PSAW: Exhibits Feed


Four years ago I found the artist  TMNK, The Me Nobody Knows. I was searching for art about Obama, because I believed in him passionately, and wanted to spread the word about him through art. I was running an art gallery at the time. I found "Nobody" on a google search for Obama art. Thus began a wonderful relationship. 


6a00e54fabf0ec8833010534a10aa3970b-450wiTMNK, The Me Nobody Knows. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. 2008. Used by permission of the artist. 

Once again, I passionately support Obama for his second term as President. So here is a small re-visit of some of TMNK's Obama paintings.


6a00e54fabf0ec883301116837a70b970c-450wiTMNK, The Me Nobody Knows. The Blacker The Berry. 2008


6a00e54fabf0ec8833010535da33e5970c-450wiTMNK. The Me Nobody Knows. Innaugural Obama. 2009.

In 2010, TMNK presented his work at my gallery during Art Hop, which is New England's largest art fair. Close to a thousand people saw his work during Art Hop, and over the next month. "Nobody" came to spend the weekend with me during the Art Hop, and to meet what turned out to be an adoring public. 


6a00e54fabf0ec883301348602b510970c-450wiTMNK, The Me Nobody Knows, hanging his show at Pine Street Art Works.

This weekend (September 7, 8, and 9) is Art Hop in Burlington, Vermont. I no longer run a gallery. And Obama is running again. "Nobody" is doing phenomenally well in his career. Visit his website HERE,  The painting "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" hangs in my living room.

And once again I say, Obama Or Else, 2012.

PAINT BY NUMBER: A video from the 2007 Pine Street Art Works Exhibit

Liza Cowan et al, Paint By Number, at Pine Street Art Works on Art Express, PBS

I've just found this video by Paul Larsen, host of Mountain Lake PBS' popular show Art Express.  The show segment is about Paint By NumberAnonymous Works from Mid 20th Century America, one of the most successful, and one of my favorite, of all the exhibits I curated during my five year tenure as Director and owner of the Burlington,Vermont art gallery, Pine Street Art Works. 

The video features Harry Bliss, Mark Waskow, Christie Mitchell and Liza Cowan.


Mad Magazine no 41 Sept 1958 Paint By Number Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
Mad Magazine, September 1958. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

Here's what I wrote in 2007 about the exhibit on the Pine Street Art Works Website:

Paint by number. The craze of the 1950's - paint by number swept the nation in the era of Eisenhower, Levittown, post war prosperity, and a post war concept of leisure time - which probably had more to do with women being squeezed out of the workforce and back into the home than with any real decrease in the need for labor. It doesn't seem surprising that paint by number was marketed to women, although plenty of men did enjoy making the paintings.

Is Paint By Number art now? Was it art then? Do time, distance and a changing art market alter our perceptions and judgements? 

At Pine Street Art Works we love them, or we wouldn't be showing them. We are fascinated by their subversive allure - the tension created between the pleasure of viewing and the original - and ongoing - horrified responses by the gate keepers of high culture. 

Although now PBN has been the subject of a show at the Smithsonian, and of many academic and popular essays, and regularly show up in design magazines and blogs, there is still the vacillating response - are we allowed the pleasure we get from looking at (or making) these paintings? 

Most of the paint by number sets of the fifties and early sixties depicted nostolgic scenes: historic and pastoral landscapes, christian religious images, adorable or noble animals, sentimental glimpes of far distant cultures as well as copies from the canon of romanticized European figurative art. Critics at the time were disgusted with the mechanized mass produced nostalgia.

But now, with our vantage point from the 21st century, these paintings have aquired the patina of age and distance. Have they aquired the "aura" that Walter Benjamin wrote about? Or are we nostalgic for the more innocent nostalgia of the 50's? Are we caught up in second order - or even third order -nostalgia?

The August Paint By Number show doesn't answer these questions but provides some gorgeous evidence for future theories.

The website I refer to in the video, where I saw the post about the room-sized Paint By Number that inspired me to curate the show, was and the painting was by Curtis Robinson. You can see it HERE. I was very pleased that Curtis actually came to Burlington to see the show.

For more images from the exhibit see Pine Street Art Works website and an earlier post on SeeSaw

Paint by number exhibition pine street art works norman rockwell clown design liza cowan 2007
Postcard for Paint By Number exhibit Pine Street Art Works, design by Liza Cowan 2007


Pine street art works, art gallery, carol golemboski, gallery layout
Pine Street Art Works, Main Gallery, Carol Golemboski Show, April 2010

If you want to give a shot at reading the things at Pine Street Art Works, I'll give you a hint: Spring Cleaning. Yes, after a long winter here in Burlington, with the gallery set up as a wonderfully crowded and fun store, I decided to go simple for Spring. Intern Par Excellence, Daniel Weinberg, and I spent a couple of days moving furniture and products, art and artifact. Grueling, but worth it. So welcome to Spring on Pine Street in Burlington Vermont's Arts District. Why the interest in reading objects? Carol Golemboski's amazing show here at the Gallery: Psychometry (the ability to divine the history of objects through physical contact.)

If Wishes Were Horses
Carol Golemboski, If Wishes Were Horses, toned silver gelatin print


Object Lesson in Heads
Carol Golemboski, Object Lesson. Toned  silver gelatin print.

Next big project: The street garden. Charlotte Albers of Paintbox Garden Design is planning something special, and I'll keep you posted.



 Carol golemboski, psychometry, exhibition post card, pine street art works, back
Psychometry, Carol Golemboski at Pine Street Art Works. Exhibition postcard

Can things tell stories about themselves? If so, what stories do they tell? Colorado photographer Carol Golemboski explores  this  question in a series called Psychometry which will be at Pine Street Art Works in April and Healthy Living Natural Foods in May.

The series of black and white photographs explores issues relating to anxiety, loss, and existential doubt. The term “psychometry” refers to the pseudo-science of object reading, the purported psychic ability to divine the history of objects through physical contact. Like amateur psychometrists, viewers are invited to interpret arrangements of tarnished and weathered objects, relying on the talismanic powers inherent in the vestiges of human presence. These images suggest a world in which ordinary belongings transcend their material nature to evoke the elusive presence of the past.

 Carol golembosk,i postcard, psychometry, pine street art works
Carol Golemboski, exhibition postcard, Pine Street Art Works 2010

Golemboski is an assistant professor of photography at the University Of Colorado at Denver. Images from her Psychometry series have been published in notable photographic journals and magazines such as LensWork, Contact Sheet, Photo News, and AfterImage. Golemboski   has been awarded numerous grants including individual artist fellowships from Center in Santa Fe New Mexico, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and Light Work. 

Describing her artistic process, Golemboski says:

“I infuse my images with tension and mystery by combining photography with drawing, scratching the negative, and incorporating text and photograms.  The objects I photograph, discovered in flea markets, auctions, estate sales, and antique shops, have their own unknowable histories.  They range from ordinary items, such as doll houses, bird cages, and Christmas ornaments, to symbolically charged objects that relate to the human figure, such as dress forms, leg braces, and wigs.  Once photographed, they form a visual language that hints at the lives that once surrounded them.  Ironically, these metaphorical arrangements only reinforce the idea that the secrets of the past are forever lost.

Carol Golemboski, Cheiromancy

“The success of these images relies upon the viewer's expectation of truth in the photograph, expanding upon age-old darkroom "trickery" to suspend belief between fact and fiction.  The romantic ideas suggested by these photographs are enhanced by the nostalgia that accompanies historic photographic imagery, the process of traditional printmaking, and the magic of the darkroom.  

“Pervading the work is a sense of melancholy for the past, and a mounting dread that comes with the realization that our own stories will suffer the same fate.  These images are designed to create a tension between beauty and decay that expresses anxiety over the passage of time, the inevitability of death, and a fascination with the unknown.”   

 Opening reception at Pine Street Art Works Friday April 2, between 5-8. Sad to say, the artist will not be in attendance. But a good time will be had by all.

Paint by number: anonymous work from mid-20th century America

Paint By Number, the craze of the 1950's, swept the nation in the era of Eisenhower, Levittown, post war prosperity and a post war concept of leisure time.


 Paint by number, paris in the rain
Paint By Number, Paris In The Rain

Most of the Paint By Number sets of the fifties and early sixties depicted nostalgic scenes, historic and pastoral landscapes, adorable or noble animals, sentimental glimpses of "exotic" cultures as well as copies from the canon of romanticized European figurative art. Critics at the time were disgusted with the mechanized mass produced nostalgia.

 Paint by number mona lisa
Paint By Number, Mona Lisa

But now, with our vantage point from the 21st Century, these vernacular, anonymous painting have acquired the patina of age and distance. Have they have acquired the aura that Walter Benjamin wrote about in his famous  1935 essay  "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." Or are we just  nostalgic for the more innocent nostalgia of the 50's. Are we caught up in second or third order nostalgia. Probably both.

 Paint by number craftint color set original box
Paint By Number, original box, Craftint color set. Photo Liza Cowan


In August 2007, Pine Street Art Works held an exhibition of over 100 Paint By Number paintings. It took months to acquire them, mostly on eBay. In addition to enjoying the paintings, I was fascinated by the subversive allure - the tension created between the pleasure of viewing the work, and the original and ongoing horrified responses by the gatekeepers of High Culture.

 Paint by number, exhibition postcard, norman rockwell clown, design by liza cowan
Paint By Number, Exhibition at Pine Street Art Works. Postcard design Liza Cowan. Paint by Number set based on a painting  by Norman Rockwell.

Although Paint By Number has been the subject of a show at the Smithsonian (as well as here at PSAW) and show up regularly in design magazines and blogs, there is still the vacillating response: are we allowed the pleasure we get from looking at, or making, these paintings?

 Paint by number mad magazine sept 1958
Mad Magazine, September 1958, spoofed the craze with a PBN of Alfred E. Newman. PSAW ephemera collections.


 Paint by number farm by river
Paint By Number, Farm By The River.


 Paint by number, bull fight, torreador, red cape
Paint By Number, Bullfighter


 Paint by number exhibit pine street art works
Paint By Number exhibition at Pine Street Art Works. August 2007

All the paintings in this post were in the 2007 exhibit. All are sold.

Paint by number as seen on seesaw



William Steig: Poor Pitiful Pearl

Poor Pitiful Pearl doll, william steig. photo ©Liza Cowan

Poor Pitiful Pearl. Photo ©Liza Cowan 2008. Print of this photo is available at my online store

William Steig, author, cartoonist, illustrator, famous for Shrek, Dr. DeSoto, Sylvester and The Magic Pebble, zillions of New Yorker Covers, and a reluctant advertising illustrator, was also the creator of my favorite doll: Poor Pitiful Pearl. Pearl was my first and my only true doll love. She was made in 1958, and stayed in production in various incarnations throughout the sixties.

A couple of years ago I was putting together an exhibit of 20th Century Works on Paper,  and had just purchased this poster:


william steig, we clean 'em, shell oil, advertising poster, 1944, Liza Cowan Collections

Wm Steig, We Clean 'Em. Shell Oil, 1944. Collection of Pine Street Art Works.

This gorgeous, huge lithograph was made for Shell Oil in 1944. As I was researching the poster and Steig I came across the fact that Poor Pitiful Pearl was a Steig creation. Of course! But I hadn't realized it as a kid, even though our family subscription to The New Yorker was a favorite of mine, and I poured through it weekly looking at the cartoons.


william steig, the new yorker, 1935, Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

William Steig, The New Yorker, 1935. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections,

We had enough New Yorker magazines and New Yorker cartoon collections around the house that I could have been, should have been familiar enough with the Steig canon to have been able recognize his style on my darling doll. But I didn't. The New Yorker...dolls? Nuh uh.




william steig, poor pitiful pearl, we clean 'em, shell oil, Liza Cowan
Poor Pitiful Pearl and We Clean 'Em. Not to scale. I made this collage in Photoshop. Pearl is much smaller than the man in the poster.

But check this out. How much more alike could they be? Even the clothing matches.

Pearl even came with her own little Steig book:

Click the smaller images and they will pop up.


  • Blog pearl cover
  • william steig, poor pitiful pearl book
  • william steig, poor pitiful pearl book
  • Blog pearl 4
  • Blog pearl 5
  • Blog pearl 6
  • Blog pearl 7
  • Blog pearl 8
  • Blog pearl 9
Poor Pitiful Pearl William Steig  booket cover. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

Poor Pitiful Pearl booklet by William Steig. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections


poor pitiful pearl doll magnet from small equals photo ©liza cowan
Poor Pitiful Pearl magnet from small equals.

Order magnet at my Etsy shop here  


TMNK the me nobody knows, pine street art works, photo liza cowan, art hop, burlington, Vermont

TMNK-The Me Nobody Knows, hanging his show at PSAW, Sept. 11, 2009

Art Hop came and went. About 2 million 1,000 people passed through these doors on Friday and Saturday. We had a blast and everyone adored the work of NYC artist TMNK, The Me Nobody Knows.  He blew them away. As predicted. 

TMNK the me nobody knows, pine street art works, burington, vermont, photo liza cowan

Nobody's window. The mannequins are wearing his T Shirts and bandanas.

I always have four personae at these events:  Sergei Diaghilev, the impressario; Dolley Madison, the hostess; Hazel, the maid; and Ron Gallella, the paparazzi. I'm good with the first three, horrible with the last. Hence, I have almost no photographic evidence that the event actually happened. You'll just have to take my word. Or send me your pictures.

Rootstein mannequin, art is my weapon, TMNK, photo Liza Cowan

Diane, the Rootstein mannequin, wearing Nobody's T Shirt. Photo Liza Cowan


Art Hop, Friday September 11th 5-10 in the evening and Saturday Sept 12, 10-5 daytime.


TMNK The Me Nobody Knows, Bird, graffiti, street art, too many ants, urban bird, exhibit pine street art works

TMNK Art Hop postcard. Art: TMNK, design Liza Cowan 2009

Art Hop is almost upon us. Art Hop is  one of the biggest- possibly THE biggest - outdoor/indoor art fair in New England. We expect around 20,000 visitors one weekend every September in our otherwise modest little neighborhood in the South End of Burlington, Vermont. Hosted and produced annually by the South End Arts And Business Association (SEABA) Art Hop is well worth the trip. Lots of art, a fashion show, music, outdoor sculpture and demonstrations make it a family worthy destination.

TMNK, The Me Nobody Knows, graffiti, street art, contemprary art, My Boombox,  

TMNK-The Me Nobody Knows: My Boombox Plays The Sound Of Music. Sold. Used by permission of the artist.

This year the New York City artist TMNK- The Me Nobody Knows, will be the solo artist at Pine Street Art Works. I've written a lot about TMNK this past year, so I will refer you to previous posts for more information about him.

NOBODY will be here in person with his art on Friday and Saturday. If you live within driving distance, I urge you not to miss this rare Vermont opportunity to meet Nobody and see his work. 

And  check out Nobody's blog as well.

See you next week!


Aline Smithson, whistlers mother, arrangement in green and black, paint by number, contemporary photography, old lady swim, granny swim
Postcard for Smithson Exhibit. Photo, Aline Smithson, design PSAW

The Aline Smithson
exhibit has been up for a couple of weeks and visitors are enjoying it immensely. Here's what they look like on the wall.

Aline Smithson exhibit, pine street art works, photo liza cowan

Aline Smithson photos on view at Pine Street Art Works.

And here are some of the pieces- all images copyright Aline Smithson, used by permission of the artist.

From the series, In Case Of Rain. Archival Jet Prints  from scanned negatives:

Aline Smithson, books, book on chair, children's books, The Secret Language
Secret Language. Aline Smithson.

Aline Smithson, old books on shelf, herman hesse,
Herman Hesse. Aline Smithson

Aline Smithson, Video village, old board games,
Aline Smithson. Video Village

Aline Smithson, paper doll dresses, vintage paper doll, dress up
Aline Smithson, Dress Up.

Next from the series, Arrangement in Green and Black. Hand painted silver gelatin prints:

Smithson-arrangement - for press
Aline Smithson. #3, Bather

 Aline Smithson, arrangement in green and black, whistler's mother, old lady in leopard skin coat, paint by number, leopardskin pillbox hat
Aline Smithson, #1, (cat)

Aline Smithson, arrangement in green and black, paint by number, the last supper, old lady in curlers, old lady drinking wine, old lady eating supper on tray
Aline Smithson. #10, Last Supper

Aline Smithson, arrangement in green and black, old lady in tutu, old lady dancing, old lady degas, paint by number ballerina
Aline Smithson, #5, Ballet

From the series, Toy Camera:

aline smithson, venice black and white, toy camera
Aline Smithson, Venice, Once Remembered

Aline Smithson, Harmony

Aline Smithson, Unguarded Area

Aline Smithson, skaters, skaters New York City, black and white photo skaters.
Aline Smithson, New York Skaters

and here's some cool press for Aline:
Aline Smithson Venice Once Remembered on the cover of Light Leaks

Aline Smithson, Arrangement in Green and Black, cover (and inside) of Silver Shotz.

W. David Powell

One of my favorite artists, W. David Powell, is now showing at Pine Street Art Works. David and I share a love of vernacular images, scientific and advertising ephemera, and new ways to look at and incorporate cultural detritus in new art.

David Powell, Hail to the hybrid, art print, collage,  

W. David Powell, Hail To The Hybrid, used by permission of the artist.

D. Powell Machine For Manufacturing Beauty, digital print, collage 

W. David Powell. Machine For Manufacturing Beauty. Used by permission of the artist

Most of the pieces in the show "were constructed in Photoshop from diverse source materials that range from Anton Mesmer's noteboooks, Maxwell's electrical diagrams to phrenological, physiological and geological texts. Numerous other books as well as images from contemporary medical imagers technology provide further material for creating combinations that invite new interpretation and analysis. The use of digital montage has become my primary medium for art making, though I sometimes use old cut-and-paste methodology along with traditional drawing and painting tools. The beauty of the digital medium for me is that it can become just another tool in my art kit. It does not necessarily replace traditional media, it just augments them." W. David Powell.

w david powell, collage, digital print, loudspeaker, ladder, curiosities  

W. David Powell, Broadcasting Democracy. Used by permission of the artist.


Lucky me. I just bought this painting by one of my favorite artists, TMNK - The Me Nobody Knows.

TMNK, The Me Nobody Knows, Bird, street artist, african american artist, new york city artist,


Bird Seeds. Copyright 2009 TMNK (The Me Nobody Knows) (mixed media on masonite 12" x 12" approx.) Used with permission of the artist

"Notice the happy sounds they make as they flutter about munching on their tiny morsels. It’s the bird seeds. The little things in life they enjoy. I’ve decided to learn from them, as I too rise early each morning, feeding my mind positive little thoughts. And reminding myself to be grateful for the small things in life that we sometime overlook. And though many say I inspire, this painting was inspired by a tiny little bird chirping in my ear. Not the one outside my door, the little bird I’m referring to is my youngest daughter. She’s made many attempts at goals, sometimes not achieving her desired result. Yet, I’m amazed as I speak with her, she’s like the birds outside my door, happily chirping away despite what some might call disappointing results, continuing to try, determined to fly. Hungry for something different? Allow me to suggest some bird seeds." - TMNK

Nobody will be here at Pine Street Art Works with his wonderful work on Sept 11th and 12th for Art Hop.
Check his blog for more wonderful images, inspiration and buying opportunities.


If Charles and Raye Eames had designed for pets this is what they'd have made.

pet furniture, modern pet furniture, hepper, jed crystal, burlington vt designer, black pug
Dog bed by Hepper.

I had the pleasure of spending some time recently with industrial designer and fellow Burlingtonian Jed Crystal who I met through Paige Russell when she and he had a show at PSAW a few years ago . Now Jed's  up to something new: modern pet furniture. His company is called Hepper. They sell online and in select locations around the country.

My own pug, Saki,  has a habit of chewing the furniture - she's already destroyed a couch - so there's no way I'm buying her this gorgeous ensemble. But if I could, you know I would.


Some of these artists I've already posted about, some not. I'm so excited about the lineup of shows at PSAW. Even though times are tough, and businesses are tumbling like dominoes in an earthquake, we here at Pine Street Art Works (and Atelier Tove) are determined to keep going and thriving.


Tim Matson photo of Pilobolus. Dance called Untitled.copyright 1978. Used by permission of the artist.

The dance troupe Pilobolous began in 1970 at Dartmouth College. Tim Matson began photographing them early in their career, and, in conjunction with a Pilobolus April 11th performance at Burlington's Flynn Theater, PSAW will exhibit a dozen or so of Matson's original prints. Matson's book of Photographs, Pilobolus, was published by Random House in1978 and is still available through used book dealers.


Plattsburgh NY/ Burlington VT artist/educator David Powell will show his collages and prints at a date to be announced. I've been a fan of David's for a few years. He had a show last year at Burlington's Fleming Museum which was super.


Into the Future. David Powell. Copyright 2000. Digital print mounted on Wood Panel. Used by permission


Aline has been winning awards and grants left and right, and I'm happy to say I knew her when. She will be exhibiting here in August.


Aline Smithson. Arrangement in Green and Black. Portrait Of The Photographer's Mother. Copyright Aline Smithson. Used by Permission


I've blogged a lot about TMNK, but here's another image and a reminder that this amazing NYC street artist will be here on Sept 11th for the Burlington South End Art Hop. 


TMNK-The Me Nobody Knows. Copyright 2009. Used by Permission.



How To Read The Hand. Copyright Carol Golomboski. Used by Permission

"Psychometry is a series of black and white photographs exploring issues relating to anxiety, loss, and existential doubt. The term refers to the pseudo-science of "object reading," the purported psychic ability to divine the history of objects through physical contact. Like amateur psychometrists, viewers are invited to interpret arrangements of tarnished and weathered objects, relying on the talismanic powers inherent in the vestiges of human presence. These images suggest a world in which ordinary belongings transcend their material nature to evoke the elusive presence of the past. 


Copyright Carol Golomboski. Used by Permission

Through an examination of fortune-telling and clairvoyance, many of the images confront the desperate human desire to know the unknowable, historically referencing the Victorian interest in spiritualism as well as the look of the nineteenth century photographic image. Illegible text and arcane symbols in pictures with themes like palm reading, tea leaf reading, and numerology force the viewer to consider man's insatiable need to anticipate his own fate.

The concept behind each picture dictates its darkroom manipulation, sometimes requiring research and revisions that last weeks or months. Combining photography with drawing, seamlessly incorporating photograms, integrating appropriated text, and scratching the emulsion of the negative create images where horror, history, and psychology occupy the same imaginative locale." Carol Golomboski from Photo Eye Gallery


I found these photos and text over at Aline Smithson's blog, Lenscratch,

"We live in a world full of technical distractions. I see my children gathered around their computers as though it’s a summer campfire, faces aglow, as they peer into a world of friends and fantasy, participating in a new forms of entertainment that further remove them from the childhood that I experienced."   A. Smithson

Aline smithson - book on chair
Aline Smithson. Copyright 2008

"Today’s generation has lost touch with the activities that previous generations have enjoyed—reading a good book in a comfortable chair, playing board games on a rainy day, flipping through Life magazines, or sprawling out on the living room rug while listening to records and reading the backs of album covers." A. Smithson

Aline smithson bookshelf
Aline Smithson, copyright 2008

"And it’s because of this that I have been looking at bookshelves and untouched childhood pursuits with a new eye. With great sadness, I realize that these objects will someday be obsolete, at least in their current incarnations. And like a curator of antiquities, I see them now as beautiful objects to be admired and preserved, if only on film.

I can only hope for rain, a heavy rain and maybe a power outage." A.Smithson

Aline Smithson will have a solo show at Pine Street Art Works in August 2009.


Here are some more Ginny Joyner images for your viewing pleasure. These prints are available here at Pine Street Works, and are soon to be seen on Flashbag handmade handbags and accessories, made in Vermont.

Ginny joyner le chapeau de femme small
Copyright Ginny Joyner, Chapeau De Femme. Used by permission.

Ginny joyner LUNA small
Copyright Ginny Joyner. Luna Moth. Used by permission.

Ginny Joyner Spode 2 pavilions plate small
Copyright Ginny Joyner. Spode Two Plate. Used by permission.

Ginny Joyner WATCH small
Copyright Ginny Joyner. Better Late Than Never. Used by permission

Ginny Joyner Eyeglasses small
Copyright Ginny Joyner. Eyeglasss. Used by permission.


New York City artist TMNK - The Me Nobody Knows - is a gift that just keeps on giving. It's old news that I have a big art crush on Nobody but I'm surprising even myself that his work is just that good. By good I mean many things but mostly it's that Nobody's work just keeps taking my breath away and making me smile. Not in a sappy way, but a deep down visually and intellectually satisfied way. Nobody makes me happier. I get to look at great art while maintaining my obsession with this election. Obama => Art. Art => Obama.

TMNK get On The Bus
TMNK - The Me Nobody Knows -Get On The Bus- mixed media on masonite ( 24" x 18") Copyright 2008, Used by permission of the artist

"With days left, the people have begun to board the bus for change. Each candidate promising a better tomorrow in this gothic novel of epic proportions. Obama seemingly cast as our new guardian angel. Well remember, we make our own heaven or hell by the choices we make. This election has energized a nation to head to the polls on November 4th. Together ordinary people of all races and religions are coming together to make a difference. Next stop an election booth near you; get on the bus! Get On The Bus" TMNK

see TMNK's blog and his flickr site

TMNK will be at Pine Street Art Works in Burlington, VT next September for Art Hop, our wonderful annual art festival.  But before then we've got an election to win, and an economy to get back on track - so get on out there and vote, and drag everyone else along with you. Obama Or Else. .


What are the chances that I have a huge old art crush on NOBODY? Yeah, pretty much so. If you've been following me on this blog you know I found NOBODY aka TMNK -The Me Nobody Knows - when I was researching artists who are making art about Obama. When I found NOBODY I fell in love with his work and asked him to have a show at Pine Street Art Works and he said yes. So, yes, I'm promoting him now as one of "my" artists.

I love most of the artists I show at Pine Street Art Works, and I love them all for different reasons. Cara Barer, Nakki Goranin, Steve Goodman, Amadou Sow. Denis Versweyveld, Alison Bechdel, Connie Imboden, Phranc, Aline Smithson. Yeah, I'm crazy about all of them, which is what makes it such fun to do my job.

But right now my art heart goes pitterpat for NOBODY. Maybe because he speaks to my politics in a time that politics is all I can think about. But also because he's just so amazingly good. On his blog now he's posted some sketches he made on the NYC subway. I say NOBODY is as good as Saul Steinberg and Jean Cocteau and Picasso. Yes, I said Picasso.

Check out these sketches.

TMNK - the me nobody knows, dj mixing, turntable, scratching dj,
TMNK - The Me Nobody Knows - copyright TMNK. Used by permission of the artist.

 NOBODY says : "I had only hoped it was possible nearly a year ago to find something that gave me joy in my heart. What I found was so much more: As I made my way each day to the corporate playground of great thinking and ideas (Madison Avenue), hurt and angry that diversity was a myth, I began to sketch commuters, giving most away as gifts. To see their smiling faces gave this nobody’s spirit a lift.

Stressed beyond comprehension, I took a few days off, and searched my soul for answers. How was I going to take care of myself and my family? Then a thought from where, I cant explain, suddenly became implanted in my brain. God gave me all these talents, their greatest use was not for self, if I trust in God (faith), and do my best, and TRIED TO HELP SOMEBODY ELSE, I’d find my greatest wealth.

Its been almost a year, WE did it, and now I see the light. That voice I heard inside my head was God telling me the purpose of my life."

And pay attention to NOBODY's paintings, too. I've had two of them hanging in the gallery for a couple of weeks now and my vistors are excited. They love to search the words to decipher all the multiple meanings, and thrill at the color and composition. I don't own this one, but I love it.

Tmnk - action fear yes
TMNK -The Me Nobody Knows. image copyright TMNK, used by permission of the artist.


Here at Pine Street Art Works in Burlington, VT, we have some amazing shows lined up. People often ask how far in advance I book shows, and the answer is anywhere from a couple of months to a year. I like to have some flexibility and I also like to know where I'm headed.

So here are three upcoming shows to look forward to:

Illuminated Sculpture by Riki Moss and Robert Ostermeyer. Used by permission of the artist.

Illuminations - Studio Glow - November.

I've scheduled a show of light. Yes, the days are getting shorter and we all start to crave illumination. Heading towards Winter Solstice, dozens of  important traditions worldwide honor the return of the light and have done so since the dawn of human life.

Well, we're jumping in a bit early with a show of lights by Studio Glow - the light sculpture studio of Riki Moss and Robert Ostermeyer. The whole gallery will be aglow with these beautiful lamps and lights.

 aline smithson arrangement in green and black portrait of the photographer's mother series

Aline Smithson, from the series, Arrangement In Green And Black: Portrait of the Photographer's Mother. Used by permission of the artist.

Aline Smithson, August.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Aline Smithson on my last trip to Los Angeles. I'd only seen her work online, which is how I find a lot of my artists, by the way. And I'd quite fallen for her photography. Aline is a highly respected photographer and teacher and a great person to go to art galleries with. We had a blast looking at art together. I'm so excited about presenting her work in August, and I will be blogging a lot more about her. Meanwhile, I urge you to check out her website - linked above.


TMNK - The Me Nobody Knows - Save My Ass Too, used by permission of the artist. Mixed media on canvas.

"Some of the wealthiest, most powerful money brokers screw-up and you say you want to use my money to bail them out? They make millions, hundreds of millions, fly first class, live in mansions, and have yachts. Yet we, the poor-ass-struggling folks are about to loan them 770 billion dollars?
I have a better solution. Let the greedy idiots who caused this mess take their lumps and loose everything. Then do for the American people what we do for developing third world nations, simply forgive our debts. Bail us out. Keep all of us from going bankrupt, and pay our bills, our homes off. After all we're the backbone of the nation, right? Good, for once let those at the top of the mess suffer the consequences.
Now you've already wasted a bunch of my money looking for weapons of mass destruction, then starting a very expensive war, funded again with MY money. So the way I figure, if you really care about a nobody like me: Dear Uncle Sam, Save My Ass Too! Save My Ass Too" TMNK

TMNK- The Me Nobody Knows.  September.

If you've been following my series Picture The Future: Obama in Art, you've seen two of Nobody's paintings. I found New York City artist TMNK as I was researching for this series and, as I said in one of my posts, I've fallen in love with him. With his work. We haven't met yet.'s the best part of my job - I wrote and asked Nobody to do a solo show here at Pine Street Art Works next September for Art Hop. And he agreed! Sometimes I love my job so much. Follow the link to Nobody's website and blog and I think you will be as excited about his work as I am.



Lordy. It was in the nineties and humid as the tropics. But we had over a thousand visitors to PSAW  during Art Hop to see the amazing exhibit of photographs of the last free days of Tibet, taken Heinrich Harrer at the request of the young Dalai Lama. Harrer was the author of Seven Years In Tibet. Publisher Leslie DiRusso, who came up from New York for the opening, was astounded and gratified that even in the thick crowds, even with all the other events and exhibits going on for Art Hop, people stood and read all the commentary, stayed to ask questions, and were so engaged with the work.

Dalai Lama, Heinrich Harrer, escape from tibet

Dalai Lama's Flight from Tibet. 1951. Photo by Heinrich Harrer. Used by permission.

Text for this photo, taken from writings by Harrer:

The wind springs up early across the treeless, almost lifeless, Tibetan plateau. By midday it sweeps with gale force, carrying sand or snow, stinging and cutting travelers' faces. What light there is casts a bleak twilight pall over the wastelands.

Here, second from the left, the newly invested Dalai Lama, flanked by two of his personal khenpo (abbots), staggers against the winds on the Plain of Tuna in his flight from the Chinese advance. In the foreground struggles Phala Dronyer Chenmo, the Lord Chamberlain.

[ available as a 16x20-inch individual silver gelatin photograph.]


My annual Art Hop guest vendor is Flashbags, our wonderful local bag and accesories manufacturer. The amazing Ali Marchildon and Laura Cheney filled my back room with their goods, which they make right here in Vermont. The biggest hit was their Obama Bag! These are made of laminated paper, individually stitched on their sewing machines, using grommets and beverage tubing for handles. Each bag has the image inside and out, and there's even a cell phone pocket.


Obama bag by Flashbags.

You can get these online from Flashbags, or if you are in the neighborhood, I have them in stock.


I also gave away almost a thousand Obama Or Else postcards to a crowd who are anxiously biting their nails to the nib over this election. It was gratifying to get such an overwhelmingly positive response to the card. I know, it's a self selecting audience in Burlington, Vermont, big surprise, not. But still. My message to them, and to everyone, is - do something every day to help elect Obama and defeat the lying liars.

Blog card with white border

Obama Or Else postcard. Design by Liza Cowan, Pine Street Art Works. 2008

I got a wonderful email about the cards on Saturday, after the opening of Art Hop.

Liza, I just had to tell you how awesome your "Obama - Or Else" card  is!  You have said it all with just a few words.  I am 71 years old and have never been so worried about the outcome of an election.  I just pray that he makes it for the sake of my grand children and the next generation.
   Thanks! Bill

I've got 5,000 more cards coming next week. I am giving these away. If you want some, send me a stamped self addressed envelope and I will send you a bunch. 10 cards = $.59 postage (I just checked at the PO) If you want to make an extra donation that's fine, but not neccesary. My address is Pine Street Art Works, 404 Pine Street Burlington, VT 05401.


It's time once more for Art Hop, Burlington's once a year art festival. Over 600 artists will be showing work in over 100 places in Burlington's South End.
Check out the SEABA (South End Art's and Business) website for the full scoop.

Evite harrer postcard

This year Pine Street Art Works is excited to present a series of photographs by Heinrich Harrer taken in the years preceding the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1951. The prints are from The Heinrich Harrer Limited Edtion Portfolio, Leslie DiRusso,Pubisher.

From the website of The Heinrich Harrer Limited Edition Portfolio

"Heinrich Harrer, noted Austrian explorer and mountaineer, escaped over the Himalaya from a prisoner-of-war camp in British India with Peter Aufschnaiter, and then lived and worked as a fifth-ranked nobleman in the forbidden city of Lhasa. As confidant and informal tutor to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Harrer was afforded access to ceremonies and customs that had been rarely witnessed by Westerners.

" In the company of the Tibetan nobility, Harrer photographed a virtual family album of their lives and, in so doing, captured the richness and heart of a people: the moments with friends and family who had long accepted the photographer's eye. The Tibetans' joy at play, the leisure of the nobility, the splendor of the Buddhist rituals, the windswept plains of the high plateaus,Harrer's photographs document this with a mountaineer's sense of scale and an explorer's sensitivity to culture.

"Harrer left Lhasa in advance of the Chinese army in December 1950. Harrer's memoir, Seven Years in Tibet, has been translated into 53 languages, with more than four million copies sold. In October 1997, a motion picture based on his book, starring Brad Pitt as young Heinrich Harrer, was released by Tristar to major box-office success. Seven Years in Tibet, the book, again soared on best-seller lists around the world.

Harrer's body of work spanned more than six decades of exploration on six continents. Harrer received numerous honors, including the Eiger Gold Medal, Gold Humboldt Medal and the Explorers Club Medal, for his many expeditions and explorations, which number more than 600. He wrote 23 books and received credit on more than 40 film productions.

"Heinrich Harrer probably didn't realize it at the time, but his photographs captured a culture that has now all but vanished. His photographs are significant because he was actually shooting for the Dalai Lama, documenting Lhasa so the Dalai Lama could see what life was like outside the Potala. That gave Harrer unique access to ceremonies and scenes of everyday life that no other Westerner has ever had.

It's really miraculous that these photographs exist at all. Heinrich Harrer discovered a can of unexposed 35mm movie film and bought a used camera from a Tibetan friend. He didn't have a light meter, but he had five years to study the city and its people."

In October 2002, His Holiness the Dalai Lama presented Harrer with the International Campaign for Tibet's Light of Truth Award to honor Harrer's humanitarian effort to bring the situation in Tibet to international attention.

Heinrich Harrer and the exiled Dalai Lama remained steadfast friends until Harrer's death on January 7, 2006. "

Leslie DiRusso, Publisher

Evite harrer LIFE
Heinrich Harrer Photograph, LIFE Magazine, April 23, 1951

Harrer's Nazi Past

At the time that the film Seven Years In Tibet was being made, the German Magazine Stern came out with an article disclosing that Harrer had been a member of the Nazi Party in Austria. Google it, it's all over the place.

As a curator, an ethical person and a Jew, I had to think a lot about this information. To say that I spent many a restless night would be an understatement. My decision to exhibit the pictures is based on a couple of ideas.

These photographs are do not exist in the realm of fine art. That is, they are not a statement Harrer is making about himself or his beliefs, but about the subject he was shooting. They are documentary images, meant for that purpose. (I understand the complexities of documentary photography, but perhaps another time...) They were taken at the request of The Dalai Lama and document a moment in history that is not only crucial in the history of Tibet and China, but of which there is almost no other visual documentation.

A close reading of Seven Years In Tibet (which I loved, by the way, it's a great read) did not convince me of any racial, political or eugenicist motivation, at least as far as Tibet is concerned. We don't know what Harrer thought about Jews, Gypsies or Homosexuals - the usual victims of Nazi Terror. He claims to have joined the Nazi Party to be able to secure a position on a state funded climb, and to teach skiing. He claims he only put on the Nazi uniform once, to get married.

On this subject Orville Schell said ''There are not that many moments in life when to claim to be a craven careerist of the most calculating sort is a step up from ignominy.'' At any rate, Harrer was in a Prisoner Of War Camp during the war and what he did politically before the war we don't know. After his time in Tibet he dedicated much of his time to helping the Tibetan cause. He was vetted by Simon Wiesenthal, came out OK, and that's good.

"We must look at these photographs and remember that China invaded Tibet in 1950 and since then has systematically destroyed the indigenous cultural and religious practices. We must remember that Tibetan culture now exists primarily in exile. We must acknowledge the haunting nature of images of a culture now erased. We must realize that imperial nations destroy and create. After all, it was the imperial agenda of the Nazis, one that sent a young SS officer named Heinrich Harrer to India in the first place. And we must acknowledge the imperial and expansionist nation that we too live in, a country that is destroying Iraq even while it produces beautiful and haunting images of this destruction. We must remember for that is what Harrer's photographs insist we do. We must remember Empire and be moved by Art. "

Laurie Essig, Professor Of Sociology, Middlebury College, written for PSAW


On Friday one of Burlington's favorite painters, Mr. Masterpiece, will open a new show, The Seven Deadly Sins According to Mr. Masterpiece. MM combines pop, surrealist and folk genres in his colorful and humorous works, which often have social critique and observations lurking beneath the surface.

Mr masterpiece gaz a#1F03B3
Mr. Masterpiece, from The Seven Deadly Sins According To Mr Masterpiece.

In keeping with the Sin theme, the gallery will also present a collection of one-of-a kind garments by  local clothing designers Melaney Pettini and Noah Hirka. Working under the name The Wings Of Sin, the duo creates elegantly Goth clothing - hand painted and sewn. The clothing will be featured in the gallery display windows along Pine Street.

The Wings Of Sin ten#1F0358
Garment from The Wings Of Sin

I'm also very busy prepping for the Art Hop show. We expect thousands of visitors during this two day annual art festival, so it's a big Burlington Deal.  The featured exhibit will be Seven Years In Tibet: 1944-1951 from the Limited Edition Heinrich Harrer Portfolio, published by Leslie DiRusso. These are prints made from Harrer's original negatives. Much more on this later.

"This is Tendzin Choegyal, the youngest brother of the Dalai Lama, at the age of three. Later he was recognized as Ngari Rinpoche, an incarnation of the spiritual leader of several monasteries in Ngari, a large region in western Tibet.

Three days after he was born, which was shortly after our arrival in Lhasa in January 1946, his mother sent for us to join her guests at the reception to celebrate the birth of her youngest son.

This photograph was taken on the roof of the family's home, Yabshi Taktser, which means Roaring Tiger House of the Family of the Dalai Lama. Since the Great Mother loved flowers and the tranquility of the garden, I worked here for some time."

Heinrich Harrer, quote taken from Harrer Limited Edition Portfolio website


After_the_rain_parisPaint By Number, After The Rain. Anon. Sold.

 Well it was and exciting evening around the TV on Wednesday. That's when Art Express from Mountain Lake PBS broadcast the episode about Pine Street Art Works exhbit of Paint By Number.

Harry_bliss_on_camera Harry Bliss, on camera.

Paul Larson, producer, and Jared Stanley, DP, came over last August to tape the exhibit. Also on hand to speak and demonstrate were Harry Bliss, Mark Waskow and Christy Mitchell. Harry is an illustrator and New Yorker cover artist. He spoke elequently about how PBN paintings break down colors for shadows and volume, and other wonderfully erudite stuff.

Christy Mitchell on camera. Paul Larson directing.

Paul wanted someone painting a PBN on camera, so Christy Mitchell agreed to do one, using an unpainted kit we had. Paul is in the foreground directing.

Mark Waskow and his Mona Lisa

Mark Waskow, collector (or end user, as he likes to say) talked about collecting PBN. He bought the Mona Lisa, and talked about how charmingly not good the painting is.

Jared Stanley, Paul Larson and Liza

My commentary runs throughout the episode. Here's a picture we took on my iMac photobooth. The version that aired was a rough cut, and when they have the final edit, they will rebroadcast and I will have it available on quicktime here and on my website.

Meanwhile, if you get Mountain Lake PBS in your area (northern Vermont, Montreal, or the Plattsburgh NY region) you can catch it on rebroadcast Saturday March 29th at 6:30 pm.


Burlington's alt weekly, 7Days Vt published a fabulous article about Nakki Goranin's American Photobooth in this weeks issue. It's beautifully written by publisher/editor Pamela Polston with tons of images from the book, and some photos of Nakki by Matthew Thorsen.

Nakki Goranin in one of her vintage photobooths. Photo by Matthew Thorsen for 7DaysVT

The article is too long to reprint here but link on over to 7DaysVT

There's a bonus that you can only get online. Cathy Resmer and  Andrew Sawtell,  from 7Dvt, came over to psaw last week to tape an audio interview with Nakki. It is online, with a photo slide show and you must listen/watch.

And remember, you can buy American Photobooth through my link to Powells Bookstore at the top of the sidebar of this blog. Merci.


We had a great opening here at Pine Street Art Works yesterday. Nakki Goranin's American Photobooth made it's official exhibition debut as thousands thronged to get in. Just joking - that only happens at Art Hop. But, despite snowy roads and a host of other Burlington happenings, we enjoyed a full house of friends and art mavens.

Nakki Goranin (right) discusses her work with my friends Alison Bechdel and Holly Rae Taylor while other friends and visitors look at the images.

We sold over forty books in two hours, and that hasn't happened here since Alison Bechdel's launch party for Fun Home. Several people showed up because they had heard the interview with Nakki the night before on Vermont Public Radio.  I couldn't have asked for better publicity.