Saturday, May 30, 2009


I worked in the studio all day on some new drawings I'm excited about. I've been trying this new thing by drawing on paper mounted onto panel, a passionate love affair with this technologically advanced concept is brewing. I have to admit that my advisor James has been telling me to try this from the get-go and met with considerable skepticism and wimpiness by yours truly. Sometimes it's hard when people suggest things that are just so right. I'm helping him move his studio on Tuesday in gratitude.

Tomorrow a bunch of CCA kids and their friends/families are going up to Alice Warnecke's house on the Russian River-- a trip long anticipated and officially marking entry into summer (June, after all, is the next day). This summer seems endless. In grade school having 2 months of seemed epic and in college having 3 months off just seemed like an egregious systematical error. But 4 months... 4 months is a third of a year. 4 months is longer than a season. Enough of that though-- time to pack up the van, grab the dog, and go swimming.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The pink barn

When I was ten my grandparents put their pink barn onto logs and rolled it down the yard. The barn rolled slowly. You could see underneath it. You were not allowed to go underneath it. The geese waddled up and down the yard aside it as it rolled. The pink barn left behind a concrete scar where it had sat before. The concrete got broken up with loud hammers, then rolled away in a truck. The barn kept rolling until it got to the inlet, at which point my grandparents packed up their things and moved into it. They sold the big pink house they left behind and built a new pink barn next to the old pink barn. Before it was put back onto the ground the geese kept going underneath it. Then it was put onto the ground and they walked around it instead.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I found out today that my beautiful friend Sarah Lipkin is moving to San Francisco next week, a friend who makes my glasses rose-tinted and my fashion inspired. Hooray!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

walk, march, parade, gather

I was surprised Sunday morning to leave my house at noon and discover a barricade on Folsom with a parade behind it. It was Carnival. This is the third time this year I've happened upon a parade in the Mission, each time left totally excited and also sort of miffed by my own cluelessness as a neighbor and white 20-year-old person. I thought I was better/smarter/more intentional than that? I've got some things to learn.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court of the state of California neglected to support gay marriage again and the city of San Francisco enacted a series of demonstrations. I didn't go, but Morgan and her friends went and I was excited to see their pictures of their historical marching.

I've been going on a lot of great walks around the city, slowly hitting up all of the SF vistas with Morgan and seeing the rise and fall of the lights over the drastic terrain of the the Pacific coastline. I like walking with people-- it invites that same sort of non-confrontational talking that driving does and that pleasant synchronization of footsteps. In high school someone told me that if you hug another human or animal for awhile that your heartbeats will match up.

This sort of synchronization, after all, is what parades and marches and rallies and walks are all about-- people coming together. And I think that that's just lovely. I found a job posting at City Lights last week left by an Englishwoman looking for someone with plant knowledge to take her on identification prowls. I took the card even though I'm don't fill the qualifications (that is, knowing the common or scientific names of any plants out here) because I loved the idea of walking with a stranger. Especially an Englishwoman-- it seemed straight out of a Jane Austen fantasy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Things begin to settle.

Good Lord. I had decided before the summer began that it would be one of abundant productivity-- so far it has not. The biggest problem with this promise to myself is that I forgot that productivity has pretty much been the sole purpose of my life and cornerstone of my schedule for the past 8 months, and that everyone needs a break. James Gobel came into my studio unexpectedly today and was surprised at the lack of new things on my walls. I got pretty defensive about it because at least some part of me feels guilty about not doing a lot of the things I had set out to do. But it's still May, and there's still time. Some developments of the past couple of weeks: I submitted work for a fellowship and a show at Root Division, dropped of my stuff at SOMArts for the THREADS show coming up in June, had old friends in town, had dinner with George and a potluck with my Queer Theory class, met new people at a bar and have been spending time learning more about one of them in particular. Yesterday I spent an entire day not working on or worrying about my studio practice. Instead I watched dogs at the park, got horrifically sunburnt on one side of my face, made guacamole and took a walk to places I hadn't been before. Today I'm back and strategizing for the summer. My family and I spoke on the phone about this big roadtrip and Dennis and I discussed our plan for driving through the South. Tomorrow is going to be a good and busy day (I'm feeling it).

folds upon folds

Sixteen years of calendar quilted. I've decided that I'm going to keep it elusive to avoid being didactic by not stitching the outlines of individual days. I also am thinking about ways to imply extension beyond the calendar structure by leaving the possibility to add to it. I realized today that it takes 28 years for the calendar to catch up with itself because of leap years and the 7-day week, which means that once you are 28 you start experiencing simulateous dates and days (for example, June 27th of 1984 and 2012 are both on Wednesdays of their respective leap years) as you have experienced them before. This seems significant.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

blasts from the past

I hung out with Danny Toman yesterday and he gave me these pictures from two summers ago when we lived together in a cooperative lovingly called "The Long House" by our housemates and "Puerto Rico" by our temperamental neighbors. Summers are always great, but this one was especially high in the rankings. I was working on the farm and living with 7 wonderful housemates, totally satisfied in my singleness. That's me on the left above and the far right below-- I remember feeling like a total bombshell that night. It was a summer of karaoke, arts and crafts, dressing up in costumes, experimental baking and active participation in the Portland Public Library circulation. These pictures were taken by Danny the night of our formal going away party for Edna Bonhomme (below, far left), who was the first housemate to leave. Genevieve Skroudys (below, second from the right) left for New York City this week after graduating from Reed College, the last housemate of our original crew to leave the house on Long Street.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Maladies and Remedies

I started working on an essay for my book charting my childhood relationship with illness and malady. Sometime after Will was born I became paranoid that I was going to die in my sleep. In elementary school I pretended I was sick all the time and would force myself to fall asleep in the nurses office. Getting sick seemed so romantic and dangerous and exciting. Getting better seemed sort of baptismal.

My friend Carmen Winant took some pictures of some mysterious bruises on my neck. Check out her photography at

Ghost of weekend past.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Emmet Mosely IV does San Francisco

My doppleganger came into town, and here is a summary of what we did and where we went, in just 6 pictures.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

little boxes

Just a few pictures from our trip to the Columbarium yesterday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not yet!

Emmet is in town and we went to the Columbarium today. I took a huge amount of photographs, most of which are dissappointingly out of focus since I didn't have a tripod and many of the rooms are incredibly dim. This picture was taken there of a note on the front of one of the empty but reserved niches. We found out later that it belonged to the caretaker of the Columbarium, a man whom I have yet to meet but who I've heard reports of being incredibly interesting and kind. And his name is also Emmet.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I applied for a fellowship today-- here's a new artist statement that went along with it, amalgamated from a few different writing projects:

The English noun, souvenir, comes from the French verb meaning "to remember." But the French verb, souvenir, more literally translates to something like ‘to come from under’ which suggests for me a submersion into the depth of memory and resurfacing in a place of familiarity. It implies a revisitation, not the original experience, but that experience done again. Stories and possessions are souvenirs, evidence of passage through time. But found at a flea market, an object once a souvenir from a particular family narrative becomes a part of a social and phenomenological landscape. The wealth of memory is that it is fluid and resourceful, with no scarcity in its infinite alteration. By teasing objects and stories out of the singularity of their original possession we can open up the possibilities of belonging/s, where we defy the conventions of autonomy to foster greater notions of collective consciousness. The photograph is one exampl e of a prop that aids us in this shape-shifting process of discovery, essential to defining and then redefining who we are. As Roland Barthes writes in Camera Lucida, “I am the reference of every photograph, and this is what generates my astonishment in addressing myself to the fundamental question: why is it that I am alive here and now?" I’m interested in objects and histories that speak of the tension between simultaneous absence and presence, as evident in the wear and breakdown of belongings, the fading and reinterpretation of memory and the conflicting truths of contemporary and historical experience.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I got my written assessment from my advancement review and was really excited about how the committee recounted our conversation on paper. They recapped a few questions that we discussed that I hadn't entirely forgotten about but hadn't entirely remembered either, my favorite of which is "What does it mean to be nostalgic and still young?" They also expressed excitement about the book I'm writing, which encouraged me to think about starting that sometime soon. Other things we talked about wanting: more drawings of stains, more writing about art historical and critical context of my work, more quilting, more risks.

I like this picture a lot and keep pulling it out because it resembles so many of the pictures from when my family lived in 520 East Main Street, always the high wooden fence in the background and the unkempt grass creeping up around our ankles.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I finished the first five years of this quilt project today before running out of batting. I'm using a 7-day weekly calendar system to make a quilt of my life. So what you see here here in the picture is June 27th, 1984- December 31, 1988. Which means that I'm only a fifth done (yikes), which also means that, if each year is 10 feet long, that this project will be 250 feet long when I finish it. I'm excited to be working on something huge, something that comes away from the wall and something with all this fabric I've been collecting for the past two years.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

caps and gowns

Today the second year students are walking in a ceremony after which, sashed and flowered, they will be Masters of the Fine Arts. I'm so excited for them all and a little scared too-- today also marks the day where their debt will become a real thing instead of just a number in the distance. After a week of helping install their MFA show here on the SF campus I've been cloistering myself in my studio to pick up the projects I dropped. Check out this girl in the white robes! She's totally bomb with her matching white pumps and ironed hair. Unfortunately, when you graduate from art school you don't get to wear a flat-topped cap like this one, but a weird floppy velvet beret. I'm counting down the days until I get to wear this ridiculous symbol of art mastery.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Baldwin roadfest 2009

New developments in the cross-country journey! Willis Patrick Baldwin (age 20) is flying out here and we'll drive through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana (to visit our grandfather, Papa), Ohio, and Pennsylvania on our way to our grandmother's house on Long Island. We'll help her pack up her furniture and drive to Ithaca. Then Dennis Patrick Baldwin (age 15) and I will drive back to the west by way of the Virginias, the Carolinas, Georgia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico, where we will meet up with my father in Albuquerque. Then I'll drive the rest of the way through Arizona and Southern California to San Francisco. Last night Dennis asked if we could go to the UFO Museum in Roswell, foreshadowing what will be an interesting confluence of priorities.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I went to the Mills MFA opening last night with George and Welly and totally had my socks blown off by all of the amazing amazing art there and the beautiful woodsy campus. I saw Glen Helfand (my old advisor) there and he told me that Mills grad students have an acclivity to obsessive art production, perhaps fueled by it having a history of being an all-female college. When I was telling someone about this later they asked me if it was its obsession that I was falling in love with and not necessarily its quality. As if obsession, true obsession, is a reproducible gimmick. I thought about it and decided that all projects have got to have some sort of obsession about them in order to be good, if not through rigour or intentionality then at least through some sort of commitment to not being rigorous or intentional. Two of the artists made these pretty technically amazing papercuts and another had crocheted these form fitting gloves for branches, seeds and logs, all out of this intensely golden yellow string. It helped me figure out some strategies for my own art production-- it's hard to believe that this time next year I'll be wrapping up this whole grad school experience. It'll probably be years before I figure out what this all means-- only since having re-enrolled into academia have I really started reflecting about my experience as a student at Wesleyan.