Category Archives: Visual Studios


On Friday 23 July, I attended a peformance of Christian Marclay’s “Ephemera” at the Whitney Museum. “Ephemera” consists of fragments from Marclay’s collection of clippings, candy wrappers, ads, and sundry disposable printed items decorated with musical notes, assembled into a score that can be organized and interpreted using one or more instruments. John Zorn and company played a crisp 30-minute set as they translated this graphic score into sound.

To the ensemble’s left, a long wall of the gallery had been converted into a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard with musical staves, on which the public was invited to scribble away – you can get an impression of it here.  This visual accompaniment served as an apt counterpoint to the improvised utterances of the performers. Amidst the spiky experimentation, though, moments of gentle lyricism and transparent fragility emerged.  Sylvie Courvoisier’s mastery of the piano (both inside it’s belly and on the keyboard) was especially apparent throughout this set.  And I swear I heard Mr. Zorn quote the melody to “Silent Night.”

For more photos from this festival, check out the Flickr group the Whitney set up.  Below is video of the performance courtesy of The Awl:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Marclay Festival is up until September 26 – if you’re in the greater New York area, I recommend checking it out.  (PS when you go, work your way back to the chill lounge room– complete with white sofas & carpeting– for a Christian Marclay listening session.)


Featured Artist: Leonard Johnson

We’re delighted to continue our Featured Artist Series here at Bliss Street Studios with Leonard Johnson, our artist for the month of April.

Leonard is my [Colette’s] dad, and I grew up watching his oil paintings come to life.  We have four of his paintings proudly displayed in our living room.

Below are his answers to our Seven Questions: enjoy!

Q. What has quickened your pulse recently?
A. —the smell of linseed oil and turpentine!  I enjoy the actual working with oils—the mixing and application.

Q. What are you reading/watching/listening to these days?
A. What I’m reading that relates to my art is the “biographical novel of Michelangelo” by Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy.  Also I read articles in art magazines, particularly Southwest Art.

Q. What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
A. Watching Law & Order and CSI.

Q. Whose work do you admire?
A. How does one narrow it down?—generally realistic oil painters, particularly someone like Camille Corot.  Of present-day painters it would be the likes of Richard Schmid and those associated with or trained by him.

Q. Where’s your favorite place to do creative work?
A. Any one of my paintings can be the result of extended time and varying places, going through several stages:  the idea (any place, developing over years), preliminary sketches (when the idea interests me, at varying places and times–some have been on restaurant napkins), mental visualizing (my favorite—when I find myself seeing the subject in my mind and find myself able to visualize changes and adjustments; this has happened to me at night just before dropping off to sleep), sketching on the painting surface (in my small studio), applying the paint (studio), glowering at the almost finished painting over several days (in our day-to-day living areas), general refinements and glazings, etc. (studio).

Q. You’ve been given a $5,000 budget for your next project. What would you do?
A. Have someone design and build an efficient and highly accessible storage system for the many paintings I have not yet sold. On the other hand, I’d try about any commissioned painting for $5000!

Q. How can we find out more about your work?
A. I am personally not savvy with digital and on-line transmission of pictures, so that, I’m sorry, would not be a good way.  You may call me at 712-323-6160 or write to me at

(To view photographs of Leonard Johnson’s paintings, visit his page on Bliss Street Studios.)


Lovetown, PA

Gene Schmidt (who recently measured Manhattan with yardsticks) has a new project over at Kickstarter, a funding platform for a bevy of creative folks.  His new project, LOVETOWN PA, is a response to his question:

“What would St. Paul’s beautiful, and sometimes difficult text on love look like on the streets of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love?”

Check it out, and, if it excites you, invest in it and become a “micro-patron” of the arts. With just over a month left to raise support, do so sooner rather than later:

LOVETOWN PA—Kickstarter

The Checker King

Here’s a blast from the past –a 39-min-long documentary I scored in 2004…

[clearspring_widget title=”SnagFilms Film Widget” wid=”4837b4759c19ccae” pid=”4b570eae77dd3379″ width=”300″ height=”250″ domain=””]

via The Checker King – Watch the Documentary Film for Free | Watch Free Documentaries Online | SnagFilms.

Awesome Gifts Under $20

I love these dapper animal portraits from Berkley Illustration, that are surprisingly affordable, starting at $10 for a 5×7 print.

Check out these and more here.

A Ridiculous Reclamation

Several weekends ago, we visited Jimmy Miracle in his Brooklyn studio to view a recent installation.  Jimmy strung up an abandoned air-conditioner with wire and countless threads, leaving us suspended in wonder at the result:


Brooklyn Bicycle



(c)2009 Colette Mazunik

(c)2009 Colette Mazunik