Morning Rehearsal in the Open Air

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2018. Acrylic

Just to wrap up then with a series of photos from Wednesday’s gallery jaunt throughout Manhattan. Fuel Gallery had its rehearsal too. Positivity needs practice and more practice, so that after time and many falls (and getting up), no smile ever needs to be painted on again. The autumn arrived to our small city bringing a crisp Alberta breeze. There is a reason art is exhibited with such abundant enthusiasm in the fall. The intellectual season begs for a prop to look at throughout the winter. I think people are deciduous, and art is a reminder of leaves.

October 19th. Lena Ulanova Entrainment.

Another Wednesday for Stuckism Poetry

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Danae 2017. Acrylic on board, 12 x 16″

Spent Wednesday in New York with my friend Eric parading this painting up and down Manhattan. The urge struck me a couple weeks ago, and only came to fruition because Eric has practical verve, whereas I am more of a verve dreamer, a stay-at-home thinker and studio doer. Last Sunday he pointed to Wednesday and said “Let’s go!”.

After a sleepless 24 hours and several miles of walking (hundreds driving), Lena Ulanova’s “Danae” is now a New York celebrity, seen and admired by a few thousand people from all walks of life. The MoMA could not be this diverse in a day. And all Eric and I did was practice intuitively what the cult of art pretends to desire in its mad money rush to be authentic. We were a walking, talking gallery, without walls, without admission fee, without a bottom line accounting department, nor a damn given to the oligarch and his high rise vestibule decoration. “Danae” stepped out and went for a walk on a beautiful summer-autumn day. Lena got to experience New York (video below) as her curator knows it, and art got to the people better than any channel Gagosian could devise in that greedy little beggar brain.

81st street to the Met, then Guggenheim, United Nations, Chrysler Building, Radio City, the MoMA, Washington Square Park, West Village, Larry on Hudson, Hudson Greenway, the Whitney, the High Line, Chelsea, and Neue Galerie on 5th Avenue.

In the video Eric asks me what Stuckism is, and I quip, “Stuckism is going to New York and not visiting a gallery”.

I guess Stuckism doesn’t need another koan for its initiates to push through. But that’s a good one off the cuff, and means the right stuff for me. Painting is poetry and vice-versa. Lena gets it. That’s why Eric and I spent the day caring for her “Danae”, and making New York a better place for art the moment we crossed the Hudson.

Lena says it best after watching a video account of our day. Her words are the reason I curate her paintings. If you don’t get it, drop out of art and make room for the life-giving ones. I hear there is advancement opportunity in the banking trade.

Read Lena, and then watch the video, please, if you’re at all curious about art and artist.

“Hey, Ron! What are you doing in New York today?”
I do not know if I will ever have the opportunity to visit this city and see all these wonderful places, but now one thing has already happened—my picture was there. She traveled with Ron all day. My Danae swept into the New York subway. She was in the hands of a policeman, a black beauty, a stranger in red, standing at the feet of a half-naked man in a park, having a bite in a Brazilian restaurant. You may not believe it, but my picture has already recognized the walls of the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art of New York. She did not recognize them from the inside, but from the outside. Well, you can say, she just spent a little time with these museums, but these are the details. What’s the difference, inside or outside…
In general, despite the fact that I was here in St. Petersburg, a little me, quite unexpectedly visited the wonderful city of New York. Danae, with whom, according to mythology, a miracle happened in terms of love, when Zeus appeared to her in the form of golden rain, experienced another miracle—a miracle of adventure, which ended in a beautiful fiery sunset.
Thank you, Ron! And, please remind me, again, what are you doing in New York, today???

“Эй, Рон! Что ты делаешь в Нью-Йорке, сегодня?”
Я не знаю, будет ли у меня когда-нибудь возможность побывать в этом городе и увидеть все эти замечательные места, но теперь уже свершилось одно – моя картина там побывала. Она путешествовала с Роном целый день. Моя Даная прокатилась в нью-йоркском метро. Она побывала в руках полицейского, чернокожей красотки, незнакомки в красном, стояла у ног полуобнаженного мужчины в парке, перекусила в бразильском ресторане. Вы можете не верить, но моя картина уже узнала стены музея Гуггенхайма, Музея современного искусства Нью-йорка. Да она узнала их не изнутри, а снаружи. Ну, можно сказать, она просто немного побыла рядом с этими музеями, но ведь это детали. Какая разница, внутри или снаружи…)
В общем, несмотря на то что я была здесь, в Санкт-Петербурге, немного меня, совершенно неожиданно побывало в замечательном городе Нью-Йорке. Даная, с которой, согласно мифологии произошло чудо в плане любви, когда Зевс явился к ней в виде золотого дождя, пережила ещё одно чудо – чудо приключения, которое закончилось прекрасным огненным закатом.
Спасибо, Рон! И, напомни пожалуйста, ещё раз, что ты делаешь в Нью-Йорке, сегодня???

The Last Call of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn
2018. Acrylic on cardboard, 12 x 16″

I’ll be heading down to New York City this week to galleries, museums, and many public places to promote the one and only Lena Ulanova! I went to the Guggenheim a couple years ago brandishing enthusiasm for an exhibition of Lena’s work with three other painters working in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was a funny place. Funny sad. I wrote about it in the exhibition book.

I Went To The Guggenheim and All I Brought Back was Gnostic Insanity

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I just returned from New York after a couple days in the city that should go to sleep. A warm February afternoon in New York stepping off the E train eager to take a stroll through the park with my family. Crossing the street to look at a map and immediately accosted by a thug pushing a ride in a soiled pedicab. For three dollars a minute one of his desperate coolies will pull human flesh and bone a few hundred yards to give the feeling of what it was like to be an English snob of Calcutta a hundred years ago. The company does not take good care of the cabs and drivers. They look already chewed, broken, miserable. No dignity or devotion. Each might have been happy as a little boy licking snow. Now they survive on the street like starving pigeons with arms and their hands held out.
A walk through the park, past the Metropolitan Museum of Art where one can purchase from street vendors what appears to be art, but leave you suspecting that it’s resale of anonymous stuff that’s been passed around for years. The sellers look so damn unhappy. It can’t be joy they’re exhibiting. Must be impostors.
Then on to The Guggenheim where you believe high art will liberate you, and help build a trust again in human potential. $68.00 for the family of three to enter. By this time we’ll give whatever we got just to use a New York toilet.
Relieved and excited to see the work of painters past the army of dead-eyed ushers. Besides a small room hanging paintings from a few French and one Spanish master, and a special exhibit of five Kandinskys, that you cannot get close to for all the uninspired children huddled on the floor, there is nothing but work that looks like it could be showing right now at ANY local art association across America. I would add that it might even be worse. I have never been angry at a museum before, until this day.
Look… Art!

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Ha ha ha. They’re not really cleaning supplies. Gotcha! It’s formed plastic that’s been painted to look just like the thing that it was. Wow!
Dear young people of earth, with remarkable patience birthed from the boredom of tacit slavery, (which is school), you too can achieve this milestone. Find an over-educated, non art-maker to authenticate your clever genius. Make sure she has access to money. A ton of it. An overrated architect got enough to design and hire coolies to construct teeny tiny bathrooms that barely fit a person’s knees between the toilet and the wall. He too is on display in the basement of the Guggenheim. Here the back-scratching descends in a self-congratulating staircase all the way down to hell.
Seekers of fine art, my subjective brilliance shall not be humiliated by a Guggenheim ever again. A pretty building with barely workable bathrooms. Perfect to house an army of unwashed pedicabbers and their shredded, stained vehicles. Both they and the Guggenheim offer imaginary crap for pay. I just feel like kicking the juice out of them for accosting my wife and child in the park on such a beautiful false spring day.
But all is not lost of your legacy multi-millionaire Guggenheims of no taste. The Internet has been invented. For free you can come see on my blog what living artists are producing on any day of the week. And I’ll never charge you to squeeze your knees into a poorly designed toilet room.

Any Exhibition Worth Its Salt Needs Decent Signage

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Lena Ulanova is an aristocrat of the spirit.

I copied her stance in self portrait from a painting she made a couple years ago, and placed it in a Saint Petersburg vista I saw in dreamland. There is also a mute swan late to migrate, and autumn leaves swirling.

The mute swan was brought to America to ornament the gardens of grand estates. I invited Lena to send her work over here to teach my countrymen, especially those immersed in the arts and art professions, how to dream again, like they did before treading water for a lifetime in a sea of art bureaucracy, which is an enormous oxymoron pool that no one thinks beautiful. Like an atomic sea, or an ocean in hell.

Dear private galleries and museums… You don’t need us now, but you will one day. Like van Gogh, we do this for free, and we also take van Gogh in a direction he desired, of this I am certain. Communion among fellow artists! For art for the masses to survive to the next century, I advise all and sundry to take another look—perhaps to do a Timothy Leary— “turn on, tune in, and drop out” now to save your souls, or just to make yourselves more deserving of a better time, like you had when you were young and hoping foolishly.

The thought of art in your 20’s was like the anticipation of a wine buzz on a night out with friends, (in)complete with all the unknowns and surprise that could happen without cars and money. Art in your 40’s, 50’s, and beyond is like a bottle of wine for coping—a kind of temporary medication to the constant duress underpinning every sought after good time.

Established galleries and museums are missing the point. They cannot represent art. Living artists, (and I don’t mean the image-makers with polished dot coms and paid for Brooklyn studios), but the ones turning old man and old woman wine drunks into born again songwriters, the aristocrats of the spirit—they are the artists worth seeking and promoting, else you’ve learned nothing at all from van Gogh. Nothing art anyway, above rich endowment and $75,000 advertising budgets. Your end of the art spectrum is so necessary to art and artist, however you worship a bottom line declaring that the only path to art’s survival is more money.

In America, an aristocrat like Paul Allen, owns a football team and attempts to buy art. And therein lies the rub. Art cannot be bought, or sold. One can share it for a price, in order to keep moving artistically. No one pays a plumber to dig and install an old ceramic French drain (even one his great grandfather might have lovingly fired in a plumber’s kiln). Paul Allen must be an idiot to think he can pay a million times more than what a French painting costs a dead painter, and move an art world toward a gargantuan tax write-off. No. He is a dead product pusher, a little rich boy with no depth, an aristocrat of avarice and emptiness, with the spirit of a greedy flea.

And he boasts of a 10,000 bottle wine cellar for his hopeless admirers and wannabes.

There has always been an easy greed to spot in art, even of the 19th century, when any cough around the corner could spray blood, and a cool drink of water on a hot day spread the cholera to babies. Vincent van Gogh was an artist. Jeff Koons is not. Any person who speaks of the latter in art does not know art. He or she knows image, like Paul Allen. And the three of them can go figuratively hang themselves on a Seahawk’s goalpost for all I care of their loud mouths. I’m gonna put up this sign I made for Lena, quieter than most swans, and show her paintings to the world, expressively like an angry goose.

Lena Ulanova is an aristocrat of the spirit. In any age she could fall and complete a painting to uplift and inspire. There is an easy marker to tell art from artifice. Would a painter have the determination to magically land and express in any century, or is she just another contemporary middle or late age wine drunk dreaming about owning a football team?

Wake up galleries and museums. Stop selling your stuff like losers.