Perambulating the Bounds

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Die Gedanken Sind Frei

Thoughts are free, who can ever guess them?
They just fly by like nocturnal shadows.
No one can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
with powder and lead: Thoughts are free!

I think what I want, and what makes me happy,
but always discreetly, and as it is suitable.
My wish and desire, no one can deny me
and so it will always be: Thoughts are free!

And if I am thrown into the darkest dungeon,
all this would be futile work,
because my thoughts tear all gates
and walls apart. Thoughts are free!

So I will renounce my sorrows forever,
and never again will torment myself with some fancy ideas.
In one's heart, one can always laugh and joke
and think at the same time: Thoughts are free!

I love wine, and my girl even more,
Only I like her best of all.
I'm not alone with my glass of wine,
my girl is with me: Thoughts are free!

This is the text of an old German song from an Yvonne Buchheim video I saw at Cheekwood today. The song’s been banned a few times in its history, most notably during the Third Reich. In the video Buchheim sings it (except for that last verse, which kind of gets off point, but that happens with old songs) surreptitiously on the streets of Tehran. My first thought seeing the video was this is my wife’s theme song.

Maria did some research on it and found some predictably unsavory parties have adopted the song (Larouchies, some sort of right-wing German group). Again, that’ll happen with a song. But she also found this video of Pete Seeger singing it, and if it’s OK with Pete, it’s OK. But go to Cheekwood and hear Buchheim’s version.

It's reassuring, inpsiring to find such profoundly anti-authoritarian words in such an old song. It shows how deeply rooted is the desire for human autonomy.

BTW, Maria and I weren’t the first people in Nashville to decide to blog about this. That honor goes to Jason Kirk.

And another. I think Pete Seeger is singing this translation of the lyrics, which are not as literal as the ones above, but they are pretty much what Buchheim uses as the subtitles for her video:

My Thoughts Are Free

Die Gedanken sind frei
My thoughts freely flower.
Die Gedanken sind frei
My thoughts give me power.
No scholar can map them,
No hunter can trap them,
No man can deny:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

I think as I please,
And this gives me pleasure.
My conscience decrees,
This right I must treasure;
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator,
No man can deny:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

And if tyrants take me
And throw me in prison,
My thoughts will burst free,
Like blossoms in season.
Foundations will crumble,
The structure will tumble,
And free men will cry:
Die Gedanken sind frei!

Neither trouble or pain
Will ever touch me again.
No good comes of fretting,
My hope's in forgetting.
Within myself still
I can think as I will,
But I laugh, do not cry:
Die Gedanken sind frei!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nashville Visual Arts Events April 17-26

I’ve plugged the Faith Wilding lecture at least once before. Major figure. Go hear what she has to say. Maybe a bigger deal is the new Bob Durham show. His last show at Cumberland was really good, a lot of the images have stuck with me. He paints allusively, sometimes cracking jokes, always with at least a humorous undercurrent, and a lot of it has a subdued libidinous energy.

In addition to the shows listed below which have openings in the next couple of weeks, Estel is opening a show of paintings by Pamela Sukhum and some Sudanese refugee children she has worked with. The opening reception is coming on May 3, for First Saturday, so I’ll list it then also.

As always, if you have an email list of your own, feel free to forward this. And let me know if I missed anything or got dates mixed up.

If someone wants to get added directly to my list for the email version of this listing, send me an email at dcmaddox@comcast.net. To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

Apr. 17

Faith Wilding lecture, Watkins. Wilding has there for the birth of Feminist art, part of the West Coast scene in the early 70’s—a student in the Feminist Art Program at CalArts, one of the participants in Womanhouse. She’s now chair of the Performance department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and part of the subRosa feminist art collective. She also has connections to several Nashville and Watkins associated artists like Amanda Dillingham, Kristi Hargrove (I think), and Barbara Yontz. Her lecture will be at 6, with a reception to follow.

April 18

Dan Steinhilber, Yvonne Buchheim, and books by artists, Cheekwood. Cheekwood is opening three shows this weekend. I stumbled into Steinhilber’s work in DC a couple of weeks ago—his gallery happened to be showing his work, and he’s got a big piece on view at the Hirshhorn. He’s one of these people who make sculpture out of overlooked waste material. The piece at the Hirshhorn was a monumental column made by hooking together dry cleaners’ hangers, the metal ones with white paper in the space inside the hanger. The hangers were tipped up, so he could change orientation and create separate bands on the column. He does a lot of stuff with packing peanuts, and I think all the pieces at Cheekwood use this material. The best thing at the G Fine Art show in DC was a separate room, illuminated by nearly dark fluorescent bulbs, 6 hanging from the ceiling, and then a bunch arrayed on a wall. You were invited to grab the tubes, which made them brighten up a bit. The panel of bulbs flickered randomly, like scratchy black and white movie film. Like I said, I don’t think there’s a piece like that in this show, but the work with peanuts has a similar mystical quality—it’s all about voids, the space left behind and the space between. Seeing the unseen. That sort of thing. The video galleries are given over to an installation by Buchheim, a German artist who did video of Nashvillians singing old work songs passed down through their families. I hadn’t tracked on this project, but it sounds very cool, and a departure for the video program, which I don’t think has had work done for a show at Cheekwood. And in the Post-45 gallery there’s an exhibit of artists books by big names like John Baldessari, Kara Walker, Diebenkorn, Motherwell.

Althea Norene, Senior Thesis Show, three squared studio in the 427 Chestnut Building. Norene is a photographer, and her thesis work is about relationships with men, “past, present, and future,” with an eye to a day when gender roles are constructed more loosely. The opening starts at 5:30.

Bharatanatyam dance, Malini Srinivasan, Sri Ganesha Temple. Ms. Srinivasan is a practitioner of the dance form that Monica Cooley performs and teaches here in Nashville. This visiting artist is based in the New York area, but logged a lot of time studying and performing in Chennai. The concert starts at 7:30.

April 19

Jayalakshmi Santhanam, Srti Ganesha Temple. This Carnatic singer from Chennai brings with her 40 years of experience. In Indian music, experience seems to count for a lot—technical mastery is as much a matter of control as vocal strength, and the expressiveness deepens with time. This is an afternoon concert, starting at 3:00.

Drawings by Sculptors, LeQuire Gallery: Mike Andrews, Olen Bryant, Ted Jones, Alan LeQuire, Scott Wise, Murat Kaboulov And Victor Schmidt. I’ve enjoyed LeQuire’s drawings quite a bit. Some of them are light and fluid, like Cocteau. The other sculptors here include Bryant, a long-time local artist who works with simple shapes marked by small details—drawing makes sense as a part of that practice. The inclusion of Kaboulov is part of LeQuire Gallery’s ongoing relationship with contemporary Russian artists—if you haven’t tracked on this, they regularly feature Russian artists. Reception from 6-8.

April 22

Sewanee Senior Art Majors show. Under the guidance and incitement of people like Greg Pond, Pradip Malde, and Julie Puttgen, the students at Sewanee seem to be a lively bunch. You would see their work sometimes when the Secret Show was running the 310 Chestnut space, and they seemed to be cousins to the Watkins students in spirit. The opening for their senior show up in Sewanee is at 4:30 and it runs through May 10.

April 24

TSU Senior Thesis Show. The BFA students at TSU made strong contributions to the Frist Center’s show of local art students and recent graduates. It seems to be good things going on in this program. This would be an obvious way to find out. The reception is from 3-5.

April 25

Abby Whisenant, Patricia Earnhardt, Max Haught, Senior Thesis Show, Watkins. And Graphic Design show. Abby’s been on my radar screen for a while as much for her activism as her art. She’s been very involved in grassroots efforts in the most ravaged neighborhoods of New Orleans, and has shown her photography regularly. Her photography and her activism often converge—I remember a series she did from a protest in DC, I think it was for World Bank or IMF meetings. She trying now to get support for a project working with students at Stratford High School. Earnhardt and Haught are both from the Fine Arts department.

April 26

Bob Durham and Tom Judd, Cumberland Gallery. Bob’s a great painter, figurative and sly. Art historical allusions in his work pervade his compositional sense, not sticking out as quotes. I think it’s been 2 years since his last solo show, and he’s one of the people in town where I want to see what he’s done since the last show. He’s paired with Judd, a painter working on recycled fabric samples and wallpaper.

And taking place out of town…

Lesley Patterson-Marx has a show at Murray State University in Kentucky, if you’re looking for a day trip out of town. I should have mentioned it earlier—it closes the 21st, which would be Monday. Here’s the gallery hours from the Murray State website

Gallery Hours Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m
Saturday & Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Closed university holidays

Chris Scarborough is having his first solo show in New York—drawings at Foley Gallery (547 W 27th Street). The show opens tomorrow, runs until May 31. Congratulations Chris. I am going to be interested to see if the Times and others pick up on this. It seems like a definite possibility given his work, but I realize there is hierarchy in the Chelsea galleries that I understand only in a rough way.

Herb Williams is being featured in a group show in DC called the End of Nature at the Warehouse Gallery (it’s part of the Warehouse Theatre complex on 7th, near Chinatown). It includes a big piece by him, a bunch of crayon wallflowers. He also designed a Hatch Show Print poster for the show—we see these all the time, but no such luck for the benighted souls in DC. Herb also was profiled in American Airlines’ in-flight magazine, and he’s in negotiations on some other stuff that I’ll hold off broadcasting until it becomes definite.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Nashville Visual Arts Events Apr. 5-6

I’m just going to cover the first weekend things. There’s a bunch of stuff next week, and Faith Wilding is coming to talk at Watkins on the 17th.

I got word this week that Matt Mikulla has closed his gallery and studio in the Arcade. That’s really too bad. He was a very strong part of the community there, and he was doing interesting things. I’ve added his website on my list here, go visit him. He’s going to keep going with his photography, and I suspect he’ll do well getting his work out there through the web.

As for the openings this weekend, I’m particularly heartened that Rymer has picked up Susan Maakestad from Memphis. She’s on faculty at Memphis College of Art, a fine painter. I first saw her work at the Tennessee Arts Commission, and I wrote an essay for a show she did at Rhodes College in Memphis.

As always, if you have an email list of your own, feel free to forward this.

If someone wants to get added directly to my list for the email version of this listing, send me an email at dcmaddox@comcast.net. To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

Apr. 3

Sarratt Gallery, Rachel Simmons. I know, this opening has past, but the show is up for a while longer. Simmons’ art casts creatures of the deep sea as strange, fantastic, almost gothic forms.

Apr. 5

Ruby Green, The Axe and The Spade, Jonathan Bouknight, Adam Davis, John Trobaugh. The title of this group show refers to a Native American test which determined the gender role of children—male, female, or a third gender—I don’t know, but I suppose this was one of the inspirations for Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. These guys do stuff with gender signifiers, and apparently also redefine the exhibit space, which often makes for the most interesting exhibits at Ruby Green.

TAG, Vadis Turner. This looks like a lot of fun. Vadis Turner makes boxes of candies and confections out of cloth and beauty products, femininity gone amok. Among the highlights of her biography is that she’s a graduate of Harpeth Hall, and apparently still processing that experience.

Arts Company, Aaron Morgan Brown and Rod Daniel Brown (no relation to gallery owner Ann Brown) paints very complicated, sophisticated images, lots of layers, tricky perspective effects that he get from the smallest moves. Rod Daniel had a career as a television and film director, but he was also taking photos on the road—this exhibit B&W photos, a lot of buildings and landscapes in the West.

Rymer, Evoke, Viviane Case-Fox, Susan Maakestad, Linda Prud'homme, and Martin Saint-Laurent I’ve linked to an entire essay on Susan’s work, so I’ll leave it at this. She’s showing at Rymer with three other painters who seem to cover a lot of ground stylistically between them.

Tinney-Cannon, Sherrie Love Bohlinger Love Bohlinger is from Montana and paints a lot of western themes—horses, buffalo, and of course the landscape—in dreamy, vivid colors.

Twist, Rachel Clark A series of small paintings arrayed on a grid, running humorous variations on decay and waste.

Apr. 6

CRAFT: A Creative Community A group of local artists/artisans, bringing Nashville into the world of DIY crafts, holds its first monthly sale/fair of the new year in the parking lot of Lipstick Lounge from 11-5 on Sunday.

Nashville Visual Arts Events April 3-6

I’m just going to cover the first weekend things. There’s a bunch of stuff next week, and Faith Wilding is coming to talk at Watkins on the 17th.

I got word this week that Matt Mikulla has closed his gallery and studio in the Arcade. That’s really too bad. He was a very strong part of the community there, and he was doing interesting things. I’ve added his website on my list here, go visit him. He’s going to keep going with his photography, and I suspect he’ll do well getting his work out there through the web.

As for the openings this weekend, I’m particularly heartened that Rymer has picked up Susan Maakestad from Memphis. She’s on faculty at Memphis College of Art, a fine painter. I first saw her work at the Tennessee Arts Commission, and I wrote an essay for a show she did at Rhodes College in Memphis.

As always, if you have an email list of your own, feel free to forward this.

If someone wants to get added directly to my list for the email version of this listing, send me an email at dcmaddox@comcast.net. To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

Apr. 3

Sarratt Gallery, Rachel Simmons. I know, this opening has past, but the show is up for a while longer. Simmons’ art casts creatures of the deep sea as strange, fantastic, almost gothic forms.

Apr. 5

Ruby Green, The Axe and The Spade, Jonathan Bouknight, Adam Davis, John Trobaugh. The title of this group show refers to a Native American test which determined the gender role of children—male, female, or a third gender—I don’t know, but I suppose this was one of the inspirations for Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. These guys do stuff with gender signifiers, and apparently also redefine the exhibit space, which often makes for the most interesting exhibits at Ruby Green.

TAG, Vadis Turner. This looks like a lot of fun. Vadis Turner makes boxes of candies and confections out of cloth and beauty products, femininity gone amok. Among the highlights of her biography is that she’s a graduate of Harpeth Hall, and apparently still processing that experience.


Arts Company, Aaron Morgan Brown and Rod Daniel Brown (no relation to gallery owner Ann Brown) paints very complicated, sophisticated images, lots of layers, tricky perspective effects that he get from the smallest moves. Rod Daniel had a career as a television and film director, but he was also taking photos on the road—this exhibit B&W photos, a lot of buildings and landscapes in the West.

Rymer, Evoke, Viviane Case-Fox, Susan Maakestad, Linda Prud'homme, and Martin Saint-Laurent I’ve linked to an entire essay on Susan’s work, so I’ll leave it at this. She’s showing at Rymer with three other painters who seem to cover a lot of ground stylistically between them.

Tinney-Cannon, Sherrie Love Bohlinger Love Bohlinger is from Montana and paints a lot of western themes—horses, buffalo, and of course the landscape—in dreamy, vivid colors.

Twist, Rachel Clark A series of small paintings arrayed on a grid, running humorous variations on decay and waste.

Apr. 6

CRAFT: A Creative Community A group of local artists/artisans, bringing Nashville into the world of DIY crafts, holds its first monthly sale/fair of the new year in the parking lot of Lipstick Lounge from 11-5 on Sunday.