Lee Kelly interview 1983

Lee Kelly just turned 85. Through June into mid-July he is showing new work at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Over a career of almost 60 years Kelly has completed dozens of public and private sculpture commissions. He has major works on the Portland Transit Mall and the Rose Garden in Washington Park. He lives and works on what was a dairy farm in Oregon City. The barn is now a shop/studio. What was pasture land 50 years ago is now reforested and populated with Kelly’s sculpture.

A recent interview is published at Oregon ArtsWatch (www.orartswatch.org).

Here’s one from 1983:

Vito Acconci

So, Vito Acconci has died. I had the pleasure of interviewing him in 1982 when he did a large installation at Portland Center for the Visual Arts. He invited me to call him when I was next in NY, so I did, We had coffee in SOHO. He as a very sweet thoughtful guy.

Below is the published interview and also a short review of an installation he did at PCVA in 1975. (Click for a large version.)

 

Politics after 2,000 years

SPQR

I just finished this highly readable and insightful book on ancient Rome. Mary Beard doesn’t just talk about emperor after emperor, but provides a broad context for Roman thought and culture.

Some things haven’t changed much in politics over the past two thousand years. She says of the time of the last gasp of the Roman Republic:

For several Roman observers senatorial weakness for bribery was one major factor lying behind their failure: “Rome’s a city for sale and bound to fall as soon as it finds a buyer”, as Jugurtha [a North African ruler] was supposed to have quipped when he left the city. The general incompetence of the governing class was another. For Sallust, that incompetence was a consequence of their narrow elitism and their refusal to recognize talent outside their own small group. …The Senate was dominated by the ancient equivalent of the old boy network.

First century BCE.

PAM – Two score years of disappointment

I recently wrote about the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards currently at the Portland Art Museum for Oregon ArtsWatch: 

http://www.orartswatch.org/nw-art-awards-a-box-of-chocolates/

At the end of the article I said:

Addendum: I wrote in Willamette Week about the Oregon Annual at the museum forty years ago, and about a couple of Oregon Biennials after that. Two score years of disappointment. Nothing new.

I don’t have the 1976 article, but here are articles from 1978 and 1981:

A of O 1978O Bi 1981

Goldberger on Gehry + Stravinsky

Gehry

I just finished this book on Frank Gehry by Paul Goldberger. It’s a quick read, feels like an extended New Yorker article. Interesting about career building when you want to do your stuff and not kowtow to the accepted norms for the sake of financial success.Gehry was in his fifties before his work really took off (he’ll be 87 in February). I feel like Goldberger does spend a lot of time telling the reader over and over just why we should appreciate Gehry’s approach—and if one is already enough of a fan to have picked up this book (I got it for Christmas), it is overkill. Overall I’d give it a solid B.

BUT, right on the next to last page is this great quote from Igor Stravinsky:

The faculty of creating is never given to us all by itself. It always goes hand-in-hand with the gift of observation and the true creator may be recognized by his ability always to find about him, in the commonest and humblest thing, items worthy of note. He does not have to concern himself with a beautiful landscape, he does not need to surround himself with rare and precious objects. He does not have to put forth in search of discoveries: they are always within his reach. He will only have to cast a glance about him. Familiar things, things that are everywhere, attract his attention. 

That insightful quote might raise the overall grade to B+.