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The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis have joined together to create the Contemporary-Pulitzer blog which, for the first time, combines the perspectives of two separate institutions with differing missions within the same blog.

Offering alternating posts each day from the Pulitzer and Contemporary, the blog provides a candid look at the behind-the-scenes workings of both arts organizations.

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Frame of Reference This Saturday

In this video, Lisa Harper Chang, Community Projects Director, talks about her personal connection to Do Ho Suh’s Staircase. She was a speaker for Frame of Reference in March. The next Frame of Reference is this Saturday, April 2 at 1pm. For a list of speakers, visit our main website.

Frame of Reference was developed in the context of Urban Alchemy/Gordon Matta Clark, when we invited non-art specialists (e.g. architects, social workers, patissiers) to talk about individual works in the context of personal experience.  The idea was born out of our docent program Exploring Art.  One pitfall of Exploring Art is that it is a lengthy time commitment for some guests, so we wanted to find a way to bring the diversity of our docents to the forefront in a bite-sized portion. 

We are continuing this program in conjunction with Dreamscapes, every first Saturday of the Month.  In March, talks were given by a curator from a lending institution and focused on the historical relevance of Max Beckmann’s work.  After his 15 minute talk, Lisa Harper Chang, Community Projects Director at the Pulitzer spoke about her personal connections to Do Ho Suh’s Staircase-Pulitzer Version.  In each talk, guests were able to understand the speaker’s interest in the work and possibly relate to the art in a different way than they might have already seen the work.

In future presentations, there will be multiple guests speaking on the same work.  In this way, in 15 minutes you can have a completely different impression of a work of art.  We invite you to attend and see how artworks’ meanings change through the lens of others.

Dream Journal Project: Prompt 2

For some background on The Dream Journal Project, read here.

Dear Dreamers,

I woke up this morning in a peculiar quandary. I could only remember parts of my dream. It was as though I had experienced what, in a recent panel discussion at the Pulitzer, artist William Kentridge called the “dreamer’s dilemma”, which he defined as having feeble insights into one’s dream upon awakening. I lay there, remembering what Kentridge had said, wondering what had just happened. Where had I been on this journey through my subconscious?

If you have been to Dreamscapes already, you may know all about the dreamer’s dilemma. Two black telephones hold place for Janet Cardiff’s own dream processing. She tells you fragments of her dreams in a breathy haze after awakening from her sleep. I feel as though, like Cardiff, we have all experienced this dilemma of fragmented remembering.

According to Kentridge, the mind remembers only fragments by necessity. It is protecting and guarding us from memories that may be too painful, too scary or too joyful. If we remember every detail in perfect moment-by-moment playback we would refuse to ever wake up. Conversely, if a nightmare could never be forgotten we would refuse to ever sleep, fearing its return.  At the Pulitzer, Kentridge said, “We rely on being able to hold onto some [dreams], but have others fade away.” Having recently experienced Kentridge’s dreamer’s dilemma, and having tried to write down the dream fragments in my dream journal, I began to wonder if this is a common experience. Have you, dear dreamer, also experienced the dreamer’s dilemma? If so, what did you do? When you were journaling your dream or dream fragments, what did your dream look like? How did it sound?


Pleasant dreaming,


Megan Johnson

(MSW expected 2012)

Dream Journal Project Coordinator

Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Dreamtime Storytime with Jana Harper Tomorrow

This month’s Dreamtime Storytime takes a different turn than in February, as our guest speaker asks participants to think about a specific piece in Dreamscapes. Tomorrow at 1pm, visual artist Jana Harper will ask visitors to imagine stories from the fantastic shapes in Joan Miró‘s Painting from 1953 and share them with one another.


Fortuitously, some of Harper’s own artworks are showing in a collaborative exhibition (with Gina Alvarez) right next door to us, at the Sheldon Art Galleries. Read a review  of the magical Poems by Bobby Thiel in the Riverfront Times. My suggestion for your Saturday: see Jana’s show, then walk a few feet and meet one of the minds that created it.

Jana Harper and Gina Alvarez, 2009, Title Page for Poems by Bobby Thiel, digital print, monoprint, collage and hand embellishment, 22 x 30 inches, courtesy of the artists. Photograph by David Johnson. Jana Harper and Gina Alvarez, 2009, Title Page for Poems by Bobby Thiel, digital print, monoprint, collage and hand embellishment, 22 x 30 inches, courtesy of the artists. Photograph by David Johnson.


Dreamtime Storytime is every fourth Saturday at 1pm for the duration of Dreamscapes. Admission is free.

Milestones at the Pulitzer

Recently, we hosted an important Pulitzer board meeting in our building where we welcomed Jim Cuno, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, as our newest member. The majority of this two-day meeting was spent looking at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts’s accomplishments, in light of the fact that we are approaching our 10th-year anniversary (October 2011). The Board, fueled by discussions of the activities and growth that occurred over the last ten years, discussed the future, specifically with regards to our international search for a director.

As most of you know, our director Matthias Waschek announced his resignation at the beginning of January, after leading the institution for the majority of its existence. This board meeting was the first since Matthias’s announcement and the members thoughtfully discussed the qualities they want in the next director to ensure that s/he continues to steer the organization in a positive direction. The result of this conversation is a job description which we posted at the end of last week on our website.

William Kentridge at the Pulitzer

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South African artist William Kentridge talks about Max Beckmann’s manipulation of physical space and its influence on his work. Max Beckmann’s The Dream is on view in the exhibition Dreamscapes.

On March 2, in the Pulitzer galleries, the Pulitzer and Washington University hosted a panel discussion for graduate students on the artistic practice of William Kentridge. Panelists included: William Kentridge, Artist; John Hoal, Chair of the Urban Design Program and Associate Professor at Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts; Sabine Eckmann, William T. Kemper Director and Chief Curator at Kemper Art Museum; and Francesca Herndon-Consagra, Senior Curator at the Pulitzer. 

If you view some of Kentridge’s animated films, you can see how fitting it was to discuss his art amidst Dreamscapes, which is filled with recurring dreamlike and hallucinatory imagery. In an Art21 video, Kentridge explains that his characters Felix and Soho came to him in a dream and he later found that they were actually self-portraits, as if not he but his distinct dreaming-self had planned it that way. Most of Kentridge’s works are not intentionally connected to dreaming, though they lend themselves to conversations about topics, such as trauma, memory and the ephemeral, which arise in the current exhibition.

Listen to the rest of this fascinating panel discussion on the Pulitzer’s YouTube channel

Swoon Installs Mural in Grand Center

Find out more about Swoon and this video on Saint Louis Art Map.

Emily Pulitzer Discusses Her Dream of the Pulitzer Building

This Saturday at 1pm, Bill Wischmeyer, Architect of Record for the Pulitzer building, will share his personal knowledge of Tadao Ando’s St. Louis achievement for the second Exploring Art: Dreamscapes and Ando’s Architecture. Last month, Emily Pulitzer explained her vision of the building and the realization of that dream. Pulitzer docent Francesca Wilmott recaps that discussion here:

Speaking in front of the reflecting pool, Emily Rauh Pulitzer shared the lively deliberations that occurred between her and Tadao Ando, as well as artists Richard Serra and Ellsworth Kelly, whose work was commissioned for the building. Unlike the commissioning process in the United States, Mrs. Pulitzer explained, Japanese architects do not traditionally involve clients in each stage of their planning. However, Mrs. Pulitzer held to her vision, and together, she and Ando developed an art sanctuary that fulfilled both their aesthetic and practical needs.

Tadao Ando has discussed the tensions that often accompany a collaborative process, noting that: “Working collaboratively with such uncompromising artists was incredibly demanding. However, the numerous changes and modifications made with each visit to the construction site have given the works a vitality and reality unique to this place. For me, the exciting collaboration with these artists has provided a rare and stimulating opportunity to reconsider the architecture and to rethink what it means to create.” Ando made one such modification upon viewing Richard Serra’s plan for Joe, the enormous Corten-steel sculpture that occupies the outdoor courtyard. Rather than constructing wide vertical windows along the wall that looks onto Joe, as initially planned, Ando felt that narrow horizontal windows would better frame the sculpture from within the building. Read the rest of this entry »

Gallery Talk This Saturday with Senior Curator Francesca Herndon-Consagra

If you haven’t seen Dreamscapes yet, this weekend offers a perfect introduction to the dream-themed exhibition. Our Saturday programming continues with a gallery talk from senior curator Francesca Herndon-Consagra. On Saturday at 1 p.m., “walk through the exhibition and experience the shuffling and reassembling of pictorial themes and fictions that evoke a journey from one dream to the next. “ Get an overview of all upcoming events on our new calendar listing, which was intergrated into our website earlier this week.

In more good news, the 2011 SGC International Conference, the largest annual gathering in the field of printmaking, will award Francesca with the title Honorary Member of the Council in mid-March. The SGC describes the conference: “Through an annual conference that draws participants nationally and internationally, significant dialogue and exchange of technical and critical information occurs. Awards, publications and exhibitions promote greater understanding, scholarship and enjoyment of these art forms.”

Learn more about the conference and Francesca’s contributions on the Sam Fox School’s website.

Congratulations, Francesca!

The Dream Journal Project

Megan Johnson is the Pulitzer’s newest practicum student from the Brown School of Social Work, and she is currently coordinating the Dream Journal Project in connection with our current exhibition. In the letter below, Megan explains the project to those who signed up at the Dreamscapes opening reception. We want to hear your dreams too! Please sign up for the Dream Journal Project with Megan Johnson, Dream Journal Coordinator, at

Greetings, Fellow Dreamers!

Thank you for joining us for the opening of our new exhibition, Dreamscapes, and for participating in the Dream Journal Project. I hope this email helps answer any questions you might have about it.

We invite you to join us as we explore our dreams, nightmares, inspirations and thoughts. The dream journal you received the night of the opening (or any journal you wish to use) can serve as a place to explore your dreams using any medium you desire, be it painting, drawing, writing, collage, photography or any other. There are no rules stating how the themes of your journaling should be expressed.

Throughout the course of Dreamscapes, you will receive emails from me encouraging you to continue examining your dreams, as well as providing prompts if you are experiencing dreamer’s block.  These prompts are in no way mandatory and are solely provided to help you continue your explorations. If you happen to have a prompt idea, please send it in!

Toward the end of Dreamscapes you will receive an invitation to the Dreamscapes finale. The finale will include an opportunity for you to share your journal in a number of ways. You can submit your journal prior to the finale to be on display for all visitors to peruse, or you are welcome to bring your journal with you and share it personally. The day will also feature time when Dream Journal participants can read from their journals.

In all aspects of the Dream Journal Project, please share your dreams in the manner that is most comfortable for you—authored or anonymously.  And, if you choose to donate your journal for the finale, you are welcome to include your name or not, as you prefer.


Happy dreaming,


Megan Johnson

(MSW expected 2012)

Dream Journal Project Coordinator

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts 3716 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108
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