This is a collage I made — from an encyclopedia page w/ foto, a torn dust jacket and a browned newspaper clipping that my mother had cut out decades earlier — to illustrate a poem, in a poetry text book I was writing, five years after the death of Langston Hughes.
©1972 Joey Tranchina
James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967)
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
La vie le long du fleuve Niger — Life along the Niger river
For the next three weeks, I will be posting photographs from Mali, which is my current major project, as it has been for some time. For months I have been processing & editing 6000 images from Africa, mostly from Mali, which is one of my favorite places in the world.
I’m calling this:
MALI IS A COUNTRY & A PEOPLE — NOT A WAR
Now that most people can find Mali on a map, thanks to the French response to a long-standing regional conflict that was hijacked into an ugly invasion by alien Islamist criminal thugs, armed with American and European weapons from Libya, I want to focus on the culture that was at risk and the lives of the people who where in harms way.
Along with being home to a mixture of amazingly beautiful and elegant people, Mail is the Paris of African art as well as the cradle of Mississippi Delta Blues and the stage for some of the most beautiful music being made on the planet today.
If you want to get into those musical roots, I recommend Martin Scorsese’s film “Feel like Going Home. Sometime in the nest weeks I’ll post a list of my favorite Malian musicians… fell free to add yours.
I will have more to say as the images come on line… I welcome your comments. Enjoy, Joey
Barbara Wright, Assistant Director, Poetry Center San Francisco State University - 1978
Barbara is former director of Wright Casting, a voice-talent casting agency & one of the most wonderful human beings who ever lived.
If any photograph of a person looking at art brings up big questions, for me, this is it.
This image is within spitting distance of being 50 years old. It’s still makes me laugh, scratch my head with unanswered questions and want to share it with my friends.
That’s my criteria for high art — I love it.
Art can be two things. It can be the thing that keeps you moving forward in your life, even sometimes, it if has to talk you down off a ledge to do that, or it can be your hustle. In my life it’s been both, but, at least so far, I’ve never let the second kill the first.
I believe the first & third photographs in this series were made at the old San Francisco Modern Art Museum, that is now — in a much more elegant setting — SF MOMA.
If I remember correctly, I was there to see my late friend Rudy Bender’s amazing photography exhibition.
Of course, as is my way, I wandered off to do my own thing. “My own thing” turned out to be a theme that has run though my work for more than 40 years.
Also, if I remember correctly, this image was made at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where I went at least two days a week for five months to photograph Rodin’s Balzac, as part of my self-assignment for Earl Theisen’s photojournalism class at Art Center College of Design.
Geoff called this “Looking at Art.” it is more precisely sitting to ponder the artist’s words after the exhilarating but exhausting experience of randomly meeting Alechinsky’s work at Centre Pompidou, only to discover the ouvre of a major artist who was previously only a name on a list, like a rumor.
I actually, owe it to Justine, my daughter, who dragged me back into the Alechinsky exhibition after I skated past the edges of it, without seeing it. “Dad, you’ve got to see this…”
I guess, more precisely, I was focused on using the museum as a setting to make photographs, I was only seeing the work as an element in my work; thus missing the work itself. Anyway, thanks to Justine on the second pass, the power of Alechinsky’s art sunk in.
Soon I’ll show some of the photographs I made, as I walked through the gallery not really seeing the art on the walls, as more than elements in my own work… before Alechinsky’s achievement blew my mind…
I consider my appreciation of Alechinsky to be a great gift that my daughter gave me. One that I would have otherwise missed. In fact, one that I did totally miss, until Justine offered me a second chance.
Really, google “Pierre Alechinsky.” Take some time to feel the range of his imagination plus his imaginative use of materials. Let me know what you think.
The fortuitous meeting of an open book, a found photograph of embattled President Nixon and a “furry tarantula” that I dug up in my garden in La Honda California then let loose to run around the studio.
If there’s an arachnologist among the followers of this page, I’d gladly accept a more precise identification. The only tarantula I can properly identify is the Redknee that I used to shake out of my boots in Mexico.
Such highly developed political commentary is very unusual among arachnids.