(note: the time stamp of all posts and comments on this blog is the time in umm el-fahem, israel)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

wednesday eve, 12 october 2011 (day 4)

i am sitting on cushions just inside the roof gallery (in order to plug in the computer), recorded arab music fills the crisp, cool air -- reached 80 however today, and tomorrow will be warmer --, the moon is amazing, and that gilad shalit is soon to be back in israel is quite wonderful.

the mosquitos are feasting on me however and so i will not sit here too much longer. last night i was reading (actually it was 1:30am this morning) when the building alarm went off. at first i froze. momentarily. i then jumped up, ran and knocked on joanna's door (our rooms share a wall). she was sleeping and had not heard it.

it was a shrill, constant sound that would simply have gotten on our nerves had we not wondered aloud if there was an intruder in the gallery. we had been warned by lilli not to wander into the gallery after hours as we would trip the alarm. but here we were, on the top floor in our quite comfortable set-up, not fancy but more than adequate, and the  adrenaline was pumping. after 5 minutes of indecision i called the founder and gallery director, saiid (he spells his name said, but i have added an "i" for the sake of clarification and pronunciation). he answered immediately. and of course with cell phones the voice on the other end is generally not a surprise since the caller's name comes up.

[FYI, i believe i mentioned earlier that saiid had been a member of the jerusalem police force until he took early retirement a number of years ago. he worked with juvenile offenders, and has continued that work here by offering community service placements at the gallery to first-time offenders. the group members begin their day in the room where i am now sitting and writing. it is a huge space with a wooden dining table, a small kitchen where they brew great cups of cafe turki (and generously bring a cup each to joanna and me to start our days with a strong shot of caffeine).]

i digress. saiid sounded as chipper as if it were the middle of the afternoon. he reassured me and said that he would come right over. about 10 or 15 minutes later we heard him telling us outside of our door not to worry, it was a short. he and another guy went through the gallery floors (ground,1,2, & 3 -- the rooftop floor) thoroughly and found nothing. but they were unable to stop the siren-like alarm. they surmised that a fire in the hills three days before had filled the air with gases that had affected the alarm system. it took a long time but finally they were able to turn it off. needless to say i read until 3am when i finally felt as if i might be unwound enough to sleep, which i did.

hoping for an uneventful night tonight.

i spent yesterday afternoon going through digital images of many of the gallery's own collection's works, filling in whatever info i was able on a form that i created to catalog the collection. on sunday souad, a woman who lives in haifa and who had been sent by the gallery to a curatorial course, will join me here to hopefully enable me to complete a form for each piece in the collection, or at least make headway in the project. as this is a priority for the gallery it is a priority for me.

there is also a group from the reform movement coming to visit the gallery sunday morning who i expect to chat with a bit.

today i spent hours researching the documentation of loans to, loans by, and donations of art to museums. i drafted three such documents for review by saiid and lilli, as the family of a deceased artist who had not too long ago donated an important piece of the artist's work to the gallery came back recently to borrow it back for an exhibit elsewhere. the gallery quickly wrote up an agreement and realized that this was something that needed to be standardized.

much, way too much, of my time in new york is spent on running the one-person business that being an artist necessitates. that i can use my research and writing skills here to benefit the gallery gives me great satisfaction.

the air has become nippier. the mosquitos braver. time to go inside and turn off the computer. later,...

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