we're going to talk more about this.

Since the end of January, the Saint Elizabeth Art Foundation has been inviting me back bi-weekly to host a new discussion group series based around viewings of Art:21, a brilliant documentary series by PBS that introduces viewers to a broad range (72 and counting) of contemporary artists, offering insight into their working practice, ideas, + biographies.  After watching the segments, we've had lively and profound conversations where artists, thinkers, and the otherwise interested have conversationally connected the content of the film segments to their own lives and art practices. 

Here's what people have been saying about it:

"I don't know why anyone would not want to come. I have attended every session. I find it to be great fellowship and leave feeling challenged to go beyond the everyday." -Kara McNeel

"I really enjoy attending these gatherings." -Brennan Bradford

So tomorrow we continue with the third meeting. These events take place in a mysterious library type building in Norwood. It reminds me of J. K. Rowling's description of Dumbledore's office, because along with walls lined with books and overstuffed chairs sitting on a dais, there is this huge, silver piece of machinery for making coffee and hot tea. The address is 1801 Mills Avenue, 45212. I've found that the number 4 bus runs very close to this part of Norwood and makes this event accessible even to the basic pedestrian. While it begins at the official time- 7:30- I've found that people feel comfortable and engaged enough to stay beyond the ending time of 9:30.

This week, we will be watching the segments that feature Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, and Ida Applebroog. All three artists somehow involve mythologies and history into their own biographies and invented fantasies. Their sculptures, prints, and paintings are all forms of storytelling and will hopefully open up discussion about how each of us choose to integrate ourselves into civilizational histories and how our personal reconciliations and resistances to culture affect or inform our artmaking or other creative output.

Ida Applebroog's work is one of the first I think of when I consider humanism, the self-constructed identity, personal empowerment, and the radical humor of static situations. Her earlier works with sequential images (that are discussed in the documentary) remind me of Samuel Beckett or the extremely prolonged scene in Baby Mama starring Tina Fey where she and Steve Martin's character make eye contact for a long period of time.

I was first introduced to Nancy Spero's work because of her materials- using print media, drawings in gouache, and other forms of pictures in larger installations. April Foster, one of the knowledgeable professors at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, showed me several of her works in, oh, it was probably 2004. But it wasn't until my visit to Centre Pompidou during my stay in Paris in 2007 that I saw some truly monumental installations of her art that challenged and inspired me. 

For further information about this and other St. E events, feel free to contact the program coordinator Laura McNeel at laura@stelizabetharts.com or 513 378 3069.

I hope all kinds of people will be able to make it out!

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