On January 24, 2012, Raphael and I went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's preview
of "In Wonderland," an exhibit of surrealist women artists from Mexico and the U.S. which
includes several works by Frida Kahlo and friends. "In Wonderland" is a reference to Lewis Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland" and the introductory notes state that the works show a different perspective, as if these artists had been "down the rabbit hole," both in the sense of their personal lives and trauma that happened to them as children, as well as in the fact of their being women.
We arrived at 8:00 p.m. on a beautiful Thursday evening in L.A. where we met the friend who had invited us, Meg Hunt. (Nom de Plume alert!) After some wine, a delicious salad with walnuts and apples and a visit with our tablemates, two women who had driven up from Palos Verdes for the event, we ambled into the exhibit and each lost ourselves in the art, bumping into each other occasionally over the next hour. The show, which is part of the ongoing Pacific Standard Time series, consists of paintings, sculpture, photography, "constructs" and architecture. Not surprisingly, many of the works have dolls in them. There were lots of paintings of women, but no female nudes in the manner you might expect to see in paintings by male artists.
At ten, I found Raphael and Meg, whose feet were hurting as much as mine were, as we both
wore heels. [Meg and I, not Raphael!] On the way to the parking lot, we discussed our favorite works and artists from the show. It was liberating to see women depicted from a female point of view. I liked Frida Kahlo's wedding portrait with her husband at the time, Diego Rivera, where he is gigantic and she is tiny, and a painting by Dorothea Tanner, who looks strangely modern in a 1930's era self-portrait in black pants, sitting astride a stool, looking young, beautiful and powerful. There were too many works to adequately describe here, so I want to go back and delve into this exhibit in greater depth. I also want to explore the connection between Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and some of these works. More on this soon!
Well, Veronica has thrown down the gauntlet. Again. First, I am to make a friend for Winifred. That's the easy part. But also, Vera tells me that Winifred wants a puppy. And it has to be a St. Bernard. And three-dimensional, with tee-shirt "fur." It's always a challenge, but I'll give it a try.
First, the dolls: Vera has already named this one "Cordelia," who will be a variation of Mimosa. [see pictures of Mimosa on the "dolls" page and in an earlier blog post, where she models Winifred's studio outfit.] Another doll, Hyacinth, a red-head, is named after a character in Mary Gaskell's 19th Century novel, "Wives and Daughters." [More on that next week.] These dolls will be the first in the "Tomboy" series. You can pictures of Cordelia, Hyacinth, Donette and Mitzi modeling their current hairstyles here. It's fun to imagine how to redesign their shoes, bodies and clothes to make them more tomboy-like. I'll be posting pictures as the dolls move from the drawing board, literally, through the creative process. And there's a new Raggedy Ann in the works, who'll have brown eyes and brown curls. [Wait till you see the new curly style!]
Liz [Nom de Plume alert!] and Malekai are working on some wire-framed dolls, Also, Liz
promised to send me one of her drawings for a new doll and I can't wait to get started!
It's going to be a busy year. Now, go see some art! Till next week….
Sallie, who is nine, came over yesterday to make an outfit for Raggedy Andy. Last month, we made Andy himself. First, we cut him out. Next, we drew the face and embroidered it. I did one eye, she did the other. I did one half of the mouth, she did the other. This is how Sallie learned to embroider. (Sophie was there too, working on Suki.)
Next, we cut a heart out of a scrap of red tee shirt and hand sewed it to the left side of Andy's chest. After that, we pinned, then stitched the front and back of the body, right sides together. Here is where Sallie got to practice using the sewing machine. Again, we divided the work down the middle, she did one side and I the other. Then came the hard part: stitching and stuffing the arms. Once the arms were done, we attached them to the body, then stuffed it. Little Andy was coming to life! Next, we attached his black boots to his red and white striped socks, pinned the two sides of each leg, right sides together, stitched, turned and stuffed them. Attaching the legs to the body can be tricky, so I pinned them, hand basted them, then we stitched them to his body with the machine. Andy was almost done!
Finally, la piece de la resistance: the hair. I cut strips from a clean, red tee shirt and bundled them together by tying them in the middle with another strip. I made lots of these bundles in different lengths, for the sides, bangs and back, then sewed them on. We had wisely made the back of Andy's head out of red cloth so that the hair blended in nicely, with no empty spots showing. We took pictures to show our progress.
It took two sessions to make Andy. The outfit was also two days. But it was worth it. Sallie and I discovered that making doll clothes can be more complicated than making a doll, if you've never done it before. The first attempt at Andy's outfit turned out like a clown suit. Yesterday's attempt was better, but we had to redo the pants legs several times before we could squeeze his black boots through. We finally did it, attached the "blouse," a blue ribbon for his bowtie and a big snap to hold his outfit together in the back. All that's left to do is sew on the buttons at the waist and the pants legs.
Last month, Raphael and I saw Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Lichtenstein and Giacometti at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA. I've been devouring art books lately, mainly Picasso and Matisse. But to see the actual paintings and sculptures and realize that these works are housed within a short bike ride from our house, sent chills down my
spine. After leaving the European Contemporary Art from 1900 to 1950 section, we stumbled upon Lichtenstein's multiple versions of Monet's cathedrals, and then saw the Monet's themselves! What a day!
We ended our visit at the new Broad addition to LACMA, with a show about Mexican- American street and performance art from the 1970's and 1980's. More on that next time, as well as news on the Global Bazaar at the Los Angeles Crafts and Folk Art Museum and the amazing doll tea set from Muddslinger pots in Missoula Montana: see more of the tea set and more at MUDDSLINGER-Pots on facebook and etsy.