Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MARY, BLINKY, YAY! @ Kunstmuseum Bonn

From Left: Stefan Gronert (curator), Mary Heilmann, Christoph Schreier (curator, deputy director)

Installation view Mary, Blinky, Yay! @ Kunstmuseum Bonn (From Left: BP,BP, MH)

Installation view Mary, Blinky, Yay! @ Kunstmuseum Bonn (From Left: MH,MH,BP)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Free Play/Second Proof

The Free Play/ Second Proof

“Just because I tell you something doesn’t mean that you own it.” He is talking about other artists infringing on his intellectual space. We sat on a slightly up-tight couch - the kind that looks inviting but betrays basic creature comfort. Having finished breakfast he spoke those words and I remember thinking to myself that that line (his line) would be a great first line of an essay: My essay. It seemed to me that by speaking it he inadvertently offered up a challenge. But no body quotes anybody anymore…what’s the purpose?

The pool in the backyard sits empty all summer long. In autumn it fills with leaves and a few worm riddled apples until winter when snow covers everything up and the pool is as close as it gets to filled-up. By spring the snow melts, ducks move in on their way to cleaner waters and they feed off the pool’s dredge. Mosquitoes gather in the swamp-like condition of this mini-ecosystem where raccoons bob for apples. The bleached out cobalt plastic blue liner invites all living things to its environ… except swimmers, no one swims in the pool.

Friday, February 1, 2013



Franz: “Do you think you could ever live in Vienna?”
Julie: “No. No, too many violins.”
Franz: “Ja, ja, too much violence.”

Franz nodded in understanding and continued, “But Vienna needs young artists.” And he invited me to stay.

I had been living in Paris (in love with a violin player) when Mary Heilmann’s impromptu invitation arrived to ‘hang out’ with her in Vienna for her exhibition at Galerie Meyer Kainer. She was travelling alone…’Would I join her?’ It took nearly 17 hours by train to get to the Austrian capital with a plan to stay for several days. Instead it became my home for almost 10 years…because I met Franz West, and Franz invited me. He was always inviting people to join, to eat, to show, to something.

Franz was a choreographer as much as he was any kind of great artist. And he was a great artist. He had this posse of people he was constantly keeping track of: picking up paper cones of tomatoes at the Naschtmarkt, meats at Meinl, bringing in fruits to the atelier, getting phones fixed: organizing. The first time Franz called me on the phone he wondered, “Do you eat lunch?” I thought it might be a trick dietary or leisure question (You lazy hungry artist!) but Franz was an eater, a planner, a reader, a conductor of the people around him. When he himself could not attend said lunch or event, he still orchestrated its line-up: He was still there. And that was just the eating part of the day. This doesn’t even begin to touch the actual art making, curating, family…

Franz had bad knees and a distinctive gate - a swagger. One could spot Franz a kilometer away weaving down the Kartnerstrasse with a book in his pocket, perhaps handing out some cash to the homeless guy who had least annoyed him that day. Because of course these guys knew his walk too (and where he lived!) and they knew he was good for a buck.

To say Franz was generous is perhaps beside the point. I don’t know that he ever thought himself as a “generous” person, as much as a person who was always giving: able to give. He gave back what he could as soon as he could afford to. As an artist Franz did not rise to the scene unscathed, he was not lifted, but rather hoisted (like some of his sculpture) into the art world’s eye. The man who did not drive, the music lover, creature of the night, storyteller, rock star philosopher, avoider of bourgeois middle grounds was one of the greatest livers of life around.

Monday, January 7, 2013


This is Roberta. When I took this photo about a month ago though I did not know she was Roberta. She was a woman in a blue robe walking past a blank wall and a smoke signal I had some interest in. 

On this day I did not realize that Roberta can dance backwards or that she would come
to refer to my as the "smartest girl in the world." On that day I did not know that later she would insist that she run upstairs to get some money for me, because someone should be paying me lots of money. "Where did you come from? You are beautiful! BEAUTIFUL You are an angel. And look what you can do!" And she would sort of do this little dance and tell me she was going to run upstairs to get me some money.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Sometimes when I walked into the bakery or now the restaurant where I cook I wonder 'How did I get here?" 

And I think back to Vienna, and your mother's rolls (which I never tasted) that you described to me. They maybe had cream in them. Not sweet. Crusty. And I imagined them and baked for weeks trying to replicate that taste for you.

I am still baking. I am still trying to find your mother's rolls in my cupboard of dry good.