Get thee to the museum!

Get thee to the museum!

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I’ve always loved The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts so when I saw that they had a new exhibit called: Women Artists in Paris 1850-1900, it was a no-brainer; though honestly, I was more excited about “women” and “Paris” than I was enthused about women’s art.

That is until I walked into the exhibit and felt wave after wave of emotion.

GRIEF. ANGER. DISBELIEF. SURPRISE. AWE.

I wanted to weep. I wanted to fall to my knees. I wanted to throw things.

Why had I thought that men were the artists of the time?
And the authors and the scientists and engineers and the mathematicians and the leaders and the pilots and the firefighters and the warriors…

Why were the accomplishments of my gender so hidden, so maligned, so discarded by history?

(The 2016 film “Three Figures” comes to mind.)

I’d never done a gallery tour, not since my public school days, and I never wanted to until now. I wanted to know what I missed. And why.

I am heartbroken. I am appreciative. I am furious.

I am sorry that I did not know, did not celebrate, did not focus on the accomplishments of women.

“The first measure of success for a woman artist,” said the interpreter, “was to paint like a man.”

Isn’t this true everywhere? Men’s work/view/attitude serves as the benchmark for… Everything.

(Even my tea bags come with the quotes of men. Even my yoga teacher references the teachings of men almost exclusively.)

Confession: I have never taken an Art History class, and the subject of Women’s Studies didn’t exist at my Jesuit University (talk about achievement shaped around men!) so some of what I write here may be obvious to others, and even well worn, like the way “La Toilette paintings” of women in their dressing rooms, partially clad, were painted by men of women—as objects.

(#45 comes to mind.)

Not so a toilette painting by a woman where the sitter is subject, looking right back at the painter, and forcing the viewer to recognize her full humanity.

Women were turned away from the leading art schools, although one entered by pretending to be man, and women were further regulated to what was considered the bottom rung of art–the simplest to paint–still lifes–with the understanding that women could not manage the complexity of painting movement or the physicality of painting on larger canvasses or the indelicacy of painting nude. (In fact, they were prohibited from studying the male form altogether.)

To the women who pushed past, are pushing past, have always pushed past the artificial boundaries of a society shaped around men, THANK YOU.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, thank you.

Women Artists in Paris who painted into obscurity, thank you.

Clark Art Institute, thank you.

Gallery interpreters, thank you.

American Federation of Arts, thank you.

Laurence Madeline, curator of the tour, thank you.

Art historians and researchers, THANK YOU.

It is no surprise to learn, even while it is equally heartbreaking, that many women artists married male artists, and once married, gave up painting while he continued, and even more heartbreaking, resumed painting again after his death.

(“Your life must revolve around mine,” my father hollered at the kitchen table when my mother began to express needs beyond serving him.)

It is no surprise to learn that Nordic women were able to devote more energy to the arts, free to travel to Paris, because feminism had reached their part of the world first.

(Thank you, Nordic women, for leading still!)

During the tour, I watched as one older husband snapped his fingers at his wife when she paused too long in front of a canvass; and as another, changing his mind about the tour, came up to his wife, who was rapt in attention to the talk, forcing his headset into her hands and dashing off; while yet another oldler man whistled and scowled at the other tour group where three women were talking too loud (one of those women was the silver-haired interpreter.)

It was my husband who reminded me of this series of incidents which I took as a matter of course, but which for him, slowly awakening to the gender differential, shouted loud and clear, of a lifetime, lifetimes, of male entitlement.

What I did notice, uncomfortably, was that the exhibit guards for Women Artists in Paris were all men. It was an older man who came up to me as I scribbled into my notebook, telling me that I could not use a pen. It was a young woman, working the desk, who gave me a tiny pencil to use instead.

Gender discrimination isn’t a thing of the past. Feminism isn’t new or old. Women’s lives, like Black Lives, have always been full with humanity, even while that humanity wasn’t/isn’t recognized by the perpetrators of discrimination, degradation and assault and even while the absence of that full humanity is overlooked and often unseen by those who have been demeaned and those who love us.

The older I get, the more I weep in recognition of what was kept out of reach for so long.

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(Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900 features more than 80 paintings by 37 women artists from across Europe and America–at The Clark until 9/3)

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Summer’s Second Act

Summer’s Second Act

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august 1st
~birthdays are holy days, the sacred aperture of the soul’s entry on the earthly plane. which brings to mind my friend Paul, born today, on the pagan celebration of the turning point of summer, the beginning of the harvest season–a time of year which deserves high praise from me for all that’s been received…

my son Aidan, my first kiss with my husband, our move to Vermont, the last day of our summer backpacking honeymoon adventure across Europe, our firstborn…

And before the wheel turns to Autumn, the birthday of my beloved & the return to spirit of my mother on the same date

and in between and before the season’s turning–the holy apertures of nieces & nephews, in-laws, & grandmothers, uncles & friends, my baby sister, my father, and the honorable 44th President of the United States of America.

And then there’s the fruit, the tomato, the cornflower, the pumpkin, the blueberry.

All these outrageous acts we gather in abundance for the leaner seasons.

~

august 6~

I love Mondays. The chance to start again. To get it right.

I hate August. “A month of Sundays.”
As a result, I’m often angry.
A reminder that I need to grieve.

Presence or Preservation

Presence or Preservation


While at first unnerving, harvesting lavender among honey bees is a soothing communion of attention and appreciation; but not so with bumble bees; theirs is a more frenetic energy; mirroring my own fretting–whether to cut or to leave–to preserve or to bask, to prepare for winter, or to be here now, in summer, so fleeting, like the irises and wild roses and strawberries, already passed.

Blessing-Moon Women’s Gathering

Blessing-Moon Women’s Gathering

woman-holding-the-moon-e13519969922181
The Full Moon of July is the Blessing Moon, arriving just before Lammas, the turning point of summer, the beginning of the harvest.

Think Humble Warrior.
Or better yet Revolved Warrior Pose.
Strong, like summer, but receptive, open hands…

In this second of the summer gatherings for women, we’ll move from the exploration of feminine strength to the tapping of receptivity–our capacity to receive that which we bend our will toward.

All women welcome. Skill & experience irrelevant. Come as you are. Curious. Hesitant. Weary. Energized. Introverted. Extroverted. Light. Burdened. Fearful. Hopeful. Ready.

Weather permitting, we’ll walk and move and listen on the land a bit, and mostly gather around the kitchen table and other receptive spaces–stairs & chairs & floors–journaling, speaking, listening, collaging–overhearing, ourselves, steeping in our own guidance and wisdom.

It is the third chakra that is most associated with summer–power, strength, will–and with that,the yogic principle of ahimsa–non-violence–which is an inside-out practice that we’ll embody in this evening gathering. Together we’ll shape a tapestry of strength and receptivity. Gently led from the inside out.

Host and lifelong educator KELLY SALASIN has been guiding women through the chakras locally, regionally and online for over a decade. She is a yoga teacher, a Let Your Yoga Dance instructor, the creator of Writing through the Chakras. She has studied with renown chakra author Anodea Judith and she is a regular assistant to leading presenters at Kripalu Yoga & Health Center, as well as an NGO delegate at the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

CLAIM YOUR SPACE (open & welcoming, but alas, very limited) in the Blessing Moon Gathering with the link below. Add your name & email address to the payment along with a few lines about what most attracts you to this exploration of strength & receptivity at this moment in time.

Blessing-Moon Gathering for Women
https://www.paypal.me/KellySalasin/35

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Thursday, July 26th
6:00 pm
Marlboro, Vermont

(More information to follow upon registration.)

 

 

Strong-Moon Women’s Gathering

Strong-Moon Women’s Gathering


The Full Moon of June is the Strong Moon, aligned with the fire of summer and the alliance of the third chakra associated with strength, power & courage.

Think Warrior Pose.
Or better yet–GODDESS!

The third chakra is also associated with the yogic principle of ahimsa–non-violence–which is an inside-out practice.

Join a warm & welcoming gathering of women at my kitchen table on MacArthur Road in Marlboro–to write, move, listen, speak, create & express–in a journey through the body’s energy centers (aka. “chakras”) exploring our relationship to strength.

Women of all ages welcome. Skill & experience irrelevant. Come as you are. Curious. Hesitant. Weary. Energized. Introverted. Extroverted. Light. Burdened. Fearful. Hopeful. Ready.

Together we’ll shape a tapestry of strength, vitality & courage. Gently led from the inside out.

Host and lifelong educator KELLY SALASIN has been guiding women through the chakras locally, regionally and online for over a decade. She is a yoga teacher, a Let Your Yoga Dance instructor, the creator of Writing through the Chakras. She has studied with renown chakra author Anodea Judith and she is a regular assistant to leading presenters at Kripalu Yoga & Health Center, as well as an NGO delegate at the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

CLAIM YOUR SPACE in the Strong Moon Gathering with the link below. (Add your name & email address to the payment along with a few lines about what most attracts you to this exploration of strength/focus/power at this moment in time.)

Strong-Moon Gathering for Women
https://www.paypal.me/KellySalasin/33.33

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Thursday, June 28th
6:30 pm
Marlboro, Vermont