Thursday, August 30, 2007

Elizabeth Murray a great shaped canvas painter 1940-2007

Elizabeth Murray
(from )

Elizabeth Murray was born in Chicago in 1940. She earned a BFA at the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California. A pioneer in painting, Murray’s distinctively shaped canvases break with the art-historical tradition of illusionistic space in two-dimensions. Jutting out from the wall and sculptural in form, Murray’s paintings and watercolors playfully blur the line between the painting as an object and the painting as a space for depicting objects. Her still lifes are reminiscent of paintings by masters such as Cézzane, Picasso, and Matisse; however, like her entire body of work, Murray’s paintings rejuvenate old art forms. Breathing life into domestic subject matter, Murray’s paintings often include images of cups, drawers, utensils, chairs, and tables. These familiar objects are matched with cartoonish fingers and floating eyeballs—macabre images that are as nightmarish as they are goofy. Taken in as a whole, Murray’s paintings are abstract compositions rendered in bold colors and multiple layers of paint. But the details of the paintings reveal a fascination with dream states and the psychological underbelly of domestic life. The recipient of many awards, Murray received the Skowhegan Medal in Painting in 1986, the Larry Aldrich Prize in Contemporary Art in 1993, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award in 1999. Her work is featured in many collections, including the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

This what Mary Rourke wrote in her obit for Murray in the August 16th edition of the L.A. times:

Elizabeth Murray, an artist who painted richly colored, evocative, abstract works after the Minimalist art movement had reduced the art form to a fleet of monochrome canvases, has died. She was 66.

Murray died Sunday at her home in Granville, N.Y. The cause was complications from lung cancer, said Jennifer Joy of PaceWildenstein gallery in New York City, which represented Murray. She had been a resident of Granville and New York City.


Many critics noted the cartoon-like quality of Murray's images, which she attributed to her childhood fascination with comics. The playfulness, however, did not disguise ominous undertones, critics observed.

"Murray's paintings have long possessed a clownishness that embraces dark and light, a slapstick joy coexisting with abject terror and rue," wrote reviewer Stephen Westfall in Art in America magazine in 2006.

Such complexities add to the "psychological intensity" of Murray's art, he wrote.

Murray was born in Chicago in 1940 and grew up in a household unsettled by financial insecurity after her father developed a nervous condition and could not hold a steady job. The family eventually moved to Bloomington, Ill., to live with Murray's grandmother.

In 2006 she was given a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, an honor few women have received.

For many years Murray taught art at various schools, including the University of Buffalo, Bard College near New York City, Yale University and California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

The following images are from the catalogue of her exhibition in 2003 at Pace Wildenstein Gallery, of which she was represented.

oil on canvas
85"x 77 1/2"

There are of course pros and cons to all writing abouut the creative process because often you need to have your own internal exploration about what the performance or work of art does to you when one experiences it, but I think Francine Prose's prose is very...well, poetic.

"The Four walls of the rectangle cannot possibly contain an art thhat exists on , explores and explodes so many different borders...Elizabeth murray's paintings are anything but lightweight. Far from being humble and timid, they're - given her very particular balance of image and abstraction - confrontational and even pushy in the way they force you against yet another border , a tough demarcation often misidentified as one of gender, or sociology, when in fact that division has more to do with temperament, conscoiusnes, and metaphysics...theseparation between those who can ose themselves in idea, in pure form and abstraction and those who- like Orpheus, like Lot's wife- are sooner or later moved to look back over their shoulders at the raucous and precious world."

oil on canvas
9' 10"x 10 '10 1/2"

For myself, I cannot help but examine how comical and zany and yet bordering on dangerous these "domestic" images are-
if you turn your on these paintings you might open yourself up to a 2 by four upside the head with a rusty nail!!!Bop!!!!! Now that's a dangerous schtick!!!!!

Hey Madge
oil on canvas on wood
52 1/2 " x 48 "

Hey that dishwashing soap you are soaking your hands in??? No, but my ameobas are breaking out of the frame again!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

maybe this is old news but I found it newsworthy!!!

this from Peter Kupers "newflash!" section of his website:

Current Events:

Richie Bush Premieres
The animated comic has gotten quite a bit of pre- and post-election exposure. See it at

On October 27, U.S. Customs sent a letter to Top Shelf Productions notifying them that copies of the anthology Stripburger had been seized, charging that "Richie Bush" by Peter Kuper constituted "clearly piratical copy" of registered and recorded copyright. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has retained counsel to challenge these seizures. "Richie Bush," appearing in Stripburger (Vol. 12) #37, is a four-page parody of Richie Rich that also satirizes the Bush Administration by superimposing the personalities of the President's cabinet on the characters from the comic. " Customs seized fourteen copies of the issue containing "Richie Bush." Top Shelf is the American agent for Stripburger, an Eastern European comics publisher that releases anthologies of comics from cartoonists around the globe. Upon investigating the shipment, Customs released the copies of Miniburger, but held the issues of Stripburger, giving Top Shelf thirty days to either forfeit the shipment, request administrative relief, or initiate court action.Ê At the urging of Stripburger, Top Shelf and CBLDF President Chris Staros brought the case to the attention of the Fund as a potential news story. CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein felt the matter warranted serious legal attention, so it was sent to Burton Joseph, the Fund's legal counsel, whose opinion was that Customs was unlawfully holding First Amendment protected speech. The option of pursuing court action on First Amendment grounds was then taken to the CBLDF Board of Directors, which unanimously voted 8-0 to take up the case; Chris Staros recused himself from the vote. On November 24, the Fund retained counsel in Charleston, SC who hand-delivered a letter to Customs stating that the comics are protected under existing First Amendment case law and should be either immediately released or that court action should be initiated. "In this case, it looks like Customs is overreaching its authority," Staros says.Ê"The comics in question are clearly within the acceptable bounds of parody, and there is absolutely no likelihood that consumers would confuse these works with the subjects that they are parodying."
So What Happened?
The copies of Richie Bush were finally released when challenged by the flaming sword of justice which is the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Customs laid down like dogs, releasing the copies and begging the stalwart heroes at the CBLDF to pardon their treacherous ways.

The End

found this newsblurb in Top Shelf Productions archive:

US Customs Folds Following CBLDF Challenge

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has secured an important victory against U.S. Customs concerning the seizure of parody comics in South Carolina.

Last November, the CBLDF filed a request for court action with U.S. Customs in Charleston concerning the seizure of issues of Stripburger that included the parody comics "Richie Bush" by Peter Kuper, and "Moj Stub" by Bojan Redzic. Customs seized the books, which were en route to Top Shelf Productions, claiming they were "piratical" infringements on existing copyrights. The Fund disagreed, finding the work to be protected speech, and retained Charleston Attorney Gregg Meyers to bring the request for court action.

This week Customs released the books and will be refunding the $250 filing fee that Top Shelf placed to challenge the seizure.

"This is great news," said CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein. "It's exactly the kind of victory we want, where reason prevails and no one has to go to court. It's always better to prevent a trial than defend a trial, and I'm pleased that the government felt the same way in this case and returned the materials that were wrongfully seized."

Meyers concurs, stating, "I'd say that reaching a resolution with only a single shot fired reflects the realization by the government that the seizure shouldn't have happened. We appreciate that they changed their course."

Top Shelf publisher and CBLDF President Chris Staros added, "Despite the low dollar value of the books seized, the principal of this issue -- that of Customs overreaching its authority to judge what is parody and what is not -- was definitely worth fighting for. Hopefully, the victory in this case will help prevent future incidents of this nature, where a publisher would have much more to lose if, for example, an entire print run was seized."

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. Donations and inquiries should be directed to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at P.O. Box 693, Northampton, MA 01061. For additional information, call 800-99-CBLDF or visit

Okay for those of you who have lived under a rock Peter Kuper new york sequential artist extrodinaire moved to new york city driven by a dream and stuck with it trusting in his instinct his talent and fueled by thhe pure energy of his creative powers helped found one of the oldest zines WW3 has done Spy VS Spy for mad and has done it well....and I say this with all due respect to the original artist of the series

Antonio Prohías (January 17, 1921 - February 24, 1998), born in Cuba, was a cartoonist most famous for creating the comic strip Spy vs. Spy for MAD Magazine.
In the late 1940s, Prohías began working at El Mundo, the most important newspaper in Cuba. By 1960, he had become an internationally recognized and awarded political cartoonist. At this time, Fidel Castro's government took over the paper, and Prohías left Cuba for New York, where he found himself attracted to Mad.
The Mad staff occasionally took group vacations, traveling en masse to other countries. Prohías took part in these vacations when possible, but as a Cuban, he had trouble gaining admission into some countries, and in Italy was actually turned away.
Although he is most famous for Spy vs. Spy, the majority of his comic strips, such as El Hombre Siniestro, La Mujer Siniestra, and Tovarich, were published mostly or only in Cuba. Altogether, only about 20 of his roughly 270 contributions to Mad were of anything other than the spy series. As a result, most of the available information on this other work comes from the Spy Vs Spy Complete Casebook (Watson-Guptill, 2001).

Peter Kuper created a fine series called "eye of the beholder" has done some swell illustrations for covers of some leading magazines including TIME.

Friday, August 24, 2007

autobiographical sketches from photos

I found some photographs when trying to track down a burned cd of......I cannot even remember, but thats unimportant as it seems it opened up a window for me to write down my first impressions by recalling everything I can in a short amount of time from each of these images....a good exercise for anyone....I recommend it!!!

the first photo - the artsy phase I call it- was taken in woodbee wouldbei woodbea island amounst the san juan islands off of seattle washington where bobbi, my youngest older sister, first lived with her then family jodi and scott mcvay- i remember that moment - I remember being fascinated with a beach filled with smooth rocks......and a big driftwood log......very different from the beaches of southern california!!!!

Its fitting that this one is in black and white because this is how the wizard of oz starts kind of like an old obscure forgotten melodrama: "he licks his fingers clean, licks thee surface of his highchair clean and wonders when the adults will set that durned camera down and feed me cause I is hungry!!!!!" also I remember the short piece of black and white super8 film I saw growing up as an intro to a longer pieced together color film(both silent) and the black and white film is from the apartment in garden grove where I lived in an apartment......but if you notice I can hold my head up so I must be older thhan 3 months which is whhen we moved from there to our home in huntington beach california......bought it in late august early septtember 1966 for how mother tells me 25 thousand!!!! doing a search for real estate in the exact same neighborhood last summer on one website it started listing places at 500, 2,000% increase in value in 41 years....not bad!!!!!

My brother robert or rob played drums and was my earliest source of music....chicago, tower of power, chase, and the coveted soundtrack to "shaft" by issac hayes. That was also his old school bike and this photo was taken in the garage back when it was a tiki party room with bamboo and photos of chimps dressed up in various costumes of different professions doctor football player library administrator poet laurette hugh hefner, the list goes on...soon, the jammed garage]e door, the accumulation of stuff and the animals would take over- a great dane and 6 cats with a new litter born each season ading layers of waste and fleas and stench....yuk!!!!

My oldest brother, mike played the trumpet - was first chair at Fountain Valley High School - as the story goes(there were many stories one of which involves the garage and how it got to be in such a state- turns out Bobbi's husband, Scott, had a sports car, threw the keys over to Mike, and said to park it, in which Mike, an eager young lad, parked it allright- in the wrong gear, it thrusted into the garage door, jamming it shut for the remainder of time in which we lived in the house(for the real estate representative we saidd the selling point is "secure lock on garage door"..anyway I, he had a job lined up for him in the field of architecture- guess he was good and my dad had thhe necessary connections- but took up having a family and then continuing on from his work as a teenager from grocery store managing to representative for a Sundries company for a section of the NW because he had mouths to feed. And our dad - he also had a job lined up for him - but he hitchiked with a friend across the country did jobs here annd there built an extension and some stairs for my godmother in Connecticcut, joined the airforce went dancing found my mother went out every night for 45 days straight got marrried on day 45 or was it day 46 in July of '44, entered WWII doing mostly rescue missions in the Phillipines got out of the service and not long afterwards in October 23rd, 1946 the first of 6 children were born!!!! 53 years to the day after that, I married Justine!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

hmmm......I dont get it!!!!!


sleepy, Julian woke up again at 4 a.m. crying when I asked him about this he said something about not knowing why his eyes cried. I thought that was an interesting way of recounting the event. He is doing well with the potty training- he is pulling his underwear up and down putting the underwear back on with the tag on the back,he is letting us know when he has to pee with a progression of phrases leading towards but not yet arriving at "I have to pee" he picks up the bowl of his potty dumps it into the toilet flushes the toilet washes his hands puts the bowl back into his potty seat...he starts slipping up on a few of these tasks when the continuity is interrupted like having friends over for a playdate or a nap in a diaper or when he gets sleepy, but still, this past week is definate consistent progress towards independance in this up getting him to want to really brush his teeth and not just moving the brush around, eating the toothpaste off the brush!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007