The Yoko Experience

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In 1971, Syracuse Folklorist Dan Ward met someone (okay, it was a hitchhiker), which led to his first trip to Syracuse, New York to see James Taylor in concert at the War Memorial. Instead of acquiring tickets to that sold-out concert, he ventured across the street and was pulled through the door of the museum. Somehow he randomly became part of an elite group allowed to tour the Yoko Ono exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, along with the artist and her husband John Lennon.

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The whole thing was documented on film and in the media. Dan Ward was a teenager living a serendipitous existence. There was a waterbed on the floor that evening, positioned to offer a unique view of the spiral staircase. He thought it was unusual but gave it a try – his first time on a waterbed and with a bed-bug (a Beatle). There were other interactive ingredients as well, some have been replicated for the retrospective/new exhibition, Yoko Ono: Remembering the Future, which opened last night. Every piece cultivated to reside harmoniously within the walls of I.M. Pei’s modern architecture. This show was meant to create a dialogue between viewer and artist with the viewer creating the closure.

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Yes, a stunningly beautiful Ono (according to Ward’s recollection – photographs never did her justice) and Lennon, and Ringo Starr were all there that night, as well as several of their close friends from Manhattan. It was a media circus focused on celebrity in a time when art was misunderstood and maligned.

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I wish I could have been there back then, too, wish I could have been that fly on the wall – to bear witness to perceptions of the past while remembering the future….

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Imagine a museum filled with objects – hammers, nails, string, ladders, piles of dirt, blue paint. Imagine a world where the viewer participates and the result is a collaboration between artist and you. Artist as conceptualist. You as executioner. You as artist too.

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Rachel Zoe dress, BCBGeneration sandals, Coach bag, Tashkovski bracelets

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It is what I do as a teacher. Okay, students – here’s the lesson, here are the supplies…. It is always so gratifying and almost strange in a way. Like – do this, and they say okay.

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This is the genius of Yoko Ono. It is a presence, a facilitator who loves her audience, who gives them an experience, a happening, a memory. Something to do. Museums are always a DO-NOT-TOUCH place, but here you can add string to the wall, hammer in a nail onto a piece of wood, paint part of a mural, be a part of something bigger than yourself that has no other meaning than what it is. Collective mark making. A chance to interact in a museum in a child-like manner and by that, I mean being totally present. Not thinking about anything else but the art – and not even thinking too hard about the how or the what, or the why.

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Because you are a part of the experience and your existence is relevant, necessary and needed. You matter. You are loved. You are welcome. You belong.

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Imagine that. ❤

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***from www.everson.org

On View August 31 – October 27, 2019

All my work is a form of wishing.
-Yoko Ono

For six decades, Yoko Ono has maintained an unwavering belief in art’s ability to transform, uplift, and inspire. Her work, typically ephemeral or participatory, occupies the porous boundaries between artistic disciplines, from music and film to sculpture, poetry, and performance art. Ono’s approach to art making is generous, and since emerging in New York’s downtown art scene in the 1950s, she has privileged collaboration over solitary authorship, inclusivity over isolation, and transience over permanence. These underlying precepts, which simultaneously undermine the capitalist structure of the art market and criticize the institutional model of the museum, also unified a postwar artistic movement known as Fluxus, of which Ono was an important contributor. For Ono, as well as later generations of artists and those currently engaged in social practice, art belongs to everyone, can be created by anyone, and has the potential to change the world.

Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933. A survivor of the trauma inflicted on Japan during World War II, she moved to the United States in 1953 during a period of surging nationalism, consumerism, and anti-Japanese sentiment. During this time, Ono became a central figure within New York’s downtown scene and became close collaborators with artist George Maciunas, the founder of Fluxus. Many avant-garde intellectuals, artists, composers, and writers gathered regularly at Ono’s Chambers Street loft for experimental performances by groundbreaking artists like La Monte Young, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Terry Jennings, Jackson Mac Low, Richard Maxfield, Henry Flynt, Joseph Byrd, Simone Forti, and Robert Morris. Here, Ono realized some of her earliest conceptual works that would greatly influence the trajectory of art, film, and music.

Ineffable, intangible, impermanent, Ono’s art, as a body of work, defies categorization. The term Wakon yosai (“Japanese spirit, Western technology”), the national slogan of modernization in Japan during the Meji era, might best describe Ono’s approach to life and art. Her works, conceptually linked to the form of musical scores, draw on sources as diverse as the history of classical and modern Japanese art and Zen Buddhism to early black-and-white cinema and classical music. Ono’s signature text-based scores date back to the early 1950s. In 1964, she published the scores in Grapefruit, her definitive text. The scores, as Ono explained in 2016, “are a bit like music scores which exist so anyone can play the composition. What I’ve imagined are art scores. Each visitor can take them up so that their own ‘music’ can be heard in my creations.”

Throughout the 1960s, Ono had significant solo exhibitions in the United States, Japan, and in England—including the AG Gallery in New York City and the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo. She performed at the 83rd Fluxus Concert: Fluxorchestra at Carnegie Hall, In 1966, Ono performed Cut Piece in Kyoto and Tokyo, exhibited her work at the Judson Church, and participated in the first Destruction In Art Symposium organized by Gustav Metzger in London. Ono met John Lennon when he visited her exhibition Yoko at Indica, at the Indica Gallery in London.

Following her marriage to Lennon in 1968, Ono was catapulted onto the world’s stage of fame and wide public visibility, a position she has brilliantly coopted to further her long-standing interest in the power of the imagination, human rights, and world peace.

Forty-eight years after the Everson hosted This is Not Here, Ono’s first museum retrospective, YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE presents her enduring artistic work devoted to healing human connections and exposing social and political injustices. Spanning more than six decades from germinal early instruction pieces to recent, large-scale architectural installations, YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE traces Ono’s experimental approach to language, art, and participation as a means of contributing to a more accepting and peaceful world.


YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE is curated by DJ Hellerman, the Everson’s Curator of Art & Programs and Jon Hendricks, Ono’s long-time friend and curator in partnership with Yoko Ono, Studio One, and Susie Lim.

The operation of the Everson Museum of Art is made possible with funding from the
Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, the County of Onondaga administered
by CNY Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Richard Mather Fund, the Everson Board of Trustees and Everson Museum of Art Members’ Council.

YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE is made possible, in part, through support from Bonnie and Gary Grossman, and Sollecito Landscaping Nursery.

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Boxed In

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Two years ago, my colleague Katy C. and I led an in-service workshop for teachers on a Superintendent’s Conference Day at Chittenango Middle School.  We shared information about Joseph Cornell and how his concepts would work with every subject matter from book reports to math lessons to foreign language family trees.  His boxes pertained to celestial themes and celebrity, and animals (mainly birds), but it is not a huge stretch to see the diorama-ic-ness of it all with the addition of text where applicable.

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We made samples using Mod Podge to decoupage utility boxes then filled them with curriculum.  These are the samples we made.  We kept making them and sharing them with each other.  It was so fun the way we kept making more and laughing at their awesomeness.  So fun building on what came before and getting more and more creative.

I love when everyone realizes how instrumental art is to all other subjects.  It is the visual language of dreams.

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P. S. The workshop was a huge success!

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Can’t wait to start the new school year next week!  So ready to get boxed back into my classroom and to begin making art with my new amazing thirteen-year-olds. ❤

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Appleseeding

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The former Johnny Appleseed’s furniture store (3402 Old State Road, Erieville, New York, 13061) is now The Shoppes at Johnny Appleseeds.  The brainchild of Erica Gilmore and her husband Patrick, it is an over fifty vendor facility, with artisans setting up individual shopping experiences creating little vignettes throughout this amazing space.

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It is a still-life lover’s dream.  Charming folkloric visual merchandising at every turn.  The vendors are not there hawking their wares.  You are left to enjoy the process of discovery.  Vintage clothing, handbags, jewelry, greeting cards, home decor including furniture and housewares, candles, art (Wendy Harris is there!) and even bird houses.

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shop owner Erica J. Gilmore

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***from the web-site

The Shoppes at Johnny Appleseed reopened in the spring of 2017 as a retail space for crafters and artisans alike. We are excited to offer such a unique venue and are always looking for talented people to continue to grow with us as we build a future at this historic Central New York location. 

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There is a restaurant as well, the Apple Kitchen, and they serve apple crisp! ❤

Store Hours:
Wednesday-Saturday, 10-5   Sunday 11-5 
Apple Kitchen Hours:
Saturday, 11-4 pm
Sunday, 11-4 pm

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They have various sales and events – pet adoptions on weekends via a liaison with Wanderer’s Rest and more!  You can stay informed by linking to their Facebook page. ❤

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Current list of vendors – 

The Apple Kitchen • Alexandra’s Attic •  The Heckled Hen Antiques • Decorative Edge • 13 South Metal Signs • Wendy Harris Fine Art  

• Hidden Hearts Honey • The Nook • Kaylie Beth’s Boutique

 Patrick Gilmore Furniture Designs • The Crazy Chair Lady

 Bayside Wood Products • Mary Gosden Studio

Carter’s Pond Jewelry • The Wire Chick Jewelry • Hop Scotch Farms

Bird on A Wire • Gideon’s Gallery • Final Harvest Woodturning

Kate’s Place Polish Pottery • West Hill Woodworks

Beyond The Twig Fence • Clay In Motion Pottery

 Iron Art Glass Works • Balsam Rose Soap Company  • Russel’s Books Johanna Wall Jewelry • Mames Place, Vintage Jewelry

Primitive Beginnings • Branchwood Cottage Antiques • Glassy Crafts 

 Elfriede Dietrich Designs • The Nantucket Cat • Past Times Treasures

Flowers off Main • Wrapped Up Beads • A&K Furniture Designs

Songbird Sewing Company • Classy Glass • The Lucky Lab

Marcia’s Country Cupboard  •  Richard Stricker Birdhouses

Amondale Farms • Dappled Blue • Old and Everlasting Greeting Cards Rustic Willow Furnishings • Random Acts of Craft, Mirrors

Blooms and Blossoms • The Tulip and the Toad • Brenda’s She Shed

Orchard Ridge Wines • Jenna Paulsen Fine Artist • Mila Group Prints

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There is rental space available!  Contact johnnyshoppes@yahoo.com for the deets.

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#ootd #selfie Marc Jacobs sunglasses, BCBGMaxAzria top and shorts, Nine West booties, Coach crossbody

Worlds Real & Imagined

 

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We all trudged through an unbelievable (unreal/unimaginable, etc., lol) thunderstorm to flood the Edgewood Gallery (216 Tecumseh Road, Syracuse, New York 13224) tonight for the opening reception of a new exhibition called Worlds Real and Imagined.

Cheryl Chappell has gathered three etching artists – James Skvarch, John Fitzsimmons and Grant Silverstein and paired them with “architectural and organic” jewelry designer Sylvia Hayes-McKean, and “sculptural and functional” ceramist David MacDonald to create this incredible show, which will be up through September 27, 2019.

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Grant Silverstein‘s smaller pieces are perfect for the beginner art collector.  They are diminutive, yet intricately detailed and framed so beautifully.  Some are as low as $75! ❤

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I did not know that John Fitzsimmons was into etchings.  He is known for his award winning oil paintings – mainly portraits and landscapes.  So cool!  His response – “I’ve been busy!”  (working in his studio at the Delavan Center, 501 West Fayette Street, Syracuse, New York 13204). ❤

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James Skvarch is sporting a sling because of a left shoulder injury.  Good to know he is on the mend and that he is right handed!  He is such an incredibly proficient artist.  The depth and detail in his landscapes is really out of this world! Love! ❤

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Sylvia Hayes-McKean is at it again, after a brief hiatus, a sculptor turned silversmith with modernly feminine earrings and necklaces that she creates at her studio in the Delavan Center.  Her grandson was a wonderful supporter/salesperson/helper tonight! So adorable. ❤

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David MacDonald – he is the best!  I can’t say enough about how much I love his ceramics.  He told me that when he was in college, he was a painter and someone suggested he switch majors to art education, which instigated the left hand turn into taking necessary ceramics classes!  And the rest is history, lol.  Such an amazing person!  His positivity is infused in every single one of his pieces, whether decorative or functional. ❤

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#ootd – Milly top. BCBGMaxAzria shorts, Nine West booties, Coach crossbody
EDGEWOOD GALLERY
216 Tecumseh Rd. • Syracuse, NY 13224 • (315) 445-8111
Tuesday – Friday: 9:30 am – 6 pm     Saturday: 10 am – 2 pm     Sunday & Monday: closed

Cool August Moonies

 

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Tonight was the opening reception for the summer art exhibition at The Syracuse Tech Garden gallery (235 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202).  It is titled Cool August Moon. I saw my high school friend and fellow art teacher Audrey Levinson there!

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Artist Steve Nyland (another Jamesville-DeWitt alum) is the curator and a participant in the show.  He told me that he signed a new contract to continue with these exhibitions for at least another year.  They take place in the lobby of this building, which is across the street from the Syracuse Marriott (Hotel Syracuse).

Other local artists contributing to this show –

Laura Audrey
Terry Lynn Cameron
Richell Castellon
Fletcher Crangle
Kathy Donovan
Ryan Foster
Larry Hoyt
Lisa Ketcham
James P. McCampbell
Sally Stormon
Rabekah Tanner
Mitzie Testani
Ray Trudell
Kayla Cady Vaughn
Ryan Wood

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Massachusetts transplant Lisa Ketcham creates these kitschy assemblages and frames.  They are sort of a cross between steampunk and macabre via the use of gears, timey-wimey-ies and skeletons.

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Terry-Lynn Cameron brought her originals to share.  I met her on Sunday at City Market where she was selling prints of these lovely acrylic paintings.

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Richell Castellon Ferreira is the real deal – a painter and woodworker by trade.  He comes to us from Cuba.  His paintings of the Syracuse landscape would make perfect additions to any local collector’s art stash!  He paints from photographs and from memory.  These originals are only $175.

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Ray Trudell focuses on the invisible in his black and white photographs taken of the surrounding area.  He “slows time” by defining a glimpse of a moment using sharp contrast in his compositions.

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The exhibit will be on display until September 20, 2019.  For more information contact Steve Nyland at gallery.ttg@gmail.com.  To purchase artwork, contact the artists directly.  They have left business cards and also have contact information on their respective art tags.

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Bouckville

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The Madison-Bouckville Antique Festival is well underway.  It is not a weekend event, oh noooooooo – it’s a full week of “junk” hunting!  Located on both sides of Route 20 in Bouckville, New York 13310, there are thousands of vendors under tents.  Everything you could possibly want to find, collect or what have you, including several kitchen sinks.

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On the way there today,  I set an intention for what I wanted to see/find (mainly stuff to use in my mixed-media artwork) and yes, I stumbled into ALL of it.  Some were at price points I was fine with and others not so much.  It was an exercise in the zen of serendipity.

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There is a nostalgic element to the flow – pictured above is the Campus Queen lunch box I carried in elementary school.

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I walked around for four hours and, basically, I just scratched the surface.  I think I saw about a fifth of what was there.  It was such a gorgeous day – I would have continued until dusk, but the majority of vendors closed up shop at 5 pm.  I may return tomorrow.  I really cannot get enough of the thrill of the hunt.

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Madison-Bouckville Antique Week continues through August 18, 2019.  They are open 8 am – 5 pm.  There are plenty of food vendors and restaurants, as well as lots of shopping.  So fun! ❤

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City Market

 

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When I met Jason Alexander, I did that goofy Cinderella’s step-sister thing and asked him how he liked our Syracuse, New York weather.

He replied, “It sucks!”  This was after a performance of the play he’d directed at Syracuse Stage.  My friend and I looked at each other in an are-you-kidding-me glance because we both love it here, both love to hike whether in rain, snow, sleet or hail.  And our weather had been particularly great in June.

So funny – and that is why I don’t have a selfie with the Seinfeld alum.

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Today’s weather is sheer perfection – a magnificent sunny and breezy day to explore the offerings at City Market.  Sponsored by the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202), the market is housed on the museum grounds around the fountains.

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It takes place on the second Sunday of the month from 10 am – 4 pm.  There are two dates left before the season ends – Sunday, September 8, 2019 and Sunday, October 13, 2019.

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There is a lot to peruse – jewelry, trinkets, clothing, food, furniture and flea market-y miscellaneousness.  And art, of course.

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Ken Nichols is there selling the mugs and rice bowls created in his studio at Clayscapes Pottery.

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Tyler Cagwin created Nostalgia Chocolate.  He manufactures the product here in Syracuse with international cocoa beans.  The flavors are rich and satisfying!  Gourmet chocolate with health benefits! (That’s a win-win).

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I loved these ceramic pins and magnets created by Beckie Bortel of Beckie’s Pottery.  They have a substantial feel to them and they look like ginger snap cookies.  Great patina!

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Terry Lynn Cameron is selling originals and prints of her colorful paintings. The prints are done on canvas, which is very cool.  I am really impressed with how she markets her product!  Some of the art has been adhered to sketchbooks and daily planners.  Love!

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Lori Lizzio‘s work can be found as originals, prints and notecards.  They are ink and wash pieces of animals and figures.

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Syracuse does have beautiful weather, Jason Alexander, and beautiful people – and art.  It is satisfying and fun.  Really fun.  It doesn’t suck. ❤

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