Musée Magazine No. 2

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Ann Schaffer

Contributors Ellen Schweber Over a span of the last thirty years, Ellen has been closely involved in every aspect of the contemporary art scene. She has worked as a consultant of art, a collector and a teacher. She founded the Contemporary Collectors Circle at the Nassau County Museum of Art and was its chair for its first eight years. She also served on the Rose Art Museum acquisition community at Brandise University. In 2000, she created a unique class that offered aspiring young collectors the skills required to create their own exciting art collections for a range of both private and corporate clients. Over the span of the next ten years, Ellen featured this class in both New York and L.A, introducing her students to the inside track of the art world while taking them behind the scenes of galleries and museums. Her personal collection spans many decades and styles, from Minimalism, Graffiti, Neo Geo and everything in between. Ann Schaffer has been collecting cutting edge contemporary art since the early 1980s. In addition to collecting, she is an advisor to and teacher of young collectors. A current trustee to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, she also shares her passion for art as their guest curator to the Blank Canvas Benefit: For Arts Sake. Furthermore, Ann is an officer of the Contemporary Arts Council of the MoMA, a trustee and chair of the Art Committee of the Montclair Art Museum, and a member of the Photography Committee of the Guggenheim Museum. Ann sits on the National Advisory Council and the Acquisitions Committee of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, and is a trustee, executive committee member and exhibitions partner of Independent Curators International (ICI).

Contributing Writers Kelly Aronowitz (Kelly A.K.) is a fellow at the Writer’s Institute at the Graduate Center, and is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at CUNY. Her first book, an erotic essay La espera: Seducción de las bellas durmientes, is in its second edition and has been adopted as a text by universities in both Argentina and Mexico. Currently she is working on a novel and a book of poetry will be published in the summer.

Diane Echer is a French-American who spent most of her life in Europe, where she practiced law. She now lives and writes in the United States. An alumna of the Writer’s Institute at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and was selected to be part of the inaugural term at the Center for Fiction’s Crime Fiction Academy.

Dmitry Kiper is a New York City writer working on short stories, poems, photos, songs, and other curiosities. He is currently a fellow at the Writers’ Institute at the City University of New York.

E d i t o r ’s L e t t e r

While thinking of the next assignment to give my class, a question I asked a friend of mine came to mind, “What is your greatest fear?” to which he replied, “that no one will come to my funeral.” Upon hearing his response I began to list my own fears: Getting eaten by a shark, being buried alive, going blind. Before I knew it I had a list of 13 fears, each one as provoking as the one that came before it. In acknowledging my own fears, I decided that for their next assignment my students were to photograph their fears or to depict that which provokes fear in others. Within a week’s time, the class had produced images that were poignant, thought-provoking, and utterly frightening. For the second issue of Musée Magazine the theme is fear. For this issue we have selected two guests artists, Andres Serrano and Trevor Paglen. Andres Serrano, who US senator, Jesse Helms, accused of ‘taunting the American people’, is an ever-evolving artist who shows us the ordinary in extraordinary ways. Fearless himself, Serrano constantly tests the boundaries through shocking imagery, often dealing with provocative subjects like religion, sexuality and social issues. Our second guest artist, Trevor Paglen, whose work is greatly influenced by his scientific and artistic background, is interested in photography as a means of ‘truth telling’. His project, “Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes”, documents the inner workings of U.S. military and other intelligence agencies, through the use of non-traditional photographic techniques, such as satellite imagery. Both of these artists have made me think and look at photography in a new way. The second issue of Musée Magazine also includes a profile of Arnold Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum, written by emerging writer Dmitry Kiper. Vicente Wolf, a world-renowned interior designer, photographer, and collector, shares his perspective on his vast photography collection in his interview. Finally, I am very grateful for the 72 emerging photographers, and three creative writers, Diane Echer, Kelly Aronowitz, Dmitiry Kiper who have contributed to the newest issue of Musée Magazine.

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interview with

ANDRES SERRANO Andres Serrano is a photographer who creates work that confronts his audience with portraits that are controversial, metaphorical and eye-shocking. Since the 1980’s his work has been applauded and denied by the public. Whether it’s the politics the image battles or the statement the image makes, Serrano’s works attract an immense amount of attention. Some believe his provoking images are produced simply for the joy of shocking his audience, frequently sighting his work “Immersions (Piss Christ)” (1987). Receiving mixed reviews, Serrano has been condemned by conservative Christian groups and at the same time praised by the arts community for his bold statements. Serrano’s work has exhibited at many galleries internationally. His oeuvre often incorporates bodily fluids such as blood, urine, female breast milk and shit. Serrano currently lives and works in New York City and Paris. What is the smartest thing you have done for your career? Believed in myself even when no one else did. In what way has your work improved or evolved over the years? It’s changed and yet it’s remained the same. I use pretty much the same camera, lighting and film I used twenty years ago. I also shoot in the studio as I always have. The only thing that changes is the subject matter and the picture. What is the biggest mistake you have made in your career? (That you would admit to.) Not pursuing other creative fields like film and writing. Do you work quickly or slowly? I prefer faster than slower. The only reason I work slow is when I can’t get what I need right away.

How important do you think graduate school is these days for photographers? I don’t know, I didn’t go to graduate school. I dropped out of high school to go to art school when I was a teenager. What is the biggest difference in your process when doing commercial work compared to your art work? I’ve never done commercial work. I’ve done some editorial work for magazines like The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine and Wired. The only difference is I have to work faster. Do you care more about the communication or aesthetic of your work? Both. It’s important to say something and to say it well. I like to make a visual impact.

What is your advice for an emerging photographer starting out? Same thing Hiro once told me when I told him I hocked my camera. He said never stop shooting. What do you want your art to achieve when people look at it? I want it to be strong and memorable. How much of an influence do you think your Catholic upbringing has had on your work? A lot although I didn’t know it at the time. How did you get your first break? After getting turned down by twenty galleries, one person put me in a group show and then another one put me in another. Who were you influenced by the most in your career? Marcel Duchamp.

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Musée Magazine What is your advice for an emerging photographer starting out?

Is there an artistic field you have not tried but would like to?

Same thing Hiro once told me when I told him I hocked my camera. He said never stop shooting.


Do you get funding for your projects or do you fund them yourself. How does one go about getting funding for a project? I fund my projects. The days of getting grants or fellowships are over. But some grants they give to you by applying. Others like the McArthur Award, they just give you. Have you received any death threats since your work is so controversial? I have, for Piss Christ years ago.

A lot of your work seems dark. Can we ever expect you to photograph for example, angels? Some of my new works will be light. How closely associated is your “image” to your work? What influence does it have with the subject matter of your work? My work is me. I identify with what I photograph. Who helped you most in your career? Julie Ault and Irina Movmyga. Julie is my first wife and Irina is my current wife.

“I’m known in America as a controversial artist but in Europe I’m known simply as “‘Andres Serrano.’” —Andres Serrano

What has been your most successful show and which work do you feel closest to? I can’t answer that since I feel close to all my work. The Morgue was a favorite for some and The Klan and Immersions for others.

You say that when you do commercial work it spawns ideas for your art work, can you give an example? I don’t consider editorial work commercial work. But an editorial assignment might become a body of work. It’s not that it spawns ideas, but it can become a series. For instance, I once shot a series of “Cycads” or rare prehistoric plants for The New Times Magazine. A dealer in Italy loved them and he presented them as a series. ■

Interview by Andrea Blanch Photograph of Andres Serrano by Andrea Blanch

When will your new project be completed and available to the public? I will have some new work soon to tell you about. Does your work have more appeal in the United States or abroad? I’m known in America as a controversial artist but in Europe I’m known simply as “Andres Serrano.” How important do you think publishing books are to an artist’ s career? Not sure. They’re good when you have them but it doesn’t much matter when you don’t. What made you want to be a photographer? I never wanted to be a photographer and have never considered myself one. I attended the Brooklyn Museum Art School where I studied painting and sculpture. I’ve always thought of myself as a conceptual artist with a camera. What does art mean to you? It’s what I was put on earth for!

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Anarchy series images are © Andres Serrano, Courtesy Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, New York All other photographs Courtesy of the Artist Serrano’s work is in numerous public collections, including the University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL; Institute of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam, Holland; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MDw; capc musÈe díart contemporain, Bordeaux, France; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; Fonds Regional díArt Contemporain, Cluny, France; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid Spain; Cintas Foundation, Miami, FL; Centro Cultural Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Allen Art Museum, Oberlin, OH; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contempor·neo, Sevilla, Spain; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia.

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Kevin Dao Title: Fear of human touch Contact: 20  Musée Magazine No. 2

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Riley A. Arthur Contact:

Alex Yanchuk Title: Woman with fear of walking around her problems and not seeing clear path to the solutions Contact:

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Cinthia Contreras Title: Temptation Contact:

Catherine LarrĂŠ Title: Scarabe Contact:

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Carlos Moscat Title: Nightmares Contact: 28  Musée Magazine No. 2

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Emmaline Trail Title: Fear of blindness Contact:

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Jada Fabrizio Title: Anorexia, my fear of losing control of my surroundings and emotions Contact:   No. 2 Musée Magazine  35

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Ashley Barnes Contact:

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Federica Fabro Title: Gephyrophobia: fear of crossing bridges Contact: 38  Musée Magazine No. 2

Cana Atay Title: Wound Contact:

Tanya Zani Title: 1993 Contact

Amy Neill Title: Athazagoraphobia: Fear of being forgotten/ignored Contact:

Dila Atay Title: Doubt Contact:

Cana Atay Title: Seperation Contact:

Guillermo Mayoral Title: Insanity Contact:

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Franklyn Berlin Title: Does not matter how loud we scream we still may not be heard Contact:

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Musée Magazine


Director of the Brooklyn Museum shares his vision

opulism, for some, is a dirty word. Not so for Arnold Lehman. For the past 15 years he has served as the director of the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country, and over the course of his tenure he has been the subject of much praise and scrutiny. Controversy follows Lehman around like a shadow.

the curatorial vision of the museum. Lehman said he takes a very active role. And his most important task, he told me, is to set a vision. Populism, he said, is not about “giving the public what it wants. It’s about trying to understand who your public is and using all of the talent of an institution and its collection to engage in different ways through art.”

After the opening of the “Hip Hop Nation” exhibition, in 2000—which featured art, clothing, sneakers, music, and magazine covers—accusations of populism (pandering to the public taste) were thrown at Lehman from seemingly every direction. Two years later the criticism—again coming from academia, the press, and the museum world—got more intense with the exhibition “Star Wars: The Magic of Myth,” which featured costumes and drawings from the movie series. In 2004 the Brooklyn Museum put up a new glass entrance, with the goal of making the 560,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building more inviting to the general public. For some that was an abomination. For others a delight. More accusations of populism followed.

Arnold Lehman was born in Brooklyn in 1944. He and his parents spent their winters in Miami Beach and their summers on Long Island. As a boy he painted and drew, encouraged by his parents, who often took him to museums, particularly the Museum of Modern Art, the Met, and the Brooklyn Museum. Lehman’s pediatrician was based in Brooklyn, and whenever his mother brought him to the doctor, she would also take him to the Brooklyn Museum. He always looked forward to those trips.

“There are many definitions of populism,” Lehman said. “Some people look at populism as restrictive. I look at it as being engaged with the public—helping the public in any way you can use the resources that are there for them. I see populism as the antithesis of elitism.” Yet most museums in America, he added, operate in the latter mode. Lehman doesn’t look like a man looking for a fight. He is portly and well mannered; he has light, sympathetic eyes; and his deep, raspy voice is free of any traces of his native Brooklyn. Sitting across from me in his spacious, book-filled office, overlooking Brooklyn through floor-to-ceiling windows, Lehman told me that being a director of a museum is sort of like being both a film director and a film producer. A museum director hires and fires senior-level employees, serves as chief fundraiser, and takes an active role in

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“I had a problem, of being interested in too many things.” —Arnold Lehman

Visiting the Brooklyn Museum at about the age of seven, he fell in love with the Ibis Coffin, an Egyptian sculpture of an ibis—a bird—made of silver, gold, and rock crystal. (In Egyptian mythology, the ibis was a symbol of the intellect and creativity.) As a boy, he came to believe that he owned that work of art—and that he was just lending it to the museum. “When I’d come to the museum, it was the first thing I demanded to see,” he said. “And if it got moved, I became hysterical.” Just as some children latch on to blankets or stuffed animals, Lehman clung to the Ibis Coffin. It was his. And years later, as an adult, he would continue to “check up on it.” While attending boarding school in Massachusetts,

Musée Magazine Lehman continued to paint. And he sold most of his works. But after college he decided that all his paintings were derivative and “didn’t matter.” In fact, he managed to destroy most the works he hadn’t sold. At a dinner party a few years ago, a friend of Lehman’s produced a painting by the young Lehman and asked the older Lehman if he would repair the water damage. “You give it to me,” Lehman said, laughing, “and it’s gone.” Lehman attended Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. He wanted to be a psychiatrist, and he took the appropriate courses. He then switched his major to poetry, and continued to take a heavy load of other courses. “I had a problem,” Lehman recalls, “of being interested in too many things.” After receiving a master’s degree in poetry from Johns Hopkins, he applied to Ph.D. programs in art history, anthropology, American history, and literature. He could not make a decision as to what he wanted to do with his life, so he figured he would go where he got accepted. But he got into all the universities he applied to. “Maybe in those days grad schools were less picky,” Lehman said matter-of-factly. He ultimately decided on art history, in large part because two art history professors at Hopkins inspired him to consider a career in academia—as a writer and professor.

“Museums, are supposed to be safe places for unsafe ideas.” —Arnold Lehman

Lehman studied history of art at Yale University, focusing on late 19th century and early 20th century French art, which led him to spend some time in Paris, where he wrote his master’s thesis. Back at Yale he wrote his doctoral thesis on the combination of applied art and architecture, focusing on New York City from 1916 to 1939. Lehman turned down an offer to teach at Yale. He wanted to get out of academia. He wanted to be “in touch with the public.” Following his graduation, in 1969, he held a fellowship at the Met, taught art history at Cooper Union and Hunter College, then got into activism, serving as the director of an urban improvements program he had founded, and then as executive director of the Parks Council of New York City. Lehman’s career as a museum director was a continuation of his community involvement. In 1974 he was hired to build and run a new museum in Miami, the Metropolitan Museum and Art Centers of Dade County. He wanted the museum to serve not only as a “repository”—one of Lehman’s favorite jabs at conventional museums—but also as a teaching and community center for the people living in the area. After five years in Miami, he left to join the Baltimore Museum of Art as its new director—a post he would hold for nearly two decades.

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In 1997, the Brooklyn Museum board of trustees hired Lehman as the museum’s director. Two years later, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani shut down the museum’s new “Sensation” exhibition, which included Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary, adorned with elephant dung. The case went to court and Lehman prevailed on First Amendment grounds, winning back city funding and the right to exhibit. The controversy most likely boosted attendance, but it wasn’t the kind of publicity Lehman was after. Giuliani’s actions, Lehman told me, were “an incredibly cynical use of a public institution to further political ambition.” “Museums,” he added, “are supposed to be safe places for unsafe ideas.” That same year Lehman and his staff began working on a new mission statement for the Brooklyn Museum, one that emphasized the visitor’s experience both in and out of the building. Eventually the Museum made it so people could use their cell phones as audio guides; put up hundreds of thousands of images from their permanent collection on the museum’s website; launched First Saturdays, freeadmission nights with food, music, films, and lectures; and got involved with seeking the “wisdom of crowds.” In 2008 the museum held a crowd-curated exhibition called “Click!,” for which people were asked to submit their photos on the theme of “Changing Faces of Brooklyn.” People then voted online on what they wanted to see in the exhibition. For Lehman it was a demonstration of two important phenomena: people’s dedication to art and the use of technology to engage with the public. “It’s not just about the visitor experience in the building,” said Lehman, “but people’s experience of what art is about.” The following year the museum hosted the popular exhibition “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present,” which featured photos of Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Amy Winehouse, Bob Dylan, Little Richard, and many other popular music stars. In the summer of 2010 The New York Times ran a story with the headline, “Brooklyn Museum’s Populism Hasn’t Lured Crowds.” According to the article, attendance in 2009 dropped by 23 percent from the previous year. Lehman told me he doesn’t care much about attendance—or at least that it’s not his primary concern. He cares most about who is coming and what they’re coming for. He happily boasts that since he took over as director, the museum’s attendees have gotten younger and more diverse: the average age is about 35—compared with 58 when he took over as director—and more than 40 percent of the visitors are “people of color.” Lehman’s latest vision—the museum’s new direction—is an increased focus on its permanent collection, which includes everything from Ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary art. Currently less than one percent of the museum’s permanent collection is on display. Loan exhibitions are expensive, so the move makes financial sense, but it’s not just about saving money or bypassing the logistics of shipping priceless artworks across oceans and continents. By focusing on the permanent collection, Lehman wants to tell the story of art and world history in

new ways—ways that will focus more on themes rather than chronology, ways that will mix different cultures on the same wall, ways that will display fine arts and decorative arts in the same room. “The world is changing,” he said. “In the museum world, at this point, to me the 20th century seems as far away as the 19th.” Lehman is proud of the fact that some of the populist themes and methods of the Brooklyn Museum have been adopted, in one way or another, by other museums across the country. And he believes that will—or should—happen again with his new focus on the permanent collection. The transformation will take about five years, and Lehman intends to see it through. ■

Profile by Dmitry Kiper Photograph of Arnold Lehman by Andrea Blanch Photogragh of the Brooklyn Museum Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum

Arnold Lehman has served as Director of the Brooklyn Museum, one of the largest art museums in the nation, since 1997. His first official act as Director was to march in Brooklyn’s West Indian Labor Day Parade. Since then, he has prioritized both the individual visitor’s experience and the community’s engagement with the Museum (and the Museum’s relevance to the community) through the presentation of innovative exhibitions and reinstallations of the permanent collection; highly successful public programs that address the diversity of the collection and the community; and a massive capital campaign that has addressed the accessibility of the Museum and the preservation of its collections. Prior to his involvement with Brooklyn, Dr. Lehman ( Ph.D, M.Phil., Yale University) was Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art for almost two decades, and Adjunct Professor of the History of Art at Johns Hopkins University. He has served as the President of the Association of Art Museum Directors and was formerly the Chair of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) of New York City.

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Johnny Abbate Title: Fear of aliens Contact:

Howie Mapson Title: The fear of isolation Contact:

Howie Mapson Title: The fear of isolation Contact:

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Jacob Ritts Title: Pill Contact: 56  Musée Magazine No. 2

Alicia Collins Title: Social Fears Contact:

Herve All Title: Women Lightscape Contact:

Casino Nelson Title: Echoes of a time past that haunt you Contact:

Amy Neill Title: Mernthophobia Contact:

Vlasta Pishchina Title: Fear of Poverty Contact:

Vlasta Pishchina Title: Fear of Poverty Contact:

Vlasta Pishchina Title: Fear of Poverty Contact:

Adam Leon Title: Fear of loneliness Contact:

Anthony Murray Title: Fear of the unknown Contact:

Augustina Prats Title: Fear of loneliness Contact:

Billy Downing Contact:

Dana Goldstein Contact:

Chantal Fournier Title: Fear of becoming homeless Contact:

Shauna Dunn Title: Anything But Me Contact:

Matt Monath Contact:

David King Title: You’ll shoot your eye out! Contact:

Danielle Gil Contact:

Kristen Seeley Title: Fear of brother holding worms Contact:

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Georgie Landy Title: Face Down Contact:

Georgie Landy Title: Face Down Contact:

Johnny Abbate Title: Fear of Sea at Night Contact:

Heidi Horowitz Title: Dogs Contact:

Johnny Abbate Title: Fear of thieves in my house Contact:

Johnny Abbate Title: Fear of woods at night Contact:


Trevor Paglen is a geologist, photographer and author. He graduated with a B.A at UC Berkeley, MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Ph .D in Geography at UC Berkeley. Combining all of his formal education and research abilities in his art, Paglen creates series of images that deal with the technical aspects of science and journalism in art. Paglen’s series of images range from photographing and exposing secret locations in the United States to focusing on “Experimental Geography”, using both traditional and non-traditional methods of photography. Paglen has been applauded by critics for making momentarily shocking images and for creating series of works that utilize innovative technology. Major publications include The New York Times, Wired, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Modern Painters, Aperture and Artfourm. Additionally, he has appeared in different interviews such as The Colbert Report, The History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, Authors at Google and C-Span Book TV. Paglen currently lives and works in New York City.

How did you make the transition from academia to photography? I actually started with art. I was really involved in music and digital-audio, mostly sound audio, and music postproduction. It was kind of through that, that I became more and more involved in video and moving images. So I really went backwards from video into photography. A lot of people start with photography and then later become interested in moving images. How important do you think graduate school is to a fine art photographer today? I think it depends from person to person on what kind of artist they want to be. Some programs are much more technical. The Art Institute of Chicago, where I went, was much more theoretical. We barely even made anything when I was in graduate school; it was very rigorous and helped us think about what it was that we were doing. It incorporated a lot of theory and philosophy, which was very helpful in terms of trying to articulate what I was interested in as an artist. But I am a very particular kind of artist, and that trajectory might be completely useless for somebody else. I don’t think there is any particular cookie cutter.

How do you feel about transparency? The way that I’ve come to understand secrecy, is a bit counter-intuitive. I think that most of us think about secrecy as what you can know versus what you can’t know. I also think about secrecy as a series of institutions, and an array of state capacities and functions. Let’s say that you want to build a secret satellite. So we would think that the fact of having the satellite, that’s a secret. We would think, in order to build the satellite, you have to have a secret satellite factory, which means that you have to have a secret aerospace industry, which means you have to have thousands of people working on this project. You thus have to create a way for these people to keep secrets. You then have to have some kind of social, cultural and legal techniques for producing secrecy. Now, to fund this satellite, you have to do that in secret as well. You will then have to create a secret budget process. Finally, the satellite goes up and takes pictures. Presumably these pictures are going to be secret as well. How do you keep those secret? My point is that very quickly you start to build an alternative world that exists within the state, and you very quickly end up having a secret state and a not so secret state. Ultimately, there is one part of secrecy that relates to what information we have and what information we don’t. But I think much more about the secret industries and parts of the state that function with very different rules from what we imagine.   No. 2 Musée Magazine  89

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When you were speaking about geography theory you said that it is much more flexible. Can you elaborate on that? I became interested in geography for the following reason. When I was studying art, it was very much about representation. We were thinking about what kind of images do we produce? What is the meaning of this kind of image versus other images? What always bothered me was that we never talked about the fact that these images cost money; that they exist within an economy. We never talked about how images fit into one kind of space or another. What is the meaning of an image if it is in the Louvre versus your friends’ basement versus somewhere else? Nor the power that becomes attached to images, which often times has nothing to do with what is inside the frame, but more with where the image is located. We never talked about the difference between an image in a book versus one in an institution. To me this felt like a real limitation of the art theory I had been taught. So as I began developing my own language and work as an artist, I wanted to be able to incorporate political economy, or architecture. Or to be able to use different methods of thinking to look at what it was I was doing as an artist. So when I came across geography theory it was a lot more robust in a certain manner. Art theory goes into representation and different ways of thinking about representation in very sophisticated ways. But geography theory is much more centered on the world around us. This is the way I think about geography theory. Geography theory is about trying to understand the ways in which humans sculpt the world around them. What are the transformations that we make to the surface of the earth? For example, we have created an apartment building. Humans have transformed the surface of the earth in order to build that apartment building. In turn, that apartment building also transforms us because it says you are going to live in a certain way. Everybody will have their own unit, with different rooms. Thus the building is actively sculpting what human society will be. This is what I mean by a constant feedback loop. Culture and images fit this mold, in this sense we produce meanings and we produce ways in which we relate to the world. Images through literature and so on and so forth, this is one of the ways we relate to the surface of the earth. There are political relationships, economical relationships, architectural relationships, biological relationships. Geography theory is much looser; it is trying to evaluate all of these things at the same time. It’s very different from art in that sense, but a lot of art theory can fit into geography theory as well. Can you give me an example of representation in art theory? Let’s think about Robert Mapplethorpe. What is remarkable about Mapplethorpe is a lot of his work is about queer images. He is trying to look at something in a different way. His idea of the default human or the default portrait subject is very different from the people before him. Mapplethorpe was trying to say, this is also what a human is. He is expanding the visual definition of what a human or a portrait subject is. This is great, in that he is expanding the

cultural vocabulary, or the visual vocabulary we use to think about what people look like. Or rather, what the world looks like. That is the idea behind representation theory. What does this image say? Where do they get made? Where are they shown? How much do they cost? Who collects them? There is not much of a theoretical language that talks about how this actual object works vis-a-vis auction houses and museums, regardless of what’s in the frame. Is that why you consider your work as art? Because it makes people see the world in a different way? Not necessarily, I mean I hope so. For me the work is allegorical and is intended to be very allegorical. There is no evidence of anything in any of the images I create. What is the relationship between what we see and what we understand? And how do we try to attach meanings to things that may or may not look like much of anything at all? What is our relationship to images that don’t speak for themselves? All of these questions are entangled in my mind, and hopefully in my work. Ultimately, there is a question mark for me. I don’t know what this is? I don’t understand it? That’s something that I want to get across in my work. What is the act of looking at these things? Is that an allegory for something about our society or the world more generally? So you spend your own money on your work? Or do you look to others? At this point I raise all the money myself. In 2004, if you would have asked for a grant to see what the CIA is doing in Afghanistan they would say, “no way”. But now it’s a little more open. I’ve been able to get a little funding, but for the most part I make money from sales, lecture fees, and book royalties. How long after you started did you get into a gallery and have your first show? About ten years. It took me a long, long time to develop a voice. For most people it takes a long time. Even artists in their twenties who have a show, I’m just really impressed that they were able to put a show together. How do you feel the theory of art practice has shifted? When I went to graduate school, we just didn’t think about the difference between film or photography, or technology or sculpture. There was no emphasis on one specific media over another. We used ideas from all of these different traditions. Whereas, I think the generation before was probably much more focused on the specific histories of each media, with a larger emphasis on whether you were a sculptor, or a painter, or a photographer or whatever it was. The way I was taught was much messier. You talk about counter-seeing and seeing with machines, can you elaborate on that? In my definition of photography we have traditional photography, but we also have things like Google earth, which is another machine that we use to see the world. MRI’s,

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Musée Magazine television, video, film, these are also machines that we use to see the world. Furthermore, spy satellites, different military imagery systems: like predator drones, and surveillance networks. These are all essentially cameras. They are all things that create images, but they’re also all embedded in political systems, military systems, and economic systems, and thus are all scripted in certain ways. In other words, different seeing machines see the world in particular ways, which in turn, affects the world. A predator drone, for example, is a remote controlled flying camera; it wants to target the world not take landscape photos. There’s an aesthetic theme as well as a political theme. If you have a targeting computer, or targeting camera, then you need political and social institutions that are dedicated to targeting. Where is the boundary between the camera itself and the socio-political relationships around it? When I talk to other photographers, that is one of the main things that I bring up. In my opinion, it’s one of the things that we as photographers should be responsible for thinking about because we’re people who think about how machines see. Many people are worried about what it means to be making images in the age of Google images. We have images of so much stuff, yet why are we making more images? Maybe if we crack open the definition of photography a bit more, then maybe it will open up the possibility of thinking about what it means to be a photographer in the 21st century.

ment in 2012. On the other hand, there is something to the idea that perhaps the most powerful things to look at are things that don’t tell us what they are. Then again, it’s not the 1950’s, and that gesture has to be different in the contemporary moment.

What about art for art’s sake?

What would be sublime to you?

I don’t think there’s such a thing as art for art’s sake. I think that there is a lot of people who say they want art for art’s sake, and they say that because they want to bracket out a lot of uncomfortable stuff. I actually sympathize a lot with that particular modernist version of an art for art’s sake. The version I sympathize with is the argument for refusing to speak the language of the dominant culture, thereby making oneself unintelligible. There is something to say for deliberate nonsense. Rothko for example, creates images that deliberately don’t have an intended meaning, and that is what is so powerful about them. They are non-representational, they radically refuse to speak the language of consumerism or advertising, at least formally. We don’t live in the 1950’s anymore and you’re crazy if you think that Rothko doesn’t say anything. I don’t think you can sit here and make this art for art’s sake argu-

In some of my work I photograph spy satellites. There is a tradition in art and human history in general of the sublime being associated with the night sky, looking up and not ever being able to understand fully what is going on in the sky, and that is what is so important about it. The sky is an infinite inverted mirror of ourselves. We project stories onto it and try to find our destinies in it. Whether that be interpreting constellations as gods, or the Hubble Space Telescope taking pictures of galaxies that are tens of billions of light-years away. Even though one is a scientific question and one is a cultural question, they are trying to do the same thing. In other words, ask these big, big questions about where does the universe come from? And what does it all mean?

This notion of sublime. I like that. Is this something you continue with? The notion of sublime is related to what we were just discussing. The way that I think about the sublime is that moment you are confronted with the limits of your ability to understand something. The sublime is this moment in which you are confronted with something that you are not going to be able to understand, something that is quite powerful and quite awesome. This is pretty traditional. The Alps, for example, the sublime is their size and the fact that you could easily die on them. Or nuclear weapons can be sublime, because of the overwhelming destructive force they possess. How can you even start to imagine what this means? That is something that speaks to me a lot because the question of the sublime is ultimately a question of what are our limits as humans? For me the sublime is not just the nuclear explosion, or the vastness of space, it’s also about the bureaucracy. The very everyday things that structure our lives in ways that are also infinitely complicated and infinitely difficult to understand.

“Maybe if we crack open the definition of photography a bit more, then maybe it will open up the possibility of thinking about what it means to be a photographer in the 21st century.”

—Trevor Paglen

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You said that art is seeing the world in a particular way and trying to communicate those ways to others? I think I make art for me but I make it for others too. I want to communicate with other people. I feel I’m very privileged to have a place in society where I can spend time looking at things and researching things, and there is nothing necessarily unique about my interests. I figure if I’m interested in something then there’s probably ten million other people in the world who would be interested in it as well. Maybe my job is to try and tell those ten million people about it, in such a way that a lot of people can understand. What advice would you give an emerging photographer or a young artist who is just starting out? My main advice is that at the end of the day you have to do stuff that you enjoy, and you have to do what you love. The best advice I ever received in terms of building a career is don’t get famous doing something you don’t like, and live below your means (laughs). What is unique about your creative process? I spend an enormous amount of time at different places, where I will go and try to find a spot, photograph it, and then come back and look at it. I then realize I could do something else. It’s a slow process, and there are definitely photographs that I’ve worked on for four years at the same places, trying new ideas, and trying to understand how these different places wanted to be represented. I’ve been offered commissions a couple times to photograph specific places, and I’ve always turned them down, because the idea that I have to go somewhere and take a picture to deliver on someone else’s schedule. It was just impossible for me to guarantee. ■

Interview by Andrea Blanch All photographs are Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures

Paglen’s visual work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Modern, London; The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; the 2008 Taipei Biennial; the Istanbul Biennial 2009, and numerous other solo and group exhibitions.

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Editor’s Picks

Levi Jackson

Contact: Levi Jackson was born and raised in a small town in central Utah. Levi graduated from Brigham Young University with a BFA in Sculpture. Growing up in Utah enabled her to have a deep connection with the wilderness at a very young age, where she spent a lot of time in the mountains and deserts. Dependent on the Utah landscape, the majority of her artwork is a reflection of this. She currently attends Pratt Institute in New York where she is pursuing her Masters in Photography. Levi considers her work to be a form of documented installation; she sets up a sculpture in nature and uses photography to document this intervention. Her interest is in the physicality of her work and the relationships created, more specifically her fear of them. Considering her relationship with nature to be tumultuous and often not within her control, she uses this relationship to better understand herself. Levi says her photographs are a pseudo-mediator for her own fear of being a relational being.

Loli Mass

Contact: Loli Mass lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Loli has a degree in Multimedia Arts from the National Institute of Art. Her passion for photography extends back nearly ten years when her mother bought Loli her first camera. She loves taking photographs, is grateful for life, and for having discovered her passion. Loli’s photographs reflect her fear of water. She says the greatest darkness is deep in the ocean. This is a reflection of her own life in the unknown, the unreachable. Loli says we are all visitors who are submerged (like in the depths of the ocean) in the instability that consumes us.

Dana Goldstein

Contact: Dana Lauren Goldstein was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but spent most of her life traveling and living in different cities. In the summer of 2007 she received her BFA in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design and returned to New York City where she spent a year interning and assisting fashion photographer Kenneth Cappello. Dana is currently living and photographing in San Francisco, CA.

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It seemed a good omen that the road was not on the GPS. Today, he’d been averaging forty miles an hour on a pot-holed highway weaving through desolate towns. He’d just filled up at a gas station that boasted diesel and hard liquor when a snappy sign at a brand-new fork pointed right ahead to his final destination. This route, too new to be in the navigation system, jolted his adrenaline. There was something unbeatable about shortcuts. He could have told a few good stories about that, if he ever cared to look back on his life. But he didn’t. The new highway was a wide empty spread of asphalt cutting through miles of thick prairie. Up to the horizon lines of the windshield and the mirrors, no other cars. Nothing else but a gathering of heavy clouds ahead. He pressed the gas pedal. Eighty, ninety miles an hour. One hundred. Nice. The story of his life, yes. Straight ahead, full speed, just focus on where you’re going, forget what you left behind. He grinned at the GPS showing him smack in the middle of a green expanse, the web of roads all around zigzagging through towns too small to have a name and him darting in a straight line. Then the screen turned into a dull grey, and wouldn’t answer the controls. Either the car was really going fast now, or a powerful wind was blowing right ahead. Maybe both. Within minutes, clouds and car had caught up with each other. Lightning snapped right next to him, so close he never heard the thunder, but was dizzied by the violent whip. The car kept going. He waited for rain that never came but lifted his foot off the pedal a bit, just in case. Continued easing due East. A glistening in the distance could be a car or two. He let go of the pedal a little more, let the car slide back to a civil speed. It took longer than he expected to meet the lights, and when he did, there were no cars, just a couple of streetlights over the big dark lumps of scattered houses tied to power lines like ships at anchor. To think that his life had started in a place like this. But look where he was now. He’d never turned back, and he was glad he hadn’t. He was about to pass that soulless mooring when his car went awfully silent and his gas pedal loosened. His instinct was to hit the brake pedal, but it barely nudged in, even with his body arched against his leg. His knuckles cramped around the stiff steering wheel. The dashboard was blind. The tires rumbled a mad bass against the brand new road. The car’s course died next to the houses scattered along a street empty but for a kid shuffling his feet. He tried his cellphone. There was no network. Of course not. He opened the hood for the heck of it-what did he hope to find? Then he walked to the kid and said, “Are your parents home? I need a phone,” and the kid said nothing, just started straight down Only 118  Musée Magazine No. 2

Street as if he’d been waiting all along just for that. As they neared the first house, a curtain moved. “I’ll try these folks,” he said. The kid shrugged, stopped and shuffled. His feet crunched the gravel of the driveway. The kid’s gaze was like a burn between his shoulders, a heaviness not unlike guilt. But for what? He was just trying to get out of here. He knocked. Behind the window closest to the door, the curtain moved again. A parting with one finger, a count to two, then the curtain was dropped. He could have sworn he also saw a shadow move away. But he only heard the wind, and the kid’s shuffling. He lifted the flaps of his jacket around his neck and knocked again, a stronger rap, and again. He might have even called. No one answered but the indecent smell of laundry detergent. He tried a couple of other houses, with the kid sticking after him like an unpleasant memory. Leave already, he wanted to tell him. The first house had bright lights on. In the second, music played like wind chimes in a storm. No one answered him. His heartbeat picked up, a dull throb that made him want to run. “Where do you go to school?” he said, and really it was only to hear his own voice-to shut the wind whistling through the power lines. The kid ducked his fists in his jacket and hurried his steps. The thick smell of fresh moist earth grabbed his throat. Cold dampness crept through his suit. The street turned into a trail, and their shoes sucked up mud. Right and left, the wind flattened hedges of hairy grass. A boarded house closed up the decaying trail, and a feeling of déjà vu tied up his stomach. Across a bed of weeds posing as a front yard, strewn chipped planks opened a path to the front door. The silent child tramped on the soaked weeds. As he stepped on the planks, the door creaked open. In the doorway stood a woman not unlike his mother, both soft and irritating in unbearable ways. “Where have you been?” she said. He turned to see if the child would speak at last, but the grass where he had stood was straight, the mud had only one set of footsteps, and the mother was waiting for him to answer. DIANE ECHER

Charles Chan Casela

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Vicente Wolf has been at the top of the Manhattan design industry for over 35 years. From the spacious light-filled loft in New York City where his company is headquartered, Wolf and his team build on his passion for design that’s guided by integrity and simplicity. Wolf’s portfolio offers the ultimate global aesthetic, from multinational conglomerates to private homes, from hotels and restaurants to product design. He maintains this focus throughout his many creative endeavors: photography, art collection, interior design and global travel. Wolf has been collecting photography since 1975 and has amassed a collection of over 600 works. He has works from the Russian avante-garde, to French Surrealists, to the Italian Furturists. Wolf’s main philosophy on collecting is to exhibit his works; he collects what he loves. These works are displayed, often floor-to-ceiling, in his home, office and his beach house. Architectural Digest included Wolf in their “AD 100” and he was also named one of the top 100 designers by Metropolitan Home’s “Design 100”. House Beautiful named Wolf one of the 10 most influential designers in the United States and Interior Design Magazine inducted him in its "Designer Hall of Fame". He has received the Pantone Color Award and, in 2009, Wolf was named one of the "Top 20 Designers of the past 20 Years" by Traditional Home and was honored as the "Design Icon of 2009" at the Las Vegas Market in September. Wolf has published three books.


How long have you been collecting? I’ve been collecting photography for the last 30-35 years. I started collecting when Richard Avedon said to my former partner and I, “Gee! You should start collecting photography because it’s the thing of the future.” What was the first piece you bought? The first photograph I bought was from a show that I saw in Washington. It’s of a partially opened door. What is your philosophy on collecting? At first I collected photographs of the Italian Futurist movement. I then began collecting anything from Russian avant-garde, to French Surrealist, to American photographers starting in the 1920’s through to the 1990’s. At the beach house I have photographs

of people at the beach, or that have to do with water. I also have photographs of hands, portraits…obviously I buy everything. What artist would you like to buy now? The photographer I would really like to collect is Frantisek Drtikol who did a lot of nudes, and I love his work. Do you buy emerging photographers? I have bought a few emerging photographers, but it is not the usual thing I buy. A.) Because of a lack of space to show it B.) Because I’ve always bought older photographers and I feel more comfortable buying them. I can research them, find out what they’ve sold for, and where their last show was. With emerging artists you have to go purely on gut and have the wall space to show it.

So is your first instinct to buy a piece because you like it or as an investment? My first instinct is to buy it because I like it, because it strikes me. There has to be something that immediately catches my eye. I think that when you start spending tens of thousands of dollars (on a photograph) you need to be aware of how you’re investing your money, whether you are buying stocks, or anything else. Do you feel that your tastes have evolved since you started collecting? I find that the more you study what photography and collecting is all about, the more doors open on different photographers and different periods that I had not focused on previously. I still love the photography that I bought 30 years ago and they are still some of my favorites. I have to be able to look at a photograph each day and still be moved by it. It’s not just about buying because it’s a name that I should check off the list. It is something that I have to look at and it has to make my heart sing. How often do you rotate your pictures or resell them? I’ve never sold a photograph I’ve bought. Maybe I’m a pack rat. I move them around.   No. 2 Musée Magazine  139

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Do you have any preference for traditional printing versus digital printing? Because I’m buying vintage, they are all lab printed. When I’m buying old photographs I only buy vintage, I don’t buy new prints. And I try to buy as close to the date that they were taken as possible. How many photographs do you own now? I own around 600 photographs. My rule is whatever I buy, I have to exhibit them. For many years I bought photographs and they were put in drawers, and I thought it was ridiculous. My conference room in my office is covered floorto-ceiling, wall-to-wall, in photographs. In six months I’m planning to change the photographs I have up with others I have put away. I think it’s great to see them in a fresh way. If they are all up all the time your eye becomes too accustomed to seeing them.

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What are your plans for your collection? The day I die, selling them and putting the money in a charity. A few years ago I bought the collection of Frida Kahlo’s family albums. My hopes for that, is for it to travel. Besides that, I try to live for the moment. They’re here. They’re now. I love them. Will I sell them one day? It’s not really something that I think about. There seems to have been a shift as to what people think photography is. With technological advancements in the field, photographers have started taking pictures using different apparatuses such as, satellites etc. The question is how do you feel about it? And would you collect photographs that use these different apparatuses? I’ve always loved photography. My first rule of collecting is to buy the top rung. You can buy an Edward Weston, a Steichen, a Man Ray for a good price without going over the top. If you

Above: Works from Vicente Wolf’s personal collection exhibited in his office.

were buying oils, you would be in the millions. Following that point of view, I would buy an artist’s photography no matter what they used to shoot it. It’s not about the process, it’s about the image and the thinking behind the concept. Would you buy a photograph that was atypical of an artist’s particular style? I’m always in a quandary when I see an image from a photographer that is not their typical style. Would I buy it? You want to keep the name with the image. The question is how much do I love it? If it’s Irving Penn, and it’s a different type of Irving Penn, I still love it and he still takes a beautiful photograph. Has the shift in what people consider photography now, had an impact on the way you collect photography? In my work as a designer or in the other things that I do in my life, I’ve tried to use my own

judgment. When everybody was buying a lot of contemporary photography I still stuck with what I love. I try to stick with my gut. I think the true sense of a collector is by the passion. The more passion you have, the more you believe in what you’re collecting, and whatever happens, that’s what you stay with. Do you have a favorite photographer? I love Munkacsi. It’s one of the photographers whose work I own the most of. I love a lot of the Italian Futurists as well. I love Steichen. There’s just so many… Is there any photograph you wanted in your collection that got away from you? Yes, one photograph I now have went for like three thousand dollars, and I didn’t have the money to buy it then. When I saw the image in books, it was always “the one that got away.” Six years later it came up again for auction and I was   No. 2 Musée Magazine  141

Musée Magazine able to buy it for much more than it sold originally. I look at it now and it speaks about an image I love and about the progress I’ve made in my career to be able to afford it. How important is a back-story? I think it gives me, as a collector, an insight into what that person was thinking when he took that image. It connects you a little bit to the photographer, and who he was, and what he was thinking when he took the photograph. Do you feel collecting has changed since you began? People who begin collecting always ask me how collecting has changed since I started, particularly the prices. I used to be at Sotheby’s where a Steichen or a Weston would go for $500, or an Eggleston, would go for $800, now they go for a quarter of a million dollars. You know, hindsight is 20/20. Whenever I dream of going back in time I just go with deep pockets to auctions to buy. How do you keep up-to-date with it all? I subscribe to booklets that are sent out, which indicate what the photographs are going for. I also keep up-to- date with auction news, go to galleries, talk to people, and read publications on auctions. I used to be much more intense. Now it’s sort of instinctual and I have a pretty good idea of what the pricing is. When buying at auctions in Europe, I bought things that here would sell for a lot of money and there it was going for a very low price. Being informed about pricing has really helped me add things to my collection that I might not have otherwise. Do you have any advice you would give a young collector who is just starting out? A.) You must go with your gut B.) For me, if it’s all photographs, I would buy vintage because with new prints, there could be hundreds of them. I mean Kertesz is one

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of them. There are so many images by Ketersz. But if you buy one that’s vintage then you know it was locked in a particular time. C.) Is to investigate, and to read. Behind me I have hundreds of books on photography, so when I see something in an auction catalogue, a photograph that I like but I don’t recognize the name, I can look it up and see who he was, what he was, how long he was photographing. I think research is really an important thing. Also, to educate your eye, go to museums and galleries. The photograph that as a beginner you were enthralled with, might, as you become more educated, be replaced by something else. I think to be informed can really help your collection be a better one. How would one be informed about an emerging artist? I think there are great websites for that. Andrea Blanch has a really good one, but you probably already knew that. There are also other online magazines, PS1, and a lot of the art schools have shows of emerging photographers as well. I think that’s a really good way to inform yourself. I’ve learned so much from talking to curators at museums and auctions. What was the last photograph you bought? One of the last photographs I bought at auction in Europe was an Atget. It was of a prostitute sitting in a chair, which is an image I’ve always loved. It was vintage and wasn’t printed by Berenice Abbot but by Atget himself. I was lucky I was able to buy it and add it to my collection. ■

Interview by Andrea Blanch All photographs by Andrea Blanch

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Riley A. Arthur


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Gazing “The crevice of my dreamland lays at the precipice of your reality,” he wrote. He had never thought he would ask her to leave, but it had been enough. Enough of capricious behavior, he thought as he saw her squatting over plants and relieving herself. She had to give herself back, she claimed, as she pissed all around their garden. At one point he had thought of planting poison ivy just for her reaction, but he knew he would be the one to end up licking her wounds, literally, between her thighs. He had done it when she thought she had a hemorrhage and when she was itchy and when she felt like it and whenever else. It seemed his tongue was between her legs more than his cock. That was another reason for her to go away. “Just leave, please.” He asked her again, as she pulled her panties up. A couple of drops remained on her left thigh, trickling down to her knee; her white underwear was moist and the white fabric was see-through. She stared at him and started laughing. Her laughter was the sort that shatters windows and self-esteem. He began laughing too. When she saw he had joined in her laughter she ran around the garden, disposing of her clothing, letting her blouse, her socks, her brassiere hang on the trees as if they belonged there, adornments of another type of Christmas. He ran after her, laughing. Children at play they seemed. He caught her and demanded a kiss with all her passion, with eyes open, with her tongue. She was nude and he wasn’t. The neighbors could probably see them; they had probably seen them other times. In a while it will all turn to normalcy, they will enter their crevice-like house and they will shout and scream and fight all over again. The neighbors will wait at the edge of their windows until they can see them again, storming into their garden, making love or running naked by the trees. Her underwear stays put, he moves it aside as he enters her, carrying her, leaning his eyelashes against her breasts. She moans this Friday morning lovemaking, tomorrow another story will follow their suspended clothing. The trees grow around the cloth that bounded their skin. KELLY ARONOWITZ

No. 2 Musée Magazine  153

Musée Magazine

Kasandra Enid Torres Title: Disturbing Eroticism Contact 154  Musée Magazine No. 2

Tanya Zani Title: Broken Back Contact

Tanya Zani Title: Julia Contact

Tanya Zani Title: Wooden Room Contact

Joan Harrison Title: Fears of Vains Contact

Emmaline Trail Title: Fear of death Contact:

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BREAKING TRADITION Includes photography taken in non traditional and unique ways, such as iPhone, lytro cameras, photograms, satellites, disposible cameras... We urge you to use your imagination! To be published in the magazine: 1. Submit at least 5 images based on the current theme. 2. All photos should be specifically crafted for this publication and should not include watermarks. 3. Title and contact information that you would want published. 4. E-mail images to We look forward to seeing your work! MusĂŠe Magazine No. 3 is coming in June! International Edition No. 2 The Fear Issue