Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"the first step was the hardest...." by John Minkoff

This piece by Chicago artist John Minkoff is titled "the first step was the hardest....". It will be in the Poetry Scores Art Invitational on Friday, Nov. 21 at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary, 3100 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood. The event will run 6-10 p.m., with free beer partly donated by Schlafly.

John notes the dimensions are 20" x 16" (plus border) and suggests a $30 minimum bid. All art at the invitational will be on sale in a silent auction setting, with starting bids set by the artists (and set low - like John did). Every year, this makes for steals.

John's title, like the titles of all of the pieces in the show, is drawn verbatim from K. Curtis Lyle's great poem about 9/11, Nailed Seraphim. That's the idea behind a Poetry Scores Art Invitational: artists respond to the same poem, title their work with a scrap of language from the poem, then we hang their pieces in the space according to where in the flow of the poem the title appears.

The language John chose appears very early in the poem, in the first movement of a seven-part long poem. Here is a little more context for the line:


1. Descent From The Stars

The first step was the hardest
Like the first word of a poem
The pen scratching uncertainly
But indelibly, across the paper stairs
Of the babbling tower

The first step was the hardest
The heaviest
But, he didn’t stumble


Since the title "the first step was the hardest...." appears so near the beginning of the poem, John's piece will hang near the beginning of the show. Almost certainly, the first piece encountered by people who walk into Hoffman LaChance on Nov. 21 will be "Nailed" by Gene Harris, since "Nailed" is the first word in the title, which opens the poem.

I could carry on and on about my good friend John Minkoff. As far as academics go, he studied painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA, 1997) and painting at Indiana University (MFA, 2000). We grew up together in a couple of rock bands, Enormous Richard and Eleanor Roosevelt - and he's still my favorite electric guitar player.

Between now and the event on Friday, Nov. 21, we'll try to post up at least one of the works of art from the show every day as a teaser and reminder. So come on back, ya hear?

Any questions about the event, email Chris King at brodog [@], but of course with no brackets or spaces in the email address. For the original press release with the complete list of artists, come hither.

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