These last couple weeks have been a blur … a lot of good meetings, events and encounters. It started with a panel on Looking at Male Nudes (scroll to bottom) on the occasion of the Jean-Michel Basquiat Reclining Nude photography show at Suzanne Geiss Gallery. While I don’t feel that the panel was executed very well (it was somewhat hierarchically arranged around Nelson George as elder statesman), there was a thoughtful comment from the audience by the artist, M. Lamar. Sunday dinner with Mark, whose starting up a new investigative journalism unit at an online news service. Monday Integrative Studio class (that has Lanchonete.org as its client) at Parsons with photographer, Leandro Viana and a representative from WITNESS on the topic of forced eviction. The last week of classes for the CHOW Institute. Wednesday missed a lunch (that I instigated) with Jarrett and Zvonimir, but caught a discussion with the author of The Man Who Loved Dogs, Leonardo Padura hosted by Words Without Borders. Thursday the Kristiana Salon. Friday grant requests out the wazoo. Saturday the Studio Museum with pal Lee Ann before the end of The Shadows Took Shape, and a Brazilian carnivàle celebration in Brooklyn … no L train weekend. Sunday Lanchonete.org Skypes with Warsaw and Prague and a freeDimensional visioning session at my place with staff and board. Monday graduation from CHOW and Richard Tyson comes to Parsons class. Tuesday Pablo León de la Barra (Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator for Latin America) shares a report from Central America at ICI … Carlos introduced me to Aimar, who I’d see later in the week at Residency Unlimited. Wednesday got to Skype with one of my fave graphic artists, Beldan Sezen (in Amsterdam) and had a quick coffee with Jan Cohen-Cruz. Thursday job interview, attended a screening of Freedom Summer (followed by an inspiring panel with filmmaker and guests) at the Ford Foundation, special dinner treatment by Cassiano at Ducks Eatery, and then attended the debut of the Holopaw video, Dirty Boots at the (classic?) Cock… nice play, Adam. Friday I met with the new Residency Unlimited/VisualAIDS curator-in-residence, Aimar Arriola. We had a nice flowing chat and found a few shared connections… glad to be reminded of the work of his colleague, Beatriz Preciado. Then the Lanchonete.org staff Skype and coffee with gal pal, Mijin. Saturday caught The Values at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division (BGSQD) … nice show, guys! May Sunday be a quiet one.
While I generally like the pace of New York City, lately I’ve been asking myself ‘why all the hustle?’. I guess we all ask ourselves that. Thankfully I had an audience (of sorts) who I could actually ask it ‘to’ … I got to write the question(s) for a recent meeting of the Kristiania Collective:
How many jobs do you have? How does a thinking, acting person survive a city given the frequent relation to precarity? Does the city give back in the ways that you give to it. How do we live with money? As culture makers / cultural producers are we entitled and if so, to what? Does social capital matter as much (or spend as well) as capital capital? How does this impact your writing? One of our members once said that it helps to be busy all the time, or rather as a writer he always has his notebooks with him to capture ‘story’ from that busyness … others might agree. But does that excuse the system that undervalues culture work .. overworks its makers?
… While I don’t have the answer, I guess this begs a few questions on the luxury of access and the discipline of finding work and getting shit done despite all the stimuli this city throws our way. That seals it … I’m avoiding The Armory and all its little sister fairs this year, and if I’m to believe early reviews of the Whitney Biennial, I can let that one wait a while too. I need to buckle down and get some shit done … even this blog now feels gratuitous!