Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Second Seating Returns

Busy days at Diverse Works recreating portions of 2009's Second Seating. I wish all seven of the collaborating artists were represented in this redo, but space did not permit. The original show was huge, covering over 2500 square feet. This Second Seating comeback shares about 2000 square feet with five other Idea Fund grantees. The gallery is full, the projects diverse. Where might we have hung Jesse's coffee cup batik? As a swath across a corner of the gallery? Maybe. I still have Gonzo's crazy orange and yellow chandelier, but his terrific table and four chairs are long gone. Ted Estrada's table is no long either and I bet those pinata parrots have flown off too. So, here's to all of the artists who participated in the original Second Seating and are not represented in this rehash called 'Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other'. I am preparing a folder with information about all the artists in that installation on Chenevert. It was way bigger than what we are recreating.
Last Friday, ES and moved two car loads of stuff from Sonny's place. Box after box after box stacked up in a corner of the DW gallery. Am I a hoarder or what?
Beautiful still life in a U.S. Postal box.
Worked Saturday on the Wall of Plates and got started on the banquet table. Rachel hung Mercedes Fernandez' two tall embroidered paintings and they look good.
On Monday, Paul and I picked up the table for the Clorox chandelier from Sonny's warehouse and then stopped by my house to pack - very carefully - the spun sugar cathedral and the Hughes Tool pipe lights. Thank you, Sonny, for loaning us your red truck for the second time.
Sugar cathedral arrives at Diverse Works all in one piece.
Paul and Taylor hung three chandeliers on Monday. All the light bulbs work. Hurray! However, the new structure for the Clorox chandelier has a larger diameter than I'd planned - can't control everything - so this morning I'll cut up a white tablecloth and knot in more widths of fabric between the swags of filigreed Clorox bottles. That mirrored ball light should be almost obscured and it's not YET. But it will be by mid-day today.
On Friday morning the Wall of Plates will be totally finished when Jose Solis delivers his totem of china cups and vases for the center piece. He's traveling from Brownsville with the work on Thursday. In a few minutes I am off to DW for another day of assembling.
DW has been great. They actually have folks who help with the installation. Paul was been wonderful. He rebuilt an entire new structure for the wall of plates. Rachel is terrific at overseeing and planning our progress. Taylor was a wonderful help yesterday. Wish she were there again today while I'm up on the ladder messing with the Clorox bottle chandelier.
I was surprised by all this assistance. I'd expected I'd have to find folks to help me get it all together. Couldn't have imagined all the help I'm getting from DW. Thank you, thank you.

OK, it's Tuesday and time to pick up those few remaining Clorox bottles from Sonny's and get on over to DW and up on that ladder. And after that, on to the banquet table which needs a lot of tweaking.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Second Seating Comeback

Second Seating, September 2009
Several weeks ago I received an email from Diverse Works. Second Seating, that full blown installation I created in 2009, has been selected for a rerun in July, along with a dozen other of the sixty projects  DW supported with Andy Warhol Idea Fund grants. Nice.
Especially nice, as I saved so much of Second Seating, most of it packed away at Sonny's place. I can never bear to get rid of an entire installation. For years, I held on to the enormous Styrofoam boulder that Carol Gerhardt and I made for Silicon Stones in 1985. In my back garden, there are at least a ton of the river stones we used in that Houston Center For Photography installation. I've moved them twice. Imagine.
This morning I went to Sonny's to sort through many, many boxes.  Emptied several big trash bags stuffed with filigreed Clorox bottles. Must give thought to how I will reconfigure a Clorox bottle chandelier. Much of the original chandelier was used for a commissioned piece after the exhibition closed. Made a bit smaller version that could be used in a dining room. But enough filigreed bottles remain so that I can create swags. Can the swags be turned into a Maypole on the DW ceiling with that twirling mirrored ball in its center?
Original installtion of Wall of Plates, 2009.
Sure hope that DW can/will actually move the Wall of Plates into their space. We'll have to cut the wall in half and reassemble, as their doors aren't big enough for it to pass through. Days ago, in the back garden, I spread out  the 10 x 20 foot patchwork table cloth that so many women helped piece together from those fabrics damaged during Hurricanie Ike. Sadly, I tore sections of it apart about six months ago for no good reason.  I will figure something out, create a smaller banquet table.
Detail of patchwork banquet tablecloth.
This morning, I covered the floor with plates and other paraphernalia. Just had to see what remained. I have plenty to work with. I sense already that I am going to be in severe edit mode. After all, I am sharing the DW gallery space with other Idea Fund artists.
Here's hoping though, that even a reduced Banquet Table will look something like this. Found the rooster and all the pieces of that glass chandelier this morning. Everything is ready for re-installation. Thanks, DW, for offering literally offering a second seating for Second Seating.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Remembering Second Seating, One Year Later

Second Seating opened one year ago. September 24, 2009. Since it's nearly 1:00 a.m. on September 25, I've missed acknowledging the anniversary of the opening by an hour. Instead of posting on this blog at the very moment in time when Second Seating was crowded with people, I chose to spend the evening watching three episodes of Mad Man, Season 2 with Earl. Choices, choices. But, Second Seating has been on my mind of late. I guess that is what anniversaries are for. Remembering.
A year ago last Thursday evening, Second Seating opened with mariachis and speeches and was just about everything I hoped it would be. All three of my daughters were in town as were Queta and her mom and Lulu Bell.
Mixing and mingling in the crowd were the participating artists (except for Ted and Jose) and they brought their families and friends.
Funders and sponsors were there, officials, district board members, people who volunteered their time and expertise were on hand, so, so many good friends and and lots of interested folks who'd heard about the exhibition and simply 'showed up'.
So, all day Thursday and Friday as I worked on artist contracts for my new project and found myself in meeting after meeting, I wondered how to commemorate this particular anniversary. I thought about going to lunch with friends at Irma's and ordering the Second Seating Special. Would the staff at Irma's still remember what the lunch plate comprised?
I have reminisced about how beautiful it looked that first night and have thought about the many people who crowded the space. There was a certain electricity in the air, for me at least. For the run of the show, we scheduled a series of evening gatherings and field trips, hosting almost 2000 people who found their way to that metal building.
Some more things I remember? Moving Irma's canvas laundry bags over to the vintage linens table under the Clorox bottle chandelier, so those bursting laundry bags became part of the installation. I remember calling Carmella Rojas time and again to ask her to make just 'another three" and then just another 'four or five' filigreed Clorox bottles, so we'd have enough for that six foot tall chandelier.
The same music played day after day and I know some of the docents got really bored with the tapes, but I loved the songs and truly, I think I never tired of them because for me they spoke about the installation itself. I loved fiddling with the banquet table which was encrusted with bowls and jars and candles and fresh fruit and my sugar cathedrals and cazuelas filled with dried pinto beans and endless items I found at garage sales and The Guild Shop.
During the run of the exhibition, I even created a book on Blurb about this table called "Overheard at Second Seating" which was filled with word vignettes and images taken from the banquet table. I loved the light fixtures made with sections of Baker Hughes oil drilling pipes that sat on a a compressed ton of aluminum soda and beer cans.
I loved the thousands of oyster shells that I collected from Goode Seafood and then dried out behind the studio and which Alex washed and carted down to the space as we installed the show. I loved Gonzo 24/7's painted patterns on the chandelier that hung over a table encrusted with silver shell dishes and goblets and messages about the destruction of our wetlands and oyster beds (and this was before the BP oil spill).
I loved Mark Ellis' ingenuity in pulling this encrusted table visually closer to its chandelier by attaching dozens of pieces of the plastic that hold six-packs together. That was brilliant. And I loved the wall of plates because of the very scale of it, right there at the entrance.
As I write, I remember more and more. It was a terrific experience to work with so many talented people: the artists, the friends who sewed on that huge 10 x 14 foot patchwork tablecloth, the carpenters, electricians and lighting folks, the graphic designers, those that worked on the data base and invitation list, the show's docents and the several folks who kept the place swept and the wine poured. We got preparations for a party or a 'gathering' down to under half an hour.
There were so many evening 'gatherings.' I loved the gathering in partnership with Aerosol Warfare when Carolyn Casey made dozens of LED 'throwies' and as many as 100 people threw these tiny magnet lights on the wall of our metal building.
In retrospect, Second Seating was a labor of love from beginning to end. A series of creative acts by many, many people. Lots of time spent raising money. Lots of time spent 'asking.' 'Asking' became, perhaps, my most creative act.
Just thinking about Second Seating makes me long for another and yet another space where folks can gather and ponder and feel as if they are somewhere special, spaces that are light filled, a bit romantic, a lot nostalgic and certainly dream-making. Second Seating was all of that for me.
Thanks to every single person who made Second Seating a real place in time. Thanks to every person who crossed that threshold into a special space in time.
Perhaps at long last, after seeing these images again, I'll get to that last big task on my Second Seating 'still to do' list. That task is to finish the 'unfinished book' called "The Making of Second Seating." Begun in early 2010 with great enthusiasm, it bogged down because of problems moving 'selected photos' online to Blurb. My entire iPhoto collection of images was inadvertently moved onto Blurb and their 'Help' got back to me saying, "Once on, on forever." How easy it was for me to lose heart at the thought of beginning all over again, especially since I really like the parts of the book already laid out.
Then, of course, I got taken up with this new project called 'lead artist on the architectural team for the Houston Permitting Center and Green Building Resource Center" that feels almost full time.
However, I feel inspired seeing Second Seating images again. "The Making of Second Seating" just made it back on my list of things to do.
Life is so full.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coffee Buffet Moves To METRO

At last, METRO installed Jesse Sifuentes' Second Seating coffee buffet and batik in their building lobby on Main Street. We talked about a move last fall when folks from METRO saw Second Seating. Seemed like a good idea as Jesse is one of their transit stop artists for the Harrisburg line. Good for folks to become familiar with his work and motifs. Good for public relations reasons. And good that the work won't simply be stored away in his garage for the summer. I'll have to take myself to METRO and see how it looks in the new digs.
Photos below are of Jesse moving the coffee buffet into the Second Seating space last September and then beginning to pack up the piece at the end of Second Seating last November after Art Crawl.