Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd, people, people
Throw your love around, love me, love me
Take it into town, happy, happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine
This is not one of my regular posts – it’s an album I’m sharing about the shiny happy people who have made my stay here in New York so very memorable. Some I already knew and they just happened to be here during my residency. Others I was introduced to by friends, and still others I met in a shop or on the street or in a gallery. And then there is Kathy who manages the studio, and her partner, Sardi, who have made me feel so very welcome here. And, of course, my partner and trusty companion, Gerard, who sadly had to return to Australia in the first week of May. My son and his partner Bec were also holidaying in New York and so we caught up several times during their stay. I’ll add to the post as my journey progresses and I continue – hopefully – to meet more shiny happy people…
Kathy has been looking after the Greene Street Studio and its Australia Council residents since 1976! Imagine that!
Kathy and I tried to get in to see The Moth, a public speaking event that has a massive following in America. Amateur and professional speakers tell stories about their lives. They address a specific theme, speak for a set period of time, are not allowed to use notes, and the stories they tell must be true. It’s incredibly hard to get tickets, and the photo shows Kathy waiting in the queue outside the Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe in Soho, where a Moth event was being held on a Friday night. We waited an hour and didn’t get in. The topic for the night was Envy.
A large section of Greene street was closed off for a film crew on Gerard’s final day in New York. All the streets nearby were filled with trucks and caravans and filming equipment. The film, The Other Woman, stars Cameron Diaz and she was in the scene they were shooting when we walked by.
My son Simon and his partner Bec were in New York on holiday after a couple of weeks of adventuring in Mexico. Simon is a cinematographer and Bec is a producer. On the day they arrived, Simon had to head off to film rock group Empire of the Sun at a concert in Brooklyn (he has filmed many of their music videos, including the Aria award winning We are the People.) We met on an incredibly rainy day and explored the Hell’s Kitchen Antiques Market Annexe on West 25th street.
My Simon is on the left and Simon Muiznieks, on the right, is my niece’s half brother, so he’s almost my nephew. He was holidaying in New York too!
This is the very charming Andris Aukmanis, the Director of the Soros Foundation in Latvia. Back in 2007, he commissioned me to make art work in the windows of the National Library of Latvia to celebrate 15 years of the Soros Foundation’s support to the Latvian community. He was in New York on Soros Foundation business and we had a very pleasant evening together.
Another Latvian connection – this is Ivars Kakis, an extremely well travelled Latvian artist based in London. We got to know each other via Facebook a few years ago and finally got to meet in person in New York. We’re going to catch up again when I go to London in mid July. Gerard and I had a wonderful afternoon with Ivars exploring Brooklyn Heights. Ivars travels to New York just about every year!
The lovely Phoebe Rathmell. I was introduced to Phoebe via Xenia Hanusiak, the Manager of Cultural Relations & Public Diplomacy at the Australian Consulate. Phoebe was in an exhibition at Garis & Hahn, a new gallery on Bowery, not far from the New Museum. She had heard about Greene Street and wanted to see the studio, so I invited her over one morning. Phoebe is currently working towards an MFA at COFA. In the image, she is laying out coloured matchsticks, which represent her earlier work, but on the walls there were 2 very delicate paintings that reflect a similarly disciplined and meditative approach, but a much more random sense of composition. I met Phoebe’s wonderful family, who had travelled with her to New York, and we all had dinner together in a great Lobster bar on East Houston.
Another Australian artist. Not long after our arrival in New York, Kathy took Gerard and I to the ISCP Studios where artists and curators from all over the world have work spaces. There was a big open studio event and we met Melbourne based artist Marco Fusinato, who was nearing the end of the 6 month Australia Council residency. He’s had a very successful time in New York and will be in a group show at MOMA later this year! The 6 month residents have a separate apartment in Long Island City, which Kathy manages in addition to Greene Street.
I needed to print some large scale digital images and spent some time investigating my options. In the end, I found Mike at the Fed Ex store on East Houston, not too far from the famous Katz’s Deli, actually. I thought I would have to wait days to get the job done, but Mike printed all my images for me there and then and was truly multi-skilled, dealing with about 3 customers at a time. He also had a fabulous sense of humour. I was there for over an hour and I walked home with a big tube of images over my shoulder and a really big smile on my face.
I met Kingsley outside Walter De Maria’s Broken Kilometre, a long term Dia Centre for the Arts display on West Broadway, just a few blocks from Greene Street. Kingsley is an artist and was selling his paintings just opposite the entrance to the exhibition. We had a really nice conversation and I will now always associate seeing the Broken Kilometre with meeting him. There is no photography allowed in the gallery so I can’t add an image but, it is a stunning work that consists of 500 circular solid brass rods, each measuring two meters in length and five centimeters in diameter, that are laid out in 5 long and very precise rows on the floor of a very large room. The rods glisten beautifully as the light from the windows hits them. A few blocks away on Wooster Street is De Maria’s Earth Room, another superb long term Dia installation that has been on view since 1980. It contains 197 cubic meters of soil and weighs 127,300 kilos.
Daphane Park is a New York based artist who spent a few months in Hobart in 2012, working for the first MONA market, which is the brainchild of David Walsh’s partner, Kirsha Kaechele. I was introduced to her by friends in Hobart, and we met shortly after I arrived in New York. Daphane took us on the High Line and to some of the galleries in Chelsea, and then we ran into each other again in MOMA’s Rain Room. We’re going to do a few more things together.
Nicola and Rob from Hobart. They are both artists and studied at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania where I teach. I ran into Nicola one day completely by chance outside the Guggenheim as I was returning from, and she was heading to, the Freize Art Fair. Nicola is staying with family, and Rob has a 3 month residency at Flux Factory in Long Island City. I ran into both of them at MOMA, after experiencing the Rain Room. It was such a fortuitous meeting, because they were just about to head off to visit me in my studio, but I had completely forgotten I was supposed to meet them there! We travelled to Greene Street together. It was raining raining raining and I bought a wonderful new umbrella from the MOMA store which Nicola and I shared as we dashed for the subway. The umbrella is black on the outside but the underneath is blue sky with fluffy white clouds.
More Tasmanians! Olivia used to work at the College for the Arts at the University of Tasmania, which is where I work. She’s been living in Canada for the last 10 months and visited New York with the charming Cameron Parsons, who also works for the University. We got together a couple of times during their stay here and had a wonderful time catching up.
While Gerard was still here, and when we were on our way to the Whitney, we came across the headquarters of the Explorers Club, the internationally renowned organisation that was established in 1904 to promote scientific explorations of the land, sea, air, and space. We were made so very welcome by this young man, who showed us around and explained some of the exhibits. We got to go into the members club lounge and also upstairs to see the big meeting room and the display of historic Explorers Club flags, which have been carried to the North and South poles, to the Moon, and also to the bottom of the ocean.
This is Flash Rosenberg, artist in residence at the New York Public Library. She attends all the events in the Library’s LIVE program, a series of provocative conversations directed by Paul Holdengraber. Flash records her impressions of the conversations in cartoon form and her images are projected on either side of the stage at the start of most LIVE events. I met her when Matthew Barney was being interviewed by Paul Holdengraber. I thought that particular conversation was underscored by a rather unnerving tension which was also reflected in Flash’s drawings that evening.
I was actually introduced to Flash via Francoise Grossen, who I met while waiting to get into the Matthew Barney event. The evening was all the more memorable because of Francoise and we are going to meet again when she returns from an overseas trip in a few weeks time. She is a highly regarded textile artist who makes large, rope-like, textured forms that seem to merge sculpture and design.
I’ve also met Scottish artist, Gwen Hardie, who has been living in New York for some years. She paints extraordinary images of skin and has exhibited alongside artists such as Marlene Dumas, John Caplans and Lucien Freud. We met at Garis & Hahn, the gallery where Australian artist Phoebe Rathmell was creating a work on the floor from hundreds of coloured matchsticks. She’s going to visit Greene Street where she will see what I have been up to on the two big, no longer blank walls…