Allan Graham SITE Santa Fe Jan. 2000

Allan Graham: As REAL as thinking

Allan Graham SITE Santa Fe Jan 2000                                                  Nicole Blaisdell Ivey

SITE Santa Fe presents an exhibition by New Mexico-based artist Allan Graham featuring a comprehensive overview of his work.  The exhibition, entitled Allan Graham/TH: AS REAL as thinking, is curated by Kathleen Shields.  The unusual title of the exhibition comes from AS REAL as thinking, a line from a Robert Creeley poem together with TH that stands for Toadhouse, a pseudonym that Allan Graham worked under for part of his career.

Born in 1943, Allan Graham has lived in New Mexico for nearly 35 years.  Among other exhibitions, Graham showed Cave of Generation at the Fisher Landau Center, Long Island City, New York in 1992 and The Collection of Panza di Biumo, Artists of the 80s and 90s at Museo D’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento and Roveretto, Italy in 1996.  Collections of Graham’s work are at the Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano, Switzerland; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Gus Blaisdell and Allan Graham

Allan Graham/TH: AS REAL as thinking will present selected works from the past 15 years in individual, yet interrelated, installations that both underscore the experience of the respective groups of works and tie together the forms and ideas that underlie them.  Concurrently, SITE Santa Fe will present a gallery of paintings, selected by Allan Graham, by his friend and fellow artist Oli Sihvonen (1921-1991).

AS REAL as thinking will include works such as Judas Hangs Himself, 1984, a pivotal piece in which the painting support seems to have turned inside out or its surface to have been split and turned in on itself and Moon II, 1986, representing the period during which Graham abandoned the traditional painting format to create a series of large, eccentrically shaped, monochrome canvases.

Gus Blaisdell                     SITE Santa Fe                                            Nicole Blaisdell Ivey

Also part of the exhibition, TIDE, 1995, featuring four sets of cast bronze coffee mugs placed on the floor suggests the simple beauty of everyday objects while offering subtle allusions to intersections of presence and absence, fullness and emptiness.allan-graham-site-2-e1551932538299.jpg

Stanley Cavell recording at The Living Batch

Gus Blaisdell, Stanley Cavell, David Jones –                                                                              Living Batch Bookstore     Albuquerque, New Mexico

https://duende.bandcamp.com/album/stanley-cavell-in-albuquerque

 

DREAMENWOUND

©Jimmy Descant Slaven, LA-the line and the plug photo©Nicole Blaisdell Iveya poem discovered, unfinished, unsent,

from son to father

 

Dreamenwound so enhanced

High noon shadowless except

Under the soles of your boots

Glaring blaze of noon a sound

Silences engulf and swelter

 

“How can man die better

Than facing fearful odds

For the ashes of his fathers

And the temples of his gods”

Around him throng the fathers

To press his gory hands

 

Horizon for these notions disappear

Erasing the ideas. A blackboard

Once had diagrams of the offense

Navy beats Army yesterday. And I say

This one is for you, my old dead dad.

 

For whom I was always being

Knocked galley west, my timbers shivered

The sun was always over the yardarm

Somewhere in the world. Aye, matey!

The Snake said, It’s the black spot for ye!

 

Can’t get back the dreamenwound

Lost in the bacon, toast, and scrambled eggs

In this morning’s breakfast

At the Frontier, another horizon, a limit                                                                                           To discoveries mainly indigestive.

 

Gus

 

 

Creole ghost ©Nicole Blaisdell Ivey

a letter finished, sent, father to son

Dear Luc                                                                                                         12-6-84

 

Here’s a little something.  Have a fine Christmas.

I also think of you a lot, concern and love, not worry and irritation.  I too had trouble finding my place in a world that mostly scared me and one for which I felt almost completely inadequate: I was school smart but not worldly wise. I stumbled along and was lucky – as I said to you the last time we were together, if I could give you anything I have it would be my luck.  But luck, it now occurs to me, is not passive. Good sense can be made out of believing we have a hand in our luck, we help make it, get ourselves in shape for it and ready ourselves to receive it (Religious people call this Gods grace because you can’t bargain for it. He gives or withholds it nobody knows how or why.)

You have a good heart and a sound intelligence. Anger and fear can offset the first, even ruin it. It is more important to have a good heart than a fine or great mind, and you have that, strong like your ability at basketball. I wonder how we could put it to the wonderful use it deserves?

Schools are odd places. They speak a strange language. Many people learn it, get the hang of the jargon – for that is what it is: plain English could as easily be spoken.  But as with anything strange or foreign it can be translated into the more basic, plain and direct words of your own experience.  You have to get the hang of it. One of the most important things we can learn is to be good listeners and to feel what other people are feeling, where they are coming from, their need, desires and wants.  Would you feel ignorant if hearing Japanese spoken by me you didn’t understand what I was saying?  No, because you could ask me to translate that into English and would know that if you could or wanted to you too could learn that odd language.  Academese, the jargon spoken in schools, is just a sublanguage of English – like hipsters, bloods and Valley girls, and them argols. Learn to listen and feel, and don’t be fearful or angry. I’m reminded of something Gandhi said when he was asked by his disciples what they should do once he was gone.  “Be a little kinder,” was all he said; great words, great feelings put directly and simply. Feel them. And you already have the kindness; the smarts can be picked up much more easily.

As you can see from where I began this note I’d not planned such a long letter. I guess I wanted to chat with you on the page.  I want you to know these things I feel about you – kind, intelligent and loyal and loving. Nothing could be better. Your withdrawal from the world is also the world’s loss. God knows how much help it could use, how much goodness it needs –

If I go on I risk repeating myself. KISS, I tell myself. Keep It Simple Stupid, a fine rule for writing.

Don’t doubt my feelings for you.

I love you,

Gus

 

 

 

 

Seeing it and then some

KRISTIN DIENER   jewelry

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Photographing Kristin Diener’s stunning art jewelry on these wonderful human beings was both mesmerizing and fantastic. To see more treasures follow the link to  Kristin Diener    *studio jewelry photographs by Margot Geist

Living Batch Bookstore

DSC_3982

Gus Blaisdell at The Living Batch Bookstore

Living Batch Bookstore

From the abq journal 1996

Living Batch’s Last Day Dec. 24

The Living Batch, one of the oldest bookstores in New Mexico, is closing next month, after being in business on the same block for 27 years.

On Dec. 24 it will shut its doors at 106 Cornell SE, which is next door to the Frontier restaurant.

“The main reason we’re closing is that I don’t want to do it any more,” said owner Gus Blaisdell, a parttime film instructor at the University of New Mexico.

But that decision is influenced by several factors.

One is the arrival of the mega-bookstores in the Northeast Heights.

Their immediate effect is that a variety of customers no longer shop at the Living Batch.

“Before the superstores, we discovered that the most interesting sale days in our store were weekends. People drove from all over the city to come and shop,” Blaisdell said.

Another factor is his disenchantment with mainstream publishing.

“The price of books is excluding young readers,” he said, noting that three hardback books can retail for as much as $100.

Blaisdell said he’s considered, and rejected, the notion of reducing the store’s space and narrowing the subjects to what the Living Batch specializes in — alternative fiction, poetry, politics, art and architecture, psychoanalysis and works from small presses.

If the store changed its direction and size, Blaisdell said, there probably wouldn’t be sufficient readers to buy books “in these prices, in these times in Albuquerque.”

In addition, he said, none of his children nor present or former employees expressed interest in maintaining the bookstore.

“A literary period of mass readership for the small bookstore is passing out of democratic politics,” Blaisdell said. “I think inexpensive books should be available to a large number of people, if they want to read.

“So, through various circumstances, we have become extinct.”