umbrella on line

ISSN 0160-0699

Volume 31, No. 2, Jun 2008

From the Editor

It’s been quite a spring season with five memorials in six weeks. Life is short, only art is long. I have lost some very good friends and some colleagues. It’s not even my age group. It came in waves. And now we are experiencing a very strange summer–hot for some, strange weather for others, floods in Iowa and other states, lightning that creates 1000 fires just in California, a glorious spring of brilliant bougainvillea, vivid jacaranda trees that one can not remember being so intense, and plums galore on every tree in every garden besides what the farmers cultivate. These are the moments in our age of global warming that allows us to forget, but not for long. With prices of gas going higher and higher, mass transit even in Southern California has increased, but not enough. At any rate, these are difficult times not only for this country, but for the world. And these are important times for new leadership and change.

Yet art prices go higher and higher–and although we don’t always know who is buying that art, some of us have a good idea that the Russian mega-millionaires and the Chinese are into the scene, besides the great leaders of Dubai who are creating a new society with all the accouterments thereof, including museums and cultural centers and huge skyscrapers that will be really scraping the sky higher and higher. So life is short and art is long.

We have been blessed with two great exhibitions here in Los Angeles: Allan Kaprow’s retrospective show accompanied by many activities in the museum and mostly outside that could be re-enactments of the many happenings for which Kaprow was the creator in the 1960s and 1970s. It was exciting to see a new generation create and understand what Kaprow was all about–and sometimes doing the event in the very same place it had been done before. In addition, the great conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner’s show came to town and with it his films, his bookworks and other publications, and another new generation is getting to know this masterful work with text as its basis.

Those of you who have subscribed to my Yahoo Group, the umbrellanewsheet, know that there is so much news these days that you are exhausted as readers, as I am for hunting it all down. But it really comes to me–I don’t find the news, it finds me. That is why Umbrella is far more a journal, and not a newsletter anymore. I do hope those of you who have not been invited to read the news sheet by my oversight will ask to be invited. It is an announce-only group where I send out the news each day. It does fill up your e-mail but you can always get the digest.

I wish you a very good summer, full of productivity but also time to vacate the mind for other things than what you do each day. We need to give our minds a break–too much information, not enough time. Make time to look at the sky, enjoy the sun, take a walk and notice new architecture or old architecture, say hello to the children, and remember what it means to make a difference.

Thank you to those who have contributed to the Umbrella Museum:
Anna Banana, Claire Isaacs, Claire Satin, Charlene Matthews, Genie Shenk, Julie Dermansky, Jennifer Henderson.

— jah