2015: the year of restraint and perseverance

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! A pic by the uber-talented Robert Melee as we played around in his studio, channeling “mommy-Rose” – Robert’s amazing mother/muse in celebration of  our interview on his infamous ‘mommy” series, video and photographic work, incorporating Rose. Work I think is brilliant if still misunderstood.  There’s a link below in a newsletter I sent out initially via email, but thought I’d share  here too.  To help me get back in the mode of posting before the world implodes, and I get distracted again by teaching – a semester started last week! So easy to get distracted in this rat race we call NYC – or is it just “modern life”? – especially in my lady cave where I often want to disconnect from all things social and promote-y. And this year, instead of choosing a living symbol for inspiration/guidance – ala a totem animal (crow/2012) or muse (Leigh Bowery/2014) – I decided to channel the energy of restraint and perseverance, simultaneously, in an effort at equanimity. Or at least try, haha, before the world implodes!


Robert Melee, 2015 (channeling mommy-Rose)

And in that spirit of the post- apocalypse, I’m happy to announce I’m curating a group exhibition this Spring, “FROM THE RUINS…” that will feature the work of Abigail Deville, Wm. Eggleston, Christian Holstad, Luther Price, Jeff Wall, Jane & Louise Wilson, and others! VERY EXCITED! There will be a catalogue and related panel/talks, so I am SEEKING AN INTERN to help with this as well as my blog, janestown.net. 

Speaking of the latter, I’m launching an interactive series this year where I will invite people to peruse the vast archives of bookmarked links I’ve collected for YEARS – relating to the blog’s various sections ala“Karma Row”, “Culture Vulture”, New York, NY”, etc. – and select something to respond to. The idea is to create more dialogue and commentary that involves YOU!! And if you haven’t visited the blog in a while, don’t miss my post sharing – for the first time ever – selections from my vernacular photography collection (aka found pics), and a  new feature, “FROM THE VAULTS” where I revisit writing from the past like my artforum.com interview with Monica Bonvincini

I’m also soliciting video work by women on the theme of revenge, for another Grrls on gurls screening series, so if you have ideas, let me know via pm or FB (Jane Ursula Harris). I already have a few artists lined up, but still looking for a few more before! THANKS!!


** My review of LaToya Ruby Frazier’s amazing first monograph, The Notion of Family (Aperturein the Paris Review:

“The Notion of Family gilds its often grim truths with the hope of resistanceSelf– determination rarely figures in the social documentary tradition, and in many ways Frazier’s work seeks to redress this omissionThat she defines her photography as a “conceptual documentary” practice speaks to her continued faith in the camera as a vehicle for both social change and aesthetic possibilitybeauty, in her work, does not preclude protest any more than education presumes awareness.


LaToya Ruby Frazier, Aunt Midgie and Grandma Ruby, 2007

** My Huffpo interview with Robert Melee on his infamous “Mommy” series:

In satirizing the dark and complex relations that lurk beneath most pantomimes of familial bliss, Melees home movies of Rose take on a deliberately tragicomic formAs with all of Melees work, the exhibitions outre, baroque visions of mother and son love embody a Baudelairean lyricism, one that finds beauty in the grotesque and the obscene.

Robert Melee, Facelift, 1997. Courtesy of Higher Pictures and Andrew Kreps Gallery

Robert Melee, Facelift, 1997. Courtesy of Higher Pictures and Andrew Kreps Gallery

**My interview with legendary filmmaker, Bruce LaBruce in The Believer:

In fact, many of his films satirize the totalitarian tendencies of the politically correct, exposing their hypocrisies with the same campy vigor reserved for the right wing ideologues (and gay assimilationists) … It’s a sly dance in the slipstream between revolutionary ideals and their compromised practice, and a slapstick study in “radical chic.

Bruce LaBruce, Super 8 1/2, 1993

Bruce LaBruce, Super 8 1/2, 1993

UPCOMING: look for my review of Ron Athey’s first monograph in Duke University Press’s Cultural Politics journal; an Art in America review of the stand-out show of 2014, Greer Lankton’s retrospective @ Participant Inc.; and a forthcoming interview with Simone Leigh!


— I don’t think I ever told you but I probably wouldn’t have shown with Feature if it hadn’t been for your workshop. So grateful for that especially. Kylin O’Brien

— Jane Harris wrote about my work in an art magazine some years ago and it was a stroke of luck that I got to meet her. She is a scholarly and socially astute critic who fundamentally understands my work and what I do. Recently, Harris came to my rescue when I was trying to put words together for a complicated proposal that was difficult for me to articulate in writing. I saw her post offering a workshop on how to write an artist statement, for artists! I called her immediately. Funny that it feels like cheating to have a writer help write about what I know best. I love words and they are a part of my work, but I am not a writer. I needed my essay to express my sensibilities and the nuances of my vision in a succinct written format. Jane’s guidance lead me to submit a truthful, passionate and straightforward description of what I wanted to do. I write in my diary about my work but I don’t write for the public on a daily basis and it just makes sense to get a little help from those who translate art work into the written world. Thank You Jane Harris! xoxo E.V. Day

— A special shout out and big thanks to Jane Ursula Harris and her workshop, “Conquering the Artist Statement.” Any artist, school or gallery would be lucky to partake in her insight, wit and heart–a true contribution to writing and art. Thanks Jane, for keeping it real and kicking ass. Julie Paveglio, recent MFA

AND, if you haven’t seen my new Etsy shop, romanlovesgigi, where I sell everything vintage, please take a look! I am also seeking a part-time PAID assistant for this project, so let me know if you are interested!

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