Artists in My Life
Published by: New Village Press
240 pages, 148.00 x 210.00 mm, 71 color illustrations
- ISBN: 9781613321591
- Published: May 2022
Margaret Randall reveals personal stories and profound insights about the artists who most influenced her life.
Artists in My Life is a collection of intimate and conversational accounts of the visual artists that have impacted the renowned poet activist Margaret Randall on her own journey as an artist. Randall writes of each relationship through multiple lenses: as makers of art, social commentators, women in a world dominated by male values, and in solitude or collaboration with communities and the larger artistic arena. Each story offers insight into the artist’s life and work, and analyses the impact it had on Randall’s own work and its impact on the larger art community. The work strives to answer bigger questions about visual art as a whole and its lasting political influence on the world stage.
Randalls describes her motivations: ”I go beneath the surface, asking questions and telling stories. I have wanted to answer questions such as: Why is it that visual art—drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, architecture—grabs me and, in particular instances, feels as if it changes me at the molecular level? How do art and memory interact? How do reason and intuition come together in art? Do women and men make art differently? Does great art change the viewer? Does it change the artist? How does art travel through time?”
Panoramic yet intimate, Artists in My Life brings Margaret Randall’s poetic and photographer’s sensibilities, as well as her superb prose, to these portraits of artists who have touched her life. The examples are far-ranging, from well-known Elaine de Kooning and Frida Kahlo to contemporaries like Jane Norling or the unknown creators of 10,000-year-old petroglyphs and the Nazca lines of southern Peru. Male power, female resistance, the pain of childhood abuse or physical disability shaped the lives and art of some, but all persisted in claiming their independence and unique artistic creativity. This is a fascinating read. ~Louise Lamphere, Past-President of the American Anthropological Association
These essays on the radiant living that art enables are crafted with an eye to scene structure and narrative economy within the accidental landscapes of recollection. Randall’s accounts relate forms as configured differently by artists, many of them women, who have challenged the social calibrations of power and its interpersonal complexities. Animating the work of Elaine de Kooning, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Lucy Lippard, Sabra Moore, Jane Norling, and Barbara Byers, among others, Randall underscores the distinct ways materiality “draws us into meaning” and collective memory. This generous tribute confirms the enduring impact of Randall’s form of storytelling where “perspective is everything”—such that it reconfigures the impact of the singular on the horizon of the plural.
~Roberto Tejada, author of Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness
Margaret Randall’s Artists in My Life clearly shows how a writer can gain sustenance and guidance from the work and the lives of a range of visual artists, photographers, and architects. Randall also gives us a glimpse into the journeys of her own life—the importance of art, community, place, and politics—providing sustenance and guidance to all of us.
~Kenny Fries, award-winning author of In the Province of the Gods
Margaret Randall composes an intimate portrait of influential artists and creators through the lens of a feminist, lesbian, revolutionary, poet and photographer who herself has lived an extraordinary life. . . . Perhaps it’s a product of Covid-19 lockdown but she makes me want to travel in time and place. From the '60s in New York City to “pre-history” Yucatan, this writing is the closest I will ever come. ~Catherine DeMaria, artist, Warehouse 1-10, Magdalena, New Mexico