A Feminist Discussion

July 29, 2019



It's an email like I get many: am I interested in writing a piece about the artist who I once exhibited, and this for a publication on women artists - "100 women artists", to be exact. No mention of a budget. "Sure", I write back, "What is the fee?" And then comes the second email, again same old shit, saying that there is no budget. 

I try to be positive about it and give the two women who are addressing me a great conceptual idea: why don't they ask men to write all the pieces about women artists for free? I mean, feminism is not against men, isn't it, and this way men can contribute and do some work for equality instead of always women doing the job. At the same time they can experience how it is to live a precarious existence. 

I thought it was a great idea but they didn't like it. Their project is an all-female project, they wrote proudly, even the lector and the graphic designer are female! I wonder if also the printer of the publication is female, and if all of them don't get paid, or just, as usual, the artists and the writers. 

But they have apparently good hearts: they tell me that they also want to give visibility to people like me, the female curators who write the pieces. I find it very suspect when people ask me to do something for their project that will give me publicity. It reminds me of what Heidi and Peter Gente of Merve Verlag said: "Unsere Werbung besteht darin, an bestimmten Orten nicht in Erscheinung zu treten." [Our publicity is to not make an appearance at certain places."]

Following my remark that a so-called critical project like theirs should be transparent about budget in the first email, they argue that they wanted to check if I'm really interested in the project - I guess like "genuinely interested" without the corruption of a money motive... Also, they wanted to keep the first email short. Right, the first thing to do when you want to keep it short, is to leave the mention of budget out. 

But they regret very much that I don't want to engage in a project - let me quote here, because this one is beautiful: "if you can't support our project under these conditions (investing your time for less then a page for the greater good and visibility), this is a way to go. We are going for the crowd to support each other to change the art world, instead of not starting (a revolution) at all because we do not get paid."

I was almost happy they didn't write the word "exposure". What about you?

Let me talk also about the artist they wanted me to write about. She is internationally famous, exhibits worldwide, has two galleries and was just prominently featured at the Whitney Biennial. She clearly doesn't need to be made visible, as she's known as an artist and, thank you lord, not reduced to her gender (men never are!).

So is this selection of artists more about their own benefit? 

It was the last question I asked and I'm eagerly waiting their response. If you want to be kept up to date about this, let me know. I could turn this blog post into a sequel. 







It's an email like I get many: am I interested in writing a piece about the artist who I once exhibited, and this for a publication on women artists - "100 women artists", to be exact. No mention of a budget. "Sure", I write back, "What is the fee?" And  then  comes the second email, again same old shit, saying that there is no budget.  I try to be positive about it and give the two women who are addressing me a gr…


It's an email like I get many: am I interested in writing a piece about the artist who I once exhibited, and this for a publication on women artists - "100 women artists", to be exact. No mention of a budget. "Sure", I write back, "What is the fee?" And then comes the second email, again same old shit, saying that there is no budget. 

I try to be positive about it and give the two women who are addressing me a great conceptual idea: why don't they ask men to write all the pieces about women artists for free? I mean, feminism is not against men, isn't it, and this way men can contribute and do some work for equality instead of always women doing the job. At the same time they can experience how it is to live a precarious existence. 

I thought it was a great idea but they didn't like it. Their project is an all-female project, they wrote proudly, even the lector and the graphic designer are female! I wonder if also the printer of the publication is female, and if all of them don't get paid, or just, as usual, the artists and the writers. 

But they have apparently good hearts: they tell me that they also want to give visibility to people like me, the female curators who write the pieces. I find it very suspect when people ask me to do something for their project that will give me publicity. It reminds me of what Heidi and Peter Gente of Merve Verlag said: "Unsere Werbung besteht darin, an bestimmten Orten nicht in Erscheinung zu treten." [Our publicity is to not make an appearance at certain places."]

Following my remark that a so-called critical project like theirs should be transparent about budget in the first email, they argue that they wanted to check if I'm really interested in the project - I guess like "genuinely interested" without the corruption of a money motive... Also, they wanted to keep the first email short. Right, the first thing to do when you want to keep it short, is to leave the mention of budget out. 

But they regret very much that I don't want to engage in a project - let me quote here, because this one is beautiful: "if you can't support our project under these conditions (investing your time for less then a page for the greater good and visibility), this is a way to go. We are going for the crowd to support each other to change the art world, instead of not starting (a revolution) at all because we do not get paid."

I was almost happy they didn't write the word "exposure". What about you?

Let me talk also about the artist they wanted me to write about. She is internationally famous, exhibits worldwide, has two galleries and was just prominently featured at the Whitney Biennial. She clearly doesn't need to be made visible, as she's known as an artist and, thank you lord, not reduced to her gender (men never are!).

So is this selection of artists more about their own benefit? 

It was the last question I asked and I'm eagerly waiting their response. If you want to be kept up to date about this, let me know. I could turn this blog post into a sequel. 







M.B. half Memorial Birthday Party at the Mini-golf Hasenheide

July 28, 2019


My favourite Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers died on his birthday, 28 January (1924-1976). It was Michal B. Ron who told me so today. Michal knows because she has written her PhD on Marcel Broodthaers. She has also been celebrating the artist's birthday for a few years now. Michal has a great sensibility for organising those birthday parties with care and poetry, doing also justice to Broodthaers' fine humour. This year she invited us on Sunday, July 28, for a M.B. half Memorial Birthday Party at the mini-golf course in Hasenheide. Summers are just nicer to celebrate than winters are.



On our arrival, Michal showed us a picture of Marcel Broodthaers, Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, Section Documentaire, Sommer 1969, in Le Coq at the Belgian coast. In 1968, Broodthaers had started his Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles at his own house in Brussels and he would reinstall it at various places until 1972: “This Museum is a fictitious museum. It plays the role of, on the one hand, a political parody of art shows and, on the other hand, an artistic parody of political events”. 






And so, in the summer of 1969, the artist drew in the sand of the Le Coq beach the floor plan of his museum, adding a warning to the public that it was forbidden to walk on the constructions: "Il est strictement interdit de circuler sur les travaux." / "Verboden op de werken te gaan." 





Also at the mini golf course, you're not allowed to walk or stand on the course/obstacles, but this is not necessary to play. Michal had seven mini-golf balls ready for us, inscribed with the initials of Marcel Broodthaers (M.B., M. and B.) and his wife Maria Gilissen (M.G., G. and M.G.B), who was the one who had motivated Marcel Broodthaers to make art, which led to the famous quote: “I, too, wondered whether I could not sell something and find some success in life. For some time I had been no good at anything. I am 40 years old...Finally the idea of inventing something insincere crossed my mind, and I set to work straightaway."




Since I was the first one to arrive, I got to choose the ball with M.B. 

 

I did honour to M.B. by winning with two strokes on all the first tracks but then started slacking when they got more complicated. My dog O was also more interested in the nearby dog park than in my game. So I ended up taking a break when I didn't manage to play the holes anymore within seven strokes. Somebody else was eager to take my place and that way I missed out on the ice-cream promised to us at the end of the 18 courses. 





But let's finish with good news: Michal told me that a big Broodthaers retrospective "Marcel Broodthaers – Soleil Politique" is opening in Antwerp's MUHKA at the beginning of October. Let's celebrate some more...





My favourite Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers died on his birthday, 28 January (1924-1976). It was Michal B. Ron who told me so today. Michal knows because she has written her PhD on Marcel Broodthaers. She has also been celebrating the artist's birthday for a few years now . Michal has a great sensibility for organising those birthday parties with care and poetry, doing also justice to Broodthaers' fine humour. This year she invited us …

My favourite Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers died on his birthday, 28 January (1924-1976). It was Michal B. Ron who told me so today. Michal knows because she has written her PhD on Marcel Broodthaers. She has also been celebrating the artist's birthday for a few years now. Michal has a great sensibility for organising those birthday parties with care and poetry, doing also justice to Broodthaers' fine humour. This year she invited us on Sunday, July 28, for a M.B. half Memorial Birthday Party at the mini-golf course in Hasenheide. Summers are just nicer to celebrate than winters are.



On our arrival, Michal showed us a picture of Marcel Broodthaers, Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, Section Documentaire, Sommer 1969, in Le Coq at the Belgian coast. In 1968, Broodthaers had started his Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles at his own house in Brussels and he would reinstall it at various places until 1972: “This Museum is a fictitious museum. It plays the role of, on the one hand, a political parody of art shows and, on the other hand, an artistic parody of political events”. 






And so, in the summer of 1969, the artist drew in the sand of the Le Coq beach the floor plan of his museum, adding a warning to the public that it was forbidden to walk on the constructions: "Il est strictement interdit de circuler sur les travaux." / "Verboden op de werken te gaan." 





Also at the mini golf course, you're not allowed to walk or stand on the course/obstacles, but this is not necessary to play. Michal had seven mini-golf balls ready for us, inscribed with the initials of Marcel Broodthaers (M.B., M. and B.) and his wife Maria Gilissen (M.G., G. and M.G.B), who was the one who had motivated Marcel Broodthaers to make art, which led to the famous quote: “I, too, wondered whether I could not sell something and find some success in life. For some time I had been no good at anything. I am 40 years old...Finally the idea of inventing something insincere crossed my mind, and I set to work straightaway."




Since I was the first one to arrive, I got to choose the ball with M.B. 

 

I did honour to M.B. by winning with two strokes on all the first tracks but then started slacking when they got more complicated. My dog O was also more interested in the nearby dog park than in my game. So I ended up taking a break when I didn't manage to play the holes anymore within seven strokes. Somebody else was eager to take my place and that way I missed out on the ice-cream promised to us at the end of the 18 courses. 





But let's finish with good news: Michal told me that a big Broodthaers retrospective "Marcel Broodthaers – Soleil Politique" is opening in Antwerp's MUHKA at the beginning of October. Let's celebrate some more...





How To Frenchify Your Life

July 5, 2019



I'm drinking a coffee with a chocolatine at Bar à Pain. Two elderly ladies are sitting next to me accompanied by two poodles. A man walks by with a dog unleashed. It's a big dog, gently sniffing around, so it seems, but the poodles think differently. They go in a frenzy and start yapping. The lady agrees with her poodles. "Vous avez vu ce monstre!" she hisses.

A man rings the doorbell of a house. A woman answers through the speaker: "Tu as pris les courses?" [Did you bring the shopping?] The man makes a sound: "Ufff..." The woman : "Réponds à la question!" [Answer the question!]

A woman crosses the street during red light. I'm considering to do the same but then she meets my eyes and says: "Ne fais pas comme moi!"[Don't do like me!]

In Marseille they don't eat pommes frites, they eat "panisse". Panisse are fries made of chick pea flower and they are in the form of half moons. I'm at a bar in Endoume and am giving the panisse an inquiring look. "C'est pas gras," the bartender says, "c'est bon pour le régime!" [It's not greasy, it's good for diet!]

A bit before arriving at the bar, I already tackled La Tarte Tropézienne, which consists of a brioche with a nice layer of orange blossomed flavored cream in between. It's amazing and I ate it in one go. Wikipedia says it was created in 1955 by Alexandre Micka, who was making the meals for the film crew of Et Dieu créa la femme. It was Brigitte Bardot herself who named the pastry. The conversation is said to have gone as followed:
“You should give a name to your dessert” recommended Brigitte Bardot one day.
“Why not calling it the Saint-Tropez Pie?”

I'm eating at La boîte a Sardines for lunch. There's a heatwave going on: "La Canicule" they call it in French. On TV there're special adds warning elderly people to stay indoors and drink a lot of water and no alcohol. But it's full of elderly people at La Boîte and they are drinking wine. I look at them, wondering silently: "Shouldn't you be inside?" But I guess when you're old there are always other people who you consider to be older.

My sister is watching the soap series Plus Belle La Vie about people in Marseille. It's kind of like The Bold and the Beautiful but then with really beautiful people. I tell my sister it looks very unreal but then after some time in Marseille I realise people do look like that. It might also be the strong contrast, after German life, to meet people who have aesthetics. 

Meringue, this huge sugary thing, is everywhere in Marseille. I wonder who eats it, because the French all look so thin. It's also a mystery to me how at noon they can eat a menu including desert, drink a bottle of wine, and finish it off with an amaretto. Do they take a nap at work? 




I'm drinking a coffee with a chocolatine at Bar à Pain. Two elderly ladies are sitting next to me accompanied by two poodles. A man walks by with a dog unleashed. It's a big dog, gently sniffing around, so it seems, but the poodles think differently. They go in a frenzy and start yapping. The lady agrees with her poodles. "Vous avez vu ce monstre!" she hisses. A man rings the doorbell of a house. A woman answers through the spea…


I'm drinking a coffee with a chocolatine at Bar à Pain. Two elderly ladies are sitting next to me accompanied by two poodles. A man walks by with a dog unleashed. It's a big dog, gently sniffing around, so it seems, but the poodles think differently. They go in a frenzy and start yapping. The lady agrees with her poodles. "Vous avez vu ce monstre!" she hisses.

A man rings the doorbell of a house. A woman answers through the speaker: "Tu as pris les courses?" [Did you bring the shopping?] The man makes a sound: "Ufff..." The woman : "Réponds à la question!" [Answer the question!]

A woman crosses the street during red light. I'm considering to do the same but then she meets my eyes and says: "Ne fais pas comme moi!"[Don't do like me!]

In Marseille they don't eat pommes frites, they eat "panisse". Panisse are fries made of chick pea flower and they are in the form of half moons. I'm at a bar in Endoume and am giving the panisse an inquiring look. "C'est pas gras," the bartender says, "c'est bon pour le régime!" [It's not greasy, it's good for diet!]

A bit before arriving at the bar, I already tackled La Tarte Tropézienne, which consists of a brioche with a nice layer of orange blossomed flavored cream in between. It's amazing and I ate it in one go. Wikipedia says it was created in 1955 by Alexandre Micka, who was making the meals for the film crew of Et Dieu créa la femme. It was Brigitte Bardot herself who named the pastry. The conversation is said to have gone as followed:
“You should give a name to your dessert” recommended Brigitte Bardot one day.
“Why not calling it the Saint-Tropez Pie?”

I'm eating at La boîte a Sardines for lunch. There's a heatwave going on: "La Canicule" they call it in French. On TV there're special adds warning elderly people to stay indoors and drink a lot of water and no alcohol. But it's full of elderly people at La Boîte and they are drinking wine. I look at them, wondering silently: "Shouldn't you be inside?" But I guess when you're old there are always other people who you consider to be older.

My sister is watching the soap series Plus Belle La Vie about people in Marseille. It's kind of like The Bold and the Beautiful but then with really beautiful people. I tell my sister it looks very unreal but then after some time in Marseille I realise people do look like that. It might also be the strong contrast, after German life, to meet people who have aesthetics. 

Meringue, this huge sugary thing, is everywhere in Marseille. I wonder who eats it, because the French all look so thin. It's also a mystery to me how at noon they can eat a menu including desert, drink a bottle of wine, and finish it off with an amaretto. Do they take a nap at work? 




Venezia: La Belleza

June 24, 2019



An owner with a poodle walks by the bar. The dog stops and doesn't want to move further. "No andiamo en bar", the owner says to the dog. 

Venice is a very cheerful city. Everything seems to be cheering: the gondolas, the water, the houses, the people. Even the seagulls are cawing with laughter. 

"Das Italienisch ist ganz schon schlapp hier", I hear a German tourists complain. (the Italian is quite limp here.)


Venice is the city of pigeons. "Don't feed the pigeons" a sign says on San Marco. It threatens with a big fine if you do. Have you ever asked yourself why you never see baby pigeons? The ornithologist Frank Steinheimer explained this to me: the parents feed their chicks with a rich milk that they keep somewhere in pockets around their mouth and the baby pigeons grow so fast that you never see them small. 

Next to me a woman talks on the phone. Her Italian is like a babbling brook, speaking very fast and continuously. The poodle is immaculately coiffured with beautiful fluffy ears. Behind us the gondolas pass by on the canal. The woman calls her poodle "Café". 



Next to me on a terrace on Campo S.S. Filippo E. Giacomo an Australian elderly couple is drinking wine. They look suspiciously at my Spritz and ask if it's any good. The woman decides to order one but finds it tastes like medicine. They tell me about their one-month trip. They had to get up every day at 6am in Turkey because of their tour guide. Then their cruise ship, which was supposed to give them some rest, got cancelled in Greece because of an accident. He lost his phone and they both got the flu in Milan. They find Venice horribly touristy compared to fifteen years ago and have decided that in general, travelling is terribly exhausting. It's the last time they are going to travel outside Australia. The husband ends up drinking the Spritz.

On my way out of the hotel I tell the receptionist that the internet is not working. He's sweating and says the internet is the least of his worries at the moment. 

An owner with a poodle walks by the bar. The dog stops and doesn't want to move further. "No andiamo en bar", the owner says to the dog.  Venice is a very cheerful city. Everything seems to be cheering: the gondolas, the water, the houses, the people. Even the seagulls are cawing with laughter.  "Das Italienisch ist ganz schon schlapp hier", I hear a German tourists complain. (the Italian is quite limp here.) Venice is the c…


An owner with a poodle walks by the bar. The dog stops and doesn't want to move further. "No andiamo en bar", the owner says to the dog. 

Venice is a very cheerful city. Everything seems to be cheering: the gondolas, the water, the houses, the people. Even the seagulls are cawing with laughter. 

"Das Italienisch ist ganz schon schlapp hier", I hear a German tourists complain. (the Italian is quite limp here.)


Venice is the city of pigeons. "Don't feed the pigeons" a sign says on San Marco. It threatens with a big fine if you do. Have you ever asked yourself why you never see baby pigeons? The ornithologist Frank Steinheimer explained this to me: the parents feed their chicks with a rich milk that they keep somewhere in pockets around their mouth and the baby pigeons grow so fast that you never see them small. 

Next to me a woman talks on the phone. Her Italian is like a babbling brook, speaking very fast and continuously. The poodle is immaculately coiffured with beautiful fluffy ears. Behind us the gondolas pass by on the canal. The woman calls her poodle "Café". 



Next to me on a terrace on Campo S.S. Filippo E. Giacomo an Australian elderly couple is drinking wine. They look suspiciously at my Spritz and ask if it's any good. The woman decides to order one but finds it tastes like medicine. They tell me about their one-month trip. They had to get up every day at 6am in Turkey because of their tour guide. Then their cruise ship, which was supposed to give them some rest, got cancelled in Greece because of an accident. He lost his phone and they both got the flu in Milan. They find Venice horribly touristy compared to fifteen years ago and have decided that in general, travelling is terribly exhausting. It's the last time they are going to travel outside Australia. The husband ends up drinking the Spritz.

On my way out of the hotel I tell the receptionist that the internet is not working. He's sweating and says the internet is the least of his worries at the moment.