Biased? Certainly. But I’m Working on It
A conversation with Dr. Violetta Zujovic, Neuroscientist at the Paris Brain Institute
Talk at FIAF and meeting with Violetta Zujovic and Alyse Nelson
New York | March 15th | Decoding Gender Bias | Register Here
Everything that follows in this post is biased.
I would like to write you the opposite, to reassure you, even to convince you of the authenticity of my words. But in the interests of sincerest dishonesty, and according to Violetta Zujovic, a doctor in neuroscience and team leader at the Paris Brain Institute, I am biased.
I might as well accept it. Besides, I am not the only one. “We all are,” Violetta explains.
“Everything around us is a reproduction that our brain creates to simplify our lives,” Violetta tells me. “Our brain spends its time storing information and sometimes reconstructing a reality that is sometimes an illusion.”
By simplifying, taking shortcuts, analyzing, and judging the other as quickly as possible, our conclusions are not based on the reality of a person or a situation. Instead they are the result of a narrowed perception influenced by our experiences, our culture, and our education.
I believe that I should also share here the motivation and context of this paper.
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Revelations (in French: here)
New York Exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Jean-Pierre Formica
The face’s wrinkles of painter and sculptor Jean-Pierre Formica, his eyes too, the iconic choice of words and his unexpected way of linking them together let a colorful and poetic universe surface. A desire to make the invisible visible. If his artworks were argentic photographs, Jean-Pierre Formica would be the developer, the essential chemical agent that converts the latent image into one that the eye can see.
Also inscribed on Formica’s face is the force of Camargue’s salty sun, the insatiable curiosity of a man driven by uncertainty, an almost detached look, perhaps surprised by the interest his work arouses, and a polite recognition.
A selection of Jean-Pierre Formica’s artworks will, at last, be on view in New York from September 6 to 30, 2022. Titled ‘Revelations,’ this exhibition juxtaposes recent paintings and sculptures whose teared papers for the former and accumulations for the latter give “form to the formless.”
They “reveal” to paraphrase the artist.
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Révélations, Entretien avec l’artiste Jean-Pierre Formica
Les plissures du visage du peintre et sculpteur Jean-Pierre Formica, ses yeux aussi, le choix méticuleux des mots et sa façon inattendue de les lier ensemble laissent apparaître à la surface un univers coloré et poétique, une volonté de rendre visible l’invisible. Si cette œuvre était une photographie argentique, Jean-Pierre Formica en serait le révélateur, l’agent essentiel qui permet à l’image d’apparaître et se figer sur le papier.
Il y a aussi inscrit sur le visage de Formica la force du soleil salé de la Camargue, la curiosité insatiable d’un homme mû par l’incertitude, un regard presque détaché, surpris peut-être de l’intérêt que son œuvre suscite, sa reconnaissance polie.
Une sélection des œuvres de Jean-Pierre Formica sera visible à New York du 6 au 30 septembre 2022. Cette exposition, « Révélations », juxtapose des peintures et sculptures récentes dont les déchirures pour les premières et les accumulations pour les secondes donnent « forme à l’informe ». Elles « révèlent » pour reprendre l’expression de l’artiste.
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POST-COVID SPRING BEAUTY
The More You Look The More You See
A solo exhibition of new work by Judith Seligson on view at Galerie Mourlot through June 26, 2022.
16 East 79th Street, Suite 21
Between 5th and Madison Avenue
New York City
When I entered Galerie Mourlot on E. 79th Street two days ahead of Judith Seligson’s new solo exhibition, the more I looked around, the more I saw boxes everywhere, each containing either a painting, a pigment print, or a sculpture Seligson, a geometric abstract artist, created during the pandemic. On one wall, John—the installer—was carefully calculating the distance between two frames: on top, a series of photographs of flowers painted over—snapshots of nature blooming and blossoming despite the pandemic, aptly titled “Covid Spring”—and below a selection of bold striped paintings, or intervals paintings, as Seligson described them to me.
In the center of the room, the artist was busy unpacking and deciding how she wanted the body of work to come together at her second solo exhibition of Galerie Mourlot, a name more associated with the print making for the likes of Picasso and Miro, but which also has a strong contemporary art program. Her daughter—journalist and author Hannah Seligson—was dispensing advice. She became her mother’s unofficial “art agent,” or manager, five years ago.
Hannah marveled at the exhibition slowly taking shape, the new series of what she describes as “hard-edged, geometric abstract paintings,” in which her mother, Judith, explores “her interest in the interactions of colors, patterns, and space that all push the boundaries of the pictorial plane and create a sense of spatial tension.” “The Washington Post once decided it was ‘reminiscent of Stella and Albers,’” Hannah explained.
As I found my way to gallery owner Eric Mourlot’s desk by the tall windows overlooking 79th street, to sit down and take my recorder out of my bag, I marveled at the artistic poetry of the pieces. “It is a musical composition, almost a rhythmic movement,” the 72-year-old artist and author who studied with Flora Natapoff, Philip Guston, Leo Manso, and Victor Candell explained to me. Some of the paintings are small, discreet, miniature even, “a feminist statement,” Hanna said, quoting her mother.
I have always been told people are born artists, so I asked Judith Seligson when she first realized she was an artist and no one else. Before she could utter a word, Hannah interjected: “Mom, tell the story of when you were drawing…”
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THE SILENT ODESSA SYMPHONY
Consider a donation to help Ukraine and Ukrainian by making a donation to Razom for Ukraine, a non-for-profit organization led by by Dora Chomiak. Razom provides critical medical supplies as well as tech-enabled emergency response supplies to facilitate the delivery of aid. Meaning “together” in Ukrainian, Razom believes deeply in the enormous potential of dedicated volunteers around the world united by a single goal. To make a donation, click here and hashtag #OdessaPhilharmonicOrchestra (find also this information at the end of the post).
Special thanks to Delphine Schrank for editing this story
Odessa, Ukraine, March 22nd, 2014. A rhythmic beat pulsed from inside the fish market, a strange percussionist melody composed instinctively, on site, and performed by fishmongers scrapping the scales of black sea bass set against the background chatter of myriad overlapping conversations, and the rustle of shopping bags against the coats of men and women shopping for a meal or two.
It was a typical Saturday morning in a vibrant city, a strategic port and a symbol of European culture and unity. Well, not exactly a typical Saturday. A day earlier, Russia had officially ratified the annexation of the nearby Ukrainian province of Crimea, triggering a shock-wave across the rest of the country and Europe that eventually died out in the torpor of an apathetic world response.
Suddenly, a man armed with a double bass and a band of others carrying violins appeared from different corners of the fish market. Without prelude, one after the next planted themselves in a strategic spot, beside a bronze statue, behind counters stacked with cans and olive oils, and among the fish stalls. They started softly with notes from Beethoven 9th Symphony. Amid shoppers still more concerned with choosing between fresh tuna, mackerel or herring, all the marine life of the Black Sea, others were instantly mesmerized, pressing in on the musicians. The group of performers swelled, some with no instruments at all. Like the perceptive tentacles of a giant octopus, they fanned out throughout the market. From the back of the room, the American conductor of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra Hobart Earle took his cue. He pushed his way through the crowd to a place visible to the now-dozens of musicians, raised his hands and with matchless coordination folded in the choir for Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the European anthem.
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