A few times a year, my mate will pull out an obscure movie from a glassine sleeve, and say, “Have you seen this movie?” After years of being taunted with my resemblance to one Rhoda of “The Bad Seed,” I was finally rewarded with a screening, and while the similarities were far from flattering (a penchant for wearing starched crinoline pinafores and my hair in two perfect plaits aside), and I discovered in the process that I am with a kind of dvd savant, who can find outrageous gems far from the madding crowd.
A few weeks ago, Himself had been muttering about “Frank & Cindy.” Everyday, like a broken record “Have you seen Frank & Cindy?” “Has a package shown up for me?” “I just got an email from G.J. of Frank & Cindy.” I have to admit when I sat down for the screening, I was both befuddled and reluctant. However, within ten minutes, I was mesmerized, repulsed and attracted to the glowing screen. “Frank & Cindy” is the chronicle of the ultimate disfunctional, co-dependent, basically any sort of self-help terminology you want to apply may not be far-off, couple. Cindy, is the filmmaker’s mother, and Frank, is G.J’s stepfather, a fact hilariously alluded to within five minutes of the film, when G.J. subtitles Frank’s introduction, “My Mother Married this Man.”
I won’t spoil the entire film. Let me just say, that another audience member upon finishing the screening, remarked,” I feel so great about my life.” And while it is sad, to see these two people make excuses for a life that seems a bit wasted, what is most amazing and life-affirming is the son, who despite the bizarreness of his upbringing, seems to bear no hostility to the insanity perpetually wreaking havoc around him. G.J. is the real hero of this story who accepts the lives of the people around him, and makes the most of it: this film.
You can contact G.J. to order the film here. Do it! Support a talented artist!
PS Speaking of the above, the ‘zine Rank Strangers is still available in limited edition for purchase ($15) here!
Howler Monkeys, Rio Tambopata, Peru © Susana Raab 2008
Ranger Rick call me! I’m not an avid fan of the wildlife genre, but I do like James Balog’s tree book very much. But seeing these howler monkeys up close, little critters which woke me up at 4 in the morning with a steady hum that lasted through 6 am. I think it was one of the coolest thing about my little trek to the Peruvian Amazon near Puerto Maldonado in late March. And I met some great conservationists from Porto Alegre, Brazil and Cusco, Peru (Hi Leo & Jorge!).
The following, on the other hand, I can fully believe didn’t make the cut as it depicts clear-cut growth on the rain forest in Peru. Not perfect for a travel piece on fun places to visit. Nevertheless, it is part of the tour and rightly so as it’s important to educate people when one has the opportunity to do so, so in theory it coulda run . . . .
Clear-Cut Rain Forest, Rio Tambopata, Peru.
Trudging along with editorial assignments and website revision. Completely sick of looking at my work! (except for photos of howler monkeys)
Unplugged this weekend after the NYC trip and rode my bike around DC checking in on two exhibits I’m in. The first is at Politics & Prose bookstore‘s Modern Times Coffee House. It features my Sense of Place series. Politics & Prose is to DC what Powell‘s is to Portland, OR and City Light‘s is to San Francisco. Most recently, P&P made the news when it recanted a speaking engagement with a Arabic scholar. Memory serves poorly, but there was quite the hubbabaloo.
Thus in this den of radical defiant bookish peoples sits my exhibit. Now Modern Times is not exactly a posh place, but I have to say that the work looks good all together in one room and that room is a shabby coffeeshop in an independent bookstore. While I was hanging up the prices on the work, people were talking to me about it and were genuinely engaged. And one woman matched the work she was next to perfectly (see below), and this always brings a tear to the eye of the creator.
I like this body of work. I think it evokes a portrait of a person in absentia and that’s interesting and I like the palette. I give this work B+/A-. (Yes, I know I may be biased, and therefore I am donating my prize lucre to charity).
Moving on the the ginormous, formidable, and well-endowed AU’s Katzen Center for the Arts.
Behold the Monolith of Art!
Well as you know, group shows are a motley lot, and this one in particular curated by no one other than a bunch of different visual artists competing for these fellowships and submitting one piece representative of their work. There is some beautiful work out there, and it hangs together better on this one light-filled corridor where about half of the show hangs. Further down the fabulous light-filled corridor into the dusty prism of the rotunda you will find my work, sandwiched between the illuminated blue glass elephant sculptural piece (???) and the fire alarm. I see no relationship between me and my neighbors. And the rotunda is a gigantic prism refracting light in a million directions. So such is the ignominious debut of my work at the Katzen Center. Room to grow!
My Shame, The Katzen Center, Washington, DC
Someone who did have a nice debut at the Katzen Center was Juan Andres Rodriguez who was in the big house in a show called Multiplicitocracy. yea. For me he was a highlight with his portraits of Columbians. I am very South America centric right now, but this body of work is compelling regardless, . Martin Chambi-esque. Black and White. I want to print swap with him for this one of a pig tied up. It was a humongous pig tied up against a bush. So at least I got lifted up a little by that.
Juan Andres Rodriguez © 2008
Life’s just funny where you put out you work and where you find good work. The show in the coffee shop is fun and gratifying (the work was just sitting around till october anyway, i’d rather have it out there) – while the fancy arts center is personally deflating. No biggie – glad to get it out – literally from my closets and fun to have the opportunities as well with all it’s surprises.
When Color Was New at Julie Saul (here: © Joel Sternfeld)
visiting nyc is akin to visiting a foreign country. i mean, you speak the same language, most of the time, but there is a sensory overload that completely short circuits one, and i always struggle to orient myself there. this was not aided by the fact that i was staying near times square which is a visual cacophony dedicated to nothing. i had a wonderful but brief visit which included a few galleries, visits with editors, and a some terrific meals with friends.
© Asako Narahashi
i had the pleasure of attending a preview to a show that’s up at yossi milo – some really wonderful images by photographer Asako Narahashi, with the ambiguous title, half awake and half asleep in the water. The front room was filled with these large scale images of landscape taken from the sea, taken from the vantage point of the water with a Nikonos 35mm. Narahashi brings back edge tension and offers some surprises. My only beef is that perhaps they are blown up too much with the dreaded digital green and magenta blotches in the shadows, but the accompanying book – offering a much smaller scale, obviously, looked lush.
Next, I hoofed it over to Hasted Hunt for James Mollison’s The Disciples, taken at concerts all over the place, showing fans dressing up to imitate their idols. A teeny commercial for me, but interesting and fun to look at. In Esquire
© Mitch Epstein
My favorite show was at Julie Saul Gallery – When Color Was New- vintage mostly small scale photographs from the ’70s. The usual suspects: shore, parr, christenberry, sternfeld, meyerowitz, goldin, walker evans – and a few lesser known nice surprises. With any group show it will be hit or miss for you with the photos. But I like the spirit of the endeavor, it’s always fun to see what a gallery will do. The photographs were all beautifully printed, if seemingly diminuitive – and appropriately lush. Nary a pixel in sight. I saw an old favorite (Sternfeld’s burning house pumpkin patch) and got a new one (Mitch Epstein’s photo above) – and was delighted with the whole thing.
It’s an out of control couple of weeks here at Susana Raab Inc. Hanging a couple of shows and attending my little brothers wedding this week. Somehow I thought it would be a good time to update the website/redesign, redo my portfolios, and visit NYC. Not to mention tons of film scanning from some projects I am working on. It’s good – crazy, and good. Beats being bored any day of the week – I just don’t understand that state you know?
I think she’s a gem. She makes me smile, at least.
Smoking Hon, Baltimore, MD © Susana Raab 2008
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities would like to invite you to join us for the FY2009 Visual Arts Applicants’ Showcase.
Opening Reception: July 16, 2008, 6:30 PM
Exhibition Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday – Saturday
July 17 – August 1, 2008
Katzen Arts Center
4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016
(Take Metro Red-Line to Tenleytown/AU Station)
For more information call (202) 724-5613
(I’ll be in NYC unfortunately! – but will check it out when I get back)