Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dana Major Callahan E

Famous Blue Rain

I returned to the studio today, saw the work for the first time

wall-size layers, Moiré that causes the eyeballs to drift apart, twisting for an explanation.  i see encasing all my sculpted mesh into a neat, tall rectangle lit inside, how my roll of Mylar could be put to good use.

This has to be my lucky day. I saw a fox this morning darting back and forth on my quiet Chicago neighborhood street, aaieey panicked, likely having lost the way off the river bank a couple blocks away.  and of course I talked myself into surely a coyote, or even a dog, or better even just my imagination, and phweee he flew orange and west again between the parked cars and the curb, circling them, there he was, white tail tip delineated with a thin, perfect black line, red and shiny coat like coyotes and dogs can’t even buy, and the black, neatly gleaming eyes of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra.  Pointing his trim, immaculate snout low to the pavement, surveying between tires, then up high in the air, sniffing quick and shallow, over bright white tufted neck and belly, he slunk-pranced, tracking, and figuring the way back to the treed banks, back north north north.

I saw the fox on the way to a clay workshop given by a beloved longest-of-time friend.  I made something out of clay for the first time in … five years.  i will look up fox as totem animal, fox as Jungian symbol, fox as omen, fox as depicted in myth and fable.  I made a clay thing that slumped underneath my hands, disowning me as I coaxed it into being, becoming a better piece than the one I was forming. I gave it the parts of itself, and it gave way under its own weight, because of the abundance of talc and bentonite in the clay making it pliable and slow-stretchy, especially in the absence of grog or sand or any kind of mortaring grit.  My tiered sculpture slid into itself, its lid canted sideways, dumping the additional doo-dads I had lightly affixed when it was right with gravity.  What is the name for the type of substance that acts like a solid when still, and like a liquid when moving?

and then I dusted off and went to a truly great art show downtown.  Strolling the large rooms, looking at the art and the people, I saw, wandering all by himself, either unnoticed or everyone else was keeping their cool about it, I had to walk up in front of a big painting and say, excuse me are you Theo, (meaning Theo Jansen, who is in town preparing for his own show next weekend which is on my calendar in Sharpie marker), and yes there he was too,  so I introduced myself and thanked him for publically describing how the work got hold of his mind, took it over, made itself and its agenda more compelling than any other pursuit, and we chatted for a while about why do anything else, rocking heel to toe both of us, and smiling at the painting, repeating ‘why do anything else,’ until I politely evaporated.

then to the studio

my lucky day.


machine says


Polly come home


stick with me baby


fortune teller


trampled rose


gone, gone, gone,

let your loss be your lesson

killing the blues


your long journey