Excuse me for talking about myself here, Wedge, but I want to say that the dumbest thing or most embarrassing thing I did was produce a Steve Lacy Quartet show (or his trio, plus Roswell Rudd) in a storage space in San Carlos, California. This was in 1999. I had been doing shows at Cubberley Community Center, in Palo Alto, which holds 300 but didn’t think Steve and Roswell would fill Cubberley so we decided to do the show at Andy Heller’s storage space, Heller being our sound contractor. Then we concocted a lie that this was a studio and we would be taping the show; Steve gently nixed the recording part of it. I wrote about this a wee bit recently in a discussion of Josh Roseman on my blog Plastic Alto, which is indebted to this blog.

I got to watch Steve and Roswell rehearse the day of show, before. It seemed like a long time for them. Also, Steve, JJ and John and I went to get a pop at the Carlos Club bar I think it was — they stayed at Days Inn. We got chased from the bar when the karaoke started, which I find ironic as hell. Steve and Irene a couple years later played a show at Cubberley; I took a loss but have this story. Will Bernard and Miya Masaoke duo debuted and opened. I suggested Carla Kihlstedt for the opener that next night Larry Kassin produced show at St. John’s in Berkeley. Irene was amazed at Kihlstedt’s singing while bowing, not a typical technique.

GREAT Koopee POT at DeYoung

With Steve he did not drive so promoter carried him to next show. I recall en route he recommended Danilo Perez for a show, I did eventually do. Also, fond memories of taking Steve not to KZSU but KFJC where Steve broke the law as part of his preparation for the interview. Genius v. G-men kind of thing. “Pepper” spray. Oregano. I dunno. Self-treatment. Dig?


and edit to add speaking of “great pot” this seems like a good place to insert my photo of a adobe olla by the recently deceased died way too young Hopi ceramicist artist Jacob Koopee (1970-2011), in the Weiss Collection at the DeYoung. Actually, here’s a recent post from their blog, by Sarah Bailey Hogarty:

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums’ permanent collections. This week we feature an extraordinary contemporary piece of Pueblo pottery born out of centuries-old traditions. Jacob Koopee’s seed jar is currently on display at the de Young.

Jacob Koopee (American, 1970–2011). Seed jar. Slip decorated earthenware. Gift of Paul E. and Barbara H. Weiss. 2007.75.16

Pueblo pottery is an important Native American art form that was first brought to the attention of the Euro-American art world at the turn of the 19th century. In the Arizona pueblo (or village) of Hano, a young Hopi woman named Nampeyo began making pottery inspired by ancient Sityatki pottery sherds that she discovered lying on the ground around her home. She sold her pottery to the hotels and restaurants lining the Santa Fe Railroad, the majority of which were owned by the Fred Harvey Company. Recognizing a marketable commodity in Nampeyo and her finely crafted pottery, the Fred Harvey Company encouraged and promoted the artist, featuring her in advertisements for Southwestern tourism and sponsoring pottery demonstrations for visiting tourists. In this way, Nampeyo of Hano put pueblo pottery on the map. Today she is widely recognized as the original matriarch of pueblo pottery and was the first Native American artist to be recognized by name.

Paul Weiss and AOA curator Christina Hellmich admire the Hopi pots

Jacob Koopee is Nampeyo’s great-great-great-grandson, and his pottery exemplifies the evolution of style and originality for which his family is famous. Taught by his aunt, renowned potter Dextra Quotskuyva, Koopee demonstrates through his work the height of innovation in pueblo pottery today. Although he continues to use the traditional methods of coil construction and stone polishing, Koopee employs inventive shapes and patterns to create contemporary works of art.

The overall “shattered” format of this seed jar’s surface design references Nampeyo of Hano’s resourceful use of ancient pottery sherds for inspiration. Koopee has visually represented the rejoining of a variety of sherds to create this pot’s intricate facade. Throughout the abstract design, Koopee has scattered cartouches revealing the geometric faces of kachinas. Kachinas make up a vast pantheon of spiritual beings in Hopi religion. Each kachina is associated with a specific aspect of Hopi life, such as agriculture, hunting, or warfare.

The combined elements of community and family are integral to understanding this unique art form. Traditional techniques and designs are paramount to the continuation and preservation of pueblo culture and native art practices. Ancestral patterns and methods handed down through generations identify artists as members of a particular family, reinforcing both heritage and aesthetics. Contemporary pueblo pottery illustrates the fluid fusion of past and present used to create striking new forms.

On your next visit, learn more about Jacob Koopee and his family’s long history in art. Pottery by Koopee, his aunt, Dextra Quotskuyva, and their ancestor, Nampeyo is on display in the Art of the Americas Gallery at the de Young.


Further reading: Africa, Oceania, the Americas, and the Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art: Highlights from a Decade of Collecting

Barb Weiss talking with the clay, 2011


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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1 Response to WOW! THIS IS GREAT POT!

  1. markweiss86 says:

    maybe someday i will visit in berlin barbara weiss gallery:
    Laura Horelli’s “The Terrace” at
    Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin

    25 November 2011–7 January 2012
    From the first, Laura Horelli’s exhibition “The Terrace” is a movement backwards; a complex history is laid out for us to enter and reconstruct. Along the wall leading away from the gallery’s entrance is a series of six images and texts entitled Terrace of European Single Person in Kileleshwa (2011), which reveal information progressively. The first photograph depicts a young girl entering from a terrace, where a woman sits on a wicker chair before a backdrop of exotic plants. To the left of that photograph is a text describing a house topographically, designating spaces as private, public, or those used by the domestic staff. To the left of that is the house’s architectural floor plan. Next is a black-and-white illustration from a book depicting that same terrace from the first photograph, but as seen from the garden beyond it. Then we see the original version of that photo in full color. Lastly, we encounter a text revealing that everything we have just seen pertains to the Finnish artist’s childhood home in Nairobi, Kenya. The series appears to have been developed from a method at once inquisitive and analytical, based on personal understanding as well as empirical research.
    Such is the variable territory occupied by this exhibition. By investigating her own experience as if it were a paradigm, the artist produces works that are formally and strategically intelligent, and which constitute much more than a retelling of one individual’s experiences. In fact, although Horelli recounts her own experience, she mostly withholds reflexive claims on the information, i.e., by not including a signature in the aforementioned letter. Thematically, Horelli’s works are quite expansive.
    One of two video works constituting the rest of the exhibition, Haukka-Pala (A-Bit-to-Bite) (2009) comprises excerpts from a television program which Horelli’s mother had starred in following the family’s return to Finland from Kenya. The show was clearly addressed to children, emphasizing an appreciation for traditional Finnish foods and good eating habits. In it, Horelli’s mother, a nutritionist, is dressed in an apron and sits on a stool in a kitchen speaking to a puppet dog. In a voiceover, the artist explains that her mother seems somehow unfamiliar here; for one thing, her mother did not own an apron. Her mother’s on-screen presence—which likely constitutes a significant part of Horelli’s memory of her––is fleshed out by Horelli’s reading of excerpts from her mother’s diaries as well as by statements that sound as if they were expressed by a child: “Mother went to the hospital. Mother stayed in hospital. I never saw her again.” In such a way, we ascertain that Horelli’s mother died of cancer when the artist was ten years old. In the video’s greatest moments, her mother’s gestures are extended into slow motion, and the film passes into silence for a period of twenty to thirty seconds. But this act of reduction creates something else; somehow this deconstruction functions to animate her, to conjure her.
    With the other video, Horelli returns to the subject of their home in Nairobi. The Terrace (2011) comprises a montage of old photographs and recent video footage taken around the compound. In some moments, the camera lingers over photos of Esta, a local Kenyan woman whom the Horellis employed as a housekeeper. In a voiceover, Horelli also recounts that during the 1980s, her father worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, and her mother worked with a Kenyan women’s organization. In fact, permeating this film is a dialogue regarding contact between local Kenyans and Finnish immigrants. And, especially since she was a child at that time, Horelli’s remembrances reveal rather than express insight into the nature of the interaction between the Kenyans and the Fins in general. At one point, she mentions that when family friends visited their home, “the terrace was the border to how far they would go on the compound.” Whereas during her childhood this had been a markedly psychological barrier, the physical nature of the border was more pronounced when the artist returned to film the recent footage, since the terrace had been separated from the house by barred windows. Still, for Horelli to return to the terrace in person as well as through photographs and recollections represents a way to access a liminal space; like the physical documents of that place and time, the territory of Horelli’s memory is populated by traces of people and the events that took place as well as traces of the spheres that conjoined across the terrace.

    JOHN BEESON is an art critic from New York currently residing in Berlin. He writes regularly for publications including Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, and Spike among others.

    Read more:
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    recent reviews from Berlin
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