Its snowing! My kids love snow and we had a great walk through the park today with plenty of snowballs and track making. Snowy days, which are such a rare treat, always make me think of Ezra Jack Keats‘ 1962 book “The Snowy Day” and of course, it was our bedtime story tonight.
And soon we can make snowy day mail! With postage stamps featuring Keats’ artwork of Peter’s snowy day! When, you ask? USPS is keeping it vague by only telling us they will be released in 2017.
While you wait you can go out and buy Andrea Davis Pinkney’s beautiful book “A Poem for Peter.” My sister gave it us as a Christmas gift and I recommend it for fans of Keats. Its a lovely tribute to a trailblazing artist who broke a cultural barrier by creating the first African American main character in a children’s book. By writing and illustrating the character of Peter, Keats profoundly affected the lives of children, particularly black children who identified with Peter in a deep way, including Pinkney, who slept with the book under her pillow when she was a child.
This mail man, along with a whole bunch of other lifelike sculptures by Seward Johnson are installed in Manhattan’s Garment District until September 15, 2015. Go take a look!
Photo by Dave Ratzlow.
Last chance to see On Kawara’s impressive show at the Guggenheim, including hundreds of postcards from his I Got Up series. On Silence closes on May 3, 2015.
I received a seriously good birthday gift from my husband, a print by the very talented Stephen Powers! I have been a fan of Powers since way back in the 1990’s when he was known as the graffiti artist, Espo. In 2009 I wrote a post about his love letter to Philadelphia mural project and I recommend a great, companion movie to the murals, A Love Letter for You, directed by my friend Joey Garfield that you can view on iTunes.
So to bring it back to snail mail, Powers made greeting cards! And they’re rad. Buy this excellent boxed set of 12 greeting cards as a holiday gift. Just make sure the recipient has someone to send the cards to- they’re all pretty flirty.
This summer the kids and I went to see Shantell Martin‘s show, Are You You, at MoCADA. We sat in the gallery space looking at Martin’s black marker drawings which covered the walls, and thought up questions to ask her about her art. My plan was to have my kids who love to draw send some fan mail to a woman who loves to draw. Coincidentally she was at the museum and we got to meet her! She was lovely and she gave us stickers!
Our fan mail included a few questions and compliments from each kid and Shantell Martin inspired drawings that they did on white paper with black ink. She wrote back! And sent stickers! And pens!
Now I am an even bigger fan. Look for Shantell Martin’s work at the upcoming Brooklyn Museum exhibition, Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond. It will be up from October 3, 2014 to January 4, 2015.
Above is a portion of the series I Got Up… by conceptual artist, On Kawara, made up of 90 postcards that he rubber stamped and mailed to his friend and fellow artist, John Baldessari in 1975. I just learned that while I was on vacation in Italy, Kawara died at the age of 81. Since much of his work focuses on marking time and place I feel compelled to state that he died on July 10, 2014 in New York City.
I am looking forward to a retrospective of Kawara’s work at the Guggenheim, which opens on February 6, 2015, and is called On Kawara: Silence.
A beautiful tribute by Gemma Green-Hope to her grandmother who, among other things, was a “brilliant letter writer.”
Shirley Chisholm! This is a clip from the documentary Chisholm 72: Unbought and Unbossed which I strongly recommend. As our nation’s first African American Congresswoman and the first African American woman to run for President, Chisholm is a hometown heroine here in Brooklyn.
Shirley Chisholm on a stamp! This portrait is by American painter, Robert Shetterley, from his series, “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” He started the paintings after the Bush Administration’s response to September 11th, 2001 because he felt compelled to exalt Americans who inspired him. So glad Shirley is part of that crew.
Buy the stamps. Send Shirley Mail!
Envelope by Vik Muniz, 2002.
Watch artist Vik Muniz’s Ted Talk from 2003 and also take a look at the excellent 2010 documentary, Wasteland, about an ambitious and wonderful art project Muniz collaborated on with a group of trash pickers in Brazil.