Archive for May, 2020


Friday, May 15th, 2020


In 1975, I had a storefront studio in mid-town Los Angeles a few miles from the studio that Maren and her husband Peter were living in. I had an idea for a performance piece choreographing human bodies into abstract sculptures and photographing them from above. I knew Maren was a dancer and sculptor so I thought she might be interested in being one of the performers.

Photo booth snapshots of Joyce and Maren, 1975

Photograph of Configurations, photographs by Joyce Hayashi, 1975

Most of our time in those years was taken up with art, but I also remember summer days
swimming in her mother, Helen’s, pool and grilling food outdoors with friends. Maren’s
daughter Ava was born in 1986 and I became her godmother.

Photograph of Maren and Joyce holding flowers, 1985

Photograph of Maren and Ava, photo on paper, Joyce Hayashi, 1988

Photograph of Diamond, painting, 1985

In January 1993, my mother, who had always cared for my disabled younger sister Doreen, suffered a severe stroke. Suddenly, I found I had to move out of my studio to care for them fulltime until my mother recovered. I had no notion of how long this would be. As it turned out it lasted for 24 years.

By converting a patio/cookhouse behind our house into a small studio, I continued to paint during those years. By then, Maren had moved to New York. We’ve stayed in contact for over three decades by phone and occasional visits to exchange ideas, share our lives and always to give each other support.

Photograph of Maren and Joyce sitting, 2009

Photograph of Untitled drawing, 2007

Photograph of Star #2, painting, 2014

Today, at 76, I am now able to turn my focus on making art again. The transition from caregiving has not always been smooth but I’ve found that my visual concerns have remained steady over the decades regardless of the conditions, as has my friendship with Maren.

– Joyce Hayashi

Photograph of Fold In, watercolor, 2020

Joyce Hayashi was born in Manzanar in 1943.

She has been my friend since the 1970s. We both find ourselves in the predicament of being artists and that’s the common bond. I remember one time when I was trying to paint these rocks grey. I had made them out of plaster and was having a terrible time finding the right grey. Joyce came to my studio and calmly and quietly mixed the perfect hue and I made many pieces using it.

Photographs by Adam Avila, courtesy of Susan Inglett Gallery

She was generous like that. In 1986, she became my daughter’s godmother, which was a pretty difficult job because at that time I lived in New York City and she lived in Los Angeles. But there were lots of letters and phone calls and we remained close. It was around this time that Joyce’s life changed rather drastically, when her mother suffered an irreversible stroke and would be bedridden for the remainder of her life. Joyce became her caretaker. She also became her sister’s caretaker, as the family disease of muscular dystrophy claimed her. In the years of taking care of her mother until her mother’s death and then taking care of her sister, holding down jobs in administrative positions, and sharing a house with a fellow painter, she continued to pursue her art with tenacity.

Now that the familial obligations are behind her, she is making more art and forging new paths.

The reason why I’m so inspired by Joyce is that through this difficult journey, she managed to make art of beauty, sensitivity, and compassion. As Joyce is a practitioner of Buddhism, I see its philosophy of presence in all of her work. While taking care of her mother and sister, she never sought out commercial venues for her work. And yet, she continued through all of the difficulties, to make beautiful and meaningful paintings. And along with this exceptional work, we shared a fulfilling friendship of love and support.

– Maren Hassinger

Maren Hassinger was born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1947 and lives and works in New York. She was the Emeritus Director of the Rinehart School of Graduate Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, which she led for 20 years. During a career that has spanned more than four decades, Hassinger has explored relationships between the industrial and natural worlds in a practice that is both meditative and critical. Currently, her work is focused on exploring issues of equality.


Friday, May 15th, 2020


People don’t want to see something I I I say don’t look. But I’m not sure things really work that way…

I look down at my feet and witness a large pool of urine oozing yellow glass-like against black asphalt expanse smells like sea rotten vegetables and plastic. Life itself. Like itself.

I look up again, my vision blurs. Through the blur I see I see my plump ex-wife and my son, almost as tall as his mom, slowly recede in the distance down the sidewalk in this neighborhood in which I have suddenly found myself silently keening. Into my breath. My ex-wife’s scarf long, long red scarf dragging behind her like a pet. Recalcitrant, knitted.

I watch my ex-wife and my son recede as if I am underwater until I cannot stand to see them them them any longer. Until I cannot sense them, always odd when I cannot sense them any longer happens too often each time it burns me a cinder. Still I remain I remain I remain staring after what thing is nothing is nothing in a landscape that that eventually stares back and and turns on me a grey bone sky…

Red or high yellow brick-faced apartment buildings erected in the 19th or early early 20th century, once once single family homes now cut up into condos donning illegal wooden fire escapes, potted plants, faux surveillance devices, metal telephone poles for self-asphyxiation, sagging wires, variously colored garbage receptacles, lollipop trees without leaves, families of trash here and there dog feces…

A chill or damp lower down my pants soaked to the ankles and beyond my spirit I turn to go or abscond to nothing no heroic or dramatic or superlative I depart…

After a bit of aimless, fruitless wandering round town, I end up on the outskirts at a car wash. The outskirts–it it it it is near the tacos, the oranges, the placards and the flowers in plastic. I stand before their welcome like an immigrant from the new world. My passport is my will and my imperfection. My perfection lies in what I did not have allowed myself to have witnessed but did but did but did but did and now I am none with the past but but but what it is dissing.

My understanding is that when one is in a car wash you either lie down or stand up, I lie down. The FWP engages my head at the temples and the RWP engages my feet at the ankles moving me through the apparatus like a product in a factory with the same goal that I be reborn into something new and useless. The water jets are triggered by an electric eye which engages my spirit so I begin to hallucinate. This remembered might sound odd to many of you, my fans, my admirers, my legion letter-writers for me Mr. Brown-Guy, always the handsome man to say, to do, to be: I begin to hallucinate just adhoc-ky like hallucination is revelation is something else so this is what I experienced what I saw more like experienced in the fat of my proteins at the back of my eyeballs in the dents of my cells:

It is late spring. I am six or seven or eight walking with a group of friends taking the short cut to to school taking a short cut through a wooded area we called Mulberry Hill. We step off the road, descend into a depth, a green depression dappled with morning light, tiny violet blooms scattered here and there like garbage and we hear the stream before we see it, then we see it clogged with rusting bed frames, abandoned washer and dryers, car parts, the waters now overflowing onto the banks and we see my cousin and his friends, they are slightly older, just standing around, hanging, my cousin is talking. That that is a problem right there. There is there is there is something afoot but we are none the wiser. We draw nearer, my cousin is talking saying something. He has to piss. He has to piss he says. He unzips his zipper. He takes out his thing and displays it in the palm of his hand like a little chocolate fish. Looks around slowly, chooses one of the younger boys and asks the boy if he can put his dick in his mouth. My cousin asks politely, always politely. And there is something else too. But the boy says no, no no he does not want my cousin to put his dick in his mouth. The boy says if he lets my my my cousin put his dick in his mouth, my cousin will piss in it. My cousin cajoles the boy, reassures him, lots of teeth and silence, always polite saying saying he would never do that. He would never do that. He would never do that and this goes on for quite a while until finally the boy relents, drops to his knees and opens his mouth. My cousin inserts himself into the boy and the the the mouth jumps up screaming, mouth full of and wiping his mouth and we all laugh and continue on to school.

I leave the carwash before the process is finished.

I am exhausted, dirty-clean in a daze still still still filled with filth and detergent I wander around town like that like like that awhile awhile until I see my car again my Eldorado Cadillac 2002, golden-colored, last of its kind, exactly where I left it when I spotted my beloveds and rushed out after to greet them apparently to no avail the Eldorado’s engine still engaged as if I never left it it it still purring the driver’s side door open just as I left it. On the ground, scattered beneath the open driver’s side door, on the asphalt I see scattered on the ground used catheters and empty drink-stained Slurpee cups once containing the frozen confection invented by one Omar Knedlik in the late 1950s, its name and logo designed by Ruth E. Taylor whose family perished in a house fire ten years before set by Ruth herself before she set out for while she was in Kowloon looking at tomorrow. I look I look I look inside the Eldorado, the front seat where I was sitting just before spying my family my my my my my my my my my my my ether eldorado and I see on the driver’s side seat a book by a well-known and infamous author and I pry the book open and there it is a handwritten note from my son inscribed, it says; ‘Dad, see page 347’, I do so and underlined is this phrase: ‘Well alright then.’

Pope.L was born in 1955, in Newark, NJ. He is a visual artist and educator whose multidisciplinary practice uses binaries, contraries and preconceived notions embedded within contemporary culture to create art works in various formats including writing, painting, performance, installation, video and sculpture. Building upon his long history of enacting arduous, provocative, absurdist performances and interventions in public spaces, Pope.L applies the same social, formal and performative strategies to his interests in language, system, gender, race and community.


Friday, May 15th, 2020

A thank you letter.

A change of address card.

A polaroid.

An artist statement. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A get well post card that was returned to sender.Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A contact sheet. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A loose page in a sketchbook. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A final page of a syllabus. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A course proposal. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

An exhibition invitation postcard displaying a photograph of a dingbat on verso.

An edition notice page of an artist’s book: [never realized] 4 opportunistic infections for public viewing and consumption.

A coffee-stained monograph.

Robert Blanchon was my professor during my first semester in graduate school in 1998. I had moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from Olympia, Washington. He had moved from Los Angeles to be the fall semester artist-in-residence. We continued our correspondence after he returned to California and then moved to Chicago where he died the following year at the age of 33 from AIDS-related illnesses.

I have held on to printed emails from Robert and a small amount of other materials over the past twenty years. I am forever grateful for having met him and have continued to learn from and share his words and work. Last spring I spent time at Fales Library in the Robert Blanchon Papers and Collection which was created by The Estate of Robert Blanchon and Visual AIDS. I documented as much material as possible so that I could reference it later while developing my exhibition at MIT List Visual Arts Center along with a screening of Robert’s videos and a conversation with Mary Ellen Carroll—Robert’s dearest friend, collaborator, and the executor of his estate. All of the above photographs show objects from either Robert’s archive or my own and were selected from what was available on my phone and laptop in May 2020.

Since Robert’s only monograph was published in 2006, I have kept multiple copies so that I’ll always have a spare to give away. The book, which includes his brilliant photographs, sculpture, video, printed matter, and writing, was published by Visual AIDS and is available directly through their website:

Sincerest thanks to Mary Ellen Carroll.

Becca Albee is an artist who was born in Portland, Maine, and is based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Situations, New York, NY; Et al., San Francisco, CA; and 356 S. Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA. Her papers are held in the Riot Grrrl Collection at New York University’s Fales Library & Special Collections, and she is currently an Associate Professor of Art at The City College of New York, CUNY.


Friday, May 15th, 2020


— I wake up very early, weather TBD, but not humid. Hair color TBD, either Kurt Cobain blonde with some grit, let’s say my hair has changed it’s texture from indigenous good girl pin straight but chemically damaged to Malibu tousled, I think your hair texture can only change when you are pregnant and I rather swallow a razor blade, but let’s just say. I go to the bank. There is a hostage situation. Oh, I am wearing a white silk slip, a negligee, and my usual Stan Smiths. I am minding my business, and I become aware of the hold up. We become hostages. 30 hostages! I am the only hostage of color. The rest are all white, all of them natural blondes, women, children, cops, firefighters, the works. They are frightened. The bank robber is a terrorist. It is impossible to know his race. I talk to him, and we develop a rapport. I earn his trust. The white hostages think I am a terrorist too and spit at me. I go over to the stack of hundred dollar bills he has set aside and pull off a rubber band and tie up my hair in a topknot. This is a privilege I have earned, this freedom of movement, this migration, through my diplomatic skills. The terrorist is a man is a man is a man, tries to kiss me, I stand at an angle, lean in for a kiss, then BAM, reach for the gun. I am not sure how I do it, but I do it, I am so fast. We struggle and I overpower him, even though I have no upper body strength whatsoever, and I do this one move my partner, who is a woman and 4’11, taught me from a self-defense class she took as a child, which is to make your hand into a duck bill and shove it in your attacker’s eyes. I do that and he falls. Or no, he doesn’t fall because what I am about to do next, I don’t want it to be cowardly. I shoot him in the knees! And he falls. The hostages all run out. I walk out. I have never run after a bus, after a train, after shit. And I don’t run away from shit either. I strut out, and I’m bloody, his blood is on me but not a lot, like a tasteful splatter, and the gun suddenly turns into an AK-47, Americans love those, and I hang it across my body like a Ms. America sash and it becomes windy and my hair blows in the wind the reporters all take my picture, which will be in the front page of all the American papers, and I look like a fuckin supermodel, but of course, foreigner etc etc, so ICE officers approach me and try to arrest me but! The white moms come speeding in their Hummers and form a barrier around me and block them, and throw little Confederate flags at me, la reina del Sur.

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio is a writer who lives in New Haven with her partner and bad dog. She is the author of the recently published reporting/memoir hybrid THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS. It is a punk manifesto


Friday, May 15th, 2020

Sarah Nicole Prickett is a writer for Artforum, Bookforum, and more. She is a former contributing editor at The New Inquiry and was a founding editor of Real Life. She used to have a magazine called Adult.