Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Biopsy

Larry Wolf, Biopsy (2022)

Larry Wolf, Biopsy (2022)

Larry Wolf, Biopsy (2022)

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Who Is This?

Molly Maline Cook & Mary Oliver, Our World (2007)


In a letter
Photographer Unknown, 
Molly Malone Cook, Europe 1950s


My mother was an infant,
my father was a child,
so I grew up immensely dour
and wild... wild... wild.

Molly Maline Cook

Whistler

All of a sudden she began to whistle. By all of a sudden I mean that for more than thirty years she had not whistled. It was thrilling. At first I wondered, who was in the house, what stranger? I was upstairs reading, and she was downstairs. As from the throat of a wild and cheerful bird, not caught but visiting, the sounds warbled and slid and doubled back and larked and soared.

Finally I said, Is that you? Is that you whistling? Yes, she said. I used to whistle, a long time ago. Now I see I can still whistle. And cadence after cadence she strolled through the house, whistling.

I know her so well, I think. I thought. Elbow and ankle. Mood and desire. Anguish and frolic. Anger too. And the devotions. And for all that, do we even begin to know each other? Who is this I've been living with for thirty years?

This clear, dark, lovely whistler?

 Mary Oliver 





Molly Malone Cook, Walker Evans at the bookshop (1967)


I discovered Our World at Uncharted Books, Chicago

also On Being with Krista Tippett: Mary Oliver "I got saved by the beauty of the world." (2015/2022).

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Noticing

Rob Walker, The Art of Noticing (2019)
Borrowed from the Chicago Public Library

Quotes

"For anyone trying to discern what to do with their life, pay attention to what you pay attention to. That's pretty much all the information you need." Amy Krouse Rosenthal

"Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." Mary Oliver

"Notice what you notice." Allen Ginsberg, Cosmopolitan Greetings

School of Visual Arts - Fourth Annual Phil Patton Lecture (2019)

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Monday, October 3, 2022

Continuous Span - Bridge 2022 Group Exhibition

This exhibition is work of the artists who participated in the HPAC Bridge Program 2022.

Opening Reception: Monday, October 3, 2022

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Continuous Span 2022 - Opening Reception
Photo: Larry Wolf (2022)

Transient Utopias - Artist Statement

Utopia, from Greek for no place. These are worlds that exist as memory or fantasy. They are transient, from Latin for going beyond, of no fixed abode. Places I never have been or where I might be again.

Yet I desire them: 
ancestors who are alive; 
collaboration with my artist mother; 
wild and gnarly sunflowers; 
nature entwined with essential infrastructure;
fractured urban surfaces opening to the cosmos.

T-shirts are functional, washable, wearable art. They are hand-crafted imperfect mechanical reproductions; a celebration of everyday life.

Larry Wolf (2022) 


Design Credit: DaJona Butler (2022)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Nelson Algren - Chicago - City on the Make

 

Nelson Algren, Chicago City on the Make (1951/1961/1983/2001)
Cove Photo: Art Shay

Epigraph

With heart at rest I climbed the citadel's 
Steep height, and saw the city as from a tower, 
Hospital, brothel, prison, and such hells, 
Where evil comes up softly like a flower . . .

Whether thou sleep, with heavy vapors full, 
Sodden with day, or, new appareled, stand 
In gold-laced veils of evening beautiful,

I love thee, infamous city!

-Baudelaire 

 

From Page 60

Every day is D-Day under the El.
 

From Pages 72 - 73

By nights when the yellow salamanders of the El bend all one way and the cold rain runs with the red-lit rain. By the way the city’s million wires are burdened only by the lightest snow; and the old year yet lighter upon them. When chairs are stacked and glasses are turned and arc-lamps are dimmed. By days when the wind bangs alley gates ajar and the sun goes by on the wind. By nights when the moon is an only child above the measured thunder of the cars, you may know Chicago’s heart at last:

You’ll know it’s the place built out of Man’s ceaseless failure to overcome himself. Out of Man’s endless war against himself we build our successes as well as our failures. Making it the city of all cities most like Man himself -- loneliest creation of all this very old poor earth. 
 

From Page 76

A rumor of neon flowers, bleeding all night long, along those tracks where endless locals pass.
 

From Page 77

While we shall leave, for remembrance, one rusty iron heart. 
The city's rusty heart, that holds both the hustler and the square. 
Takes them both and holds them there.
For keeps and a single day.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Art Making Purgatory

Larry Wolf, Transient Utopias (2022)

Printing t-shirts has become an exhausting challenge - logistically, technically and emotionally - much more than I imaged it would be. The phone photo looks more like what I want than the actual t-shirt. Learning. Learning. Learning. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Transient

Larry Wolf, Transient Utopias (2022)

I'm working on a silkscreen for a black t-shirt. The source images include two photos taken on/from the Metra Electric platform at 51st, an image from the JWST a million miles away; the text is inspired by an essay in Ten Years of Chances Dances (a queer party that spanned ten years and resulted in a catalog which I came across this week)... the essay by John Neff and Lorelei Stewart references a quote from Chances: "temporary utopias are time machines"... which is kind of fascinating.

I hear echoes of an essay by Ocean Vuong about fire escapes as a place where we have necessary and challenging conversations. The font is Be Oakley's Act Up Protest font... and it's all a riff on the art of queer failure... or the queer art of failure... or the failed queer agenda... or ??? ;-)

There's a further personal commentary about the fracturing of visions for a better future, the ground becoming unstable as institutions fail and the ripples that each of us makes as we walk through our lives. It's all transient. This is the third or fourth iteration. 

For now, no t-shirts, though several very nice prints on black paper. Pretty good for a first time ;-)


Larry Wolf, Transient Utopias (2022, silkscreen)

Larry Wolf, Transient Utopias (2022)

Larry Wolf, Transient Utopias (2022)

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Filter Members Exhibition 2022

I submitted this work to V: the Annual Filter Members Exhibition

Larry Wolf, Washington University Track 1946 (2022)

Six hurdlers are all airborne in a photo by my father from 1946. Each athlete, or in one case, three of them, has been cropped from the full image and printed individually. Each sheet can be folded into a hyperbolic paraboloid, informally called a hypar, a surprisingly curved shape constructed from nested squares. Here the hypars are suspended, moving with the air currents.

This work continues my interest in how photographs incorporate time, the moment of exposure with the athletes all in the air, the moments of viewing – the photographer’s and subjects’ now, the viewers' now, the artist as an intermediary time machine.

The source photograph was found recently with other slides from 1946 to 1957 – a lost family archive found as we emptied my deceased mother's apartment, a survivor of a nasty divorce. My father spoke with longing for his student days at W. U. – the image exudes youthful energy years after his death – as desaturated images, the people become ghosts in the light and dark of the hypar’s folds.

Like my other works, these are single sheets of paper, folded according to a set of rules that creates a three-dimensional object. Folding adds human touch to mechanical reproduction. Copies of the work are available for the viewer to take. The act of folding is centering, requiring patience, attention and caring, allowing the form to emerge. It invites the audience into an active intimacy, participating in creating the work.

For more info, see my page DIY SIP Hypar Zine.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

House Divided

Bruce Nauman, House Divided (1983)
Photo Larry Wolf (2022)

Bruce Nauman, House Divided (1983)
Photo Larry Wolf (2022)

Nauman draws on his roots for the form of this sculpture, a large white building typical of Midwestern farming sheds. Yet inside, the structure has been divided in half, diagonally. The carefully considered placement of three entries creates an uncomfortable space with no corners. Fully half of the structure has been rendered useless. 

Dick Burd,
Construction of House Divided (1984)
CARLI Digital Collection


By associating the piece through its title with Abraham Lincoln’s House Divided speech, the artist forces a consideration of the significance of this unassuming work on a new level.

Governors State University




Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Sand

At the edge of the Atlantic, a slip of land, open ocean all the way to the horizon and beyond, as fragile as a sand castle between high tides. Paths through the underbrush of a gay cruising ground, seeking to find and to be found in the safety of invisibility. 

Larry Wolf, Fire Island (2004)


Larry Wolf, Fire Island (2004)


Larry Wolf, Fire Island (2004)


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Desire Lines - The Gaps

 ... the gaps -- the information that is absent, overlooked, or rendered invisible ...  Igshaan Adams

Larry Wolf,
Desire Lines Exhibition Catalog
on display in the Art Institute Gift Shop
(2022)

What is the artist's desire? 

In the exhibition, Desire Lines, there is a richness of layering

woven surfaces with depth of material

manufactured surfaces worn through the activity of lives lived

geographies traversed one step at a time across terrain with no official path

structures draped in fabric

the work of teams sharing meals, sharing stories, sharing their lives

the visual echos of clouds of dust 

the placement of works in an exhibition 


It is all abstract except for two roses at opposite ends of the gallery, facing each other, an early bloom and a later bloom, symbols of the divine present in our lives, a reminder of the thorns present with beauty.

Knowing Everything or Nothing 

How would you treat someone differently if you knew everything about them? Or nothing?  Igshaan Adams

The exhibition catalogue is explosive in its specifics where the exhibition leaves so much unnamed. 

It overflows with the words of queer artists, beginning and ending with poems by Ocean Vuong. The opening essay  A World, Revealed identifies the artist as a queer Muslim man. The acknowledgments thank his life partner. There is an essay by a queer imam. And more. 

What do we know of the lives of these people? What are their specific joys and fears? What lines do they make across the landscape of their lives? Of our lives?

Visible and Hidden

Does it matter that we put labels on ourselves? On other people? Does it matter how the artist lives or only how the art lands in us, the viewer, the museum goer, the art collector? Do the wall texts and catalogue essays enrich the experience? Or take us away from the experience?

Does the artist,  the contributing writers, curators, put their lives at risk by being public? Are they being honored by this visibility? Do they have freedom in the world of the exhibition that they do not have at home?


Igshaan Adams, I was a hidden treasure, then I wanted to be known ... (2016)
at the Minneapolis Institute of Art


This work emerges from two questions I faced earlier in my career: How do I represent myself (a metaphorical and also literal concern, as I am a Muslim and Islam's visual tradition prohibits figuration)? And what is the role of creativity in my practice? The analogy of water came to me, especially how, over time, dripping water brings forth moss, which grows and expands. This is how creativity operates, too. Everything is connected to and emerges from its energy. You cannot remove yourself from it, whether it's making a sandwich, putting together an outfit, or producing an artwork. I approached this work through that analogy of water and moss and started to visualize the creation process that surrounds us all through the texture of landscape.
Igshaan Adams, 
I was a hidden treasure, then I wanted to be known, 
Art Institute of Chicago exhibition text (2022)


The Exhibition

https://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/9626/igshaan-adams-desire-lines

The Exhibition Catalogue

https://shop.artic.edu/collections/exhibition-catalogues/products/287202

https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300263855/igshaan-adams/

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Physical Culture

Larry Wolf, Physical Culture (2022)

I'm taking an online art history class from the Barnes Foundation: Sexuality and the Modern Male Body taught by Ty Vanover. This week's talk is London: Victorian Sculpture and the Virile Male Nude with a suggested reading by Michael Hatt, “Physical Culture: the Male Nude and Sculpture in Late Victorian Britain.”

Physical Culture is alive and well. It wasn't just a late 19th/early 20th Century phenomena - the muscular male body was seen as normative, wholesome and presumed heterosexual. While some of us (that would be me), counter this through a queer lens, the muscular male body is sexual and can be viewed as such. It is also a myth-busting reality that manly men can be gay just as femme men can be heterosexual. 

Which is to say nothing about this moving company, other than to smile at the continued pairing of mind and body.

Note that H. U. N. K. S. is an acronym for Honest, Uniformed, Nice, Knowledgeable, Service. A continued redirection from the sexual to the intellectual.  https://www.collegehunkshaulingjunk.com/ 


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Bridge to Now

The narrative from my application to the Bridge program at the Hyde Park Art Center, to be curated by Jory Drew.

What I Might Get

I imagine the Bridge Program as a mini-residency and mentorship, a time to focus on one project, to challenge myself to go as deep and far as I can in the five weeks, to participate with others on a similar adventure, to take myself seriously (but not too seriously) as an artist.

I want to learn from the other artists and from the program curator - How do they make their art? How do they incorporate their lived experience? How do they create space for their viewer/audience to engage on their own terms? 

I am currently working with the imagery in The Bull, a poem by Ocean Vuong, a Vietnamese-American Buddhist. I’ve been making watercolors and drawings based on that. There is a mix of desire, longing, fear, and loss in the poem, as we enter into a not knowing, heightened sexual awareness and vulnerability. There’s also a thousand-year history of ox herding as a Buddhist teaching metaphor of the search for enlightenment and living after enlightenment. It’s traditionally a combination of woodblock prints and poetic commentary. Bulls and oxen have a long European history as well, from bullfight to minotaur. I am engaging with this as a drawing and watercolor exercise, where does my mark making take me? And also as a conceptual research into the culture of bulls and oxen.

Larry Wolf, Bull (2022)

I expect the Bridge Program will bring a few surprises and discoveries about myself and the work I’m making.

What I Might Offer

I bring a curiosity about how others see the world, how they make sense of it, how they make their art. I bring a commitment to listen closely to what is said and listen deeply for the message beneath the words. I am both an outsider and an insider. We will be finding our personal truths by working together to understand who we are.

I have taught contemplative photography courses which emphasize looking closely at images, for what they contain and for what they evoke in each of us. I bring this openness to look and see, to making, viewing and discussing artwork. 

I have training and years of experience as a mentor and coach, teaching meditation, leading advisory committees, working with nonprofits as a volunteer and board member. I have taught collaboratively and found ways for groups to move forward while acknowledging differences. 

I am a retired married gay white male Buddhist born Jewish former technology executive. I didn’t think I’d make it to my current age of 70 - many of those identities might have killed me - from gay bashing, from AIDS, from anti-semitism, from a family history of early deaths. Some of those identities gave me privilege - a masters in computer science, a job with a national healthcare provider, and, clearly, being white. They have shaped who I am and what I bring.

A Work That Works

To Hold Infinity

The work is an altar made from a sheet of 8 ½ x 14 paper, printed front and back, folded to be freestanding. Light passes through it, in a kind of radiance, as well as reflects off of its surfaces. 

The impetus was the sudden death of a friend’s wife, his grief and yearning for continued connection with her. He asked if angels needed fire to get to heaven, as a reframing of her request to be cremated. He felt her spirit in the waves on the beach and the quiet of a moonrise.

The work combines photographs of a solar eclipse, a full moon and a nuclear explosion, with my own drawings of hands which cradle the cosmos, the angels which populate our world. They are manipulated in Photoshop and through risograph printing, with the final version produced on the laser printer at a local copy center. 

The paper is folded as a variation on an 8-page mini-booklet zine, modified to be viewed without turning the pages. It is a descendant of the portable folding triptych shrine. The title is from the poem Auguries of Innocence by William Blake (To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour).

Larry Wolf, To Hold Infinity (2021)

This webpage provides more information and shows the evolution of the work: https://www.larrywolf51.com/p/to-hold-infinity.html

Artist Statement

I create works as a self-discovery process and to share that with others. For the past year, I’ve been making zines and three-dimensional works from single sheets of paper. I want the work to be touched and manipulated, sometimes with a DIY component, not kept at a distance as something too pure to be handled. My work combines drawing and watercolor as well as new and archival photographs.

In addition to zines, other paper-based and photographic traditions inform my work: origami, calling cards, snapshots. The work lives at the intersection of small-scale mechanical reproduction and hand crafted unique objects. The resulting object is ephemeral and strong, easily mailed, easily recycled, possibly archival. They are passed among friends as part of a shared experience.

The process of creation is a personal unpacking/repacking of aspects of my white gay male jewish buddhist technologist life. I lean into the potential for queerness and shield myself in the ordinary. I combine my history with the current moment - the long shadows of AIDS, the Holocaust, colonialism/racism - the recent deaths of my parents and the end my corporate career - the exuberant days of early Gay Liberation and the quiet joys of a walk with my husband. There is an undercurrent of grief, of loss, and also of new life and celebration, a firebird arising from the ashes, a wolf in sheep's clothing, an irritating grain of sand around which a pearl forms.

Examples

Larry Wolf, SIP-Mobile (2022)
SIP Installation 2022

Larry Wolf, Angels (2021)
SIP Installation 2022

Larry Wolf, Zines (2021)
SIP Installation 2022