This past Sunday, I was fortunate to attend a wonderful talk at the Oceanside Museum of Art by Mel Yoakum, Ph.D., about French artist, Francoise Gilot. He recounted her life, struggles and triumphs as an artist. Truly, Madame Gilot, is a woman of substance. She turned 93 this year and continues to paint.
From the OMA site:
Born in Paris in 1921, Françoise Gilot emerged out of the post WWII School of Paris and after moving to New York, was inspired by the contemporary American Art scene. With an interest in mythology and symbolism, Gilot expresses complex philosophical ideas with lyrical accessibility. This exhibition of Gilot’s oils and works on paper highlights her interest in color relationships and the fine line between figuration and abstraction. Also known in the past for her relationship with 20th century icon Pablo Picasso, Gilot resided for many years in La Jolla with her husband Professor Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine American pioneer. Gilot currently divides her time between studios in New York and Paris.
In thinking over the talk, I was struck by something I read this morning by the author of Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak. I will paraphrase and insert my own expression of his feelings about art:
We must try to make sure that our art, collectively speaking, reveals, incarnates, and expresses thoughts and feelings to their ultimate clarity, instead of being only a reminder of sounds which originally charmed us, an inconsequential echo dying in the air.
Let us preserve what is the finer expression of being human – the legacy of the artist and their art, not allowing their life and expression of life to become an inconsequential echo dying in the air but instead, continue on as a living echo to inform and engage future generations of what we are as humans, our loves, our difficulties, our celebrations.
Paris Review, Boris Pasternak, The Art of Fiction No. 25, Summer-Fall 1960 http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4679/the-art-of-fiction-no-25-boris-pasternak
I had the great honor and the great pleasure of meeting master woodworker & furniture maker, Sam Maloof, in 2008 at the Mingei International Museum. He gave a talk for about 30 minutes and then his wife Beverly spoke. A short film about his legacy was shown. Afterward, attendees could buy a book illustrating his work and have Sam sign the book. I eagerly snapped up a copy of the heavy tome and stood in line where Sam would greet his admirers, say a few words, and then sign the book. When it came my turn, he ended up spending nearly 15 minutes speaking with me, so generous and so gentle a spirit he was. His hands were soft and thick as though he were a doctor or other non-labor professional not requiring the use of saws, and rasps, and planes. I was thoroughly delighted talking with him. He was full of life and had a wonderful twinkle in his eyes. He seemed many decades younger than his 92 years.
Sam Maloof died in 2009, age 93 – one year after I had met him. Lucky for anyone who can attend, is a new exhibit at the Huntington Library: The House That Sam Built: Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945-1985,” which opened Saturday, features 35 pieces by Maloof and more than 80 by nearly three dozen artists including Millard Sheets, Karl Benjamin, Phil Dike, Harrison McIntosh, Albert Stewart and Jean and Arthur Ames.
Short clip with actress Rene Russo visiting with Sam Maloof (poor quality but worth viewing)
Then there is a time in life when you just take a walk: And you walk into your own landscape. – Willem de Kooning
Listen to and then buy the book: My Faraway One
Buy the book on Amazon – click here
Watching the entire documentary: Annie Leibovitz: Life Through the Lens
Making art in America is a political statement in itself. I am maybe not so much a political songwriter as I am a political person.
– Steve Earle
I am a longtime admirer of Steve Earle and feel somewhat he is a kindred spirit. I am an artist and polymath – I know alot about alot of things and many of the things I am passionate about are political in nature. Many artists are political thinkers and political activists as they know political freedom is an important aspect to their own artistic freedom. Of course, many of the greatest artists throughout history have endured limited artistic freedom due to political upheaval and political oppression, but they found ways to create in spite of their circumstances. This is the nature of the artist — they always feel free, regardless of their outer circumstances.
Democracy Now reports:
Singer-songwriter, actor and author Steve Earle joins us in the studio to talk about his art and perform two songs from his new album, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.” He is being awarded an honorary degree today from the City University of New York School of Law. Last year, he was honored by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty for his years of involvement with the anti-death penalty movement. “Making art in America is a political statement in itself,” Earle says. “I am maybe not so much a political songwriter as I am a political person.”
Go to Democracy Now to listen to the interview, click here