Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Toast to Hannah

Communicating the loss of a loved one is never easy. It is best done in person but words alone can also provide light in a difficult time. With deep sadness I have to send on news about the death of our beloved family member Hannah Johnson. Hannah passed away Sunday night in a traffic accident, and her husband Matt is fighting for his life in a hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. (Update on Hannah's Husband Matt: Matt is coherent, awake, conversant and stood up today!!)

Hannah believed deeply that all are created equal and that we all deserve an equal share of human rights. Hannah worked tirelessly for marriage equality in California and New Jersey. 

Pictured in this New York Times photo from 2009 is my courageous family member Hannah Johnson tearing up as she applauds a New Jersey Senate committee vote on a bill to legalize gay marriage. The struggle continues in New Jersey and in California
photo by Richard Perry / New York Times

Troy Stevenson, the director of Garden State Equality, wrote about Hannah's passing:

"This is a horrible loss for our organization, our movement, and many of us personally. The last time I spoke to Hannah was just over a year ago, on the day we passed marriage equality. She was my first call. I thanked her for all the work she and her team put in and we cried together about finally getting the votes we had fought so hard for. She told me then how much all of you meant to her, and how the work she did in New Jersey was the most important work she had ever done... That is the effect you had on her, she wanted nothing more than to bring equality to each of you, and to all of New Jersey. In the coming days, we will organize a memorial to celebrate Hannah’s life, and we will share those details when we have them. For now, I think it is important that we lean on each other for support. Some of you may not have known Hannah, but your fellow Garden State Equality members did, and trust me, she was one of the most amazing souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Those who didn’t know her would have loved her if you had, and those that did will love her forever...
As for me, I will never forget her; I will fight even harder in her memory, and I know that each of you will do the same. So, remember, when we win the freedom to marry, and we will win very soon, the first toast goes to Hannah."

For me, I am reminded by Hannah's passing to remember that we are called to take care of each other. Life is precious. Enjoy every second. 
And I know, with Hannah in mind, that I will fight for LGBTQ equality and human rights for all until the end of my days.
As an enlightened sage recently said to me, " Don't waste a single fucking moment of your life."


A celebration of Hannah's life will be held Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison, WI, 53705. 
Hannah's family will be there at 4:00 to welcome friends and family. The service will begin at 5:00. Fellowship and light refreshments will follow the service.

The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, memorials be directed to "Hannah's Fund for Matt" 
at Greenwood's State Bank, 117 No. Main St, Lake Mills, WI, 53551.

Hannah Marie Sinsky Johnson LeBlanc, June 28, 1983 - May 20, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Canti at #artMRKT SF

I Canti at #artMRKT SF by GreggChadwick
I Canti at #artMRKT SF, a photo by GreggChadwick on Flickr.

Thanks to everyone at artMRKT San Francisco for making the event such a big success. I hope to see all of you that I met in San Francisco again real soon. Maybe next time in Santa Monica?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Painted Journey Down the Grand Canal

Canaletto's The Grand Canal in Venice from Palazzo Flangini to Campo San Marcuola, painted around 1738, provides the viewer a gondola ride down Venice's Grand Canal. Compare the 18-century city to the way it looks today in this video produced by the Getty Museum in honor of the painting's recent acquisition.

Music: Antonio Vivaldi: Oboe Concerto in C major (RV 447), Advent Chamber Orchestra. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What’s New This Month: May, 2013

l'Horloge de Baudelaire (Baudelaire's Clock)
Gregg Chadwick
l'Horloge de Baudelaire
40"x30" oil on linen 2013

My paintings will be showcased in the Sandra Lee Gallery booth 
at artMRKT San Francisco - an international art fair held May 16-19, 2013 
Festival Pavilion - Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California. 

I will be speaking at the upcoming “Categorically Not” event on Sunday May 19, 2013 at the Santa Monica Art Studios about my painting process and “what lies beneath” the layers of paint and the layers of ideas that go into each of my works. 
The event will be held in the Arena One Gallery. 
You can see more on this event at the Categorically Not website. 

Study for The City Dreams
Gregg Chadwick
Study for the City Dreams
12"x12" oil on linen 2012

My painting Study for the City Dreams will be in the Silent Art Auction at The 34th anniversary of the Venice Art Walk & Auctions which will take place on Sunday, 
May 19th, 2013 at Google Los Angeles in the Frank Gehry designed Binoculars Building

Review by Jeffrey Carlson in Fine Art Connoisseur:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Astronaut Performs David Bowie's Space Oddity While Orbiting the Earth

by Gregg Chadwick

Tonight, a stunning cover of David Bowie's Haunting song Space Oddity was released from space by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station. The imagery is stunning, reminiscent of the film Moon directed by David Bowie's son Duncan Jones. Sometimes life really does imitate art, even while orbiting earth in a tin capsule in space.

UPDATE: Since I posted this last night, Chris Hadfield's video has gone viral with over a million views and counting!

 David Bowie's Facebook editors loves the clip stating,"It’s possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created." Their Facebook posts continues:
you may recognise the name of one of those involved in its creation.
We’re talking about Chris's fellow Canadian, the lovely Emm Gryner, who was a part of the Bowie live band in 1999/2000. Here’s what she said on her blog ( regarding her involvement:
“The task was in front of me. I came up with a piano part. i then enlisted my friend, producer and fellow Canadian Joe Corcoran to take my piano idea and Chris' vocal and blow it up into a fully produced song. Drums! mellotrons! fuzz bass! We also incorporated into the track ambient space station noises which Chris had put on his Soundcloud. I was mostly blown away by how pure and earnest Chris' singing is on this track. Like weightlessness and his voice agreed to agree.And voila! And astronaut sings Space Oddity in space! I was so honoured to be asked to be a part of this. You wouldn't get too many chances to make a recording like this and not only that, to make music with someone who - through his vibrant communications with kids in schools to his breathtaking photos to his always patient and good-humoured demeanour - has done more for science and space than anyone else this generation. Planet earth IS blue, and there's nothing left for Chris Hadfield to do. Right. Safe travels home Commander! ”

And the New York Times has a nice piece on Chris, the video, and his time in space.


Find out more: Twitter Facebook Google+

 With thanks to Emm Gryner, Joe Corcoran, Andrew Tidby and Evan Hadfield

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Friday, May 03, 2013

Memory Making: The First Emperor's Legacy at the Asian Art Museum

by Gregg Chadwick

China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy
at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco 
photo by Gregg Chadwick

 "I, Sovereign, am the First Emperor; my descendants will call themselves the Second Generation, the Third Generation, and will go on forever after." 
- The First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE) 
   quoted by the historian Sima Qian (145-90 BCE)

China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy currently on view at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco until May 27, 2013 provides tantalizing glimpses of an ancient culture and its rulers' attempts to influence cultural and political memory. Over two thousand years ago, Qin Shihuang - the first emperor of China, began constructing a massive mausoleum to ensure, what Li He, the Asian Museum's associate curator of Chinese art, describes as the personal and political "continuation of the family's ruling position and the long-lasting reign of the dynasty" as well as individual hopes for an afterlife. 

The First Emperor began to plan his eternal place of rest from the moment he ascended the throne. The mausoleum took almost 38 years of hard labor and exquisite craftsmanship to construct. Ongoing archaeological excavations continue to reveal new secrets and hidden cultural treasures created to ensure Qin Shihuang's memory and lineage. Eight human-sized terracotta warriors made the journey to San Francisco. Each figure seems imbued with the ability to speak. Buried in a vast tomb with more than 7,000 comrades, some with horses and chariots, surrounded perhaps by flowing liquid mercury rivers graced by bronze waterbirds and bells, these sculpted warriors were meant to ensure Qin Shihuang's trip through the cosmos and eventual crossing to another realm. According to historian Sima Qian (145-90 BCE) the emperor feared that the creators "might disclose all the treasure that was in the tomb...(that) after the burial and sealing up of  the treasures, the middle gate was shut and the outer gate closed to imprison all the artisans and laborers, so that no one came out." The mausoleum was forgotten over the centuries. The tomb was not revealed until the 20th century, when Chinese farmers found fragments of terracotta sculptures as they attempted to assuage the effects of a drought with a new well. 

Armored General
221-206 BCE China

Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Shaanxi, China

 Installation at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco 
photo by Gregg Chadwick

Rulers and politicians of all stripes are often in the business of memory-making. The recent unveiling of the George W. Bush Presidential Library comes to mind. Since President Calvin Coolidge, all American presidents have a stand-alone presidential library that holds their papers and memorabilia. But the G.W. Bush library is unique in that it is a museum that Rachel Maddow convincingly describes as a ridiculous attempt to make the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq seem like a good idea. Watch the Rachel Maddow video linked here and see if you agree that, as she puts it,"The case to invade Iraq was cooked up, a hoax put upon the nation." With this ridiculous attempt at memory-making by the Bush team in mind, I looked at Qin Shihuang's memory-mausoleum differently than I might have otherwise. What message was the First Emperor attempting to send on to future generations with his vast buried army of exquisitely crafted clay warriors?

Emperor Qin Shihuang used force to break up and subsume noble lands as well as compelling the noble families themselves to move to, his new capital, Xianyang. The emperor freed peasants from their feudal bonds, but then forced them into servitude for the state. Arthur Cotterell in his informative work, The Imperial Capitals of China, describes that the emperor's extensive construction and engineering program imposed a tremendous burden and that "this continued use of conscript labor strained the allegiance of the peasantry, especially when it was maintained by the naked force of cruel punishments." Due to this shift in labor allocations, agriculture suffered and famine ensued. Subsequently in 
209 (BCE), starving, impoverished peasants staged the first large-scale rebellion in Chinese history. 

Was this sculpted army intended as a symbol to the living as well as the dead? With the rebellions that signaled the coming end of Qin Shihuang's short lived dynasty, it is unlikely that the emperor's memory-making had an initial effect on the Chinese populace. Gish Jen in her marvelous new book, Tiger Writing, quotes Chinese author Lin Yutang from his 1935 work My Country and My People, "that the Chinese are given to a farcical view of life, and that 'Chinese humor... consist[s] in compliance with outward form ... and the total disregard of the substance in actuality.'" 

 China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy is an exhibition that provokes cultural and historical critique as well as artistic engagement. Political art is rarely this exquisite. Don't miss it!

China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy includes objects from the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, and the Shaanxi History Museum.

On Site View of Unrestored Warriors
at the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Shaanxi, China
Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Shaanxi, China

More at:

The Imperial Capitals of China by Arthur Cotterell

Terracotta Warriors at the Asian Art Museum  SF Chronicle