Where in the World is Brenda? Art gone missing…
I’m married to an artist, Tim Folzenlogen. In 2002, Tim was living in Washington Heights, making art full time and launching interactive projects constantly. He exhibited his work on a rotating basis at a little cafe called Capo Verde. One month, he was showing a series of nude charcoal drawings and posted a notice alongside the exhibit. In Tim’s own words from his website:
I never try to sell anything. I don’t post price lists or anything. But this time, I put up a sign that said the drawings were for sale for $200 each OR – they could come to my studio and pose in the nude for me for 3 hours, and then pick a drawing from a stack.
“Age, sex, body-type doesn’t matter.”
“Wow. What would that be like?” (said my notice).
No one has called yet. I don’t know if anyone will.
Of course, I’d like it if they would, but that’s a future movie that may or may not happen.
But for me, the notice, the written sign, those words, that was my art. My painting.
I wanted to implant in the readers mind the fantasy of standing naked in front of another human being.
65 year old grandmother, the rich businessman, the overweight girl, the buff gay dude, the housewife, the nanny, the guy who thinks he’s so cool.
Everyone should carry such thoughts, and keep turning them over and over.
Standing naked in front of a stranger.
Telling someone, someone who is completely different than who you are, your deepest thoughts, fears, hopes and desires.
Observing how the other responds. Listening to their story in return.
It’s the magic medicine that will heal the world.
One day, Brenda called. Brenda was at that time, an opera student at Juilliard, and has the distinction of being the only individual who decided to take Tim up on his project idea. You can read about the entire project here, read the essays and view the pastels and photos that resulted from those sessions. At the time I thought it would be cool to hear from Brenda about her experience, and so the final page of the project was written by Brenda, entitled Thoughts from the Couch. As cool as I think the Brenda project concept was and still is, that is not the reason for my post today. The Brenda series has gone missing. The entire pastel series was last seen in Germany, in the care of a curator/artist who called herself anaximander. One day anaximander reached out to Tim by email and asked if she could exhibit the Brenda series in her gallery. And so he shipped the pieces to Germany. We received postcards of the show from overseas, a few photographs of the exhibit, and then poof! nothing. The gallery mysteriously closed. Brenda disappeared, far across the ocean.
I used to get mad at Tim and tell him he needs to be more careful about his work, track his inventory dilligently, exhibit work with people he knows, etc. etc. etc. Once I realized I was spitting in the wind, I stopped getting mad. Tim would always say, Well, the work is out there, somewhere, having a life of its own. Someone is looking at it. Enjoying it, hopefully, it will turn up someday. Meanwhile, I hope its hanging on someone’s wall.
Still, I wonder now and then, whatever happened to Brenda? Or the mysterious anaximander? Is she out there? Where in the world is Brenda? Have you seen her? If so, please let me know! Image one: 5 minute charcoal sketch, Tim Folzenlogen, Art Student’s League, Image two: Brenda No. 3 , pastel, 2002, Image three: Brenda No. 7, photograph, 2002.