Interview by Rachel Axler ‘99
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Monkeys, 1943. Recreated May 3, 2020.
Sock monkeys are not very athletic or independent. With zero muscle tone, they all had to be propped up by Aoife. This scene was a house of cards.
Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930. Recreated April 29, 2020
I lucked out, because this house is about a three minute walk from [our Brooklyn apartment]. Not only is it an eerie echo of the original, but there is a red building to the right (albeit an apartment not a barn), and trees in similar background spots. Costumes were thrown together with items onhand, and instead of a brooch, I had one of the old metal admission "buttons" you used to get at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (When the buttons were retired years ago, I hung onto the ones I still had!)
Dieric Bouts, The Annunciation, about 1450-1455. Recreated April 24, 2021.
One thing I appreciate about this shot is the cat photobomb, at the foot of Angel Gabriel.
Norman Rockwell, Freedom from Want, 1943. Recreated May 17, 2020.
When I met Johnny, I was a vegetarian, but now we roast an organic chicken most Sunday nights - it's one of our compromises. So we just had to wait for the appropriate day of the week to stage this one.
Nicholas Nixon, The Brown Sisters, 1980. Recreated April 13, 2021.
We stood in the lobby of our building because there are nice white walls that match the tone of the sky. Aoife and I took scraps of large construction paper and scribbled some background stuff that would match the tone and texture of the dunes, and cut out some blue construction paper to approximate the shape and tone of the tree by my head. The wild card again was Cian - could we get him to stand still for a few seconds? Barely!
Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa, c. 1830-1832. Recreated June 5, 2020.
The white patterns on the radicchio are just like the foamy streaks on angry waves. The tendrils at the peaks are just like frisee. As I started tearing up the leaves and putting them together in my kitchen, it felt like I was in a drawing class. But I learned that these veggies wilt very quickly so I had to work quickly. I had Siobhan help me paint watercolor on the paper towel for the background. The first shots didn't look too great in the light of our kitchen and I ended up carrying the whole paper towel composition into another room for a different lamp. Luckily nothing dropped! Minutes later, it was in the garbage can.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Onions, 1891. Recreated April 22, 2021.
Laura Moberg Lavoie ‘99, suggested a piece from the Clark’s collection, which became the source of many imitations, including this one. I remember always admiring this painting when I saw it there, and the online information tells me that it was also a favorite of the Clarks themselves! I love how it conveys so much joy in something very simple.
Domenico Ghirlandaio, An Old Man and his Grandson, c. 1480. Recreated April 23, 2021.
The nose was made of some loose pearls (a necklace that was broken, my fault for letting the youngest family member play with it), affixed to Johnny's schnoz with one of Siobhan's putties - she has a large collection of putties and "slime" which is big with her age group right now.