Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Libby Reuter turns the twin towers into bookends

About the only thing I can say about these two pieces by Libby Reuter, which she categorizes as "louminaries," is to click twice on the picture so you can take a better look. Then, since that still won't satisfy you (it doesn't satisfy me), come down to Hoffman LaChance Contemporary (3100 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood) from 6-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21 and take a closer look at the real things.

These two, strange beauties are Libby's submissions to Poetry Scores' 2008 Art Invitational, which is devoted to K. Curtis Lyle's crazy poem about 9/11, Nailed Seraphim. As Thom Fletcher noted when taking this photograph for his Flickr site, when seen together they evoke the twin towers that came down on 9/11. Spooky.

However, they won't be displayed together at the invitational. In our shows, artists respond to the same poem, title their resulting piece after a verbatim scrap of language from the poem, and then we display the pieces according to where in the flow of the poem the language they choose for their titles appears.

For the piece to the left, above, Libby chose this title -

Mortice caught on fire
And got completely fullfilled.
He came back home
And got completely cancelled.

- which is very near the end of the poem. For the piece to the right, she chose -

Indelibly across the paper stairs

- which is very near the beginning of the poem. The twin towers now start to look like very ornate and beautiful bookends.

And laborious to make! I don't know Libby - this show was curated by committee; I don't even remember which of us brought Libby to the party - but she must be an incredibly generous person to share these pieces with our show, which is a silent auction where we encourage artists to price themselves low. Bidding on these pieces starts at $30 (!) and $25 (!). Bidding on them will start very early.

Since I don't know Libby, I looked her up. She is the Executive Director and Curator for the William & Florence Schmidt Art Center at Southwestern Illinois College and recently served as Associate Dean for Community Relations at Washington University School of Art.

She collaborated with architects and developers on the design of the Washington University lofts and the Des Lee Gallery at 1627 Washington Avenue and has devoted much of her career to public art projects.

Since my personal blog is called Confluence City, the following river letter that she sent to Exquisite Corpse really caught my eye. It captures such a beautiful spirit that I want to share it in full:


I'm a St. Louis Artist who received your email about the documentary you are planning on the Mississippi River. I have been interested in the river and have some work/ideas that might be of interest to you.

I have a series of watercolors from maps of the confluence of the Miss and Missouri Rivers beginning with Maquette map of 1675 and each 100-year interval plus a 1993 flood map. At the base of each map is a cross section through the area showing settlement, rivers being hidden, pollution from coal, yada yada. Might be something you could use.

I have a proposal for a project called "Fishing for Rivers" which involves fishing with a bottle at 5 locations along the Chain of Rocks bridge to illustrate the different colors, density of waters from the two rivers that don't actually mix until they are east of St. Louis.

Have you seen the water intakes on the Miss. river just south of the confluence of the Miss and Mo? Like German castle turrets. I'd love to boat out there and spend the night. Bed and breakfast on the river anyone?


This letter wasn't addressed to me, but I have an answer for you, Libby: Yes!

In addition to the free art and free Schlafly beer, the show on Friday will feature Curtis performing his poem, backed by Baba Mike Nelson, David A.N. Jackson and Christopher Y. Voelker.

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