oranje - recent posts from my current home

Friday, November 30, 2007

White House PARROT

Thanks for the giggle, Dave -

Laura Bush bought George a parrot for his birthday. She said to Dick Cheney, "That bird is so smart! George has taught him over 200 words!"

"Wow, that's pretty impressive," Cheney said. "But you do realize, don't you, that he's just saying the words? He doesn't really understand what they mean."

"That's okay," Laura replied. "Neither does the parrot."

I know that it's puerile, but if I don't laugh about this administration I will sink into the depths of despair. All I can do is grit my teeth and hope for a better future.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Artist reception @Digging Pitt Too

Continuing with The Blogger Show, I am pleased to announce the artist reception at Digging Pitt Too. I will be showing my work along side the work of Bill Gusky, a fellow blogger. Below is an installation shot from the gallery. Additional images are available. Panza Gallery, where my work is also on display, has an artist reception on December 15. I hope to see you there.

In November, Digging Pitt (Pittsburgh PA) will begin a joint effort with Agni Gallery (New York, NY) and Panza Gallery (Millvale, PA) to present The Blogger Show. The exhibits showcase the work of over thirty artists whose common interest is in clarifying artistic discourse through their blogs. All of the exhibits will take place between November 3, 2007 and January 12, 2008.

The Blogger Show @Digging Pitt Too - November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public reception December 8, 6-9PM
Digging Pitt Too - 45th & Plummer Streets - Pittsburgh PA 15201
SA 12 – 5 and by appointment - 412-605-0450
Susan Constanse and Bill Gusky will be sharing Digging Pitt Too. Read more

Appearing @Digging Pitt Too (Pittsburgh PA)
Susan Constanse (Pittsburgh, PA) - Oranje
Bill Gusky (Canton, CT) - Artblog Comments

Also coming up is the artist reception at Panza Gallery

The Blogger Show @Panza Gallery - November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public reception December 15, 6-9PM
Panza Gallery - 115 Sedgwick Street - Millvale PA 15209
WE/Th/FR 10-5 SA 10-3 and by appointment - 412-821-0959
Panza Gallery will have a regional focus, showcasing Pittsburgh's local bloggers. There will also be a presentation of work created by artist journaling. Read more

Appearing @Panza Gallery
(Millvale PA)

Kevin Clancy (Boston MA and Pittsburgh PA) - soft soft pink pulls through the ivory void
Susan Constanse (Pittsburgh, PA) - Oranje
Christiane D (Pittsburgh PA) - Christiane D
David Grim (Pittsburgh, PA) - Serendipity
Sophie Klahr (Pittsburgh PA) - the story of how it is
John Morris (Pittsburgh, PA) - Digging Pittsburgh Arts
David Pohl (Pittsburgh, PA) - find the time to rhyme
Amy Wilson New York, NY) - working

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pay It Forward - Repost

Well, this offer has been open for quite a while - the original post went up before Halloween! Not a single nibble, so I am moving it to the top of the posts.

I was checking out some of the blogs of artists in the Blogger Show, and ran into a wonderful offer from Mary Klein -

Pay It Forward (via Mary via Deanna, via Sia, via Sandra via Camilla, via Bibbi and so on) - here are the rules:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

When you leave your comment, please also do one of two things: leave your post address or e-mail it to me.

I'm sure a lot of people have seen "Pay it Forward" with Helen Hunt. But let me tell you, the book was a hundred time better.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Look for the Union label

The Intrepid Art Collector broached a subject in her blog this week that I find painful. - Do Artists Need a Union?

The simple answer is, of course we do. Actors, writers and musicians have a union. Why not us? But answers, no matter how reasonable, don't always translate to action. There are insurmountable difficulties in putting a visual arts union in place.

A "Booming Art Market" notwithstanding, the vast majority of visual artists are not able to assign a monetary value to their work that is commensurate with their efforts. The local markets simply won't bear it. Conventional wisdom in local and regional art markets is that sales over $1000.00 for an individual artwork is unrealistic and if you want to sell your work than you should keep it under that ceiling.

Gallery representation does not guarantee that you will get a reasonable asking price. Most patrons that walk in the door with the intention of purchasing are accompanied by the intention to haggle the price down. Most want at least a 20% discount and some ask for 30% and upwards.

The justifications for these attitudes towards purchasing artwork are myriad. Some believe that, since art is an innate talent, the artist should be happy that anyone even wants to see their work. Making money off of it is just a bonus.

It's not just the individual patrons either. Art organizations have the same attitude about visual artists. Not too long ago, a call for artists from a local organization went out to put together street-level art and entertainment for a conference in our fair city. The performing groups of musicians and dancers were given $1000.00 for taking part. Visual artists that were chosen to decorate the windows of empty storefronts were given $500.00. Their materials had to come from that budget too.

The problem is that visual artists really are so cash poor that they are willing to work for the level of compensation that is offered. Anything being better than nothing. Unlike the performing arts, mass market avenues do not exist in the visual arts. That is not to say that performing artists are all trying to appeal to mass markets: it's just that there is more capital in those fields in general, which does change the environment.

There must be mainstream interest in order for visual artists to gain enough support to implement unionization. Mainstream interest in the visual arts is limited to the occasional news story about some outrageous sum that is paid for a masterwork. Also, if enough artists were making a reasonable living on selling their work, it would increase the pool of resources for the visual arts community, emulating the other creative communities that have implemented unions.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A feast

I got to Boxheart early enough last night that I had an unobstructed view of Tracy's work, at least for a few moments anyway. The solo exhibit of Tracy Helgeson's landscapes is a feast for the senses, with the warm-to-burning tones of these extraordinary paintings. If you are in the area, make a point of stopping in.

A gently reminder - Tracy's work is included in the Blogger Show at Agni and Digging Pitt Galleries.






Additional images from the Boxheart exhibit are available.

November 13 - December 8
Paintings by Tracy Helgeson
BoxHeart Gallery
4523 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
P. 412 687 8858
F. 412 687 6338

Friday, November 16, 2007

Agni Gallery installation images

Hello everyone,
I have been extremely busy installing the shows at Digging Pitt and Digging Pitt Too over the last two weeks. I had meant to post these installation images last week, but with John Morris in New York at Agni, I have had my hands full.

Anyway, here are some installation shots that I took just before the reception started. There are some obvious gaps, so if you have images, please send them to me and I will post them forthwith!











Monday, November 12, 2007

The eleventh month

Ah November! The frantic pace, the cold, the back-to-back parties, events, openings and tasks. The eleventh month is just like the eleventh hour, with everything due at the same time and all of the things that you didn't have time for over the rest of the year scheduled, no crammed, into a few short weeks.

Here's what is happening -
I am starting a new job today at the Polish Hill Civic Association. Nice bunch of people, very homey, great neighborhood. Polish Hill runs between Liberty Ave and Bigelow Blvd, on the hillside above the Strip District. I am so looking forward to this. The Board President, Terry Doloughty, is enthusiastic and charming.

Last week, I started a p/t job with the brillobox. I love those guys, all of them. Janessa and Lou, who tend bar. Ben, their new cook, and of course Renee Ickes and Eric Stern, who own the brillobox. A very nice group of people.

I also submitted a proposal for Group A's Hide and Seek exhibit. Keep your fingers crossed, this sounds like a fun show to work on.

Did I mention happenings at Digging Pitt? After my return from a whirlwind opening at Agni Gallery, I started on the installation at Digging Pitt and Digging Pitt Too. Here is a shot at Too of my work and Bill Gusky's work -


The exhibit is open, but the artists' reception isn't until December 8. The installation at Panza Gallery is complete, but I don't have any installation shots, sorry to say.

Anyway, I will probably forgo a lot of blog posting on Oranje over the next couple weeks. Things are just to frantic right now.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Flight patterns

Thanks again, Tom, for pointing this out.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

An unmistakable sense of connection

I went to New York for the opening reception of The Blogger Show, my first trip there in several years. AMTRAK rocks; what a great way to travel. You wouldn't believe how much carry-on luggage they allow! The trip up was amazing, with the fire of autumn colors razing the hills against a crystal blue that you could lose yourself in.

I got off the train at Penn Station at 5PM, in the middle of rush hour. It struck me as eerie, that with all of those people the only thing you hear is the sound of feet hammering the concrete. Hardly a single voice could be heard, not even a murmur to ground the beat of those thundering feet.

I stayed with my good friend Jean McClung at the Larchmont Hotel on W 11h St., which is a really handy place to stay, let me tell you. (And thank you, Jean. I don't know how we could have pulled this show off without you.) It was close to all of the places I wanted to visit and needed to be while I was there (well, this was a business trip) and there were places that I had to be. One of the places that I made a specific point of going to was New York Central Art Supply. Interesting place; it was recommended by couple of people when I mentioned that I was searching for unusual papers.

The Blogger Show reception was packed, as I have already mentioned. It was a pleasure to finally meet some of the people that I have worked with over the last several months in the ether. Stephanie Lee Jackson and Bill Gusky in particular. I will be sharing Digging Pitt Too with Bill for one of the Blogger Shows. And watch this space for further developments with Stephanie.

I took an installation shot --


Okay, so here's where it gets interesting. Stephanie, whose piece is on the upper right, laid out and installed the exhibit. She is someone that I was beginning to feel an affinity for during the run-up to this exhibit, which was confirmed when I met her, JT Kirkland, whose piece is on the upper left, brokered a trade of my work in his Barter project. That's my work under his on the lower left. And on the lower right? That is only the work of my BFF Chris, who I met when I first moved to Pittsburgh nearly ten years ago. How cool is that?

So, you would think it would be over with my getting up on Sunday morning for the trip back to da 'burgh, right? Huh-uh, it just got cooler. I got to Penn Station a little early, so I went to Borders to pick up some reading material. I checked under E to see if one of my favorite authors had published anything new. Lucky me! he had! So, I happily picked up a copy of Zeroville by Steve Erickson to read on the train on the way home.

Wait, it gets better--

Okay, so I smoke. (Shut up, I know it's a bad habit that will most likely kill me, yadayada.) So, I got off the train and in my wild desire to inhale two nicotine packages, I watch as all of the cabs and jitneys were taken. The last jitney driver said he'd be back shortly; his fare was only going to a downtown hotel. (I did try to call for a cab. You know what the operator said? There weren't any cabs available.)

I'm waiting for the jitney driver to come back when I notice all of these flashing lights and I think, great, the driver is probably stuck behind whatever is going on. It didn't look like an accident, no ambulance. At first, I thought it was some dignitary being escorted through da 'burgh. You'll never guess.

It was elephants.

I am not joking. 8:30pm, dark as pitch, and there was a line of eight elephants, followed by zebras and horses, being escorted through the outer edges of downtown. And my camera was packed.

Airport insecurity

I'm not a fan, ya know? But WTF? Thanks, Tom, for pointing this out.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Opening Reception @Agni Gallery


I am on my way back to Pittsburgh from NYC and the opening reception of The Blogger Show at Agni Gallery. It was a whirlwind of a trip, with more impressions than I can wrap my head around at this moment. Most important was seeing all of the work, after having seen only the tantalizing yet woefully inadequate images in the virtual gallery. 72dpi just doesn’t cut it.

We had a great crew for the installation at Agni. Chris Rywalt put together a great post about the experience.

The opening reception for The Blogger Show was packed, literally, with bloggers and sundry spilling out onto the sidewalk. John Morris and Jean McClung were putting finishing touches on the exhibit throughout the day. Artist bloggers dropped in periodically, lending a hand and offering words of encouragement and bottles of wine. The evening actually got off to an early start with the arrival of Bill Gusky. Stephanie Lee Jackson brought her Gentleman Friend. She had previously met Chris Rywalt, who was there with his wife. Mary Klein is further exploring the motif of airplane and made a landing in NYC. Sharon Butler was in the back of the gallery when Loren Munk arrived, declaiming loudly from Charlie Finch’s article on art blogs, which touched off a lively discussion between Nancy Baker and Bill Gusky. Tracy Helgeson and Doug were there, a calm presence in a maelstrom. Fallon and Rosof were demonstrating their installation of 48 Useful Paintings. But to get the full scope of the reception, check out James Kalm's video --

It was nice to put faces and voices to Barry and James of Bloggy and ArtCal. Brent Burkett, it was wonderful to see you, too. And thanks for the shout out at Heart as Arena.

I can’t begin to thank everybody that had a part in getting the first tendril of The Blogger Show off to an auspicious start. Your good cheer and better skill are appreciated. I am sure that there will be many more thank you’s that are due; after all, The Blogger Show has only begun.

Acknowledgements –

Kevin Clancy
Bill Gusky
Stephanie Lee Jackson and her Gentleman Friend
Jean McClung
Chris Rywalt

John Morris will be manning Agni Gallery during the month of November. He has brought a selection of works from Digging Pitt’s flat file archive. So, if you are in New York, stop by and say hello.

November 3- 30, 2007 - Public Reception: November 3, 6 - 9pm
Agni Gallery
170 East 2nd Street, Storefront #3
New York, NY 10009
WE-SA: 1-7PM

I am just going to throw up some images from the reception. Installation shots will be posted later. But today, I start the installation of the Digging Pitt and Digging Pitt Too shows. So, I am off to meet Elizabeth Perry at Digging Pitt for drop-off. Later --








Thursday, November 01, 2007

Women of Vision @August Wilson

Women of Vision puts together pretty consistent shows. It is a small group, with members that have been showing together for years. It is always worthwhile to see old favorites and the variations that make for such a satisfying exhibit.

A few really stood out for me at the latest Women of Vision exhibit, Soulscapes, which is showing at the August Wilson Center (details are at the end of the post)The seated figure by Dee Currin is lovely. Christine Bethea's construction is actually a wind instrument. I would love to hear her play it some time. I kinda got lost in Christiane's Love Scar piece. And Marica Jackson's sculpture is a lovely mystery.

If you're downtown, drop in

Delores Currin
Christine Bethea
Christiane D

Marica Jackson

SoulScapes by Women of Visions, Inc
August Wilson Center for African American Culture
October 5, 2007 through February 16, 2008
Gallery 209/9, 209 Ninth St., Downtown