Transitional Object

Met

The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), 2016, Installation view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A large-scale sculpture by acclaimed English artist Cornelia Parker, inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper and by two emblems of American architecture -the classic Red barn and the Bates family’s sinister mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho, “Transitional Object,” whose title borrows a psychological term for things like stuffed animals, security blankets, and such, comprises the fourth annual installation of site-specific works commissioned for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.

Nearly 30 feet high, the sculpture is fabricated from a deconstructed Red barn and seems at first to be a genuine house, but is in fact a scaled-down structure consisting of two facades propped up from behind with scaffolding. Simultaneously authentic and illusory, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) evokes the psychological associations embedded in architectural spaces. It is set atop The Met, high above Central Park -providing an unusual contrast to the Manhattan skyline. Parker has modestly called her sculpture, which is visible from pathways in Central Park, “an incongruous object.” “Combining a deliciously subversive mix of inferences, ranging from innocent domesticity to horror, from the authenticity of landscape to the artifice of a film set, Cornelia’s installation expresses perfectly her ability to transform clichés to beguile both eye and mind” says The Met’s British curator Beatrice Galilee. On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York through 31 October, 2016.

About

For some years, sculptor & installation artist Cornelia Parker’s work has been concerned with formalizing things beyond our control, containing the volatile and making it into something that is quiet and contemplative like the ‘eye of the storm.’ Through a combination of visual and verbal allusions her work triggers cultural metaphors and personal associations which allow the viewer to witness the transformation of the most ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary.

On Meditation

Meditation

On Meditation: Gabrielle Bernstein, Short Film & Discussion, Rubin Museum of Art Talks, Wednesday August 20th, 2014, 7pm, New York. Premiere screening of a portrait of life coach Gabrielle Bernstein talking about her meditation practice. The film is followed by a conversation between Gabrielle and contemplative psychotherapist Joe Loizzo on what effects meditation is thought to have on our happiness and wellbeing. A book signing follows, including her latest bestsellers Miracles Now and May Cause Miracles.

Gabrielle_BookMiracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose by Gabrielle Bernstein, Hardcover, Published by: Hay House Inc, April 2014

108 simple techniques to combat our most common problems -stress, burnout, frustration, jealousy, resentment. The stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis. This book is designed so that you can achieve peace and experience miracles now. Inspired by some of the greatest spiritual teachings, these practical, moment-to-moment tools will help you eliminate blocks and live with more ease. Powerful, life-changing meditations and principles, modernized and broken down into easy-to-digest techniques to fit your lifestyle. Throughout the book, Bernstein shares principles from both A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga and meditation. Tools that can help you find your connection to your inner strength and inspire inner peace.

About

Life coach Gabrielle Bernstein is the New York Times best-selling author of Miracles Now and May Cause Miracles, Add More ~ing to Your Life, and Spirit Junkie. She has presented lectures at Google, TEDxWomen, L’Oreal, Agape Spiritual Center, Integral Yoga, Kripalu and universities nationwide, among many others. Gabrielle is a certified Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher. She is also trained in the Emotional Freedom Technique and she’s a student of Transcendental Meditation -as taught by the David Lynch Foundation.

Joe Loizzo, M.D., Ph.D. is a contemplative psychotherapist, researcher and teacher who integrates ancient contemplative science and technology with current breakthroughs in neuroscience and optimal health. After training in psychiatry at Harvard and completing a Ph.D in Buddhist Studies at Columbia, he founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a contemplative learning community that teaches timeless tools of self-healing and interdependence for today’s complex world. His latest book is Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration.

History’s Shadow & Dust

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David MaiselHistory’s Shadow GM4, C-Print Frame, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 7, 2010, Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery, © David Maisel.

On view now through 10 May, 2014 is the exhibition “History’s Shadow” by American artist David Maisel at Yancey Richardson Gallery New York. For over twenty-five years, Maiselʼs photographic work has been wide-ranging in scope, and yet deeply focused on what he describes as a “long-term investigation into the aesthetics of entropy, and the dual processes of memory and excavation.” Maiselʼs previous work includes several aerial landscape portfolios exposing the surreal, almost incandescent imprint of industrial mining and mineral extraction operations throughout the American West. In a later project, Library of Dust, Maiselʼs inquiries shifted dramatically in scale, to the unique imprint of mineral corrosion on individual copper canisters from a hospital archive.

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David Maisel, History’s Shadow GM12, Archival Pigment Print, 40 x 30 inches, edition of 7, 2010, Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery, © David Maisel.

Historyʼs Shadow represents an elegant continuation of these well-established themes, utilizing x-rays as source material to explore the intersection of scientific research and visual art. The exhibitionʼs title comes from a project of the same name, inspired by the artistʼs residency at the Getty Research Institute, during which time he re-photographed x-rays of sculptural antiquities culled from the museumʼs conservation archives. According to Maisel, Historyʼs Shadow refers “both to the literal images that the x-rays create as they are re-photographed, and to the metaphorical content informed by the past from which these objects derive.”

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David Maisel, History’s Shadow AB3, Archival Pigment Print, 40 x 30 inches, edition of 7, 2010, Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery, © David Maisel.

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David Maisel, History’s Shadow GM10, Archival Pigment Print, 40 x 30 inches, edition of 7, 2010, Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery, © David Maisel.

In his essay, Trace Elements and Core Samples, Maisel describes the transformative nature of the material: “The ghostly images of these x-rays seemed to surpass the potency of the original objects of art. These spectral renderings were like transmissions from the distant past, conveying messages across time, and connecting the contemporary viewer to the art impulse at the core of these ancient works. Through the x-ray process, the artworks of origin become de-familiarized and de-contextualized, yet acutely alive and renewed, revivified. The shadow-worlds they occupy are informed by the black space surrounding the images, which in some instances becomes a vast nether world, and in others becomes the velvety ground of some kind of brain scan/portrait.”

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David MaiselLibrary of Dust 1834, Archival Pigment Print, 2005-2006, Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery, © David Maisel.

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David Maisel, Library of Dust 242, Archival Pigment Print, 2005-2006, Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery, © David Maisel.

In addition to Historyʼs Shadow, selections from Maiselʼs Library of Dust series are on display in the galleryʼs project space. In Library of Dust, the artist photographed individual copper canisters containing the cremated remains of patients from a state-run psychiatric hospital, documenting the beautiful yet disquieting effect of mineral corrosion on each unique object. As in Historyʼs Shadow, these transformative still-life objects float in a void against a pure black background, sublime meditations on the passage of time, memory, loss, and the metaphorical illustration of matter versus spirit.

About

David Maisel was born in New York City in 1961. He received his BA from Princeton University, and his MFA from California College of the Arts. His photographs, multi-media projects, and public installations have been exhibited internationally, and are included in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the National Gallery of Art; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Brooklyn Museum; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Yale University Art Gallery; the Nevada Museum of Art; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. Maiselʼs work has been the subject of five monographs: Black Maps (2013), Historyʼs Shadow (2011), Library of Dust (2008), Oblivion (2006), and The Lake Project (2004).

The Books

Maisel_Book_03Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime, Photographs and essay by David Maisel, Introduction by Julian Cox, Essays by Natasha Egan, Geoff Manaugh, Alan Rapp, Kirsten Rian, Joseph Thompson, and Kazys Varnelis, Poem by Mark Strand, Book design by Bob Aufuldish, Aufuldish & Warinner, Edited by Alan Rapp, Hardcover, 248 pgs, Published by Steidl, 2013.

Black Maps is the first in-depth survey of the major aerial projects by David Maisel, whose images of radically altered terrain have transformed the practice of contemporary landscape photography. In more than one hundred photographs that span Maisel’s career, Black Maps presents a hallucinatory worldview encompassing both stark documentary and tragic metaphor, and exploring the relationship between nature and humanity today. Maisel’s images of environmentally impacted sites consider the aesthetics and politics of open pit mines, clear-cut forests, rampant urbanization and sprawl, and zones of water reclamation. These surreal and disquieting photographs take us towards the margins of the unknown and as the Los Angeles Times has stated, “argue for an expanded definition of beauty, one that bypasses glamour to encompass the damaged, the transmuted, the decomposed.”

Maisel_Book_01History’s Shadow, Photographs by David Maisel, Texts by Jonathan Lethem and David Maisel, Hardcover, 72 pgs, 43 color reproductions, Published by Nazraeli Press, 2011. 

David Maisel’s work has always been concerned with processes of memory, excavation, and transformation. These themes are given new form in his latest work, History’s Shadow. In this series, Maisel re-photographs x-rays from museum archives that depict artifacts from antiquity, scanning and digitally manipulating the selected source material. X-rays have historically been used by art conservators for structural examination of art and artifacts much as physicians examine bones and internal organs; they reveal losses, replacements, construction methods, and internal trauma invisible to the naked eye. By transcribing both the inner and outer surfaces of their subjects simultaneously, they form spectral images of indeterminate space, depth, and scale. The resulting photographs seem like transmissions from the distant past, both spanning and collapsing time. They express -through feeling and art, as well as science and reason- the shape-shifting nature of time itself, and the continuous presence of the past contained within us. The book contains an original short story by Jonathan Lethem that was inspired by Maisel’s images.

Maisel_Book_02Library of Dust, Photographs by David Maisel, Essays by David Maisel, Geoff Manaugh, Michael Roth, Terry Toedtemeier, Hardcover, 108 pgs, Published by Chronicle Books, 2008.

Photographer David Maisel has created a somber and beautiful series of images depicting canisters containing the cremated remains of the unclaimed dead from an Oregon psychiatric hospital. Dating back as far as the nineteenth century, these canisters have undergone chemical reactions, causing extravagant blooms of brilliant white, green, and blue corrosion, revealing unexpected beauty in the most unlikely of places. This stately volume is both a quietly astonishing body of fine art from a preeminent contemporary photographer, and an exceptionally poignant monument to the unknown deceased.

Path Of Awakening

Buddha

The Buddha, one of the world’s first great psychologists, made acknowledgment of suffering as the centerpiece of his teaching. Trauma, if it does not destroy us, can be used to awaken the mind. When we stop distancing ourselves from our pain, or the pain of others, Buddha taught, we open up the possibility of a new experience -one that often surprises because of how much joy, connection, or relief it yields.

Join Mark Epstein, MD, and Joseph Goldstein, experts in Buddhist psychology, to explore the theory and practice of Vipassana, or Insight Meditation -the Buddha’s method of discovering freedom when dealing with the trauma of being alive, 3 May, 2014, at Omega NYC, for “The Trauma of Being Alive: A Path of Awakening.” Questions will be answered, meditations offered, and discussion is encouraged. This workshop is appropriate for both nonprofessionals and helping professionals.

About

Joseph Goldstein, cofounder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, is also a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. Since 1967, he has studied and practiced Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. He has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening; A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism; Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom; and The Experience of Insight; and coauthor of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.

Mark Epstein, MD, is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and author whose latest work, The Trauma of Everyday Life, uses the Buddha’s biography to explore the hidden psychodynamics and contemporary relevance of Buddhist thought. As a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, he integrates Buddhist psychology into his work, his teachings, and his books. His books include Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, Going on Being, Thoughts Without a Thinker, Open to Desire, Psychotherapy Without a Self. He also has written for Tricycle: A Buddhist Review, Yoga Journal, and O: The Oprah Magazine.

Epstein_BookIn The Trauma of Everyday Life renowned psychiatrist and author of Thoughts Without a Thinker Mark Epstein uncovers the transformational potential of trauma, revealing how it can be used for the mind’s own development. Western psychology teaches that if we understand the cause of trauma, we might move past it while many drawn to Eastern practices see meditation as a means of rising above, or distancing themselves from, their most difficult emotions. Both, Epstein argues, fail to recognize that trauma is an indivisible part of life and can be used as a lever for growth and an ever deeper understanding of change. When we regard trauma with this perspective, understanding that suffering is universal and without logic, our pain connects us to the world on a more fundamental level. The way out of pain is through it.

Epstein’s discovery begins in his analysis of the life of Buddha, looking to how the death of his mother informed his path and teachings. The Buddha’s spiritual journey can be read as an expression of primitive agony grounded in childhood trauma. Yet the Buddha’s story is only one of many in The Trauma of Everyday Life. Here, Epstein looks to his own experience, that of his patients, and of the many fellow sojourners and teachers he encounters as a psychiatrist and Buddhist. They are alike only in that they share in trauma, large and small, as all of us do. Epstein finds throughout that trauma, if it doesn’t destroy us, wakes us up to both our minds’ own capacity and to the suffering of others. It makes us more human, caring, and wise. It can be our greatest teacher, our freedom itself, and it is available to all of us.

Art Of Spring

And Spring arose on the garden fair, Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere; And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant

Spring

Kathy Ruttenberg, The Messenger, Ceramic Sculpture, Courtesy and © Kathy Ruttenberg.

The environmentally astute fairytale sculptures of Chicago-born, New York-based artist Kathy Ruttenberg inhabit an allegorically charged world of unconscious drives, Ovidian transformations and feminist-inflected narratives. Described by Donald Kuspit as perhaps the most creative, certainly unusual, ceramic art being made today, Ruttenberg’s work is populated with women sprouting or metamorphosing into trees, flowers, birds, snails, antlers and crabs. Figurines of whimsical caterpillars, bats and rabbits are intricately rendered in clay and watercolor, a three-dimensional counterpart to the poetry and visions of William Blake a la Beatrix Potter. “The tools for my work are fire, earth and emotions,” Ruttenberg writes. “This mix makes an interesting cocktail of allegory and symbolism, with an odd twist of nature. In my world, where the wind blows with intensity, animals and humans often share the moment.”