…its traditions, beauty, and our expectations of Democracy.

When, about a month after we had our second vaccination shot, and the country was beginning to see advances in defeating the pandemic, we ventured out, first, to La Conner, Wa. which was in the early stages of emerging from a year of isolation. We went north to see a show by Louise Kikuchi in nearby  Edison; in addition to her beautiful Sumi-e paintings she was showing a group of traditional Kokeshi dolls she painted to reflect events of January 6, 2021. The Kokeshi wore masks and the pedestals were arranged following social distancing guidelines.

In June we cautiously took a flight, masked, to visit family in Chicago. We arrived just as the city was lifting the mask mandate and some were anxious to have their faces exposed. There was such a sense of hope in the air, though my feeling was that many people (the majority) weren’t ready to go mask-less in public. On our first visit to a museum in over a year, The Art Institute had just adopted optional mask wearing for vaccinated visitors though it was evident that most of the visitors chose to continue masking-up, especially noticeable in the popular exhibition of Monet that was just ending. The following week, on June 18th, the celebrated Obama Portraits, Barack by Kehinde Wiley, and Michelle by Amy Sherald, opened to enthusiastic  audiences. We joined others in a responsibly masked and socially distanced line as we advanced to the gallery to see these two beautiful paintings.

We went to the opening of Chicago Comics at the Museum of Contemporary Art, surveying Chicago based cartoonists and artists working in this genre since the 1960s. It is always refreshing to see works in person, especially those of Lynda Barry, and to discover a different aspect of Kerry James Marshall’s creative output.

A visit to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a visit to former Seattle gallerist Mariane Ibrahim’s new gallery. A compelling show of works on paper by Philadelphia based artist Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze was showing in this elegant space.

We took advantage of the beautiful late spring weather to explore some parts of the city on foot. One such walk along the lagoons south of the Museum of Science and Industry took us through restored prairie to a Japanese garden and Yoko Ono’s only public sculpture, Skylanding. Another walk that has become a favorite is through Ping Tom Memorial Park, with native prairie and wetlands along the Chicago River.

That was our first time out in public, in a major city, one that had seen upheaval the previous summer. Even though we felt we were emerging from the changes of the past year, it was very noticeable, how many businesses remained shuttered, and how relatively empty the streets were, especially in a major American city.


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…In addition to leafing through sequences of images, and our front row seats, media immersion, and books, we did venture outdoors from time to time.

During the tumultuous times of recent years, we continued our efforts at participating in local and national protests. I contributed my efforts to photographically document numerous events sponsored by Indivisible, League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, Women’s March, for issues ranging from voting rights, saving our democracy, March for Our Lives, Moms for Portland, and to a rally honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Following the events of January 6, 2021 it has become even more apparent how important it is for all of us to do what we can, to participate in, and do our part to contribute to our culture and society.

Many of the events I attended were masked and socially distanced, held on a heavily trafficked street with most drivers showing their approval; other rallies were at our state capitol with notable speakers. At these rallies I have been impressed with the dedication of friends, neighbors, youth, and senior citizens, all coming together to standup for Democracy, to demonstrate that we care. We care about one another, our communities, our rich, multi-faceted, diverse culture. Click this link to my Flickr account to view many of these photographs.

Our capitol campus, as traditional as it is, is a place of beauty, symbolizing all we hold dear with the expectation that it is and will be there for each of us. This campus, where people with differing ideas come to debate and form laws that govern our society, is a place to behold in all its traditions, beauty, and our expectations of Democracy.

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…That was my last public outing and like many of you, we were waiting to ride this thing out, doing our part to help in any way we could. Amid this global tragedy, I feel lucky to live where I do, in a community of responsible neighbors, with my studio at hand. Also like you, we have all adjusted our daily routines: socially distanced outdoor visits with friends and more efficient shopping habits. We found pleasure in a simpler way of life, bike rides on a near-empty campus, walks in town, along the board walk, in local parks, photographing along the way. We were nourished by our favorite local restaurants who adapted their offerings to delicious take-out boxed meals.

On warm summer nights we searched the sky for the comet Neowise and the International Space Station, passing overhead several times some nights. It was amazing to think of the team of astronauts doing their research. Then on a couple frigid December nights we found the ‘Great’ Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn; it had been some 800 years since an alignment this close had occurred at night.

We all became proficient at family meetings over Zoom and FaceTime, and we found new venues for cultural enrichment. I really enjoyed how musicians adapted their performances for the on-line audience and gave us front row seats at numerous musical events. Some of the memorable events we subscribed to: Taj Mahal, Patty Smith, Richard Thompson, Los Lobos, Lyle Lovett and Elvis Costello, Yo La Tengo, and New Orleans’ New Year’s Eve celebration in a variety of venues. Discovering new talent is always exciting, musicians like Jackie Venson come to mind. We also took advantage of our media sources to revisit several binge worthy series (Twin Peaks from start to finish) and current productions. We subscribed to the French animation series sponsored by FIAF – Alliance Francais in New York; the series featured full length films, shorts, and live stream interviews. The series was so invigorating that we became annual members.

Many gallery and museum openings were cancelled, put on hold, or extended until re-opening was feasible, as well as numerous live events. There were some breathtaking productions available via streaming during the year: London’s National Theater at Home: Frankenstein; dance performances from Douglas Dunn + Dance from his archive on Vimeo and YouTube. Dunn was scheduled for a special performance, lecture, and book signing at MAB.  A beautiful hardcover book was produced in a limited edition to commemorate this event; Corner is still available on their website. While the performance could not take place during the pandemic, the book is a lasting celebration of his esthetic and gives much pleasure when leafing through the sequence of images.

St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn streamed “Seminal Moments in St. Ann’s and Rock Music History Captured on Film: Lou Reed’s Berlin and John Cale and Lou Reed’s Song for ‘Drella,” which blended music, collaboration, and stagecraft to create exhilarating, thought-provoking art. Laurie Anderson presented a six part video series sponsored by the Norton Lecture series at Harvard; and her Party in the Bardo radio show was another compelling series.  The first 3 of the Norton lectures are being re-broadcast right now, and the next 3 start airing on Oct. 6.

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EMERGENCE – Notes from Life during the Pandemic

With this first post after many months, I want to report that we are well. For the past 18 months we have self-isolated and paid attention to recommended guidelines for staying safe and healthy. We are so fortunate and thankful that we have not lost any family or close friends because of the pandemic.

Many of my posts on this website are about art, exhibitions, and art and architectural travels. This series of 5 posts (Emergence A – E) is more diaristic and shares some of what we did and how we participated in cultural events during this time of “stay-at-home.”

On the eve of the pandemic, we were visiting family east of Seattle on the day the first cases were announced in Kirkland and broadcast on the evening and national news. On our way home, as we were waiting at the stoplight to enter the freeway, we looked up and saw that we were at the very hospital where the first Covid-19 patients were being cared for.

The following week, on March 6, 2020, I went to what would become the last public event I would attend for the next 15 months. Even as the news of the pandemic was becoming widespread with some public events being cancelled, the Portland Art Museum was still open. I went to the opening of  APEX  – Ed Bereal comprised of selected works from his recent retrospective at The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham. The exhibition featured a selection of earlier and more recent works for context, which built up to the powerful mixed media installation “Exxon-Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse” which dominated the main gallery. It is a major work, beautiful in execution (exquisite drawing and mark making) and complex in fabrication (mixed-media sculptural components and installation). As beautiful as his work is, one thing Ed has always said is that it is not so much about the artworks as objects, but that he hopes they create a dialog amongst the audience. In my opinion, Ed’s art has always worked in both ways, stimulating dialog via ambitious, beautiful artworks. Hyperallergic published an in depth article about Ed and his work.

Ed was introduced by the curator and gave a talk about the work and the trajectory of his development as an artist. It was great to see Ed and his wife, painter Barbara Sternberger. It was also good to see other old friends, artist Susan Bennerstrom from Bellingham, and musicians Margot Hanson and Chuck Israels, now living in Portland.

That was my last public outing…


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CoVid-19 Vaccination

Happy to report, I got mine; and I continue to mask up and follow CDC health guidelines.

Two doses, and two weeks have passed since the second dose. Confirm too, no side effects. Looking forward to when we call all meet again.

This link takes you to the CDC for current information  CoVid-19 Tracker


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