Camille Utterback & Romy Achituv Text Rain, 1999 Video Installation at 21c Museum Hotel Louisville
Week five started off with a small blip in my otherwise stellar travel karma. On my drive from Nashville to Louisville, KY I hit the remains of a pallet on the interstate and to make a long story short I am now the proud owner of four new tires on my car and am $900 lighter. I invoked my father's sage advice of not worrying about anything that can be fixed with money and counted my blessings that I was not upside down in a ditch on the side of the road.
It was a big traveling week with lots of ground to cover on my way to an important appointment in Cleveland mid-week. The redirect of my trip from Texas and points south means lots more winter. I finally feel like I have found my rhythm and my confidence and I have been able to stay in the present for the first time in a very long time. In this nice groove I have struck a balance between attending to the outside world and focusing on and executing the work I want to do on this sabbatical. I am for the most part no longer unmoored by Trump's daily attempt to lower the bar on human discourse and destroy the free world. I am constantly surrounded by generous, welcoming, engaged, loving, creative, and vibrant humans and it is a welcome and necessary salve.
First stop this week was Louisville, KY-my first time there and I was not disappointed. I surprised even myself by going to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory Tour. I have no interest in baseball but I love me a good "how they make stuff" tour. Watching them turn those raw cylinders of wood into a beautiful sculpted bat in just seconds is amazing. Who knew there was a need for anybody to make 1.8 million bats a year and then find out that they are one of about 30 companies making them! Who knew that EVERY MLB player has a proprietary formula for THEIR bat and each one is made to spec on a CNC cutter with amazing accuracy and each player goes through on average 175 bats each per year. In the sexism is alive and well department, I was astonished to find this enormous 4 sided display in the gift shop of personalized bat pens for the kids without A SINGLE GIRLS NAME ON THE RACK.
I got to see the original 21c Museum Hotel (the 5th one is in Durham) and its fantastic exhibition The Future is Female.
South African artist Nandipha Mntambo. Umfanekiso wesibuko (Mirror Image), 2013 Cowhide and Resin The pieces are molded from the artist's own body.
South African Sanell Aggenback. Rumours, 2011 Mixed Media
American artist Kathleen McQuade Olliges. Supply and Demand, 2014. Latex nipples, silicone nipples, silicone adhesive, mannequin.
I headed on to Cincinnati where I stayed at an incredible airbnb right beside the stunning Eden Park area of the city. I had the entire four bedroom 3rd floor to myself for the grand fee of $75/night.The couple had lovingly restored the late 1800s home with their own hands over 7 years--an enormous grand mansion designed by the architect that did the major government buildings in Cincinnati. I stayed in the room with the balcony on the right. They have just finished and i think I was their second or third tenant. They could not have been more delightful hosts.
They found this room when they tore out the drop ceiling and drywall walls!
I woke up at about 2:30 in the morning to amazing light patterns all over the walls. I grabbed my camera and spent the next hour photographing.
Frank has fun with mirrors at the Contemporary Art Museum
Casey Riordan Millard (American) Shark Girl at the Bus Stop
I had heard about Fred and Laura Bidwell and the work they were doing in Cleveland and was introduced to them briefly at an AIPAD fair by Tom Gitterman. Early on in my trip planning I decided I really wanted to make an effort to spend significant time in Cleveland as I felt like I could learn a lot from them. They are serious photo collectors and support emerging photographers and the arts community in Cleveland in extraordinary and unprecedented ways. Their work is also having spectacular success on the economic development front in struggling communities in the city with major investment going on in the communities they initiate projects in. Fred was incredibly generous with his time and I was able to talk at length during two extensive meetings about issues of legacy, community impact, collecting, and a range of other issues. The budget and scale of his projects are much larger than ours but many of the same principals apply. Through Bidwell Projects they converted and developed a former electrical power facility into Transformer Station which is an extraordinary museum showcasing emerging photo and photo based artists. He also shared plans for the amazing and world class FRONT Triennial they are planning for Cleveland in 2018.
They share programming responsibility with the Cleveland Art Museum where Fred once served as director.
Speaking of the Cleveland Museum--it is a stunner! The most recent addition was designed by Rafael Viñoly, the same architect that designed the Nasher Museum at Duke.
Pardon the horrible pun but his piece is off the Richter Scale! Details below of the colors in this 1991 Gerhard Richter abstract painting.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this photo exhibition of the work of Louis Draper and Leonard Freed.
Louis Draper (American) Girl and Cuba, Philadephia, 1968. Gelatin Silver Print
Leonard Freed (American) Playing football in a black neighborhood outside Washington, DC, 1964 Gelatin Silver Print
Anish Kapoor (Indian) C-Curve, 2007 Stainless Steel
Cleveland is, of course, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Coming out of the Cleveland Museum I stumbled upon this Frank Gehry Building at Case Western Reserve University.
The down side of things clicking along like a well oiled machine is that my planning time line was getting shorter and shorter. I had started out fully planned two weeks out and by the time I got to Cleveland I was about 2 days out. I had worked out some great connections in Pittsburgh but all three of them fell through and I found myself for the first time in a place where I didn't know where I was going to lay my head down that evening. I scrambled and sent some letters to prospects I had identified in NY state and thought I might head in the direction of Syracuse. I looked at a map to find a place midway between Cleveland and Syracuse and I decided to go to Buffalo. I am traveling with a full US Lonely Planet travel guide and Ellen gave me a giant volume of all of the NY Times "36 Hours in...." and I found out there are some major architectural landmarks in Buffalo. Before I married an architect and got involved with George Smart's amazing NC Modernist Houses, architecture was not much on my radar. Now I seek it out wherever I go. One of Frank Lloyd Wright's seminal early works is the Darwin Martin House Complex. It is a sprawling complex with 4 structures. The house was completely abandoned for nearly two decades and they are just completing a 50 million dollar!!! restoration.
A while back at a film fesitval I saw a documentary about the architect Louis Sullivan and it featured this amazing early sky scraper in Buffalo called the Guaranty Building. With an exterior of terra cotta tile and an opulent interior it is magnificent to see up close.
A great way to end the week. Thanks for following along. Check out more pictures from my adventure here.
Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.