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Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.


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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brooklyn as a State of Mind

I wasn't sure what to make of this upcoming show, but now that it's installed I feel very excited. The show flat-out looks great and I think it will be a wonderful opportunity.

I installed Aspirant (left) on the ceiling and it looks magnificent that way. It's like nothing I've ever seen--and I'm the artist!

I've placed the two Dream Catcher drawings(previews here and here) high on a wall, in a kitchen area above the cabinets. Again, it's art in a way I've never seen.

Clerestory (below) completes the quartet and it's in a terrific spot in the first room. The others are a little further back but will surprise you when you see them.




Overall, the four pieces in the show are perhaps my strongest to date, making this a must-see show that hopefully will lead to good things. With forty artists, it should be a great and very lively opening.

Show Details

October 4 – 5 and October 11 – 12, 2008
Times: 12 noon to 6 pm

Opening Reception
Friday October 3, 6pm – 9pm

The LOFTS on LEX at 95 Lexington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11238
Between Franklin and Classon Avenue [map]

Excellent write-up in HarlemWeek
Still More Info

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A perfect weekend


I purposely left the SLR at home for the weekend so I could experience the time directly.
Still, I try to carry the elph in my pocket all the time and I'm glad I did...

I’m always a pretty happy person, but sometimes my life is just so sweet as to be almost embarrassing. Yet it’s made of small pleasures. Take this example of a how I spent a recent weekend.

Last Saturday (ten days ago) I had to drive up to the Catskills to pick retreive my and Drake’s work from our show up there. On the way there, I stopped in Sleepy Hollow for some serious running at the arcadian Rockefeller Estates—twelve miles through mist-shrouded fields and forests, followed by as huge brunch at the Horseman Diner. How could I go anywhere else?

The next two hours in the car were beautiful and got better and better as I wound through the heart of the Catskills. J-Dalt pointed reminded me the other day that for a parent, few pleasures rival a solo drive through beautiful countryside. Spoken like a true Californian but as true in the Hudson Valley as in Napa. The art was skillfully packed so it took about two seconds to load it in the car and be on my way, but not before receiving some sage advice about local hiking prospects.

On the way up, I had noticed a very promising lake with a swim platform in the middle. I found the park locked on the way home, but with a car parked by the gate—an irresistible invitation. I slipped over the cable, out of my jeans (I still had my running shorts underneath) and into the cool water. My fellow pond dippers turned out to be a group of citymice holed up in a nearby house for the weekend. I splashed around, floated on my back and looked at the sky and did a few flips and back into my clothes and on my way.

I soon spotted the turn for the hike I had heard about and wound my way into the mountains to the trailhead. As advertised, the path went up-up-up, often along stairs, through the mystical and lovely wilderness of Rip vanWinkle., with its strange rock formations, mosses, gnarled roots, ferns, and old trees. The path emerged onto a ledge straight out of Thomas Cole, with the Catskills spread out before me, peaks islands in the fog, like a Chinese scroll. An encounter with the Sublime.

On the way home, I stopped for some prime BBQ at a place my friend Pamela recommended. The trip was glorious and the fact that the final ten minutes took and hour and a half did nothing to diminish my joy. Even Countrymouse has become philosphical about the City’s annoyances—at least for a while.

As if to confirm my joy, as I unloaded the car, C-Lin chanced past the studio and I joined her at an opening at Sideshow on the way home from the studio. Gerbo was there, in full conviviality and he bought me a beer to wash the road dust from my palate.

That was Saturday.

Sunday was just as good. I had Sebastian all to myself as Cole took care of some of her business (which she graciously delayed to enable my trip). We had pancakes and wipped together a big dinner for later. We had to hurry a little bit because we had a date with the beach, along with some of the VCCA artists, who connected together quickly via txt-message. The day was gorgeous: hot, humid, with warm water, gentle waves, and perfectly clear sand. We made the best castle I’ve ever done (as one would expect from a gathering of sculptors). Then, at four o’clock, the season ended right before our eyes, as if a bell rang. suddenly a chilly breeze blew in from the sea and a day that had been muggy turned brisk. We wrapped in towels and returned to the warm car. There was freakishly little traffic on the way home and as well all hugged goodbye, we knew that we were also saying farewell to summer.

That night, we hosted a dinner party for Splinter, Amelia, Mayumi, John Mitchell and Anki. Great company, animated conversation, the curry I had made, just a glass or two of wine, and we all reconnected, back in the City from our diverse wanderings, for a season of expansion, culture, and new ideas.

I couldn’t ask for a better weekend, and one in which Countrymouse and Citymouse found the elusive perfect balance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pictures from Paradise



I've finally posted photo selects from VCCA. I put them in two places.

Places and Things is a public gallery of art shots I took around the VCCA grounds. My camera is my sketch book and I use my camera to try things out visually or to gather material for future work. These selects (culled from over a thousand shots) strike me as interesting images in their own right. Let me know if you would like any prints. (peter-at-culturecurrent-dot-com)

For privacy reasons, I put the People shots in a protected gallery. Let me know if you would like to see those and I'll send you the p.w.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Farewells and Welcomes


Alyson, Krazy Karl, Cynthia, and Don Pedro are a few of the folks I'll miss most. The good news is that they're New Yorkers and I'll still see them! In fact, I already have or soon shall...


Of course it was difficult to leave VCCA. Everyone kept asking if I would be back, and my answer was always the same, "I would love to come back!"

As much as it was wonderful there, it was also easy to realize how great my regular life is as well. After a very short and sleepy drive, I was back at Springtree for a long weekend of quiet time with my family in the country. Just resting, gardening, and enjoying time with old friends, Sebastian, Meredith and her folks. Plus a swim and a visit with my own parents.

While I saw a bear on my first full day in Virginia, on the last evening Sebastian spotted a bald eagle that swooped over our riverside picnic. We all got a nice long look and his apparition was a nice bookend for the experience and a signal of farewell.

When we got back to Brooklyn, after our favorite brunch place opened specifically for us (and before and dear friend and uber-neighbor Amelia served us a delicious "welcome home" dinner, Sebastian and I stopped by a Labor Day party at my studio building. It was a lovely party with kids and interesting people and good food. The perfect way to close a terrific summer that was full of symmetry and meaning.

I was not really surprised at all then when Cynthia from VCCA (pictured above in the blue shirt)walked into the yard and said hello. Her BF is close friends with Gerbo (the host) and they coincidentally decided to stop by. What a treat! I love those moments that seem intended to demonstrate that there is an order to things, that all things are connected by a million invisible fibers that could never be traced yet feel so obvious.

I'll see Krazy Karl, Don "Juan", Alyson, and a few others later this week.

Sad to have left, glad to be back.

Mad. Mike goes Post-Playa

Check out studio-mate Mad. Mike [Ross] in last week's Voice. He didn't want this blog to break the story six months ago, but now that it's in the nation's largest weekly, I suppose it's fair game. Read it, then come back here.

For the last few months, I've been pondering Burning Man's demise--er, I mean, evolution. Please forgive one quick digressive musing in that direction.

The Playa has always been a venue for artists to strut their stuff and to try out their most audacious schemes. But is there an imaginary line, where artists may not be making their work for the playa and for its visitors at, but rather using it as a show room for their ambitions with eyes fixed on a decided more commercial future? Of course intentionality is impossible to measure, but could a subtle shift be underway? And of course, intentionality, though unmeasurable, is of supreme importance at Black Rock City. It's a community that is united only in its huge (sometimes oversized) good intentions.

Don't get me wrong: Mike is not a cynical guy at all; quite the opposite. He might be the most earnest guy I know. But, should the moment come when the art on the Playa stops being for the Playa, do we lose something precious?