Marking the days…

As I had hoped in my last post, I did complete Grad School. I submitted all my papers and finished all projects assigned. It was a significant marker in my life, but not as big as the one that is about to unfold.

My mother-in-law has been the closest (geographic) relative, aside from my husband, since I moved to NYC. In fact, the act of moving to NY nearly a decade ago placed me roughly three thousand miles away from my entire immediate family.

In a few short weeks, I will start living just a short drive up the road from my mother-in-law. This act marks a significant shift in my adult experience of familial proximity and relational intentionality.

I don’t know what the future holds for me without a school year cycle to order the days, with this new experience of community, and an open ended moment of my career. What I do know is that I’m trying to carve out a space where things move slower, where my impact is deeper, and my dreams can shape reality.

Is it asking too much of life to hope for something different, more than what I’ve found so far? I hope not. Still, my nerves are on alert.

In this new space I will be taking risks, but betting on myself; I will be focusing on small things, but hoping for many ripples; and I will be a part of a team, rather than an individual.

Here’s to it.



I should be working on my thesis.

I should be working on any number of things, but I paused for a moment of reflection and suddenly I can not get over the fact that soon I will graduate from NYU with a Masters degree in Visual Art Administration. This has been coming for a while but the sudden significance is perhaps due to my 10-year anniversary of graduating as an undergraduate.

It was 10 years ago that I graduated from Biola University with a BFA in Art and Design,
and I don’t feel that I have changed significantly from who I was at that moment. I have a very different living situation, a different amount of experience, and a different dress size (unfortunately,) I even feel differently about the event of graduation; but are these just finer points? How has time changed me or not changed me? 

62_505407897047_5219_nOne measure of this time span that feels weighty enough to express my feelings is accounting for who I’ve lost, and who I’ve gained in my life. Here, pictured, is my Grandfather with me in May of 2004. I hope to pose for a similar photo with my husband, in May 2014.

My professional agenda has not changed, only refined. This Masters degree came later than I anticipated, but I don’t mind too much. It came at the right time – as did my husband. Perhaps the delay in higher ed kept me local in order to meet him.

It is the personal, per usual, that I’m reminded of as having true gravity in the span of our lives. I say this, knowing full well the cliché. But we all know that when these things hit you, they hit you.

gpf_images01In 2004 I had a thesis exhibit with two friends in the university gallery. My work was an immersive installation inspired by a coloring book series I’d created, but also inspired my a mural painting professor from several years earlier. I’m now working on a thesis around working with artists, with a case study in mural collaborations. The impression that professor had made was more indelible than I had thought back then, but people and ideas have stuck with me.

If ideas and people are truly this significant, how might this inform my next ten years? At 30, these questions might seem common place, but I think it’s worth noticing how our presence, absence, and expression might also impact those around us. I certainly do not expect for anyone to cite me as their inspiration 10 years down the line, but we do have impact on one another.

Now that I have expressed these thoughts to an ephemeral digital void, perhaps I can get back to the work of research and writing. Perhaps taking stock in where I’ve come from – to this point, will help me focus my energy on finishing well, which is what I have always intended, and what would have made my Grandfather proud.

Hero-ine Space


If you only see one movie this year that stars Sandra Bullock, make it GRAVITY, (but I admit that I enjoyed ‘The Heat‘ as well.) This subtle, yet complex, story line is paired with outstanding effects and manages to explore a range of primal notions of humanity – birth, death, faith, rebirth, reincarnation, evolution, weakness, (and the polar north that is George Clooney.)

Still from 'Gravity'
Still of Bullock, from ‘Gravity’

This film may not make many young girls want to go out and be astronauts. In fact, there were moments where it made me question why we dare to leave the atmosphere at all! However, it was a very well told story that I’d encourage you to see played out – the first chance you get. Bullock delivers believable moments of terror, and gives (what I thought to be) a remarkably unsentimental performance of a character so tragic as ‘Ryan Stone’.

I recommend this 3D movie not just for the glasses, but also for the interesting take on a silver screen heroine, and another look at a group of unusually specialized civilians that many of us idolized as children.

Astronaut Catherine 'Cady' Coleman
Astronaut Catherine ‘Cady’ Coleman

Guess Who!

Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 4.53.20 PM


I recently took a trip to Washington DC. While there, I had a renewed sense of civic duty and statesmanship. Local and Federal politics has actually been an interest of mine over the last year (or four) and so when I returned to my neighborhood I began to look again at the structures that are in place in my district.

While in D.C. I kept thinking, did I miss this day of school, or just not comprehend how the network of public offices works to represent the United States public? Those pictured above all have some kind of influence in my life, whether I am aware of it or not. I thought it would be best to take a bit more interest in what they do and how they think. (Perhaps, just in time. There is a community board meeting coming up soon that will discuss a massive construction plan near to where I live.)

It may not be a perfect system, but what I am learning is that if citizens don’t engage in the process of local and federal politics, there is no hope for it to work. It is both my optimism for my fellow-man and my values in administrative structures that supports this view, but hopefully those who think and feel differently will still participate!

“You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.” – Eldridge Cleaver, 1968

The faces of 14 women you should know.

Taylor, Alen “International Women’s Day 2013” In Focus, The Atlantic.

“The fourteen current elected or appointed female heads of government. From top left, in order by length of time in office:
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. President of Argentina, Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Johanna Sigurdardottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark, Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Joyce Banda, President of Malawi, and Park Geun-hye, the newly elected President of South Korea.
(Reuters/Sebastien Pirlet, Thierry Gouegnon, Marcos Brindicci, Sukree Sukplang, Ints Kalnins, Petar Kujundzic, Andrea De Silva, Andrew Taylor, Claudio Reyes, Bazuki Muhammad, Ints Kalnins, Lucas Jackson, Unati Ngamntwini, Ahn Young-joon)”

When it’s cold outside

During my Christmas holiday, I went on a brief journey to Yosemite. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, and my husband hadn’t gone, ever! We trekked up into the glacial phenomenon that has graced many family photo albums, distinguished the portfolio of Ansel Adams, and has simply put many travelers in awe. 

Imagine being one of those few natives to this area, living in the fortress that these mountains naturally offered. For these rocks to be your walls, and the sky serving as a canopy. Though I am sure millions of people visit each year, it still felt untouched, perhaps truly unreachable by human hands. 

I am so thankful for our National Parks.

Guest Interview for CIVA: Moving Image/Subjective Surface

Originally Posted: December 3, 2012, 10am, CIVA

An Interview with Karen Brummund, Artist in Residence, DGW 2012
By Bonnie Kate 

Earlier this year, CIVA assembled thirty-some young female artists, historians, and administrators for a conference situated in scenic Vermont. The conference, Doing Good Well (or DGW,) set out to celebrate, encourage, and further train a select group of skilled women working in creative fields. I was honored to be among the attendees of the conference as an Independent Curator and Arts Administrator alongside some truly brilliant individuals from several different disciplines, counties and continents. 

DGW was first held early in 2011, and has received support through the Sister Fund and Sword and Spoon Foundation. Laura Cootsona directed the conference with significant leg-work by Shannon Sigler (CIVA’s Associate Director) and their remarkable leadership team: Jinny Bult De Young, Saundra Diehl, Linda Stratford, JJ Hansen, Allison Cook, Marianne Lettieri, and Kimberly J. Miller, with 2012 apprentices Janna Dyk, Kim Garza, and artist in residence, Karen Brummund.

During this rare event, Karen Brummund engaged the attendees of DGW in a site-responsive project of interpreting the homestead façade, (298 Holiday Farms,) located on the property in Vermont.  Ms. Brummund describes the process on her website saying, “Over the course of one weekend, arts professionals made images that represent this building and shared context. Their marks, both abstract and representational, are projected onto the building and blend with the physical place.” The result was an installation that both reflected Karen’s historical style of work and our very mission of sharing together in generative dialogue.

298 Holiday Farms by Karen Brummund from kmmbrummund on Vimeo.

Intrigued by Karen’s unpretentious, physical, and time-based process – she and I continued to dialogue after departing from Vermont. I began to imagine what it could be like to encounter her work in an urban setting such as my own neighborhood. Karen employs somewhat common aesthetic values such as the photocopy, or line drawings (made by collaborators with various skill levels,) and projects the interpretations of the surface onto the original. The outcome is curious, surprising, arresting, and yet accessible and familiar through her choice of media. 

Below is the result of an interview that occurred over the last month between Karen and myself via email. I hope that her words and work inspire your thinking about surface, structures, and sublimity, as they have mine.


Bonnie Kate:
Karen, Tell me a little about your roots/Where you come from.

Karen Brummund:
I grew up in Atlanta.

My background is actually in education and community development. I was drawn to the philosophical aspects of education and eventually realized I was approaching curriculum development more like an artist.

In order to explore a new career path, I went to graduate school for fine art in London at the University of East London. Once I realized that I don’t like (and am not that good at) painting… I became more interested in making art outside of the studio… and interested in other artists who were working that way like Francis Alys, who had just finished a 5 year residency project with Art Angel, researching London; other younger artists were building on the (short) history of community-based art in England; and the Jerwood Center‘s exhibitions, questioning “what is drawing?”

After graduate school, I moved to Ithaca, NY. I’ve been practicing art since 2005 with little to no experience before that, (except for a great high school art education).


BK: Were there structures in Atlanta that inspired your consideration for the façade? Or was it during that time in London when this all started developing more concretely?

KB: In high school art classes, I learned how to approach art as an idea. (I left Atlanta after high school and just now moved back to the Southeast.) In college education courses, I learned to construct activities or environments where knowledge could be discovered. After college, I was working for a community-development organization, in Indianapolis; I learned how the history, structure, and culture of community affect the lives of individuals and families.

I found an interest in the façade through a few projects early in my art-making career. In 2005-2006, I had one exhibition at The Brady Art & Community Center in the East End, London where I used the outside façade like a canvas for a street level/outward facing/active drawing, and in a completely different series called the Invisible Gaze, I began installing my photographs in public space


BK: Through your community-development lens – Do you think your work will be informed by returning to the south and having started your own family? 

KB: Calling Alabama home and being a parent still feel very new. They both will change me, but I don’t know that either is pushing my work in a specific way right now. Through working in community-development, I began to see cities/places as layered and connected. I like to explore new places (Alabama included). It’s layers and landscape. 


BK: Do you recall your earliest experience with a work of art? What about the work provoked you? 

KB: The first art exhibition I remember attending was the “Rings” exhibition at the High Museum of Art. It was curated in conjunction with the Olympics in Atlanta.

They curated 5 large themes, like love, awe, and anger. The exhibition had a ton of paintings and sculptures. A lot of well-known works of art had been included from around the world.

The link between emotions and art moved me… being able to sense an emotion so clearly when walking into a room of paintings was a new experience.


BK: Are there any artists who you feel have inspired you – even if not evident in your work, who stick in the back of your mind?

KB: Francis Alys, Robin Rhode, and Rene Margritte.


BK: Where would you place the sacred in relation to the (at times) mundane built landscapes we encounter in our day-to-day lives? 

KB: I don’t consider the buildings I work with as sacred or mundane.

Buildings might be considered one or the other because of their function, symbols, or labels. 

I’m more interested in the questions and priorities that lead to mundane, branded, copied, or thoughtless landscapes and in reflecting on the dialogue that parking lots, parks, bridges, and highways create.

 I like working in public space because it’s communal, complicated, and creative. But I’m not sure we require our built landscape to be that or  “sacred” or even inspiring.  I don’t think “sacred landscapes” should be relegated to National Parks. I want to be able to work, walk, and live in a built landscape that inspires similarly.

Maybe I work in public space to find some kind of personal sublime. I don’t want the façades or the artwork to be sublime. I don’t want the installations to be awe-inspiring. I more want them to ask why the building across the street isn’t …or maybe it is and I just stopped long enough to figure that out.


BK: Do you observe any correlations (anecdotally or ideologically) between your own artistic social practice and what could be called religious practice? 

 KB: Yes, the word “practice.” 

Both domains are seeking to apply ideas and beliefs from one place into another. “Art” that is no longer relegated to white or black spaces, but is integrated into our living. “Religion” that is worked into our very being and working; they both are practiced in the colorful spaces.

“Practice” is a word full of “process” (my other favorite word). After the installation at DGW, a few people asked me what I consider the artwork. The artwork, “298 Holiday Farms,” is the process and memory.

It is important that the installations at DGW, and others, have the dissonance and resonance that comes when we’re “practicing” something. During the installation, the video lit up the grand homestead under an incredible starry night. But I’m not looking for a flashy, saturated moment that often comes with technology and big screens. The installation is rough, textured, and full of questions. The projection highlights the struggle to translate what we see rather than the achievements of the drawing.

At DGW, the audience was solely the people who made the images in the video projection. Therefore the installation is more personal to the audience. I talk a lot about drawing. Drawing is the immediate, physical link between what we think and what we sense. It’s the link that is most interesting to me. In the DGW installation, I want to see where the link becomes fragmented (as many participants just drew one part of the facade) …where it becomes a whole different song (as many responded abstractly or personally). 


BK: And do you seek the sublime in these excavations of the facade? 

KB: When I “excavate” the facade, I want something simple to be complicated. And the experience of complicated to feel rich. 

When I started working on the piece for DGW (before we ever got to Vermont), I wrote this about the piece. It is the context for the process and the work of the piece:

The place where we are

The place that we share

The place we don’t know

The place we believe will come


BK: If you could work on any facade in the world, what would you take on?

 KB: I loved working at Casa Poli.

The experience of living in the building before making an installation was incredible. Rather than a specific building, I would love the opportunity to live in a building and then create based on that experience.

More specifically, living in a building that is inspired – where the architects pushed themselves and the materials to create an altering experience.


 BK: Do you secretly wish you were an architect?

If you had the chance to make your own “Inspired” structure, what are some of the elements you might include or borrow from others?

KB: I sometimes joke that when I retire, I’ll become an architect.

I have opinions about architecture, but I am amazed by the gifts of truly great architects. A lot of different things draw me to a building, but there are some that were simply designed to be thought about and to be felt. 

I prefer buildings that don’t work too hard to draw attention to themselves, but rather transform your location or mood. They don’t need to be dressed up with decor because they create their own imaginative spaces. 

It’s similar to what I look for in art: surprising, freedom, layered, and connected.


 BK: Like Phillip Johnson’s Glass House? Although, I guess there aren’t really great surfaces to project onto.

KB: I would love to make a paper installation for the glass house.


BK: So, on a personal note: Your son is turning 1 year old. What is something you hope for the future of the world he will grow up in? 

KB: When I think about how my artwork and my parenting overlap, especially in terms of hoping and futures, I hope for a world that better understands itself and better loves itself.


On that note, let us all engage the world in the process of becoming one that better understands itself and better loves itself, “The place we believe will come.”


Related Links:



3-Day Forecast of (a portion of possible) Events


Wayne Adams “The (Sacred) Void” Curated by Allison Peller Thursday, 6p
 First Things Editorial Offices 35 East 21st Street, Sixth Floor (between Broadway and Park) 
A wine and cheese reception will follow.

Performa is having a fundraiser, 6p or 9p
Special Performance Guest! Loc: 508 West 37th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues

Hurricane Sandy Relief Benefit at Pianos, 8p
Performances by Grooms, Zambri, Hooray for Earth, Cymbals Eat Guitars



New York Women Social Entrepreneurs (NYWSE) announces the first annual GIVE GOOD Market, a holiday market for women-owned sustainable businesses on Friday Nov 30 – Saturday Dec 1. Sign up …It will be located at 601 West 26th Street in the iconic Starrett Lehigh Building.

NYU, Art Education Colloquium w/ Oliver Herring, 6p 
Oliver will talk about some past projects and more recent work after returning from a 4 month residency in Kyoto, Japan, at the Eisenstein Auditorium

Performance Night: Folk Remedy, 7p
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:  Judith Shimer, Lucia Pedi, Mira Hunter, I-Hsuen Chen, SeoKyeong Lee Yoon, Shengkai Huang, Xu Wang

Shadows Through A Prism: Opening, 7p
Curated by Heidi Hahn for 109 Gallery, opening Friday, November 30th, from 7-10p.
Featuring the work of: Claudia Cortinez, Olof Inger, Krysten Koehn, James Miller, Lauren Seiden, Nicholas Steindorf; 109 Gallery – 109 Broadway, Brooklyn



Opening: CRASHCOURSE IV; Work by John Silvis, 6-9p
Norte Maar in Bushwick, showing my recent CrashobjectsPhotographs and Car Assemblage! NORTE MAAR is located at 83 Wyckoff Avenue 1B Brooklyn &

Hunter Open Studio Review

Were you there? I admit that academic open studio events are not for the faint of heart. But fortunately some artists take pity on the poor curators and hipster-friends who dredge out to their academic buildings, up flights of stairs, and get lost in the labyrinth of hallways, and temporary wall divisions by offering dollar store candies, or Charles Shaw! That makes it all worth it! No, I am kidding, we go for the art! We go hoping to snatch up some goodies of another sort.

Enough chatter: Here are my TOP picks of Lady Artists at Hunter’s grad program: 

Theresa Andrea

Theresa’s offering for their department auction was a directive to make a personalized work for the winning bidder. A process oriented artist with a consideration for the personal and direct experience.


Elizabeth Tubergen

Elizabeth was responsible for a large Pyramid, which took up nearly the whole common area in the department auction space. It offered seating for some, and other more ponderous looky-loos considered it’s sturdy crafts-woman-ship.


Sophie Grant

Sophie is “Interested in childhood perceptions of reality and agency, her work reflects upon the education of the senses.”


Janna Dyk

Playing with connectivity of objects and the construction of the photographic image… We’re excited to see what comes next out of Janna’s studio.


Margeaux Walter

Capturing subtle observable “people watching” gestures in photo/digital collages. I liked her “Sweet Dreams” work that was up for auction. I nearly bid on it, but my art-budget is limited these days, even in the case of student work!