THANK YOU. CONNIE
You showed us that a cat’s life was not so bad.
You said everything you do is about art.
You gave us all the courage and permission to be ourselves.
You could always see the absurdity of this life.
You taught us the Umbrella Dance.
You made your sculpture move to the Tenor of the Time,
Freedom and counterpoint.
You taught us to laugh in the face of Tragedy.
You showed us that in Big Business a small fly can make a difference.
You helped us remember the price of a skill saw blade.
You did not pass us the Torch, you threw it at us.
With You went a great era. We will carry on.
Margrit Lewczuk Bill Jensen
Someone who defied convention, definition, and even logic?
A woman of contrasts, and extremes. So much contradiction contained in one tempestuous package. She was nothing less than a force of nature.
A woman who loved and hated fiercely. Who could nurture and torture in the same breathe.
One thing can be said definitively: no one loved art more than Connie. The breadth of her appreciation for all things creative knew no bounds. Her tireless dedication to the gritty, sweaty, ceaseless work that art demands continues to amaze and inspire me.
EVERY FORCE EVOLVES A FORM
Connie was undoubtedly one of a kind. Although my frame of reference is limited by my youth, I can safely say I have never met anybody like Connie, and am doubtful that I ever will. She radiated warmth that attracted so many people, transcending boundaries of gender, profession, age, race and sexuality. In part, I attribute her many admirers to her ability to address those who surrounded her in a manner that suggested that they were receiving her undivided attention, despite whatever may have been occurring in her own life. Her embrace of homosexuality provided me with the means to accept myself at a very early age. Not to mention attracting a slew of other queers both young and old. This acceptance and encouragement always struck me as unusually progressive for a woman of her generation. Although she was the biological grandmother to none, and certainly not one who would have been considered grandmotherly by most, this is certainly the way that I would classify our relationship. I always sensed her great investment in people, her relationships seldom seemed casual. As strange as it may sound, her death is still so unreal to me, and in a way, I hope to never fully realize it, because in doing so I would create a void that is impossible to fill.
BILL JENSEN, born in Minneapolis, has lived and worked in New York City since the early 1970s and was one of the first artists to establish a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He came into prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s during a movement that revived the predominance of painting. Intuitive and visceral, Jensen’s abstractions have long been admired for their unconventional compositions and profound sense of color. Jensen’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum, New York; the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, and many others.Diane Palomba