girl questions

mashama bailey wins james beard award for top chef: southeast

The most wonderful news this week came out of Chicago Monday evening: Mashama Bailey of The Grey restaurant in Savannah won the James Beard Award: Top Chef: Southeast.

For those of us living and eating out in Savannah; we have been well aware and have been waiting (kind of) patiently! It brings a gush of fresh air into the lungs to see this woman recognized for all she is, thinks and does.

“We should all be very proud of ourselves,” she said. “We are moving this country forward in the right direction. I am a black girl from Queens, New York, and my most influential cuisine is Peter’s Kitchen Chinese take-out, ” the AJC recently quoted Bailey.

Bailey is the first black American to win this award. She is the second woman of color as Nina Compton (born and raised in the Caribbean) of Compère Lapin, in New Orleans won for best chef in the South. But only LAST year - 2018. Good grief. May more women rise to be recognized!

Congratulations to Mashama Bailey, John Morisano and The Grey team. Thank you for your two fabulous locations and thank you for bringing a bright shiny comet of GREAT and redemptive news into our week.

mashama bailey of THE GREY restaurant, top chef in the southeast + in this writer’s heart

mashama bailey of THE GREY restaurant, top chef in the southeast + in this writer’s heart

art scams: please don't send a check

these "surprise gift of art to wife + moving to the philippines" art scams are so lame. you'd think the architects could be more convincing. also, they could be less repetitive and use punctuation properly! are they bots? their editorial statements are hilarious > #worthit #goodstuff #nodontsendacheck

(as delivered, after i provided a link for purchase)

So I'm trying to gather some good
stuff to make this event a surprise one. I am buying the art work of
$2,800 as a gifts to her.I'm okay with the price, I think it's worth
it
anyway, so I'll be sending a check.
(bermuda studies) banyans, 10" x 10", water-based media on panel, 2016-2017   

(bermuda studies) banyans, 10" x 10", water-based media on panel, 2016-2017

 

demystifying the artist statement

Dear Lester Monzon and Lester's Gallery Who Should Know Better if Lester Doesn't,

Biography suggests that one speak about one's life. That's how it works. In the field of art. We use statement, biography, resume or CV.  The differences are distinct and important. I have offered a more understandable and accessible version of your "about" statement even if you have titled it "biography".  And while I translate this statement-biography to poke fun at artist statements in general, I wonder if Monzon or his gallery actually means to say what he/it has said?  In other words, is the statement, like the paintings, also a kind of joke, and if so, why?

Sincerely, kds

Lester Monzon,  Googley, 2010 / acrylic and graphite on linen / 9 x 12 inches, courtesy Lester Monzon + Mark Moore Gallery

Lester Monzon, Googley, 2010 / acrylic and graphite on linen / 9 x 12 inches, courtesy Lester Monzon + Mark Moore Gallery

(original "biography")

By collapsing of architecture, space, and art history, Lester Monzon's work dissects the notion of context. Colorful gesticulations conceal sections of rigid patterning, a tete-a-tete between abstract expressionism and hard-edge abstraction that implies a gentle lampooning of the taxonomic tradition. Monzon upends the formalism and segregation innate to the fine art world, and fabricates a composite genealogy of painting - a pithy resolution to an otherwise vapid debate. Monzon's luscious brushstrokes slyly creep into a Hirst-esque field of dots or Noland-like plane of stripes, like the resurrection of a once-declared dead practice through a satirical hand. In his recent work, Monzon applies this critique of contextual art to mark-making in public spaces; be it graffiti on tiles in a public bathroom, stains on the sidewalk, or the popularized notion of "street art.

Damien Hirst. “Zirconyl Chloride,” 2008. Household gloss on canvas. 84 inches diameter. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. © Damien Hirst/ Science Ltd, 2012. Photography Prudence Cuming Associates.

Damien Hirst. “Zirconyl Chloride,” 2008. Household gloss on canvas. 84 inches diameter. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. © Damien Hirst/ Science Ltd, 2012. Photography Prudence Cuming Associates.

(translated "statement")

Lester Monzon makes pictures that refer to architecture, how architecture sits in space and art history.  Sometimes he paints in a messy way and sometimes he paints very precisely.  In Monzon’s world, both of these actions refer to traditions of abstract expression and hard-edge abstraction. With this, Monzon offers an artist’s inside joke:  my paintings, in capsule, offer a system of classification for art history.  He doesn’t want you to worry about what issues* arise in the art world because you can accept his quick and concise summation of art history in place of others’ uninteresting and bland solutions**. 

(Skipping ahead to technique without transition) Monzon uses a lot of paint.  If this paint were a person, he is a sly personality that can impersonate dots or stripes (that Monzon associates with the artist Hirst (dots) and the artist Noland (stripes)).  By impersonating dots and stripes, Monzon (or this sly person who is paint) miraculously brings dots and stripes back to life because they had been dead*.  You should realize that this is satire.

These days, Monzon is taking his version of funny to the streets - literally.  He is painting on dirty sidewalks, on the tile in public restrooms or in some place that is called “street art” that has been made popular.  

** Monzon graciously removes the viewer from a “vapid” solution to a “pithy” one

In summary, I think Mr. Monzon might engage someone to write more precisely about how and why his painting and his work merits discussion and appreciation.  This statement does no service to him, his work or to the viewer.  The work can be satirical and difficult to understand.  The statement should not.  It should additionally be an explanation and give, if not a roadmap, at least a cardinal direction toward better knowing the work and the artist.

Kenneth Noland, Via Light 1968, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 113 inches, Courtesy of Lelie Feely Fine Art

Kenneth Noland, Via Light 1968, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 113 inches, Courtesy of Lelie Feely Fine Art

manners no. 17

This is a response to a post titled "Things All Southern Women Know To Be True" by Haley Hackett.  Savannah women strongly disagree with the descriptions in this list.  Women who haven't been raised up native (that's called "natural born" in Georgia) but have the blood coursing through their veins and were raised by southern women disagree.  I'm one of the latter kind. 

To speak for myself, I found the list simple, a disgrace to the very obvious complexity of being southern and for that reason, rude.  I've reworked the list.  

I invite you all to breathe easier now that we have at least a starting point for a more broad and comprehensive lesson for non-southerners and those who may be underserved by their families and communities.

1.  Monogram usage stems from necessity and youth. Some of us leave school and camp by the time we are eighteen. Others have habits. But, regardless of having or not, please sit with us; we want to know all about you and please make it good

2. Those living in the southern clime don camouflage when harvesting supper. Because that's the fastest, easiest way. We might also have some cargo pants with camouflage print, but we don't think they flatter us best - which is the point of clothing. In summary, camou is for the garden and grocery getting (in the aisles, woods or waters).  

3.  No matter where a baby is born, the offending parent should not place a headband on "precious". Southern women trust that their baby girl's face shines "divinely beautiful".  In other words, true beauty, like angels, need not declare gender (please see our young boys at Easter). The only excuse; Halloween. We need a method for holding antennae or cat and bunny rabbit ears.

4.  If hungover, it's hair of the dog (bloody, anyone?), salt and butter eggs with deer bacon (see number #2).

5. Southern women appreciate real men so it doesn't matter if they are short, Lincoln tall, Jack Spratt thin, corpulent, odd or old looking or even named Ashley, Blair, Kerry or Kim.  We want to laugh, have doors opened for us and run wild in the woods. We choose the men who do this with us while they quietly and adeptly stoke the home fires. By the way, one should reread Gone with the Wind. Often mis-characterized, Rhett Butler does say "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" and that may not be very nice, but it was necessary. Ask him why, he'll tell you.

6.  The dress or "costume" (we still say "costume" when we mean outfit) mandates the hair. No, no and no to a frilly high neck and hair fussy and down. All black and minimal outfit?  That may call for a big hair day.

7.  Southern gals drink a "bit" of everything. Sometimes even in moderation.

8. Seasons (by the calendar) let us know more about our gardens and our china than our clothing. We have priorities and standards.

9.  Southern women realize that sexism isn't sexy. That's why our daddies taught us to read, ride, shoot and run in 5" heels.

10.  Really southern women shop the closets of their esteemed elders, neighbors and sisters. Waste not, want not.

11.  The final word on jewelry and food storage:  real. It's got to be guaranteed gold, silver, bronze, glass or China and preferably handed down or purchased while traveling.

12.  Story telling is a way of life. The truth should never get in the way of this discipline. Being an accomplished story teller negates judgement of the storyteller. In other words, the teller is not a liar or a gossip if we've been properly entertained (we know to believe - and remember - nothing).

13.  Being a lady is like swearing. Sometimes the most effective choice is the nastiest. The whip-smartest southern women employ nasty and four letters judiciously. Being a lady also means no hiding from momma, but fessin' up by outlining good reasoning and humor used while "misbehaving".  (see #9, #12)

14.  We feel grateful to be southern and we invite you to visit often.

olivia de haviland,8" x 8", water-based media on somerset, 2010

olivia de haviland,8" x 8", water-based media on somerset, 2010