I’ve tended to think that since I am so very old, and have been to so very many exhibitions over the years, containing every possible permutation of performance and visual work, that there can be no more firsts; I’ve seen it all. But, at the reception for Rock, Paper, Scissors on Saturday, shortly after Michael Montenegro’s nuanced marionette performance, I was approached by a short, slim, grey-bearded, tweed-clad man who introduced himself as a professor of something-I-did-not-hear. He talked about a study he was participating in on “ecstatic rituals” involving Amanita Muscaria and other mushrooms. Then, in a sudden switch, he said, “May I have your permission to spontaneously compose and deliver a song about your work?”
I said, “Um…of course” and he did, keeping time with his foot, bellowing out a bluesy riff about my installation and Pam Paulsrud’s beautiful Braille poem made of tiny pebbles affixed to the wall. I wish I’d have been able to decipher all his lyrics (or that I had heard his name) but the sound in the space was impossible for me. I did catch the rhythm, and registered the delightful fact that he was utterly un-self-conscious. Throughout the reception, he moved through the gallery and performed a few times, literally singing out his response to the art. It was fun, and definitely a new, different way to participate in the work. So: now I know there’s always another first. Thanks, professor whoever-you-are.
For its Gallery Guide intro page, the Chicago Reader has chosen an image of a work by Zina Castanuela, a current Book & Paper grad working in sculptural paper, and one of mine. Not bad, two paper art images out of five representing what’s currently on view in town, I say.
Next Blahg: Toronto.