August 7, 2015 Repository 179: Posted In: contemporary art, exhibition of note, perspective, philosophy, social critique

"Empathy is Attention and Focus With Feeling", Catherine Haley Epstein

“Empathy is Attention and Focus With Feeling”, Catherine Haley Epstein

As with all of life’s major events (e.g. moving, marrying, birthing) life in the past few weeks has been full of intensity. For the past couple of years I’ve been focusing my artwork exclusively on the art of forgetting, as inspired by the myth of Psyche. With the work on the walls and in public this week, it is only right that serendipity would run its course and throw me curve balls as I share this with loved ones and strangers.

A week or so ago I randomly recommended to a colleague the classic book on the flow of gifts (art) and the modern market  titled “The Gift” by Lewis Hyde. I then proceeded to search for Mr. Hyde’s goings on, and my search yielded his web site with articles, works in progress, and recent events. Great to see!! It is truly one of my favorite books as a practicing artist, who at times knows too much about the market economy and the arts at any given point to do me any good. His thoughts are eloquent, urgent even now, and comforting knowing someone has taken such care with this highly ruminated and rarely spoken about issue among artists.

On his web site I found he has a book under contract titled “A Primer on Forgetting”. I sent him a note to share my obsession with forgetting and its benefits, and actually heard back from him! So indeed he is putting this book together, and while we shared a message back and forth, he even offered up a reading on the waters of forgetfulness for me to consider as it relates to Psyche’s tale. Here is a link to an 8-minute reading of the new book on Harvard’s web site:

The essayist, translator, poet, and cultural critic Lewis Hyde reads excerpts from his new book, A Primer for Forgetting, which is forthcoming in 2015 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In this book, he explores not only the limits of memory, but also instances in which forgetfulness is more useful than memory.

Glad to know I’ve coincided with the pulse of serious intellectuals, especially Mr. Hyde’s*. So about the reading he suggested to me on the waters of forgetfulness, and my exhibition which begins officially tomorrow. Among the works are 5 images of waterfalls and 3 or 4 titles referencing waterfalls. So water runs deep in importance with the theme of forgetting, and with Psyche and her waterfall. Stating the obvious it’s the reason why if you watch a movie or TV show and something really bad happens the protagonist usually takes a shower, a waterfall, to forget that which was. Sunday morning at 3:35 AM I woke to the sound of water. My toilet blew a gasket, and had been running for many hours. Three floors of my house were damaged by the waterfall. Life does imitate art.

Wish me luck as I share the work – as most artists know when your work is outside the studio, it’s a bit like taking a subway ride from 86th Street to Grand Central Station in your bathing suit. Peace and love – and thanks for reading!!

* It just so happens that another more recent book of Hyde’s is also right up my alley – my Coloring Book is a test of copyright, homage and lessons in how you learn – his book “Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership” is a powerful read on the Cultural Commons and the history of the idea of sharing knowledge. Thanks for more urgent, thought-provoking work Mr. Hyde!

“We dream in order to forget” – Sir Francis Crick

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