Author Archives: Barlo Perry

UGO RONDININE — MATTITUCK

Finding myself in an empty studio for the last three months, I resorted to an intimate work: drawing poems and brushing sunsets and moonrise paintings. This is a good time for me to work in silence—cocooning myself into my own time, these two pastimes I love most and tire of least. 

The Mattituck paintings show the view from my studio window across the Long Island Sound. My first summer in Mattituck was a revelation, forcing me to examine my surroundings with the freshness of a friendly alien. Every day, just when the twilight started, John [Giorno] and I would set our chairs in position and experience a new sunset, a magical illumination of the ordinary—lucid and lyrical. Looking at the sunset makes one feel that the physical and the spiritual are not separate. Like a diarist, I record the living universe: this season, this day, this hour, this sound in the grass, this crashing wave, this sunset, this end of the day, this silence.

In the middle of the AIDS crisis in 1989, I turned away from grief and found in nature a spiritual road map for solace, regeneration, and inspiration. In nature, you enter a space where the sacred and profane, the mystical and the mundane, vibrate against one another.

There is not much to say about this new group of paintings. They exist to be looked at—to let go of words and look at what is in front of our eyes. An artist is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with the visual. — Ugo Rondinone, May 2020

UGO RONDINONE—MATTITUCK

Viewing room through June 26.

Gladstone Gallery

Ugo Rondinone, Mattituck, Gladstone Gallery, May 29, 2020–June 20, 2020, watercolors on canvas in artist’s frame, from top: aprilfifthtwothousandandtwenty, 2020; decembereleventhtwothousandandnineteen, 2019; novemberthirdtwothousandandnineteen, 2019; octobereighthtwothousandandnineteen, 2019; septembertwentythirdtwothousandandnineteen, 2019; junetwentyfirsttwothousandandnineteen, 2019. Images and text courtesy and © the artist and Gladstone Gallery.

ADAM PENDLETON AND YVONNE RAINER

This week, Adam Pendleton and Performa present an online screening of the artist’s work JUST BACK FROM LOS ANGELES—A PORTRAIT OF YVONNE RAINER as well as a conversation with Pendleton and Performa founder RoseLee Goldberg. See links below for details.

They’re beginning to see what they used to only look at…

I remember the breathlessness of the lifting section

I remember your Martha Graham story and your voice rising, and I got worried you were going to talk about whether she ate cock or not and Steve starting to read on the other mic and changing the atmosphere.

I remember the opening bars of the Chambers Brothers and doing Trio A slow, very slow, and Steve joining me and then fast, with and against Steve’s tempo.

I remember… you grinning at the pleasure we had.

Oh, and the wings.

I remember watching the pillow solo and then during Trio A the wings would sometimes flap in my face.

I remember talking to you in the hotel, before “stoned,” and you said I was always wanting to get someplace and that I should just be where I was…

and only there… and that was what happened in the performance.

I remember standing around waiting to start the run-thru, and you were talking and then you turned and said, “What are you waiting for?”

and Doug saying what I had been doing, which was waiting for you!

I remember the pleasure of huddling in the rolls and Steve coming down on me with his self-conscious silly grin.

And I remember being out of it thru Becky’s solo, then toward the end seeing her so totally there with that changed and changing body of hers…

I remember the box improvisation with David.

The specter of crisis was also bolstered by the cops’ simple inability to stop killing black people. Just prior to Brown’s murder, forty-six-year-old Eric Garner of State Island, New York, unarmed and minding his own business, was approached by police and then choked to death as he gasped eleven times, “I can’t breathe.” Two days after Brown was killed, Los Angeles Police department officers shot and killed another young black man, Ezell Ford. Months later, autopsy reports would confirm that Ford was shot multiple times, including once in the back, while he lay on the ground. In a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, police shot to death John Crawford III, twenty-two years old and African American, while he was talking on his cell phone and holding an air gun on sale in the aisle of a Walmart. And as the nation waited to hear whether a grand jury would indict officer Darren Wilson for Brown’s death, Cleveland police killed thirty-seven-year-old, African American Tanisha Anderson when they slammed her to the ground, remaining on top of her until her body went limp. The following week, police in Cleveland struck again, murdering a twelve year old boy, Tamir Rice, less than two seconds after arriving at the playground where Rice was playing alone. Making maters worse, the two Cleveland police stood by idly, refusing aid, while Tamir bled to death. When his fourteen-year-old sister attempted to help him, police wrestled her to the ground. 

I remember the breathlessness of the lifting section

I remember the opening bars of the Chambers Brothers

I remember… you grinning at the pleasure we had.

I remember watching the pillow solo and then during Trio A the wings would sometimes flap in my face.

I remember talking to you in the hotel, before “stoned,”

I remember standing around waiting to start the run-thru, and you were talking and then you turned and said, “What are you waiting for?”

I remember the pleasure of huddling in the rolls and Steve coming down on me with his self-conscious silly grin.

I remember the box improvisation with David. 

Whenever one writes about a problem in the United States, especially concerning the racial atmosphere, the problem written about is usually black people, that they are either extremist, irresponsible, or ideologically naïve.

What we want to do here is to talk about white society, and the liberal segment of white society, because we want to prove the pitfalls of liberalism, that is, the pitfalls of liberals in their political thinking.

Whenever articles are written, whenever political speeches are given, or whenever analyses are made about a situation, it is assumed that certain people of one group, either the left or the right, the rich or the poor, the whites or the blacks are causing polarization.

The fact is that conditions cause polarization, and that certain people can act as catalysts to speed up the polarization; for example, Rap Brown or Huey Newton can be a catalyst speeding up the polarization of blacks against whites in the Untied States, but the conditions are already there. George Wallace can speed up the polarization of whites against blacks in America, but again, the conditions are already there.

Many people want to know why, out of the entire white segment of society, we want to criticize the liberals. We have to criticize them because they represent the liaison between both groups, between the oppressed and the oppressor. The liberal tries to become an arbitrator, but he is incapable of solving the problems. He promises the oppressor that he can keep the oppressed under control; that he will stop them from becoming illegal (in this case illegal means violent). At the same time, he promises the oppressed that he will be able to alleviate their suffering—in due time. Historically, of course, we know this is impossible, and our era will not escape history. 

A line is the distance between.

They circled the seafood restaurant singing “We shall not be moved.” Adam Pendleton,  Just back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer, 2016–2017

ADAM PENDLETON IN CONVERSATION WITH ROSELEE GOLDBERG

Thursday, June 25.

11 am on the West Coast; 2 pm East Coast.

 JUST BACK FROM LOS ANGELES—A PORTRAIT OF YVONNE RAINER

Thursday and Friday, June 25 and 26.

7 pm, all time zones.

Text courtesy and © Adam Pendleton.

Adam Pendleton, from top: Just back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer, 2016–2017 (still), single-channel black-and-white video; See the Sin, 2020, drawing; Black Lives Matter (wall work) #2 (detail), 2015, wallpaper; Just back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer; Our Ideas #3, 2018, silkscreen ink on mylar; Just back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer. Images courtesy and © the artists and Pace Gallery.

ILSA BING

As part of the Virtual Collect + Connect program, Photo LA 2020 presents an online tour of the exhibition ILSA BING—QUEEN OF THE LEICA, followed by a discussion with curators Barbara Tannenbaum and David Travis.

ILSA BING—QUEEN OF THE LEICA

Sunday, June 28.

10:30 am on the West Coast; 1:30 pm East Coast.

Ilsa Bing, from top: Self-Portrait with Mirrors, 1931; New York, the Elevated, and Me, 1936; Three Men on Steps on the Seine, 1931; Schiaparelli, Satin Dress, 1933; Greta Garbo Poster, Paris, 1932; It Was So Windy in the Eiffel Tower, 1941; Dancers, Ballet Errante, 1933; Paris, 1952; Circus Acrobat on Black Ball, New York, 1936; Self-Portrait with Leica, 1986. Images courtesy and © Estate of Ilse Bing.

RENAISSANCE — NOIR

RENAISSANCE: NOIR—an online show of work by emerging black artists, curated by Galerie Myrtis founder Myrtis Bedolla—is on view at UTA Artist Space.

Exhibition artists include Tawny Chatmon, Wesley Clark, Alfred Conteh, Larry Cook, Morel Doucet, Monica Ikegwu, Ronald Jackson, M. Scott Johnson, Delita Martin, Arvie Smith, Nelson Stevens, and Felandus Thames.

A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to Artist Relief, a coalition of national arts grant-makers to support artists during the Covid-19 pandemic.

RENAISSANCE: NOIR

Through July 3.

UTA Artist Space

Renaissance Noir, UTA Gallery, June 9, 2020–July 3, 2020, from top: Delita Martin, The Moon and the Little Bird, 2018, acrylic, charcoal, gelatin printing, collagraph printing, relief printing, decorative papers, hand-stitching, liquid gold leaf; Alfred Conteh, Aston and Ethan, 2020, acrylic and urethane plastic on canvas; Larry Cook, Urban Landscapes #3, 2018, digital print; Monica Ikegwu, Sister’s Keeper, 2020, oil on canvas; M. Scott Johnson, Headstone of Queen Elizabeth Catlett, 2012, Belgian Black marble; Tawny Chatmon, Seeds Sown, 2020, 24k gold leaf, acrylic, watercolor, and gouache on archival pigment print; Arvie Smith, Truth Tellers, 2019, oil on canvas; Morel Doucet, Brown Sugar (Being black is one of the most extreme sports in America), 2019, assorted charcoal densities, mylar, aerosol navy, flora and fauna; Ronald Jackson, A Dwelling down Roads Unpaved, 2020, oil on canvas; Wesley Clark, Restoring Our Majesty, 2019, urethane paint, epoxy putty, eps foam; Felandus Thames, Open Mike, 2019, hair beads on coated wire and aluminum rod; Nelson Stevens, Imani Impulse, 1980, silkscreen. Images courtesy and © the artists and UTA Artist Space.


JOSEPHINE DECKER AND SARAH GUBBINS — SHIRLEY

SHIRLEY—a speculative take on the last years of Shirley Jackson (played by Elisabeth Moss) in North Bennington—was directed by Josephine Decker, from a screenplay by Sarah Gubbins. The filmmakers recently talked about Jackson and their new film, now streaming on Hulu.

Sarah Gubbins: I first read Shirley Jackson probably like most people who encounter her work: in high school American literature class I read “The Lottery” and that was the beginning. I mean that thing stays with you, like a sharp blunt object to the head.

Josephine Decker: I also read “The Lottery” in high school and that was the first time… then I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle right before I read Sarah’s script. I had never read any of Shirley’s longer work before that and that was pretty life changing, with this “what is this!? I have to read every single thing by this author…oh, it’s Shirley Jackson who wrote ‘The Lottery’!?” And then I get the script, it’s a lot of things happened at once so.

Question: What drew you to wanting to bring this story from Susan Scarf Merrell‘s novel Shirley to script to screen? What was that process like?

Sarah: I’ve been a long time Shirley Jackson reader and really loved her work and loved returning to her work, but I had never really thought to do anything that portrayed Jackson herself. Then I read the book Shirley and I had all these preconceived ideas of about who Jackson was and what it might be like to go and live with her and how amusement park-esque it would be to spend some time with her… and hopefully she would want to become my friend!

But that led to my deeper investigation of her life and that was a more unexpected journey. I read through all of her books and “met” her through her work first and then read a lot of the saved correspondence between her and her husband, Stanley. The more I learned about her and how expansive her writing was, I felt like I wanted to create a character that we thought we might know only to find out, we really didn’t. And I think in the archetype of the “hysterical female artist,” Shirley is completely unexpected. So in our portrayal, we could shatter a little bit that and find her humor and her really big empathetic heart. Shirley is a really great chronicler of human psychology and of also some deep seeded societal traumas.

Question: Knowing there isn’t much of Shirley’s life on public record, did you find researching for this project difficult?

Sarah: I love to tell these stories because it sounds like I have my shit together and I absolutely had no idea what kind of adventure I was going to be on. I could never have conceived that the way I’d meet Shirley, by excavating through her work, is similarly to the way in which I would meet Josephine. I met Josephine through Thou Wast Mild and Lovely and there was just something “Shirley,” or a Shirley-like madness to the worldview that was in that movie, that I thought whoever has this kind of imagination would really understand the Shirley Jackson that I was coming to know. I had no clue who Shirley was until it was like chasing a wild hare. I think that’s true for most aspects of this production too.

Josephine: You chase a wild hare and then you end up in a hole and then you start falling and then you’re not really falling and then you try and get a larger key in the bigger key and then you get bigger then get smaller. [Laughter]

Question: Were there storyboards, and how descriptive did you get while writing before going into the shooting process? Because with the set design, art direction, cinematography, it looks and feels like a world was being built for this story.

Josephine: There were no storyboards. I really love collaborating and I feel like in a way I was really grateful to have one or two weeks of doing that with the actors and with the department heads. I think we all work well together when we all feel extremely invested in one another’s work…and that they see their work, their ideas comes to life on screen. I love other peoples’ ideas, that’s why I’m a filmmaker. I love having all these different departments and having actors come with visions and ideas and Michael Stuhlbarg has just, like, a bazillion ideas always and he’s a genius. Like the crumbs in his beard! Michael just was like, “Hold on, I’m not ready,” and shoved crumbs all over his beard before he goes to kiss Rose.

We just had a great cast who really invested their time and focus on our choices in the staging process. I wanted to work with the cast to develop those choices. It’s a lot of nuance and you want to let the actors make the physical choices that grow from such a dialogue heavy film. I took too long every morning letting everyone make these choices but it was one of the strengths of the film; it makes the film feel really differently from a lot of other dialogue driven movies or just movies, maybe all movies. It has a feeling of presence which feels exciting.

Question: What was the process like with the cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen to film the shots—since it was all done on handheld, was there structure or it was more free flowing?

Josephine: We had specific ideas of shots that we had set up and that we had sculpted to go a certain way. One of the things I love about Sturla and what he did so masterfully was he really used the space. He used the actors in the space and he was able to capture these small, powerful shots. For example, early on in the film, Stanley sits down in the bed while talking to Shirley, and he is reflected in three mirrors… it’s a stunning, gorgeous shot and we achieved those because Sturla was so in tuned with the actors. He is in the right place to shoot those moments and you feel the performance more because the camera is so intimate with them. And because the camera is so alive to the surroundings. I think there is something really alive when you are shooting on hand held and the camera can really be breathing with the performers.

Question: Did you always know you wanted this to take place after she published “The Lottery”?

Sarah: Yes, because I knew that the reception of “The Lottery” and I thought “that must have been her golden ticket!” And, in fact, found that was not her experience and even though it’s the most anthologized short story in American literature, she also received bags and bags and pounds and pounds of hate mail for having written it. And The New Yorker had its greatest cancellation of subscriptions after they published “The Lottery.” So what was the thing that she is most remembered for, living through that moment and then to go on and write what she wrote afterwards must’ve been excruciating. It’s audacious to think that you could portray Shirley Jackson, or to co-opt her for our vision and Elisabeth Moss‘ vision, for all of our visions of Shirley to live out there. But in some ways, I think it’s the biggest form of homage that we can do; a resuscitation in some ways….

Josephine: Is there any project that you have been wanting to make that you would be worried you would get bags and bags of hate mail for?

Sarah: Do you want to know something, and it’s going to sound glib, I want people to either love or hate what I’m doing. I want them to revile or adore. But I don’t want to make work that just sits in a comfortable middle. If you’re not doing something that’s terrifying and audacious and just totally presumptuous then it has no ambition behind it. Then what am I doing? Everyone’s like, “What’s your process?” I always go into something thinking I know what I’m doing, I always go in saying “Well, I’ve written something before so I surely can write something again”, but then you’re in it and then you’re like, “No, this is the one that’s going to kill me and I won’t be able to do it.” And if you don’t feel that way, if you don’t feel that fear, it usually means that you’re not wading in dangerous enough waters.

Question: What’s most impactful about this process that you want others to feel impacted by?

Josephine Decker: Getting to deeply encounter all of Shirley’s work was one of the biggest, most exciting takeaways because her work is so singular. We did our best to try and make an experience that feels like a Shirley Jackson story, but the wonderful thing is that you almost can’t. She was doing something that was so unique… and unique is such an overused word, but it is unique. Shirley was so exciting for me because I think that I have a lot of interest in making stories where there is an unreliable narrator or the ground that you’re standing on, you suddenly realize has shifted from stable ground to a lake…. I have always been curious about storytelling in that way so learning from Shirley herself was a really exciting part of this process and something that I hope our audiences take away from the film. And I am very grateful to have gotten to work with this human right here, Sarah Gubbins. Every single person on this film, I feel grateful I got to work with but Sarah and I probably spent the most time working together because we spent a whole year preparing and she was there for the shoot and she was there for editing and she was a real partner on this whole journey. And we had so many other incredible partners along the way that I feel incredibly indebted to for making this film. Our cast, Lizzie and Odessa, really owned it—they let themselves go to really intense places together and with us, and so I feel really grateful for that and all of our department heads, so those are my takeaways I guess.

Sarah: That’s good. Do I have to have one too? Because that was really good. I say ditto. There was something about this movie that we were attempting to portray… both the psychic toll and the psychic myth, or the kind of ecstasy of somebody who is a writer like Shirley Jackson, and I think that we really tried in all facets—the writing of the script and in the creation and the art, and the way that was shot and performed—to take people on a journey of an artist. And it’s not necessarily predictable and it’s not polite and it’s definitely not respectable, but what comes out of it is something that can be lasting and I think make people really feel seen.

And for me, working with Josephine was the biggest trust fall that I’ve ever had. She challenged me to think differently, to envision things differently, and she made what I wanted to make, my vision, so much better. And I think that that’s really what a true collaborator can do, it is not one plus one and then you suddenly become exponentially larger. And you can do more and dream bigger and I think that’s the thing about working with Josephine. It’s going to be tough when she’s not by my side every day.

SHIRLEY

Now streaming on Hulu.

JOSEPHINE DECKER LIVE Q & A

Monday, June 29.

7:30 pm on the West Coast; 10:30 pm East Coast.

Interview text courtesy and © the filmmakers and Landmark Theatres.

Josephine Decker, Shirley (2020), from top: Elisabeth Moss as Shirley Jackson(2); Moss (left) and Odessa Young; Shirley Jackson, Novels and Stories, 2014, courtesy and © Library of America; Shirley, U.S. poster; Logan Lerman and Young; Michael Stuhlbarg and Moss. Film images courtesy and © the actors, the photographers, Killer Films, and Neon.