Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My amazing husband helped me compile a list of all the known news sources that covered Blessed Art Thou. I continue to do some writing about this experience, but I hope that this is the end of the documentation as I am anxious to move forward.

Isn't it amazing when you pick up exactly the right book at exactly the right time in your life? Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity, by Johanna Drucker, has proved to be a perfect fit for me these days. (Look, I found an excerpt for you) I am also reading Collecting Contemporary, which pissed me off in the first few pages. The author interviews an extensive collection of dealers, curators and collectors, and explains in a few paragraphs why he did not deem it neccessary to interview any artists. (Artists only PRODUCE the luxury product)

I am working on some small things, and gearing up for two big paintings. The past week, I have been gathering references and doing research for the next couple of works. I am a great believer in serendipity, so the process is like following bread crumbs: this book leads me to that film, which leads me to this song lyric, which makes me think of that movie (have to watch that again). Following breadcrumbs and feeding myself with them.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ed Winkleman never ceases to amaze me with the provocative topics that he brings forth on his blog... they always seem to be issues that I remember discussing in grad school late at night. In this post, he discusses artists and modesty.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Felicia Feaster, art & film critic for Atlanta's Creative Loafing, comments on Blessed Art Thou in her blog, Culturopolis. Further poking around on her site found another article written by her about art that moves us to tears. Lovely.
Reading: Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity by Johanna Drucker. Sketching in preparation for new work, and writing about this incredible, ironic process. The studio is clean. Classes finish today. Trying to find my copy of Female Chauvinist Pigs that arrived in the midst of the mayhem. Need a trip to NYC soon, want to see the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting show at MAD, among other things. Keep checking the website reviews page, we are putting up real reviews, from real critics, who have seen my real work in person.

Friday, January 19, 2007

An interview on the blog must scroll down to Jan19th), and more downloadable catalog essays from past exhibitions. Had a great talk with Adam from Foam magazine yesterday: the feature will come out in the March issue. All the art supplies for the new works have arrived, and teaching ends next week, then I am back in the studio!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dear Friends & Fellow Bloggers:

Due to the publicity surrounding the painting "Blessed Art Thou", the nature of this blog has changed in the past three weeks. As a result of doing what I do naturally in my life and in my art (putting myself "out there" without much regard for the consequences), I have learned a great deal about being in the public eye, with all that it entails.

I appreciate the media coverage, which has brought me a wider audience for my work, and, (as one of my new friends pointed out), put a contemporary painted image in an unprecedented position with regard to exposure and debate. I appreciate the people who have written in support of the work, and those who have written to tell me why they were less than enamoured of it. Art is meant to promote discussion: if everyone loved the painting, there would be nothing to talk/think about, and that would make me a pretty boring artmaker indeed.

Due to some profound, unforeseen consequences of this publicity, I have decided to remove reader comments from my blogging process. I will continue to post, but my readers will have to email me directly to respond: their comments will not be made public on this blog. I have enjoyed the democratic debating process, and will miss it. Thanks again to all who made the past few weeks so lively.

Sincerely, Kate

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More observations from art editor, critic, and poet Jerry Cullum.

If you check on the "reviews" page of my website, over the next week or so, there will be downloadable catalogs from past exhibitions, essays, and past reviews being posted on a regular basis. Nothing like a little maelstrom to get you doing the things that you have been meaning to do for years... has published my interview, it is fairly extensive, and they asked some good questions. You will see that they have interviewed some pretty interesting artists.... be sure to bookmark the page and come back for a daily read, as I have.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Wreckage.

The studio looks like a tornado has hit it. The house is piled with stacks of New York Times and art magazines from the past few months. Radley's various milkbone cookie jars are depleted. Since we got back from Art Miami, I have been prepping for my class most nights into the wee hours of the morning (have never taught this class, or any fibers class, before), doing interviews and business stuff in the mornings (our xmas tree was still up when we had reporters here yesterday, and there were dust bunnies under the couch when we moved it to take a photo), teaching class in the afternoons, and trying to uphold commitments that I made 5 months ago to create work for various group shows in between.

The mini-semester class ends next week, and I am gathering information for the next painting. As you might imagine, I am feeling a bit of pressure about it, regarding subject matter: damned if you do, damned if you don't. Nothing to do but hole up, tune out, read a bit, flip through my sketchbooks, and listen, to hear what is supposed to come next. I just finished a lengthy email interview for will let you know when it is posted.

I want to thank those of you who have been tuning in and offering support: I feel as though I have a new group of cyber-friends. As things are calming down, I am hoping that the hype was enough to bring people to the website so that some serious art things might happen. In the meantime, forward.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Bumped by newer news on the NPR thing.... maybe next week, they said. Bummer because they wanted to focus on my other work, not just this painting.

The past 10 days has been like a tornado (yuck... is that hair?!!!!), and, like a tornado, it has dissipated quickly. I feel as though I have been out of my body through all of this. Last night, for the first time in weeks, I put onions in a pan with olive oil and saffron, cooking them up for mussels in saffron cream sauce. The pleasure of cooking was grounding and intensely satisfying. My breaths are deeper these past few days. After months of insomnia, I am sleeping like I am five, and have been playing outside all day, now falling asleep to the sound of crickets.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Oh, and unless some great news story happens to "bump" me (I am learning all about how the world of news works), I will be interviewed for NPR's "Here & Now" tomorrow, Friday.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jerry Cullum, curator, critic & Senior Editor at ArtPapers, has posted about the reaction to Blessed Art Thou in his blog.....
The Catholics Officially say I'm not Evil, and Another Take on the Painting...

My friend Peter, a professor of International Relations, saw this image as one of Globalization, where the United States goes forth "saving" other countries (represented by Zahara & Maddox), while leaving behind a wake of McDonald's, Coke and Wal Marts. His take was fascinating to me, as "Blessed Art Thou" was the title mid-way through, but when the painting was finished, I looked at it and thought, 'This really should be titled "An American Benediction", because the painting was SO American. So the title, one of the things I have been getting nasty emails about, might never have happened if more people knew what a benediction was.

Speaking of nasty emails, one of my newfound friends has pointed out to me in a comment below that The Catholic League, an organization that defends individual Catholics and the Institutional Church from defamation and discrimination, has issued a press release on the painting. Bill Donohue (a man I exchanged many an email with when Sacred Ovaries made his list) commented on the painting is this way:

“The painting is innocent enough and not designed to offend. Nonetheless, Kretz has misappropriated the imagery of Our Blessed Mother. The only good thing we can say is that at least Kretz has—in her own backhanded way—correctly seized upon the most important and revered woman ever to live as the focal point of her statement. It also sends a message to those who unfairly cast the Catholic Church as anti-woman: no other religion in the world has reserved such a special place for a woman to be honored more than Catholicism.”

Radar even ran a pic of the painting detail with Bill smiling beneath it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I apologize for not responding to all the emails... I will eventually read all of them (except the ones that my new email assistant has determined to be vitriolic). The supportive posts (and the extremist posts which illustrate my primary point) are deeply appreciated. All the dissenting views are being left on the blog to maintain a fair dialogue, unless they are completely irrelevant, or particularly personal attacks, having nothing to add to the discussion. I am restraining the art professor in me from trying to explain symbol and metaphor to people who seem to have no desire to understand the principles.

It is challenging these days... monitoring the blog, dealing with the business and personal-protection end of what has happened, and fulfilling my commitment to teaching a little mini semester class that I have never taught before. Sleep is not a common occurrence these days.

I am being personally challenged in the "artists need thick skin" philosophy I have preached to my students for the past ten years. Most of the attacks roll off my back, except for the "selling out", and "publicity seeking" comments. For 20 years, I have made what I wanted to make in the studio with NO regard for sales. For virtually all of my professional life (until last year), I specifically avoided working with commercial galleries, choosing instead to show in academic venues, non-profits and small museums. I was a university professor specifically so that I could maintain the purity of my work, with no worry about the need to "make things that sell", so these comments are especially hard to let go of.

Friday, January 05, 2007

In Miami for the art fair. Cannot begin to relate what has happened in the past few days.... the phone calls, emails, and hate mail. This is the greatest of ironies.
I have been making art as a professional for over 20 years, it is just that I have avoided putting my work in commercial venues for various reasons, choosing instead to show at non-profits, universities, and small museums.
If you look at the body of work from my life, (as opposed to looking at this one painting that has freakishly attracted attention), you know that my art is nothing, if not sincere.
Thanks again for all the kind emails and comments. Wish me luck as I go into the lion's den today....

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

(like a child playing with publicity matches, accidentally setting the woods on fire, and now watching from a distance, hidden up in a tree, waiting to see what happens)

Things are crazy around here. The hits to the blog are still building, we have had several offers on the painting, as well as people interested in other work. Today I start teaching my mini semester (14 days/3 hours a day, a class I never taught before). I will be leaving for Miami Thursday evening.... I will miss the vernissage on Thursday night, because I am already getting a sub for my class on Friday, and I did not want to take off on the 2nd day of class as well.

I don't quite know what to expect at the fair... I am excited, but quite anxious as well. Slept 3 hours last night, working on my webpage to make clear which pieces are available, and which ones are in collections. It would appear that my response to stress, even "good" stress, is work.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Please see original "Blessed Art Thou" posting below for additional elaboration on subject matter, added in an attempt to minimize head scratching and some truly profound misinterpretations.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Spent 13 hours Friday driving the painting to Miami, all day Saturday & most of Sunday coming back, stopping for meals in places that have free WiFi, so I could send out press releases, trying to get the word out about the painting before the art fair. Something must have worked, as this morning I am averaging about 7 hits a minute to the blog. Thank you to the sites who are linking here... the paintings take so long to make, and it is rewarding to have so many people actually see what I have been working on!