Blogs Field Guide Guest Blogger

Bernadette Mayer, Vito Acconci, and 0 To 9 Magazine

Bernadette Mayer is one of the most acclaimed poets of the “New York School” of poetry. Her avant garde and exquisitely rendered final pieces are a result of adventurous journal keeping and writing experiments, some of which will be evident September 13 when the Walker and Rain Taxi Review of Books co-present Bernadette Mayer along […]

Bernadette Mayer is one of the most acclaimed poets of the “New York School” of poetry. Her avant garde and exquisitely rendered final pieces are a result of adventurous journal keeping and writing experiments, some of which will be evident September 13 when the Walker and Rain Taxi Review of Books co-present Bernadette Mayer along with poets Jennifer Karmin and Philip Good, an evening of collaborative literary mayhem.

Mayer’s life as a literary artist has been well pronounced in the world of visual art. In the late 1960s, she — along with artist Vito Acconci — edited the groundbreaking mimeographed magazine 0 to 9, which brought together the era’s leading figures of experimental poetry and conceptual art. Featured artists included Sol LeWitt, Adrian Piper, Dan Graham, and Robert Smithson; writers ranged from Ted Berrigan and Clark Coolidge, to Hannah Weiner and Dick Higgins.

Though 0 to 9 is now longer in active print, the majority of the magazine’s archives are now available as a book: 0 to 9: The Complete Magazine (Ugly Duckling Presse). In celebration of the upcoming performance, we’re publishing Mayer’s introduction to that volume, “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” in which she recounts how she and Acconci taught themselves, through 0 to 9, “how to make art that had no boundaries.” (more…)

Viewfinder: Untitled (Last Light) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres

by Bianka Pineda Felix Gonzalez-Torres was once described to me as a giving artist whose art is about love.  When I came across his piece “Untitled” (Last Light) in the Walker collection, I understood how apt this description is.  The object itself is very simple; a set of 24 low-watt bulbs on a string, something […]

by Bianka Pineda

Felix Gonzalez-Torres was once described to me as a giving artist whose art is about love.  When I came across his piece “Untitled” (Last Light) in the Walker collection, I understood how apt this description is.  The object itself is very simple; a set of 24 low-watt bulbs on a string, something you might see at Christmas.  

"Untitled" (Last Light) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres

"Untitled" (Last Light) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres

The association with Christmas lights is not far from the effect it has in the gallery: the soft light warms an otherwise cold and sterile environment.  Currently the string is hung ceiling to floor in a corner that includes a window within the exhibition Absentee Landlord.  The light is at once reflected, offering life to the mute gallery space, and, at the same time, shining out and connecting to the world beyond the museum.  The second part of the title, (Last Light), could be an allusion to the practice of lighting a candle in remembrance of a lost one.  The light may be a reference to the artist’s own mortality (or even the viewer’s) or to Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ life partner, Ross, whom he lost to AIDS and included in his works of art.  Knowing the importance Ross had in the artist’s life, it’s not hard to imagine that the warmth of the lights is imbued with Gonzalez-Torres’ unrelenting love.

You can find another work by Gonzalez-Torres currently on view at the Walker in the exhibition This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s. The piece is called “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers). You can see an image of it on the MCA Chicago’s website.

About the author: Bianka Pineda is a Walker Art Center tour guide.

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Viewfinder posts are your opportunity to “show & tell” about the everyday arts happenings, interesting sights and sounds made or as seen by Minnesota artists, because art is where you find it. Submit your own informal, first-person responses to the art around you to katie(at)mnartists.org, and we may well publish your piece here on the blog. (Guidelines: 300 words or less, not about your own event/work, and please include an image, media, video, or audio file, and one sentence about yourself.)

Mammaw’s Creole: Walker Kitchen Lab considers the stealth power of smells

By Betsy DiSalvo One of the Walker Kitchen Labs in development by the collective right now revolves around the smells of the kitchen. This brought me back to my childhood kitchen and smelling Mammaw’s Creole. One of my cousins sent this recipe around last year just after my grandmother died. Nora Mae (Garbarino) Cart was […]

By Betsy DiSalvo

One of the Walker Kitchen Labs in development by the collective right now revolves around the smells of the kitchen. This brought me back to my childhood kitchen and smelling Mammaw’s Creole.

One of my cousins sent this recipe around last year just after my grandmother died.

Nora Mae (Garbarino) Cart was my Mammaw, and despite the Italian and English sounding name she was Cajun. She spoke Cajun French before she spoke English. At a young age she married a man from a few towns away and went to live there for the remainder of her life. It was in this town, Iota, Louisiana, that she raised twelve kids on big pots of Shrimp Creole, Jambalaya, and Crawfish Etouffee.

When I think of these foods, when I taste them, or when I stir my roux in a cast iron pot, I think of Iota, my mother (who was considered to be the best cook in the family), and what it means to own this odd ethnicity. I mean just stirring some fat and flour – a simple but tedious task – makes my kitchen smell just like Mammaw’s. Those smells make me think of that humid little town where, from my childhood view, the men always had a beer in hand and the women were always cooking and cleaning. It isn’t all warm and fuzzy nostalgia. Like anyone’s memories of a big family, some are funny or sweet and others are still infuriating.

To me, the smells of the kitchen are so specific in ethnic foods. They are things that become so engrained in your life that you don’t even notice them until you loose them for a while and then they come back. In this way the power of smell is stealth. I hope the Kitchen Lab “Smell” project becomes something that brings back these kind of strong memories for the participants. Connecting to art is as much about the memories and histories that we bring to the work as it is about the artist intention. Because of this, smell seems like a perfect provocateur.

Come down to “Kitchen Lab: An Unveiling” at Walker Open Field on Thursday June 28, 6-9 pm, to experience, test out and play with the “Smell” Kitchen Lab as well as the other Kitchen Lab modules currently in the works by the Walker Kitchen Lab collective-in-residence.

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