and Photography > What Others Say About Adi Da's
Art > Lisa Paul Streitfeld
by Lisa Paul Streitfeld
Paul Streitfeld is an art critic, curator, performance artist and novelist
who delivered a paper, "Applying the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to 21st
Century Art", at the 2009
International Association of Art Critics (AICA) Conference in Dublin. She
has written on metaphysics and contemporary art for The New York Times, The Hartford
Courant, Art New England, and the international avant-garde. As regular reviewer
(2000-2005) for Southern Connecticut Newspapers, she interpreted a 21st century
icon, the hieros gamos, subject of her forthcoming four volume critical
study. In her
memoir and personal blog, she analyses "magic and media," the title of a panel
she co-chaired, with Mina Cheon, at the CAA
Centennial Conference in Los Angeles, 2012. She is the author of Kundalini's
is an excerpt from an informal note Lisa published on her blog/memoir, Critical
Trilogy: A Critic's Millenial Journey, on October 19, 2010. See also her formal
review of Adi Da's art, published on The Huffington Post website, which very nicely
complements this note about how she found Adi Da's art.
divine feminine born out of the sacred marriage
and therefore indifferent to
the male gaze!!!
"The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes The Second-Birth
Part Eleven – IX" Orpheus One
images are created to be means
for any and every perceiving, feeling,
fully participating viewer
to “Locate” fundamental and Really Perfect Light
the world as Light,
all relations as Light,
conditions (or naturally
As Absolute Light.
Adi Da Samraj
five years ago, I was leaving a Chelsea galley with my friend Peter Frank, when
he said: “You have set a difficult task for yourself.”
“What is that?”
“To find the spiritual in art,” he replied.
Was he joking?
I never really know with Peter the wit, the punster.
From my 1997 launch
as newspaper critic, I managed to interpret from within my own reality structure
established through an experiment catalyzed by a Heaven meets Earth planetary
configuration which metaphysicians were interpreting as the gateway to the
Age of Aquarius.
But in the time that has passed since I stopped writing
regularly for the public about art, the only passage forward was surrender, as
there didn’t seem to be any existing track for my journey to uncover the post-patriarchal
archetypes. The New York art world has little concern with spirituality in art.
Surviving, never mind triumphing, in New York City requires a great deal of ego.
For the last two decades, it was the ambition of pushing the slick and salable
object into an insatiable market. Currently, it is illusion of finding the “next
great artist” through the competition of a “reality” TV show.
Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes the Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven
2007, 2008 Lacquer on aluminum 72 x 71"
the New York premiere of Adi Da Samraj at Sundaram
Tagore Gallery in Chelsea revealed a new modernism — that ironically for a
self-declared avatar — resolved the postmodern obstacle of ego. Not only because
the artist is dead, but because the fallen guru managed an entire trajectory of
death and rebirth the last decade without being tempted by the prospect of fame.
The hand that removed itself from the physical manifestation of his vision was
also the hand that waved away the vicissitudes of fame and fortune, and the audience
expectations that come with such an unholy pursuit.
Yet, it turns out that
Peter Frank led me onto “Orpheus and Linead,” Adi Da Samraj’s premiere exhibition
in Chelsea! It began with an e-mail “By way of Peter Frank” which contained an
invitation to a special preview from Mei-Ling Israel, author of The
World as Light, a fascinating book about the evolution of the avatar’s
vision into the material of his art. The images from the exhibition didn’t initially
attract me. They were so blatantly digital with primary color combinations reminiscent
of a child’s plastic game. The viewing experience was jarring; how could their
source be organic? Yet, I found his videos so compelling that I did some research.
After reading much about the avatar Adi Da Samraj, and nothing about his art,
I was prepared to dismiss him as yet another of the stream of fallen gurus that
have appeared in my path. . .
But in an internet search for his astrology
chart, I discovered this writing from his appointed astrologer:
. . Adi Da’s view of the conditional cosmos is, essentially, that of a machine
that constantly spits out patterns. In his view, the entire cosmos is a single
pattern that is endlessly modified at every level and viewpoint, which, while
always appearing differently in every time and place, yet retains the same basic
patterning. Therefore it is possible in his view to study any kind of phenomena
at the level of pattern, and if one compares it to any other phenomenal pattern,
the correspondences will reveal the something about the greater pattern of the
universe itself. In his view, astrology is just one particular way of studying
a pattern and seeing its correspondences with other patterns. One could do the
same thing with tea leaves, or lines on one’s palm, or the birds in one’s backyard.
Any patterning correspondence studied with enough attention and depth will reveal
the same universal patterning, and yield insight into what is going on everywhere
else in the cosmic pattern. . . .
This view of patterning
fits my experience. I have had my astrology chart read many times, my palms read,
my numerology and voice analyzed. My tarot card readings were invaluable aids
to my life journey. In revealing the same pattern, these insights were my introduction
into magic — the raising of my vibration — as the practice by which I could overcome
them. So, I was intrigued and prepared to re-enter Chelsea with an empty mind.
I entered the gallery with a single goal — to experience the art of Adi Da Samraj,
not as a critic, but as a participant in a subjective search for — well nothing,
How could I resist an artist who claims he has a key to
unlock me from my patterns?
My visit to the gallery knocked me out. The
power of the New bounced right off the smooth surfaces and reverberated deep into
my psyche. The tremendous scale, the sleek surfaces that seemed to mock the postmodern
with the depth of their meaning. The sacred marriage of opposites on the surface
symmetry/irregular geometries of meaning as well as the objective/non-objective
merging of abstract and figuration. The newly imbedded archetypes of liberation
busting up old patterns. I left feeling incredibly free and optimistic about the
future of art.
The shock of discovering what I had long given up expecting
to find in Chelsea took over a month to sink in. I wasn’t ready to penetrate Mei-Ling’s
book or the catalog until September 29, and I didn’t write
a review until I returned from the October 9 closing with Peter Frank .
Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes The Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven
– XI" from Orpheus One
2007, 2008 – Lacquer on aluminum, 84 x 41 inches
/ 213 x 104 cm
when “point of view” is transcended, there is no longer any separate self at all
— but only love-bliss — brightness, limitlessly felt, in vast unpatterned joy.
Adi Da Samraj
Da’s position on astrology can be found in Chris
Tong, Three Views of Reality and Human Potential: Book
8 of The Practical