Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Freud, Marilyn and Bette Blank

Sleet, slush, ice on the windshield, wet boots, pond-size puddles, hungry children, a 4:30 am wake-up call from the school, and a brand new bill from the snow plow man. If it's January and it's snowing, my kids must be off from school again, yippee!

This has been the longest winter on record---at least in our house. Between sickness, snow, Martin Luther King and those regularly scheduled weekend days off, one or both of my kids has been home eleven out of the past thirteen days. I'm supposed to be teaching and writing the Great American Novel and instead, I'm wondering if we have enough macaroni and cheese for lunch. I have to admit that there were moments in the not-so-distant past when I briefly contemplated home-schooling my kids. No more anxiety over parent-teacher conferences, co-chairing book-fairs or angling to go on the better field trips for me. No more mandatory assemblies, middle school mischief, long bus rides or answering science questions in complete sentences for them.

Right now, my kids are playing ping pong. My older son managed to sneak in the last episode of the third season of "Weeds" while I was helping my younger son conjugate the verb "tomar." I jumped at my mother's offer to take them out for lunch. In a few minutes, I'm dropping them off at "The Green Hornet." Obviously, home-schooling is a piss-poor idea for our family.

With all the bad weather harassing New Jersey, I started grabbing for tomorrow this morning. It didn't help that our refrigerator seems to want to break down and cry too---it feels wrongly warm in there.

Given all this, there seemed to be nothing left to do this afternoon but eat great quantities of chocolate and contemplate truth and beauty, which arrived in the form of an email from Bette Blank. Bette Blank is one of these women who does it all. A former chemistry and physics professor, mother, grandmother and wife, Blank is a startling great, funny and inventive artist who changed careers mid-life. A friend who used to represent New Jersey artists took me to her house a few years ago to see her work. I was blown away. Blank's paintings are gorgeous, colorful, and provocative (see Freud and Marilyn above, and Henny Youngman, left.) She is a painter and a word-smith and her paintings are detailed, witty and memorable combinations of (sometimes) iconic pictures and phrases. Blank makes you stop, think, look closely and grin, and on this gloomy, rainy day, that's a beautiful thing. Next Wednesday, January 26, some of her paintings appear in the group show "Ex Libris," which opens at Adam Baumgold gallery in the city (http://www.adambaumgoldgallery.com, 60 East 66th St., between Park and Madison, 212-861-7338). Check her out there or her website, http://www.betteblank.com.


  1. . . . wishing the snow will subside and can actually return to our "routine" lives . . .

  2. The longest winter yet? It's only mid-January, or as the Wicked Witch of the West once said, "You call that far? Why you've only just begun." (insert emoticon for evil shrieking laughter here)

  3. Everything is longer in New Jersey!