Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Play Like No Other: DISGRACED

When you go to the theater and see a play you dream about afterwards, can’t stop thinking about it, and continue to debate its meanings ... that is a play worth writing about!

You may have heard of it, “Disgraced” by Ayad Akhtar.  It closed recently in New York and its very next stop was in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, produced by the Fusion Theater Company.  Ayad Akhtar is 45 years old, and a Pakistani-American actor and writer.  This is his first play written in 2012 and it won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The play deals with questions of identity and assimilation.  The focus is on Amir, a New York lawyer born to Muslim immigrants from Pakistan. He believes himself to be totally assimilated in the United States having shed all the prejudice and any extreme Islamic views that he learned from his mother as a child.  Through a series of events all the psychological protective armor that he has built up is slowly stripped away.  The main 4 characters and Fusion cast are Amir  (John San Nicolas) - Jory (Angela Littleton) - Emily (Celia Schaefer) – Isaak, the curator  (Gregory Wagrowski).

His American wife, an artist, is a bit of a free spirit, whose recent work is based on Islamic art. She sees the good side of the rich heritage brought to the world through so many years of the Persian Empire, which turned to Islam in the 7th century.  We can surmise that this is what attracts Amir to  Emily but it also intimidates him.

Amir’s cousin is a young Pakistani man still trying to find himself.  Although he is attracted to Islam he has Americanized his name to Abe (played by Samuel James Shoemaker-Trejo) in order to ease his way in society.  He wants Amir to help his friend, an Imam who has been accused of sending money to terrorists.  Over his protests that he is not a criminal lawyer, Emily persuades Amir to appear in court even if he does not serve as counsel to the Imam.  The press, however, portrays him as precisely that and Amir’s world begins to implode. 

It turns out that on his job application at his prestigious law firm he had said his parents were born in India since his father was born before that part of India became Pakistan, artificially, carved up by the British.  His mother, however, was born after that fateful date, August 14, 1947.  His law partners use the excuse to view him as anti-Semitic.  We learn that he has something of a chip on his shoulder making him a good litigator but scary as a partner.  He is infuriated when his black female friend and colleague at the firm is made partner when he feels he has worked far harder than she did.  I must add quickly before my children jump on me for describing his colleague as Black that this is a vital part of the story, the law firm being a white Jewish firm.  To add another ingredient to the pot his colleague is married to a white Jewish curator from the Whitney who has an affection for Emily and one wonders how far that might go.  Here is an image from the New Mexican of Jory and Amir still on good terms.

As the ingredients start to mix there is a dinner party with the four main characters, Jew, Black, former Muslim, Islamophile, who is also thrilled to learn her Muslim inspired work has made it into the Jewish curators exhibition.  Will the pot boil over? As the reviewer for The Guardian newspaper put it, “A stirring Greek Tragedy that will put you off your dinner”.

How would we react if we worked very hard to make it in another world culture and then were treated as an alien? It is quite recently that we would find a black person more in keeping with a white Jewish firm than an American-born Muslim who does not wish to be perceived as such.  Can one change one's DNA, or is it that certain precepts have been drilled into us since childhood and they are there to stay?  So many questions to think about.  I am not going to give away the entire plot because if I do you may not go to see or read the play.

To my surprise and delight I believe the Fusion’s cast to have been every bit as good and in some cases possibly superior to the one in New York, judging by the reviews.  Being from New York, I certainly recognized the curator who I may have placed at the Museum of Modern Art and not the Whitney but then the latter does do the Biennial.

The play has already been produced in London and Vienna and it is on track to have the most productions around the U.S. with 18 venues.  I have also read an article about the banlieues (the outskirts or suburbs of Paris where most Muslims and blacks live).  It’s called “The Other France” by George Packer and appeared in the August 31st issue of The New Yorker.  The real story sounded like it was taken right out of the play.  I would not be surprised if “Disgraced” were soon translated into French and if not, it should be.  With all the xenophobia we are seeing yet again in this country, and the immigration issues all over the world, the play is a must see or at least must read.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2nd Annual Festival of the Drum

I remember a friend of ours who enjoyed bringing drums as gifts to children probably so that they could drive their parents mad when they played in the house.  My son, Danny’s, first torture of his parents was playing the violin, which drove his poor baby brother to distraction at a few months of age.  So Danny’s solution was to stuff cotton into Hunter’s his ears.

Therefore, I guess, it was perfectly logical for him to eventually take up the drums and that he did.  He did this more seriously and still plays today.  He even put together a small band called Pockets of Wonder in his town of Traverse City, Michigan.

When I told my wife I was going to write about the 2nd Annual Festival of the Drum,  she said, “Oh, you have done that before!”  True, see it here.  Then again, I have written about some art fairs annually for a period of time and I think the festival of the drum is more fun and a lot shorter!  Unfortunately, some of my favorite performers from last year did not make it this time but there was plenty to keep us entertained.  There also did not seem to be as big an audience as last year, but that may have been deceiving since everyone was trying to find shade under the portal or among the trees on this very hot autumn day.  The Museum Hill Café was also full, hiding a lot of people who were enjoying their lunch with entertainment.

We did not stay for the entire 4 hours of drums but we did see the majority of the players.  There were 2 sets by Native Americans, as well as one group playing Japanese drums and another Vietnamese group.  The latter was from Albuquerque.

We arrived when the Japanese drums were in their final frenzy, which was most exciting with its different sized drums.  Taiko Sol is a collaborative drumming project in Santa Fe.  The participants are born in the U.S. and their interpretations of the music are distinctly American.  Taiko in Japanese refers to various percussion instruments, but outside of Japan usually refers just to the drum.  Sol is the Spanish word for Sun.  Their teacher is of Lithuanian and French Canadian heritage. One of the performers, Alliyah Noor, who gave me the players backgrounds is of Pakistani and German heritage, and another performer’s family came from Japan.   American ensemble Taiko has evolved in the States from the older more traditional form.

There were two Native American Groups.  The first we saw was the Black Eagle Drum Group from Jemez Pueblo.  As it was put on line they”…brought honor, big time, to Jemez Pueblo and to all of New Mexico when they won a Grammy for Best Native American Music Album…, Flying Free”  They have also won other awards.  They are now writing their own songs in their ancient Towa language.  Their leader, Malcom Lepa, explained that when they started out in 1989, at first, they “sounded like a bunch of coyotes in the river”.   They have vastly improved but I was quite happy that we heard them outdoors since the sound of large drums can be very loud and all encompassing.  By the end of the set people were getting up to dance.

The other Indian group was from Pojoaque pueblo, the Red Turtle Dancers led by David Trujillo.  The group started about 6 years ago.  These were 4 young Native Americans, 2 boys and 2 girls who first did a Buffalo Dance and then a Butterfly Dance to traditional songs, which, of course included the drum.

Probably the most fun and exciting drum performance that we heard was founded by a Vietnamese group, called Van Hanh Lion Dance of Albuquerque.  The music was performed by drummers and cymbalists and the leader was about 10 years old.  He had to stand on small stand to be able to reach the drum but he was amazing.  I was told that he has been playing for two or three years.  The lions are formed by a taller young person as the head and a smaller child behind as the tail.  They would dance around and go up and nudge people.  I did not understand the purpose so one of the animals literally took my head into his mouth… thank goodness he did not bite it off!  The concept was to feed them money.  My wife really got into this and fed them several dollars during the dance.

The event was sponsored by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) but it was truly international in musical tastes.  I am going to keep writing about them in hopes that they come back every year and grow!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Wine Taster

At breakfast every morning my parents, who were from Germany, and I would clink our orange juice glasses and say, “Prosit” or “Prost” (pronounced brost).   Many years later, I was corrected by a German aristocrat who told me that was an expression used in the beer hall and the correct saying (he did not say, in refined society) would be “Zum Wohl” or “To health”.  My wife and I have continued the tradition since we find it a very nice way to greet the day.

Obviously, our aristocratic friend was thinking more about clinking glasses of wine and not OJ!  Which brings me to the topic of the week.  My parents always had wine, usually red, on the table and I remember for years being given a few teaspoons of wine in my water glass so it would be red like my parents’.  I would guess that when I was a teenager they began to let me have it straight and, probably because I was never told not to drink, I never particularly cared if I had any wine or not.

Truth be told my parents drank "vin ordinaire", everyday wine, most of the time and I can not remember any that they considered especially important, though there may have been a few.  My education in wine was therefore quite limited.  Then I went to a lunch in Paris that opened a whole new world to me.

Celebrity to me has always been quite different than to most.  I was never much into the sports or entertainment celebrities that most people recognize.  In fact, my children are often in awe of how ignorant I can be about some of the celebrity names that they might mention.  For me celebrities were captains of industry such as Henry Ford, John Paul Getty or members of the Rothschild family that originated in my parents home town of Frankfurt Germany.  I have been lucky enough in my life time to have met all these people.

In my early 20’s, however, I had not met a Rothschild though I had met several who were cousins or relatives of the family.  Then, when visiting Paris one year, I received a phone call from Baroness Renée de Becker, a Rothschild cousin, who had actually crashed my first wedding since my parents would not have presumed to invite such a personage.  She wanted to know if my then wife and I would like to attend a luncheon that day at the home of Baron and Baroness Elie de Rothschild.  It was not an intimate affair but rather a luncheon for some society group.  My uncle, Hans Stiebel, a debonair gentleman also in the art business, had lived much of his life in Paris and was very popular with the Rothschild family.  It was through him that I was a known quantity to the Baroness Elie who sought me out after lunch.  I wanted to say something nice about lunch and I honestly said how good the wine was.  The response was, “Oh it’s just a little house wine”, something she would repeat at other more private lunches over the years.  From a video we made in 1989 here is Baroness Elie speaking of when she met my father’s partner and cousin, Saemy Rosenberg and my uncle, Hans Stiebel.

Believe it or not the penny did not drop immediately but the first time I repeated the quote it dawned on me that I was in the home of the proprietor of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, one of the most famous and best wines in the world, and suddenly I was interested in the subject.  Years later when I was joking with the Baroness Elie on the subject she told a story about her son Nathanial, when he was very little.  He had gone with his nanny overnight to a hotel and according to the Baroness the nanny was “a bit of a tippler”.  She had ordered wine with their dinner from room service.  Nathanial was given a taste at which point he pronounced “afite pas bien nana” “ Lafite not good, Nanny”.  Mind you that the family did not always dine on the best of the Lafite wines but one of the offshoots, in other words, “little house wines”.

I wanted to learn more so when I was back in New York I signed up for a wine course with Peter Morrell.  His boutique enterprise is now located at One Rockefeller Plaza and run by his sister Roberta since his retirement.  In the late 1960’s it was all the way east in the 50’s started by his father in a large all wood barn like structure that made you feel like you had gone down into an old wine cellar.  I remember learning about the different regions of wine in France, Germany and a bit about American wines.  Back then American wine was not yet considered serious, though Peter, the younger generation, at the time, was definitely promoting them. Here is a photo of a silver French 18th century tastevin that belonged to my father.  It was used for tasting wine and often hung around the neck of the sommelier.

Some time later, I worked on an appraisal for a member of the Rothschild family and was paid in wine.  Some of those little house wines as well as a bottle or two of Lafite.  At this point I bought a “wine cave” and collected some better French wines.   I did not have room for what amounted to a very large constant temperature refrigerator in our one bedroom apartment so I kept it at my gallery.  After moving to a larger apartment I installed the wine refrigerator there, but one year it became so hot during a New York summer the coils froze.  I boiled a lot of wine!  Interestingly, only the best wines with long corks survived, such as the Lafites.  They were no longer great but they were still drinkable.  I have never had a wine refrigerator since.  Happily in Santa Fe our basement remains at a pretty constant and suitably cool temperature.  But once burned twice shy and I have never since tried to really build a wine collection.  I no longer remember exactly which vintages I received and certainly hope one was not from 1969.  I just read the price of a bottle at $11,880… but for what occasion does one drink it.

Everyone has a story about wine and the references in songs are legion. If you don’t believe me see:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Painting in the Albuquerque Museum

I have been thinking about writing about this picture for some time.  It is by Patrick McGrath Muñiz and is called, “Disneyfication of a Hero”.

At the end of 2013 I wrote a piece on Muñiz, after we had bought a painting by the artist, and there you can learn more about his background.

But first things first, my spell checker doesn’t like the word "Disneyfication" yet one can find it in Wikipedia!  To me it is quite obvious that it is not a positive commentary and Muñiz is all about social satire.  If it’s Disney it must be about consumption, merchandising, taking the real world and sanitizing it to make it acceptable.  Other words that the artist suggested to me when I corresponded with him recently were “Cocacolonization” and “Walmartization. You get the idea. 

The picture was painted in 2010 and first shown at a gallery in Florida and in 2012 at the Jane Sauer Gallery in Santa Fe, now owned by Jen Tansey.  Announcing the exhibition at Jane Sauer the artist wrote: “Saints Heroes and Corporations is the title for my upcoming solo show … As the title suggests the work is about "larger than life" historical and contemporary figures, including Corporations that under the U.S. fourteenth amendment enjoy special "personhood" rights.”  Clearly from that statement alone we catch his drift.

According to the label in the Albuquerque Museum where the painting is now part of the permanent collection, “Muñiz creates historic puzzles linking disparate images from history and art history, popular culture, Christianity”.  The artist has clearly studied the Old Masters and he has updated the iconography in this picture.  The Hero of the piece is Hercules with his club being submitted to a neo-colonial consumer driven transformative process called, “Disneyfication”. 

Here is a legend to help you identify all the characters you might not recognize.


The only obscure character if you did not grow up in what Muñiz called “the oldest colony in the Western Hemisphere (Puerto Rico) claimed by Spain in 1493 and seized as a U.S. Territory in 1898, is #4 Diego de Landa who is shown destroying Mayan history.

There is so much Old Master in the picture and Donald Duck, lower left, sitting on the toilet reminds me of a Breughel figure pissing on the wall of a building.  Donald is being handed pages, torn from a book by a Renaissance boy to use as toilet paper.  Note that Hercules is heading toward the gypsy who has three Taro cards by her side showing the fool, the hanged man and death cards.  These represent part of the hero’s journey from the beginning of his quest to sacrifice and death.  You will note other figures in the painting representing death and father time behind the hero as well.

I asked both the artist and the curator of the Albuquerque Museum, Andrew Connors, why the former decided to donate and the latter accept this masterpiece.  Muñiz had decided early on that this was the kind of important painting that delivered his message better than many of the others he had done, and that people could learn from it what his message was.  Connors, a great admirer of the artist’s work, felt it would fit in well as supplement to a couple of exhibitions that the museum had planned.  It was first shown with the exhibition, “Behind Closed Doors” showing the art in the Spanish American Home between 1492 and 1898.  Then it was along side the exhibition of “Masterpieces from the École de Beaux Arts, Paris.”  Regarding the first show it is Spanish Colonial Art that might be shown in a contemporary home and in the second it shows that there are still today artists who paint in the style of the Old Masters but updating subject matter.  Quoting the curator, “Although the focus of the Albuquerque Museum’s art collection is ‘art of the American Southwest and its influences’ Muñiz provides such a complimentary vision of the world to that of a New Mexican perspective, we thought it had to be included in the collection… Since it was installed in early 2014 the painting has been a consistent favorite with our visitors, particularly young visitors (who get many of the pop culture references) and families (because the painting sparks so many intergenerational discussions with different generations understanding different historic or cultural iconography.)”

Before I finish I want to point out the detail of the carving of the frame. With heraldry, soldiers, a cathedral … I could write a piece just on the symbolism in the frame!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Colors of New Mexico

I am going to end my coverage of Santa Fe’s group of shows under the rubric of “Summer of Color” with an exhibition at the New Mexico Museum of Art called, “Colors of the Southwest”. It is a show chosen by the museum’s new Curator of Art, Carmen Vendelin who comes to New Mexico from the LaSalle University Art Museum in Philadelphia.

What Carmen has done is pick out an exhibition from the museum’s own collections. Though less of a phenomenon than it used to be as a result of the recession, I find it most refreshing.  So many museums have vast storerooms of material but feel that they must borrow from all over the world at vast expense in order to attract an audience.  In my opinion it is all in the marketing.  A good title or lead line will bring an audience.  “Shown for the First Time,” “Discoveries Made At Home,” “Found Underneath our Museum”, these will all bring people in. I remember attracting visitors to my gallery with, “The Lion’s Share” , “Objects of Desire” and “Behind the Red Velvet Curtain.”

The exhibition concentrates on the art of the 20th century.  The title was chosen early on because all the museums in Santa Fe wanted to join the “Summer of Color” so the art museum decided just to take them all!  The PR concept has helped bring many more tourists who visit Santa Fe at this time of year to our eight museums.

Carmen was tasked with picking from 800 possibilities in the collection to come up with a cohesive exhibition.  She was aware of the catalog of the former curator, Joe Traugott’s, exhibition, “How the West is One”, but her idea was not to do a historical show but look at how various artists looked at color.

In this show we view color but also some history as well as the myth of the Southwest.  Ignoring the bloody history of the second half of the 19th century starting with the Civil War and the Indian wars and the lack of law and order, in the 20th century we have managed to glorify and mythologize our Western story.

In recent times, especially since the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum opened in Santa Fe in 1997, the concept has developed that Georgia O'Keeffe was the first artist to discover the colors of the Southwest.  Though Ms. O’Keeffe often denied all influences ascribed to her work, I will dare to say that much of what came before was adapted in her work.

Gustave Baumann, (1881-1971) for instance, who came from Germany, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and returned to Germany to learn to make wood block prints, settled in Santa Fe and became a painter and print maker par excellence capturing the nuance of color like no other.  Here I found a guache he did in 1918 called “Day of the Deer Dance” showing mountains and trees as you might see at O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch.

Things change and after this show was set they decided to do another show in the Museum just on Baumann so the gouache was taken out of the “Colors” show and moved upstairs with the Baumann show so that it could be shown with the woodblock and print of the same subject.  Another picture now missing since my first viewing of the exhibition is a Georgia O’Keeffe because later this week it will be in a large O’Keeffe show at the art museum largely borrowed from the O’Keeffe Museum.   Why you may ask? Because the O’Keeffe Museum is small and they needed to make room for another show,“From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from The Vilcek Foundation Collection.”

Another artist following a similar path as Baumann, E. Martin Hennings (1886-1956) was born in New Jersey and went to study at the Art Institute in Chicago and then did his further study in his parents’ native Germany.  The painting “The Rendezvous” represents a meeting among the Aspen Trees not that different from the Baumann gouache but was surely done later in the year.  It also shows the vivid colors of fall in New Mexico, which I have written about before.

B.J.O Nordfelt (Tullstorp, Sweden 1878- Henderson, Texas 1955) moved to the United States with his family in 1892.  He too studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and later taught in many universities of the Southwest.  He made his first visit to Santa Fe around 1919 when he painted the picture, “Antelope Dance”.  He is known as an American Expressionist as he owes a lot to the likes of Cézanne and Gauguin.  Though not exactly Tahiti, the images of the Indians in this verdant scene are quite different from the reality of the dry high desert, which is the normal habitat of these dancers.

The last painting that I want to touch on brings both the Myth of the Southwest and the Kitsch of the Western film together to form a striking picture in Bill Schenk’s (1947-) 1993 painting, “Coming Down from the Mountain”.  We have all seen the Western film of the cowboy riding into the sunset and here he is in all his glory!

The show closes on September 20.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Indians, Indians Everywhere

Yes, the politically correct nomenclature is Native Americans and that is certainly appropriate, they, themselves, however, mostly refer to themselves as Indians.  During the month of August in and around Santa Fe Native Art is celebrated in high gear.

The first event focuses on older material. It occurs at the fair grounds in Albuquerque and while there are many collectors there it serves as a first sifting for dealers to buy from each other.  They are gearing up for four fairs in Santa Fe.  Two of them are produced by Whitehawk which was originally organized by Kim Martindale who now has his own two shows.  Only one from each is designated specifically as Native Art but the others include some as well.  

As we near Indian Market week the frenzy reaches higher and higher proportions with events for the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture to name a few.  Also, there are events for out of town museums such as Washington D.C.’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.

The Ralph T. Coe Foundation, of course, had their event as well with a renowned family of bead workers whose matriarch is Joyce Growing Thunder.  She and her daughter Juanita and her daughter Jessa gave a fabulous talk about the history of beading and how it is in their blood.  It is not an avocation but rather a vocation for the whole family, or at least many members, who work together morning, noon at night.  They as well as many Native artists we have spoken to tell us that there is a great impetus before the large Indian Markets to get work done both for commercial sales reasons but also to try to create prize-winning material.

The two major efforts to bring contemporary Native Art to the public are SWAIA, Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (aka Indian Market) and the new kid on the block IFAM, the Indigenous Fine Art Market.  We went to a breakfast at Sorrel Sky Gallery for the National Museum of the American Indian and Dallin Maybee, the SWAIA, president, spoke.  He made a statement I must repeat here because it made a dealer, namely me, very happy.  He said, "We could not fulfill our mission without he Galleries.  I don't know why we don't celebrate them more."  Artists at the breakfast and later on the plaza said that while the aim at Indian Market was to promote and sell Indian art it was also a wonderful opportunity to meet friends and extended family.  (In Native America very close friends are considered family.)  Many artists depend for their livelihood on these fairs. 

IFAM, the Indigenous Fine Art Market, which in its second year expanded with 1/3 more artists and getting city permission to occupy more of the Railyard Park.  There was also a cause this year.  It was to “Free Leonard Peltier”, a leader of the AIM (American Indian Movement) who has been serving time since 1977 sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for first-degree murder in the killing of two FBI agents during the conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975.  Amnesty International has placed it in their “Unfair Trials” category in their 2010 annual report.  John Torres-Nez, President of IFAM, has written articles regarding art as therapy for incarcerated Natives and after reading them Peltier applied to exhibit at the Market as a painter.  His application was accepted by the committee and he was admitted by proxy through his son, Chauncey, who manned the booth selling shirts and stickers as well as the paintings.

Penelope and I have certainly made our contribution to the effort to sell Native art this summer by buying a number of objects.  A couple of the acquisitions have their roots in our old world.  One is a Katsina carving by Hopi artist Ros George.  It represents a couple embracing.  Its subject and delicate carving reminded both of us of 17th century German boxwood carving.  Note especially the delicate work of the hands and feet.

Another work we bought which comes out of art history is Cara Romero’s photograph, “The Last Indian Market”.  A group of well-known Native American artists got together in a local cantina and posed in the manner of Leonardo’s, “Last Supper”. Here is a list of all of them with their affiliations: from left to right:
Chris Eyre, Cheyenne/Arapaho: Director/ Filmmaker; Smoke Signals, Skins, Edge of America
Amber Dawn-Bear Robe, Siksika: Curator/ Art Historian
Kenneth Johnson, Muscogee(Creek)/Seminole: Designer And Metal Smith
Diego Romero, Cochiti: Potter/Artist
Darren Vigil Grey, Jicarilla Apache: Painter
Kathleen Wall, Jemez: Potter, makes Koshari Clowns
Marcus Amerman (Buffalo Man), Choctaw: Beadwork
Marian Denipah, San Juan: Jeweler, wife of LaRance
Pilar AStar (Agoyo), San Juan: Fashion Designer
Steve LaRance, Hopi: Jeweler
Cannupa Hanska Luger, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lokata: Ceramic Artist
Linda Lomahaftewa, Hopi/Choctaw: Print Maker, Painter, Educator
America Meredith, Cherokee: Painter, Printmaker, Educator and editor of First American Art Magazine

What a nice document as well as fine photo to own.

Cara’s husband Diego Romero is a famous potter who has worked in print media as well.  We acquired his print, “ Hector at the Ships”. In Greek mythology during the Trojan War, Hector set out to burn the ships of the Greeks.  This print depicts the 1680 Pueblo Revolt when the Native Americans drove the Spanish out of Arizona and New Mexico and burned their mission churches.

Our oldest acquisition was a Squash Blossom Necklace minus the blossoms that has crosses in their stead.  We had been looking for the right necklace for about 20 years and finally felt we had found one.  It dates from the 1940’s and is purported to have belonged at one time to Julie Andrews.

With the slightest interest in Native America and its art one must be in Santa Fe during the month of August.  We have been coming for these events for 25 years now and we still learn more every single year.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Me & Social Media

This Cartoon in Time magazine, by John Atkinson, caught my attention and after I smiled I started to think about how I related to it.  First of all, I tried to figure out the symbols.  Going clockwise we had Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest and Instagram.  Which do I actually use on a regular basis? Facebook, but I was recently told that only old people use that.  Things are certainly moving fast these days and Facebook is the oldest of the bunch. Interesting since Facebook only came into existence just over a decade ago.

I thought that I was somewhat up to date, technologically speaking, but I had not even heard of Vine the site that gives you a chance to post 6 second looping videos.  So it is not surprising that shortly after it was founded, Twitter, the 140 character site, acquired it.

How many sites can one be on without devoting yourself totally to social-media?   One of the main reasons that old people use Facebook is because their children told them that if they want to see images of their grandchildren they would have to go onto the site.  In spite of the fact that Facebook has over a billion and a half monthly visitors, I know many people who say they don’t want to be controlled by any website.  That is anyone’s privilege but personally I think that they are missing out on a valuable 21st century tool.  For me, it works as a national and even international phone book, as does LinkedIn.  When I am looking for a museum person that is not on my Rolodex or more likely has changed their institution I can usually find them in one of those two places.

Often when someone asks me to link with them on LinkedIn I ask what purpose it serves other than the one mentioned above and the answer is invariably, “I don’t know but I believe one should do it”.  There is no question, however, that it is the professional site where you can tell people the business you are in and where, if you get enough accolades from others, someone might reach out to do business with you.  It can also help if you want to learn about someone that you are supposed to meet at a dinner party.  It is the same as you once might have used the various editions of “Who’s Who”.  Another question it brings up, is who to accept and who to reject on LinkedIn.  I used to not accept contemporary artists because I could not help them being a dealer in Old Masters but I have given up and figure if an artist wants to be connected to me, why not?!

I have posted my missives on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and they have reached people in diverse parts of the world that I would certainly not have met from my website or emails.  In that way people who I have lost touch with for years find me again.

While I post links to my missives on Twitter I don’t feel I am either interesting enough or have enough to say to post regularly.  In my mind I have not closed the door entirely on the possibility of getting more involved there as well.

I read that Pinterest is the hottest website out there and that it is being used as the ultimate sales tool.  There are some major people on it.  I have seen beautiful images of the work a major decorator, Robert Couturier, has done and I can certainly see how these are marvelous seductions for new clients.  I have posted there and need to develop it more. However, from all the images I have posted only one  has been repeatedly reposted.

Maybe someone would like to help me with Instagram.  I post photos fairly regularly on Facebook and I gather Instagram is devoted to images so I may eventually go there as well since I downloaded the app quite a while ago.

I believe that after 40 years of marriage my dating days are over so I had not heard of Tinder until my son told me that he found his girlfriend there and that they live within walking distance of each other --and so far so good!

Google +  seems to have given up the ghost and is backing down.  Which leaves Vine, which I will really have to look into!

Somehow, I never thought of YouTube as social-media but now I realize that I have often posted links from my Missives to YouTube and Vimeo (not mentioned in the ME cartoon) as well.

I seem to be more involved with social-media than I thought I was when I started this Missive but it has not taken over my life.  It has been a very useful tool both for fun and business.  There are those who say it takes the place of personal interaction but I would argue that it actually contributes to the possibilities of meeting and connecting with people.

For those who remain unconvinced I am sure you will enjoy the following article that was recently sent to me by a friend abroad.