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smiling to cover the LIULockout pain.

Hilary Lorenz with 48 hours to get materials of her LIUBrooklyn studio.

I debated whether to go off topic and post about my distressing return home after an artist residency. I was excited to begin the school year as a Full Professor,  a promotion that took 14 years, 8 of which were post-tenure to  find myself unemployed without a studio,  insurance or access to my office. “It sounds like a story from the Onion” said one friend.
I am not going to rattle on about it. Every major news outlet  has covered the LIU Brooklyn faculty lockout.  Thankfully I have a commission from Brooklyn Bridge Park to keep my mind occupied, but without a studio space it is difficult to work. It is difficult to concentrate  while living in limbo.  I have no idea what will happen, the administration rejected federal mediation.  I do know I will complete my commission, continue making art and evaluate my situation on December 31, 2016.

The following is an update from our union executive committee, it sums up the events well.  If you are in academia or connected to people in academia can you share this with them? No university has ever locked out their faculty; tenured and adjuncts alike.  The lock out will  have reverberating consequences to professors and students alike and negatively impact the entire educational process. I have dedicated the past 20 years of my life to teaching university art students and now it feels like that just vanished.

Dear LIUFF Colleagues,

What started as a labor dispute on the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues has quickly gone international. We no longer fight just for LIUFF but for the dignity of faculty in higher education in this country.  Across the United States, university presidents are watching us to see if they might try the same tactics with their faculties.  To this we say:  not now, not ever!

Meanwhile, our wonderful students are standing up to President Cline and learning important lessons about organizing and activism.  We have all been overwhelmed and humbled by their support.  Together, students and faculty are the university, and together we will win this fight against a president who does not understand the nature or value of higher education.

On Thursday, the negotiating met with management and made the following offer:  to return to work for a month under the old contract and to submit to mediation after two weeks should we still not have reached an agreement.  The LIUFF’s offer included reinstatement of health care, full wages backdated to the beginning of the lockout, and reimbursement for any medical expenses incurred during the lockout.  Management not only rejected the offer but continues to offer essentially the same contract that has been on the table since April.  They return to the table on Monday at 5 p.m.

We have had a busy week as we continue to put pressure on President Cline and the Board of Trustees:

  • We voted down an unfair and divisive contract by 226 to 10 and the Faculty Senate voted no confidence in President Cline and Vice President Kane by a margin of 135 to 10.
  • We made national and international news.  Coverage can be found in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Guardian, The Brian Lehrer Show, Inside Higher Ed, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, City Watch (WBAI), Academe blog, and local TV news.  
  • We have launched a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook–#LIUlockout–that has gotten our message out widely.  A petition started by the AFT Action Network has gathered almost 8,000 signatures, each one of which generates an email to President Cline.  LIU students have started a change.org petition that has so far gathered over 600 signatures.
  • We have many labor unions standing with us.  This unprecedented lockout is not only an assault on education but also an attack on organized labor, and we are receiving tremendous support from our parent organizations, the AFT and NYSUT. The UFT is giving resources and sent delegations to our campus as did the vocal and mighty PSC CUNY. Our sister unions on campus–the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 30; OPEIU Local 153; Service Employees International Union (SEIU) CTW, Local 32BJ; and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Local 926 and Local 45—marched with us and sent letters of support.  At the annual Labor Day Parade on September 10, LIUFF was given pride of place and marched right behind Mayor DeBlasio and other elected officials.
  • We held a rally featuring speakers like Public Advocate Letitia James, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and NYSUT President Karen McGee. We heard from students about the chaos on campus (despite what the administration says to the press about an “overwhelmingly positive response” from students) and watched as the students marched in solidarity with the LIUFF.
  • We learned that as a result of the chaos: the School of Nursing has cancelled practicum classes until further notice; lab classes in Biology, Physics, and Chemistry have been cancelled all next week pending a resolution to the lockout, and students are reporting that many classes have no instructors at all.
  • We sent letters to accrediting agencies, cosigned by AFT, alerting them to our situation.  Our attorney has also filed a NLRB charge for unfair labor practices stemming from the way the lockout was handled, a charge that, if upheld, would require the university to pay back wages and expenses.

We have also heard many stories about the financial hardship this lockout is causing our members.  In response, the AFT has set up a solidarity fund where people can donate to help our members with pressing financial concerns. They have already begun to raise money and more information on how to apply for funds will be forthcoming in the next few days.  In addition, NYSUT can give legal advice to faculty and students.

This week has proven that you CANNOT REPLACE AN ENTIRE FACULTY! The negotiating team heads back to the table on Monday from a position of strength, but we need the membership’s help to keep up this momentum and end the lockout! We need you to commit to coming out every day so that we remain a strong presence at the Brooklyn campus.

Please stay tuned for a list of events planned for this week.  Your participation is both expected and essential.

In solidarity,
The LIUFF Executive Committee

#LIULockout

Scabby the Rat, with Danny Lou (LIU alum in support of faculty) myself and Professor Bob Barry

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This past week has been quite dreamy at the Matfield Outpost Residency. I feel right at home in the cozy studio working on my Flint Hills Series of watercolors. I love walking from the house to the studio and then settling in to work.

Hilary in studio

Hilary in studio

Homer and Conrad playing fetch while I cut paper

Homer and Conrad playing fetch while I cut paper

The best part is having my dogs with me. We spent a lot of time out walking the hills and they stayed close by me when I was working.

It has been fantastic hanging out with Ton Haak and Ans Zoutenbier the Directors of the Gallery at Pioneer Bluff. And the good news is that I will be back in October for my own exhibition with opens on October 4th.

Today I walked just over seven miles at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. This place is beautiful and scary. It is part of the 170,000,000 acres of tallgrass prairie. The national park has over 40 miles of trail where you have to cross through cattle and bison fields. While I wanted to see wild bison I am glad I didn’t as I would have been afraid, I was terrified of the cattle, especially being 4-5 miles out in the prairie all alone. Three times I had to cross the path covered in cattle, one time they started trotting toward me and I was sweating like mad because I did not know how to get them to go the other way.

Bison alert

Bison alert

But if you can handle walking through the cattle you are in for a real treat, it is a sea of green for miles in every direction.

Miles of beautiful green

Miles of beautiful green

tall_grass

 

 

 

 

I am packing up all my stuff tonight and photographing the last of the work I made. It is to bad I only have my  cell phone camera, my nice Canon A100 (or could be nice) is broken again. This has been the worst camera I ever owned, first I got lens errors, now the shutter will not work, it was an expensive disappointment.

But I have my  cell phone to show you some of my work, these are all watercolor with collage of Italian printed papers, they are 12″ x 16″. I can’t wait to come back, Matfield Outpost is the most awesome place!

1_Matfield_drawing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolor collage by Hilary Lorenz

Watercolor collage by Hilary Loren 

Watercolor collage by Hilary Lorenz

Watercolor collage by Hilary Lorenz

Watercolor collage by Hilary Lorenz

Watercolor collage by Hilary Lorenz

2_Matfield_drawing

Watercolor collage by Hilary Lorenz

 

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It's all about the Journey

Matfield Green, Kansas

 

I am in Matfield Green, Chase County, Kansas, population 47. I fought to get here and now I am in a place where the endless green prairie meets the sky  giving me an odd feeling of being on the bottom of a fish bowl.

The fight? My car, traffic, my car, construction, my car. I had, yes had, a 1996 Subuaru Legacy wagon, 194,000 miles. After a goodbye dinner with my friends, turning over my apartment to a trusted subletter, I drove away and got 30 miles into New Jersey and my car died on the Turnpike. I was not even suppose to be on the Turnpike, I made a wrong turn. Calling AAA, a tow truck came, but they were not AAA, as AAA was not allowed on the Turnpike. So this tow took me 1/2 mile to a parking lot where I  waited for AAA who towed me to a very nice auto repair shop that was just closing. They recommended I go home, but I have no home now, so they recommended I get a rental car and hotel which I did. It was not easy NJ hotels do not seem to like dogs. After several “no ways” I found a hotel who charged me an extra $100 a night for the dogs. The next morning they tried to tell me it is $100 per dog but there was no way I was giving in to that.

I waited for the auto shop to call, and by noon I had to check out so I went back. Turns out they had to replace my fuel pump. A little detail that I left out is that they suspected the fuel pump which could mean taking the seats out of the car, a car filled with materials for my artist residency. I had to unload about 250 pounds of stuff into a back of a pick-up truck stored on their lot. Anyhow, they fixed the car, and anticipating a bill that was higher than the price of my car ($2,500) I was thrilled when it was only $450. They did a tune-up, tightened some rattling bolts and by 2pm I was on my way again. Two hundred and fifty miles later, the tachometer dropped, accelerator dropped, temp gauge dropped, and engine failure. I called AAA, they came and got me, again. This time the young ambitious tow truck driver said he would take me to a Subaru dealer/service center, then to a hotel. Homer, who was too afraid to jump into the tow truck was carefully lifted in by the driver. It was about 9pm as we drove to the dealership, then to his auto body shop and finally the hotel. He watched the dogs as I got my room, I gave him a handsome tip for being kind, entertaining, and getting me safely back.

I figured it was the car’s computer, but could be total electrical failure. I would have to wait until they opened to find out. In the meantime I got on-line and checked out cars. I knew I needed a new car but I thought I could wait until I got to NM, and I was not about to be sold something I cannot afford in my state of duress. Most all the cars were 2014 and too expensive. There was a 2006 Subaru Outback, 103,000 miles, and affordable if they still had it. I called the next morning and the service center only did oil changes on the weekend. The Subaru techs would not be in until Monday. I was not about to stay in that PA hotel two more night, plus my artist residency in Matfield Green, Outpost Studio, was beginning on Sunday. I asked them to send someone to come pick me and the dogs up, I want to buy a car. Yes, I was about to walk into a car dealership, something I have never done in my life and buy  a car.

My new car

My new car

The dealership was quiet with several sale’s people, salesmen and one saleswoman. I went right to her, to Katie. I told her the problem, what I want, we talked, I tested the car I saw on-line and we made a deal. They began the paperwork as I got on-line and ordered a duplicate title for my car. You see, I am leaving my old car at the dealership, and will have a charity organization tow it away for a tax credit, but I must have the title. The title is packed away in some box in NYC and I was not going back for me. Katie and the staff worked with me. I have to pay NYC sales tax but I am not going back to NYC. The check would be cut from the dealership and the title information sent to me via Fedex once I got to where I am going. For now, that is Matfield Green Kansas.

I did make it on Sunday, not at 11am but at 7pm. The artmaking has begun.

My cute little studio on the side of the prairie

My cute little studio on the side of the prairie

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If only I had a photo of the beautiful trail I have been running, maybe I can get one this week. I  spend the last week at Julie’s, Races Like a Girl, who lives in excellent proximity to some nice open trails. My go to this week has been the Bronx River Pathway in Westchester just north of the city. The Pathway consists of three paved segments: a one-mile loop in Mount Vernon; a 3.6-mile section from  Bronxville to Scarsdale and a 5-mile section extending from Green Acres Avenue in Hartsdale to Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. I have run most of it in both directions, but after a stellar snowstorm on Friday, I got to break trail by running in snowshoes. I have never run in snowshoes but found it delightful, slow but really fun. I had no shortage of cardiovascular strength but hip/quad strength or lack there of was a bit of a challenge.
My second event of the week was taking a belay class at Brooklyn Boulders. I thought about learning to climb for some time, in a more official way than being send to the top of a mountain and having to boulder to the top with only the fear of dying keeping me clinging to the rock face. I thought a solid set of skills was far more wise. I needed to be belay certified before I could enroll in a training program class offered by CRUX  an LGBTQ Climbing group, at Brooklyn Boulder. I wanted to climb with CRUX for some time and figured I might as well take it full on, I had the option of coming to a newbie night to try it out, but instead I bought a belay class, a month of climbing, the training class and years’s membership. If I am going to do something, I do it. After the 2 hour belay class I stayed for 3 more hours of climbing. CRUX also  gave a bouldering lesson, but by that point my brain was so fried from anxiety, adrenaline, and exertion I couldn’t do much.
It was Friday that I snowshoe ran then climbed. I thought by the end of the night I would need to be put into a medically induced comma from the extensive pain of two totally new sports, but turns out I am fine, in fact I feel great.
Tonight I checked out the running routes listed on Joe Garland’s RunWestchester, I am thinking to run the New Rochelle Loop from Bronxville tomorrow. If I am reading it correctly that is the hilliest of the routes, something I prefer in my runs, though the run to Long Island Sounds looks great, and easy to navigate. I could also do that Tuesday and Monday hop on over to Van Cortlandt Park for a 5k or so snowshoe.
I don’t know what I will do when I have to go back to my job.  There is just no time for working, because in between all my sports I am working on several  new linoleum blocks. The one thing I look forward to going to work for is printing these new babies. If they turn out well, they will be in my Kansas exhibition at the Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs.

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Before I left New York for Michigan I picked two books to take with me, Deep Survial by Laurence Gonzales and Running the Edge by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano. Being here for a few days now I have to laugh at the perfect combination of my choice.

It is not exactly deep survival driving 814 miles with dogs to spend a few charged holidays with the family, but the trip  requires some risk management.  Deep Survival is far more extreme,  it looks at who lives, who dies and why,  in various outdoor adrenalin induced adventures. For anyone who loves to read about the wilderness, adventure and life altering decisions it is a fascinating read.

Next I am into the first 100 pages of Running the Edge by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano who were University of Colorado running teammates. You may have read reviews that it is unlike any other running book and it is. It is self-help, motivation, spiritual guidance, deep reflection all rolled into one. But what stands out is the runners common thread to reject the idea of living a normal or average life. It  talks about one’s biggest fear being wasted potential. Wow this book is for me, especially right now in my cross roads of mid-life but always wanting more.

I have always had the philosophy, the fear, and the determination to not have regrets on my deathbed. Growing up, my father  talked about how much he hated his job. We would get in discussions of,  “Why do something that you hate so much?”  I vowed then to never be in that position, that I would never do something that would make me profoundly unhappy. He said he did it,  “because of you kids”  to support us and send us to college. I must be really selfish because there is no way I would “waste” my life doing something that I hated, maybe that is why I also vowed to never have kids.  I am not sure why he hated his job but what was tough to see is how it affected his entire life.   I learned some big lessons from those talks, mostly I never want to feel like I perceived  he felt.

For me not having a family of my own is my best choice, I can do what I want and I have. I traveled all over the world, almost all of it paid for by an arts organization, the government, or another country’s cultural department. I have lived  in mountain huts, beach shacks, super deluxe houses, monster apartments and single rooms.  I gave talks and had exhibitions worldwide. I am a tenured professor and I am the chairman of a university department.  I have a second home in another state that I get to go to in the summer. I am making the best choices for me, for who I am. That looks great on the checklist of accomplishments but it is no big deal to anyone who has some passion and a little persistence. It is time for something more.  Enters “Running the Edge.”

Running the Edge is about more, better, and never settling, in ones’ running, education, career, friendships, family, and passion. Running, that is easy to never settle to always chase a new PR. Education that is easy too I love to learn and constantly take new classes.  Career is not so clear. I am an artist, I am  a professor. I am not totally keen on where I teach and I want to make it a better and more competitive department with stronger students and better studios. Or is it that I want to move to a place with stronger students and better studios?  Or maybe I want to leave all together and do something new and different or take the risk of only making art? Or maybe as a money job, I don’t “work” in art anymore and I work in physiology, exercise testing? Then at the end of the day I can go to my studio and make art without having to dump the frustration of teaching art to people I believe are less motivated than they should be? Not making the decisions is passive and I find myself passively waiting for a new opportunity to come through the email to point me in a new direction. Wow that is hard to admit, if I had a friend doing that I would scold them up and down to get their ass out there and make a change and tell them how pathetic they are for not being pro-active. Hilary, you are pathetic, get your ass out there and make a decision to change what you feel is not the very best.

Now I feel better.  I am eager to continue reading Running the Edge. I love the stories that are recounted by  Goucher and Catalano, they make perfect sense to me, the risk and the reward.   What a great end of year reading to move into the better, faster, stronger, smarter me next year. Just the planning of it gets me excited.

So this year in talking with my dad who retired over 10 years ago but immediately went right back to work as a part-timer at the very same job he hated tells me, “Sure I still get mad at my job and I work more hours that I should, but it gives me something to do, some place to go, it keeps me active and thinking and engaging with people.” I will still wonder why that place is not what I would think of as more appealing but maybe it is what is appealing to him, plus it is not my life, it is his.   Now the job is on his terms and he is calling the shots. That is where we all need to be, calling our own shots, making everything what we want it to be and doing what we want to do.

Happy New Year to all the Distance Mavens and here is enjoying a relentless pursuit of excellence in everything.

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American Pavilion Superstars

This was the last day I ran at the Biennale. I already miss the superstar status. I have an awesome 1 minute video of my last run. There is an exuberant husband and wife team cheering me on and a man running up to take a photo.

This was such a super experience. I had a great time visiting the city and hanging out with the Guggenheim staff. I saw some incredible artwork by many of them including Diana Cordoba Barrios, collages, Michelle Galletta prints and Matthew Attard sculptures. I unfortunately do have a link to Matthews work – so send me one Matt!

It was great to meet and share a house with Dave Durante and  Sadie Wilhelmi. They are amazing athletes and their performances were incredible to watch. Yes I will certainly miss it all.

Wow I am so happy here I look like am going to bust!

I flew home via Madrid and when I sat down on the plane, the women next to me said, “hey you are the runner!” Yes I had a huge grin on my face, she had at the biennale the previous week and saw me run. I got to celebrate my celebrity status one more time before coming home to paperwork and student complaints.

Okay one last video just for the fun of it you can see me flopping around with excitement at the end:

Hilary Lorenz in front of Track and Field Title Plate

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Venice Biennale

Running in the Venice Biennale. The biggest and most illusive artist dream is to be in the biennale, and one never knows how they might get here. Never in a million years would I think running would get me here.

I arrived on Sunday and look the waterbus to Lido. Lido is kind of like Brooklyn to Manhattan. The biennale is just two waterbus, vaporetti, stops from the apartment. It was cool and rainy so I was not sure if I could run on the tank. Fortunately it cleared up and I did two “performances.” It was really cool. I wanted to start laughing but I had to stay serious and keep my head up looking at the lamppost. Seeing the tank tracks moving under me incited a bit of vertigo.

I watched Sadie and Dave’s performances after mine, they are really cool. The pavilion rooms are small and you are very close up to the performers. There is huge tension in the room. You can hear and see them breathing, feel the pressure when they are balancing on the airline seat sculptures. We each perform for 15 minutes, first me, then Sadie, then Dave, then me again. Clearly I have it easy and don’t need much skill to run. The treadmill is very slow only on 5 mph because the tank shakes. This lets me practice quick turnover to make it look like I am running faster, with 180 steps per minute. Clearly Said and Dave have the real skill.
They have been performing all summer and previous to the exhibition were choreographing.

Got to run, it is time for me to go again. More later

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