Monday, January 31, 2022

Sunday, January 30, 2022

You Are An Original

Maxine Wolf,
Every Painting Is A New Adventure
Your Were Born An Original Work Of Art
Stay Original

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Friday, January 28, 2022

Grave

Larry Wolf, Graven Sky (2022)


Larry Wolf, Grave (2022)


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Healing a Broken Heart

 

Larry Wolf, Reading on the Road (2022)
There Is Nothing So Whole As A Broken Heart, edited by Cindy Milstein (2021)

havdalah bracha

between the sea and the dry land;
between the upper waters above and the lower waters below;
between jews and goyim --
let us distinguish the parts within the whole and bless their differences.
may our lives be made whole through relation. 
 
blessed are we, who make holy the profane;
who experience the gradients between light and dark;
who build solidarity beyond nations;
who ritualize the passage of time.

may we be our own prophets, strength and song in hand.
dance with us to grow the song of the world.
dance with us to repair the world.
come with us to the waters of redemption.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

She Liked These So Much

Larry Wolf, Two Knives (2022)
L'Econome, France

My mother liked these so much she gave us two, twenty years ago. Used often. Still sharp.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Bat Out of Hell

This CD arrived in the mail during my first, very intense, summer in Louisville, 1994. My mother sent it to me - not her usual music! She and my sister Katey were dancing around their apartment to Paradise by the Dashboard Light - "Will you love me forever?"

Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell (1977/1993)

I adopted You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) as my theme song for that first summer in Louisville, hot and steamy after years in the Green Mountains of Vermont. 

The opening sequence was the greeting on my answering machine. 

Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell (1977/1993)

On a hot summer night

Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?

Will he offer me his mouth?

Yes

Will he offer me his teeth?

Yes

Will he offer me his jaws?

Yes

Will he offer me his hunger?

Yes

Again, will he offer me his hunger?

Yes

And will he starve without me?

Yes

And does he love me?

Yes

Yes

On a hot summer night

Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?

Yes

I bet you to say that to all the boys 

Meat Loaf / Jim Steinman (1977) 

 "Leave your message after the beep."


Sunday, January 23, 2022

A Breathing Room

Texted from my mother to my sister in 2015

Thich Nhat Hanh,
Peace Is Every Step (1992)
Maxine Wolf,
Photo of Book Sent to Daughter (2015)

A Breathing Room - An Embassy of the Kingdom of Peace

I recommend that we set up a small room in our homes and call it a "breathing room," where we can be alone and practice just breathing and smiling, at least in difficult moments. That little room should be regarded as an Embassy of the Kingdom of Peace. It should be respected, and not violated by anger, shouting, or things like that. When a child is about to be shouted at, she can take refuge in that room. Neither the father nor the mother can shout at her anymore. She is safe within the grounds of the Embassy. Parents sometimes will need to take refuge in that room, also, to sit down, breathe, smile, and restore themselves. Therefore, that room is for the benefit of the whole family.

Invite The Bell To Sound 

I suggest that the breathing room be decorated very simply, and not be too bright. You may want to have a small bell, one with a beautiful sound, a few cushions or chairs, and perhaps a vase of flowers to remind us of our true nature. You or your children can arrange flowers in mindfulness, smiling. Every time you feel a little upset, you know that the best thing to do is to go to that room, open the door slowly, sit down, invite the bell to sound -- in my country we don't say "strike" or "hit"a bell -- and begin to breathe. The bell will help not only the person in the breathing room, but the others in the house as well.


Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

Thich Nhat Hanh

11 October 1926 -- 22 January 2022


Ocean Vuong, Instagram Post (2022)


Ocean Vuong, Instagram Post (2022)

@ocean_vuong 

Thank you, teacher, for being. How proud I am to come from the land you come from, how proud I am to call myself Vietnamese. And Buddhist. And prouder still to know these labels are not fixed, are but merely shells, upturned rafts we use to make it ashore. Thank you for helping us ashore. But most of all, thank you for preparing us for us.

Nam-mô A-di-đà Phật

"This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body. 
I am life without boundaries. 
I have never been born,
and I have never died. 
 
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars, manifestations from my wondrous true mind. Since before time, I have been free. Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey. Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.
 
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.

We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment. We meet each other
in all forms of life." 

Thich Nhat Hanh


Friday, January 21, 2022

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Slow Down. Relax. Breathe.

Larry Wolf, Hello Birch Coffee (2021)
I was visiting my mother in her apartment last July. We would have breakfast and dinner together. I would usually go out during the day to run errands or to visit a museum. On a typical day, I would get up before her and take a walk to Birch Coffee on 88th Street, about 10 minutes away. I would talk with my husband Eric on the phone as I walked there and bring my Americano back to her apartment. We'd make breakfast and sit together to eat it. 

Are You Breathing?

On the second or third day, I was rushing through breakfast, though I don't remember why. She asked me "Are you breathing?" 

My mother was a trained therapist, a good diagnostician. She was a keen observer. Of course, she was right. 

I was not breathing. Or more accurately, breathing so shallowly it was almost nonexistent. And I was eating quickly. Both true. Both big deals. Both long-standing behaviors. Important to address. Air. Food. Essential for life.

My usual response when under any kind of pressure, any kind of deadline, juggling toast and cooking eggs, cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, any time when results matter, is to shift into shallow breathing. To not make a sound. To not ruffle the waters. To become invisible. 

What might be just a passing moment of tension, a need for extra attention, gets held. I hold my breath, not just for that one instant, but for minutes, hours, afterwards. Locked in. A stranglehold. I exaggerate. Barely.

We laughed. I know better. I have accumulated many months, probably years, at meditation programs. I teach meditation. The first instruction - breathe. Just breathe. Not to still the mind. Not to develop awareness, except of breathing. Connect with this simple essential aspect of being alive. This breath. Now.

So here I was, at 70, getting a lesson in the importance of breathing, from my mother. One breath and the next. Stop. Sip the coffee. One sip. Breathe. Unwind the tension. Breathe. 

Feel it in the belly. My belly. Relax. Breathe. Relax. Breathe. Feel. Relax. Feel. Relax.

Have a spoon of cereal. One spoon. Not too full. Put the spoon down. Chew the cereal. Breathe. Sip some water. Breathe. Pick up the spoon. Have a next small bit of cereal. Or fruit. Or just appreciate the moment. Continue the conversation. Breathe.

Larry Wolf, Breathe Breathe Breathe
(2021)

I filled my journal that day with that one word, breathe, repeated over and over again. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. ... to be continued.

Ah. Ah. Ah. Let the mind settle. Stop stirring the pot. Just let it all rest. For one breath. This one breath. 

Pause gently before the next one. Feel it in my belly. Feel it in my chest. Be still. Breathe. Move. Breathe. 

Joking. Not Joking.

For the rest of that week, it became our joke. A very serious one. I can't live without breathing. None of us can.

"Are you breathing?"

"Are you pausing between bites? Put down the folk, the spoon. Breathe. What's the rush?"

What a wonderful week we had together. We went to museums and art galleries. We had meals out and meals in. We made art together. We told stories.

We breathed. We shared living. A simple miracle.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Floral Portrait

Larry Wolf, Mom with Flower (2015)






































Larry Wolf, Mom with Flower (1982)

Monday, January 17, 2022

Two Works from 2014

For several years, my mother traveled to Taos, often twice a year, to attend an artists' retreat. Here are two works from 2014. There are many more, though these are the ones I keep coming back to.

Maxine Wolf, Three Muses (2014)


Maxine Wolf, Taos --> NY (2014)


The retreats were lead by Michele Cassou at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Today A Burial

Larry Wolf, Family Headstone (2021)

From a Distance

It’s a cold day in January. My mother’s body has died. Her spirit is fully alive in each of us. 

You are gathered together at the grave. Her passing is brutally present for you. Some of us who love her, who love you, are not there, though we are very much still present on this planet, and in each other's hearts.

Maxine, my mother, our mother, grandmother, cousin, aunt, friend …, has been preparing us for her passing for a long time, from the ways she strove to celebrate each of our unique lives, to the handmade birthday cards she sent, to the redbud tree she insisted was planted last year on the hillside by Katey and Scott, Alex and Daniel’s home, where she spent so much time these past two years, to her desire to be buried here, on this hillside.

I miss her greatly and I feel deeply called upon, to emulate her spirit of rebirth, of the many ways she reinvented herself and expanded her life through the years. To live more fully, to love deeper, to make bolder art, to make music - like she played the ukulele.. however badly, but so full of her unique life force. 

May she dance with the angels. May she sing from the heavens. May she live in our hearts.

Thank you. Bless you. Be in peace.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Art and Food

My mother was a great fan of the arts long before she started painting. We were museum buddies for many years, from my childhood all through my life. Somewhere in there, she started taking me to her favorite museum restaurants.

Museum of Modern Art

Larry Wolf, Mom Dining at MoMA (2021)


Neue Gallery - Cafe Zabarsky

Larry Wolf, Mom Dining at Neue Gallery Cafe Zabarsky (2016) 


Met Breuer

Larry Wolf, Mom Dining at the Met Breuer (2018)


Morgan Library

Larry Wolf, Mom on the Way to Lunch at the Morgan Library (2019)


Whitney

Larry Wolf, Mom Dining at Whitney (2015)


Asia Society

Larry Wolf, Mom at the Asia Society (2019)

No photo from our lovely lunch.


Jewish Museum

Larry Wolf, Mom Dining at the Jewish Museum (2019)


Buvette (a bit of Paris in New York - not a museum)

Larry Wolf, Mom Dining at Buvette (2018)


National Gallery of Modern Art - Rome

Larry Wolf,

Espresso at the National Gallery of Modern Art Rome (2016)


Mom was here, but there was no photo of her from lunch, only this empty cup.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

My Mother Is Now With The Angels

My mother passed on today. She's on her next adventure. Ninety years well lived.

I visited my mother in NY in July 2021. We had a delightful day at the Museum of Modern Art. 

Larry Wolf, Mom at MoMA (2021)

She was a big fan of having lunch at the museums as part of the experience. MoMA was one of her favorite places for both the art and the food.

Larry Wolf, Lunch with Mom at MoMA (2021)

Her own apartment was overflowing with her own art.

Larry Wolf, Mom's Art (2021)

How to honor a life? 

By keeping the person alive in my life, in the lives of my sisters, in the lives of her grandsons, in the many lives she touched with her life. 

She reinvented herself many times: a wife and mother, a single parent, an office worker, a therapist, an artist, and so much more. She was a great example of living every day fully, with passion, with creativity, with love.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

My 2021 Zine Making Journey

Sparks of Joy

One of the joys of the pandemic (yes, I said that) has been the on-lime communities and the art making opportunities that sprung up. 

Larry Wolf, Three Zines (2021)
In February of 2021, I joined a photo zine class with Shawn Rowe and some buddies from Lillstreet Art Center. I quickly got hooked ол single-sheet zines, both accordion fold and the classic 8-page mini-zine. 

I liked the small technical challenge to do the layout in Photoshop and that I could then print them on 11x17 ledger size paper and cardstock at my neighborhood Staples.

One hundred years late, I had entered the world of mechanically reproduced art. [Thank you Walter Benjamin]

Zines seemed like the perfect answer to the nagging questions

What do I do with my photos? 

What kind of object do they become?. 

From Objects To A Community 

With zines in hand, and in the mail, I started showing them, exchanging them, and generally made them my cartes de visite* - a jumping off point for a conversation, a way to show something which spoke to me - or some soap box I wanted to talk from. 

[*calling cards or cartes de visite - For several decades, beginning in the 1850s, it was common to have photographs mounted on cards that were 2½ x 4“ to be left as a calling card or otherwise shared with friends and family. They were the beginning of small scale mass production, sometimes personal, sometimes cultural. 

Later (1925-1928), Andre Kertesz used postcard stock as his art form during his first years in Paris, sharing them among the artists who were part of his emigre cafe community. Late in his life, Kertesz became enamored with Polaroid SX70 images. I too was a fan of the SX70 and its prints. There is something joyful about passing around photos with friends.]

Larry Wolf, Zine Mercado
(2021)
I started sharing my zines with other zine makers (at Zine Mercado, at Quimby’s, through the Zine Club Chicago, with others in Jasper Goodrich's SIP art classes at the Hyde Park Art Center, and at the Filter Photo Festival and crit group).  

... and Archives

I learned from Nat Pyper that there is a queer zine archive, QZAP, in Milwaukee (with great on-line access). There's also the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection at SAIC (a great resource when they re-open to the public). 

Moving into the Third Dimension

Several people suggested I look at Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol's book The Art of the Fold.


The little books they describe are so much more than ordinary booklets. They are handcrafted 3-D objects. OMG. 

How does this work? 

Where do I start?


Larry Wolf, 3-D Prototype (2021)
I started with a variation on the 8-page mini-zine. It takes a sheet folded the long-way and then works with the short-way folds and cuts across pairs of panels, to create pop-put sections. I love the architectural look.

From that concept, I drew on it, scanned it, added layers of color with a Risograph, rescanned that, further edited it digitally, and printed a run to pass around. 


I kind of got carried away. Wow! WTF? (see To Hold Infinity - Zine Club Edition)

Looking Ahead

Now that I have the 3-D bug on top of the zine bug, I’ve been further researching the world of pop-up books and modernist origami. I’m blown away by the awesome creations. For example, the documentary film Between the Folds (also on YouTube), this presentation by Erik Demaine and the many books of Paul Jackson and so many others!!!

As I continue to lean into single sheet creations, where will this take me?

Larry Wolf, Paper Mask Self-Portrait (2022)
[based on a design by Paul Jackson]


Previously Posted in 2021

To Hold Infinity

Rough Raw Reclaimed

Pavement 

Moments

Seen