INTERVIEW: GWEN CHANZIT, CURATOR OF WOMEN OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM
Abstract Expressionism made its first appearances in the United States in the early 1940s, though nobody was calling it that yet. By the end of the decade, art critic Robert Coates helped turn it into a named and nameable thing and Abstract Expressionism as we now know it morphed into a bonafide capital A&M Art Movement with painters like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko at its center. As the story goes, the expressive generativity of modernist masculinity embodied by these painters was the creative locomotive of midcentury experimentations with form in painting.
But all stories are partial and unfinished and the avant-garde practically begs us to make revisions plural and continual. We can, for example, include the women who have been mostly left out of the canon of Abstract Expressionist artists. This, in turn, might help us to speak differently about modernity, our bodies — even formalism itself — and then even to start painting differently because we see as though we have new eyes.
Dr. Gwen Chanzit, the curator of Modern Art at the Denver Art Museum, generously agreed to answer a few questions for us about the Women of Abstract Expressionism show that is on display there until September 25.
tonight, i marched with friends and strangers to denounce the things trump stands for. the crowd gathered at capitol hill, walked to the 16th street mall, back down colfax, and then to the capitol again. the sentiments were clear:
“my body, my choice!”
“say it loud, say it clear: immigrants are welcome here!”
“black lives matter!”
“no trump, no kkk, no fascist usa!”
“love trumps hate!”
i saw so many families out, witnessed a lesbian couple getting engaged, rallied with fellow protesters to break up a scuffle, and saw more hugs exchanged between strangers than i think i ever have in my life.
this is what unity looks like. this is what democracy looks like.
stand up. scream loud. defend yourself and your neighbors. this presidency may very well be inflicted upon us, but we don’t have to swallow it with grace.
being “understanding” of trump supporters is to be “understanding” of violent bigotry. don’t lash out violently as they do, but shout it from the top of your lungs at every opportunity:
Summary: In 2000, John Winchester opened the door to his current motel room and found a little girl at his feet, sleeping peacefully with a fuzzy white blanket tucking her in a wicker basket. Now, nearly 16 years later, (Y/N) has still yet to find herself in the world of the Winchesters.
Warnings: Season 11 spoilers, cursing, violence (I think that’s it)
A/N: Just wanted to thank you all so much! I have been in a dark place for the longest time, and knowing that there are you guys who like this story has made me unbelievably happy. I’m not going to bore y’all with details, so here’s the second part. Also, I tried finding the types of motorcycles that are in the Men of Letters bunker, but I could not. If you know, could you tell me? Thank you and enjoy! (tags are at the bottom).
(Y/B/M) = your birth month
It’s been a full seven days since my last outburst at school. A hundred-sixty-eight hours and counting, and all I can feel is jitters. I. Can’t. Sit. Still.
My leg bounces uncontrollably under the table while my fingers drum on the tabletop. I try to focus on the paper due for my Forensic Science class, but my mind keeps moving on to other things. More important things than summarizing a forensic fiction novel.
My fingers thread through my hair before I push away from my desk and scurry into the hallway. I need some air.
“Cas!” Dean shouts, his voice carrying and bouncing off the tiled walls. I run towards the room in which the voice originates from, finding Sam and Dean hovering over Cas’s twitching body in the library.
“What’s going on?” I question, adrenaline pouring into my veins making my shaky hands worse. “What’s wrong with Cas?”
“(Y/N), stay back,” Sam softly commands, slightly pushing me back towards the table. “Go get water.”
“This is part of what Rowena did, isn’t it?” I try to take a step forward, but Dean stops me.
“Go get some water,” Dean demands before turning his attention back to his friend. I glare at the back of their heads before hurrying to the kitchen to fetch a glass of water. When I return Castiel is back in his chair, sweating even more than before, and Dean takes the glass from me and sets in on the table before instructing me to go back and finish my homework.
My hands ball into fists and my teeth grip the inside of my cheeks. Don’t do it. “Is Castiel okay?” I force out, trying to even my breaths. “He’s my friend too.”
“I’m okay, (Y/N),” Castiel interrupts Dean from giving me another order. I push past Dean, picking up the glass of water and handing it to Cas. He most certainly not okay.
Dean takes a seat across from Sam while his fingers tap on the keyboard like there’s no tomorrow. Most likely looking for a case or something that revolves around their current struggle. They try to keep me away from the stuff they hunt and the struggles they have, but I still hear them talking. This time around, they’re battling The Darkness.
From what I’ve heard, this is going to be even worse than either apocalypse.
I sit in the chair next to Castiel, examining him closely as I try to figure out what the hell Rowena did. Even though I never met her, I know she’s a witch and what she vaguely looks like, all thanks to Charlie.
“Listen to this, maybe something here,” Sam says, drawing my attention away from Castiel. Sam’s eyes are on the screen of his laptop as he continues, “Uh, in Denver, three women were at this Cafe Elta, when their waiter- for no apparent reason- stabbed and killed one; one survived and the third vanished after furniture seemed to slide around by itself.” Sam scoffs at the article before glancing to Dean asking, “What do ya think?”
Dean doesn’t answer him, but simply pulls out his phone, calling the local police station.
I jump from my seat as Sam stands from his. “I wanna come.” I blurt, standing tall in my spot and narrowing my eyes at them. “I want to help.”
“No, (Y/N).” Sam doesn’t even take a moment to think about it and I glare at him for it.
“Why not? I’m going to be 18 in (Y/B/M). And don’t give me that “it’s for your own good” bullshit.”
“You have school tomorrow.”
“Let me skip school, you two did it all the time growing up.” I point out, stepping closer to Sam while he gathers his computer and books. “I want to help save Cas.”
“We don’t want you growing up like us,” Sam says softly, trying to stay quiet so the officer on the phone with Dean can’t hear us. “We’re trapped in this life, you’re not.” He walks away, heading towards his room so he can pack for the trip. I cross my arms, looking to Dean and readying myself to continue the argument with him, but he collects his things and leaves the library with the phone tucked between his shoulder and cheek.
Huffing, I crumble into the chair Sam was sitting in, burying my face in my arms.
I don’t wanna have to worry about their safety. I can’t keep doing it.
“I’m not going with them,” Cas coughs and I lift my head to look at him. “You won’t be alone again.”
I smile weakly at him.
“Let me go with you, please?” I plead, adjusting my bag straps on my shoulder. I pout, hoping I can work my puppy eyes on Dean and Sam, but Dean just smirks at my attempt. He wraps an arm around my shoulders, pulling me into a tight hug, giving me a kiss on the top of my head.
“Be good, okay?” Sam says, wrapping his arms around my shoulders once Dean had let go. “Don’t get expelled while we’re gone.”
“Okay,” I bury my face in his chest, wrapping my arms around his middle. “Promise you’ll make it back?”
“This is a milk run,” Dean smiles. “We’ll be back before you know it.”
That’s what Sam said last time.
I nod, weakly smiling as I step away from the Impala, watching as the two giants tuck themselves in the front seat. They wave good-bye before Dean hits the gas peddle and speeds off down the road. Once I can no longer see the car, I pick up my helmet and head back into the garage. I push out my 1932 Harley Davidson Flathead before shutting the doors behind me. It’s technically not mine, but it was left here by the previous Men of Letters and since no one was using it, I had Dean help me fix her up.
Securing my bag on my shoulders and making sure my helmet is on properly, I start the engine and it roars to life. The journey from the bunker to Lebanon High School on a map seems very long, but in reality, it’s too short for my liking.
I like school, but I don’t like the people there.
I park in the first spot that I can find and tuck my helmet under my arm as I make my way to the front entrance, watching from afar all the kids that pile in. We’re a small town, not many children my age… not many people actually. About 400 people actually.
Scurrying to my first class, I tuck myself behind my desk and place my book bag on the floor near my feet. I start to day dream, wondering what kind of things my brothers are doing at the moment.
Why can’t I help them? I’m not wanted at this school.
I watch as the room fills with blabbering teenagers, squirming a little in my seat as they glare at me. They know I’m an outsider. They know that my brothers and I have only been here a couple of years. And I feel like they know everything about me.
The school day drags on, and all I want to do is go home and spend my weekend watching movies with Castiel and try so desperately to not focus on the fact my brothers could be hurt as I’m sitting here in a cafeteria munching on Lays chips and observing the behaviors of my fellow classmates.
“Do you have to stare?” A girl sitting at the table across from mine questions, flipping her long brunet hair over her shoulder and glaring at me. “Do you think you’re better than us or something?”
I raise a brow at her, ready to bite back. However, I think better of it and choose to stuff another chip in my mouth.
“What? Not even going to answer her?” The blond guy sitting next to the brunet snaps back. “You’re right, Karen, she thinks she’s better than us.”
“Well you’re not,” the brunet, Karen, hisses, swiveling in her chair to face me. “Your family is poor and useless. Your brothers are nothing but alcoholics in line to die from liver cancer.” She spits and I clench my fists under the table. My body screams for me to lock my fist with her jaw and connect my foot with the blond’s crotch, but I can’t.
My brothers will be pissed.
“You and your brothers are filthy and don’t belong here.” Karen continues and I hold on tight, fighting back the words I want to say, the actions I wish to take. I have to force myself to imaging I’m breaking the mirror in my bathroom, the mirrors in the bunker while chanting, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t-
“Aah!” I glance up from my lap, watching as the window panes break apart and fall on top of the teens closest to them. The kids wearing glasses toss them off their face, the glass in the lenses breaking and cutting their cheeks. The students scream, running for cover under the balcony, protecting them from the raining mirror shards that fall from the roof.
I gasp, ducking out of the way and hiding under the table. My eyes connect with Karen’s before they fall to her arm that’s sliced open from the glass. I wince, pulling away from the break in the table where a few fragments slipped through and stuck to my shoulder.
The glass stops falling, leaving the cafeteria floor sparkling like a child recklessly tossed glitter while they were pretending to be a fairy. A teacher makes his way to aid Karen’s wound and another teacher begins to sweep a path to my table. She offers her hand to pull me out, but I’m too stunned to take it.
I did this. The ceiling was never mirrored. I did this.
“(Y/N), C’mon,” the teacher says, and I pull my eyes away from the mirror fragments. I can’t bring myself to take her hand as the burning from the open wounds in my shoulder scream at me.
I did this.
What’s wrong with me?
“We need to clean your shoulder, come out.” The teacher demands, and I feel tears slip out of my eyes. She takes it as a sign of my pain and assures me everything will be okay. But these tears are not due to the pain in my shoulder, they’re because I’m scared.
It’s not going to be okay. If Sam and Dean find out what I did, they’ll hate me. They’ll push me away. They’ll kick me out.
They’ll leave me.
The teacher grabs my hand, having enough, and pulls me out from under the table. She helps me to my feet and walks me to the nurses office while I sort through my thoughts, trying to plan what to tell them if they find out what happened. They’ll defiantly find out, but what if they think it’s not me. That’s possible right?
Officials estimate 200,000 people joined in the Women’s March on Denver today.
It was amazing! So uplifting and inspiring to see so many of my Colorado brothers and sisters band together and commit to upholding the progress we’ve made in this country. We are many. We are strong. We will not sit idly by while Trump tries to take us back into the dark ages.