One Ear Society

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Five minutes of Fame

Guest contributor Monique Lassooji
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has a Wednesday Evening Program called “MOCA by Moonlight”. This is a program aimed to make people acquainted with contemporary art through lectures, hands-on activities inspired by contemporary artists and also through the “5 minutes of Fame”.
It allows local artists to explain how and why they create their art.

In January of this year I went to MOCA, signed up and was told I was up for April the 14th. I felt excited and at the same time nervous because I don’t have a lot of experience doing presentations in front of a large group.

Over the following two months I finished the paintings I wanted to include in my presentation, painted another one for the Show “Circus, Circus” at the Windisch Hunt Gallery and then it became time to work at the presentation itself.
Hoops - oils - 24" x 24"
I put together the presentation and visualize what I want to tell about my work. My partner kept asking me when I was going to write down my presentation and I kept telling him that I would on the day itself. I was still in the stage of deciding which paintings to show, what to tell about them and in what order.

Now it all sounds very calm and collected, but it was not. The mere thought of having to talk in public gave me the jitters and whenever friends would tell me I would do just fine, I thought: “Sure, but I am the one who has to do it.”

On April 14th, I was the first to do a presentation. I had seen a little of the other 3 artists’ work and I was happy about the diversity. I had written down a few words to guide me and I knew exactly the order of the slides. I started by telling them a little about Holland and how I started as an abstract painter. Then I showed my first paintings here – all nudes – and how the difference between Holland and Miami inspired me to do nudes. I described my move to Miami as “moving from the fridge into the microwave”.

My next set of slides was about my series “Fresh from the Fridge” where the content of my fridge inspired me to paint fruits and vegetables for a showing in the Focaccia, Coconut Grove.

While I was talking about this series, I calmed down, especially when I heard a whisper that sounded like “Wow, look at that.” I told the audience a little anecdote about how my partner, by mistake, took a bite out of one of my models.

I closed the presentation with my last 3 paintings called “Transitions” which are really personal paintings. With these paintings I picture my feelings about my transition from Holland to Miami: to start again with nothing and to find my place here. They are not gloomy paintings but painted with bright “sunny” colors. I live in the Sunshine State in a beautiful city and even when it is not always easy, I do not regret it.

After answering some really interesting questions from the audience, Lark Keeler, the assistant curator of the MOCA asked me what I would do next.
“Less fruits, more nudes” was my reply.

Then I enjoyed the presentation and work of the German painter Jutta Rakoniewski, the whimsical robots by Mike Rivamonte and Gerry Stecca’s clothespins installations. A week later Lark Keeler told me that I was the audience choice recipient and that MOCA will show one of my paintings on their website.

This is a wonderful opportunity for artists created by MOCA and a really nice way for people to interact with the artists about the why and how behind their work.

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