New Column: Lisa Solomon "Make Believe Collection"

Contributor post by Lisa Solomon

Hello Poppytalk land.... I’m super excited that Jan + Earl have invited me to start a new column here, and I hope you’ll find my whims somewhat entertaining.... What am I going to post about you ask?

Well... As an artist I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to trade with many of my friends to get really amazing pieces of art. I’ve also saved up and purchased a few pieces of art when I could. When you think about it – art is such an important part of our lives. In my day to day life I try to view as much art as I can in person – I go to galleries, museums, check the art out at friends houses. I peruse things online too – bookmarking, lusting, looking. I do believe, though, that the best art experience is when you are face to face with it – kind of like food, pictures never do art its justice. I went to a big museum show not too long ago and wrote a bit about a piece that I fell in love with on my blog. This is part of what I said.....

when you walk through an art show of any kind, any scope... you know that moment - where you spy something across the room and every fiber in your being reacts. where you stop. approach - maybe it's quick because you want to get there fast to see it, or maybe it's slow so that you can soak in every moment of the walk there... but you see it. and it sees you. and you want to take it home. sure - you've appreciated the technique of the surrounding works, perhaps you've even unconsciously sighed in wonder, or thought - wow - that is a great painting. but THIS - this is the one. this is the one you want to slip off the wall and steal. or if you have the money pay for. this is the one you want to live with forever - look at everyday in your home...

It got me thinking. If I could collect ANY art that I wanted – if I didn’t have to consider space and cost and availability [like if the piece is already owned] what would I want in terms of art for myself? I wonder what my make-believe collection would look like? Would there be a commonality to the artists or the materials? Where would I put these pieces I start gathering – in my living room, bedroom, bathroom?

Since we are in this amazing digital age... I figured ... I CAN ACTUALLY DO THIS. I can make [ ] pinterest boards of my make believe collections in my make believe rooms. And Jan + Earl suggested I share my art collection with you.... I’ll post now and again about art that I want to own. For now I’ll start putting them up on Pinterest in a make-believe collection file – eventually I’ll sort out where they would go in my giant make-believe art house... I’ll pick art work that is complete fantasy, and some that I [and you] could potentially make reality. And with that -- Here we go.....

In thinking about what my first piece might be... It has to be something by [] Eva Hesse. I first fell in love with her work as an undergrad student – I had an Art History section that was taught by a grad student that was doing her dissertation on Hesse and she was so enthusiastic about her work. It was infectious. I was lucky enough to see her show at [] SFMOMA in 2002. Much of her work is difficult to preserve due to the experimental materials that she used.... Some works are going to have to be put away in order to save them – and so some of the work in this show was being displayed for what could be the last time. Plus the tragic fact that she died so young from a brain tumor means that her work is frozen in this compelling nostalgic hue. What exists in the world is ALL that she made. There will be no more [and there should have been much much much more].

What is not to love? I like almost all of her work. It can be hauntingly beautiful, it can be slightly creepy and remind of you bodily parts and functions that we generally don’t discuss in public. The area that divides what is ugly and what is pretty is something that I am perpetually interested in. Hesse traverses this divide easily. She was a complete pioneer – using materials like latex and common hardware store items in complex and completely new ways. She also continually played with the idea of 2D and 3D – making “paintings” that boarded on sculptures and “sculptures” that related to paintings. [This happens to be another thing that interests me in general]. PLUS she was a strong woman in a pool of mostly men. In the 60’s when minimalism was at it’s peak – the big players were all rough and tumblin men – and Hesse bellied up to the bar with the best of them [better than some of them in my opinion].

I would take this. Oh yes I would. It’s grand- it looms... It holds a wall. It engages YOU – enters into your space as you march along side it. The rich yellowish color – like honey – the fiberglass is a material that mimics amber – it seems fragile, yet strong at the same time. Of course it reminds me of windows – looking out into a completely different world. I want to touch it. And if it were mine I could – and would. It’s in a grid – generating a sense of rhythm and order, but it’s also imperfect – the edges are wonky – you can tell it’s made by has character – it isn’t as cold as say [ ] Donald Judd’s work [who I also admire, but that’s another story]. It’s been broken up and 3 places hold 3 sections – but I’d love the whole thing all together...


Repetition Nineteen III
I’d gladly take this too – it’s owned by the [] MOMA in NY. [I took this photo]. I would love to lay next to this day after day..... Re-arrange them.

Accession II
I’d be happy with this as well.... [illustrating the feminization of the modernist cube]

Play along? Would you take an Eva Hesse? Yes? No? Why or why not? Where would you put it?

But if I had to choose one I think SANS it would be.

See you soon with another installment!

Jan Halvarson


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful column about the great joys of art. Thank you so much. I was thrilled that you chose to speak of Eva Hesse whom I have long admired and thought your statement of how her work traverses the beautiful and the ugly was wonderful. I am leaving your column quite inspired this morning having started off the day feeling a little down and disorganized. And I think I must start my own art collection. Again, thank you.

Jan Halvarson said...

Linda, I'm so glad you feel inspired after reading Lisa's post. I have always felt that way as well after reading her talk about art. She has such an interesting point of view.

lisa solomon said...

hey linda ! your comment has definitely made my weekend - indeed you MUST start your own collection ! i'd love to see it :)

and jan - you are o kind... xo

heather smith jones said...

As you say about Hesse's piece I too appreciate work in which you can tell it was made by hand. You hit on a lot of interesting topics here Lisa, this proves to be a great series!

Adele said...

Hi Lisa, thanks for your new column - I think it's going to shape up to be really thought provoking, so bravo for bringing us a fresh focus on art from an artists eyes.
Just wanted to alert you that two of your links don't seem to be working. The Wikipedia one for Eva Hesse (love her work) says 'Bad Title' and the MoMa one says 'File not Found' since none of the other commenters mentioned it, I wonder what's going on? Look forward to the next installment.

Jan Halvarson said...

Adele - I have fixed those links (thanks for pointing them out) - it was my coding - got lost in translation. : )

andrea! said...

I love love love Eva Hesse. I saw Repetition Nineteen III and I got those itchy fingers you're talking about. More than that though, I was just filled with so much need; a need to hold them, a need to make something that is that luminescent.

Having no access to fiberglass I'm trying encaustic. Any ideas on what else I could try?

Thanks for the column and the blog. You're beautiful people.


Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

Lisa - I'm really looking forward to reading your new column! Great start with Eva Hesse. I was first curious about her back in college because we share the same name, but I soon grew to really love her work as well. The textures and shapes are so arresting.

lisa solomon said...

hi heather.... thanks so much. i'm looking forward to posting. there's so much great art to talk about and look at/for

adele- thanks for the comment and for pointing out the link issue :)

andrea - i know... they are so touchable :) encaustic is good [beeswax is really similar in color]. you could also try latex [you can pour it into sheets that you can then mold into other shapes - or just pour it into a mold] the only problem is that latex does deteriorate over time - especially with sun exposure - but it's really fun to play with [just be careful of fumes - but they are short lived]. you could also try resins - there are some that are less toxic than others... :) good luck

eva - thank you ! you and your namesake make beautiful things :)

Anonymous said...

As a non-artist I love the opportunity to have more experienced people introduce me to art/artists that I would never otherwise know about. THANKS for the fascinating post! It led me to check out the links as well. I look forward to more of them in the future.

gracia said...

Lisa, I love this idea for a series of guest posts. And I also love the work of Eva Hess. A mighty fine beginning, and a mighty fine artist. Bravo! More please, whenever you can.