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[BKARTS] M.C. Richards



Marjorie,
Thanks for your letter about M. C.   Richards. It brought back a memory of 
this past summer.

While at Haystack on Deer Isle, Maine, there was a showing of a documentary 
about M. C.   Richards being shown in town.   It was mentioned that M. C.   
Richards had been on the board at Haystack. I wish I had had time to see the 
books you mentioned, that are part of the Haystack Library in the Woods. A bunch 
of us piled into a car to see the film.

There was a problem with the equipment in this funky little film house 
rescued several years ago from demise. The summer before there was a Nosferatu 
Festival accompanied by live jazz.   

We waited too long for the film to begin, then watched in a 
stop-start-stop-start mode. I'm sorry to say that while most of the film was impressive, some 
of the talking heads were dull and a little too mystical for my taste. We were 
forced to endure several scenes again and again, such as a salad making scene 
repeated at least ten times. I won't name names, but a certain gentleman and I 
got the giggles, the wet-your-pants kind, and I thought that if I had to 
watch M. C.   adore her own paintings one more time I might run from the theater, 
no matter what my art neighbors thought of me. 

When it seemed that they would never get the film to play and might even 
start from the beginning again, our little Haystack group gave up and slunk out of 
the theater, only to sit in the car on the edge of the Maine coast, and 
debate the film's merits for more than an hour. 

It was a VERY lively discussion.   One of our group had studied with Richards 
and said she had to be experienced in the flesh, that she was a phenomenal 
teacher.   While I personally thought her early years fascinating, developing 
performances and events with the likes of Merce Cunningham and Robert 
Rauschenberg in the 50s, I wondered why she spent her last years living and working in 
an institution. In later years, she was somewhat misunderstood from what I 
understand, and I questioned whether she had in some way given up confronting The 
Art World, finding her work with seriously impaired mental patients more 
rewarding. It was quite a special evening, not only learning about Richards, but 
the extraordinary experience of the discussion she stirred in our little group 
that continued through the foggy night's ride back to Haystack.

Thank you for reminding me of her books --and that night.   

S T I L L * D A N C I N G
A L I C E
______________________
A L I C E * S I M P S O N
www.craftsreport.com/february03/profile.html





> Date:    Mon, 15 Nov 2004 02:38:11 -0700
> From:    Marjorie Coffey <coffeyaz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: URBAN MOTION
> 
> Ed, In re-reading your notes about Alice Simpson's show, I was reminded of
> meeting M. C. Richards years ago at a conference at the Corcoran about Women
> in the Arts.  When she was hired at Black Mountain College she was sent to
> teach poetry in the ceramics studio.  She made a series of pots to reflect
> parts of BLACK ELK SPEAKS and another series representing the various dances
> (waltz, jazz, etc.) she saw a friend preparing for a recital.  I was so
> impressed with her her books (CENTERING  and THE CROSSING  POINT) and her
> level headed critique of the feminist jargon of Judy Chicago  that I bought
> local hand made pottery.  Using it for my cooking and eating keeps my
> creative juices flowing.  If Alice hasn't run across these old books before
> she might find them supportive of her own work.
>     Thanks again for your call.  I'll follow your suggestions.  Marjorie
> 
>

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