Danielle Deadwyler, BustItOpen, Performance, Photos: Alan Kimara Dixon
Looking at and experiencing artists’ work online has become the norm for so many of us over the past six months. It is my belief that art will get us through this time, and the way it is experienced and made will have new and different meanings.
The Art Section has always been about an exchange of ideas between artists and writers, musicians, poets, performance artists, and critics. During this time of isolation and sanctuary for so many people, The Art Section will be publishing two series of conversations and dialogues--one with internationally known artists, and another of discourses between artists and writers from Atlanta, Georgia where this publication is based with support from the Fulton County Arts Council (Georgia) The conversations were all done via email; the works and ideas were exchanged virtually, but are significant nevertheless.
Nicolette Reim, an artist and poet from New York and Atlanta, has given us a significant interchange with Charles Bernstein, a renowned Language Poet from New York. Bernstein’s new book of poems, The Course, which was written in collaboration with his long time friend and fellow poet Ted Greenwald (1942-2016), perfectly represents the kind of artistic interaction TAS is all about. Bernstein wrote about his friend in Ted’s Sublime Echos: “In the 1970s Ted and I would meet in the afternoons and talk til night. We even did a recording of a couple of dozen hours of our conversations. I owe a tremendous amount to those meetings and to our many conversations since. On this particular afternoon we talked at the bar in the back of the restaurant (I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was downtown).”
And about their last collaboration, “On July 2, 2015, Ted and I started on a collaboration, which we continued until June 11, 2016, just six days before Ted died. Ted and I exchanged lines back and forth over email, sometimes multiple times in a day and never less than every few days. After a while neither of us could fully separate what each had done, we were blowing together, back and forth, in a duet of, and as, time, bouncing off the moment as if it were a trampoline, tripping out into the eternity of the company, from dark to delight. There was no sense of unnecessary limit, no register we couldn’t play. The experience was of freedom within the constraints we made up intuitively for each poem.” (From Jacket2.org) This kind of informational flow between artists was realized in The Course, a truly collaborative venture.
Gail O’Neill interviewed Atlanta artist Musad Olufani about the ways his work reflects his life, both present and past. As a multimedia artist, his work is a reflection of his personal history. His maternal great grandfather, John Jones, was an enslaved person whose photo hangs in Olufani’s studio. This meeting point of past and present is where the artist’s ideas are realized as installation and sculpture.
Philip Auslander, critic, writer, scholar and actor, dialogued with performance artist, poet, and actor Danielle Deadwyler, an experimental artist who also acted in Tyler Perry’s prime time soap opera The Haves and Have-Nots. The contrast between these two sides of her work is clear, but the way her ideas of performance overlap gives a new insight into the artist’s work. Danielle has always been involved in multimedia and evolving platforms. In 2008, I asked Danielle, then a young artist, to write a something for The Art Section. Here is the poem we published:
God, too, delights in play--
In sniffing petals coloured as deep beyond the skin;
In carousing the heroine’s landscape
For puzzle pieces, grass beds, and open doors;
For sandcastles, frosted ornamentation,
And dollhouses only tinkered with in imagination, and memory.
Anything, that considers creation,
Through the final scrapings by white nails
Or smoothened between palm
Lifelines and weariness, continents, ouerves;
Praise for such sweets.
--Danielle Deadwyler, 2008
Thank you, artists, for being available for conversations at this difficult moment.
Stay well in body and mind,
The Art Section