“Only with the Internet can a peasant I have never met hear my voice and I can learn what’s on his mind. A fairy tale has come true.”
artist, curator, architectural designer, cultural and social commentator and activist
Cube Light (2008)
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”
“There’s a great deal of difference between temperament and temper. Temperament is something you welcome creatively, for it is based on sensitivity, empathy, awareness … but a bad temper takes too much out of you and doesn’t really accomplish anything.”
“I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings.”
“I fight pain, anxiety and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art. I followed the thread of art and somehow discovered a path that would allow me to live. “
“A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colourful, senseless and unknowing.”
“Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment. Take off your clothes. Forget yourself. Make love.”
Credit:Tyrone Turner for The New York Times
Credit: Tyrone Turner for The New York Times
Dorothy Tanner had told me that she and Mel visited Yayoi Kusama’s studio in New York in the mid-1960s when Kusama was creating art with macaroni as her medium. Her Museum opens in Tokyo in Oct.
“Since 1977, Ms. Kusama has lived by choice in a mental hospital in Tokyo due to nervous disorders and hallucinations stemming from childhood. She continues to paint and create to this day in her artist studio across the street from the psychiatric hospital.”
“The artist’s aim is not to instruct the viewer, but to give information, whether the viewer understands the information is incidental to the artist.”
“The artist is seen like a producer of commodities, like a factory that turns our refrigerators. I believe that the artist’s involvement in the capitalist structure is disadvantageous to the artist and forces him to produce objects in order to live.”
“Artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.”
“In conceptual art the idea or the concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair…it is intuitive; it is involved with all types of mental processes and it is purposeless. It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as a craftsman.”
“The ideas need not be complex. Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple. Successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable.”
“Minimal art went nowhere. Conceptual art became the liberating idea that gave the art of the next 40 years its real impetus. All of the significant art of today stems from Conceptual art. This includes the art of installation, political, feminist and socially directed art. The other great development has been in photography, but that too was influenced by Conceptual art.”
Splotch #22, 2007
Paula Cooper Gallery, Chelsea, NY
“Denver ArtScene features a gallery of light and sound, Lumonics, and the amazing 94-year-old artist Dorothy Tanner. With host Bobby LeFebre. Denver 8 is the award-winning municipal access television station for the City and County of Denver, Colorado.”
(John Ferren was Mel Tanner’s favorite art instructor at the Brooklyn Museum Art School circa 1950)
John Ferren (1905–1970) was an American artist. In his 20s, he apprenticed as a stonecutter in San Francisco, California. He is Bran Ferren‘s father. He is noted for his success in France as an American artist. Writer Gertrude Stein said of him “Ferren ought be a man who is interesting, he is the only American painter foreign painters in Paris consider as a painter and whose paintings interest them. He is young yet and might do that thing called abstract painting.”
For a short time, Ferren was an art school student in San Francisco. By the mid-1920s, Ferren was producing portrait busts. It was also around this time that he became interested in Buddhist and Eastern philosophy. By the early 1930s, he was attending the Académie Ranson, and the Sorbonne.
In the 1950s, Ferren collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock. In the movie The Trouble With Harry, the artworks of main character Sam Marlowe were painted by Ferren. In Vertigo, Ferren created the Jimmy Stewart nightmare sequence as well as the haunting Portrait of Carlotta.
(John Ferren on Wikipedia)
John Ferren, “Dance” (1962), oil on canvas, 22 x 22 inches
Born in Pendleton, Oregon, in 1905, as a young man, John Ferren apprenticed to an Italian stonecutter in San Francisco and briefly attended the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute) in 1925. In 1929, Ferren traveled to New York and Paris, where he was exposed to the work of Hans Hofmann, Henri Matisse, and the holdings of Albert Eugene Gallatin, an influential collector of abstract and nonobjective art. While in Europe, Ferren attended informal classes at the Sorbonne, Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and Académie Ranson. However, according to the artist, he was most influenced by socializing with other artists working in Paris at the time, including Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso (whom Ferren would later help to sketch Guernica ), and Joaquín Torres-García.
Ferren returned to the United States in 1930 but was quickly drawn back to Paris, where he lived and worked for the next eight years. While there, Ferren was linked to the group Abstraction-Création, an association of artists formed in Paris in 1931 to promote abstraction and counteract the trend toward Surrealism and figuration. He also met Pierre Matisse, son of the French painter Henri Matisse, who gave the artist his first solo show in New York, in 1936. While working at Stanley William Hayter’s prominent workshop Atelier 17 in Paris, Ferren discovered a nineteenth-century printing technique whereby an engraved and inked plate is imprinted in wet plaster, which, once dry, is then carved and painted. Two such engraved plasters by Ferren were among the first examples by an American artist to be acquired by Solomon R. Guggenheim, in 1938.
On returning to the United States, Ferren became acquainted with Taoism and Zen Buddhism through his friendship with Chinese American avant-garde artist Yun Gee, who explored Taoist themes through his work. This exposure propelled Ferren toward an increased focus on evoking movement and unity through his abstract compositions (though he still occasionally painted figuratively and drew inspiration from the nature and landscape of the American West). Later in his career, he combined a number of different artistic ideologies, mixing, on the same canvas, strong architectural forms with expressionistic, painterly acts of spontaneity. In 1963, Ferren spent a year in Lebanon, which raised his awareness of Islamic art, returning his eye and practice to geometric forms.
Ferren taught at Queens College, the Brooklyn Museum Art School, and Cooper Union, all New York. In 1955, he served as the president of the Club, an Abstract Expressionist organization. In the late 1950s, Alfred Hitchcock enlisted Ferren as an artistic consultant on the films The Trouble with Harry (1955) and Vertigo (1958). During his lifetime, Ferren’s work was exhibited in solo and group presentations throughout the United States, including the groundbreaking Ninth Street Show of works by sixty-one New York–based artists held in 1951 in a vacated storefront on the eponymous street. Ferren remained active as an artist until his death in Southampton, New York, in 1970. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1979.
coutesy of www.guggenheim.org
“There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.”
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Jane Jacobs was an American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist best known for her influence on urban studies. Her influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) argued that urban renewal did not respect the needs of most city-dwellers. The book also introduced sociological concepts such as “eyes on the street” and “social capital“.
Jacobs was well known for organizing grassroots efforts to protect existing neighborhoods from “slum clearance” – and particularly for her opposition to Robert Moses in his plans to overhaul her neighborhood, Greenwich Village. She was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have passed directly through SoHo and Little Italy, and was arrested in 1968 for inciting a crowd at a public hearing on the project. After moving to Toronto in 1968, she joined the opposition to the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of expressways in Toronto planned and under construction.
As a mother and a writer who criticized experts in the male-dominated field of urban planning, Jacobs endured scorn from established figures. She did not have a college degree or any formal training in urban planning, and was criticized for lacking such credentials.
“You can’t rely on bringing people downtown, you have to put them there.”
A problem is a chance for you to do your best. I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with.
The wise musicians are those who play what they can master. Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong & Diahann Carroll, Paris, France, 1960
Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited. Duke and Louis
Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one.
Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be too famous too young. My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never. Duke, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. The mountains are calling and I must go.