! There is not enough general education available or desired---education that would give people the tools to see rather than just look. We have become addicted to "syte bytes" rather than sites and sights. To consider excellence takes time. One must look at details. Not everything can be seen and appreciated in an instant.
We have the start of the slow food movement…now we need the slow observing movement.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To Wisconsin (an infinitive)

Picture this, if you dare: It's late at night. I am in a small, meticulously appointed room in an over-the-top quaint Victorian bed and breakfast inn in Whitewater Wisconsin. I am the only guest and I have not seen the proprietors of the establishment for forty-eight hours. I have nothing to read but a week old Newsweek magazine...There is no television, no radio and I have a full-blown case of insomnia. Maddeningly, there is a gospel tune stuck in my head and I can't stop singing it: "Oh, Sisters let's go down, let's go down, don't ya wanna go down, oh, Sisters let's go down, down in the river to pray..."

I am tired. I have just finished two long (albeit rewarding and great) days lecturing in the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater. I keep singing (ahhrghh) and reviewing the high points of those high point-filled days...My flight to Minneapolis--connecting to Albuquerque--leaves Milwaukee at 8:40 am. Milwaukee is more than an hour away. Do the math.

"As I went down in the river to pray, studyin' about that good old way..."

Fortunately, I am able to sing and think at the same time. It's a multi-tasking trick that has served me well on the countless occasions when I've been caught in a sleepless, bookless, conversationless state. This time it's the State of Wisconsin.

And so, I think!
What made me fall in love with Whitewater, Wisconsin, I ask myself--because I am clearly, clearly (double "clearly" intentional) smitten with everything Whitewater-ish. I'm moved by the kindness and friendliness of everyone. I'm in love with five or six brilliant and engaged members of the faculty of the Art and English Departments. I'm crazy about the students. And (surprise, surprise) some of the Art is almost remarkable. However, most of the food is not very good---which may be why I'm wide awake singing and recalling the mistake that was the penne pasta with chicken cubes and some kind of flour-y cheese paste.

There is a special sort of delight in finding oneself somewhere one has never fantasized about going and finding that that "somewhere" has a headful of surprises to bestow on the aforementioned self. To lose the ignorant (yes, let's call it ignorant) notion that one knows where the artistic excitement, cultural relevance, sophistication, pleasure and authenticity can be found is to lose a notion so narrow, so parochial, so self-defeating as to be intellectually crippling. I lost such a notion.
I went to Whitewater, Wisconsin to share some of my professional experience and knowledge (and to collect a small honorarium). I returned rested and renewed (yes, I slept on both planes). I returned home with a more open heart and with a secret embarrassment (now shared with you) regarding my narrow preconceived notions about things I should refrain from preconceiving--if I ever hope to become any sort of enlightened individual!

"...and who shall wear the robe and crown, Good Lord, show me the way..."

The infinitive "to Wisconsin" is newly defined as the ability to find inspiration, satisfaction, wisdom and/or love in an unexpected place. Wishing you "Wisconsin"!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


For someone who claims to use her Gallery as a "vehicle for communication" this writer has experienced some recent (and lamentable) communication failures (mishaps, tragedies, frustrations...).
Subject: my participation in a Code Pink/U.N. supported Delegation to Gaza to celebrate International Women's Day with the women of Gaza and to witness the results of the December/January attacks by Israel on the children, buildings, families, farms, animals, businesses, schools, hospitals, vehicles, and very livelihood of the captive humans on that small strip of land...
Okay, I do see a smidgen of Palestinian-leaning attitude here. However, I didn't have the"attitude" when I embarked on the trip. I was simply curious, adventurous, mildly informed and able to scrape together enough money to make the trip. The attitude definitely built while I was in Rafah, Gaza City and Jabaliya. It continued to build while I participated in meetings with psychologists, relief workers, teachers, lawyers and a wide variety of Palestinians imprisoned by the power of the mightier, the angrier, the crueler Israeli Military. My attitude of the unfairness of it all built in me as my days of witnessing in Gaza passed---wrenchingly, horrifyingly. I was emotionally destroyed by the (first hand) reality of the profound and utter destruction of lives, liberty and the pursuit of basic happiness. But that is not my only area of "attitude."
Not at all!...I have never failed to take into consideration the many Israeli lives that have been greatly harmed as a result of this seemingly endless war of anger, aggression, fear, ignorance and revenge. Revenge! What a futile, senseless way of life! Last week The Santa Fe Reporter published snippets of a long interview with me that a conscientious writer had conducted a few days after my return from Gaza. At one point, she included a list of events from that trip--including my (true) statement that I attended a presentation by two Palestinian women who were arrested and imprisoned (for years) in Israel and...tortured. I didn't make it up. In fact, someone filmed it and I think it can be found on YouTube. The next day, my Staff and I had the unpleasant opportunity of listening to a voice message from an enraged woman--telling me that I had no proof of the torture and that I was causing problems by speaking such nonsense and that I should not meddle in politics and I should stay in my gallery with the horrible grenade. She said she was a woman of peace. And since I too am a woman of peace, I called her to attempt a conversation for clarity. A woman with the same voice as the woman who left the message said that she was the cousin and that the person who called me had gone to Europe that morning and would be gone for months. chance of a peaceful reconciliation there, I guess. At least not for a while. This week The Reporter printed a letter to the editor from a man who seems to be accusing me of not having sympathy for an Israeli family whose 13 year old boy had been "hacked to death by a Palestinian terrorist" recently! He further suggested that my "Code Pink colleagues" and I would not find the torture of a Rabbi and his pregnant wife by "jihadi terrorists in Dubai" reprehensible. Not stopping there, he thinks my colleagues and I would not cry at the horrors of human annihilation in the Sudan. Now, why would he think that my crying over the cruelty delivered upon the of lives and land of Gaza and Gazans (indiscriminate bombing and bulldozing, injuries, death and destruction from white phosphorous) would preclude my crying over cruelty anywhere?! In The Sudan, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Myanmar...wherever the powerful prey on the weak...wherever Evil harms the Innocent...wherever sociopaths and psychopaths harm children and destroy lives, I stand and object. And, I weep!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

In The Answers Are The Questions! In The Solutions Are The Problems!

Back in the 80’s, when interest rates on bank loans were sky high, I experienced a dark period in the early life of my Gallery. I recall spending night after sleepless night and day after stress-filled day searching for ways to pay off a two hundred thousand dollar loan that was (fast) coming due. It was a most uncomfortable time for my fledgling business and for me! I was a foolish young woman intent on the pursuit of “a highly improbable fantasy”--or so I was told by many a would-be expert. Yes, I risked expensive money on a dream that was not based on super sound financial thinking. And yes, I was a naïve, cockeyed optimist---willing to live with whatever consequences came my way. Daily, I chased wild fears from my thoughts. Nightly I counted them like so many sheep: abject failure, humiliation, banishment, bankruptcy, public embarrassment, disappointed children, loss of friends, debtors’ prison…
During one of those dark days (and there were many), my friend Deirdre, a single mother raising two small boys alone, called me in a panic. She was completely and utterly distraught because she owed five hundred dollars and she didn’t have it and she didn’t know how to get it…I tried to comfort her with my much larger tale of woe—to no avail, I’m sure.
That night I spoke to a successful businessman, a savvy mentor of mine. I told him about my friend who was worried about her measly five hundred dollar debt. I made light of it---comparing it to the far more serious situation of my frighteningly significant two hundred thousand dollar debt. The businessman looked at me with a knowing smile. After a long pause, he confessed that he owed two and a half million dollars and he didn’t know where to find it. He needed it by the end of the following week!
And…then I got it!
It’s all relative! The nervousness, the sleepless nights, the fears, the impending embarrassment…it is all the same. If a young single mother owes five hundred dollars and can’t pay it, it’s no less disturbing to her than owing two hundred thousand dollars is to a struggling, inexperienced entrepreneur who doesn’t have it and doesn’t know how to find it. Moreover, the mature investor, caught in a two point five million dollar money bind, is surely not experiencing any greater anxiety than the aforementioned.
It’s all relative!
But not particularly comforting!

This, I think, is how it is now---now, in the economic weirdness that is 2009:
Banks aren’t lending. Workers are struggling. Small businesses are in trouble. Newspapers are folding. (no pun intended) Restaurants are closing. Automobile plants are shutting down. Investment firms are laying off workers. Real estate is soft. Rich people aren’t buying art.
Where is the money? Where did it go? When will it come back? Will any of it come my way? How will I keep my commitments? How will you keep yours? Who (or what) is in charge? What can I do to alleviate my own quiet anxiety? Can I (possibly) assuage the anxiety (I see it on the faces, I hear it in the voices) of the people I meet? What would make me think I could? Why do I have so much? How can I lighten my footprint on the planet? Why are people mean? Who are the fear mongers? How can we disappear them? Why is my country still funding evil war machines? Is this what God intended? Maybe there is no God. How did it all begin? Where and when and how will it end?
And what’s all this about a “new paradigm”???
In The End Is The Beginning…

Friday, April 3, 2009

Taking a Chance on Truth

…I’m searching for the theme of these current days of mine. Various themes are suggested by this middle of the night mind of mine. The theme is a cocktail of sorts, a recipe, a formula; one not worth recreating in any kitchen or laboratory. It proves nothing and it’s hard to swallow. It’s life, I guess. Just life.

Sadness. Loneliness. Loss. Forgiveness. Abandonment. Discovery. Redemption.

My Life
Once upon a time there was a lonely woman who lived in the middle of a lot of people. She had grown to maturity through a million mistakes. Mistakes made every day, at every turn. And, at all those turns, she judged herself. There were the superficial judgments (too short, too thin, too dumb) and there were the more profound judgments (too insignificant, too misguided, too dangerous, too undesirable, too unforgivable).
Everyone knew her. And no one knew her. She knew she didn’t know herself.

Her Life in “The Oughts”
Wake up. Feed the dog, the cat, the fish, the birds. Take a short walk. Read the paper. Listen to the radio. Drink some tea or coffee. Check e-mail. Water the plants. Do some laundry. Take a shower. Get dressed. Pay bills. Go to work. Figure it out, figure it out. Try to figure it out. Keep going. Keep going. Keep trying to keep going. Smile. Pay attention. Say thank you. Say yes. Say no thank you. Say enough. Say too much. Say it again. Say it too quickly, too softly, too harshly. Say can you see…

It dawns on me…
Tomorrow and tomorrow…petty pace…last syllable…out…out…walking shadow…poor player…fools…dusty death…no more…

Something like that. Something like nothing. Nothing special.

“I am special, ” the ingénue says in the Fantastiks. “Please God please” she implores, “don’t let me be normal.” But she is normal. She is some kind of normal. She is aspects of normal. Normal says, “Don’t let me be normal.”

I’m thinking about everyone. Right now, in the middle of the night, having over-eaten and having drunk a bit of wine, I’m thinking about the everyone-ness of us. Everyone. The people who are lonely and the people who don’t know that they are lonely. And the lonely people who don’t know that the people they know are lonely people. No one says so. No. Say it isn’t so.

There are lonely people who appear…Wait. Wait a minute. I am no Eleanor fucking Rigby. I’m not lonely. I’m simply alone. No, not simply alone. Profoundly alone. And sad. But not the kind of sad that can be erased with a song or a few comforting words. And not the kind of sad that can be fixed with a fortune or a soul mate. Profoundly and unalterably sad.

Telling the Truth
Speaking truth to loneliness. It’s okay. It is, after all, next to Godliness. Loneliness is.
Lonely as a cloud. Lonely like a cloud: just vapor and fluff, floating in and around, changing shape, blown by this and that, affected/not affected by this and that. Formed. Unformed. Uninformed. Uniformed.
See…don’t see.
See the shining sea!
Sea of possibilities. See the possibilities.
Sea of change. Change of scene. Scene of destruction.

See, this is a place in my mind, a moment in time. In impatient syncopation.
A bit out of step. But in the flow.
Too sensitive. Too insensitive. What’s the difference? Both are problematic.
The best becomes the worst. The inside is the outside. Still and always, the energy is on the line where opposites meet. Where they fight or join or retreat or disappear. Where the enemy becomes the friend. Where the weak inherit the earth.

I live on the line between old and young, between dark and light, between evil and good, between transparent and opaque. In my solitude, I curse myself, I amuse myself, I forgive myself, I encounter myself. I erase myself and re-draw myself.
In encountering myself, I discover that I feel disappointed. That is all there is. This is all there is. It all means something. It all means nothing. All and Everything. Being and Nothingness. It’s all been said and read and written and forgotten. Before. And after. And here I am in the middle of the night, tap, tap, tapping on the bones of the misbegotten. Tugging on my own bones. Stretching. Longing to figure out the unfigureoutable. Finding myself in the darkness of my knowing. It is over. It is beginning. It is continuing. It is continuing to be over. It is beginning to continue.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


For days, I have been attempting to write about a memorable afternoon in Gaza. I have been struggling to find the words to describe the remarkable Women of Rafah who greeted four fortunate foreigners from the Code Pink Delegation. I want to share with others (with the World, actually) just how important this day was for me. I need to find the words and the tone to communicate the warmth and love of those special hours, with those gentle women. Usually words come easily to me. But no, not this time. Because this experience, for me, was transformational! Too big for easy words!


In a matter of minutes, upon entering a compound in Rafah, Gaza on International Women's Day, I fell in love. First, I fell in love with a dozen women who sat in the sand around a fire making bread and showing me how to make bread the Gazan way. I tried my hand at the technique. It was not as easy as it looked. (It's all in the wrist and in the timing!) Next, I fell in love with the seventy-five women (+/-) in the community room---who greeted me with applause and smiles and then with embraces and kisses. I fell in love with the day, with the palpable joy in the air and with the immediate sense of sisterhood that filled the room and filled my heart. In that place, I experienced a kind of loving friendship that (frankly, sadly) I had never experienced before. Not in any family gatherings. Not in any long ago middle school girls' groups. Not in any of my various workplaces. Not in dance classes. Not in consciousness-raising groups. Never! Nowhere! I don't ever recall experiencing the instantaneous, magical love that I experienced in Rafah, on Sunday, March 8th 2009.

Later that day, in the lobby of the Gaza City hotel, I wrote in my journal: "This day was worth the whole trip."

In the all-purpose room, of the local center, in a shabby part of the prison that is the Gaza Strip, in the company of Muslim women of all ages, I found a true and complete sense of sisterhood. In the happy company of scores of women in all manner of dress---from the fully veiled consevative abayas some women wore to the stylish contemporary outfits of many of the younger women----I experienced a deep feeling of belonging. Renewal. Truth. Connection. Love.

On impulse, I gave a short speech that one of the Palestinian women translated for me. It went something like this: "On this special day, dedicated to the honor of women everywhere in the world, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank you for your kind invitation and to acknowledge the warm bond of understanding among us that has been clearly evident from the moment we got off the bus and entered this place. As daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and grandmothers, (and I have been all of those) we dedicate ourselves to the never-ending responsibility and opportunity of bestowing our love and nurturing on our families, neighbors and communities. I am very happy to be with you today to celebrate all that we are and all that we share and all that we want for our families. We want simple things: safety, shelter, nourishing food, clean water, health care, access to information and education and the opportunity to worship and celebrate in our chosen ways. I'm sure I speak for my Code Pink colleagues when I say, 'Shokron, shokron!' We are thankful for your warm and welcoming hospitality! Happy International Women's Day!"

The Women of Gaza have lost so much. They have suffered for so long. Their homes have been damaged or destroyed. Their husbands, brothers and children have been killed. Supplies for the basics of life are difficult to obtain. Unemployment is at 80%...

One of the high points in an afternoon of high points, was watching the play that the women had created and rehearsed to present to us on International Women's Day. Their unknown audience was a group of Code Pink Women who, as they were told, might or might not succeed in getting across the closed border with Egypt and who might or might not be able to share the day with them. The women were hopeful, prepared and enthusiastic. Just four members of the fifty-eight person Delegation (facilitated by the United Nations Relief Workers Agency) had the privilege, the honor and the remarkable opportunity of being part of that audience--part of that laughing, dancing example of feminie solidarity.

I am imagining a reverse situation---a situation in which several women from Gaza come to my city---guests of a women's organization in my town. I imagine the courteous cordiality, the little cookies, the polite greetings, the proffered gift, the pleasant curiosity...But I can't imagine an outpouring of love from typical club women in this country. I can't imagine the sincere embraces and the kisses, kisses, kisses...

Why? Where are we hiding our capacity for grace and our willingness to approach others with our hearts fully open and our guards down? Is it these current and challenging days of ours that shrink our genuine openness? Have we closed down our main conduits for true connection with others? Connections to those deep and true places of love? Have I? I have. Perhaps, somewhere along the many years I've spent in this body, in my on-going experience as a woman of a certain age (and social and political persuasions) perhaps I shut down--or never opened to certain kinds of love...But things are different. The Women of Gaza have connected me to a part of myself that I want to value, celebrate and cherish.

Yes, Cherish is the word!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I'm exploring FORGIVENESS---as an ideal, as a practice, as a virtue, as an ability and as a solution...
Approximately every seven years or so, I become imbroiled in some sort of irrational, unnecessary and unfortunate clash of personalities---with someone who holds an intimate and important place in my life---leading to a breakdown of communication, a loss of confidence, the threat of a lawsuit, an ignominious "divorce" (marriage or partnership) and/or a lingering sense of failure. These clashes affect my dreams, my solitude, my business, my future, my financial security, my very well-being.
Perhaps there is another way of being in this World!
I might very well be exaggerating--to make a point---but let me get to the point I intend to make and then we can judge. Perhaps all these lamentable situations are the result of some sort of a forgiveness error. I say "perhaps" because I write, live and think with an ever-present "element of doubt." Hiding or languishing behind the word "perhaps" (and sometimes the word "maybe") is perhaps the best way for me to muse on truths that may be beyond my ken. Maybe not!
It took me a long time to contemplate forgiving the person who (practically) swindled my family out of their home. It took a long time to befriend (even marginally) the people who constructed a one-sided real estate contract (in their favor) that ultimately caused me to lose my Canyon Road Gallery. I still can't quite forgive former Gallery partners who took advantage of my distaste for (read: ignorance of) contracts, accounting, budgets and other good business practices to force me to confront that distaste (and that ignorance) in a critical, bankruptcy-impending moment.
It's comforting to have a place to place blame when the pain of one's own mistakes is too weighty, too thorny to acknowledge! Perhaps (?) that's my point. And it's a point for me to consider in the middle of this contemplation on forgiveness.

Accuser/Victim, forgive thyself!!!

...As she lay in her coffin, all powdered and combed and unfamiliarly regal-looking, I forgave my Mother. Finally. Belatedly. I put my small (and treasured) ruby ring on her finger and I asked her to forgive me.
I think she did.
I know that all the debilitating pain and the decades-old angry stuff floated away...up, up through the sparkle-y, plastic ceiling of the Funeral Home somewhere in South Jersey.

But...Did I forgive myself for being the primary architect, contractor and project manager of the formidable wall between us, the wall that would not, could not be breached?
?Quien sabe? What did that wall "wall out" of my Life?

Time out for a quiz!
Which comes first??

1) Asking for forgiveness and then being forgiven?

2) Being forgiven and then forgiving?

3) Forgiving yourself and then forgiving the other/others?

4) Wanting to be forgiven?

5) Being ready to forgive?

6) Understanding the Power of the act of Forgiveness?

7) None of the above/All of the above?

8) Something else? (What?)

Forgive me if, perhaps, this slightly disjointed, highly personal, Dear Diary-style rambling is not quite what you wanted to read when you visited this Blog...I acknowledge that (perhaps) I've included too much exposition in this entry...exposition that was originally intended to lead to a musing on the importance of Forgiveness in our world and the utter lack of authentic forgiveness in our world. We hold grudges. We point fingers. We assign blame. We resist looking at our own responsibility. We compromise our integrity to hide our complicitness (is that a word?). We do all that (some of it, some of us, sometimes) in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities, in our countries... We do that in our one and only world. We blame. We ignore. We refuse. We impede. We deny. We exclude. We defend...When, all along, the blaming, ignoring, refusing, impeding, denying, excluding...prevent the grace and the beauty and the opportunity for peace that come with...

I forgive you, them, her, him, us, myself...
At least, I want to...and, perhaps, that is a pretty good start!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

When We Buy Art...

This week I completed Phase II* of an exhaustive study on the importance of Art in our troubled world economy. It is clear to me---and I want to make it clear to others (to everyone!)---that when a person (corporation, museum, foundation) buys Art---especially from a reputable Gallery or by a living, breathing Artist---he, she or it is helping to improve the global financial picture in countless ways!

My study included consulting an extremely savvy and thoughtful group of facebook cognoscenti. The question I posed was: What businesses/professions derive a substantial or measureable (?) part of their income (read: livelihood!) from the sale of Art? The response from the facebook cognoscenti was overwhelming---three or four times the response received by me, from any subject or question previously posted to my hundreds of "FoFs."**

In the interest of Time and Space, I will present a partial list of those who benefit--directly or somewhat less directly--from money derived from the sale of Art. For the purposes of this research and in the interest of full disclosure, my findings focus on "contemporary" (that means now or nearly now) Art and Artists.

Herewith the aforementioned list: framers, photographers, lighting specialists, psychiatrists, appraisers, interior decorators and designers, graphic designers, art supply stores and manufacturers, landlords, teachers, shippers, chemists, second-hand shops, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, Internet cafes, book stores, hardware stores, animal shelters, art consultants, insurance companies, mortgage companies, supermarkets, astrologists, massage therapists, automotive supply shops, gallery owners, gallery staff, not-for-profit organizations, hotels, spas, bus drivers, truck drivers, train conductors, airline companies, airline employees, match-making companies, mailorder catalogue companies, journalists, magazines, newspapers, advertising executives, housesitters, tarot card readers, gardeners, window washers, dentists, doctors, daycare centers, environmentalists...

And, mind you, that is just a partial list.

I am making the point that Art and Artists are a critical and integral part of our society, our economy...When I read or hear that Congress considers Art and Artists to be mere "earmarks" and when the National Endowment for the Arts (practically) has to hold a bake sale to raise money for support of painters, poets, sculptors, actors, photographers...Well, to use a technical term, it really "pisses me off."

And so, I implore you to Support the Arts, please!
Take a poet to lunch. Buy a drawing. Hire a faux painter. Purchase a sculpture.
Give Art a chance to enrich your surroundings, to elevate your spirit and to make the world go round! Perhaps ART can succeed where Wall Street, Politics and Big Business have failed...

* Phase II is an essay contest on the value of art in this economy, sponsored by LDCA. $500 first prize. The essays are currently being read by a panel of three experts. Details to follow!

** Friends on Facebook

Friday, March 27, 2009


To distract myself. To attack myself. To challenge myself. To confuse myself. To lose myself. To expand myself. To sandbag myself. To upset myself. To re-set myself. To ambush myself. To bamboozle myself. To forget myself. To beget myself. To re-write myself. To ignite myself. To delight myself. To fight myself. To amuse myself. To excuse myself. To lose myself. To expose myself. To unclothe myself. To de-frost myself. To get lost in myself. To review myself. To renew myself. To acknowledge myself. To polish myself. To abolish myself. To spill myself. To thrill myself. To chill myself. To re-build myself. To re-direct myself. To inspect myself. To allow myself. To disavow myself. To replenish myself. To finish myself. To share myself. To spare myself. To be myself. To free myself. To flee myself. To embarrass myself. To harass myself. To explain myself. To contain myself. To re-frame myself. To re-draw myself. To withdraw myself . To define myself. To align myself. To refine myself. To unwind myself. To remind myself. To inspire myself. To re-wire myself. To teach myself. To reach myself. To preach to myself. To work on myself. To jerk on myself. To re-fuel myself. To re-school myself. To re-tool myself. To prepare myself. To scare myself. To command myself. To abandon myself. To play with myself. To stay with myself. To pray with myself. To sashay with myself. To forgive myself. To re-live myself. To unburden myself. To unfurl myself. To uncover myself. To unnerve myself. To berate myself. To celebrate myself. To elevate myself. To liberate myself. To exasperate myself…

And...To communicate to you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Destruction and tragedy are everywhere in Gaza!
Buildings have been bombed. Homes have been bulldozed to smithereens. Schools and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. People have been killed or maimed! The basic requirements for a simple life, in this densely populated piece of Earth are in short supply (or totally missing) for the millions who are living in what has been called "the world's largest outdoor prison." And still, it is a beautiful place--because of the people!
On International Women's Day, I had the honor and privilege of celebrating with dozens of Gazan Women in a community center in Rafah City, Gaza. This supreme opportunity came as a result of responding to an e-mailed invitation from CODE PINK that simply said:

"Come With Us to Gaza...
Humanitarian Delegation to Gaza for International Women's Day
Pay Tribute to the Women of Gaza..."

"...Program: Meetings with UN and government officials, local women (including victims of Israeli violence), humanitarian and development agencies, journalists, health workers and politcal analysts. Visit areas devastated by Israeli attacks."

The actual program included everything that was stated and much more---so much more, in fact, that a week after returning to Santa Fe, I am still processing and remembering and questioning and wondering how to contextualize the experience. Perhaps it's not possible.

Perhaps it's not possible (for an everyday citizen of this country) to begin to contain the experiences of standing in the rubble of towns and settlements, listening to the gentle Palestinians tell their stories of loss, of torture and hearing the professional reports and assessments of what the damage (physical, economic, psychological, environmental) has done/is the the the fishermen...

It is my nature to wonder. And so I wonder what can be done? Who can show up to relieve/remedy/eliminate the horrors that are being inflicted on this culture, on these families, on the innocent children tenuously surviving on this little piece of disputed land?

Don't tell me bombs and tanks and bulldozers and white phosphorous are the answers! Don't tell me the aggression towards these people is simply the result of their aggression towards others. I know in my heart that all these horrors and all these tragedies are, in large part, the result of ancient fears and modern greed. What I want to know, what I do not know, is how do we rid ourselves of those fears and that greed? How do we understand our actions and how do we forgive ourselves for our transgressions? And when will that forgiveness show up in the form of Love? Generosity? Understanding? Cooperation? Who in the World is condoning the torture and destruction that is being delivered upon our brothers and sisters here, there and everywhere on this beleaguered planet of ours?

Of course I can't contextualize my experience in Gaza! It's unfathomable!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Money, Money, No Money!

This morning, I am remembering an honest, non-decorative painting that I showed at the inaugural exhibition of my Canyon Road Gallery in 1980. It featured three worried heads, with furrowed brows and rheumy eyes, set against a garish orange background. Across the top of the canvas, in big black letters, was the refrain, "Need Money, Need Money, Need Money." I wish I had purchased the painting*--but I didn't have the money!
Decades later, in the privacy of this Wednesday morning, I imagine that painting hanging on a wall opposite this writing desk. It wouldn't look nearly as good as the gold-framed painting of a Myanmar Tribal Woman that hangs in that place. And surely it did not/does not have the etheral beauty of the Richard Hogan oil that is winking at my peripheral vision and intruding into my consciousness. Had that painting been hanging there, next to the fireplace, it would no doubt be contributing to the creeping fears about my economy that I am working to erase. I take a moment to look at another work of art in my collection: Eugene Newmann's work on paper of three abstract heads (coincidence?? there are those who say there are no coincidences!) It is mesmorizing in its intelligent beauty. Over and over again, in one way or another, ART restores my confidence in Life. It refocuses my mind from worry to wonder.
Sometimes it takes an hour or so--like now!
At sunrise today, walking down the driveway with my dog, I found myself repeating, mantra-like, the refrain from that long-ago, orange painting: "need money, need money, need money."
But, I have money! Perhaps I should have been repeating "need more money, need more money..."
Now, with the sun beginning to shine through the window to my right, I widen my internal gaze to look at my whole picture. I am beginning to concentrate on the broad perspective of my financial reality. What can I do? I know! I can call forth my optimistic self--the self that has served the Gallery and me for over thirty years. This self notes, this morning, that although my bank accounts look and feel skimpy this month, there are countless options at my disposal. My best option is optimism.
Focusing optimistically, I begin to list the considerable professional assets of LDCA: a great staff; excellent artists; a beautiful space; the synergy of a creative team; a vision of a successful April, May, June...And I utter aloud my favorite cheerleading couplet: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it: Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."** And I move my thoughts away from the doom department into the place where ideas and opportunities are waiting for me.
Yes, these are tough times for most of us. We have difficult decisions to make. We have lost stuff: money, energy, faith...Promises have been broken. But we must, must, must find ways to retrieve those things. I want to do just that!
I am imagining a painting---exactly the same size as the "Need Money" painting---but instead of a garish background with troubled faces, this painting has a soothing green background and the three faces are smiling, confident and inspiring. The words, in GOLD, say: "Have Grace, Have Courage, Have Love." With those traits, along with a healthy dose of optimism and some energy and strength (physical/emotional) and the vision to see through a few veils of fear into an expansive view of a positive future, TODAY will be (already is) a wonderful day!

* by Clayton Campbell
** by Goethe

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let the Blogging Begin!

Now that I've navigated my way to the posting page of this brand spanking new Blog Site, I vow to write (almost) every day. What will I blog about? Fair question. I will blog about the important things that come to my attention...I will blog about truth and courage and adventure and optimism and problem-solving and risk-taking and memories and travel and fears and cultural awareness and human rights and the Art World and poetry and fear and loathing and renewal and reinvention and candor and politics and friendship and discovery and family and forgiveness and the hero's/heroine's journey and money and pets and childhood and secrets and chance encounters and memories and failures and aging and trancendence...
In other words: everything that I can and do think about as I wander, skip, slog, dance, sleepwalk and cartwheel through my Life. When I learn how to post pictures, I will post pictures!
This is my Inaugural Post!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Doves land on Golden Grenade.

At some point over the weekend, an unknown person
or persons attached two dove figurines to artist Martin
Cary Horowitz's golden grenade sculpture in front of
the gallery.

LDCA gets a big, fat pink kiss.

February 12, 2009 the front door to the gallery was
tagged with a paintball gun.