The Heroine’s Journey of Alexandra Rutsch Brock

What is the best thing that I love about my work?  
I am a public high school art teacher, independent curator and artist. My teaching job inspires my personal work every day. The students creative minds are always open and excited to learn new things. Their enthusiasm keeps me fresh, open and experimental. Curating lets me meet incredible artists and collaborate with them – nothing better!  I can’t imagine not being an artist and having a creative output.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?  
Being on a beach with my family watching the sunset with a cocktail.
What is my greatest fear?  
illness for myself and loved ones

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?  
Doing more for others, and less for myself. I should be more selfish with my time, but I’m not.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? 
So many women in the arts – Kenise Barnes, Julia Schwartz, Emily Noelle Lambert – I love working with them and the way they think!

What is my greatest extravagance?  
Great art supplies, amazing food and cocktails, sleeping late

On what occasion would I lie?  
Only to not hurt someone’s feelings

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? 
Not having enough time to work on it

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
Curating – My most recent exhibition titled “Insomnia”. I curated it at 3 am with people I met on Facebook. It was such a pleasure working with those 11 interesting artists and It got a NYTimes review!
Painting – Last summer, I had an open schedule and I painted 7 days a week for hours!
Teaching – Last week – I had 100 high school students outside all day painting the landscape for our annual “En Plein Air” day  – such a fantastic experience.

If I could, what would I change about myself?  
Have more time to paint and exercise

What is my greatest achievement in work? 
That I am still doing it all, and am still inspired daily

Where would I most like to live?
I have a new home on a lake and am very happy, I would only change locations if I could have a view of the ocean.
What is my most treasured possession?
My husband and son, but an actual possession – a gold bracelet my grandmother gave me in 1987, I have never taken it off.

What is my most marked characteristic?

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?  
My home – I have my family, my studio, my books and my imagination.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
Any restaurant in any city that has outdoor seating by the water, with seafood and a unique cocktails list.

What books influenced my life and how?
The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion – after dealing with death of my father, and my husband’s cancer and stem cell transplant, this book was just everything to me – still is, I reread it every few years
Just Kids – Patti Smith – This transported me back to when I was a student at School of Visual Arts in NYC, when the city still had a sexy seediness to it, full of artists and nonconformists.
M Train – Patti Smith – This book was so achingly beautiful, I wept through the entire second half.  I am now middle aged and my son is in college. It reaffirmed my views of how special and fleeting everything is, and how to appreciate everyday .
Drawings & Observations – Louise Bourgeois – reading this made me feel validated about all my worries, imaginations, thoughts on creativity, and having my personal experiences be the charge of my creations.

Who are my favorite writers?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Joan Didion
Maya Angelou
Patti Smith
Henry Miller
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
Jessye Norman
Hope Sandoval
Natalie Merchant
Any and all Pedro Almadovar film Soundtracks
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? 
When I was young I read every Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls Wilder book in the series. I loved their independence, imaginations and being able to have adventures everyday.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
Louise Bourgeois – I got to meet her once at one of her salons. She is my absolute favorite artist. She took everything-sculpture, prints, drawings – and  made it her own. Her work is intimate, forceful, and unfailingly honest.
Hannah Wilke – one of my SVA teachers, she introduced me to important women artists and made me understand that my personal experiences were valid to art-making. She was a powerhouse and I think back to our discussions and wish she was still here to talk to.
Eva Hesse and Elizabeth Murray – I admire how they lived their lives as artists. Both of them were featured  in recent documentary films that were excellent.
Teachers, firemen and organ donors
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? 
Cinema Paradiso  – the finale gets me everytime – SO MUCH LOVE
Talk To Her – Pedro Almadovar (I love ALL his films, but this is my favorite)
What role plays art in my life and work?
My two sisters and I were raised by two artists – my father Alexander and Kathy Rutsch. We were surrounded by art, encouraged to paint on the walls and be ourselves. We are all now in creative careers.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?  
My husband, we have been together since 1988, he is my everything

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?  
Teaching – Andrea Kantrowitz
Curating & Art – Catherine Haggerty & Melanie Parke
These three incredible women have most recently inspired me with their intelligence, energy and talents and I look forwards to collaborating with them in the future.
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017?
Through Facebook this year I have been able to meet great painters like Lizbeth Mitty, Catherine Haggerty, Melanie Parke and Elisabeth Condon . I really admire the work of Mary Devincentis Herzog, Brenda Goodman and Helen O’Leary and would love to meet them.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?  
More painting for the rest of 2017 and I am curating another exhibition with my friend Elizabeth Saperstein with painters that focus on portraiture that will open early 2018.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? 
Following your creative drive forever – most artists get better and better the more they live and experience

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
Andrea Kantrowitz
Melanie Parke
Catherine Haggerty
Emily Noelle Lambert
Debra Hampton
Mia Brownell
Anki King
Patricia Miranda
Katherine Mojzsis

How can you contact me?
This is a link to the catalog for the “Legitimate Vagina” exhibition I curated with Mia Brownell and Patricia Miranda in 2013

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