Finally, one of the last images in the installation (if you are looking left to right) there is this picture of my family, looking towards the painting of me and Andrew–my future for this 4 year old version of myself–and like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the whole scene of the installation. Like in Pinocchio, who becomes a real boy after discovering his love for others and his family, I created this for my Dad on his 80th Birthday, to celebrate he and my mom’s love for me and my sister in this picture they gave us for Christmas a couple of years ago, in a photo taken by Deborah my cousin in the fall of 1970. She was living with us at the time, and our great grandmother, who loved TV, gave us a new color television as couldn’t stand our old black and white one. My father had made my sister a flat dollhouse that she didn’t use anymore, so he flipped it over and put a piece of carpet over it to make a TV stand for it, and directed Deborah to take this photo of us, “testing” our new TV for the first time. While painting, I listen to music to get my head into the picture that I’m creating, and for this I listened to much of my parent’s old record collection (on cd!), and realized that when I was painting to West Side Story and the Sound of Music, it worked the best, so I think we must have been watching one of these two movies! I love Gustav Klimnt, and how he used design elements partly inspired by East Asian miniatures to carry the synaesthetic, emotive life of the figures they embrace, and hope that the love that my family feels for one another, both then and now is captured by the bedspread. My mom is tickling my sister to get her to laugh, as I’m contemplating the tv as I do when I paint, and subconsciously think I painted my Dad emphasizing his pointing to his ring as truly this painting is about family, and the nostalgic moment we used to have as a country, where television was a gathering place for the family, a new hearth, where we all shared moments together. In the uber installation at the Whitney, I hope we are also watching the other paintings in the show, how other families (like Martin Luther King’s playing piano), scenes, and events help to forge the country where my husband and I can also be a family, and all of us happy and loving looking into the future of our lives.
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Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, 1907, Neue Galerie, NY