Frances Barth

1. ——I first met you (Harry Roseman) when you came with Catherine (Murphy) to Yale for the first time she taught there one Fall—I don’t remember the year. The reason I remember it so well is because I was so impressed by the fact that you had rented a hotel room just for the day so that you could draw in it. I don’t think you were staying overnight that day. I saw Catherine all day and then only when she was finished and when you came to get her or we walked over to the Duncan, then I met you.

2. —Born in the Bronx in 1946, I grew up in a utopian based housing project, and attended Catholic schools until graduating High School. In 1968 I was working as a secretary at Cornell Medical Center, studying at Hunter College, and in a workshop with Yvonne Rainer after I saw “The Mind is a Muscle” at the Anderson Theater in the East Village. I had a small loft on Wooster Street where I painted ,and my work grew through the exchange and generosity of artists at the time and by seeing all the experimental work going on .. I saw the productions of Mabou Mines, Richard Foreman, Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown; I danced in pieces of Yvonne Rainer and Joan Jonas, and acted in one of the first films of Joan Jonas and Peter Campus, and looked at a lot of painting and sculpture. A high point at the time was seeing Al Held’s painting “Greek Garden” in his studio-a painting that took up the whole length of wall in his loft in the 20’s on Broadway. Another major event for me then was seeing Tony Smith’s sculptures at the Hartford Athenaeum, and in Philadelphia. It was a relatively small art community downtown and we were each other’s audience. I’ve been painting and working on art projects ever since. I’ve studied architecture, and am building onto my studio, a former embroidery factory in North Bergen, N.J. where my husband, the actor and director Ron Nakahara and I will soon move. It’s peaceful, has great light, and will even have solar panels on the roof.

—May 2007