Composure

James Maurelle, Nile, 2014, copper, brass, solder, 44 x 17 x 10″

“When history is written as it ought to be written, it is the moderation and long patience of the masses at which men will wonder, not their ferocity.”

– C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins

Of late, our existences have been so very circumscribed. And while we hear – in news reports that keep television sets glowing 24 hours a day – of altercations and frenzies grown out of the impatience and exhaustion of pandemic, we do not hear of the countless quiet hours spent in waiting. It becomes easy to point to a relative few who have upended the rules of civil society, forgetting the majority who have not. We are, by and large, a species capable of comprehension and compassion, given to doing what is right for those whose very lives depend on our adherence to what is safe and what is right.

Javier Orcaray spoke to us from Spain at the one-year anniversary of the Coronavirus pandemic. Throughout this time, Orcaray has learned to adapt to changing circumstances. His major project at the moment is opening a new space for the arts and the community. In 2010, Orcaray co-founded an artist residency where over 250 artists spent residency periods. He went on to establish other residencies and art spaces including Plata, which opened in 2020 and is a place where he and his collaborators can work with artists and curators to bring events to the community. Orcaray and his team operate as a nonprofit, receiving funding from memberships as well as grant opportunities. To hear more about Plata and other ventures, as well as discussion about the role of art in the community and the world, listen to the complete interview.

James Maurelle spoke to us from Philadelphia. Over the last year, COVID has affected his life in multiple ways. His wife is an essential worker, which brings with it anxiety about the family getting ill. Maurelle himself teaches over zoom these days and sets aside time on Tuesdays and Thursdays for his studio practice. A sculpture, sound and video artist, and photographer, Maurelle is finishing up work for an exhibition with the Cue Foundation. The fight for control of the waters of the Nile River has served as inspiration for some of Maurelle’s past work. He constructed a sculpture using copper plumbing pipes – Maurelle’s grandfather was a plumber who taught the trade to Maurelle’s father though his father became an architect. For this work, Maurelle used materials from the trade of plumbing to speak to the control of resources. To hear more about this work as well as Maurelle’s more recent work and his upcoming Cue Foundation show, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Do not despair of humankind because of the actions of a few.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Javier Orcaray has been reading poetry of late. James Maurelle is reading The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James.

Deadlines:

BIPOC artists are encouraged to apply for residency with the Nicholson Project. These three month periods offer time, space and support as well as $2000/month during the residency period. All selected artists reside for free throughout their time with the project. For more information and to apply, visit the website. Deadline for applications is April 15.

Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.

 

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