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!?