On Wednesday, I drove down to Oklahoma City to hear an artist's talk by Petah Coyne, a very prominent contemporary artist from NYC. The talk was held at Untitled[ArtSpace], where they will be exhibiting Modern Materials, the art quilt exhibit I'm curating for next summer. Petah gave a delightful and insightful talk that made me realize that I don't necessarily think like some artists do.
When Petah was a younger artist, she had a compulsion for collecting dead fish and she used them to festoon the rafters of her NYC loft. After her husband developed an allergic sensitivity to them, she used the 5,000 fish to decorate other places instead. At one point, she discovered a charming home in Long Island and, in the middle of the night, strung lines through the trees outside the front door of the house, then hung a large number of the dead fish on the lines. She was so hurt the next day when the homeowner came outside and reacted negatively to the fish that decorated his front yard. To Petah, the fish were a great gift and she couldn't understand why the homeowner didn't love them the same way she did. As I have never collected dead fish or even decorated with one of them, I suspect that the left side of my brain must have a bigger hold on me than my artwork would suggest.
After the lecture, an extremely nice woman named Michi Susan took me out to dinner in The Paseo Art District, where she has a studio. She creates beautiful collaged artwork using paper. Not only did she pay for my food (I probably ate 95% of the calories between the two of us), but she also listened quite graciously to my incessant babbling. Afterward, we returned to the gallery and spent the night, along with Laura Warriner (the gallery founder) in the second floor bedrooms. What an amazing, art-filled place!
The next morning, we gathered up another woman and the four of us ate breakfast at a Guatamalan restaurant. The biggest surprise there was the way they prepared oatmeal. Imagine milk soup that has some oatmeal floating around in it. It was surpringly tasty, however.
After breakfast, we returned to the gallery and I had a planning session for Modern Materials with Laura, Jon Burris, (Executive Director), Jan Evans (Program Coordinator) and Autumn Daves (Development/PR Coordinator). We managed to get a lot done and, to help them with their work on the exhibit, I gave Jan and Autumn a couple of the cows that had wandered through the gallery model a while back. I hope that the cows bring them good luck and that the staff can save them from any future alien abductions.