Thursday, January 13, 2005

Anonymous Was A New York Woman

I know I just linked to Lenny Campello yesterday but he's got more good stuff today on the Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation.

Lenny rightfully thinks it should be called Anonymous Was A New York Woman because eight of the ten latest recipients are New York residents (the other two, J. Morgan Puett and Sarah McEneaney live in Pennsylvania). Even better, one of his readers e-mailed him to let us all know exactly how NY-connected J. Morgan Puett is. Ridiculous*.

Congratulations to Philadelphian Sarah McEneaney! Sarah had a really good show at Reynolds Gallery here in Richmond last January, my favorite piece was called Sisyphus and showed Sarah pushing a heavily-laden table across her studio floor. Sarah's paintings are autobiographical and usually feature herself, but my all-time favorite McEneaney is a "portrait" she made of Philadelphia Inquirer art critic Ed Sozanski. I understand that she had received a fairly unfavorable early review from Sozanski and in response painted a frontal portrait of him in the gallery looking sternly at one of her paintings and scribbling in a notebook. The background is identifiable as the truly beautiful Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum and various McEneaney's can be seen hanging on the walls. I'm not sure if Sarah had actually showed at the museum, but I do recall an excellent Judith Stein-organized Horace Pippin show there that Sarah probably saw.

The funny thing about Sarah's Sozanski portrait is that she had no idea what he looked like at the time so instead relied on a friend's description, and ended up with a portrait of Sozanski that actually doesn't look at all like him. I have long coveted this portrait, since I first saw it at Charles More's gallery in *gulp* the eighties? Maybe it was early nineties. I couldn't afford it then and I certainly can't afford it now, but that's irrelevant because Sarah won't sell it. You can read some of Sarah's better reviews here, including some from Roberta Smith.

For those keeping track, we can now add the Anonymous Was A New York Woman Foundation to the list along with The New York Academy In Rome, The New York Book Award, and Vitamin Deficiency. Tedious to New Yorkers, I know, but not to the rest of us.

*my saying this is ridiculous has nothing to do with the artists or their work, only the selection process.