The Cosmos Series
Tuesday, April 07, 2020
By Gizara Arts
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I started the "Cosmos Series" in the hope that the paintings would help to foster a rebirth. A rebirth in terms of my going back to color, the birth of a new series, the birth of a new beginning. I have been painting for over 30 years now, and I seldom dictate what my paintings are going to look like. But they do appear out of a somewhat peaceful place of creation. I just try to not overthink them, and get out of the way and let them come through me. Let me know what you think of this new series, I would like to complete 10. Staying at home during this Covid virus crisis, the theme of this series seems very appropriate. The hope that all will be well again. 


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Einstein

Creativity amid the Coronavirus: how Local Artists are Enduring the Crisis
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
By Gizara Arts
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Artist Nico Sauceda spends time with his youngest son, Epic, 18 months, as they create art at their home in Huntington Beach on Thursday. Sauceda’s regular job is at a custom framing store, but he’s off for at least a month because of the coronavirus outbreak.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

As the coronavirus pandemic pummels industries across the globe, one group of professionals is particularly hard hit. Yet it may be the most practiced at spinning beauty from bleakness.

With honed tenacity and perseverance, many artists continue to do what they do best: make art.

“It truly is some sort of blessing in disguise,” said Nico Sauceda, 28, a painter in Huntington Beach. “I’m able to not think about the worries of work and get to focus and hone all my skills.”

State and local directives calling for nonessential businesses to close put Sauceda’s job at Gorman Framing in Costa Mesa on hold for at least a month. Now, instead of squeezing his painting into late-night hours after putting his three children to bed — sometimes staying up until 3 or 4 a.m. before returning to the store by 8 a.m. — his creativity has space to breathe.

“There is something I’m looking forward to” Sauceda said. “It’s really a gift.”

Paintings of Americana trucks, landscapes and food by artist Anthony Salvo, of Costa Mesa, at the Fe
Paintings of vintage vehicles and landscapes by artist Anthony Salvo of Costa Mesa are displayed at the 2019 Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. The summer festival is Salvo’s biggest annual revenue source. 
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)


The struggle

But no amount of creative time can completely buffer artists from the economic suffering afflicting the arts industry.

“Now that the stock market’s taken a crash, people are not going to want to buy art because it’s sort of a luxury, it’s not a necessity,” said Anthony Salvo, 60, an oil painter who owns a studio in Newport Beach.

When the arts flourish, so do surrounding industries. Think of the crowds flooding downtown Laguna Beach after a day at the summer art festivals. Or the gallery visitors going to cafes and other shops on Newport’s Balboa Peninsula. Or the theater-goers visiting Costa Mesa for dinner and a show.

In a strong economy, art and cultural activity can contribute as much as 4.5% of the nation’s gross domestic product, as it did in 2017, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

But as the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has burgeoned, the market to display and sell art has vanished. Musicians can’t go to theaters, restaurants or bars to play. Museums and galleries are closed. Weddings — and the related industry of designers, florists and photographers — are being canceled. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa announced Wednesday that all shows through April are canceled or postponed. The Laguna Playhouse is closed until further notice.

For many artists, the sudden evaporation of venues and events has decimated their income. According to an Americans for the Arts economic impact survey, artists and arts organizations and agencies across the United States had lost $3.6 billion as of Thursday.

In California, 96% of the 411 organizations that responded to the survey said they had canceled events, contributing to $5.7 million of economic loss to the industry statewide.

Salvo is holding his breath that the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach will still open in July as scheduled. Like many festival artists, the two-month festival is his biggest show and largest revenue source of the year.

“They either buy your work there or they find you and buy it later,” Salvo said of festival-goers. “It’s just a great exposure for an artist to be in that show. So if that cancels, it’s not good.” 

‘We can help each other’

Resources for struggling creatives have popped up in various ways. On Friday, it was monetary. The $2-trillion federal stimulus deal that President Trump signed Friday includes $75 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities and $50 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The National Endowment for the Arts has compiled a list of various organizations offering resources for struggling creatives. One of those, “COVID-19 Freelance Artists Resources,” gained steam online with a series of panels about how to apply for emergency funding, quantify work lost and learn other financial best practices.

The coronavirus pandemic coincided with the California Arts Council’s annual grant program, which the council next week will consider adjusting to accommodate artists affected by the virus.

“We know the arts and culture fields are particularly vulnerable to the economic repercussions of the emergency. With public events canceled and revenue sources for organizations and individual artists severely threatened, we are among the most impacted sectors in the U.S.,” Council Chairwoman Nashormeh Lindo and Executive Director Anne Bown-Crawford said in a statement on the CAC website. “But we are also one of the most innovative sectors, and together we will find our way through this moment.”

Locally, exhibitors at the Festival of Arts have been contributing for years to a nonprofit Artists Fund to help those in their community who “don’t earn enough to afford healthcare or to put aside funds to carry them through a personal or natural disaster.” Similarly, the Sawdust Art Festival stewards an “artists’ benevolence fund” to help any working artist in Laguna Beach.

Individuals are stepping up too. Costa Mesa resident Salina Mendoza, 28, paints and designs socks and fanny packs, but during the day she works at consulting firm Brix Labs. When she began hearing from artist friends about their diminishing incomes, she decided to leverage her tech income, put her artwork on a half-off sale and donate all the proceeds to artists in need.

“They make art because they love it. This is them. This is sacred,” said Mendoza, curator and founding partner of Low Key Gallery in Santa Ana. “Whatever I can do to help my friends that are really living out their purpose, then I’m all for it.”

As of Thursday, she had collected $625 to direct to artist friends in need.


Creative solutions

Some artists are finding alternative ways to connect with their audience.

Instead of its usual gallery reception March 14, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. livestreamed its annual awards ceremony. There were some electronic kinks, said Salvo, an association member, but it worked.

Following the lead of museums worldwide, the Orange County Museum of Art announced Friday that it would hold several virtual art events, including behind-the-scenes videos of artists and screenings of independent films, in collaboration with the Newport Beach Film Festival, which has postponed its 2020 run to August because of the coronavirus outbreak.

OCMA also commissioned artists to create “listening sessions” — “unique sound-based projects for an engaging at-home experience that doesn’t keep you tied to looking at your screen,” according to a news release.

Like many of his colleagues, Cody Parole, 28, relies on Instagram to promote his artwork. The Costa Mesa-based multimedia artist posts YouTube videos showing his art process, such as a recent mural painting at Victoria Elementary School.

His newly founded artists collective, Highway 1, was planning to hold a party at the end of the month to celebrate the release of a new magazine, The 27 Club. Instead, he said, it will likely be an online-only release.

“The one good thing is we do get a lot of exposure and a lot of business from just online and social media,” Parole said. “There’s definitely still opportunity, but really it’s about still trying to network and just stay on top of the trends.”

Mendoza had just launched her organization Artist Safe Spaces, which is intended to help artists find places to do live art, when the pandemic hit. Since gatherings outside are no longer permitted, she invited artists to livestream their performances on Instagram, beginning with harpist Jillian Lopez. Mendoza also is collaborating with a Costa Mesa gallery to hold a private figure-drawing class via video.

But viewing art online changes the experience. Wendy Wirth, 57, a landscape painter with a studio in Laguna Beach, doubts the success of buying online for the foreseeable future.

“There’s so much to art that isn’t digital, because there’s nuances you don’t get when you see something live in a framing, and how the light hits it,” Wirth said.

Still, she expressed faith in her fellow artists: “All the artists get very creative when there’s trying times.”


Social distancing already a way of life

For many artists, “stay at home” and 6-foot social distancing guidelines aren’t far from their norm.

“We’re a solitary people anyway,” Salvo said. “We paint by ourselves, so we’re not really meeting a lot of people in our studios.”

So as the world is changing, inside an artist’s studio, not much is different.

“You can’t really be creative on demand, but since we have to stay home ... it’s no big deal to just keep painting,” Salvo said. “I’m going to finish all my paintings. If there’s a show or no show, I’m still going to finish them.”

For some artists, the coronavirus actually has planted seeds of inspiration. Sauceda, the Costa Mesa painter, said he is grateful for the unexpected time off work to spend with his girlfriend and their three children, each in creative endeavors: floristry, photography, building and crafts. Even Sauceda’s 18-month-old colors beside his painting daddy.


“There’s definitely a lot of sadness and dark energy coming from [the virus], but the planet’s going to be regaining its strength through lack of all the stuff we’re using,” Sauceda said. “I think everyone’s going to realize the time that they took for granted spending with their families and all this positive that they’re going to see.”

He’s dreaming up a new painting: tall grass pushing through a vacant lot where an old building was bulldozed. He’s already picked a spot in Costa Mesa.

“Once that happens, plants start growing,” he said. “Even though that house has been there 10, 15 years, nature will always prevail and grow from it. ... Negative turning into a positive.”


Writer Faith E. Pinho covers Costa Mesa for the Daily Pilot. She came to the newspaper in 2018 after finishing the Pulliam Journalism Fellowship with the Indianapolis Star. Before that, she reported for Virginia public radio station WMRA and The Washington Times, and interned for WBUR public radio in Boston. She studied journalism and politics at Washington and Lee University and King’s College London. (714) 966-4627

This Pioneering Artist Is on the Brink of Her First Big Retrospective, at 98
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
By Gizara Arts
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This Pioneering Artist Is on the Brink of Her First Big Retrospective, at 98

A string of solo exhibitions will shine new light on the work of the Venezuelan-born artist Luchita Hurtado.

In the Studio With Luchita Hurtado

Laure Joliet

In her expansive oil paintings, ink-based drawings, fabric collages and patterned garments, Hurtado explores what she sees as the interconnectedness of all beings. Her paintings from the ’70s — sinuous bodies that morph into mountains, bare nipples that juxtapose spiky leaves, bulbous fruits that echo curving belly shapes — represent women as sacred beings, powerful subjects of their own lives. Hurtado also incorporated womb imagery into her work before the feminist art movement made popular the same subject matter in the late ’70s.Born in the seaside town of Maiquetía, Venezuela, in 1920, Hurtado migrated to New York at age 8. At the then-all-girls high school Washington Irving, she studied fine art and developed a keen interest in anti-fascist political movements. After graduating, she volunteered at the Spanish-language newspaper La Prensa and met her first husband, a Chilean journalist twice her age. When he abandoned her and their infant son, she supported herself by creating imaginative installations for Lord & Taylor and fashion illustrations for Vogue — at night, she created totemic figure drawings with watercolor and crayon. (In 1946, at age 26, she met and married the Austrian-Mexican painter Wolfgang Paalen, moving with her two sons to join him in Mexico City.)

“Luchita has always had this very fluid identity, which makes her art so 21st century,” says the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is organizing her retrospective in London. “We have to contextualize her clearly with the historic avant-garde, because she is a contemporary of Frida Kahlo, she knew Diego Rivera and was married to Wolfgang Paalen, a key figure of surrealism — and she is a key figure of spiritual surrealism, with a connection to pre-Columbian art, but we cannot lock her in that.” Hurtado’s work blurs the lines between micro- and macroscopic worlds; she was at the forefront of not just spiritual surrealism, but also the environmental and feminist art movements. As Obrist puts it, “she navigated a century of different contexts and played an important role in all of those.” 

“Life changes you,” says Hurtado, shown here in a photograph taken by her son Matt Mullican in 1973. “I’ve been many persons, but each day, I’m completely different.” During this period, Hurtado and her husband Lee Mullican used the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport as their studio. The following year, the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles hosted her first solo exhibition, including paintings that melded English and Spanish words.
“Life changes you,” says Hurtado, shown here in a photograph taken by her son Matt Mullican in 1973. “I’ve been many persons, but each day, I’m completely different.” During this period, Hurtado and her husband Lee Mullican used the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport as their studio. The following year, the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles hosted her first solo exhibition, including paintings that melded English and Spanish words.CreditMatt Mullican

Hurtado possesses the grace of someone who has not spent her life promoting her art, but quietly and diligently producing it — at her kitchen table, in backyards and closets and, at one point, in a stand-alone studio in the Santa Monica Canyon (by 1951, she had relocated to Los Angeles). “I never stopped drawing, looking, living,” she tells me. “It’s all the same thing, all solving your own life.” Yet in the ’70s — when she was producing pioneering fabric collages punctuated with words including “you” and “womb” — she wrote to Noguchi to request professional favors for her third husband, the artist Lee Mullican, but rarely, if ever, did she tell him about her own practice. When asked why she didn’t openly share her paintings with artist friends, she says, “I always felt shy of it. I didn’t feel comfortable with people looking at my work.” She adds, too, that “there was a time when women really didn’t show their work.Later in the afternoon, we zip across town to a nondescript brick warehouse in Los Angeles’s West Adams neighborhood — the same building where, nearly four years ago, her studio director, Ryan Good, stumbled on nearly 1,200 works that were undated, many signed with the initials “LH.” While family and close friends were aware that Hurtado painted, her cross-disciplinary practice, distinct visual vernacular and prolific output remained largely unknown. “We didn’t know the extent of it,” says Good, while leafing through a photo album. “I knew that Luchita had made some paintings, but it was a different thing to look at her entire career.” He continues, “we know Isamu Noguchi and Sam Francis have jewelry she made, that Agnes Martin has clothes Luchita made and Gordon Onslow-Ford has some things, but it doesn’t seem like she gave other work away to the prominent artists she knew.”

 In the early ’60s, Hurtado drew enigmatic, muscular figures in vibrant ink washes. This untitled work from 1960 will be exhibited in May at the Serpentine alongside other anatomical drawings.CreditJeff McLane. Image courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

In preparation for her upcoming shows, Hurtado’s studio registrar, Cole Root, has been sifting through photographs — self-portraits, family travel shots, abstract shadow studies — looking for clues about paintings that might have been sold or given to friends. “When I started there was no archive whatsoever,” says Root. “We’ve gone from a casual pace to moving at the speed of light.”

Part of the challenge in organizing Hurtado's archive is that she moved frequently throughout her life — early works from New York City and Mexico City, for instance, are mostly lost — and she doesn’t remember many of the pieces herself. “Some things survived, some things didn’t,” says Hurtado, “I’ve gotten use to loss.” Also, few of her works have ever been publicly exhibited. “Women artists have not had the visibility they should have and we need to protest, systematically, against forgetting — through books and exhibitions,” Obrist says. The exhibition at the Serpentine will be animated by what he calls “decisive moments or epiphanies” throughout Hurtado’s life.

“I remember my childhood more and more,” Hurtado tells me, tucking a tortoiseshell comb into her hair, which she had cut short herself the day before. She shares memories from Venezuela — hiding under fan-shaped leaves, watching crabs scuttle across the beach, devouring mangoes in a cool stream. Lately, when she wakes, she sees a vision of a pink ceiling floating above her. I imagine the series of paintings she created in 1975 in which bright-white squares are framed by mesmerizing planes of blue, goldenrod and fiery red — intended to draw moths to an illusory light, they give off a sense of ascension and expansion. “I’ve concluded that I’m going somewhere,” she tells me. “It’s not death; it’s a border that wecross. I don’t think I’ll be able to come back and tell you, but if I can, I’ll find a way. If you suddenly see a pink ceiling, that’s me.”

“Luchita Hurtado. Dark Years” is on view from Jan. 31 – April 6, 2019, at Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street, New York,


Anna Furman is a freelance journalist who writes about art, culture and travel. 

Curators Debate The Pros & Cons of All Women Art Shows
Thursday, July 25, 2019
By Malada Baldwin
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Curators Debate the Pros and Cons of All-Women’s Art Shows

In the wake of #MeToo, all-women’s art shows have taken on new significance. But whether such shows are an effective strategy for achieving gender equity in the art world is still up for debate.




Jill Finsen, “Yellow Sail” (2018) 20 x 20 inches, oil on canvas (all images courtesy New York Studio School)

It’s been nearly half a century since the founding of the feminist art movement in the United States. Despite the progress made since then, statistics still paint a depressing picture of gender disparity in the contemporary art world. According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, even though 51% of visual artists working today are women, just 5% of artwork featured in major U.S. museums is made by women; only 25-35% of women artists have gallery representation; and women working across arts professions make an average of $20,000 less per year than men.

In recent years, in an effort to help correct for these long-standing disparities, many art institutions — even those with histories of disproportionately representing men — have hosted all-women’s art shows. In the midst of the cultural reckoning spurred by the #metoo movement, such shows have taken on new significance.

This summer, the The New York Studio School, a renowned art school formed in Greenwich Village in 1963, hosted its first-ever all-women’s alumni show. Called X Marks the Spot: Women of the Studio School, the exhibit featured the work of 90 female and female-identifying artists affiliated with the institution. Artworks on view ranged from Niki Singleton’s “I Never Preferred Blondes”, a showstopper painting of female desire and rage, to actress Lucy Liu’s self-portrait collage, “Slow Motion Love Kiss.”

Lucy Liu, “Slow Motion Love Kiss” (2018) Collage, 20″ x 17″

Whether all-women’s shows are an effective long-term strategy for achieving gender equity in the art world at large remains a subject of heated debate. At a panel discussion that accompanied the Studio School exhibit, some artists and curators argued that gender-based shows encourage tokenism and relegate women to the sidelines, while others argued that, after centuries of art shows that featured only men, all-women shows are a necessary corrective. Malado Baldwin and Maia Ibar, curators of X Marks the Spot, recently sat down with artist and Studio School alumnus Erin Haldrup Perrazzelli to discuss the pros and cons of organizing a show premised on gender.

Niki Singleton, “I Never Preferred Blondes” (2017) Handmade oil, acrylic, glitter on panels, 56 x 48 in


Malado Baldwin: No all-women show had been done before at the New York Studio School. When we proposed the show in 2016, during the presidential election campaigns — perhaps buoyed by a female candidate — we thought that it was past due time for such a #herstoric event. Significantly more women than men come out of the Studio School — which is true of most art schools — and in the years since we graduated, we have witnessed the discouragement of our female peers as they encounter the challenges of being female in the art world at large. We wanted to provide a platform for these artists to share their accomplishments — to encourage, support, and promote. And in doing so, perhaps tip the balance a bit in an effort towards equalization.

Erin Haldrup:  During a panel talk about the exhibit, two accomplished painters and alumnae of the school, Andrea Belag and Joyce Pensato, were asked if we should have all-women shows.  They both answered assuredly, no.

Malado Baldwin: They brought up good points about all-female shows relegating women to the sidelines. As a third-wave feminist artist myself — a former riot grrrl and strong advocate of feminism since my early teens — my views tended to differ. I believe inherent sexism continues to affect all areas of culture globally, and that it is essential to continue to raise awareness and strive towards equality by any means. I think that women’s advocacy groups and women’s shows are effective ways to affect that change.

Erin Haldrup Perrazzelli, “Creation”

Maia Ibar: This is a complicated topic that I am not sure will ever be resolved until there is equilibrium. We are in the process of reimagining the canon of the past. In 2018, the statistics about gender in the art world still indicate great inequality and show the serious, urgent, whacky reality of our time. Allowing marginalized people the space and opportunity to express their perspectives is critical. If we do not acknowledge the spectrum of the human condition, we continue to be part of the problem. Engaging in these marginalized perspectives can often be tense, but now is the time to step forward — post-#metoo, post-#feminisms, post-#cheeto. Shows like this bring awareness and celebration [of women artists]. We did not think that this show was devaluing or victimizing the artists but more embracing each others’ sisterhood; a door to check in, to share, to listen, to provide space.

Erin Haldrup: On the surface, the debate appeared to be about all-women art shows, but it was really an example of a deeper debate — the locking of horns between two opposing waves of feminism. There are differing philosophies regarding the best strategies for relieving women of their position as “the other” in society. Second wave feminists think that holding all-women’s shows relegates them to that very position.  Based on the strong generational divide in the room, it became clear that there is a new wave of feminism that seeks to give women opportunities, special or not, in order to create a chance for society at large to see that woman are on equal footing.

Jenny Lynn McNutt “URGE, Ninhursag” (2017)

Malado Baldwin: What I got from curating the show, participating in the panel, and hearing the audience voice their reactions, was how much peoples’ individual stories entered into their perspectives; testimonials that affirmed the necessity, as I understand it, of making space for female artists of all kinds to showcase their work. More often than not, we are juggling a lot, as moms and partners, or solo artists working and hopefully showing. Until someone makes that leap of faith and gives us an opportunity, says yes to a proposal, or asks us to be in a show, we are on the sidelines. It is about the work — it is not about gender. But, it is also about giving equal opportunity.

Maia Ibar: I would like to be in a position where I could say I don’t think about my identity as a “woman artist”, but as an artist and curator today, there is still a gender problem. My perspective has had to change after years of identifying myself purely as an “artist” without bringing the specific conditions of my [female] existence into it. Also, I’d mention that there can be a stereotypical competitive behavior between women when they are forced to fight for limited forms of recognition in a misogynist society.

Carole Seborovski, “Ocean of Love” (2018) Flashe, glass powder, aluminum leaf, glass beads, clay stilt, acrylic, acrylic latex, wood pan. 12 x 8 x 3½ in

This show was a way of saying “Hey, we are walking this path together, and if we help each other out and stay positive, we are activating this deconditioning process.”  I think that not having a specific theme besides the title of the show X Marks the Spot: Women of the NYSSbrought in some tremendously strong work. The artists and art were vibrant, bold, humorous, serious. It brought all kinds of topics — ranging from motherhood to pussy-grabbing, animals, landscapes, and abstractions. We were not specifically trying to tackle femininity for this show; we were picking the most compelling art and putting it together in the best way that provided the strength of the show.

Erin Haldrup: I also never thought of myself as a “woman painter” until I had children.  I want to be careful in expressing this because all women face extra challenges and mine are no more special than others’ — but my particular challenges have to do with balancing painting and motherhood. You have to really focus to harness, direct, and strengthen your energy as a mother who is also an artist.

When I think of historical examples of artists who are mothers, there is a dirth. I can come up with Alice Neel and Sally Mann as a couple great ones. But today, because things are changing for the better for artist mothers, there are many more examples. Some of the highest paid and most successful female artists are mothers, such as Cecily Brown, who is an alumnus of the New York Studio School. There are artists who are mothers in the show: Becky Yazdan, Catherine Lepp, Elisa Jensen and Cecelia Rembert, to name a few — and they are all doing an incredible of job of striking this balance.

Men never have to ask themselves whether it would pigeonhole them to create work that is uniquely male in its perspective — in fact, it’s expected, encouraged, and does well in the market. This goes back to what I was saying about masculinity still being the normal or dominant energy in society from which everything else is considered a deviation. So I see this prejudice as a problem.

Malado Baldwin: There was so much great work in the show. I think the female perspective is an interesting and worthwhile one — and also, marketable. And since the point of the exhibition is to showcase artistic talent, I’ll mention some highlights: Alice Klugherz’s stunning performances spoke to a hardcore feminism with humor and seriousness. Niki Singleton’s show-stopper of female desire and rage, “I Never Preferred Blondes”, was full of contrasts. There were paintings that spoke to admiration of other women, like Susu Pianchupattana’s portrait of the beloved Queen mother Somdet Ya of Thailand, “Mom Told Her Tale.” Or, more intimate moments like Dena Shutzer’s painting of a woman in a laundromat, “Laundromat-20 dollars,” and actress Lucy Liu’s collage (perhaps a self-portrait), titled “Slow Motion Love Kiss.” The influential Studio School professor Margrit Lewczuk’s graphic small painting “Orange X” and Tamara Gonzales’ “Acoustic Location” paired nicely next the fierce multimedia collage-painting by Sylvina Rodruiguez, “N.A.”

Dena Schutzer, ‘Laundromat-20 dollars” (2018) Oil paint on canvas, 24 x 20 in

I find it interesting to flip history on its head by having women present work in which the man is the muse — reversing the male-gaze trope, so to speak — which I did in my video, “God_my_GODDESS”, a portrait of the writer Octavio Gonzalez.  Robert James Anderson’s powerful, time-based performance and singing (in drag) of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” was also a favorite.

One could argue that we could have chosen to not advertise the all female-identifying roster in an effort to avoid a heated debate. We decided instead that there was strength in naming it: pointing out the reality of the statistics on gender and celebrating the diversity within all the women that have studied and taught at this special New York institution.

X Marks the Spot: Women of the New York Studio Schoolcurated by Malado Baldwin and Maia Ibar, ran from July 23rd to August 26th, 2018, at the New York Studio School. 

My Chateau Orquevaux Residency
Monday, July 16, 2018
By Gizara Arts
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I just returned from France after a two week painting residency in a Chateau built in the 1700's that sits atop a hill, overlooking the village of Orquevaux on 40 green acres of fertile land. Take a look at this beauty: This residency was the most soul quenching and artistically nourishing experience of my life. To be surrounded by 9 other artists, to have no other obligations but to create- it felt like I had died and gone to heaven. As you know very well, being an artistic person means spending countless hours alone- as we fine tune our chosen passions. I found my bliss there and hope to be a part of the community one day soon.

 The Chateau Orquevaux is three hours east of Paris. You can arrive by train in the city of Chaumont, just 30 minutes away or drive from Paris- which is what I did. Up until recently, the Village of Orquevaux was dying- and in a sad decline like so many of the small villages in France. Once a busy village that had a bustling iron factory, the village has been crumbling for over 100 years. And today, as the villager's kids grow up and move away to the cities of Dijon, or Champagne, there seems to be little hope for the tiny town. But, I am happy to say this village now has a sweet secret, and some interesting things are blossoming there...

Along comes Ziggy Attias: About Ziggy. His father had purchased the property years before and not done anything with it. Two years ago Ziggy was gifted the property from his father, in the hopes that it stays in the family and is passed along to the following generations. Originally from Long Island, Ziggy was born in Israel but raised in the New York area. In the 1980's Ziggy created amazing objects d'art. More recently he was a successful businessman, and owned two successful restaurants in the Hamptons. Walking away from that busy and demanding life, Ziggy now has a new dream- of turning the Chateau and Village of Orquevaux into a cultural and artistic center. 

The Chateau, sitting on a hill above the town had fallen into disrepair over the years. But now Ziggy is literally breathing new life into the Chateau and the once forgotten village. He is much beloved by the residents who are seeing their buildings restored and their village come to life. The Chateau has a rich and extensive history: Chateau Lineage and housed the writings of the French Philosopher Diderot for many years: Diderot at the Chateau. It was taken over by the Nazis during WW2- and the studio doors still have the names of offices written on them when it served as their headquarters. A chilling reminder of a bad chapter in the chateau's history.

Ziggy has already purchased more properties in the village of Orquevaux- a 5-minute walk from the Chateaux. He has plans to build within the beauty of the existing buildings a museum, a performance center, multiple artist's studios and a sculpture park on the grounds of the Chateau. His dream is to continually foster artists from all over the world, and to make this quaint village into a rich cultural destination. For now, there is a small fee to attend the residency: Residency Cost. But reduced fees and scholarships are also available. The fees he collects are going to the cost of repairing and restoring the Chateau and the properties in the village. His dream is to make this residency a non-profit organization and grant scholarships to artists. With his passion is to support the arts, a true philanthropist, Ziggy is a unique man with a huge heart and spectacular vision!

Apply today: Residency Application- Tell them that Lisa sent you!







The Chateau Orquevaux Grounds

The Chateau Orquevaux Grounds

My Studio and Paintings

Thirteen paintings in fourteen days. What I could do if I had no responsibilities other then creating art!