Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Dodge Luhan’s writings open the door to understanding her lifelong struggle with depression.
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
...and Viewers Like You
THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
MABEL DODGE LUHAN'S WRITINGS OPEN THE DOOR TO
UNDERSTANDING HER LIFELONG STRUGGLE WITH DEPRESSION.
A PLACE WHERE ART AND IDEAS ARE MADE, THE
MASSACHUSETTS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART PRESENTS
INSTALLATIONS BY ANNIE LENNOX AND JENNY HOLZER.
HARLEM HISTORY, FROM THE ARTISTS WHO DOCUMENTED IT
TO THE ARTISTS WHO DEFINE IT TODAY.
IAN WRIGHT'S FASCINATING STORY OF TAKING SOME OF
THE EARLIEST PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BEATLES.
IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
WRITING AS A WAY TO UNDERSTAND DEPRESSION.
>>Megan Kamerick: Mabel Dodge Luhan left an
indelible mark in Taos and in leaving memoirs, she
shares her inner life and struggles with depression.
What did it take for her to move forward?
>>Lois Rudnick: She had to explore throughout her
life every conceivable cure.
And there really were no cures for bipolar
disorder, manic depression as it was called in her
day, and she finally ended up working with a variety
of psychiatrists but the most important one was the
most important Freudian analyst in the United States
A. A. Brill,
and he was perhaps one of the most important
mentors in her life.
He was really a close friend and mentor as well
as an analyst.
Somebody who was, aside from his orthodoxy and
Freudianism, very pragmatic.
He believed that people had to get a job.
They had to work.
They had to do something meaningful with their life and
so when Mabel met him in a state of despair, actually before
she met him, she wrote him in the summer of 1916 and said
"if I don't see you I won't make it to the fall."
And he wrote back and said, "yes you will, I'm busy."
>>Kamerick: It must have taken a lot of courage for her
to take this step.
>>Rudnick: She was always very forthright.
She never necessarily followed any regimen that
her doctors told her ,her psychiatrists, but Brill
really knew how to deal with a woman who had
intense cycles of absolute manic ecstasy, visionary
moments, kind of explosive beliefs that she could
change the entire world which was part of her for
most of her adult life and then would fall into the
worst kinds of agonizing hopeless feeling like she
was at the end of the world depressions and he
realized that one of the things she had to do was
do something she could do and she could write and so
from the first time he ever met her when he'd
actually heard her at her salon reading a story
she'd written about third husband which was very powerful.
He said, "you have to write."
>>Kamerick: So that's how she came to writing?
>>Rudnick: That is how she came to writing.
When she would go in and out of despair he would
say to her "wright, you have got to write your memoirs."
I think it was what saved her life.
I don't think she would have made it through
I don't think she would have made it through her
life if she had not been able to create an
autobiographical self that could make sense of the
unbelievably complex and challenging and difficult
and transformative changes over her life that she had
and so writing was catharsis.
She was doing what we now call writing therapy, but
actually that was part of Freud's theory: that when
you talk you can work out and pay attention to and discover
and understand what it is that's driving you crazy.
Unfortunately manic depression cannot be cured
solely by psychotherapy or psychoanalysis.
They didn't know that then but Freud and Brill were Mentalists.
They did not believe taking pills or whatever
was going to make a difference.
It was insight that cured.
It was talking that cured.
It was writing that cured.
>>Kamerick: What was expected of women at this
point in history?
>>Rudnick: Well most women were expected to be
exactly what A. A. Brill said women should be: wives
and mothers guarding the sexual interest of the race.
He knew her at the time when she was running a salon
in New York and she was involved in modern art and
radical politics and he knew he wasn't going to ever move
her into the home where she would be sheltered and quiet.
>>Kamerick: Did she manage to forge her own life?
>>Rudnick: She did forge her own life in most ways.
She always believed she needed a man to prove
herself and had to get jump-started by a man
encouraging her and yet she jump-started everything.
She even said I wouldn't have written if Brill
hadn't encouraged me to do so but her memoirs
certainly showed that if she hadn't had the
experience and the wherewithal to be able to
write about it and reconstruct it and be
honest and open and telling her story in ways
that were often unbelievably unflattering
to her; it wasn't Brill that did that.
It was she who did that.
She forged her own life and she also forged her own therapy.
If she didn't like what her psychiatrists told
her, she told them she didn't.
>>Kamerick: Do you think that she also wanted to
write these to help women or help society?
>>Rudnick: Absolutely, she said so.
So, she started off writing as a personal form
of therapy to try to understand herself and who
she was and it's interesting because she
and Brill corresponded over 20 years.
They wrote an incredible number of letters to each other.
Even when she was living in Taos, he couldn't do
therapy with her, but he did therapy by letter, and
she would come back and work with him in New York
when she was really desperate, and she said
"he said do this.
This will help you."
And he was absolutely right but at some point
after she started writing and she wrote this in the
introduction to one of her memoirs and to a friend
she said "why should those of us who suffered, who
are malformed, you know, who are grotesque, who
lived under a social structure that denied us
any form of nourishment or goodness, why should we go
on living like this.
If we can be honest and open about who we are so
that those who come after us can have the peace and
freedom to create a different life."
>>Kamerick: So, really we don't get a full picture
of her without exploring this?
>>Rudnick: You absolutely cannot and as a young person
who had absolutely no complaints about my body manic-depressive.
Even though she announced it in her third memoir and
as an older person who's been through some things
in my life, I said, "how could I not have realized
how important this was as a factor."
Not the factor.
But also, I wasn't allowed to read the psychiatric
papers and the letters until the year 2000.
So I did not really have a full appreciation of what
she was going through and what she suffered.
>>Kamerick: So, at the end of the day, what is the
most important part of this aspect of Mabel Dodge Luhan?
>>Rudnick: I think the most important part is the
fact that she shared it honestly and openly.
That she was in no way unwilling to have people
understand that she could be a monster and that if
she had not written this work and shared it with
the world, I don't know, that history wouldn't be
known and the people who still suffer through this and
are ashamed by even announcing it would not be able to...
can learn from her how fantastic it is to be able to be honest
about this disease and not hide it because it doesn't work.
You can't hide it.
>>Kamerick: Well Louis Rudnick, thank you so much for
talking with us.
>>Rudnick: A pleasure.
A LAB FOR ARTISTS.
She is a singer and songwriter of soulful and palpable, depth.
Annie Lennox's career can be easily recorded in
awards and some 90 million albums sold.
But at MASS MoCA, the Massachusetts Museum of
Contemporary Art, we find her life lived and left.
"Annie is Scottish, and is thinking about the form of
a burial mound.
As a space where we, uh place objects after people die."
Alexandra Foradas is a curator at MASS MoCA where
Lennox approached the museum a year ago about
creating this installation.
A giant dirt mound crowned with a piano.
Lennox describes it as "a dreamscape of
memory made manifest."
"You are first faced with objects from Annie's past
as a music maker.
And as you move around the mound it gets increasingly personal."
Lennox has titled the piece 'Now I Let You Go..."
-a decidedly definitive title for someone who
continues to wrestle with her bond to material memories.
And what material she has.
You'll find David Bowie here.
And her own lyrics.
There are mementos of her work as an activist
fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa.
Closer to home, her children's shoes.
"She wishes that everyone could have a mound.
This idea that we don't have a way of metabolizing memory.
Of working through the objects that are left behind."
But not all of us can be as sparkly as Annie
Lennox, whose mound shimmers.
"Annie talked about the mound as looking like a
performer standing under a spotlight on stage wearing
And that notion of the mound as a performer, the
knowledge that sharing these things and being
vulnerable in this way is in its own way a performance."
"MASS MoCA is a place that people come to
experience full on.
They wear it like clothes."
Joseph Thompson is the Founding Director of MASS MoCA.
He opened the place in 1986 in a series of brick
factory buildings that once served as a textile
mill and later an electronics plant.
Today it's where art and ideas are made-unlike anywhere else.
Since it doubled in size two years ago, this has
become the museum where artists come to create
work that often can't be shown anywhere else.
Sometimes because of size.
Often for audacity.
"This is not necessarily y'know a perfectly polite
place where the walls are white, and the light is
coming from above, and the guards are dressed up in suit
and tie, it's - you get to work for it here, just a little bit.
MASS MoCA rewards curiosity."
"(Is museum the right word for this space?)
No this is not a museum, I don't know what it is, I mean.
we stick with that word, because it's in MASS MoCA.
Uh, It's a center.
It's a lab.
It's two turntables and a microphone."
Right now, you'll find mammoth sculptures by the
late artist Louise Bourgeoise.
A fully immersive and enveloping series of light
installations by James Turrell.
And more mounds-these from the mind of artist
Trenton Doyle Hancock.
"If there's anything that's our specialty at
MASS MoCA it's providing space, and time, to
artists with big ideas."
"Trent takes us into the Moundverse.
The Moundverse a space that he created beginning
with Torpedo Boy when he was 10.
He was sort of the Superman to his Clark Kent."
A world all his own, The Moundverse is charted out
along a Candy Land like lane in MASS MoCA's
largest gallery-one nearly the size of a football field.
The mounds, according to Hancock, are "depositories
for memories and bits of discarded humanity."
For children of the 1980s, it's a colorful climb into nostalgia.
"Trent is drawing on everything from the
Cabbage Patch Kids, and the Garbage Pail Kids, to
the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to Greek gods.
He is reaching back not only into the depths of
his memory, uh back to his childhood in Paris, Texas,
as the child of a family of Evangelical Baptists,
but also back into mythology."
Now 35-years into her career, artist Jenny
Holzer has long ruminated over language.
"She is interested in the way that language is read
differently based on context and also material."
In this installation at MASS MoCA, she returns to painting.
Her focus here?
Government documents obtained through the
Freedom of Information Act.
"The texts are, uh, referring to violence as a
"wish list for interrogation techniques,"
or they are referring to abuses obliquely as
"treatment." So it is this kind of um, this way of
using language to, to shield rather than to uncover."
(How political is the work?)
Uh the work deals, - in terms of its subject matter,
uh with the lead up to the attacks on September 11th.
Fundamentalism and the violent tendencies that
might arise out of it.
And, from there, she moves on to the alleged abuses
of detainees at Guantanamo Bay."
At MASS MoCA, it's a moment of memories.
From the harvesting, to the harrowing.
A MIRACULOUS PLACE.
The 19-teens saw the start of the Great
Migration-when millions of African Americans moved
from the South.
Many to the North, and to Harlem which became an
oasis from oppression.
Especially for artists.
"The art was important then.
In creating a new visual lexicon for
African-Americans against histories of dehumanizing
and degrading stereotypes and imagery in the
American popular imagination."
At the Addison Gallery of American Art, we find
nearly 100 years of life in Harlem.
Mostly in photographs from the museum's collection.
The show takes us from the 1930s-just after the
Harlem Renaissance-to today.
"I see vibrance.
I see, a people who have been through so much, and
we're given so little and have made this out of it,
this miraculous, this place.
A lot of people describe Harlem as a cultural mecca."
"This is where a lot of the socializing happened,
was out on street corners, or in front of shops..."
Stephanie Sparling Williams is the
The Harlem of the 1930s, she says, was a place
reeling from the Great Depression.
And here in the work of both black and white
photographers, it is a place of both fortune and despair.
"You see a tension between, um Harlem's
working class, the unemployed, and then also
Harlem's upper- and middle-class um citizens.
Stuck within Harlem, but all trying to pick up the pieces."
As difficult as the times may have been, a number of
the black artists featured here, like photographer
Roy DeCarava, focused on more than misfortune.
This work is titled "Graduation Day."
(What do you see there?)
I see celebration.
I do, I see, a beautiful woman, in a dress, that has
taken to the streets, you know maybe she's in transition.
And you see a, a print, on the back - I think it's
a-a playbill, and it says, in Spanish, "the woman
emerges out of darkness."
"We've been asking ourselves this question
"what is America?"
A question that is both um, an eternal question
and a timely question."
Judith Dolkart is the Addison's Director.
By the 1960s, Harlem became a hotbed of protest
in America-thanks in no small part she says, to
its community of artists.
"I always see artists as active agents in the culture, so.
Artists have the ability to change the culture as
much as anyone else.
They have a point of view, and they are putting that
point of view out there."
In the 1960s 70s and 80s, Harlem's streets were host
to Civil Rights marches and later Black Power rallies.
It brought an energy that Stephanie Sparling
Williams says courses through these photographs.
"I describe it as a buzz.
The sound when you get off the subway of just people
in the streets, and I think.
That's captured throughout the exhibition, not only
the built environment and people, but how both come
together to create the social life of Harlem, the
lifeblood of the neighborhood itself."
Today, Harlem offers a different story.
Gentrification has taken hold.
Its way of life is changing, as it always has.
But now, so are its people.
"It comes into sharp focus through Dawoud Bey's
series "Harlem Redux," which he shot in 2016 when
we see, um the development, the construction.
We see the different ways in which space is being
claimed by other bodies.
Particularly white bodies."
The show's parting shot though is an epic one by
Kehinde Wiley, who created this instantly famous
portrait of President Barack Obama.
The subject, regal and wielding a sword on his equally
mighty horse, was straight off 125th street in Harlem.
"I think it's carrying along this tradition of,
um self-determined imagery - but also there's a tension, right?
This - the tension between the art historical canon.
This, this genre that African-Americans would
never find themselves in - the black body was never
portrayed in these heroic, um paintings that depicted
valor, and masculinity, and virility often.
But Wiley shows us that black - the black figure
is no less powerful, no less masculine."
Instead, there is glory.
In a neighborhood that has long fed it.
ALWAYS SAY "YES."
Name is Ian Wright.
I was born in Northeast of England 1945 and I'm in my
58th year as a photojournalist.
The mentor that I had was Arthur Soakel, my form teacher.
He actually put himself forward with his knowledge
of photography and said is there anybody in the class
that would like me to teach them photography?
And I put my hand up.
And I was the only one.
It was the best decision I ever made in my whole life
because he took this young 14 year old kid and showed
him all the tricks to the trade, and I started work
the last week of December of 1960 and they decided
at The Northern Echo in Darlington that they were
going to have a new editor who was coming in to
revamp the paper, Sir Harold Evans, who was
voted the greatest editor of the last century.
He was my second mentor.
Harry said to me later in years, he said to me, "You know,
Wrighty," Oh, by the way, John Lennon gave me that nickname.
He said, "You know, Wrighty, I heard it comin."
I said, "What did you hear?"
He said, "The 60s revolution, I heard it comin."
The Babyboomers had boomed and there were 25 million of them.
20 million in America, five million in Great Britain.
And he realized they had to have a voice, and his
first ever supplement was the Teenage Special.
He wanted coverage of everything that was
happening in our area, and so he was the chronicler
and he asked me to be the illustrator at 16.
I got the job at that newspaper as a junior darkroom boy.
My duties were to wash the floor, make the chemicals, make
the tea, file the negatives, literally I was a runner.
I'd go with senior photographers on
assignments and run back with the plates and
develop them, print them, so on.
That's how it all began.
All the other photographers that Harry
had acquired, inherited of the Northern Echo were all
World War II age.
They had no idea who the Beatles were.
And so he said, "Do you want to do it?"
I always put my hand up, you know?
Never put my hand down.
Always say yes.
He said that I can't give you any extra money, can't
give you any overtime.
You won't get any time off.
And you can't have any expenses.
Do you still want to do it?
Yes, so that was how I started.
But the thing was, I was far too young to drive, so I
had to go on me bike, you know, and I had a huge plate camera.
And inside the bag it weighed probably about 35 pounds.
And inside of there were 14 plates, glass negatives.
That's what I had to carry.
And also inside of the bag was a flash that was as
big as a Bentley headlight.
So I had to strap that all to the frame of my bike
and I was out in all weathers photographing
this revolution, the 60's Revolution.
We were there at the beginning, and my first
ever portrait for the Teenage Special I went and
photographed Miss Ella Fitzgerald.
Over the years I've just been so lucky.
With the assignments I've been given, I've went and
photographed every celebrity.
I've done 'em all.
I learned never be in awe of any of 'em because they
are looking at you as a professional and they
expect you to be a professional and if you
are, they will sit down, buy you a drink, and
they'll talk your hind legs off because they love it.
But if you go in with an LP cover and say, "Oh, can
I "have your autograph, please.
"Your last LP was absolutely fantastic."
You've had it.
You've lost 'em.
So I met the Beatles for the first time February
the ninth, 1963.
There couldn't have been more than 200 people in that theater.
That night it was a snowstorm in Sunderland
County, Durham, England.
I heard this sound.
It went boom.
Love, love me do You know I love you
So I pulled everything off the bike, run round the front
into the auditorium, took this picture and that was
the beginning of the Revolution.
And according to the National Portrait Gallery
in London, the picture I took of them onstage is the
earliest known photograph of the Beatles live on stage.
Many of the Beats pictures I have never saw the light of day
because they weren't famous, which is quite remarkable.
I had a whole series of photographs, portraits, of
them, their reactions backstage.
The night that JFK was assassinated, again the
only photographer there, November 22, 1963.
Not one of those photographs ever saw the
light of day until they were published in my book
which came out in 2008.
In all of those assignments, or whatever
you want to call them, I never went to work.
I never worked a day in my life.
For me it was, it was just an absolute passion.
I look upon the fact that my still photographs are a
historical record of things that happened
during all of those decades that I worked.
I never saw it as art.
I saw it as a craft.
I saw it as a profession.
And I realized that what you have to do to beat all
the others, sometimes there's 20 other
photographers there, you had to get something different.
It was all about decision-making.
It was all about being imaginative.
I never went out as, say as graphic art
photographer could do and go out and create
something like a Picasso would.
I never did that.
I was a boots on the ground photographer and always
have been and I wouldn't change anything for a golden cow.
No, never, enjoyed every minute of it and still am.
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Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
...and Viewers Like You