Maria Luisa Anido & her 1864 Antonio de Torres guitar

Anido3Maestra Isabel María Luisa Anido

Original letter from Tomás Prat to the father of Maria Luisa Anido, in which the shipment of the [Antonio de Torres] guitar once owned by Francisco Tárrega is confirmed.


Barcelona, ​​August 2, 1917

Mr. Juan Carlos Anido, BA

I greet the distinguished friend Mr. Anido and his family.
With the steam “Balmes” will arrive to that of
Buenos Aires the guitar of the immortal Tárrega. He could not get on the mail “Infanta Isabel” because, when I received his letter, it was already full but will leave the 6th of Barcelona and will arrive at the end of August.
The guitar was made with what I said, but I did not receive any letter from Domingo in which I was given instructions on the shipment of the guitar, although I gave them more than enough.

A few days ago Master Llobet compared V.’s guitar with his own, seems to be very much in love with his guitar, so much that after much testing one and the other said: “the two are superior and look alike” but, for Me, is much better the V.  The guitar of Tárrega is of the year 1864 and the one of Llobet of 1857, therefore, if we were to the logical, Torres had more practice when it made the guitar of Tárrega than when it made the one of Llobet, Although this does not matter at all.
Yours is insurmountable.
Regarding the packaging of the guitar was done everything indicated V., the insurance of maritime accidents and war, the cost of packaging is 32 pesetas and insurance of more than 350 pesetas.

Surely my son will have already heard of our change of address but in case he forgot, I offer our new room: Gerona 113 ppal 2nd and here you have some friends willing to receive it on the planned tour in Spain, hopefully soon .

Greetings from my
family for yours and V. receive the affections of your friend

Tomás Prat

Maria Luisa Anido colorMaria Anido in 1922 with her Torres.

Every human being sometimes needs a kind of spiritual dialogue with the infinite, he needs to dream of that ever-moving immaterial beauty of poetry or music, recreating with colors or sonorities the mysterious impressions that awaken in his soul. {M.L.A.}


In  1977 Maria Luisa Anido had come to live in Barcelona bringing with her the Antonio de Torres that once belonged to Tarrega…. [which] Pujol recognized as the sweetest guitar that he had never heard. The guitar was in need of a restoration, since Maria Luisa had not wanted to take it to any Luthier, and it had remained unused for many years. In that state I had the opportunity to play it and I actually felt that sweetness that Pujol spoke of. Of course, we can think that my sensations were a product of the suggestion of the moment, but I think not, the Torres guitars, whatever you try, have a unique and special voice, although it had deteriorated, …it retained its characteristics. With that guitar I remember playing “Marieta” and … [seems to find no words]

It must have been very exciting to play a guitar that belonged to Tárrega…
that guitar is part of the voice of modern Spanish music. Torres is part of the nationalist-nationalistic voice in the aesthetic sense of Albéniz, Granados, Falla. One would not understand Spanish music without the unique voice of Torres’ guitars.
Carles Trepat

The instrument now fully restored.


the dream


All these strange black crystals lost in the night

the fallen fragments of worlds far, of worlds massive, of worlds far, far away.

There are monstrous ones like corpses of the drowned.

Some go under the moon, along the tides.

There are soft and fine ones like diseases.

There are some velvety and poisonous.

The still dreams. Deserted, immense, lunar.

To the nostalgic grasslands that cradle

and the supple lilac dreams that cling, the ecstasy.

The warm virgins go to the terraces

and the people of the great spheres, tall towards the golden domes,

(always that great dark weight in the sky)

love the ultramarine vegetation love the ultramarine vegetation.

Râaaaaaaaaaaaaga blancâ

The dusty velvet orchestras

watch the strange parade of pierrot’s of camellia below the closed balcony.

Silent fireworks shoot and big diaphanous fish

love the strange black crystals lost in the night,

the complex and decadent flowers loaded with the East,

and the black bouquets in the passionate souls.

Nostalgia of white of white – Algiers at midday – of white of white.

The fresh wood of lilac sins and the spirals the spirals.

There are monstrous and mushy ones, corpses of the drowned.

The hot vines and the warm herbs to the arid nomad.

Others to groups – masses of ivory sheep on the purple hills.

Nostalgia of white of white             nostalgia of white

The golden cities far from the minarets                                  the golden sky

travels towards the great still machines on the day of celebration.

(always that great dark weight in the sky)


Judith Fleishman ~ The Impossibility of Becoming

“The actual world wherein the aspiration and the service find their calling, seems to this consciousness no longer an essentially vain world, that is only to be destroyed and consumed, but rather, like the consciousness itself, a world broken in twain, which is only in one aspect vain, while in another aspect it is a sanctified world, wherein the Changeless is incarnate. For the Changeless has retained the nature of individuality, and being, as changeless, an Universal, its individuality has in general the significance of all actuality.”

Georg W.F. Hegal
Herning FolkSchool

Judith Fleishman studio, Herning Folk High School, Denmark, 1990

“The Velvet Hammer”
“Afraid to Dream”

The impossibility of becoming and/or coming into being play a major role in the object making and construction tradition that Fleishman is engaged in. This hypothetical postulate, which we are assuming to be true, that is without proof, is necessary for the sake of argument, like the Hegal quotation above, we can only assume the experience of the actual world. The “fact” of becoming or its impossibility is observable by the senses, as faulty they may be. Let belief structures manifest.

In a small brochure published in 1992 for her exhibition at the Johan Jonker Gallery, Fleishman, in the centerfold, has juxtaposed a photograph of a spiral nebula intermingling with systems of stars next to one of her objects entitled “the velvet hammer.” Since 1990 Fleishman has taken mundane or everyday objects and removed them from use/context value by defacement of surface, for example, covering, painting, or cutting.


By covering numerous objects, such as telephones, kitchen utensils and even police barricades, with sometimes yards of black velvet cloth and faux pearls (they look like stars), she has been able to remove their identifiable sign or value systems. It is generally understood that all objects project meaning beyond their use and purpose. Here Fleishman is able to focus on the semiotic and the transference of meaning. In “the velvet hammer,” 1991, and photographic juxtaposition of the spiral nebula, a distant galaxy in Andromeda, science fiction, savage poetics, and “beautiful” object making are combined, allowing the poetical and the psychological to intertwine with the particular and local. The majority of the “Black Velvet” objects, produced between 1990 and 1994, all involve analogy and transfer of sign value, generally into the impenetrable non-space of mystery and eternity.
“Afraid to Dream,” another object from the same period, is an oversized mop handle with hair in place of the mop itself, a strange title, but one can almost imagine this situation, a state on non-becoming, where the psyche is destroyed, or used as an object for the general clean up of human emotions and ambitions.

“The Spectator”
“Sin City”

“The Spectator” 1994

The Spectator” W139 Amsterdam, 1995, 39′ x 11′ x 11′, second hand wood, found objects

The removal or displacement of sign-system identification found in Fleishman’s objects continues in concrete dimensionality in her installations and performances. One example of this is found in the work entitled “The Spectator,” 1994. This site specific installation/sculpture and audience participation piece consists of a full scale thirty-eight foot observation tower made of wood that one is able to climb up into. Once you are there, you are able to look around, sit or just think. To actually experience this work completely, one has to climb up into its interior. From the ground it looks just like an abandoned tower, but upon closer examination its true nature and purpose becomes known. A change of viewpoint and inner reflection is offered to the viewer by this process of climbing.Sight_09


Inside the interior of this installation, a book bag with a wide selection of books are available “Marquis de Sade”, “The Age of Longing” and the “I Ching.”  Other objects, seemingly left by someone in the tower, tell an unusual story: a few coins, women’s clothes, lipstick, perfume, condoms, even a Herald Tribune. Here you are allowed to become “The Spectator,” to watch and be watched on many metaphorical levels. The ob_42physical action of looking and the sexual action of looking and being looked at are played out in this semi-private space. The actuality of seeing and not being seen is itself the classic panoptic arrangement. Self-examination and resolution comes to a possible closure with the inclusion of the rope in this private/public space of seeing and being not-seen.

“Sin City”, Sculpture Space, Utica NY, 1996, dimensions variable, local flora & fauna, found objects, photos, poems , clothes line

“Sin City,” an installation from 1996, forms a trajectory away in some degree from the above mentioned thoughts on Fleishman’s explorations of contextual rearrangements and psycho-personal object making. “Sin City” in some ways is a metaphor for the failure of the industrial sector of society in small town America, in this case, Utica, New York.

The social and personal are scrutinized in this recent installation, probably Fleishman’s first true “political” work. Old clothes from The Salvation Army, poems by the artist, photos and other found objects interact in a mock clearing house of useless information._Sin Citydetail

The words “Sin City,” constructed out of local leaves and sticks and mounted above your head, rise above this arrangement of objects like an ad along the highway. These semi-organized array of objects, which also includes a typewriter and crutches, act out a complex historical analogy for urban decay and loss of economic power. We are left with a residual of dysfunctional small town life. This work, unlike the sociopolitical and democratic “ideals” found in the work of Joseph Beuys, presents no final epiphany or reconstruction of spirit. Fleishman, in this installation, presents a “no exit” situation, where life attempts to continue in moral and social decrepitude.

“A Fall From Grace”


“A Fall From Grace”, Plasy Monastery Czech Republic 1997, with Charlie Citron

Ritualistic gestures and a desire for exposure of the human flesh to the spectatorship of live audiences seems to be the operating procedure in the performances of Judith Fleishman. We could add open ended improvisation, game playing, and a variety of other situations she presents to an audience.A Fall From Grace  Plasy Monastery Czech Republic 1997, with Charlie Citron

“A Fall From Grace” is a performance from 1994 in collaboration with the American artist Charlie Citron. With Citron as Adam, Fleishman as Eve, there is not much one could really add to this Biblical account without digressing into irony or cynicism while keeping within the framework we have been reflecting upon. This performance, which exists now only in photographs, presents a slightly different angle of vision, but one of the classic subjects of all western art. The two artists, as Adam and Eve, are presented after the fall. They stand banished in actual space and time, aware of themselves and possible viewers. I_P_29They stand partially hidden amongst bushes and trees, covering themselves. The fact that this performance was first presented in the theologically charged space of Palsy Monastery in the Czech Republic adds poignancy to a tragic account. As Adam and Eve “hide,” we are placed in the position of discovering them, even if we do not want to. As spectators we are allowed to see through “divine vision” and discover our creation, miserable and naked, hiding from us, but still in complete view.I_P_15
Adam confronts his viewer, Eve looks away. In the account of Adam and Eve, their fall from Divine status into the three dimensional time/space we experience postulates an awakening of the egocentric consciousness of the human condition.

As Hegal mentions in Phenomenology of the Spirit, “It knows not yet that in finding these it has the assurance of self-possession as the basis of its existence.” In “A Fall From Grace,” again the gaze of the human condition is upon itself, Fleishman’s performance reflects this: we are aware of them and they, by their gestures, are aware of something, but seem unaware of the complete implications of their newfound self-possession.

Mark Dagley
Newton, New Jersey

Judith Fleishman, “Untitled,” window frame, feather, wax, satin ribbon, 1990

Looking For Maya

Judith  Fleishman is an artist/writer who lives and works in New York City. In 2003, Abaton Book Company published her text/visual collaboration  Looking for Maya. Her prose has been published by Tema Celeste, Rogue Magazine and the artist zine The Orifice. Fleishman’s work can be found in many private and public collections, such as The Museum of Modern Art, The NYC Public Library, the Gemente Museum Arnhem, The Netherlands and The Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany.

Purchase Judith Fleishman’s photojournalistic expose of her adventures in the skin trade. With text by Black Alex, interview with Lauri Bortz, and poem by Jeff Burns.

Read an excerpt at the Brooklyn Rail:

Interview with Fleishman (Maya) by playwright and publisher Lauri Bortz:

Published by

George Condo – “Lamentation of the Drinker”


The plastic narration found in this work from 1994 by George Condo represents a reassertion of a type of compositional structure not found since the late works of Cézanne. Like the French master, and his concern with the structuring of advances made by the more formal impressionists, for example, the de-materialization of subject matter and broken surface tension, Condo reformulates and codifies similar concerns, a type of metaphysical space that one is allowed to access, a place of possible dramatic interpretation similarly found in the work of De’Chirico, Magritte and more recently Guston.


Just as Cézanne’s bathers push space around in tightly knit compositional formats, Condo, in the painting “Lamentation of the Drinker,” allows a grouping of faceless humanoid’s to control and manipulate the residual of geometric and architectural space, while acting out odd histrionic episodes.

Approximately thirty figures occupy this canvas where great tragedy has just taken place, or is about to. The size of the canvas (65 x 81 inches) and the overall composition used represents the format of an eyeball shaped oval. This cycloptic orifice stares out toward the viewer. Dead center, figuratively and literally is the main group of figures witnessing the last (?) moments of “The Drinker.”

Imaginatively thought out, these groups of figures, three “beings”: hovering in space, seven others in severe panic and dressed in black observe or are reacting to the unfolding drama. Unlike Christian exegesis, where Christ, descending from the cross, his mother weeping uncontrollably or even losing consciousness is the main focus of meditation, Condo’s lamentation is a situation suspended between certainty and doubt, where many possibly scenarios could happen. Unless Condo’s main protagonist is experiencing rigor mortis (his arm being outstretched), or dead drunk, he could be alive. A strange group of robed figures look on in wonder and disbelief, others gesture in misunderstanding. If this work is not seen as an elaborately concealed study of certainty and doubt, or the ambiguous nature of perception and belief itself, how else can we decipher the gestures, groupings and interaction between these faceless figures?

Kenneth Rexroth, in a short essay about the artist Morris Graves mentions “deliberate formal mysteriousness…analogous to that found in primitive cult objects,” there is much of that found in this painting, a visually complex riddle. It could be seen as a strange cinematic reflection projected on our memory, always needing to be re-deciphered, its meaning re-established. Therefore, it should not be so strange that the figures that occupy Condo’s “Lamination of the Drinker” have no distinguishing facial features.

Like Cézanne’s bathers they exist within themselves, purely in the space of painting.

Mark Dagley

Francisca Blázquez ~ Space is the Place

Francisca Blázquez ~ Paintings, 2005

Francisca Blázquez ~ 2005

Ever since early childhood the Spanish artist Francisca Blázquez has claimed awareness of higher dimension realms including access and even contact with Sattvic (सत्त्व)  or Angelic beings of light. Her “New Age” paintings which I saw in Spain in the early 1990’s  were striking in their incorporation of technological transcendent imagery. This was my short contribution to a catalog from her 2005 exhibition at Jadite Gallery, NYC


Francisca Blázquez’s most recent body of work, a group if paintings subtitled Dimensionalismo, draws from several populist sources; spaces might be the more correct term. Blázquez has borrowed the indeterminate and fractured cyberspace of the Internet and the pre-packaged “Outer Space” of classic science fiction films, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris. Within these moving pictures, a purely artificial visual dimension exists, expanding at a glacial pace and climaxing in transcendental spiritualism. The cosmic visual projections of Francisca Blázquez, her not-so-still-lifes, have a very similar aesthetic effect.


The Dimensionalismo paintings have been projected from the artist’s inner atmosphere, but with her odd shapes and patterns and clashing color combinations, Blázquez reflects on some very earthly concerns. She explores the classic paradigm of body/mind duality reinvented for the Age of Information.

Blázquez’s art world influences can be most easily located in the early neo-concrete experiments of Lygia Clark and Equipo 57. Clark’s groundbreaking geometric sculptures “demanded the spectator’s manipulation to yield their organic meaning.” These works, in turn, yielded their creator, sending her into deep philosophical speculation on the emergence of new technologies and aesthetics. Meanwhile, the Spanish team Equipo 57, with their “laboratory of ideas,” radically researched the second and third dimensions through painting, sculpture and furniture design, pushing life and art toward a total convergence. Half a century later, Blázquez is attempting to pick up these experiments where they were left off, incorporating ancient forms of artistic communication, like dance, with more current computer-based graphics.

1513109_F7._Mundos._F.BlaEzquezThough I’m uncertain of Ms. Blázquez’s musical influences, might I suggest the free jazz of Sun Ra as a soundtrack for the creation of Dimensionalismo. Space is the place indeed for artists who inhabit a post-religious world but still yearn for a spiritual dimension.

Mark Dagley ~ 2005



Declaration of Francisca Blázquez
(Channeled by the artist)

Francisca Blázquez ~ 1990

Francisca Blázquez ~ 1990

The Etheric Temple of Archangel Michael is in preparation for the coming of Christ over the mountains of Jerusalem in 2023.... Science and spirit will be one thing and the Christic peace [will] reign in the hearts and minds of all people and beings of planet Earth. The darkness will vanish, since light, love and power create good….this will soon be the reality of this new Earth…Humanity will develop into a perfect and harmonious junction, and happiness of God consciousness will reign in all places. There will be no limits. Space platforms with plant and animal life will be created... souls who are here will be able to travel to paradise and those found in other dimensions will come to Earth as they desire. We will walk alongside the angels, as brothers and sisters of light with divine powers to use for the common good. Everything will be given. Peace, love, justice, happiness and harmony will be the common dialogue on planet Earth. From the perspective of 2010, we can not understand how this will be possible, but this is a time of change and of transmutation. That is why there are strong shocks and events… transcend to the new light with confidence. The struggle between light and darkness is now clearer than ever. At present it’s powerful, but … think ahead… You’ve won, center in good, forget the negative…”

Francisca Blazquez, “Untitled” 1992, 20×16 in. Collection of Mark Dagley

Jerry’s Kids

Mark Dagley’s 222 Bowery studio (1987)
Photo by Ivan dalla Tanna

A good artist does not need anything.
Ad Reinhardt

When NYFA Current asked me to write a first-person account of the circumstances surrounding a not-so-recent exhibition of my paintings, a show that took place at Tony Shafrazi Gallery nearly a quarter of a century ago, I was surprised by their interest, but gladly jumped at the chance. I never hesitate to admit to any and all who care to listen that my 1987 New York City debut was considered a failure by local critics and collectors, not to mention the disappointed dealer. While preshow interest was high, in the end little work sold, and a well-regarded ARTFORUM writer snarkily dissed my efforts. Paradoxically, this perceived failure launched me on a fairly successful trajectory in the European art world: Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland—but that’s another story.

Back to my Shafrazi solo show, which was perfectly planned and executed. An incredible studio at 222 Bowery—“The Bunker”—was secured with funds from prior sales, allowingme the necessary space to create the ambitious exhibit I had proposed, a group of paintings unlike any I’d made before: shaped canvases using video-game-referenced imagery, along with checkerboards, diamonds, and Picasso-esque harlequin designs. Cardboard models of all the shapes were experimented with for months before the full-size wood constructions were built. The long labor of painting and finishing these works came off without a hitch. In August of ’87, the 14 canvases were delivered to the gallery on Mercer Street. Soon after, advertisements appeared in several glossy magazines. Tony designed and printed a playful color poster. A brochure was also available, featuring an essay by George Condo.

Opening night, September 12, a steady stream of New York art world luminaries flowed through the gallery. Their sleek black limos flanked the entrance. An exclusive dinner at Indochine followed the reception. Yes, it was an absolute ‘80s cliché. But the party ended long before the decade. What initially seemed to be an uncontested success—three of my works sold immediately, another four were placed on hold by a very prominent collector, and two drew significant interest without a commitment—quickly proved otherwise, thanks in part to Black Monday, October 19, when stock markets around the world crashed, making history as the largest one-day percentage decline. By October 20, it became clear that the paintings on reserve would not be purchased and that any additional interest had instantly withered. Were there a doubt in my mind, or in Tony Shafrazi’s, it was soon assuaged by Kate Linker’s ruthless pan in that December’s issue of ARTFORUM.

Since the economy wasn’t entirely global at the time, I was able to continue my life as an artist abroad. In this present-day recession I suppose going overseas isn’t a realistic option. My advice to young artists back then was: “Go where you’re wanted.” Nowadays, I say: “Keep your day job.” Anything to prohibit dependence on dealers, critics, curators, or collectors. Anything to keep hold of your creative ideals. Chances are, given enough time, they’ll come into vogue.

Mark Dagley
Clone (1987)
60” x 90” x 4”
Vinyl acrylic, acrylic, polymer resin on canvas, mounted on wood

The pre-digital, low-fi fundamentals of the imagery in my early work have recently been discovered by a techno-savvy contemporary audience. Artists and writers who grew up with cell phones, laptops, and the Internet are able to understand and appreciate what was once dismissed as ironic neo-geometric endgame painting. This interest peaked curiosity about my newer work—paintings, drawings and sculpture—and spawned a resurgence in my New York career. Perfect timing. Some things never change.

I’m sure most Current readers follow Jerry Saltz’s New York Magazine column, which has, for the past eight months, focused largely on the recession’s effect on the art world. With titles like: Frieze After the Freeze, Art on a Shoestring, and After the Orgy, Saltz’s recent articles deliver fairly dire economic news along with predictions of a slew of commercial gallery closures this coming summer. Time to pull ourselves up by the sandal straps, or, according to Saltz: “It’s time to get over 1968; if we’re going to think of the past, let’s reconsider 1988, when artists, suddenly broke, were left to themselves.”

Having been a student in ‘68—does grammar school count?—and a suddenly broke artist in ’88, I can easily relate. It’s surprising to me how many artists, age regardless, can’t. Why go into the arts, after all, if not to be left to ones own devices?

In summary, while the economy (and the hairline) may recede, art—good art—goes forth. And sometimes conquers.

Mark Dagley is an artist who studied painting and sculpture at the Corcoran School of Art and electronic music at the Boston Museum School. His work can be found in the public collections of the Broad Art Foundation, University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Dagley is co-owner, with playwright Lauri Bortz, of the Abaton Book Company, a publisher of artist books and audio projects.

A Country Of Mine

A Country Of Mine
New York, New York

 “For an undetermined period of time I felt myself cut off from the world, an abstract spectator.”

‑J.L. Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths”

 The Character in the short story, “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Borges participates in a detective story that occurs in parallel universes. As an abstract spectator of his own fictional mental construction, he discovers a long lost symbolic labyrinth. It turns out to have been “constructed” by his great, great grandfather over a thirteen-year period. Here we asked to consider complex metaphorical situations of infinite continuity, a meditation on the nature of time and family. This short story could be seen as an analogy to the most recent exhibition at UP&CO.

Entitled “ A Country of Mine” and including painting, photography, film and performance documentation, this exhibition features the work of Joe Andoe, Angela Hill, Antonio Longo, Daniel Miller, Uscha Pohl and the group Unfortunately, the restricting title may have been a tad euphuistic. It was uncharacteristic of the content of the majority of the work I found on view. To ask to be identified with any place or state of being is tough enough for many of us. To get behind concepts such as “country” and “mine” would seem to be a recipe for disaster. For many Americans of a certain generation, or of a particular class structure, this country of theirs is full of racism, sexism, and a political system that seems to be out of touch with everything but it’s own survival. To many others this country of ours is nothing but what the power-structure imposes upon us. It is an abstract concept, a myth. This country of mine is McDonalds, Coco-Cola, TV and Rock-and-Roll. It’s DUMB. In general, this is the perception of the United States throughout popular culture in many countries.

The exhibition attempts to address issues of place, and of the global change that is happening with the breakdown of the post-war structures, of the DDR and West Germany, the Berlin Wall, and the continual erosion of the British Empire. It is a metaphorical exhibition on the themes of being and change, and the results of those changes, either actual or perceived. The relentless assault on the natural order is touched upon. “A Country of Mine” does address a broadness of poetic imagination, with a few hints of possible spiritual renewal thrown in for good measure.

Antonio Longo, who lives in a small town outside of London, seems to have taken the position of the “abstract spectator.” His black and white photograph of his father is distant and aloof. One cannot help but notice that connections have been severed, at least symbolically. No one is there, not the father or the father’s father. Longo has to witness this, and in an abstract way this is the strength of his work. Longo’s work functions best as a type of conceptual documentation, well removed from the particularities of his sources and surroundings.

Angela Hill, another photographer from Great Britain, portrays a physiological sensibility completely different from Longo. She is best known on this side of the Atlantic for her full-frame portraits of young teenagers. There is a seductive visual strategy at work here, akin to advertising and employing a lot of the same techniques. Hill is able to direct the gaze of both the image she seeks to record and the viewing of the image. Programmatically, there is an effort to control subjectivity which is interesting because Hill is expert at re-routing visually through a filter of mythology. The end result is a kind of timeless impressionistic space.

Uscha Pohl contributed two works in a strict autobiographic context. Nomadic in experience, these works allow a glimpse into her private reflections and past personal experiences. “Plane Glass” is a film and photographic installation that focus on the sensation of returning to a familiar but unresolved situation. The nice thing about this work is its early experimental film quality. The 8mm format contributes a rawness that is absent from the other works in this exhibition. This film loop was shot out the cabin window of a flying plane; we only experience the continuum of descent. The loop is projected upon a photograph of a misty country road that disappears into perspective; the knowledge that this all is intimately connected with the artist’s childhood adds a special poignancy. Another work, Diary of a Traveler” is a curious memento to thoughts, feelings and random musings on travel, coupled with a small diamond painting of a landscape by Joe Andoe.

Andoe also exhibits a large painting of the prototypical symbolic subject, the she-wolf. Andoe’s technique is interesting because he really isn’t painting with brushes, but by the application and removal of layers of oil paint with rags and paper towels. This archeological approach to painting, of unearthing and of removal, is in harmony with the majority of the images he chooses to work with. Andoe, who is from Oklahoma, has been able to access some of the more primal iconography in the classical genre. His paintings of birds, horses and, more recently buffalo and wolves all demonstrate an ongoing concern for the endangered or the disappearing.

The break up of the former Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall were a few of the defining moments of recent post-industrial development. Daniel Miller is able to salvage some compelling images from the crumbling facade of theses areas, enabling one to visualize the dire consequences. I am reminded of the social documentational format practiced in this country through the great depression by Walker Evens, Dorothea Lange, and many others who were able to capture rapidly changing moments of social and political development.

The performance group (paint the town red) rounds out this exhibition with a selection of images from their performance “Ursa in Orbit/Ursa in Motion”. This performance, either by calculation or happenstance, touched upon deep historic symbolism. Within and beneath the construction of German identity, they were able to uncover dormant mythological areas, which they demonstrate as almost-entertainment. We see the two artists together in these photos dressed in what looks to Americans like Smokey the Bear costumes, minus the hats; typical pop stuff at first glance, but here it gathers resonance. It seems that someone mistook the artists for actual bears, but bears have been absent from Germany for almost a hundred years. The return of this species of wildlife to the Berchtesgaden National Park would be like discovering a woolly mammoth in Yellowstone. Its implication to German national heritage, not to mention prestige throughout the world, would be enormous. Unbelievable as it sounds; the news got around, “Bears have returned to the national forests of Germany”. These artists are famous for this, and even had to take photos of themselves, bear heads in hand, looking over the forest in a Casper David-Friedrich-like pose to prove the truth—“Not in this country!” The Berchtesgaden National Park, like the Rhine, is one of the most symbolic natural spaces in all of Germany. Bavarian folklore claims the Frederick the first (Barbarossa) lies in mystic slumber in this area, soon to awaken, bringing peace and prosperity throughout Germany. Hitler also took refuge high above these forests in Obersalzberg. Evidence has been discovered of prehistoric circumpolar cults of bear worship that extended all the way down into Nuremberg, the heartland of Bavaria. These alters of arranged bear skulls and bones date back 200,000 years to the era of the Neanderthal man and point to ancient preoccupations with this animal. “Ursa in Motion” was the constellation around which the strongest elements of this exhibition revolved.

Mark Dagley

Newton, New Jersey


First published in Zing Magazine, vol.2 Fall 1998, pg 248-250