the art of collaboration

Steve Dalachinsky
April 2017

Color Storm, 2016, oil on linen, image courtesy of the artist

the art of collaboration
(a liberal open-ended rendering of 2 conversations involving Susan Bee
during her exhibit “POW” at A.I.R. Gallery in Dumbo – March & April 2017)

the art of collaboration be it written spoken be it conversation is always conversation be it visual be it written spoken film /  collage(d) augmented by various lines of thought processing emotion intellect sensation co-operation disruption interruption playing off each other against each other within each other mingling of ideas of process…not to be intrusive or perhaps to purposely be intrusive or accidentally intrusive…processing repossessing deconstructing reconstructing instructing fulfilling never ending nerve ending competition without ever really competing for competing EGO clashes versus Eagle listen this no no egoless-ness (typed) that’s why i love dictating into a computer it’s collaborating with this computer like what i said was Eagle lesson this Eagle listens to this what  actually said was Eagle no no eagle what i said was E go less ness – & of course then there is the constant collaborating with one’s self this is not a new concept but we think we are the first to have invented it i just invented it a long long time ago as did you… this can easily incorporate the idea of advancing rather than expanding no no – i mean the other way around art/ideas… this leads me to a very simple conversation i will not have with you myself partially about the art of Susan Bee & how she collaborates with color with, as she puts it, film stills – broad sense >  (hormones) > artists like Matisse or Munch which are both responses to & in some sense collaborative efforts with the subject one is dealing with (orders) is inspired by… this is not so much a piece about that but a piece ABOUT… moving about … MOVEMENT… placement… couples… couplings… universes/verses coming together / separating / reintegrating / styles merging & becoming one singularity.

sometimes there is choice…no choice…the ability of choosing & choosing not to…

1. Susan Bee in conversation with Phong Bui

a. point of view of the critic (interviewer quotes critic)

b. point of view of the interviewer (explains his perceptions of the work as well as, through the course of the discussion, brings in external aspects that may apply to the work at hand )

c. point of view of the interviewee

there was this transition from minimalism to figurativeness (face) – there was a point where even if I had decided to deal with the absence of color I could not and therefore I chose the abundance of color – again we can refer to Matisse – and there is this interesting juxtaposition of the possibility of using black-and-white movie stills and instilling them with vibrant colors & then perhaps seeing the film after (closing) or before painting from the still & realizing that more often than not a particular scene depicted in the still may not appear in the (field) film.

d. 3) views slightly intermingle:

you can’t do more than two things in a painting  ( crash )  CRANACH – Cupid    HOPE
complains to Venus – holds a beehive – I love Munch – you say – I love outsiders –(forgot) – Horace Pippin – different from academic really not outsider gets emotion with economy – I have a strong relation with  folk artists – you say – now I feel I need to have…personal history ….language magazine…redact-ivity… was he part of background or not? – layers – looking toward the doorway & looking to do away or… not very  |  process oriented – again black & white into color – surrounding them with different patterns in their life /  goals \ auto-figure – appropriation but not exactly – excuse to deal with space in between triangles – (forging or possibly forgetting space) – attraction  – emotion – no one liked my triangles – they were the photograms – flat now space blockage intensity  it’s effective spatially – I’ve always felt that when your eyes are closed you’re dreaming… film stills not always in the movie > a way to access the image deliberate I still want color even if New York is gray (this depicts) the Berlin orphanage where my mother grew up > I wanted to paint it in grays but the color flowed – a sense of humor can be subversive rebellious and it’s very different than a joke – my photograms were modeled after Man Ray (my holy nine) Moholy-Nagy – Charles was not a poet when I met him in high school – both my parents were artists –  roof books – not pastoral – it was a community they, the poets, got along when they got along – reference to Matisse in Nice – Marsden Hartley – Casper David Friedrich – to enter into someone else’s mind – Windows – noir series – background or space between – left in the left out – arguing within the painting – to get inside the characters’ heads – looking into the future & not knowing what the future will be…

2. the book / in convers(at)ion – as a non-conclusive opening

talks by Vincent Katz, Susan Bee, Charles Bernstein, Kyle Schlesinger, Constance Lewallen, and Anca Cristofovici about The Art of Collaboration: Poets, Artists, Books (Cuneiform Press, 2015) (April 9, 2017)

how a book is made artists writers publishers  PUBLISHER publishes honest dialogue artists dialogue what happens after how (cute) (cut) rate it deals with artist books  French American Biblioteque Nationale Black Mountain incubator of modernity pre-think precede memories of Proust Raymond Roussell reading that’s exciting collective writing human artistic experience more pictures read it and drop it honkers big guys beer guzzling spoons by the light crack 1000 miles sex will close old day in front of soft temples dictum patterns melted people walking separate big nosed cigarettes on gravel laden sidewalk distance from bridge on with by bag books bucks & whiteness frustrated about losing dialogs one essay to another marrow names come up that always happens when people work together Penn Sound visual artist Shirley Jaffee who recently passed away appeared with us at Maison de Poesie in Paris many collabs of poets & artists books for Gervais Jassaud. Gervais doesn’t put his books online, because it is difficult to reproduce them > Rudi quoting O’Hara collaborating is a gas… Berkson hands off hands on… the party game immediate experience Main as in hand mano a mano > don’t touch non-intervention torch passed to next team member pome paintings summer visits churches fell on stars South of France elegiac collaboration as if the language wants to say this (B. Mayer) – collaborating with yourself parallel competitiveness cutthroat one-upmanship competing two pieces poet with poet poet with visual artist music dance thousands of years exiled to the page need and now all parts of become more solitary removed from area of complete control two more under control not always smooth sailing constant anxiety alleviate that with constancy stability collaboration helps – mobile homes confront Creel(e)y scholar collab Kalab collapses > works connected tissues important scholarly contributions from the bay area > Lake – no late tradition feminine eyes interesting new composed of type-ohs  alphabet visual study of those composers operas microtonal microtonal tuning Partch(ment) café du Buffet Benjamin – ultimately control produce make use of work legend this year died course dying green walls 300 pages of green walls largest different jokes like hands on hands full husband (we) & wife (we) creating children icono-crastic crested phone/poem written in response to painting > painting in response to poem don’t call me express stick I’ll call you ekphrastic > don’t call me an illustrator > total / Tuttle \ tunnel > reading red – I wrote envelopes top of the images of paintings against putting them online poetry plastique incredible experience you write emails they either answer or they won’t > sculptures letters are sculptures some of these days our shared experience issues of titles how framing alters the show study with horizontal lines in space you do the work I’ll title them dark matter > symbolic meanings > sidewalks of New York couples can be three busters sleeve arm candy Eve more pulls out the sleeve melancholy also on the rocks drink marriage grimace despite the titles JP calls it a color storm more toward the end of the project to studio abstract > I married a poet convenient to work with a poet in the house collaborate I made pictures to go with words assembling narrative not viewed as painting > accessibility of form > sometimes you can’t do what you want > historical colonial bed hangings – granary small addition/ edition > hand colored girl’s life design > duck theorists centralize (century) fabulous conference come out google collaged spot ill-us-tray-shuns > 25 famous women historical I want certain people she wants but basically working with poets I’ll grape again collaboration reiteration of the work of others get rid of everyone so you can actually come to yourself but are we alone even when we are alone? Questions? Comments? User’s reference book > where are these books where are these archives question mark > trust failing individual selves & TRUST – lots of compromise & TRUST…


s.d. is this the end?

s.d. yes

s.d. but why does it end here?

s.d. because my fatigue has gotten the best of me

footnote 1: this is a creative form of resistance. (someone said)

footnote 2: to hear the actually conversation referred to in part 1 of my ramble go to Jacket 2  / or Penn Sound Phong Bui and Susan Bee at Pow! New Paintings at A.I.R. Gallery (March 25, 2017)

footnote 3: Susan Bee at A.I.R.

Susan Bee website:

Susan Bee, Cupid Complains to Venus, 1982, oil on linen

footnote 4:  the books produced by Gervais Jassaud can be viewed at his website website:

Cupid Complains to Venus,1982, oil on linen, image courtesy of the artist

Comments are closed.