Image Above: ©Andrea Blanch (https://www.facebook.com/museemagazine1/videos/728208467289815/?l=5531288502651118976)
Last Sunday, Raymond Learsy and Melva Bucksbaum, friends and Musee supporters, opened a new installation at the Granary in Sharon, Connecticut, where their renowned collection is housed. Attended by such art community luminaries as Jasper Johns, Marilyn Minter, and Tom Krens, the show looks back at the collectors’ lifelong passion, what Ray calls his “lingua franca,” art. I was honored to be invited to the event, and what I found there was well worth the five hour train ride from the city to Sharon and back. Artists represented in the exhibition included Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, Jill Greenberg, Andres Serrano, among many others. Ray and Melva were such gracious hosts, and their deep love and knowledge of art in all forms came through in this fabulous and extensive exhibition. As Ray discusses in his introduction (below), A Life Journey, the show takes a thoughtful and personal look at his life, the events through which he lived, and the power of art to convey sentiments where words fall short:
Invitation for the even on Sunday 7th of June. Photo credit Brian Wilcox.
There comes a moment in someone's life when one feels obligated to take stock and ask what have I as an individual experienced in my life's journey to which I have borne witness and has been singularly meaningful both to me or for that matter, resonating in the annals history in a far larger sense.
For much of my life art has been my "lingua franca", a means of communicating beyond regional dialect and over the many borders beyond which I have traveled. Collecting art, associating with its society and craft, has been a life-long passion. It is a world with it's own language and wonder. I have found its language touches deeply, poignantly and frighteningly to the very core of being.
Of course my life, as either a spectator or participant in the world of art and its institutions, was but an adjunct to the greater issues and events in which the coincidence of time situated me. The throes of events unfolding during my lifetime, well beyond my personal control, but rather visitations of destiny, to which I was both witness and on occasion, protagonist and/or participant. It is art with its language of magic that has helped me touch on the truths and revelations where mere words might not have been adequate, in that the artist in his work, voice, instinct, subsumes a visceral portrait of events where words might not have sufficed.
©Andrea Blanch (Left: Raymond Learsy with a friend; Right: Jasper Johns)
These ruminations are not meant as an autobiography in measure or depth, but more a highlight of events significant to the years I have lived as seen and felt by the artists' vision. Whether it was the detonation of the atomic bomb when I was a youth, so dramatically bringing the all-consuming Second World War to an end, the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy, to the frightful devastation of 9/11 in the very neighborhood where we were living and witnessed at that moment.
Yes, there are references to persona; and family experiences, touching on the sinews of some of the events that have become history, be it the criminality of WWII to the frightfulness of 9/11. There is also the homage to the American ethos that I ave witnessed in my years, exemplified by the Civil Rights Movement with all its courage, amid myriad setbacks, fighting to achieve a living equality for all of the nation's citizens while at another time, in another place in my lifetime, another nation chose to murder an integral part of its nationhood and forever changed its history.
©Andrea Blanch (Right: Melva Bucksbaum)
It is the mood and the tenor of these events that this exhibit tries to capture, rather than the grim historical facts themselves. To help understand, here humbly and elsewhere in greater dimension, that art can lead us to inner truths that we would be hard pressed to fathom, that words alone would be hard pressed to permit us to feel and viscerally understand.