Today walked to UPS store with Joe Woodside. Talked with Joe Zucker on the telephone a week ago Friday And the Saturday before that I saw Peter Saul at The Minneapolis Institute of Art for the first time in 50 years. I introduced my spouse Pamela to Peter at the institute, I had a couple of conversations with Peter before and after his time on a panel about a Vietnam exhibition at the institute, the best conversation was while Pamela was present. For years Pam has wanted to meet my friends and colleagues and finally in the past few years she has met several of my friends who live far away from here. Peter Saul perhaps more than any other because he had such a profound influence on me in the short time he was a guest artist during my last semester in graduate studies in Oakland CA. Peter is 85 now and still pretty much as he was in the Fall of 1968 when we met, I was 23 then and Peter was 33. Intellectually his criticisms were very intense but over the next two years they took hold and my paintings drawings and collages changed quite a lot from what I had been making before under many influences. I had known Peter’s work in Chicago from the Collections at the Art Institute of Chicago then A.James Speyer was the curator of contemporary and modern art. He collected Saul’s work and his sister Dorothea Speyer was Saul’s dealer in Paris. So I was always interested in his art and meeting him was purely by accident. I noticed his conversation was more interesting when my spouse was present, Saul is nothing if not an admirer of women, painters and smart women like Pamela in particular.
I had not talked to Joe Zucker since 1986 when I was fired by the art school here. I saw him that year in Tofte MN on the NorthShore.We had had a falling out around that time, I admired Joe he had been a big influence on my creative thinking while at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is 78 years old now and I am 75 in a couple of months.Long story short my accident and illness seems to have brought back some of the important people in my life. I am in contact with Deven Golden again one of my favorite people I have known since 1973 when he was at MCAD as 17 year old basic studies student, brilliant then brilliant now . It has helped My spouse get a better fix on me for good and for bad. Also Ken Feingold visited briefly last summer my teaching partner at MCAD in the 1980’s. Point being many important people have crossed paths again in the time since my accident and cancer diagnosis and treatment, a sort of long goodbye.
I have had losses as well my boys are very distant estranged. . And things with my wife , my beloved partner of over 16 years are strained caretaking has taken a lot of our closeness away on and off. The process of surviving cancer is very painful and expensive in time and treasure. I am indebted most to my wife for her sacrifices and support. It has been a very difficult passage. I miss my kids and my grand children. But I have managed to find my way back to my critical thinking and my art. Albeit on a smaller scale but still much better than a year ago or even earlier this year when side effects brought on my organic brain disorder. Whatever I am optimistic about having more time to live and work but everyday is painful at least in part. The ups and downs are rather alarming at times. But at least I am still somewhat functional. Later this month I will get another scan and see if my cancer is growing and what treatments are coming next. I wish I could mend some fences before I exit this world but some days even self care is a challenge.
Pamela is showing some of her beautiful portraits in Attorney General Keith Ellison’s offices and conference room at the state capital. Ellison is a very important political figure in the community and this venue will bring many people in touch with Pamela’s art. The work will be up for four months. I hope it creates opportunities for her to flourish and that the diverse audience she paints will appreciate her portraits as a portrait of a community we all share. I really think she has already touched many people with her art and created openings for others as well. I only wish to find a better way to love her and the family I have lost. I love life every day is precious and I do hope I will be better understood as time passes. Dying slowly is not very pleasant but I have been able to see myself better. My short comings my realities I am not there yet but I am trying to do some art working to make some odd sense of my long life. The French say - Murderers murder and Lovers love. I want to love more but some days I feel like the only thing I do well is art working. and even there I have my doubts. Stay tuned more to follow.