Heide Hatry is never boring. Her genius expression comes from a heartfelt authenticity, which she attributes to having grown up on a pig farm. Naturally, in discovering the artist and her work I made a link between her work with pigs and Persephone, as pigs substituted for the goddess in being driven off the cliffs during the Eleusinian Mysteries. In embracing her name, which means pagan, Heide is at the forefront of a new movement revealing what is alive and stirring under the decaying body of the patriarchy.
Imagine it Thick in Your Hair came together quickly as a response to the disastrous oil spill on April 20th, which brought the patriarchal destruction of our planet into high relief. Having a sufficient stock of expired animals in her studio, Heide got to work doing a reverse alchemy. Using dead life forms and organic materials such as oil and tar to mimic the technological abuse of nature’s cyclical processes, the artist brings the observer into participation with the cyclic processes of life/death/rebirth with which creates oil as a natural resource.The result was an exhibition as powerful as it was timely at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge that came together with amazing speed after I closed Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage.
Imagine it Thick in Your HairImagine it thick in your own hair your eyes stuck shut you gouge your scummy finger in your nose to break a way for air the black snot won’t come out you breathe a little, it whistles it’s in your eyes now, burning and your ears are stuffed with sludge now too you can’t even hear yourself scream and while you’re screaming you’re thinking if you can still think that all this oil was leaf and meadow once, turf and forest waving millions and millions of years all this was green life once and even now the glistening black sludge has a sheen of tree-brown in it a sheen of green— forget the pelicans and pretty ducks, this is happening to you you are the one sealed in scum you feel your scalp aching your head trying to breathe did you know we breathe through the skin? only you can’t, not any more, never again, your skin belongs to business now this is the Midas touch of money they trade in your skin on the bourse, there is nothing left of the original you you still are screaming you make hardly any noise your throat is choked with oil you make only a little shushing noise like money changing hands you still worry about he pelicans and the sea turtles you worry about the ducks and cormorants the beautiful anhinga but this is happening to you a tar-black seagull wings still flapping is stuck to your shoulders you can’t breathe any more you pray for the pelicans are you praying for them or to them and you are the pelican nowRobert Kelly
Heide explained the title while we were searching for new specimens for her art on the seashore of Cape Cod. In a YouTube moment that was for me alone, she held up a lock of her hair to relate the mystery of how she managed to extricate herself from her new medium — oil — with it. It seems the follicles absorb the oil. Now, wouldn’t that be a fascinating ritual of a clean-up of the mess of the patriarchy — woman cutting off their locks of hair and throwing them in the ocean!It happens that I discovered a myth relating to hair while checking the shamanic astrology website of Daniel Giamario, the astrologer who taught me about tracking shamanic Venus, a 13 year voyage I wrote about in the handbook for the book, Woman in the 21st Century.I discovered Cayelin K. Casteli’s exquisite Celebrating the Equinoxes during a mystical evening when I made a leap into “galactic thinking” while writing an essay on the work of Dianne Bowen, whose astrology chart, like mine, clicks right into the meridian points. The night I discovered it, Mars made contact with Saturn at the Fall Equinox point, Zero degrees Libra.Here is an excerpt from this illuminating essay:
It is fascinating to note that the Zero Libra point, marking the September Equinox, is currently aligned with the North Galactic Pole. The North Galactic Pole lies 90 degrees north of the Galactic Plane in the constellation of Coma Berenices.* This particular near exact alignment only happens for 144 years, during a 26,000 year cycle as the equinox and solstice points move one degree every 72 years. The exact alignment is happening now. One interpretation of the constellation Coma Berenices is that it represents long beautiful hair. This is a classical story concerning the hair of Berenice, the wife of Ptolemy III of Egypt.
“It happened that Ptolemy had to fight against the Assyrians. Berenice feared for his life and went to the temple to pray that her husband would emerge victorious from the fray. In her anxiety she promised to sacrifice her hair to Venus, the Goddess of Love, if Ptolemy were to return safely.
Berenice was very famous for her beauty. She had beautiful long amber-colored hair which she was very proud of. She asked the royal oracle, Conon, what to do. Conon advised the queen to offer her beautiful hair to Aphrodite (Venus, the goddess of love and beauty) for the safe return of her husband. Berenice did not hesitate, she was willing to sacrifice anything for her dear husband. After weeks of tension and waiting Ptolemy returned safe and sound. The nation rejoiced but when Berenice told Ptolemy about her promise to sacrifice her hair, Ptolemy was very upset because it was the crowning glory of his queen; it was looked after with loving care by Berenice’s ladies-in-waiting, it had the admiration of the nation, and it gave inspiration to the poets.
Nothing, however, would change Berenice’s mind. She went to the temple where her beautiful locks were cut off and laid on the altar by the priests. The next day when the king went to the temple to have a look at his wife’s hair, he was furious to find the hair had been stolen. He summoned the priests and would have put them to death, then and there, had not the court astrologer intervened in the nick of time. “No, no, your majesty, do not blame the priests, it is not their fault, wait until it is dark and I will show you where your wife’s hair is.”
So when day turned into night the astronomer took the king to look at the night sky. “Look! Dost thou not see the clustered curls of thy queen, too beautiful for a single temple to possess, placed there by the gods for all the world to see? Look! They glitter like a woven net, as golden as they were on Berenice’s head.” And there, between Canes Venatici, Bootes, Leo and Virgo, twinkled a mass of very faint stars.
The astronomer declared that Jupiter had descended from Heaven the night before to take the golden locks up to the heavens where they could be admired by the whole world, not only by one nation. The king was satisfied with this explanation and Berenice was delighted that Venus had so honored her.
The essay continues by making a connection between Coma Berenice and Ariadne, which is the theme of the shamanic Mask Tale performance by Suzanne Benton at the opening.
Coma Berenice seems to have been first alluded to by Eratosthenes as Arladne’s Hair in his description of Ariadne’s Crown. It was not known till about 243 BCE, in the reign of the 3rd (Euergetes), the brother and husband of Berenice, whose amber hair we now see in the sky figure. It was the happy invention of this constellation by Conon of Samos (the royal astrologer) that consoled the royal pair after the theft of the tresses from the temple of Ariadne.
The rising Sun at the September Equinox obscures our view of this constellation and the North Galactic Pole. Astronomers consider this region of the sky one of the best for studying other galaxies, because the conditions here are favorable, in essence creating a clear window to see other galaxies. This gives us further clues about what we can tune into during this timing as the brightness of the Sun, also seen as a “doorway (or window?) into the knowing” according to the Upanishads, activates the North Galactic Pole and the constellation of Coma Berenices. This timing then may be an excellent opportunity to more clearly experience our intergalactic connections, and to receive a greater understanding of our relationship to time and space.
The constellation of Coma Berenices also gives us some important clues about this area of the sky. The symbol of hair conjures up many images and mythical stories. In some traditions hair symbolizes our connection to personal power, life force, and strength, i.e. Samson. In the story of Rapunzel her hair symbolized a link to the outside world, and the sacred masculine (Prince) who intended to free her from her prison tower. Other traditions see hair as a symbolic link to the power of thought, spiritual knowing and inspiration, and higher powers.
Daniel Giomario relates the Venus/Mars saga, which will culminate this month with their conjunction in Libra, the sign of the sacred marriage, with the tale of Rapunzel. More on this later! And this writer points to the multi-dimensionality of this convergence, now triggered by the Mars/Saturn conjunction.
The alignment of this seasonal point with the North Galactic Pole lets us know that we are truly becoming more multi-dimensional, as we learn how to consciously exist in many realms simultaneously. Accessing the mysteries from this multi-dimensional perspective enhances our ability to consciously dream the dream onward.
The old rules have been tossed away as the patriarchy dies an agonizing death. We need to cast our ear to the ground and go within in order to make contact with the multidimensional manner that the sacred marriage is entering the collective consciousness. We will be exploring them in this blog!
Meanwhile, gallery owner John Wronoski, was selling off his storehouse of (mostly) dead white male literature at a 50 percent discount.
In September, the shop will move into the basement of Pierre Menard Books, thereby bringing his dual line of business — literary and fine art — into one location. A clear sign of the (r)evolution to come!
Marina Abramovic’s performances are so cosmologically well-timed, you would think she had an astrologer giving her dates. This fall marks the eight-year cycle of her retrograde Venus (natal chart is at left) rising again in Scorpio, which ends the cycle began with her November 2002 The House with an Ocean View at Sean Kelly Gallery.
She finished up this eight year cycle with Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present at MoMA, which has made her an international celebrity, a hot box office attraction and survivor of the longest running performance in history. Moreover, her performance has brought the institution up to technological speed, with live feeds available on the Internet and instant footage available of the transformation of audience into participant.
The End of an Era
is marked by the chart of the performance close, along with a winding down of Neptune crossing the performer’s Aquarian Moon — as reflected in the title of her 2002 performance. Here the ocean becomes the “oceanic” as Chiron made the passage into Pisces during the course of Abramovic’s duration in the plain chair before the bright lights of the MoMA atrium.
Here is what the astrology musings on beliefnet.com say about Chiron in Pisces.
Under the Pisces influence we often throw ourselves to the winds, eagerly willing to sacrifice our individual pain for the bliss of Universal consciousness. This urge for self-sacrifice can, at its worst, exalt the concept of martyrdom and convert it to victimhood. The challenge is to find the rapture of transcendence and surrender without losing ourselves in the process.
The personal cresting of the Aquarian Wave (Neptune separating from Abramovic’s Moon) which presents this challenge is projected through performance (Mars in Leo on the MC) at the apex of a boomerang extending from the Midheaven to the 4th house where personal myths are made. Mars in Leo applying to an opposition to Neptune (within a degree orb of the US Moon at 27 Aquarius) is the apex of a yod formed by the Moon at 26 Capricorn applying to a sextile of Jupiter in tail end of Pisces. Significantly, this is a separating conjunction to Marina’s eighth house Moon (21 degrees Aquarius) that trines Uranus in Gemini.
What this translates into is the transformation of Abramovic’s intimate (eighth house) dialogue with the public (Moon in Aquarius) instantaneously (Uranus) into Cyberspace via the global (11th house) technology of the Internet. This marriage of Heaven and Earth sets a new technological standard for performance art, which Mina Cheon’s Shamanism and Cyberspace brings into a dialectic notably missing from The Artist is Present.
For the course of her performance career, Marina has risked her life (Saturn conjunct Pluto on the cusp of the 1sr/2nd house) to call up the dark feminine (Saturn/Pluto squaring her Jupiter/Venus in Scorpio) to her audiences (Moon in Aquarius filling in a T-Square).
As I see it, her MoMA performance was not simply a bid to fulfill her ambition ( Sagittarius Sun and Mars in the 5th house of fame) to become the ubiquitous Givenchy-clad celebrity of the moment. On a mythical level, it was a public surrender to the collective consciousness to which she now belongs, meaning her life is now a Greek tragedy where the archetype of the dark feminine will be given free play.
With no planets in earth signs or houses, it is dubious Abramovic can prevent this archetype from possessing her. Once, her teaching served this purpose, but it is all too likely that the performer’s new diva status will preclude the humility required for teaching students about self-abnegation. The hunger for love is like a crater in her birth chart (Venus in its fall in Scorpio squaring Pluto/Saturn). How can she expect it to find in a single person when she now has a 24/7 audience in to accommodate? She has taken performance to the upper stratosphere in the 21st century and — in marked contrast to the immobility of her actual performance — the leap out of the art world and into the celebrity stratosphere was the risk of her life.
Americans in particular, need to confront the dark face of the feminine (Kali) to make the paradigm leap into the sacred marriage of the opposites. Marina Abramovic brings this face into form through providing a new experience of celebrity as global projection. Her assuming her celebrity role in her adopted country is reflected by her First House Saturn (8 degrees Leo) on the US north node.
I personally wasn’t interested in the retrospective, as I had seen most of the material before, and was repelled by the vampire persona Marina was projecting in the museum atrium, which Holland Carter effectively described in his May 31 New York Times review: 700 Hour Silent Opera Reaches Finale at MoMA
One of her lifelong heroes is the opera singer Maria Callas, to whom she can bear a striking physical resemblance. Callas was a disciplined, risk-oriented musician, made vulnerable by a voice that began to disintegrate early. Increasingly, as she aged, every performance became an ordeal, an invitation to failure. Her willingness to face failure became the prevailing drama of her life. It was a drama of survival, and her fans had a part in it: she needed them to need her, so they did.
That’s that classic diva dynamic. And what we’re seeing in the MoMA atrium is basically a 700-hour silent opera. Ms. Abramovic, with her extravagant costume, her bent shoulders and her mournful gaze, is the prima donna. Visitors are cast as rapt audience, commenting chorus, supporting soloists. Unpredictability is in the air: Will she make it through the day? Will she faint from pain? Will she cancel at the last minute?
I declared 2004 as the “Year of Marina Abramovic” in the Hartford Courant and wrote several articles about a mythology detected within her art which was balanced by her commitment to teaching, which had been her financial support and focus at the time. Our initial meeting was in the coatroom of the Japan Society, before the 2003 AICA Awards, where we gave her a prize for The House with an Ocean View. And yes, I participated, with a certain dread, in the performance artist’s inevitable trajectory to becoming a global celebrity. The re-creation of her performance on Sex and the City (perhaps that is where she got the idea of re-staging performances?) resulted in my successful pitch to The Hartford Courant, propelling my own rise from local to national critic.
Heide Hatry, whom I curated into Black Madonna and now Woman in the 21st Century, was intent on delivering Marina a rat, as a form of dialogue based on one of the Serbian artist’s videotaped performances. As Heide is connected with the unconscious as few artists truly are, I asked her to write to me about her experience, thinking perhaps it might inspire new insights about Marina’s performance coming at the end of an era.
What immediately struck me is how obsessed Hatry as performer/audience is with time. Could this performance of Marina, coming under the Saturn opposed Uranus, be marking the once ephemeral medium with a new cosmological significance: marking time?
Below is the image Heide sent me, along with the text:
May 26, 2010; 8:46 PM
This is the only useful image so far, but I might be able to get better ones tomorrow, when I will try to go at 6am,
I didn’t get to sit with Marina because first 7 people cut the line and the 9th person sat there until the end.
Whatever, I had a splendid time with T., who wrote this while we were sitting:
(Here I am in line at Marina. It is 11:06 am)
I just got a call from my friend Heide . She’s in line ahead of me so now I am 20 people ahead. She has been here since 9:00 and describes the waiting process as somewhat of a supermarket sweepstakes —- when they open the door into the area everyone runs in and those who were behind can leap in front. She has a bad knee so she can’t run. She brought a friend with her to run for her.
She is now 27th in line and has estimated that if everyone sits for ten minutes, she might make it. I guess I’m 30– two friends of hers before me. But then I may easily be thrown out of line since , technically I have now cut ahead, hence a bum.
I could claim celebrity status or wear a mask of someone who is and jump to the front of the line. I thought of writing something on my neck in magic marker like:” i am a celebrity but you just don’t recognize me.”
My friend Janet kindly sent me a photo of Sharon Stone sitting with ma because she thinks I resemble her. Perhaps that might work .
I doubt I’ll get to sit today . My crabby side about this performance has returned even though some of you convinced me to think about it otherwise. The photo page does give the piece a collective gravitas that is moving but…
Here we are in line, waiting. Other people’s level of absorption is our enemy.
There are people who were here at 5 am and 6 am.
Everything about this makes me uncomfortable which is why I finally decided to do it.? We shall see if I get to and what indeed I will have to report.
Now I have to pee.
What to do!?!
So we will try it tomorrow again – together and if it doesn’t work, we are fine too.
Ciao bella and i will report more later
May 30, 2010; 12:06 PM
I made it on Thursday and it was absolutely worth it.
But the whole experience was very strange:
I arrived at 5.32 am
3 people were in front of me
When we got in the museum at 9.30, there were 12 VIPs waiting in line already.
Because we all had agreed outside that we will insist in the line (there were already unpleasant fights outside) I went in front of the line and told the security woman, (same woman as yesterday) that we will not accept this procedure. She yelled at me to go back to my spot and I went back and I forced the 3 people who were originally ahead of me to come with me to the front.
The woman became angrier but finally agreed and asked the people who hadn’t waited for hours to get in the back of the line. (We let the performers, who where performing over the last 3 months on the 6th floor, get ahead of us, but only because they promised to not sit long.)
The first woman in the row (who had waited even longer than me) didn’t make a clear statement on how long she intended to sit, which sounded like she would try to sit through, so I tried to reason with her, that the situation has changed and that I think it is very selfish to sit long – ( 4 days before the show closes) I think I couldn’t convince her and was at a certain point sure that she was going to sit until the end, but then something very unexpected happened: Marina lowered her head, as she usually does when somebody got up. And stayed that way for about 2 minutes.
Because the woman didn’t leave – and it was really obvious, that she intended that to happen – Marina lifted her arm. In that moment 4 guards jumped into the square and removed her.
It was terrible, like if she was a criminal.
Then somebody had told the responsible people that I had a dead rat in my purse, just before it was my turn, a guy came towards me and said: is it true that you have a dead rat in your purse? I said yes. Then they acted as if that was a bomb. Asked me to leave the line and the museum and not come back. I fought for about 15 minutes and explained that I didn’t want to scare Marina or behave disrespectful, but that I rather thought she would be happy to receive this gift from me.
In any case. They asked me to dispose the rat and then they let me get back – very nervous though, that I would have a different terrible attack in my mind.
I have to say that it helped a lot that this woman in front of me was removed. If I hadn’t seen that they do that, I would have probably acted in a different way, and I was very happy that they didn’t let me run into an unpleasant situation like that.
And then the sitting, it was actually like talking to her. I told her all the things I always wanted to tell her and felt understood. She wasn’t dead, she actually was present, something I didn’t feel before when I looked from outside.
and she recognized me and I felt welcome and it felt as if she liked it as well.
And then the same thing happened again: the third woman, in line from yesterday, sat today until the end.
I couldn’t believe, that the woman, after having had the very same experience a day earlier, would dare to act that way. I am disturbed by this behavior.
Of course everybody wanted to sit as long as they felt, but how could you possibly forget about all these people?
If I was a hard core twitterer or interested in these kind of things I would create a new list of selfish people in the last week, with the amount of minutes they sat….
The woman who was in front of me and removed from the chair wrote about her experience:
This is my comment for her, #1
This is # 4, the German with my “German accent authoritative”
Your honesty is touching (my stupidity somehow too). Yes, I noticed your strange behavior, your inability to make a straight forward statement of how long you were going to sit.
(For other readers: I was in line with #1 the day before, we both didn’t get to sit, because the woman in the black dress, (#3 in line, not calculated the VIPs who got in front of the line) sat with Marina all day until the end. I had asked her as well how long she was going to sit, because I only wanted to wait in line if I had an actual chance, and she told me that she wouldn’t sit for too long)
I wondered why you were not able to be straight forward. Was it because you come from a background, where you don’t believe in that? You explained that you might loose track of time (my response: I think you will be able to tell the difference of 15 minutes and 5 hours,) and that you couldn’t promise me to be able to sit because you wouldn’t know how long the VIPs would stay,…
I realized that you felt very uncomfortable being forced to talk about your planned sitting time again and again, but I didn’t want to risk, that you might have not understood that I thought the behavior of the woman in the black dress was unacceptable. (We are talking about the last week of the show! If it was very important for somebody to sit longer, that person should have done it, when the lines were not that crazy.) I thought the longing of other people in line to have that experience as well, would prevent a human feeling person to sit for a long period of time.
Marina: “If somebody’s sitting there all day, he’s responsible for his conduct, which is depriving other people of the experience. But he has to have his own social consciousness about it, and in the end it’s his decision.”
Even she changed her mind, because of people like you.
I have to say that I am deeply disappointed to read your confession and don’t understand why you wouldn’t use this special opportunity in line and talk about what you really thought? Do you always “try to get past the point of comfort”?
And I suddenly understood why you refused to let the performance artist go ahead of you, (performer on the 6th floor for 3 months) who had promised to stay only for 3 minutes (ok, it turned into 10, but of course you can’t check the time when you are sitting and that didn’t make any difference for us, in front of the line anyway.) You knew that you were lying and figured if he did too, you might be not be able to sit at all.
I couldn’t believe that after we (you, me and #9?) had the experience a day earlier, anybody could possibly not try to hurry up. I don’t know if you stayed, but # 9? sat until the end of the day.
Do you remember what I thought about the people who were doing this? You probably suppressed it and it’s fine, after all, isn’t your experience more important than that from others?
I am not sure weather I should post it on her blog.
I am very happy that I had the experience and I am happy that I didn’t sit (even at the beginning) for the whole day (I am sure I wouldn’t have been able to do that if many people waited, but anyway)
I like Marina’s believe in human behavior and I also like it, that she changes the rules, when she realizes that she was wrong. I guess that’s one thing I love about her: she is so present.
Everybody who took photos of me didn’t sent them, sorry so there is nothing but the one I had sent you,
But there is a video, where we stand in line and I am wearing my labcoat (because it is cold outside i the very early morning in front of the MOMA: http://nancylicious.com/
Just scroll down until you see the video.
Ok I have to run,
and hopefully talk to you soon